Uses of this World: Chapter 5

Hamlet

Denmark 1926. The world is on a powder keg, the old world is in conflict with the new, still recovering from World War I. Jazz and flappers. Cocktails and parties. In this tumultuous time, the king of Denmark is found dead… but his spirit is not at rest.

Uses of this World is the tale of the people around the events of Hamlet, from the soldiers to the royal family. Each is tied to the outcomes around the crown. And the country, as well as the world, is waiting to see what happens next.

Previous Chapters

Chapter 5: Things Rank

A jerk.

A twitch.

Prince Hamlet was awake again.

How long had he been asleep? And what did he remember?

It took a minute.

He remembered starting to drink the absinthe the night before. When he would drink it with Horatio, it was always in sips, but alone and without companions he took on the entire bottle. When he began he hoped for the madness and visions that others claimed they would receive.  And Hamlet hoped in his visions to see his father, alive, brilliant and with that sense of safety only a loved child would understand.

No visions came, only a headache and some memory loss.

There was the morning assembly. Hamlet peeked an eye open and glanced around. He was in the portrait gallery. He closed his eyes again and searched through the messy remains of his memory. Was there a crowd? His finger traced along the chair arm he was resting against. He knew that too. He was asleep on the throne.

It was all a blur, flickering lights and images, like broken reels of a film spliced together all wrong, little bits of memory returning.

He remembered Ophelia bowing (her dress concealing too much), his uncle (his father now, that is what he called himself this morning) stroking that ridiculous long and thin black mustache of his. Hamlet wasn’t certain, but he might have been named the heir to the throne. Well, he was used to playing that part. Continue reading

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Flashback Monday: “The Happy Bliss of Dentistry” from ME STUFF

The Happy ToothIt’s Monday faithful readers and time for another flashback! Yup, where I share a post that appears in my new fun-gotta-read-it-sometime-hilarious book ME STUFF.

In the previous installments I took on poison and a sharp knife.  This time I take on a new form of torture. Let’s hear it for dentists! (Actually, I like my current dentist, he seems like a good guy.) Here is an excerpt from the beginning:

I have always had a thing about dentists.

It’s not a fear, more like a slight terror fueled by judgment and pain.  Let me break that down a little more.

Cavities hurt and I dislike pain so I naturally associate the pain with the person who works in the mouth. I know it is like blaming the mechanic for my car breaking down, but I do it.

The judgment? Well, sometimes I feel like dentists harshly evaluate me and how I am overseeing the management of my own mouth. Has anyone else noticed this? When they are telling you what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong, doesn’t a part of you feel like you are being lectured? Now, I can’t point to a specific moment when a finger was wagged in my direction or eyes were rolled, but I sense it. I know it is there. The hidden eye roll is always there.

Because of all of this, I had been very relaxed on my visits over much of my adult life. And sadly, over the last five years this has come back to bite me in the ass… or mouth… or something. I’m just trying to say I hate my teeth right now and there is biting and occasional pain involved with it.  The biting, I mean. Argh!

Me Stuff, front coverYou can read the rest of this article here.

Or, even better, you can grab a copy of ME STUFF which contains 40 editorials like this one and it is super cheap-o. The eBook version of the book is only $1.99 (here on Amazon) and in print for only $8.99 (here on Amazon).

“The game is afoot!” Some comedy for my now 1300 followers!

sherlockThis is a few days late, but I wanted to write and thank my now 1300 blog subscribers.  (Which is at 1306 or so now.)

Thank you!

Over the next few months I have a lot of new things planned, including sharing the release of the audiobook version of A Jane Austen Daydream (which sounds awesome), a new book, and a collection of my blogposts entitled Me Stuff.  So stay tuned!

To celebrate this milestone for my little site, below you will find some comedy. (Man, this really makes me smile.) I think you will really like it, especially if you are a fan of the inhabitants of 221B Baker Street.

It is a Sherlock Holmes parody I wrote, which was recorded by Mind’s Ear Audio Productions (the same good people who produced my radio series The Dante Experience, which you can listen to for free on this page).

I hope you enjoy “Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Dating Dilemma.”

Thank you again for following my site!

A Jane Austen Daydream in the Best of 2013 Blog Hop Giveaway! Win a Signed Copy!

A Jane Austen DaydreamI was recently honored to have author and blogger Kathryn Chastain Treat pick my novel A Jane Austen Daydream as her selection for the Best of 2013 Blog Hop Giveaway!

So very cool!

Because of this selection, on her site she has shared an interview with me about the book and is giving away a signed copy of it to one lucky reader. You can read the interview and enter the contest here.

Here is a selection from the interview where I discuss my research into the writing of my little daydream:

I knew that if I was to do this book right, I couldn’t only dip my toe in. I had to do this fully, live in the deep end of the pool, underwater. Her books, a few biographies, her letters, her unpublished works, I even visited some locations back before I began the book looking for inspiration. Everything I could get my hands on plays a part in the work.

My goal was not just to write about her, but to have her be a part of it. So references and quotes from her classic works are sprinkled throughout it. The trick for me was though writing a book that could work for the casual fan as well as the obsessed reader. Again, it all comes down to planning, which means I had to find a narrator voice that was between Jane and my own. If I did this right, there is something for everyone in this book and it is readable even for those not used to reading regency novels.

A Jane Austen DaydreamYou can read the rest of the interview and enter the contest by visiting Kathryn Chastain Treat’s website hereGood luck!

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).

Ho Ho Ho! To celebrate 1000 blog followers I wrote a Christmas song!

Linus and the treeThis weekend, we put up our Christmas tree. We called it our “retro-tree” and used color lights and gold garland. Very 70’s. While we were doing this important activity, we listened to a holiday music station via our AT&T Uverse account. And, yes, while all of the classics were there, there were also a lot of bad Christmas songs on it.

A lot, a lot of bad Christmas songs…

Christmas donkeys, Suzy Snowflake, Alvin and the Chipmunks… It almost made me wonder if the person who planned the setlist had a hidden agenda. An agenda of holiday pain and bitterness. What did Santa do to them?

The fact is there is a trick to writing a good Christmas song (which I can tell you if you want), yet we still get horrendous new holiday songs each year (I wrote this post last year on the worst one I ever heard). Most bad holiday songs are around love and heartbreak and done by struggling pop artists. So to celebrate the fact that I’ve now REACHED 1000 BLOG FOLLOWERS, I’ve decided to enter the financial holiday gravy train.

“A Stocking Full of You”

If Snowflakes are daydreams
My lawn is covered with a thousand wishes of you-
When I sit on Santa’s lap
All I asked for was you in a bow-

(Chorus) You make my sleigh bells jingle-
You light up Rudolph’s nose-
Jump in your sleigh and head over-
It’s almost Christmas day-

Jack Frost and Frosty
Can’t freeze my longing heart-
All the Christmas songs are in minor keys
When they forget your smile-

(Chorus)

(Bridge) Santa likes his cookies-
Reindeers like their hay-
This year I have only one wish on my list-
Have I been naughty?
Have I been naughty?
Oh!

(Chorus)

(Chorus)

End

I expect all of the country singers and boy bands to send their checks directly to me from here to eternity.

Thanks for following my blog!

Working The Audience: A Very Useful Writing Trick

On the StageI am a little bit of a helpless romantic.

For those who read my novel A Jane Austen Daydream that is not at all surprising. And before I met my wife I thought of my writing as a gateway to the heart.

I was one of those fools that bought into the lie of the romantic novels and the romantic comedy films. You see this plot twist all the time! That grand gesture that makes a person reconsider another in a different light. Oh, it is a great idea in a story, but we all know, honestly, it goes against how people are wired in the real world.

Short stories with hidden messages (and not so hidden ones), books, and I still squirm to remember the poetry. I have admitted a lot of embarrassing stuff on this site, but this is one of those few memories I still want to crawl into a cave and live out my remaining days because of. Yup, just the hint of it makes me want to become a hermit.

I, Scott Southard, was the creator of bad love poems. And I have sent them, strategically left them around, and even mailed them once anonymously in the hope that it would make another stop and see me as hotter (as some kind of light rock classic kicks on in the background like in a bad movie). In the end it never worked… and, by the way, the recipient of the anonymous love poems didn’t even figure out they were from me until I said something! Ouch!

All those bad memories aside, there is something to be said for the importance of an audience. I’m not just talking about the readers all writers dream to have, I mean that more enigmatic dream of a reader. The one we hope will find our work, the one in the back of our mind that drives the creation forward. They demand the story. What many don’t realize is that dream reader can be a tool, and can help over many different steps in the creative process if used right. Just be sure to leave the poetry at home… Continue reading

A Haiku For My 800 Followers-

A Tree By MonetToday, I just passed 800 followers on my site!

Thank you!

To celebrate this fun moment I created this haiku.

800 kind souls

Inspire this poor writer

Better than caffeine-

I hope you continue to enjoy my writing blog and books!

Three Blogging No-No’s

SnoopyI love having a blog.

It’s not an ego-tripping thing or anything, yet it is selfish. Oh, so very, very selfish because it is my opinion, my voice out there on display and… okay, maybe it is a little bit an ego-tripping thing.

See, I believe I have something to share, something to say that is unique and having this site gives me that opportunity. We all have dreams of making an impact on the world. For me, it is with my writing, which means my books or my pieces here. If you are starting a blog or have one already, no matter on what topic, you probably feel the same way; you have that itch in the back of your mind, knowing full well that “If I don’t say it, it won’t be said.”

I previously wrote a popular post on this site on the art of blogging and having the courage to have one (you can read it here); and yes, it does take courage to put yourself out there like that. Without realizing it, all that makes you good (and… not so good) will be readable even if it is between the lines. Yet, it is also rewarding.

From time to time, I visit other blogs and writing websites to see what others out there are doing, what is working for them. And, yes, there are things that work and things that don’t generally.  Here are three things that come up for me, including one I struggle with each and every day…. Continue reading

Welcome Aboard! 700 Followers Strong…

Star WarsHowdy!

Just a quick dispatch to say greetings and hello to my 700th new blog follower! I’m really honored that so many have decided to follow my little rants (scary sounding)… I mean, editorials (no, that sounds boring)… commentaries here (yeah, let’s go with that one). Every time I get a follower, it means something to me. It really does. It is an honor, plain and simple.

Thank you.

Also, I hope by digging my writing, you will consider checking out my novels. My fiction has always been the driving force in my writing, my passion, and with two new books out they are never far from my mind. Both A Jane Austen Daydream and Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare can be found on amazon in print and eBook. I hope you will check them out soon (here) and maybe even tell a friend… or your book club… or a hundred friends.

Cheers! (And may the force be with you.)

“Delightful and insightful.” A new review of A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM

A Jane Austen DaydreamDay by day it seems people are starting to find my book A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM. It’s a lot of fun for me to read people’s responses to it via Twitter and reviews and blogs (and no one has yet to ruin the big surprise of the book!). This review is by the blog “MamaBeanablog.” Here is an excerpt:

From the first page, I was hooked by the wit and intelligence of the main character which is the love-searching Jane Austen. The story twists and weaves Jane, the Austen family, and other comical characters cunningly through the entire book.

You can read the rest of the review here.

A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM is available via amazon.com where you can find it in print for just $9.85 in print and only $3.99 for the eBook. Here is the link: http://amzn.com/0983671923

…and remember there is a book giveaway going on now for my book MAXIMILIAN STANDFORTH AND THE CASE OF THE DANGEROUS DARE on GoodReads. You can enter the giveaway here.

Thanks for reading!