Comiccon 2017 Report

Thank You!

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

With my week off and 2d6 Con drain, I forgot to talk about Ottawa Comiccon 2017. First things first:

Thank You!You made this years’ comiccon the best we’ve ever had, both in sales and in great company. We had a lot of people coming by to see Baby Dragon (who was quite the trooper) and a lot of return customers.

A great big thank you goes to Lindsay (GiLove2Dance) for sharing a table again this year and helping with Dragon. It was nice to get a break when she stole the baby and walked around.

We’re almost recovered from Comiccon now, so it’s time to start thinking about our next events. Our next selling event is C.O.N. Creative Ottawa Nerds Craft Show. It’s one of my favourite shows.

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Thank you again, and hope to see you June 10th,

Éric

Dear Dragon – Your Uncle

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Dear Dragon,

It’s a beautiful sunny 23rd of May and it’s your Uncle Dan’s birthday. You haven’t seen much of him yet because he’s really busy. Sometimes busy is an excuse adults use, but not in this case.

Your Uncle loves you a lot. I know he does because when I was younger, he lived in Ottawa while I lived in Val Gagné. I didn’t see him much then but when he came home, he was there for his annoying little brother. I never felt that he wanted to be somewhere else or that he was bored hanging out with me.

He was my favourite person and he would have done ridiculous stuff to make me happy.

Your Gramma told me about one time when I was very young but still older than you are now. I was sick and had to go to the hospital. She needed to get a ride from someone because she didn’t have a car. At that age I took Toutou (my teddy bear) everywhere and I brought him to the doctors with me, and of course I forgot him at the office.

I got home and took the medicine the doctor told me to and I snuggled in bed, only to realize I left poor Toutou at the hospital. I was devastated and wouldn’t go to sleep. I’m pretty sure I screamed… a lot.

There were no buses in Val Gagné and she couldn’t get a ride. Dan rode his bike all the way to the hospital and back. It was twenty or more kilometres one way.

He was my hero and that’s just one of the many things he’s done since.

So you may not see him as often as you see your other Aunts and Uncles, but he loves you, would do anything for you, and is a lot of fun to be around. Kinda like me, but cooler.

Love you lots baby Dragon,

Your Papa

Database of the Ageless Kings (Serial Story) Part 4

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Part 4: An Emu Goes to The Market

They stood hugging for what felt like a long time. Sophia didn’t know what else to do to comfort him. In their little ship in the middle of an asteroid field that was once his home, all she could do was hug him back. The more she tried to avoid thinking about her body being against his the more she noticed how shapely he was. Under his slightly loose clothing, he was in very good condition.

An alarm pulled her out of her thoughts.

She sat back down at the navigation controls and saw that there was another ship coming towards them. “That ship has its weapons aimed at us.” It was big, at ten times the size of their ship.

“I don’t understand. That’s a royal cruiser,” Phil’s red teary eyes looked at the ship in utter confusion.

“That’s a cruiser? I’d hate to see a battleship.” She hit a few buttons on the control panel and said, “Royal Cruiser. This is the Phillip Two. We are unarmed please advise.” She’d meant to ask why it was the Phillip-Two and what had happened to the first. In the stories she’d read there were ten different ways the first had been destroyed.

“Phillip-Two, you are in a stolen royal yacht. Lower your shields and prepare for boarding.”

Looking up at the Prince, she waited for him to say something. When he didn’t she said, “They think I stole your ship. What do you want to do?”

“Um… I guess we surrender?”

Shaking her head, she said to him, “Are you sure? They could just as easily shoot us when our shields go down.”

He opened his mouth and nothing came out. Before he could say anything the cruiser hailed them again, “In the name of his highness Abernathy First of his name and rightful ruler of the galaxy, lower your shields.”

Without hesitation, she pushed them back into hyperspace. Once again without coordinates but this time she knew she could change them as they travelled.

“We’re running? Why are we running?” Phil’s voice became shrill and his eyes tried their best to imitate a kicked puppy’s.

“Abernathy isn’t one of your siblings and the only Abernathy in the stories was a rich mining tycoon. I had a bad feeling about them.”

His eyes widened and he just stared at her. Finally he yelled, “You just turned us into fugitives!”

“Better than dead!” she yelled back.

“WARK! WARK!” yelled Hagrid.

Both Sophia and Phil jumped and turned to the door. Hagrid was swaying left and right and making choking noises. Eventually he just gagged and spit up a large ball of feathers and something electronic.

“That’s the tracker.” Phil bent down and picked it up wiping it off on his jeans. “We have the tracker. I know someone who can help us. We need to get to The Market.”

She gave him a disdainful look and waited for him to tell her where it was.

“Oh right it’s um… the ship should know.” She searched the database and found that it wasn’t on a planet, it was an entire solar system. Twelve planets, three hundred moons, and several floating ships. It was immense. “Thank you for saving our lives.”

“My pleasure. I like being alive. I hate to be practical when our lives are being threatened ever five minutes but we need fuel and food. Hagrid has eaten most of what was here before and you’ve eaten all the cereal I brought.”

“We’ll be able to get everything we need at The Market.”

* * *

“We need the moon called Shimerman.” The moon was located closest to the sun and the databanks said it was one of the roughest places in The Market.

“Do you have any weapons?” Sophia asked as the were getting ready to go.

“No and if I did, I’d leave them behind. There’s only two laws on Shimerman and the first is that if you want to kill someone you do it with your fists.”

“What’s the second?”

“Don’t piss off Little Sister.”

“Who?”

He reached for the button that opened the airlock and looked at Hagrid. He opened his mouth like he was going to ask a question and then closed it and shook his head. “She runs the place. We’re not going anywhere near her.”

There was something thrilling about stepping off the ship onto an alien moon. She was less thrilled when she noticed the rest of the shoppers. They were human, or at least human looking. They were different shades of brown, pink and beige but they could all be from different places on earth. Where they differed was the style of clothing, tattoo, and piercings.

The entire planet looked like a bad Blade Runner rip off. It was the grimy future that eighties movies loved.

Part way to their destination Hagrid made a strange whistling noise and walked away from them in the wrong direction. Phil looked like he was going to try and stop the bird but didn’t. Sophia wasn’t worried, she’d placed a short-range tracker on him. Hopefully he’d stay out of trouble.

They were going was a little shop called Buck’s. The owner, who she assumed was called Buck, sat in the back of a large room that looked vaguely like a trash yard, if everything in the yard had a little tag with a price.

“You, My Friend are supposed to be dead!”

Buck and Phil hugged a quickly and awkwardly. The hug of people who’d once been close but now didn’t know what was acceptable.

“Not yet but someone is trying hard. I took this tracker off my hull it was laced with explosives.” When Buck gave him a sceptical look he added, “Ok well… she took it off. Can you tell me who’s tech this is?”

Buck took the tracker and looked at if for a little before getting an eyepiece that looked like the ones jewelers used. After what felt like years he said, “You really don’t know?”

“No I don’t. Who’s tech is it?”

“It’s Galactic Royal Tech.” Buck paused frowning. “This has your sisters royal signature all over it. Your sister was trying to kill you.”


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

Compliments for American Standard

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Hello My Imaginary Friends,

It’s easy to get angry and righteous when things don’t work, but sometimes it’s important to recognize when things go well.

When we moved into our new home, three years ago now, I really wanted a proper tap and so we bought this one.

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Isn’t it pretty? It from a company called American Standard.

Unfortunately it broke a few months ago. Two weeks ago I decided to try and fix it. After about twenty minutes, I realized that I had no idea how to fix it so I called the company.

I was hoping they’d walk me through the repairs. Instead the extremely friendly person on the other side of the line told me it was broken and they’d send me a new one. All I had to do was send proof of purchase and my address.

Less then a week later we received our new tap. Here’s the email I sent to them.

Hello,

Two weeks ago I contacted your telephone help line and spoke with Shannon.

I was impressed by both her professionalism and friendliness. She was able to help me quickly and knew exactly what was needed.

I needed a replacement, which was sent promptly.

This message is to thank you for the excellent customer service and I look forward to buying more American Standard Products.

Once again thank you,
Éric Desmarais

Later days,

Éric

The Importance of Taking a Break

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Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Some mornings I wake up thinking about all the things I have to do and I panic. I lay in bed and stare at the ceiling paralyzed. I’m not afraid of work, or working a lot. I’m terrified of forgetting something.

Since September, I’ve increased the amount of things I do and I’m not just talking about taking care of a baby Dragon. I’ve written a few more short stories, added a few more jobs, laid out more books, and roasted more coffee than ever before.

I’m extremely lucky both in the quality of my clients and that I had this wonderful opportunity to watch my child grow up right before my eyes. That said, other than a week at Disney that was a lot of fun but not relaxing, I took a few days to myself after Christmas.

I’m starting to feel like butter spread over too much bread. I know my limits, and with my parental leave quickly running out, I need some time to recharge.

If you don’t force yourself to take some time off from doing all the little things that stress you out, you’re never going to get the chance.

So I’m taking next week, the 15-19 of May, off to relax, watch some TV, and play some video games. Hopeful the weather will be nice and I can take the Dragon to the park. No plans, no big obligations, just me, my wife, and baby Dragon.

After that week, I have to start preparing for my return to work, and I’ll have 3 books to work on, along with more conventions.

Later Days,

Éric

Revenge of Bumkins

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Hello My Imaginary Friends,

A few weeks ago I complained to Bumkins about their product. I received an email two days later asking for pictures of the defective products, our address, and receipts. I sent all the information and have yet to receive an email reply.

What I did get instead was a facebook comment:

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Now, I expected they were going to send a refund. I was wrong; instead they sent a “Gift Package.”

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I complained that, “…they are not one size fits all. Although our six month old daughter is long and thin, it seems ridiculous that we should choose between deep red indentations that irritate her skin or changing her clothing three times a day.”

So who over at Bumkins thought that sending more diapers that don’t work was a good idea?

On top of that, because it was a “gift” and came from the US, we had to pay $47 of taxes and duty for the package.

Here’s my reply to Bumpkins:

Hello,

I sent an email complaining about the quality and poor fit of your diapers and was asked to send my address, images, and receipts.
Today I picked up your package, which cost us $47 in taxes and duty. I’m not sure why you thought, after our complaint, that we’d want more diapers that do not fit and fall apart. We didn’t request the package and if you’d asked we would have said it wasn’t what we wanted.
We have now spent over $300 on your products and packages. Your gesture, although well meaning, is both insulting and useless.
The Wonder woman bib is cute though.
Regretfully
Éric and Jen Desmarais

There’s a lesson in customer service that we can all learn here. Don’t assume that people are complaining just to get random free stuff. Talk to your customers and don’t assume.

The Wonder Woman bib is cute, but not $47 worth.

Later Days,

Éric

Coffee Testers Club Results

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Hello Coffee Lovers,

A few months ago I asked a special and wonderful few to test out four flavours and fill out a survey on which they liked best. Two were extremely close, but the following flavour won out in the end. It will be available at Ottawa Comic Con, and after that on JenEric Coffee.

My Neighbour Marshmallow

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Along with this flavour we will also have the following available:

I look forward to seeing all the coffee and crochet lovers in two weeks (May 12-14) at Ottawa Comic Con.

Later Days,

Éric

The Main Characters from Parasomnia

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Hello My Imaginary Friends,

My publisher and cover designer asked me to send an ideal cast for my characters from Parasomnia.

I figured if I was going to do the work I could cheat and make it into a post.

Disclaimer: Authors do not cast movies. If this were to become a movie, I’d have no say on who plays these roles. Also, most of these actors are now much to old for the characters.

Parasomnia is the story of a group of people in an Institute dedicated to sleep disorders and the fantasy world they go to in their dreams. It’s their journey to accepting themselves and realizing that sometimes, it’s OK to be broken.

Adelaide

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Parasomnia: Imaginary Friend

Actor: A young Christina Hendricks

She’s dedicated her life to discovering why she has an imaginary friend and why that imaginary friend can see and experience things independently.

She’s actually a group counsellor and not a patient at the Institute.

Kitty

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Parasomnia: None

Actor: A young Christina Hendricks as a catgirl

Kitty is Adelaide’s imaginary friend. She looks exactly like Adelaide but more cat like. She’s curious and playful. (Also the reason fans of this blog are named Imaginary Friends.)

Ashley

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Parasomnia: Night Terrors

Actor: A young Vanessa Hudgens

She’s the queen of geeks and uses her fandoms as a way of both filtering the world and making it easier to deal with.

Kiri

Auli'i Cravalho

Parasomnia: Nocturnal sleep-related eating disorder

Actor: Auli’i Cravalho with a shaved head

Kiri suffers from two eating disorders. In her sleep she’ll eat anything, but awake she suffers from the reverse. She’s slowly trying to become her own person despite her mother.

I had pictured someone else while writing the book, but the moment I saw the actress I knew she was perfect.

Terrance / Tara
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Parasomnia: Sleep Walking

Actors: Spencer and Abigail Breslin

Terrance has been verbally and physically abused by their hyper conservative family. They are terrified of who they are and it comes out as awkward machoism. In the dream world they are Tara, a strong and cable knight of the realm.

If I was really casting, I’d want this role to go to a Trans actor, but for visual reference I thought these two worked well.

Paul

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Parasomnia: Pyrosomnia

Actor: Lucas Till

Paul is from a military family and wanted to serve, but due to his epilepsy, he couldn’t join the police. Instead, he trained and became a security officer. When his partner was killed in the line of action, he couldn’t forgive himself.

Bonus 1: Nurse Michael

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Actor: Percy Daggs III

An extremely compassionate and hard working nurse, Michael takes care of the patients as if they were his own family.

Bonus 2: Prince Icelus

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Actor: Nicholas Hoult

The mysterious and flirtatious prince in the dream world. He doesn’t seem to have an equivalent in the Institute.

Don’t Shit on Other People’s Hobbies

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Hello My Imaginary Friends,

There’s a trend that has been pissing me off practically my entire life. The self-righteous arrogance of judging what others do with their time.

It’s a hundred times worse when it comes to parenting. (Pro-tip for parenting: No matter what you do, you’re doing it wrong according to someone.) Here’s the meme that set me off most recently:
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It’s cute isn’t it? Daddy teaching his little girl how to fix cars.

There is so much wrong with this meme but let me stick to two major points:

  1. Men are not immature idiots and we shouldn’t treat them like they are.
  2. Just because you don’t understand my hobbies doesn’t mean they’re stupid.

1. Men are not immature idiots and we shouldn’t treat them like they are.

It’s a common trope that men are irresponsible or unable to take care of themselves or children. It’s a common and pervasive stereotype. I mean boys will be boys… right?

You know what happens when people are always expecting, and allowing, you to be a certain way? You start thinking you should be that way or that you’re wrong/broken for not being that way.

I don’t fix cars, I don’d build things, I hate yardwork, and couldn’t care less about the latest sports thingy. I do love to watch sappy movies, read, cook, and be responsible.

No matter what your gender identity is, it’s possible to be an inconsiderate deadbeat stupidface.

2. Just because you don’t understand my hobbies doesn’t mean they’re stupid.

I will never understand wanting to get on a motorcycle and cruise around. It sounds uncomfortable and bothersome to me. That doesn’t mean I think it’s worthless. It offers people a safe (when done properly) thrill that they enjoy. Yay to enjoying yourself.

So why is driving a dilapidated boat into the middle of nowhere to throw string into the water to maybe catch fish considered a wonderful bonding experience, but playing a video game as a family is an immature waste of time?

Seriously, why is one hobby considered more valuable then the other?

Video games are educational, emotionally compelling, and even the worst of them help develop problem solving skills.

Anything can be valuable

When I was a kid I didn’t have the greatest relationship with my father. I don’t think he knew what to do with a nerdy bookworm. He tried to get me into helping with the car and I was totally not interested. I tried, but it usually devolved into him calling his buddies and them drinking while they did car stuff. To me, it was smelly, greasy, and generally uncomfortable.

On the opposite side of the coin, my mother and older brother loved video games. I grew up watching and playing with them. I remember being the navigator for old role playing games. We played as a team, each of us having input in what we did and where we went. I learned so much from those games and those times we did things as a family.

I understand that this meme is trying to say that doing something with your child is more valuable then ignoring them. But a person can ignore their child while working on a car just as easily as playing video games.

How about we as people, and especially as parents, show tolerance for things we don’t understand and back off on the gender stereotypes?

 

Later Days,

Éric