Tag Archives: humor

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

Captain America: Civil WTF???


Okay, so this Christmas I got a whole heap of dvd’s. I love movies. I especially love superhero movies – but they keep messing them up. They just can’t seem to make a decent follow-up to most of the superhero movies I loved.

Let’s talk about THE AVENGERS. That’s a great movie. I’m having a bad day or sick with a cold and I want to watch a movie – odds are I might pick up the Avengers and watch it. Again. But AVENGERS: THE AGE OF ULTRON left me wanting a couple of hours of my existence back.

Same thing with IRON MAN. The first flick was brilliant. The second and third flicks were about as entertaining as projectile vomit.

CAPTAIN AMERICA? Well, while I know a whole lot of folks have sung the praises of THE WINTER SOLDIER (Captain America 2) – it left me feeling like I had eaten an entire bucket of unsalted, unbuttered three day old popcorn.

Turns out that CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR is no exception to the rule.

I know.

I should have posted a spoiler alert. You can skip the rest of my movie review if you want to. Just by reading that sentence “Turns out that CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR is no exception to the rule.” you can already guess what I thought of the flick.

It sucked.

Except it didn’t – for just a tiny little while.

Let me tell it to you. Humor the old fart, would you?

Let’s start with the title, shall we?

First off, the Civil War (at least in America) took about four years to resolve itself. I mean, there was Fort Sumter and then throw in the Monitor and the Merrimac, Antieatam, the Emancipation Proclamation, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg – and a whole bunch of other battles I can’t remember – and we’re still arguing over the flag on the top of the Dukes of Hazzard’s Dodge Charger.


You mean that the movie wasn’t about THAT Civil War?

Oh yeah.

I forgot.

Well, secondly, the actual Marvel Universe Civil War saga went on for about a couple of dozen graphic novels worth of material involving damn near every single superhero in the whole entire Marvel Universe.

I haven’t read any of it, you understand. When a storyline runs that long it tends to be garbled and DEFINITELY out of my wallet-range.

Yup, I’m a cheapskate. And I’m broke. That’s a bad combination, but there it is just the same.

So the filmmaker who decides to try and cram all of that into one single two and a half hour movie has REALLY got their work cut out for them.

Well, the folks who made this movie didn’t let that stop them. They crammed about two hours worth of hissy-fits, pointless dialogue, long meaningful glances and stunned looks into a long and pointless movie.

First off, they forgot the villain.

I mean, I read some of the earlier Captain America comic books and I remember Baron Zemo looking something like this.


If I recollect correctly, he was a Nazi mad genius who accidentally got his favorite red toque super-glued over his face in a kind of a sudden-death-reverse-wedgie maneuver. I figure he was the sad victim of a ruthless high school hazing incident.

Actually, he was the dude responsible for the death of Bucky Barnes, back when Bucky looked like this.


Well, probably because it’s become politically incorrect to use mad genius Nazi dudes in movies these days they decided to use some dude who looked like a high school nerd-gone-bad.



So then we have the start up – about an hour of folks talking back and forth and a whole lot of intense arguing and then there’s General Thunderbolt Ross chewing up the scenery and wondering where in the heck the Hulk is and then all of a sudden Iron Man and Captain America throw a simultaneous hissy fit and send each other nasty tweets and blocking each other’s Facebook accounts.

Then there is about fifteen solid minutes of superhero entertainment when Captain America pulls together his version of the Avengers (Hawkeye, Sharon Carter, Falcon, the Ant Man and Scarlet Witch) and Iron Man pulls together HIS version (War Machine, Black Widow, Black Panther, Vision and Spider Man) into an absolutely kickass superhero versus superhero experience.


And then there’s an hour long stretch of more boring back story and a blurry and poorly shot scrap and then Captain America and Iron Man kiss and make up.

That’s right. A two and one half hour episode of Big Brother – with about fifteen minutes of kickass WWF (back before the World Wildlife Federation sued the “F” out of the WWF) action.

I know.

If you do the math you’ll come up with one hour in the beginning, one fifteen minute kickass airport fight scene, and one more hour of muddied-up carnage.

The other fifteen minutes is the credits.

And yes, there is an Easter Egg credit surprise scene – two of them actually, that don’t give you much more than a hint that the next two Marvel movies are Black Panther and Spiderman.

(And who the hell thought that Marissa Tomei would make a good Aunt May? What, did she fall into a time vortex or something?)

That’s it.

That’s all that I’ve got for you.

Okay, so I will watch this movie again – but I’ll most likely skip to the scene list and just pull up the Airport fight scene and skip the other two hours and fifteen minutes.


I’m not kidding.

Sometime today I think I’ll watch Deadpool and see what all the excitement was about!

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Three Card Mousie

So it’s 10:30pm and I’m just finishing up in the washroom before curling up with a book and I hear this tiny scuttling.
A mouse scampered out.
Fortunately, the bathroom door was closed and the light in the bathroom is very bright. I seized the handle of the plunger and began chasing the mouse through the bathroom.
Up the vanity.
Around the sink.
Into the towel hamper beside the sink.
Then I carefully fished the towels out one by one while my wife Belinda Ferguson, awakened from a deep sleep by a mysterious thumping and banging was wondering if her husband was having some sort of a seizure behind the bathroom door.
“DON’T COME IN!” I calmly shouted.
Three face cloths left in the hamper and I began playing a rousing game of three-face-cloth-mousie in the bottom of the hamper as the mouse ran from underneath one face cloth to underneath another face cloth – and Monty Hall was nowhere in sight.
Mickey Mouse
The last bang ALMOST got him except he bounced out of the hamper, flew through the air and landed in the heap of towels that I had scattered on the floor.
I calmly and coolly hyperventilated just a little as I gingerly fished each towel up off the floor and shook it a little before dropping it into the hamper.
Finally I nailed the little bastard.
“GOT HIM!” I shouted.
“Are you dead yet?” My wife asked. “Should I dial 911?”
I covered the mouse up with some paper towel and said a few holy words to go along with the unholy words I had been muttering in amongst all of that thumping and banging and then I carried the mouse outside and dropped his carcass at the end of the sidewalk where the crows come to feed every morning.
“Go back to bed,” I told my wife. “The crisis is over. Your man is a mighty hunter.”

 Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

The Fifty-First Shade of Grey – how HARD is it to write like E.L. James, anyway?

So…I have heard that E.L. James has announced that she is releasing a fourth novel in her FIFTY SHADES OF GREY trilogy, to be written from the point of view of Christian Grey.

Click here if you want a copy for your Kindle

Click here if you want a copy for your Kindle

I have to wonder if this gambit is going to work for her.

She claims that her fans have asked for it – but I would hazard a guess that the bulk of her fans like to empathize with her protagonist Ana.

“What if I were Ana?” they like to think. “Imagine if I were hanging on that hot rack of monkey-love pain and Christian Grey was practicing his best Boy Scout knotwork on me. Boy howdy, hum-diggedy-dum.”

Or words to that effect.

They might not dig hearing this story from a man’s point of view. They might not really get off on listening to Christian Grey’s inner knot-thoughts – “Hmmm, is it right over left and under or left under right and over?”

I guess we’ll have to hang in there and wait until those two happy young lovebirds FINALLY tie the knot…

Click here if you want a Kindle copy of the fourth book in the series.

Click here if you want a Kindle copy of the fourth book in the series.

All right – so let me pull my horns in just a little bit.

For starters, I did try to read the first book and I could not get past the first chapter. That’s okay. There are an AWFUL lot of books out there that I could not get past the first chapter.

It took me YEARS to get through Dick and Jane.

Yup, you can even order this one in paperback if you want to work your way up to 50 Shades...

Yup, you can even order this one in paperback if you want to work your way up to 50 Shades…

All kidding aside, I would be HAPPY to have written FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY. I would be HAPPY to have them many folks buy my novels.

At the end of the day a writer’s job is to get his words out there to the hungry eyes of as many readers as he can reach.

I know some of you noble-minded folks will say something along the lines of “Oh, I just write to fulfill my creative destiny” but all I have to say to that is piffle.

That’s right.

I said it.


I am sorry to use such strong language in front of your delicate eyes – but we, as writers, are craftsmen as well as artists. We are building a product that should be consumed. A book, unread, is about as useless as an unsung song. It is about as useless as a shoe that cannot be worn upon a human foot.

And if anyone says “horseshoe” at me, prepare to have a Clydesdale dropped upon your wise-cracking head.

Hi - I am a Clydesdale. My name is Clyde - but you can just call me Roadblock...

Hi – I am a Clydesdale.
My name is Clyde – but you can just call me Roadblock…

Writing is hard work – and even a novel like FIFTY SHADES OF GREY took a lot of time and effort. The truth of it is I have TRIED to write a romance twice in my lifetime.

The first time I did not know any better. I had read that a fellow can get rich writing short contemporary romances – so I wrote a novel entitled LUNENBURG LOVE.

It was bad.

It was REALLY funky bad.

Earlier this year I sat down to try and write another romance – but I got no more than a chapter into it and then this ghost showed up and this kelpie and this sea hag and all of a sudden I am writing something that you MIGHT squint at and call a paranormal but it still looks an awful lot like a horror novel to me.

I guess I just cannot do it.

It takes work, dedication and a certain degree of creativity to write ANY novel – even if it is just a hack job or something aimed at turning a quick dollar. So do not look down upon such books as FIFTY SHADES OF GREY. Any book that can sell over 90 million copies has got to have SOMETHING going for it.

I still can’t read it, you understand.

But I will not giggle TOO hard at it.

This, on the other hand, might be giggle worthy…

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

(and thanks to the folks at INK, BITS & PIXELS for the tip on this)

Uncle Bob’s Red Flannel Bible Camp – From Eden to the Ark

Okay – so I am a little nervous releasing this sort of a book considering I have made my bones as a writer of horror fiction and ghost stories – but dang it, I have ALWAYS loved the old Bible Stories and at the heart of it that’s what I am – is an honest to goodness storyteller.

So here goes nothing.

Let me tell you about this book.

The book is called Uncle Bob’s Red Flannel Bible Camp: From Eden To The Ark and it is told in the voice of my Uncle Bob – a raconteur of the old school – a man who never had an opinion that he did not care to venture.

Now let me show you the cover.

Uncle Bob's Red Flannel Bible Camp - From Eden to the Ark

Gorgeous, isn’t it?

The cover is the work of talented cover artist Keri Knutson.

What the book is trying to be is a re-telling of the first few stories of the Old Testament told in a more comfortable, countrified style. I wrote it thinking about grown-ups and older kids and the ways that my grandfather and uncles would tell me some of the legends and tales and bible stories in their own unique fashion – rather than just reciting from the Bible.

You see, to me, those old boys – Adam and Moses and Abraham and Cain – and all those other folks – were most likely folks like you or me. They didn’t REALLY know that they were supposed to be biblical. They were just trying to get on with their day – same as you or me.

This is the first book of a series that WILL continue on throughout the rest of the Old Testament and right on through the New Testament.

You can pre-order it right now at Kobo for $2.99 – IF you pre-order it before March 14, 2014.

Following March 14, 2014 the price will go up to $5.99. So that pre-order is offering you folks a MONSTROUS fifty percent saving.

The book is ALSO available for $2.99 at Amazon.com.

I am working on getting it uploaded into the Createspace as well – so it will EVENTUALLY – before the month is out – be available in paperback format.

Some of you folks might wonder how I set up the pre-order on Kobo.

I basically followed the instructions on THIS REALLY HELPFUL VIDEO that Mark Leslie over at Kobo put out. The video ALSO explains the price ranges you ought to be thinking about if you are aiming to get your e-book showing up on the Kobo Daily Deal.

The book has done pretty well so far – judging by the leap it took in the Kobo rankings.

I’d like to thank all of those folks out there who have either bought or pre-ordered a copy of UNCLE BOB’S RED FLANNEL BIBLE CAMP.

I would also like to thank those folks who have reblogged and retweeted and shared all of my many links along the way. I couldn’t do any of this without your help.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon


I’ve just had some folks over at Goodreads ask me about my hockey-vampire novella SUDDEN DEATH OVERTIME.

Sudden Death Overtime - final art small

I figured that the best way to tell them was to give them a little peek at the writing.

So – without further ado, here’s an excerpt from SUDDEN DEATH OVERTIME – one of the opening chapters.



Sudden Death Overtime

Tuesday night 9pm.

No one noticed quite exactly when the long black bus stole into the parking lot of the Anchor Pub. As far as anyone knew the bus just sort of drifted into the Labrador coastal village of Hope’s End like an unexpected snow flurry.

Things happen that way around here.

Slow and unexpected.

Judith Two-Bear leaned her elbows against the wood grain of the unvarnished table top. Her cigarette glowed like a lighthouse’s lonely beacon, bobbing as she nodded three beats behind the music of the static-ridden radio. She’d parked herself at the window seat since dinner time. She liked to watch the world go by from the sanctuary of the town’s only drinking hole – the Hope’s End Drink and Drop Tavern.

Several long slow warm beers later Judith Two-Bear found herself staring vaguely at the names and dates carved and inked into the table top. She knew some of them. She could guess at some of the others and she wondered just who the hell the rest really were. How many lonely souls had made their mark on this table and had then just sat here like so many half finished glasses of warm draft beer – just waiting to be swallowed but not quite yet.

Truthfully, she didn’t think of any of this.

Not in those exact words, any way.

People don’t really think that way – only in books and poetry and movies and other such bullshit. Rather, Judith Two-Bear felt it, perhaps. She breathed it in with the stale pub air. Her grew her own sort of loneliness, nursing her drink and her evolving disappointment and her unvarying boredom that were as much a part of her as was the blood that sludged through her tired veins.

Nothing was left.

She had lived her life and had nothing but time left to her lonely keeping. She had seen her kids grow up and run away, her lovers grow cold and run away, she had seen life pull up to the curb and wave gaily once or twice before passing her right on by.

Her hands weighed heavy on the scarred pine tabletop. Her knuckles were cracked and leathered like old alligator skin, tattooed with nicotine and age. Her eyes had grown dull and nothing that hinted of girlhood was left to her save a shotgun blast of freckles playing hide-and-seek within the wrinkles and worry-lines that troughed down her cheeks like a memory of tears.

She stared at her flat beer.

The time drifted past the hope of anyone offering to take her home for any other reason but pity. Fergus had said he’d see her here, but so far he hadn’t showed. She believed he’d only told her that to be kind. Fergus was a good man, after all, although he spent far too much time out there on that damned hockey rink with old Sprague.

What in God’s frozen earth did grown men see in the rattle of sticks, the slashing of steel over ice and hockey sweaters worn way beyond funk?

Judith sat there, disinterestedly listening to the soft current of gossip prowling through the Drink and Drop Tavern; folks wondering just where the black bus came from. Perhaps it was a fresh oil rig crew, or perhaps a wandering rock band. Perhaps a pack of tourists, far off course, with their pockets jingling with cartwheels of American silver and the promise of better days.

Judith knew better. No one in their right mind would come to Hope’s End, Labrador where the only thing that kept the town going was the influx of oil rig workers who stopped here between shifts to get drunk and fed and laid; the three weeks of seal hunters who would stop here to get drunk and fed and hopefully laid; and the occasionally dangled promise of incoming government money.

There were a lot of them – so many promises washed up like waves on the rocky beach, only to be pulled away just as fast.

She stared at her beer.

The lights dimmed as the town generator kicked up a notch.

The last tune on the jukebox crackled out, only to be replaced by another goddamn hockey game.

Judith stood up carefully.

Fergus wasn’t coming, she decided.

She laughed to herself.

There had never been a hope that he would come.

Life doesn’t really work that way.

Love is nothing more than a lie told in a midnight poker game where everyone cheated and nobody won.

She leaned backwards and listened to the creaks and cracks in the fossil that her doctor laughingly referred to as a spinal column.

The evening had passed as slowly as a year of chronic constipation.

She was six beer older.

Maybe seven – who the fuck really counted?

The television commentator shouted as someone banged the puck home. A few onlookers moaned and someone listlessly cheered. No one noticed as Judith emptied her glass of warm beer and turned it bottom-up on the table top.

She walked out the front door.

It was cold for a January evening. She pulled her shawl about her, holding it close. The shawl was the last gift that Little Jimmy Pinto had given to her before he’d got drunk five months ago and had fallen from the ferry, halfway home to Newfoundland.

Jimmy Pinto had washed ashore three days later. The current had carried him to the beach, shrouded in seaweed and picked at by the gulls. There were nights when Judith nightmared over Jimmy Pinto’s tide-swollen memory, the tears drowning in the memories his eyes, a crab picking listlessly at a bit of unfingered ear wax.

Other nights she dreamed of him singing – tone deaf and lustily bawling out that old Gordon Lightfoot standard, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”, over and over – the only tune he knew straight through. The nightmares were her only company these days. She welcomed them as a lonely woman welcomes the nightly visit of a phantom lover.

“Damn it,” she swore at the shadows.

She had truly hoped that Fergus would have shown tonight. She had hoped that he would replace her memories with a little actual companionship.

But Fergus wasn’t coming.

“God-be-Jesus damn it.”

The wind was cold in the parking lot.

There were only a few cars. Most people lived close enough to walk.

The black bus loomed in the darkness. There was no other word for it. It loomed – like the shadow of a mountain cast over a lonely gray tombstone.

It was heavy.


Black and implacable.

For just a half an instant Judith Two-Bear felt the urge to turn and run back into the pub and scream her panic – drowning out the hockey game and the clink of beer bottles and the tired rattle of conversation.

But what the hell would that accomplish?

She drifted a little closer to the black bus – as if she wanted to prove something to herself.

This close she saw that the windows were painted over.

Even the front window, all black.

How could a driver see his way through the night?

It might have been one-way glass, she supposed. You could see out, but nobody else could see in. But it looked more like the window glass had been spray painted over. All black, as if something were trying to hide. A part of her wanted to run from the bus and the parking lot but she was too tired to listen.

She leaned over and gently touched the side of the bus.

She felt a rhythm, like a tide, like a heart beat, throbbing within the strange blackened walls of the vehicle.

Music, perhaps?

Her hand sank inwards into the cold black paint, like she was reaching into a basin of cold black water. Then she leaned a little deeper. Something purred, deep within the colour of the bus. Something purred and something drew her in. She felt it inhaling, her knees buckled slightly.

Her skin paled and the paint on the bus darkened.

She could see the grill and headlights grinning at her. She wondered just how that was possible. She was leaning on the side of the bus, nowhere close to the grillwork. She shouldn’t have been able to see it.

She didn’t care.

Fergus wasn’t coming.

She leaned there against the bus, allowing whatever was hiding inside it to drink its fill.

She wasn’t trapped – only comfortable.

The bus door grated open.

Judith drew her hand from the lulling cloy of the paint and freely entered the bus, still dreaming of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

The bus door closed behind her. If there was any screaming it was drowned in the lonely swallow of a North Canadian night sinking home. It began to snow, soft fat flakes that promised a hard storm to come. The snowflakes melted and slid across the grinning grillwork of the night-dark bus.

Fergus showed up at the tavern, one hour too late.


If you want to read the rest of this tale you can pick it up in either paperback or e-book format at Amazon.com.

Or – if you are from the UK you might want to get it on Amazon.com.uk!

Or – if you are from Canada and you’ve got a Kindle pick it up here!

Or – if you are like me and own a Kobo pick it up here!

You can also hunt it up in paperback on Createspace!

Or on Nook!

Or on i-tunes!

Well, I think that I have about run past my quota on exclamation marks – not to mention self-promotional links – (another link and WordPress is going to start asking me to limit my blog entries to one character OR LESS!!!) – so I want to think you if you’ve read down this far and pardon you if you haven’t – which doesn’t really matter if you HAVEN’T read down this far.

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon