A Holiday Short Story: Kris and Me

Hello everyone!

I thought I would share a story I wrote a few years ago for the holidays, “Kris and Me.” I’ve always had a thing for the holiday season. One of the first things I ever wrote (kid you not) was a holiday movie screenplay. I still am pretty proud of it, but it has been collecting dust for years.

I still dream of seeing that movie on the big screen (or the small screen). Definitely better than a lot of TV movies that get produced for the holiday season each year. Seriously, Hallmark give me a call!

Okay… where was I?

Oh, yeah! A holiday short story!

Here is the beginning of the story, I hope you like it.

Kris and Me: A Christmas Story in 3 Parts

Part 1

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.

You can read the rest of the story here: https://sdsouthard.com/2014/12/11/kris-and-me-a-christmas-story-in-3-parts/

Dusting the Bookshelf – A Jane Austen Daydream

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. Maybe, if I am lucky, it will inspire you to check them out. Whenever I set out to write a book, I am aiming to do something unique, surprising and original. This might be a bad business model, but for me as a reader and an artist, it is a lot of fun.

Most people know me because of A Jane Austen Daydream.

It led to most of my followers on Twitter and this site, it led to me working on Current State on WKAR for three years talking about books, and it led to almost 250 reviews on Goodreads (a number which continues to grow each month).

When the book came out (after going through a separation with an old agent and two publishers, one of whom tried to massively re-edit it and then finally released it with Austen spelled wrong on the paperback), I became for many the Austen man. Every interview I did had a question that was kind of like “Hey, you’re a guy! Do you know it is strange for you to like Austen? Because you’re a guy, I mean.”

Honestly, even though I always found that question a little insulting and sexist. I never pointed it out in my responses (and I’ve given dozens of various little playful responses to it). Jane Austen is a great author and wrote probably the greatest novel in the English language. It really doesn’t matter if I am a guy or not; it doesn’t change that fact. To enjoy her writing is human.

…And, on a side note, the professor that got me into Pride and Prejudice and Jane Austen’s work was a dude as well. He is sadly gone now, but I did add him in as a character in the book as a thank you. He is the local doctor in Jane’s village, Dr. Chesley. Continue reading

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.

Nine Thoughts On Turning One

Today, my daughter turns one.

It may seem selfish, but my kids’ birthdays always become a moment of reflection for me. They are milestones and milestones usually have that impact on a person, no matter if they want it or not. Yet, as first years go, this one seemed to speed past, leaving a soul wondering where all of the time went and why it had to go by so fast.  Here are nine of my initial thoughts on her birthday and the last year…

1. I have heard that many say when your babies age, it makes a parent feel older. That has yet to be the case for me. Maybe I have a touch of the Peter Pan/young at heart thing going you see in the movies, but having kids has made me reclaim bits and pieces of my own youth. I wear brightly colored shoes now, I know all about superheroes, and I can read Fox in Socks incredibly fast. To be honest, I like being this guy, I like being a dad. In a way, it is a gift my kids gave to me… If that doesn’t sound too Hallmarky. Continue reading