Monthly Archives: July 2014

Day 30 at Camp NaNoWriMo – Ride Out With Me

Helms Deep

I started this morning at 43500 words.

Which means I need 6500 words to reach my 50000 word goal – by the end of tomorrow.

What can one man do against so reckless odds?

Ride out with me.

Ride out wielding nouns and verbs to the left and the right of you. Ride out with me carrying whole sentences under your arms and paragraphs on your back and clenching a couple of critical transitions in your teeth.

Ride out with me and help me finish this book!

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

PS: I am at 44,250 words as I type this. I probably shouldn’t have stopped long enough to bother with a blog today – but I wanted to make this gesture.

PPS – Getting ready for a short night shift – but I’ve reached the 46,500 word mark. Only 3500 more words to go by tomorrow midnight. Wish me luck.

Follow along with me and cheer me on if you like.

Don’t Blow Your Own Horn

“Let someone else toot your horn and the sound will travel twice as far.” – Will Rogers.

All right.

Just so that you won’t think that I am being holier-than-thou let me make one thing clear. I do occasionally blow my own horn on Facebook and Twitter and all of those other social networks.

I try not to overdo it.

The fact is I don’t really know if it even helps. Occasionally a well-placed Facebook posting will result in a sale or two – but I get more sales when a posting comes up on a promotional website.

I’m talking Bookbub or e-Book Soda or the many other websites designed strictly for promotional purposes.

It may cost me a few dollars but in the end it brings results.

So the next time you find yourself impulsively shooting out twenty or thirty Facebook “Buy-my-book” postings – stop and think about it.

Wouldn’t you be better off spending the time signing up with a reputable promoter who can get the word out to folks who actually might buy your books.

Or – wouldn’t you better off writing a few more pages on your next book rather than shooting off thirty eight more “Buy-my-book” tweets?

Don’t blow your horn so darned hard so often.

Don't be this dude.

Don’t be this dude.

Take a lesson from Gimli.

If you are going to blow – blow with a little soul.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

PS – I’m at 43,500 words today at Camp NaNoWriMo. I’m stumbling towards the finish line on my knees and I believe I can hear Gabriel blowing his horn.

Oh wait a minute, that’s just Gimli again. 🙂

Plug-ins that Every Author Can Use

Lets face it.

I really need to spend a bit of time and clean the lay-out of this blog. I’d love to have a way for folks to sign up for a newsletter. I’d love to have a way for folks to easily buy one of my e-books on Kindle or Kobo.

None of these are hard.

It is just a matter of me finding the time to do this. I aim to sometime in August. I am still too busy working on my July manuscript – which is why I am farting around typing this.

So I am going to leave a blog entry here as a sort of string tied around my virtual fingers – which REALLY makes it hard to type.

Any of you folks sharing this same problem might want to check this article – “PLUG-INS EVERY AUTHOR CAN USE” – for some ideas for your own blog.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Mad Max – Fury Road

All right.

Mel Gibson might be an asshole in real life – but he was a GREAT Mad Max, so I am a little leary of a “reboot”, “remake” or whatever the heck this is going to be – but I am more than ready to see another Mad Max movie.

The trailer looks like they’ve got the right sort of desperate post-apocalyptic feel. It looks a little frantic for my liking – but they may have just been trying to cram as many crashes and bangs into the trailer as possible.

Tom Hardy SOUNDS right for the part.

He even LOOKS right for the part – or at least the shots they show of him do.

The “tough” female character they show sounds just a bit too Hollywood-glib. I am very weary of all of these tough-talking nancy-girl types that have become so prevalent in movies today. I have known a LOT of tough women in my life. None of them talked as slick/glibly as Hollywood would have us believe.

Most of the tough women I’ve known just got up and did what had to be done rather than just standing around and talking about it. They walked-the-walk and left the talkers behind in their dust.

Is this movie going to revive a long-dead franchise?

We’ll just have to wait and see.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Chasing rabbits…

The old people have a saying.

You chase one rabbit you got supper. You chase two rabbit, you’ve got sore feet.

Sometimes a writer just seems to spend their whole entire day – just  chasing rabbits.







You know how it goes. You find yourself working on a novel and that gets you to thinking about that novella you wanted to work on and the next thing you know the idea of trying to write that novel and that novella at the very same time gives you an amazing idea for a wonderfully structured sestina composed about the theme of a single man trying to ride the backs of an entire stampede of golden palominos.

Before too long you’re chasing rabbits.

You might kid yourself and say that you are just following the whimsical frolicking call of your innermost moose!







(or is that muse?).

You might even convince yourself that – by god, you must be the single-most creative writer in the universe – filled with a never-ending fount of ideas and inspiration.







Horse-puck and hogwash.

You’re just chasing rabbits.

You see, the nearer that the human spirit comes to accomplishing, the more likely it is to try and come up with some reason not to finish.


Because once you finish something, it’s over. And once it’s over, then you got to do something else.

And you got to do it right.

So rather than finishing something properly and then starting something new, properly – a fledgling writer – and even us old fart veterans – will all too often allow distraction to jump up and lead them into the time-honored pursuit of chasing rabbits.

The distraction is nothing more than a fear of commitment. Of finishing it – because once it is finished somebody else will actually read it.

And they might tell you it stinks.






As long as the project remains in that ephemeral state of incompletion you can kid yourself into believing that you’re brilliant.

Only you’re not.

A writer is a craftsman, first and foremost. Like any carpenter he needs to sink that nail into the board, cut the next board and then nail that up to. He has to finish whatever he is building – so that somebody can sell it so that he can buy more boards to keep on building.

The only real difference between a carpenter and a writer is a carpenter often has a foreman who is more than happy to kick his butt.

Oh, we writers have foremen too.

Only we call them editors, publishers and readers.

Sitting at our desk, in our comfortable chair, puts us a long way away from the foreman’s boot.

So a good writer has got to learn to boot himself in his butt.

Hard, and often.

So, here’s what I want you to do.

Sit down with one work and tell yourself that you are going to add a paragraph to it. Don’t look at any other work. You find yourself thinking about any other work give your head a good hard shake and remind yourself that you set out that day to work on one piece of work.

Let me mix a few more metaphors and see if I can muddle this out for you any clearer than I have.

Writing any story is a little like a first date. You work at that story and you don’t look at any other story while you’re working at it. You try and turn that date with a story into a long term commitment and then you try and turn that long term commitment into a marriage and then when you’ve married the heck out of that manuscript and your finally done with it – divorce the sucker and start hitting the single’s bars.

And stop chasing rabbits.

Happy Easter

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon


PS: I’ve passed the 41000 word mark yesterday at Camp NaNoWriMo.

Only 9000 words to go in the next four days. Wish me luck.

Follow my progress at Camp NaNoWriMo!

Halifax’s Biggest Bellydance and Book Yard Sale!

Hey Halifax!
I want to tell you about my big book and bellydance yard sale this Saturday – July 26. My wife, Belinda, is selling off a ton of bellydance costumes and accessories. Bangles, coins, beads, fabric – costumes of all shapes and sizes. Swords. An Aquaman and Mera costume. A Woody (from Toy Story) costume.

If that doesn’t set your costume-loving hearts thumping then let me tell you about the books and dvd’s. A ton of YA books and horror and some fantasy and scifi – at bargain basement prices. I’m letting the books go at 25 cents a piece or 10 for a dollar. The dvd’s are mostly oddball hard-to-find horror movies and I am letting them go for a buck a piece.

This IS the yard sale you want to go to.

Yup – that’s me and my wife – and that IS my actual hair. Just click the picture and it will take you right to my Facebook Event.


Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon



Day 21 at Camp NaNoWriMo – I Ain’t No Sissy-Wuss…

The original rock and roller…

I passed the 34000 word mark this weekend.

That is over 2/3 of the way through my 50000 word manuscript target.

This is the hard part of the storytelling. Like Sisyphus, I have been pushing this rock up that hill all month long and gravity and momentum and my aged sinew are all beginning to tell on me.

This is where the going gets tough.

This isn’t just about Camp NaNoWriMo.

This is about novel writing in general. You line up any ten people at a writers convention and at least half of them have about twelve unfinished novels sitting up in a pyramid of shoeboxes scrawled on fistfuls of yellowed foolscap with a little sticky note on top of each of those shoeboxes reading – I GOT TO GET ROUND TO THIS ONE OF THESE DAYS!

Round TuitBut this isn’t just about novel writing, either.

Any damn thing that you have been MEANING to get around to doing – go and do it now.

Fuck the bucket list.

Make your dreams a reality now.

Start small. Run to big. Huge is going to happen.

Write that novel.

Say those words you mean to say to that person you mean to say.

Do it now!

Get your ass to the gym.

Mow the lawn.

Climb Mount Everest, bare naked, yodelling, in grease paint!

Don’t be a Sissy-Wuss!

yours in storytelling

Steve Vernon

PS – I just hit the 35000 word mark. I’m behind on my quota. The rock is getting heavier but I am going to lean on in and look for an elevator.

You can follow my progress over at Camp NaNoWriMo, if you’d like.

Quotes from Horror Greats: Clive Barker

Any Clive Barker fans out there?

Harlow's Museum of Horror and Delights

“Writing about the unholy is one way of writing about what is sacred. ”- Clive Barker

“Be regular and orderly in your life, that you may be violent and original in your work.” ― Clive Barker

“Welcome to the worst nightmare of all, reality!”― Clive Barker

“So we make stories of our own, in fevered and envious imitation of our Maker, hoping that we’ll tell, by chance, what God left untold. And finishing our tale, come to understand why we were born.”
― Clive Barker

“It is great good health to believe as the Hindus do that there are 33 million gods and goddesses in the world. It is great good health to want to understand one s dreams. It is great good health to desire the ambiguous and paradoxical. It is sickness of the profoundest kind to believe that there is one reality. There is sickness in any piece…

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DAY 18 at Camp NaNoWriMo – Seven Secrets to Becoming A Better Writer

TWO THOUSAND WORDS today – and that was wrapped around a whole mess of housework as well. That brings me up to 33,700 words. Today the second half of the book took shape without me even knowing how it happened.

In the second half of the book the voice turned from first person to third in a very natural way. It means that when I revise the second draft I will have to rewrite the first draft in third person – I expect – but that is just fine. The plot developments have REALLY got me excited.

So – without further ado – here are my seven secrets to becoming a better writer.








I would elaborate more upon this – however, I have plans this evening. I need to go and buy some cinder blocks at Kent and we’re going to have some fish and chips as well.

So I am just waiting for my wife to come home from work.

I promise to write a bit more about this list in the next few days.

I will say one thing. EVEN if you can’t write everyday – AIM to. Just the simple act of saying to yourself “I am going to put 300 more words on that manuscript this morning” is going to keep your engine running – even on the mornings when you have go and put out one of those many fires that life and circumstances love to set.

In the meantime, why don’t you take a look at this super-cool periodic table of storytelling?

Click one of those elements and see what it has to say.

And it is funny – but I just cannot look at a periodic table these days without thinking of BREAKING BAD.


yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon


Day 16 at Camp NaNoWriMo – A 30,000 Word Celebration

How many of you folks out there have watched FINDING NEMO?

Hands down, all of you steampunkish Jules Verne fans.

That isn’t the NEMO that I am talking about.

Captain NemoI’m talking about that Rosie O’Donnell voiced fish with the Aphasiatic tendencies.

“Just keep swimming,” that fish would say.

That is deep.

That is at least twenty thousand leagues deep.

All right. So maybe I am reaching by about nineteen thousand nine hundred ninety nine and nine-tenth of a league – but you try to brilliant this early in the morning.

Sometimes the words aren’t going to be wonderful.

Sometimes you’ll think that your words are absolute crap.

Sometimes your inner muse is going to sit there on that fence and just thumb her nose and maybe spit on you and kick you a few times if you are lucky.

Never mind the muse.

Never mind awaiting upon the spark of inspiration.

You don’t go to work and tell your boss that you have got “WORKER’S BLOCK” no matter how badly you feel about going to that day job. You just get up off of your ass and you go do it – on account of you are inordinantly fond of that whole concept of keeping a roof over your head.

Treat your writing with that same sort of matter-of-fact intensity.


Just keep writing.

Just keep swimming.

You get this deep and nothing will look clear – so don’t trust your judgement. Don’t over-think. Get this first draft done.

Just keep writing.

Just keep swimming.


I added another 800 words on Day 16. That brought my average daily word count down to 1612 – which is about the original quota I started at.

It also put me over the 30000 word mark – which is why I want to celebrate.

I’ve still got another 20,000 words to go – but so long as I just keep on writing I expect to get there by the end of the month.

But I want to celebrate.

Just a couple of weeks ago I released my short story collection DO-OVERS AND DETOURS in e-book format. The book was originally released in trade paperback and hardcover format by Dark Regions Press. I have hung onto the e-book rights because I prefer to handle those myself and I set the price at $2.99 a copy.

I didn’t do any promotion – which is always a mistake but I knew I did not have the time to give to any promotion if I wanted to hit my July Camp NaNoWriMo deadline. So the e-book sold a few copies but it mostly sank – about 20,000 leagues beneath the Amazon.

You like that?

I thought about that line for ten whole seconds before writing it.


For the rest of the month DO-OVERS AND DETOURS is available on Amazon for a mere 99 cents.

I apologize for the punky cover but I did not have much of a budget to run with this month.


There are eighteen stories and over two hundred pages of some of the wildest storytelling you could ever imagine. There’s a couple of my favorite stories in there and it is sure to give some of you writer-folks some inspiration for your own work.

If you would like to help me celebrate my 30,000 word mark PLEASE pick up a copy of DO-OVERS AND DETOURS. At 99 cents it is cheaper than a cup of lousy cold coffee. How can you pass up sweet words like that?


Available at

Available at

Available at

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon