Everything I need to know about Life I learned from Conan the Barbarian.

Steve Vernon:

All right – so I grew up reading Robert E. Howard paperbacks and following the Marvel comic series and it was great to run into a fellow Canadian Conan fan.

Originally posted on Tyner Gillies - Storyteller:

“Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.” – Robert E Howard

When I was about six years old, my elder cousin, Mike, had been sentenced to watch me for the afternoon. As I was trailing on his heels around the house, and he continually referred to me as a ‘Willnot’ (a piece of shit stuck to the hair on his ass that ‘will not’ come off), he was at a loss for ways to keep me entertained and out of his hair.

Finally, he dug into a box in his room and produced a tattered stack of old comic books. “Here, Willnot,” he said. “Make yourself scarce for a while.”

I sifted through the stack, finding the standard mid-1980’s superheroes shouting various slogans denouncing evil, Russia and bad economics. But in the middle, with…

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Doors – and writing…

Copenhagen, Denmark.

“Many years later, in front of the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia would remember that distant afternoon his father took him to see ice.” –  ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Back around this time of the year in 2012 I wrote a blog entry about the importance of a good first line.

Just this morning while scrolling through my Twitter feed I came across a link that lead me to a DeMilked photo-article entitled TWENTY FIVE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL DOORS AROUND THE WORLD.

That owl-door at the top of the page is one of those twenty-five magical doors.

“That’s beautiful,” I thought to myself. “I ought to put that up on my Facebook page.”

Only while I was getting set to put it up on my Facebook page I thought – “Wait a minute. I ought to write a blog entry about how your first sentence is like a doorway to your novel” – which was actually what this blog entry was going to be titled.

At first.

Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

Only that got me to thinking that ACTUALLY the cover of the novel is your front door.

The mind works that way sometimes when you are in a creative state of existence. One door will lead to another will lead to another.

Hands up, out there. How many of you have ever seen the movie FORREST GUMP?

Now that was a fellow who never met a door that he did not try and enter.

That’s what a writer needs to do. He needs to step out into the world and begin opening doors – and if one door leads to another – well, he had better be prepared to open that door as well.

Explore the possibilities.

You might open one door and then decide to write yourself a poem but that poem will lead you to another door and you might that open that door and decide to write yourself a short story and then that short story might lead you to another door and if you have the courage to open that door you might find yourself with a whole novel hiding behind that door.

Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

So don’t be afraid to open that very next door that you come to. Keep your eyes wide open and explore the possibilities.

A blank page is an open doorway.

There is no telling WHERE it will lead you to.

If you need a little bit more inspiration why don’t you take a look at the deMilked website where all of these wonderful doors came from.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

PS: Over the last week I released THREE e-books – which sounds pretty impressive except when you stop to consider the fact that I was working on BIG HAIRY DEAL for over six to eight months, and that the three stories in BIGFOOT TRACKS were written sometime ago, and that FIGHTING WORDS was written and released on KOBO several years ago.

I’ve already told you about the first two books in my last two blog entries but let me tell you a little bit about the third book which I released in Kindle format thanks to Kindle’s new KID BOOK CREATOR.

Scheduled for launch on Sept. 19, 2014.

Scheduled for launch on Sept. 19, 2014.

I’m afraid I have done VERY little promotion for this book beyond just sticking it up out there and keeping my fingers crossed. I’ve got a lot more promotion lined up for the two Bigfoot books. But this is a very Nova Scotia kind of story that I first thought about writing when I read about a “fight club” that had been set up in rural Nova Scotia using high school kids as meat puppet moneymakers.

My Bigfoot Collection

I promised you folks that I would have more news regarding a second CREEP SQUAD release – and here it is!

I have just launched a sample pack of Creep Squad stories entitle BIGFOOT TRACKS.

Click here to order your copy today - just 99 cents!

Click here to order your Kindle copy today – just 99 cents!

There are three stories in this small collection.

The first story – originally published in Mark Leslie’s Tesseracts 16 – is entitled “Three Thousand Miles of Cold Iron Tears” and involves a battle between the Bigfoot and a Yaksha – a demon that eats tears – and takes place at the driving of the Last Spike of the cross-Canada railway.

The second story – “Ring Rock Riot” – is a meeting of Bigfoot and a Sea Hag and was originally published by Jersey Devil Press.

The third story – “A Couple of Bottles of Watered Down Wine” – is an intervention between a long-forgotten Canadian masked hero who has joined the Creep Squad and a certain lightning-activated monster, sewn together from pieces of long dead men.

The book is available right now on Kindle for a measly 99 cents.

I’ll be looking for some reviews over the next week or so if anyone is interested in receiving a review copy.

Here’s a short excerpt from the first story in the collection.


 

THREE THOUSAND MILES OF COLD IRON TEARS

Nothing reeks worse than a sopping wet Sasquatch.

It was mid-November and the sky looked dark enough to hold a grudge against the dirt for a very long time. It had rained down sleet all morning long and I was sogged straight through to the bone. The wind was blowing in hard from the Rockies and I was not happy at all to be standing here in the Eagle Pass, staring at a large shed-encased mural by the side of the Canadian Pacific Railway at a point in the landscape that men called Craigellachie.
I don’t really know who painted the mural but there was a good strength showing in his brushstroke. He had made a sound choice in his colors, as well. The hopeful blue skyline blended nicely with the heavy umber figures. The shed that covered the mural was about nine feet high and it was almost tall enough for me to stand beneath.

Almost.

There was a story in the mural and stories were something that I understood. You see, that is what I am. I was a living story – something that people told around lonely smoking campfires. I was a Sasquatch – a nine foot tall shag carpet with a serious-bad attitude. I was a legend and a rural myth and a totally unsubstantiated rumor. Like I said, just a story – only stories, if told well and often enough, in time grow a life of their own.

I can’t really explain to you how it happens. It’s not as if I came into this world with a user’s guide. All that I can tell you is that the Sasquatch have been told into life since back in the days of the Mesopotomania storytellers who spoke in hushed whispers of the exploits of Enkidu and Gilgamesh – and so long as your people continued to tell stories about random hirsute giants growing up in the wilderness and sometimes being raised by wolves or African great apes, then we will continue to live on in the borderlands that haze and drift warily between the carefully demarcated lines that claim to separate the cold steel facts of reality from the warm pure smoke of your collective imagination.

“So were you there?” I asked.

“I was there,” the ghost of Sam Steele replied.

“I don’t see you in the picture,” I said.

“I was there,” Sam repeated. “Take my word for it.”

“Maybe you weren’t so ugly back then,” I offered. “Maybe I just don’t recognize you.”

“I was there,” Sam Steele’s ghost echoed for the third time. “I just wasn’t in the picture, is all.”

Sam was a story, too. The real Sam Steele had died back in 1919 – after fighting with the Fenians, chasing Louis Riel during the Red River Rebellion, meeting in a sit-down wiki-up with the great Sitting Bull himself, single-handedly taming the Klondike and fighting a half a thousand Boers over in Boerland. Not all of that is true, you understand but the gist of it is. Sam’s actual exploits had grown to near mythic status. He had achieved a kind of sordid low-rent immortality thanks to a multitude of novels and newspaper articles and a movie or two and campfire tales and once even a CBC minute vignette commercial.

Hell, they had even named a mountain after him.


 

That is all I have got for you today.

If that intrigued you why don’t you pick up a copy and give it a read.

At the very least leave a comment and let me know how you liked the excerpt.

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

My Bigfoot Novel

I have been talking about my Bigfoot novel for sometime now – and I have finally launched it into the bold brave internet aether.

For those folks who are familiar with my story “Three Thousand Miles of Cold Iron Tears” which appeared in TESSERACTS 16 from Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing back in 2012 – this novel takes place in that same world.

Basically that story asked the big old “what-if” question – “What if all of our legends were actually alive? What if all of our stories came true if we told them hard enough and long enough?”

So in this world Bigfoot and the Trickster Coyote are working for a branch of the RCMP known as “the Creep Squad”. This branch is run by the Ghost of Sam Steele – one of the toughest mounties who ever tracked a culprit.

I could tell you more about this book – but it might be simpler just to let you take a peek at the first chapter.

 

BIG HAIRY DEAL

Chapter One

The Bear, the Bigfoot and Me

Let me tell you a story that is almost true and completely factual – except for the parts that REALLY count and them I mostly made up.

My name is Adam and I happen to have three Dads.

One of them is dead.

One of them isn’t dead – but he isn’t exactly alive, either.

And the third one is mostly mythical.

Like I said – a true story – and it happened something like this.

Just let me tell it to you.

One moment I was standing in the Cape Breton Highlands – and why in the heck did they call them highlands, anyways? I mean, they don’t look all that high to me. Everywhere I look all I see are rocks and trees and rolling terrain and it seemed more of a humpy kind of a hill country rather than any sort of a highland.

I ought to know.

My Dad – my REAL Dad – has seen the Rocky Mountains and the Himalayas and from all of the stories that he hadn’t had the time to tell me about all of those REAL mountains but my Mom told me anyways – I figure that those mountains my Dad saw were a heck of a lot “higher” than Cape Breton could ever dream of.

“This is Cape Breton Bigfoot country, Adam,” Warren told me. “So you had better keep your eyes wide open.”

That’s Warren Teller talking – the guy who married my Mom, Penelope.

He met her on the highway. Mom’s car had a flat tire and he had pulled over and offered to help fix it – which would have been a really nice thing to do if he had ACTUALLY known how to fix the tire. It turned out Mom had to tell him how to do it and he still goofed it up along the way.

The man was a moron, in my opinion.

Worse yet was the way that Warren was ALWAYS trying to tell me all of these long and stupid stories that had absolutely no point at all – about mysteriously unidentified flying saucers and deep sea underwater monsters and more boring old ghost stories than you could rattle a rusty set of leg irons at.

As far as I was concerned Warren must have somehow substituted a pot full of boiled asparagus in place of his brains, somewhere along the way. In fact I am pretty sure that the doctor dropped him on his head at birth. In fact I am ONE HUNDRED PERCENT sure that after that doctor had picked baby Warren back up from the delivery room floor Warren’s mother had most likely dropped him back down again two or three times just to be sure that he bounced all right.

Warren is actually my stepdad – which is another way of saying that he was a bit of a total complete and freaking dork.

I mean just take a look at the guy. He is built about as thin as a green reed with a lumpy Adam’s apple that sticks out from the skinny of his neck and bobbles up and down like he was constantly trying to swallow a live kicking bullfrog inside of his throat.

The man looked absolutely one hundred percent gorky.

There just wasn’t any other sort of a word for it.

In fact – if you look up the word “gorky” in any dictionary that you care to mention I bet you ten bottles of ice cold orange pop that you will see a picture of Warren, skinny neck and all – still swallowing that bullfrog.

“But Adam,” my Mom would always tell me. “He is your stepdad, after all. You are just going to have to learn to get along with him.”

“I don’t have to get along with him if I don’t want to.”

“Well,” Mom would always tell me after I said that. “If you cannot get along with him you’d at least better learn to listen to him.”

Which always got me angry.

“I don’t have to listen to ANYBODY!” was how those sorts of discussions usually wound up ending with – that and a slammed door.

There was just no way around it.

I knew what Warren really thought of me – even if he didn’t know it himself. I was the kid of some other guy. I was in the way. I was something to be put up with. The way I saw it Warren mostly wanted my Mom all to himself and I was just some kind of an unnecessary detail that he would have gladly loved to sweep under the carpet with last month’s pizza crumbs.
I didn’t care what he said differently.

As far as I was concerned – all that Warren being my stepdad actually meant was that he had accidentally married my mother about six months after my real Dad was accidentally killed by that unexpected baby carriage.

Which sucked.

My real Dad getting killed happened about six months ago outside of a little Afghanistan town that was called by a name that sounded like someone’s mouth was full when they had named the town what they did.

Do you want me to tell you just exactly what killed my real Dad?

An I.E.D. was what they called it in the newspaper – an improvised explosive device – and I cannot tell you just how many times I have wondered about what other kinds of words you can spell with those three little letters.
I.E.D.

Just what was that supposed to freaking mean, anyway?

Why don’t they just call it what it really was?

It was a stolen baby carriage filled with four cooking oil tins full of high explosive and a case of roofing nails.

So that’s exactly what I would call it.

I would call it a B.C.F.W.F.C.O.T.F.O.H.E.

And a case of freaking roofing nails.

Who would do something like that?

Who would even think of such an idea?

I mean, what did he do – get up one morning, eat himself a peanut butter and banana and honey sandwich and then say – hey, today I think that I am going to build a bomb out of a baby carriage and maybe blow somebody’s Dad up with it?

Now that is a question to chew over.

Never mind talking about freaking Bigfoots.

“There is no such thing as a Cape Breton Bigfoot,” I said back at Warren, only half-listening to what he was trying to tell me.

“They are totally made-up and mythical.”

That is me – Adam Sawyer – wearing that Batman backpack that my mother bought me in a Halifax Wal-Mart, hunchbacked.on my shoulders so high that I looked a little like somebody really ought to have named me Wild Bill Quasimodo.

“It’s a true story,” Warren said. “I read it in a book.”

I didn’t mind stories.

I just hated people telling them to me all the time. I mean, if I wanted to hear a story I could turn on the television or check out Youtube or even read a book. I just hated having to listen to somebody going on about something that probably didn’t ever happen the way that they said it did.

I hated English class for the very same reason.

“Don’t believe everything that you read,” I told Warren.

And I left it at that.

My Batman backpack was WAY too gorky for a seventeen year old kid like me to wear – but my Mom had bought it for me – so I cut her some slack and I wore it whenever I didn’t think anyone else was actually looking.

I cut my Mom an AWFUL lot of slack these days – except when it came to Warren.

I just had NO patience for the man.

“It’s true,” Warren repeated. “The story goes that over the last century there have been many reported sightings of a gigantic humanoid with long shaggy fur prowling through the forests of the Cape Breton Highlands.”

Holy gorky squared infinity plus.

What was this moron trying to tell me?

Warren was telling me that like he was reading and reciting it off of a blackboard scrawled in boring-colored chalk in the boring-part cortex of the left-most boring side of his brain.

“Sure,” I said. “And there are just as many reported sightings of kids enjoying themselves in the middle of a pop math quiz – but that doesn’t really mean that it’s true.”

“It’s true,” Warren said for the third time – as if saying a lie three times was going to make it stick any closer to the facts.

“The local folk call him the Cape Breton Bigfoot. Early pioneers first spotted what they described as an eight foot tall ape-like beast with a tangle of snarled dirty hair and a pair of car-door-stuck-out ears and what most people described as the most soulful pair of large brown eyes that you could ever imagine.”

Wonk-wonk-wonk-wonk-wonk, blah!

“Really?” I asked. “Did early Cape Breton pioneers REALLY HONESTLY describe him as having car-door-stuck-out ears?”

“That’s a metaphor,” Warren said. “I was just being colorful.”

“You want to be colorful,” I said. “You ought to try bathing in red and green paint – the checkered kind. You could probably pick yourself up a can or two in the How-Stupid-Can-You-Really-Be store.”

“Very funny,” Warren said. “It’s a true story whether you giggle at it or not.”

I just rolled my eyes sarcastically.

“It sounds to me like that particular story has long outlived its best-before date,” I pointed out. “Which in my mind makes it the worst kind of green and blue molded-over baloney.”

I don’t know why Warren was acting so upset about what I was saying to him. I mean, I was just trying to set the man straight. It wasn’t like I was calling him a liar or a dork or a doofus – now was it?

“The story is true,” Warren repeated. “As true as story can be.”

“And where did you hear that?” I asked.

“Stories are everywhere,” Warren said. “Heck, these hills are FULL of stories just begging to be told.”

What a laugh.

“Sure they are,” I said, sarcastically. “I bet you there are whole caves crammed full of stories. I bet you there are caves just puking stories out of their mouths like the kid who ate too much birthday cake.”

“I bet there is,” Warren said. “You keep your eyes open and you might even just see it.”

“I bet there is not!” I replied. “It is stupid and it is dumb and I don’t believe in your stupid dumb stories.”

That second stupid and dumb seemed to hurt Warren’s feelings.

“That hurt my feelings,” Warren confirmed. “Don’t you even believe in anything? Don’t you even believe in monsters?”
I thought about what Warren was asking me.

I thought about that nameless guy sitting over in that unpronounceable village in Afghanistan – chewing on a mouthful of peanut butter and banana and honey sandwich while visions of exploding baby carriage bombs rolled and boomed through his head.

I thought about that very same guy sitting over there and giggling as he carefully packed that box full of roofing nails into the baby carriage full of high explosive.

So, yeah – I believe in monsters.

Only I didn’t tell Warren any of that.

I just stood there and I stared as he bobble-swallowed another giant bullfrog in the back of his long skinny throat.

“No Warren,” I said. “I don’t believe in monsters and I don’t believe in Santa Claus and I don’t believe in the Tooth Fairy and I sure as Wikipedia don’t believe in any sort of Cape Breton Bigfoot. There is nothing out here in these woods except maybe a couple of lost wandering grizzly bears.”

I folded my arms on my chest to show him that I meant business.

“Cape Breton is too far east for grizzly bears,” Warren said, shaking his head and giving me that look of his that always seemed to say to me – my golly, just how stupid can one kid get. “The worst thing we might come across is a cranky black bear or else maybe a coyote – and both of those animals are pretty shy of humans.”

It turned out that Warren was more right than he actually knew.

In fact, he was absolutely right about grizzly bears not being in Cape Breton and I knew it myself because I had already looked it up on Google before the hiking trip, just in case – but I sure wasn’t going to tell him that.

According to Google, Cape Breton Island was an island on the northeast end of Nova Scotia that measured about ten thousand square kilometers in total – making it the 77th largest island in the world – or Canada’s eighteenth largest island – and what kind of a brag was that, really?

We’re number eighteen so we try harder?

Big hairy deal!

The highlands actually were the tail end of the North American Appalachian Mountains – and according to some geologists Cape Breton originally was physically connected to present-day Scotland and had only been separated by a couple of million years-worth of continental drift.

It’s true.

I looked it up on the internet – and the internet NEVER lies.

“We’re perfectly safe,” Warren concluded. “No grizzly bears, no mountain lions, not even any dinosaurs. No sir, there is nothing out there but the possibility of a rare and random unexpected Bigfoot sighting.”

I know that he was just trying to make me have something close to a good time out here but I wasn’t going to let him get away with it.

“What-freaking-ever,” I said, fishing my I-pod ear plugs out and squishing them just as deep into my ears as they went.

Warren shook his head like I had said something pitiful and sad.

Then he started to softly sing.

“Bigfoot went over the mountain, Bigfoot went over the mountain.”

I’m not saying he was any good at his singing.

I mean, talk about pitiful and sad and gorky to the ultimate max!

The man couldn’t carry a tune in a cast-iron bucket if you glued the bucket handle into his grip.

“Bigfoot went over the mountain,” Warren sang, badly off key. “Bigfoot went over the mountain. Bigfoot went over the mou-ount-tain, to see what he could see.”

I knew what he was doing. He was just trying to make me laugh and forget about my grumpiness but I was not going to fall for that.

I held onto my frown like it was piece of Bigfoot-proof armor.

There was no way that I was going to let him see me grin.

I jammed my earplugs even deeper into my ears.

I touched a button.

Somewhere deep inside of my two year old i-pod my favorite band – The Squealing Sacred Sea Monkeys – began shrieking out my absolute favorite song – Misunderstood #23.

We are talking fifteen minutes of raw electric guitars, jackhammers, bagpipes and three guys yelling MISUNDERSTOOD-NUMBER-TWENTY-THREE, MISUNDERSTOOD-NUMBER-TWENTY-THREE, MISUNDERSTOOD-NUMBER-TWENTY-THREE.

Which was just plain absolutely perfect for drowning out a stepdad’s off-key singing.

Next, I bent a stick of peppermint gum into my mouth and I started chewing just as loudly as possible.

Warren hated loud chewing. He complained at every meal – telling me to close my mouth because he said that I sounded like an animal. And then I would say that I needed to keep my mouth open to breathe while I chewed and then Warren would blow his own breath out in a display of exasperation and then Mom would tell me to listen to my Dad and then I would listen to my Mom and I would pretend for just a little while longer to listen to Warren – who really wasn’t my for real Dad.

Baby carriage or not.

Which is why we were hiking out here in the highlands of Cape Breton.

We were out here because Mom had some sort of freaking convention to go to and Warren had decided that he and I really needed to bond. That was the word he used. Not bond, like in James Bond – but bond, like in glue.

That word “bond” always made me laugh. It made me picture the two of us – Warren and me, stuck together in a tangle of Crazy Glue, Quick Dry Cement and leftover boiled oatmeal after the pot had dried on the counter overnight.

I am talking gross.

Warren said that he and I really needed to get on a hiking trip together and that we would bond like a real stepdad and stepson ought to – an idea that was lame enough to need its own wheelchair ramp and a handicapped parking permit and maybe even an extra set of crutches and a cast.

I mean, I could be sitting in a Toronto movie theatre right now – eating a big old bag full of salted popcorn and chewing on a well-ketchuped hotdog.

Heck, I could have even been watching a movie in a Halifax theatre – which was about as close to being in Toronto as a single green pea was close to being a forty acre field of pea plants – but I wished that I was there and not anywhere but where I really was – namely, here.

With Warren.

I swatted at a mosquito – which was a little like draining one eye dropper’s worth of sea water out of the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. The bugs out here were thick enough to eat a grown kid alive. I absolutely hated being up here in the Cape Breton highlands. As far as I was concerned we were way too close to the clouds. I had the feeling that the sky was going to open up and swallow whatever was left of me after the bugs got through with chewing their fill of my flesh.

I missed television.

I missed movies.

I missed candy stores.

And I REALLY missed Dad.

But for now – all that I could do was to look straight ahead and try my very best to ignore Warren’s off-key singing.

“Bigfoot went over the mountain.”

The man didn’t give up easy, I’ll say that much for him.

We kept on walking.

There was a birch tree standing about twenty feet in front of us – with that pale white bark that birch trees wear, tattering loose from the tree’s trunk like a paper jam in a printer.

I focused on that birch tree.

I told myself that so long as I kept on walking towards that birch tree that everything was going to be just fine.

Then something strange happened.

The bark of the birch tree began to blur and ripple and twist. Then the bark grew oddly furry and then the tree grew into a bear.

I know just how that sounds.

I know that the bear must have actually been hiding behind that tree only it sure did not look that way to me at all. It looked more like there was some kind of a door hidden in that tree – a door that the bear just stepped out of.

And that bear looked freaking mean.

You know how you always see bears in the movies and they either look cute or kind of gawkish and clumsy?

Well, this here bear was neither cute nor gawkishly clumsy. This here bear was a Godzilla-sized grizzly bear – about one thousand pounds of stink and claw and tooth and ugly stomach hunger that was going to kill us and eat us and he did not seem too particular about the order in which he was going to accomplish this in.

Warren was right.

There were no grizzly bears in Cape Breton.

But I guess this particular grizzly bear did not know that.

I guess that this grizzly bear maybe had not studied his geography.

In any case, that badly-misplaced grizzly bear charged straight directly at us.

“You have to tell,” Warren quietly said – looking directly at me as he turned to face the charging birch tree grizzly bear.

I have to tell what?

Warren didn’t say anything else.

All that he did was to stand there and wait.

I saw Warren put one hand up towards that oncoming birch tree grizzly bear, as if to say stop. The grizzly bear swarmed over Warren’s skinny stuck-out arm like he was a big gigantic furry tidal wave. The next thing I knew Warren was lying on his back on the ground being eaten alive by that gigantic birch tree grizzly bear.

I mean – how do you deal with something like that?

This bear was eating my freaking stepdad – a guy that I hated – but he was still my freaking stepdad – and more importantly, as skinny as Warren was he might just not be enough to fill the hunger of a for real birch tree grizzly bear.

I opened my mouth to scream.

The stick of gum that I was chewing on slid down my chin and it stuck there like a chunk of peppermint-flavored fungus.

The Squealing Sacred Sea Monkeys kept on shrieking MISUNDERSTOOD #23.

And all the while that birch tree grizzly bear had Warren pinned down in the dirt just chewing like Warren was a peppermint flavored meatball.

Warren still had that one skinny arm of his stuck straight up with his thumb jammed halfway into the hollow of the big bear’s ear. It looked as if he might have been rooting for ear wax. I don’t really think that Warren’s thumb was hurting that birch tree grizzly bear all that much. The bear had his head pushed down into Warren’s windbreaker and the t-shirt underneath and was gnawing and chewing on what was underneath the t-shirt.

Namely, Warren.

I ought to do something.

I ought to pick up a rock or a branch and charge in there and rescue my stepdad.

I ought to show that birch tree grizzly bear that my kung-fu was a whole lot stronger than all of his stink and his hair and his teeth – only I did not have any sort of kung-fu and that birch tree bear was awfully freaking big.

I couldn’t do a thing.

It was like I had been zapped with an alien paralysis ray.

I was frozen stuck with fear.

The only thing that wasn’t frozen stuck was my mouth. My mouth was open and it was screaming louder than a hundred horror movies rolled into one.

Which was right about when the Cape Breton Bigfoot showed up.

For real – and totally un-mythological.

 


I hoped you liked that read. I know that Bigfoot doesn’t REALLY appear in this chapter. That will come in chapter 2 and believe you me it is a pretty wild ride. I suppose I should have given you an excerpt of Chapter 2 but I absolutely HATE writers who insist on giving ;you and excerpt from the middle of a book. That’s like something giving you a spoonful of ice cream from the middle of a sundae without any syrup on it or nuts or even a scrap of maraschino cherry.

All right.

Stop begging.

I’ll do it.

Here’s a sample from Chapter Two.

Halfway through mid-charge Bigfoot tripped one big left foot over a teetered-up rock. Then he flipped over and stuck that same big left foot up into the air behind himself in the wrong direction and pointed his nose straight down towards the dirt and sort of cart wheeled face-first straight down the side of the mountain.

I’m not saying it was pretty.

That’s it.

That’s all I’m going to show you.

Don’t beg me for more.

If you want to read this novel you can pre-order it over at Amazon for a measly 99 cents. The book will be released on October 1, 2014 – and after that I am bumping the price up to $2.99.

So don’t hesitate.

Pre-order your copy today.

 

Just click this picture and it will whisk you directly to the Amazon.com listing. Have your wallet and a single dollar ready to burn!

Just click this picture and it will whisk you directly to the Amazon.com listing. Have your wallet and a single dollar ready to burn!

No pressure, though!

:)

In the next day or so I will have some news about my next release which will be available quicker than you might think!

Bigfoot Cover

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

 

A brand new review!

There is a brand new review of NOT JUST ANY OLD GHOST STORY up over at Amazon.

Thank you kindly, David Bainbridge, for the absolutely kickass review. Reading those words told me that you really sat down and read my book with your eyes wide open and your ears radared out.

Many, many, many thanks!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/review/R3EOYBQKBY8LOY/ref=cm_cr_pr_rvw_ttl?ASIN=B00MSDYIIM

 

(wish I could have afforded a better cover)

(sure wish I could have afforded a better cover)

 

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Results of my Kindle Freebie Promotion

All right – so I promised you folks that I would write up a blog entry that would sum up the results of my September Freebie Promotion on Kindle for my novella NOT JUST ANY OLD GHOST STORY.

Nowadays you really need to move over at least a thousand freebie books in a day in a giveaway – and that’s just an estimated number – to show up on the immediate Amazon radar. Mind you, that depends on the genre you write in. If you’re writing romance you need to giveaway a LOT, really quickly, to show up on the Amazon TOP 100 FREEBIE list and ideally you want to giveaway enough free e-books fast enough to show up on the TOP 10 FREEBIE list – because not every Amazon customer is going to bother scrolling all the way down to the bottom of the 100 list, odds are they’ll just look at the Top ten or twenty.

Unfortunately, unless your book hits the top 100 or better it still isn’t necessarily going to achieve maximum visibility.

HOWEVER, if you move about 300 copies in a single day – well, that’s about 300 people with one of your books. Three hundred people who might not necessarily have picked up a Steve Vernon book until now.

Which means that my book is going to start showing up in the “also bought” lists. That means when Amazon sends those 300 folks their monthly/weekly/daily “Say-have-you-tried-this” e-mail notices, your other books will start popping up in their e-mail box.

As in – “Say, we here at Amazon noticed that you bought Steve Vernon’s “Hunting the Wild Booga-Booga” novel. You might also want to check out his “Hunting the Wild Booga-Booga Part 2″ as well as his classic “Don’t lay no Booga-Booga on the King of Heartburn Slow”, not to mention his spine-tingling “Ooga-Booga-Booga Days” and of course his bestselling “Booga-Booga Revealed”.”

That all adds to a writer’s visibility.

The key to working the Amazon ranking riddle is best solved with a combination of how many e-books are “bought” by your readers PLUS how fast they are bought at any one given time PLUS how consistently they are bought.

So – ideally – if you give away 9000 free copies in a three day stretch it would be BEST if 3000 readers found your freebie and downloaded it on Monday, and then 3000 MORE readers downloaded it on Tuesday and finally 3000 additional readers picked it up on Wednesday. The key is spreading it out.

******************************************************

SO – let me tell you about the results of my freebie offer for my e-book NOT JUST ANY OLD GHOST STORY.

The offer ran from September 1 to September 3.

I used bknights over at FIVERR and Jeff Bennington’s KINDLE BOOK REVIEW as well as a series of well-timed blog entries to help promote the offer.

On the first day I moved 613 copies.

On the second day I moved 193 copies.

On the third day I moved a piddling little 66 copies.

That’s 872 copies in total.

I went from one review to SEVEN reviews.

With the exception of one stinker of a review the rest were all very favorable. One out of seven doesn’t hurt at all – in that it gives a nice perspective to any prospective new readers who are reading those reviews.

It also moved my book up to a high of the mid-300’s on the free Kindle list. I’ve got the exact number sitting somewhere. I must learn to keep better notes.
:)

Here’s where the book is as of today.

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #395,779 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

#94 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Mythology & Folk Tales > Folklore

It will float there for a little bit, but then sink slowly.

IDEALLY, I should have had a couple of more promotions timed for Day 2 and Day 3 to help keep the ball rolling – but I’m on a pretty tight promotional budget.

As I have said the ideal result would be to give away enough freebies over the three days to bump the e-book up into the top 10 bestselling freebie list.

Still, I am pleased.

I reached a lot of people and I made a bit of a splash and there is not telling where all of the ripples in that modest-sized splash are going to wind up.

So learn from my results and hone your own promotional techniques.

DON’T get discouraged if you don’t hit that TOP TEN freebie list with your first couple of efforts.

You are building a readership and any book that gets out there and gets noticed might pay you dividends down the road.

In the meanwhile – good luck, keep writing and just have fun.

OOGA-BOOGA!

OOGA-BOOGA!

 

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

 

You meet a lot of interesting people on a downtown bus…

So – I expect you are all expecting me to yell at you some more about picking up NOT JUST ANY OLD GHOST STORY for FREE!!!

Well – I’m not.

Yet.

:)

I want to tell you folks a little story. I was heading home from work – having just managed to get out in time to catch my bus. The only problem was this bus was mondo-funky. The stiff ammoniatic reek of cat pee. I don’t know where it came from. I don’t know if a cat had actually peed on the bus or if there was some kind of crazy cat person who had recently been peed upon forty or fifty times or so.

Well – I did not see the point in making a fuss. I fished a tube of peppermint lip gloss and smeared a little on my nose and around my nostrils and that masked the funk nicely. I had a fifteen minute ride home and I figured I could put up with a little cat funk.

Too bad the next person on the bus was not so philosophical.

This short dumpy woman with a face like the business end of a Mack Truck and the figure of a stumpy lawn gnome stomped onto the bus at the next stop and began to loudly rant.

“Pheeeewwww!” she exclaimed. “That’s cat pee. I can’t sit up here!”

So she stomps to the back of the bus.

“Pheeeewwww!” she repeated. “I can smell it back here too. It’s all over the freaking bus.”

By now I could see the shoulders of the bus driver start to move quietly up and down as he chuckled to himself. I could see the old boy sitting sideways in front of me biting on his lip trying to hold back a grin. Everyone else was playing poker face – mostly unsuccessfully.

“That’s cat pee!” the woman shouted out. “I know it. I can smell it. I have the nose of a hawk!”

????????????????????????????????

The nose of a hawk…

I’m still shaking my head at that.

Then the bus stopped again and a little old lady walked on and asked the bus driver a question in one of those quiet whispered little old lady voices.

They talked for a minute and then the little old lady got on and found a seat.

“What did you ask the bus driver?” asked the cat-pee lady. “Did you ask him about the smell of cat pee?”

I should mention that the cat-pee lady had one of those screechy nails-on-a-chalkboard tones of voice that generally make me want to cringe. I am a great believer in looking on the bright side and trying to see the good in everyone but my sympathies were being sorely tested.

“Was that it?” the cat-pee lady went on. “Were you asking him about cat-pee?”

All right. So you folks think I am exaggerating – but the truth of it is she said cat-pee so often that I swear she must have been getting paid a dollar for every time that she said cat-pee.

“No,” the little old lady replied. “I was just asking for directions.”

“Where are you going?” the cat-pee lady asked.

“Spryfield,” the old lady replied.

By now we were pulling up beside the St. Agnes Church – which is directly across from a bus stop where the Spryfield bus stops.

“Come on with me,” the cat-pee lady said. “I’m going to Spryfield too. We can go together.”

Well, that little old lady tried to protest but the cat-pee lady was driving a big old verbal steamroller and would NOT take no for an answer. I’ll swear she threw that little old lady over her shoulder and followed that sharp-as-a-hawk-nose of hers right out the front door – pausing only to loudly reprimand the bus driver – whose shoulders were STILL shaking up and down – either in fear or repressed hilarity.

“This whole bus smells of cat pee!” she loudly proclaimed, just in case he hadn’t heard her the first fifty-eight times or so. “You ought to wash it out.”

And then she was gone – dragging that little old lady across the street to the bus stop where she undoubtedly hold forth on the virtues of un-cat-peed-buslines.

I waited until the door was closed to finally speak.

You can call me chicken-shit if you like but I prefer to think of myself as a diplomat worthy of Henry Kissinger.

(you kids run off and Google him, would you?)

“Well I believe she is the foreman wherever she goes,” I said just loudly enough for everyone to hear.

It wasn’t THAT funny – but the old guy in front of me started chuckling and the woman beside him did a half a dozen spit takes and the two women in the bench across the aisle giggled like they were wearing a quartet of feather-duster-wielding-monkeys beneath their armpits.

I think the bus driver peed himself.

Although might just have been the cat-pee talking…

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon