Halloween Monster

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

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

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.  

New York

September 19th, 2010

This is the first time I’ve been to New York and I have to say it really is a great city. I may have spent too much money here but it’s hard to be frugal on vacation. Besides, after watching my dear wife shop I needed to spend some quality time in a bar and the double scotch was expensive.

The people are friendly in New York and I want to thank the unknown strangers for directing us to the right subway trains. The weather was good as well, mostly sunny skies. We did have have some rain tonight and had to hurry to our hotel. Hurry at least until I looked back and saw my wife window shopping. Oh well, I was already wet and there were more drinks waiting at the hotel.

The highlight for me was going to the opening game of the Giants in their brand new stadium. Great game and we spent some money on hot dogs and over priced beer but we had a great time. The only fault I could find was that they didn’t have any cheerleaders. I missed seeing those pom-poms waving about.

More on New York another time. I want to do a small contest for some books. Your choice of any of my books (except for Night Moves that I was only one of four authors), either as a PDF or print. To enter tell me what my character is drinking in my free story “The Garden” that’s on my website http://www.jhwear.com  Send your answer to jhwear @ jhwear . com (ignore the spaces) with the subject Contest. I will randomly select 3 winners sometime in the middle of October.  

Good luck on the contest.

Not much to say

September 8th, 2010

I’m a bit between stories right now. I’m waiting for the first edits of the third novel of the series Castle and toying with a couple of ideas for another book. It can fun thinking about another concept for another story, until when one realizes the writing aspect can take a lot of time. It’s a lot easier to daydream than o put it down on paper. One thought I had was to put together a zombie story. I have the outline for it but I’m not too sure about how the plot should turn out. That leads to difficulty of making sure the story is something publishers and readers want.

One of the publishers is having a contest for a short story. It has to be paranormal with romance. I guess the zombie story can qualify as paranormal but I think it might be a strain to think that romance could be involved. It’s not really fair for zombies. Vampires have managed to get into romance stories. Nasty creatures really; they suck the life out of their victims. I’m not saying zombies are any better in the treatment of people. They have needs after all that can only be satisfied by killing humans. The same goes for werewolves. They will not only kill people but may even eat them. Werewolves somehow manage to keep the romance angle, where a woman will fall for the beast when he is showing human side. I guess some women like men with very hairy chests. But the poor zombie is left out in the cold (literally- people lock them out of their nice warm homes).

So what I’m saying is vampires, werewolves and zombies all kill people, but somehow vampires are thought of as being sexy. They must have much better PR agents working for them, while werewolves work the Beauty and the Beast angle well. Let’s face it; zombies are not noted for being the sharpest pencil in the box. They walk around grunting and moaning with their arms outstretched in front of them. Maybe all they’re asking for is a hug.

In my next blog I will do some sort of contest. I’m not sure of any details yet but I’ll try to make it fun.

Next time you see a zombie, give him a high five. Everyone needs a bit of encouragement now and then.

dragon boat festival

August 19th, 2010

I went to the Banff Dragon Boat festival last weekend, and had a lot of fun. Going to the mountains is always a good experience and the fresh air is great. The team I travelled with, the Edmonton River Rats, had some good races as well. I didn’t paddle myself, but was one of the MCs, calling out the races and their results. I never had the experience of doing much speaking into a microphone but it turned out to be fun. It’s pretty rare I get to talk without someone interrupting me so I got excited doing my monologue.

Of course we all shared accommodations, two bathrooms and eight people. The fridge couldn’t hold any food with all the beer stuffed inside. Fortunately with all the hungry paddlers the food never lasted long enough to need refrigeration. But the beer was cold!

There was also a hot tub and it became the social centre for a few paddlers. Booze, hot water, late nights and then get up early to race. Some people suffer a lot for their sport. Not me- it doesn`t take much energy to talk about races and I made sure I had a good chair to sit on.

I`m doing a book signing at West Edmonton Mall Chapters on Saturday at noon. Please drop by and say hello. No obligation to buy a book (as long as my tears don`t effect you), and I`ll be happy to meet you.

Sorry about the delay since my last blog. My other job, importing wine from New Zealand, has kept me from doing much else. However, I think I can get back into the writing again now that a crisis has been taken care of (The shipper didn`t know how to transport wine. Maybe now I won`t know how to pay them).

I promise another blog soon. Maybe even a contest for a free book if I can think of some skill testing question to give you.

Gotta go- time for a glass of pinot.

Christmas in July

July 6th, 2010

There always deadlines for submitting a story, all according to the needs of a publisher. One of the deadlines coming up are stories about Christmas. It takes months for a publisher to review stories, edit them and then format them. At least that what they claim. Maybe they can do all that in an hour.

But assuming they do need that time I’m busy writing Christmas stories. I’m writing a couple and I’ll pick one to send in. Currently I’m doing one story that is set on Mars- I do like science fiction. There are a couple of details to work out, like how to make Mars a livable environment. Celebrating Christmas in spacesuits takes away the fun stuff like eating turkey, drinking and maybe stealing a kiss. I guess they could still open gifts but how does one try on that that new shirt?

So now I’m stuck with the difficult task of terra-forming Mars. The things a writer has to do enjoy Christmas.

I did a book signing at Chapters in Terra Losa a couple of weeks ago. Thank you to all those who came by and it was nice to meet you. I will be doing another book signing at West Edmonton Mall in August and I’ll give more details on that later.

I did some changes to my website a couple of weeks ago, mostly fixing links and format. I feel like running a contest, but not sure yet what to do about asking a skill testing question. Maybe something about Mars- like how do you make a Christmas tree grow there?

Merry July everyone

Jack H Wear 

Memories

June 3rd, 2010

I’m staying in Fort McMurray to do some wine sales at the liquor stores. It has gone well and I enjoy talking to the people managing the liquor stores. For the most part they are friendly but good business men and women. Fortunately for me most of them enjoying drinking wine as well.

A few decades ago I spent the summer in Fort McMurray working for Canadian Utilities at their power plant. The plant, small by almost any standards, supplied power for the town other that the tar sands (it had less than 5000 people in those days- now it has close to 70,000). The power plant used old ship generators to provide the power. One had the nickname of “Old Wobble”, given because how much it shook while operating.

So I returned to where the power plant used to sit. Now it is a flat piece of ground with a fence protecting the empty lot. I also traveled down Franklin Avenue, the main road in those days. I remembered the Peter Pond Hotel where I went to drink a few beers and also the slightly wilder Oil Can Hotel where fights occurred, strippers danced and bad country music played.

The Peter Pond has been torn down and made into a shopping mall. The Oil Can is still there. I’m not sure about the fights there but they do have a metal detector at the entrance. The strippers- yes they are still there (hopefully not the same ones) and the country music still plays there. I understand that has improved.

So what do I make out of all this? Power plants come and go but strippers will always be with us? Well, that might be true. But really, take a look around you. What seems so permanent can disappear so easily, so take a mental snapshot what is important to you. It’s worth it to remember.

brain dead

May 21st, 2010

I’m suffering greatly. I’m doing my year end business tax and slowly I can feel my brain cells die from too much exertion. I’m not used to thinking- haven’t found a need for it in a long time- but now I’m forced back to using my head. I have a question for those businesses that use thermal fax paper for receipts. Have any of you thought how hard it is to read them after they have been stored for a few months? I gave up on a few and just guessed what the numbers were. Uh, please ignor that statement if you work for Revenue Canada.

Writing; Well as you may guess I haven’t done much of that. I have read a couple of book recently, both mysteries. “Dead Man’s Footsteps” by Peter James is an excellent mystery. Well worth the read. “Second Opinion” by Michael Palmer is not bad, but a car crash scene is just not believable. I actually wrote to the author pointing out the problem. His reply was not kind, a bit personal actually. I promise you if you ever write to me about a flaw in my stories I will not be upset with you and will thank you for pointing it out.

My wife Lorrie is coaching dragon boat teams and seems to be enjoying it. I go down to river valley with her and take a walk around the trails. It gives me a chance to relax and think of what I should be writing next, or finding a way to make the plot better in a story. I received a couple of good reviews for my dragon boat story. One was Dragon Boat World International Magazine that concluded “definitely recommends this book to our readers.” I do like the cover of the book. I know you can’t judge a book by it’s cover but I thought the artist did a great job. Even if you don’t like to read, you should buy the book just for its cover  🙂

http://www.midnightshowcase.com/midnight/DragonWaterJW.htm

Shopping

May 4th, 2010

I was reminded the difference between men and women the other day when I was shopping with my wife. We were looking at greeting cards and looked in different parts of the store. I picked out two cards in 4 minutes and 27 seconds. I checked with Laurie who held five cards in one hand while looking at another. It turns out she found a suitable card but continued to look at cards in case there was a better one. How odd. I find a card I like annd that’s it. End of task. Go to checkout. But not her. I think that’s the problem, if I may say so, with women. They’re never satisfied with what they have, believing there is a better one available. It’s a wonder why she ever married me.

That greeting card incident reminds me to careful in my writing when writing about the actions of someone else. Everyone has different motivations and women do look at the world different then men. When writing about a woman considering course of action I try not to use logic as the next step. Of course men have faults too- darn if I know what they are though. Maybe Laurie will enlighten me.

I had an interview done by Coffee Time. If you want to read more about my devious life, follow the link.

http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/Interviews/JHWear.html

Have a good week

Jack