The voice of God on I-5

How’s the book doing? Meh, is my overall hunch. I felt a bit down about that for a while yesterday.

Landed in Seattle right after sunset, rented a car (sporty little Pontiac G5) and drove down to Portland in heavy traffic on I-5, with fog and some rain and a sense of vintage Pacific Northwest foreboding, getting here around 10 p.m. Checked into the hotel and was immediately lured into the cozy restaurant. Two glasses of wine and my whole perspective changed. This is fun. This is what I wanted to do. My life is fine and my book’s not bad either.

rOn the drive, when the Olympia NPR station began playing the Terry Gross show about Afghanistan that I’d already heard twice in two different time zones that day, I realized I had something else to listen to: Tinsel!

The audiobook version, as read by Ray Porter. He’s a Shakespearean-trained actor (according to his bio) with a nice deep voice. It’s a little surreal to listen to the book read in the voice of God (a gentle, folksy God) but I have to say I was charmed within just a few pages. He does wide range of people and tones, and he seems to get the book. He even does a pretty good Tammie. Of course, as he’s reading along I keep thinking, wow — I wish they could make an audiobook of a draft of the manuscript, so that the writer can come behind it and change a few things. And cut! Dialogue really is the magic thing, whether on the page or in the ear. I keep hearing parts of the narration/prose that I would trim, just a little. Sigh.

Off soon to Powell’s (aka CITY OF BOOKS) for tonight’s reading, and then, when it’s over, I’m off to what I’m sure will be a great dinner out with the megatalented Inara Verzemnieks. Portland is cool and it knows it, though I know in my heart of hearts I’m not nearly Gore-Texy and/or tatooey enough to live here.

Let’s play catch up to some of my recent hype, shall we? Look, I also wish this blog didn’t always resemble some proud mom’s refrigerator door, but I’m trying to enter the Tinsel media ops into the permanent record, before I forget to clip-and-save.

• Rick Rogers from the Oklahoman did not only a video, but a story, too. I had a great time visiting the newsroom and meeting Joe Hight, Jenni Carlson and some of the paper’s staff in an informal Q&A session. (And I got an Oklahoman duffel bag, a set of coasters, OPUBCO ball cap, and a T-shirt: boo-tay.)

• There was this great review in the Cleveland Plain Dealer last weekend that I missed. And on Thursday, Tinsel was one of the “12 Books of Christmas” in USA Today (“This isn’t a Norman Rockwell view of Christmas. It’s both laugh-out-loud funny and oddly depressing. Stuever’s keen eye misses very little”), and Paul Constant had some nice things to say in The Stranger.

• Wendy Shortman at the Vanguard (Portland State U.’s newspaper) did this nice little story. Not only did Wendy keep me company for a few minutes by phone when I drove from Dallas to OKC on Monday, but she managed to get everything right, especially the names: Stuever, Tammie, Cavazos, Caroll, Trykoski, Bridgette. This seems like no big deal, right? Well, some people in the business longer than her haven’t managed to get all of them correct. Someone hire her.

• Blogs! The Stiletto Mom weighs in this trenchant review. She’s the original other elf from Tammie Parnell’s Two Elves with a Twist. And Terri Schlichenmeyer wrote a review for Q-Notes.
• Radio, radio: I’ve lost track of what sort of radio I’ve done, but I will say that the hour I spent with Celeste Quinn on aftmaglogo130The Afternoon Magazine” on WILL, the public radio station in Urbana, Ill., seemed to go really well. I haven’t gone back to listen to it, but I thought she and her audience had the best questions so far. It was my pleasure to appear on her show. And this morning I got up super early to go to the studios of KPOJ-AM, the progressive talk station in Portland. Right before I went onto the “Carl + Christine” morning show (no Carl today, we had Tom) they were bitchin’ about the wealth gap in America. Completely 674_1237246870uncaffeinated and all riled up, I slid right in to a chair in their sound booth and became this lefty, liberal chatterbox. By the time my 15 minutes were up, I’d pretty much portrayed Christmas as Everything That’s Wrong with Capitalistic America. Hey, you have to work your audience. Glenn Beck, if you’d like to see another side of me and talk about, oh, I dunno, your Christmas book and the reason for the season, well, brother, I stand ready.

Look at the time! I need to: change clothes, figure out what to read at Powell’s tonight, and, most important to a fun and tolerable booksigning event, have another glass of Oregon wine. More later.

If you know people in Bellingham, Wash., well wontcha pretty please ask them to come to my reading at Village Books, Saturday night at 7? Do they have anything better to do? Prove it.


  1. Jeff Gill on December 4, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    When you are on the Glenn Beck Program, I think it’s going to be my night to actually watch the durn thing. Make sure to post that announcement, wouldja?

    If you’re up near Snoqualmie, don’t you have to have a slice of cherry pie and a damn fine cup of joe?

  2. tom shroder on December 5, 2009 at 8:09 pm

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