Book Giveaway, Author Interview, Review and Hello to My 602 Blog Followers! A Friday Writing Roundup.

Typing dudeHi Everyone.

I love days like this! The sun is shining, the grass is green and my ego is the size of Manhattan for today I have reached 602 blog followers!

This is a big deal for me, my writing and this crazy author dream I’ve had since I was child. Thank you so much! I hope you continue to enjoy my writing!

This has also been a fun week for my new novel A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM, recently published by Madison Street Publishing (Out now and under ten dollars!).

  • Through May 12 there is a book giveaway going on at English Historical Authors. To enter you simply need to visit this link and enter a comment. One lucky person will win a print copy of my latest surprising novel.
  • This week I also had the opportunity to have a fun interview with the website Austen Hill. Kelly, who runs the site, also reviewed my book on Wednesday. A review that still makes me blush. You can read the interview here and the book review here.
  • A Jane Austen DaydreamA JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM is still being sold exclusively via amazon.com where you can find it in print now for ONLY $9.85 and as an eBook for just $3.99. I hope you will consider buying it via this link. (You can also learn more about the book, see reviews, and read an excerpt on the DAYDREAM page on this site here).

On a side note, I am currently locking down my book MAXIMILIAN STANDFORTH AND THE CASE OF THE DANGEROUS DARE (I gave an update on this book I am self-publishing here). Yesterday, I ordered a proof copy of the book which I should have next week. I can not wait to see it and, more importantly, share it with you.

I hope everyone has a nice weekend, is enjoying A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM, and continue to enjoy my little verbal adventures (posts).

Thank you so much for reading!

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Music Review: Yvonnick Prene’s Jour de Fete

Jour de FeteBefore Yvonnick Prene I never considered the harmonica.

I’m embarrassed to admit that the extent of my knowledge even around harmonica and jazz mixing together was an odd little collaboration from the 1990’s. It was The Glory of Gershwin headlining the legendary harmonica player Larry Adler. The CD, like most collections, has some high points (Peter Gabriel doing “Summertime,” Sting performing “Nice Work if You Can Get It” and a spirited “Rhapsody in Blue” with Mr. Adler taking on the clarinet part) and some definite low points (Cher). You can’t put a CD on like that and just press play, you skip tracks. Your musical sanity demands it.

In many ways I am a jazz snob.

  • Electronic instruments can wait at the door (Sorry Miles Davis)
  • I don’t care for too much experimentation (Sorry Miles again) unless it is in the solo
  • Smooth jazz puts me to sleep
  • I feel more at home in the world of hard bop and be bop where the saxophone is king

Basically, even in that little rundown, I’m not sure where the harmonica fits in. It’s an anomaly, a glitch in the system, a hiccup; an almost hypnotic variation on the human voice, able to show as much emotion, passion, and charm, but fitting in… where?

Yvonnick Prene’s new CD Jour de Fete opened my beady eyes to new possibilities in jazz… and frankly, for me as a snob, that is kind of cool. Continue reading

“…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…

First Reader Review for A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM!

A Jane Austen DaydreamThe first reader review for my novel A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM is on amazon! I couldn’t be more thrilled.

I’ve yet to find an author who is as adept as Mr. Southard at imitating voice. Reading this was like reading Jane Austen – and I’m a huge Jane Austen fan. I think she’d be pleased, too.
This story weaves fact and fiction effortlessly. I love the pace, the form and obvious admiration the author has for the subject. This is not your typical book, yet it’s eclectic nature is its draw. I can’t say more without a spoiler. Sometimes we just need a happy ending.
I highly recommend this book to Austen fans.

The print and eBook version are both available on amazon right now. You can find them here via my author page: http://www.amazon.com/Scott-D.-Southard/e/B002EDX5VC/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Reblog- Discussing Brave

This film comes out on Blu-Ray this week and this is my initial response to the film (which is great). My daughter is only 18-months old and is obsessed with Princess Merida. She has a toddler doll of her and walks around with it, calling it her baby. She runs her hands through her hair, gives it kisses, sleeps with it each night… Yes, it is all very cute. The day I show her the film and she realizes her “baby” can walk and talk too, her little mind will certainly be wowed.

The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard

This discussion/review is filled with spoilers so if you have not seen Brave… Well, go see it, it is great.

I’m not sure whether to compliment the marketing division at Disney or scold them, but Brave is not the movie they were selling to us. Oh, it is a good film, and I really enjoyed the trip, but it’s not the film I felt like we were seeing in the ads.

Yes, there is magic, there is the princess with the bow, there is some adventure in the end, but it is not on a grand magical stage. If anything the film seems smaller than all that, and even seems to decrease in size over the picture, since we keep returning to locations we have seen before, again and again.

Yes, in many ways, Brave is a small  and personal film, with only a small cast dealing with an issue…

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Reblog of The Amazing Spider-Man Review

This is going to be controversial… Let me just say it quick, like ripping off a band aid, but I think The Amazing Spider-Man was the best comic book film this year. There I said it, everyone can take a breath. On Friday it comes out on Blu-Ray and I recommend you check it out. Forget the (lousy) first film trilogy, this is a more human, more real story, you feel the hero’s journey more. That’s not to say Avengers and Dark Knight Rises weren’t fun, they were; it’s just that this film meant more to me in the end… And I would never have considered myself a fan of the webslinger before this film. It converted me. Here is a link to the review of the film I wrote for Green Spot Blue.

The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard

I have a new film review up on Green Spot Blue.  It is a review of The Amazing Spider-Man.  Here is a snippet from the beginning:

For years, Peter Parker has not been able to catch a break.

I’m not talking about with the villains like Doctor Octopus or the Green Goblin, or with the girls, like Gwen and Mary Jane; no, I am talking about his issues with pop culture.

From questionable musicals to badly-written TV shows (Ultimate Spider-Man, which does not live up to its title at all) to lackluster movies, Peter Parker has had to endure it all. And he has, not losing an inch of his popularity along the way. That is a feat for any creation, even a superhero.

Growing up I was always more of a DC Comics fan, always feeling like there was “too much” going on around…

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Dear Wild Kratts, You Guys Are Awesome

PBS Kids has always been a good idea in theory. It’s the follow through where things get a bit muddled.

Each of the shows seem to have their own agendas (besides the obvious of keeping the production company working), and many times I wonder if they do involve educating my children. Even Sesame Street has problems with its obsession around showcasing celebrities (that, let’s be honest, children don’t care about) and in the end only seems to teach kids the importance of pop culture. Wonderful. Thanks.

And who knows what Arthur teaches except how not to get along with your sister.

I’ve written about my issues with the shows before (I wrote about Thomas the tank Engine and Sesame Street for a parenting site), so I really don’t need to continue my rant here. There is just so much ranting you can do about kid shows until you come off sounding a bit, well… odd; even to your understanding family.

I don’t want to be that guy. No one wants to be that guy.

Which brings me to what I consider one of the highlights of the PBS Kids lineup, the stellar Wild Kratts.

Why do I like this show above all of the other ones on TV today? Simply, my four-year old son learns from the show and that is just wonderfully awesome. Continue reading

Prometheus: So Many Questions…

I just saw Prometheus which opened up a lot of questions for me. So if you have not seen the movie yet, consider yourself warned about this article. There are massive spoilers (I’ll warn you when I am about to start with a scream like this: Ahhhhh!!!)

In preparation for seeing Prometheus I rewatched the director’s cut of Alien. Since that was the only film that Ridley Scott directed from the Aliens series, I felt I was safe just rewatching that one.

See, I was hoping I would go in fully prepared to see all of the little connections to the first one. Since the script was written by the genius behind Lost, Damon Lindelof, I was expecting a lot of little touches and references… well, just like any episode of Lost, but this time in space; where they can’t hear you scream, but we still do apparently. And here is the spoiler scream- Ahhhhh!!! Continue reading

Underwhelmed by Pottermore

Maybe it is the Ravenclaw in me, but I was expecting something with a little more creativity and inspirational zing from Pottermore.com.

Pottermore… I remember when I first heard of the Web site. What a great idea! An online experience around Hogwarts that also works as an opportunity for JK Rowling to share new insights into the world of Harry Potter. The last part is what got me the most; see, while as satisfied as I was with the end of Potter (both book and on film), a part of me still missed the universe. It had found a home in my heart next to Middle Earth and a galaxy far, far away (not the prequels), and that is quite an achievement.

Pottermore first opened for Beta testers last year. I did not work to become a beta tester because I assumed it wouldn’t be beta tested for that long. I mean, they just got done making a major announcement that stretched the entire world about the new site! You don’t do that unless you are ready to go. I mean, it is unheard of to do otherwise.

Well, surprising it is heard of! My bad.

The Beta testers “owned” the site from Fall to April of this year (while the main page kept promising its opening in a month that was long gone), as I, and most of the other Potter fans waited and waited… Continue reading

One of My Favorite Finds of Last Year: Graphic Audio’s DC Titles

I have a new review up on GreenSpotBlue today.  This one is a find I am really excited about, as you will see from my review. In many ways, Graphic Audio are bringing life to an artform I thought was dead and that is, in my humble opinion, awesome.  Here is the beginning of my review:

This may sound like the beginning of a bad country song, but when I found Graphic Audio, I was not looking for love just a way to pass the time.

See, in 2011, my daughter was born and after the experience of her older brother I knew I needed something to help keep me awake and focused during late night feedings… or even afternoon feedings (something about holding a sleeping baby that knocks me out every time). Continue reading