The Blurb on Other People’s Words – Steve Vernon

June 3, 2018 at 6:12 pm (horror, Links, Reviews, writing) (, , , , , , , )

I have a few reviews a long time owing for Nova Scotian writer, Steve Vernon. I’ve reviewed his YA Sci-fi (Flash Virus) in the past, but I especially like Steve’s folksy storyteller approach to tales of murder and horror, and I’ve read several of his short story collections, and a novel, I have yet to review. I thought it was about time.

If you’ve ever witnessed Steve give a “reading”, you’d understand where his particular flavour comes from. He’s the guy you want adding his two cents to stories around the campfire or when you’re huddled by a candle during a power outage on a storm day. His stories, like him, are very animated, hooking your attention and drawing you further in.

His stories are often based on material close to home. Three of his collections I’ve had a chance to read and very much enjoy include Halifax Haunts, local ghost tales retold with Steve’s particular type of flare, Maritime Murder, true crime stories from the past revisited, and
The Lunenburg Werewolf: And Other Stories of the Supernatural, exploring some local legends that were in many cases new to me.

The research required to bring these tales to light is quite obvious, with dates and details that give them substance above and beyond Steve’s enjoyable characteristic style. Most of the stories are dark, some are more playful and some are downright chilling, but they are all entertaining and seem real enough to suggest plausability.

Steve’s books stand on my bookshelves among my favourites. If you’ve never had the opportunity to read his books, I’d recommend doing so.


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10 Simple Questions – WWW Edition

September 11, 2013 at 10:32 pm (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , , )

with Rebecca Snow

And now a few words from a lady I consider my horror writer alter ego. It’s like she’s the horror yin to my dark and freaky yang. Someone asked me once who I’d want to finish any unfinished stories, were I to kick off tomorrow, and she’s top of the list.

1) Who are you?

I am me…Rebecca Snow. I have a super power that no one can see. Anything else I’d say here would be rambling blather and sleep inducing (sleep…what is this thing sleep? – CB).

2) What have you written and in particular, what have you written that’s wicked?

Words…I’ve written lots of words. Not as many as some, but more than others. As for being wicked, just about everything I write is wicked in one way or another (I can vouch for that – CB). Even the humor is a little evil. As for all the places I’ve had a story published, instead of type them out, here’s a link.

3) I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but why do you write?

If I don’t write, the voices get too loud. If I ignore them too long, I start to twitch (that might be kind of fun to watch – CB).

4) Do you have a preferred theme or topic (zombies, serial killers, demons, etc…)?

To read, I prefer anything that doesn’t make me roll my eyes like dice. In writing, I rather enjoy horror in general. I’ll try any topic once as long as it doesn’t make me want to scrub off my skin. I find horror to be a great way to relieve any frustration that lingers throughout the day.

5) Are you a pantser or a plotter and why?

Having had to ask what a pantser is, I have deduced that I am a pantser. Granted, sometimes I plot my pants. Most of the time, I get an idea, grab a few characters out of the closet, and throw them into the middle of things to see what they do (I always marvel at those who can do this, because it never works for me – CB). It isn’t always successful, but it is fun to watch.

6) What do you like most about writing?

I like getting the stories out of my head so other people can see them. They aren’t always well received, but I’m not the greatest vocal storyteller. It’s much easier to scribble the tales than tell them.

7) What challenges you the most about writing?

I wrestle with interruptions. I have a writing room, but the cats always know where to find me.

8) Who or what inspires you most?

Breathing (that must make life easy – CB).

9) What are your plans for the future?

Funny, other than short term, I rarely make big plans. I’m in middle of a few shorts. Hopefully, my next endeavor will be another novel that has more of a chance at being published than either of my others. (I wish I could be so laid back…I always have new unachievable goals to add to my list. CB)

10) Why Wicked Women Writers?

Why not? And the company is outstanding.

Awwww – a woman after my own heart, even if she would be likely to dig it out with a sharpened spoon. I hope you give her story consideration along with the other Wicked Women Writers. She’s #8 on the list. Read more about her at

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Submission Blitz – Day 28

April 29, 2013 at 12:48 am (fantasy, writing) (, , , , , , , )

Elements of Genocide was sent off today. I swear submitting novels to the bigger publishers feels like getting punched in the stomach. It shouldn’t – it’s hardly any different from submitting short stories – but it does. I almost enjoy submitting short stories, even on a day like today where I got a basic form letter rejection from one of the pro-rate venues I submitted to (no surprise there.)

I guess with the novels it seems like a futile effort, submitting something that will be hanging in limbo for as much as 8-12 months (or even more)just to elicit the inevitable “no”. I don’t have the same sense of hope I have when submitting short stories – there’s some there even when I’m taking a stab at a pro-rate venue. I figure there’s always a slim chance I just might break through that short story pro-rate glass ceiling someday, but I don’t believe there’s any chance for my novel manuscripts at all. I write squares when they are looking for circles. I’m pretty sure the only chance I have of ever being picked up by one of the bigger players is if I somehow make a name for myself first and they buy into that. That’s not likely to happen either. While I like what I write, I know my mind works differently from that of Joe Average. I’m not sure I’ll ever have anything more than niche appeal.

The only reason I do send the novels out to them is because I know Barb always wanted me to. She was a voracious reader and she always told me my work was better than many big six books she had read. She had hope for me, and I don’t want to let that down. But I’m not convinced myself.

Part of the problem is that I’m a rebel. I won’t write to a theme because it’s currently trendy and marketable and while I do polish my story, I won’t sand off my edges to work my way into a restrictive hole. I’m also a storyteller, not a wordsmith, which is a death-knell for a writer trying to break into the fantasy genre. What do I mean by that? For me it’s all about the story and the characters involved. It’s not about the flowery vocabulary, the frilly decor or unnecessary world-building (just the creations that count.) The only thing I try to put into a story is what is vital to the story. In an industry where “show, don’t tell” is a mantra, being a story”tell”er is just asking for nasty name-calling and finger-pointing. But I’ve never lived my life caving to peer pressure. I’m not about to start now.

Only one more novel to send out, which is good because this part always generates extra frustration. ‘Til that’s over with, I grit my teeth and wait for Tuesday.

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