A while back I asked Noah Michelson, editor of HuffPost Gay Voices, if he was aware of the new(ish) Internet radio show I had launched with my best friend, fellow New York Times bestselling novelist Eric Shaw Quinn. I asked this of him by email so that his confused grimace wouldn't hurt my feelings, because I couldn't see it. The Dinner Party Show With Christopher Rice and Eric Shaw Quinn is at two-hour comedy variety show that streams through TheDinnerPartyShow.com and our free mobile apps. (You have no idea how sick I am of saying the words "free mobile apps.") But for our most recent episode we broke from tradition, which means I broke the arms of my co-host and our staff and forced them all to participate in one big, giant commercial for my forthcoming novel (and first supernatural thriller) The Heavens Rise.
But first I'd just like to thank you for reading this post even though it wasn't accompanied by a picture of some white-haired old bigot who considers herself a spiritual warrior because she refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple. And I should also warn you that I'm not about to write about the sudden coming out of a child star you can kinda, sorta remember from the mid-to-late '90s.
Don't get me wrong: I love HuffPost Gay Voices. This is the first place I go when my pulse has dropped to a disturbingly normal rate and I'm all out of espresso, Pez candy and silver needle tea. This is where I'm reminded that, yes, people still hate us for no good reason, and that, yes, some of us hate each other for reasons we would rather not discuss openly but usually will after a little prodding and some booze. It used to be that you had to go to print magazines for this kind of dialogue, and it didn't come at you quite as quickly or make you quite as crazy. I did have my moments, though.
I wrote a regular column for The Advocate for several years, doing my best to express contrarian and well-reasoned arguments about disturbing trends inside the community. Instead of a comments section, we had letters to the editor, where I was met toe-to-toe by such impassioned arguments as, "That column was crap!" from Luther S. in Sioux City, or, "Christopher Rice is a narcissist. Why is he still talking?" from Betty M. in Seattle. They weren't technically anonymous like the Internet commenters of today, but it wasn't like you could just walk into your editor's office and say, "Could you give me the contact information for Betty M. from Seattle so I can throw a cup of my own urine at her?" The upside to the anonymity thing, though, is that writers can delude themselves into believing a jealous bitter ex wrote every negative word posted about them online.
I try to be funny when I write pieces like this, because the majority of what I write is very dark and disturbing, which leads me, gracelessly, to the topic of this post: the podcast below!
What's in it? Well, for starters, I do some readings from the book in a sultry, serious voice that's getting me some weird mail on Facebook. (The background music is creepy and fun too.) My mother, Anne Rice, joins us to pretend that she's actually read the book (just kidding; she did read it, but that was a really early draft written in Zapf Dingbats), and two of the show's most popular special correspondents (translation: characters Eric Shaw Quinn and I play who are based on people we can't stand) give their early reviews of the book to add a little mirth to the proceedings, because both are morons. (It's worth noting that a novel about a psychopath infected by a parasite that gives him the power to control other people's minds doesn't easily lend itself to mirth, but you can't blame us for trying.) There's also a serious, literary discussion about what actually constitutes a scary book.
(What does constitute a scary book? No, seriously, I'm asking. We're all asking, because we aren't quite sure. We know what's disturbing, and we know what's just plain gross, but what is truly and fundamentally frightening? Like all writers, we have some articulate suggestions but no real answers.)
The book isn't out until Oct. 15, but all anyone in publishing cares about these days are pre-orders, which is why there's a nifty pre-order giveaway explained in the podcast too. I hope you enjoy. And if you don't, be sure to leave an angry anonymous comment below so that I can pretend you're one of my ex-boyfriends, the one with the tiny, corkscrew penis.
LISTEN: Inside The Heavens Rise -- A Special Episode of The Dinner Party Show With Christopher Rice and Eric Shaw Quinn: