Five Things I Am Into Right Now, February 2016

Sherlock Coloring BookHi readers! It’s good to be back. Sorry about the dust. I’ll try to clean up around here in a bit.

I’ve been off for the month, working on my latest novel, but now I am back and…

What is the deal with coloring books? Okay, this is a tangent, but recently I bought a coloring books for adults, based on the TV show Sherlock and I find it all very calming.

There I am, right next to my kids (while they work on their superhero or Little Pony books) and I am coloring a picture of a corpse hiding in some weeds. My daughter asked me “Who is that?” I replied, “Someone sleeping.” That was a lie, it’s a dead body! Yet, there I am coloring a picture of it. I’m feeling calm from doing it. It’s a freaking dead body and I am lying to my daughter too and I’m calmed by this and…

Okay, I really missed having this blog! Let’s see what else?

Oh, I introduced my eight-year old son to Monty Python! We watched Holy Grail. And, yes, I did fast forward through the naughty virgins scene, but the rest he ate up. Ever since then he has been quoting the film back to me, asking “Dad, do you remember when King Arthur asked if the monster was behind the bunny?” or “Flesh wound? He said it was just a flesh wound!” I can’t stop smiling about it. My son fits so nicely into my Monty Python world. Next up Flying Circus. Man, he is going to love the Spanish Inquisition. And spam! Who doesn’t love spam?

Man, did I miss venting here about things.

Deep Breath Scott, get your head back in the game and focused. Now here are the five things I am into right now. Enjoy! I’m off to color questionable scenes with Monty Python playing in the background. Bliss! Continue reading

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Free eBook for the weekend! Only a little longer left to grab Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare

Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare, CoverThe clock is ticking and the haunted McGregor Castle is awaiting your arrival!

At the end of Sunday (September 8), the free ebook giveaway for Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare will come to an end. You can grab a copy by visiting Amazon.com here: http://amzn.com/B00CXSDEBE. Throw it on your Kindle now!

I have always had a great fondness for this story, and have written on its creation a few times on this site (which you can read on the page for the book here). It’s a mad experimental tale, trying to capture that excitement I used to get finding a dusty book at a library, filled with mysteries and new literary surprises. Anything is possible in a story like this, as you will soon see…

Here is the description from the back of the book:

The 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 body guard) 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.

MaggieIf you do take this opportunity to download my free novel, please consider checking out my other books as well- A Jane Austen Daydream, My Problem With Doors, and Megan. If I can promise anything with MAXIMILIAN (and my other tales) it is that you will find something very, very new.

My Mad Genius Moment: The Thrill of Writing Something Radically New

Mad!!!On June 11, my new book MAXIMILIAN STANDFORTH AND THE CASE OF THE DANGEROUS DARE will be released via amazon.com in eBook and print. Currently, there is a book giveaway going on for the book on Good Reads which you can enter here (only 7 days left!).

To help prepare for the release of this odd and playful book, I thought it would be entertaining to write on the unique experience I had creating my “monster.”

Every artist has a mad genius moment in their past that they can point to…. And if they can’t, chances are they are still in the midst of it.

My mad genius moment came when I had turned thirty. Let me paint the scene- my wife was in grad school; I was working a lousy evening temp job which made it so I only saw her one to two hours a day, if at all; my literary agent at the time was still uncertain how to represent my books, which I truly loved and thought should have been published yesterday; I was continuously hitting walls when I applied for creative writing positions on the college level; and I was turning thirty, which kept reminding me of how many writers and poets said the best work was created by people in their 20’s…. AHHHHH!!!

For any artist, feeling this level of burden and frustration, how could I not put the white lab coat on, mess up my hair and laugh loudly and evilly? Continue reading

Chasing the Ghost of Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock HolmesAs I write this I am surrounded by the ghost of Sherlock Holmes.

I am wearing a t-shirt for the BBC show Sherlock. You can also find the Blu Rays for the seasons behind me, alongside the box set containing all of the films starring Basil Rathbone and the series with Jeremy Brett (my favorite television Holmes).

Over to my side is my Sherlock Holmes deerstalker hat that I bought at 221B Baker Street in London many years ago. I remember that moment vividly.

Why?

Well, honestly, I have a big head. I can’t really buy hats since it is rare I find one that fits my large skull. After spending an afternoon walking through the properly messy rooms of the museum, I assumed I would be going home with just a copy of an illustration from the original books (now on the wall in my kitchen), but to my utter surprise there was a hat that fit me. My large head? Really? It was a glorious moment, as if the great detective was prepared for my arrival. Continue reading

The Posts of an Anglophile

Guarding the QueenCheerio!

What inspired me to write my editorial this week, “The Happy Anglophile,” is that I am in the process of editing two different books- A Jane Austen Daydream (to be published in April by Madison Street Publishing) and Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare (which I am self-publishing and sharing the experience via posts, like this one where I discuss my great new cover artist). They are both very British books; one putting the spotlight on Miss Austen, the other trying to capture the world and vibe of Sherlock Holmes.

Not bad for a kid from Michigan, eh?

And it doesn’t stop there! I’ve been thinking about writing a post on a controversial belief I have on Shakespeare next week, and I have been debating myself for months on writing on my love of PG Wodehouse and Douglas Adams (I should have done the Douglas Adams one nearer his Birthday… damn).

Anyway, looking back over the blog, my anglophile-tendencies have been on display ever since I started writing, from books to movies to television to music. For your reading pleasure this weekend here are links to some of my more popular posts on my favorite second home.

Pip pip!

Battlestar Galactica: Humanity’s Show

Battlestar GalacticaI’ve been doing this blog for over a year now, but this is the very first time I’ve taken a request.

See, last week I did two pieces about being a nerd, humourously claiming the title another blogger decided to put on me. And in one of those pieces I made a comment about SyFy’s new Battlestar Galactica (the most recent version, not the old one I will reference below), even hinting at the idea of writing a blog entry about the show.

It was supposed to be a joke, nothing I was really planning to do; yet, I received numerous requests in comments and over twitter to do it. As @Safireblade commented:

“Well, get to work on the Battlestar Galactica post… Chop chop!”

Chop chop?

How could I say no to that? But I have to admit this is a tricky thing for me to do. Just ask a film critic and they will understand- is it easier to write a bad review or a good review? See, as a lover of storytelling, the idea of breaking down what I consider almost a perfect show feels a little… well… sacrilegious. Continue reading

I Love PBS

Sometimes I feel guilty when I write something.

It happens. I am only human, but whenever I write an editorial it is coming first and foremost from a good place. Usually my negativity, when it is presented, is because I believe there are better ways that things can be done (the bad in a way acting as an introduction to me explaining why I am giving the advice in the first place). I have never written a negative post for the sake of attacking. I’m not wired like that.

Basically, I just want to put in my two cents … Which, in a way, is the entire point of having a blog, right?

I’ll get to my apologies in a bit.  Let’s start with the love…

I would estimate that when it comes to TV, PBS makes up 85 percent of all of the television my family watches. From PBS Kids in the morning (my son loves Super Why, Dinosaur Train, and especially Wild Kratts) to History Detectives, Masterpiece Theater, Great Performances, Ken Burns documentaries… Well, the list can go on and on and my DVR is full of just that one station.

Yes, PBS owns my DVR. Continue reading

Five Things I Am Into Right Now, September 2012

Autumn is around the corner, and in my neck of the woods the leaves are just starting to change colors and my son is already talking about his Halloween costume.

He wants to be The Flash this year, but next year he wants to be Captain America with a shield which he threatens to throw around; so it’s good for everyone (especially the dog) he is The Flash this year. My daughter is Princess Leia, because I thought it would be cute and she is too young to argue; and I made sure to pick it up before the mom got a chance to say no. Yes, I am happy with this action on my part, and I will do it again in a heartbeat.

Okay, I must admit I skipped on my list last month. And that is okay, seriously, I had no time, focusing most of my attention on writing my book while listening to Fiona Apple. Yeah, Fiona’s new CD (The Idler Wheel…) is definitely becoming my mental soundtrack for this opus, but I already talked about the CD enough on this site. You don’t need to read me praising it again… Oh, what the heck– it is my favorite CD of the year so far and you should buy it.  Onto my list: Continue reading

UPDATE: So on Sunday, PBS and Masterpiece Theater finally get around to showing Sherlock to the rest of us. I still have mixed feelings about the series. Yes, I love it… but I feel guilty about that. Why does something so wrong feel so right???

The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard

Let me say this off the bat– SHERLOCK is one of the best written TV series I have ever had the pleasure to watch.

I love all the twists and turns and surprises in each episode. I think the actors are great in their parts and I look forward to each new episode. I’ve already seen two of the three new episodes of season two, and it is even better than the first season. As a fan, I hope the series goes on for another 10 years.

OK, I got that off of my chest.

Now, let me say I feel slight tinges of guilt for loving and supporting the series, because it is not Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s vision. Oh, they are his characters (the main ones, albeit with cell phones), but they are not his stories, his world, his words, his adventures, his time period. The creators are–to…

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Why This Writer Feels Guilty For Loving SHERLOCK

Let me say this off the bat– SHERLOCK is one of the best written TV series I have ever had the pleasure to watch.

I love all the twists and turns and surprises in each episode. I think the actors are great in their parts and I look forward to each new episode. I’ve already seen two of the three new episodes of season two, and it is even better than the first season. As a fan, I hope the series goes on for another 10 years.

OK, I got that off of my chest.

Now, let me say I feel slight tinges of guilt for loving and supporting the series, because it is not Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s vision. Oh, they are his characters (the main ones, albeit with cell phones), but they are not his stories, his world, his words, his adventures, his time period. The creators are–to put it bluntly and completely on the table–taking what they want from his stories in piecemeal, and remaking it for their own profit.

Again, I love the series. I want it to go on, but it does set a precedent that makes me a little concerned. Because of this series’ success are we going to see “new versions” of classics all over the place? Is that a good thing? And more importantly, does it give the respect to the original artist that they deserve for their own creation?

Consider this, if SHERLOCK wasn’t such a well-made, well-written series would we be as happy around the enterprise?

If it was crap, I can guarantee you that the Sherlock Holmes fan sites around the world would have risen in protest around it. The fact it is good, helps. So do we say, it is OK to “reinvent” an artist’s creation as long as it is good?  And who defines good? I don’t know about you, but I typically don’t trust TV executives to make that call for me. Continue reading