The Quiet Scream in the Library: A Cynical Rant About Literature

I don’t always like fiction.

This may seem weird to say since I am a writer, I have an MFA in the field, and I used to do book reviews on NPR (actually I did those reviews for over three years, you can find them here), but it is true. Painfully, painfully true. I just don’t always enjoy reading fiction.  And it is rare on a relaxing Sunday afternoon that I feel like turning to a piece of fiction to pass the time.

I know… I know… blasphemy!

The problem is I believe that I have studied and analyzed literature to such a point that I have practically (and academically) taken the pleasure out of it.

It’s the great college conundrum! A question every college student has to ask him or herself- Do you go into a field around the subject that you love? Yes, you will enjoy the classes more than you would, say, in a different field but it also may impact how you view it for the rest of your life.

In other words, once Dorothy sees the wizard behind the curtain you can’t put the wizard back. English majors like me are Dorothys. And no matter how much we wish it, we can’t bring the “magic” back.

Continue reading

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Uses of this World: Chapter 4

Claudius

Denmark 1926. The world is on a powder keg, the old world is in conflict with the new, still recovering from World War I. Jazz and flappers. Cocktails and parties. In this tumultuous time, the king of Denmark is found dead… but his spirit is not at rest.

Uses of this World is the tale of the people around the events of Hamlet, from the soldiers to the royal family. Each is tied to the outcomes around the crown. And the country, as well as the world, is waiting to see what happens next.

Previous Chapters

Chapter 4: World Take Note

“So much for him,” joked King Claudius, and with a smile he gave approval for laughter.  It was the signal the royal court was waiting for and they responded loudly. Even Claudius almost laughed… almost.

Many like to compare politics to Chess. Claudius never did. Chess is a game, he would argue, politics was something more.

It was art.

Claudius, if anyone bothered to ask him (and they didn’t), would compare politics to a symphony. For like a symphony, each different player was like a different instrument, in tone and style. Some were made to be soloists, lyrical and moving or bombastic; others only played well with similar instruments along, needing to harmonize to find their beauty. And at the front of that Danish symphony was Claudius, the maestro, directing and signaling each player in turn. He had the sheet music written out, and each of the members (knowing it or not knowing it) were following his direction, and only his.

Everything Claudius had done since his brother’s demise had been to cement his own grip on the monarchy. Even this, holding the morning assembly between him and the court in the portrait gallery helped emphasize that. Look at the history all around you, and then look at the new royal family getting their portrait painted. History and living history were alive here and no one in the court could deny the lineage from the ancestors in oil to the breathing family in front of them.

This was Danish royalty. Continue reading

Uses of this World: Chapter 3

Fear and Wonder

Prologue and Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3: Fear and Wonder

The fog sat uneasy on the castle grounds. It was as if the very world did not like the events about to take place and wanted to hide it away in deep and dark shadows.

It began with a shout. “Who’s there?”

A voice answered from the gray, this one scared, accompanied by the sound of a rifle cocking. “Nay! Answer me. Stand and unfold.”

Bernardo, with a sigh, slung his own gun back over his shoulder. As the young solder stepped forward, he raised his hands in the air as if he was comically surrendering. “Long live the king.”

The other solder, upon seeing the sight, lowered his gun, relief taking over his frame. “Bernardo?”

Bernardo smirked and lowered his hands. “He.”

This troubled Bernardo, he had never seen Francisco looking so tense and fearful. This was more than the fog. Bernardo was beginning to wish he didn’t agree to this foolish plan of Marcellus, or as he liked to think of him, “The Grump.” When Marcellus brought it up after the second night it seemed wise, and really why argue with the Grump.

Francisco held out his hand for Bernardo to shake, which he did. “You come most carefully upon your hour.” Bernardo couldn’t help noticing how cold the other soldier’s hand was. It was ice and the grip was tight. Continue reading

“Artists, Sex, and Inspiration” A Guest Post on Queen of All She Reads (Book Tour Day 3)

KissDay 3 of 10! This is my third guest post on the book tour for my new novel Permanent Spring Showers.  I have already had two different guest posts for the tour (you can find links here and here). I’ve spoken about writing and spring, now for something a little… different.

Today, I am on Queen of All She Reads discussing the arts and… well… sex. The post is entitled “Artists, Sex, and Inspiration: The Importance of Passion in Permanent Spring Showers.” Here is an excerpt from the beginning:

Vince is a charismatic young painter. He can lose days lost in inspiration. His hands are usually covered in paint or clay, and his clothes may be stained with work and sweat. And yet, even then he still looks good, because of the charisma and passion and inspiration propelling him forward. Vince has an energy most of us can only dream of.

Vince lives each day to the fullest. Carpe diem has nothing on Vince. Life is almost as much a work of art as the creations that drive him. A day with Vince is a day lost in ideas, theories, deep conversations, and art. It could almost be considered a mini-vacation from the stress of everyday life.

Vince is sexy, with his intense eyes and unwavering convection on everything. Many women in the new novel Permanent Spring Showers are fascinated with him (as well as one of the men). Some act on it, some regret that they acted on it, and others won’t even admit to dreaming about him. Still it is there.

You can read the rest of the post here.

There is also a brief excerpt from my new novel, as well as a giveaway that will be Permanent Spring Showersrunning throughout the tour to win a copy of the book. Wait! Hold the phone… or iPhone… or browser…

The eBook of Permanent Spring Showers will be on sale during the tour! It is on sale for only $1.99. So there is no better time to grab a copy! You can find it on amazon for Kindle here and for the NOOK here.

 

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)

New WKAR Book Review: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

FCurrent Stateor Halloween on WKAR’s Current State I reviewed one of the greatest works in literature… which is also freaky scary.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley has always been important to me and my writing and I had a lot of fun with this review. Check it out!

You can listen to my review here: http://wkar.org/post/book-review-mary-shelleys-frankenstein-wkar

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

If you would like to read this classic (and you should) you can find it on Amazon here.  You can also check out my other book reviews via links on this page.

I hope you enjoy my book review and Happy Halloween! Continue reading

Only a little while left! Enter to win an autographed copy of MY PROBLEM WITH DOORS!

On October 28, the giveaway for MY PROBLEM WITH DOORS ends on Goodreads.com. Two lucky readers will win an autographed copy of this surprising time-travel novel.

Jacob 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. MY PROBLEM WITH DOORS 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.

You can enter by clicking below.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

My Problem with Doors by Scott D. Southard

My Problem with Doors

by Scott D. Southard

Giveaway ends October 28, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

MY PROBLEM WITH DOORS was published by I Publish Press and was just recently released for the Kindle, with a brand new (and exclusive) afterword by me. You can find it on amazon here.

If you would like to learn more about the work you can check out a sample (here) or find more info via this page on the site.

“This is a most compelling book. It pulls you in to a fascinating concept from the beginning…. I give this book 5 stars.” -The Voracious Reader

Wow! Check out the cover for my upcoming novel PERMANENT SPRING SHOWERS!

Permanent Spring Showers

I’m  really excited to share with you today the cover for my new novel PERMANENT SPRING SHOWERS!

PERMANENT SPRING SHOWERS is being published by 5 Prince Books (you can find the page for the book here).

This really awesome cover was created by Daniel Phillips.  During the day Daniel is an audio/video engineer/editor based out of Arvada, CO with  a passion for filmmaking (especially documentaries) and loves print design.  He works at SCM Productions which is a full-service audio/video production studio (you can find them on the internet at www.scmpro.com). I think his work perfectly captures the vibe of this little twisted book.

Over the next few months, I look forward to telling you more and more about my new novel!

Blog Tour Day 4: “Fun” New Review, Interview, and Spotlight for A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM

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This is the fourth day of the blog tour for A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM!

These blog tours are pretty busy! Two giveaways (with more on the way), spotlights, reviews and now an interview!

The interview was with Jorie Loves A Story. This was a very indepth interview about my writing style and my thoughts on Jane Austen (from her characters to adaptations on her work). She even asked me about my dog, Bronte! You can check out the interview here.

On the website Diary of an Eccentric there is a new review for the book. It’s a great review since it acts so well as an introduction to the book and plot. Please be aware though there are spoilers (at the end of the review and in the comments) to the big twist in the book. You can check out the review here.

Let’s see… what else? Oh, yes!  A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM is being spotlighted on the site What Is That Book About. You can check that out here.

One last bit! While the eBook giveaway on Bookish is done (and congrats to the winner), there is still one other eBook giveaway running at To Read or Not to Read. It is going on for a few days more, so jump over and enter! Here is the link. 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).

Blog Tour Day 3: “Wonderful” Two new reviews and another giveaway for A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM

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This is the third day of the blog tour for A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM!

Today I am happy to share with you two new book reviews and a new giveaway!

My favorite quote from the reviews comes from the website WTF Are You Reading.

Known not so affectionately as “the other Miss Austen”.  The brilliant authoress’ true story leaves much to be desired in the way of the “heart-stopping romance and timeless love matches” that have flowed with such unparallelled eloquence from her pen.

Until Scott Southard…

With Austen inspired phrasing and a wonderful blend of fact and fancy, Southard allows readers to experience a well written and emotionally  appealing “what if”?
This book allows readers to experience Jane, the person.  Watching her grow, develop, and become the woman that this book portrays, is a wonderful experience of the human condition.

You can check out the rest of the review here. The website To Read or Not to Read also reviewed the book and is hosting a giveaway. You can check out that review and enter to win an eBook copy of the book here.

Remember there is another ebook giveaway still going on at Bookish! That one is about to wrap up soon, so enter here! 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).