Read The Tsar's Dwarf (Hawthorne Books)

Read The Tsar's Dwarf (Hawthorne Books)
"A curious and wonderful work of great human value by a Danish master." Sebastian Barry, Man Booker finalist (Click on the picture to go to the book's Amazon page)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Supertramp's Roger Hodgson in Concert at the Oregon Zoo: Even The Giraffes Got So Excited They Tried To Headbutt This Musical Genius

Sometimes I can't stand all the beauty in the world.

Nine days ago was one of those days.

Roger Hodgson, the lead singer from Supertramp, had the audacity of visiting Portland, where he played some of the classics he wrote in the Seventies and Eighties. If you don't know what songs I'm talking about, let me just mention Give A Little Bit, Breakfast in America, The Logical Song, Dreamer, It's Raining Again, and Take The Long Way Home

The concert took place at the Oregon Zoo in front of orangutangs, leopards, and an enthusiastic crowd of aging hippies. The giraffes got so excited they tried to run up to the stage and headbutt Roger Hodgson, but he was probably protected by Babaji and a hundred other saints.

Goddammit, I don't want to admit how much I was moved by that concert. Not just because Roger Hodgsons songs were the soundtrack to my pimples, but because he is one of the most spiritual singers around.

Listening to Roger is like being in the company of an archangel of music. Like all truly great artists, Hodgson downloads songs from Heaven. I was crying when the old hippie played Hide In Your Shell, one of the most beautiful songs ever written. Equally great was Lord Is It Mine, a modern psalm. Johann Sebastian Bach probably gave it to Hodgson in a dream, and I don't think Bach regrets that!

So, Roger Hodson, I'm very impressed with you. But don't you dare come back to Portland, Oregon! Frankly, I'm not sure me and the other giraffes can stand that much beauty.

                                                                                     Guitar photo of Roger Hodgson by Gregory Weinkauf


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Chelsea Cain: Mother of Serial Killers, Murderer of Plants, and Writer's Block (And She Will Chop Off Your Fingers For a Laugh As Well)

A week ago I went to fellow Portland author Chelsea Cain's great reading at Powell's World of Books, the biggest book store west of the Rockies.

Chelsea's murder mysteries, starring serial killer Gretchen Lowell are out in 35 countries, and Chelsea told her dying public that she always looks for new exciting places in Portland to dump her bodies. (May I suggest the Scandinavian section at Powell's? No one is ever around, unless you can find a used copy of Stieg Larsson)

Chelsea Cain read from her newest thriller, Kill You Twice and told the audience a lot of scary stuff: For instance, her books are huge in Norway, and she adores the blood stains on her Japanese cover. She also handed out severed fingers to the audience which gave me a bit of a shock. Is that actually legal in the US? Couldn't Chelsea get sued if that got out of hand (so to speak)?

I don't know Chelsea Cain personally, but I once appeared in a video with her for Sledgehammer, a popular writing contest in Portland & Seattle. That was back in the good old days when Chelsea's body count was less impressive. She was a blond, too, probably because she thought she could get away with murder.

Liz Prato is the third scribe in this goofy promo about the most life-threatening condition in the world, writers block! You can see it below if you don't know what to do with your life the next minute and thirty-eight seconds.

Kill You Twice is published by Minotaur Books and will soon be available on Pluto as well. At least, I think so because Chelsea seems to be on a bit of a roll.