Tag Archives: valentines

Old Cover versus New Cover

All right – so with Valentine’s Day coming up I decided it was time for a Valentine’s Day promotion – so I am offering BAD VALENTINES 1 and BAD VALENTINES 2 for 99 cents each the whole entire month of February.

Only I don’t want to just talk about folks buying my books here today.

 

I want to talk about fixing up old covers. There are quite a few of my older books that need new covers and bit by bit I have been trying to remedy that. I’ve been involved with several group promotions – the kind where a bunch of authors shout out a page full of books by these authors.

Nothing says “Don’t buy this book!” like a book with a crappy cover proudly displayed amongst a whole entire page full of books with wonderful covers.

So – I decided to spring for a new cover for BAD VALENTINES.

Let me show you the old cover first.

bad-valentines-smaller-cover1

Now, it’s not terrible but it still doesn’t have that layered depth that a lot of classy covers have. So, as I said, I decided to spring for a new cover on Fiverr.

I know – but I’m broke.

Now, buying a cover on Fiverr is ALWAYS a gamble, but I thought I would take a chance, just because the copy of the cover that I had was of such poor resolution that it came out blurry on a lot of pages.

So I got this one instead.

bad_valentines

Now I don’t know about you, but I feel that this is a heck of an improvement over my first cover. Now – for a measly five bucks – I believe that I have a lot more of a chance of selling copies of my book.

Never be afraid to upgrade your older releases. Even if you kind of like the old covers, a new cover will give you a new look that might just catch the eye of some brand new readers. It can be worth the investment. Remember, a cover is one of the most obvious selling features. You want something that is going to catch the eyes of your prospective readers. You want a cover that says – “Dang, I got to have me that!”

What do you folks think?

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

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HARD SOUP

Bad Valentine

Every year for Valentine’s Day Maritime author A.F. Stewart hosts a BLOODY VALENTINE event gathering an assortment of slightly twisted authors who post their fiction and/or poetry all in the name of celebrating love.

This year’s theme is BAD LOVE.

I am taking part in this event and will be posting a piece of short fiction.

And a recipe…

COME and join the BLOODY VALENTINE HORROR EVENT!


Hard Soup

I have marinated the meat in the best red wine I could afford, five days now, with garlic onion and bay leaf and a little stick of cinnamon, lots of cracked black pepper, and lots of aching tears.

On the fifth day I rubbed it with olive oil and browned it well in a hot pan.  I kissed it for luck.

Crane was right, it tasted bitter.

I carried the meat ceremoniously to a black metal roasting pan that I had beaten with a hammer into the rough shape of a coffin.  I browned a sliced onion in the pan, added more tears, and a little butter for flavor.

Then I deglazed the fry pan with a bit of the marinade, stirring and scraping the caked-on bits from the pan, swilling it into the juice for more flavor.

I poured the contents into the coffin-roaster, covering the meat just a little over half way.  I stuck the coffin-roaster into a slow oven, set to three hundred degrees.  Nice and slow, everything took time, let the hurting leak on out.

I added the insecticide last.

I served the meal in a valentine shaped bowl, bought especially for the occasion.  I set her body in her chair across the table from me.  The freezer kept her when I could not.  Her chest hung open like a secret treasure box.  She had a smile on her face. I’d placed it there, a finishing touch before placing her in the freezer.

Finishing nails.

Then I spooned it up.  Bitter, it tasted bitter, but no worse than finding your wife in bed with your best friend.

Heart meat is hard, unless you cook it properly.

I ate it up, every last drop.

I bit my lip until the gag reflex stopped working, and then I waited to die.

If I had timed it right, they would find us together before she thawed.  A frozen tableau, two hearts, one broken in my chest and one well braised in my belly.

Well done.  Well done.


This story, HARD SOUP, appears in my e-book collection of dark love stories BAD VALENTINES TWO – which is available today on Kindle for only 99 cents.

Bad Valentines - High Resolution

 

BUT – just because I love you – why don’t you pick up a free digital copy of my e-book BAD VALENTINES: THREE TWISTED LOVE STORIES today only on Kindle!

bad-valentines-smaller-cover1

PLEASE HELP ME win a Kindle Scout publishing contract by nominating my book and you can earn a FREE Kindle copy of my newest novel KELPIE DREAMS if the book is selected.

Wow – that’s three PSA’s (Public STEVE-VERNON Announcements) in a row. I think that might be a world record!

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

 

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.

(grin)

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

My e-book experiment – part two…

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

http://www.amazon.com/Bad-Valentines-ebook/dp/B0075XA4HO

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.

http://www.squidoo.com/going-free-kindle-ebook-promotional-campaigns-for-authors

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.

https://stevevernonstoryteller.wordpress.com/2012/02/04/my-e-book-experiment-so-far/

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