Reminder Please: Nominate us for the Aurora Awards 2019

Hello Dear Readers and Friends,

The Aurora Awards Nominations close on May 18!

We would greatly appreciate if you were to nominate us for those categories we’re eligible for. Please, pretty please… 🙂

See below the cut to get more details

Read moreReminder Please: Nominate us for the Aurora Awards 2019

Ottawa Comiccon 2019

Hello!

JenEric Designs, JenEric Coffee, The Travelling TARDIS, and Eric Desmarais will be at this weekend’s Ottawa Comiccon. We’ll be at booth 2606 and 2608 Friday, Saturday, and Sunday!

We have two new flavours for this years event: In Another Castle (Peach) and Unbirthday Cake (Cake Batter).

We’ll also have another 16 flavours available.

We’ll also have new Captain Marvel crocheted awesomeness!

Hope to see you this weekend at Ottawa Comiccon!

Seren Plentyn and the Secret of Hokulua Station – Chapter 4

Hello Dear Readers…

I completely forgot to write a serial story chapter in April. I’m extremely sorry and the usual punishment will apply. I will write an extra chapter for this year. As of now, my plan is to write 3 chapters for May.

Enjoy the belated Chapter 4


Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 4.5 | Chapter 5


Chapter 4: Ships Shaped like Stars

“Is there supposed to be a planet there?” Annie asked. She’d gotten to her second job just as the alarm went off. She’d run back and jumped into a fresh fighter and joined Echo squad as they were being deployed.

“Welcome, Echo 2,” Echo Leader said. Jason was a man in his late eighties and had been on clean and protect crews for most of his life.

“Glad to be here, Echo Leader. We dealing with the same pirates?” She couldn’t keep the smile from her voice. He’d been the one who recommended her for flight training.

As they deployed, tower replied for him. Annie’s brother said, “Echo team, you’re taking the stern and protecting the ship if they get through Alpha and Beta teams. We have no idea who these people are, but they’re not answering hails and are here in larger numbers than we’ve ever seen. Stay frosty.”

They arrived at their designated patrol area and tower said, “All teams ready, pirates are almost here.”

At first it looked like the stars themselves were moving towards them. There were thousands of ships, each shaped like tiny eight-point stars. They glowed brightly. “What in the black is that?” asked Echo Leader.

“Echo Leader and tower, this is Echo 2. Just so we all know, those are not the same pirate ships as last attack.”

“Copy, Echo 2.”

Nothing else was said on the coms as they watched the approach. The ships stopped just outside weapons range and sat there. Annie was going to say something, but Jason beat her to it. “Any idea what in the name of the great Mother they’re doing, Tower?” After a pause with no answer he said, “Tower, do you copy?” A few more seconds and he said, “Hokulua Station, do you read? Anyone?”

“Did we lose contact with tower? Is that even possible?” The voice didn’t sound familiar.

“Team Leaders, please sound off,” Echo Leader said. There was a series of sound offs as Alpha, Beta, Charlie, and Delta Team Leaders sounded off and then each member of their teams did the same.

There were eight members per team and it took a long time to get through them. The ships didn’t move. Annie scanned the station and interrupted Delta team. “Sorry to cut in. My scans indicate that the station has lost shields, weapons, coms, and engines.”

The Team Leads swore. “Alpha 4 here. If the station has lost engines, why are we still moving at top speed?” The radio devolved into chaos as everyone checked their scans. They were still compensating for the station moving at top speeds.

“What do we do, Echo Leader?” Alpha Leader asked; the question from Alpha leader firmly appointed Echo Leader as the overall leader until the station came back.

“We do our jobs. Shut down any nonessential systems and get ready for a long standoff.” Their ships could hold position for almost twenty-four hours before needing to refuel. The gravity from the station’s micro-star made it so they were being pulled with the station instead of trying to keep up.

“Oh Mother-of-Stars… DO SOMETHING!” yelled a voice over the com after nearly two hours of waiting.

“Stay off the com or I’ll shoot you down myself.” Echo Leader sounded grumpy. “Have these things moved at all?”

Annie had been scanning them and killing her fuel while doing it, but wanted as much information as possible. She replied, “They have stayed at the exact same relative position since we started this. I also can’t find any signs of bio-life so either they’re AI or like nothing we’ve come across before.” Artificial intelligent life wasn’t common, but the Children-of-the-Stars had come across a few different species. “They’ve basically created a wall behind the station. I think they might be using it to coast the way we are.”

“So we don’t know what they are, but we’re fairly certain that they’re just hitching a ride?” Echo Leader sounded almost relieved.

Just as Annie was going to respond yes, the ships moved in towards the station. She said, “They’re moving closer. The only reason for that is…” she cursed. “Prepare for Voidspace.”

The space between galaxies was called Voidspace. It was filled with remnants of dead galaxies, crushed into fine dust. The result was an extremely bumpy ride and all sorts of radiation that could play havoc with any and all systems.

All the fighters did the same as the mysterious ships and got closer to the station. Voidspace was absolutely beautiful; with most stars too far away, the only light came from their ships and the station’s micro-star. The light danced and reflected off the galaxy dust in fantastic splashes of colours that put to shame any planet’s aurora-borealis.

The colours were so mesmerising that all ships were equipped with light dampening shields for travel. Even through the shields Annie found it hard not to lose herself to the beauty. It could have been seconds or hours that she stared out at the colours before the station appeared in a small clear area of space.

They were still in Voidspace, but the dust was being held back by something and the station had stopped moving. Thankfully their fighters were built to automatically compensate or they would have all crashed into the station. The dust was pushed back in a perfect sphere and it looked like they were in a giant soap bubble.

There was only one other thing inside the bubble.

“Is there supposed to be a planet there?”

Read Chapter 4.5


While you wait for the next chapter, check out previous serial stories:

Abusive Behaviour and Watching Movies

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

An article showed up on my news feed recently and it’s not unique. Every time there’s a big movie or TV show, I see similar articles. Avengers, Star Wars, Game of Thrones, etc. Interestingly it’s usually the male partner making the demands.

If you don’t want to read the article, it’s your usual list of demands that a guy has given his girlfriend for when they go see Avengers Endgame. These demands always include the following things: No talking, No eating, No peeing, and you can leave if you want but I won’t care.

This article even had a clause where she was in charge of the kids if there was an emergency and she couldn’t bother him.

Fandom is rife with bullying. From Gate-keeping which only allows “true” fans; to Taste-keeping which categorizes things into “good” and “bad” forms of media, mocking anyone who likes the latter. These are both commonly used to tease or insult others. Especially others tastes. It’s also extremely common.

Fandom is also rife with abusive behaviours. If your significant other gives you this list of demands, or something similar, refuse to participate in the activity. They are either trying to control you or are so blinded by passion that they don’t understand that what they’re doing is abusive. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you’re wrong for enjoying something differently than them.

If you are the person giving this list to someone, don’t. Seriously, if this piece of media is so important to you that someone shoving popcorn in their mouth will ruin your fun, then don’t take that person. Go alone, pirate it and watch it in your room, or a hotel room. Buy out the cinema. Or just go see it multiple times and don’t care.

This behaviour is not cool, it’s not right, and it’s not healthy. These events, shows, media, etc; are meant to be enjoyed and everyone enjoys them differently. If you can’t respect that, go alone.

WARNING: I have tickets for Tuesday evening at the Cineplex Ottawa on Carling. I plan of getting a large drink and popcorn. I will go pee at least once during the movie. I will laugh (probably before you) at the jokes, and boo or groan at the fat jokes (yeah I know what fucking year is it that there has to be fat jokes in this sort of movie?). I will whisper to my wife and I will exclaim when it’s appropriate. If you have a problem with this, don’t go to the same showing.

Later Days,
Éric

Baby Pegasus Tattoo

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Two years ago I got a Baby Dragon Tattoo, in honour of the baby Dragon.

With Pegasus coming, I decided to get another tattoo to match. Again I commissioned the incredibly talented S.M. Carrière to design it and went to Living Colour Tattoo in downtown Ottawa. I requested the same artist Patrick Drouin. He and S.M. worked fantastically on the tattoo and we got a wonderful result.

Here’s what the Dragon Tattoo looked like when I first go it.

Tattoo
Baby Dragon Tattoo Feb 2017

After a few years it has faded a little but still looks great.

The colours faded beautifully.

And without further ado here is the new tattoo.

Fresh Pegasus tattoo

I expect that the colours will fade a little and take on the same pastel hue as the Dragon one has. Here they are together.

Here they are together. Hopefully the kids will work together as well as the tattoos.

I’m extremely happy with them.

What do you think?

Éric

How’s Éric?

Hello My imaginary Friends,

This year has been extremely busy. I’m trying not to fall into old patterns of stress and overwork but it feels hard to avoid sometimes.

I’m surviving and I’ll be okay.

Writing

The past few weeks I’ve written a Ghostship story for July. You’ll get the next instalment in the Sun Speaker Series while we recover from the arrival of baby Pegasus.

Beyond that, I’m going to try and push to continue writing the novels that are calling me. I have two on the go and little to show for my writing this year. But I’m going to start… today even. I hope.

I do have an outline for another novel, which is awesome, but it’ll be a while before I get to it.

Coffee

I’ve been frantically roasting coffee. I’m roasting almost 150 lbs this year which is more than we’ve ever had before. We’ll have 17 flavours available for Ottawa Comic Con.

I’m loving the new roaster and the new method is working great. I’m still getting used to getting the perfect roast, but overall I’m extremely happy with it.

Keladry (Dragon) was helping us package coffee but after an hour got bored and started playing.

Editing

I have the edits for A Case of Synchronicity and will work on those this week. I’m still waiting on the second round of edits for Everdome but they should be here soon.

Gaming

I’ve been playing very few games. Haven’t touched Lego Incredibles in a few months. With most weekends dedicated to roasting, I don’t have as much time.

I have been playing Elder Scroll Blades on my phone. It’s an extremely beautiful game. It’s also repetitive and nearly impossible to do anything without paying. There are chests you can never encounter in the game but you can buy. Overall, it’s very much a micro-payment play-to-win style game.

Pegasus

Preparations for the baby are in full swing. We have a room, it has a bed, we have decorations, and a GIANT pile of clothing.

I got my tattoo this weekend. (More on that in another post.)

Things are feeling more real. I think after comic con, I’m going to quickly transition to impatiently waiting.


So in an eggshell (Easter joke intended) things are going well and I’m busy.

Now lets get to writing… after some breakfast and coffee.

Later Days,

Éric

Top 5 Silly Things all Parents Do

Every child is different and every parent is also just as different, but there are some things we share.

5. Attempt Escape

Everyone has days that they just want a few seconds of quiet where no one is asking to climb you. Kids are awesome, but they’re draining and sometimes you just need to hide. I’ve been known to take my phone into the washroom and maybe spend a little extra time.

4. Hear a Boom and Freeze

You’ve been there. The child just falls, hits something, knocks something over, or goodness knows what. You freeze and wait for the scream, cry, shout, or other loud reaction.

It’s a “do I need to intervene” or “should I wait for them” kind of moment.

3. Not Sleep

Yes, kids like to stay up and wake you at all times. Some are worse than others, but that’s not always why we’re tired as parents. Sometimes you wake up early to get some work done or go to bed late to watch something without having to name each jelly bean’s colour and flavour.

2. Cringe

This is doubly dangerous. Everyone knows kids love to repeat things. One “What the Heck” and they’ll be chanting it for weeks. We went to a party where one of the adults peppered their speech with the F word in the way that I like to spread peanut butter. Keladry walked around for three days chanting “Fok fok fok”.

What people rarely tell you is that it works both ways. They’ll use a turn of phrase or tone and you’ll suddenly be saying, “Oh, yes!” to the waiter. I’ve been told it only gets worse.

1. Secret Snack

There you are with a warm ball of energy on your lap and you’ll want a cookie. You can share your favourite cookie or you can sneak one the next time they leave the room. It’s not just that you don’t want to share, it’s probably not good for them, it’s messy, and gosh darn it they’ve had enough sweets.

My cookie!…


Did I miss anything?

Éric

Top 5 Differences between a baby during pregnancy and after being born.

Hello Baby loving folks,

The way we treat babies inside is slightly different than outside. Here’s a list of the top five differences according to my observations.

5. Input and Output

Oh the joy of not caring when or how a baby eats or poops. While pregnant no one really thinks about it much except for how cool/weird a process it is. But once the baby’s out EVERYONE tells you how to do it and how you’re doing it wrong.

4. Kicking

Sometime soon after birth kicking goes from a joyful, “OMG” moment to an annoyance and eventually a real pain. Tiny toes and fists hurt.

3. Control to Judgement

When the birthing parent is pregnant there are laws, rules, and pressures to make them do specific things. In most cases, it’s to protect the baby. Unfortunately, sometimes they prioritize the baby over the birthing parent instead of protecting both.

However, once the baby is out, the health and mental health of all parents is often ignored or considered secondary to the baby. Resources that would be available before disappear and the laws change completely.

2. Abstract to Concrete

The ultrasound, the kicking, the heartbeat, and even (for some) the growing of the baby is all sort of unreal and abstract. You’re afraid to believe and it all seems like a big prank.

Then the baby arrives and you have a baby… Like it’s there and it needs you to do stuff. Where are this kids parents? Wait, that’s us… And you now that you believe, you’re afraid. It eventually settles back to real from surreal, but it’s always a little bit of a shock.

1. Love

The thing that’s growing has your affection, a deep feeling of attachment, and terror. It’s completely impossibly there. But you don’t Love it yet.

Then it comes out and your heart melts at this tiny, wrinkled, screeching, proof that you don’t know what you’re doing. And sometime between holding them and going home you realize you’d die or kill for them. But you don’t Love them yet.

I’m not sure the exact moment it happens, but sometime after the birth and before the first year, they smile, or wiggle, or something else and you suddenly feel like squishing them or howling in joy, and just like that you love them.


Did I miss anything? What do you think?

Éric

Nominate us for the Aurora Awards 2019

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Last year The Travelling TARDIS was nominated for an Aurora. It’s eligible again, as are a few other of our products. So go make yourself an account here and nominate your favourite works!

What do we have that’s eligible

What are the Aurora Awards?

aurora

The Aurora Awards are awards “for excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy works and activities.” They are administered by the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association.

It’s a fan voted award in the vein of the Hugo’s, but with way more awesome people.

You’ll have to join the CSFFA for a pittance of $10 before you can nominate anyone. Once you’ve paid, you can nominate 5 works in each category. You can nominate works from now until May 26th.

The extra bonus of joining the CSFFA is you’ll get a voters package that includes most of the works that make the ballot. That’s 8-10 novels plus a bunch of other awesome stuff.


Good Nominating and Thank you in advance!

Éric

The Ghost Who was on Fire – Heroes, Legends, Fairies, and other Absurdities

I asked Dragon for a prompt. She wanted a story about a ghost that was on fire.


In a realm of magic, in a time of heroes; there was an empty house with a lonely ghost. What felt like ages to the little ghost was only a few months and eventually the house was bought and another family moved in.

The little ghost was young and didn’t appreciate the new owners, especially the little girl who moved into his room. She changed the colour of the walls and added stickers of dragons, princesses, and flowers.

“Stop changing my room,” he said to her.

Now, some people would be scarred of a ghost suddenly appearing, but not this little girl. She simply shrugged and replied, “No. It’s my room now.”

“No, it’s mine,” he said.

“Mine,” she replied.

They went on like this for a long time until the little girl became angry and stomped her foot saying, “Listen here. This isn’t your room anymore, this is mine. You’re a ghost. You’re dead.” He deflated, quite literally, and hovered on the bed crying. He cried and he cried and after that, he cried some more.  Feeling guilty, the little girl added, “I’m sorry I yelled. Maybe we can share the room?”

“No. You’re right. I’m dead.”

“Shouldn’t you move on then?” It’s common knowledge, or at least it was to the little girl who loved reading ghost stories, that ghosts move on after they’ve accepted their death, unless they have unfinished business.

“I can’t, I’m too cold.”

That must have been his unfinished business. She decided to help him and find a way to make him warm again. But how?

The first thing she tried was to wrap him in her warmest blanket; it fell right through him. She made it into a little tent and he said it didn’t make a difference.

The second attempt was based off what she used to warm up her feet. There was a small heating vent behind her father’s desk. When her feet were cold, she’d stand on the vent and let the hot air warm her up.

She brought him downstairs and he positioned himself over the vent. They waited for the hot air. She was about to go try and reach the thermostat when the air turned on. The little ghost hovered in place for a few seconds and then was pushed by the air higher and higher until he was squished on the ceiling. The sight made the little girl giggle and giggle until she was flat on the floor.

When they had both peeled themselves off their respective surfaces, the little girl had an idea.

“We need something hotter. Something really hot.” She knew she shouldn’t play with matches or lighters, but since no one could see the ghost, she didn’t need to light anything.

They waited until just before dinner and when her father lit up the barbeque, she said, “Now go in there.”

“Isn’t that dangerous?” he asked.

“Yes, but you’re a ghost remember.”

“Okay.” With that, he flew at the barbeque and bounced off of it into the snow.

“Iron,” she said and smacked her forehead. “Ghost don’t like iron.” She’d learnt from her ghost stories that salt and iron kept ghosts out of places.

“Wait until he opens it!” she ordered.

The little ghost shook himself off and waited for the barbeque to open. He flew inside and when the lid closed, he was trapped.

When the lid was opened again the ghost flew out screaming, “Ow ow ow.” Inside his translucent skin were embers from the fire. He flew around in circles and finally dove into the snowbank again. Little spots of embers melted the snow in an odd pattern.

Back inside, in her room, she watched as the ghost shivered, still hovering over her bed.

“I’m sorry,” she said.

“It’s okay. You tried your best.” The little ghost’s words were punctuated by shivers.

They stayed where they were for a few long quiet moments and the little girl started to cry. The ghost’s whole situation seemed hopeless. Between sobs, she said, “Maybe you could stay here and we could be friends?”

“You want to be my friend?” The surprise in his voice made her giggle through her tears. Giggling and crying are closer than most people want to admit.

“Of course I do… Hug?”

In response he nodded and she wrapped him in a big warm hug. It wasn’t until after she was holding him in a hug that she was surprised she could feel him.

Slowly, his shivering stopped and he gave a big sigh. “Thank you. I needed a friend. I think I can move on now.”

They both said goodbye at the same time and he slowly faded away, moving on to the next great adventure.

The moral of this story is simple: A warm, consensual hug can make everything better.

Heroes, Legends, Fairies, and other Absurdities are the expanded versions of stories I’ve told my children at night before bed. They’re short, silly, and were completely improvised in the telling.

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