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

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Book Tour, Day 4: “Obsessed With Every Page” New Book Review!

On Day 4 of the book tour, I awoke to a wonderful review of A Jane Austen Daydream by Pursuing Stacie. How wonderful, you might ask? It included lines like this:

(By the by, THANK YOU, Mr. Southard! I need everything you’ve ever written.)

How do you not smile when you read that? (Oh, and for those that want to know more about my writing, check out the links and info to the right of the post. There is more work out there by me, I swear!)

Here is another excerpt from the review:

I felt that I was given the gift of getting to know Ms. Austen on a personal level; her private life, her struggles, her hopes and even (in my opinion) her failures. The author took those gaps in her narrative and began filling them in. He took a beloved author, threw in some fact, dropped in some fiction and stitched the whole package together with a raw authenticity.

You can read the entire review here. Thanks Pursuing Stacie for the smile this morning.

A Jane Austen Daydream is Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

 

Book Tour, Day 2: “Highly Recommended” Book Review and Spotlight

Hi everyone and welcome to day 2 of the book tour for the fifth anniversary edition of A Jane Austen Daydream. There are two different sites to check out today!

First, A Jane Austen Daydream was reviewed by Kate Braithwaite, author of The Road to Newgate. Here is my favorite paragraph from her fun review:

Serious bravery is required to take on Jane Austen and mess with her in fiction. Janeites know their stuff. Even non-Janeites (like me) know quite a bit. I’ve read all the books. Some of them several times. And I’ve a sketchy knowledge about Jane Austen’s life, at least in terms of her death and love life. But I’m confident that fans of Austen who open this book in the right spirit – ready to be entertained and enjoy a Jane that might not quite match up to their own preconceptions – will thoroughly enjoy their trip to a well-written, witty Regency England, full of references to those six wonderful books. Highly recommended.

You can read the rest of her review here.

Also, A Jane Austen Daydream is being spotlighted on Before the Second Sleep. In the spotlight, I write a bit about my writing process on this novel. Here is an excerpt:

…I needed to write a book that felt like an Austen novel, but at the same time, new. Two, I needed to tell a story in the voice of Austen, but yet, I wanted it to be a “friendly” voice for the casual reader. So, everything had to be a recognizable (plot and characters) … and surprising and different and witty and charming and emotional and passionate and unpredictable. Whew!

You can read more from me and discover more about the book here.

A Jane Austen Daydream is Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

 

 

“Cream of the Crop” A New Review for A Jane Austen Daydream

My novel A Jane Austen Daydream has been out for a few years, but now and then a review appears online that warms the heart. This is one of those discoveries from a few days ago.

Erin, who is currently #38 top reviewer and #8 best reviewer on GoodReads, recently discovered the audiobook of A Jane Austen Daydream.

She gave the audiobook version five stars, saying:

Well, this book took hold of me and I listened to it during every moment of the day, right up until my head hit the pillow. Seriously, this book is so goooood!!!… Now I have read my share of reimaginings, sequels, inspirations, and fanfictions of Jane Austen and her books, but “A Jane Austen Daydream ” is by far the “cream of the crop.” I laughed and cried and was just so pleased that someone could bring Jane Austen and her world back to life in the pages.

You can read the entire book review here (but prepare for spoilers!, consider yourself warned).

If you have not read or discovered my novel A Jane Austen Daydream, you can learn more about it on this website here. It is available on amazon in paperback, eBook, and audiobook. I hope you will check it out!

Book Review: The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

the-princess-diaristA new book review today! This time I am taking on the latest (and last) book by Carrie Fisher, The Princess Diarist. A fact that still bums me out.

You can check out my other book reviews (both for WKAR’s Current State and this website) here.

If you would like to check out The Princess Diarist for yourself, you can find it on amazon.com here.

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

I wish I could say that the new book The Princess Diarist is the one that Star Wars fans have been begging for. A real point-by-point behind the scenes story of the making of the original Star Wars trilogy from the perspective of one the members of the original trio. The force would be strong with such a book.

Star WarsI wish I could say that this was even a simple eye witness account of the creative process of creating an entertainment landmark. Watching George Lucas from the sidelines, seeing how the magic got done. An important book, a powerful book. A book that makes us see everything on the screen (and probably memorized) with new eyes.

Sadly, The Princess Diarist, the last book by Carrie Fisher is neither book. This is instead a book about becoming a phenomenal, dealing with it, dealing with it again (this time without drugs and alcohol), and controlling yourself from criticizing the fans in front of you (while taking all of their money). If you are hoping for insights around each of the films, including the latest two, forget it. Continue reading

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany

Yes, I devoured the new Harry Potter book in less than two hours. Here is my review with only MINOR SPOILERS.

On my book review page, you can find the reviews I have done on WKAR as well as reviews I have done on the site over the last three years. Almost 80 different books, contemporary to classic, genre to literary fiction. I hope you will check them out. 

If you are interested in reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and you sholud be) you can find it on amazon here

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry PotterWhen the war is over and the last battle has been won, we like our heroes to ride off into the sunset. They have earned the peace.  Of course, the snag with that earned peace is that there is nothing more to say. Plain and simple, you need conflict for a story. A hero without an adventure to back him up is just any old normal dude… even when he has a cool lightning bolt scar on his forehead.

After the epic seven years that span the Harry Potter series, our young hero definitely earned a break. He had lost family, friends, and heroes in his quest to destroy the evil he-who-must-not-be-named, Lord Voldemort.  When we last saw Harry he was older, saying goodbye to his two sons on Platform 9 3/4  and watching as they race off to start their own studies at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. To emphasize the story was done, even his scar was just a scar.

Yet, we can’t let our young boy who grew up under the stairs go. We gave him almost twenty years of peace, it’s time for some wizarding action. Wands out! Just released, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling (with John Tiffany and Jack Thorne) is something a little different and still the same. This is the continuing story of our boy wizard and he is dealing with something many parents deal with, a conflicted and jaded teenager. Continue reading

Book Review: LaRose by Louise Erdrich

Today, I wanted to share this book review I didn’t get a chance to do on WKAR’s Current State. It is LaRose by Louise Erdrich.

On my book review page, you can find the reviews I have done on WKAR as well as reviews I have done on the site over the last three years. Almost 80 different books, contemporary to classic, genre to literary fiction. I hope you will check them out. 

If you are interested in reading LaRose you can find it on amazon here

LaRoseSuspending one’s disbelief can sometimes be a little tricky. This is a challenge all storytellers have to confront. For if the reader can’t suspend their disbelief, the story has failed for that reader. If, for example, you can accept magic rings and dragons, J.R.R. Tolkien would be disappointed to know that you won’t like his stories about Middle Earth. Because of my own love of creativity, usually it’s not difficult for me to accept ideas in a story, no matter how radical. Yet, the new novel LaRose by Louise Erdrich really, really tested me.

On a quiet morning, Landreaux Iron thought he shot a deer. What he actually hit was a boy bending over by a dog. This boy turned out to be his nephew, ending his young life. You would imagine that such a tragic incident would lead to a legal thriller, with court cases after court cases debating what Landreaux saw and whether it is manslaughter or not. Yet, that is not the book Erdrich gives us. There are not even any court appearances or charges. Everyone just seems to go on with their lives, and we even see an awkward friendship emerge between the two families. That was the first thing that was hard for me to believe. Continue reading

Book Review: Why We Came to the City by Kristopher Jansma

This is a book I didn’t get a chance to review on WKAR’s Current Strate. And since it is a few month’s since its release it didn’t feel fair keeping it locked away. I hope you enjoy this new book review for Why We Came to the City by Kristopher Jansma. (And if you would like to check out the book for yourself, you can find it on amazon here.)

Why We Came to the CityWhen you are in your twenties, sometimes it can feel like the world is your oyster and ripe with possibilities. This feeling is definitely true for the group of friends that make up the center of Why We Came to the City by Kristopher Jansma. At the beginning of the story, they are sneaking into elite art parties in New York City, complaining about the more successful, and passing out on couches… many times not their own.

At the heart of the story is Irene. She is a young artist with a hidden past. Even her closest friends don’t even know her real name, yet there is something about her that is fascinating to all that meet her. She searches through garbage looking for things for her art, and writes messages in books that she hopes others will find in time. And everyone seems to know her in the Big Apple. Continue reading

New WKAR Book Review: Miller’s Valley by Anna Quindlen

Current StateOn WKAR’s Current State, I reviewed the new novel by Anna Quindlen. I really enjoyed Miller’s Valley and it’s obvious to me why it is doing so well with the market (and readers).

You can listen to my review here: http://wkar.org/post/book-review-anna-quindlens-millers-valley

If you would rather read my review, you can do so below.

Hey, did you know Current State has a podcast? If you subscribe, you can download episodes and segments (and you can find me every other Thursday). Here is a link to find it on iTunes- https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wkar-fm-current-state/id594609653?mt=2

If you want to check out Miller’s Valley,  you can find it on amazon here. If you want to check out my other book reviews for WKAR’s Current State, you can do so via links on this pageContinue reading

New WKAR Book Review: The Turner House by Angela Flournoy

Current StateToday on WKAR’s Current State, I got the opportunity to catch up with some of my fellow reviewers. You can add me to the chorus now, singing the praises of The Turner House by Angela Flournoy.

You can listen to my review here: http://wkar.org/post/book-review-angela-flournoys-turner-house

If you would rather read my review, you can do so below.

Hey, did you know Current State has a podcast? If you subscribe, you can download episodes and segments (and you can find me every other Thursday). Here is a link to find it on iTunes- https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wkar-fm-current-state/id594609653?mt=2

If you want to check out The Turner House,  you can find it on amazon here. If you want to check out my other book reviews for WKAR’s Current State, you can do so via links on this pageContinue reading