Tag Archives: fiction

CBC Fright Night Movie Marathon

I love Halloween and ghost stories and anything to do with the fine art of booga-booga.

I owe this love to my grandparents who ALWAYS taught me the value of a good old-fashioned scare. I remember my Grandmother waking me up at midnight so that I could watch the monthly CBC Friday night Fright Night – which consisted of four back-to-back old-school horror movies. I would go to bed early that night and just before midnight she would wake me up and I would plug my grandfather’s television earplug into my ear so as not to keep anyone else awake and I would spend the whole evening watching Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney Jr. and Christopher Lee making with the cinematic booga-booga.

I am talking movies like FRANKENSTEIN. (1931)

This is the original, you understand – the film that shot Canadian immigrant William Henry Pratt, better known as Boris Karloff – to Hollywood fame as the actor who would scare the entire world.

I can still picture the beginning of that movie when actor Edward Van Sloan (the dude who played Van Helsing in Bela Lugosi’s great 1931 flick DRACULA) breaks the television screen by stepping out from behind a theater curtain and warning the viewers that “It’s about to get scary around here.”

Then, following the credits, we are treated to that opening scene of a funeral. I love the look of that graveyard with it’s drastically tilted tombstones and crosses and that gigantic statue of Death himself. I love how it echoes the sharp oblique lines of German Expressionism. I love the feel of good old-fashioned black and white terror.

Don’t get me wrong.

I am no caveman Luddite – although I do not own nor will ever own a cell phone.

But all the same there is something moving and ethereal about a black and white horror movie. It is almost like the filmmakers had somehow figured out how to paint in shades of nightmare and delirium.

I watch this movie at least once a year.

I am talking movies like The Mummy’s Curse. (1944)

This was the fifth installment of the Universal Horror series and it is one of my favorites. I have ALWAYS loved the way that Universal figured out how to string one movie after another with Frankenstein and the Mummy and the Creature From The Black Lagoon – although they never quite managed the trick with Dracula or The Wolfman. Hammer Films would later follow this tradition and I likewise enjoyed watching all of the Christopher Lee Dracula movies – looking forward each time to seeing how they brought the Count back to life and how they managed to kill him again and I could happily a dozen Frankenstein or Dracula movies strung back to back.

Lon Chaney Jr. never much cared for his appearances as The Mummy. He felt the make-up too restrictive and uncomfortable and he far preferred his appearances as Larry Talbot, the Wolf Man.

Which brings us to our next movie.

I am talking about movies like FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLFMAN (1943)

This was Lon Chaney’s FIRST follow-up to his classic THE WOLFMAN (1941) and Universal’s FIFTH follow-up to FRANKENSTEIN (1931) and as far as I recollect this was the first BIG monster mash-up where the filmmakers would bring two successful movie monster franchises together – kind of like watching Hulk Hogan square off with Andre The Giant.

Toho did the same thing with Godzilla meeting King Kong, Mothra, Ghidrah, Megalon, Mechagodzilla and a whole alphabet soup’s worth of oddly-named kaiju. FREDDY VS. JASON (did the same thing for the same reasons. It is just a natural sort of evolution for movie monsters. Sooner or later, the viewer begins to wonder – gee, I wonder what would happen if an Alien met a Predator?

The actor portraying Frankenstein was Bela Lugosi. There is a certain undeniable irony in the fact that Lugosi had originally tried out for the first Frankenstein movie and had been turned down flat because he showed up dressed in something that looked a little bit like the 1915 silent movie, THE GOLEM. Now here he is hidden beneath all of the Frankenstein make-up. Lugosi was never as successful a monster as Karloff was – but it is interesting to note that he is the actor responsible for that iconic stiff-legged walk that everybody gives Frankenstein’s monster nowadays. When Lugosi first portrayed the Frankenstein Monster he was told that he had been blinded in the last movie. So Lugosi naturally adopted that stiff, arms-straight-out walk that stuck like Krazy Glue to the character from there on out.

Sadly, I am also talking about movies such as FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE SPACE MONSTER (1965).

I remember how totally bummed out I was when I first watched this movie and realized that Frankenstein wasn’t in this one little bit – and yet schlocky Ed Wood Z-Grade monster films like this are a strong part of the monster movie tradition. Movies like this one are like the Halloween hobo costume that you throw together with your Dad’s old fedora, a suit jacket bought for three dollars at a local used clothing store and a bindlestiff made out of a stick from the garden and your mother’s favorite handkerchief.

Now – what I want to ask is does ANYONE else remember the CBC putting on a monthly Fright Night? I have exhausted my feeble powers of Google-Fu and cannot find a single reference to this event that played such a huge role in my childhood and helped to foster my love for horror movies.

This blog entry was written as part of the OCTOBER FRIGHTS BLOG HOP, an event for readers and authors and Halloween-groupies and fans of the fine art of booga-booga madness. We have brought over FORTY-freaking-FIVE fine authors of horror and paranormal together to share their Halloween booga-booga thoughts with all of you fine folks.

Just click this image to be whisked away to the a world where October rolls on to somewhere long past forever - the October Frights Bloghop!

Just click this image to be whisked away to the a world where October rolls on to somewhere long past forever – the October Frights Bloghop!

And lastly, let me tell you about the special gift that I have arranged for all of your reader-types out there – especially you folks who dig crazy horror.

From today until October 3, 2015 my collection OCTOBER TALES will be available FREE for all of you Kindle readers.

Like horror? Got a Kindle? Click this picture to grab a free copy today!

Like horror? Got a Kindle? Click this picture to grab a free copy today!

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Doors – and writing…

Copenhagen, Denmark.

“Many years later, in front of the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia would remember that distant afternoon his father took him to see ice.” –  ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Back around this time of the year in 2012 I wrote a blog entry about the importance of a good first line.

Just this morning while scrolling through my Twitter feed I came across a link that lead me to a DeMilked photo-article entitled TWENTY FIVE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL DOORS AROUND THE WORLD.

That owl-door at the top of the page is one of those twenty-five magical doors.

“That’s beautiful,” I thought to myself. “I ought to put that up on my Facebook page.”

Only while I was getting set to put it up on my Facebook page I thought – “Wait a minute. I ought to write a blog entry about how your first sentence is like a doorway to your novel” – which was actually what this blog entry was going to be titled.

At first.

Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

Only that got me to thinking that ACTUALLY the cover of the novel is your front door.

The mind works that way sometimes when you are in a creative state of existence. One door will lead to another will lead to another.

Hands up, out there. How many of you have ever seen the movie FORREST GUMP?

Now that was a fellow who never met a door that he did not try and enter.

That’s what a writer needs to do. He needs to step out into the world and begin opening doors – and if one door leads to another – well, he had better be prepared to open that door as well.

Explore the possibilities.

You might open one door and then decide to write yourself a poem but that poem will lead you to another door and you might that open that door and decide to write yourself a short story and then that short story might lead you to another door and if you have the courage to open that door you might find yourself with a whole novel hiding behind that door.

Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

So don’t be afraid to open that very next door that you come to. Keep your eyes wide open and explore the possibilities.

A blank page is an open doorway.

There is no telling WHERE it will lead you to.

If you need a little bit more inspiration why don’t you take a look at the deMilked website where all of these wonderful doors came from.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

PS: Over the last week I released THREE e-books – which sounds pretty impressive except when you stop to consider the fact that I was working on BIG HAIRY DEAL for over six to eight months, and that the three stories in BIGFOOT TRACKS were written sometime ago, and that FIGHTING WORDS was written and released on KOBO several years ago.

I’ve already told you about the first two books in my last two blog entries but let me tell you a little bit about the third book which I released in Kindle format thanks to Kindle’s new KID BOOK CREATOR.

Scheduled for launch on Sept. 19, 2014.

Scheduled for launch on Sept. 19, 2014.

I’m afraid I have done VERY little promotion for this book beyond just sticking it up out there and keeping my fingers crossed. I’ve got a lot more promotion lined up for the two Bigfoot books. But this is a very Nova Scotia kind of story that I first thought about writing when I read about a “fight club” that had been set up in rural Nova Scotia using high school kids as meat puppet moneymakers.

My Big Kindle Push…part one

Okay – so for some reason I’ve done pretty well at Kobo. Now ground-shattering – but most months I make over the hundred dollar mark – so my bank account gets a little bit of a goose. I want to do better and I know that it is possible – but for me this is a long game and right now I’m happy with the way that Kobo has been selling.

However, over the summer, my Kindle sales have atrophied. I’ve been thinking about this for a while – and I have come up with a bit of a strategy. It’s a long-term strategy – like I said – this is a long game for me and I am prepared to pay my dues.

But I do want to see some sort of action with my Kindle releases.

The first thing I did over the last few weeks was to begin a line of single story releases. I’ve created a new line of stories that I call STEVE VERNON’S SEA TALES. So far I have FIVE books in the series.

The Dark and the DeepIt was Billy McTavish’s first sea voyage.

He had signed on to the serve as convoy escort on the THISTLE a Royal Canadian Navy corvette.

Through U-Boat attack and Luftwaffe bombing runs, Billy had thought he had seen all the horror that the Atlantic could offer a young Canadian sailor.

But Big Jimmy Noonan had other ideas…

Built For Hanging On

This is one of my favorites and one of my wife’s favorite as well.

In fact, this is probably the closest thing that I have written to a romance. It’s the tale of how a fifty year old marriage of two VERY stubborn Maritimers survives the apocalypse.

It hasn’t sold a copy yet – but it is early days and I am hoping that folks will discover this one.

And no – I am not hinting.

Harry's Mermaid

This story originally appeared in ON SPEC magazine a couple of years ago.

It is the tale of a group of homeless who catch something that is ALMOST like a mermaid.

If that doesn’t tell you enough to go on than just try and imagine John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row written by H.P. Lovecraft.

Now that’s a mental image that you don’t visualize everyday – now is it???

I Know Why The Waters of the Sea Taste of Salt

This is a story set in war-torn Okinawa – back in the final days of the Pacific Campaign of World War 2. The story is told from the point of view of a young Kamikaze pilot preparing to fly his fighter plane into the side of an American battleship. It is a story of guilt, loneliness, memory and the taste of the sea. It is probably the “heaviest” story in the entire series – think Yukio MIshima and you are somewhere close to the mood of the piece. Slow, thoughtful, sombre and highly symbolic.

Oh, and there’s a sea monster as well…

Finbar's Story

The last story is more of a dark fantasy tale. The best way to describe it is to start out by telling you that water is a constant liar. If you tell a story with water it cannot be trusted and it will wash away in the first hard rain or in the tears of a long good cry. And stories told in blood and stone stick longer by far.

Finbar Tanner is telling a story to his son, Isaac. It is a story of love, desire and sacrifice. It is a story of blood and water and stones. It is a story of the deeper currents that flow within a man’s heart. It is a story of the sea.

So that is the entire five sea tales – so far.

Each of them are a stand-alone story. Each of them is priced at ninety-nine cents. You don’t have to read them in any particular order. Each one is a separate unique tale – with nothing in common but a bit of salt water.

If you want more info – just click one of the pictures.

Along with these five sea tales I’ve also released two brand new novellas and a stand alone story. I’ll tell you about them tomorrow.

And on Thursday I will tell you all about my big Friday 13th promotion.

I know I’m being a stinker – but ANY good storyteller knows how to leave his audience hanging in suspense.

Yours in storytelling,
Steve Vernon

Woohoo – I’m number sixteen in CANADA!!!

Okay – so this is pretty freaking cool. My YA novel, SINKING DEEPER, is #16 on this week’s Quill And Quire bestselling Canadian Children’s Book list. Pretty cool to see my book listed alongside of Robert Munsch and Kenneth Opel!




Within the next couple of days SINKING DEEPER will be available in Kobo and Nook format.

Eventually it will be available in Kindle format.

I’ll keep you posted on the details.


Meanwhile, my new Christmas release SHOTGUN CHRISTMAS is available in both Kindle and Kobo format.

shotgun christmas (2)



SHOTGUN CHRISTMAS is a mini-collection of two short Christmas related stories.

The title story originally appeared in A Maritime Christmas: New Stories and Memories of the Season (Nimbus 2008)

The second story, “Scalping Santa”, has NEVER been published before.

I figure I’m not going to make a HUGE amount of money from this release – but I really wanted to put something out for everybody’s Christmas stocking.

Here’s the opening paragraph.

There is a big old sledding hill not more than two or three good snowballs’ worth of distance from our home, just behind Hank Macabee’s house. That hill was waiting for me and my brand new toboggan. It’s one of those sneak-up kind of hills with a long slow ride down that picks up speed as it goes with a bump-hump at the end that you never see coming.

I didn’t see what was coming next, either.

The Christmas tree crashed through Hank Macabee’s bay window. The tree stand clattered behind it and bounced with a clank on Hank’s half-frozen front lawn. Hank came through the door, shotgun in hand. He wore a Nova Scotia plaid bathrobe and a pair of fuzzy blue Smurf slippers. He pumped and blasted the Christmas tree, shattering the decorations that escaped the initial picture window caber toss.

He continued pumping and blasting until his shotgun ran dry.

You really want to read this yarn to see where it goes next…


Available on Kindle      http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AHMO0SO

Available on Kobo      http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Shotgun-Christmas/book-YfvCRY4YeUeQsjPCBlKjbQ/page1.html


yours in storytelling

Steve Vernon

Author Style Cooking…

It’s been a hectic morning.

I got up early and made a man’s breakfast for my wife. She’s a dance and fitness instructor and Saturdays are particularly busy.

I chopped up a fat old onion and a couple of leftover potatoes and fried them up nice and crispy. Meanwhile, I grated some cheese into cracked four eggs.

Scooped the potatoes and onions out of the pan.

Drop some bread into the toaster.

Run upstairs with a good cup of coffee and set it on her bedside just as the alarm goes off.

Run downstairs and throw the eggs and cheese into the pan.

Good eating.

Then, after I got home from the groceries I cut up some chicken and sizzled it with a little olive oil, garlic and butter in the bottom of my largest pot. Then I chopped a couple of good red potatoes, a yellow zucchini, an onion, and threw them in on top of the browning chicken. Then I dumped in a bag of baby carrots – which are usually just regular carrots whittled down – and drained a can of chick peas and chucked them. Dumped two cartons of broth on top. Sometimes I like to make my own broth but I was in a hurry today.

Lastly, I let the whole mess sit and simmer – maybe until dinner, maybe until supper – at the lowest possible temperature. I can smell it up here while I type and MAN – it sure smells good.

I call it peasant soup.

I wrote the recipe while I was grocery shopping.

I cook this again it will most likely be different.

But still taste good.


Do you see how easy that all sounds – because it is. Hacked up chicken, hacked up vegetables and simmer in a pot. Cooking isn’t all that hard. Take what you have and throw it in a pot.

Writing a blog entry is just that easy as well.

I take what I have and I throw it in a pot.

Right after this I have to get back to working on a manuscript for a YA novel. I’m about 36000 words into what should wind up at about 50000.

How am I doing it?

I’m slicing up what I’ve got…

…and throwing it into a pot to simmer.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon




Now available in trade paperback – and on sale now for THIRTY PERCENT OFF!

Detours are amazing creatures. They can shortcut your existence or lead you down a forever long road that will linger far into the distant reaches of eternity. It is these unexpected tangents that people stumble across everyday that haunt in a frightening familiar fashion.

Wander into a laundromat and find a kind of time machine. Indulge yourself in a nasty game of baseball. Hitch a ride on a freight train with the piggyback man, entomb yourself in a trailer walled with books, take a ride on a bus that is going nowhere in particular, or just lean over an empty ocean and wait.

Detour around an overturned trailer of chickens and find a chance to do it all over again. Take a taxi ride with a very hungry passenger or a walk in the park to watch a juggler balance severed heads.

Reality will take you only so far–after that there’s nothing to rely on but faith and fear.

Fifteen stories.

Five of them, never before published.

We’ve come to the edge of the map. Let’s travel on a little further.
Table of Contents

Introduction by Richard Chizmar • Hyperactive Cleaning Power • A Fine Sacrifice • The Takashi Miike Seal of Approval • In The Dark and The Deep • Rolling Stock • Last Stand of The Great Texas Pack Rat • Gin Bottle Heaven • Voodoo Chicken Do-Over • A Prayer For The Clockwork Twister • Under The Skin, Under The Bone • Once More Round The Block • Jugular • A Wriggle of Maggot • Nail Gun Glissando • I Survived The Apocalypse… (only in Deluxe Thirteen edition) • The Tracks We Leave Behind (only in Deluxe Thirteen edition) • The End of the Road


“This genre needs new blood and Steve Vernon is quite a transfusion.” – Ed Lee

“Steve Vernon taps the strange fiction vein like no one before” – Hellnotes

“Steve Vernon is one of the finest new talents of horror and dark fiction” – Owl Goingback

“Steve Vernon is a hard writer to pin down – and that’s a good thing.” – Dark Scribe Magazine

“Armed with a bizarre sense of humor, a huge amount of originality, a flair for taking risks and a strong grasp of characterization – Steve’s got the chops for sure.” – Dark Discoveries


For more details



Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon


Attention, Attention.

…loudly clearing throat…

I am very pleased and proud to announce the release of my very first YA novel FIGHTING WORDS.

The e-book was released today as part of the KOBO WRITING LIFE beta test program.

Have a look at the cover!

So what is it about?


Max was just a thirteen year old nobody – until the fight.

He didn’t plan the fight. He didn’t even want the fight to happen – but after he stood up to Rodney freaking Hammerhead to protect his sort-of-best-friend Tommy – Max decided that fighting could be a good thing.

People looked up to fighters.

Girls liked fighters.

Now Tommy and Max have decided to create their own personal fight club.

It seemed like a good idea – but what can I tell you?

Sometimes stupid just gets in your eyes.

Please download a copy today.


yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon