Tag Archives: young adult

Kindle Freebies – making money giving away free books

Okay – so WHEN is it better to give than to receive?

I’ve given away close to 3000 freebie Kindle e-books since the beginning of September.

That’s more books than I have sold for money, in a year.

So is that paying off? Am I making money, hand over fist, as a result of my masterful e-book strategy?

Well, I am making more this month than I did last month – and I made more in September than I made in August. There has been a definite improvement and I believe that some of that improvement stems directly from my freebie promotions.

In addition to the higher sales rate I have seen a solid influx of reviews.

A whopping TWENTY-TWO new Kindle reviews since September 1, 2014.

That’s a pretty good rate of return, especially because most of them were unsolicited and VERY positive.

I’ve also seen an increase in the “borrows” through the Kindle Unlimited program.

About a dozen of my e-books were borrowed and read in September. Over thirty e-books have been borrowed so far in October.

Now – as most of you folks realize – Kindle gives a a payment for each Kindle Unlimited borrow THAT IS READ TO AT LEAST THE TEN PERCENT mark. So if somebody borrows your e-book through Kindle Unlimited and doesn’t open it and read at least 10% of the content you don’t get paid.

This payment varies, month by month.

In July the payment was $1.80 per borrow.

In August that went down to $1.54 per borrow.

September was $1.52 per borrow.

As more authors become a part of the Kindle Unlimited program the payments will drop – just because there is a limited amount of funds available in the pot for each month. HOWEVER, if Kindle Unlimited continues to grow in popularity with readers – the pot will grow – theoretically.

I believe that Kindle Unlimited is a good deal for chronically addicted readers of e-books. It is – in effect – like Netflix for e-books – so I am fairly confident that Kindle Unlimited is going to continue to thrive.

So those free books that I give away through Kindle Unlimited are money in the bank for me. I am happy with the rate of the return so far – especially on my lower-priced e-books.


Well – if somebody buys a copy of BIG HAIRY DEAL – my Bigfoot YA novel which is currently 99 cents for the month of October – I earn 35 cents, roughly.

HOWEVER – if somebody borrows and reads a copy of BIG HAIRY DEAL they pay nothing and I earn whatever the Kindle Unlimited payment is that month. For example, in September I would have earned $1.52 for that borrow.

Which beats 35 cents.

HOWEVER, in the month of November I intend to raise that 99 cent price tag up to $2.99.

At that point a sale of BIG HAIRY DEAL would net me about $2.10 while a borrow would result in a return of whatever the borrow rate is THAT month.

So – theoretically – I lose money. But as far as I am concerned that is nothing but a theoretical loss. The fact is a person who “borrows” my book through Kindle Unlimited might NOT necessarily have bought it – if Kindle Unlimited hadn’t existed in the first place.

You see – theoretical money.

So – as far as I am concerned I am happy with my rate of return whether or not it is a borrow OR a sale.

Or even a freebie.

In a year or two my mind might change. I get to selling more e-books and it becomes more of an actual business for me I might actually have to take myself seriously and pay attention to profit margins and spreadsheets and financial statements and pie charts…

Damn it.

Why did I have to say pie?

Now how the hell will I get any writing done today?

While I am talking about free e-books why don’t I tell you about my latest Kindle freebie promotion?

Pick up a copy of FIGHTING WORDS today!

FREE - on Kindle today and tomorrow. Grab a copy now. You want to read it and leave a happy review that wouldn't hurt my feelings one little bit.

FREE – on Kindle today and tomorrow. Grab a copy now. You want to read it and leave a happy review that wouldn’t hurt my feelings one little bit.

So what is the book about?

FIGHTING WORDS is based on the true story of a Nova Scotia teenage fight club. It is a tale of bullying, peer pressure and the desperation of marginalized rural youth.

Max was just a thirteen year old nobody – until the fight. He didn’t plan the fight. He didn’t even want the fight to happen – but after he stood up to Rodney freaking Hammerhead to protect his sort-of-best-friend Tommy – Max decided that fighting could be a good thing. People looked up to fighters. Girls liked fighters. Now Tommy and Max have decided to create their own personal fight club.

It seemed like a good idea – but what can I tell you?

Sometimes stupid just gets in your eyes.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

“Steve Vernon is a born storyteller.” – HALIFAX MAGAZINE

Doors – and writing…

Copenhagen, Denmark.

“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

Back around this time of the year in 2012 I wrote a blog entry about the importance of a good first line.

Just this morning while scrolling through my Twitter feed I came across a link that lead me to a DeMilked photo-article entitled TWENTY FIVE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL DOORS AROUND THE WORLD.

That owl-door at the top of the page is one of those twenty-five magical doors.

“That’s beautiful,” I thought to myself. “I ought to put that up on my Facebook page.”

Only while I was getting set to put it up on my Facebook page I thought – “Wait a minute. I ought to write a blog entry about how your first sentence is like a doorway to your novel” – which was actually what this blog entry was going to be titled.

At first.

Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

Only that got me to thinking that ACTUALLY the cover of the novel is your front door.

The mind works that way sometimes when you are in a creative state of existence. One door will lead to another will lead to another.

Hands up, out there. How many of you have ever seen the movie FORREST GUMP?

Now that was a fellow who never met a door that he did not try and enter.

That’s what a writer needs to do. He needs to step out into the world and begin opening doors – and if one door leads to another – well, he had better be prepared to open that door as well.

Explore the possibilities.

You might open one door and then decide to write yourself a poem but that poem will lead you to another door and you might that open that door and decide to write yourself a short story and then that short story might lead you to another door and if you have the courage to open that door you might find yourself with a whole novel hiding behind that door.

Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

So don’t be afraid to open that very next door that you come to. Keep your eyes wide open and explore the possibilities.

A blank page is an open doorway.

There is no telling WHERE it will lead you to.

If you need a little bit more inspiration why don’t you take a look at the deMilked website where all of these wonderful doors came from.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

PS: Over the last week I released THREE e-books – which sounds pretty impressive except when you stop to consider the fact that I was working on BIG HAIRY DEAL for over six to eight months, and that the three stories in BIGFOOT TRACKS were written sometime ago, and that FIGHTING WORDS was written and released on KOBO several years ago.

I’ve already told you about the first two books in my last two blog entries but let me tell you a little bit about the third book which I released in Kindle format thanks to Kindle’s new KID BOOK CREATOR.

Scheduled for launch on Sept. 19, 2014.

Scheduled for launch on Sept. 19, 2014.

I’m afraid I have done VERY little promotion for this book beyond just sticking it up out there and keeping my fingers crossed. I’ve got a lot more promotion lined up for the two Bigfoot books. But this is a very Nova Scotia kind of story that I first thought about writing when I read about a “fight club” that had been set up in rural Nova Scotia using high school kids as meat puppet moneymakers.

Why I Hate Cell Phones…

I’m fifty-four years old and I have NEVER owned a cell phone.

Don’t want one.

Don’t need one.

They freaking scare me.

Did you ever see that Star Trek: The Next Generation episode where the entire crew of the star ship Enterprise is addicted to a game that you play by spinning bulls-eye Frisbees into coral reef tubas?


It was one of the creepier episodes – and if you can’t remember it just click that image and read all about it at Wikipedia.

Every time that I see some person walking down the sidewalk with their gaze firmly fixed on their palms – in which they are gently cradling some sort of cell phone – with a focus akin to the world’s last priest blessing the world’s last crucifix before going into toe-to-toe battle with a a star ship full of vampires – I feel a little shiver of apprehension.

I wonder to myself how long it has been since that person – who seems so all mightily hypnotized by that rinky-tink gadget in his hand – has heard a bird singing in the trees above his head. How long since they have actually smiled and/or conversed with a living human being – rather than a weird tinny voice coming out of some Tic-Tac shaped mechanism in the palm of his hand.

How long since they actually looked up to watch where the traffic is coming from?

I sit next to those cell phone people on the bus and I can almost hear the whispering commands of Uncle Big Brother whispering into their pixel-soaked cerebellums – do what I tell you, do what I tell you.

They scare me.

I guess they scared Stephen King, too – which is why he wrote CELL. But I’m sorry, I feel he humped the bad bone on that particular novel. It started out wonderfully and then it just got stranger and stranger until I began to wonder just what sort of a cell phone old Mr. King was listening to while he wrote that bit of toilet paper.

I know some of you liked it. Don’t worry, I don’t take it personally. Reading is still one of the greatest exercises of personal taste that can be imagined – although even that is being undermined by such uber-selling phenomena-books such as FIFTY SHADES OF OH MY GOD!!!

And there – I’ve gone and insulted some other readers.

Nobody ever tried to tell you that my IQ ranked above the double-digits.

But, like I said, cell phones scare me.

I blame Gene Roddenberry.

Let’s face it – ever since the first Trekkie saw Captain Kirk flip open his communicator and say “Beam me up, Scotty.” – mankind has been all lathered up over the thought of being able to do that. It was only a matter of time before we were all flipping our cellphones and trying hard not to let on that we really all were thinking about Captain Kirk.

All right, so some of you might have been thinking about Uhura – but you get my point.

Now I don’t want anyone out there to get the idea that I am some sort of a Luddite. Hell, I am keeping a blog, aren’t I? I’ve got e-books and I want an e-reader and I really truly love my DVR service.

But there is something that is inherently eerie about the notion of my butt pocket ringing at me in the middle of the day.

Which is why I started my latest e-book with the line – “So as near as I could tell the end of the world began roughly about the time that Billy Carver’s butt rang about halfway through the War of 1812.”

And if you were reading this blog on a DVR this would be the time that you’d want to fast-forward through the commercials – because that is exactly what I am about to hit you with.

A freaking commercial.



Episode Two is now available on Kindle and Kobo.

It costs a mere ninety-nine cents – the exact same as Episode One. I’m not trying to get rich here. I’m just trying to get this story out there to as many people as I can.

Still, I get rich, you won’t hear me crying about it. I’ll bear up to it as manfully as I can. You’ll whisper to yourself – my God, how does that man put up with all those millions of dollars he has earned? You’ll be astounded at how I stand tall amongst my heap of plunder. You’ll be so astounded that you’ll want to tell all your friends and so – most likely you will do just that!

On your cell phone.

Beam up a copy of FLASH VIRUS EPISODE ONE  from Amazon.com – http://www.amazon.com/Flash-Virus-Episode-One-ebook/dp/B009UD51DY

Or, if you’re in the UK hit your phaser button and set it to – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flash-Virus-Episode-One-ebook/dp/B009UD51DY

Or if you’re into Kobo put the Vulcan Death Lock on – http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Flash-Virus-Episode-One/book-YDeVCTJbIk2NEp4ccXfybg/page1.html?s=-1n-7FK_b0exbHdBFaD4yQ&r=3

Got that?

Then chart a course back to Amazon.com and charge a plasma torpedo with – http://www.amazon.com/Flash-Virus-Episode-Two-ebook/dp/B009YW6X7O/ref=pd_rhf_dp_p_t_1

Or in the UK take a good stiff swallow of bootleg Romulan Ale and sink into this – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flash-Virus-Episode-Two-ebook/dp/B009YW6X7O/ref=pd_rhf_ee_p_t_3

Lastly – for you Kobo-holics – take your shuttle craft out for a spin and Kling-on to this – http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Flash-Virus-Episode-Two/book-B6fZtUgL0kWjTciKY_CkIg/page1.html?s=LxxKJLC91U6hMrAfyHroTg&r=2

If you’ve got second thoughts on this matter – well just pull up the sneak-peek sample and try it on for size.

Tell them your cell phone sent you.


Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon


So I’ve been talking about how I want to experiment more with self-publishing – and so I have.

I’ve just released the first episode in a serial-style YA novel that most adult dark fantasy genre fans will happily dig.

There’s about 11,000 words – approximately one-fifth of the full novel – now available for reading.

So what is it about?

Well – it basically is the end of the world – as told by a teenager.

“So as near as I could tell the end of the world began roughly about the time that Billy Carver’s butt rang – about halfway through the War of 1812.”

Sixteen year old Briar Gamble is having a bad day.

It started with the cell phones singing for Santa Claus.

Then came the tanks and the storm troopers.

The Black Masks, in their black fish bowl sunglasses.

And then along came Captain Albino.

The shooting started shortly after that.

Like I said – Briar Gamble is having a REALLY bad day.

And it’s about to get a whole lot worse.

It is available on Kindle – http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009UD51DY/ref=cm_cr_rev_prod_img

also on Amazon.com.uk – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flash-Virus-Episode-One-ebook/dp/B009UD51DY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1351280520&sr=1-1

And it is available through Kobo – http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Flash-Virus-Episode-One/book-YDeVCTJbIk2NEp4ccXfybg/page1.html?s=tPQ2bjVgzkCXlQ0lre27EA&r=3

The cover is the brilliant work of Keith Draws.

Check out his blog – http://keithdraws.wordpress.com/

Keith is great to work with. Very cooperative and professional. He asked what I wanted. He showed me a few ideas. He asked me what I thought. I told him. Then he gave me EXACTLY what I’d been looking for.

That – in  a word – is professional.


Let me give you just a sneak peek at the first chapter.


Chapter One – How Does High School Suck, Let Me

Count the Ways

So as near as I could tell the end of the world began roughly about the time that Billy Carver’s butt rang – about halfway through the War of 1812.

All right – so his butt didn’t really ring – but the brand new cell phone that he was carrying in his butt pocket went off awfully sudden and unexpected.

It was absolutely the weirdest ring tone that I had ever heard – kind of like a crossbred mix tape of rap-music-gargling and stained-church-glass-yodeling but I recognized the tune right off.

There wasn’t a kid on the planet who didn’t know that tune.

The tune was Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.

You know – better not pout and checking his list twice, watching when we’re sleeping – which is really kind of creepy when you stop and think about some fat old bearded man peeping at kids in their Sponge Bob Square Pants pajamas – not to mention that whole bit about rooty-toot-toot and rummy-tum-tum.

Whatever the heck that meant.

In any case, that was the tune that Billy Carver’s butt was playing – which – when you think about it is a pretty weird tune to hear playing in the middle of the month of May – even if it was coming from a free butt-covered cell phone – which each of us had been given by a guy in a pair of fish bowl sunglasses.

Which I’ll tell you about in just a little bit.

Right now we are talking about Billy Carver’s butt.

Mind you – I was not looking at Billy Carver’s butt when his cell phone rang.

That’d be just weird.

Maybe not as weird as Santa Claus peeping – but weird just the same.

What I was actually looking at – the same way as I had looked at it for five days a week and nine months of the year for the last entire decade – was the classroom wall clock.

In fact, as far as I can calculate I have been sitting here for about a hundred years or so – give or take a glacial millennium – just waiting for that lunch bell to ring – even though I knew that we had thirty-two minutes and twenty-one and a half seconds before the lunch bell was actually supposed to ring.

It turns out that lunch bell wasn’t ever going to ring.

Not in the way that I expected it to.

Not unless you count the way that it rang when it hit the floor later that morning after being shot from off of the gymnasium wall by one of Captain Albino’s headphone-wearing stormtroopers.

But I’ll tell you about that a little bit later on too.

You don’t want to rush into the end of the world.

You want to take your time.

But first – I really ought to introduce myself before we get much further into this story.

My name is Briar Gamble – and if you want to know the complete honest truth – I have been waiting for a bell of some sort to go off for the last ten years or so – ever since that first horrible day when Dad had looked up from his Pac Man coffee mug in the middle of a Bugs Bunny cartoon that I had seen at least fifteen times before and had said those thirteen terrible words to me – “Well Briar, I guess you are old enough to go to school now.”

That was way back in grade primary – but even then I knew that there were about thirty million other places in the known and unknown galaxy that I would rather be living in than sitting here in some funky old classroom listening to one teacher or another spouting off about algebra, grammar and the War of 1812.

I just didn’t belong here.

I knew that – even back in grade primary.

I knew that before the first homework assignment got handed out – and forgotten.

I knew that before the first bully had ever wedgied my underwear up about three degrees beyond the pooping zone.

I knew that like I knew my very own name.

Which was Briar Gamble – in case you weren’t reading too closely, seven paragraphs back. My Dad said that he and Mom had named me after a weed – on account of the way I had sprouted up where I wasn’t supposed to be – whatever that was supposed to mean.

That guy sitting across from me? That little fellow, with his hair poked up like a hay stack that can’t spell “comb” if his life depended on it and that freckly bent up nose, slightly running? That’s my buddy Jemmy Daniels. His real name is Jeremiah but we all call him Jemmy on account of Jeremiah has about three too many syllables. Jemmy is my best friend – which is another way of saying that his head had been swirly-dunked nearly as often in the boy’s room toilet bowl as I had been – by Billy Carver and his so-called friends.

Jemmy had one short-coming.

Jemmy actually liked going to school.

Which was weird.

I don’t really know why I hated going to school so very much. I always have. It was like I was born hating it.

Nearly everyone else in the school seemed to be getting along all right – or else maybe they just took a while to catch on to the fact that school just plain sucked – but I knew that school sucked and high school sucked even worse than that.

I knew it just as soon as somebody first tried to teach me poetry.

Which was way worse than the War of 1812.

I mean – what is poetry? You say a bunch of words together, try and rhyme them, throw in the occasional thee and thou and you don’t really have to make sense if you don’t want to. You just say something like – “That bird flutter-pating upon yonder branch, don’t it make thou heart flutter too?”

I mean what is that supposed to mean?

Do you want to hear me read you some poetry?

Here goes.

How much does high school suck – let me count the ways.

Infinity one.

High school long-weekend-homework sucked.

Infinity two.

High school pop-math-quiz sucked.

Infinity squared – thee, thou and thine – divine apple rind.

Do you really need me to go on?

The truth to tell – going to high school sucked about as hard as all of the vacuum cleaners in the whole wide world being simultaneously flushed down a billion backed-up toilet bowls into the hugest black hole in the known entire universe.


So when that brand new free cell phone in Billy Carver’s back butt pocket went off in class like it was an alarm clock attached to some incredibly dangerous and life-threatening nuclear time bomb – halfway through Old Man Jenkins boring-as-peed-on-pencil-shavings lecture on the War of 1812 – I was absolutely ready for it.

I whole-heartedly welcomed the strange Christmas-sounding ring tone as a brief but happy diversion from the wall full of absolute and undeniable suckitude that I had been driving headlong at for the last ten years.

Namely, school.

“Well are you going to answer that?” Old Man Jenkins asked Billy Carver. “It might be awfully important – like maybe the President of the United States of America calling you up to ask you what time it is.”

Billy Carver smiled at Old Man Jenkins – like he didn’t even realize that Jenkins was just being sarcastic. I don’t know why teachers always think that they have got to talk to us kids that way – like we were too dumb and stupid to get their jokes – but they’ve been talking to us that way ever since cavemen first figured out how to fart.

And all we could do was sit there and grin.

Billy Carver was awfully good at grinning. He had that sort of a way of grinning a half-crooked sharp little sneer like he knew that he was going to be the first one of us boys to lose his virginity and most likely with the prettiest girl in school – rather than the blind, deaf and chronically stupid and most-likely figment-of-imaginary girl who might possibly get close enough for me to even think about grinning at.

Face facts.

Unless I was maybe the last boy in the universe and happened to be sitting beside the last girl in the universe and she was so completely bored out of her mind that she couldn’t think of anything better to do than to let me have my way with her – I figured I was doomed to a state of perpetual virginity until somebody shot me with a bullet of you-poor-dumb-numb-nut.

Billy Carver didn’t have that problem.

Billy Carver wore that grin of his like a lucky rabbit’s foot. He wore it like he was laughing out loud behind his back at the whole wide universe. He wore it like everyone just had to like him – like he hadn’t swish-dunked my head in the boy’s room toilet bowl just last week for the thirteenth time this month. He wore it like all of the teacherly sarcasm in the whole entire world wouldn’t ever really change a thing.

“What-ever,” Billy Carver said – breaking the word up into two separate pieces so that it sounded even ruder than it was – which is the perfect thing to say to any high school teacher who thinks that he is twice as smart for being double-rude at a student’s expense.

What freaking ever.

Billy slid the brand new cell phone out from his right butt pocket, snapping it open like he didn’t even know that he was actually trying to look like a younger and cooler version of Captain James T. Kirk – who we all still watched in Star Trek reruns when we didn’t think anyone was really looking at us.

The cell phone was flashing red-blue-green.

The flashing wasn’t coming from any of the buttons that you would expect to flash. What was flashing was the body of the cell phone itself – as if someone had stuck a flock of red and blue and green fireflies inside of the black plastic casing.

I had never seen a cell phone flash like that before and probably neither had Billy Carver, but he was way too cool to let us know that the fact that his brand new free cell phone was actually playing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and flashing red-blue-green over and over was about as weird as a tree full of ballet dancing rhinoceros.

“Yeah? Hello?”

Those were the last two words on earth that Billy Carver got out of his mouth before the Santa cell phone took him.

His face glazed over.

I could see it turning – like every single atom of emotion and individuality was being sucked simultaneously from out of his eyeballs, grin and ear holes. His face even paled a little as he turned. I could see the tone of it kind of devolving from a zit-scarred skin-color to a sort of shade of grayed-out newspaper ink.

And then he grew a cheek-to-cheek Santa-Claus-is-Coming-to-Town sort of a smile – sort of the same kind of plastic cheesy smile that a Ken doll might smile after he’d slipped a hot hard one to Barbie’s kid sister while Barbie was out cruising the cougar bars in her Barbie-mobile.

Then Billy Carver walked over to the classroom window and stared through the dirty glass like the schoolyard had just turned into Disneyland and candy – before dropping his gaze down to the cell phone in his hand – and whispering.

And that’s where his gaze stayed – like he was thinking about sending an absolutely important text message to God – only he hadn’t quite managed to think the words up – and his lips were moving like he was praying to himself – only there were no real words coming out of his mouth as far as I could tell – just that wet whisper-whisper-whisper noise that you usually save for the back of the theatre or maybe in the library.

He just stood there, gray and whispering.

Which was right about when the second free cell phone rang.

This cell phone belonged to Susie Diamond – who was probably the prettiest girl in our whole high school and therefore the girl most likely to sleep with Billy Carver on prom night – or maybe even before that. I knew that she was the prettiest girl because I had looked at Susie way more times than not – from the front and back – but even then I knew that I didn’t stand a flying hope in hell of spending any sort of real quality time with Susie unless she was struck deaf dumb and stupid in one single stroke of blind wonderful lightning.

I just wasn’t even in her league – which didn’t stop me from looking at the way her butt curved out and grinned in her blue jeans whenever she stood up in front of me.

Only right now she was standing up and her cell phone was playing the exact same tune as Billy’s was.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

“Don’t answer that,” I told her.

Too slow.

She had that cell phone open and up to her ear without even stopping to think about it.

Susie was a cell phone girl.

She was always talking on her cell phone.

I wasn’t all that certain – but I was pretty sure – that the first thing Susie Diamond did every morning was to check her text messages and then maybe she might breathe.

“Hello?” was the only word that got out – and then she was standing at the window directly beside Billy – and somehow or other Tommy Puckers – who we all called Kissyface Tommy on account of his unfortunate last name – had picked up his own free cell phone and had answered it even though no one else had even noticed it ringing – most likely because we were all too busy staring at Billy Carver’s back and Susie Diamond’s butt.

The three of them stood together – cold and grey and whispering.

“This is some kind of a flash mob thing, isn’t it?” I asked aloud to no one in particular. “Any minute now somebody is going to jump out and yell surprise.”

Which was right about when all of the free cell phones in the entire class room began simultaneously playing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and flashing red-blue-green.

Which was really weird – no two ways about it.

“There is no freaking way that I am answering that phone,” Burt Hertle said, throwing his free cell phone down onto the tiled floor.

Then Bert also threw the cell phone that his parents had paid good cash money for onto the floor beside the free phone that he’d been given today. He hadn’t really needed a free cell phone – but hey, it was free – but now the two of them lay together on the floor and he was stomping on them both like he had just seen a bug – with one mighty work-booted stomp after another. His own cell phone smashed completely but the free cell phone just bounced and kept on flashing red-blue-green like you couldn’t kill it with a sledgehammer.

Santa wasn’t stopping.

Burt stomped again – harder than before.

Santa kept on coming.

Burt kept on stomping, over and over – hard enough that I half expected his work boot to begin glowing red-blue-green all by itself.

Either that or the floor would break through.


“Santa is coming,” Burt whispered, between every stomp.

Stomp – stomp!

Santa is coming.




Episode Two will be available sometime next week. Things get dark and the situation begins to heat up. Bullets are fired. Someone will die.

Several someones.

Pick up a copy today and let me know what you think.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Author Style Cooking…

It’s been a hectic morning.

I got up early and made a man’s breakfast for my wife. She’s a dance and fitness instructor and Saturdays are particularly busy.

I chopped up a fat old onion and a couple of leftover potatoes and fried them up nice and crispy. Meanwhile, I grated some cheese into cracked four eggs.

Scooped the potatoes and onions out of the pan.

Drop some bread into the toaster.

Run upstairs with a good cup of coffee and set it on her bedside just as the alarm goes off.

Run downstairs and throw the eggs and cheese into the pan.

Good eating.

Then, after I got home from the groceries I cut up some chicken and sizzled it with a little olive oil, garlic and butter in the bottom of my largest pot. Then I chopped a couple of good red potatoes, a yellow zucchini, an onion, and threw them in on top of the browning chicken. Then I dumped in a bag of baby carrots – which are usually just regular carrots whittled down – and drained a can of chick peas and chucked them. Dumped two cartons of broth on top. Sometimes I like to make my own broth but I was in a hurry today.

Lastly, I let the whole mess sit and simmer – maybe until dinner, maybe until supper – at the lowest possible temperature. I can smell it up here while I type and MAN – it sure smells good.

I call it peasant soup.

I wrote the recipe while I was grocery shopping.

I cook this again it will most likely be different.

But still taste good.


Do you see how easy that all sounds – because it is. Hacked up chicken, hacked up vegetables and simmer in a pot. Cooking isn’t all that hard. Take what you have and throw it in a pot.

Writing a blog entry is just that easy as well.

I take what I have and I throw it in a pot.

Right after this I have to get back to working on a manuscript for a YA novel. I’m about 36000 words into what should wind up at about 50000.

How am I doing it?

I’m slicing up what I’ve got…

…and throwing it into a pot to simmer.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon


Attention, Attention.

…loudly clearing throat…

I am very pleased and proud to announce the release of my very first YA novel FIGHTING WORDS.

The e-book was released today as part of the KOBO WRITING LIFE beta test program.

Have a look at the cover!

So what is it about?


Max was just a thirteen year old nobody – until the fight.

He didn’t plan the fight. He didn’t even want the fight to happen – but after he stood up to Rodney freaking Hammerhead to protect his sort-of-best-friend Tommy – Max decided that fighting could be a good thing.

People looked up to fighters.

Girls liked fighters.

Now Tommy and Max have decided to create their own personal fight club.

It seemed like a good idea – but what can I tell you?

Sometimes stupid just gets in your eyes.

Please download a copy today.


yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

The fine art of getting going…

There is a foot race going on today. The Bluenose Marathon. Umpteen thousand runners and walkers going out to run a marathon or a half a marathon, or a 10k or a 5k or around the block…you name it.

Running is like writing. Sometimes you just have to put one foot in front of the other.

Damn that’s deep. A new-born gnat could drown in such profundity.

I’ve been trying to get my act together for a month or two now. Spent a lot of time and effort finishing up SINKING DEEPER. Then finished the working draft of my next release – due out this fall – which is now in an editor’s hands.

Work like that is always easy. You know that sooner or later that editor will hand it back to me and then all I need to do is to go through what was written and fix what was broke.

For me, that’s easy.

There is a third project underway. Another collection of regional history, only a different angle than just ghost stories. I’ve got that one all mapped out – so it is just a matter of writing it – which I am doing.

That’s not as easy, but still not hard.

And then there is a fourth project that I have just got underway. A YA novel, complete unrelated to either the region or Sinking Deeper. It is necessary for me to dig a little deeper and reach a little further than just my regional books. So I have started this new project. Wrote one whole chapter yesterday and another this morning. If I can get over the hump and push it then I should have a good first draft done before the end of June.

That’s a little harder.

I’ve also just slid a pitch to another publisher of YA for a work-in-progress that really fits a new line they’re developing. That’s just a shot in the dark. The story is all roughed out – so actually writing it won’t be hard at all – but selling it – well that’s another bag of potatoes.

I am also waiting to hear from a publisher who has had a submission for a very long time. Too long, really, but they are a company I would really love to work with – so I have rattled their door handle and buzzed their door bell and have been assured that my answer is in the pipeline – any day now.

Yet another reason to remember that writing is nothing more than waiting mispelled.

Only I’m not much on waiting. I am at my best when I have got something new underway. Ideally I like to have projects laid out for a year or two ahead. I like to have them sold and written and me working on something else. That keeps my fires lit and my engines humming.

There is a couple more e-books in the works and a couple more in the planning stages.  Strictly horror genre – very different from what I do now – but all part of the plan.

A blog like this is written as much for myself as my readers.

Take it from me.

A writer, writes.


Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Something precious, gone forever…

Just about a month ago I recieved a note from Vikki at the Flying Dragon Bookshop in Toronto. They were ordering my book, Sinking Deeper.

I was very excited. Seeing my primarily Maritime market-base shifting slowly across Canada is just what I needed to hear about.

Now I have heard something else about the Flying Dragon Bookshop.

Something you might hear about other bookstores across this country.

They are closing.

(taken from their Facebook entry from today)
It is with heartfelt regret, that we announce today The Flying Dragon Bookshop will be closing its doors on June 30, 2011.We have in recent months explored opportunities to embrace the technological advances that have presented themselves with such rapidity in our industry. But at the end of the day we realized that for us, it was al…l about the books and the tactile, sensory experience they provide.

It is bittersweet that we have just received the 2011 Libris Award for ‘Specialty Bookseller of the Year’ from the Canadian Booksellers Association.

While we can’t imagine not being able to walk into the magical world of The Flying Dragon on a daily basis, we know that our futures hold wondrous adventures and we wish the same for all our loyal customers and our colleagues in the publishing industry.

We want to end the way we started, by talking about the books with you, our fellow booklovers. Please join us for Nina’s Summer Reads on Friday, May 27th at 9:30am.

We invite all our Flying Dragon friends, customers and colleagues to celebrate our wonderful collection of books that have been so lovingly chosen.

Until June 30th, in appreciation, we will be offering our collection at 20% off.

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
~ A. A. Milne (Winnie the Pooh)

I still remember back in 2008 when Halifax’s 169 year old bookstore, THE BOOK ROOM, closed its doors. It was like losing a close friend and I still mourn the loss of that store. I know, I am a cornball – but something is gone. Something that cannot be replaced.
I also remember watching Frog Hollow Books close its doors.
Little tiny nooks of culture and comfort – gone forever.
I am not here to rail against the 21st century.
Some of my best friends are e-books. I have written a few of them.
I am just here to tell you folks that one more monument to the love of a books is falling. They will probably put up a hair salon or a coffee shop in its place. That’s it – it’s gone.
There is only way to stop this from happening to your favorite bookstore. Get out there and buy a book. Ask the folks at Woozles, here in Halifax, about my deep-seated addiction for the written word. Ask the folks at the Bookmark and at Chapters and at any of the used bookstores in town.
I am a book-a-holic shop-fiend. I can’t walk into a bookstore without purchasing a book.
Please, catch this addiction from me. I am not talking bankruptcy. I am not talking about spending the kid’s college fund. All I am asking is to make it a weekly habit. Go to your favorite bookstore and buy a book.
Before that page finally turns.
Yours in storytelling,
Steve Vernon

Roses and ‘riting…

Well, this is the season, isn’t it?

I’ve been busy this weekend in my garden and backyard. I spent one evening mowing it – twice. It has been raining like Noah for the last few weeks and the grass was knee deep and rising and I cut that green stuff to a depth befitting a custom-built pool table.

And I weeded.

And weeded.

Primarily I concentrated on weeding the rose hedge.

Which has a story, naturally. I planted the rose hedge last year – digging a bed that ran the length and width of our long and skinny city lot. We are situated on the corner of three streets, directly beside two shopping mall parking lots – so our yard is a natural intersection for all manner of windblown litter. I usually end up out there bending and stooping with a pair of barbecue tongs, picking up the litter at least once a week. So the hedge was partly planted with the idea that it would trap the windblown litter and lessen my need for bending and stooping.

My back likes that idea.

As I weeded I also fertilized and dumped some splendid smelling cedar mulch on the rose bed as I went along. This pretties up the whole rose bed and also makes it less inviting for weeds and such.

As I got to the last ten feet of the rose bed – which is probably about 70 or 80 feet long in total – I noticed that the bed was getting narrower and less neat. So I dug and rooted about, cleaning up that last ten feet.

As I was doing so I thought about how much like a manuscript this rose bed was. You see, when I work on a manuscript – I usually find that I put the most effort into the beginning and first half of the work – and give short shrift to the ending because by that point I am about ready to get the heck out of Dodge and get to work on something new.

Like maybe a beer.

I often find the worst editorial criticisms – such as “you’ve made an error in tense” or “bad grammar” or “continuity issue” or “what in the hell were you thinking?” – occur in those last few chapters of the work. Just like this rose bed the whole work suffers from a lack of attention and genuine stick-to-itiveness.

So from here on out I swear that when I get to the end of a novel manuscript and I want to hurry up and be done with it and get it off to my publisher who no doubt is up all night long pacing and worrying and wondering just when his next dose of my undeniable brilliance is going to cross his desk – that I will stop and take a look out of my office window which faces that last ten feet of rose bed and I am going to be a little bit more careful about what I write.

That’s right.

I have just written an entire blog entry advising you writers to slow down and smell the roses.

Time for black coffee.

(see what those roses grew into)

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon