Archive for October, 2010

Halloween Monster

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

My wife and I may have created a monster. While our boys were young we celebrated Halloween, using decorations and props around our home. We had a lot of fun those days setting it up and it seems our sons have decided to do one better.

For the past few years they have rented hall and each year the decorations have gotten bigger and better. They have full size Pinheads, Freddy Krueger, eight foot cardboard trees, skeletons, lights, fog machines and other assorted devices.

The parties are well done and though there is a lot of drinking, not many problems with the partiers. Of course there are other concerns. My wife and I help out, meaning our nights end up cleaning up the halls after taking down the props. Personally I think there are better things to do at five o’clock in the morning, like sleep. There is also the situation where all the Halloween material is stored, which turns out to be my garage. I now have enough room to park a bicycle in a two car garage.    

Tonight kids are making the rounds in our neighbourhood in search of treats. Of course my energetic son has set up decorations. Some kids are scared to walk by the animated Freddy Krueger and other props. The fog machine is also going full tilt and our neighbour contacted us wondering if our house was on fire. I was wondering the same thing as the fog rolled into our house and I had trouble finding my beer fridge.

In any case this is all in good fun, though I’m going to make sure Freddy is locked securely in the garage. I’m not worried about someone stealing him. I just want to make sure he really is just a machine.

 

Free drinks

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

I’m working a trade show called the Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival. It’s a three day event and long hours, but can be rewarding in terms of meeting people and introducing products. Customers purchase tickets and trade them for a sample drink of wine, beer or spirits.

Now most customers by far are honest and gladly give up their tickets for a taste of my Soljans (shameless plug) wine or 26000 (more shame) Vodka. But there are a few who try to get a free drink and they try a few tricks.

One is the fake interest in the winery or wine, asking irreverent questions as they consume the sample and slowly slide away. We nickname them “The Snake”. They hope another customer moves into the open spot and they make their getaway. Another method, employed by young ladies in revealing dresses is the flirt. They giggle and say nice things about the wine, me and the table decorations. “The Teasers” suddenly see some friends elsewhere and in a flash they are gone. Then there is the confusion method. Five or more people crowd around the table, wanting this drink or that. Some tickets are produced but not enough for all the drinks poured. Who paid or who didn’t is hard to determine. I call them “The Government”. Confusing, costing me something and maybe not quite honest.

The truth is we are not really fooled by these people. If anyone came to our table and asked for a free drink, we’d gladly oblige. But those who schemed for a free drink, well I have a good memory of you. So you may make it to my next book, where I will send your look-alike to become a zombie, coming out at night in search of a free drink. By the way, would those flirty girls please come back? The free drink was worth the minute you did spend at the booth.     

Names

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Choosing a name for a story or novel can be challenging. It has to give a hint what the story is about while making it sound interesting. You also want the title to be unique, to set it apart form other stories and make it memorable. For example the title of a story I read when I was ten years old still sticks in my mind. “Mrs Pickles Goes To Mars” certainly won’t win many literary awards but the title is unforgettable, at least to me.

Books aren’t the only thing that requires a catchy name. When I was in New York we ate at a restaurant located along the docks. It has a good name- Pacific Grill- which hints at seafood and being cooked (always a good thing with fish). I did ask the waitress why it was called the Pacific Grill when in fact it faced the Atlantic Ocean. She just gave me a blank stare. I suppose Pacific Grill sounds better than Atlantic Grill, but hardly accurate in describing the location.

It was careful planning I choose the name Castle, The Fall to Domum. I figured the name Castle would indicate it was a tale about a Medieval world and The Fall to Domum mean it was an alternate world. It was a good plan. Unfortunately a TV show called Castle was aired at the same time as the book release. So if anyone one Googled “Castle” they more likely got information on the latest episode of the TV show. The other thing is a casual observer would think my book was about a murder mystery. That’s the way it goes sometimes. I still like the title Castle and I hope people will read the story.

The next book in the series of Castle is called The New KIng. It’s an accurate title in that there is a new king; actually more than one. I hope the reader won’t be able to guess who does become the new king(s) befor the end of the book.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a good week. Myself, I’m going to try and find out what Mrs. Pickles did on Mars.