Monthly Archives: July 2012

Nine Rules for Effective Tweeting – Written in Tweets

My wife is always telling me how she doesn’t get Twitter. So – in the interest enlightenment and education – and to fill up time when I REALLY should be writing – I’ve put together nine entirely nonessential guidelines for Tweeting.

1 –  If you want to learn how to tweet listen to the birds. They sing so sweetly – but it all boils down to worms-worms-CAT!!!-worms…

2 – Tweeting – or twittering – is best done at a regular random intervals – say like whenever you fart.

3 – The better you are at tweeting the worse you get. Don’t ask me why. It’s one of those Zen things.

4 – 140 characters isn’t much forget about punctuashn

5 – And spellin

6 – You don’t need to know anything to tweet. Even Lady Gaga can do it.

7 – Forget about italics, Twitter doesn’t allow for nuance…

8 – Tweeting is small talk for geeks.

9 – Tweeting effectively probably sells books – except when it doesn’t.

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

I am the Great Clown Pagliaci…

Well, I’ve had a day to cool down from the three days of waterfront heat and I feel a little more human. The near-sunburn has calmed down into a slightly rumpled tan – actually everything I wear just naturally gravitates towards a state of “slightly rumpled”. In another life I may have been the by-product of a inexplicable DNA-cross-splice between Columbo’s raincoat and Mr. Snuffleupagus’s hide.

Now if only my eyes would stop stinging from the spray-on sunscreen that I accidentally zapped them with on Sunday – I swear to god I was aiming at my chin…

Must have been the beard deflected the spray.

I had a really interesting time performing at the CBC Community Tent – where I was representing the upcoming WORD ON THE STREET FESTIVAL – Sunday September 23, 2012 11am – 5pm. I wound up performing in the crafts tent – which was a little more challenging than I was used to. It was an open-air tent and I was competing with a combination of shade, conversation, umpteen crayon-glitter-glue-and-plastic-scissor inspired craft items and just the numbers of people that were walking back and forth alongside of the tent – which was located directly beside the waterfront walkway.

Open air gigs are ALWAYS challenging. But I managed to put on a good performance and actually got some of the kids up and involved in the storytelling experience, including a three year old toddler whose inner muse kept prompting him to walk directly across the stage – completely oblivious to the big bearded dude who was standing up there shouting so loudly.

Still, at the end of it I’d had a good time and the CBC folks were kind enough to thank me and I headed off from the waterfront, doing my best to gather my energy and recuperate on the way over to my dayjob – where I had a night shift awaiting me.

I must confess that part of my recuperation involved an ice-cold Dr. Peppers Ice Cream Float that I picked up at Boston Pizza before going to work that Sunday for my night shift.

Ooh baby, ooh baby.

That’s what a performer is supposed to do. Be adaptable and fit himself into any possible gig.

That’s all that a writer really is – no matter how much we want to talk about our academic standards. We are performing for the crowd. Our words must please, must enlighten, must entertain, must liven up another wise drab existence.

We are nothing more than court jesters with access to the internet.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

If you want to see just how much of a Jester I might be – then take a look at the highlights of my 2011 photoshoot for HALIFAX MAGAZINE.

And some more photos…

And some more photos…

“I am the great clown Pagliaci…”

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Theodore Tugboat…

Well I’ve had a wonderful sunny weekend so far.

Friday I told stories on Theodore Tugboat. That’s him, right above me – and the picture links directly to the Theodore Tugboat website – if you want to check it out for further details.

I left the Halifax shoreline at 11:30am with 50 other people – the maximum the tugboat was allowed to carry. There were a lot of kids so I had a blast telling them a Raven story, an Anansi story, and a ghost story. We reached the Dartmouth shoreline and picked up another loadful of passengers and tugboated our way back to Halifax – while I told two or three more stories.

Then, we picked up another boatload, made the trip back to Dartmouth and picked up the fourth boatload. We got back to Halifax and my shift was done.

I had a great time. At first, I felt a little silly, trying to match my gum-gas against the absolutely gorgeous scenery of the harbour. I know on most days it looks like nothing but a big old pile of water and seagulls to most of you – but on a bright sunny day with the roll of the waves and the horizon bedecked with speedboats and sailboats and tour boats and tall ships of all shapes and sizes it is a sight to behold.

Still, the audience was very appreciative. The kids seemed to enjoy my storytelling – and for those who didn’t want to hear me flapping my gums they could always retreat to their other side of the tugboat.

Only I wish I’d thought of sunscreen. I had long sleeves and a good straw hat but the backs of my hands were charred ochre by the end of the storytelling.

On Saturday I was booked for two more runs – with sunscreen. Now I’m done with tugboating. Today I have a two hour storytelling session on the main stage of the CBC tent, at the foot of Prince Street, directly beside the Maritime Museum. They have a fine shady tent and a open-air restaurant – (Q’s Smokehouse) – and a cash bar – so I am hoping for a good turnout. I get done with that then I have to hotfoot it to work for a night shift of telephone talking. I expect by Monday my tonsils will be in desperate need of a long rest.

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon




Now available in trade paperback – and on sale now for THIRTY PERCENT OFF!

Detours are amazing creatures. They can shortcut your existence or lead you down a forever long road that will linger far into the distant reaches of eternity. It is these unexpected tangents that people stumble across everyday that haunt in a frightening familiar fashion.

Wander into a laundromat and find a kind of time machine. Indulge yourself in a nasty game of baseball. Hitch a ride on a freight train with the piggyback man, entomb yourself in a trailer walled with books, take a ride on a bus that is going nowhere in particular, or just lean over an empty ocean and wait.

Detour around an overturned trailer of chickens and find a chance to do it all over again. Take a taxi ride with a very hungry passenger or a walk in the park to watch a juggler balance severed heads.

Reality will take you only so far–after that there’s nothing to rely on but faith and fear.

Fifteen stories.

Five of them, never before published.

We’ve come to the edge of the map. Let’s travel on a little further.
Table of Contents

Introduction by Richard Chizmar • Hyperactive Cleaning Power • A Fine Sacrifice • The Takashi Miike Seal of Approval • In The Dark and The Deep • Rolling Stock • Last Stand of The Great Texas Pack Rat • Gin Bottle Heaven • Voodoo Chicken Do-Over • A Prayer For The Clockwork Twister • Under The Skin, Under The Bone • Once More Round The Block • Jugular • A Wriggle of Maggot • Nail Gun Glissando • I Survived The Apocalypse… (only in Deluxe Thirteen edition) • The Tracks We Leave Behind (only in Deluxe Thirteen edition) • The End of the Road


“This genre needs new blood and Steve Vernon is quite a transfusion.” – Ed Lee

“Steve Vernon taps the strange fiction vein like no one before” – Hellnotes

“Steve Vernon is one of the finest new talents of horror and dark fiction” – Owl Goingback

“Steve Vernon is a hard writer to pin down – and that’s a good thing.” – Dark Scribe Magazine

“Armed with a bizarre sense of humor, a huge amount of originality, a flair for taking risks and a strong grasp of characterization – Steve’s got the chops for sure.” – Dark Discoveries


For more details


Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Come mister tally man, tally me bananas…

The need for statistics is as undeniable as candles on a birthday cake.

The abbreviations spill forth like horses running over a cliff into the sea.

If you think I’m full of old rope why don’t try talking baseball in any tavern you care to enter? Sooner or later somebody will start quoting runs-batted-in and first-pitches-out and all manner of comfortably linear statistics. Hockey fans are the same. So are most bosses that I know of. Sooner or later they will all reel out a long line of numbers and deep crunchified data.

Talk about stocks. Talk about your golf score. Talk about how many times you’ve been married.

Sooner or later somebody will hold up one finger and start counting down.

Human beings like to keep track of things. Those that don’t are generally striving to.

So, last night, when a local reporter asked me just how many books and stories I have written and published – I had to stop and think.

You see, I DON’T keep track.

I ought to.

Writers need good records. They need to know where their work is at any given time. Who they’ve sold it to, who published it, when was it published, was it ever published at all…

Good record keeping can make a very big difference to a writer. Let’s say you get an e-mail from an anthology editor who wants to pay you to reprint a story of yours. You need to be able to know if that story is promised somewhere else.

It is likewise important to keep track so that you can keep an eye on just when you’ve been paid – or IF you’ve been paid.

So say it with me writers – KEEPING TRACK IS DAMNED IMPORTANT!!!

I know. Some of you are saying – “Well, hell, Vernon – that’s easy. I’ve got sixteen stories sold. I can tell you where each of them are.”

But time rolls onward and it becomes more important the more stories, novels, poems, articles and the like that you have written.

I keep meaning to keep better track of my work – just the same way as I keep meaning to watch my diet and exercise regularly.

I mean to – and then I don’t.

But here’s the numbers that I came up with.

I have six books from Nimbus with a seventh due out by summer.


I have at least ten books published through the small press.

I have thirteen e-books with a fourteenth coming in a week or two.

I have two audio books.

I have about seventy-five short stories and appearances in anthologies. I’d have a really hard time tracking these all down because a lot of them were written in the pre-internet world. I stuck them in envelopes and mailed them off and later a publisher mailed me a check – which I cashed and spent a looooong time ago.

* “The Bridge” – HAWGS #1, 1986 – (a Mad Max style post-apocalyptic story – my first sale to a professional paying market – a biker mag)

* “Basket Case” – THE HORROR SHOW, Winter 1988, (I get lucky early on, placing a story in one of the great horror magazines of all time)

* “Bloodtide” – FOUR STIX ’88 (a short experimental piece sold to this one shot title)

* “Beat Well” – TERROR TIME AGAIN #2, ’89, editted by Donald Miller
reprinted – SPWAO’s “best of” anthology ALPHA GALLERY, ’90
reprinted again in David Kubicek’s trade anthology OCTOBER DREAMS, ’90

* “Yonderman” – Published in EDGE DETECTOR, a Canadian speculative fiction magazine, editted by Glenn Grant, Spring ’89

* “Statistic” – AFTER HOURS, Editor William G. Raley, spring ’89

* “In Loving Memory” – CEMETERY DANCE #2, Editor Richard Chizmar, (originally written for a NIGHTMARE EXPRESS cover contest. Sent it to this brand new magazine instead, because of the title, and the fact they sounded so hungry).

* “Night Of The Living Frogs” – recieved honorable mention in Janet Fox’s “Killer Frog” contest and was published in her chapbook ROSEMARY’S TADPOLE. Summer ’89

* “Song Of Freedom” – SEA TAILS – issue #3.5, Summer/Fall ’89 (a short story based on an oil painting in an abandoned cottage)

* “Mongrel” – CEMETERY DANCE, Spring ’90
(a small milestone. Placed first in Richard’s “best up and coming author contest”. Accompanied with an interview. My only copy of this magazine was lost during a move when a box of magazines fell off the back of my friend’s pickup truck in the middle of a highway)

* reprinted – THE BEST OF CEMETERY DANCE ’98 (double wow!)

* “Downward Bound, Downtown” – DOPPLEGANGER #13, Nov. ’90. editor Jamie Meyers (a short scary bus story, written around the time of the Montreal Massacre)

* “Midnight Snow” – AFTER HOURS Summer ’90 (another magazine lost to that badly packed pickup truck)

* “Hooney Jew, Hooney Jew” – NOT ONE OF US, October ’91 editor John Benson (one of my favourites)

* “Prufrock And The Spiders” – THE HAUNTED SUN, January ’91 (a neat magazine published in newspaper format. One of my less favourite stories)

* “Daemon Drink” – NIGHT SLIVERS ’91 (a nifty little magazine dedicated to short shorts, editted by Patricia Kocis)

* “Finger Liquor” – THE YEAR IN DARKNESS 1991 (A different sort of sale. A horror calender, with a sketch for each month and a story that accompanied the sketch. The company that produced the calender send me a sketch at random, and I my job was to come up with a story inspired by the picture. They liked it so much that they used my story and accompanying picture as the back page of the calender.)

* “Once More Round The Block” – MIDNIGHT ZOO – ’92 (another calender, only I got to write the story first and it was the artist’s job to follow my lead. I was Mr. July.)

* “Deathdreams” – NOT ONE OF US ’92 (another of my favourites. John’s a damn good editor)

* “Sorrowcrow” – DOPPLEGANGER #14 Feb. 1992 (I’d nearly forgotten this one when I turned it up in my hunt for past manuscripts. There’s a lot of my childhood in this one)

* “A Fine Sacrifice” – BAD MOON BOOKS – (there was nearly a ten year gap there, some unverifiable years, I went through a divorce, hitchhiked twice across Canada, did a whole lot of thinking, and then got back to work. One of my earliest efforts resulted in this, the winning story of Ottawa publisher’s Bad Moon Books 1999 Blood & Guts Horror Story Contest. Published in chapbook form and still available at The contest is still going on as well. Interested horror writers really ought to check this out)

* Mystery Time’s Mystery Mayhem Contest – In 1999 I was fortunate enough to win Mystery Time’s annual contest for creating the worst opening line for a mystery novel. The sentence reads as follows – “As I kicked down the steel-reinforced brewery door, a screaming bullet whistled Mozart’s Requiem past the lobe of my cauliflowered left ear, barely missing the bottle of cheap recreational bourbon that I happened to be carrying in my left hand, along with my Winchester .45 kill-them-all-in-the-blink-of-a-nearsighted-owl’s-eye fully automatic military-surplus pistol, but the blonde under my arm was not nearly so lucky.”

* “Rolling Stock” – NOT ONE OF US #24 – September 2000. (Another of my favourites. Chalk another one up to John Benson. Anyone who wants to see how a small press horror magazine ought to look like, ought to get a subscription to NOT ONE OF US. Recieved an honorable mention in Ellen Datlow’s YEAR’S BEST FANTASY & HORROR.)

* “Dopple Dribble” – DARKNESS WITHIN #4, 2000, editor G. Durant Haire (so you think basketball isn`t scary, eh?)

* “Jugular” – CARNIVAL OF SOULS – Every October Edmonton’s Northern Light’s Theatre holds it’s annual Carnival of Souls, a festival consisting of haunted houses, a street parade, and a theatre festival dedicated to horror on stage. This year my play “Jugular” was fortunate enough to be chosen as one of the five plays presented in their Urban Tales Cabaret.

* “Something After Saturday” WHISPERS FROM THE SHATTERED FORUM #6. Editor: Cullen Bunn, 2001
(if the magazine`s name didn’t use up so much darn ink I’d submit to this more often. Another stalwart in the small press, Cullen’s Undaunted Press is slowly making a mark in the industry)

* “Catcall” CEMETERY DANCE #36 2001 Batting back in the big league, yeehaw.

* “The Woman Who Danced On The Prairie” OPEN SPACE” NEW CANADIAN FANTASTIC FICTION Red Creek Press 2003 Editor: Claude Lalumiere (a Canadian print anthology, one of my first internet sales. Snailmail seems so darned unenthusiastic. There’s a real catharsis in e-mailing an editor and hearing back from him in the next couple of days. These days I pretty well shun magazines and anthologies that don’t accept e-mailled submissions. Just got so discouraged waiting so long to hear “no thanks”. Now if they don’t like it, they zap my rejection right back to me, and I can get on with finding another market)

* “Papercut” SCRIPTURES OF THE DAMNED Double Dragon Press. 2003 (another anthology, another internet sale. E-mail rules!)

I have approximately 100 published poems, one hundred book reviews, about 20 feature length interviews with other authors and one radio play – see the above mentioned “Jugular”.

But who’s counting?

The further I get down this list the more unverifiable my statistics become. I have some of them marked down on in a little recipe box on a bunch of file cards. Others are listed on e-files lost three crashed computers ago.

Have I ever mentioned just how important it is to back up your files?

I’ve got a whole bookshelf full of those little square plastic computer files with old stories, poems and a few comic book scripts – some of them recorded on an IBM 286.

What can I tell you?

My birthday candles have melted all over my cake, it seems.

My poorly-planned posterity is hanging out of a pair of stretched-out, faded bvd’s, torn and moth-eaten and skid-streaked in all the wrong places.

If I ever get famous and die – some poor biographer is going to have himself one hell of a time trying to sniff out the last of my forgotten farts.

(and, on that banal note, let’s leave you in the capable hands of Ren & Stimpy.

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Here’s another look at the Kobo Writing LIfe.

Indie BookSpot

Kobo’s Writing Life platform, which was announced a few months ago, has left beta and is now available for all users. Kobo has been making a big push in recent months in a number of areas, and with Writing Life they’re offering a publishing and conversion platform that out-strips the popular KDP and PubIt brands in a number of ways. But can Kobo take the fight to Amazon and Barnes & Noble and really shake up the game?

Setting up a Writing Life account is pretty straightforward, especially if you’re happy to link it to your Facebook account. Once you’re in, the next step is to set up payment information. It seems pretty simple to enter your bank details wherever you are in the world, provided you have an IBAN number (which is easy enough to get), so here’s an area where Kobo scores big over its rivals. While…

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TALL SHIPS 2012 – my part in it…

For all of you folks in the Halifax area I want to start by telling you about the upgraded service that Metro Transit will be providing for the buses and the ferry service for this weekend’s kickoff to the Tall Ships.

Public Service Announcement


Transit service to Tall Ships 2012®

Wednesday, July 18, 2012 (Halifax, NS) – Metro Transit is extending its bus and ferry services during Tall Ships 2012®, beginning tomorrow, July 19 until Monday, July 23.

Extended Bus Service:

Thursday, July 19 & Friday, July 20 
#159 Portland Hills Link – Regular weekday service, with extended hourly service until 12 a.m.
#185 Sackville Link – Regular weekday service, with extended hourly service until 12 a.m.

Saturday, July 21 & Sunday, July 22 
#84 Tall Ships Special
-30 minute inbound service, 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. (Sackville to Barrington/Duke at MetroLink stop)
-30 minute outbound service, 11 a.m. – 12 a.m. (Barrington/Duke at MetroLink stop to Sackville)

Monday, July 23 
#159 Portland Hills Link – 30 minute service until 12:00 p.m.
#185 Sackville Link – 30 minute service until 12:00 p.m.

Supplemental bus service on other routes will be provided as needed.

Alderney Ferry Service:

Thursday, July 19 – Extended weekday service until 1 a.m. (last trip from Halifax departs at 12:45 a.m.)
Friday, July 20 – Extended weekday service until 1 a.m. (last trip from Halifax departs at 12:45 a.m.)
Saturday, July 21 – Extended Saturday service until 1 a.m. (last trip from Halifax departs 12:45 a.m.)
Sunday, July 22 – 30 minute all day service from 9 a.m. until 1 a.m. (last trip from Halifax departs at 12:45 a.m.)
Monday, July 23 – Regular weekday service

The Woodside Ferry will operate on its regular weekday schedule only.

Regular fares apply to all bus and ferry services; exact change required for cash fares. A list of retails outlets selling Metro Transit tickets and passes is available online at

For more information on Metro Transit bus and ferry services to the Halifax waterfront visit, follow @hfxtransit on Twitter, or call 490-4000.


Okay, so I hear you out there asking “Right, Steve – so what does this have to do with you?”

Let me tell you about it.

On Thursday, Friday and Saturday exciting live storytellers will be taking part in specially organized Theodore Tugboat tours – and I am going to be one of them. They may have to fit out a gigantic storyteller-sized life jacket for this old dude but I am really looking forward to taking part this year.



Here is the schedule.

Theodore Tugboat Authors
Thursday, July 19 Friday July 20  Saturday July 21 Sunday July 22
11:30 leaves halifax Frances Wolfe Steve Vernon Jessica Scott Kerrin Alison DeLory
12:15 leaves Dartmouth
1:00 leaves halifax Carrie Muller Steve Vernon Steve Vernon Lindsey Carmichael

I am twice as excited because I have never ridden on Theodore before. It’s going to great to meet the little Tugboat. I wonder if it would be good form to ask a tugboat for an autograph?

If you want more information on Theodore Tugboat check out his website.

And, hey – if you really want to be cool you can follow Theodore’s Tweets over at Twitter.

Now who’d have thought that a tugboat can tweet???


But that is not all.

On Sunday, July 22nd I will be telling stories at the CBC  Tent from 1pm to 3pm. I’m looking forward to spinning tales about monsters and harbour history and maybe even a little something on Halifax’s part in the War of 1812.

Here’s a link to the CBC stage.

Anyone in the Halifax area might want to spread the word on this event. There is so much going on down there this weekend that I might get lost in the big wild whirl that is TALL SHIPS 2012.

See you there.

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

This is a great article on the launch of the Kobo Writing Life Self-Publishing Platform. Folks who are looking for more information upon the Kobo would do well to start following the Digireado blogsite.


Please note: This blog has now moved to This post and fresh content will be found there. 

Regular readers of this blog will be aware I’m a bit of a Kobo fan. They launched early into the Australian market (May 2010) and were my primary ebook store for this reason.

I had high hopes about the launch of their self-publishing platform – Writing Life. I’ve always been impressed at the depth of knowledge Kobo had about their readers. I  feel that Kobo get the publishing industry. I believe they are demonstrating the same care and knowledge when dealing with small publishers or authors starting their indie publishing journey.

There are now many options available to authors who want to self publish and I’ve been comparing them all recently. In one way or another they all seem to have pros and cons. So how does Kobo Writing Life…

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Kobo Writing Life

Earlier this year I was approached by the folks at Kobo to help Beta Test their new KOBO WRITING LIFE program. I jumped at the opportunity because it fit perfectly in my plans. I had been inching my way towards exploring the world of the self-published author – and this new program seemed tailor-made for me.

My progress has been slow. I have only released the one e-book so far – FIGHTING WORDS – through Kobo Writing Life. Sales haven’t exactly been heroic – and I hold that to be my fault – because I have done very little to help market that particular e-book, beyond mentioning it in my blog and posting a few notices on Facebook. That is my fault – like I said – and I will not offer up a bag full of excuses.

So just the fact that there have been any sales whatsoever is a promising sign of the marketing possibilities with Kobo Writing Life. I’m just putting the finishing touches on my next Kobo release and hope to have a third release by the end of the summer – although this summer is getting awfully busy.

So I am woefully ill-prepared to offer up any sort of “this-is-how-to-do-it” advice on using the Kobo Writing Life portal beyond this. Kobo makes their portal very user-friendly. It is dead easy for a complete moron to figure out how to use it. They have gone out of their way to make it easy for a technologically handicapped old fart such as myself to figure out how to get his words into e-book format. The support folk have been very helpful with aiding me at every step of the way and I can only whole-heartedly recommend getting into this new self-publishing program.

Here’s a link to the Kobo Writing Life introductory page.

I really like the way that Kobo does not seek to bind you into only marketing through Kobo. And I like the way that you can keep the epub file of your book once it is released – which makes offering review copies very easy. The Kobo dashboard – which is where my sales figures are made visible to me as a Kobo author is very old-fart-friendly.

For more info on writing for Kobo check my blog entries –

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

A New Sudden Death Overtime Review…

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon