Cassandra on the Island: Xeranthemums

The following is the last section of my novel Cassandra on the Island. You can read the previous sections here. Thank you for reading my novel.

xeranthemums

On the Street

“To continue with my drama,” Alisha sighed. “There I was soaking wet and humiliated with Vicki staring down at me. The client is furious and all I can think is…”

“Hush,” Cassandra whispered. It was not a typical whisper. It was the type of whisper used in churches and on sacred events.

Alisha didn’t take the hint; well, not right at first. “What? Did I already tell you this story?”

Cassandra pulled her car over to the side of the road. It was not as easy a maneuver as you might think for Cassandra. She had not driven in years and she was not the best driver to begin with. To add to the difficulty, this was her first time driving the vehicle. As per her instructions to the dealer, it was waiting for her in the parking lot of the airport. Just like any normal person’s car. That simple and minor point was a big deal for Cassandra. Normalcy was a goal to work for.

Cassandra turned in her seat to look at Alisha.

“What is it?” Alisha asked.

“Hush,” Cassandra said again. She slowly placed her finger to her lips to emphasize the point. “My house is on this street.”

This news excited Alisha and her attention was quickly turned to the street in front of her and the series of cottages. “Which one is it? Is that it, there?” For some reason, she thought for sure there was a sign in front of it or some kind of other man-made symbol to emphasize, ‘Here is the spot. This spot with the X.’

“Hush,” Cassandra whispered again.

“I barely said anything,” Alisha was annoyed. “You’re shushing me again? All I said was which was is it and is it there or something like that and I get scolded like a child.”

“Please, please,” Cassandra said with a brief smile. This was the first, the first in a series of events and dreams that had kept her alive while in Amsterdam. “Just give me this moment in silence. This one moment.”

Alisha nodded.

Cassandra replied with her own nod of thanks and returned her car to the driving lane…and slowly… and quietly they drove down the road to Cassandra’s house.

Alisha rolled down her window and the seagulls could be heard over the ocean. They were close to it and the waves could even be heard from time to time (if they were large enough). For Cassandra, it was hard to concentrate on the road. Continue reading

Advertisements

Everything comes to an end. The novel Cassandra on the Island ends this Friday!

This Friday I will be sharing the final section of my novel Cassandra on the Island.

For those that have been following this journey, I want to say thank you. I am proud of the book and it is a wonderful feeling to finally have readers discovering this novel.

For those only now discovering the book, you can still catch up. You can find the previous sections on the site here. Here is how I introduce the tale on the page:

Cassandra on the Island is the story of second, third and fourth chances. These are the experiences that resonate for Cassandra, a young retiree from a dangerous past hoping to escape her memories and spend her remaining time reading books in a gazebo by the beach. Royal Carlton Island and its eccentric inhabitants though have other plans for her. A boat race, pirate treasure, glowing grave, recluse billionaire, fake vampire, and an opera-singing child are waiting…

Surprising, witty, romantic and unique, Cassandra on the Island is filled with the important days for Cassandra, and together each piece is one part of the picture that makes up her life.

If you enjoy the writing, please share.  Likes and sharing help writers (and their stories) grow. I would love to see this in print sometime in the future. I plan to have it up on the site for a little while, but it won’t be forever.

Thank you for visiting the island and I hope you enjoy the ending this Friday!

 

Cassandra on the Island: Wisterias

The following is the second to last section of my novel Cassandra on the Island. You can read the previous sections here.

Wisterias

Lesson #1 – Find Beauty in the Smallest Things

Cassandra loved her granddaughter’s smile. Granted, if put under the gun, she would praise all of her grandchildren’s smiles, but there was something about young Toni Lyn’s smile that Cassandra found comfort in.

So when Toni Lyn called to ask if she could spend the summer with her on the Island, Cassandra immediately said yes. Toni Lyn’s parents however were less than amused with the idea when they found out. They feared that Cassandra would be a bad influence on their eighteen-year-old daughter’s perspective of the world. It wasn’t because of Cassandra’s past (they never truly knew about her time in Europe. Even for Cassandra most of it had slipped from memory and would only return as dark images in nightmares that left her strangely humming Mozart songs), but what Cassandra had become.

Cassandra had become a rascally old woman.

Cassandra loved to give her opinion about everything under the sun. Her opinions were always unique (and most of the time too unique). It was amazing to her children the change that occurred. It was almost as if Cassandra found a switch or a button that changed everything. Spending time with their mother soon became a chore of having to smile and nod to many strange and unique points.

Peter (the father of Toni Lyn) claimed the change in her personality arrived after her husband’s death. That was not the case. She was like this for at least three years before the good Reverend disappeared from her side. Living with her during that time could sometimes be uncomfortable for him. Where he seemed to fall back on his conservative upbringing and beliefs (and his questions pushed back into the shadows), she went to the other extreme.

By the “Summer of Poetry,” it had been four years since Jonathan’s death and Cassandra felt more alone each day. Her life seemed to follow a simple pattern. Continue reading

Cassandra on the Island: Clovers

The following is the seventh section of my novel Cassandra on the Island. You can read the previous sections here.

Clovers

Cassandra pretended to like fishing for Jonathan’s sake. She pretended to like getting up early (“At the crack of dawn, family! That is five AM!”) She pretended to like touching worms and baiting them and waiting. She pretended to like waiting a lot.

“Can’t we go home yet?” Lucy whined.

God, Cassandra thought, why can’t I be more straightforward like Lucy?

“No, honey,” the Reverend sighed. “You’ve got to give it some time. You’ll catch something sooner or later, I promise. I’m actually sure of it. Peter and I dug up these worms late last night. Right Peter?”

Peter didn’t answer. It was obvious to Cassandra Peter didn’t want to relive that memory. Peter turned away from his dad, then looked down at his line, and then back out to the ocean.

Well, he’s a little bit more like me, Cassandra thought, Now where the heck did Lucy’s personality come from?

Lucy sighed again loudly. The Reverend didn’t notice the sigh (he was too busy whistling), but Cassandra knew exactly what the sigh meant. Cassandra leaned forward and tapped her daughter on the knee. They made eye contact. Cassandra smiled. It was her patented, ‘Get through this and I’ll get you some ice cream later’ smile. Lucy and Cassandra had this quiet exchange of knowledge down to a science. That was mostly thanks to all the stuff the boys made them sit through (from Peter’s little league baseball games to events at Jonathan’s church). This was just another one of those moments…. Just a great, great deal longer.

Cassandra looked out and away towards the ocean. It was almost seven and the sky had an eerie color to it. And the air… The air felt too calm… She shrugged it off. I’m just not used to being up and on the ocean this early in the morning, she told herself, it’s probably always like this. Over a thousand mornings she let slip by without even considering to rise and watch. She promised herself that when she was old and the children were grown, she would study the dawn more. The colors were beautiful.

Jonathan noticed her gaze and turned to the clouds. “That is odd.” Continue reading

Cassandra on the Island: Eglantines

The following is the sixth section of my novel Cassandra on the Island. You can read the previous sections here.

Eglantines

This was not a day Cassandra was looking forward to. Peter and Lucy had been gone for two weeks and, in her opinion, it was time she got up and did something. Doing this was at least something. God knows, it had to be done.

“Are you sure you don’t want my help,” Alisha asked earlier that morning on the phone. “The dust up there and your allergies.”

“I’ll be fine,” Cassandra said. “I don’t need the help.” What she couldn’t say was how much she wanted to have this moment alone, even though she wasn’t looking forward to the experience. “And you have Duke, Jr. to take care of.”

Alisha knew Cassandra was just making excuses now. Having a two-year-old following them never bothered them before. “Duke, Jr. #3 is not a problem. And Duke, Jr. #1 and #2 won’t be back from school until three, so I do have time if you need me.”

Cassandra had to fight back from letting out a laugh. Duke, Jr. #1 was almost 9 and the names still made her laugh. Granted, Alisha was almost ten years younger than Cassandra, but that fact still did not explain some of the odd things she did. “Alisha, you know you can still change their names if you want to.”

“Why would I want to do that?”Alisha had lost count how times Cassandra had brought up this issue. Yes, it was unique to name all your children Duke, Jr., but Duke liked it and Alisha liked being unique. Of course, whenever Cassandra brought up this debate it was usually her way of saying “give me some space” in the nicest way possible. “Fine, I get the hint,” Alisha said.

“Don’t take it personally, Alisha,” Cassandra said softly. “I want this moment alone. Jonathan is at work. It’s the first time both my children have been gone.” Children? Was it even fair to still call them children? Lucy was 17, almost 18, and Peter was 22… 22? That idea was still hard for her to grasp. A senior in college and it felt just like yesterday when she last played hide-and-seek with him in the yard. Continue reading

I Want to Tell You a Story … Cassandra on the Island

I want to tell you a story.

Let’s begin like this- I wrote a novel for my thesis when I was working for my Master’s at the University of Southern California and I made the head of the department cry.

I had few interactions with this professor. I like to think he liked me, he personally asked me to take a few advanced courses and met with me now and then to discuss agents and my writing, but we were of different worlds. How else do you explain the meeting of a poet and a novelist? We use the same words, but for a novelist it is about the meaning, where for the poet it is about the music beneath it.

To graduate, I needed people to sign off on my thesis. I had one from a fiction professor (I can’t remember his name now) and the head of the department promised to be the second… and he delayed… and he delayed.

I was working on campus, which was fine for me since I didn’t have to drive anywhere and there was a Carl’s Jr on campus and I was a little addicted to their crispy chicken sandwich (I don’t need to say more about that here). But on this day, instead of waiting in the outrageously long line of students and eating that awesome sandwich, I decided to bother the delaying professor. He was in his office and knew why I was there when I walked in. He didn’t make eye contact with me and promised to start the book that afternoon, shrugging me off.

I had to accept that answer and leave.

That night I received a call after 9 PM. It was him and he was crying. He kept saying the word “beautiful.” He talked to me about the book for over an excited hour, asking about why I did certain things, what they meant. He was figuring out different tricks I did in the writing in between his emotional outbursts.

It is not often a writer gets to speak to a moved reader the second after they finish their book, but I was having that experience here, and it was with someone that surrounds himself with books and writers! This is legit, right?

He wasn’t planning to read the book straight through, he said. He was planning to finish, maybe skim bits. He skims, he said. He skims most books from students, he said… but here he didn’t. And once he started he couldn’t stop.

He told me what he loved, what made him laugh and what made him cry.

He asked if he could share the book with others, and I said that was fine. He said I didn’t have to worry about my thesis, and he couldn’t wait to buy the book in print… and then he was off the line.

Now… let me be clear… I’m not telling you this story about a crying professor to brag. I’m telling you this because it was the first time I truly felt like a novelist. Continue reading

EBOOK SALE! Hey Janeites! A Jane Austen Daydream is only 99 cents for the Kindle! Limited time!

A Jane Austen Daydream“Scott Southard’s Jane is a delightful creature.” -Austenprose.com

“I consider this novel one of the best not only in regency era literature, but also in mainstream fiction.” -NovelTravelist.com

For a limited time, Madison Street is having a sale on the eBook of A Jane Austen Daydream! You can grab a copy today for only 99 cents! Here is the link: http://amzn.com/B00CH3HQUU

All her heroines find love in the end–but is there love waiting for Jane?

Jane Austen spends her days writing and matchmaking in the small countryside village of Steventon, until a ball at Godmersham Park propels her into a new world where she yearns for a romance of her own. But whether her heart will settle on a young lawyer, a clever Reverend, a wealthy childhood friend, or a mysterious stranger is anyone’s guess.

Written in the style of Jane herself, this novel ponders the question faced by many devoted readers over the years–did she ever find love? Weaving fact with fiction, it re-imagines her life, using her own stories to fill in the gaps left by history and showing that all of us–to a greater or lesser degree–are head over heels for Jane.

“If asked to sum up this book in one word, I would have to choose “unpredictable”… you will, in the end, be rewarded by a quick paced novel unlike any you can ever have read, which injects new ideas and possibilities into the world of Jane Austen.” -The Jane Austen Centre

Published by Madison Street Publishing, A Jane Austen Daydream has also been released as an audiobook! Narrated by the amazing Louisa Gummer, you can find it on Audible and iTunes.

“A definite read for all Jane Austen fans!” -Laura’s Little Book Blog

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Permanent Spring Showers by Scott D. Southard

Permanent Spring Showers

by Scott D. Southard

Giveaway ends July 31, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Please, Make It Stop: A Rant About Game of Thrones

DragonAvast there, me hearties! Here thar be spoilers aplenty! (Wait! It’s not Talk Like a Pirate day? What was I thinking?)

Let’s get this out of the way first. We’ve all been holding off saying this for a while, but it’s time.

Game of Thrones is a soap opera.

I don’t know about you, but I feel a lot better after saying it.

I’ve recently found an interview with George R.R. Martin where he argues his book series is not a soap opera, maybe it was his way of preparing an argument before it came at him from outside his circle, but it is. Both the TV series and his book series… two words… soap opera.

Look, I hate to say it as much as the next person. The idea of someone truly doing something new in a very established (and usually predictable genre) is an awesome idea. He combined the history of the middle ages and fantasy… but the result is a freaking soap opera. With history almost being used as an excuse (or as a resource) for twists that help the soap opera continue.

Consider:

  • Soap operas and A Song of Ice and Fire both has multiple POVs of good and questionable individuals.
  • Both end every moment in a cliffhanger (You can almost hear the “stay tuned” at the end of some of the chapters in the books).
  • Both have meandering plots (I feel like I should be capitalizing meandering; no seriously, all caps).
  • Time seems to have its own rules. And both have marriages that seem to last for the same amount of time (and just like in soap operas most are bad matches).
  • And both are not working towards a clean resolution. There is no Mount Doom in sight from what I can see.

Oh, and all of these points is before I even bring up the fact that George R.R. Martin used to work in television and was a writer on a popular fantasy-lite soap opera in the 1980s.

Game of Thrones is a soap opera with people in funny costumes and dragons and we have bought into it.

Heck, I didn’t just buy in, I bought the DVDs, the books, the shirts and even gave them as Birthday presents to people I love. (I was like: “Hi, I love cocaine, I want you to take it too. Here- Happy Birthday!”) Continue reading

An interview with Lisa Haselton about my new novel Permanent Spring Showers (Book Tour Day 4)

SaxophoneToday,. as part of the book tour around my new novel Permanent Spring Showers, I am in being interviewed on Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews.

We discuss the book, the arts and writing; heck, I even talk about my love of jazz music. This was my answer to “As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?”

One of my fantasies was to be a jazz artist. I dreamed of being the next Coltrane or Parker (I played alto and soprano saxophone). I even got into college on a jazz scholarship. But there was a moment when I realized it wasn’t in me. I was just repeating myself and I was not getting a thrill out of my solos anymore. Basically, I had nothing to say anymore with the instrument, but I did have a lot to say with the pen.

You can read the rest of the interview on her site here.

This is the fourth entry in the tour. I have already had three guest posts on the work for you to check out. There is the one about passion (here), spring (here), and my advice to writers (here). I hope you are enjoying the tour!Permanent Spring Showers

Just for the tour, the eBook of Permanent Spring Showers is on sale! It is on sale for only $1.99. So there is no better time to grab a copy! You can find it on amazon for Kindle here and for the NOOK here.