“Sweetest Decline” by Beth Orton

Mountain ClimbingThis is the third in my “With Music” series, where I capture moments in my life through a song. The first entry was about a Ben Folds song and a girl with elf ears (you can read it here), the second was about being lost in Europe and Sheryl Crow (here).

It was never supposed to be a hobby. Let’s make that point clear. Since the age of 16, my focus and my aim was on one target, becoming a professional author. I even had an agent when I was a kid (the agent then tried to sell a collection I wrote, but we parted ways when I discovered to my horror they were calling me a new generation Beverly Cleary. I thought I was Ray Bradbury. Yeah, I was a stupid and egotistic teenager… But Beverly Cleary?)

And by the time of this tale (age 24), I had four screenplays, the scripts for a ten-episode radio series, and a mountain of short stories. I knew there were novels in me, but I just wasn’t feeling it yet. I just had too many ideas and the idea of focusing on one like that felt difficult. Whatever the case, my world and identity was engulfed in the idea of me being a writer. Not just any writer, but an important one, for the history books, one of the voices of a generation. Why aim for a lower target when the mountain is freaking right there?

Now this is the rub- I was in the graduate program for English Literature at Michigan State University and I was bored. Bored, bored, bored! The idea of writing and studying more writers (and probably going on for my Ph.D.) sounded so… sigh… dull. Another essay? Another literary criticism? Bored…

The fact is I just wanted to write! My literary cup was full, thank you very much!

So in January, I got this idea and by May it was done. I had dropped out of the graduate program, moved back to Grand Rapids, got a really nice studio apartment (seriously, it had a fireplace, but the flames were blue for some odd reason), and found a normal job. Hello life!

There was a certain amount of logic around this (at least logic that worked for my odd mountain-seeking brain), I would live in this place and create my masterpieces, then when ready I would explode into the world. The problem is that this was all based on the idea that inspiration would be there waiting for me in that apartment.

It wasn’t. Continue reading

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A Q and A with Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews about my new book Permanent Spring Showers (Book Tour Day 7)

The MonkeesIt’s Day 7 of the book tour! Today is it is an interview with Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews. I really liked this interview. There were some great questions around the creation of the novel (inspiration, characters, etc.), but also some fun ones I could really get behind. Like, for example, do I prefer the Beatles or the Monkees. Here is my response:

The first concert I ever saw was The Monkees. That was during their big reunion tour in the 80s and my parents took me. It was a fun show, but Mike Nelson wasn’t there. I remember being disappointed by that. But The Beatles… Okay, they are one of my obsessions. A few years ago I had my brother (a professional photographer out in Los Angeles-http://www.adamemperorsouthardphotography.com/) create a family picture of my wife, kids and me as the Beatles based on the With The Beatles cover. I think you can see it on his site as an example of what he can do. That photo is one of my favorite things in my house. I got to be Lennon in that, which is awesome. Recently, my Playstation 3 died and I had to get a 4, the biggest disappointment for me is I wouldn’t be able to rock out with The Beatles Rockband anymore. That still makes me sad. I could do a mean “Dear Prudence.” Oh, and I saw Paul in concert twice. Man, he puts on a good show.

You can read the rest of this fun interview here.

This has been a really fun tour for me. This is my second interview (my first one was here). I have also written posts on numerous subjects related to the book. You can check out posts on how it feels to write an anti-romance (here), eccentric characters (here), passion and sex in the book (here), the importance of springtime (here), and some advice for new writers (here).Permanent Spring Showers

Just for the tour, the eBook of Permanent Spring Showers is on sale! Just $1.99, it can’t get cheaper than that! So there is no better time to grab a copy. You can find it on amazon for Kindle here and for the NOOK here.

Fiona Apple and the new book Permanent Spring Showers. A guest post on the Undercover Soundtrack.

Fiona Apple's New MasterpieceToday I have a guest post on the very cool site The Undercover Soundtrack. If you haven’t visit the site, you should. Writers discuss their musical inspiration and “soundtrack” in the writing of their work. I was on the site before, writing about the music behind A Jane Austen Daydream (which you can check out here). In this post I take on the soundtrack of Permanent Spring Showers, my latest book.

Here is an excerpt from the beginning:

Music can be like little time capsules. For some, they may return you to younger days, for me they return me to books. Whenever I take on a project, my creative psyche demands that I find the right soundtrack for it. And if I don’t, I might as well kiss that creative spirit goodbye. They flounder, gasping and dying like a fish out of water.

When I began work on my novel Permanent Spring Showers I knew I was doing something a little odd. It was a book very loosely based on a screenplay I had written years earlier, but this was going to be a very different work, not an easy adaptation. Also, I was going to present it chapter by chapter on my site. I liked to call it then a book in real time since you could enjoy the book and witness the creation of it as well. Yet, it was even more than that. Since I wasn’t bogging myself down in thoughts of sales, agents, and publishers, I was opening the door for sheer possibility. I could do anything, only limited by my own imagination.

It was so creatively exhilarating to throw off the shackles that so many of us feel when creating. And, adding in the danger that I could screw it up at any moment (for everyone to see) was just as thrilling. I was playing with literary fire. Luckily, I never felt alone in the flames.

In the article I break down the relationship between Fiona Apple’s most recent CD (which is awesome, by the way) and the book. You can check out the entire article here.

Permanent Spring ShowersPermanent Spring Showers was published by 5 Prince Books and is available on all online book retailers. Out in both print and eBook, you can find it on amazon.com here. The eBook is on sale for only $3.99.

You can read a sample and learn more about the book via this page. Grab a copy today!

 

The Author Addresses His Audience

Letter WritingDear my beautiful readers,

Over the Valentine’s Day weekend, 6000 readers snagged a copy of A Jane Austen Daydream during its free special on Amazon! That number floors me. I hope each of them enjoy my novel… and if they had and are here now wanting to learn more about the author- Hello! It’s nice to meet you!

I don’t typically write blogposts like this, but this is important. At least it is for me. Usually, I like to keep this blog to interesting posts (writing, life stuff, my perception of the entertainment and book world, etc.), my book reviews and about my occasional appearances in the real world/internet (interviews, guest posts, reviews, etc.). So it is rare that I outright write a post like this. Here I go…

The fact is I am an author, and my dream is for that career to grow. This is not about money (trust me, if it was, I wouldn’t still be doing this), this is about building a readership, making an impact in the artform I love.  And if you are reading this, chances are you might feel the same way about literature. I believe I have some interesting stories to tell and I want people to check them out.

Permanent Spring ShowersEarlier this month, I had a new book released, Permanent Spring Showers. I am really proud of it (You can learn more about it, read the first review, and check out the first chapter via this page for the book). It was published by 5 Prince Books. And I want you to go grab a copy. Yes, I am asking you to buy a copy when you get a chance.

The more people that read it, spread the word, and purchase it, the better the chances that others will find it, follow your example, and do the same. Word of mouth is the ONLY true path for success as an author today in this congested market and social-media driven world. And my dream is for this book to find its way into book clubs, libraries, college campuses and on top of night stands.

Yes, my dream is simply for you and others like you to read it.

So… if you have ever tweeted or retweeted a post, liked a post, shared it, read one of my other books, followed my book reviews, I am asking you to please, please, please check out my new book. You can find it in both print and eBook format on any online retailers (BN, Smashwords, etc.).  Here is the link for Amazon- http://amzn.com/B00T74HH0Q.

Sincerely,

Scott D. Southard

P.S. Permanent Spring Showers is an unpredictable and witty romp. You will like it. I might have been serious in this post, but I am not entirely serious in the book. You will like it, I promise.

P.P.S. I “borrowed” the title of this blogpost from a new song by The Decemberists. It is a very cynical song, showing that Colin is a little frustrated with us listeners. While he may feel that way in the song, I don’t feel that way in my post. I love having this blog and interacting with my readers. (The song is awesome though, especially the ending, you should check it out.)

P.P.S. Over the next month, I’ll be sharing guests posts about this book, like this one I did over on Focus on Fiction (http://www.nancychristie.com/focusonfiction/2015/02/15/scott-d-southard-on-writing-permanent-spring-showers/) as well as other musings. So don’t worry, this is not going to become one of those author sites that is only about sales. Simply put, I have a new book out.

P.P.P.S. Thanks for reading! And I hope you enjoy the new work!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Permanent Spring Showers by Scott D. Southard

Permanent Spring Showers

by Scott D. Southard

Giveaway ends February 26, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

My Time With Austen: Articles, Interviews and Excerpts

Jane AustenTomorrow (January 28) I’m going to be part of a panel about Jane Austen and writing at The Writing Show, sponsored by James Rivers Writers. If you are in the Richmond area and would like to attend, you can get more info here.

To help prepare for the event, I thought I would share some of the interesting stuff I have done over the last few years around my novel. It’s always fun to write or be interviewed about A Jane Austen Daydream. A lot goes on in that book, and there is soooo much to talk about.

If you are attending, or just interested in my novel or my experiences as a writer (since I talk about inspiration and all of the awkward and difficult steps that come along with this writing gig), why not check out some of the links as well.

I hope to see you this Wednesday!

Articles, Essays, and Inspiration

Excerpts

Interviews

And a fun bonus interview that I DID with the amazing narrator of the audiobook! Listen along!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Writing Romance Like Jane Austen” I’ll be part of The Writing Show on January 28th!

TWritingShow_logoColorInterested in Jane Austen? Going to be in Richmond, Virginia around January 28th?

I am excited to announce that I have been asked to be on a panel on Ms. Austen. It is part of the James Rivers Writers series, The Writing Show (JamesRiversWriters.org). The event is called “Writing Romance Like Jane Austen.”

Here is how the event is described in the press release:

What are the romance genres? What makes romance believable? We’ll discuss Jane Austen’s influence on literature and romance, and why men also enjoy reading and writing romantic fiction.

This event will be for both readers and writers and should be pretty fun. If you want to attend (and why wouldn’t you?) here is some info on it:

$12 members | $15 non-members | $5 students
Social: 6pm | Show: 6:45pm
Wednesday, January 28th
At The Broadberry
2729 W. Broad Street

You can get more information (and register now) on their website here- http://www.jamesriverwriters.org/the-writing-show-writing-romance-like-jane-austen.

I hope to see you there!

My Writing Resolutions 2015

1962720_10203577001564582_780062720_nThis blog actually began as a writing resolution.

It was 2012 and I thought as a writer I had been living in the shadows for too long. Oh, I played the game with publishers and agents and fellow writers, many knew who I was (granted, that doesn’t mean they published me or represented me), but with readers I was a ghost. No, let me correct that. A person can at least sense a ghost. I was a ghost that no one was aware of. A quiet and very lonely shadow watching and waiting.

So it began with this post.

That started a year of almost five posts a week. I did everything from personal essays to thoughts on media and entertainment to the art of writing (which are almost always my most popular posts) to original fiction. There was a good chance, and I knew this when I started, that I would end the experience feeling more depressed than when I began. For is there anything sadder than a blog not read? Probably the blogger that wrote the blog, of course.

Lucky for me (and I do consider myself lucky), my blog grew. I think getting into writing the blog, I never realized how inspiring having it (and you the reader) would be. You might think a little click on the like button or an occasional comment no big deal, but it can make my day, any day. That support over the last two years had led to me creating a novel on this site (Permanent Spring Showers, which will be released in February 2015 by 5 Prince Books) and a book collecting some of my most popular and fun posts (Me Stuff, which you can find on amazon here).

Thank you.

Here are my writing resolutions for 2015.

1. Keep the blog active. This one is not surprising, especially since this is one of the things that keep me sane. You know, I never really know what I will do in an upcoming week. It usually just happens all organic. It is in many ways pure writing freedom. Someday in the future I might step away from time to time from it, but I don’t think I see that happening any time soon. You are stuck with me, I hope that is okay.

2. Find a publisher for Cassandra on the Island. If you have been following my blog for a while you might have heard hints of this book in posts. This novel was my Master’s thesis when I was working towards my MFA from the University of Southern California. I also had the distinct pleasure of having the head of the writing program call me at 10 PM on a weekday night, emotional because of it. He had spend all day reading it and just had to talk to me after completing it. It was an awesome moment for me. This book also got me my last agent, but sadly it stays hidden of all my works. I would love to change that. So I will probably do a new edit of it sometime in the new year and see what happens from there. Fingers crossed. Hopefully, there will be publishers and agents interested.

Permanent Spring Showers3. Support Permanent Spring Showers. My new novel drops in February 2015. This book feels very much like an epic for me, a story that has been around since the mid-1990s when it first began as a screenplay (which was what got me accepted at USC, by the way). I could not be more proud of this novel. This book began as an experiment on this very  site and grew… and grew. I hope you will check it out when it is released and tell everyone! Book clubs, fellow readers, friends, loved ones, casual acquaintances, people sitting next to you on the bus or in a waiting room, etc.

4. Finish that new book! So I got this novel that has changed numerous times over the last few years. It went from a very serious work to a mad comedy. The full gambit of emotions and possibilities has been spilled into this work. Right now I have it fully outlined with about four of the 25 chapters written. I need to make this a reality. I won’t say too much more about it, but it reminds me a lot of my radio comedy series The Dante Experience (which you can listen to free on this page!).

5. Think about my screenplays. My screenplays are my abandoned children. The funny thing is they are what drove me to Los Angeles and USC. I have three screenplays right now that I believe are very strong. Possibly the best things I will ever do. One is a romantic-comedy Christmas movie (yes, I said a Christmas movie); the second is a black-and-white film noir mystery (think a young Humphrey Bogart); and the third is an adaptation of Hamlet. Eclectic stuff? Yup, that is how I roll. But realistically, I’m not in any of the hubs of filmmaking. Of all of the items on this list, this would take the biggest bit of luck. My fingers are forever crossed though.

Okay, there are my five points, and I’ll be pleased as punch if I can pull off at least three. I hope you will stick around in the new year to watch.

Thanks again for reading! Happy New Year!

And Now the Back Flip! A Writing Update

The GymnastAh, my blog… How nice to be back. I’ve missed you. I feel like I am reopening the door of a room that has been shut for a while, wondering if I need to dust or vacuum. What’s funny about that is that while everything felt like a pause for me, my site continued to grow. Reaching now the awesome tally of 1406 followers. Thank you everyone!

I’ve been so focused on my fiction and writing outside the blog that I’ve only done simple entries over the last few weeks. Maybe others don’t see it that way, but I do when I look at the site. This site was built to challenge myself and my writing and when I don’t… well… I don’t.

While it may have seemed a little dry creatively on this site, I have been very busy. Actually, I feel on a writing high right now, Like I could do anything, accomplish anything if I put my mind to it. I am a gymnast in my mind, certain that I would land on my feet without even that little hop. It’s a good feeling and a good place to be creatively as a writer.

I have a lot of hope, there seems to be a lot of possibility, a wonderful feeling.

Hope is the thing with feathers… and a smile and wink of the eye.

Time for some updates. Continue reading

A Jane Austen Daydream on (blog) tour! September 1-12!

A Jane Austen DaydreamToday it was announced that my book A Jane Austen Daydream will be taking part in a blog tour this September (1-12) sponsored by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour! Very cool!

On their page for the upcoming tour (which you can visit here), you can check out reviews for the book, an excerpt and more information.  I look forward to seeing you out their in the virtual world of tomorrow… about someone who lived 200 years ago. LOL.

Cheers!

 

BLOG HOP! The whats, whys, and hows of my writing!

Broken PencilRecently, author Kelly Hand asked me to take part in a “blog hop.” She had already included an entry (which you can read here). Thanks for thinking of me Kelly!

To be part of this shindig, I just need to answer the same questions as the other writers out there taking part in this hop. Cool! It’s like an international meet-and-greet for authors and readers. Everything but the little snack foods and punch bowl.

I hope you enjoy my entry below:

What are you working on?

Right now I am busy working on the editing of my novel Permanent Spring Showers, which is set for publication this October by 5 Prince Books. We are about halfway through the editing process now. I really love this book and I hope you will check it out when it is released.

Me Stuff, front coverOne of the side projects I have going on is I am publishing a book collecting some of my personal posts from my blog “The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard.” (Yeah, the site you are on now.)That book is called Me Stuff. Should be a lot of fun (at least I hope so). I plan to have it out sometime before the end of the month. I try to write two to three things a week on this blog; it’s really amusing for me and great practice since I can write whatever I want on the site. There are no limitations. Hopefully, the fact that there is such freedom and possibility, readers will return to it from time to time to check out what is going on with me. For me, it always feels like it is evolving.

On the new fiction front I am kind of between a few things. I have a book called My Days as a Thief, which I consider the first part of a trilogy that I’ve been working on for almost a decade. The draft is done, I just got to get around to fine-tuning it. What is distracting that is this new novel idea I have. I’m writing it long hand which I think adds to the flavor of it, but will delay anyone seeing anything new from me for a bit. It kind of has a Douglas Adams, Wes Anderson, and Kurt Vonnegut vibe to it. I’m really having a lot of fun discovering it. Continue reading