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If you enjoy my blog or my books why not consider sharing the love with other readers? I promise that they have each been painstakingly constructed to fit in stockings and under trees…

A Jane Austen Daydream

A Jane Austen DaydreamAll her heroines find love in the end–but is there love waiting for Jane?

Jane Austen spends her days writing and matchmaking in the small countryside village of Steventon, until a ball at Godmersham Park propels her into a new world where she yearns for a romance of her own. But whether her heart will settle on a young lawyer, a clever Reverend, a wealthy childhood friend, or a mysterious stranger is anyone’s guess.

Written in the style of Jane herself, this novel ponders the question faced by many devoted readers over the years–did she ever find love? Weaving fact with fiction, it re-imagines her life, using her own stories to fill in the gaps left by history and showing that all of us–to a greater or lesser degree–are head over heels for Jane.

You can find it in the following formats:

  • Print version for $13.25 on Amazon (here)
  • eBook for Kindle for only $3.99 (here)
  • The NEW audiobook on Audible.com (here) or iTunes

Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare

Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare, CoverThe cursed and foreboding McGregor Castle is the most terrifying and haunted location in all of the British Empire. Only a brave (or foolish) soul would consider visiting it, let alone staying within its walls for five days. In other words, a perfect dare for a man like Maximilian Standforth!

Maximilian Standforth, famed playboy aristocrat and private detective, is a genius with dangerous tastes. With Bob (his trusty carriage driver, biographer, and bodyguard) and Maggie Collins (actress, spy, and maid) by his side, Maximilian will experience horrors and madness unlike any seen before. For it is at McGregor Castle that the team will discover more than they ever could imagine in this very experimental and genre-breaking thriller.

You can find it in the following formats:

  • In print for just $9.49 via Amazon (here)
  • An eBook for Kindle at the low prices of $3.99 (here)

My Problem With Doors

My Problem With DoorsJacob is lost in time.

He has been that way ever since he was a child for doors don’t work for him like they do for the rest of us. A door can take him to the past or the future, into any house, into any country. This  is Jacob’s plea for help.

This novel is an unpredictable adventure filled with thrills, romance, horror, and even the occasional cameo from historical figures like Lord Byron and Jack the Ripper.

It is available as:

  • Print for $15.75 on Amazon (here)
  • A NEW eBook edition(!) with an exclusive afterword for just $9.99 on Kindle (here)

Megan

MeganThis is the story of Megan Wane.

To me and you, she is just a normal worker in a drab office, but in her imagination there exists an entire world, one she has escaped into ever since she was a child. It is the land of Prosperity and it is filled with dragons, castles, trolls, moon people, and wizards, And in Prosperity, Megan is a princess and a super hero.

This is the story of her worst day and how Prosperity saved the real her.

It is out now as:

  • Print for $15.95 on Amazon (here)
  • A NEW eBook edition including an exclusive preface by the author (me). It is $9.99 for Kindle (here)

Me Stuff

Me Stuff, front coverThieves, psychics, evil poets, mad men, car companies, literary greats, tornadoes, models, vasectomies, bankers, children, Satanists, princesses, truckers, comics, rock stars, strippers, superheroes…

This is a new collection of some of the most popular blogposts from this very site! Made for both the fan and the newbie, this book has something for everyone… Well, except for those who don’t like entertaining stories. This book can’t help those people.

You can find it as:

  • In print for just $8.99 via Amazon (here)
  • As an eBook for only $3.99 for Kindle (here)
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Five Things I Am Into Right Now, November 2014

BoredI am suffering the case of the blahs. Oh, this is not a bad thing related to my life or anything, this is related to books. I’ve done the book reviews for my local NPR station now for over a year and half. That is over 30 books. (You can listen and read my reviews via the links on this page of my site.)

See, I’m struggling through a book review by a very popular author. Some people will love the book, I am certain; others will hate it. Me, I’m just mildly disappointed and that is what gives me the blahs.

Let me start this over… I love writing a good book review. There is nothing more fun for me as a reviewer than breaking down a good book, introducing it to a listener/reader and discussing why the high points are the high points. Talking about good books is my soapbox and I like being on it, thank you very much!

I am not Dorothy Parker. She used to take a glee in writing a bad review. Me, I find it disappointing. I can do it certainly, and they are easy to do, but they do not give me pleasure. Also, I like to say more than simply “I don’t like it.” I go out of my way to explain why something doesn’t work. Okay, this could be argued as a second soapbox, but not as big or important as the other one.

But there are no soapboxes when the book is a blah, middle-of-the road, half-a-shoulder-shrug. In a way, I see this blah around me in the environment too, as all the days are gray and getting colder. Of course, the review will be written in a week or so and my life will go on. I can’t guarantee anything regarding the weather.

Let’s move on to happier thoughts! Here are the five things I think are awesome right now. Continue reading

“Fresh, funny and wonderfully evocative” The Review takes on A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM

EmmaWe all know that Sally Field moment when she won the Oscar. Yeah, it was over thirty years ago, but people still quote it and it appears on TV from time to time. There she is on screen happily declaring “You like me! You really like me!”

Well, that is how I feel after this new book review from the website The Review. It is a very well-crafted review and, for me the author, so very, very satisfying. Because, this reader obviously got everything I was attempting to do in the work. Yup, I went all Sally Field. Here is what the reviewer said about Jane:

Southard’s research is solid but not intrusive and he really succeeds in placing Jane in the story. He brings her into vibrant, appealing life, crafting a living, breathing woman of many dimensions and by populating her world with characters real and imagined, he creates a village rife with gossip, intrigue and quiet excitement.

I don’t want to share more from the review, just point you to the link. You need to check it out! Seriously, go— You can find it online here.

Audible Book Cover_A Jane Austen DaydreamPublished 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).

You can find the fantastic audiobook version on Audible and iTunes.

Drugs and Sex: My Time in a Pharmacy (Part 2)

This is the second part of a post that begins here.

The worst product I have ever seen in my life was a condom key chain.

We used to sell them at the pharmacy and based on the marketing they were obviously targeted to the teenage audience.

When you bought a box of three—which was the same price as buying a dozen not in a keychain—they would each come in their own little see-through keychain case. Each condom was a different bright color. And the idea is that in a moment of passion, a dude just had to take out his keys and break the plastic open to get at it.

Okay… now let’s consider the reasons why this is a bad idea (and why we probably never sold a single box of them while I worked behind that counter):

  • To be the kid to proudly display that you were getting lucky like that by having it on your keychain would take… well… balls. And if that dude did have a girlfriend, would she want it so proudly displayed? Do people like that really exist outside of badly written TV shows and movies?
  • What if his keys fell out when he was visiting his girlfriend’s folks? There they would be, on the couch between you and the dad. Seriously, what do you do? What do you say? What!?!
  • Do you really want a teenage boy reminded of sex every time they touch their keys or, worse, when they are driving and their keys are in their ignition right in front of them! Teenage boys think of the deed enough, did they need the reminder right in front of them… while they are driving!?!
  • What if the keychain broke by mistake? If they could be so easily broken up like they claim on the package, couldn’t it happen when they are simply banged against the other keys?
  • And really… just three?

Stupid, stupid, stupid product. Continue reading

New WKAR Book Review: Gregory Maguire’s Egg and Spoon

Current StateHey I was on the radio again! This time on WKAR’s Current State I review the new young adult book by Gregory Maguire, Egg & Spoon.

You can listen to my review online here: http://wkar.org/post/book-review-gregory-maguires-egg-and-spoon-wkar

You can also read my book review below.

If you want to check out this new book by Gregory Maguire, you can find it on Amazon.com here. You can check out my past reviews via this page on my site.

I hope you enjoy my new book review! Continue reading

Drugs and Sex: My Time in a Pharmacy (Part 1)

DrugsSo there is a good chance that the pharmacist I worked for while in high school had a drug problem. Whenever he felt he needed to change “something” he would disappear down one of the drug aisles behind the counter, and a few pills later everything would be right as rain.

The pharmacy was located in a chain of grocery stores, so he had to be careful with his personal dealings. The more “monitored” drugs were located in a locked drawer at the front of the pharmacy, and one day when I was counting some off for a customer, he made a point of noting to me that if there was one pill missing in any of the bottles everyone would hear about it. It was a warning to me, but I also knew it was a reminder to himself to keep his hands off.

I never would have considered touching any of the drugs in the pharmacy, interest in that kind of recreational activity was never in my hardwire. I think at least the HR person recognized that from my interview and my reviews from my previous position. Mr. Goody Two-shoes. I was just not that kind of kid, probably making me one of the few teenagers who would be a perfect candidate to work at a pharmacy counter… unsupervised.

For two years before the pharmacy I was a bagboy at a different grocery store in the same chain, which meant bagging the groceries for the customer and then helping get them to the car. They were very personal and friendly stores. We were even given a list of possible conversational starters: sports, weather, local news (that isn’t too controversial). Definitely not politics or religion! Also, it was considered oddly rude to talk about a customer’s purchase, even if you just watched it rung up by the cashier and you put it in the bag for them. That was crossing the line. I still don’t get why that is true, but it feels right in my gut.

I kind of liked being a bagboy… 40 percent of the time.

Bagging groceries always felt like a challenge, a little game, trying to figure out how to fit everything into one bag without smashing anything or ripping it. The problem for me was with the other 60 percent. Which could include cleaning the bathrooms, mopping the floors and dealing with the empty cans and bottles.

The cans and bottles were the worst. Yes, even worse than the time I had to clean the bathroom walls after someone tried to do art on them with… I’ll let you use your imagination. Continue reading

Snapshots of Decades: A Birthday Blogpost

Super BirthdayTurning 41

It’s my birthday and I am reading Stephen King again.

I do the book reviews for my local NPR station and I knew I would have to take on this very popular author at some point. After a year and a half and over 30 reviews the moment had finally arrived. A copy of his newest novel landed on my porch from his publisher (three weeks before its official release). They want my review. So be it.

I had an aunt growing up that was obsessed with Stephen King. My aunt in some ways was a King creation waiting to happen. She had fiery red hair; a loud, almost shrieking voice; and many of us kids were scared of her. When she got mean, she got really mean. I always did my best to avoid her, never spending the night at her house, trying to avoid being in the same room with her for too long. My aunt would spend her days either on the phone (always complaining), chewing gum or drinking Pepsi (she drank a lot of Pepsi), and reading Stephen King. When I was in 7th grade, she, for some reason, noticed me and gave me a pile of her Stephen King books to read.

I was not impressed and told her as much when I returned the pile a few months later. Rude of me? Yeah, probably.

We spoke even less after that.

Yet, here it is, 28 or so years later and I am once again reading King and I feel like it is a time capsule to that old me, right then. Mainly, it’s because King sounds exactly the same. His voice/prose hasn’t matured, even the plot and characters feel the same as those other books. I’m guessing for many of his fans (including my aunt) it feels like returning to a home.

For me, I see the cobwebs and I wonder why no one has done any cleaning… Continue reading

Super Neat! A New Book Trailer for A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM!

Earlier this month, A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM was released as an audiobook, narrated by the incredibly talented Louisa Gummer.  She has also produced this wonderful trailer for the book, which I think really captures the mood and vibe of it. I really like it. Check it out!

You can also check out the video on Vimeo (here) and Facebook (here).

Please share it with your friends and fellow readers!

I would love for more people to discover this novel.Audible Book Cover_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).

The fantastic audiobook version can find it on Audible and iTunes.

New WKAR Book Review: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

FCurrent Stateor Halloween on WKAR’s Current State I reviewed one of the greatest works in literature… which is also freaky scary.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley has always been important to me and my writing and I had a lot of fun with this review. Check it out!

You can listen to my review here: http://wkar.org/post/book-review-mary-shelleys-frankenstein-wkar

If you would rather read the review, you can do so below.

If you would like to read this classic (and you should) you can find it on Amazon here.  You can also check out my other book reviews via links on this page.

I hope you enjoy my book review and Happy Halloween! Continue reading

Ghosts, Snoopy, Haunted Mansions and Halloween

haunted-mansionA few years ago, the inventive filmmaker Guillermo del Toro was hired by Disney to write a screenplay for a new movie based on The Haunted Mansion ride.  Over the summer I read an interview with him claiming that him and his team of writers were still struggling with the story.

Seriously?

I have to admit I am a little surprised. I mean it seems to me a Haunted Mansion film writes itself. Do you want to know how I would do it if Disney asked me? Of course you do!

First off I would set it in the 1950s. That way you can tap into the cliches and stereotypes you would see in classic old black-and-white horror films. And set it in a small town (think Back to the Future).  Now on to my very brief synopsis!

  • Act 1- We meet the eccentric and comic people in the town. There are two twin teenage sisters, one is a cheerleader and popular, the other is a bookworm (our heroes). They go to a dance at their school. That night there is a huge thunderstorm and the power goes out. A bunch of teenagers ride together in car; which, of course, stalls in front of the Haunted Mansion.
  • Act 2- The group of teenagers (including our female heroes) tour the Haunted Mansion. The ghosts want to get out but are trapped in (a curse put in place by Madame Leota). One of the teenagers is tricked by the evil Hatbox Ghost (an urban legend by the way around the ride), releasing all the ghosts.
  • Act 3- The ghosts playfully attack and spook the town (like Gremlins). The teenagers are split into teams, one to collect the ghosts, the other to get the curse put back on the house and stop the Hatbox Ghost (the sisters lead the different teams)… this all has to be done by dawn.
  • Act 4- In a suspenseful last act, the curse is reinstated, the ghosts are drawn back and the sisters now are friends. The end.

Disney you can send me the check. (Okay, that was a little snippy of me, but seriously I could write this script and would love to do it… Oh, and Guillermo del Toro is awesome.)

Here are some of the posts in the past I have written about Halloween. Enjoy!

The Halloween TreeBook Review: The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury. Last year I reviewed this book (which should be a holiday classic) for WKAR’s Current State. You can check it out (and listen) via the link. This week I’ll be reviewing Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I hope you tune in for it, I think it turned out great.

It's The Great PumpkinWatching It’s The Great  Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. I love this special. Absolutely love it. Actually, I’m kind of obsessed about it, and this post proves it. In it, I share my insight on the show and my thoughts on each of the scenes and characters. Seriously… obsessed.

CostumedIf I Could Wear a Halloween Costume… If I had the courage, I would dress up on the holiday. I’m just not that guy… but I wish I was. This comic post deals with my dreams and hopes and masks.

HalloweenHalloween, In Spirit. I wrote this post during my first year on the site, and it was one of my most popular. It is a little comic, a little philosophical, a little serious. In many ways it contains all of my thoughts on the holiday, tied up in a bow… that probably has skeletons on it.

I hope you enjoy the posts! (And Guillermo call me!)