Lots of stuff

Hello my Imaginary friends,

I love Autumn! Halloween, cooler weather, PUMPKINS, and everything else that goes with this season. (Although this year I’m seriously missing the conventions and the parties.)

It’s a good thing I love this season because mentally and physically, it sucks. I’ve always thought it was stress that made this time of year hard, but I’m starting to realize it’s allergies and season changes.

Spring and Fall are the hardest on me. My hands ache, I feel anxious and weak. Then there’s my allergy symptoms which include fatigue, coughing, stuffy nose, nasal pressure, and trouble sleeping.

I’m seriously looking forward to snow. The snow covers the ground and freezes the allergens and reflects more light. Overall, when nights freeze and snow comes, I start feeling better. Until the melt anyway.

Book 2 of the Gates of Westmeath is cruising by. We’ve been writing since early October and have already finished the first third. I’m hoping we’ll be done the book by Christmas.

I’m impressed by how easy it has been to write this book. Hopefully that holds out for the next two thirds.

It’s hard sometimes, realizing the authors and creators who make things you love are human. Sometimes not very nice humans. I wrote about my disillusionment before.

So it was nice to get a reminder that there are good people in the world when I saw this facebook post:

Thank you Tamora Pierce for being an awesome person. If you haven’t read anything by her, I highly recommend all her books. We named our daughter after one of her characters.

Completely unrelated I have the most adorable cape:

Thank you for reading.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Heat, Allergies, and Mental Health

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Everyone is different; our bodies react to weather, stress, and fatigue in different ways. So my experience isn’t the same as everyone else’s.

August sucks for me. Especially weeks like this week, where we had high temperatures and high pollen count. Despite living indoors with air conditioning, the heat and pollen still affect me. It means I can’t sleep very well (up every 20-30 minutes), can’t breath very well, and generally feel crappy.

I think the worse part of poor sleep, allergies, and feeling crappy; is that it makes everything seem worse and hopeless. This isn’t new, but I always forget. In the future, I should probably plan trips around this time to keep me moving and not thinking.

I crashed yesterday and snapped at my wife for something that wasn’t her fault (Sorry).

It’s a vicious cycle of feeling like I should be doing more and not having any energy to do it. So when I take time to rest or relax, I then feel guilty and that makes me feel depressed and anxious.

At least the kids are liking the weather. Here’s a cute picture of them playing on the splash mat in our backyard.

Once the heat breaks, I’ll start feeling a little better. Until then, I have to keep reminding myself that it’s okay to take time to recover and not to feel guilty about it.

Be kind to yourself!

Éric

It’s Just Allergies

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I have recently been no-so-subtly accused of faking sick. It’s not the first time and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

I’m used to the usual scenario where I mentioned to someone that I have severe allergies and they either nod condescendingly or roll their eyes.

I get it, seriously, if you’ve never had to deal with allergies it’s easy to dismiss. I mean the most common portrayal of people with allergies in movies and television are either ridiculous nerds or hypochondriacs, mostly both. (I’m looking at you Stargate SG1 and Stargate Atlantis.)

Even people with mild allergies don’t fully understand what it can be like. They’ll have the sniffles in spring or get red itchy eyes when they pet a cat.

I’ve lost track of the amount of times people have told me, “Oh yes, I’m allergic to cats too but you get used to it living with them.”

So here’s a short partial list of things I’m allergic to:

  • Cat hair and dander
  • Dog hair and dander
  • Oak pollen
  • Spruce pollen
  • Poplar pollen
  • Ragweed pollen
  • Grass itself and the pollen
  • Dust and Dust Mites
  • Mould
  • Bees
  • Mosquitos
  • Coconut milk and coconut oil

That’s the most common and it’s about a quarter of the things I’m allergic to. Also among the worst.

Symptoms

I am extremely lucky not to have anaphylaxis. My throat has never fully closed and I’ve never had a seizure. Every person reacts differently to allergies, despite what the commercials try to tell you.

My milder symptoms are mostly itchy ears, itchy eyes, cough, runny nose, itchy throat, and hives.

The more severe symptoms are nasal pressure, diarrhea, nausea, breathing difficulties, and sleepiness.

The absolute worst symptom is the weakness. When I get hit with a bad allergy attack I’m weak as a kitten. Before I got the shots, I had days were getting out of bed was such a struggle that I burst veins in both my eyes from the effort of sitting up. I always make the joke of, “Who turned up the gravity?” because it feels like everything is extra heavy and draining.

The weakness means that around Christmas time I usually feel like total shit. If that sounds odd think about what happens when business and people bring out decorations that have been in basements and attics, bring in dying trees, or bring out old dusty trees. What happens is the amount of indoor mould and dust skyrocket.

Linked Conditions

As if those symptoms aren’t bad enough, allergies cause and aggravate secondary conditions.

Oral Allergy Syndrome

This is a fun thing where your body thinks you’re ingesting your allergy when you eat something else. Basically, certain raw fruits and veggies have proteins that are similar to pollen.

If I eat a raw apple my tongue tingles and mouth itches because my body thinks I’m eating Oak pollen. Thankfully this doesn’t happen with cooked fruits. Before the shots, my throat would start to close.

My wife still laughs about the time I told her, “Isn’t it cool that celery is a little spicy?” Apparently it’s not supposed to be spicy.

IBS

I think it’s because my body is weakened but during a bad allergy day, my IBS becomes ten times worse.

Migraines

The nasal pressure combined with stress will trigger migraines. My vision blurs, I get dizzy, I lose sense of time, I feel like I’m going to puke, and my head hurts more than any pain I’ve experienced.

Anxiety, Depression, and Insomnia

This is a combination of antihistamines and fall out from the other symptoms.

It’s hard to concentrate or feel good about yourself when just going to the washroom is exhausting.

If I have a certain type of antihistamine, I get shaky, and feel like my entire body is vibrating. It lasts for 12 hours and makes sleeping hard.

Bad Day?

So I’ve talked about bad days. I’ll be completely honest that on my best day I still have most of the mild symptoms. That’s despite having done shots for 5 years and using antihistamines.

A bad day, however, happens if I am accidentally, or unavoidably, exposed to an allergen. Some it’s only once like coconut oil, coconut milk, or bug venom, some it has to be prolonged like dust, mould, or trees.

Either way, a bad is a day I can barely move, feel sick, and just generally want to die. I’ve done work during those days, but it’s not my best work since I’m totally out of it. Most of the time I have enough energy to watch tv, shower (the steam does wonders for my nose), and eat.

What Now?

So what do I want you to do about this? Nothing. I just wanted to vent and explain what it’s like being me. Hopefully it’ll make you more compassionate to people with allergies.

Mostly, if I tell you I’m not feeling well, know that I’m not lying.

 

Thank you for reading,

Éric

Allergies and Updates

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Call me ridiculous, but I hate this time of year. June is one of the worst times for my allergies and the tail end of convention season. Put it all together and it leaves me feeling drained and lethargic.

I’ve had a supremely good 2016 so far and I’m not complaining, but if you see me and I look a little haggard or gruff it’s not you.

allergies

I’m sure you’re all wondering what’s going on in both my and Jen’s lives right now. So it’s update time.

Blush

Last I heard, the boxes had arrived and they were working on the extra questions for the game. I’m really proud of my wife and I can’t wait to see this game in person.

Writing

A Study in Aether

The final set of edits are done and we’re waiting on the lazy-no-good-layout-artist (me) to finish the layout before it gets double checked.

The big release party will be in October.

Parasomnia

The book has been accepted by the publisher but needs a lot of work. We probably won’t start work on it until fall.

Everdome

I’m midway through finishing the epilogue for Everdome. Then I’ll put it away for a while before trying to edit it.

Coffee

I’m currently struggling with a way to expand our production and reach. I have developed a new flavour, but more on that on Thursday.

FADDS

My role playing system has been playtested a lot in the past year. I’ve had a group of very patient and awesome gamers. The current playtest ends this month. I’ll then need to do a large edit of the document before getting it ready for submission.

Baby Dragon

Everything seems great with Baby Dragon. She’s growing and kicking (a lot). We’re sorting through all the amazing stuff people have given us. (Seriously our friends and family are the best!)

We’ll start truly planning her room in July.

I’m both excited to meet her and nervous at the same time.

 

We’ll that’s about it for now.

Later days!

Éric

Allergies, Life, and Writing.

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Allergies

Some people get the blues in January, from the lack of sun, and outdoor air. I get it at this time of year. I have severe allergies to nature. Ok maybe not all nature but most trees, grass, ragweed, flowers, mold, fungus, etc.

On top of all that I have one of the most annoying and one of the rarest symptoms from allergies; Weakness. When I have a bad allergy day it feels like all my energy has been sapped from my body and I have trouble moving. I also get migraines, trouble breathing etc.

Before I started on the allergy shots I had days where getting out of bed was such a chore that I’d hurt myself trying. I once burst several blood vessels in my eyes from the strain of sitting up. I had bloodied eyes for a week after.

The funniest was when my wife and I decided to start walking in the mornings. About a week into the walks I developed what I call “Demon Eyes” where the white from my eyes turned bright red.

When I was a kid I thought I was a wimp because I couldn’t touch wet grass without getting a red burn like rash on my hands.

There’s a nice break in mid to late July where I’m not allergic to anything blooming and I feel good. Other than that I feel best in winter when it’s -10 and everything is frozen.

Point

I have a point. I’m not just complaining. I swear.

I’m not a particularly People loving person. I believe the Human Race is wonderful and filled with potential and I love my friends and family. But people in general annoy me.

So if you see me, or talk to me, or interact in some way and I’m not my usual talkative self… It’s not you, it’s allergies.

I try my best to be nice and get excited about hanging out with people and once I’m doing it, if the crowd isn’t too big, I love it but beforehand I dread every moment.

Writing

Writing is going well, Parasomnia is well into Chapter 15 which is somewhere between 60% and 70% done the first draft. Once I’m done, my Weditor/Alpha reader will go through it and help me tighten the story. After a quick and dirty edit and re-write I’ll pass it to my Beta Readers who are small in group but awesome. I’ve hopefully acquired a new one who will be able to offer an author’s point of view.

After I get it back from the Beta’s I will then do another re-write and decide whether I think it’s good enough to start pitching to publishers, agents, and contests.

Right now, I need to concentrate on writing one word in front of the other, inevitably moving towards an ending.

Thanks for reading,

Éric