At GenCon last week, during the Tracy and Laura Hickman Killer Breakfast, I signed up for a drawing. Low and surprise, I won! What’d I win? Their collection of stories, Eventide and their daughter Tasha’s brand new CD: Before They Open the Door.

As for the book, I was immediately excited! I’d recalled hearing Tracy Hickman talk about the book on podcasts a year or so ago, and it sounded really interesting! (Though, if I recall, I thought he and Laura were doing some kind of special subscription method for people to buy the book directly from them back then in a clever,¬†hearken¬†back to the original days of fiction publishing by sponsorship, method. But I forget.) Plus, while I hadn’t read much of the Hickman works lately, I lovelovelove the first two Dragonlance trilogies (the second, Twins, trilogy, was the first fantasy novel(s) to make me outright cry).

As for the CD, well, that was an unknown. Never heard of her before, and the song she sang before the Killer Breakfast to promote their Pick-a-Path live musical that weekend, was cute and nice but, well, she sang flat and off key a lot.

But, never look a gift CD in the mouth, as my mother has never said!

I finally got a chance to listen to it this week, and the verdict: It’s cute. Sadly, she still sings somewhat flat and off key, but not nearly as bad as live. She’s a fine guitar player and a decent lyricist… over all, she’s exactly what you’d expect from a talented young local music performer who will do great in her community but will likely never get a Big Break.

As for the songs: They’re mostly gaming/nerdy-themed songs with a humorous bent (in other words, filk music), but there are a few with a sweet or even melancholy sentiment. As a CD, I’m not sure I’m going to listen to it all that much. But if she were performing live at another con, surrounded by people having a good time and singing the chorus with her, I wouldn’t turn that down for a second!

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