Book Review: Burr by Gore Vidal

BurrA new book review today! This time I am taking on the classic work of historical fiction, Burr by Gore Vidal. If you love the musical Hamilton, you will love this book.

You can check out my other book reviews (both for WKAR’s Current State and this website) here.

If you want to check out Burr for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

Burr by Gore Vidal

Historical fiction is a dangerous genre.

In the wrong hands it can change a person’s perception of a real event or historical figure, tainting the truth for readers and the public. Debates and controversies in our world have been created out of less! But in the right hands it can inspire a reader to see something from a new light, possibly break out of their normal mindset. Easily the most dangerous, and possibly exciting, historical fiction I have ever read is Burr by Gore Vidal. In it, Gore Vidal tries to make a hero out of Aaron Burr, one-time vice president and killer of Alexander Hamilton.

HamiltonI discovered the book when my family (including my kids) became obsessed with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s fantastic musical, Hamilton. While Hamilton puts many of the heroes of the American Revolution in the wonderful glow of the spotlight; Gore Vidal instead adds a lot of filters and a smoke machine. In Burr, Vidal seems to take a glee out of spoiling our history and understanding around the American revolution. This is not your normal 1776.

In Burr, George Washington is an incompetent general more worried about his image and politics as compared to victories. Alexander Hamilton is shady and driven by power. Even French military hero Marquis de Lafayette comes out as a little bit of a buffoon. Only Aaron Burr steps forward as a hero, and possibly the true father of our country.

Aaron Burr is the voice of reason and all of the decisions he makes are for the good of the country. He rarely thinks of his own self-interest, as he weaves each of his plots that he is certain will help grow the new country he loves. Everything seems to make sense from his perspective, but history will never know.

The novel Burr is told through the voice of Charles Schuyler, one of the few fictional characters in it. He spends his time hobnobbing with the political elites, dating questionable women, and meeting with important members of the New York literary circle, including Washington Irving. Charles is determined to write a book on Aaron Burr and is able to get him to open up and share his experiences. It is through those recollections that both the book and the character do not hold back. For Aaron Burr has a strong opinion about everyone in our revolutionary history and few walk out of his recollections unscathed.

I can’t help but imagine Vidal smiling throughout the writing of this book. Most of it seems to be built out of the rumors and gossip of that period as compared to what our historians will focus on. It is because of this fact that I find the book so dangerous. Yet, even I, a fan of nonfiction and Ken Burns documentaries felt a sense of horror and scandalous pleasure in the reading of it.

Even without Vidal’s wonderful writing, Aaron Burr is a fascinating and complicated character just waiting for a novelist’s pen. Besides the duel with Hamilton, he was once tried for treason, was quite the lady’s man, and was almost President of the United States. The question though is he an American hero? Vidal tries to present him as one and I can’t help but think the idea is a little… well… brilliantly dangerous.

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Holiday Time! Free eBook of A Jane Austen Daydream! Book giveaway for Permanent Spring Showers!

janeaustin_titleJust in time for the holiday season and traveling, my novel A Jane Austen Daydream is a free eBook on Amazon for a limited time! You can grab it here. Surprising, witty and romantic, A Jane Austen Daydream is a re-imagining of Jane Austen’s life, putting her into a tale she might have written for one of her own characters. Here is the back cover description:

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.

Grab your copy today! Here is the link- http://amzn.com/B00CH3HQUU

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But that’s not all! There is book giveaway for my latest novel Permanent Spring Showers going on right now at The Review (here). Four lucky readers will win a digital copy of this new work of literary fiction. Here is the description of this new book:

Professor Rebecca Stanley-Wilson is having a very bad season. Her husband has just admitted to having an affair. And it was with one of her students.

Blame it on a desire for revenge (or way too much alcohol), she then has had one of her own. Unfortunately for her, her affair was with one of the great upcoming painters of his generation. The ramifications of that one torrid evening will not only be felt across her life but over the entire art world.

Sexy, funny, and very surprising, Permanent Spring Showers is the tale of one very memorable springtime and how it impacts a group of unique artists and dreamers. From the writer who is creating a new literary movement (through outright manipulation), to the hopeful Olympian with the failing marriage, to the romantic wondering what he did wrong to drive his love from him, each tale walks the line between reality and fantasy. And waiting at the end of the line is a very important painting… and possibly the revolver used in the Lincoln Assassination.

Permanent Spring Showers  is out in both print and eBook at all online stores, you can find it on amazon.com here. The eBook is on sale for only $3.99. So if you like A Jane Austen Daydream and want to read more or say thanks for the read, why not snag a copy?

You can read a sample and learn more about the book via this page.

Happy Holidays readers!

New WKAR Book Review: Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg

Current StateToday on WKAR’s Current State I reviewed the new historical fiction by Jami Attenberg. It is called Saint Mazie and published by Grand Central Publishing. Check it out.

You can listen to my new review here: http://wkar.org/post/book-review-saint-mazie-jami-attenberg

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

If you would like to check out Saint Mazie  you can find it on Amazon here. If you want to check out my other book reviews for WKAR’s Current State, you can do so via links on this page. Continue reading

FREE For Valentine’s Day weekend! A Jane Austen Daydream is free for Kindle!

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

I’m excited to announce, that for a limited time (February 13 through 17), my novel A Jane Austen Daydream will be FREE for Kindle! You can grab your copy here (http://amzn.com/B00CH3HQUU).

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

Published by Madison Street Publishing, A Jane Austen Daydream imagines new possibilities for Ms. Austen, giving her the literary, witty, surprising, and romantic adventure she might have dreamed for one of her characters. Here is the back cover description:

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.

You can grab your copy here (http://amzn.com/B00CH3HQUU).

AND…

Permanent Spring ShowersIf you grab a free copy, why not say thank you by picking up my BRAND NEW novel, Permanent Spring Showers?

Recently published by 5 Prince Books, Permanent Spring Showers is the story of affairs, love triangles, betrayal and the most important painting of this century. You can find it in print and eBook on amazon here (http://amzn.com/B00T74HH0Q) and many other online retailers.

Here is the back cover description:

Professor Rebecca Stanley-Wilson is having a very bad season. Her husband has just admitted to having an affair. And it was with one of her students.

Blame it on a desire for revenge (or way too much alcohol), she then has had one of her own. Unfortunately for her, her affair was with one of the great upcoming painters of his generation. The ramifications of that one torrid evening will not only be felt across her life but over the entire art world.

Sexy, funny, and very surprising, Permanent Spring Showers is the tale of one very memorable springtime and how it impacts a group of unique artists and dreamers. From the writer who is creating a new literary movement (through outright manipulation), to the hopeful Olympian with the failing marriage, to the romantic wondering what he did wrong to drive his love from him, each tale walks the line between reality and fantasy. And waiting at the end of the line is a very important painting… and possibly the revolver used in the Lincoln Assassination.

I hope you enjoy my books! Have a great Valentine’s Day!

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

“Bravo, bravo, bravo!” Booktalk With Eileen reviews the audiobook of A Jane Austen Daydream

Audible Book Cover_A Jane Austen DaydreamNow this is cool!

Booktalk with Eileen recently reviewed the audiobook of A Jane Austen Daydream. I think Louisa Gummer did an amazing job bringing the book to life and I am thrilled that it got such a great review! Here is an excerpt from the review:

Readers who enjoy books that use Jane Austen’s characters in their writing will get much more from this book. We get to meet Jane Austen herself as she is writing her books and experience the moment when she finally becomes published. I applaud Scott D. Southard for this marvelous, delightfully written story which I place in literary fiction genre. I cried for Jane. I cried for another of the characters whom I can’t share his name—no spoilers here. I laughed at how the characters were described, acted and how outlandish some reacted to events. I’m sure this will be one of my better reads/listens this year and will stay long with me. A most laudable book with a laudable production. Bravo, bravo, bravo!

You can read the entire review here (and I hope you will!).

The audiobook of A Jane Austen Daydream is available on Audible, iTunes, and Amazon right now. And on each of the sites you can hear a different sample of the wonderful performance by Louisa Gummer. Check it out and grab your copy today!

  • You can find it on Audible.com here.  It is free for members, or it can be purchased for $24.95.
  • It is available on iTunes (here) for $21.95.
  • And on Amazon (here) where it is free to members, or $21.83

TWritingShow_logoColorAnd remember…

I’ll be part of a panel speaking about Jane Austen and writing this Wednesday! It will be on The Writing Show hosted by James Rivers Writers in Richmond. You can register to attend the event here. I hope to see you there!

“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!

Only a few days left to grab an ebook of A Jane Austen Daydream for just 99 cents!

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

Only until December 28, you can grab a copy of A Jane Austen Daydream for just 99 cents! Published by Madison Street, A Jane Austen Daydream is something very different. For the newbie and the fan and those faintly curious, there is something for every reader in its pages. Here is the link: http://amzn.com/B00CH3HQUU

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

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

A Jane Austen Daydream has also just recently 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

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)

“Fresh, funny and wonderfully evocative” The Review takes on A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM

EmmaWe all know that Sally Field moment when she won the Oscar. Yeah, it was over thirty years ago, but people still quote it and it appears on TV from time to time. There she is on screen happily declaring “You like me! You really like me!”

Well, that is how I feel after this new book review from the website The Review. It is a very well-crafted review and, for me the author, so very, very satisfying. Because, this reader obviously got everything I was attempting to do in the work. Yup, I went all Sally Field. Here is what the reviewer said about Jane:

Southard’s research is solid but not intrusive and he really succeeds in placing Jane in the story. He brings her into vibrant, appealing life, crafting a living, breathing woman of many dimensions and by populating her world with characters real and imagined, he creates a village rife with gossip, intrigue and quiet excitement.

I don’t want to share more from the review, just point you to the link. You need to check it out! Seriously, go— You can find it online here.

Audible Book Cover_A Jane Austen DaydreamPublished by Madison Street Publishing, A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM can be purchased in print ($13.46) or as an eBook for the outrageously low price of $3.99 for Kindle. You can find it on Amazon here (http://amzn.com/B00CH3HQUU).

You can find the fantastic audiobook version on Audible and iTunes.

Super Neat! A New Book Trailer for A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM!

Earlier this month, A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM was released as an audiobook, narrated by the incredibly talented Louisa Gummer.  She has also produced this wonderful trailer for the book, which I think really captures the mood and vibe of it. I really like it. Check it out!

You can also check out the video on Vimeo (here) and Facebook (here).

Please share it with your friends and fellow readers!

I would love for more people to discover this novel.Audible Book Cover_A Jane Austen Daydream

Published by Madison Street Publishing, A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM can be purchased in print ($13.46) or as an eBook for the outrageously low price of $3.99 for Kindle. You can find it on Amazon here (http://amzn.com/B00CH3HQUU).

The fantastic audiobook version can find it on Audible and iTunes.