Five Things I Am Into Right Now, January 2015

This is Lightning. She only has bad daysSo I’m going through a thing with a video game.

Do you remember this post? (The reference is only a few paragraphs, it won’t take you long.) There I am praising Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.

You can feel the love.

It could be argued that it was the honeymoon stage of my relationship with the game.

See, I’ve had a long relationship with Lightning and her role-playing world, playing both of the installments before starting on the third and final part (I’m sure it could almost equal entire months if the hours were embarrassingly added together). And, as you can guess from the post then, everything was going swimmingly in our relationship. We laughed at the same jokes, enjoyed discussing our past history…. Then this damn monster called Grendel appeared in a desert world and ruined everything for us.

Ruined, ruined, ruined!

Now, I love the literary reference in the monster’s name, so the creators get points for that, but that monster destroyed my infatuation with the game and world and Lightning and sent me away. (Actually, over to Gotham City and a Batman game.) It’s not often I leave a game unfinished, especially a Final Fantasy game, so it was rough. I like to think it felt that way to Lightning too.

So here I am, it’s a new year, and I am looking for new beginnings, new possibilities. And since Lightning and I have such a long past I decided to give it another shot….

Of course, this time I am wisely playing on easy.

I have no video game shame.

Here is my first list for 2015, and speaking of video games… Continue reading

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A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM in the virtual world! The blog tour starts on September 1!

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From September 1 through 12, my novel A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM will be taking part in a blog tour sponsored by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour (more info here). There will be reviews, interviews, and even a giveaway. Here is the itinerary (with links):

On each of the days, I will share links and updates on the experience. I hope you will follow along (or maybe even read along)!

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).

A shout-out to my 1100 followers and a request to my readers!

ElsaThis weekend I passed 1100 followers on my blog. That is awesome! As many of you know who have been following  my blog for a while I usually do something silly when I reach a new 100 milestone.

Well, I did have one planned for this time. In a blatant overreach in self-promotion I was going to rewrite the lyrics to the popular song “Let It Go” from the movie Frozen to be all about my writing and posts. A total ego trip… in snow.

It would have been epic and very embarrassing. In other words, perfect. But I have decided to do something different. Actually, I’m writing to you my readers.

I’m preparing a book for you guys! It will be called Me Stuff  and it will be a collection of some of my more popular personal posts. My hope is to be done with the production of the book sometime in March.

Do you like my blog? Do you check it often? Do you have a favorite post? Why do you keep coming back? See, the thing is I want to know!

I would like to include quotes from readers of my site as part of the marketing around the book! Some might make their way onto the cover, most will appear on the future page for the book and any marketing I might do around it. Readers speaking to other readers is how I view it.

If you would like to say something about the site, my writing, etc., for Me Stuff that would wonderful. You can e-mail me here at AJAD.Southard@gmail.com.

I look forward to sharing this book with you. And thank you again for supporting my site!

Shock, Awe and a Call to Arms: A Writing Update

This is me as a duck in a hatThere are a few moments in my life I have been truly shocked.

Hearing my son cry for the first time (even though I was anticipating it) shocked me. Meeting my wife definitely turned my head. Getting into grad school at USC was a nice surprise… But this was a new one for me as an author.

This week Madison Street Publishing, the publisher of A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM, did a two-day free eBook promotion of that new book and… The numbers were extraordinary!

People from all over the world in just 48 hours jumped to grab my novel, bringing the total to… 7392.

7392!

Over 7000 people have found my book and may begin it; not all may finish it, of course, but the possibility is there. If these were sale numbers those two days could have dropped my book on lists I have only dreamed about approaching. 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!

My Adventure in Self-Publishing: Wrestling the Proof Copy into Submission

Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare, CoverA proof copy of your novel is a beautifully constructed illusion.

Oh, it feels like your book, it could even be argued that it smells like your book, but when you open it up… Wait! I forgot that comma! What happened to that word in that sentence? I know I didn’t mean that!

The illusion is shattered like a mirror and by the time you have gone through the entire book your hands are riddled with little scratches and nicks, and the mirror is nothing like it used to look like. It’s all funky now and so is the reflection staring back at you.

Okay… okay… I know that is dramatic, but that is how I felt going through the proof copy of my new novel MAXIMILIAN STANDFORTH AND THE CASE OF THE DANGEROUS DARE.

One of the wonderful little surprises I had with deciding to work with CreateSpace is this option for a proof copy. Yes, they give you the option to look at the proof online for free, but I wanted to hold it.

See, I’ve never gotten into the whole Kindle thing. I just can’t get lost in a story via a screen like I do with paper. Maybe that makes me old fashioned (and, wow, I feel too young to have that feeling about anything), but it just feels more real. On paper is how I discovered all of my favorite books! We share a history, paper and me; and I want my new book to be part of that as well. Continue reading

Need a book this holiday weekend? The eBook of A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM is only $3.99.

A Jane Austen Daydream“Unpredictable… a style entirely new.  If you are looking for something new this summer—something light, for reading at the beach, perhaps… 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.

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

A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM

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.

“Buy this, you will love it.” Amazon.com review titled My New Favorite Book.

“Beautiful piece of literature… I strongly suggest this book for all readers; not just necessarily Jane Austen fans, but any who would love a good story.” GoodReads.com

“I loved this book.” GoodReads.com

A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM is available via amazon.com where you can find it in print for just $9.85 in print and only $3.99 for the eBook. Here is the link: http://amzn.com/0983671923

“Well, when we need a tale that makes us laugh and hope for love we read Austen. Now I will also read Southard. I hope you will too.” AustenHill.com

The Thin Muddy Line of Online Book Reviews: A Writer’s Thoughts

GangstersA few days ago I was given an offer, much like in The Godfather, that I supposedly couldn’t refuse.

At least that is how the offeror thought of it. See, there is a Facebook page I, from time to time, visit where writers will share links to their books and give updates on their writing. I do as well. Anyway, I had posted about my new book A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM, and underneath the book, the fair offer was given. It said, in so many words. “Hey, I’ll write a review on your book, if you write a review on my book.”

Of course, what the offeror was forgetting in that comment, but was definitely implied, was “positive review.”

If this was only a one-time occurrence of a back alley review deal, I would brush it off, move on, but the fact is I get about four to five offers like this a week. Sometimes they are through Facebook or Twitter, but many times they are over e-mail. Occasionally, the person offering the arrangement is playful in the asking, and some (like this guy in the comment) have no problem with anyone seeing the plan.

Usually, I try to be very kind when someone places such an offer to me, I bring up how busy I am with my own writing right then (which, honestly, is very true and I have had to say no to friends handing me things to read as well), but it always makes me feel very uncomfortable, because at the heart of such an exchange there seems to be a certain level of trickery.

Maybe trickery is too harsh a word, but you can’t escape the fact that reviews created in such an arrangement are put out there to convince a reader, someone who possibly doesn’t know better, to buy a book that might or might not deserve the rating it was just given. Leaving that future reader with the equivalent of a horse’s head in the bed when they wanted the full horse. Continue reading

“I just loved this book.” Reviews on Amazon for A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM

A Jane Austen DaydreamReviews are starting to come in on amazon.com from readers for A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM, my latest novel!

Here are some excerpts from the reviews:

“I just loved this book…. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, beautifully written, I was excited to read it every night…. I will read it again. Buy this, you will love it.” [From a review titled “My new favorite book.”]

“In Jane Austen Daydream, Jane becomes a character herself–a literary creation formed from the melding of all of her heroines (complete with all of their foibles and graces)–who gets to live the adventure, heartache, and romance usually experienced only by those who populated her novels.” [From a review titled “A re-imagined life for the woman we love.”]

“Imagine what it would be like to be `a fly on the wall’ in the Steventon rectory in the late eighteen century, or to be a `bee in the bonnet’ of Jane Austen…. Jane Austen is portrayed as a real person – warts and all! At times she is angry, jealous, bitter, biting but throughout the book she is passionate about her writing and characters.” [From a review titled “An enjoyable read for an Austen fan!”]

“The story was entertaining from start to finish, and I really loved seeing Jane’s progression as a character throughout the story.”

A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM is available via amazon.com and on sale for only $3.99 for the eBook and $9.85 for the print version. You can purchase it via this link- http://amzn.com/0983671923

I hope you will enjoy A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM!

Do you like my blog? Do you review books?

My Problem With DoorsAs an author, I’m like a loving parent with multiple kids. In other words, I want all of my books to find an audience.

While my attention is focused on working with my publisher on preparing A Jane Austen Daydream (the new cover is wonderful by the way) and working on Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare, I would love to draw some attention to my current published novels, My Problem With Doors and Megan. (My older children, if you will.)

MeganI spoke about both of these books in a previous post on my site this week here (which includes descriptions, excerpts, etc.), but right now I would love to find some reviewers, other opportunities for them to find readers.

So if you review books for a website or have your own book/writing site, other outlets for review, etc., please comment below or e-mail at ajad.southard@gmail.com. (I will share the review and link to your site here as well when it goes up. I’m also planning to create a page for each on this site.)

I’m really proud of both of these books, and I guarantee that they will surprise you, so if you are interested in one of them please contact me.

Thanks for reading!