Tag Archives: storytelling

Want to read a free Steve Vernon Bigfoot story?

Just raise your hands!

Just raise your hands!

Everybody loves a free story, right?

Then just click on over to THE JERSEY DEVIL PRESS and read their 57th issue today!

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Telling Stories at the Tidal Bore…

Tidal Bore StorytellingI have taken part in a lot of cool storytelling gigs over the years.

A couple of months ago I was contacted by Aurora at the Fundy Tidal Interpretive Centre and asked if I could take part in a storytelling event this August.

Well, it turns out that I had the time and they found myself and my wife lodgings for the evening – which made a big difference to whether or not I could attend and take part.

I had Thursday and Friday off from work and my wife took a vacation day for Friday. Once she got from work on Thursday we hopped in the car and braved our way through the rush hour traffic. Once we got on the highway things moved pretty quickly.

We reached the Bed and Breakfast that was donating our lodgings. It was a really pretty spot right on the Bay of Fundy and it was called CRESTHAVEN BY THE SEA.

The Cresthaven was a lovely little spot with big comfortable rooms and a great decor. Our hosts, Warren and Cathrine Yuill, did their best to make us feel at home and I wished we had more time to spend just to soak up the view of the Bay of Fundy.

For supper, we walked down to the local restaurant, BING’S EATERY.

The owner, head artist and cook served us up two fine meals. I had a substantial smoked meat sandwich on sourdough bread with a heap of healthy baked potato wedges while Belinda tried the fish taco. Again, I wish we had had a bit more time to really sit and enjoy the meal and possibly try a bit of dessert – but we were on a pretty tight timetable.

We arrived at the Interpretative Centre and enjoyed a splendid view of a very quiet-looking river. I met my good buddy and fellow writer, Stephen Lowe and his lovely wife Gwen Frankton. I met Stephen at last year’s SUMMER FEAR  Horror Festival in Tatamagouche.

Thanks to Stephen Lowe for the photograph.

Thanks to the help of astronomer Paul Heath we had a splendid view of an absolutely gorgeous moon through a telescope that looked powerful enough to have readily focused upon the feathery navel of a Bedford Basin bald eagle.

Then the real star of the evening – the Tidal Bore – came roaring in. Within about fifteen minutes that sleepy river was transformed into a roaring torrent that would have fit right into a 1970’s disaster flick. All we needed was Charlton Heston thumping his fist against the iron railing saying something dramatic like “Damn you, tidal bore. Damn you – you are louder than me.”

Here is a Youtube video I found to give you folks a bit of an idea. We were perched out there on that big iron viewing platform they show early on in the two minute or so video and had a splendid view of the entire experience.

That will give you folks a taste – but really, you want to get yourself up to Maitland sometime this fall and catch the wonderful spectacle firsthand. Call ahead to the Interpretive Centre to get an idea on the timing. Admittance is free the experience is definitely breathtaking.

Afterward the arrival of the bore I did my best not to further bore the audience, telling a couple of local stories as well as a retelling of that wonderful old classic, “The Golden Arm”.

Then Paul reset his telescope and treated to my first look at the planet Saturn. Previous to this experience I had only ever seen Saturn in movies and textbook photographs but thanks to that big old telescope I could see the rings of Saturn just as clearly as I see the wrinkles around my baggy old eyes every morning in my bathroom mirror.

Speaking of mornings – Belinda and I had a wonderful sleep and a really fine breakfast at the Cresthaven.

It was a great little working vacation and I hope to do this again sometime next summer.


Incidentally, I’ll be signing and selling my books this year in Tatamagouche for the SUMMER FEAR 4 as well on August 23, 2014 at the Tatamagouche Grain Elevator.

Hope to see some of you there.

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon


Sometimes an awful lot can hang on one good story…

Bart Simpson Blackboard

I have NEVER claimed that I was a very good student.

The truth is I didn’t enjoy school until I figured out that the easiest way to get a good mark in English was to write a really good story or play.

Indeed a lot of my love for writing originally stemmed from that goofy-looking kid who sat up close to the front of the classroom because he hadn’t yet learned that he actually needed glasses to wear to see from the back of the class.

I didn’t find out that I needed glasses until I was seventeen years old and was taking driving lessons and continued to drive the instructor’s car off of the side of the road.

Sometimes it takes an awful long time for a fellow to learn how to see.

That’s how it was in school.

I kept beating my head against the blackboard trying so very hard to be a “good” student when all that I really needed to do was to just be myself and tell my stories.

It reminds me of history class.

My history teacher was a gent named Bill Carrise who truly loved the study of history. He would sit up there at the front of the class telling us stories of ancient Kings and Queens just the same as some folks will tell you what their maiden aunt Gertrude has got up to with the town motorcycle gang.

One day Bill decided to retire to a stone farmer’s cottage in Southern Ontario to grow mooseberries or some such foolishness. Bill’s replacement was an ex-economics teacher whose idea of instruction was to sit perched upon the edge of her desk reading the history at us.

She kind of reminded me of a Spandau gunner sitting in her bunker mowing down us poor hapless students with a nonstop ack-ack-gack constant stream of monotone boredom.

At the end of the day history is nothing more than a series of well told stories – and sometimes an awful lot can hang on one good story.

Here endeth the lesson.

Now, for dessert, why don’t you give a look at this Youtube video that tells the entire History of the English Language in about eleven minutes flat.

And thanks to Nate Hoffelder over at THE DIGITAL READER for pointing this video out.

All of you folks out there who have any interest in indie-publishing or the digital world in general REALLY ought to be following THE DIGITAL READER.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon


The Ghost Story Gala of Annapolis Royal

I’d promised to write a blog entry on my trip to Annapolis Royal – and I intend to keep that promise.

It was actually two trips in one.

The first trip took place on October 18th. My host’s daughter – who lives in Halifax – picked me up after I’d finished my shift at work and drove me to Wolfville, where my host’s husband Chick – (his nickname) – was waiting to drive me the rest of the way. Wound up being about a three and a half hour drive – and I am still amazed that they went to this effort to bring me down there. I feel more than a little honored by all of the trouble they went to.

Here’s a picture of my good hosts, Sherry and Chick.

I spent the night at my host Sherry’s home. Basically went to bed as soon as I got there.

The next morning I was up bright and early and we walked over to the school – the Annapolis West Education Centre where I spoke and told stories to two large groups of high school kids ranging from grade 10 to 12. It was a little strange given that two days ago I had been presenting my stories to a large group of Halifax Grammar School students from pre-primary to Grade 2 – but I adjusted fairly quickly.

These kids were awfully keen on learning and were an absolute pleasure to teach.

Then I had dinner and hopped into a third vehicle owned by a couple who had volunteered to drive me home to Halifax.


October 27, 2012 was the Ghost Story Gala itself.

Getting down there was a lot simpler. Belinda had taken that Saturday off to drive me down. The scenery was positively intoxicating and to help add a little intellectual content to our drive Belinda created a Road Kill Statistical Countdown Sheet.

Yes – my wife found something to keep me entertained – and out of her hair.

It was my job to keep a tally on the roadkill we spotted along the way. I was diligent in my task – although there were a couple of critters that were sadly unidentifiable. I didn’t want to guess at what they were. A good statistics man NEVER falsifies his data.

That’s one dead bunny, five dead porcupines, one dead crow, nine dead raccoon, one dead skunk, seven dead tires and one dead badger. I want to be clear with you folks and let you know that the bunny and the badger were both write-in candidates – and the sloppy drawing of both bunny and badger belong to me. I am a writer – NOT a visual artist.

We left at about seven in the morning and drove into Annapolis Royal at about eleven in the morning. We parked outside of the bed and breakfast we were to be billeted at and strolled the town, having coffee and fancy German pastries at a really wonderful GERMAN BAKERY AND CAFE.


The pastries were heavenly and the coffee stood up on the table and barked – just the way I like it.

Then we strolled down St. George Street and stopped to poke around through the FAR-FETCHED ANTIQUES AND ART GALLERY – where we were amazed by some Asian curios and had a fine old talk with the owners Tom and Cindy.


By that time I had a book signing scheduled at MAD HATTER BOOKS.


This was a really cool little bookstore and leather shop. Belinda browsed for a bit and found herself a pair of really slick driving gloves that she fell in love with. Her hands do not like the winter chill and these gloves will DEFINITELY be a godsend for her. Then she took a stroll while I sat and signed. It was a quiet time of year for the town but we sold a few books and I had a great time meeting some of Annapolis Royal’s citizens.

Following the signing Belinda and I walked back to our Bed and Breakfast. We decided to have dinner before checking in and we ate our dinner at the German Bakery and Cafe. I was dying to try some of their sauerkraut and their schnitzel. The meal was great and we bought a bagful of German pastries to take home with us to Halifax the next day.

The pastries were awesome. Just awesome. Apparently, the German Bakery has an outlet here in Halifax, at the Farmer’s Market. I’ll definitely have to get down there soon to hunt me up some sweet treats. Leave the diet book at home, brother!

We stayed in the Cottage Room at THE TURRET BED AND BREAKFAST – a lovely looking house with a pair of very friendly Border Terriers, Simon and Posy. It was a lovely home, very convenient to the downtown area – and the breakfast was truly splendid.

Then I had to walk down to the KING’S THEATRE, where the Ghost Story Gala was going to be held, for a short sound check – while Belinda had a much-needed nap.


The theatre was a grand little venue and the acoustics of the place were sound.

We ate supper at YE OLD TOWNE PUB, just across the street from the King’s Theatre – where I plowed into a heap of poutine – although in hindsight I wish I’d tried the Potachos – a plate of deep fried lattice potato chips covered with melted cheese, tomatoes, green peppers, and onions.  These are served with sour cream and a zesty salsa.


And then – The Gala!


I’ve spent a lot more time on this blog entry than I usually give to it – but I wanted to hit every single detail.

The Gala opened with Daniel Froese, violinist and fiddler, strolling gypsy-like through the auditorium serenading the audience with his finest fiddle playing.

Following that, Shalan Joudry entertained the crowd with wonderful Mi’kmaq stories.

Guitarist Caleb Miles sung a wonderfully haunting ballad that I actually knew the story behind – a tale of a Halifax serving girl who was hanged for the theft of a single silver spoon.

Following that they had some guy up there telling ghost stories. I think his name was Steve Vernon. He was pretty good, I guess…

All kidding aside, I had a wonderful time up there and I really feel I was at the peak of my story-telling form. It felt wonderful to be standing up there and telling stories, knowing that the love of my life – Belinda – was sitting there in the audience listening. I told two stories and might have told a third – but somebody went and called security to escort me off of the stage.


Following a brief intermission Daurene Lewis, past mayor of Annapolis Royal, both entertained and educated us all with a brief talk about Rose Fortune.

You want to learn a little more about Rose. It is a heck of a story.


Following this, Halifax storyteller Cindy Campbell – whom I’ve worked with many times before – told a bone-chilling tale about a man who met himself. Cindy was definitely at her best for this event as well. Unfortunately, I couldn’t track down any photos of Cindy from the event but here’s here listing at the Storytellers of Canada.


Finally, the torch singing Jazzette brought the house down with an absolutely smashing entrance and their cool swinging musicality.

I could spend the rest of the morning yacking to you all about what a wonderful time I had – but I just want to end this blog entry on this note.

This is the real reason that I enjoy working in rural areas. There is a real sense of community that goes on just as soon as you step outside of the city. There is nothing with living and working here in Halifax – but it was great to see how this little community bonded together to create this wonderful event. The local folk helped raise the funds, decorate the theatre, opened up their doors and their hearts to the entertainers who travelled here. They came out and filled the crowd and were all truly in the spirit of the festivities.

So – the next time you are wondering what to do with your weekend – you’d be well-advised to take a drive down along the shore to Annapolis Royal. Spend a night in one of their many wonderful bed and breakfasts. Take a tour of the town and find yourself some good eating.

Heck. I can’t be poetic about everything.

I just had a wonderful time.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Scheduling Secrets – Or How Not To Pose Like a Wannabe Bruce Lee…

This morning, I rolled out of bed and fell into a blog post.

It happens that way sometimes. As I’ll go on to explain – I like to check my e-mail and the first e-mail I opened lead to me to a blog posting over at THE WRITER’S GUIDE TO E-PUBLISHING.

This particular post dealt with a writer’s schedule.

While I was crafting a reply-comment to that blog post it got to me thinking that I ought to use this reply-comment as the basis for my next blog entry.

That’s right. Writing that innocent little reply-comment awoke my innate writerly thieving instincts and I decided that I was going to steal that reply-comment that I was writing – which is a little like stealing from yourself, I suppose – and use it as a blog post on my own blog.

Or, to put it another way –

“Immature artists imitate. Mature artists steal.” – Lionel Trilling.

To which I might add:

“Long-past-their-stale-date artists steal from themselves.” – Steve Vernon



Because I am one of those poor goomers who must still put up with a day job – and because my day job hours are rarely predictable – (I really think they use a dart board to write up our monthly work schedules) – I find it hard to set anything that even resembles a work schedule.

In fact, when I Google “work schedule”, Wikipedia says “That ain’t you.”

However, I’m fortunate enough to be an early riser. I had three paper routes when I was a kid and I had to be up at about five am to get breakfast into me – (I’m big on eating) – and get those papers sorted and delivered before going to school. As a result I am programmed to wake up before the crows have even started scratching themselves.

First off, I’ve got to make my way to the bathroom, where I sit for a while – (it’s safer than trying to aim in the dark) – and pet our black cat Kismet, who usually wants to know why the hell I haven’t fed her yet. I don’t know what her problem is – I fed her all yesterday – but she’s just funny that way.

I just looked up “patient and reasonable” on the Google and it told me “That ain’t cats”.

And here’s a picture of Kismet, sniffing the hell out of the inside spine of one of my books.

Then I sit down at the computer. I like to futz around on the internet for an hour or so before I begin dawdling which sometimes leads to a bout of full-out procrastination. I mean, why wait to put off what needs putting off to? I’m ambitious and I like to plunge boldly into my pre-writing procrastination.

I was going to look up “organized” on Google but I couldn’t find the to-do list that I’d wrote that down on to remind myself with.

You see, I like to start with checking my e-mail – which is what lead me to this blog entry here on THE WRITER’S TO E-PUBLISHING – before I begin. I’m pretty certain that one of these mornings I’m going to find myself something important in all that spam.

If possible, I like to warm up with something that requires some fast and creative free-range writing – such as this comment – (which I have already decided that I am going to steal on myself after I get commenting and use it in my own blog) – and to rattle some sort of a blog reply or a blog entry or to answer somebody’s question on the two or three message board forums I like to poke it.

(and I know that last sentence has most likely peeved the heck out of my Strunk and White’s Elements of Style – but me and Strunk/White haven’t been talking in years)

You see – I find that writing a blog entry or a thread reply like this – before I begin my actual work on whatever manuscript I am working on – is a really great warm-up. It’s a little like stretching yourself before a session at the gym – or shadow-boxing in the locker room before you walk into the arena and step into a boxing ring.

It isn’t anything like prancing around ten feet away from the fellow you’re supposed to be fighting – striking imaginary Bruce Lee poses and making kee-yii sounds like that blue jay outside my window is making. Striking poses like that in a fight doesn’t impress anybody – not even your Mom – and you’re most likely going to give yourself a charley-horse while trying to snap-kick a fist full of mid-air nothing.

Usually sometime around a half an hour into that hour long warm-up I’ll make my way downstairs and butter up a couple of slices of toast. I used to peanut butter and honey them but my wife says that has something to do with my belt shrinking on me so I just smear a little butter and then scoop out a bowl of cottage cheese. I pepper the cottage cheese – even though I’d much rather dump a couple of dollops of maple syrup onto the cottage cheese – but again, apparently that has something to do with my belt shrinking.

I’ll Twitter a bit and run through my e-mail and get all of my ducks lined up.

Then, I sip my coffee and get to work.

So, I guess that I have established three undeniable facts with this comment.

Number one – I like to take a poke at the social media side of things before I get to work on what really needs doing.

Number two – I really need an internal editor when commenting on other people’s blog entries.

Number three – If I worked for myself all day I’d most likely fire myself, sooner or later.

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

PS: Here’s a link to that blog where this whole thing started. Folks who are interested in learning more about the craft from successful e-book writers really ought to be following this blog – THE WRITER’S GUIDE TO E-PUBLISHING.


TALL SHIPS 2012 – my part in it…

For all of you folks in the Halifax area I want to start by telling you about the upgraded service that Metro Transit will be providing for the buses and the ferry service for this weekend’s kickoff to the Tall Ships.

Public Service Announcement


Transit service to Tall Ships 2012®

Wednesday, July 18, 2012 (Halifax, NS) – Metro Transit is extending its bus and ferry services during Tall Ships 2012®, beginning tomorrow, July 19 until Monday, July 23.

Extended Bus Service:

Thursday, July 19 & Friday, July 20 
#159 Portland Hills Link – Regular weekday service, with extended hourly service until 12 a.m.
#185 Sackville Link – Regular weekday service, with extended hourly service until 12 a.m.

Saturday, July 21 & Sunday, July 22 
#84 Tall Ships Special
-30 minute inbound service, 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. (Sackville to Barrington/Duke at MetroLink stop)
-30 minute outbound service, 11 a.m. – 12 a.m. (Barrington/Duke at MetroLink stop to Sackville)

Monday, July 23 
#159 Portland Hills Link – 30 minute service until 12:00 p.m.
#185 Sackville Link – 30 minute service until 12:00 p.m.

Supplemental bus service on other routes will be provided as needed.

Alderney Ferry Service:

Thursday, July 19 – Extended weekday service until 1 a.m. (last trip from Halifax departs at 12:45 a.m.)
Friday, July 20 – Extended weekday service until 1 a.m. (last trip from Halifax departs at 12:45 a.m.)
Saturday, July 21 – Extended Saturday service until 1 a.m. (last trip from Halifax departs 12:45 a.m.)
Sunday, July 22 – 30 minute all day service from 9 a.m. until 1 a.m. (last trip from Halifax departs at 12:45 a.m.)
Monday, July 23 – Regular weekday service

The Woodside Ferry will operate on its regular weekday schedule only.

Regular fares apply to all bus and ferry services; exact change required for cash fares. A list of retails outlets selling Metro Transit tickets and passes is available online at www.halifax.ca/metrotransit/retail_outlets.html.

For more information on Metro Transit bus and ferry services to the Halifax waterfront visit www.halifax.ca/metrotransit, follow @hfxtransit on Twitter, or call 490-4000.


Okay, so I hear you out there asking “Right, Steve – so what does this have to do with you?”

Let me tell you about it.

On Thursday, Friday and Saturday exciting live storytellers will be taking part in specially organized Theodore Tugboat tours – and I am going to be one of them. They may have to fit out a gigantic storyteller-sized life jacket for this old dude but I am really looking forward to taking part this year.



Here is the schedule.

Theodore Tugboat Authors
Thursday, July 19 Friday July 20  Saturday July 21 Sunday July 22
11:30 leaves halifax Frances Wolfe Steve Vernon Jessica Scott Kerrin Alison DeLory
12:15 leaves Dartmouth
1:00 leaves halifax Carrie Muller Steve Vernon Steve Vernon Lindsey Carmichael

I am twice as excited because I have never ridden on Theodore before. It’s going to great to meet the little Tugboat. I wonder if it would be good form to ask a tugboat for an autograph?

If you want more information on Theodore Tugboat check out his website.


And, hey – if you really want to be cool you can follow Theodore’s Tweets over at Twitter.


Now who’d have thought that a tugboat can tweet???


But that is not all.

On Sunday, July 22nd I will be telling stories at the CBC  Tent from 1pm to 3pm. I’m looking forward to spinning tales about monsters and harbour history and maybe even a little something on Halifax’s part in the War of 1812.

Here’s a link to the CBC stage.


Anyone in the Halifax area might want to spread the word on this event. There is so much going on down there this weekend that I might get lost in the big wild whirl that is TALL SHIPS 2012.

See you there.

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

A good day…

Well, it has been a good day.

I just finished the final revision of a short story I had been working on for a while – involving a combination of Sasquatch, Sam Steele, an ancient Chinese Demon, and the building of the cross-Canada railroad as personified by a gigantic oil painting of the driving of the Last Spike in Eagle Pass, BC.

I was writing for a Canadian anthology that I’d been invited in on. It’s a strong solid tale and I’m fairly certain they’ll like it – but it’s always a crap shoot when you send any manuscript out.

I had a lot of fun writing this one, more than I’ve had in a while. Some days writing is a lot like work -but I was really excited about this story. I had been kicking around the idea for the characters involved in this story for some time and I don’t believe that they’re only going to turn up in one short story.

That’s the cool thing about writing short stories. It is very easy to reuse certain characters. For example, my Captain Nothing stories started out with just one tale and then I wound up writing several more until now I have nearly a dozen tales written about that particular masked crimefighter.

As well, I have a homeless shaman wanderer by the name of Easter Noon, who has turned up in about a dozen other stories. Someday I intend to put together a collection of Easter Noon stories as well.

Finally, I want to share some good news with you. I’ve just recieved word that there are two Steve Vernon novels scheduled for release in the next month or two. I can’t give you any details – except to tell you that one of them HAS NEVER BEEN PUBLISHED BEFORE and another has VERY NEARLY NEVER BEEN PUBLISHED BEFORE.

Both of them will be released in the next month or two in trade paperback!

I’m pretty exciited.

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

The Walking Man Talks…part 2

This is my fifth day of walking to work and I have begun to feel it.

There was talk in the newspapers about how the union and management were getting back together at the table. The last strike, back in 1998, last five whole weeks – but that was summer weather. I’ve got to believe that it’s a lot colder standing out there on the picket line these days.

Still, I have also seen the pictures in the newspaper – and the fellow who is in charge of the union looks like a fellow who likes to argue. You can’t judge people by appearance – but he does look like he’s got a bit of pitbull in his bloodline.

Still, I am making the best of it. I can also feel the fat cells burning and hopefully that will translate to a few less pounds. When you stop to think that I am – basically – walking a 10k footrace every day back and forth to work it has got to have some sort of a physical payoff.

I did see a couple of pretty cool sights coming home today.

As I was walking by the Skating Oval, aiming across the Commons to the corner of Cunard and Robie I saw a remote control model muscle car roaring across the Commons. Try as I might I could not tell where it’s owner was standing – but where ever he was he was having a fine old time. That little buggy was just ripping across the Commons.

Don’t panic. It didn’t tear up the turf. It wasn’t that big of a vehicle. But it did kind of startle and surprise me and it brought a grin to my wind-chilled features.

Then, when a passing greyhound caught sight of the little buggy things got even more interesting. That old greyhound froze and stared fixedly at the little moving vehicle and through my paracanine doggy senses I could tell exactly what that old greyhound was thinking as he stared at that remote controlled speedster.

“It’s that rabbit,” was what he thought. “I have no fucking idea how he got this far up north nor when he got himself a muscle car – but I know for certain that it’s got to be that goddamn rabbit.”


Then, later on, as I was walking through the Airplane Park – that park off of Chebucto – I saw an even more interesting sight.

I saw my first robin.

No, dang it, not that Robin.

This one.

I don’t exactly know what that foolish bird was doing out flying around this far up north when it was still so very cold.

I think he might even have been grinning at me.

I think he might have been taunting me.

But you can’t judge a robin by his appearance any more than you can judge a union representative.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Last chance spasmatic death twitch…

I was going to call this blog entry – A NEW BOOK REVIEW FOR DEVIL TREE

Then I thought better of it.

For one thing, the book review that I am posting a link to is actually a week or so old – and I’ve already mentioned it in a few of my Twitters and on several Facebook pages.

That doesn’t matter. Reviews, like household chores, can be played more than once.

For example: You drive your wife’s car into that brand new rose bush you planted – that’s a great time to say – “But I did the dishes this weekend, dear.”

It won’t help, but it might deflect a few death blows.

A better use of that particular househould chore might have been – “But I was racing home because I couldn’t wait to do the dishes, dear.”

However, speaking of races, I have to get some breakfast into me so that I can get my sorry butt out there for another two and a half mile walk to work.

So the blog entry I was going to write on the art of choosing a really cool title is going to have to wait until I get home tonight.

I promise it’ll be a doozy.

For now, check out this review!


Talk to you tonight!

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon


Horror Writing Questionaire

Over at Kindleboards I was asked to fill out a questionaire on horror writing.

So I thought – hey, what a great opportunity to create another blog entry!

Here goes.


1.) Name – Steve Vernon

2.) M/F – Let me check. Yup, male.

3.) Age – 53

4.) Nationality – Canadian

5.) How long have you been writing scary stories? – I’ve been writing scary stories since grade school.

6.) How many have you written? – Counting novels & novellas and short stories – I haven’t got nearly enough fingers or toes to estimate. Maybe 75 to 100 short stories. Add another 100 to 150 ghost stories included in my various collections. Add another 3 or 4 novels, about a dozen novellas and one or two novellettes. More if you count the occasional horror poem.

7.) Why did you write your first one? – Because I was a kid and kids think ghost stories are cool.

8.) Who was your biggest influence? – That’s a tough one. My grandmother and my grandfather – because they always read. One of the first chapter books that was handed to me was Dracula by Bram Stoker. In addition, my grandfather often told me old ghost stories and legends – as did my grandmother. I can still hear my grandmother saying “I want my goooooollllllllddden arm!” In addition, my grandmother let me stay up and watch the monthly all-night horror movie festival.

Writer wise, I’d have to say Stephen King. I remember reading Salem’s Lot and thinking to myself – I want to write a novel half as good as this one is.

9.) Have you won any awards for your writing? – A few odd ones, but I can’t remember which. Who’s got time to keep track?

10.) Think of your scariest story, What about it do you think makes it the scariest? – That would be DEVIL TREE – my very first full length horror novel. What makes it so scary? Unflinching honesty and a diehard refusal to look away.

11.) If you have more than one scary story, think of your most popular one. Why do you think it is so popular? – My most popular would be “Beat Well”, a short-short of about 125 words that was anthologized three or four times. In addition, my story “Mongrel”, which was initially published in a very early issue of Cemetery Dance and then republished in The Best of Cemetery Dance and Karl Edward Wagner’s Year’s Best Horror.

12.) Do you ever do any research for your stories? If so, What kind? – I do buckets of research for my ghost story collections – such as Haunted Harbours, Wicked Woods, Halifax Haunts and The Lunenburg Werewolf. Each of these ghost story collections is based on folklore and history – so I have to be very careful to get my facts straight as best I can. I root through the archives and old libraries and old minds and find all of the pieces and then I sit down and do my very best to get the pieces to fit together.

13.) Why do you enjoy writing scary stories? – Shucks. Why not ask me why I like milkshakes? Scary stories are fun. That’s all. This isn’t rocket science – it’s pure hardcore escapism.

14.) Why do you think some people like to be scared? – There are so many real things in life that can scare you – things like divorce, bankruptcy, killing disease, homelessness – that people come to really appreciate the kind of literature that lets you explore and release all of those sensations o fear. In a very real way scary stories are a kind of dress rehearsal for life.


yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon