My Books

Links to sellers of these books, in both digital and paperback formats, can be found below on right-hand side of the page.

Now Available in Paperback and for Kindle

It was only meant to be a few hours of fun.
A lark. On a sunny Saturday morning Lola, Kyle and Maria set sail on Puget Sound to look for a vision that had come to Maria in a dream. Then disaster struck, and the three of them were plunged into a dark adventure in which they would confront good and evil, past lives, and a timeless curse born from a tragic love. What are the hidden secrets of Bridge House and Riesgado Island? Part Gothic romance, part supernatural mystery and part fantastical adventure, The Curse of Septimus Bridge is Scott R. Larson’s homage to the horror and adventure stories of his youth, notably the 1960s television series Dark Shadows. In this new book, the author of The Three Towers of Afranor takes us on an adventure that ranges from 17th-century Ireland to the Pacific Northwest of today. At the heart of it all is the mysterious figure who lives out his endless, solitary days, having been rejected by both heaven and hell.

“This is a sequel to Larson’s earlier novel, ‘Maximilian and Carlotta are Dead’, which was set mostly in Mexico as a buddy adventure and introduced the character of Dallas Green, a young man with wanderlust from a small town in the San Joaquin Valley. ‘Lautaro’s Spear’ takes us on further romantic and political adventures to France, Germany, and Chile, and deeper into Dallas’ psyche which we find to be darker and more complex than in the first novel. An engrossing read by a first class storyteller, it leaves you wanting more.”

“Totally enjoyed the characters lost souls that they are. Life is not always what we would like.”


Excerpts from Readers’ Reviews on Amazon.com


A legendary reclusive filmmaker. An enigmatic cook and restaurant proprietor, who is clearly more than he seems. Two mysterious deliveries to be made behind the Iron Curtain. A desperate search for a long-missing old friend. An unexpected love affair on the coast of Normandy. Dallas Green’s life has only gotten more interesting since his wild youthful adventures recounted in Maximilian and Carlotta Are Dead.
“I loved this book. It is a rollicking fantasy—youth must pass increasingly difficult tests to attain wisdom and perhaps, just perhaps, win the girl! A pure joy to read. And such a great metaphor for life!”

“It was a great read for young adults as well as adults. Can’t wait for the sequel.”

“A fantasy novel with magic and heart. It’s a quick read that is set up for a sequel. A great story about growing up and learning what you are capable of and it’s clean so it can be recommended to all ages!”


Excerpts from Readers’ Reviews on Amazon.com

What secrets do the three towers hold? For years travelers have avoided the mysterious kingdom of Afranor, but necessity now requires three brothers—the valiant fighting princes of Alinvayl—to pass through Afranor’s dark, forbidding expanse. Not all will survive the journey, but one may succeed in finding his destiny.

“I loved this book! Once I started I couldn’t put it down… What an adventurous way to come-of-age in a place in time that no longer exists. Truly a great read!”

“Larson really captures the sense of a particular time and place. His details of clothes, music, cars, speech, etc. all ring true. Also, the first-person narrator’s voice is pitch-perfect…”

“Scott Larson does a magnificent job of taking his readers on a southern trip with the three young heroes.”

“What a wild and crazy adventure! … The characters were all very well developed; I especially loved Antonio, the star and the hero. Looking forward to the sequel.”


Excerpts from Readers’ Reviews on Amazon.com


It is Summer 1971. With the Vietnam War raging and the draft looming, 18-year-old Dallas and Lonnie look for an escape. Fleeing their hot and dusty farming town in Lonnie’s ’65 Chevy, they head to Mexico. In one last misguided adventure, two lifelong friends blaze a trail to Tijuana and beyond, just to see how much trouble they can get it into.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Pressing Matters

The time between the decision to produce a paperback version of my novel and the hand-off of PDF files to the printer turned out to be surprisingly brief.

I attribute this in equal measure to years of apparently still-relevant experience in press prep and production and unfettered heedlessness. But the road to the PDF hand-off was not without its bumps and potholes.

As I have mentioned, I wrote Maximilian and Carlotta Are Dead in a way that was targeted to the e-book format. The paperback format was an afterthought. This raised some issues. While most authors—to judge from a non-random sampling of their blogs anyway—seem to do their writing with Microsoft Word or other full-featured word processor, I prefer Notepad++. Yes, I use a fancy text editor—something programmers use to write code—to produce my prose works. Rather than select text and make it bold or italic or whatever, I do my formatting by typing tags right in my file along with the text. I write in Hypertext Markup Language, or HTML, the same language that is the source of web pages on the internet—including the one you are reading right this minute. It turns out that the EPUB format (used by most e-book readers) is based on HTML. And once you have an EPUB file, it is fairly simple to convert it to Kindle format, the one used by Amazon and which kind of dominates the e-book market.

Having some experience with HTML definitely helps. Years ago when I volunteered to help my friend Caroline with the web site for an Irish film festival in Seattle, I asked her what program she used to author her web pages—expecting her to name some fancy professional slick web publishing product. She delighted me by replying “Visual Notepad”—a take-off of Microsoft’s line of graphically based programming products. In other words, she was doing the same thing I was—writing all the code with a basic text editor.

So it made total sense to write my book in HTML. Doing that in Notepad++ is not WYSIWYG (“what you see is what you get”) but it’s a simple matter to preview my work by simply loading it into my web browser. When the time came to turn it into an EPUB file, I only had to load it into a nifty tool called Sigil, which allowed me to clean up the EPUB and make it acceptable for online e-book sellers. Relatively speaking, a piece of cake.

I should point out that I am by no means the first one to figure all this out. Lots of other authors have trod this ground long before me. In particular, I found a blogger who calls himself Notjohn very helpful in publicly sharing his own experience and knowledge when it comes to self-publishing, thereby saving people like me lots of time. And lots of other authors have also done the same. Members of the author/self-publishing community are nothing if not supportive of their potential competitors. To their credit they clearly understand that making a living from writing is not a zero sum game and everyone benefits from their mutual support.

So from a technical point of view, publishing my novel as an e-book was relatively straightforward. But when I realized that I needed to publish it as a paperback, it was less so. Unlike an e-book, a printed book needs to have headers and footers and a definite page size and hard page breaks and all kinds of stuff like that. You can’t do all of that with HTML code and, moreover, the printer requires PDF files.

There was no way around it. I was going to have to haul out Microsoft Word. With that realization I found myself immersed in a strange state of déjà vu. You see, that particular software product and I go back a long ways. A quarter-century ago I was tasked by my then-employer with turning that word processor into some kind of viable desktop publishing tool for the purpose of printing books—something that had not been in the minds of the software developers who had written it. I had seen this movie before.

But surely in the ensuing two decades all the hassles of trying to do typesetting, paste-up and press prep with a PC word processor and interfacing with Adobe’s industry-standard software for press jobs had long since been resolved. Right? Right?

This is definitely to be continued…

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Forward to the Past

Clearly, the demise of the paper book—the one you can hold in your hands and turn the pages and even dog-ear the corners of the pages—is not at hand.

That may not be news to you, but it was to me.

I had read somewhere that most books now purchased are ebooks—specifically ebooks in the Kindle format, that is, ebooks sold by Amazon.

Not being a Luddite, I was willing to go along with this. To be clear, I was not wishing for the death of the hard copy tome. For years I made my living preparing pages for the printing press. I started at it long enough ago that the first shop I worked in—my hometown weekly newspaper—was still using hot metal type for some jobs. But the technology which, at that point, had barely changed since the days of Johannes Gutenberg was entering an era of change that would dwarf all the innovations of the previous four centuries. I learned to typeset with cold type, i.e. on a machine not unlike an electric typewriter which printed text directly on a galley. Later I would work on a machine that would print on a galley by exposing the text on photographic paper which then had to be developed with chemicals. The Seattle design company I later worked for would have a booming business in preparing its clients’ pages for the printing press. Just as quickly, though, that business dried up when the clients realized that they could do their own press prep on Apple Macintoshes using PageMaker.

Through all these changes, I prided myself on being nothing if not adaptable. So I was not fazed when ebooks appeared. In fact, for me they were a godsend. Not only was I running out of room on my shelves for physical books but traditional books were steadily becoming unreadable for me. I was developing cataracts, and I was having to resort to extremely bright lights and sometimes magnifying glasses to be able to read. But using apps to read books on an iPad solved the problem. I could make the text as large as necessary, and the backlighting ensured that the text was clear. Also, I could read in bed without any other light. And I could take a huge number of books with me conveniently wherever I went.

So I wasn’t shocked when I read that most new books being sold were ebooks. Yes, I would still have paper books that I had had for years and would keep and continue to cherish. But I wasn’t going to be reactionary about it. Yes, I felt bad about the quaint and attentive small bookstores that were already under assault by huge chain stores and now had to contend with a shift to online book shopping. But the future is the future. I wasn’t going to be the last guy driving a horse and buggy down the urban expressway.

So when I published Maximilian and Carlotta Are Dead, I did so in Kindle format. It was always in the plan to also put out an epub version to make it available as well to ebook readers other than the Kindle. But I considered a paperback version optional.

I knew that there would be some people who hadn’t made the transition to ebooks, but I wasn’t prepared for the number of people who contacted me and said that they would like to read my novel but that they would not be reading it until it was available as a physical book. More than one person posed a question that, frankly, hadn’t really occurred to me: How can one get an author’s autograph on an ebook?

So I have already begun working on a paperback edition of Maximilian and Carlotta Are Dead. Technically, the ebook was relatively easy to produce. The end product there was merely a computer file that could be viewed by Kindle devices and apps. My deliverable for a paperback book is somewhat more complicated. That will consist of PostScript files suitable for physical printing.

Suddenly those skills I had to develop for various employers and clients two or more decades ago have become newly relevant. And, yes, for all my embracing of the future, there will be no small amount satisfaction in finally holding in my own hands a physical book that I have written myself.