Tag Archives: valentine

The Bloody Valentine’s Day Blog Hop 2014 – Part 3 – dealing with that “Block” word

There’s always comes a time when the celebrating is over and it is time to clean up all of the wrapping paper and the empty beer bottles and the cheese rinds and that funny-colored stain that looks a little bit like pre-World-War-1 Manchuria that Uncle Walter left upon the fabric of the ottoman that he was hunkered down upon.

If any of you want to make some kind of witticism about the “Ottoman Empire” well go right on ahead. I won’t stop you. However, I refuse to stoop to such low-brow pun-ridden humor.

Too bad Uncle Walter refused to stoop.

In some provinces they refer to this state – (I know, I know, make up your mind Vernon – is it a state or a province) – as the hangover.

It can be the worst or the best part of any sort of situation – depending on how you look at it.

We writers know this feeling. There is nothing worse that getting to that “wrapping-up” part of the manuscript.

For example – I’ve been attempting to “wrap up” a Bigfoot novel for about six months now and I keep beating my head against a stone wall.

I’m not going to use the “block” word.

Let’s just say that I am a little momentumously-challenged right about now.

So what does a writer do when they find themselves in the realm of negative-momentum?

Well, for starters I like to puddle about. Then I fart around for a brief spell. When farting around gets too much to handle I put off and procrastinate and occasionally redudanticize a phrase or two.

Up here in the snowy regions of Canada we refer to this stage as “spinning one’s tires”.

Suffice it to say that it doesn’t accomplish all that much.

But sometimes a fellow just needs to buy himself a little time.

And other times he just needs to spend a little time doing sweet diddly-squat.

I wanted to write about this today because sometimes some folks might think me glib while others think of me as some sort of a “writing god”.

“Well, Steve,” they’ll say. “You’ve got about thirty self-published e-books and seven regionally released trade paperbacks and a about a hundred or so published short stories and maybe another hundred published poems – some of which EVEN made money. You’ve written umpteen thousand reviews and a large handful of interviews and over four hundred blog entries – not counting your old blog. Surely you MUST know what you are doing by now.”

Well – bullshit.

The truth is we writers are in a constant state of perpetual adlib.

(or would that be a province?)

We are ALWAYS making things up as we go along.

This last month or so I have found solace and shelter in the more practical aspects of farting around. I’ve released a couple of new e-books and have just recently commissioned a brand new cover for my e-novella HAMMURABI ROAD.

I’ll show you that cover in a week or two – suffice it to say it is awesome.

I have also written over 7000 words in a brand-new Biblically-oriented piece of literature that I have been REALLY excited about.

In short – I keep busy.

Sometimes that is ALL a fella can do to keep the fire burning.

So – the next time you find yourself faced with that big old “block” word – pause for just a little while to fart around.

That’s step one.

Go fishing or fix that leaky faucet or replace every light bulb in your house whether it needs or not.

Then – proceed to step 2 and pause again and begin to futz about creatively. Find a new market for your old work. Repackage it or re-promote it. Write a blog entry or two.

Then if you are still stuck – find something NEW to get excited about and go forth and write the hell out of it. Main thing is to finish this second thing through – which I anticipate I will do with this new Biblical project.

The main thing to remember is to NEVER give up.

I will get back to Bigfoot – just shortly after I finish up with this Biblical project – which ought to take another two or three weeks.

Meanwhile – I am giving that Bigfoot project time to percolate without all of that static electricity of needless worry and fret.

The fact is there are TWO Bigfoot e-book projects on my plate – and one of them is ALREADY written – so I just have to finish the other one – and then I’ll release them both.

So take heart if you are faced by that big bad old “block” word. Don’t panic and don’t flounder around. Regroup and find your footing – even if you are waist-deep in the mud.

♥  ♥  ♥

Meanwhile, let me tell you about Valentine’s Day.

The morning was given over to work for both Belinda and I.

She had to go to her classes at Community College. They were having a fund-raising cake sale to raise money for QEII BONE MARROW COMFORT FUND. This is a fund set up by Halifax’s QEII Hospital to raise money for folks who have to face a bone marrow transplant. The Nova Scotia Community College has been supporting this particular fund for several years now. On Valentine’s Day this year the culinary department – (that’s chefs in training) – get together and bake some magnificent cakes which are then sold to the students to raise funds for the program.

Now I am supposed to be watching my weight – so Belinda did not bring home a whole cake. Instead, she brought along some plates and forks and a cake cutter and bought a whole cake herself and gave each of her classmates a slice of cake. She did bring some home herself and it was a chocolate raspberry cream cake that tasted like plated-up temptation.

Meanwhile I was visiting a local school – telling my stories and talking about how to write and tell a good story to several classes of Grade 8 and Grade 9 students at the Dartmouth Bicentennial School. I had a great time and met a lot of great kids and luckily happened to show up in time for a big Chinese dinner Valentine’s lunch party that the teachers were having. I had a couple of egg rolls and some chicken balls and some broccoli and beef and fried rice and Soo Guy and what was that I was saying about watching my weight???

So I got home and Belinda had set up an amazing buffet assortment of Valentine’s Day treats.

Valentine's Day 2014 003

Let me see if I can get all this right.

We’ve got – moving from left to right – pickled onions, olives, gherkins and Branston Pickle. Above that is a bottle of Toasted Head Cabernet Sauvignon and a tower of pear slices, blood oranges in brandy, grapes and apple. There is a tray full of  fancy black pepper crackers and sweet and savory jellies hidden behind the candles – apricot reisling, cabernet fig, and spicy peach chutney. Then a tray full of cheese – toffee cheese which tastes like dessert, mango cheese, Stilton and a Borsin and a dark black Guinness-infused Stilton which I love to eat but makes my tailpipe exhaust smell a little like an arthritic nine hundred year old dying moose.

Not to mention that bottle of locally brewed Martello Stout which likewise contributes to that whole dying moose effect.

Then in front we had a modest cheese fondue with freshly baked white bread and some somewhat over-proofed olive bread – which I adore.

My contribution to the feast was the wine, the beer and the appetite.

I also contributed the evening entertainment as we sat down and watched our new DVD set of VIKINGS season one. We are eagerly awaiting the second season and I thought it was high-time we sat down and rewatched the first season without any of those irritating History channel commercials – HAVE YOU WATCHED PAWN STARS MEETS AMERICAN RESTORATION WHILE AMERICAN PICKERS AND CANADIAN PICKERS DUKE IT OUT IN A STORAGE GARAGE SPECIAL?

(note – I actually really enjoy watching Canadian Pickers and Pawn Stars occasionally – but I get tired of the commercials)

Today we are going to carry on watching the rest of the season – after I get done a bit more writing, the dishes, my laundry and maybe some groceries and cooking. While Belinda is in college I pick up as much of the housework duties as I can manage to.

Today we are also going to make time to go through our Bag of Hearts.

This was Belinda’s idea originally. Many years ago on a February when we were REALLY tight on extra money – she decided to sit down and cut out three hundred and sixty-five reasons why we’re in love with each other.

Just yesterday I pulled the bag down off of my keepsake shelf and she could not believe that I had actually hung onto the homemade gift – but the way I see it, homemade gifts are the best kind – unless you count beer.


In fact I’ve ALSO got every Christmas, Valentine’s and Birthday card she ever got me wedged into a shelf here on my writing desk. I take them out every now and then and look through a few of them.

It always makes me smile.

That’s what love is, folks. Love is a three hundred and sixty five day a year adventure.

Don’t waste your time aiming for one or two days out of the year.  Bring home a flower or a donut or a greeting card – just because it’s Tuesday.

Listen to the old moose, eh?

♥  ♥  ♥

Funny thing about entertainment – but sooner or later there is ALWAYS a commercial.

If you enjoyed this blog entry why not pick up a copy of my brand-new collection of six twisted love stories – BAD VALENTINES 2?

Bad Valentines - High ResolutionYou can buy it on Kindle and Kobo for only 99 cents this week.

(regularly priced $2.99)

AND REMEMBER – be sure to check out the two dozen OTHER authors taking part in the BLOODY VALENTINE’S DAY 2014 BLOG HOP!

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

The Bloody Valentine’s Day 2014 Blog Hop – Part 2


I hear a lot of folks today talking about how Valentine’s Day is sadly out-of-date. Some folks claim that it’s an outmoded notion, that a fellow who gives a woman a bouquet of flowers and some candy shouldn’t expect to get his hat boxed and his kiwis cuddled. Other folks complain about how Walmart and Hallmark have damn near merchandised this holiday to death. Overpriced restuarants and wildly expensive bouquets have done old St. Valentino in.


I love St. Valentines Day.

I still remember the first Valentines Day I gave to my wife Belinda.

I’m talking about 1995 – back when I wore size 34 jeans.

Way back then Belinda wasn’t my wife – she was my girlfriend, but I loved her just as much. I scuttled into her house just as we were coming home from an evening out. I hastily paid off the babysitter and threw her out the door, making a dent in the front lawn where she landed.

Then – while Belinda was upstairs getting changed I hastily filled the living room with flowers, candy, jewelry, chilled wine, stuffed toys, balloons and great big stick-on Valentines decals in the windows.

Yes sir – I set myself a bar that I could never hope to successfully vault over – yet every year I keep on trying.
Fortunately, so does she.
♥ ♥ ♥

Then there was 2006.

We’d both lost work time over November and December, and my business back then especially suffered over February.  For those who knew me back then I was a full-time palm and Tarot reader at Little Mysteries on Barrington Street – and let me tell you there just isn’t a lot of folks who brave the winter to get downtown for a palm or Tarot reading.

So we decided to keep it small. I started out by giving Belinda a bag of ginger chocolate last night. Then this morning I awoke to find that she’d snuck down to my office while I was snoozing and left a stuffed monkey valentines card and some chocolates on my writing desk. I returned the favor by handing her a card and a DVD of the movie Tom Jones.

Then Belinda made me a big batch of heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast.

Point to her.

Then we both had to head our separate ways. I needed to go to the dentist, and she needed to go to work. We walked out, happy as pigs eating pigs.

The dentist visit was uneventful. They had to bring out a jack hammer to clean my teeth, (I’ve never had that done at a dentist before, and they made a follow-up visit for March. Then, when I was finished and went to the desk to pay my bill the receptionist said, “Happy Valentine’s Day. Your dental visit is on your wife.”

Right out of the freaking ballpark.

Heh. I did my best to make up for that by picking up a bouquet of bright orange roses, (which she loves), and a heaping helping of orange chicken and won tons, (which she also loves), but the fact is my wife has definitely out-valentined me that year. I bow down to her sense of timing. All hail Belinda, the queen of Valentines Day.

♥ ♥ ♥

I was going to tell you all about LAST year’s Valentine’s Day – but I think it’d be easier if I just sent you to the blog entry – which describes in MUCH more articulate fashion than I can manage tonight.


So – instead let me tell you about Valentine’s Day at the Vernon house THIS year.

We’re on one heck of a budget this year – on account of Belinda is going to college all year long and is consequently making a LOT less money. She is taking a college course in Medical Administration and is scoring top marks and working her butt off doing it and I am SO damn proud of all of the work she is putting into it.

So we’re doing Valentine’s Day on a budget.

But that still doesn’t mean it isn’t special.

Earlier this week I bought her a fancy Tim Horton’s heart-shaped donut – just because I knew she was having a hard week at school. The other day I picked her up some fancy chocolates. Then Thursday night I brought her home a fancy Starbucks heart-shaped cookie.

See fellas – this is how you REALLY want to do Valentines Day. Never mind farting around for one mere night of the year. Stretch it out so that it lasts all week long. Never mind trying to be expensive. Go for thoughtful. Show your lady that you are thinking about them.

Listen to Poppa.

Valentines Night we are going to do fondue. We’ve got some fancy cheese – including some dark old Guinness-infused Stilton that is absolutely wonderful if you dig funky old cheese. Belinda calls it my hockey puck cheese.


We’ve also got some toffee cheese which tastes like supper and dessert all wrapped into one neat little package. We’ve got some olive bread and some olives and pickled onions and gherkins and some fruit and I’m bringing home a fancy dessert – in case the toffee cheese isn’t sweet enough.

Belinda has a box of wine and I have a six-pack of good dark ale – the chewy kind that lumps down a fellow’s throat.

Um-gowa, baby. That’s good living.

See – Valentines Day does NOT have to be an expensive proposition. Just take a moment to pull life over to the curb and play a little soft music and talk a little of love.

Some folks might call that corny.

Let me tell you – people live off of corn. They eat it and they survive and there are a lot worse things in this world to go believing in than pure honest-to-god down-home corn.

(which reminds me – those folks new to my blog MIGHT want to check out my recipe for corn chowder)

♥ ♥ ♥

Funny thing about entertainment – but sooner or later there is ALWAYS a commercial.

If you enjoyed this blog entry why not pick up a copy of my brand-new collection of six twisted love stories – BAD VALENTINES 2?

Bad Valentines - High ResolutionYou can buy it on Kindle and Kobo for only 99 cents this week.

(regularly priced $2.99)


AND REMEMBER – be sure to check out the two dozen OTHER authors taking part in the BLOODY VALENTINE’S DAY 2014 BLOG HOP!

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

My e-book experiment – part two…

Well, as of today my first Kindle book went free.


I’ll have to e-mail my publisher to find out just exactly how many copies were given out today – but I can tell you that at this moment BAD VALENTINES has risen to #915 in the Top 1000 Free Kindle E-book list.

What does that mean in actual sales?

Well, that is something I am going to have to wait and see on – but the way that this strategy is supposed to work is that the higher you rise on the list the more likely other readers are supposed to notice your free book and buy it.

(just heard from my publisher that we’ve moved 219 copies as of 8:30pm tonight)

Then, after I’ve given away so many copies the resulting visibility is (theoretically) supposed to give a boost to my other books – which are listed – complete with links – in BAD VALENTINES. Other writers I have spoken too have noticed an improvement in sales of their free books as well.

So far, only theoretical.

I have been very pleased to see how many of my virtual friends and acquaintances have reposted and shared and retweeted all of my many announcements.

I am a little worried that I might be glutting my followers with too many announcements and I intend to tone that a bit down over the next few days. But, with this book out there and SUDDEN DEATH OVERTIME also fresh on the market, I need to do a certain bit of marketing.

I sent notices to several different free e-book sites. Here’s a link to a list of some good ones to try.


I had very little luck getting more than a bit of mention on these sites. Partly, because I chose such a popular day. There was a shit-whack (that’s a technical Amazon term) of e-books released today. Partly, I believe, because I’m still just an up and comer in this genre.

I’ll post again tomorrow night and let you folks know how things are shaking down. This is the kind of game that is played in the long run. Results slowly develop.

Those folks who want to read the first part of this experiment can catch it here.


For the meanwhile I’m going to get back to working on my next novel and trying to figure out how I can get that bus strike negotiation crew on strike pay and walking barefoot in the snow – maybe that would build their incentive a little to find a solution for this rotten Halifax bus strike!

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon



First thing tomorrow – on Valentines Day – my e-book of horrorific love stories will be abso-freaking-free at the Amazon. For those folks who collect Kindle – grab and download a copy tomorrow. If you don’t have a Kindle you can always download a free Kindle app on Amazon and read it on your computer.
For those folks who know me for my ghost stories – beware and be aware that this is deep-fried n…asty cholesterol-ridden horror – and not necessarily recommended for those of you who are easily offended. I apologize in advance to my ghost story fans – but I am a bit of Jekyll and Hyde kind of writer. I won’t ever write just one sort of story. I always favored the buffet over the single course meal.
Yours in storytelling,
Steve Vernon