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.

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Snapshots of Decades: A Birthday Blogpost

Super BirthdayTurning 41

It’s my birthday and I am reading Stephen King again.

I do the book reviews for my local NPR station and I knew I would have to take on this very popular author at some point. After a year and a half and over 30 reviews the moment had finally arrived. A copy of his newest novel landed on my porch from his publisher (three weeks before its official release). They want my review. So be it.

I had an aunt growing up that was obsessed with Stephen King. My aunt in some ways was a King creation waiting to happen. She had fiery red hair; a loud, almost shrieking voice; and many of us kids were scared of her. When she got mean, she got really mean. I always did my best to avoid her, never spending the night at her house, trying to avoid being in the same room with her for too long. My aunt would spend her days either on the phone (always complaining), chewing gum or drinking Pepsi (she drank a lot of Pepsi), and reading Stephen King. When I was in 7th grade, she, for some reason, noticed me and gave me a pile of her Stephen King books to read.

I was not impressed and told her as much when I returned the pile a few months later. Rude of me? Yeah, probably.

We spoke even less after that.

Yet, here it is, 28 or so years later and I am once again reading King and I feel like it is a time capsule to that old me, right then. Mainly, it’s because King sounds exactly the same. His voice/prose hasn’t matured, even the plot and characters feel the same as those other books. I’m guessing for many of his fans (including my aunt) it feels like returning to a home.

For me, I see the cobwebs and I wonder why no one has done any cleaning… Continue reading

Flashback Monday: “The Importance of a Toe: A Love Story” from ME STUFF

A Foot, Not MineFor today’s Flashback Monday, I am sharing something a little more romantic. At least it is for me, and that might make me weird. I will let you be the judge of that.

This is the sixth installment in my doing these Flashback Mondays. You can check out the others installments here, herehere, here, and here.  Here is a snippet from the beginning of “The Importance of a Toe: A Love Story.”

I know my wife will forever love me because of a toe.

My wife and my relationship was always a whirlwind, definitely something that some of our more conservative friends and family would wonder about, never daring really to say anything to our faces (and if they ever did, chances are, we probably would have laughed about it later). Of course, knowing both or our personalities, it was not surprising that we would be so serious, so quickly. And in a matter of months, my future wife was living with me in an apartment in Los Angeles.

My wife and I are both from Michigan, but didn’t meet until we were both far from that state. Through a mutual friend we immediately hit it off, our personalities perfectly in sync (with enough sarcasm included for the spice). The passion and drive I have for my writing and literature, she is mirrored with her own artform, dance.

I’m one of those lucky enough to be married to my best friend.

Our apartment, our first home, was located in Koreatown, off of Wilshire, nearby the old Ambassador Hotel, which at that time was still standing, but a shell of its former glory. I used to explore the history of it online and tell my future wife about the celebrities that once walked its halls, performed, and partied. I always liked to imagine it filled with partying ghosts in that legendary Coconut Grove while a jazz band played. Some claimed to hear the band while walking past the building, but I never did sadly. I just found the empty and lost history of it fascinating. It could have been such a massive tourist trap if presented right, but no one seemed to care (Los Angeles was moving too fast to ever consider looking back) and today the building is gone.Me Stuff, front cover

You can read the entire post here. Or, better yet, 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).

ME STUFF, my new book, is coming soon! Cover reveal!

Me Stuff, front coverToday, I am excited to share with you the cover for my new book, Me Stuff! This was a family affair, created by my talented photographer bro, Adam Emperor Southard. (If you would like to learn more about what he can do for you, check out his site at BestLAHeadshots.com.)

Me Stuff is a collection of some of the more popular and entertaining posts from this site, created for my readers (yes, you!). If you want an example of what you will find in the book, here is a link to one of my favorite tales in it- “The Night I Stopped Being a Model.” Enjoy!

Me Stuff is coming soon!

Here is the back cover from the book:

“Me Stuff contains the c0llected gems of Scott Southard… a champion for us all. His words always contain wisdom and whimsey too.” – Richard Sutton, Sailletales.com

“The recipe for success, witty observational humor, heartwarming honest, mixed with two parts creativity.” – Paula Acton, Scribblings of an Aspiring Author, paulaacton.com

Thieves, psychics, evil poets, mad men, car companies, literary greats, tornadoes, models, vasectomies, bankers, children, Satanists, princesses, truckers, comics, rock stars, strippers, superheroes…

Me Stuff is a collection of some of the most popular blogposts from Scott Southard’s writing site “The Musings and Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard.”

Made for both the fan and the newbie, Me Stuff has something for everyone… Well, except for those who don’t like entertaining stories. This book can’t help those people.

“Scott D. Southard is a rare breed of author. His stories are unique and deeply personal, always moving, never trite, never trendy.” – Julia Barrett, author and blogger, juliarachelbarrett.net

Stay Tuned!

The Mad Man I Stole From (Part 1)

CarI needed money.

I had just moved out to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California. I was going to get my Master’s in writing and I had dreams of screenplays and television pilots, actresses calling me and pleading for a role in my latest projects. I also imagined myself wearing sunglasses a lot. The LA dream!

Now, I did have some savings before making the move. I had even set it up so my student loans would cover my student housing, but as the weeks turned into months I saw that savings stockpile dripping away thanks to food and a car loan, and maybe one too many trips to Disneyland.

My initial hope was to find work at a studio, but anything I would have gotten would have been so entry-level I’d be surprised if they even paid me a dime. I would be working for the experience and the contacts, probably a good decision for my career, just not for my livelihood. Plus, I had no idea how to make coffee. I assumed such a job would involve coffee.

When I first arrived in LA I did my best to get to know each of the professors (thinking that each was a possible contact to someone in the industry who might want a young, ambitious writer like me). One professor was quite fond of me since I recognized her from an episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. I even owned a copy of that episode and she was thrilled to see she was listed on the back of it as a guest star. After that she gave me a series of odd little jobs, including once transporting some of her sculptures (she was an artist as well) in the back seat of my car. One of the statues was of an angel fallen to the earth surrounded by little rocks. I still occasionally find some of those little rocks in my car.

After eating dinner at her house with some of my fellow students (she was always having us over), she told me about this man she knew. Eccentric, she called him, a real character (“You would like him.”) and he owned a car company.

“A car company?” That idea floored me. How does someone just own a car company? Was he Henry freaking Ford?

“Well, the brand,” she explained noticing the expression on my face. “He is an entrepreneur and he is trying to start it up. He needs a writer. Are you interested?” Continue reading