Pontius Pilate, Dr. Seuss, and Me (Part 1)

Pilate in his big sceneRecently, I happily discovered that a picture of me wearing a fur coat and brown tights was finally off the internet.

The picture was from 1998 and for over 15 years it has dogged me on the worldwide web. With a few scrolls down through my name on any search engine (pass the covers of my books and headshots; you know, the important stuff an author cares about), there it was, always waiting for me.

Me in tights.

“Hello Scott, want to see your legs?”

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When I signed up for the graduate-level course in Medieval Literature (at Michigan State University), I was expecting a challenge.

Actually, I was expecting a massive challenge!

I heard rumblings from past students of the class, everything from translating to long writing assignments. While I love diving into classic literature, I have to be in the right mood for the older, more historical entries. I’m not the kind of person to relax with Chaucer on a Sunday morning (even though I do have a pic of him on my wall and I did once mimic his style in a very long short story). At least Chaucer can be a little bawdy and playful, but you have to earn the Chaucer in such classes. And usually that due is paid by Caedom and Margery Kempe.

Medieval literature, the literary equivalent of a hairshirt.

But it was required for my MA, so what could I do? I decided to put my own writing aside for a semester and accept my fate.

However, as we got closer to the start of the semester, my fellow students and I started hearing from the professor. This year we were to do something different, something special. It was obvious the professor was thrilled and he wanted us to feel that way as well. Maybe with another group of students he would have gotten a bigger reaction, but typically bookworms (i.e., graduate students in English Literature) don’t usually like to be thrown on a stage.

Yes, I said “stage.” See, we were not going to be studying Medieval Literature, we were going to be performing it! Watch out Broadway! Continue reading

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11 Questions With Louisa Gummer, Audiobook Narrator for A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM

Louisa GummerThis is going to be fun.

See, I wanted to interview the audiobook narrator for A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM, but a old print interview felt so… normal. Nah, this a professional narrator, she is the voice of Jane Austen in the book! Let’s do this with the magic of audio! Louisa Gummer, our fearless narrator, happily agreed and after sending her 11 questions I received the following files which you can stream below.

If you visit England, it is a difficult task to avoid the voice of Louisa Gummer. She does voiceover work for commercials to the BBC. She is everywhere! She is also a comedian performing on the London Comedy Circuit and is a member of the London Liars League.  You can learn more about her work and expansive resume via her site (here).

I think Louisa did an amazing job capturing the energy and spirit of the novel. It truly was a treat for me to listen to her performance, and I think you will see why in the interview below. Enjoy!

1. I was thrilled when I heard you were doing the audiobook. When did you start doing narrations? How did you fall into this gig?

2. What has been your favorite book to work on?

3. Do you have any dream books or authors you would like to read?

4. What is the biggest challenge in taking on a book?

5. What made you decide to work on A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM? What was the process like?

Continue reading

For Banned Books Week- A WKAR Review of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Current StateFor Banned Books Week, I decided to do something special for my book review on WKAR’s Current State. This time I am taking on the classic The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, one of the most banned works of fiction out there. I’m really proud of this review, I hope you will check it out.

You can listen to my review online here: http://wkar.org/post/book-review-banned-book-week-mark-twains-adventures-huckleberry-finn-wkar

You can also read my book review below.

This is the second time I have been on WKAR around Banned Books Week. You can listen to my previous commentary here. If you would be interested in hearing/reading more of my NPR book reviews, you can do so via links on this page.

I hope you enjoy my new book review! Continue reading

New audiobook! A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM is now available for your listening pleasure!

Audible Book Cover_A Jane Austen DaydreamLike to listen to audiobooks while working out or on a walk? Planning a road trip, a flight, or just like listening while driving to work? No matter how you like to listen, well, I’ve got a new audiobook for you!

I’m proud to announce the release of A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM as an audiobook!

Read by the very talented narrator Louisa Gummer, A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM is available on Audible, iTunes, and Amazon right now. And on each of the sites you can hear a sample from the work.

  • You can find it on Audible.com here.  It is free for members, or it can be purchased for $24.95.
  • It is available on iTunes (here) for $21.95.
  • And on Amazon (here) where it is free to members, or $21.83.

Almost 12 hours long and it is worth it for every minute. I have had the pleasure of listening to the entire recording and Louisa really captures the wit and voice of Jane. This is more than a simple reading, this is a performance! I could not be more pleased and I look forward to hearing what each of you think! (Also, I hope to interview Louisa on this site in the near future, so stay tuned if you want to meet the voice behind Ms. Austen).

Comedy, scandalous wit, literary surprises, romantic entanglements, and shocking twists, check out the audiobook of A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM today!

Banned Books Week 2014

Books! Everywhere! Books!Wouldn’t it be neat if we had a week to celebrate Shakespeare? A week when everyone was to read Charles Dickens or Mark Twain? A day even when everyone was supposed to talk like a character in a Jane Austen novel (as compared to a pirate)?

Nah, we book lovers get Banned Books Week. Where all of us book readers get to shake our heads collectively and wonder what others are thinking. The funny thing is most people that try to ban a book don’t actually read the book in question. A few years ago there was one protestor who strived to get Harry Potter banned from her school library. It made national news. She was discussed on all the Potter forums. What we discovered later is that she had never read Harry Potter and was worried it would drive kids to Satanism.

I don’t even know where I would start if I was to have an argument with such a perspective.

My grandmother used to be a member of her local library board. The reason she would give for being on the board was to fight people trying to ban books from the shelves. She was the voice of reason in a very conservative community and she kept up her end of the battle long after Parkinson’s made her life difficult. She will always be one of my heroes.

Last year on WKAR, I gave a commentary on their daily radio show Current State about Banned Books Week. Here is an excerpt from the beginning:

The playwright Anton Chekov has this great rule for writing a play. To summarize it, if a gun appears in the first act, it has to go off by the last act.

What Chekov is tapping into is that a gun is threatening, a gun can kill. An audience remembers it is there, and each and every playgoer expects that sooner or later, for better or worse it will be fired. I remember once I saw a production of “Hamlet” by the Royal Shakespeare Company, and they showed Hamlet with a gun in the first act. He carried it in his coat wherever he went on that stage, his concealed weapon, and we always knew it was there, expecting it sooner or later to cause destruction. Because a gun will always be fired, fictional or real, and there are always consequences for one being around.

The funny thing is, there are pockets in our country where people feel more at ease with guns than books.

You can listen to my complete thoughts (or read them) via this link.  I will be appearing on the show again this week, but this time to discuss the importance of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, another fighter in this literary battle. I hope you will check it out.

Well, if this is the only holiday people will give us book lovers, we might as well make the most out of it. Decorate your books shelves with garland, start a book club, pick up that classic you never got around to finishing, turn off the TV, and… most importantly… read, everyone, read.

Happy Holiday!

4 Dreams of Little Consequences

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Lorne Michaels was mad at me and I had no idea why.

I had two assignments to write for this upcoming episode of Saturday Night Live. Just two, and they were good ideas. So good! When I pitched them at the writing table, everyone laughed. We were already acting out possibilities for the bits right there at the table! It was a good and friendly vibe. So I figured I was safe for the week, sure to have my first draft in the head writer’s hands by Thursday.

Which begs the question, why was Lorne, the great producer of SNL, upset with little ol’ me?

The first skit was such a great idea that there was a strong possibility it might open the show! It was so easy to pitch, so easy to imagine. Basically, the premise was what if the founding fathers of our country were like the political pundits on Fox News.

You see, a funny idea?

Now it was the second idea that I really loved since it was a Game of Thrones parody. What if Cersei Lannister joined the local PTA? So you have all these typical Midwest women dealing with the problem of planning a bake-off and Cersei is drinking wine at the table and threatening all of their children.

Why, why, why was Lorne angry with me?

I first heard he was upset from one of the cast members. I brushed it off initially since his gossip was always unreliable. But when I heard it from another cast member (a much more reliable one) then I began to worry. God, I needed this job. This job was my life. (Being a writer on SNL doesn’t really give you a chance to have a life, so this was it.)

The e-mail from Lorne’s office came to my inbox on Wednesday morning and I slowly trudged down the hall. I sat in the waiting room (which looked strangely liked the waiting room at a hospital; all white, even the secretary looked like a nurse). I hung my head and wondered what, what, what!?!, did I do? Continue reading

Blog Tour Last Day: Excerpts, Spotlights, and Giveaways for A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM

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This is the last day of the blog tour for A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM!

Whew, this has been a busy time for me, my books, and this blog. Along with this book tour, there was the release of the cover art for my next novel (which you can see here, it is called PERMANENT SPRING SHOWERS) and there is a book giveaway going on for my novel MEGAN on GoodReads where two readers will win autographed copies of the work. (You can enter here.) Back to the tour…

On the website Romantic Historical Reviews they are sharing an excerpt from A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM. This is one of my favorite bits from the book and it is filled with fun nods for Jane Austen fans.  You can check out the excerpt and enter to win an eBook copy of my novel here.

There is a spotlight on the book as well today on Passages to the Past. This is also one more opportunity to win an eBook copy of the novel (just click here).

Wait! You want another chance to win an eBook copy? Well, the competition is still going on over at To Read or Not to Read (here). Yes, there are three ways to win an eBook copy of my novel!

There are some big news coming in the future regarding my book that I look forward to sharing. I hope you enjoyed the blog tour!A Jane Austen Daydream

Published by Madison Street Publishing, A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM can be purchased in print ($13.46) or as an eBook for the outrageously low price of $3.99 for Kindle. You can find it on Amazon here (http://amzn.com/B00CH3HQUU).

 

Wow! Check out the cover for my upcoming novel PERMANENT SPRING SHOWERS!

Permanent Spring Showers

I’m  really excited to share with you today the cover for my new novel PERMANENT SPRING SHOWERS!

PERMANENT SPRING SHOWERS is being published by 5 Prince Books (you can find the page for the book here).

This really awesome cover was created by Daniel Phillips.  During the day Daniel is an audio/video engineer/editor based out of Arvada, CO with  a passion for filmmaking (especially documentaries) and loves print design.  He works at SCM Productions which is a full-service audio/video production studio (you can find them on the internet at www.scmpro.com). I think his work perfectly captures the vibe of this little twisted book.

Over the next few months, I look forward to telling you more and more about my new novel!

New WKAR Book Review: The Quick by Lauren Owen

Current StateHello readers! (Wow, that sounded corny, sorry.) I am back on WKAR’s Current State with a new book review, this time reviewing The Quick by new novelist Lauren Owen.

You can listen to my book review here: http://wkar.org/post/book-review-lauren-owens-quick-wkar

You can also read my book review below.

The Quick can be found on Amazon here. If you would be interested in hearing/reading more of my NPR book reviews, you can do so via links on this page.

I hope you enjoy my new book review! Continue reading

Blog Tour Day 4: “Fun” New Review, Interview, and Spotlight for A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM

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This is the fourth day of the blog tour for A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM!

These blog tours are pretty busy! Two giveaways (with more on the way), spotlights, reviews and now an interview!

The interview was with Jorie Loves A Story. This was a very indepth interview about my writing style and my thoughts on Jane Austen (from her characters to adaptations on her work). She even asked me about my dog, Bronte! You can check out the interview here.

On the website Diary of an Eccentric there is a new review for the book. It’s a great review since it acts so well as an introduction to the book and plot. Please be aware though there are spoilers (at the end of the review and in the comments) to the big twist in the book. You can check out the review here.

Let’s see… what else? Oh, yes!  A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM is being spotlighted on the site What Is That Book About. You can check that out here.

One last bit! While the eBook giveaway on Bookish is done (and congrats to the winner), there is still one other eBook giveaway running at To Read or Not to Read. It is going on for a few days more, so jump over and enter! Here is the link. A Jane Austen Daydream

Published by Madison Street Publishing, A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM can be purchased in print ($13.46) or as an eBook for the outrageously low price of $3.99 for Kindle. You can find it on Amazon here (http://amzn.com/B00CH3HQUU).