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!

 

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Guest Post Tomorrow on the Undercover Soundtrack!

Permanent Spring ShowersTomorrow, I’ll be on the Undercover Soundtrack to talk about the musical influences behind my new novel Permanent Spring Showers. There is a preview post on the site today, introducing it and the rock artist I will be talking about. You can check it out here.

The preview is called “Demons, Frustrations, and Betrayal.” (Damn good title for an exciting book too, if you ask me.)

This is the second time, I’ve appeared on this fun series. The first time was to discuss the musical impact of Belle and Sebastian on A Jane Austen Daydream. I called Belle and Sebastian the perfect band for writers, and I still stand by that statement. You can check out that older post here.

I hope you tune in tomorrow to check it out!

Free eBook, New Reviews, a Guest Post, and a New Book!

This has been a really fun week. With the release of my new novel Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare, there has been a lot going on. Let’s star with new Max news, before Austen

Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare

Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare, CoverFor only a little longer, Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare is a FREE eBook on amazon.com. This is not just for the US Amazon, but also Canada and the UK! So if you are interested, this is the best time. The special ends on June 15 (where it will return to the low price of 3.99 for eBook and about $10 for print). You can find it on amazon here: http://amzn.com/B00CXSDEBE

Now those who read my blog could probably sense I was a little nervous about how people would react to this book. I use the word “experimental” and I mean it. I am doing something very unique here. Well, the first reader review has emerged on GoodReads. And to my great relief it is 5-stars! Here is a quote from it:

It is beautifully written. It reminded of these old fashion books I read as a child, that I used to read hiding from my parents and books that I understood without understanding them. Complicated I know but it is how I felt when I finished The Case of the Dangerous Dare (and dangerous, it was, believe me).

And remember you can read an excerpt from the book as well as learn about it via my posts on the Max page (here). I hope you will check it out.

A Jane Austen Daydream

A Jane Austen DaydreamOver the last day a new 5-star review has come out on amazon for A Jane Austen Daydream. I love this review. It is the kind that can make an author smile for days. Here are some excerpts:

Mr. Southard is an expert at writing in such a fashion as to induce feelings of hate, love, joy, sadness, and righteous fury. I wept, I laughed (out loud, scaring my cats, no doubt), I talked back at the characters making foolish decisions, I railed (in my mind) against those standing in the way of Jane’s happiness…In short, this author is a king at character development and mood setting… this book just might become a classic.

I had a guest post on The Undercover Soundtrack on the music inspiration around A Jane Austen Daydream, Belle and Sebastian. You can read my post here.

A Jane Austen Daydream is available via amazon.com where you can find it in print for just $13.85 in print and only $3.99 for the eBook. Here is the link: http://amzn.com/0983671923

Thanks for reading everyone!

“Belle & Sebastian Meets Jane Austen” A Guest Post on the Undercover Soundtrack

Belle and SebastianToday I have a guest post up on The Undercover Soundtrack. For those that don’t know, it is a unique writing blog where writers share the music that influenced and inspired their writing. My post is on the music of Belle & Sebastian (one of my favorite bands) and how it impacted my new novel A Jane Austen Daydream. Here is the beginning of the article:

There is usually nothing more important to me than the music I have playing while writing a book.  Music can inspire me, engage me, keep my energy up when I need it to be up. It sets the mood for me, and the right song can pull the right levers to get me to go from point A to point B in a plot. It has also been known to drive the people that live with me crazy since while I am writing I may play a CD a few too many times (Just ask my wife about the writing of My Problem With Doors and my nonstop playing of O by Damien Rice; an album I am forbidden to play in her presence again). But what I used for A Jane Austen Daydream was something surprisingly contemporary. This was not something for Liz Bennet to dance to (but she might if given the chance).

You can read the rest of the article here, where I go into details on how Belle & Sebastian (especially their CD The Life Pursuit) changed my version of a certain famous novelist.

A Jane Austen DaydreamA Jane Austen Daydream is available via amazon.com where you can find it in print for just $13.85 in print and only $3.99 for the eBook. Here is the link: http://amzn.com/0983671923

And remember, my new experimental gothic novel Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare is a free eBook on amazon until June 15! You can check it out here.

The Nat King Cole Inside My Head

I am obsessed with The Beatles, I adore Belle and Sebastian, I’ve seen They Might Be Giants five times in concert, and I can’t stop playing the new Fiona Apple CD… but Nat King Cole is the musical comfort food for my soul.

I have read a few biographies about him over the years, and as amazing of a life he had, it’s always hard for me to connect him to his voice. Frankly, his voice is so engrained into my own life, it is hard to think that it once even belonged to someone else, as strangely as that sounds. I don’t feel his struggles against racism in his career and his growth from jazz pianist to just a singer fronting a band in a studio, lost in the business of just singing singles hoping for a hit, when I listen to his music.

I hear my own life in his voice, in his performing, making each recording I adore something akin to a special gift. Continue reading

Music and My Writing Brain

I first learned the power of music in my writing while I was an undergrad in college. At that time, I was working on a story and for some unexplained reason I had to listen to The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky (This happens, now and then I get taken over by a certain “sound”). Anyway, so there I was in a writing class (it might have been a writing table, I don’t remember which) and I started to read the story… And I began to notice that the meter in my words mirrored Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies.

Yes, without realizing it, my character’s speech was actually set to music. I had to fight to control my giggles, now imagining my character on toes as he was speaking. I’m sure my reading began to seem ridiculous to the other writers there, but at that moment I knew I had a problem… and, of course, I knew I was going to have to rewrite the entire speech.

Well, since then I have figured out the potential impact music can have on my writing. While I have not let the cadence of a song take over a story again, certain artists and music became part of the creation process for me around different works.  Sometimes I use them to influence a mood I am hoping to create, sometimes they are just simply the soundtrack for the “world” I am “living” in. Here are five examples: Continue reading