For the Love of a Dog (a sad repost)

I wrote this blogpost below in 2012. Seven years ago and every word of it is true… But it hits me more right now because I said goodbye to Bronte on Friday.

She was more than a pet, she was a family member and a good friend. She was a walking companion, a family protector, and a confident. She was there to see all of my mistakes, all of my blunders and all of my successes. She loved me and supported me through all of them.

Her full name was Bronte C. Vaughan Emily Southard (aka Foxy) and the world is a lesser place because of her departure.

For the Love of a Dog

Bronte

This weekend, my daughter, who is about to turn one, said clearly her first word. It even came with a point of the finger for emphasis. “Dog.”

Dog…

I wouldn’t be so bitter about it, if it wasn’t for the fact that this is the second of my children to give this honor to our dog. Bronte (Yes, I am a writer with a dog named Bronte) is a border collie mix and does not have what I would consider the Hollywood-dog relationship with my kids. She is not running alongside them as they play throughout the day, with a waiting tennis ball in the mouth.

No, she is a herder and my children are her sheep. And Bronte’s day is spent laying in some corner of the room, watching the kids play out of the corner of her eye, ready to bark at any questionable passerby outside (or as she probably sees them- wolves).

You can read the rest of the blogpost here- https://sdsouthard.com/2012/03/26/for-the-love-of-a-dog/

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In a few days! In Jerry’s Corner, my new book, is about to be released! Read a sample! Enter a giveaway!

Okay, you can probably tell from the title of this quick post that I am a little excited. On Friday (May 3), my new book, In Jerry’s Corner, will be hitting the shelves! A little scifi, a little fantasy, a little magical realism, but a whole lotta love…

You can grab the ebook for your Kindle and print copy of the work on Amazon today. Here are the links-

On Amazon’s US Site– https://amzn.to/2OIxYbu

On Amazon UK Site– https://amzn.to/2U7zcCO

Published by KGHH Press, In Jerry’s Corner is the story of a very unique friendship and the power of an individual to impact not only the people around them, but the universe. Here is the back cover description:

Ever since Jerry Sleight was a baby, Bill was there. Bill is tall, quiet, unblinking and green. He is in the northwest corner of every room Jerry visits and only Jerry can see him.

It might sound strange, but Bill is an alien from a planet without a name and his task is to watch a human life from beginning to end. But why he is observing Jerry, and what does he hope to see? Only Bill knows the true answers to the mystery.

Filled with laughter and surprises, Jerry’s days with Bill will represent all of humanity and the impact a life can have, not just on others but on an entire world and universe.

In Jerry’s Corner is about the importance of a single life… and the amazing green individual watching it all take place.

You can check out an excerpt on my website here.

ALSO, there is a book giveaway underway right now on Goodreads.com. Five lucky readers will win an autographed copy of my book. You can enter below:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

In Jerry's Corner by Scott D. Southard

In Jerry’s Corner

by Scott D. Southard

Giveaway ends May 05, 2019.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

 

PRESALE BEGINS! Snag your copy of my latest book, In Jerry’s Corner, now!

Cover Art_Southard

The presale begins today for my latest novel, In Jerry’s Corner. I am really proud of the book and I can’t wait for you to discover it. (Yes, I am talking to you.) It is currently available from Amazon in both paperback and eBook.

On Amazon’s US Sitehttps://amzn.to/2OIxYbu

On Amazon UK Sitehttps://amzn.to/2U7zcCO

Grab your copy! Maybe grab two!

Here is the back cover description for the work:

Ever since Jerry Sleight was a baby, Bill was there. Bill is tall, quiet, unblinking and green. He is in the northwest corner of every room Jerry visits and only Jerry can see him.

It might sound strange, but Bill is an alien from a planet without a name and his task is to watch a human life from beginning to end. But why he is observing Jerry, and what does he hope to see? Only Bill knows the true answers to the mystery.

Filled with laughter and surprises, Jerry’s days with Bill will represent all of humanity and the impact a life can have, not just on others but on an entire world and universe.

In Jerry’s Corner is about the importance of a single life… and the amazing green individual watching it all take place.

You can learn more about the book (and me) on the publisher’s website here. I can’t wait to share this latest work with you.

Is blogging still a thing?

BloggerIt was not so long ago that I could lose an afternoon writing a 2000-word blog post about a video game I was playing. Another 1400 words on why a TV show annoyed me. (Yes, Game of Thrones I am looking at you.) 2500 words about a musical group that feels like family to me (Paul McCartney and Dave Matthews never show up though or call me). A blog post with writing advice (I did a lot of those). And how about one about a strange thing that happened to me, or something that made me the person I am today.

That was my life for years! And for a while, I was averaging a few blog posts a week. It was a fun time with likes and shares and comments and followers. But now something has shifted and nothing feels the same.

The thing that shifted is not just about me, it’s about the world. I think we as a collective consciousness decided to all move away from blogging together. An itch was scratched, we all sighed, and then forgot about it. (How many of you just scratched your arm because I wrote “itch”? Weird, huh? Mind control!)

I have some theories and thoughts on what has happened to the artform of blogging (and, yes, I used the word “artform”). It’s not a graveyard scenario yet. We are not pouring wine or throwing a rose on a casket while Boyz II Men plays on a stereo, but it is definitely a major hospital visit and there is a machine that makes a “ping” noise every time its heart beats. But remember what the nurse said when we entered the room- talk to the patient. Even though the patient doesn’t respond, it does make a difference.

“Hi blog, it’s us the writers. We just wanted to stop by and see how you’re doing. Are you feeling okay? Do you want to wake up now?”

Continue reading

The Importance of the Writing Heart

I wrote this post a while ago on the site, but I have been thinking about it alot.

For the last two years, I have been reading more nonfiction than ever before, and many times there is something missing under the surface. Good writing certainly, but still hollow. There is also some good writing advice here I believe, especially for those looking for suggestions or exercises to help their ability take off.

There is this truth around writing that we all can’t put our finger on. It’s enigmatic, elusive. But this “thing” can make a story or destroy it; it can change a letter from something that is thrown away or kept; and it is what makes an e-mail readable or spam.

Let me break this down in a different way.

As a book reviewer, I’ve had the pleasure of reading a lot of contemporary literature. And many times, these works will be by academics with amazing degrees and resumes. No one can deny these books are well-written, with a well-developed vocabulary and well-crafted plots. Yet, as a reader they don’t stick. I have no emotional attachment. It is like finishing a dry work assignment, not a work of art.

Recently, I had the same feeling reading Purity by Jonathan Franzen (you can read and hear my review here). No respectable reviewer will deny that Franzen is a good writer. He is, but his writing always misses something for me. And while I can respect the talent, I rarely remember anything after that last page is turned, almost relieved I got to the end of another gigantic tome.

So what do the academics and authors like Franzen miss?

Technically, they would argue nothing. They checked all the boxes that should make a work successful. Critics and publishers will agree. I might even agree! But it doesn’t change the fact that something was lacking and it is something behind the words.

I’m talking about heart.

Heart is the one thing that truly can’t be taught in an English or writing classroom, but it is also the most important thing a writer will need. And if used right by a writer, it can change opinions, stir a reader to act, and even make people cry or laugh. It is what takes a jumble of words and turns them into a message.

When writing has heart (be it in fiction, nonfiction, or even in marketing or business writing) it can move mountains. It can stir donations, create movements, and make art that truly will live after a writer has shuffled off this mortal coil.

Heart is the one thing all great writing share in all genres and styles. And yet, while we all have emotions, why is it so difficult for so many of us to call upon this organ? Continue reading

Dusting the Bookshelf – Permanent Spring Showers

As we get closer to the release of my latest novel (In Jerry’s Corner) from Stargazing Publishing, I thought it might be fun to take a look back at some of my previous novels. This is my second entry in the series, the first discussed A Jane Austen Daydream (you can read it here). This time I take on my most recent release- Permanent Spring Showers

It is easy for writers to be dramatic. It’s in our blood. If you are a writer and not dramatic in how you interpret yourself and the world around you, chances are, you are probably doing something wrong and should consider different career options.

So when I look back at my life and each of my novels, I see stories; with beginnings (the initial ideas), first steps (the creation), struggles (getting them out to the world) and conclusions (reviews and what happens). Sometimes those are nice stories (A Jane Austen Daydream and The Dante Experience both jump quickly to mind), while others I would classify as tragedies.

Today I present my greatest tragedy.

So much possibility and all of my main characters are lying dead with nothing good coming out of the situation. I weep for them. They are buried now in unmarked paper graves and no one has any idea they were even alive.

See, Permanent Spring Showers is probably one of the best books I have ever written and it is out of print. It is a ghost in the literary world, without the strength of a Boo. It is a tragic death, that has happened too soon.

Listen everyone as I mourn the tragedy of a book lost to the masses! Welcome to my five-act literary tragedy, Permanent Spring Showers! (See what I mean about dramatic.)

Act One: There Was a Script…

While the death of Permanent Spring Showers was swift, ironically I had the longest literary life with that novel and its characters. It actually began when I was at grad school at Michigan State University back in the 90s. Then I dreamed of achieving a PhD in Literature. I would teach, be that smart professor that all of the young English majors look up to- imagine the English major version of Dr. Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. That was going to be me.

(Conclusion to that dream, I ended up running off to Los Angeles, and getting my Master’s in Writing instead from the University of Southern California.) Continue reading

Dusting the Bookshelf – A Jane Austen Daydream

As we get closer to the release of my latest novel (In Jerry’s Corner) from Stargazing Publishing, I thought it might be fun to take a look back at some of my previous novels. Maybe, if I am lucky, it will inspire you to check them out. Whenever I set out to write a book, I am aiming to do something unique, surprising and original. This might be a bad business model, but for me as a reader and an artist, it is a lot of fun.

Most people know me because of A Jane Austen Daydream.

It led to most of my followers on Twitter and this site, it led to me working on Current State on WKAR for three years talking about books, and it led to almost 250 reviews on Goodreads (a number which continues to grow each month).

When the book came out (after going through a separation with an old agent and two publishers, one of whom tried to massively re-edit it and then finally released it with Austen spelled wrong on the paperback), I became for many the Austen man. Every interview I did had a question that was kind of like “Hey, you’re a guy! Do you know it is strange for you to like Austen? Because you’re a guy, I mean.”

Honestly, even though I always found that question a little insulting and sexist. I never pointed it out in my responses (and I’ve given dozens of various little playful responses to it). Jane Austen is a great author and wrote probably the greatest novel in the English language. It really doesn’t matter if I am a guy or not; it doesn’t change that fact. To enjoy her writing is human.

…And, on a side note, the professor that got me into Pride and Prejudice and Jane Austen’s work was a dude as well. He is sadly gone now, but I did add him in as a character in the book as a thank you. He is the local doctor in Jane’s village, Dr. Chesley. Continue reading

Big News! Get Ready! New Book Coming Soon!

Coming soon from Stargazing Publishing, my latest novel – In Jerry’s Corner!

I know a lot of writers like to say “My latest book is my best, blah, blah, blah.” But for this book, all of that is TRUE for me. I can not be more proud of this novel, and I look forward to having readers discover it.

Check out my author page on the publisher site- http://stargazingpublishing.moonfruit.com/scott-d-southard/4594395172.

In Jerry’s Corner is many things for me. It is a very original and surprising story, the kind I love to discover as a reader. It is also fun, romantic, humorous, daring, and human. I could go on and on… and I do! Check out the interview just released today on Stargazing’s website about my writing and my latest novel! You can read the interview here- http://stargazingpublishing.moonfruit.com/scott-d-southard-interviews/4594395174

I really look forward to sharing this story with you. I’ll keep you updated here on the process as we move closer to publication (release dates, back cover descriptions, samples, reviews, cover release, etc.). So stay tuned! Until then, I hope you enjoy the interview and thank you so much for following me and reading my books, posts and other crazy stuff. This is a very important novel for me and I really hope you like it.

Cheers!

A Rant Against Harry Chapin‘s “Cat’s in the Cradle”

I am always haunted by three songs. They are my personal ghosts. They are with me wherever I go, just ready to jump back in front of me with a scream of “Boo! Got ya! Now sing along!” And I have no choice. I sing every damn time.

The first is “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by Deep Blue Something. Let’s get this out of the way first, Breakfast at Tiffany’s is an awful movie. It’s not just an awful movie, it’s also a racist film. There is no good reason for the lyricist and the soon-to-be ex-girlfriend to have fond memories of that film. I would even argue that an enjoyment or love of the film a good ground for dumping… on both sides.

But gosh darn it, that chorus in the song is so catchy!

I hope wherever the lead singer of Deep Blue Something is, he is also singing that song every day… seems only fair for what he has put me through since its release.

The second song is “Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)” by Us3. This song from the ’90s was created out of an attempt to combine Blue Note jazz records with rap. For some strange reason, this is the only rap song I can rap along with all the way through. Which means at some point during my day you might hear me quietly bragging about my basketball skills and my ability to rap. (Both things that aren’t true.)

The third song though hits me more psychologically. It cuts me to my core, leaving me feeling guilty about the smallest things, because…

I will not ever, ever, EVER be like the dad in Harry Chapin‘s “Cat’s in the Cradle.”

For those lucky enough not to know this folk pop number, it is a cautionary tale about parenting and the lessons we teach our kids without meaning to. The narrator is a father who never seems to have time for his son. He wasn’t there when his son learned to walk or speak. He even casually dismisses his son’s birth, saying that he was merely born “in the usual way.” I’m sure his wife when she was screaming in the hospital didn’t think it was “usual.”  Continue reading

Blog Tour: A Jane Austen Daydream by Scott D. Southard

Blog tour coming up! Can’t wait to introduce more readers to this work. I hope you follow along!

Novel Expressions Blog Tours

A Jane Austen Daydream by Scott D. Southard Tour Banner

Novel Expressions Blog Tours is proudly hosting a tour for A Jane Austen Daydream by Scott D. Southard on, April 23rd – 27th !

FIVE YEAR ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Now with a new foreword and an updated cover showcasing Jane’s own handwriting, this re-imagining of Jane’s life continues to charm and delight readers of literary fiction worldwide.

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perf5.500x8.500.inddAll 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…

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