Monthly Archives: December 2013

Merry Christmas WordPress!

Merry Christmas to one and all.

Here’s a shot of me this Christmas morning, feeding the birds. We’ve got a real White Christmas happening here in Nova Scotia and I aim to make sure EVERYBODY – even the birds – gets a bit of Christmas cheer.


Wouldn’t a reindeer coat be good right about now?

Caroline’s Top Reads of 2013

Tatterdemon – my big fat novel of true scarecrow terror made the TOP READS OF 2013 list over at A Readers Review Blog!


1483293_10201261455993754_1572058602_nHello readers, I hope that you have all had a great year in 2013 and have had a chance to bury your head in many a good book this year. It has been a great first year for Tina and myself at A Reader’s Review Blog and we have made many online friends with authors and readers alike, as well as have a steady growth in followers. Thanks, guys. I hope that you all have a fantastic Christmas and a very Happy New Year! x

I would like to take you on a journey through my favourite reads of this year. Initially I was going to pick ten but soon realised that there have been more than ten to leave an impact on me. However, some of them are part of the same series and so I have given the whole series a mention. In all there  are about 14/15 titles and they…

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Winter Casserole – Steve’s Dead-Easy Cooking

All right – so you’ve blown all of your grocery money on eggnog and stocking stuffers and you’re wondering just what you can do about supper tonight – WONDER NO LONGER!

Let me share with you my recipe for Winter Casserole.

It’s dead easy.

First off, grab yourself a big old roasting pan.

You know – something like this!


You can also use a casserole dish or a big old pot or ANYTHING that will hold a lot of yummy crunchy vegetable goodness and is oven-ready.

I usually start with a couple of onions – because EVERYTHING that is worth cooking usually starts with a couple of big fat onions. Then I grab a cabbage and a bag of carrots. You can also throw in a turnip or some squash or some sweet potato if you’d like. Whatever you’ve got in the fridge – or, if you don’t own a fridge whatever you can pick up at the local grocery store. Think cheap and filling.

Chop it up and layer it into the casserole dish.

Note – I also like to chop up a big fat chunk of smoked sausage – preferably the gooey kind with cheese in the middle – but this dish can easily be made as a vegetarian dish without the sausage.

Once you’ve got it all layered into the roasting pan – (and by layered I mean grab a handful of onion and drop it into the pan. Then a handle of cabbage and a handful of potato and a handful of sausage and keep on handfulling until the pan begins to brim up) then dump in a big box of stock – (I use chicken but vegetable stock is just as yummy and lower in calories) – and shake on some pepper and then slide the pan into the oven.

How hot should the oven be?

That depends on how long you want to cook it.

I usually wind up setting the oven to 350 and let it cook for an hour and a half – but you can also set it at about 200 and let it sit and simmer in the oven for a few hours. Remember – this is nothing but vegetables and (maybe) smoked sausage and stock – ALL ready to eat. So the cooking is just to help blend the flavors.

Cover the pan. Go and watch a movie or read a book or stand by the kitchen window and look serene.

Your family comes home in an hour or two and the entire house is going to smell so heavenly I bet you they set the table with out even being asked. You don’t have a table – hell, they’ll build you one out of two-by-fours and chewing gum.

Serve it with a good chewy beer and grin knowingly when they asked you how long it took to get ready.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Never Trust an Actor…Or Why I Write Novels Instead of Screenplays!

I used to joke about how I used to cheer myself up by phoning all of my actor friends whenever I was feeling down about how HARD it can be to make a living off of writing. Acting is just one of those sort of gigs where you can a lot of money over a month or two – and then spend the rest of the year auditioning for voice-overs for Raid commercials.

In that way they are a little like writers. I make a good chunk of change twice a year when my traditional publishing royalties come in. I also make a bit of money from the occasional public appearance or short story. I also make a bit of money every month from my independently published works – but none of it is very predictable.

Neither are actors.

Just when you think you have got them figured out they go and do something that you didn’t expect them to do.

Like Mandy Patinkin.

You see – it really peeved me off when Mandy bailed on CRIMINAL MINDS.

Now Joe Mantegna has done a heck of a job taking over from him as has Thomas Gibson. I’m not going to mention Shemar Moore because – although he’s a pretty good actor he has the unforgivable distinction of being way too hunky, or at least so my wife says, for me to acknowledge him in public.

No – I’m not jealous of Shemar – I’ve just got certain standards to uphold is all.

Mandy Patinkin apparently had creative differences with the producers. Maybe he also had money disputes with them. He told folks that he did not wish to be typecast and wanted to move on with his theatrical appearances. He also was deeply bothered by the prevalence of violence in television.

Well, maybe so – but as a fan of the series I kind of wanted to see a little bit more of the character – Gideon – that he played. I guess he knew what he was doing. He has done fairly well on Broadway. I even hear that he can even sing a little…

He’s not the first actor to do this to we television-viewers.

Remember Radar?

Or Adam Cartwright?

Or Chris Eccleston’s Dr. Who?

Actors will do that to you – because actors are people. And people are ANYTHING but predictable.

My latest actor let-down occurred when Jim Carter – the actor who plays the butler Carson from Downton Abbey dressed up as a depressed Santa Claus and told the kids in the Youtube-viewing audience that Christmas was in jeopardy of being cancelled due to global warming.

I don’t know about you folks but I felt kind of cheesed-off that Greenpeace had taken such a blatant cheap shot at Christmas and all of those kids out there who still believe in Santa Claus. I’m not going to talk about whether or not global warming is real. I’m fifty-five years old and I’ve seen how badly screwed up the weather is these days. We’ve definitely broken something out there – BUT SCREWING CHRISTMAS UP FOR THE KIDS IS NOT GOING TO UNSCREW THE WEATHER!!!


Who put this soapbox under my feet?


The important thing to remember is that actors will mess with you when you least expect to be messed with.

Which is why I write novels instead of screenplays.

In a novel your character does EXACTLY what you tell them to do – right?

In a novel the author is in COMPLETE control – right???

Well – I’m not so sure about that either. I’ve had characters turn around and do something amazing or wonderful – right out of the blue.

I’ve also had at least THREE characters in three separate works of fiction up and die on me.

I remember the first time that happened – a character in my novel DEVIL TREE up and died on me in the third chapter. One moment she was there – the next she was gone.

Same thing happened in LONG HORN, BIG SHAGGY.

Same things happened in TATTERDEMON.

Characters will do that to you when you least expect it.

Have YOU ever had a character decide to do something all on their own?

I’d love to hear about it.

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Using Story Beats To Increase Writing Speed

Successful Authors Are Outliers, Not Statistics

I have been woefully lazy about adding to this blog.

I apologize for my laziness and intend to rectify that over Christmas – but in the meanwhile why not feast your eyes on these good words by a far more successful author than I – Bob Mayer.

Successful Authors Are Outliers, Not Statistics.