The Importance of Quiet Moments

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

The fourth novel in my Elizabeth Investigates series is kicking my butt. I thought I had everything planned out and set up. I was wrong. As I wrote I kept feeling like I was going too fast. I hit a wall about a month ago and instead of trying to find a solution I flirted with another book idea.

Writing isn’t a hobby so much as an obsession. When I’m writing, my mind is consumed with what’s going to happen. I think about scenes in the shower and I play out dialogue on the bus.

When the obsession stops being productive or switches stories my writing stops.

It’s an extremely frustrating feeling not knowing what to do to make the story move forward without becoming derivative or dumb.

My Daughter has appended her bedtime routine. It’s shortened and removed the last GOPEE! Instead now she says, “Wake up… Papa! Wake up… Papa.” It’s followed by, “Sing” and after her two songs (Goodness I’d missed holding her and singing.) and finally by “SIT!?”

So I sit there for ten minutes whiles she goes to sleep. Not every night, but it goes better when I do.

In those ten minutes she’s pretending to sleep, my wife is in bed, and I have nothing to do but think. Those quite moments are slowly helping me understand what to do next. I have some good ideas now, but the next 2/3rds of the novel have changed a dozen times. It’s amazing how much just stopping and thinking has helped.

If you’re stuck in your writing, try shutting yourself off from distractions and letting your mind go over the story. Like all writing advice, your mileage may vary.

Later Days,

Éric

Please follow and like us:

Dear Dragon – Welcome to Level 2

Dear Toddler Dragon,

Tomorrow will be your birthday. You’re turning two years old. I might be biased but I think you’re awesome.

It’s been absolutely amazing watching you grow up. You’re clever, strong, quick with a smile, and so funny. You have some fantastic timing for jokes.

You’re at a point in your life where you’re learning faster than I can follow and I am so proud of you. I’d love to take credit for everything you’re becoming and everything you will become but I know you’re getting there on your own. You are and you’re going to be a wonderful person.

You don’t understand yet, and you may never, but the best parts of my day are those that we spend together. Playing, reading, singing, roaring, pretend sleeping, and so much more.

When you cry out for me at night I’m exhausted, grumpy, sore, and none of that matters when I hold you in my arms and sing. You are the best thing I have ever created. (That’s saying something cause Everdome is really good.)

So to my second level human; I hope you are having a good childhood, you to feel safe, you’re comfortable, free to be yourself, most of all I hope that if you remember anything about turning two it’s that you are loved.

I love you so much and happy birthday,

Papa

Please follow and like us:

Top 10 Statements Guaranteed to Make Éric Rant (and Angry) Part 2

Hello my Imaginary Friends,

Last Tuesday I posted Top 10 Statements Guaranteed to Make Éric Rant (and Angry) Part 1

Now here is:

Top 10 Statements Guaranteed to Make Éric Rant (and Angry) Part 2

5. Fad Science

Superfoods, toxins, free radicals, coffee enemas, diets based off of the food cavemen ate, and many more topics are junk/fad science. I’m not talking traditional medicines or all-natural remedies.

When people start trusting celebrities, fake doctors, and random articles over what their doctors say, we end up with people who truly believe that a fruit smoothie will remove harmful substances from their bodies or that pomegranates cure cancer.

The true dangers of this mentality is the fear of science, doctors, and health professionals. That’s when we get dead infants because their parents thought turmeric could heal meningitis, herbs can cure strep throat, and babies should be on gluten-lactose-free diets.

There’s no “SECRET DOCTORS DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW”, there’s no quick fix, and sometimes genetics is the problem. Eat a balanced diet and consult a doctor.

Anyone who’s offering you a quick fix is trying to sell you something.

4. Sexual Education is Not Necessary

Want to improve you and your child’s knowledge of sexual education? BUY BLUSH HERE!

I spoke about it

My wife spoke about it

And we are trying our best to educate people

Let’s just say I believe that subjects like proper body part names, consent, bullying, and LGBTQIA2S+ belong in a well-rounded education. Knowledge and discourse are the way to acceptance and understanding.

3. Video Games, Movies, and Television Create Violent People

Every once in a while a study by a special interest group will pop up saying that TV, movies, and video games cause violence.

It comes up every time someone sees the uptick in school shootings in the states or perceives the violence around us.

As I said in point 9, the world is actually a better place. We are exposed to more violence but that’s because we’re not sitting by and ignoring the violence around us. Racial violence, violence against LGBTQIA2S+, and religious violence are finally being exposed (mostly) and that makes the world look bleak, but we can’t fix a problem if we don’t know it exists.

Video games can cause addictions but so can books and collecting stuff. (Hey, hey… I don’t have a problem with collecting books.) Violent video games are a way that many people use to alleviate the anger and frustration that bombards our near powerless daily lives.

2. Vaccines

With the exception of a statistically minor portion of the population, the only thing vaccines cause are adults. In point 9 the graphic shows that child mortality has been steadily dropping since the 1900s. One of the major reasons for this is vaccines. You don’t have to worry about your child dying of smallpox or being crippled by polio.

Despite what some idiotic celebrities will tell you, the harm caused by not vaccinating is immense.

Measles cases hit record high in Europe (Warning there are some sad images of children with measels)

Have a look at this wonderful cartoon explaining how vaccines work.

1. [Insert Person] Doesn’t Deserve the Same Rights

All people should be treated equitably no matter their sexual identity, sexual orientation, skin colour, culture, country, religion, physical health, metal health, or intelligence.

It’s easy to be afraid of people you don’t know anything about. Fear of the other is a natural human reaction. It’s not logical or useful however. We need to accept others as they are and as they tell us they want to be treated. If someone from a minority tells you they’re not comfortable or don’t like your behaviour, listen to them.

Everyone deserves to live a life that is free from fear and hate.

Stop thinking of political correctness and start thinking of human decency and treating people with respect.

And yes I’ve ranted on this before:

 

Those are my top ten rant buttons.

Later days and future arguments,

Éric

Please follow and like us:

Top 10 Statements Guaranteed to Make Éric Rant (and Angry) Part 1

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Three years ago I made a list of my Top 5 Pet Peeves basically things people do that annoy me. Last year, in the same vein, I made a list of my Top 5 Workplace Pet Peeves.

Now here are topics and opinions that are absolutely guaranteed to make me rant and red faced angry.

If you’ve met me socially, you’ll know I’m pretty quiet unless I’m excited or annoyed. I apologize to anyone who’s had to sit through my rambling incoherent rants.

Top 10 Statements Guaranteed to Make Éric Rant (and Angry)

10. Technology is Bad

You’ve seen the memes and the articles. Cellphones are making us antisocial etc. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good Skynet joke as much as the next nerd, but go too far and you start to sound like luddite.

The articles range from ‘WiFi scrambles our brains’ to ‘computers are killing our attention spans’ and they all have one thing in common. FEAR!

It’s easier to hate on new tech (Voice assistants, Cellphones, Self Driving Cars, Exercise trackers etc) than blame millennials for something. Hating tech has quite literally been trendy forever.

I will argue this with you. We are better off now than we’ve ever been as a society and a race.

9. We Were Better Off in the Past


Cavemen didn’t get cancer… BULLSHIT! They may have gotten it less often because they mostly died younger.

Infant mortality is at the lowest it’s ever been. There is less war now than in the past. The human race as a whole is better off than we’ve ever been.

We have a long way to go, but we’re actually moving… slowly.

8. Organic is Better


Organic produce still uses pesticides.

Organic produce still requires fertilizer.

Organic food isn’t any healthier.

Organic food is grown without the use of synthetic pesticides & fertilizers, antibiotics, or hormones.

In the end there are some positive aspects of organic food, but the advantages (requiring animals to live in fields, avoiding unnecessary hormones and antibiotics) should be standard practices.

Organic food is more expensive because it takes more space and resources to create the same yield of food.

7. Genetically Modified/Engineered Food is Inherently Bad


GMO’s are not inherently bad. Nor is anything else.

As long as humanity has been growing and herding food we’ve tried to make it better. We’ve used splicing, cross pollination, selective breeding, and many other methods.

Altering our food, crops, and methods is the only way we as a species can survive. Take the example of Golden Rice. It’s genetically engineered to include beta-carotene which our bodies turn into vitamin A. Vitamin A deficiency in developing countries is devastating and this rice can help fix that.

But for all those that are about less pesticides on your produce, GMOs have been developed to be resistant to pests and grow faster.

How you can see a negative in better food that grows easier, feeds more people, uses less resources, and is cheaper is beyond me.

6. If You Like This You’re Wrong/Dumb

This might seem silly to some of you, but I have spent a long time being told I’m wrong because I like something.

It’s very trendy and common to hate on things that are popular. Just look at the hate pumpkin spice gets. There’s a certain joy in communally hating something that is popular. I’ve done it and I feel terrible. Sorry Nickelback and Nickelback fans.

It seems particularly bad towards things young women love.

I may have talked about this before

Like I said to Dragon on this letter:

Closing yourself down to the wonders of emotions and excitement lessens the experiences of life.

 

Anything you want to argue about?

Stay tuned for Points 5-1 on Thursday.

 

Later Days,

Éric

Please follow and like us:

Vote for the Travelling TARDIS

Hello Everyone,

My wife has worked hard over the years to take entertaining pictures of her awesome Travels of the crocheted TARDIS!.

This year it’s been nominated for an Aurora Award and I’d love to see it win.

Please, if you enjoy the pictures, go vote for the Travelling TARDIS in the category of Best Fan Writing and Publications.

There are only 2 days left to vote.

GO VOTE HERE!

Thank you!

Éric

P.S. Everyone on the ballot is absolutely fantastic and deserves to win.

Please follow and like us:

Movies with the Toddler Dragon

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

One of the great joys of parenting is seeing things through your child’s eyes (Not literally; put down the ice-cream scoop).

Toddler Dragon watching the end credits of Hotel Transylvania 3

Dragon has been watching movies with us for a while now. Most movies she can sit and watch the entire thing making the most adorable noises and expressions.

More and more, I find myself watching her watch a movie. It’s like experiencing it all over again and it’s wonderful. Even a mediocre movie is infinitely more fun with her. The older she gets, the more she’s seeing and understanding what’s going on.

I had a lot of fun watching Creature From the Black Lagoon and pausing when she would scream, “Scary!” only to have her look up at me and say, “Again!” each time. (Nearly everything she says has an exclamation mark on the end.)

She’s helping my jaded, grumpy self see the little fun parts of movies. Even if it’s just a pretty picture of the, “MOON!”

Later Days,

Éric

Please follow and like us:

Being an Author is hard but worth it

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Being a author is hard. You are constantly bombarded by articles that say things like:

Ok that last one was a trick and actually pretty positive.

Borrowed from Usborne Books.

The point is that even when you’re published you have to work your ass off to get your book in peoples hands and only 25% will actually read that book. (These statistics are my educated guess.) From those that read your book they’ll tell you they like it and then put it on their shelves and forget about it. Until you publish something else and if they actually liked it they might buy the next one.

That’s the life cycle of a regular book. One that doesn’t get turned into a TV show or movie, explode in sales, or cause a kerfuffle with its content.

I see what some fantastic authors do to encourage their book sales and I feel like I should be doing more. More writing, more advertising, more promotion, more writing, more events, more submitting to review, and did I say more writing?

An excellent guide to the care and feeding of a writer by Agarthan Guide.

The real problem with writing, novels specifically, is the speed of return. I so envy my friends who write fanfiction and can receive almost immediate feedback and love. A book takes me a year or two to write, another year to edit and pitch, and (if I’m lucky) another year to edit and publish. Sometimes it’s longer. This week marks the four year anniversary of me starting to write Everdome. It will hopefully be published in either 2019 or 2020.

So being an author is hard but there’s nothing like the feeling of holding your book after all that time or having someone tell you how much they loved your book.

Long story short or as the kids-these-days say TL;DR, it’s not easy but I love it and I’m not going to stop.

 

Later days,

Éric

Please follow and like us:

The 5 Steps in Toddler Dragon’s Bedtime Routine

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Having children gives you a serious appreciation for the absurd. The Toddler Dragon’s bedtime routine has constantly evolved. This past week it’s hit peak silly.

Here are The 5 Steps in Toddler Dragon’s Bedtime Routine:

Step 1: The Cleanup

This is the step where we help her clean up her toys. Jen starts while I pour milk and cut cheese and then I take over while she drinks and eats.

There are only two ways this step goes. Shockingly easy or maddeningly difficult.

The Dragon will either be eager to please and go to bed or mischievously stubborn. On the difficult modes, she’ll bury herself in pillows, run around, and giggle at our frustration. Sometimes I give up and pick her up while making helicopter noises. She can’t run away and picks up the toys.

Sometimes this has all the excitement of an Easter egg hunt.

Step 2: The Chase

She insists on turning on the light on the stairs and the monitor. Even when she tells me to “DO IT!” like a bad 90’s sitcom, she gets annoyed if she didn’t do it herself. Then she runs away to our bedroom, either the master bath or closet. She stands in the dark until we come get her.

Once he have her, we get her onto the toilet for her first GOPEE! This is usually followed by an angry no and nomore.

After the toilet, her hands get washed and she runs back to our room staring into the depth of our unlit closet or shower.

Step 3: The Wrestling

Next comes the pyjamas. Her current ones have Stitch on them (you are what you wear?) and getting her into them is sort of like wrestling a small giggling bear. Some days it is affectionate, some days it’s squirmy, and some days you get bitten.

Once all this is done, I pick her up and throw her onto the pillow on mum’s lap for tooth brushing.

That’s when I go to the washroom and the Dragon gets read a story and nursed a little.

This normally ends with her second GOPEE!

Step 4: The Random

Before she GOESPEE, she kisses her Mum goodnight. Then we GOPEE, this usually involves counting toes. I will count and she’ll cut me off with, “One, One, Two, One, Two, Three, Quatre, Six, Huit, Dix!”

From there, I wrestle her into her diaper, she squeezes her squeaky Totoro and says, “Toto-oh”.

Then I ask if she’d like me to sing, tell her a story, or just hang out. (I miss singing and telling stories.) She says NO Sleep! So I awkwardly position myself on her toddler bed and toy box. (I’m a big guy and I really don’t want to break the mattress or bed.) And pretend to snore.

She then climbs on to me and makes me get off the bed. She jumps on my back like a horse rider and I get three steps before she make me lie down on my stomach.

And the highlight (for her) of the night is that she gets to play with the mole on my back… 😐

The past few nights she’s found it hilarious to try and lick said mole. Every time I say, “Don’t lick me.” she bursts into giggles. We then argue about licking until Mum comes back from brushing her teeth and doing her back exercises.

Step 5: The Stall

Mum nurses the Dragon and sings her wonderful songs. (I’m jealous of both of them.)

After the first song we get GOPEE! number three. This one usually gets pee if I bribe her with playing with the mole on my neck.

“Mole!” she says.

“Only if you pee,” I reply, wondering how this conversation became common place.

Next we have more nursing and when it’s all over Jen puts her to bed and tells her to stay in bed. This is followed within a minute by GOPEE! number four. This one is normally just a stalling tactic.

When that’s done, she runs to the master bedroom (diaper less) and gives mom a kiss and hug. (Sometimes an accidental kick or punch.)

I then put her to bed and tell her to stay in bed. That she isn’t a baby anymore and that big kids stay in bed.

This is followed within 5 minutes with GOPEE! number five. I only bring her to the washroom for this one if she’s peed for 3 and 4.

I then put her to bed and tell her to stay in bed. That she isn’t a baby anymore and that big kids stay in bed.

From this point she either goes to sleep or I have to sit with her until she falls asleep.

The whole thing takes maybe 30 minutes and is completely surreal.

We’re completely lucky that she’s this easy but sometimes I really wish I had access to the Dungeons & Dragons spell Sleep.

Later Days,

Éric

Please follow and like us:

Devices of Desire (Serial Story) Chapter 8

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7


Chapter 8: Meetings and SCIENCE!

“Your Highness, Ezekiel of house Apollo is here to see you.”

“Tell him to come back later,” Diana had arrived at the castle and promptly summoned her Grandfather and the council of elders. They needed to prepare for this threat and mobilize to stop the current invasion.

“He insists it’s important.”

“I don’t care. Unless it’s about the current demon invasion, it can wait.”

Pushing his way past the courtier and into the war room, Ezekiel said, “Yes, it does.” He stood there red with frustration wearing a shirt and underwear but not pants or shoes. He had nice legs.

“Come in then. Can we get him some pants?” She smirked as his anger turned into a blush.

The six council members and the King all looked at him with expressions that varied from scandalized to annoyed. “I was visited in bed. Which is why I have no pants. From a demon. He told me to give this to the Champion of Light and Life.” He lifted a small box no bigger than a shoebox.

“And who is this champion?” asked the King sounding exhausted.

“It said the princess would know who it is.” Ezekiel sighed.

One of the council members suggested, “Must be the King’s Champion” only to be laughed at by the rest of the council. The King’s Champion, Eldric the Elder, had just celebrated his one hundredth birthday and only fought at tourneys. And even then people mostly yielded before there was a fight.

“Let the Princess and her alchemists take care of the box and let’s finish this battle strategy.” The meeting went on for another half hour as they argued. Finally they finalized plans and sent out the troops.

It seemed like they had forgotten about Ezekiel but as he tried to sneak out, Diana ordered, “You. Meet me in my lab. The courtier will direct you. And for the goddess’s sake please put on some pants.”

She hated that the soldiers, monks, and civilians were out fighting, what she thought, was her war. She felt she should be out there with her devices of war, helping people. Unfortunately with Fred helping the citizens, the only person she trusted to find a poison to stop the demons’s healing was herself.

She changed into more casual clothing but didn’t disarm. She made sure her explosive pistols were loaded and that her sword was on her side. Everything else was soft, easy to move in, and comfortable. She didn’t look like a princess, she looked like a scientist.

In the lab, someone had finally gotten Ezekiel pants. As she walked in and said, “See that chest made of stone and metal? Put the box in there.”

“Why?” he asked, obviously confused by both her orders and appearance.

“The box is made of stone and metal but the inside is lined by a crystal so hard it had to be grown in the chest. It’s also spelled against all magic.”

“But I thought we had to give it to the champion?”

“Right. I’m going to hand an unopened box given by the enemy to our best hope to defeat them.”

Ezekiel blushed, “Oh. Right.” To his credit he accepted his mistake and moved on instead of arguing the way most men did when she corrected them.

“I need your help. I can’t deal with this thing alone. Follow my orders exactly and we might be able to save the city. Maybe the world.” She put him to work draining the blood from the demon and putting it into beakers while she experimented on it. She was convinced that the secret to the demons’ regeneration powers were in their blood.

Periodically soldiers came in to tell her how the fighting was going. It seemed the demons were holding back and mostly causing havoc. They were also avoiding the castle.

After a long frustrated time, she agreed to stopping for lunch.

“Have you found the magic that causes them to heal?” Ezekiel asked between bites of chicken and cucumber.

“Why do you think it’s magic?”

“It reminds me of the self-healing hydrogen balloons that my friend Didi designed, and she said she had used a magic that encouraged them to heal themselves. I didn’t understand.”

Diana looked at him, marvelling at the fact that despite her not wearing glasses, she wore nearly exactly what she would as Didi but he still didn’t recognize her. She was starting to think that his disinterest in magic and confusion wasn’t an act but that he was genuinely not that bright. However his idea was a good one. Maybe she should be looking for something mystical and not biological.

Looking at the blood under a spelled microscope she saw the structure of the spell. It was simple and beautiful and it wasn’t just similar to the spell she designed for the airships; it was the same design. There was only one other person who could have known her spell so intimately.

“I have to see what’s in that box,” she said with such vehemence that Ezekiel took a few steps back and didn’t react when she recklessly opened the chest and pulled out the box.

Opening it let out the spell it contained. A doorway spell. A beautiful blue and green light formed a doorway of magic and through it stepped a man with the same dark brown skin as hers and the same jet black hair. He wore a royal formal suit with a sword on one hip and a gun on the other. On his head he wore a crown made of warped and malformed bones. Behind him was a massive army of demons.

“Hello Sister,” he said smirking smugly. “I knew you couldn’t resist opening my present.”

Read Next (September 2018)


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

Please follow and like us:

Decluttering and the Art of Optimization

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I’ve been cleaning and decluttering. We finally decided to clean out our “nests”. Nests are places you put things you don’t want to deal with. They have a nasty habit of getting bigger and bigger. They also become ridiculously intimidating to clean.

We identified 3 major nests and started work in early August. Boy, did we have a lot of crap. I mean I found empty boxes for cellphones and other electronics that would be going to high school this year if they were human. I found PS/2 port extension cables… No, those aren’t for PlayStation 2.

In a stroke of madness genius, I set a date for a yard sale and gave us 3 weeks to get everything done… We managed to clean out 2 of the 3 major nests and I’m still terrified of the garage…

We’re really close to maybe having a functional guest room instead of a third bedroom garbage pile, so that’s really good.

If this mad cleaning has taught me anything, it’s that minimalism is overrated. The sense of cleanliness and peace doesn’t come from getting rid of everything, it comes from optimizing your living space. If you’re not comfortable in the way your living area is organized, you need to do something about it and the best thing is to get rid of stuff you’re unhappy with and keep the good stuff.

That doesn’t mean that you have to live like a divorced man on TV or some new age guru in a magazine. It just means you need to be happy with the flow and movement in your living space. Everyone has different tastes.

I personally love having lots of oversized cushy furniture and books in every room.

The important thing is to periodically do cleaning and organizing of your nests. The organizing part is extra important to avoid the same nest developing again.

 

Later Days,

Éric

Please follow and like us:
Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial