Monthly Archives: February 2013

When to drop the f-bomb!

I spent a lot of my life working labor-intensive professions. Worked loading docks and factories and out in the field and in a cotton mill. Worked as a roustabout and house painted and lugged professionally and as a result I KNOW how to curse in many creative fashions.

However, when I write I do my best to school my language appropriately.

I try and save my cursing for the strongest of moments.

These days writers and entertainers are just a little bit too comfortable with dropping the “f-bomb”. They feel that it’s somehow freeing and adds strength to their performance.

Ballocks.

It is just as easy to say “butt” instead of “ass”.

It is just as easy to say “freak” instead of “fuck”.

It doesn’t weaken your writing one single bit.

Then – when your main character finally DOES feel the need to drop an “f-bomb” the reader is going to react strongly – “Holy freak – this main character just watched his girlfriend drop from an airplane full of nuns that crashed into the burning house where his parents had just finished announcing that this character was actually adopted by aliens – and now they are burning to death while a random drive-by shooter pops a cap into said main character’s dog, Rowlf.”

No wonder he dropped a freaking “f-bomb”.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

PS: Don’t forget to check out my latest double-sized entry in the Flash Virus series!

FLASH VIRUS: EPISODE FIVE – NOW AVAILABLE ON KOBO

Flash Virus Episode Five Kindle format

 

I just want to let you know all of you reader know that FLASH VIRUS: EPISODE FIVE – THE BIG BREAK OUT is now available in Kobo format.

This is the episode that ties the whole first four episodes together. And it’s freaking huge – nearly twice the length of each of the first four episodes.

If you want battle – this is the one.

You want action – this is the one.

You want to find out just WHO Horton Lake really is – this is the one.

Flash Virus: Episode Five.

Only $1.99 – buy it today at Kobo!

 

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Flash Virus – the entire series

I’ve just finished the final draft of FLASH VIRUS: EPISODE FIVE – MEETING HORTON LAKE.

It’ll be a couple of days before I get all of the final details organized but I hope to have this entire series available on Kobo by the end of the month – and on Kindle in March.

I’ll have more details to tell you all – but for now just let me show you the entire series – cover by cover.

Once again, I want to give a big shout-out to my talented cover artist – Keith Draws.

 

FlashVirusKindle Ep2
Flash Virus Episode FourFlash Virus Episode Five Kindle format

Flash Virus Kindle format

FlashVirusFinal Ep3-Kindle

Living a Life Long Love – Fifty Shades of Bacon

One of the earliest things I learned about keeping a relationship work is to NEVER buy your lady a bouquet of flowers as an apology for a screw-up.

Men – don’t do it.

You might get away with it once or twice – “Oh look,” she’ll say. “A beautiful bouquet of flowers.” – but sooner or later she’ll figure out that the moment she sees you with a fist full of dead American beauties that you’ve gone and done something stupid.

Honey, I burned the house down.

Here’s some flowers.

Honey, I left the children at a construction site.

Here’s some flowers.

Honey, I slept with a squadron of cheer leaders.

Here’s some freaking flowers.

Listen, lover-boy – here’s a freaking newsflash for you. Women aren’t as dumb as television would have us believe they are. They can add two plus two together and sooner or later they’re going to stop seeing all of those pretty little blooms and instead of seeing a bouquet of happiness they’re going to see a red flag of warning.

He fucked up again.

So save those flowers for those unexpected surprise moments when you just want to let your lady know that she’s the most special being in the entire universe.

THAT’S when you give her flowers.

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

Let me tell you something else about love.

Love isn’t supposed to be a moment.

Love isn’t just on Valentine’s Day or her birthday or on your anniversary.

Love is an all-year-sucker – sweet for 365 days out of the year.

If you don’t hug her and kiss her and tell her you love her every day you’re missing the boat, sonny-jim.

Let me tell you about my wife and my big date yesterday.

It started in the morning with a man-breakfast of bacon and eggs.

I’m an early riser. I have to be. I write in the morning. That’s when I get my best work done.

But – every Saturday morning I make an exception and get up and hit the kitchen for a a good old-fashioned man breakfast – usually bacon or eggs.

Only I don’t make it for myself. I make it for my wife, Belinda.

Belinda is a professional dance instructor. She also teaches Zumba professionally.

For her that means teaching dance and Zumba six days a week.

This week it’s seven days – because she is performing at a gig this afternoon.

So come the weekend she needs some serious nutrition for breakfast – so I’ve fallen into the habit of making her a hearty Saturday breakfast. This Saturday I kept it simple. A couple of strips of bacon, some fried onions and some fluffy scrambled eggs.

See.

That’s how you do it.

Hey honey – I love you – here’s some bacon.

Forget about all of that flower foolishness – nothing says I love you like bacon.

She climbed into her car and drove off to teach for a few hours. I wrote for a few more hours. Come noontime she got home and I said – “Hey, let’s go and get the groceries together. I’ll treat you to some mac and cheese and fried chicken at the grocery store grill.”

It was an impulse.

So off we went to the grocery store and had some good and greasy grub.

We bought the groceries and come on home

Then I told her to forget about cooking supper. Said we were going out for supper, my treat, and then I was taking her to the movies.

Why?

Why the hell not!

I chose a place to dine. A restaurant we hadn’t been to – the Flip Burger. One of those gourmet burger joints that have been sprouting up across Halifax over the last year or two. Kind of like a Burger King where you have to hold your pinkie finger out while you chew on your cheeseburger.

You want a peek at the menu?

Belinda had a healthy Big Fat Greek and a bottle of water.

I had a Nutty Professor Peanut Butter and Bacon burger along with a tall cool Peanut Butter Banana Bacon milkshake.

We shared a large onion rings.

Whole thing cost about twenty five bucks.

We sat together and chowed down and giggled over jokes and grinned until our teeth hurt.

Highlight of the supper was me fishing out a full-length strip of Oulton’s Double-Smoked Bacon out of my milkshake cup.

Hey – I didn’t say this was a HEALTHY blog entry.

I’ll exercise tomorrow, dammit.

Then we drove to the Bayers Lake theatre and I took her to see Billy Connolly and Maggie Smith in QUARTET.

Let me tell you – if you’re in your mid-fifties or older and you want a good giggle go and see QUARTET while it is still in the movie theatres. A lot of the gags would be lost on a young person – but to folks in their fifties or older are going to get every gag and innuendo. It is a beautiful love song that reminds you that – as Bette Davis once said – “Old age is not for sissies”.

And I’m not saying that fifty is old.

What I am saying is that it is GREAT to see a movie aimed at an older-than-thirteen year old demographic!

We got home afterwards and Belinda thanked me for a day-long date and a day without cooking. I spent about forty bucks on eating and about twenty-five at the movies. Belinda bought the popcorn. None of it was hugely expensive but we had a wonderful time.

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

So, in closing let me just say this.

If you want to live a life long love – forget about the flowers and take your wife on a day-long date.

She’ll thank you for it.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Bubba, buy my book – how NOT to market your e-book

Let me make a confession.

I am LOUSY at parties.

Heck, I can’t even spell the word shmuuu…shmoos…schmoozing.

(thank you Spell Check)

In fact – I am the kind of fellow who will sort of slide in through the back door and drift on over to the snacking and munching table and sort of just stand there next to the pizza dip for the rest of the evening.

In fact – I am a bit of a social misfit.

I do all right in front of a crowd. You throw me up in front of a microphone or a classroom or a campfire – and ask me to a tell a story – and I rise to the occasion – bring the skills of a raconteur and a stand-up comedian and a back-of-the-barn philosopher to ANY event that I perform at.

But when it comes to simple social interaction I am somewhat handicapped.

So when I first stepped into the book writing arena I was a little bit baffled on how to successfully promote my writing.

Let me tell you how I first began my promotional campaign for FLASH VIRUS – my sci/fi serial/series.

I started by writing BUY MY BOOK on a hundred diffeent men’s room walls – in a hundred different shades of marker – along with leaving my phone number.

So how’d that work out for me?

Not to well.

I did receive an awful lot of interesting phone calls and enough lurid and sticky phone talk to paint about three hundred and sixty-two more shades of grey – but other than that I did not sell so much as a single copy.

So I decided to diversify.

I tried leaving similar messages on the walls of a hundred different women’s rooms – which brought me to my first arrest.

I tried explaining to the security guards that I was only marketing in that ladies washroom – and then I likewise tried to explain to those two policemen that the security guards telephoned – and then I tried explaining to the judge that those two policemen brought me before – and then I tried explaining it to Bubba – my brand new cell mate.

Well Bubba, he told me he understood completely.

He said that he wasn’t guilty, either.

So then I tried social networking.

I got myself my very own Facebook page – but Mark Zuckerberg told me that my face looked funny.

So then I got myself my very own Twitter account – only the birds told me that old farts should NEVER try to rap or tweet and asked me to kindly get out of their tree.

So then I tried spamming on message board forums – but that spam looked so darn good that I just had to get out the fry pan and slice me off a few slices and…

(this blog interview has been interrupted while Steve Vernon puts on his pants and goes down into the kitchen to hunt for Spam)

So then I tried to buy myself some five star reviews   – but then there was that whole money thing that kept getting in my way – so instead I decided to try writing some sock puppet reviews – only all of my socks were in the wash – so I tried ventriloquist dummy reviews – but then the dummy told me that my lips were mostly moving – so I give it all up as a bad idea.

So then I had one more brainstorm.

I filled out five hundred empty bottles with five hundred notes that read BUY MY BOOK – and then I corked each of those bottles up and I threw them into the Atlantic Ocean.

Which is why two DIFFERENT policemen brought me back to the very same judge who gave me another ninety day jail sentence for desecrating the environment – which is a whole lot worse than littering – which brought me to Bubba – who bought my book.

And liked it.

So you see – that is the thing about e-book marketing. You REALLY have no idea as to who your promotion will touch and how they will react and WHEN they will eventually get around to buying your e-book.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

PS: If you got a giggle or two out of this blog entry then why don’t you swing on over to Kobo or Kindle and buy one of my books?

And – in the interest of full disclosure – a VERY different version of this blog entry was originally posted at the Readers Guide to E-Publishing

And – lastly – if any of you out there are into GoodReads you might want to follow me there.

Dealing with the February Blues…

I was just reading Lynn Davidson’s blog POLILLA WRITES – (remember Lynn? She wrote that wonderful review of SINKING DEEPER) and she was talking about a rough patch of life that she was going through and how she figured out how to deal with it – and how this winter wasn’t helping all that much.

http://lynnadavidson.com/2013/02/18/where-did-my-get-up-and-go-go/

February is ALWAYS hard. It is the longest and shortest month of the year. This winter is no exception. The flu that is going around is a bad one. There have been a LOT of people off work at my office.

My age doesn’t help either. You hit the stretch of the road and there are a lot more caution signs – DRIVE SLOWLY, BAD ROAD AHEAD – and you begin to receive a few too many phone calls from home. You begin to read the obituaries with a little bit more interest.

This will happen to everybody.

It is part of life. Do not let it get you down.You will adapt to it.

For myself – I have been working on trying to nail down the last few thousand words of a manuscript a whole lot longer than I usually do. Lost a whole morning yesterday to snow shoveling – lost an entire day last weekend to that horrid snowfall. It’s okay – I still remember White Juan – and remembering that hard time when 100 cm of snow fell down in one night and we were out of power for about nine whole days I can tell myself “Hey – at least this winter hasn’t been as bad as that.”

(so far)

That is one of the secret techniques I use to get past the rough points in life.

I try and hold onto the memories of the really rough moments and use them to measure and compare with any trouble I am facing now.

For example – when I was younger I spent a few weeks shoveling fish at the IMO fish plant in Yarmouth. My sister had helped me get the job and I did my best at it. Mostly, I shoveled fish. Every morning I would carry an old battered spade out to the loading dock. I would stand there and watch as a dump truck full of fresh-caught herring was backed up. I watched as they tipped up and dumped the entire load of dead fish onto the concrete. Then I would dive right in and shovel until I saw daylight. I would heave great shovelfuls of fish into these plastic tubs that would then be hauled to the processing line.

It was hard funky work. I was young – maybe eighteen – and this was my first REAL job – and it really reeked. Every day, after I would finish work I would get home and have to strip off at the back door – the fish stink on my clothes was THAT bad.

So – nowadays when ever I hit a rough patch at work – when ever I feel myself dreading the bus ride into the office – I just tell myself “Hey, I could always be shoveling dead fish.”

That helps.

So – that is my advice to anyone who is facing a hard time. Don’t be a Pollyanna about it. Don’t Orphan Annie it out and tell yourself that the sun’ll come out – tomorrow. Rather than that I recommend unearthing the single lousiest crapfest of a memory you can find and say – “Hey – it isn’t half as bad as that – and I lived through it, didn’t I?”

Other than that – exercise helps. Nothing like a little bit of fitness to help put a grin on your kisser.

And folks – don’t take it so hard. February is ALWAYS a rough old month. Heck, my get up and go has got up and went. After writing this blog entry I might have to lie down and just breath slowly. Or maybe I’ll get me some breakfast and a coffee.

Nothing says happy like a good breakfast!

Maybe I’ll even have me some dead fish – or else some fish cakes.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

PS: you might also want to read that review over at POLILLA WRITES

http://lynnadavidson.com/2013/01/29/book-review-sinking-deeper-or-my-questionable-possibly-heroic-decision-to-invent-a-sea-monster-by-steve-vernon/

OR if you are REALLY a glutton for punishment you might want to read my interview.

 

The Bloody Valentine Blog Hop 2013 – part 3

All right – so Valentine’s Day is over – but so what?

It’s ALWAYS a good time for a little romance.

Uncle Wilfred’s Dancing

He gets up there at every wedding

dancing by himself

broad of shoulder, with a full cargo of belly-meat

hard as a medicine ball and twice as bouncy

no steps, no real rhythm

just a sort of swaying shimmy shake

that reminds me of temple elephants

trodding patiently down a trail they could only feel in their feet

folks giggle to themselves

and I felt the slow kindle of shame

flame across my cheek

and I look away

he used to dance with my aunt Ella

back before that third stroke counted her down

he couldn’t dance any better then than now

but at least he didn’t look so lonely up there

he dances for life

rehearsing each unrehearsed step

so that he’ll be good and be ready one day

to swing a jig with old lady death.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Bloody Valentine’s Blog Hop 2013 – Part 2

And – just before I head to work for a night shift – why not give a read to another short Valentines Day story?

Hard Soup

 

I’ve marinated the meat in the best red wine I could afford, five days now, with garlic onion and bay leaf and a little stick of cinnamon, lots of cracked black pepper, and lots of tears.

On the fifth day I rubbed it with olive oil and browned it well in a hot pan.  I kissed it for luck.  Crane was right, it tasted bitter.

I carried the meat ceremoniously to a black metal roasting pan that I’d beaten with a hammer into the rough shape of a coffin.  I browned a sliced onion in the pan, added more tears, and a little butter for flavor.

Then I deglazed the fry pan with a bit of the marinade, stirring and scraping the caked-on bits from the pan, swilling it into the juice for more flavor.

I poured the contents into the coffin-roaster, covering the meat just a little over half way.  I stuck the coffin-roaster into a slow oven, set to 300.  Nice and slow, everything took time, let the hurting leak on out.

I added the insecticide last.

I served it in a valentine shaped bowl, bought especially for the occasion.  I set her body in her chair across the table from me.  The freezer kept her when I could not.  Her chest hung open like a secret treasure box.  She had a smile on her face. I’d placed it there, a finishing touch before placing her in the freezer.

Finishing nails.

Then I spooned it up.  Bitter, it tasted bitter, but no worse than finding your wife in bed with your best friend.

Heart meat is hard, unless you cook it properly.

I ate it up, every last drop.

I bit my lip until the gag reflex stopped working, and waited to die.

If I’d timed it right, they’d find us together before she thawed.  A frozen tableau, two hearts, one broken in my chest and one well braised in my belly.

Well done.  Well done.

*

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Bloody Valentine’s Blog Hop 2013 – Part 1

As my part of the BLOODY VALENTINE’S BLOG HOP I have decided to post a Valentine’s Day story.

The story comes from the collection NOTHING DOWN – THE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN NOTHING (VOLUME TWO).

To give you just a little bit of background – Captain Nothing is an often homeless super hero whose only powers include a bad attitude, a talent for physical carnage and a habit of turning up at the wrong place. He is more of an anti-hero – and this is more of a vignette.

I hope you enjoy this tale.

Saint Valentine’s Massacre

There’s not too many downtown bars that will let a man in a stitched leather mask sip a beer in peace but Armand’s is one of the few.

Armand is a big guy that looks like he might have lived off of steroids and power lifting. Depending on the day of the week you ask him he will tell you that he used to be a lumberjack, a caber chucker, a stevedore or a professional wrestler.

These days he just stood behind his bar, wiping up the residue of careless drink stains, elbow sweat and the random bits of spilled conscience.

I sat there at the bar and I listened to Armand’s story.

He was telling me about this girl.

“So what did she do?” I asked.

“First she hit him with the soup,” Armand told me.

“What kind of soup?”

“The red kind. Does it matter? She hit him with the soup and the salad and a steak smack-dab in the eye, faster than you can say arugula, topping the whole massacre off with a half a pitcher of beer broken squarely over his head.”

“What’d she do next?”

“Next she was up and out the door; stopping only to goose a waiter in the vestibule,” Armand went on.

“I guess he wasn’t waiting for that.”

“I guess he wasn’t. He dropped a tray of spaghetti trays onto a table full of Baptists, anointing them Bolognese-style. It was something to see. He nearly started a one-man pasta jihad.”

“So what did the waiter do then?”

“He didn’t bat an eyelash. He threw a napkin on the floor, motioned imperiously for a bus boy, blessed the Baptists in the name of the Sect of Saintly Spaghetti Pastafararians and called out aloud to the gods – is this love?”

“So was it?” I asked.

“Was it what?” Armand replied.

“Was it love?”

Armand shrugged.

“Don’t ask me – ask the expert who stomped through the vestibule and out the door after wasting a perfectly good half pitcher of beer.”

I bowed my head in memory of all that good beer.

“Better yet,” Armand concluded. “You should ask the waiter who brought the beer-baptised basher the bill from the Baptists and the lady he’d wronged and his own phone number – just in case.”

“Now that is love,” I admitted, poking a tube of tobacco in my grin.

I lit an unfiltered cigarette and puffed on it thoughtfully.

Fire like that deserved a little smoke.

If you want to read more Captain Nothing tales I suggest you check out NOTHING TO LOSE: THE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN NOTHING (VOLUME 1) which is available on Kobo or available in Kindle

OR

If you already own Volume 1 you might want to pick up a copy of NOTHING DOWN: THE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN NOTHING (VOLUME 2) which is likewise available on Kobo or available in Kindle

OR

If you REALLY want to catch the Valentine spirit check out my Valentine-themed collection of horror check out BAD VALENTINES – which is available in Kindle

If you want to hunt up more from the BLOODY VALENTINE’S BLOG HOP just click that image at the top of the page and it will take you directly to a list of ALL of the blogs that are taking part today!

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Valentine’s Sale on Three of my Nimbus Kobo Releases!

I want to let you folks know that there is a THIRTY PERCENT OFF discount code at the Kobo store for THREE of my Nimbus releases.

Just use the 30% off coupon at the checkout.

save30Feb13

MAKE SURE YOU USE THAT!!!

From today until VALENTINE’S DAY you can order

Maritime Murder double-cover

MARITIME MURDER – nineteen gripping true tales torn from the pages of maritime history.

Regularly priced on Kobo at $10.99 – currently discounted to $7.99.

With the 30% coupon that takes another THIRTY PERCENT off of the regularly discounted price of $7.99!

 

Or try SINKING DEEPER – a novel which begins with a jailbreak that leads to a clothesline pole hijacking, an impromptu Main Street midnight caber toss and a subsequent inadvertent dory sinking – giving birth to the notion of the following invention of a sea monster. Throw in a musical saw interlude, a gum-booted dragon dance, a couple of ghosts and the accidental near-assassination of David Suzuki his-own-self and you’ve got a bit of an idea what this book is about.

Sinking Deeper final cover

SINKING DEEPER is usually sold for the Kobo at $8.99 – but now is available for $6.99 – PLUS a thirty percent discount if you order before Valentine’s Day!

Finally – how can you pass up a chance to read THE LUNENBURG WEREWOLF?

the Lunenburg Werewolf fullsize

THE LUNENBURG WEREWOLF is ordinarily priced at $11.99 in Kobo format – but you can pick up a copy today for a mere $8.69.

USE THE THIRTY PERCENT DISCOUNT CODE to get an EXTRA thirty percent off!

Don’t delay.

Buy one today.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon