“Bill called it ‘collecting’ but to Jerry it was something more magical…” An excerpt from In Jerry’s Corner

The release of my latest novel In Jerry’s Corner is getting closer! Just yesterday, I received my copies from the publisher. I think every author does a picture like this with their new book. Who am I to break a tradition?

Yeah, I’m super happy with it. (And I hope you will be too.)

Below I am sharing for the first time an excerpt from “Ten” of In Jerry’s Corner. At this point in the story, Jerry is ten and he has an invisible friend named Bill. Bill is green and dressed like a superhero…

You can preorder a copy a copy of In Jerry’s Corner on Amazon today.

I hope you enjoy this snippet from my new book.

An Excerpt from “Ten”

When Jerry opened his eyes, Bill was over him, his face a little too close to Jerry’s. Good morning. How about we go to the library today?

Jerry rolled away from Bill. “I still have a pile of books to read from our last visit.”

I would like to visit a new library, Bill said.

Jerry moaned, “Super Bill…”

It is necessary for my research. Bill waved his hands and one of the pencils on Jerry’s desk rose in the air, along with a small notepad. They both landed in front of Jerry on the bed. Take note, Bill said.

Fifteen minutes later, Jerry was downstairs. His mom was in the kitchen making pancakes. He knew where his father was, they both did. After drinking he snored like a beast, and they knew all the problems that would occur if he was to wake before he was ready. It always reminded Jerry of the stories about waking a sleeping bear. His father was the bear and he and his mother were stuck in the cave with him.

Even though Jerry knew the routine, his mom felt she still had to say something. “Dad just needs to sleep, so let’s try to be quiet. Pancakes?”

Jerry nodded, and his mom brought him a plateful at the table. She kissed the top of his head. “Maybe we should get out of the house so he can sleep in peace? What do you think?”

Jerry looked to Bill in his corner and sighed. “Maybe we can go to a library?”

“We just went last weekend.”

“Yeah, but I want to go to one we haven’t been to before.”

His mom whispered, but there was a hint of humor in her voice. “I think we’ve been to all of them in the area, Jerry.”

Jerry pulled a piece of paper out of his back pocket. “I wrote down the address.”

His mom took the piece of paper, a little surprised and impressed at the same time.

“There are directions too. It opens at 10.”

***

“Mom, I don’t want to do baseball anymore.” Jerry said, while looking out the car window.

“You just had a bad game, Jerry.”

“I’ve had three years of bad games, mom.”

“Sports teach a lot of things. Teamwork, fair play… It’s good you stay in, alright?” Jerry’s mom looked down at the directions from Jerry and made a turn.

“It’s just not fun for me. It’s boring.”

Jerry’s mom gave a small smile. “It can be a little boring, yes.”

Jerry looked at his mom in the driver’s seat. “Plus, the other kids care so much more than me. Dad cares so much more than me. They all do. I don’t think any of them wants me there.”

“I’m pretty sure your dad would be disappointed if you did quit.”

“Can we at least talk about it?” He was pleading now.

She sighed. “He’s the assistant coach, Jerry. He needs to be there. It would be odd for him to be there without you being there too.”

Jerry couldn’t stop himself. It was like everything he had wanted to say for years was coming out all at once. “But he signed me up, I didn’t ask to play.  Sometimes I think dad loves that stupid game more than me.”

His mom took a quick glance at him. “You know that’s not true.”

Jerry turned back to looking out the window and saw Bill standing on the corner. Noticing Jerry’s gaze, Bill pointed in the direction they needed to go. Jerry stuck his tongue out at him.

As the car moved forward, Jerry’s mom said, “It’s only a few more weeks. Let’s just get through the next few games and talk about it afterwards, okay?”

***

Bill called it “collecting” but to Jerry it was something more magical. It was as if, for a second, all of the characters in all of the stories in the library came alive and breathed one great breath together.

The collecting would begin with Bill moving quickly to the center of the building. He would then raise his long arms much like a pastor welcoming parishioners into a church. Every word had a home with him, every single one. He was calling them all to him.

Then, like a stream of wind, there would be a rustle through each book. No matter the shelf, none would be missed. Each page in the building would feel that breeze. If a person was sitting at a table reading, he would have to grab his book in that second, to keep from losing the page. A few librarians would look around quickly, wondering if a window had been opened.

And then it was done. Each collecting would be the same, and it never lasted more than a second. Jerry liked to call it the breath of literature.

“Did you read them all again?” Jerry whispered to Bill. His mother was already browsing through the movies.

I have collected the information, yes.

“I’d like a few books on drawing comic books. Which books would you recommend I check out?”

I will show you.

You can learn more about my new book on this page- https://sdsouthard.com/in-jerrys-corner/.  Grab a copy of the book today.

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PRESALE BEGINS! Snag your copy of my latest book, In Jerry’s Corner, now!

Cover Art_Southard

The presale begins today for my latest novel, In Jerry’s Corner. I am really proud of the book and I can’t wait for you to discover it. (Yes, I am talking to you.) It is currently available from Amazon in both paperback and eBook.

On Amazon’s US Sitehttps://amzn.to/2OIxYbu

On Amazon UK Sitehttps://amzn.to/2U7zcCO

Grab your copy! Maybe grab two!

Here is the back cover description for the work:

Ever since Jerry Sleight was a baby, Bill was there. Bill is tall, quiet, unblinking and green. He is in the northwest corner of every room Jerry visits and only Jerry can see him.

It might sound strange, but Bill is an alien from a planet without a name and his task is to watch a human life from beginning to end. But why he is observing Jerry, and what does he hope to see? Only Bill knows the true answers to the mystery.

Filled with laughter and surprises, Jerry’s days with Bill will represent all of humanity and the impact a life can have, not just on others but on an entire world and universe.

In Jerry’s Corner is about the importance of a single life… and the amazing green individual watching it all take place.

You can learn more about the book (and me) on the publisher’s website here. I can’t wait to share this latest work with you.

Coming this May! My latest book- In Jerry’s Corner! Read a Sample!

“In a house on a dusty street, there was a quiet stranger.”  

Coming this May from KGGH Publishing, my latest novel In Jerry’s Corner! Today, I get to share not only more information about this very unique book, but an actual sample from it!

Here (for the first time) is the back cover description of In Jerry’s Corner:

Ever since Jerry Sleight was a baby, Bill was there. Bill is tall, quiet, unblinking and green. He is in the northwest corner of every room Jerry visits and only Jerry can see him.

It might sound strange, but Bill is an alien from a planet without a name and his task is to watch a human life from beginning to end. But why he is observing Jerry, and what does he hope to see? Only Bill knows the true answers to the mystery.

Filled with laughter and surprises, Jerry’s days with Bill will represent all of humanity and the impact a life can have, not just on others but on an entire world and universe.

In Jerry’s Corner is about the importance of a single life… and the amazing green individual watching it all take place.

On the KGHH’s website (right here- http://www.kensingtongorepublishing.com/scott-d-southard/4594572642) you can read an interview with me, 7 fun facts about me, and a sample. Yes, I said sample!!! I hope you will check it out… and then have your family check it out… then close friends… then not-close friends… and then strangers. Oh, just tell everyone!

I am really proud of this latest book and I can’t wait to share it with you.

So click here, and check it out today! May is right around the corner….

 

Book Review: Star Wars Aftermath by Chuck Wendig

Star Wars Aftermath

Book Review: Star Wars Aftermath by Chuck Wendig

A lot of people are going to be disappointed in this book.

Some are going to hate the fact how little it sets up the next movie, answers questions we have, tells us what happened to our favorite characters in our favorite galaxy.

Others are going to be bothered by how this book is made for fans, not the everyday, casual reader. Alien names are thrown around with abandonment, assuming the readers know what they look like. Minor characters from the movies walk in and out of scenes as if we should know who they are. It is not a friendly book and will not draw new readers to future books. Even I, a lifetime fan of Star Wars, would probably need convincing before picking up another Star Wars novel.

For me though my biggest disappointment was with the writing. The author lists himself as a screenplay writer and that is obvious since it feels like a screenplay in many ways. Simple. Straight to the point. Dry. There is no literary art here, no sweeping moment of prose that will take you away. Nothing that embraces what makes books and literature a unique medium for telling a story. Honestly, I don’t think I could pick out any of the characters in a police lineup if I had to.

Then there are the “cute” moments in the book. The slight nod to Game of Thrones (the “Shooty” end of a blaster), the dialogue that sounds a little too contemporary as compared to from a galaxy far, far away. With such great writing done for The Clone Wars and Rebels TV shows, it is sad they couldn’t have found one of those writers to take it on. But you know with the love of Star Wars now, imagine if they could have gotten a real author to do it? The mind boggles at the idea. I cannot imagine any author from Generation X and younger saying no to the possibility. Why not try that in the future Disney? (Of course, I would rather write an Indiana Jones adventure, but that is just me.)

In the end, everyone will be disappointed… well, everyone probably but the author, his agent, and Disney’s pocketbook.

Is Historical Fiction a Good or Bad Thing?

HistoryI have a few writing posts on my site that are a little bit controversial.

One of those posts is my discussion around fan fiction, which you can read here. Every time—and I do mean every time—I share this article on Twitter or on a site it generates a response. (This is not surprising because people that read and write fan fiction come from a place of loving a story or an author. The debate is really around how best to show their love, what is appropriate and what isn’t, and who owns the story.)

On Saturday, I decided to re-tweet some of my writing articles, and just like clockwork I was getting responses to my fan fiction piece. One responder, Vanilla Rose (@MsVanillaRose), asked if that was not the same thing I was doing with my novel A Jane Austen Daydream. I quickly replied that my novel was historical fiction, a re-imagining of Jane’s life as one of her romantic and literary adventures.

It was after a few more tweet exchanges that Vanilla Rose said this, taking my breath away:

“…I think that inventing stuff about a person’s life is more problematic than playing with their work.”

Whoa… Continue reading

The Best Intentions in Starfleet: Rewatching the Lesser Star Trek TV Shows

StarfleetThe world of entertainment is filled with missed opportunities.

We have all heard stories about the great “What If’s.”

Great unproduced scripts for shows or movies. Unfinished books. Actors that could have played legendary parts but for some reason lost their chance.

(My favorite missed acting story is a lesser known one actually. It was the idea of Gene Kelly playing the villain in Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes. Just imagine that! All of the charisma behind an evil grin. That original script of the story was never produced, but it generated the novel version that Ray lovingly dedicated to Mr. Kelly.)

Television is a graveyard of missed opportunities, from shows never produced to shows cancelled way too soon (I still mourn Cupid and Northern Exposure). Of course, sometimes those missed opportunities can be found in the actual execution of the series, turning a fun idea with a good cast until a mediocre yawn (How I Met Your Mother) .

After writing a post a few weeks ago on my rediscovered love of Star Trek: The Next Generation (you can read that post here), it made me wonder about the other Star Trek shows… the ones we have all forgotten, some sadly and some for very good reasons.

So, I checked them out again. (Please note, I didn’t say beamed aboard, that would have just been too cheesy, even for me.) Continue reading

Dreaming for a Holodeck. Thoughts on Star Trek: The Next Generation

Our EnterpriseStar Trek: The Next Generation has become comfort food for my soul.

While I always enjoyed the original cast, and even dig the new film series by J.J. Abrams, there was something about the Enterprise D that called to me. I wanted to join that crew. Visit Ten Forward, go on that holodeck. It was the Enterprise I dreamed of.

The show was originally on when I was a kid in high school and I used to collect the episodes on old VHS tapes, stocking them on my bookshelf, as if they were precious treasures; not realizing then that in a few years, videotapes would be nothing more than junk, a lost piece of technology.

Of course, now that is all twenty years ago. The show is off the air for the most part and the cast has moved on as best as they can. Even the universe The Next Generation seemed to fit so snuggly at the top of (being the show that all of the later shows owed some of their success and beginning to) has moved on.

And yet, for me, while the rest of the world is chasing after Captain Kirk again, I am rewatching the show on Netflix. It is more than a homecoming in a way, it is a return to a different time, a different way to look at life. A different me, one that was much younger and dreamed of owning his own holodeck and wanted nothing more than to be assigned to an away mission… no matter how dangerous.

Continue reading

The Awesomeness of TeeFury

TeeFuryI live everyday with TeeFury regret.

This tragic tale is from last year, sometime in the autumn. It was before I purchased my first TeeFury shirt and this one was a combination of Calvin and Hobbes and Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog.

Let me repeat that- Hobbes and Kermit.

Basically, the artist took an image of rambunctious Calvin carrying his stuffed tiger and replaced it with a child that looked like Henson carrying a puppet of the awesome frog. And for 24 hours I stewed over this shirt, weighing each of the arguments pro and con for getting the shirt (or maybe purchasing it for others). I even shared the link to the shirt with friends and family who I thought might like it! But as the hours dripped by, I forgot about the shirt until it was the next morning… and there I was, head down on the computer keyboard staring forlornly at a new shirt available that did not include my beloved frog.

That is my TeeFury regret and now that I am on the mailing list I think of it each time a shirt appears that I may or may not be interested in purchasing. Do I want to live with that experience again?

Do I? Continue reading

Okay, am I a nerd?

The author as Chewbecca... I'm behind Pac Man.Yesterday, the writer Becky Flade mentioned me in a blog post on her site.

The post was called “The Blog that Wasn’t” (which you can find here) and she said this about me and my site:

“When I need a nerd fix, Scott’s my man.”

Nerd?

Nerd!?!

Now, I’ve considered myself many things in my life; but never “nerd.”

Yes, I would say I’m a snob. I can get behind “snob.” I have all the earmarks of a snob! I could have it tattooed on me without a problem. It could be on my arm near where my sweater vest ends (yes, I am wearing a sweater vest), or even above my reading glasses, right on my forehead. Let me give you some examples of my snobbery:

  • I have in my dining room pictures of some of my favorite authors, and many times I have used them as a test for visitors. If, for example, you call Mark Twain “Einstein” well, you might not be invited over again.
  • I have been known to tease my friends who praise Twilight on their Facebook pages. (And they should be teased, especially if they are an adult.)
  • I write novels (while adventurous and surprising) that contain art, music, and literature references.
  • On my desk I have a Shakespeare action figure and an autograph of Woody Allen.
  • Oh, did I mention I have a master’s degree?

You see, I sing snob!

But nerd? Continue reading