Monthly Archives: May 2017

Cut Corners Vol. 3 – Kealan Patrick Burke, Bryan Smith, and Ray Garton

Three great horror authors here. Kealan’s work is always so layered, haunting and lyrical. Bryan Smith is always fun and Ray Garton is classic!

The Horror Bookshelf


Length: 102 Pages

Publisher: Sinister Grin Press

Release Date: April 22, 2017

Review copy provided as part of Cut Corners Vol.3  Blog Tour

Since starting up The Horror Bookshelf, I have been lucky enough to discover a ton of quality small presses that are releasing quality horror and helping to keep the genre alive and well. I have a host of favorites, but one press that has been catching my attention as of late has been Sinister Grin Press out of Austin, Texas. I think the first time I discovered them was through reviewing Jonathan Janz’s stellar Children of the Dark . They host an impressive roster of authors – many of whom I consider among my personal favorites – and are one of those types of presses where I know I will love anything they release.

Cut Corners Vol. 3 is the latest installment in Sinister Grin Press’

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The Joy and Terror of a Book Release

My friend and fellow Kindle Press author, Linda Cassidy Lewis, has just started a blog.

Why don’t you follow along with her?

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Source: The Joy and Terror of a Book Release

Mother’s Day Mow-a-ganza Madness!

lawn mower

Okay, so it’s Mother’s Day.

I have already been to two different Mother’s Day Craft Festivals, last weekend and this weekend, with my travelling book table trying to sell enough books to pay the bills.

So, in a way, Mother’s Day has been kind of going on all week long – except during the weekdays I spent my time at my day job as a cubicle dust monkey.

dust bunny 3

All right – so go ahead and sue me, because I couldn’t find a picture of a dust monkey…

But I had today off and I wasn’t scheduled to be at any public appearances and the weatherman had said it was going to be warm and the grass in my backyard was beginning to resemble the Serengeti veldt, so I decided that I was going to mow the lawn.

So I went out to my back shed – which is basically just four sheets of corrugated aluminum held together by a roof and some rust and I dragged the old lawn mower out to see if it would work again.

This is the third or fourth lawn mower that I have been through in the ten years that we have owned this house.

Well, actually we don’t really own this house, we are renting it from the bank, on a bet that we can keep up our mortgage payments long enough to actually own the damn place. I call it the Freedom 75 plan.

Don’t get me wrong. I really do love this place and I wish I’d bought it sooner – but man, this property is hard on lawn mowers. Our first mower was a push mower. I wanted to be all ecological and get some exercise and not make a lot of noise and then I hit the mutant Kentucky Fried bluegrass that is going out back, amidst the herb garden of creeping thyme that got up and walked out of the little bed that the previous owner had planted it in and proceeded to dominate the entire backyard. It really smells nice when I mow it down – kind of like the breath of a French chicken – but it is really hard to mow.

The next thing I bought was an electric mower, which turned out to not have all that much power at all. Next I bought a low-end gas power mower which lasted a whole summer before it ran over a chunk of kryptonite and lost all of its power. Then I picked up this mower which is the fourth best gas mower, second in from the third cheapest that I could afford to buy and it has lasted the last five years.

Well, I brought it out and yanked the pull cord and it roared into life for about two and a half seconds and then promptly died. I fiddled with it some, making sure all of the connections were rusted on tight enough to hold and then I jiggled the spark plug and gave it another yank. It roared and died in about three more seconds and then I frigged with it some, cursed it a little and on about the sixth good yank it roared into life and held.

At this point in time some of you more handy types are feeling the urge to drop some sort of a comment about how a real man knows how to maintain his power mower and want to talk with me about how I need to be using a better grade of gasoline and maybe changing the oil more than every three years and other such foolishness but let me head your impulse right off the bat.

Don’t do it.

You give me some sort of helpful homemaker how-to-be-a-real-man hint of a comment and I am show up at your front door tomorrow with my roaring lawn mower and mow you off at the knee caps.

I mean what I am telling you.

I don’t know a thing about a handyman, but I am awfully good at homicidal mania.

Remember, I am a horror writer.

Anyway, I got about two-thirds of the back mowed when I ran over the one single piece of litter that I had missed when I had done my initial pre-mow pick-up of the litter. The next thing I knew, the mower had coughed and gagged and made a sound like a man gargling sulfuric acid and then stopped cold.

I tipped the lawn mower on its side and carefully unwound the plastic that had wound around the hub of the blade rotor and then I tipped it back and fired it up again. Of course, tipping a gasoline mower on its side results in a lot of gasoline running around the inner workings and this great gout of black smoke gouted out of the air filter.

That’s great, I thought. All I have to do is to run inside and grab me a blanket and I can send up some smoke signals and maybe some wandering lawn mower mechanic will ride to my rescue on a ride-on mower.

I let the smoke die down and I gave the cord another yank. I hadn’t been keeping count of how many times I yanked this mower but I figured if I yanked it a few more times that mower was going to have to buy me a romantic evening out on the town.

The mower coughed up in a rattling sort of a noise that sounded a little like a jackhammer trying to dance himself an honest to Michael Flatley Irish jig.


All of this was accompanied with more black smoke. I let it cool off and gave it another yank and there was more jack hammer death rattles and then all of a sudden the mower made a sound like a fat man farting through a tuba in an echo chamber, and a chunk of rubber flew out from out of the center of the air filter and shot halfway across the lawn. It turned out that when the mower had bumped over that plastic it had chewed off a chunk of that rubber flap that drags behind the mower to prevent you from hit by back flung debris.

Well, after that the mower started working again and I finished up the lawn and the sidewalk verge and I rolled the mower back into the shed and said a small prayer of thanks to the spirit of Red Green and I went aside and phoned my mother to tell her a Happy Mothers Day and then I ran the tub and climb in for long hot soak.

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Writers in Cars, Drinking Coffee

I’ve decided to take a page from Jerry Seinfeld and start my own series – Driving for Coffee with Writers.
Only problem is, I need to learn how to drive first.
And, the conversation would probably be pretty one note.
Steve – “You really ought to buy my book.”
Other Author – “Of course, after you buy my book first.”
Steve – “That’s a good thought. Have I told you about my book that you really ought to buy?”
Other Author – (who probably isn’t worth buying a book from anyway) “Bye”.
…as they jump out into moving traffic with a hot cup of coffee in one hand and a BUY MY BOOK sign in the other…
yours in storytelling,
Steve Vernon

1000 True Fans – New Subscriber Email Sequence

One of the things that ALL indie authors need to truly master is the fine art of building a mailing list. I’ve got one for my newsletter, but I am a LONG way away from “mastering it”. In fact, I kind of suck at it, but I am going to have to learn how, one of these days.

Let me just procrastinate on that for awhile.

While I sit here and fart around, why don’t you take a look at how author Joynell Schultz is tackling this problem for her own self?

Joynell Schultz

operation_ (18)

Moving forward in this 1000 “True” Fan blog series, I’ll be focusing on converting mailing list subscribers into TRUE Fans. I’m changing the formats of these posts to be a bigger project each month, rather than lots of little ones.

May’s focus is creating a mailing list subscriber sequence.

The other day, I had a brilliant epiphany. I know, the information is out there in magical internet-land, but for some reason I was missing the BIG PICTURE.

Your mailing list serves MULTIPLE purposes, and you need to leverage it to meet the intended purpose.

First, it’s a great way to communicate with your fans. Keep them entertained, let them know about new releases, and to interact. (This was what purpose I had saw in my mailing list up to his point.)

BUT, it has a few more purposes too.

  1. Gathering a list of active readers and informing them of who…

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Selling Books Through StoryBundle

Back in October 2016 I came across a Facebook post from a UK writer by the name of Simon Kewin. Now, I had heard a bit about StoryBundle, but not a whole lot – but I have an adventurous marketing spirit – (which is another way of saying that I am too stupid to be scared) – and I decided to jump in.

What was I jumping into?

Well, for starters, Simon was putting together a StoryBundle of witch tales and he was looking for novels.

That’s right, Simon was on a witch hunt.

“Well heck,” I said. “I’ve got a novel named TATTERDEMON that has both a witch and a voodoo queen and an entire field of haunted scarecrows. It’s available widely – through Kindle, Nook, Kobo and a bunch of others. I’d love to take part.”

Tatterdemon Omnibus

You can tell you’re reading a Steve Vernon blog entry because there is a commercial about every three paragraphs or so.

It turns out that TATTERDEMON was the very last novel that he had room for in the bundle – so luck was running with me.

I still hadn’t figured out if it was good luck or bad luck – but it was DEFINITELY running with me.

The rules of submission were pretty simple. I had to submit an e-pub and a mobi and a copy of the cover illustration. Also, I had to make certain that my novel WASN’T in KDP Select – but I met the deadline and submitted the book on time.

I had to provide some blurbs and a few choice reviews and a sample.

Man, this was beginning to feel like work, but I was getting excited to.

I had to sign a contract in digital blood.

All right, so I am making the digital blood part, but it was fairly comprehensive.

Then, on Thursday April 27 the bundle went live.

That sucker took off like a rocket.

The bundle is going to be available until May 18, 2017. That’s the hitch about StoryBundle. If you want to read this collection you need to grab it just as fast as you can.

Go on.

I’m waiting.



So, how can YOU sell your books through StoryBundle?

Well, for starters, I’d advise signing up for their newsletter on their website.

It wouldn’t hurt to buy a couple of their bundles just to get an idea about what these folks are looking for. They generally like to work with authors who they have worked with before, or that they have some familiarity with their work. Some of these bundles are individually curated – such as The Witchy Bundle, which was curated by the aforementioned Simon Kewin. Some of their bundles are curated in-house.

The best way to get an idea is to check out their Q&A page, which will answer a lot of your questions better than I can. 

I can tell you one thing for certain. I have been VERY impressed with StoryBundle. Their sales have been truly impressive. In fact, they have blown my hair back. I go to bed dreaming about the ringing of cash registers. So I intend to work with StoryBundle again, just as soon as I can.

That’s right – I’m downright ecstatic over the sales figures we’ve been hitting.



You might also want to have a look at the StoryBundle archives which will only serve to torment you at the thought of all of those wicked cool StoryBundles that you have already missed!

The way it works is this. You can – to an extent – name the price you want to pay for the bundle. If you choose to pay fifteen dollars or more you get ALL TEN BOOKS! If you pay LESS than fifteen dollars but more than five dollars you only get the top five books. Also, if you like, you can earmark some as a donation to a charity.

So – don’t wait for the clock to run out. Grab yourself a copy of THE WITCHY BUNDLE from StoryBundle today!

While you are at it, don’t forget to check out THE WRITE STUFF 2017 StoryBundle – a collection of inspirational how-to writing books, curated by the well-known author Kristine Kathryn Rusch!

And – lastly – all of you science fiction fans will want to check out THE SFWA SCIENCE FICTION StoryBundle, curated by Cat Rambo.

Old bold bumblebee

Yours in Storytelling,

Steve Vernon