New WKAR Book Review: Eight Mile High by Jim Ray Daniels

Current StateOn WKAR’s Current State, I reviewed the new collection of short stories by Jim Ray Daniels. Eight Mile High was also selected this year as one of the Michigan Notable Books.

You can listen to my new review here: http://wkar.org/post/book-review-jim-ray-daniels-eight-mile-high

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

You can find the novel on Amazon.com 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

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Only a few days left to win an autographed copy of ME STUFF (the new book)!

On July 15, two readers will win an autographed copy of my new book, ME STUFF. Have you signed up yet? What are you waiting for?  Click on the link below; it is just calling to you, man!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Me Stuff by Scott D. Southard

Me Stuff

by Scott D. Southard

Giveaway ends July 15, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

ME STUFF is a collection of 40 personal and fun posts from this site. Here is the description from the back cover:

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 & 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.

Since I created it for my followers on this site, I made it extra-affordable, only $1.99 as an eBook (here) and $8.99 in print (here).  If you want to know more first (kick the literary tires), I shared an excerpt from the book recently, this link. It is called “Poisoning the Genius.” It’s about that awkward moment we all have experienced… when you poison a professor who is also a literary legend.  (Oh wait, was that just me?)

Good luck to all of the entries!

Upon The Ground: Progress

Well, this is it. The last story from my collection Upon The Ground. It is a stream-of-consciousness literary piece entitled “Progress.” I am pretty proud of it, and if you have been reading the collection, it ties in quite a few of the other stories as well (Not that you need to know that to enjoy the story).

Here is the beginning of the piece:

“Progress”

…death sneaks in like a viper slithering in the mud of existence aching for some flesh to bite into, reeling it’s way into your body, up and up past your slowing heart past your feeling lungs, your paling face and eating into your brain. it takes your memories and sinks you into it’s life. oh god, i’m dying. i can see it in her eyes. she has beautiful EYES. they are so blue. i’m looking up at her and trying to smile. she is holding my hand, so sweaty. she is trying to talk to me…. shhh….. shhh…. her lips are shaking. why is everything white? is this a hospital? i’ve never been to a hospital before. ironic that the one time i go to a house of healing is to die. i’m dying. i felt fine yesterday. such a wonderful day yesterday. all my family was there and i cooked outside. the sun was a bright red and i held her close to me. such a perfect day.  the sky was colored with red, purple and blue as the sun set and her skin felt so soft. it slipped away so fast. so, so very fast. death is not a fair creature. it is hungry only, fangs glistening. i can feel it taking my body. i feel so weak. i can barely keep my eyes open. i want to look at her. i want to see her. fight this. you can fight this. you’ve fought so much. you’re better than this. you want to live. i want to live. i can fight this. she looks at me concerned. she can see the pain in my face. i need the pain. i need to stay. the pain is what make me mortal. the pain is what makes us mortal.

I want to thank GreenSpotBlue for choosing my book to share with their readers. Their support for my writing has always meant a lot to me. If you would like to check out the book, the link are up at the Upon The Ground page on this site. Thank you for reading!

Upon The Ground: Under The Angelic Glow Of Dusk

Today is the penultimate short story from my collection Upon The Ground, which is being shared online via www.greenspotblue.com. Today’s story is entitled “Under The Angelic Glow Of Dusk.” Take from it what you will.

Here is the beginning of this little strange tale:

“Under The Angelic Glow Of Dusk”

“The Time has been catching us off guard,” she said to me and I, still reeling from the wind and the parties, only laughed at her notion and called her mind a good hangover waiting to happen.

She did not like my comments (typical) and shunned me for the first two days of our assignment. This probably wouldn’t have bothered me so much if we weren’t supposed to be wife and husband in this little life moment. On Friday, I got sick of her little games and in a dark corner in a dark moment after breakfast (which consisted of coffee or tea (decaffeinated), corn flakes (dry), and milk (cold).) I confronted her about the so-called importance of our assignment.

As she angrily argued back at me her wings rustled under her silly white dress. She hated me.

I laughed at that and reminded her small mind that she wasn’t capable of hate. Her and her little angels and their white hair and white eyes and white gleaming teeth never hate- Even those easy to. She then said it may not be hate but it was the closest she had felt to it. I had to laugh at her honesty, even though just the sound of her voice annoyed me.

She then stated that she was very sure she hated the sound of my laughter (it is a dark loud, booming laugh that echoes with screams of those inside) and then went and compared it to angry bells banging against the side of her ears. All the noises of lost times.

You can read the rest of the story here. You can also catch up on the previous stories from Upon The Ground via the links on this page. Thank you for reading!

Upon The Ground: The WOMB Story

The twelfth story from my collection Upon The Ground is up at www.greenspotblue.com.  It is called “The WOMB Story.” On a side note, part of this was inspired by something Ray Bradbury said about his memory.  I’ll just leave it at that.

Here is a snippet from the beginning of the story:

“The WOMB Story”

I can recall EVERYTHING.

I remember being three and chasing clouds with my dog and being one and being rocked to sleep by my mom (“Hush little baby don’t say a word. Momma’s gonna buy you….”), but, more amazingly, I can remember being in the womb. I remember it because it was the safest I had ever felt in my life.

It was warm.

My mom’s heart was always there and I could feel connected to it (Thump. Thump. Thump.). I was connected to nature. Life in its purest moment. I could feel hands touching the stomach. I remember kicking and the taste of my thumb and the cord and the echoes of the voices outside laughing and talking.

Those memories are what warp my dreams today.

I can’t tell my wife. She won’t understand…. Well, she will claim to understand, but she won’t. It was my wild imagination that attracted her to me in the first place. She’s a Kindergarten teacher (“You’re like a grown child.” “How am I supposed to take that?” “As a compliment. You treat everything as a new experience. I love to watch your eyes.”).

You can read the rest of the story here. And in the Upon The Ground page you can find links to the other stories already from the collection. Thanks for reading!

Upon The Ground: A Children’s Nightmare

The next story from my collection Upon The Ground is available via GreenSpotBlue.com. It is called “A Children’s Nightmare” and you can read the story here.

Here is a sample from the beginning:

“A Children’s Nightmare”

The children could have spent all day looking at that tombstone. It was the most foreboding piece of marble in the cemetery. But for the children, the size of that tombstone brought along pictures of giants and monsters. And the fact that it said “Better Dead Than Alive” under the name “Jake Hawkins,” couldn’t help but make them think that it was good he was dead. Did he terrorize a village with his footsteps? Did he steal maidens from their wedding days? Did he eat people? Whatever he did in life, there was a celebration in his death.

It might have been that problem that confused Lisa the most. For Lisa did understand death. She understood the concept at least. Her Grandmother still tells the story of Lisa when she was three and they were at the park across the street from Matt’s house. Lisa was playing on the swings and her Grandmother was talking with her Grandfather about who they knew buried in the other graveyard beyond the playground.

Now her Grandfather grew up in a strong religious background and from time to time he would try to convince people of that fact. Especially in his old age he seemed to go back to those studies as a form of support for the coming end. It also seemed to give possibility (when he truly allowed himself to believe) for a hope, feeling and moment of happiness for the people gone.

But her Grandmother was exactly the opposite of her Grandfather. She was an atheist of the strongest kind (actually she had an opinion about everything and every opinion of hers was strong). Her husband and she would spend days arguing about things like a game perfected over the decades of holding hands in their little time.

You can read the rest of the story here. Links for the previous short stories can be found on the Upon The Ground page.  Thanks for reading!

Upon The Ground: Rise Up And Kiss The Wind

It is Tuesday and GreenSpotBlue.com is sharing another short story from my collection Upon The Ground. Today is the story, “Rise Up And Kiss The Wind.”

Here is the beginning from the story (here):

“Rise Up And Kiss The Wind”

He was back. Again.

And even though he returned once every five years something was final about this one. He knew it would be his last visit.

The old man could tell he was not long for this world. It wasn’t the fact that he wasn’t in the greatest health. He was in fine health and people in his family were known for long lives. It was a mental struggle. He no longer wanted to live. He was ready to shake off the mortal coils and move on.

And this was the place he was going to die.

It was perfect.

It was beautiful and serene.

It was more than just a cottage near the beach; it was part of his life. It was part of his being. It was the place where his life changed and led him to this destiny.

It was the place where his wife died.

Many people in the area have theories of why he always returned. He even heard two little boys yesterday call him “Old Man Death” when he was visiting his wife’s grave. But when he turned around to see the children, they were gone.  It’s amazing how cruel people can be when they don’t know what they are talking about.

You can read the rest of the story here. I hope you enjoy it.

Upon The Ground: Breathing Lessons

A new short story from my collection Upon The Ground is available via the literary Web site, Green Spot Blue. This is the sixth story from the collection (You can read the other stories via the links on the Upon The Ground page on this site).

This week’s story is entitled “Breathing Lessons.” You can read it here. Here is an excerpt from the beginning of the story.

“Breathing Lessons”

She has asthma. And sometimes it could get really bad. Especially when she was very nervous and scared. When she was a little girl, bullies would tease her because of it. They would watch her face turn blue and laugh when she started making wheezing noises through her throat. Then she would start to hyperventilate and once she even passed out from the excitement. She remembers waking up later in the nurses’ office with a cold rag held to her head.

But all that was so long ago and now it was very rare when it would get that bad. The last experience she had with it that bad was during her wedding. She remembers vividly the old feelings running through her mind as she tried to keep standing on her feet.  “Try to keep calm. You’ll be fine,” she said in her mind throughout the ceremony. She could feel the attention bearing down on her. His hand reached out at just the right moment….

“He did this to me,” Stacy said as she rubbed her enlarged stomach. “This is all his fault.”

She sighed. That was a lie. She wanted to have the child. He felt it was too soon, but he didn’t argue the point. So really it wasn’t all his fault. It was her decision. Well, it was her choice. She just forgot to worry about the pain aspect of it and what that would do to her nerves.

“I have too much time to think,” she said to herself. Her doctor ordered her to stay in bed (she felt something that didn’t feel right) and she had as many days as it would take of not moving to look forward.

You can check out the rest of the story here. Thank you for reading!

Upon The Ground: The Duck

This week’s short story from my collection Upon The Ground is up at GreenSpotBlue (Here). This time it is a comedy entitled “The Duck.”

Here is the beginning of the story:

“The Duck”

“Do you know what that is?” The Interviewer asked in his deep, rough, slow voice. He pointed at an object on his desk. I didn’t have the slightest idea what it was. Whatever it was it was bloody and very disgusting. I quickly thought back to all my classes on job placement and interviews. No… No… No…. None of them said anything about bloody objects. The only experience I had in college with bloody objects was when I dissected that frog in Biology 101, but that wouldn’t come back to haunt me now (would it?). I decided to be honest with the interviewer. “No, sir, I don’t.”

“That is my spleen,” he said. He sounded very proud.

“Why, that’s nice.” I made a mental note that this man had no spleen in his body. It sounded important at the time.

“So can you figure out why I have my spleen on display?”

My mind frantically jumped from thought to thought. Can there truly be a good answer for why a person has their spleen removed and placed on their desk? I decided to go with the honest answer. “No, I don’t, sir.”

By the look of disappointment on his face, I instantly knew I had given the wrong response. “Because,” he said making sure to emphasis every syllable. “I want my clients to know that I am hiding nothing from them.” He waved his hands in front of his suit. “This is what I have on the outside.” He pointed at the spleen. “And this is what I have inside.”  He made sure to make eye contact with me. “I am an open book.”

If you would like to read the rest of the story, please visit GreenSpotBlue here.

Thanks for reading!

Upon The Ground: Downsized

A new short story is up at Green Spot Blue from my collection Upon The Ground.  This time it is the story, “Downsized.”

Here are the first few paragraphs from the work.

“Downsized”

He hated how his mind worked. For some unexplained reason he can remember every bad thing that ever happened to him vividly. It was saved on a video in his head for him to replay over and over again in perfect detail. And yet when he tries to remember the good times all he could remember were little things, glimpses. For example, when he thinks back on his wedding all he can remember are her eyes before he kissed her at the ceremony and the feeling of happiness.

Feelings… Yes, the good moments survived in him more as feelings. Glows. Different hues of times that speckled his heart. His daughter’s birth was more of a bright red. His wedding was more of a clear blue like the color of her eyes.

But when he thought back to the day his dad died it was like turning on the TV or stepping right back into that day. He could see it all around him again. He ran into the white hospital room late. Only his mother was there, holding her husband’s hand. Ted knew what was happening quickly. The room was heavy with death and all the little noises from the outside world were all strangely echoed and empty. He ran over to the bed and stood behind his mother. He laid his hands on her shoulders.

His father looked up at him and he could read it all in his face. The pain. The time. He could see it all there as his father fought something to try and stay. The last struggle of clear desperation. He wanted to stay so badly, so badly… That expression haunted his dreams for many years and sadly became his strongest memory of his father. Only the memory of his father slipping away right before his eyes and there was nothing either of them could do.

You can read the rest of the story here. I hope you enjoy it.  Previous stories from the collection can be found via the links on the Upon The Ground page.