Writing a story

April 30th, 2011

Writing a story can be work, but also a lot of fun. This is particularly true if you only have a general idea what you want to write about. The boundaries are loose and you can develop the characters as you delve deeper into the story. Often I don’t know how the story is going to end or what is going to happen much beyond the chapter I’m working on.

For example in my Castle series one of my favourite characters, Gilbert, had a mysterious tattoo on his back. In book one I mentioned the tattoo without giving any details about it, mostly because I didn’t know anything about it either. I mentioned the tattoo again in book two, but still didn’t have a clue how I was going to use it. But finally in book three I was able to explain the tattoo because, like the readers, I surprised how the tattoo became important.

I’m not saying I’m always clueless about the story I’m writing but rather I like to have some details fall into place by themselves. I’m a believer in not forcing some plot twist to cover up a mistake done earlier in the story and would rather let story roll on its natural course. Sometimes that makes me as surprised as anyone how the story turns out. If I really don’t like the ending, then I go back to the beginning and do changes. That doesn’t happen too often. I’m a bit on the lazy side when it comes to rewriting a story. I guess it comes down to I want to make the story as enjoyable to read as possible and not let my own wants to interfere with it.  But if a rewrite is the best way to handle it, then I’ll growl a bit and do it. 

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Wine Fair

April 11th, 2011

This is a photo of some rather expensive wines. In fact, and trust me as I’m full of useful facts, I found one wine, the Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac 2003, that retails around $800.00 a bottle. It doesn’t even include a corkscrew at that price. I could tell it was expensive just by looking at the fancy label and also because I had trouble spelling the name.

I mention this because I do wine tasting at some large events and some not so large events. At a recent wine fair where patrons paid the not so high sum of $20.00 to have a chance to sample some 100 wines. Hor dourves consisted of shrimp, cheeses, hot food and various fruit and chocolates.  I think it’s a great deal. You get to try some new wines and to chat with the agents who can tell you something about the winery and the wine.

Now some customers are grand. They have an idea what wines they want to try and usually go home with a new found prize, likely one of my wonderful wines. However there are also the “why should I have to pay more than $10.00 for a Rothschild equivalent?’ wine connoisseur. They make a great pretense of swishing the wine around their mouth while looking to sky for inspiration before finally spitting the wine into the spittoon. They then critique a wine that sell for $19.50 as if they hand picking a wine for the royal wedding. Oh well, no worries. After the third glass most wine will taste pretty good.

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I survived another birthday. My lovely wife took me to a new bar, the Twisted Kilt, and reserved a party room. It was great. Friends and family all were there. Beer and food was served by some rather underdressed waitresses 🙂 and even a young fellow played the bagpipe. I was spoiled with too many gifts, including about ten Starbucks cards. Apparently lots of people think I look too sleepy. So to all those who made it to the party, and to those who were able to wish me happy birthday via email, thank you very much. Next time we get together I’ll even fork out a few dollars for a decent glass of wine for you.

Cheers

Reloading software

March 25th, 2011

My computer was suffering from the effects of being used every day for the past three years. Too many programs were taking its toll. The poor thing would go into spasms, fail to launch programs, not able to log on the Internet and keep giving messages like “I’m dreadfully sorry but I need to close now. Too bad about your unsaved work. It’s gone.”
So after much hand wringing I decided I had to reformat the hard drive. Naturally the computer gave me one last chance to change my mind. “Are you sure you want to do this? What is it going to be boy, Yes or No?” I looked for the “Maybe” button but that choice wasn’t given.
Next came the process of installing all that software. I am not sure of the reason all software has a sixty-seven encryption code that one has to enter. Possibly it’s so that you have a chance to touch every key on the keyboard at least twice. A couple of the licence codes had a font six on a gold background. I presume that was to help sale of magnifying glasses. I studied the digits for five minutes before coming to the conclusion I was holding it up-side-down.
The old computer is now working again and I can start doing real work again, or at least checking the Internet for the latest Dilbert cartoon.

even the Roadrunner went beep beep

March 6th, 2011

My car goes beep. No, there isn’t anything wrong with it. It’s just that vehicles today are sensitive to anything out of what it considers normal. This includes doors ajar, the temperature dropping near freezing, low fuel, low tire pressure, seat belts unfastened, low washer fluid and maybe the stereo on too loud. To complicate matters the key and remote starter (Marvellous device for those in cold climates. You can start your car from the inside of your home and let it warm up first before you venture into the cold night.) also will beep. It beeps when you unlock or lock the door, start the car or leave the car running with key in your hand.
The car manufacturers may think these beeps add to safety, but honestly all these beeps make driving confusing. Yesterday I heard a constant beep while driving and after a thorough investigation the culprit turned out to be my wife’s mobile.
I don’t mean to make a big deal about this, but the whole world goes beep. Microwaves, mobile phones, laptops, watches, ATMs, retail cash registers and a dozen other devices. I hope that someone can come up with a more musical tone someday. If you can think of one, call me and leave me a message at the sound of the beep.
I was interviewed a few weeks ago and if you’re interested you can follow this link http://www.mystiparker.blogspot.com/2011/02/interview-with-jh-wear-and-vlog.html
I am also a sponsor for a fashion show through Kiwi Imports. If you’re interested, here’s another link http://www.ineventsandmarketing.posterous.com/
This is my first blog on my new updated blog site with WordPress. I hope you like the small changes on it.
Cheers
Jack

Penmanship

February 8th, 2011

I received a letter in the mail from a very nice young lady last week, thanking me for my assistance in providing some sparkling wine for the restaurant where she works. There was something very unusual about about the letter, and no, not because anyone would thank me for anything. You see the the art of writing letters is disappearing. I admit I use spell check for a lot of my writing, trying to find a balance between American and Canadian spelling. However at least I try to use full sentences and not abbreviate every word as we see in emails and to a greater extent text messages. For example, take this legal wording in a document:

Within seven days of the appointment of the Arbitrator, the party initiating the arbitration (the “Claimant”) shall send the other party (the “Respondent”) a [claim notice] setting out the details of its claim, the grounds and contentions of law on which it is relying, and the relief that it claims.

The email equivalent would be; Within a wk of the Arbitrator, the Claimant lets the Respondent know what they want.

The text in a mobile would appear as; Hey, here’s the deal.  

Obviously the changes in technology has made short work of what we need to say. Of course that may also mean what we have to say isn’t that important and should be reduced to just a few symbols. Well, obviously that doesn’t include my own personal writing of books. Every word I write I’m sure is important and reverent. If you don’t believe me, buy and read any of my books. I recommend you buy several to be sure.

Back to the letter I received. It was impressive on several points. One, it was hand written. Two, it was neat and legible. Three, there wasn’t any spelling mistakes.  Believe me, spelling errors sneak in all the time. So this young (okay, also quite pretty) lady made quite an impression on me with the letter. Well written, without errors and legible. Quite an achievement. If I was to try the same thing I would probably use up a whole box of paper before I got it right.

By the way- well not really by the way because I planned to tell you this all along- a couple of my books are available at Save On Foods Bookstore in the Edmonton area.  Talnut and Dragons in the Water will make a great purchase when you’re picking up that carton of milk. 

Have a good day

Jack

Snow on top, water below

January 28th, 2011

Our city has been hit with abnormal amount of snow, so much white stuff that it’s hard to find a place to shovel it. I have taken to tossing it on to my neighbour’s driveway as a last resort. Since they drive a white car I’m hoping the snow will blend in with it and they won’t notice. The heavy snowfall was one problem, but we got hit with another. Warm weather. For the past week the temperature has gone above freezing, causing a lot of melting snow.

You may not see that much of a problem, but when we returned home from a weekend out of town we found water leaking into our kitchen. The culprit was melting snow from the roof above with the water finding a way to the ceiling. So the next day I hauled out our aluminum later and jammed the base into the three feet of snow on the ground. The ladder had a rather annoying habit of sinking deeper into the snow as I climbed it. Once on the roof I started tossing snow again, coincidently onto my neighbour’s yard. With our roof clear of snow the water leak stopped, though obviously sometime I will have to find out exactly where the water found its way in. That will happen soon. My wife insists upon it.  

My writing is slow- I’m just plodding along  right now- but I have a few recommendations of books I reading. One is Voidfarer by Sean McMullen. It’s a very good read. I have also looked at Herbert Grosshans latest book, the link is http://hegro.shawwebspace.ca/ He’s just a very good writer of science fiction. Mila Ramos writes romance/paranormal stuff. You can check her website at http://www.milaramos.net/Books.html Finally a friend of mine has released an erotic tale, but it really is just plain funny. Be Careful What you Wish For is reviewed at http://whippedcream2.blogspot.com/2011/01/be-careful-what-you-wish-for-by-nick.html?zx=90d8b7ceb2299cb6

Okay, I hope those stories will keep you busy until my next release. I promise to write a story before all the snow melts.

Cheers 🙂

Jack 

January 19th, 2011

I made it through December. It wasn’t easy. The month is the busiest for those in the liquor industry and I certainlt had to do a lot of tastings (yes, for my customers. Sadly, I hardly had time for a drink for myself). Besides the work, our family also has a lot of birthdays. A grandson, a son, a sister-in-law, my brother (rathe inconsiderate of him to be born on Christmas Eve) and my wife- and one better not ever forget a wife’s birthday. Besides the work, birthdays and Christmas, my dear wife wanted to do bathroom renovations. So I limped into January feeling rather exhausted and quite aware I hadn’t done any writing for sometime.

These excuses of being too busy to write don’t hold water with publishers and I suppose I’m in the black book for not getting any work done. But it’s better for an editor to be mad at me than my wife for not doing the bathroom renovations.  

One of my publishers has changed owners. Midnight Showcase is now Melange Book. If you’re interested in my books there, the link is http://www.melange-books.com/authors/jhwear/jhwear.html For those who like free stuff (no, I’m not offering free bottles of wine) I have new free story on my website called Painting Life. The link for that is http://www.jhwear.com/freereads.html

Next week I think I will start writing again, probably with a bottle of wine for inspiration.

I hope you all had a great New Year.

Jack 

Merry Christmas

December 19th, 2010

I’m currently reloading software and setting up programs on my laptop. It’s not quite a year old but suffered from a hard drive failure. Dell sent me a new hard drive and it was a simple matter to put the new one in. Then the fun begins with installing software.

A lot of software wants you to add free stuff. For example Yahoo Toolbar is a common feature you can load up. No thank you. Whenever I happen to use Yahoo I feel like I’m at a supermarket checkout with tabloid magazines blaring headlines blaring on who is doing something with somebody else. I don’t care that an actress has a new hairstyle, or that an athletic was caught cheating-again. But Yahoo loves giving useless information as they attempt to turn the Internet into a gossip column. My hard drive failure has also brought forth some free advice from people, such as “You should always back up files.” Great advice. This is along the line of after you slip on an icy walk and you’re told to be careful as you lie painfully on your back. Of course I save my work- to the hard drive. Occasionally I save files to an external hard drive and in this case I haven’t lost a lot of my work, mostly because I haven’t done a lot of work lately. It pays to be lazy. 

I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year. Thank you to those who take the time to read my writings and especially to those who buy my books (hey, I have to pay for a new hard drive somehow). Like many authors I appreciate your comments about my writing. So for all the authors out there, may I suggest you send one of your favourite writers a short message. It’ll make their Christmas a bit merrier, even without the eggnog.

Warm wishesJack 

new drink

December 2nd, 2010

I’m trying to think of a new name for a drink. A cider I represent in my portfolio when combined with a spirit makes a great drink. Details: Rochdale Ginger-lime cider mixed with dark spiced rum. So what should I call it? Ginger’s dark secret? Happy poison? Spicy secret? As you can tell I’m not very good at making up new names for drinks.

Okay, if someone cuts me off in traffic I can rapidly think of several new names to give the imbecile. But blind moron is not a good name for a drink. Neither is your mother should have had an abortion. But I need to think of a name that makes one smile and think good thoughts. Please send me your suggestions and I’ll buy you a drink next Thursday at the Beerhunter (or any bar in my driving area).

Story titles is a different matter. I can think of lots on names there. The Naked Scorpion. Bound and Tied to Honour. A Witches’ Fashion Show. The plot is a different matter but, trust me, I can work that out. I have made a story out of one sentence (please see future Pulitzer Prizes for examples) that turned into a book. Hey, I’m good. What should I say except that I’m still want to win some sort of award?

 Back to liquor and drinks- a subject I’m more familiar with. I do have a lot of fun with meeting with people and sampling drinks certainly is a pleasant way to spend the afternoon (or morning in some cases). I was in the town of Tofield and spent half an hour talking to the owner about anthropology. It’s amazing how a good Pinot Noir can make conversation easier, even one about ancient people. I wonder what they drank and if they had any good names for drinks.    

Grande Prairie

November 16th, 2010

I had an opportunity to drive up to the city of Grande Prairie for business. It’s a bit strange to drive hundreds of kilometres without seeing much but farm land, small towns, roads and suddenly a city pops out of nowhere. Might make for a good mystery movie- The City in the Middle of Nowhere. (Starring Angelina Jolie
 and Johnny Depp so tickets will sell).

Grande Prairie itself is a nice city- clean, new and with friendly people. They like to drink too, which is good for my business of selling wine. I suppose the drinking makes up for the fact they can never leave town, unless they have 100 gallons of fuel in their vehicle to start with. I did get to see the sights of the town, some parts several times. I got lost. The problem was not me, of course. Rather it was the map they gave out at the hotel. On a single sheet of paper they squeezed in the whole city with the four hundred streets, avenues, roads, drives and crescents with the numbers and names carefully written along. The problem was the lettering was only one hundredths of an inch high. No matter how I held the map I couldn’t even determine which side was up. Next time I go to Grande Prairie I’m going to bring a large magnifying glass- to the beat the idiot who made the map. 

I have a new story through Midnight Showcase tittled The Wizard of Mars. It is one of six stories in a Christmas collection called, naturally enough, Christmas Collectibles. Please feel free to buy dozens of copies for your whole family as Christmas gifts. As a subtle hint the link is http://www.midnightshowcase.com/midnight/XmasCollect.htm

Cheers

Jack