Working The Audience: A Very Useful Writing Trick

On the StageI am a little bit of a helpless romantic.

For those who read my novel A Jane Austen Daydream that is not at all surprising. And before I met my wife I thought of my writing as a gateway to the heart.

I was one of those fools that bought into the lie of the romantic novels and the romantic comedy films. You see this plot twist all the time! That grand gesture that makes a person reconsider another in a different light. Oh, it is a great idea in a story, but we all know, honestly, it goes against how people are wired in the real world.

Short stories with hidden messages (and not so hidden ones), books, and I still squirm to remember the poetry. I have admitted a lot of embarrassing stuff on this site, but this is one of those few memories I still want to crawl into a cave and live out my remaining days because of. Yup, just the hint of it makes me want to become a hermit.

I, Scott Southard, was the creator of bad love poems. And I have sent them, strategically left them around, and even mailed them once anonymously in the hope that it would make another stop and see me as hotter (as some kind of light rock classic kicks on in the background like in a bad movie). In the end it never worked… and, by the way, the recipient of the anonymous love poems didn’t even figure out they were from me until I said something! Ouch!

All those bad memories aside, there is something to be said for the importance of an audience. I’m not just talking about the readers all writers dream to have, I mean that more enigmatic dream of a reader. The one we hope will find our work, the one in the back of our mind that drives the creation forward. They demand the story. What many don’t realize is that dream reader can be a tool, and can help over many different steps in the creative process if used right. Just be sure to leave the poetry at home… Continue reading

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On WKAR: Talking About Banned Books Week

Current StateI did something a little different this week in my appearance on WKAR’s Current State. Instead of sharing a new book review, I decided to take on the idea of Banned Books Week. I try to explain both sides of the issue, and offer my option for tackling “unwanted” books.  I’m pretty proud of this piece, I hope you will check it out.

You can listen to my discussion via this link- http://wkar.org/post/book-review-banned-books-week

If you would rather read my commentary, you can do so below after the jump. And you can learn more about Banned Books Week via a site by the American Library Association (here). Continue reading

Mo Willems Is a Genius

Mo WillemsLast week, I actually cried while reading my daughter’s bedtime story. Looking back, I think I was set up for this moment.

My family is big fans of the books of Mo Willems and, in my opinion, there is no more imaginative and witty author of children picture books out there today. To say he is this generation Dr. Seuss or Maurice Sendak is not to do his creativity justice. That is not to say he is better than Dr. Seuss; no, what I mean is he is on his own path.

He is incomparable, unique.

And I, honestly, wish his books were around when I was my little ones’ ages. I would have devoured his books like a box of Macaroni and Cheese…

…or like a pigeon with hot dogs. Continue reading

Thank you readers! I hope you enjoy Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare!

Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare, CoverLast night the free eBook promotion for my new book Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare came to an end. I am happy to report that 544 readers decided to take a gamble on my crazy new adventure. I could not be more pleased.

Thank you readers! I hope you each enjoy my book.

If you do dig my new book why not consider…

  • Checking out one of my other novels? The reviews have all been phenomenal for the new A Jane Austen Daydream and the eBook is only 3.99. It can be found on amazon here. There are also eBooks available for My Problem With Doors and Megan, both can be found via Good Play here.
  • Writing a review or a blog post about the work.
  • Buying one of my books for a friend or family member.
  • Including it in your local book club (the print version is only around 10 dollars and also on amazon).
  • Telling your local library.

In today’s over-congested writing world it is all about word of mouth. (And, honestly, there is only so far a writer can shout from their blog or twitter account.) One reader telling another reader who tells another reader… We are all part of that chain.

I hope you enjoy your visit to the strange McGregor Castle!

“…uncover what it means to be human.” A new review for MY PROBLEM WITH DOORS

My Problem With DoorsA very interesting new review is up for my novel MY PROBLEM WITH DOORS (you can read a sample from the book here). It is written by someone I attended high school with and it’s fascinating to read since she shares the personal experience of what it is like to write a review about a book by someone that you know. (Also, it’s a fun insight into how people viewed me growing up, which is… kind of neat).

It’s a wonderfully honest review where she discusses the experience of falling in love with my character Jacob and how Jacob earned that with her; in the end stating that the book is a “treat.”

Ruth Frasur is a librarian with Hagerstown Jefferson Township Library. This is a sample of what she wrote:

I’m not going to get too far into the various setting and plot lines except to say that, although Jacob is cast about through time and place, he experiences many of the same situations as we who are bound by temporal constraints.  His brushes with greatness do provide interesting vignettes for the reader.  It is, however, in the mundane – falling in love; cherishing family; longing for connection; experiencing loss and personal disappointment – where Jacob really comes alive and helped me connect.  I went from the angry reader to a fellow runner in the race of humanity.

You can read all of Ruth’s personal and straightforward review here. And you can find MY PROBLEM WITH DOORS…

  • In print on amazon for $15.95 here.
  • It is available as an eBook (and will work on all devices) via Google Play (here) or on the publisher’s site (here).

I hope you will consider checking it out…

“A witty, moving, imagining of the life of Jane Austen”

A Jane Austen DaydreamA new review is online for my novel A Jane Austen Daydream. This time done by the Capital Area District Library in Michigan.

You can read the review here: http://www.cadl.org/books-movies/recrev/2013/southardjane.html/

And if you are interested in learning more, checking out interviews and excerpts, and finding out where to buy it in print ($9.99) and eBook ($4.99), please visit my A Jane Austen Daydream page here.

A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM Giveaway!

A Jane Austen DaydreamThis is a part of getting my book published I was not expecting and it’s kind of fun. My publisher is giving away items related to my new book!

This month two lucky readers can win A Jane Austen Daydream poster. I think it is a great cover and would be a neat addition in any classroom or nearby bookshelves (or, dare I dream, in a Jane Austen museum???)

To enter, please visit the Facebook page for the book here (https://www.facebook.com/AJaneAustenDaydream?ref=ts&fref=ts) and click on the giveaway button after clicking on the like button. It is as easy as that.

If you haven’t picked up the eBook yet for A Jane Austen Daydream, you can find it here:

The paperback is coming in a few weeks. I hope everyone is enjoying the daydream… Cheers! And, as always, thanks for reading!