Winter coming

November 13th, 2008

A cold wind was blowing today and made sure we know winter will be here soon.  I managed to put up the outside Xmas lights a few days ago and I’m glad I didn’t wait another day.

I haven’t been able to do much writing lately.  My wine agency has taken up a lot of my time and that includes travels to Calgary and Canmore.   I have a few more tastings coming up during the weekends so my free time will be limited.  However I did do some editing and finished off one novel.   I have a couple of other partially completed stories that I hope I can get to in a few weeks time.  Maybe.

We entertained a wine maker from New Zealand, Tony Soljan, a few weeks ago.  We ended up going to dinner at a new restaurant, at least for me it was.  Laurie had been there before.  Skinny Legs and Cowgirls serves great food in an unusal decor.  If you live in Edmonton I recommend you give it a try.  


September 14th, 2008

I had an opportunity to travel to the town of Jasper for business.  The mountains are always great to see and and the air was great.  It was a bit cool but with the sun it was enjoyable to walk outside.  I went to a couple of restaurants (Earl’s and Fiddle River) that had great food and also a great view of the mountains.  Both are located on the second floor so one can see past the town-site.   Here is a link to the photos: I took most of these at a rest stop about ten kilometres west of Jasper.

I have a new book!  Midnight Showcase has decided to take a fantasy novel I wrote.  Castle, the Fall to Domum will be out possibly in the fall of 2009.  They have also agreed to the sequel which I haven’t quite finished yet.  The release of the books depends a lot on how much editing is required and I have to admit my editors certainly earn their keep.

new book

August 10th, 2008

It’s been busy lately and we have had a great summer so far.

After our trip to Lethbridge and Calgary we had a bit of work to do around the house. We had a new patio poured in our backyard and it was stamped to look like bricks. The contractor did a great job.  We were also volunteers at the Edmonon Indy and it was exciting. Hot weather, good looking women and fast cars. I’m going back next year.

We went over to my cousin Doug’s place.  He and his wife Nicky have a nice home with a brand new kitchen.  They have a couple of kids, a boy and girl, that keeps them sitting around too long.  Well behaved, but kids always seem to have that boundless energy that wears out adults. Nicky showed me her redone garage as well.  She runs a company that organizes houses that makes into better homes.  Her garage looked a lot better than my office.  Maybe its time to do a clean up.

Midnight Showcase has accepted four short stories, paranormal genre, that will be made into a book.  Not sure what the book will be called but I hope it can be available this year.  Meanwhile Talnut will be in print this November and I need to some last minute editing and get some reviews in order. 

Time to clean up the house.  Laurie was in Calgary this weekend and the house has a lived in look she wouldn’t appreciate. 

Lethbridge Dragon boat Festival

July 12th, 2008

We just returned from a short trip to Lethbridge where a dragon boat festival was held. The Edmonton River Rats did quite well, finishing in the top ten of the ‘A’ division. The festival was well run and the weather was great. I did some writing on the trip, deciding to do a story on dragon boats. I’m not sure how long its going to be or even how it will turn out but I’m using the character Sheldon from another story I wrote, At the Edge of Darkness.

After spending an extra day in Lethbridge (I did some wine sales there) we drove up slowly to Calgary to visit our son and his family. David and Natalie are doing fine but my wife Laurie was excited about holding Benjamin, our seven month old grandson. Benjamin is doing great, growing strong and interacting with the colourful toys around him.

I have another story accepted by Midnight Showcase, a paranormal tale. I hope to have a couple of other short stories accepted by them to make up a full book.

It’s time to go back to writing: I have too many stories going on at once and better start finishing some of them off.


JH Wear 

Summer returns

June 11th, 2008

It has been a busy few weeks.  Summer has finally arrive here and that means hauling out lawn furniture and planting flowers.  We are also redoing our backyard so I spent a week taking out the old patio blocks and replacing them with a new style.  Then it rained so we haven’t had much time to enjoy it.  Oh well, I can drink the beer indoors just as easily.

As I mentioned before I’m bringing in some new wine and that meant updating the Kiwi Imports website.  I didn’t exactly know what I’m doing but finally managed to change the web page without destroying it.  My compliments to those who do webpage design and know what all that code means.  I copied text and thank goodness it worked out.

Dragon Boat season is starting up and my wife Laurie is the manager of the Edmonton River Rats.  I still have a bad neck and shoulder from a December accident and won’t be paddling this year but my heart is still there.   However I’m toying with the idea of writing a story about Dragon boating, maybe with a mystery around it.  I really should finish the other stories I’m working on but I think I could have fun with a story with the big boats.

Enjoy the sunshine if you have a chance, and if it rains just take your drinks inside.

Time to work

May 16th, 2008

Summer is rolling in and that means digging out all the lawn furniture and all the other outdoor implements that have been hiding in the dark corners of the tool shed. Laurie and I do have one project this year and that is to change the backyard (Trust me, it was her inspiration. I say leave well enough alone. I lost.) .  A bit of work is involved there.

As you may know I have a wine agency and it has been busy this past month. During the summer I will be introducing some new wines and right now there is a lot of paperwork to do for that to happen. The wine will be worth it- I know because I tried the samples.

It does make time for writing a bit short and I don’t have the talent to suddenly pound out a story on a keyboard. However I try to find time everyday to put together a few more words and grind it out. I am happy to report Midnight Showcase has picked up one of my short stories. I’m not sure of the title yet but it should be out sometime in October.  I’m also working on a couple of other stories and hope to report some progress there shortly.

Enjoy the weekend, perhaps with a good book and a glass of wine.

New Zealand numbers

April 13th, 2008

I spent the month of March in New Zealand. It was a wonderful country to visit and I want to return. The only problem is the flight there and it can be a bit long. In our case and few other passengers it was a disaster because of Air Canada. Anyone who has the misfortune to use that airline will understand what we are talking about. Delayed flights, uninformed personnel and rude counter people.

But back to New Zealand and some interesting numbers. The country has over 40 million sheep, which means there is 150 sheep for every square kilometer. That doesn’t include the land used for vineyards. New Zealand has about 600 wineries,  producing a lot of wine. It works out to 43 bottles per person per year. Good thing they export most of it.

I have mention something about their highways. It turns out they don’t like shoulders on their roads and believe one way bridges are a efficient way to cross rivers. Passing lanes are few and far between as well. The country is 1600 km long and we drove 4300 km, a testament to the twisting roads. That means the driver has to really pay attention and the scenery is always changing. It’s a beautiful country. Just don’t be in a hurry to get from one town to another.

I spent a lot of time tasting many of the wines and want to mention the hospitality shown by the wineries was great. In particular Claire at Soljans was wonderful in showing us around. I will be bringing in some of the wines to the Alberta market through my agency,    

Besides the wine tasting I did write a couple of stories and have sent them off. We’ll see if the editors like the stories that was written under the influence of wine. I knew the story was done when the text became too blurry to read. 

New Zealand

March 23rd, 2008

I’ve been in New Zealand for the past few weeks and really enjoying my stay here with my wife Laurie. We traveled from Auckland to the south island and enjoyed the scenery and the weather. My visit here was to find wineries interested in exporting their wine to Alberta and I have found several quality candidates.

I have also had time to write and am currently working on a new short story. The words are flowing rather well and so is the wine. This is a romance story, though I’m not sure how I’ll end it yet. In any case the working title is The Princess of Time.

I also did a bit of reading and just finished a science fiction book called Seeker by Jack McDevitt. Good story telling and I like how to conserves words.

The vacation time ends here soon and I have to decide which wines I want to include in my portfolio back in Alberta. I also have to finish up the short story, edit and send it in.  All this while soaking up the sun and the wine. Cheers!

New Zealand

March 6th, 2008

We finally arrived in New Zealand, despite’s Air Canada’s efforts to the contrary.  Incredible how rude some of their personnel can be- absolutely refusing to assist us in some cases.

The weather here is wonderful and it’s nice to go outside without a coat on. I will also be able to do some writing, in fact I’ve started on a new story. I have the title, a vague plot and the first page done. Bethany at Samhain suggested I write a romance story so I’ll give it a go.

I’m reading a book on how to be a better writer and will try apply some of what I’ve learned to the new story. The danger is that I might second guess everything I write and get nothing done. Still, if I want to improve my writing I best think a bit as I write.

I ended up going to a shopping mall with my wife and two of her girlfriends.  Fortunately there was a Borders bookstore and I picked up a good sci/fi book (Seeker by McDevitt) and read while they shopped. By the way the price marked was $8US, $11Can and $21NZ.  Makes you wonder about the difference- the NZ$ is .80 American/Can. – and how they justify it. I shall read the book slowly knowing each word is worth twice as much back home. 

A Winter’s Day

February 10th, 2008

There is one advantage of cold winter day- one is encouraged to stay indoors and do some writing.  For me it’s brewing some strong coffee, turning on the stereo and sitting with my laptop.  My plan today is to add another chapter to book I working on and write a synopsis of another I’ve finished.

I find writing a synopsis difficult.  A novel may have a hundred thousand words and one is suppose to reduce that to a hundred words and still make it sound interesting.  It can be done of course, but requires thinking.  Hence the strong coffee and not scotch. 

My first book Talnut received a review from Mrs. Giggles.  If you read her reviews on any book you know she can pretty tough on any writer.  As such I feel happy to get a score of 78 from her.  I’m still pretty excited by the release of the book.  Unfortunately, I’ve been swamped with work from my wine business and didn’t put the time into promoting as much as I would have liked.   But I’m going to get busy on that soon.  Samhain Publishing invested money to get my book out there and my editor Bethany worked hard to smooth out story.  Now I have to put the effort in to make it a success.  Right after I shovel the walks of snow of course.