Thank You for a Great Weekend

Hello my imaginary friends,

I hope you’re having a great week. Mine’s been awesome!

ComicCon

This past weekend was Ottawa ComicCon. Roughly 40,000 people crammed into the convention centre and enjoyed all things geeky. It was amazing.

Jen and I had a booth. This meant that the past month has been spent preparing and stressing. Our house looks like a mini Godzilla has passed through and deposited yarn, button pieces, and coffee all over the place.

All our preparation was well worth it. I nearly sold out of coffee and Jen’s stock was at least halved. (She hasn’t been this low since we started selling.) We did really well, yay!

We also met all kinds of awesome people. Thank you for stopping by and talking with us, it was great to share my passion for coffee with so many others.

Important links

We talked about a lot of things. If you’re trying to find something specific, check here:

Awesome Kickstarter

A Match Made in Austen is a new Kickstarter for a card game based off the world of Jane Austen’s novels. If you’ve always wanted to see how Darcy and Emma would get along (probably terribly), this is the game for you.

The base game is $25 and you get a free ebook with it. You can’t beat that price.

Go check out the Kickstarter.

A Match Made in Austin

My Reading Quest

I’ve been going through my extensive library and reading the first in a bunch of series. The goal is to find out what I am keeping and what I’m getting rid of.

I read Tempest by Julie Cross and loved it. Here’s my review:

A rare book that doesn’t spend to much time on the mechanics of time travel. I love that the author is able to show us the same person in different stages of their lives and makes it believable. I look forward to reading the sequels.

I give it a 75%

 

What are you excited for right now?

Éric

CON, Words, Language, and Books

Hello and Welcome to Thursday,

Today will be a mix of subjects. Feel free to skip the ones you don’t care about.

Creative Ottawa Nerds First Craft Fair

Last Saturday was CON’s first event and I have to say I was impressed. We had over 150 people pass through the hall and most vendors seemed happy with their sales. We managed to raise over $600 for the food bank and something like 4 big boxes of non-perishables.

For a first event it was a success! Yay! That means we’ll try to duplicate and improve on that success. Our next event will be announced sometime in the near future. We just have to lock down dates.

Words

S.M. Carrière knocked it out of the park with this post. Go read it.

It’s a fact that I think we often forget. Words are powerful, they can make us feel and make us act. They’re too often short changed in what they do.

Word Cleaner

Words are powerful. The choice and structure of a sentence is important. I don’t use much profanity in my writing or my life but when I do I do it for a reason. There’s a new app out that that will filter you ebooks and “Clean” them. It’s disgusting. An author uses words for a reason and changing them changes the book.

The website for the App makes it seems like they’re protecting the children but it’s not a few F-bombs that they need to worry about. The truly objectionable things won’t be cleaned by a single word.

Don’t trust an app to clean a book for your kids, read the book and decide for yourself.

Lynda Poitevin has a great post on the subject.

Stories vs Posts

I can knock out a 1000 word story in an hour, maybe an hour and half if it’s a hard story or that annoying middle section. It can take me 2 to 4 hours to write a 500 word post.

Why is that? I think it’s that I can picture and follow a story much easier that a post. A post is supposed to say something that will keep your interest and keep you informed. A story has to keep you entertained.

It gets even worse when I’m stressed. Being stressed means I over analyze and over edit a post. I don’t want to piss off to many people or say something that can be misconstrued.

Books

Do not read an epic fantasy when you’re sick or recovering from a cold. I’m currently reading Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson. It is an unforgiving read. If you don’t remember who a character is, he doesn’t remind you. It’s an expansive and intricate book that shows an artistry I can only hope to someday accomplish.

Beta-Reader number 1 for Parasomnia has sent me their changes. It’s absolute torture not to jump into editing it again but I want to finish beta-reading what I have before I jump into it. I should be done the beta-reading I’m doing now by this weekend and then I can start editing Parasomnia for Beta-Reader 2. I’m scared and excited…

 

What have you been up to?

Eric

Stressed is Desserts Backwards. Cake for Everyone!

Good Morning my Imaginary Friends,

I bought antacids today. I only get heartburn for three reasons, Sickness, Coconut Oil, or stress.

Stress is one of the hardest things to deal with. It changes the way a person thinks, acts, and feels. It can be a great motivator or a poison that slowly eats away at your insides.

A lot of people talk about dealing with stress. I’m fairly certain the people who say that have no idea what stress really feels like. Unfortunately stress is completely subjective. What causes stress, how it affects you, and how much you can handle changes from person to person.

As if stress wasn’t troublesome enough it loves to feed off of other conditions. Anxiety can make stress so much worse that it’s almost paralyzing.

So why am I stressed? It’s the end of the fiscal year for work and things are crazy. I’ve been told several times this month (Yeah the past 5 days) that my job is useless and unnecessary. I’ve also been told several times that I’m doing it wrong. Always from clients, my coworkers and bosses are awesome and stand up for me but it still hurts and makes every project a trial. (Let’s not think of the self-doubt comments like that cause.)

Because work has been insane I also haven’t had the chance to write regularly. Stress means I don’t sleep well which means I have a harder time reading. It’s a vicious cycle. I have a four day weekend starting tomorrow that will help relax me.

When you’re stressed people will give you advice and platitudes. I know because it’s what I want to do. Remember that they aren’t trying to make you feel bad they’re just feeling helpless and want to help. The best way to show your support for someone who is stressed is to tell them you’re there for them. A hug helps if you’re both ok with that.

Stress is part of life and I don’t have any magic spell to get rid of it. This time next month It’ll be over and I’ll feel better. untitled

What do you do to de-stress?

Live long and prosper my friends,

Éric

This Guy Sat Down to write a Deep Philosophical Post. What Happened Next was Shocking!

Hello,

I’m feeling Clickbait-y today. (Insert Evil Laugh here.) That makes me think I should record my own evil laugh for these moments…

I wanted to talk about voting, harassment, or the horrible things happening with #GamerGate. But to be completely honest I don’t think I can add anything to the discussion. Here are my basic opinions:

  • Voting Good, Vote gorram you!
  • Harassment is BAD. Stop it!
  • No seriously, STOP IT! There is never any reason to threaten someone’s life. Never

So since I’m not feeling up to being deep, here’s a basic update.

Coffee

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You may know that I love coffee. It’s something that I’ve gone from appreciating to truly enjoying.

If you follow me on Facebook,(or read my post about Can-Con) you might know that I’m trying to create my own flavoured coffee.

So far it’s worked swimmingly. I purchased a $15 hot air popcorn popper and experimented with how long and how much to roast in it. It worked amazingly. The coffee came out as a Full City+ or Medium-Well roast. It’s the perfect roast, in my mind, since it’s mellow and a little sweet.

I used Sumatra mostly and really like the flavour or the roasted beans.

Talking about flavours, I bought some flavour oils and flavoured the beans at different times in their cooling. I’ve tasted of the 5 batches. The 2 day cooled and the 1 hour cooled. Unfortunately despite smelling like the flavours, the taste didn’t penetrate the bean (sounds dirty.)

I’ve set up 3 others at ½ hour, 10 minutes, and right out of the machine. My worry is that I might need to combine the flavouring with some sort of bonding agent that will force it into the bean. Frankly I have no idea how to do that.

Oh well. I’ll let you know more once I’ve taste tested more coffee. It’s a hard life isn’t it?

Writing Editing

Just a quick word on how the writing and editing is going. Slowly.

Ok a few more words. I’ve been trying to edit Parasomnia but having issues with attention span and distractions. I’m still hoping to have it done and in the hands of my first beta reader / The Weditor by early November.

Once that’s done, I’ll start a quick re-edit of A Study in Aether and then I’ll find some fresh beta-readers for more help with the editing. I’d like to resubmit this by Christmas.

And finally when I’m done with all this editing, I’ll start writing Welcome to Everdome! The fraking story has been running through my head and it’s driving me nuts. I’m looking forward to actually writing it.

What’s your favourite type of coffee, or tea?

Would you like to be a Beta Reader for either of the books?

Let me know in the comments.

Éric

Recommendation Tuesday – Can-Con

Hello,

I’ve been alternating between excited and terrified for this weekend. It’s the second year I’ll be attending CAN-CON: The Conference on Canadian Content in Speculative Arts and Literature. Last year was amazing and I had a lot of fun.

It’s a calm and relaxed atmosphere with professional and wonderful people.

I’m nervous for the silly reason that I’m going alone this time. My wife will be selling her awesome stuff at Geek Market, across town. It’s at times like these that I realize how much I rely on her to break the ice and be the sociable one.

cancon-logo-history-333x390

Panels

The best part of Can-Con, other than the people, are the panels. I’m particularly excited for:

RPGs: The Game’s the Thing – Writing RPGs: Ever wanted to write a module and have it published? Come hear about the experiences of our panelists who have done just that! Geoff Gander (m), Alice Black, Timothy Carter

Space Opera: It’s History and Its Place Today

Multimedia fandom: Joy Odjick, graphic novelist and TV producer, Gina Frietag of Cellar Door Film Festival, costumer and interactive gamer Alice Black and S.M. Carriere of Silver Stag Entertainment discuss expressions of fandom in other media.

Opportunities for Self-Publishing and Hybrid Models for Authors: Mark Leslie Lefebvre, Director of Self-Publishing and Author Relations, Kobo

And of course: Special Live Filming of the “Nights of the Round Table” by Silver Stag Entertainment. S.M. Carrière and others will discuss Calculating God by Robert Sawyer. See my review of the book from 2012.

That’s just a few panels that look awesome, there are a lot more.

If you’re in Ottawa and love reading Science Fiction or Fantasy get a ticket and come by.

What panels at Can-Con are you most excited for?

 

Éric

Parasnomnia Draft 1 is done. Time to Party?

Hello,

So as the title says I’m finally done draft 1 of Parasomnia. This is the biggest novel I’ve written so far at just under 100,000 words (I hear my Fantasy writer friends laughing.)

It’s such a relief to be done. The last third of any novel is always massively stressful. Even though I know I can do it, there’s a tiny voice in the back of my head that says it’s ok to quit, nobody care about the book, I’m not a good enough writer yet for this idea. I’ve managed to ignore that voice 5 times now and when I write those last few words I’m always awash with relief.

Of course it’s not really done. In late October or November, I’ll pick it up and do a thorough rewrite and edit. The first chapter sucks. I thought I was writing a police procedural at the time and it doesn’t fit with the rest of the story. Also I think I’ve changed characters names throughout the book. I also need to add some foreshadowing.

Once the second draft is done, I’ll send it to the weditor and then do another cleanup. Once that’s done I’ll send it to Beta Reader 1, whoever that will be, and then Beta reader 2 (which I need to find).

The thing about writing, you’re never done. I might have finished this book but I have a list somewhere of several dozen book ideas, not to mention I’ve plotted out the next 6 Elizabeth Investigates books.

I like to write at work, when I have down time. Currently out of four people in my section, two are retiring and one is going back to school. As of October I’ll be doing the work of 4 people. Yikes. For that reason, I’m not jumping into another novel.

I do have a few stories planed and I’m getting close to play testing FADDS.

All in all things are looking good.

Is there anything you’ve read on my blog that you’d like to see expanded or turned into a novel?

Éric

Mid-Year Review 2014

Welcome to the new Blog.

Have a look around. Check out the Travelling TARDIS, or if you’re feeling brave read both Travelling Tardis and Aspiring Something at the same time. Gasp… I know.

With a new address, I feel like it’s time to review the goals and resolutions I set forth last December.

Resolutions

“This year I resolve to do three things again, Write regularly (500 Words a Day of novels or stories), Continue Reading as much (30+ might be tiny compared to my wife who reads that in 3 months), improve my internet presence.”

I’ve pretty much followed the first one. I try to write at least 500 words a day. I’m not always successful but at this point I’m we’re in week 31 and I’ve written 85,000 words of Parasomnia. I write on weekdays so that means I’m ahead and that’s not even counting my blogs.

According to Goodreads I’m at 22 of 30 books for the year. However that does include three graphic novels and a very small book. I think I’m well on my way to reaching the 30 book mark that was my goal.

As for the third part of the resolution, I think I’ve been doing ok. I’ve managed to blog at least once a week and even twice most of the time.

Moving Forward

I think for my resolutions I’m going to do my best to keep doing what I’m doing. I’m within spitting distance of finishing Parasomnia and once that’s done I can start planning my next book, and writing a few short stories.

Projects

FADDS (Four Attribute Dual Dodecahedron System)

Between buying a house, extending the size of Parasomnia, and other valid excuses; I’ve barely touched FADDS. I have managed to finish Building the Second set of classes, built most of the Race builder, doubled the amount of Talents, and started work on cleaning up the language. It’s at 60 pages and 25000+ words, without counting the Beastiary.

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to have the site and PDF build for 2015 but I’ll try.

Project Kitchen Sink

The idea of a series of short stories that intertwine to make a larger more interesting novel still fascinates me. I’ve only written three stories and barely looked at it. I think this will take the backburner for a while.

The Dying World

This was my plan to write a Role Playing Game module. It will be epic but I think I’ll wait until I’m finished with FADDS before I write it. I still plan on having it be a rules-generic adventure that can be played in any system.

I hope to start work on this in mid-2015

Youtube

I still plan on doing a webshow but it’s a lot more complicated than I expected. I’m not sure when I’ll get to it but hopefully you’ll have some silly antics on film (Digital video) soon.

Websites

If you’re reading this than you know I’ve succeeded in combining certain parts of my and my wife’s online presence. For the moment I’m keeping JenEric Photo separate until I decide what to do with it.

My Tumblr will stay on its own.

I have added a Youtune Chanel and it has one video. I think I’ll wait until our view numbers are high enough to add a Forum.

This weekend’s job, after seeing Guardians of the Galaxy, is to build a commission request form that will act as a store. The idea is that my wife’s stock varies and with 2 giant cons coming soon she can’t take a lot of commissions. So using a form will allow us to decide what to accept. If we do accept your commission, we will then send you a Paypal bill.

Other Things

I’ve been up to a few other things since I made this list and I think it’s important to mention them, in case you thought I was slacking.

Parasomnia

A weird novel that I’m so close to finishing. I’m hoping to be done in two weeks or so. Once it’s done, I plan on ignoring it for a few months while I work on FADDS. I’ll then do a quick cleanup and send it to the Weditor for beta reading. After that it’ll do the circuit of other Beta-readers, or as I call them “The Best People on Earth”.

This book is different from what I’ve written before and has a lot more emotional depth for the characters. I’m not sure if it’s brilliant, horrible, or something in between. I’ll let you know in a few months. I’m also not sure if it’ll be publishable. It doesn’t fit into any normal category.

The Ridiculous Adventures of Felix Felicis

I wrote a short-short story for April Fool’s Day and people really enjoyed it but hated that it ended in a cliff-hanger. So I wrote two others that both end in equally ridiculous cliff-hangers. I plan on writing another part every month or so. It’s a lot of fun getting into the head of the grumpy main character.

Go and read it. It’s silly fun.

Conclusion

I think that I’m well on my way to meeting at least half my goals and resolutions.

I feel both frustrated and thankful that I have more projects and ideas than I can put down or get started on. As long as I keep getting ideas, I know life won’t be boring.

 

How have you done with your Goals and Resolutions?

Thanks and once again welcome to the new Blog,

Éric

Thinking on Covers, Names, and Self-Publishing

Hello my imaginary friends,

I’ve been thinking again about self-publishing. Less about the idea of doing it and more about the puzzle of doing it.

From what I can tell there seems to be 8 parts to it:

  1. Writing the book
  2. Story and Copy Editing
  3. Formatting the inside of the book for various outlets (Ebooks, Print, Etc)
  4. Formatting and producing a cover for various outlets (Ebooks, Print, Etc)
  5. Having the books printed.
  6. Distributing the printed and Ebooks.
  7. Letting people know that the books exist.
  8. Repeat number 7 several times in many different ways.

Written out as a list it looks a lot less intimidating than it does in my head.

Now the problem with self-publishing is that an author isn’t by nature good and doing all 8 steps. I knew that I can handle 1 (I’m close to finishing novel five) I know I can do 3 (I’ve worked as a Layout Artist for over five years now) and I have a good idea how to do 5 and 6 (I also have friend who have offered to teach me how.)

My big problem is 2, I know I need to pay for an Editor and the minute I know if I’m self-publishing, I’m contacting people who can do it. I realize it isn’t cheap but it’ll be worth it.

Let’s leave 7 and 8 for a later post.

Book Covers

So the majority of my thinking has been about 4. I strongly believe that an awesome cover is worth its price. If I self-publish I want the book to practically sell itself. I want to pass by it and say, “That looks awesome I should read that… oh wait that’s my book.”

For The Elizabeth Investigates series, if I self-publish, I want to make sure that the covers stay consistent in style and feel. That means I need, not a cover artist but an artist. I have one person who I know will do a great job but is ridiculously busy with other projects.

I know that there are cover designers out there but I haven’t found one that matches what I write. So I looked on DeviantArt for artists that match certain styles. I found a bunch and I wonder if getting a commission from them would be difficult. I know I’d have to look into copyright issues and so on but I think it might be the best option. I can format the cover myself, what I need is the art.

I’m sure a lot of them will/would ignore me but it’ll be worth a try. I wouldn’t offer anything specific; I’d lay out my needs and ask for a quote. I’m assuming it would be somewhere in the ballpark of $100 to $1000. Dollars but maybe I’ll be surprised.

The next question becomes one of style. Since I write YA, I tend to mix genres a lot. The Elizabeth Investigates series is Urban Fantasy, Adventure, Mystery, with smatterings of Supernatural, Suspense, and Romance. That’s not the easiest thing to show off in a cover.

I could go with the normal YA Urban Fantasy style, like the Percy Jackson or Harry Potter covers, I could follow the Adult duo-coloured Urban Fantasy style, I could go with an old style fantasy cover where they try to put everything that happens into one illustration, or I could go for the simplistic Twilight style of cover. Or do I go for the older Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys style? All of which are awesome.

It depends on what I’m trying to sell the book as. If I go with the old teen mystery books, I’m telling people this book will be similar but with magic. If I go with a darker Urban Fantasy cover I’m telling them that this is a kid’s supernatural thriller.

nancy-drew-books-cover

It’s a lot to decide, I almost think it could be more important than even the title. The best case scenario, I think, would be to get an homage to the old mysteries with the art style of newer urban fantasies. Best of both worlds.

Author Name

The next thing that’s been bugging me is my name. I don’t want a pen name because that would be a pain but I’m trying to decide what variation to use for my writing.

In day to day life I sign my emails and credit card receipts with Éric Desmarais. My full name is Éric Albert Desmarais.

For a long time I considered using my full name but I don’t know, it feels pretentious.

I could use Éric A. Desmarais and I have. The initial makes it seem more literary for some reason. I could also use É.A. Desmarais.

You get the point. It’s an identity thing I guess. Maybe I should just go with Éric Desmarais.

 

Does the cover affect your interest in a book?

Would the name of the author, who you don’t know, make a difference in whether you bought a book?

The Author, Belle, and I – An Adventure at ComicCon

This story was inspired by real events. Someone posted something similar but much creepier on the blog of an author I like and it inspired me to write this story.

It’s an attempt at both an obvious moral and a romantic story.

Comments and criticisms are encouraged.

*All the events and characters in this story are made up. Any resemblance to real people is purely coincidence. Except the Pirate, he’s based off a friend M.F.*

Read moreThe Author, Belle, and I – An Adventure at ComicCon