Hip Squared Season 2 Episode 16

The Breadwinner - Morgan True Blum.JPG


In this episode, John and Troy divide and conquer two worlds of fantasy! Instead of speaking to each other through the entire episode, they welcome guests, one creator and one devotee, to tell us what they know and feel about the art they’ve been making and experiencing.

John talks to his wife, Kelly, about her love of the Dungeons & Dragons Twitch TV show Critical Role, available on Youtube (Kelly also spoke to us in the debut episode of Season 2). Critical Role features a group of voice actors playing D&D together, led by their Dungeon Master, Matt Mercer. Kelly is especially attracted to the diversity of the cast, including three women, something missing from many other otherwise beloved role-playing game podcasts and shows. For an internet show, the production value is high—its space in L.A., and their sponsorships from DNDBeyond and Dragonforge all help. With a camera on the DM, and two others showing each side of the table, plus live player stats, the viewer will likely understand what the hell is going on in this show better than in their own campaign! With humor, high quality and “the feels”, Critical Role is an excellent show for fans of role-playing games, fantasy and long-form content (weekly shows are often four to five hours long). Roll for initiative…

Then Troy speaks to the writer Morgan True Blum, writer of the historical fantasy novel The Breadwinner. This self-published novel tells the story of Pasha Chevalsky, a Russian immigrant to New York in the 1920s, forced to flee the Soviets. With a gentle heart, Pasha struggles to help provide for his family, and has to join a street gang, the Breadwinners, to survive. In the midst of this grim, dark existence a bright flame illuminates Pasha’s world in the form of a mythical firebird (look, it’s right on the cover). This leads to a series of strange adventures connected to the fringes of New York, including a gypsy (Romani) circus and an eccentric, Staccato Nimbus. Staccato helps bridge Pasha’s world to a new one—one that Staccato claims Pasha is heir to. The Breadwinner is a strong achievement for a self-published novelist, and is just the beginning for Morgan True Blum. The second volume of this series, The Glassblower, is coming soon.

Thanks so much to Kelly Shiflet and Morgan True Blum for being such wonderful guests!

Recorded and produced by John Beechem and Troy Kremer. Edited by Maplex Monk. Special thanks to Maple for stitching this episode together from all the recordings we sent him.

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