Everdome Book Launch

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Come celebrate the launch of my newest book Everdome!

The launch will be held October 5th, from 4 to 6 at 3Brewers on Sparks.

There will be readings from Everdome and the other six books being launched.

Join us for the launch of six extraordinary novels! Humour, romance, sci-fi, fantasy, and reality TV? There’s something in here to please everyone!

There will be author readings, you can get your books signed, and we’ll be drawing door prizes. Plus, there will be much fun and merriment!

ACCESSIBILITY NOTE: the elevator is situated in the back of the pub. Please ask staff upon entry and they will guide you to it!

FOOD: Because of the large numbers we usually bring in, they asked us to tell our guests they will have a choice from the group menu. We went with option number one; there will be gluten-free options such as gluten-free buns or lettuce wraps, and there will also be vegan alternatives on site.

Hope to see you all there!

Éric

Everdome Cover Reveal

Hello Readers and Imaginary Friends,

I’m so excited to show you the cover for my next novel Everdome!

Isn’t it pretty? Nathan Fréchette did an amazing job!

Everdome is available for pre-order now!

Everdome!

S.M. Ardwur’s epic ten novel series and the world’s biggest MMORPG is a world fractured by a magical disaster and saved from destruction by a brave king and mad wizard. It is now formed of twelve floating continents with magical domes protecting them.

For thirteen lucky contestants, when a man dressed as a knight offers them the opportunity to visit their favourite fantasy world as an immersive reality show, there’s only one answer they can give: YES!

The level of impressiveness is beyond anything they can believe and some of them start to wonder why.

Abigail, James, Krista, Nicole, Richard, and Megan have to learn how to play the game and win; the fate of Everdome depends on it.

I’m really proud of this one and I can’t wait to hear what people think.

Thanks for reading,

Éric

The Reluctant Barbarian – Recommendation Thursday

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Do you enjoy fun? Humour? Fantasy? Well then I have a book for you. It was my favourite book read in 2018.

The Reluctant Barbarian

Arthur Jenkins would have been happy to live his life the way it was until he finally died, but the angel in his office has different ideas. He’s there to grant a wish Arthur made as a kid, and it’s a doozy. It’s also a wish he doesn’t want in the slightest. After all, what grown man would want to be a barbarian hero? Seriously! Whether he wants it or not, Arthur is getting that wish granted. Angels have quotas too, you know. Join Arthur, Dead Mike and Valeria the Paladin on a quest across the land, having unwanted adventures while looking for a comfy place to sit.

John Haas has a fantastic imagination, great sense of humour, and wonderful understanding of narrative flow. He’s also recently won a spot in Writers of the Future.

His followup novel to The Reluctant Barbarian is due to be released this year from Renaissance Press.

Go read the book!

Éric

Extremely Exciting NEWS!

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

This weekend I signed not ONE but TWO contracts with Renaissance Press. :-O 

So here’s the big news: Everdome should be Published in 2019 and Elizabeth Investigates: A Case of Synchronicity should be published in 2020.

Everdome (2020)

The world’s most popular fantasy series and massive online video game, Everdome, releases a call for a reality show based on its world. The lucky players are treated to the most realistic event they’ve ever experienced. Maybe too realistic?

Elizabeth Investigates: A Case of Synchronicity (2020)

After wizards, hags, artificers, genies, and mummies, Elizabeth thinks she can handle absolutely anything as long as she has her friends with her. Things go terribly wrong when Jackie ends up in a coma, Angela defends the hospital from monsters and the military, and Elizabeth is tossed back in time. Angela has to solve a mystery without Elizabeth and Elizabeth must survive without her friends.

Thank you for reading and I hope you’re as excited as I am.

Later Days,
Éric

PEI and Anne

One of my favourite books, both when I was growing up and now that I’m older, is Anne of Green Gables (and the rest of the series). Did you know that they found a bunch of Montgomery’s writings recently and published them?

Needless to say, I have wanted to visit PEI for a very long time, to walk in Anne’s footsteps. The tourism PEI website was incredibly helpful in planning a 3-day itinerary. I’ll only include a bit of it here – you should go to the website to check it out.

Cavendish, PEI. Image from www.welcomepei.com.

Day one – Cavendish, Avonlea, and New London. Visit Anne’s beginnings, with Green Gables Heritage Place, the town where Anne lived, and where Montgomery grew up.

Day two – Green Gables Museum, a carriage ride, Bideford, and Lower Bedeque Schoolhouse.

Day three – Charlottetown for the musicals. Yes, there are two. Personally, I would stay an extra day just so I can see both. Anne of Green Gables – The Musical plays at the Confederation Centre of the Arts, has matinees on Wednesday and evening shows on Mon, Tues (except Sept 18), and Sat, until September 22. After that, the dates and times change and are not on the website. Anne & Gilbert plays at the Guild, and plays during the summer on every day except Saturday in a matinee or evening show, and in September/October on every day but Monday and select Sundays. Please note, the Guild does not allow children under the age of 4.


Are you interested in travelling to PEI? You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Massive 5th anniversary party

Hello Book Lovers!

Come to the launch of my third book and a celebration of an amazing publisher.

Hope to see you all there!

 

 

It’s been five years already since Renaissance was founded by a group of friends, and it hasn’t just grown in that time – it’s exploded. In that period of time, we  signed a total of 19 Canadian authorsbuilt a team of 13 editors, designers, and artists; published twenty novels and three games; and are planning ten more releases, including one game and one anthology, by the end of 2019.

We’re having a party to celebrate our accomplishments, and most of all, our amazing people. We’d love for you all to join us at the Red Lion (47 Clarence St., Ottawa) on Sunday May 27th, 5-7 PM. Entrance is FREE, and you’ll be able to buy our books and get them signed by our authors!

Since we’ve always been very silly, geeky people, we invite you to attend cosplaying as your favorite literary character. This is entirely optional, but we will be giving out a prize to the best/cleverest costume!

Don’t worry if you don’t feel like dressing up – as always, we’ll also be giving out excellent door prizes as well!

Last, but not least, Frankenstein lovers, you’re in luck! As part of their fifth birthday celebration, Renaissance is also launching an anthology to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the release of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. It is currently on Kickstarter, funded in just under a week! — and all backers of the Kickstarter project will enjoy an additional 10% off any Renaissance purchase they make at the launch!

As part of our celebration, we will be launching four new titles, all by Ottawa authors, some of whom you already know and love, and some brand-new names you’ll quickly add to your favorites:

The Sign of Faust (Baker City Mysteries, Elizabeth book 2) by Éric Desmarais (YA Supernatural suspense)
Can Elizabeth find out who’s trying to kill her — and discover the source of everyone’s luck — while navigating dating, concerts, school, and competing in the science Olympics? ISBN: 978-1-987963-33-5 – Available now!

Life After Redby by Kaitlin Caul (Horror)
Die. Become a zombie. Get needled. Do it all over again. Caught in the endless cycle of death, zombification, and resurrection, Cass became scarred inside and out. Now, her skills are needed again. ISBN: 978-1-987963-29-8

To Pluck a Crow by Sue Taylor-Davidson (Historical mystery)
Could Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets have been written by more than one person? As Janek and Sarah investigate, they get tangled up in another mystery. ISBN: 978-1-987963-30-4 – Available now!

Life and Lemonade by Jamieson Wolf (LGBTQIAPP2+)
All’s fair in love and war . . . but sometimes life gets in the way. ISBN: 978-1-987963-36-6 – Available now!

Accessibility

This location has a street-facing accessible entrance, and a city parking lot directly across the street from it.

We will have a specialized menu for the event which will include vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.

The location unfortunately could not offer gender-neutral restrooms at this time, but we will have designated and clearly identified bathroom buddies to accompany you to the bathroom for any reason, no questions asked.

Menu

The location has provided us with a specialized menu just for the event. Please note that burgers have optional gluten-free buns!

Nachos $17 : Corn Chips/ Pico de Gallo/ shredded cheese/ Jalapeños/ sour cream/ salsa/ guacamole.

Spicy Thai Chicken Bites $15 : Breaded chicken/ cucumbers/ sweet & spicy Thai sauce

Chicken Wings $15 : Breaded Wings/ Fries

Classic Poutine $15 : French Fries/ Cheese Curds/ Gravy

Kung-Pao Calamari $15 : Spicy Breaded Calamari/ Cucumbers/ Red Onions

Caesar Salad $15 : Romain Mix/ Parmesan/ Bacon Bits/ Croutons/ Creamy Caesar Dressing

Chicken Avocado Salad $17 : Heritage mix/ Red Peppers/ Red Onions/ Balsamic dressing/ Avocados/ Cheese

Fish & Chips $16 : Haddock/ Beer Batter/ Fries/ Tartar Sauce

Garlic & Herb Chicken Sandwich $17 : Garlic Chicken/ Bacon/ Cheddar cheese/ Southwestern ranch/ Pico De Gallo/ Lettuce/ Avocado/ Kaiser bun

The Loaded Stack Burger $17 : Double Beef Patty/ Sautéed Mushroom & Onions/ Southwestern Ranch/ Bacon/ Cheddar & Swiss Cheese/ Lettuce/ Tomatoes/ Pickles/ Kaiser

Shepherds Pie $15 : Ground Beef/ Corn/ Mash/ Cheese/ Gravy

Bangers & Mash $15 : Banger sausages/ Mash/ Onions/ Bacon/ Gravy

Chicken Curry $17: Chicken Curry/ Rice/ Naan

Sundried Tomato Pesto Penne $15 (available Gluten Free) : Broccoli/ Sundried Tomatoes/ Mushrooms/ Pesto/ Cream/ Penne

The Sign of Faust – Cover Reveal

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

My wonderful cover designer Nathan sent me the cover file for my book that should be out this spring, hopefully in time for Renaissance Press’s 5th anniversary.

Without further ado, here is the cover for The Sign of Faust:

The Sign of Faust will be available at Amazon and Renaissance Press.

 

My hope is that by the end of the series, all the books together with make a rainbow.

Éric

Renaissance Press is Turning 5

Hello,

I’ve known about Renaissance Press for five years. I met them at Can-Con in 2013 when they only had a handful of books.

I pitched my first novel to them. They liked it, but it needed some serious re-writes that they weren’t able to take care of, so they told me to re-submit. In the end we got A Study in Aether, and its sequel is coming out this year.

If you like my books or any of the other fantastic novels from Renaissance Press, why don’t you let them know and you could win $40 worth of awesome stuff.

With luck my next novel, The Sign of Faust will be ready and launched at the 5 year celebration.

To Renaissance: Thank you for believing in my stories.

Éric

Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson– Book Review

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

With a book this large and this filled with… well stuff… I needed a formal way to organize my thoughts. (For more information on how and why I review books read my posts Part 1 and Part 2.)

This will be a spoiler free review.

Characters

I liked

With over 800 pages, this book delivers a staggering amount of characters. Every time I started to get annoyed with a character, the point of view switched.

The characters themselves were fantastically fleshed out. They always felt like they had complex histories and stories. They also felt like a part of their world and invested.

I also have a soft spot of introspective characters that don’t get all angsty.

The character arcs were both beautifully plotted and unpredictable.

I didn’t like

I was really annoyed that the majority of my favourite characters were not in this book. I was really getting to like some of the mains from the first book.

Some of the characters suffer from what I’m calling fantasy race syndrome, in which they are something because their race is that thing.

There’s a lack of diverse women. The women in this book are either there as sensible love interests, broken women, leaders, or background characters.

I really wanted to fall in love with these characters. I knew some would die and I really wanted that feeling of falling in love with a character and didn’t get it.

For characters, I give it 3 out of 5

Writing Style

I liked

The author manages to be both poetic and excruciatingly brief. It’s a style that favours character depth and quick pacing. Every once in a while the author would add a great turn of phrase or a flowery description, but it never turns purple.

All epic fantasy authors have an obsession that shows in their work. Erikson loves history and archeology and it shows in his prose and world.

I didn’t like

There were more than a few times that the author’s love of history and archelogy showed me glimpses of other stories and I wished I was reading that instead.

There are long, walking scenes where the history interested me more than what was going on.

This book’s voice is extremely white, western, academic, and male. It shows the author’s culture and thought process in every description of noble savages and crazed wild men.

For writing style, I give it 4 out of 5.

Story

I liked

I liked the focus on the small punctuated by the grand. The story sticks to characters and not grand concepts. The wars and battles are described in gory detail and not in romantic troop movements.

The world is beautifully crafted and gives a sense of so much history and so many other stories to be told.

I also appreciated that unlike a lot of other epic fantasy, the main stories of this book were wrapped up at the end.

I didn’t like

The gore and horror was a little much for me. I understand that it was needed for the story and for the set up but I’m not a huge fan of babies on pikes and raped bodies. (Aside… why would crazed killers only rape the women?)

If it wasn’t for the author’s wonderful language and compelling style I wouldn’t have read past the 300 page mark.

I give the story 2 out of 5.

Fun

I liked

The magic, history, and engineers were fantastic. The games of gods and ascendants fascinating. Some of the characters were absolutely awesome. The use of language and world building alone are worth the read.

I didn’t like

I’m not a war person. I don’t like the movies, books, or history; it’s not my thing. This book made me uncomfortable at multiple times and not in “out of your comfort zone” way.

I give it 3 out of 5 for fun

Overall

This book is fantastic when it hits all the right notes but when it’s off, you’ll find yourself daydreaming about the history and cultures of that ancient world instead of paying attention to the book.

Like the first in the series it has a huge adaptation period where you’ll WTF all over the place.

Overall I think there’s a lot to love in this book and series but it has some awkward issues and it’s certainly not my style.

If you’d like a shorter and, in my opinion, more balanced writer try S. M. Carrière.

Final score is 60%

 

Night of the Sisters

This story takes place five years after the events in Parasomnia

The snow glittered in the moonlight as they travelled through the dark forests of New Albion. No matter how often they travelled this route, Michael still looked uncomfortable.

Putting her hand on his, even through heavy gloves she felt him tremble, Ashley said, “Sweetie. It’s okay.”

“I know, it’s just… I don’t think I’ll ever get used to this forest.”

And why would he, she thought. It wasn’t his world and he had bad memories of trolls in these forests. Even though they were in a carriage and not walking this time.

“Next year you’ll be too busy to worry about it.” She squeezed his hand and patted her belly, or where her belly would be under all the winter gear. She felt like a yurt; she was so big it was hard for her to walk too far or even stand.

He smiled and they both started talking about preparations for the baby.

As the forest started to thin, small cottages and farms peppered the landscape. People stood on the edge of the road and waved at them. For the first time in five years, the rulers of the six kingdoms of New Albion would be all together.

It was the Festival of Yule and that night was the Night of the Sisters. A night where the three Sisters who controlled the fates of everyone in the realms were reborn. It was celebrated by speeches, prayers to the Goddess, a small play, and a huge bonfire. During the bonfire they feasted and sang traditional songs until the sun rose.

Through the towns they went until they could see the great walls of New Apia. The last time they’d been here, the walls had been crumbling and the ivory fortress was cracked and disused.

“Kiri has done miracles for this place.” Ashley was amazed at how pristine it looked and how healthy the people were.

The gates to both the city and the castle were open, the guards looked more ceremonial than defensive in their finery.

Kiri was waiting for them when they arrived. She looked regal under multiple layers.

“Feels like being back in Northern Ontario, eh?” she asked and Ashley threw herself at her friend for a hug. “Hello Michael.”

“Are we the first to arrive?”

“Nope, Tara got here this afternoon. I think she ditched her retinue somewhere at the border.”

A tall woman in full armour walked out of the castle and responded with, “It’s not my fault they couldn’t keep up. I don’t need royal—” Tara was cut off by Ashley’s hug.

The four of them were the youngest of the monarchs and Ashley knew that Tara wasn’t looking forward to seeing her older brother who ruled her home kingdom.

Although the guards looked ornamental and they all joked about not needing them, they were essential. The Six Kingdoms were in political turmoil. The former High King had died shortly after his heir and despite multiple Moots, they had yet to unanimously choose a new high King or Queen.

Tara was declared regent of the former High King’s kingdom, Ansonrock, but the Moot had refused to declare her Queen.

Of the other two Kingdoms, both their monarchs had died during the Worldquake; one had gone through a bloody civil war and declared themselves a republic and the other had gone through eight monarchs in four years.

They had, per tradition, to wait for the other rulers before going into the warmth of the Castle. They had, thoughtfully, arranged a chair for Ashley. At thirty six weeks pregnant she wasn’t going to try and tough it out.  The next to arrive was King Matthew of New Zion.

“Sister,” he said spitting out the word as if it had a bad taste.

“King Matthew,” Tara replied tersely. The fact that he called her sister instead of brother was a good sign that he’d learned his lesson. His country was big on everyone being the same and Tara had been cast out when she came out as transgender.

The next two came and stood in line waiting. After a little while, Ashley leaned over to Tara and asked, “Who are we waiting for?” Tara shrugged.

In a flash of bright light and the sound of a TARDIS, four figures appeared. The cryer who’d been announcing everyone bellowed, “Myrdin of Earth and Aether.” He was a tall man with a long white beard and hair. He was dressed in an old robe, and despite looking ancient, he stood tall. His brown skin had long ago turned a little grey.

Before Ashley had a chance to say anything other than a squeak of happiness with the entrance, the cryer continued, “The Three Sisters.”

The crowd and the monarchs gasped in surprise. The three Sisters had never been to New Albion before. They had stayed in Everdome, another Realm or what Ashley liked to call alternate universe, for as long as anyone could remember.

The three women, one bald with metallic gold skin, one with snow white hair and skin, and the last with dark red hair and onyx coloured skin, raised their hands and spoke in eerie unison, “May the Goddess’s blessing drive out the dark and the cold. May your days grow long and warm. May your crops be plentiful and your loves without end.” It was the traditional Night of the Sisters blessing and was normally only performed by priests or the children who play the Sisters in the play.

After the blessing everyone walked into the castle for drinks and mingling. The main ballroom was open for everyone to speak with anyone. It was a tradition that Kiri had instituted for all major holidays. It allowed for people who would be too shy or didn’t think their problems big enough for a formal audience to speak with the Queen or other high level officials.

Myrdin, or as he’d been introduced to her before, Merlin, was standing on his own with a glass of nog. Most people seemed to avoid him. Ashley walked over to him and said, “Why do people always seem to avoid you?”

“I’m weird.” He shrugged as if that answered her question and continued with, “Hello Ashley, it’s nice to see you again. Or is this the first time for you?”

“We met last year.” She’d been told then that he was a little strange and had a tendency to live life out of order with the rest of the realms. “Although it’s been much longer for you hasn’t it?”

“A century to your year. Nothing much.”

She laughed and that made him smile. “Nice work with the TARDIS sound effects.”

“Thank you. I thought no one would notice and it’s nice and dramatic.”

“What’s going on? Why are the Sisters here?” She asked and felt a sharp pain. She mentally started counting to see if it was a full contraction.

“Do you really want me to tell you? You’ll find out soon enough.”

“So, spoilers?”

“Yep. Now why don’t you ask me the question you’re really worried about?” His eyes were kind with more than a hint of mischievousness.

“Is my baby going to be okay?” she said it quickly and fought back tears.

He pulled her into a hug and said, “Your delivery will go fine and the resulting offspring will be perfectly healthy.”

She squeezed him tightly and said, “Thank you!”

“Don’t mention it. I was a parent once too.” His voice was filled with sadness.

As midnight approached, they moved to the castle square where the bonfire was built and awaiting the midnight hour to be lit. There was food and drink and a lot of happy kids. A man dressed as Woden led the children in a wild hunt. There were chocolates hidden around the castle and as he charged the children had to find them and get back into the hunt in order to keep them.

In a few years, Ashley thought, her little one would join them and that made her feel warmer than the fire would have.

“Joyous Yule my beautiful wife.” Michael held a simple brown paper wrapped package.

“Thank you,” she said opening the package, feeling four years old again. Inside there was a book, brightly coloured with a hydra on the front, the title read Parasomnia and was written by S. M. Awdur and K. Price. Katherine Price was a friend who’d chosen earth over New Albion.

“It’s a graphic novel about what happened to us. Kitty wrote it with a famous author. Merlin promised to bring it back with him after we saw him last year.”

“It’s wonderful. Thank you.” Her contractions were starting to get closer together, but she still wasn’t sure it was labour. This had happened before and it had been fake labour. She still had four weeks to go.

If Michael was going to say something, it was cut off by the Sisters. Their voice was like a soft brook had met a Greek chorus and the two were trying to imitate each other.

They each stood around the large bonfire and said, “We have seen Realms be born and Realms die, but every ten thousand years we need to renew ourselves. Our physical bodies die and are reborn. What we are continues but what we were dies. Tonight we die and leave our blessing against the darkness. Tomorrow we are reborn. May your hearts always be warmed by the fires of love and hope.”

With that speech they burst into flames, lighting the bonfire. The crowd was stunned and after a few moments burst into applause.

“That was dramatic,” Michael said.

“Yeah,” Ashley said, and couldn’t help but grunt from the pain of another contraction.

“How far apart are they?” Michael said going into nurse mode.

“The baby is coming,” Ashley replied and groaned again. That’s when the Sisters’s words came back to her. “They said tomorrow they’ll be reborn… MERLIN!”

As if he’d expected her, he appeared. With a furrowed brow and twinkling eyes, Merlin said, “Don’t worry, I’ll help as much as I can. With all three—”

“THREE!?”


This story is part of the Renaissance holiday blog roll! Find out what it’s all about here!