This Saturday! Support Dragon and Jen at the Auroras

Hello family and friends!

Just wanted to let you know that the Aurora Awards are happening this Saturday (virtually)!

As you may be aware, Dragon and I were nominated for an award in the Best Fan Related Work category.

Here are links to the live-streaming awards ceremony. They are open to the public so you can watch:

The ceremony begins at 7pm EDT (5pm MDT) on Saturday, August 13th. Here is a quick overview of the order of what is happening at the ceremony:

  • Introduction 
  • Announce the first time nominees (Dragon will not be on camera at this time, but she will be named)
  • Hall of Fame Inductees
  • Update about the awards program and a look at this year’s trophy
  • Aurora Awards:
    • Fan Related Work (this is our category!)
    • Fan Organizational
    • Fan Writing and Publications
    • Artist
    • Visual Presentation
    • Related Work
    • Poem/Song
    • Graphic Novel
    • Short Story
    • Novella/Novelette
    • Young Adult (YA) Novel
    • Novel
  • Closing Remarks

We were nominated for How I Taught My Dragon: Kindergarten education through genre media.

It would mean a lot to us to have your support by watching the show.

Thank you!

Jen

Guitar Lessons Part 53

May 9: New!

I was super spoiled for mother’s day.

It arrived yesterday just after dinner.

I played it today. It’s really fun. A little longer between the frets than my acoustic, but with a little practise, I should be fine.

I played mountain king and all 3 of my songs today, with only a little pain in my shoulder, so this guitar is doing what it’s supposed to do.

I still think I’ll prefer performing with my acoustic, but we’ll see.

May 10: Wider frets

The biggest difference I’ve found between the acoustic and the electric is the wider frets. So I’ll play the C chord, for example, and my ring finger has to stretch further to get onto the fifth string, third fret.

I’ll get used to it, but right now it’s just frustrating.

My brother-in-law tells me that I’m supposed to strum differently as well, so I should probably look into that…

Played mountain king not well at all. (Wider fret issue)

Played “Get to Know You” twice and the wedding song once. Because I’m using the capo on the 3rd fret, there’s less of an issue with the frets, which is nice.

May 11: Tuning

I didn’t have to tune strings 4, 3, 2, and 1 today. That’s nice.

I played mountain king. Ehhhhhhhhh… I think I’m getting better? Maybe?

I also played “Get to Know You” and the wedding song. I played around with the tone knobs and volume. It’s a lot of fun, but I still prefer my acoustic. I prefer the sound.

I still haven’t looked up the difference between acoustic and electric strumming. I should really get on that. (I say as I pick up volume 4 of Heartstopper by Alice Oseman.)

May 12: Echo

I had a lot of trouble with my electric today. Like, I had to stop in the middle of my song to tune it again, even though it didn’t actually need tuning, because one string was sounding so discordant.

My husband suggested that it was because I’m using a bass amp instead of a guitar amp, so there’s an echo and a bass reverb and my ear can’t handle both.

Maybe?

My amp is supposed to come in tomorrow by 8pm, so I’ll find out by Saturday at the latest.

I nearly failed mountain king. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten such a low score and actually completed it.

I played “Get to Know You” and the wedding song.

May 13: New song

So… I wrote a new song yesterday afternoon.

It’s for the ukulele. It’s a walking song, so there’s no capo and needs to have easy, repetitive chords.

Today, I set about getting used to the ukulele again. I used my husband’s tenor uke rather than the soprano. No particular reason for that, really. Maybe I like the sound a tiny bit better?

I played a couple songs from the ukulele app first, to get used to the chords.

I really love the Winnie the Pooh song. It’s so cute. I played it twice just because.

Then I tried to put chords to the song.

Yeah, that didn’t go so well.

I’ll try again another day.

May 14: Late practice

One of the best things about having an electric guitar is that I can play it after the kids go to bed and they can’t hear it. (If it’s not plugged in.)

So tonight I played a couple songs I hadn’t touched in a while and “Get to Know You” because I have the beginner version memorized and I didn’t want to run down to the basement to get my music.

I also tuned the guitar again. It thought my D string was the high E string. 🤷🏼‍♀️

Hopefully tomorrow I’ll try the uke again and be able to get the chords down for the walking song.

Book Mood Board

I had fun looking for pictures that made me think of the book Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers.

And I thought, why not share it with you?

Mood board of Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers. Pictures of a black motorcycle, a stargate from Stargate SG1, a metal pineapple, a cottage, a street sign indicating Westmeath is to the right, a fun-looking mushroom, a stuffed bear, two croissants and a coffee, and a dessert pizza surround the front cover of the book, art by pinkpiggy93, layout by Nathan and Mackenzie.

Summary

Kennedy Fairfield just graduated in the class of 2002, and is now trying to find her purpose in life, or at least a job in her field. When she saves Jason Johnson, the leader of a secret Community of supernatural people called Aetherborn, from an attempted assassination, they embark on a whirlwind epic romance and adventure.

For Kennedy and Jason to discover why people are disappearing in time to save her friends, they’ll have to face teleporting assassins, grumpy wizards, gossiping hags, mafia robots, and secret military groups, all in the city of Westmeath, Ontario, which has more secrets than residents.

The first book of four in The Gates of Westmeath series.

Pre-order Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers now!

Guitar Lessons Part 52

May 2: D to Fmaj7

I need to practise D to Fmaj7. And G to D. Just D in general, I think.

My throat feels like it’s all scratched up, so I should probably take an allergy pill today.

I played my songs. I played mountain king.

It’s been ten months since I started learning guitar. I’m not a beginner anymore, but I certainly don’t feel like I’m at the intermediate level yet.

May 3: Same thing

I feel like I say the same thing over and over again.

I guess that’s what practise is, right?

Mountain king will not defeat me. I will get this song.

I played my three songs. I got a little too enthusiastic regarding the third song, and now my arm hurts quite a bit. Ibuprofen is my friend.

May 4: Missed

No post was written on this day :'(

May 5: Challenge

There was a new challenge song today: “La Llorona.”

My daughter recognized it as one of the songs from Coco, which made me happy, both because we haven’t watched that in a while and because it was recognizable enough.

Then I played sugar plum fairy and mountain king, passably well.

I only played “Get to Know You” of my songs because my shoulder was starting to hurt.

Husband bought me a pretty awesome mother’s day gift that will hopefully help with that. I can’t wait to try it out. Pictures will be taken.

In other news, Thank you to those who already voted for Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers on the Goodreads lists! I can already see our cover on several of the banners (which means that it’s within the top five on those lists!) It would be really cool if we could get it onto all the banners!

https://www.goodreads.com/list/book/60868742

P.S. You can only vote on a computer! But you can add our book to your “want to read” lists on mobile! 🙂

May 6: Short

I didn’t play much today. My shoulder hurts now.

I did mountain king. Not very well, though.

I played “Get to Know You” twice and the wedding song once. My middle finger’s callus split a bit and it was hurting to play, so I stopped at that point.

Also, please vote for Assassins! in the Goodreads lists! Thank you!

May 7: Stressful

The kids were, I’ll use the phrase “high-spirited,” today.

Which meant I was rather stressed.

My husband suggested I try practising guitar to calm down.

Yeah, that didn’t particularly help.

I played mountain king. It actually went fairly well, considering I’d forgotten to turn on the volume on my phone so I couldn’t hear the song through the app.

I also played “Get to Know You” twice.

Let’s hope tomorrow is better.

I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids

May 8: Pretty good day

I had a lovely day so far. The kids played nicely together and we brought up some of their big toys from the basement (a ball pit, tunnel, tent combo that they love but is too big to be out all the time, and a giant Yoshi that is, well, giant). They had fun with those.

I was hoping the new thing would be in today (it’s out for delivery) before I played guitar, but it didn’t make it here in time unfortunately.

Mountain king went better than usual today.

I played “Get to Know You” twice, pausing in the middle to change a dirty diaper (not mine, just to be clear 🤣). Then I played the wedding song.

I definitely play the ballad the least, mostly because it’s the most strenuous on my shoulder, but partially because I play them in the order I wrote them. 🤷🏼‍♀️

Reminder to please vote for Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers in the Goodreads lists: https://www.goodreads.com/list/book/60868742

Please and thank you!!

Jason Mood Board

I had fun looking for pictures that made me think of the main male protagonist of Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers, Jason Johnson.

And I thought, why not share it with you?

Jason Johnson mood board. Pictures of a black domino mask, a black figure in a martial arts pose, a black and silver motorcycle, a hungry man’s breakfast, a Hawaiian pizza, a black suit and tie, and a raw peridot as a pendant on a necklace all surround two images of Jason, one in profile and one as The Phantom, drawn by pinkpiggy93.

Jason Johnson

Age: 25

Date of Birth: November 8, 1976

Appearance: Shaggy dark hair, hazel eyes, tall, golden brown skin

Job: Owner and operator of a pizza restaurant The Hawaiian. Head of the Oldtown Council. Aka the Westmeath Phantom, a vigilante with the power to manipulate and control shadows

Parents: Hammond and Monique Johnson, deceased.

Sibling: Younger sister Zoe is married to Gabrielle and they have one daughter Brooke (15 months old)

Pre-order Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers now!

Guitar Lessons Part 51

April 26: Sing-along

Mountain king went much better today. Not a high score, but better than yesterday. (Not a high bar, tbh)

I only played two of my songs today, Get to Know You and the ballad. My son sang along with me for the first (I knew he knows the words because it’s one of his bedtime songs) and my daughter sang along with me for the second.

I didn’t realize she knew so many of the words? Like, the chorus is easy. That’s the whole point of the song, that the chorus is easy and gets stuck in your head. But she knew some of the verses.

So that was pretty cool.

April 27: Rhythm

When I was first learning an instrument in grade 7, the teacher evaluated our rhythm, if we wanted to play drums.

I didn’t want to play drums, thankfully, as my rhythm was atrocious.

It has gotten a lot better. I paid attention to it during my 3 songs and I was able to keep the rhythm throughout, much to my delight.

I played Cody Simpson’s La Da Dee for the first time in a long time and it made me so happy.

The kids danced and sang the entire time I played today. My son even pulled out the xylophone.

I love the atmosphere we’ve created of positive music influences. It’s great.

April 28: New challenge

There was a new challenge in my app. I don’t always do the weekly challenges, but this one looked interesting. I actually did pretty well! Not amazing, but I’m happy.

Then I played sugar plum fairy and mountain king. I did decently on both of them.

I played all three of my songs and my shoulder started complaining at the end of the ballad. Sigh.

April 29: Tiktok premiere

I made a Tiktok video! My very first! And it’s the chorus of my ballad, so if you want to hear it, check it out!

https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMLGdABTN/

Also, my husband asked me to explain the rhythms of my songs to him, so I need to figure out how to write those down.

April 30: Duet

Today was super fun and complicated.

My husband and I sat down together and played my songs together.

Please note, I don’t know how to properly write rhythms.

So I had to spend most of the time explaining my rhythms and counting strums because I don’t have them written down.

It was still a lot of fun to play songs that I wrote with someone else.

May 1: Had fun

I played a bunch of different songs today from my books. My son decided what to bring me for my practise session today, so it was mostly Disney stuff.

And then I made another Tiktok!

I introduced my guitar and my son, sorry, I mean the Doctor.

You can check it out here:

https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMLGoWy7P/

Of course I also played my songs. I’m getting a weird buzzing when I play “Get to Know You,” so I’m going to have to figure that out.

Kennedy Mood Board

I had fun looking for pictures that made me think of the main female protagonist of Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers, Kennedy Fairfield.

And I thought, why not share it with you?

Mood board of Kennedy Fairfield. Pictures of a raw peridot, a black lace corset, a runway, a plaid skirt, the one ring from The Lord of the Rings, a coffee cup, a stuffed bear, a fun-looking mushroom, and a field of gold surround two images of Kennedy, one from the front and one in profile, drawn by pinkpiggy93.

Kennedy Fairfield

Age: 22

Date of Birth: July 11, 1980

Appearance: Long blonde hair, green eyes, tall, white

Job: Currently working in sales at Discreet Frills, a boutique lingerie store. Looking for work in her field of Agricultural Science

Parents: Lilah and Gerard Fairfield live on a farm in Parry Sound, Ontario

Siblings: Older brother Phillip, married and has one son (15 months old). Twin older sisters Eliza and MacKenzie. Younger brother Tommy

Pre-order Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers now!

Last Day to Vote for Jen and Dragon

Hello Friends,

LAST DAY to vote for the Aurora awards. You get books just for being a member. 

PLEASE consider voting for Dragon and Jen, who have been nominated for their amazing work on How I Taught my Dragon: Kindergarten education through genre media in the category of Best Fan Related Work.

Here are some examples of what Dragon made:

Look at this awesome art that she did as part of her school:

Effectively, it’s a guide (and results) for parents to use films as a jumping off point for kindergarten education, each week a new film with activities and learning sheets designed around the film’s themes and content.

It was designed with the Ontario Curriculum in mind and to supplement our daughter’s 1 day a week of online school. It could easily be scaled up to be a full home school, or down to simply add some extras for parents who keep their kids home.

What she did over 10 months is spectacular, both as a tool for other parents, and as a journey with Dragon.

Please check out the blog and consider voting for it in the the Aurora Awards category of Best Fan Related Work. Dragon is included as an author because her writing is included on the blog as part of the results.

Thank you in advance,

Éric

Guitar Lessons Part 50

April 20: Too much

I was too enthusiastic during the ballad. My shoulder hurts a bit more today.

But my kids were dancing and singing along with me.

That’s a good excuse, right?

April 21: Do I know what I’m doing?

Spoiler: I don’t.

I did one of the app challenges this week. It was chords. I forget how exacting this app is for chords. My fingers hurt a bit.

Then I did Sugar Plum Fairy and Mountain King. I did… Alright.

Then I tried Get to Know You in a couple different ways. It’s starting to sound wrong and I don’t know what to do about it.

April 22: Changes

I mostly played Get to Know You today, trying to figure out the additional chords. I ended up removing most of them… They just didn’t sound right.

I practised mountain king through the app. Meh. Could have been better.

I played the wedding song and the ballad, trying to pay attention to dynamics. I should maybe consider writing those down…

April 23: Discordant

I had a lot of trouble with mountain king today. I played it twice, hoping that would help. It didn’t.

Then I played my songs, while my daughter accompanied me on the soprano ukulele.

I honestly thought she’d get bored after one song.

She didn’t. She played all 3 with me.

Which is great. I love that she’s so into music.

But she doesn’t play chords or anything… It’s just strumming.

So it ends up being cacophonous discordant accompaniment.

I consider it training my ear to not listen and sing what I know are the notes. I definitely need the practise.

April 24: Feeling better

Mountain king was as difficult as ever. So frustrating.

I played Get to Know You and the wedding song. They both sounded good.

My son requested Disney music after that and I played a bunch from one of my books.

I actually ended up playing for about half an hour and my arm didn’t hurt at all!

And then I tripped coming up the stairs and jarred my arm again… Hopefully I didn’t hurt it too much. I’ll know tomorrow.

April 25: Beginner vs intermediate

Mountain king didn’t go well today. I don’t know why. Lowest score in a while. Bleh.

I played all three of my songs today. I need an allergy pill. My voice was all over the place. It’s kinda hilarious.

I played Get to Know You multiple times; intermediate, beginner, intermediate again. The beginner sounds way too easy and a little weird now. It’s kinda funny.

Makes me glad that I decided to make a version that was a little more complex.

Oh, and yeah, my arm hurts again. Trust me, I’m annoyed with myself.

Spotify Music Playlist

Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers has some pretty great music in it, so I made a spotify playlist of all the songs, in the order they appear within the book.

Do you think you can figure out what happens during each song?

Songs in order of appearance

  • “Ordinary Day” by Vanessa Carlton
  • “Lapdance” by N.E.R.D.
  • “Lovers in a Dangerous Time” by Barenaked Ladies
  • “I Want You” by Savage Garden
  • “Let me Entertain You” by Robbie Williams
  • “The Nearness of You” by Norah Jones
  • “Bumblebee” by Aqua
  • “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera
  • “Ballroom Blitz” by Sweet
  • “Cartoon Heroes” by Aqua
  • “Deep Enough” by Live
  • “A New Day Has Come” by Celine Dion
  • “If The World Crashes Down” by Enrique Iglesias

One of the first things we did when writing this book was build a 2002 playlist.

I had already started writing my first chapter, and Kennedy had entered a bakery. I thought, shouldn’t there be music playing? What music would have been popular in September 2002?

Cue a post on Facebook asking about our friends’ favourite artists from twenty years ago. (Twenty? What?)

We bought a bunch of CDs to supplement what we already owned, and built an epic playlist to listen to while we wrote to add atmosphere. An entire scene in chapter 5 wouldn’t have been there without this playlist.

Pre-order Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers now!