Monthly Archives: March 2016

Should I Write Full Time?

This morning I was over on kboards and I came across a thread where a young fellow asked the kboard folks to read one of his stories in order to determine whether or not he ought to write full time.

Here’s how I answered that question.

Funny story.

I used to know this old fellow who played the violin. He had records out and his picture in the newspapers and the Queen even curtsied to him once or twice, or she might just have dropped her hankie.

He told me about this second fellow who walked into his studio one day and begged the old fellow to just listen to him play, just once.

“Just tell me if I am good enough to play professionally,” the second fellow begged.

So the old fellow said okay and he listened while the second fellow played.

Was he any good?

How the heck should I know? Remember, I’m just telling the story here. My ears were nowhere close to the second fellow’s fiddle.

“Was I any good?” the second fellow asked the master violinist, who always preferred to be known that way rather than just calling him “the old fellow”.

“You lack the fire,” the master violinist said.

Well, I guess ten years later that second fellow ran into the master violinist in the street.

No, he wasn’t driving a car when he ran into him. He was just walking and he was grinning ear to ear.

“I want to thank you for telling me that I did not have the fire,” the second fellow said to the master violinist. “I have put away my fiddle and now I work for the tax bureau and I own a house and I have a wife and three fine children and I am happier than ham and eggs.”

The master violinist gently chuckled.

“You need not thank me,” he said. “The truth is I tell that to everybody who plays for me. I always tell them that they lack the fire.”

The second fellow was horrified.

“You rotten-eyed son of a bear,” he swore without swearing. “You told me that and I gave up my fiddle and if I had not listened to you I might be a master fiddle player right about now – or at least a pretty good one.”

“That’s just it,” the master violinist said. “If you DID have the fire you wouldn’t have listened to me in the first place.”


I’m telling the story – not to be a wise guy although I do have a third level black in wise-guy-sery.

I’m just telling it because I’ve been to tell it out for some time now. I’m going to post it up on my blog so that all three of my loyal readers, counting my cat, can read it and chuckle – because a chuckle is better than a cup of coffee to start your day with.

Let’s get serious for a minute.

It would be nice if everyone here read your story and said you were brilliant – and maybe you are – but my advice to you would be to keep on writing the way that you are for awhile. Do NOT give up the day job until you have built up a little bit of a cash mattress in your savings account, like about a year’s worth of expenses. Meanwhile, keep on writing your books.

The REAL barometer that you need pay attention to will be your bank account. If you start seeing three or four pre-decimal-point digits worth of deposit falling into your account from your writing THEN you ought to ask yourself the question you are asking today.

If you go to work and tell your boss what you really think of him right now, odds are you are going to be so stressed out in a month or two when you are writing as fast as you can and collecting up a heap of collections noticing and wondering if you can hook up a hamster to your computer because the power company has pulled the switch…and you are going to suddenly find yourself too stressed to write.

Don’t be in a hurry.

If you are good enough – and LUCKY enough – you will get to where you want to be with your writing.

Think about your first book as being your first date with the most beautiful woman on the planet who knows how to cook. This ISN’T the time to start making forever plans and calling up a caterer and rolling up pennies for an engagement ring.

Take it slow.

Writing is a marathon, not a sprint. Give yourself time and build up a strong back catalogue and then when you have five or six or eighteen or twenty big fat zombie novels (or whatever you decide to write) rolling in those three or four or five digit monthly checks THEN think about pulling that pin.

Most of all just try and have fun with it for a while.


Now let me tell you folks about a time when I asked myself that question.

I was working at a factory job pushing about ten to fifteen thousand boards a day into a double-bladed table saw that was affectionately known as “The Death Machine”.

I mean that it looked like something out of a Roger Corman flick.

Well, I guess I had won myself an Arts Council grant – or it might have been a Canada Council grant – I can’t remember which. I have bagged a couple of each of those over the last forty years and they kind of blur after a while.

Whatever it was, it was about three thousand dollars, which seemed like a lot of money way back then.

Then something bad happened.

I started thinking – which is GENERALLY a bad situation rapidly getting worse.

I decided that I was going to write Harlequin Romances for a living. I had heard that you could get rich by writing them and I figured all that I had to do to pay my bills was to sell about four of them a year. At that point in time Harlequin was putting out a huge amount of books every year so my theory looked plausible on paper.

The only problem was, was that I could not write a Harlequin Romance to save my life. Sooner or later John would be looking at Mary and some swamp monster would come oozing up out of the haunted swamp and this gang of bad-ass bikers would come roaring in town with machine guns blazing and a kamikaze pianist would pedal his piano into down and start banging out show tunes.

Or to sum it up – I sucked at writing romance.

I walked away from the Death Machine and I wrote all summer long and I wound up with a horrifying Harlequin romance that did actually warrant a hand-written rejection letter that along with a whole lot of “There, there dear.” and “Well that wasn’t TOO bad.” basically said what I should have known in the first place.

Don’t be in a hurry to give up your day job.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

PS: if you want a FREE kindle copy of REVENANT – the first book in the TATTERDEMON trilogy – it is on for free today only.

My advice is to grab it while you can.

Plan A



Fun With Photofunia

All right – so I just discovered that my blog ONLY holds a certain amount of images. SO – every time that I put an image in one of my blog entries I lose an image off of an earlier blog.

I could fix this by signing up for a paid WordPress page – but right now I am on a serious budget.

So – I am going to put another image up.

It gives me a certain feeling of power – like that dude in the life boat who says – “Okay, we cook the fat fellow next. Somebody tear up a few chunks of wood off of the side of the life boat and we’ll have ourselves a cooking fire.”

This is a picture I built over at Photofunia.


I’ve put it up on my Facebook page and I’m going to use it as a Tweet. I have to admit, the thought of my book cover hanging in an art gallery kind of tickles me pink. Of course, sooner or later somebody would run out of wall space and put my cover into the backroom, behind a mop bucket and a half-melted mannequin.

And – if anyone is curious – you can pick up a copy of TATTERDEMON over at Amazon.

The book is available for free through Kindle Unlimited – IF you are a member of that program.

Yours in Storytelling,

Steve Vernon


A Tribute to Nurse Kellye

Okay – so I always dug Nurse Kellye.

Fat Heffalump

Do you ever watch an old TV show that you thought you knew really well, and find a whole bunch of new things about it that you missed when you first watched it?  Especially watching something as an adult that you watched as a kid – you notice characters that you didn’t before, story threads that weren’t easy to pick up on unless the series was seen in order, brief roles by people who later became famous, or just understanding jokes and references that went over the head when you were a kid.

Like most people of my generation, I grew up on a solid diet of M*A*S*H – it started the year I was born and I can’t ever remember it not being on television.  It was a firm favourite of everyone in my household – which now surprises me as it’s very progressive for it’s time and I…

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My Writing Picks Up Speed

Over the last week or so I have been focusing upon increasing the speed and the regularity of my writing.

I get up every morning and start writing right away. I try to do a bit more writing throughout the day, depending upon my work schedule – and then, at the end of the evening I might even write a little bit more – although usually I am pooped.

Here is my progress so far.

March 18 – 3000 words

March 19 – 1000 words

March 20 – 1500 words

March 21 – 2000 words

March 22 – 2500 words

March 23 – 1000 words

March 24 – 1000 words

March 25 – 1500 words

March 26 – 1700 words

March 27 – 1300 words

March 28 – 1250 words

That is 17,750 words in 11 days. I am aiming for 50000 words and I intend to have the novel completed by the end of April.

I am not as fast as this guy – but I am determined.

Wish me luck.


And – if you are looking for a little free reading material today – why not grab a copy of my short story, HARRY’S MERMAID?

It is free today – but only today. Grab a copy while you can, give it a read and let me know what you think. I could REALLY use a few more Amazon reviews.

Nag, nag, nag.

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

How I Wrote 28,000 Words in Two Days

Now THIS is how you get the job done!


Source: How I Wrote 28,000 Words in Two Days

34 Compelling First Lines of Famous Books |

The first lines of a story set the mood and draw readers in. This infographic features first lines from some of the most famous books of all time.

Source: 34 Compelling First Lines of Famous Books |

My Adventure with Kindle Scout

Here’s another newcomer to Kindle Scout. Welcome, Chariss!

Chariss K. Walker, Author

Day 4, March 22, 2016

Purple Kitty is more off than on the hot & trending list, but remains on the first two to three pages of Mystery, Thriller & Suspense category. I feel very good about that. Out of 96 hours, it’s been on the “hot” list for 18 hours. I work hard to keep it there, but what can I say? More books are added to KS each day. Readers can only nominate three books.

Steps I took today:

  1. I tweeted to 46,000+ readers through Ask David, twice. Once in the morning, once in the afternoon.
  2. I found retweeters on Twitter and sent an announcement in hopes they would retweet on my behalf.
  3. I attempted to contact Facebook again to complain and appeal their decision to block me…nothing worked.
  4. I joined a free retweeting service, traffup. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.
  5. I bought an ad…

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