#BookSale! For the holidays, A Jane Austen Daydream is only 99 cents!

A Jane Austen Daydream“Scott Southard’s Jane is a delightful creature.” -Austenprose.com

For a limited time this holiday season, Madison Street is having a sale on the eBook of A Jane Austen Daydream! You can grab a copy today for only 99 cents! Here is the link: http://amzn.com/B00CH3HQUU

“I consider this novel one of the best not only in regency era literature, but also in mainstream fiction.” -NovelTravelist.com

All 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.

“If asked to sum up this book in one word, I would have to choose “unpredictable”… you will, in the end, be rewarded by a quick paced novel unlike any you can ever have read, which injects new ideas and possibilities into the world of Jane Austen.” -The Jane Austen Centre

Published by Madison Street Publishing, A Jane Austen Daydream has also just recently been released as an audiobook! Narrated by the amazing Louisa Gummer, you can find it on Audible and iTunes.

“A definite read for all Jane Austen fans!” -Laura’s Little Book Blog
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Kris and Me: A Christmas Story in 3 Parts

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Let’s get this out of the way first. Kris has always had a magnificent beard. Even as a freshmen, when the rest of us were dreaming for just the hint of a stubble, Kris had a full rich beard. Yes, the girls would giggle about it behind his back, but all of us boys were jealous, because we thought it made him look rugged and a little dangerous.

I once asked about his beard. “How can you stand it, Kris?”

“What do you mean?”

“Doesn’t it drive you a little crazy? Isn’t it scratchy? Don’t you want to shave?”

He merely shrugged in response to it. “I like who I am.”

Strangely, that response made me a little jealous too.

Mountain man was the best way to explain Kris’s look in those early days with his heavy and muddy boots, black pants, and thick red coat. He always dressed as if it was winter, even during the warmest days.

Kris and I were locker buddies. This was not out of friendship at first, but because our last names were close together, my name being Stewart Kristin. Only two people in my life has ever called me Stewie though. The first was my grandmother who I loved dearly, the second was Kris. The first time Kris did it, I blinked a little surprised.

“Is it okay?” he asked. He almost sounded nervous, noticing my reaction.

“It’s fine,” I said and for some reason it sounded good coming from him.

With the approval Kris laughed. Kris always had a deep, rich laugh that came right from his belly. And Kris would laugh a lot. I mean, seriously, alot. He laughed at every bad joke, and he told many; usually ones that were far too clean for a high schooler’s taste.

The only thing he would not laugh at was another’s misfortune. He was always the first to stop a bully or a fight, being there before even a teacher or vice-principal had a whiff of it. His stern and disappointed look would immediately cool the situation. No one wanted to be on Kris’s bad side… ever. Continue reading

Forward to Christmas Past! Christmas Blogposts to Check Out…

Santa on his SleighThere are a few things that I really enjoy writing about.

A favorite author or book? Bring it on! A television show I like to watch? Sure. Something odd going on in my life? Well, within reason of course. I do like to keep some privacy. There is a line there and certainly someday I will find it.

One of the things I get a kick out of each year is Christmas. Heck, I even wrote a bad Christmas song on this site in the past (here). Let me add to that- One of my favorite pieces of fiction I have ever done is a holiday movie screenplay. I still dream someday I can sell that script and see it made.

This holiday just gets me going. Basically, it is the artistic equivalent of drinking one too many glasses of hot chocolate. Here are some of the blogposts I have done about my favorite holiday. Enjoy!

The New Kid in the Audience: A Holiday Confessional. One of the first things I ever wrote for the internet was about Christmas. Want proof? Here you go. It’s my own agnostic/atheist view on a holiday I love. With a helping of Snoopy throw in for good measure.

Book Review: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I’ve done over 30 reviews on my local NPR station now, but this is easily one of my favorites. I have always loved this book and it really gave me a chance to share that love. Also, I got to read selections from the book. Check it out! You can even hear me do Tiny Tim!

Losing the Grinch: When I Became a Who. On a Christmas Eve, my house was broken into and all the Christmas presents and electronics were stolen. My oldest child was only a month old at the time, so it would not leave emotional scars for him, but it is something his parents will never forget. When I was a kid I used to have trouble falling asleep on Christmas Eve because of the excitement, now it is a very different feeling each year.

The Littlest Angel Is the Worst Holiday Story… Ever. Yes, the holiday story gauntlet has been thrown down and this is the worst in my opinion out there. Oh, it is so, so bad. The fact that people still read this every  year gives me the shivers. Seriously, I am shivering right now.

The Christmas Accordion: Holiday 2012 Thoughts. I had just finished seeing the first Hobbit film and was sitting in a coffee shop with my dad when I heard about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. My son was almost the same age as many of the victims. This post is about how Christmas should feel in a school, or at least how it did for me.

Neil Diamond’s “A Cherry Cherry Christmas” is the Worst Christmas Song Ever! A Holiday Musical Rant. I know, I know, Neil Diamond fans, I know. This is Mr. Diamond referencing his own work. But that doesn’t change the fact that this song is so utterly bad and inappropriate. You don’t believe me that this is the worst holiday song? Go ahead and read my post and then listen to it. If you have real courage, watch the video.

Writing a Good Christmas Story: Four Things to Consider. This is my most recent post on the holiday and here I put my writing educator hat on, trying to lay down some ground rules for what makes a Christmas story work… because honestly, most holiday stories don’t.

New WKAR Book Review: We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas

Current StateI was on the radio again! This time on WKAR’s Current State I reviewed We Are Not Ourselves by new author Matthew Thomas.

You can listen to my review online here: http://wkar.org/post/book-review-we-are-not-ourselves-matthew-thomas-wkar

You can also read my book review below.

If you want to check out We Are Not Ourselves 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

Writing a Good Christmas Story: Four Things to Consider

Santa Checking His ListI totally get it.

Each year the media world is starving for new holiday stories. They want them for the bookshelves, for the TV screens, and the cinemas. So why wouldn’t any struggling writer (which is 98% of us) not want to give the old Santa Claus an adventure or two?

It pays the bills and, maybe, you will unwrap the golden present. In other words, create a holiday tale that becomes a classic, one that audiences return to yearly… which can also pay the bills yearly as well.

The problem is that for all of the attempts to make that blessed holiday classic it so, so rarely happens. Most holiday tales disappear at the end of the year. The books and the DVDs end up in the bargain bins, and the TV specials and movies are shown at random times in the early morning (if they are shown at all).

Recently, I reviewed a new collection of holiday short stories called My True Love Gave to Me (edited by Stephanie Perkins). My review will be on WKAR’s Current State later this month. I don’t want to say too much about my review here, but the book, in the end, just left me feeling sad.

Not exactly a Christmas feeling, I know, and probably not the one most of those contributors were hoping for. But it is a common feeling for me each year as I dare to check out the new holiday samplings from my fellow writers.

So why is it so difficult to write a good Christmas story? Basically, it is because most holiday writers seem to forget four important stocking-stuffing-ho-ho-ho points. These points are what separate the classics from… well… anything on the Hallmark Channel. Continue reading

Buy Books for Black Friday and Cyber Monday!

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)

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