Howe, Downes lead reinvigorated Yes at Chicago’s Copernicus Center

Posted in Observations & Musings on August 21, 2016 by Christian

I became a big fan of the progressive rock band Yes by listening through my brother’s bedroom wall. I was into rap at the time, so the complex melodies, the sweeping lyrical landscapes, and classical-length compositions were a bit … too much for me at first, but it sowed the seeds, and eventually, I bought my own copies of THE YES ALBUM, FRAGILE, and CLOSE TO THE EDGE so I didn’t have to borrow Dave’s.

They were even my first major-label, arena concert when Dave took me to the then-Rosemont Horizon on May 6, 1991 to see a supergroup version of Yes with Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Bill Bruford, Tony Kaye, Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman, Alan White, and Trevor Rabin representing key eras in the group’s history. And I got to see a version of it again last night at the Copernicus Center in Chicago.

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But the current version of Yes featured only Steve Howe (guitar) from the group I saw before. He was joined by Geoff Downes, keyboardist from DRAMA, which they played in full to open the set. (And I recently discovered this is a much better album than I gave it credit for.) Howe and Downes were in fine form … but I was kind of expecting that. Yes musicians have to be in fine form. But who were these other guys, tasked with the recreation of some of symphonic rock’s most difficult passages?

Alan White, who has been the band’s drummer since 1972, is recuperating from back surgery, so Jay Schellen more than ably manned the kit for him at last night’s show, nailing the most difficult parts of “Ritual (Nous Sommes du Soleil)”. Singer Jon Davison is Jon Anderson’s replacement’s replacement. Like Anderson, he is one of those rare natural alto tenors, and hit every soaring high note while waggling his long brown hair like a latter-day traveling minstrel. If Bluto Blutarski had been there, guitars would have been smashed, I’m sure. But this was the music we were there to see.

Still, how would Chris Squire’s replacement replace probably the greatest bassist of all time? Squire was the last remaining original member of Yes when he died of cancer last summer. How could anyone ever take his place? His trebly tone and hummingbird quick plucking were matched only by his inventiveness. In comes Billy Sherwood … and made me think I was seeing a ghost. Hearing one, too, which is probably more important when you’re at a concert.

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I am NOT a camera. I was actually a lot closer than this while I was taking the picture.

Listening to Yes music is an investment. By-and-large, it is not catchy. Hardly ever poppy. But as I find when I return to their music every couple of years, it surprises me how the passages come back, like reading a really good book that you haven’t cracked in years. The last revisit I made to Yes was in 2012 when I was writing LOSING TOUCH, and their music makes several cameo appearances, including “The Revealing Science of God”, which they played last night with note-for-note perfection.

Morgan Dunsmore would have been proud.

Christian A. Larsen is the author of the novels LOSING TOUCH and THE BLACKENING OF FLESHnow available from Post Mortem Press.

Buy now to save on these select horror titles

Posted in News on August 13, 2016 by Christian

Aside from parents, who really 100% likes back-to-school time? As a student, I can remember feeling a sense of anticipation, but there was some dread, too. And to you students out there reading this, believe me, teachers feel the same way.

This year, whether you’re a teacher or a student (or a relieved parent), there’s a way to make this time of year that much more enjoyable: the “Back-to-School 99¢ Kindle Sale” from Post Mortem Press, including my sophomore novel: THE BLACKENING OF FLESH.

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Time’s running out to save on these nearly-free ebooks from Post Mortem Press.

THE BLACKENING OF FLESH is about a high schooler who, during the summer of 1984, graduates into a whole new world of terror when he discovers that his house is haunted by five Prohibition-era gangsters. And this time, they’re planning more than a heist.

But THE BLACKENING OF FLESH isn’t the only title that Post Mortem Press is practically giving away. Here’s a list of hidden gems and new horror featuring school-age characters that you can save on now … but only for a limited time:

A teenager’s father is a serial killer. The horror of the silver screen creeps into reality. Magical abilities. Possessed dolls. Dystopian futures. Ghostly apparitions. Nostalgia steeped in the world of the weird. Haunted theaters. Asylums and crypts. Cartels and the patron saint of death. Own them all for less than a buck each, so this back-to-school season, you can save your scratch for college-lined notebook paper.

Christian A. Larsen is the author of the novels LOSING TOUCH and THE BLACKENING OF FLESHnow available from Post Mortem Press.

Get THE BLACKENING OF FLESH at back-to-school pricing

Posted in News on August 7, 2016 by Christian

My last few semesters in college, I held off buying assigned books until I was sure I was going to read them. Saved a lot of money that way, but I’m sure my grades suffered a little bit. Maybe. I know now that there’s a better way to buy books around this time of year: the “Back-to-School 99¢ Kindle Sale” from Post Mortem Press.

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That teacher doesn’t look so good.

My ghosts and gangsters novel, THE BLACKENING OF FLESH, is about a kid graduating high school who finds out that his house is haunted by five Prohibition Era gangsters. This one is definitely not for the kids, though. Set during the early summer of 1984, it still qualifies as back-to-school fare because the main character is high school age (or younger), like the rest of these fine, student-centric titles:

Some of those you’ve been putting off buying for a while, haven’t you? Some are brand-new. And some … you’ve never heard of, but I’m sure you’ll enjoy. Bottom line is, this will all be on the test, so you might as well get while the getting’s good–during Post Mortem Press’s Back-to-School 99¢ Kindle Sale.

Christian A. Larsen is the author of the novels LOSING TOUCH and THE BLACKENING OF FLESHnow available from Post Mortem Press.

AuthorFest cleaned me out of THE BLACKENING OF FLESH

Posted in News on July 30, 2016 by Christian
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The past won’t stay buried.

I brought a whole bunch of books to AuthorFest in Round Lake Beach today, and I came home with quite a few less.

I sold out of THE BLACKENING OF FLESH and SHRIEKS AND SHIVERS FROM THE HORROR ZINE, and I also signed copies GOTHIC BLUE BOOK V and QUALIA NOUS.

The weather was nice, the food was fresh, and the music was rockin’, thanks to Edison Blake and Deezguize.

The crowds were great, too. Super supportive and big fans of books: everything from financial guides to high fantasy to the depths of horror.

Couldn’t make it out today? Check out some of the participating authors’ books, and maybe buy a one or two online:

Made possible by This Old Book in Grayslake, event proceeds from AuthorFest are going toward the Bradbury-Carnegie Center‘s mission to reopen Ray Bradbury’s childhood library at 1 North Sheridan Road.

At age 14, Bradbury moved with his family from Waukegan to Los Angeles, leaving behind the library that fueled so many of his short stories and features in SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES.

The library is one of the few remaining monuments to one of the 20th century’s greatest storytellers and the Center is committed to transforming the vacant building into a museum preserving Bradbury’s life and career.

So if you came out today, you supported a great cause. Well two, really: preserving Bradbury’s legacy and grassroots storytelling. If you couldn’t make it, stay tuned for the next opportunity. There will be more.

Christian A. Larsen is the author of the novels LOSING TOUCH and THE BLACKENING OF FLESHnow available from Post Mortem Press.

Lake County AuthorFest to feature THE BLACKENING OF FLESH

Posted in News on July 25, 2016 by Christian

What better way to spend a summer Saturday than outdoors … by a lake … getting your read on? This Saturday, I’ll be one of more than twenty authors participating in the first-annual Lake County Authorfest, presented by This Old Book.

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A portion of the event proceeds will go to the Ray Bradbury Waukegan Carnegie Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the reopening of the long-vacant Carnegie Library at 1 North Sheridan as a museum dedicated to Ray Bradbury, who regularly read and imagined there as a child.

Participating authors include Robb Chase (BROKEN DAGGER), Michelle Cox (A GIRL LIKE YOU), Dawn Napier (BLACK BELLS), C.A. Verstraete (GIRL Z: MY LIFE AS A TEENAGE ZOMBIE), and NY Times-bestselling author Andra Watkins (NOT WITHOUT MY FATHER).

Enjoy live performances from Edison Blake and Deezguize, kids’ activities, a scavenger hunt for kids (and one for adults), author signings, and of course, plenty of books from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Cultural and Civic Center in Round Lake Beach on the corner of Route 83 and Rollins Road.

I will also be participating in the author panel at the Civic Center on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., moderated by writer and event organizer Robb Chase. The other participating authors and I will be discussing the craft of writing, what inspires us to write what we do, and answering your questions. If you don’t have your favorite author’s book, after the panel on Wednesday night will be a great chance to beat the rush and pick up a copy before the event on Saturday.

Christian A. Larsen is the author of the novels LOSING TOUCH and THE BLACKENING OF FLESHnow available from Post Mortem Press.

Chicago Tribune spotlights BLACKENING OF FLESH reading event

Posted in News on July 22, 2016 by Christian

Last month, I visited the Summit of Uptown in Park Ridge to read from THE BLACKENING OF FLESH and talk about the connections between the book and the city’s past during their regular book club gathering, and somehow, the Chicago Tribune got wind of it:

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The past won’t stay buried.

A regular activity on the calendar, the Summit of Uptown Book Club provides a thought-provoking interlude for people who live there as well as like-minded people from the community who are looking for a place to explore the world of books. 

Recently that world came alive in a whole new way when Christian A. Larsen came to talk to the group about his latest novel, THE BLACKENING OF FLESH, published by Post Mortem Press. Explaining how he gets his ideas, Larsen said, “I was in between projects and started reading up on crime in my hometown, Park Ridge, which has always been a very safe place. When I discovered an actual crime-a murder/suicide-that happened the year I was born, that became the germ for BLACKENING. The book explores the notion of right and wrong, and it kind of turns it on its head. In broad terms: what if the good guy was the bad guy, or vice versa? History doesn’t always get it right,” said Larsen. “Plus, throw in some ghosts and some Prohibition-era gangsters, because who doesn’t like those?”

Read the rest of the article here, which doesn’t tell the whole story. Before my portion of the program, the book club discussed the various pros and cons of Scott Turow’s ORDINARY HEROES, which everyone seemed to agree was too ‘racy’. That being the case, I wasn’t sure how they would accept me and my work.

But they were great. I’d like to say ‘thank you’ to the Summit of Uptown for having me, and to the book club, especially for making me feel so welcome. Up next, I’ll be at Mighty Con in Milwaukee. The pop culture convention visits American Serb Hall at 5101 West Oklahoma Ave from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m this Sunday.

Christian A. Larsen is the author of the novels LOSING TOUCH and THE BLACKENING OF FLESHnow available from Post Mortem Press.

Make geek & horror culture finds in Milwaukee on Sunday

Posted in News on July 18, 2016 by Christian

MightyCon returns to American Serb Hall in Milwaukee this Sunday, and this time … we’re taking over the entire building. We shared the space with another event in February, but this Sunday, it’s wall-to-wall books and movies, pop culture kitsch and clothes, puh-lenty of toys, gaming, and cosplay, and of course, lots and lots of current and classic comic books at convention pricing.

I’ll be there, signing my ghosts-and-gangsters novel, THE BLACKENING OF FLESH, and my mid-life crisis/man-starts-walking-through-walls novel, LOSING TOUCH. I’ll have copies of Michael Bailey’s Stoker-nominated science-fiction/horror anthology, QUALIA NOUS on hand, too. Stephen King has a story in the TOC, and there’s one by me, even. I’m in pretty nice company, there, and I’m not just talking about Stephen King.

Speaking of good company, I’ll be sitting with Christine Verstraete, author of the upcoming LIZZIE BORDEN, ZOMBIE HUNTER, due September 13 from Imajin Books. Verstraete will be signing copies of her first zombie novel, GIRL Z: MY LIFE AS A TEENAGE ZOMBIE, winner of the 2014 Lovey Award for “best paranormal or sci-fi novel”, as well as other goodies, horrific and otherwise.

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Original U.S. Half Subway Poster

THE CROW creator James O’Barr will also be signing his work. THE CROW was first released in 1988 as comic series about a man who comes back from the dead to seek revenge on the gang who killed his fiancée. The story was adapted to screen in 1994 with Brandon Lee playing the titular character. The movie, while critically-acclaimed, is infamous for Lee’s on-set death, caused by a defective blank fired during a scripted gunfight.

Jason R. Davis, author of the creature horror novels, HATCHED and CAUGHT IN THE WEB, will also be signing copies. Davis is also the editor of the anthologies DEADHEAD MILES and  LOST IN THE WITCHING HOUR, a collection of ghost stories in the tradition of Edgar Allan Poe or Sheridan Le Fanu, but updated for the 21st Century. Davis, who founded The Chicago Horror Film Festival, also hosts a monthly podcast called “Shriek Speak”.

Dawn Napier is the author of BLACK BELLS, the story of a woman who has to face the incarnation of her childhood fears in order to save her daughter, who’s gone missing. I bring this up because Napier will be there on Sunday. You might also know her from her THE MANY KINGDOMS fantasy series (DARK RANGER; A FIRE OF THORNS; and WORLD OF DRAGONS, WORLDS OF MIST), so if you’re there on Sunday, she’s got something for you.

It’s the return of Mighty Con to Milwaukee, happening Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at American Serb Hall, 5101 West Oklahoma Ave. Just $5 gets you in (children 12 and under are free) and every attendee gets a free comic at the door.

Christian A. Larsen is the author of the novels LOSING TOUCH and THE BLACKENING OF FLESHnow available from Post Mortem Press.
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