Recommendation Thursday – We Shall Be Monsters – Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein 200 years on

Hello,

There’s a fantastic anthology that is being Kickstarted. There are some great rewards and I can’t wait to read it!

Go check it out:

We Shall Be Monsters – Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein 200 years on

“It is true, we shall be monsters, cut off from all the world; but on that account we shall be more attached to one another.” Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

As you may already know, Renaissance will be celebrating its fifth anniversary in 2018, and to mark the occasion, we’ve decided to launch a project celebrating another important anniversary.
In 1818, Mary Shelley published Frankenstein, sparking the genres of horror and science fiction. On this, the 200th anniversary of its publication, the narrative is more relevant than ever.

We Shall Be Monsters: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein Two Centuries On will feature a broad range of fiction stories, from direct interactions with Shelley’s texts to explorations of the stitched, assembled body and narrative experiments in monstrous creations. We Shall Be Monsters is a fiction collection that will feature explorations of disability through Frankenstein, ace, queer, and trans identity, ideas of race and colonialism.

Seven-time Aurora Award winner Derek Newman-Stille and award-winning author and theatre artist Kate Story team up to direct this excellent collection.

This anthology is a huge milestone for us as a publisher, and we won’t reach it without your help.
Kickstarter works on an all-or-nothing basis, which means that if our campaign does not get fully funded, we will not get any of the funds. Please take some time to look at the campaign; I think you’ll find the rewards for this campaign are incredible. You can get this wonderful book, but also a selection of Renaissance novels, your portrait made as Frankenstein’s monster, you can participate to a writing workshop, and so much more!
If you can’t pledge, that’s OK! Sharing the link with all your friends is a great way to help!

Thank you in advance for your support. We take the success of our very first anthology to heart, and really believe it can be a great vehicle for emerging and underrepresented voices.

Check out the Kickstarter!

Your Stories and Characters don’t Belong to you. Get over it!

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I have seen countless actors, writers, and creators complain about fan fiction, shipping, and head-canon. Especially when it comes to character’s sexuality or gender.

For a long time LGBT+ characters and stories were banned from all forms of media and other minorities weren’t included for many terrible reasons. That meant that people had to read into the subtext of characters and stories to try and see themselves. Now it’s less illegal but still greatly lacking.

Fiction is incredibly powerful, it can change the way you think and can even the way you act.

The emotional bond we feel towards fictional characters is incredibly strong. Not the least because we project ourselves onto them and their surroundings. Between that and emotionally intense fictional events can cause a weird disconnect between reality and fiction. I’ve always described that like a fog combined with awe.

“As long as nobody’s making money from it that should be an author or creator’s, I don’t mind it. And I think it does a lot of good. It doesn’t bother me” – Neil Gaiman

As a writer, I’ve come to realize that once I release my characters into the world I no longer have control of what people think or do with them. Isn’t that amazing? To have created something that is absorbed into the daily life or identity of others. That’s fantastic. To have people love what you’ve created so much that they want to build on it and continue the story is just beautiful.

Now you may think that anything that doesn’t come from the creator’s mind is worthless and devalues the characters. I disagree completely. If your stories can bring joy to others, then you’ve helped make someone happy. If that means they want to ship two characters that you think shouldn’t be together, then don’t read it. You are not obligated to read or create fanfiction, slash, ships, head-canon, fanon, or anything else.

You do not have to right to judge, insult, or humiliate others for loving something you created so much that they want to see themselves in it or play with the world.

“I am delighted to hear that you liked the Narnian books. There is a map at the end of some of them in some editions. But why not do one yourself! And why not write stories for yourself to fill up the gaps in Narnian history? I’ve left you plenty of hints … I feel I have done all I can!” – C. S. Lewis

I look forward to finding out what people love, what people see, and what people do with my creations. To me that is a completely new form of success.

 

Later Days,

Éric

Disclaimer: I am speaking of non-commercial use and emotional bonds. I do not support or condone the infringement of someone’s intellectual property. Plagiarism is bad… Duh!

This Weekend is CAN-CON YAY!

JenEric Designs, JenEric Coffee, Blush, and Éric Desmarais will all be at CAN-CON: Conference on Canadian Content in Speculative Arts and Literature this weekend.

The dealer’s room is open to the public all three days.

Both Jen and Éric will be available Saturday and Sunday in the dealer’s room. (We will be at a wedding on Friday.)

Dealers Room Hours

Friday: 17:00-19:00

Saturday: 10:00-17:00

Sunday: 10:00-15:00

Éric Desmarais’s Schedule

Saturday 2:00-2:30: Signing in the Dealer’s Room

Saturday 21:00-22:00: Panel Spam Meet Salon D

Sunday 10:00-10:50: Renaissance Press Readings Salon B

 

See you there!

Éric

The Story Museum

If I hadn’t wanted to visit Oxford, England before, I want to go there even more now!

The museum itself is planning a renovation, which will make it 100% wheelchair accessible by Summer 2019.

Image taken from Atlas Obscura.
Image taken from Atlas Obscura.

Geared towards children and exploration, The Story Museum features the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, the Wardrobe and Beaver’s Den from Narnia, and many other iconic scenes.

They also host events and week long courses for children and adults alike.


Are you interested in travelling to England? You can contact me Jennifer Desmarais through AJ Travel. jenniferd@ajtravel.ca

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Book Review

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

It’s been a while since I did a formal structured review and I’d like to work though my thoughts on this book. (For more information on how and why I review books read my posts Part 1 and Part 2.)

I devoured Ready Player One in record speed (for me) and despite being addictive, I’ve got mixed feelings.

**Warning Spoilers**

ready-player-one-book-cover

Characters

I liked

I greatly enjoyed the characters of Halliday and Ogden. They were obviously based off of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, with more than a little Gandalf thrown in for fun.

I liked the over the top villain Sorrento. True mustache twirling baddy, who pulled no punches and didn’t do anything particularly stupid.

I didn’t like

Any of the main characters. The main character was a whiny undereducated obsessive with an extremely unhealthy crush. The love interest was a fantasy geek girl who had similar interests to the main character. She was a wilting flower embarrassed by her appearance and in the end enamoured with the protagonist’s ability to look past it. There was also the token 80’s obsession with the honorable Japanese characters.

The only character that could have been interesting was Aech. Unfortunately what could have been a source of tension and actual character growth was tacked on at the end to show that the main character is an okay guy.

Each character is a stereotype of 80’s movies, tv, and books. I’m not sure if this was intentional but it certainly wasn’t effective at creating well developed or relatable characters. Add in the odd transphobic, sexist, or homophobic comments and I really didn’t like these characters.

For characters, I give it 1 out of 5

Writing Style

I liked

The book suffered from the biggest strength and weakness of the first person narrative. It’s biggest strength is urgency and quick pacing.

The author was great at referencing nostalgia without needing to explain it. The world building was well executed.

The word and sentence construction was perfectly balanced in the exciting bits.

I didn’t like

The biggest weakness of a first person narrative is the narrator. If a reader doesn’t like the main character, it hurts the book, which leads authors to give their characters super-powers that either make no sense or are too convenient. In this case the character had perfect luck and the ability to play any classic video game at an expert level.

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

Story

I liked

I absolutely loved the puzzles and the quest. It was a perfect combination of trivia and classic MacGuffin hunt. The nostalgia was pretty well done and it actually informed the story instead of controlling it.

I didn’t like

It was predictable. It was a classic MacGuffin quest. I could tell you all the notes it would hit and how it would end by the end of the first act.

The nostalgia was awesome but at some parts I wanted to move on with the story not hear more about John Hugh.

I give the story 3 out of 5

Fun

I liked

The world and puzzles were fantastic. Both of them drove the plot and the interest. The author did a great job of capturing and referencing the feel and excitement of 80’s nostalgia. The excitement of the hunt was expressed in such a way to make me feel the same need to continue. It’s the mark of an author who really knows how to excite their audience.

I didn’t like

The characters and plot were predictable. The love story was painfully bad and partially toxic. I hate the “demure woman who is obsessed with her appearance” trope. As in all 80’s media where they tried to have a love interest that was the equal to the character, she was better qualified then he was in every way to win the contest.

I give it 4 out of 5 for fun

Overall

This is a fun and quick book with quite a few problems. Its thick slathering of nostalgia, exciting puzzle game, and interesting world are the only things that saves it from a weak 80’s quest with weaker 80’s character tropes.

Final score is 60%

Parasomnia Cover Reveal and Pre-Order

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

A lot of work goes into a book cover, especially if the author has input and is picky. This cover took a lot of work from the wonderful Caro at Renaissance Press and I think it looks great.

parasomnia ebook cover

At the Aux-Anges Institute, nestled in the woods outside of North Bay, they study and treat parasomnias, or sleep disorders. Ashley suffers from night terrors, Terrance sleepwalks, Kiri sleep-eats, and Paul sets fires; they are there for treatment. Adelaide took the job as a counselor to discover why she still has an imaginary friend.

When they discover the secret hideout of an old club called the Dreamers, they are shocked to find that the five of them are connected through more than just the Institute.

You can Pre-Order the book from Renaissance Press’s Website. 

The book will hopefully have a few early copies ready for Montreal’s Queer Between the Covers.

What do you think of the cover?

Later days,

Éric

Éric’s 2017 Resolution – Mid-Year Review

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Last December I set forth some pretty optimistic goals for this year’s resolutions. Let’s see how well I’ve done so far.

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1. Write 3000 words a week. (Ongoing)

I have not been accomplishing this… unfortunately. I’ll continue to try in the months ahead.

2. Complete The Copper Tarnish by March. (Failed)

The more I wrote the less I liked this novella and so in the end I’m shelving it and I plan on re-writing it someday in the future.

3. Start the next Elizabeth Investigates. (Ongoing)

The Hound of Baker Ville was supposed to be the next Elizabeth book I write, but the more I plotted, the more I realized it fit better as book 6. Now I can add a bunch of reveals and twists that will make it so much more exciting.

I still plan on starting book 4, which will be called The Mystery of the Dancing Lights. It’ll be a summer camp novel in two different time periods where we’ll learn more about Jackie’s father’s youth.

4. Read 30 books. (Ongoing)

At half way through the year I’m at 13 books. Only a few behind. Lots of time to catch up.

5. Write a Monthly Serial Story. (Ongoing)

So far so good. I have 5 episodes done and the sixth will be on Thursday (hopefully).

You can start reading at Part 1 of Database of the Ageless Kings here.

6. Test, Produce, and Develop 2 new coffee flavours. (Succeeded)

Both Green Apple and Marshmallow have been great successes. Yum!

7. Playtest the new content for FADDS and get it ready for submission in 2018. (Ongoing)

I’ve been casually editing it and adding a little more to the powers. I’m looking at hopefully a September playtest.

8. Continue to ensure there’s content 5 days a week on JenEric Designs. (Ongoing)

So far so good, we’ve been through sickness, vacations, baby stuff, and now me going back to work and stayed true to our five day schedule. Yay us!

10. Prepare A Case of Synchronicity submission to my publisher and Everdome for pitches at Can-Con. (Ongoing)

I’m currently editing Everdome and have finished about a third of it. I think a few good days and it’ll be ready for the Alpha-Reader/Weditor. Hopefully I’ll be able to get it out to 2-4 beta readers before Can-Con at the end of September.

A Case of Synchronicity,  or book 3 of Elizabeth, has been through beta readers and needs another pass before it’s ready for submission, but I think this will be a late November or December job.


So far not bad; only 1 failure is pretty good by me. Maybe I’ll beat my 65% success rate from two years ago.

I’m not adding anything this year. Normally I would add some, but the next 6 months are going to be a crazy marathon of stuff. It’ll be a challenge to get everything done on this list.

How are you doing on your resolutions?

Éric

Collecting, Space, and Nests

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

We here at Books End have a serious collecting problem. Books, Movies, Disney Infinity, Statues, Lego, Books, Autographs, and Books.

Once you’ve accepted that you have a problem, you can start work on organizing and displaying. Our friends and family have often laughed at us when they see we’ve moved an entire room around. We do it in a hunt for efficiency, how to best fit everything in the room that we want and not look like hoarders.

What happens when we don’t have optimal organization? Nests! These are piles of things that have no home. It starts with a simple, “I’ll just leave this here for now until I find it’s place.” and ends in a massive pile of stuff. We ignore it until I finally crack and go on a cleaning binge.

Often when this happens we need to find new. cheap, and innovative ways of organizing. Make fun of us if you will, but IKEA is an amazing place to get organized for cheap.

It’s also a lot of fun to look around, play, and waste a few hours. Not a store to go to if you can’t handle browsing.

Nice chat, I have some books to go organize.

Later Days.

Éric