A Christmas Short Story… and a surprise coming on December 24!

Linus and the treeHello persons of quality!

Let’s enjoy this time of the year, for God only knows where the world will be next year at this time.  Right now I consider myself an amateur cocktail maker, but my guess is by next year I will be a pro. You notice how everyone has dark senses of humor right now? There is a reason for that. We are all chuckling with a tear.

Happy Holidays!

Anyway, this is the last holiday post I will be sharing (you can scroll below on the main page for my other nuggets of holiday joy; like why Neil Diamond has the worst holiday song and “The Littlest Angel” shouldn’t be in heaven). This is my short story called “Kris and Me.” I really like it a lot. Soon to be a Hallmark movie!

(That last bit isn’t true, but you gotta think sooner or later they will call. They have been trying to get the last bit of Christmas peanut butter from that jar for a long time now. Sooner or later they have to pick up the phone.)

I hope you will check out my story. The link is below.

Kris and Me: A Christmas Story in 3 Parts

And one last thing! Come back to this site on December 24 in the morning. There will be a surprise for my readers! Can I give a hint? No, you have to wait. It’s wrapped and under the tree. Well, a virtual tree, but it’s right there in gold wrapping.

See you on December 24.

 

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Christmas 2015

SantaHere’s the thing I discovered this holiday season…

There aren’t any new original Christmas books being written. When I started doing the book reviews for WKAR, I had this dream of discovering a new holiday tale each year and that plan fell apart pretty darn quick.

Starting in October, I began checking out new releases for possible reviews and everything seemed to be romantic comedies, all dreaming of being a mediocre Hallmark special. (Of course, if they are all mediocre how does that scale really work?) But you know my gut feeling is that all those relationships that begin like that over the holiday season don’t last after the book ends and the tree is put away.  Yes, Hallmark romantic-comedy fans, I’m saying it- they will all be broken up by summer. Bah Humbug!

So here is the challenge to everyone reading who is a writer: Come up with a new holiday story. It can’t be a variation on something we have seen or an adaptation or a re-imagining, it has to be an original take. Something that adds to the holiday season. I want something new and something daring and something that taps into the warmth that is supposed to surround the yuletide season. The gauntlet has been thrown down and if you can pull this off, book reviewers (and readers) will thank you for years to come.

Now here are some of my favorite holiday posts I have done in the past that I think you will get a kick out of this holiday season.

Why the Littlest Angel is the Worst Holiday Story… Ever.  And I still stand by this statement. Here are my reasons why we should all forget this tale and stick it under the bed with the angel’s box of favorite things.

Book Review: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I am really proud of this review I did a while back for WKAR. You can listen to my voice (and my attempt to channel Dickens) or read it via the link.

Writing a Good Christmas Story: Four Things to Consider. For those thinking of taking on my challenge, here are some writing pointers that will help you on the mission.

Kris and Me. I know I shared this original Christmas short story already once on the site this season, but I am proud of it. You should check it out. (And Hallmark channel, you can reach me via my contact info listed on my “Man Behind the Curtain” page.)

Neil Diamond’s “A Cherry Cherry Christmas” is the Worst Christmas Song Ever! A Holiday Musical Rant. One last post for the Grinch and the Scrooge in all of us. And this song doesn’t get better with time. Now I’ve just got to get around to creating a rant about “Last Christmas” by Wham! Yes, that song deserves it.

New WKAR Book Review: My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins

Current StateThis is the second holiday season where I have had the pleasure of reviewing a Christmas book on WKAR’s Current State. Last year, I reviewed A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (which you can still hear here). This time I am taking on the new collection of holiday stories My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins.

You can listen to my review here: http://wkar.org/post/book-review-my-true-love-gave-me-wkar

You can also read my review below.

If you want to check out My True Love Gave to Me you can find it on Amazon.com here. You can check out my past reviews via this page on my site.

I hope you enjoy my new book review! Continue reading

Merry Christmas to my now 1548 blog followers! And my attempt at the worst Christmas movie ever!

Seriously, the worst Christmas record cover ever. I don’t know why I always get shocked by bad holiday stories. I already complained this year about the cruel Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas (here) but this weekend I found something even worse. Wow, this is bad.

I don’t know the title of it, but it involved talking puppies. Okay, talking animals I can get behind a little bit, but the family they are staying with have their house go into foreclosure. They sneak away, leaving the mommy dog and her puppies in the house. Then animal control shows up and takes the mommy dog away, leaving the puppies! But wait! We aren’t done. Then the house is broken into by a group of teenage hoodlums, who want to sell the puppies on the black puppy market…. Okay, it was then I stopped watching. (I expect better Netflix!)

So it got me thinking, can I come up with a worse Christmas movie idea? Can I?  Also, it turns out it has been a while since I have done something fun to thank my blog followers. The last time I did it was when I reached 1300 followers, but now I am at 1548. So… yeah… I am due for something silly.  (Oh, and thank you for following!)

So, to my wonderful followers and readers, I wish to proudly present my advertisement for the worst Christmas movie ever- 24 ‘Til Snow!

24 ‘Til Snow!

Dickie Wayne III (frat brother, smooth playboy and eternal mischief-maker) has just inherited his grandfather’s ski lodge. But there is no snow! And if there isn’t snow by Christmas all of the guests will cancel and he will be ruined before he can even start! What is there to do? Why have a wild Bikini Christmas party of course! But what will happen when that snooping sheriff and his talking deputy dog learn that Dickie doesn’t have a liquor license?

24 ‘Til Snow!

Oh no! Santa drank from Big Lug’s secret family recipe moonshine! How will the guys ever get him sober enough to deliver the rest of the presents before Christmas morning? Keep your clothes on Santa!

24 ‘Til Snow!

Trixie (Dickie’s younger sister) has sneaked into the party and wants to learn the true meaning of love. How can Dickie, the playboy to end all playboy, protect his sister from his frat brothers and teach her the truths about the heart?

24 ‘Til Snow!

Aliens!

24 ‘Til Snow!

In a very heartfelt moment with a poor family, Dickie and his guests learn the true meaning of Christmas… now back to partying!

24 ‘Til Snow!

It turns out that grandfather’s lodge has been a secret meeting spot for Russian spies since World War II. And the Russians have hidden their top-secret codes inside of the lining of Dickie’s grandfather’s fedora. The same one Dickie has been wearing all night! Can the rookie (and hot) FBI agent save Dickie’s life… without falling in love?

24 ‘Til Snow!

Fun for the whole family! (Rated R)

Kris and Me: A Christmas Story in 3 Parts

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Let’s get this out of the way first. Kris has always had a magnificent beard. Even as a freshmen, when the rest of us were dreaming for just the hint of a stubble, Kris had a full rich beard. Yes, the girls would giggle about it behind his back, but all of us boys were jealous, because we thought it made him look rugged and a little dangerous.

I once asked about his beard. “How can you stand it, Kris?”

“What do you mean?”

“Doesn’t it drive you a little crazy? Isn’t it scratchy? Don’t you want to shave?”

He merely shrugged in response to it. “I like who I am.”

Strangely, that response made me a little jealous too.

Mountain man was the best way to explain Kris’s look in those early days with his heavy and muddy boots, black pants, and thick red coat. He always dressed as if it was winter, even during the warmest days.

Kris and I were locker buddies. This was not out of friendship at first, but because our last names were close together, my name being Stewart Kristin. Only two people in my life has ever called me Stewie though. The first was my grandmother who I loved dearly, the second was Kris. The first time Kris did it, I blinked a little surprised.

“Is it okay?” he asked. He almost sounded nervous, noticing my reaction.

“It’s fine,” I said and for some reason it sounded good coming from him.

With the approval Kris laughed. Kris always had a deep, rich laugh that came right from his belly. And Kris would laugh a lot. I mean, seriously, alot. He laughed at every bad joke, and he told many; usually ones that were far too clean for a high schooler’s taste.

The only thing he would not laugh at was another’s misfortune. He was always the first to stop a bully or a fight, being there before even a teacher or vice-principal had a whiff of it. His stern and disappointed look would immediately cool the situation. No one wanted to be on Kris’s bad side… ever. Continue reading

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)

“Bad Christmas Songs, Grinches, and Accordions!” My Christmas Blogposts

It Looks So Innocent...So last night my wife and I were woken up by a bright light and then a bang. Then there was silence and darkness…

Yup, we are one of the lucky people who lost their power in the big ice storm of ’13. The rest of our evening was spent huddled in our living room listening to branches falling from the giant tree outside our house. To emphasize the lack of power one of the branches decided to take out the wire as well connecting our home to the grid. Merry Christmas!

Anyway, I’ve snuck onto a computer to share some of my holiday posts. Writing about the holidays is always one of the things I get a kick out of doing on the site, and I do everything from comedy to serious topics. For me, fighting the cold, it’s nice to know people are still checking out my writing while I am living the life of a hermit… in my own freaking cold home.

New WKAR Book Review: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Current StateJust in time for the holidays!

Today on WKAR I take on one of the greats, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

I’m really proud of this review and I hope you will check it out. You can listen to the review here:

http://wkar.org/post/book-review-charles-dickens-christmas-carol

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

This was my twelfth appearance on Current State and you can hear/read my other reviews via this page on my site or on the Current State site here. I have reviewed other classics as well as contemporary books.

I hope you enjoy my book review… and Merry Christmas! Continue reading

The Christmas Accordion: Holiday 2012 Thoughts

I wrote this post after I heard about the Newtown shooting. When that awful event was taking place, I was at the movies, thinking about some holiday shopping I had to do afterwards. I still feel guilty that my life was so normal at that moment. Silly of me, I know, but with a son in elementary (now the same age as many of the victims), I was really overwhelmed and disgusted that such a thing could happen in our country. I have given a few times in the last year to two different groups hoping to change the conversation we have in our country around gun control. The first is The Sandy Hook Promise (which you can find at http://www.sandyhookpromise.org/) and Moms Demand Action (at http://momsdemandaction.org). Please consider donating today. I’m not saying ban all guns, just maybe we should consider what guns are on the market and how easy it is to buy them. Do people need military-style weaponry? No. Should people have background checks for all purchases? Yes. Should we know who owns what and how much? Certainly.

The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard

I have three memories around my second grade teacher, Mr. Nyenhuis.

The first involved the time he dumped Dan Wheeler’s desk on the ground, showing what an absolute mess it was. Seriously, there was a smell coming from it that we all had to find out about. It couldn’t be natural.

The second memory was around my broken wrist. It was my first (and only) broken anything and I had to get up in front of the class and tell everyone about it. I remember the feeling of all of my fellow classmates’ eyes on me and their excitement as I got closer and closer to the moment I fell off the bars on a backyard play set (I remember doing an incredibly inaccurate “crunch!” noise). To this day, I point to that moment as one of the defining ones that turned me towards storytelling.

The last memory involved Mr…

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