Today I’m 35

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Today is my birthday! (If you’d like to get me a gift, read and review my books.)

It’s easy to look back on your life and think, “AHHHHHH. I’ve accomplished nothing!!!” But that’s your insecurity speaking. At the very least you’ve done something that a lot of others haven’t; you’ve survived.

Surviving is good. I’ve been lucky enough to not only survive but do a few things that, I think, are awesome: (no particular order)

  • Graduated University
  • Had 3 books published
  • Written 7 novels and part of two novels
  • Made sure there was constant content on this blog since 2014
  • Learnt how to roast coffee and made a semi-successful business out of it
  • Been married for 9 years to my best friend (Although that’s mostly her being patient and a little luck)
  • I’m super proud of Baby Dragon
  • Wrote and developed an RPG (Can’t wait for FADDS to be available to all)

I’ve spent my life feeling average. I’m not the smartest, hardest working, most handsome, etc. So it’s nice to have things I’m proud of and that I feel I’ve done well. Yes, I realize there’s nothing on that list that hasn’t been done before, or that hasn’t been done better before. But I’m proud and consider myself lucky.

Who knows what I’ll be able to accomplish in the next 35-50 years.

 

What are you proud of?

Éric

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2018 Resolution Redux

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Since I’m doing so well with my resolutions. I decided to add some more and alter a few.

Oh my goodness… what have I done!?

Writing

Write 2000 words a week for The Mystery of the Dancing Lights

I will continue to try and reach this goal. Maybe I’ll catch up and maybe I won’t, but if I continue the way I have been I might fail but I’ll still have 2/3 of a novel.

Write a Monthly Serial Story

I’ll keep going at this and hopefully succeed. I can’t wait to see where this story goes. Go read it from the start.

Finish the new content for FADDS and playtest it

Play testing will continue until at least September and maybe end of year.

Pitch Everdome and the Super-Secret Project (Completed)

Nothing to do here until my publisher and partners get back to me.

Start getting a short story collection together (Completed)

This will still need to be edited but I consider it put together.

Write the Bookend Material for the Short Story Collection (NEW)

I’ve decide to submit the past 5 years of serial stories to my publisher with in between parts that are related to the Elizabeth novels. I’m hoping to call it The Coffee Shop Between the Worlds.

I need roughly 6000 words for the book ends and I might add a little to the serial stories to give people a reason to buy them.

Rewrite the introduction to FADDS (NEW)

The game is really close to ready but the first bit was written so long ago that it isn’t relevant to the game anymore. It needs a complete rewrite.

JenEric Designs and Coffee

Continue to ensure there’s content 5 days a week on JenEric Designs

We’ve been going for five years now with content every weekday on JenEric Designs and I’m very proud of that. Jen and I have worked hard not to miss a day. I’ll do my best to ensure we keep that streak going.

Test, Design, and Produce 2 new coffee flavours (Completed)

Done and done. Working on even more.

Look into pricing and interest in CoasteRPG (NEW)

I developed a super simple RPG and I need to find out if it’s worth printing it onto coasters and selling it. I’d like to get some prices, and check if any of the local gaming bars/cafes would be interested.

Editing

Edit and send Dinosaur Road Trip to a willing beta reader

I’m going to go through this and hopefully I won’t cringe while reading it.

Edit and Submit A Case of Synchronicity to my publisher by end of summer. (NEW)

It looks like my publisher is doing extremely well and that means they have more than enough books for the 2019 roster. That means that there might not be room for Everdome (if they accept it). I don’t want that to happen again so I’ll try and submit a little earlier. Hopefully there will be room for the next Elizabeth A Case of Synchronicity in 2020 and Everdome in 2021.

Pleasure

Read 30 books by authors I have interacted with (Amended)

I’m amending this one to books by authors I’ve interacted with or met. It’s forcing me to read all the awesome books by authors who I like as people but haven’t gotten around to reading their books.

Play more Videogames

I will continue to try and play more games. I’m hoping to get Detroit: Become Human for my birthday and spend a few days playing it on vacation.

Finish Star Trek: Discovery (NEW)

I didn’t enjoy the show much but I feel I need to give it a full season to make up my mind. There are interesting characters and ideas but it’s very dark and has made some really dumb writing choices. I have four episodes to watch.

 

Well that’s an intimidating list. Here’s hoping it goes ok.

Is 15 too much?

Éric

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2018 Resolution Mid-Year Review

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I made some resolutions in January about my year. I made them to push myself and encourage improvement.

Let’s have a look at them and how I’m doing.

Write 2000 words a week for The Mystery of the Dancing Lights (Failing)

This was an extremely ambitious goal. I was hoping to have 52000 words by this point but I’ve only managed 23000. It’s still writing but it’s not as much as I’d hoped. I’m averaging under 1000 a week, mostly due to the weeks I haven’t or just didn’t write.

I’m hoping I can increase my speed but we’ll see how it goes.

Pitch Everdome and the Super-Secret Project (Succeeded)

I pitched to Renaissance Press and they’re currently deciding on Everdome, if they don’t take it I’ll shop it around and maybe make the plunge and self publish it.

The pitch for the Super-Secret Project went well and everyone was excited but due to everyone involved being really busy it’s been put on the back burner.

I’ll hopefully have news by end of year.

Write a Monthly Serial Story (Succeeding)

So far Devices of Desire has been going strong and I haven’t missed a month. I’m really enjoying this story and I hope you are too.

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

So far so good… I’ve had a few days where I was too sick or tired but I managed to put something up. Yay!

Read 30 books (Succeeding)

So far this year I’ve read 12 books (13 if you count beta-reading). I’ve been trying to challenge myself to only read books by people I have met or interacted with online. I’m a little behind but I should be able to catch up by end of month. Thank goodness for audiobooks and graphic novels.

Finish the new content for FADDS and playtest it (Succeeding)

I’m currently running a rag tag group of misfits through a fetch quest in the world of Everworld (precursor to Everdome) and it’s going well. I’ve managed to fix and write all the content I wanted and a little more. I still need to keep making monsters and see how the playing goes. So far so good.

Test, Design, and Produce 2 new coffee flavours (Succeeded)

I have successfully developed the above 3 flavours and I’m testing 3 potential flavours. Yay coffee!

Edit and send Dinosaur Road Trip to a willing betareader (No movement)

I haven’t even looked at it since the Weditor sent it back to me. I’m nervous that it sucks. I don’t think it’ll be a book I pitch. I might get a few self published copies for myself and family.

Start getting a short story collection together (Succeeded)

I’ve picked the theme, and the stories. I just have to write the middle parts and book ends. I’ll hopefully have them done by year end. So I consider this done.

Play more Videogames (Succeeding-ish)

I’ve played a lot of mobile games lately. I’ve really enjoyed SIMS Mobile as a time waster and I’m still in love with both Ticket to Ride Mobile, and Civilization Revolution 2.

Besides that I’ve maybe played an hour of FFX and a couple of hours of the new Lego Incredibles. I need to do more but Keladry still attacks the remote. I’ve tried to teach her what to do but she’s not getting it yet. I’ll keep trying.

 

So not bad, I’m currently succeeding at 6.5 out of 10. I guess that means I need to add more but that will be another post.

How are your resolutions going?

Éric

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Reviews

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

The best way to help an author is to leave a short review of their work on Amazon or Goodreads. Even anonymous reviews count towards something. Write what you liked and what you didn’t or just a line of what you thought.

The more a book is reviewed the more it’ll show up on recommendations and the more people will see it.

If you didn’t know I have three books out that you can review:

Please and thank you for your time,

Éric

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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

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Life is okay, how are you?

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Overall things are good. There are a few outstanding issues that are stressing me beyond belief (I’ll let you know if and when I can) but things are going well.

So what’s been happening?

Writing

My newest book is out. The Sign of Faust is available at Amazon and Renaissance Press.

I’m currently in the middle of writing the fourth book in the Elizabeth series and it’s moving. Slowly, but I’m getting words down and that’s what’s important.

Last year’s serial story and my novel Parasomnia are both eligible to be nominated for an Aurora. Go nominate them if you liked them. As are Fandom Travel and Travelling TARDIS.

Dragon and Family

The baby Dragon is doing well. She’s growing every day and yesterday was a super snugly day.

We went to Paris with my in-laws and that was awesome. You can read Jen’s thoughts on it here. It’s the first of 3 posts on the trip. I went 8 days without my cellphone and it was quite the experience.

Exciting Things

I have no big announcements at the moment and all the stuff I’m excited about are not from me. Incredibles 2 comes out this year and I look forward to playing the Lego game of it. I’m taking some time off in July for my birthday so I can hang out with Dragon and play video games. Maybe she’ll join me… Is 22 months old to young for videogames?

Did I mention I have a book out?

 

What’s happening in your lives?

Éric

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Not Now Kid / Mysterious Force

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

There’s a trope in YA and children’s entertainment that drives me up the wall. Parents not believing or not trusting their kids.

You know the scenario. Something bad happens and all the characters are yelling about it and the kid/protagonist tries to get their attention but no one listens. Normally it ends up that the kid is right.

It’s a trope that was immensely popular in the 80’s and 90’s and has, thankfully, fallen out of favour. The idea behind it is that if the parents knew, they’d be able to fix it and if they couldn’t then why would the kids. Or if the parents knew then the kid would never be allowed to fix it because it’s too dangerous.

The only example of this trope that I enjoy is Candace from Phineas & Ferb.

The problem I have with the trope is that it promotes the idea that parents are obstacles and not resources. It also makes the parents look really stupid.

It’s a difficult balance between supportive parent and irresponsible or negligent parent. Especially when the kids/protagonists in question are battling monsters or other terrible things.

 

What do you think? What YA trope pisses you off?

Later Days,

Éric

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Top 5 Book Layout Mistakes

Hello Book Lovers and Authors,

When you self-publish or work with an inexperienced layout artist there are certain mistakes that make your book look bad.

Book publishing is a centuries old industry that has gone through a lot of changes, but certain things have become so standard that you only notice when they’re out of place.

5. Headers and Footers

Headers and Footers are the area above and below the main text. They live in the margins and help tell the reader where they are.

The main mistake with these is if they are missing. However, having too much information or having them too close to the main text makes it hard to read.

The standard pieces of information that should be in the headers and footers are; title of the work, author, and page numbers. You can add or substitute chapter titles if you wish but only if they are more interesting than just “Chapter 1”.

Page numbers are the only things that must be, without any exceptions, included in your header or footer.

Page numbering starts on the first page of the book and not the first page of the content. This means your title page is considered page 1. This can change if your book isn’t a novel.

Headers and footers do not appear on any pages before or after the content or on any pages where the chapter starts.

4. Images

This is an easy one. Printing requires a certain quality of image (300dpi and CMYK colour). Anything below or other than that will look unprofessional.

Some people, me included, like to use silhouettes as dividers and decorations. Use these sparingly and if you can, use vector images that can handle being shrunk easily.

3. Fonts

When reading on a screen, studies have shown that it’s easier to read Sans-Serif fonts. When reading a book it’s the opposite. Always use Serif fonts.

Beyond that, it looks unprofessional to use standard fonts like Times New Roman or fancy fonts like Broadway or *shudder* Comic Sans.

The classic font is Garamond and no one will judge you for using it.

A great resource is: https://fonts.google.com/ The fonts are open source and free.

The above applies to the main text. You can use nearly any font for the chapter titles or your Headers and Footers. I do recommend you limit yourself to 2 or maximum 3 fonts overall and never more than 1 for the main text.

2. Kerning and Leading

Kerning is the space between the characters. If this isn’t consistent, is too tight or too loose; the book will not only look unprofessional, it’ll be borderline illegible. All layout programs have settings for this that are extremely easy to use.

Leading is the space between your lines. Chances are that your High School teachers insisted on you double spacing your essays. If the lines are too tight they start to blend together, if they’re too loose, it’s hard to follow and takes longer to read.

Similar is your Paragraph spacing. If you have a huge space between paragraphs it’ll look messy and cost you more in printing.

1. Typographic Alignment

The biggest, most common, and the first thing people notice is the alignment in your text.

Headers, titles, and images are extremely loose in where they should be aligned, but the main text of your book should always be Left Justified.

This blog is left aligned. The standards for web are different because of the glow caused by the screen.

The moment I see a jagged right margin on a book I know it was formatted by an amateur. It’s an industry standard because it works. When combined with proper kerning it is easier for the eye to go from one page to the next.


A good Layout Artist will make sure that all these things are taken care of and that your book looks great. See Why Your Book Needs a Layout Artist!

I offer layout services if you ever need help.

 

Good reading and good writing,

Éric

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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

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Berlin

I’d like to start 2018 off on a solemn and thoughtful note, and what is more fitting than a memorial? Specifically, a Book Burning Memorial.

The Library art installation at Bebelplatz, in Berlin. Image from the Atlas Obscura.

I can’t imagine what it must have been like, that day so long ago, when over 20,000 books were burnt to ash. Hopefully I never have to find out. The Nazis didn’t only burn books, they torched knowledge, science, and objectivity.

The books that were targeted includes those by August Bebel, Sigmund Freud, Ernst Glaeser, Heinrich Heine, Erich Kästner, Rosa Luxemburg, Heinrich and Klaus Mann, Karl Marx, Bertha von Suttner, and Stefan Zweig, and possibly even more importantly, the entire contents of the library at the Institute of Sexology, headed by Dr Magnus Hirschfeld. This library contained rare books and papers on sex and gender.

The art installation, by Micha Ullman, is underground, and its empty shelves have space for all the books that were destroyed that night in 1933. There is a plaque with a line by a German Jewish playwright:

“That was but a prelude;
where they burn books,
they will ultimately burn people as well.”
Heinrich Heine 1820


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


References

https://www.visitberlin.de/en/book-burning-memorial-bebelplatz

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/the-bebelplatz

http://hmd.org.uk/content/06051933-looting-institute-sexology

https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/pa26351

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