Blush: Companions

Today’s post is more of a recommendation for companion books to the card game Blush. These are books I found useful during the creation of the game.

How to Talk with Teens About Love, Relationships, & S-E-X: A Guide for Parents

by Charles D. Miron Ph.D., and Amy G. Miron M.S.

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I bought this book when I was writing my term paper in 2008, which turned into the basis for the prototype of the game. It was read cover to cover, and was extremely helpful and well written. I’m so glad I decided to buy it instead of borrow from the library, because I can see myself referring to it again and again. Bear in mind, this was written in 2002, and some passages might be outdated. (Link to buy the book on Amazon)

100 Questions You’d Never Ask Your Parents: Straight Answers to Teens’ Questions About Sex, Sexuality, and Health

by Elisabeth Henderson, and Nancy Armstrong, M.D.

This book helped me build some of the 250 questions for the game this year. There is a glossary and an index at the back, but no references, so although I used it to help with the questions, I did not use this book as a reference to answer them. However, it does offer some more information in a different format than the card game, and so would be a good companion to the game. It was published in 2007. (Link to buy the book on Amazon)

Dear Dragon – Looking forward to meeting you

Hello Baby Dragon,

It’s the end of July and that means you’ll be here in a month and a few days. (Probably. Everyone keeps telling me babies arrive when they want to.) I’m extremely excited to meet you, to see who you’ll be, what you’ll like, how much you’ll sleep.

Everyone else is just as excited to meet you. You already have fans among our friends. It’s amazing to see people who we don’t get to talk to much get really excited about you.

Right now the person who seems most excited to meet you is your grandfather. He’s making sure that everything will be perfect for you. Even stressing your mom and I a little with his excitement. You’re really lucky to have him. He seems gruff sometimes but he has the biggest heart and will accomplish impossible things for those he loves. He’s a wonderful father, father in-law, and he’ll be a fantastic grandfather.

It’s going to be amazing to see you grow and become your own person. It’ll also be amazing to see what happens in the world and with technology during your life.

You’ll always think I’m old, but in my 33 years I’ve seen some astounding scientific and technological changes. The Chicken Pox and HPV vaccines, the internet, the discovery of the Higgs Boson, interactive media, and so many music and video formats it’s not funny.

Right now the world is obsessed with a game called Pokémon Go. You might remember it (I’m sure we’ll play it for at least 2 or more years.) It a game that players walk around and look for digital things in the real world. Using GPS and a map of landmarks, the game randomly generates Pokémon (cute pocket monsters).

For you, this will be an old idea but for the rest of the world it’s something new. I predict that when you look back at 2016 it won’t be 4k TVs or another feeble attempt at virtual reality that is the big tech news, but the dawn of augmented reality. It has the potential to change the way we interact with our world.

We live in exciting times and you’ll see your old Papa geek out a lot over new technology. I hope it’s something we can share.

I love you Baby Dragon,

Your Papa Éric

Éric’s 5 Rules for Being Professional

Hello my Imaginary Friends,

I was taught from a young age that the secret to professionalism was subservience.

  • Don’t make eye contact;
  • Call people Ma’am and Sir;
  • Never call an adult, client, or superior by their first name;
  • Always use formal pronouns (It’s a French thing);
  • Don’t complain;
  • Don’t get involved; and
  • Don’t look or act differently than others.

It could be that my rural upbringing was extra strict or it could just be the area. If you wanted respect, you needed to give back to the community, or have money.

My mother isn’t who taught me this, she was a progressive feminist hippie. She taught me to judge people’s worth by what they did and said, not by their money or appearance.

This post by a nurse with amazing hair brought back a lot of frustrations for me. As have countless other articles or posts about “Kids these days”. You know, the ones about Pokémon Go, or those I’ve already complained about.

The world is changing quickly and everyone is dealing with it differently. Some are nostalgic for the 90s, some are lost in hate, and others are just delusional.

I deal with clients or customers in all of my jobs (Civil Servant, Layout Artist, Sales person, Coffee Roaster, and Author) and I think I can speak with some authority on how to be professional in this new and changing world.

Éric’s 5 Rules for Being Professional

5. Treat Everyone Equally

Respecting everyone and treating them as your equal is easy but has a huge effect. People like to feel valued and will think better of you for doing it. Nobody likes being treated as stupid or beneath them.

Don’t assume that because they’re wearing biker gear, that they’re part of the Hell’s Angels. They could just as easily be a Doctor or Lawyer that likes to ride a motorcycle.

It’s important to remember that this is about respect and not assimilation or standardization. Treating someone equally also means respecting their ways, beliefs, and how they want to be treated.

4. Judge Others by Their Actions

This is the simplest rule. If someone wears the perfect suit and looks like the perfect employee, it doesn’t mean they’re good at their job.

Don’t judge someone by their race, skin colour, make up, ethnicity, sex, gender, body alterations, sexual preference, clothing, religion, weight, attractiveness, etc.

Judge them by how well they do their job and how they treat other people. You can learn a lot about a person by how they interact with someone who can’t benefit them personally.

3. Never Denigrate Others to Elevate Yourself

If you’re good at what you do, be proud. Tell people that you’re proud. I am immensely proud of my book. It’s ok to tell people that you think your stuff is awesome.

Never denigrate others to elevate yourself. My book is a YA Urban fantasy and I think it’s entertaining, but I’m not going to sell it as better than *insert popular YA here*.

By insulting others you are not showing pride in your work but disdain for others. It doesn’t elevate you, it brings others down. This applies even when the other person’s work is absolute crap.

2. Work with Others

Those people you insulted? They have strengths and weaknesses. If they’re in your field, you’ll be around them again.

If you work with those you consider competition, they become allies. Sharing information can greatly improve both your work.

There are people who just suck and you don’t want to be around. They may be purposely mean, hateful, or destructive. It’s ok to cut those people out of your life or request not to work with them.

But remember #3.

1. Be Polite

Being polite is nebulous and fraught with cultural bias. In its most basic form being polite means the same as all the other rules.

But go one step further and say: Thank you, Please, and Sorry. To Everyone!

If someone accidentally hurts you, physically or emotionally, accept their apology. An I understand, or I accept your apology.

If someone does something for you, thank them.

Finally try your best to follow the immortal words of Wyld Stallyns:

“Be excellent to each other!”

bill-and-ted

Éric

News in Montreal

Montreal (well, an hour outside of Montreal) has a Hobbit House that you can stay at. I read this news last week and promptly got so excited that I almost fell off my chair. (Exaggeration. I sit on a couch.)

House House. Image from entrecimesetracines.com
House House. Image from entrecimesetracines.com

This cute little place means that you can visit Middle-Earth without travelling to New Zealand! However, it is already booked solid until the new year. (Who is surprised? Not me!)

If you are interested in booking this cute little hotel for a short trip within Canada, you can contact me Jennifer Desmarais through AJ Travel. jenniferd@ajtravel.ca

Wargrave Island (Serial Story) Part 7

List of Characters | Part 1| Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Blane and Zane both swore at the same moment, Zoe started to softly weep, Sandrine and Riko just stared at Arun’s body.

“This place is booby-trapped. That’s bullshit!” Zane voice held a small amount of panic but by this time they’d all seen so much death it was starting to feel natural.

Riko was numb. The reassurance she’d been clinging to, that they would be rescued soon, faded and she was starting to wonder if they’d survive. The feeling of impending death didn’t fill her with fear, just a sense of loss. She’d spent her entire life trying to help people but now she was completely helpless. Who would hate them so much that they’d torture them? Who could be this hateful? Who could be so crazy?

“It was me!” Sandrine yelled and collapsed to the floor, sobbing.

“What?” asked Riko.

“I hit Kate. I was so angry and…” Sandrine drifted off still sobbing.

Rolling over to Sandrine, Kate put her hand on her and said, “It’s ok, Kate. You didn’t do it. Jonathan came to me a few years ago and told me everything.”

“He what?”

“Yeah he told me he woke up drunk in his car after the party with a dent in the front. He said he drove into me when he was so drunk he couldn’t remember.”

“That’s not what happened…” Sandrine took a deep breath. “I took his keys while he was asleep and I drove off. I was just so angry and stupid. That little snoop Kingsley had caught Arun and I…” She drifted off.

Zoe looked over and said, “But that was the night he gave me the promise ring. You Bitch!” Zane and Blane held her in place as she yelled at Sandrine.

“I know that’s why I was so pissed. I didn’t want anyone finding out.”

“You were so angry you drove someone else’s car? While drunk?” Kate didn’t sound angry, she sounded disbelieving.

Nodding, Sandrine looked up at Kate and said, “I’m sorry.”

“You’re an idiot. Why the hell are you telling me now?” Kate gave a bemused smile.

“We’re all going to die.” Sandrine giggled a little. The fear and barely controlled hysteria behind the giggle spoke to how Riko was feeling.

“Look at me Kate. I’ve fought with my body, society, and gravity since the accident. I’m not saying it’s been easy, but I refuse to let it end here like this. We need to figure out if it’s one of us or if it’s someone else, find the person and beat the shit out of them. Ok?”

Sniffing, Sandrine replied, “I’d like to beat someone up.”

“There’s the badass I know. Now, who do you think is doing this?” Kate looked at Riko. The authority in Kate’s voice snapped her out of her self-pity.

“I think it’s Allison. She has the tech knowledge and the body we assume is her is too burned to be sure.”

“That’s a good theory. Any other ideas?” Kate took over the group in the same way she’d taken over all group projects or sports teams, with confidence and determination.

“It’s Ethan…” Zoe’s eyes were still filled with tears and she spoke looking at Arun’s corpse.

“Why?” asked Kate.

“He’s the only plus one who came. All the others conveniently couldn’t make it. He’s not one of us and he creeps me out.”

Kate nodded and asked, “Riko, did anything come up for Ethan?”

“Yeah, he told me he had been offered a special assignment.”

“Why didn’t he take it?” asked Kate.

Zane rolled his eyes and said, “Isn’t it obvious? The boy is madly in love with her and she with him.”

Everyone looked at Riko and she blushed not knowing what to say.

They threw around a few more suggestions including Kingsley, the girl who’d tried to film them at the party, but nothing concrete presented itself. Zane and Riko brought Arun’s body up to the makeshift morgue while the group argued it was a government experiment.

They were on their way back when they heard yelling from outside. They ran down the stairs towards the beach. Standing in the sand in only his underwear and wristwatch, a gunmetal timepiece that had belonged to his father, was Ethan.

The sun was setting over the island and the sky was on fire with red and purple. The air was crisp and smelled of salt water. Riko couldn’t help but think how beautiful the island would be if it hadn’t been one large tomb.

“Stay off the beach!” He was yelling at Blane, Zane, and Sandrine that looked like the wanted to run to him but everyone seemed frozen in place.

It took Riko a few moments before she realized why no one was moving forward. There was a glint of silver metal under Ethan’s foot and even at twenty or so metres away she knew what it was.

“Ethan,” She gasped before saying, “Let me try and help.” She’d taken basic bomb training.

“NO!” Ethan shouted. “I know you have some training but this beach is littered with other landmines.”

“I have to do something.” A strong breeze blew at her suddenly and the overwhelming smells of ozone and petrichor assaulted her nose.

“There’s nothing you can do for me, I’m already dead.” His words caused her chest to become tighter. “but promise you’ll catch the bastard and make them pay for this.”

“I love you.” Her words were barely a whisper so she repeated them. “I love you, Ethan.”

Smiling he replied, “I love you too,” as he stepped off the landmine.

“No!” she yelled as a loud explosion rocked the quiet of the evening and a ball of fiery energy engulfed Ethan. She ran forward but was held back by several sets of hands.

A second loud crack assaulted her ears and it started to rain hard.

Fleur Delacour

Fleur Delacour stopped by our table at Ottawa Comic Con. She’s an adventurous spirit, or else the Goblet wouldn’t have picked her for the Triwizard Tournament.

I adore her hat!

Have you pre-ordered The Cursed Child? Are you planning on going to a midnight release party? We’re going to Pinecrest Chapters. I’m going to have to take a nap so that I can stay up so late! Will we see any of you there?

Jess Goldie – Part 2 of 2

I’m on vacation but enjoy this story!

Read Part 1


It was a terrifying place. I almost turned back but I saw movement and had to investigate. I followed the movement for a little, thinking I was hunting it. It lead me to a small clearing before two more of it came out of the forest.

It was fascinating; a grizzly sized capybara crossed with a teddy bear. As I looked at them in adoration they started to sing the sweetest song, layering harmonies. Before I knew what was happening, the one I’d followed had closed its jaws on my shoulder. The pain was excruciating and cut through their siren’s song. It ripped off a part of my shoulder and then salivated on it. Its saliva dripped onto my wound and I felt myself healing. I also learnt everything I needed about it.

Its natural predator was a form of large black hound, whose skin cracked and extruded some form of burning liquid. I forced myself to change shape and mimic the magma hound. When I’d grown to five times my size, I howled the howl the haunted the Adlat’s dreams.

The three creatures ran away and I shrank back to my dog form. I felt strange like I was missing something. I was scared and alone; all I wanted was the warmth of home.

I ran back to the gopher hole I’d made leaving the city. I looked at the hole and tried to bring up the memory of a gopher. I couldn’t. The knowledge I had about gophers was gone. That’s when I discovered my memories were spread across my being and losing part of me meant losing memories. I put myself to work and dug out the hole enough that I could get back into civilization.

I was part way through digging the hole when a howl, similar to the one I’d made earlier, echoed behind me. I melted back to my original shape and hurried through the rest of the hole.

I don’t like being goo, it’s like being naked, both physically and psychically. As goo I can feel all the emotions around me, plant, animal, human, and more. I also taste and feel every part of the earth.

Whatever made that noise was big and probably couldn’t get through the gopher hole I’d made. I changed into a crow and flew straight back to Jessie’s home.

Inside I walked gently into the kitchen. Even having changed several times, my heart beat swiftly.

“Goldie?” Jessie asked behind me. I jumped and made a strange snuffling noise and he giggled. “I can’t sleep. I had nightmares.” He shivered and I got a vague impression of a clown and the terror that accompanied it.

He walked over to me and hugged me, his little face buried in my fur. All the fear, mine and his, drained from me and was replaced by his love.

He took a glass of water and walked over to the couch near the antique television. “Do you want to watch something, Goldie?” I gave a soft woof of disapproval but he took it as acceptance and put in his favourite old movies (one his father didn’t let him watch alone). It was in colour and had a large insect like alien that tried to kill the crew.

I lay next to him and he put his hand in my fur, he was asleep before the first crewmember died. I don’t sleep but I was comfortable and not paying complete attention. I should have been sharper. I should have been more careful.

I lazily turned towards the kitchen and caught sight of two glowing violet eyes. Before I knew it,, the Magma hound had pounced towards us. I moved as fast as I could but I was too slow. It bit into Jessie’s leg, pulled him, and started to shake him.

The movie behind me influenced my shape and I changed into the alien. I’d never been so big before and I could feel it draining my energy. My double set of jaws snapped at the Hound. Surprised, it dropped Jessie and tried lunging for my neck.

I contorted my new body and unhinged my powerful jaws. It caught me in the throat but I bit down on its back, snapping its spine. The hound fell to the ground with a thump.

The terror in Jessie’s eyes when he looked at me haunts me still. I changed back to my Goldie shape and tried to move closer to him. He screamed and despite his bloodied and broken leg he scrambled backwards away from me.

Pain, fear, and betrayal emanated from him as he lost consciousness. I knew from his feelings that he’d never trust me again and that hurt more than the wounds that the Adlat or the magma hound had given me.

There was a lot of blood and I was worried that Jessie’s leg was still bleeding. Remembering the Adlat I transformed into one and started to salivate on his leg. Instantly, the bite marks started closing and he started looking healthier.

I felt fear emanating from the staircase at the same time I heard the sirens. Jessie’s parents had seen me change and then salivate all over their child. They feared too and now Elmsley was coming. The private police force of the NAF would show me no mercy.

I had no other choice but to leave.

I spent a long time living as various city animals. I watched Jessie grow up. His leg was never the same after that night but he eventually lost the haunted look I’d caused with my carelessness.

I was wallowing in guilt as a pigeon when I saw a poster on a mailbox with the picture of a young girl and the caption, “Missing.” I remembered the detective movies and decided it was time I started living like a human.

The wonderful thing about humans is clothing. It hides any form of sex organs and makes it much easier to mimic them. I chose a shape that was androgynous to let my clients expectations decide what I looked like. I took on the name Jess Goldie and I’m now a Private Detective.