Tag Archives: Tatterdemon

My Big October Promotional Push – Day 7

halloween sisyphus

It has been an interesting week.

I’m busy this weekend selling books at Hal-Con – a huge local scifi/fantasy convention, which has really been taking most of my time and energy – but I wanted to let you folks know how the big October promotion was doing so far.

On October 29th I sold 129 copies of TATTERDEMON on Kindle – which is pretty huge.

I’ve sold 205 copies of TATTERDEMON through Kindle alone this month with almost half of those copies selling on October 29th.

I’ve sold a total of 269 Kindle e-books in the month of October so far – and I’ve got a couple of mini-promos lined up for the first week of November.

Following this promotion I intend to bump TATTERDEMON and DEVIL TREE up to $3.99 – probably by November 7 – which I think I will leave as my steady novel rate.

I’ve sold 48 copies of TATTERDEMON on Kobo this month – making the book #13 in their top-selling horror books this month.

I haven’t sold any copies of TATTERDEMON in Nook or Apple this month – in spite of the fact that several of my promo sites promoted wide.

Kindle is still king – which really isn’t much news to anyone here at all – but Kobo is really beginning to show me their worth this month. I had really begun to doubt the wisdom of not going  strictly Kindle Select – but thanks to Kobo’s new Beta promotion tab – which I will tell you folks all about later this week – I have experienced new life over at Kobo.

I am REALLY tired this morning and I have to go and get some breakfast before heading to man the book table all day today – so I apologize for the rough and ragged nature of this morning’s blog entry.

Lastly – this November I am AGAIN tackling Nanowrimo – so the full-tilt-boogie is going on all month.

Wish me luck.

yours in storytelling

Ha! You weren't expecting this. I usually wait until the blog to sneak this in - but I figure if I slide it in right the middle of the blog that folks will accidentally trip into clicking this banner and then inadvertantly nominating my book A BLURT IN TIME for the Kindle Scout program - which is a little like one of those Wile E. Coyote roadrunner traps that never, ever worked - STILL, if the book makes it into the Kindle Scout Publishing Program you will automatically receive a free Kindle copy of the book.

In between trying to run a book table and an October promotion AND trying to get ready for Nanowrimo AND trying to hold down a day job – I am ALSO trying to run a Kindle Scout Campaign. PLEASE click this picture and nominate A BLURT IN TIME today!

Never Trust an Actor…Or Why I Write Novels Instead of Screenplays!

I used to joke about how I used to cheer myself up by phoning all of my actor friends whenever I was feeling down about how HARD it can be to make a living off of writing. Acting is just one of those sort of gigs where you can a lot of money over a month or two – and then spend the rest of the year auditioning for voice-overs for Raid commercials.

In that way they are a little like writers. I make a good chunk of change twice a year when my traditional publishing royalties come in. I also make a bit of money from the occasional public appearance or short story. I also make a bit of money every month from my independently published works – but none of it is very predictable.

Neither are actors.

Just when you think you have got them figured out they go and do something that you didn’t expect them to do.

Like Mandy Patinkin.

You see – it really peeved me off when Mandy bailed on CRIMINAL MINDS.

Now Joe Mantegna has done a heck of a job taking over from him as has Thomas Gibson. I’m not going to mention Shemar Moore because – although he’s a pretty good actor he has the unforgivable distinction of being way too hunky, or at least so my wife says, for me to acknowledge him in public.

No – I’m not jealous of Shemar – I’ve just got certain standards to uphold is all.

Mandy Patinkin apparently had creative differences with the producers. Maybe he also had money disputes with them. He told folks that he did not wish to be typecast and wanted to move on with his theatrical appearances. He also was deeply bothered by the prevalence of violence in television.

Well, maybe so – but as a fan of the series I kind of wanted to see a little bit more of the character – Gideon – that he played. I guess he knew what he was doing. He has done fairly well on Broadway. I even hear that he can even sing a little…

He’s not the first actor to do this to we television-viewers.

Remember Radar?

Or Adam Cartwright?

Or Chris Eccleston’s Dr. Who?

Actors will do that to you – because actors are people. And people are ANYTHING but predictable.

My latest actor let-down occurred when Jim Carter – the actor who plays the butler Carson from Downton Abbey dressed up as a depressed Santa Claus and told the kids in the Youtube-viewing audience that Christmas was in jeopardy of being cancelled due to global warming.

I don’t know about you folks but I felt kind of cheesed-off that Greenpeace had taken such a blatant cheap shot at Christmas and all of those kids out there who still believe in Santa Claus. I’m not going to talk about whether or not global warming is real. I’m fifty-five years old and I’ve seen how badly screwed up the weather is these days. We’ve definitely broken something out there – BUT SCREWING CHRISTMAS UP FOR THE KIDS IS NOT GOING TO UNSCREW THE WEATHER!!!


Who put this soapbox under my feet?


The important thing to remember is that actors will mess with you when you least expect to be messed with.

Which is why I write novels instead of screenplays.

In a novel your character does EXACTLY what you tell them to do – right?

In a novel the author is in COMPLETE control – right???

Well – I’m not so sure about that either. I’ve had characters turn around and do something amazing or wonderful – right out of the blue.

I’ve also had at least THREE characters in three separate works of fiction up and die on me.

I remember the first time that happened – a character in my novel DEVIL TREE up and died on me in the third chapter. One moment she was there – the next she was gone.

Same thing happened in LONG HORN, BIG SHAGGY.

Same things happened in TATTERDEMON.

Characters will do that to you when you least expect it.

Have YOU ever had a character decide to do something all on their own?

I’d love to hear about it.

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Let’s Talk Scarecrows…with RG2E Featured Author Steve Vernon

A guest-blog entry at RG2E (Reader’s Guide To E-Publishing)


Let’s Talk Scarecrows…with RG2E Featured Author Steve Vernon.


Check it out and leave a comment at RG2E for the chance to win a free e-copy of TATTERDEMON.


yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

The Secret Behind A Strong First Line!

“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  

I recently was asked to answer a few questions regarding the importance of a good first line.

So naturally I decided I had to blog about this issue. It is here – in the entries of my blog – that I feel the absolute freedom to express myself as I see fit.

And also – this is a great excuse for me to avoid working on my latest novel.

So what’s a good first line?

“The bullet hit Santa Claus beneath the left eye.” – SOFT TARGET – by Stephen Hunter

That’s a good one that I just spotted the other day at the bookstore. I saw this book, SOFT TARGET, by Stephen Hunter – sitting on the shelf at a bookstore.

Now, I like Stephen Hunter’s work.

I haven’t liked every one of his books – but I liked a lot of them.

So – how do I know if I want to read this book?

Well – we could try looking at the cover.

So what does that cover tell me?

Well, it tells me that it’s a STEPHEN HUNTER novel.

And it tells me that at least ONE BULLET is going to be fired.

That’s important – if you’re a fan of Stephen Hunter novels. Stephen Hunter is one of those authors who has evolved into a NAME BRAND AUTHOR. I see “Stephen Hunter” on the cover – right off the bat I want to pick it up.

This is something all of us authors need to strive for.

I’m not there yet. There are readers out there who say – “Dang, this is a Steve Vernon novel. I’d better pick it up.”

That’s true. There are a few of them.

But most folks will see “Steve Vernon” on the cover and they’ll say – “Steve who?”

So, let’s say that “Stephen Hunter” ISN’T a brand name author yet. Let’s say he’s just a hopeful wannbe.

Let’s say he’s me.

So – the average reader is going to look at that book cover and say – okay, so a bullet is going to get shot. Probably at a soft target.

That still doesn’t mean that the reader is going to bother reaching for his wallet.

You see – that’s what a writer wants.

We want to have the reader reaching for his wallet.

Try and think of it this way. He reads that book in the bookstore – without reaching for his wallet – and you don’t see that royalty check. If you don’t see that royalty check then your bills don’t get paid. If your bills don’t get paid you wind up out in the street – and that’s the end of your writing career because it is AWFULLY hard to run a self publishing career successfully if you have to resort to plugging your computer into a fire hydrant.

It’s a little like that whole “tree falling in the forest without making a sound” koa.

“If a writer does not receive a royalty check then he didn’t write diddly-squat.”

Or at least that’s how I run my kitchen anyway.

“It was a pleasure to burn.” – FAHRENHEIT 451 by Ray Bradbury

So, if you aren’t a BRAND NAME WRITER – how do you get that reader to the whole “reaching for his wallet” stage of activity?

Well, for starters, you ought to have a REALLY good first line.

Just think about it. That is one of the first things that a potential reader will do. He’ll flip open the book and run his finger down the first page, moving his lips zubba-zubba-zubba while he does so.

Or at least I do, anyway.

That’s a critical factor for me in making my own mind up about reaching for that wallet. I read the first line or two just to get a better idea if this book is ACTUALLY something that I want to own.

“When the phone rang, Parker was in the garage, killing a man.” – FIREBREAK by Richard Stark

So, IS a first line that important?

I want you to just stop for a moment and try and imagine all of the many times that you said something stupid to a person that you were trying to impress right from the get-go. It might have been a boss that you were hoping would hire you. It might have been a hottie that you were trying to make a connection with. Just try and remember those many times that you opened your mouth and something dumb fell out of it.

A first line is a first impression.

A first line is that taste of honey that says to the reader – “My God – you have just found something worth spending time and money on.”

A first line is a well-dangled fishing lure.

A first line can be a boot to the side of the head.

An ambush.

A welcome-to-the-deep-end-bubba.

 This is the saddest story I have ever heard. — THE GOOD SOLDIER by Ford Madox Ford

So you are probably expecting me to tell you the real SECRET to creating a truly kickass first line – aren’t you?

That’s why you started reading this blog – didn’t you?

You want a paint-by-number kit that you can take on home and use on your next bit of creative scribbling.

Well – I am truly sorry – but there is nothing EASY about writing – except maybe saying that you do it.

And let me tell you – saying ain’t doing.

So – where do I find my FIRST LINE?

Well, sometimes it jumps right out at me. Sometimes I see it just as clear as a clear blue day – floating there on the top of the page – saying something along the lines of – “Well, what are you waiting for – write me down!”

I’ve got a few lines like that. Some of them I’ve already used. Some of them are sitting in a notebook – just waiting for the rest of the story to come along.

But mostly it isn’t all that EASY at all.

Sometimes I’ll find my first line about three chapters into the first draft.

That’s what writing is like sometimes.

You can’t just sit around and wait for your first line to show up. You have to diver right in and start lining them words up and sooner or later your first line will see all that commotion and it will push past all them other lines you’ve lined up and jump right out into the lead.

So how will you know that it’s your first line?

You’ll know.

Finding a good first line is a little like finding true love.

I’m not talking love like – Gee, I really love to eat pizza with my feet stuck out on the coffee table – I am talking big true love in BIG FREAKING CAPITAL LETTERS L-O-(my god I’m going to die if she doesn’t notice me now) – V-E!!!

Accept no substitutes.

He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish. —Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea 

Damn, I really love that last one. THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA has got to be one of my favorite novellas ever.

So what about bad first lines?

What about those clunkers that start some books – usually something about Joe Nobody getting out of bed and studying his own face in the bathroom mirror – thinking deep thoughts and wondering what this day will bring before he gets to the end of the story and gets run over by a bus?

Let me tell you.

A bad first line is like hanging a men’s room sign on the ladies washroom door in the middle of an all-you-can-drink-beer-athon.

It is bound to lead to some awkward and highly uncomfortable situations.

I mean – them women’s rooms don’t have any hang-on-the-wall urinals – which is why there are usually longer line-ups to the lady’s room than to the men’s – unless it is an all-you-can-drink-beer-athon.

A bad first line is a KEEP OFF THE GRASS sign at a lawn party.

A bad first line is like telling your blind date that the doctor swore on a stack of e-pirated Bibles that your love-cooties were only directly communicable on months with an “R” in them.

A bad first line is the Gee-I was-certain-that-was-just-a-heavy-sounding-fart-before-I-unsqueezed in the dress pants of existence.

I’m not saying that it’s pretty.

So let me leave you with three more first lines.

 It was the day my grandmother exploded. —Iain M. Banks, The Crow Road

Elmer Gantry was drunk. —Sinclair Lewis, Elmer Gantry 

“Preacher Abraham Fell stared down at the witch, Thessaly Cross, breathing like he’d run for a good long stretch.” – TATTERDEMON by Steve Vernon 

Which you can order on Amazon.

or on Kobo

or on Smashwords

or – if you aren’t motivated by any sort of gratitude over the five or ten minutes of amusing blogginess to rush out and download my book – why not read the review instead.

yours in storytelling,


(call me Ishmael)


Interview with Author Steve Vernon

Here’s a brand new interview with me – for those folks who haven’t tired of hearing me talk about myself .

Interview with Author Steve Vernon.



Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

The First TATTERDEMON review…

Writers are always hunting for reviews.

A good blog review of your latest book is wonderful advertising to the entire readership of that particular blog. It is advertising that will stay there in the blog archives and continue to make new blog-followers aware of your work.

A good review at a bookselling site – such as Amazon, Indigo/Chapters, Kobo, Barnes & Noble and others is likewise valuable in that it serves as encouragement for new readers to pick up your work.

That is why I am always happy to see a new review.

Getting reviews is not always easy.  Whether you are dealing with a dedicated book-blogger or just a for-the-fun-of-it reader who liked or did-not-like your book enough to actually write a review of it – you are always going to be dealing with someone who most likely has a very long To-Be-Read list – and your book will get placed in line and you might not see a review for a very long time.

Mind you – sometimes receiving a review can be a somewhat mixed experience. If that particular reader did not particularly care for your book it can be downright painful. But even a painful review can still hold positive benefits for the long-term strategically-minded writer.

Even a bad review is apt to have some good points.

For example – “I really enjoyed Joe Blow’s sense of humor, even though I thought the plotline of Joe Blow’s latest e-book “MY DOG WAGS HIS TAIL AT ME” sucked harder than a thousand flushed toilet bowls.” – lets readers know that the book is good for a giggle.

And besides, toilet bowls are awfully useful.

I just read the first review of TATTERDEMON at WISTFULSKIMMIE’S BOOK REVIEWS and it truly rocks.


It made my morning.

It truly did.


PS: I guess if I were really the slick marketing genius coyote that I pretend to be I should tell you readers to try and make it a point to post a reviews of a book – if you truly enjoyed it – just the same way as I try to make it a point to eat low calorie bacon cheeseburgers with a salad instead of french-fries! And I should also mention that if any of you writers want some tips on GETTING reviews you might want to read my blog entry “Let’s review the art of getting a book review” right here – https://stevevernonstoryteller.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/lets-review-the-art-of-getting-a-review/

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

We Deal in Lead, Friend…my one hundredth blog entry

This is my one hundredth blog entry and I still do not know exactly what I am doing.

Let’s get that out of the way right off the bat.

I am just making this up as I go along – something that writers are supposed to be good at.

Theoretically, we get paid to lie proficiently.

I can do that.

This has been a very abundant month for anniversaries and accomplishments. Earlier this week marked the release of TATTERDEMON, my ninth e-book release from Crossroads Press.













That’s the ninth book in a little over a year.

You can check out my e-books just by clicking some of those covers that are lined up on the right hand side of this blog.

Saleswise – it hasn’t exactly been spectacular. I move about fifty e-books a month or about six hundred in a year. My bestseller – Devil Tree – moves about twenty-five copies a month.

How does that compare to my traditionally published books?

Well, having just recieved my six month royalty statement from my traditional publisher I can tell you that I moved about nine hundred copies of my traditionally published books in half a year.

I don’t have my other royalty statement handy and I don’t intend to root for it – but I can assure you with a great deal of conviction that the October statement is usually a fair bit better than the April statement.

Numbers wise – my bestselling book this statement was THE LUNENBURG WEREWOLF – which sold about 550 copies in the last half a year.  Second place belongs to HALIFAX HAUNTS – which sold about 200 copies in the last half a year. So those two books alone sold more copies in a half a year than my nine e-books sold in an entire year.












So – why do I continue to concentrate on e-book releases?

That’s a good question.

I believe that digital publishing definitely represents the best new direction for an author to follow. This is not the time to dally and linger in the past. So I will continue to forge ahead and attempt to raise my profile in the e-book market.

That doesn’t mean that I am giving up on traditional publishing. As I’ve said I’ll be launching a brand new 216 page Nimbus collection – MARITIME MURDER – this fall. It should be released in time for the Word on the Street, here in Halifax – one of my favorite times of the year in which I get to hang all day long with folks who are definitely interested in reading and writing.

However, at the same time I am pushing forward on the e-book front. I have two YA novels – one paranormal involving a Bigfoot, a Coyote, a Raven and a Winnibago; and one illustated YA novel involving a teenage “Fight Club” – that I am at the point of completing for release in e-book format. I have got two other YA novels that are roughed out and should be ready later this summer. In addition to those four novels I have several short stories and a couple of short YA historicals that will likewise be released as part of a new Kobo publishing push. This summer will mark a whole new direction for the Steve Vernon writing machine.

Eventually these other works will be available in other formats but the first release will be strictly through Kobo.

That’s all the news that I can tell you right now.

I will definitely keep you posted on further developments.




In addition to this being my one hundredth blog entry I also recieved word through the WordPress system that I have recieved my one hundredth “like” – which is likewise cool.






Since I first launched this blog I have managed to attract several new followers every month. I’m sure there is a way to figure out how many followers I’ve got – but I again refer you to that earlier comment about how I have absolutely no idea as to what exactly I am doing on this blog.

Nevertheless I was pleased and honored to recieve the VERSATILE BLOGGER award this week.

This is a great award on account of I really admire it’s pretty Hulk-like green color. However – with great awards come great responsibility – and I now have a whole new set of rules that I am required to follow, following this nomination.

Fortunately, I am versatile – or didn’t you read that green award two paragraphs past?

Rule Number One – I have to thank the person who nominated me – namely, Lauren Waters, a writer who has been a great fan of this blog from early days. You can find more about Lauren Waters at her blog – http://laurenwaters.net/ – and if you had any degree of “classitude” you would likewise FOLLOW Lauren Waters blogsite. So, thank you Lauren Waters – and I hope my stern commandments to the folks who are reading this blog bring you an entire new classitude stratum of followers…

(you see, if you have break out your thesaurus while you are writing a blog entry folks will be impressed at your abundant vocabulary and the mulititude of high-syllabic-word-structures that surface in your blog entry – which you file under B – as in Baffle them with Bullshit!!!

Rule Number Two – I have to share seven things about myself.

#1 – Like Lauren, I can also read palms. I did so professionally for about fifteen years and still show up at certain events and festivals throughout the year.

#2 – I am a gardener – and later this afternoon I will be planting a bed of orange gladioli and a bed of giant perrenial sweetpeas.

#3 – I frequently like to pretend that I am dumber than I actually am.

#4 – I am a monogomous old coot who really enjoys being married to the best bellydancer in the universe – namely my wife Belinda.

#5 – I am actually a passable cook – and I intend to release a cookbook with my wife Belinda later in the summer – again through Kobo.

#6 – I have a deep crush on Jamie Lee Curtis.

#7 – I have absolutely no idea what I am doing – (see #3)


Rule Number 3 – I must nominate SEVEN other Versatile Bloggers. This one rubbed a little bit the wrong way because I have long held a deeps-seated grudge against chain letters and those horrible Facebook entries that ask you to “Join up on Farmville and send me some help” or “Repost this entry if someone in your life recently died of the bubonic plague.” Never-the-less, I will attempt to nominate SEVEN other Versatile Bloggers.

Nominee Number One – Gef Fox – WAG THE FOX http://waggingthefox.blogspot.ca/

Nominee Number Two – Jim of THE GINGER NUTS OF HORROR http://thegingernutcase.blogspot.ca/

Nominee Number Three – Dave of LIFE AFTER UNDEATH http://www.lifeafterundeath.com/

Nominee Number Four – Kent Allard of DEAD IN THE SOUTH http://deadinthesouth.blogspot.ca/

Nominee Number Five – Mark Justice of THE POD OF HORROR http://www.horrorworld.org/poh.htm

Nominee Number Six – Colum of DREADFUL TALES http://dreadfultales.com/

Nominee Number Seven – Slade Grayson of BOOKGASM http://www.bookgasm.com/reviews/horror/sudden-death-overtime/




We deal in lead, friend!

So I’ll send out the nominations to the appropriate recipients and I’ll try and live up to that whole “VERSATILE BLOGGER” title.

But for now I have got to get back to my writing.

That new e-book isn’t going to write itself.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon





Who here hates combing their hair???

I’ve got uncombable hair.

I drag a comb through it. Get it all lined up. Look at myself in the mirror.


I’m a killer.

I’m a god.

And then I breathe.


Just that quickly – that perfect godlike comb-job winds up looking like something that was dragged through the business end of a combine harvester.

I used to have long hair.

Long like this.

(that’s me in the Aquaman costume, in case you were confused, Mera is actually my wife Belinda)

(and what is up with Aquaman? How come he comes out of the water every time without ever having to comb his hair?)

The hair was uncombable – but when it’s that long you can sort of get away with faking it. You could get away with saying such hoopdoodlery as “Hey, I’m not into conforming to civilization’s unreasonable expectations.” or “Yeah, the wind caught me.” or – if you’re in your teenage years you can even get away with a blank stare followed by “Comb?”

Or, for a couple of summers I even tried this.

Then, when I reached the age of fifty I decided to have it cut short. To hell with combing. I had it cut reasonably short and settled on looking like the way I look on that blog photo to the right of this entry.

Unfortunately, unless I want to opt for a special forces buzz cutt the darned stuff still needs combing. Not all of the hair gels of Arabia – or Shopper’s Drug Mart – would neaten this mop.

Editing is a little like that.

The first time you begin to comb through the manuscript the darned thing is completely unmanageable. The chapters won’t line up.  You can’t decide whether your hero is a blonde or a brunette. You misused there instead of their about two thousand and eighty two times.

It’s absolutely impossible.

Then, you begin to build a little structure and the work begins to come together.

Finally, when you are happy with it, comes the best part of all. The part when you send your work off to your editor.

Which, in hindsight, is a little like sending your delinquent teenager to a military academy. Let somebody else worry about that little sucker. Let somebody else get him into shape. Turn him into a man.

(I know, I know, I have dropped my metaphors into a blender and hit frappe)

Then, sooner or later the little fellow comes back – and he’s carrying a gun.

Damn it, that seemed like a perfect plan at the beginning of things, now didn’t it?

Editing is the same way. Sooner or later you’re editor sends your work back to you and you have begin to comb it straight it all over again.

(whizz, frappe, whizz, frappe…)

Only this time you have some step-by-step directions to follow.

It is as if the god of design reached out his magic highlighter and crayoned out a few step-by-step comb-to-the-dotted line directions.


That’s where I’m at this morning. I am about 125 pages into a 300 page manuscript that has been gone over carefully by my editor and I am picking my way through the blue and red lines, looking for glitches and queries – like – “Wasn’t this dude red-headed three chapters ago?” or “How did ten bullets grow out of a six shot revolver anyway?” or “Who in the hell ever told you that you were a writer?”

Well, maybe not that last one. I might just be reading between the lines.

(Danger Will Robinson, frappe overload is iminent…)

The book is entitled TATTERDEMON and you are going to have to wait just a little bit longer before I can pass any more information your way.

For now, I’m just going to continue to comb my hair and play with my blender.

…whiz, frappe, whizzzz, frappe, whizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon