Top 5 Reasons for my Burnout

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

It’s easy to sit back and say that my burnout was because I did too much and I need to stop doing so much. Unfortunately it’s not that easy. I’ve thought about it a lot and here are my top 5 reasons for my burnout.

From Teeturtle

5. Empathy

This sounds like a silly reason but a lot of people in my life have been having a hard time. It hurts me not to be able to help and I may get a little obsessive with worry.

It’s like my brain decides that if I worry for them it’ll help. It doesn’t. I need to see the signs and try to stop. I still care about those in my life and will try to help, but stressing out for them is useless and painful.

To a certain degree it also means trying to dissociate myself with what I read in the news.

4. Sleep

I don’t get enough sleep. On a good weeknight I’ll get 5 hours. That’s not even close to enough for me. I feel best when I’m getting 8. Unfortunately the good weeknights are rare and due to a bad mattress, bad dreams, and being sick; I was getting maybe 4 and in sections of 1 hour at a time.

I have a much better mattress now, and I’m trying to be healthy so hopefully I’ll be getting a solid 5 hours more often.

3. Personal Days

When I was a young warthog… I would take a day off to rest and recover if I didn’t feel well. Having severe allergies meant that happened more than I’d like. Since Dragon was born I’ve stopped doing that. The reason is a combination of work issues and trying to build up a surplus in case of emergencies.

Unfortunately those days worked really well. They allowed me to rest, de-stress, and recover.

2. Relaxing

I feel like I was once the king of relaxing. Spend 12 hours reading? Easy. Play hours of videogames? No problem! Zone out while sick and watch an entire days worth of CSI? Did it.

I once watched an entire season of Star Gate SG1 in 2 days.

Now I’ll find myself five minutes into doing something and think, “I should be doing something.” It’s really frustrating that I have to actively force myself to relax.

If I don’t, I end up with a cleaner house, baked goods, and a new hobby… Which is all good but not restful.

1. Inefficiency

Being tired and stressed often leads to just wanting a thing done. It means plowing through instead of trying to find a more efficient way.

That’s not good. This fall I found myself falling into that trap and instead of spending some time innovating, I spent it trying to finish everything.

Efficiency is my go-to word for 2019 (Aside: Screw you, Ford, for making me almost not use that word). The more efficient I work, the more rest and Weditor/Dragon/Pegasus snuggles I can get.

It also, unfortunately, means saying no to things that are not worth the effort even though they may be interesting.


Hopefully you can learn something from my mistakes.

Éric

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Éric’s 2019 Resolutions

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

It’s 2019 and I’m setting my goals for the year. I did really well with last year’s goals.

I’m toning it down a little for this year since I want to concentrate on baby Pegasus.

I make these resolutions to push myself and to do more. Even if I only accomplish half, that’s more than I would have without them. Let’s hope this year is fruitful.

Writing

1. Write a Monthly Serial Story

I like writing these, they don’t stress me and they’re a lot of fun. It forces me to think on my feet and learn not to plan too hard and let the story go where my weird brain sends it.

If you haven’t already voted for the 2019 Serial story, go do that now.

2. Write the Bookend Material for the Short Story Collection

I need to get this finished. It’s not a lot of writing, but once I’m done I can submit to my publisher and see if they’re interested.

3. Finish Paragenesis

I need to finish this book. It’s at halfway now and I really want to see how it ends.

4. Get to the 2/3 mark on Mystery of the Dancing Lights

Once Pargenesis is done, I’ll dive back into this one. It’s at 1/3 now and I finally know what’s going to happen next.

JenEric Designs and Coffee

5. Continue to ensure there’s content 5 days a week on JenEric Designs

We’ve been going for six years now with content every weekday on JenEric Designs and I’m very proud of that. Jen and I have worked hard not to miss a day. I’ll do my best to ensure we keep that streak going.

6. Test, Design, and Produce 2 new coffee flavours

I have one flavour already finalized for debut at Geek Market in March. The second will be tough to choose since I have 2-3 strong contenders.

Editing and Marketing

7. Edit and send Dinosaur Road Trip to a willing beta reader

I failed to finish this last year. I just need to work up the courage and get at it.

8. Submit Everdome for blurbs

I really want to get a blurb from authors I respect for Everdome. So I’ll do the research and write some letters to a good half dozen authors I respect and ask them to read my book and write a quick blurb about it. Most will say no and that’s okay but hopefully I’ll be surprised.

9. Playtest the higher levels of FADDS

There are still some mechanics that need testing and that’s what this year will be about. Building opponents, testing higher levels, and trying out superheroes.

10. Figure out how to market and sell CoasteRPG

I don’t think this is a good idea as it is. A character sheet as a coaster sounds awesome until you realize that it needs to be waterproof and reusable.

I’ll think of something. Hopefully.

Personal

11. Read 20 books

I succeeded at 30 last year, barely, and hopefully I’ll do 20 this year. I love reading and it’s important to me that I keep doing it.

I love reading and it’s something that makes me happy.

12. Don’t Burnout

Last year I overdid everything; work, coffee, and a lot of other personal things.

I need to calm down and scale back some things. I’ve taken some steps to make things easier. I also have to learn how to say no.

It killed my mental health and destroyed my writing productivity.

13. Be More Patient

Part of the burnout was a complete loss of patience. My wife and Dragon took the brunt of that and I need to be better. It’s not always easy on 5 hours sleep but I can/should do better.

14. Play Some Video games with Dragon

I wanted to try and play some simple games with Dragon this Christmas but time and health weren’t on our side. I’d like to play some this year though. Maybe Lego or Disney Infinity.

I hope that list is manageable.

What are your goals?

Éric

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2018 Movie Rankings

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

This was a great year for movies. There were more than I got the chance to see. There are quite a few monster or Dwayne Johnson movies I missed.

This is the first time that Disney or Pixar didn’t take my first spot and the fourth year since starting this list that an animated movie has gotten top.

This is the ranking of movies I saw in theatres (or rented) that were released in 2018. This doesn’t include Netflix originals, made for TV Movies, or straight to DVD releases.

These are ranked by how much I enjoyed them and not their quality as “Films”.

Absolutely Loved

  1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Absolutely fantastic)
  2. Black Panther
  3. A Quiet Place
  4. Ralph Breaks the Internet
  5. Incredibles 2
  6. Aquaman
  7. Crazy Rich Asians

It was good

  1. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
  2. Ocean’s 8
  3. Deadpool 2
  4. Ant-Man and the Wasp
  5. Avengers: Infinity War
  6. The Spy Who Dumped Me
  7. Solo: A Star Wars Story
  8. Christopher Robin
  9. Tomb Raider

Meh

  1. Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation
  2. Teen Titans Go! To the Movies

Yuck

  1. Bohemian Rhapsody

On first viewing I loved it but there were so many parts that were bi-phobic, gay-bashing, or just uncomfortable to think about. It also painted the rest of the band as perfectly angelic while Freddie was some sort of crazed drug fuelled horn dog.


2019 is shaping up to be the year of superheroes and animated movie sequels so I’m looking forward to seeing what happens.

What was your favourite movie from 2018?

Later Days,
Éric

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2018 Book Ranking

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

This year I read 28 books, one of which was mine.

I challenged myself this year to only read books from people I’d met or interacted with. It was a great experiment, but I look forward to reading anything I feel like in 2019.

If you enjoy wish fulfillment, mystery, or urban fantasy, check out The Sign of Faust by  Éric Desmarais

5 Stars

4 Stars

3 Stars

What was your favourite book of 2018?

Éric

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Devices of Desire (Serial Story) Chapter 13 Conclusion

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12 | Chapter 13


Chapter 13: Fighters and lovers

Artemis

The natural reaction to an eight armed, monolithic demon should be terror. Artemis felt nothing but excitement.

“I’ve got this!” she exclaimed and ran out of the airship hanger.

Smaller than the demon’s smallest toe, she stood no chance in defeating it. She didn’t believe that; she knew she could do it. Standing on the end of the airstrip looking at the demon’s knees and down she stopped and concentrated on her breathing. Reaching the same, preternatural state of self-knowledge as she had fighting the lord commander of the Demon Hordes of Aldroy.

Every part of her being vibrated with excitement. She stood up, unsheathed her swords and jumped towards the demon.

It’s feet were just starting to touch the soil when she hit it in the chest with her shoulder. They both tumbled into the sea and stood up at the same time. She looked the demon in the eye and smiled. She was now the same size.

Eight blades fought against her two and she made sure to step backwards to avoid fighting too close to the island. The demon wasn’t just a great swordsman, they were also used to fighting with eight arms. She did her best and managed to lop off one arm but the demon cut her side with one of its serrated blades. The sea turned red and green from their blood, like some sort of holiday dessert gone terribly wrong.

Death had never scared her but she wished she’d had more time with Diana and Ezekiel. She wanted to explore what they had together. Unfortunately, she was getting weak from blood loss and as she was being beaten with blows from the seven remaining swords, she worried it was her last few moments.

A cannonball hit the demon in the forehead and exploded into a shower of caustic smelling liquid. The demon screamed and swatted at the airship. She took the opening and its head fell into the ocean, a silent scream still on its lips.

Diana

“She needs help,” Diana said.

“I don’t think there’s anything we can do,” Fred sighed.

“What is he doing? Wait… She?” Ezekiel asked.

Diana closed her eyes and felt terrible. It wasn’t her place to out anyone. She’d come to the conclusion at the monastery but it really didn’t make a difference, Arty or whatever her name was, was a true hero. And damn attractive. “Yes, please don’t freak out.”

Eyes wide and mouth dropping open, Ezekiel looked terrified and amazed at the same time. It was a stronger reaction than she’d expected. Turning to look at Arty, she saw that the reaction was for the woman growing to match the gargantuan demon and not for the reveal of her sex.

“Did you know she could do that?” asked Diana to both men.

“No but I’m not surprised, she’s quite impressive and extremely well trained in mystical combat and martial arts.” Fred sounded impatient.

“No, but I look forward to discovering what else she can do.” Ezekiel sounded smitten.

“Your highness, the ships are ready and loaded. How are we to disperse the venom?” One of the captains asked.

“Have the Serenity ready to make it rain as if we were misting crops. Have the venom in the Raza brought to the gun decks.” Turning to Fred she said, “I’m on the Raza, make sure the city is properly rained.”

The Raza’s gun decks were impressive even by military standards. She took a moment to admire the nearly two hundred guns. The deck was crowded by barrels of Gabon venom.

It took some improvising, but she was able to combine the venom and cannonballs into a perfect demon killing weapon. After she’d combined the first ammunition box she turned to see Ezekiel playing an upbeat melody and she knew he was helping to bolster her magic.

“Sister, Sister, Sister. Why do you still struggle.” Paul, the lost prince, stood behind her with his sword at the ready. “Let’s finish this!” He swung his sword at lightning speeds, showing off its deadly serrated edge.

He surely meant to intimidate her and it wasn’t working. “Go back to hell, Paul!” She pulled out her pistol and shot him. Her paralysis dart hit him in the chest and he fell to the ground.

Turning to the inter-deck communicating tube, she bellowed, “Let’s get into the air and help our champion.” She turned back to her brother and saw him open a portal and start dragging himself into it. “Paul, don’t! You can’t sustain the portal! You’ll…”

The portal closed on him as he was crawling halfway in. His head to his waist made it through but his hips and below slopped onto the deck.

Ezekial

Once the colossal demon was defeated, the lost prince lost again, and the city was sprayed with Gabon venom, things quickly got better for the island of Cillian.

In some ways, things were forever changed. Artemis had earned the title of Master and the Monks of Dumas vowed to accept anyone into their ranks.

In other ways, nothing had changed. Ezekiel sat behind his desk dreaming of music and writing bits of songs on a piece of paper that might once have been an invoice.

“Well don’t you look content,” the Oracle said walking in.

“How can I help you?” He was being as diplomatic as possible.

“Can you deliver a message to your lover?”

Blushing, Ezekiel said, “I can certainly bring a message to Master Artemis, Princess’s Champion.” After everything had settled down, Artemis wanted to get to know both the Princess and Ezekiel better. It had turned into open relationships that left all three of them happy and fulfilled.

“You don’t like me?” The Oracle said bluntly with a smirk. He shook his head and she broke into a full smile. “Why?”

“You made a fool of yourself and us before my concert.” It sounded silly when he said it aloud.

“Yes but I made sure you were all in the right place.”

“What? Everything you said was wrong.”

Laughing she replied, “Oh sweet child. What I did ensured Artemis went to you after the concert. That made sure the Princess went to the monastery the next day. And it made sure you were too lovesick and tired to leave your bed.”

“But we didn’t listen to you.”

“No one listens to me but gossips and historians.”

Could she have really pushed them towards what happened? Ezekiel wasn’t convinced but the idea scared him. “What’s the message?”

“Tell your lover and her lover to help the white furred dog-girl* when she falls from the sky. She sees more than I would ever want.”

Ezekiel sighed. Another vague prophesy could mean nothing but trouble. At least for the moment everything had ended happily.

Vote in 2019’s Serial Story


*Authors Note: This is referencing Aleenia from Ciamon of Chymar and Battlemage Taika.


Did you enjoy this years serial story? Why not check out one of the previous years?

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Serial Story 2019 – You Vote, I Write

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

With Devices of Desire coming to an end on the 1st of January, it’s time to turn our thoughts to 2019’s serial story.

For the past five years I’ve written a monthly short story. The idea is to challenge myself and give you an interesting story every month. I don’t plan it in advance and I don’t edit past chapters unless I screw up a name or important fact.

Polls will be up until January 22nd at Midnight.

What should be the primary genre of the 2019 Serial Story?

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What should be the secondary genre of the 2019 Serial Story?

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What should the point of view be?

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How many protagonists should there be?

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What should the main character(s) be?

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What should the setting be?

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Those are your choices for this year. Once I get the final vote I’ll start coming up with an idea. 

Happy voting!

Éric

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Resolution Review 2018

I had so many resolutions this year that I need to make categories. Here’s the list of them on my Resolution Redux post.

Let’s see how I did:

Writing (4/7)

Write 2000 words a week for The Mystery of the Dancing Lights (Fail)

I failed at this one. I have 30000 words when I was hoping to have twice that. But I did manage to add another 5000 words to Paragenesis so yay?

Write a Monthly Serial Story (Success)

I’ve been writing the serial story every month since January and I have one bonus episode to post on New Year’s Day. Start reading Devices of Desire.

I learnt this year that I’m not great at making romance the forefront and that I hate love triangles.

Finish the new content for FADDS and playtest it (Success)

I finished the extra content early this fall and Playtesting is going well. Almost done the current campaign and I plan on running a new high level campaign to playtest the later levels.

Pitch Everdome and the Super-Secret Project (Success)

I managed to finish this early in the year. Unfortunately everyone involved is ridiculously busy. I’m hoping it’ll gain more steam when the book is published but I have plans for something new next year.

Start getting a short story collection together (Success)

The collection is ready for editing and I need a few filler bits, but overall this is a great success and I’ll hopefully be pitching it in the new year.

Write the Bookend Material for the Short Story Collection (Fail)

It’s been a slow writing year for me and I’ve barely started on this. Pushed to next year.

Rewrite the introduction to FADDS (Fail)

This should have been the easy part… I forgot. Next year.

JenEric Designs and Coffee (3/3)

Continue to ensure there’s content 5 days a week on JenEric Designs (Success)

There is only a week or so left in 2018 so I’m safely going to say this is a success.

Test, Design, and Produce 2 new coffee flavours (Success)

I’ve tested and created 3 new flavours for JenEric Coffee. Minty Mountain, Beanpool, and Waking Dead. I’ve also started work on next year’s flavours.

Look into pricing and interest in CoasteRPG (Success)

Interest is great, pricing not so much. It’s extremely expensive to print double sided coasters that can be dry erased. I’m going to need to think more on this.

Editing (1/2)

Edit and send Dinosaur Road Trip to a willing beta reader (Fail)

No excuses here I just couldn’t bring myself to even look at this manuscript. It’s too sad and personal and I had a bad year for stress.

Edit and Submit A Case of Synchronicity to my publisher by end of summer. (Success)

Not only did I submit it but it was accepted! 

Pleasure (2.5/3)

Read 30 books by authors I have interacted with (Success)

I will fail my goodreads book challenge but unless something terrible happens I succeeded at this. The difference is 2 books. Since I beta read 2 books for the fantastic S.M. Carrière, I consider this a success. 

Play more Videogames (Partial Success)

I have played a lot of Lego Incredibles with my wonderful wife. We’re almost done the game. It’s not a lot more but it is more.

I plan on trying some Disney Infinity during the holidays with my daughter and seeing how that goes.

Finish Star Trek: Discovery (Success)

I succeeded pretty quick with this and I’m glad I finished. I enjoyed the last episode and have adored the shorts they’ve released. I’m even willing to give season 2 a chance.

Final Tally (10.5/15)

Wow 70%, that’s possibly my best score since I started doing this. *Runs to blog to check* Second best result. In 2014 I had 3 resolutions and succeeded at all of them. 2015 was 65%, 2016 was 55%, and 2017 was 65%.

So I guess this means I need a lot more resolutions for next year? Maybe not, we’ll see.

How did your 2018 resolutions go?

Éric

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Devices of Desire (Serial Story) Chapter 12

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12 | Chapter 13


Authors Note: Apparently I had more story to tell and it didn’t all fit in this chapter. That means there will be an extra “New Year’s Day Special” also known at Chapter 13.


Chapter 12: Have bard will travel

Ezekiel stood outside the Princess’s room in borrowed pants. He’d always dreamt of going to her bedroom and now she just dismissed him.

Why wouldn’t she? They were in the middle of an emergency situation. She wasn’t some shrinking violet who needed saving. She didn’t need someone to take care of her.

What did she need? He sighed to himself and headed back to the courtyard. His parents had probably mobilized the Apollo guards to help protect people, but they’d been at home. He could mobilize the guards at the shipping yards and maybe get an airship into the fight.

Hurrying down the stairs, he rushed from the castle. As he was leaving, the gates started to close. “Why are you closing the gates? What if there are more injured?” he asked a guard.

“Princess’s orders. The castle will be sealed to defend their royal highnesses.”

“What? That’s not like her.”

“I agree, but I also have orders.”

This was odd; what was she thinking, he wondered. He sighed again and headed towards the shipyards. The streets were filled with demons and he had no weapons; he did his best to avoid them but the shipyards were on the other side of the city.

He managed to get most of the way when all of the demons collapsed and started screeching. It was more war cry mixed with anger than pain, so he doubled his pace.

A large portal opened and someone came out of it. It looked like Didi. He ran towards the opening, only to run into a circle of very angry demons. In the middle of the circle seemed to be Didi, Arty, and the royal physician. Picking up a discarded sword he prepared to go in and save his friend. He knew Arty could take care of himself, but the physician and Didi were sitting ducks.

The sword was larger than the epee he’d been trained with and he wasn’t sure he could do anything but swing it wildly. He was about to charge in when the closest demons exploded, others froze in place, and even more fell to the double blades Arty was holding.

Didi stood with both pistols out and smirking, her eyes scanned for more opponents. When she saw him she smiled and said, “Mr. Apollo. Glad you survived the attack in my workshop.” Why was she wearing the same thing as the princess?

“Didi, what are you talking about?”

“Oh for the goddess’s sake, Ezekiel. I’m Princess Diana of the house of Cillian. I also go by Didi.”

It shook him to the core that the princess he’d lusted after and his nerdy best friend were the same person. More than that, he felt like a fool that he’d escorted an imposter into the castle.

“I went after you and I found you, or someone who looked like you. Oh Goddess, I’m sorry. If I hadn’t been so blind…” He trailed off and dropped the sword.

“That was my brother’s plan? To impersonate me? I sure hope he tries to access my weapons. He’ll get a surprise.” Turning to Ezekiel, she added, “I’ve been stockpiling Gabon venom in case of an airship war. We’re headed to the airfield. You coming with us?”

“Absolutely your highness,” he bowed low.

“Cut it out Zeke. Oh yeah. I’ve been working on this. Try it out.” She reached into her pocket and pulled out a small guitar case, the size of a fork. As she gave it to him it grew until it was full sized. Inside was an electric guitar.

“What?” he asked.

“It’s self-powered and the amp is built into the body. It’ll convert your playing into magical effects. Mostly it should create a sonic attack but I’m not trained enough to test it.”

The guitar felt right in his hand, like it was made for him, which he supposed it was. He felt extremely fond of Didi at that moment; but as a friend, not romantically.

They walked on in silence, it didn’t take long for another demon attack. He played a power cord and all his rage poured out into a single blast of energy that threw a demon into a wall. If it wasn’t for the royal physician they would have died from acid burns really quickly. If it wasn’t for Didi the princess, still sounded weird, they wouldn’t have had the firepower to kill the demons fast enough.

They made it to the airfield with little trouble; Ezekiel was enjoying his new weapon/guitar too much to notice how easy it was. “This has been too easy,” Arty said.

“What do you have planned, brother?” whispered Didi.

“Wouldn’t you like to know…” The false princess was waiting for them inside the royal hangar. She was flanked by a hundred royal guards. “I’m so disappointed that you three have thrown in with this pretender.” The false princess looked smug.

“You know what? I’m not even angry, just annoyed. Who’s the ranking officer here?” No one reacted. They stood at attention staring blankly ahead.

“They belong to me, Sister. You’re out of luck.” With that he melted back into his real form.

Looking at Ezekiel, Didi said, “Help them.” He was going to argue but instead he started to play a rousing ballad. He improvised words dealing with fighting for one’s mind. It worked and the soldiers’ eyes sparked with self-determination.

“I need two airship crews ready in ten minutes. The rest of you get to the city and protect the people.” The soldiers may have their freewill back but they were still conditioned to listen to their superiors.

“You think this matters to me, Sister? I will rule Cillian or I will destroy it.” He laughed as he walked into a portal and disappeared.

The airfield was close to water and they could see through the hangar windows that the sea was churning and purple.

Screams echoed through the hangar as those closest to the windows saw the monstrosity outside. It looked like the demons, but was over a hundred meters tall. It had eight arms, each armed with a sword.

“Looks like he’s leaning towards destroy,” snarked the royal physician.

To be concluded


If you’re enjoying this year’s serial story why not check out those from past years?

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