Monthly Archives: June 2012

The First TATTERDEMON review…

Writers are always hunting for reviews.

A good blog review of your latest book is wonderful advertising to the entire readership of that particular blog. It is advertising that will stay there in the blog archives and continue to make new blog-followers aware of your work.

A good review at a bookselling site – such as Amazon, Indigo/Chapters, Kobo, Barnes & Noble and others is likewise valuable in that it serves as encouragement for new readers to pick up your work.

That is why I am always happy to see a new review.

Getting reviews is not always easy.  Whether you are dealing with a dedicated book-blogger or just a for-the-fun-of-it reader who liked or did-not-like your book enough to actually write a review of it – you are always going to be dealing with someone who most likely has a very long To-Be-Read list – and your book will get placed in line and you might not see a review for a very long time.

Mind you – sometimes receiving a review can be a somewhat mixed experience. If that particular reader did not particularly care for your book it can be downright painful. But even a painful review can still hold positive benefits for the long-term strategically-minded writer.

Even a bad review is apt to have some good points.

For example – “I really enjoyed Joe Blow’s sense of humor, even though I thought the plotline of Joe Blow’s latest e-book “MY DOG WAGS HIS TAIL AT ME” sucked harder than a thousand flushed toilet bowls.” – lets readers know that the book is good for a giggle.

And besides, toilet bowls are awfully useful.

I just read the first review of TATTERDEMON at WISTFULSKIMMIE’S BOOK REVIEWS and it truly rocks.

http://wistfulskimmiesbookreviews.blogspot.ca/2012/06/tatterdemon-by-steve-vernon.html

It made my morning.

It truly did.

 

PS: I guess if I were really the slick marketing genius coyote that I pretend to be I should tell you readers to try and make it a point to post a reviews of a book – if you truly enjoyed it – just the same way as I try to make it a point to eat low calorie bacon cheeseburgers with a salad instead of french-fries! And I should also mention that if any of you writers want some tips on GETTING reviews you might want to read my blog entry “Let’s review the art of getting a book review” right here – https://stevevernonstoryteller.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/lets-review-the-art-of-getting-a-review/

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Seeking Inspiration in Writing…

“Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” – Thomas Edison.

Edison does have a point – but I know of an awful lot of writers who have shed an awful lot of perspiration in the cause of seeking inspiration. Sometimes it is awfully hard to find just the right chunk of kindling to make the fire go!

Any maritime fledgling writer in search of inspiration you would do well to swing on down to The Bookmark on Spring Garden Road and pick up a copy of SALT LINES – a brand new collection of 55 examples of writer’s wisdom on inspiration, expectation, blocks, breakthroughs and the art of process.

In fact you don’t need to be writer to find value in this little pack of words. Whether you are a playwright, a songwriter, a columnist, a blogger, a writer of memoirs, a spoken word artist, a poet or maybe you just like to scribble dirty little notes on the men’s room walls – you definitely will find the grain of sand necessary for the crafting of pearls in this nifty little collection of wisdom.

The writers sampled are published Atlantic Canadians, playwrights, poets, screenwriters, journalists, spoken word artists, musicians and novelists. They are: CATHERINE BANKS • JANET BARKHOUSE • BRIAN BARTLETT • JOHN BELL • CHRIS BENJAMIN • BINNIE BRENNAN • DOUGLAS ARTHUR BROWN • JEFF BURSEY • SCOTT CAMPBELL • SILVER DONALD CAMERON • MARY JANE COPPS • KEV CORBETT • NATE CRAWFORD • GWEN DAVIES • TANYA DAVIS • STEPHANIE DOMET • ALYDA FABER • JANE FINLAY-YOUNG • SHELLEY GOODWIN • SUE GOYETTE • JENN GRANT • SHAUNTAY GRANT • SYLVIA D. HAMILTON • SARA JEWELL • HEDDY JOHANNESEN • STEPHEN KIMBER • ADRIENNE KING • CARSTEN KNOX • HOLLY KRITSCH • TONJA GUNVALDSEN KLAASSEN • CAROLE LANGILLE • NADINE LAPIERRE • LEZLIE LOWE • KATHY MAC • EVA MADDEN-HAGEN • STEPHENS GERARD MALONE • ELAINE McCLUSKEY • MICHAEL MELSKI • SARAH MIAN • CARMEL MIKOL • SHANDI MITCHELL • PHILIP MOSCOVITCH • LORRI NEILSEN GLENN • SHARON GIBSON PALERMO • SANDRA PHINNEY • ANNA QUON • DARCY RHYNO • SYR RUUS • MARJORIE SIMMINS • ANNE SIMPSON • JON TATTRIE • JULIE VANDERVOORT • ROSE VAUGHAN • STEVE VERNON • BUDGE WILSON.

Yup, that’s my name, second from the last.

No accounting for taste, I guess.

Salt Lines is published by Backalong Books, edited by Lorri Neilsen Glenn and Carsten Knox, with illustration by Kathy Kaulbach. Each copy is $14.95. Salt Lines will be available at Bookmark Bookstore in Halifax and at backalongbooks.com.

Proceeds from sales go to the Elizabeth Venart Emergency Fund for writers, a fund administered by the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia.

I can’t think of a better fund. I mean – let’s face it – we are getting older by the minute. None of us are born wrinkle-resistant. And writers have one of the lousiest retirement packages on the planet.

 

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Strong Arms – How To Attract Attention to Your Next Book!

I just received a brand new Amazon review of my hockey/vampire novelette – SUDDEN DEATH OVERTIME.

http://www.amazon.com/review/RCKMMYQQIXDT7/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B0077ZR2TS&linkCode=&nodeID=&tag=

It’s always a great pleasure to receive a good positive review for one of my books.

Reviews are affirmations of your existence as an author. They tell you – hey, somebody read my book and liked it.

They aren’t the only affirmation you can receive.

But they help.

A good review can help to sell a book. The more books I sell, the fatter the royalty check I receive.

Royalty checks are another positive affirmation of your existence as a writer.

A good fat royalty check says – hey, somebody bought my book.

That’s nice too.

******

So I sent the reviewer – whose name is Mike – a message to express my gratitude and appreciation for his review. He allowed that he was a writer himself and he was finding it a little challenging to actually get his book seen and read and noticed.

To return the favor – here’s a shot of the cover of Mike’s e-book INFERNUS, from Blasphemous Books, as well as a link to the Amazon posting. I read the sneak peek of the book and I will tell you that this book is DEFINITELY not for the easily-offended. This is hardcore, graphic and nasty uberhorror. If that is your particular cup of tea then you might want to pick up a copy.

Mike observed how hard it was to get a book noticed out there these days.

Let me quote him.

 It’s weird how it seems harder to get your book out there now that the era of ebooks have arrived. I support the indie writers, and it’s nearly ALL I have been reading for about a year.

He has got a point. One of the side-effects of the e-book age is an abundance of indie self-published authors out there. And still the big boys seem to dominate.

(Fifty Shades of Grey, anyone?)

Viral marketing and the matrix-like reach of the internet has definitely changed the shape of the marketplace.

But as for how hard it is to be “discovered” as a writer – I can tell you that it has ALWAYS been this hard. I have been writing and being published for over thirty-five years. I started out fast – with sales to Cemetery Dance, The Horror Show and Karl Edward Wagner’s Year’s Best Horror series.

Even then, I was just a face in the crowd. Some writers seem to catch fire. Others just smolder along. It isn’t always talent. My work stands with the best of them – most of my readers agree – but certain writers just seem to hit that elusive right note that gets folks to singing their praises.

I’m talking dudes like Brian Keene and Joe Lansdale who have somehow managed to attract a large following of dedicated readers.

Maybe it is luck.

Maybe it is fate.

Maybe it is the fact that they are both damn good writers.

Whatever it is – those two gents and other writers like them continue to struggle for attention. Even a dude like Joe Lansdale jumps around and waves his arms just as hard as if he was just starting out.

That’s the key, I guess.

Strong arms.

Keep writing and keep waving – and try not to think about Stevie Smith.

Not Waving but Drowning

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

Stevie Smith

*******

In the end your best way to be noticed is to just put one more book out there. Don’t just sit there at your Facebook-Twitter-Pinterest-Tumblr-WordPress-dashboard, waving your arms and hollering out the eternal spam-king’s constant rant – BUY MY BOOK, BUY MY BOOK.

Stop waving them arms so hard and put all that energy to better purpose.

Just write something, would you?

“A writer is someone who has written today.” – J.A. Jance

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

COUNTRY MANNERS

http://newwaveauthors.com/Blog.aspx?

Hey folks.

I came across a blog entry today – thanks to my subscription to THE PASSIVE VOICE (http://www.thepassivevoice.com/)

See, that’s country manners. Not only do I provide a little in-blog entertainment – but I also attribute my source material.

In any case the blog entry that THE PASSIVE VOICE referred to was on a so-called “country boy’s” opinion of e-books and e-publishing in general. It started me thinking about how I used to have take an hour long bus ride to get myself to a book store – riding a very old and very uncomfortable bus from Capreol, Ontario to the city of Sudbury.

Living in Halifax now I don’t have that problem. There is a bookstore in the mall across the street from my home. A dozen more within easy transit.

It worries me a little that online bookstores and e-books are putting brick and mortar bookstores in danger of extinction. Still, I am attempting to become a successful e-book author so I cannot dwell upon such a possibility.

And I will in all honesty admit that I could EASILY become addicted to ordering books online. The possibility for grazing and window-shopping is undeniable. I just have to click my way into Amazon and it is the Sears Christmas catalogue all over again. Do you remember that? When the Christmas would be delivered – and I actually delivered it in my town – every kid I knew had to sit down and write themselves out a gi-normous Christmas list.

I’d write a little more on this – but I have to go shopping for a new shirt and pants. I have a wedding to attend next weekend – and I need me some new duds.

So – in lieu of my fine articulate ponderings why don’t you have a look at what Stant Litore has to say in his blog entry.

PostID=49&Title=What-E-Publishing-Means-to-a-Country-Boy

Yours in Storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Real Men Read…

 

My grandfather, Hanlan Vernon, was a heck of a man. He worked the CNR Railroad for forty years. Could fix nearly anything that was broken. Smoked Export A cigarettes – the kind with the pretty little Scottish highland dancer on the package. He liked a drink of rye and ginger at night – just one – mixed with 7-Up. He kept the lawn mowed and the car running.

And he read.

My grandfather loved reading. He kept a stack of books at his bedside. Tough guy literature – Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer series. Richard S. Prather’s Shell Scott series. Donald Hamilton’s Matt Helm series. John D. MacDonald’s Travis Magee series. If a book wasn’t handy he’d read the newspaper. If the newspaper wasn’t recent he’d read the funny papers.

Growing up – watching that man read – did more for instilling a deep-rooted passion for turning pages than any teacher or literacy program or librarian that I know of.

No offence intended to any teacher, librarian or literacy program that might actually be reading this blog entry.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

NEW YA NOVEL – FINALLY RELEASED!

Attention, Attention.

…loudly clearing throat…
 

I am very pleased and proud to announce the release of my very first YA novel FIGHTING WORDS.

The e-book was released today as part of the KOBO WRITING LIFE beta test program.

Have a look at the cover!

So what is it about?

FIGHTING WORDS

Max was just a thirteen year old nobody – until the fight.

He didn’t plan the fight. He didn’t even want the fight to happen – but after he stood up to Rodney freaking Hammerhead to protect his sort-of-best-friend Tommy – Max decided that fighting could be a good thing.

People looked up to fighters.

Girls liked fighters.

Now Tommy and Max have decided to create their own personal fight club.

It seemed like a good idea – but what can I tell you?

Sometimes stupid just gets in your eyes.

Please download a copy today.

http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/FIGHTING-WORDS/book-UK8eJY4woUaS5728pKnQ-w/page1.html?s=2KMFhr-f6kqR-3u7tgmGWg&r=3

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

The Avengers!

My wife just surprised me with a trip out to the movies to see THE AVENGERS.

I had nearly given up on seeing this one at the theater. We are a little broke these days – in fact, so broke that we can’t even pay attention – so she really made my month by taking me to see it.

What a wild ride. What a great flick.

Let me be up front about this. I really don’t care for Robert Downey jr. – but he is BORN to be Tony Stark. The guy really brings it to this role and I’ll give him a big thumbs up as being the best actor – hands down – in the movie.

I dig Captain America too. He has just the right mixture of apple pie and Oh-Say-Can-You-See with the courage and leadership and all-around chutzpah of a leader and a hero.

Thor was pretty good – and the new dude playing the Hulk did a great job as well. I enjoyed Hawkeye – although I really have got to wonder how many arrows the dude can fit into a quiver. And I wish they could have given him a costume that would have been more reminiscent of the comic book character.

Am I being too picky?

Or am I just letting my geek flag fly?

Loki was a great villain and Nick Fury kicked butt too. When he walked out with an RPG on his shoulder I wanted to jump up and down and cheer.

My only beef was Natasha – the Black Widow. Scarlet Johansen definitely looked the part but her perfomance is fairly flat. As soon as she opens up her mouth I go to sleep. And why the hell was she walking into a ap0calyptic firefight with an alien invasion fleet with a pair of Tokarev pistols? Why the hell couldn’t she have picked up a raygun or something with a little more oomph. I really did enjoy her action scenes – and they wrote her part well – but there were parts of the movie where it almost felt as if they weren’t letting her live up to her proper role.

I know. I know. Some of you folks will say I”m being a sexist – but actually I WANTED to see her kick some major alien ass. Blow shit up. Create some carnage. Whoop ET’s butt.

Still – that scene in which she hijacked the alien sky-scooter was pretty kickass just the same.

All in all if you are one of the remote few who haven’t seen this movie yet – you really ought to see it on the big screen.

 

 

PS: If you’d like to read my take on the superhero mythos – just give that picture a little bitty click, would you?

 

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Setbacks…and dealing with them!

Okay, so you’re all wondering about how my Kobo release project is coming along.

Well – so far, it isn’t. Not because of anything that Kobo has done. I’ve just had some second thoughts about the manuscript and pulled it back out of the loop. I should have it ready to go in the next day or so.

Now I know that this sort of behavior is way-too-typical for a beginning writer.

You know what I”m talking about. The sort of – “Oh wait – it isn’t ready yet. One more revision. One more draft.”

Behavior like that can lead to a chronic condition of “some-day-I-ought-to-publish-that-book”.

Well – this isn’t that sort of a condition. I had rushed things a little too quickly and decided to redo one particular detail. That detail is now figured out and I am just waiting upon an image that needs to be completed. Meanwhile I am working on the second Kobo release. So I hit a speed bump – but I’m still working towards completion.

In the meanwhile – why don’t you all take a look at this Youtube video and contemplate the importance of writers keeping fit!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZJHqsjIec0&feature=player_embedded#!

 

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Very pinteresting…

Okay, so I’m on Pinterest.

http://pinterest.com/stevevernon/

 

Hop over their and make friends with me if you’re into that kind of thing. I’ve enjoyed the Pinterest experience so far, having been on it for one whole day. It does give me an opportunity to organize my book covers and links. Whether it’ll sell any books or not – who knows.

I’m just waiting for a single bit of news that should show up either tonight or tomorrow regarding my first independent Kobo release. Then I will blog the heck out of the whole experience.

 

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

No cake walk…

I remember physical education. Everyday they would drag us into the gym where we’d play dodgeball, badminton, basketball, murderball, floor hockey, and other assorted indoor sports. There was also time for dance and judo and other oddball activities. They took outside for football, cross country skiing, track and field, rugby, soccer and other assorted sports.

In addition there were afterschool programs. A soccer team. A basketball team. A cross country running team.

Nowadays phys-ed in most schools is limited to a two or three a day a week activity.

And what is our government doing about it?

Well, they’re outlawing cake for one thing.

http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia/103142-ns-takes-cake-out-of-cake-walk

And they are going to fund a two million dollar program to “encourage” fitness in kids

http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia/104976-parents-worry-about-cost-of-fitness

Why is it so hard to figure out that kids aren’t going to be “encouraged” by a nifty brochure, a speech from a consultant, or a tacky commercial on television?

The answer to the burning issue of how to get kids active for at least an hour a day is to put a few more physical education teachers in the schools.

Do you want to get kids moving? Well – GET kids moving. Make it a class, make it part of the curriculum – like it used to be – and make them sweat a little.

In the interest of keeping it real I will freely admit that I sucked at sports. I hated phys ed. I often signed up to work volunteer in the school library to get out of phys- ed class – (so, in a really twisted kind of manner, phys-ed helped foster my love of reading) – but when I was there I ran and bounced the balls and sweat and was physically active.

A lot of kids were.

*********

I feel the same away about encouraging literacy among kids. We need more librarians and more dedicated library time.

For some reason the school systems in Canada – and in a lot of other countries – is becoming more and more of a compromise. I feel as if the school system these days is being designed by Red Greene, with a truckload of duct tape and an absolute lack of pure common sense.

I know a lot of people will tell me that it’s the budget and the economy and that there just isn’t enough money for that sort of basic approach to remedying this problem.

I’d really like to know what happened along the way. I remember when I was a kid. I remember five days a week at school, with a library that was always open and a full-time dedicated librarian and a gymnasium and an auditorium and a well-rounded approach to education.

I don’t remember buckets of money. I’m not quite sure how we managed to afford all of this decadent splendor – like gym teachers and music teachers and librarians. Perhaps the school board was running a counterfeiting ring in the janitor’s backroom. Possibly we were laundering money for organized crime. Maybe the principal was a millionaire in disguise.

I’m not sure if the folks in charge are running things the way they ought to. Perhaps it is time for a revolution.

Hell, even Marie Antoinette was gonna offer up cake…

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon