Monthly Archives: January 2013

Interview with Steve Vernon, and book giveaway!

There’s a brand new interview over at POLILLA WRITES.

Don’t forget to leave a comment Interview with Steve Vernon, and book giveaway! for a chance to win a free copy of SINKING DEEPER.

And I just thought I’d mention that SINKING DEEPER is now marked down in the Kobo version to a mere $6.99. That’s almost half the price of the same book in traditional paperback format – AND if you order today – January 31st – you can take advantage of the Kobo-wide 20% sale on all e-books.



yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon



(January 30 and January 31)

Kobo is offering e-books for TWENTY PERCENT OFF!!!

Swing on over there and pick up a few bargains today.



And…ahem…don’t forget that I’ve got an AWFUL lot of books available on Kobo.

You want to check them out just hit this link!!!


AND – don’t forget that Kobo has their fabulous KOBO MINI for only $59.99 from now until Valentine’s Day.


Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Nothing Worse Than A Dirty Duck…

I was just reading Mark Leslie Lefebvre’s blog article on dealing with spam phone calls.’s+Blog)

And I thought I’d add my own two bits on this.

First off, Mark I have to tell you that NOTHING in the world riles me more than hearing some fellow insinuate that I have a dirty duck.

I mean – what right has the guy got calling you up to ask if you want your duck cleaned?

Dang it – maybe your duck is deeply sensitive!

But here’s how I handle spam phone calls.

We’ve been getting a lot of them over the last year or two – usually from the same outfit – once or twice a month – asking about our computer system. I’m not going to name any company names here – for fear of spam-bots – but the calls usually go like this.

I pick up the phone.


“Hi. This is Dave. I’m calling from the technical department of your computer company. We’ve noticed some trouble and we just need to ask you a few questions.”

Which usually leads to them asking me for my credit card information, my bank account information, a DNA sample, the middle name of my cat, and my first three born children.

I usually hit them back with this sort of a reply.

“Hi, Dave. Man, you really aren’t very good at this sort of thing, are you?” Has anyone ever told you that your voice lacks true conviction? I bet all of the other interviewers laugh at you behind your back? Have you ever thought about driving a taxi? Or how about plumbing? Does your mother know what you do for a living?”

Usually about halfway through I’ll hear some sort of a click – and then I giggle and my blood pressure does not rise and somewhere halfway across the country poor Dave is standing on the ledge outside of his cubicle window getting set to jump…

Like Mark says – keep your sense of humor and your wits about you at all times. Getting angry only raises your blood pressure, spoils your digestion and shortens your lifespan.

And lay off my duck, durn it.

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Book Review: Sinking Deeper OR My awesome brilliant Questionable Heroic Decision to Invent a Sea Monster – by Steve Vernon

There’s a BRAND new book review of SINKING DEEPER over at Lynn Davidson’s blog POLILLA READS – and I’d love for you all to give it a read!


Book Review: Sinking Deeper OR My awesome brilliant Questionable Heroic Decision to Invent a Sea Monster – by Steve Vernon.

My Big E-book Adventure – the January Report…

I’m going to post this a few days early – just because I’ll be travelling at the end of the month.

So where am I going?

I’ll be leaving at the crack of crow’s-piss – bright and early Friday morning to fly to Toronto for the Ontario Library Association Conference where I’ll be joining the folks at the Follett table at the Metro Convention Centre in Toronto. I’ll be signing books from 11:30am to 12:30am.

I’m VERY excited about this opportunity. Believe it or not – I have never actually BEEN to Toronto before now. I’ve had a couple of brief Toronto layovers – and even hitchhiked AROUND Toronto on my way to the woods of British Columbia – but I’ve never actually stopped anywhere outside of the Toronto airport until now.

It’s still going to be a FAST visit. I’ll be leaving that very night – but I’ll be back again on May 16, 2013 for the BIG Festival of Trees Silver Birch event.

In addition I’ll be touring through several festivals and events in the maritimes in April and May – and I’ll do my best to keep you all informed on developments as they unravel. I’m afraid I am a little disorganized these days – I feel like I’m attempting to juggle jellyfish – but I”m definitely having a blast.

If ANY of you readers are ANYWHERE in the OLA on Friday drop by the Follett table and say “Hi!”.

Better yet, drop by the Follett table and say something more along the lines of “There, there, Steve. You’ll get organized one of these days…”

Or barring that – I’m sure my wife will tell me what to do.


While I’m visiting Toronto on Friday I’ll be taking a quick tour of the Kobo facilities. I am REALLY looking forward to meeting these folks and getting an eyeful of what the facilities look like.

I’m sure it will be something along the lines of this…

Anyone remember this game?

I absolutely LOVED it when I was a kid – and still do.

All kidding aside I am REALLY impressed with all that Kobo has done for me. Which brings me to the main point of this blog entry. My January report.

As I’d reported previously I’ve REALLY just become an indie self-publishing author as of November 2012 – which was when I released the FIRST episode of my series/serial – (no, I still haven’t decided what exactly I should call it) – FLASH VIRUS.

Flash Virus: Episode One is ALWAYS free – and I have given away about 8000 copies so far, through Kobo.

In November I sold a pretty meager ELEVEN e-books through Kobo – primarily Flash Virus Episode Two and Three.

In December I sold a likewise meager FIFTY-FIVE e-books through Kobo – including thirty-two copies of Episode Two and twenty-three copies of Episode Three.

As of today – January 27 – I have sold ONE HUNDRED SIXTEEN e-books through Kobo – including forty-seven copies of Episode Two, thirty-three copies of Episode Three and thirty-six copies of Episode Four.

The numbers are STILL pretty punky.

But if you stop and look at the percentile growth I am pretty impressed. Eleven to fifty-five is five hundred percent growth. Eleven to one hundred and sixteen is over a THOUSAND percent growth.

I’m still well on my way to my end-of-year goal of selling over five hundred copies a month.

Meanwhile, I’m hammering away at Episode Five – which will conclude the first book in the Flash Virus series/serial.

I will have it completed by February 7.

The cover is already being worked on by the talented Keith Draws.

I will have it in Kobo and Kindle format by February 10th.

I also intend to release an omnibus version shortly afterwards that will include all FIVE episodes – as well as some bonus material. I will release this omnibus FIRST in e-book format and then shortly afterwards in paperback format – so yes, all of you folks out there who have NOT embraced the e-book will get a chance to read FLASH VIRUS in traditional print format.

I’ll be working with Kobo to set up a pre-order offer for that paperback version of FLASH VIRUS.

I ALSO intend to begin work on a new season of FLASH VIRUS – as well as beginning work on a new series.

Along the way I ALSO have to keep up with my editorial duties on Tesseracts 17 – although I have discovered that I intensely suck at being a professional editor. I am way better at just making stuff up.

So, that is where I am at today.

I want to thank EVERYONE who is following along with my FLASH VIRUS series/serial. I am really proud of this book and I am REALLY pleased by the pace of it’s sales. I am hoping that momentum will continue to flow in the direction I want it to go.

Keeping my fingers crossed.


If you’re wondering why I HAVEN’T bothered mentioning my Kindle sales – it is because they are ridiculously low. As far as Kindle and possibly the USA is concerned – Steve Vernon has fallen off the map.

Let me give you an idea on the numbers I’m talking about.

Of those 116 e-books I have sold in January – 58 were sold in Canada, 37 were sold in the United Kingdom, 15 were sold in the USA, 3 were sold in Australia and 3 were sold in New Zealand.

My Kindle independent sales for January are at about 16 copies so far.

For some reason I have fallen off of the US and Kindle radar. I could run around and set up promotions and wave my hands in the air and panic a little – but I’ve decided to concentrating on getting the writing out and raising my Kobo-based profile. The Kindle and US sales will either catch up or not. I’ve got to feed the fire where it’s at its hottest.


Speaking of Kobo – and folks not embracing the e-book – you have a brief window of opportunity to pick up a Kobo Mini for a mere $59.99 from now until Valentine’s Day.

Even if you don’t want to buy a Kobo Mini – you should still hit that link and check out the REALLY cool illustration that goes along with it.

By the way – my wife and I each own a Kobo Mini and we really love it. There are fancier devices out there – but this little gadget gets the job done right. I don’t need all the bells and whistles – or at least I can’t afford them just yet.


Lastly, let me give you this one link for the writers out there who are just breaking their way into the e-book world.

You’d be doing yourself a favor if you follow Joanna Penn. Start out with this blog entry. It REALLY tells you what to do.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Steve Vernon ‘Sudden Death Overtime’ Review

There’s a brand new SUDDEN DEATH OVERTIME review up on the new WordPress website – HORROR NOVEL REVIEWS.


Check it out – and remember – at ninety-nine cents, this little e-book is one of my most affordable works.

Here’s the review.

Steve Vernon ‘Sudden Death Overtime’ Review.


yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

How DO our readers find us??? Good question!

International sales – something all of us independent writers NEED to consider. I am DEFINITELY going to look into this as a possibility. Anything that gets more books out there and more money flowing to us writers is a GOOD thing.

Kobo Writing Life

by Rebecca Hamilton

Being inclusive toward an international audience is something that has been important to me since I first published. If someone wants to read my book, no matter who they are or where they live, I want to make it as easy as possible for them! This is why my website,, has a purchase page that links to opportunities to buy my book in any country. Where some authors might only show their US and UK links, I think it’s important to remember that someone from India or Spain or France or Germany or Italy or Brazil or anywhere might want to read your book.

Is it worth it to put this effort in? Absolutely. You might think you’ll only reach one person, so why bother, but there’s a few reasons you should bother.

  1. It’s the right thing to do. As an author, I’m sure you…

View original post 761 more words

The Talking Stick – Tips on Storytelling to Children


Some tips on storytelling to children.

I’m a storyteller, so let me start with a story. I was born in the woods of the North Canadian Shield. I learned the storytelling tradition from my grandfather. In early school years I became a skinny horn rimmed legend, because my written stories and oral tales had the power to make people laugh out loud and listen.

You can hear me tell my stories in any school in the maritimes, thanks to the Nova Scotia Writer’s Federation’s WRITERS IN THE SCHOOL program. I visit schools from Shelburne to Tantallon, talking to kids from primary on up. I’m a regular in many of Halifax’s inner city schools because my down to earth delivery and matter of fact style appeals to these troubled tough kids.

This is where I’m at my best. Inspiring these kids. Showing them that there’s more to life than a television set. Showing them that their ambition and spirit and imagination can take them farther than they’ve dared to dream.

Farther even than Canadian Idol.

And it all starts with a stick.

The talking stick is an old tradition, and like any good storyteller, I decided to steal it. The talking stick is traditionally an ornately carved wand, decorated with feathers and beads and precious stones. When a tribe faces a crisis, they gather in a circle, and one by one pass the stick around. Whoever has the stick must tell their story, whatever story they know that pertains to the subject at hand. No one must repeat what another has said. You cannot get by on saying “Yes, I agree with him.” You must add your own ingredient to the mix.

Thus the talking stick circle becomes a large communal bowl for shared wisdom. When they face a famine they will gather around and one man will talk of a time when there was so little food his family passed a plate back and forth and told each other stories about eating. Another boy will share a planting trick his grandfather gave him. A woman will tell you of a way to cook soup from a rock.

The talking stick is what I bring to the children. We start with an idea or even just a sentence. Then I hand the stick on to the first child and say those two magic words – “And then?”. And then the child must add to the tale, until slowly, sentence by sentence, a story is built, and the talking stick has been decorated with the thousand colours of a child’s imagination. I don’t have a fancy stick. I just use a chunk of kindling pilfered from the mock campfire I lay at every one of my tellings. I’ve seen it done with a pencil or even a pen.

The beauty of this ceremony is the unity it will bring to any class. Children find courage in the safety of the group dynamic. If everybody takes part, there need be no reluctant sharers. It becomes a game, more exciting than a thousand Stanley Cup hockey games. More exciting than Survivor and Nintendo tied together with a lightning rope. Children are inherently herd animals, they have yet to discover the gift of their individuality. So you must play with them in a pack, and slowly winnow out the courageous few. The others will quickly follow.

In every class I have taught in, there has always been the one. The special one, whom all the other kids will say – “Oh Thomas, he is a writer. He can tell a story about anything.” By including that gifted child in your group play, you will encourage the less confident ones to try and compete with the one who before this was viewed as a bit of a freak or an oddity.

Storytelling is a contact sport. You can’t just sit there and pontificate. There is no room for dignity and structure. It’s freeplay, and you’ve got to be ready for kids who want to push their way onto the stage and share the spotlight. Who can blame them? At home they must sit upon the couch and stare at the ambivalent mind numbing blandness of a television screen. There is little room for oration, when Dad’s saying “Shhh, save it for a commercial.”

So you must make your storytelling more exciting than television. I have talked to a great deal of storytellers who say it is the story, and not the teller who shines the light for all to see. My answer to that the real magic happens in the audience. You’ve got to make them part of the story. Encourage their interaction. Ask them questions and single them out. Call for hands. Use them as actors, props, parts of the story. Interaction, that’s a prime ingredient to remember when storytelling to children.

The last thing I want to talk about is demystification.

This is something the government needs to learn.

Whenever a new law is passed the government will generally shroud it in such clouds of mystery and baffle-gabbing gobble-dee-gook that the layman won’t know what to make of it, and thus won’t question. This might be good politicking, but it makes for lousy storytelling. Put your stories in a language that kids understand. And beyond that, put the art in a way that they understand. Tell them you’re an old fashioned stand up comedian. An improv artist. A spoken word slow motion rapper. Throw a little pop culture into your schtick, and they won’t peg you with the handicap of being too far above them.

The greatest accomplishment of my storytelling career took place around this principal. It happened at the Kingston & District School during their annual Gerry Carty Memorial Writer’s Festival. During this festival, kids from all across the maritimes who’ve asked to attend, come and enjoy a day of workshops and entertainment. One of the young men in my workshop group was painfully shy. So shy he had to be accompanied by a chaperone. His ambition was to become a journalist, yet at this point in time he was too shy to write a single sentence on a page. I singled him out, took him aside while the other kids were working on a writing exercise, and this is what I told him.

“Look,” I said. “Writing and storytelling is the easiest trick in the world. All that you’re doing is talking on paper, or even better just talking out loud. These are just words, tools that everybody uses all their life. Nobody’s going to mark you on this. It’s just scribbling a few sentences into a paragraph.”

The subject of the workshop exercise was juxtaposition. You were to take a colour and a feeling and put them together. This young man’s task was to tell the class what green smelled like. This is what he wrote.

“Green smells like freshly mowed grass. Green smells like lime soda. Green smells like Granny Smith apples. Green smells like boogers and the green paint on my grandfather’s barn.”

Then he went on to write a whole paragraph about his grandfather. When I heard him read this, I said “By God, do you know what you just did. You took this whole class on a tour of your grandfather’s barn. You told us a story, and you made some magic, just by scratching a few simple words on a piece of paper.”

Afterwards the chaperone pulled me aside and told me that those couple of paragraphs were more writing than that boy had managed all year. I made some magic that day, broke through a wall that would have daunted Alexander. That’s what storytelling is all about. Communication. Letting kids know they’re just as smart and talented as adults.

All they need is a little encouragement, a little time, and a little stick.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon


You can pick it up in paperback!

Or in Kindle format!

Or in Kobo format!

Spam-it-up Fridays!!!

Attention. Attention. I would like to post the longest piece of creative spam to ever appear upon the Internet today.

(someone call up the Guinness Foundation and ask them to send me a cold one…)

So – what will I spam?

Well, I’ve got some beans in the refrigerator. Spam does go AWFULLY good with beans. But I don’t have a tin of Spam – and I don’t feel like stomping out through the blizzard to buy myself a tin of Spam at the grocery – and besides, I’m pretty certain that Robin isn’t REALLY talking about that high-caloric greasy-sweet salted-to-perfection pack-the-clotted-fat-around-your-arteries-and-wait-to-die goodness that men call SPAM.

Naw, she’s talking about the phrase that we Facebook Group followers have come to fear and loathe…BUY MY BOOK!

But hey – it’s Spam-it-up Friday – and I REALLY want to tell you about this book I wrote.

I really do. I’m going to burst if I don’t tell it to you.

Don’t make me burst on you!

The book is called TATTERDEMON.

All right – so it isn’t FREE.

It isn’t even CHEAP.

But it is nearly 400 pages cram-pack-loaded with pure scarecrow entertainment.

It is a wild exciting no-holds-barred hayride through a field of indescribable horror.

So let me try and describe it to you!

Imagine you’ve just killed your husband. Your loud-mouth bullying abusive husband. What, you’re a guy? Work with me. Imagine you’re a woman and you’ve just killed your husband – on account of the man was really just too mean and stupid to let live for moment longer.

Only problem is, you’ve gone and buried him in a field that is cursed by a witch who was unjustly murdered and buried in that very same field – THREE HUNDRED YEARS AGO!

Now – anyone who has ever read a horror novel or seen a horror movie KNOWS damn well that if you go and execute and bury somebody unjustly – well, sooner or later they’re going to come back at you. We’re talking rise up from the dead – and before you get to squawking something along the lines of “OH MY DEAR-DYING-GOD not another spud-stomping zombie novel! Somebody kill me and raise me back up and kill me again before I read another word!” – think again.

This isn’t your granddaddy’s zombie novel.

This isn’t a zombie novel AT ALL!

It’s scarecrows.

Got it?

So what if that husband – we’ll call him Vic, on account of that’s what his name is – rises up from the dead? Along with the spirit of your father – the same one that your mother killed for reasons of her own – rises up in spirit-form along with Vic? What if that witch comes back and what if everything that was EVER killed or buried or just-plain-died in that field starts coming back?

Then you throw into that mix a couple of spree-killing convicts, a voodoo-practicing sheriff’s deputy, a peeping-tom postal worker, an anorexic ex-circus fat woman, a sheriff who has got a secret hidden in his downstairs freezer, a broken-hearted ex-marine trucker who is terrified of his ex-wife and Earl Toad – the world’s shortest action hero and things REALLY begin to heat up.

Well – things are just naturally bound to get exciting – now aren’t they?

Now – be honest with yourself – if you find yourself the least bit intrigued by this description – or even the least bit amused by this cathartic rant of pure undiluted liquid Spam – (now there’s a concept!) – or even the least bit sorry for my poor rusted out backbone that is going be tested by another bout of snow-shoveling later today or possibly even tonight – why don’t you give in to the spirits of Spam Almighty and go and buy yourself a copy of this here e-book.

It’s available on Kindle.

You can also hunt it up on Kobo.

The damn book has been sunk beneath the radar and I could REALLY use a burst of sales right about now to kickstart this puppy into going viral – SO SHARE THIS POSTING AND GO AND BUY YOURSELF A COPY OF TATTERDEMON today!

It is also available on Kobo for all of you wonderful Kobo wielders!


Tatterdemon II - Kindle Cover - Text Trial (3)



So – how do you like your Spam???


yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon