A Highlighting Break: A Quick Writing Update

HighlighterAfter the madness of the blog tour over those ten days (you can see the posts and interviews I did on the page for Permanent Spring Showers), I needed to get away from the site. Yes, this site you are reading right now.

Yeah, I got a bunch of ideas for posts, that never seems to stop, I just began to wonder how I would feel if I was a follower here. And really it has been feeling relentless, one post after another about the new book. Now, if you found me via my fiction (which is awesome), you might be cool with the updates, but there are others that come here for my personal updates, my writing advice, my rants about entertainment and the like. Well, those readers might be feeling differently. And while I would love for everyone to buy my new book, the last thing I want is for this site to just be about my novels. (I did mention they are awesome, right?) So less about my writing. Deal?

So here’s a writing update!

Wait… That didn’t make sense. Okay, a new writing update! How about that?

Well, I’m busy working on a new novel. I’m in the midst of a second draft. I don’t want to say too much about it (Heck, I don’t even want to say the title here), until I have a copyright in my hand. I will say it is probably the closest I will get to a science-fiction work, which isn’t a science fiction work.  I can also say it is very different from anything else I have done. I really have a hard time finding something to compare it to (from my past works to other authors). And this book has made me cry in quite a few spots.

Crying in a good way, not like in a “Man, I suck.” kind of way. (I do have those moments just not with this book.)

I’m trying a new trick with this editing of the book. I just combined all of my chapter drafts into one giant document (we’re reaching over 420 pages now) and I plan to re-read it with a highlighter. I’m going to highlight the sentences, the moments, even the dialogue, I might not be happy with.

See, I envision this as a targeting editing approach. I’ve not done this before. Usually, I always take my books as a whole (well, except for A Jane Austen Daydream, but everything was different with that book), but this will focus me down just to sections I need to work on during this draft. This feels so efficient!

Okay, can I just say now using the word efficient is rare when it comes to my writing. I’m a scatter shot, all over the place. Let me give you an example, recently I cleaned the hard drive on my computer and found three unfinished screenplays and four unfinished novels. My books are born on the bodies of those that didn’t make it, kind of making me think of those war movies with the survivors crawling over the dead.

Where was I?

Oh, yes, I am writing. The new book is going great and it’s a lot of fun. There, that sounds like an ending. Almost… damn.

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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!

 

The Author Addresses His Audience

Letter WritingDear my beautiful readers,

Over the Valentine’s Day weekend, 6000 readers snagged a copy of A Jane Austen Daydream during its free special on Amazon! That number floors me. I hope each of them enjoy my novel… and if they had and are here now wanting to learn more about the author- Hello! It’s nice to meet you!

I don’t typically write blogposts like this, but this is important. At least it is for me. Usually, I like to keep this blog to interesting posts (writing, life stuff, my perception of the entertainment and book world, etc.), my book reviews and about my occasional appearances in the real world/internet (interviews, guest posts, reviews, etc.). So it is rare that I outright write a post like this. Here I go…

The fact is I am an author, and my dream is for that career to grow. This is not about money (trust me, if it was, I wouldn’t still be doing this), this is about building a readership, making an impact in the artform I love.  And if you are reading this, chances are you might feel the same way about literature. I believe I have some interesting stories to tell and I want people to check them out.

Permanent Spring ShowersEarlier this month, I had a new book released, Permanent Spring Showers. I am really proud of it (You can learn more about it, read the first review, and check out the first chapter via this page for the book). It was published by 5 Prince Books. And I want you to go grab a copy. Yes, I am asking you to buy a copy when you get a chance.

The more people that read it, spread the word, and purchase it, the better the chances that others will find it, follow your example, and do the same. Word of mouth is the ONLY true path for success as an author today in this congested market and social-media driven world. And my dream is for this book to find its way into book clubs, libraries, college campuses and on top of night stands.

Yes, my dream is simply for you and others like you to read it.

So… if you have ever tweeted or retweeted a post, liked a post, shared it, read one of my other books, followed my book reviews, I am asking you to please, please, please check out my new book. You can find it in both print and eBook format on any online retailers (BN, Smashwords, etc.).  Here is the link for Amazon- http://amzn.com/B00T74HH0Q.

Sincerely,

Scott D. Southard

P.S. Permanent Spring Showers is an unpredictable and witty romp. You will like it. I might have been serious in this post, but I am not entirely serious in the book. You will like it, I promise.

P.P.S. I “borrowed” the title of this blogpost from a new song by The Decemberists. It is a very cynical song, showing that Colin is a little frustrated with us listeners. While he may feel that way in the song, I don’t feel that way in my post. I love having this blog and interacting with my readers. (The song is awesome though, especially the ending, you should check it out.)

P.P.S. Over the next month, I’ll be sharing guests posts about this book, like this one I did over on Focus on Fiction (http://www.nancychristie.com/focusonfiction/2015/02/15/scott-d-southard-on-writing-permanent-spring-showers/) as well as other musings. So don’t worry, this is not going to become one of those author sites that is only about sales. Simply put, I have a new book out.

P.P.P.S. Thanks for reading! And I hope you enjoy the new work!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Permanent Spring Showers by Scott D. Southard

Permanent Spring Showers

by Scott D. Southard

Giveaway ends February 26, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

“Writing Romance Like Jane Austen” I’ll be part of The Writing Show on January 28th!

TWritingShow_logoColorInterested in Jane Austen? Going to be in Richmond, Virginia around January 28th?

I am excited to announce that I have been asked to be on a panel on Ms. Austen. It is part of the James Rivers Writers series, The Writing Show (JamesRiversWriters.org). The event is called “Writing Romance Like Jane Austen.”

Here is how the event is described in the press release:

What are the romance genres? What makes romance believable? We’ll discuss Jane Austen’s influence on literature and romance, and why men also enjoy reading and writing romantic fiction.

This event will be for both readers and writers and should be pretty fun. If you want to attend (and why wouldn’t you?) here is some info on it:

$12 members | $15 non-members | $5 students
Social: 6pm | Show: 6:45pm
Wednesday, January 28th
At The Broadberry
2729 W. Broad Street

You can get more information (and register now) on their website here- http://www.jamesriverwriters.org/the-writing-show-writing-romance-like-jane-austen.

I hope to see you there!

My Writing Resolutions 2015

1962720_10203577001564582_780062720_nThis blog actually began as a writing resolution.

It was 2012 and I thought as a writer I had been living in the shadows for too long. Oh, I played the game with publishers and agents and fellow writers, many knew who I was (granted, that doesn’t mean they published me or represented me), but with readers I was a ghost. No, let me correct that. A person can at least sense a ghost. I was a ghost that no one was aware of. A quiet and very lonely shadow watching and waiting.

So it began with this post.

That started a year of almost five posts a week. I did everything from personal essays to thoughts on media and entertainment to the art of writing (which are almost always my most popular posts) to original fiction. There was a good chance, and I knew this when I started, that I would end the experience feeling more depressed than when I began. For is there anything sadder than a blog not read? Probably the blogger that wrote the blog, of course.

Lucky for me (and I do consider myself lucky), my blog grew. I think getting into writing the blog, I never realized how inspiring having it (and you the reader) would be. You might think a little click on the like button or an occasional comment no big deal, but it can make my day, any day. That support over the last two years had led to me creating a novel on this site (Permanent Spring Showers, which will be released in February 2015 by 5 Prince Books) and a book collecting some of my most popular and fun posts (Me Stuff, which you can find on amazon here).

Thank you.

Here are my writing resolutions for 2015.

1. Keep the blog active. This one is not surprising, especially since this is one of the things that keep me sane. You know, I never really know what I will do in an upcoming week. It usually just happens all organic. It is in many ways pure writing freedom. Someday in the future I might step away from time to time from it, but I don’t think I see that happening any time soon. You are stuck with me, I hope that is okay.

2. Find a publisher for Cassandra on the Island. If you have been following my blog for a while you might have heard hints of this book in posts. This novel was my Master’s thesis when I was working towards my MFA from the University of Southern California. I also had the distinct pleasure of having the head of the writing program call me at 10 PM on a weekday night, emotional because of it. He had spend all day reading it and just had to talk to me after completing it. It was an awesome moment for me. This book also got me my last agent, but sadly it stays hidden of all my works. I would love to change that. So I will probably do a new edit of it sometime in the new year and see what happens from there. Fingers crossed. Hopefully, there will be publishers and agents interested.

Permanent Spring Showers3. Support Permanent Spring Showers. My new novel drops in February 2015. This book feels very much like an epic for me, a story that has been around since the mid-1990s when it first began as a screenplay (which was what got me accepted at USC, by the way). I could not be more proud of this novel. This book began as an experiment on this very  site and grew… and grew. I hope you will check it out when it is released and tell everyone! Book clubs, fellow readers, friends, loved ones, casual acquaintances, people sitting next to you on the bus or in a waiting room, etc.

4. Finish that new book! So I got this novel that has changed numerous times over the last few years. It went from a very serious work to a mad comedy. The full gambit of emotions and possibilities has been spilled into this work. Right now I have it fully outlined with about four of the 25 chapters written. I need to make this a reality. I won’t say too much more about it, but it reminds me a lot of my radio comedy series The Dante Experience (which you can listen to free on this page!).

5. Think about my screenplays. My screenplays are my abandoned children. The funny thing is they are what drove me to Los Angeles and USC. I have three screenplays right now that I believe are very strong. Possibly the best things I will ever do. One is a romantic-comedy Christmas movie (yes, I said a Christmas movie); the second is a black-and-white film noir mystery (think a young Humphrey Bogart); and the third is an adaptation of Hamlet. Eclectic stuff? Yup, that is how I roll. But realistically, I’m not in any of the hubs of filmmaking. Of all of the items on this list, this would take the biggest bit of luck. My fingers are forever crossed though.

Okay, there are my five points, and I’ll be pleased as punch if I can pull off at least three. I hope you will stick around in the new year to watch.

Thanks again for reading! Happy New Year!

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.

Buy Books for Black Friday and Cyber Monday!

If you enjoy my blog or my books why not consider sharing the love with other readers? I promise that they have each been painstakingly constructed to fit in stockings and under trees…

A Jane Austen Daydream

A Jane Austen DaydreamAll 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.

You can find it in the following formats:

  • Print version for $13.25 on Amazon (here)
  • eBook for Kindle for only $3.99 (here)
  • The NEW audiobook on Audible.com (here) or iTunes

Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare

Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare, CoverThe cursed and foreboding McGregor Castle is the most terrifying and haunted location in all of the British Empire. Only a brave (or foolish) soul would consider visiting it, let alone staying within its walls for five days. In other words, a perfect dare for a man like Maximilian Standforth!

Maximilian Standforth, famed playboy aristocrat and private detective, is a genius with dangerous tastes. With Bob (his trusty carriage driver, biographer, and bodyguard) and Maggie Collins (actress, spy, and maid) by his side, Maximilian will experience horrors and madness unlike any seen before. For it is at McGregor Castle that the team will discover more than they ever could imagine in this very experimental and genre-breaking thriller.

You can find it in the following formats:

  • In print for just $9.49 via Amazon (here)
  • An eBook for Kindle at the low prices of $3.99 (here)

My Problem With Doors

My Problem With DoorsJacob is lost in time.

He has been that way ever since he was a child for doors don’t work for him like they do for the rest of us. A door can take him to the past or the future, into any house, into any country. This  is Jacob’s plea for help.

This novel is an unpredictable adventure filled with thrills, romance, horror, and even the occasional cameo from historical figures like Lord Byron and Jack the Ripper.

It is available as:

  • Print for $15.75 on Amazon (here)
  • A NEW eBook edition(!) with an exclusive afterword for just $9.99 on Kindle (here)

Megan

MeganThis is the story of Megan Wane.

To me and you, she is just a normal worker in a drab office, but in her imagination there exists an entire world, one she has escaped into ever since she was a child. It is the land of Prosperity and it is filled with dragons, castles, trolls, moon people, and wizards, And in Prosperity, Megan is a princess and a super hero.

This is the story of her worst day and how Prosperity saved the real her.

It is out now as:

  • Print for $15.95 on Amazon (here)
  • A NEW eBook edition including an exclusive preface by the author (me). It is $9.99 for Kindle (here)

Me Stuff

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

This is a new collection of some of the most popular blogposts from this very site! Made for both the fan and the newbie, this book has something for everyone… Well, except for those who don’t like entertaining stories. This book can’t help those people.

You can find it as:

  • In print for just $8.99 via Amazon (here)
  • As an eBook for only $3.99 for Kindle (here)

Thoughts on Book Reviewing

BooksI’m coming up on the year anniversary since I started doing the book reviews for my local NPR station. Soon my twentieth appearance will be on WKAR’s Current State. (You can check out links to them here). I really love doing them, and I look at each of them as not just as an opportunity to share my opinion on a book, but to also educate the listener of how to read a book or what to look for. I have even been known to throw in facts about literature and its vast history.

What can I say? I love the artform. Books are my passion.

I’ve written quite a few posts on this site about book reviews today. The good, the bad, what not to do, the questionable things, the author experience. I thought I would share the links to four of those writing posts below and give some updates as well since when I wrote them. Enjoy!

The Thin Muddy Line of Online Book Reviews. All the problems I discuss in this article still happen all the time. And I still get requests to “exchange” reviews. It makes me so uncomfortable and I am surprised how many writers are okay with it. As an NPR reviewer, I could never, ever consider such an enterprise since it would put all of my reviews into question. But I wouldn’t have considered it even before I started this great gig! Whatever the case, whenever I get an e-mail or a tweet asking me to do this I get a sick feeling in my stomach and a little angry.

The Troll Under the Bridge: How to Write a Good Bad Book Review. Trolls don’t go away. But you know, I think a lot of people don’t realize that is what they are doing, or the impact it has on other people. It reminds me of the time when I was a kid and with a friend we called a 1-800 number on a milk carton asking what color their cows are that give chocolate milk (we were 8). It’s like that mentality.

Charging the Melancholy Dragon. A lot of my heart as a writer is out there in this post. I really discuss in some spots on the difficulties of writing and dealing with reviews (good and bad).

goodreads-buttonLoving Goodreads (And Some Reviewing Suggestions).  This is my most recent post on the subject. I still love the site, but I don’t know how it could be improved without some reviewers hired to review the reviewing (say that five times fast), or to “star” certain reviewers as being more “legitimate” and their reviews given more girth in the grading.  That last point is definitely something to consider.