Results: JenEric Holiday Contest – Win $25

Hello Everyone,

Last month we ran a contest where you needed to match the picture with either Jen, Eric, or Keladry.

The winner was Roseanne B, who was chosen at random from the 6 people that guessed correctly.

They can use the $25 for anything from:

Answer

Picture 1 Picture 2 Picture 3

  1. Éric
  2. Keladry (Baby Dragon)
  3. Jen

We expected everyone to get it right but we had a success rate of 40%.

Stay tuned, we will have more contests.

Éric

Éric’s 2017 Resolutions

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

On Tuesday I reviewed my 2016 Resolutions. I managed to finish 60% of my goals, which is pretty good. This year I have 10 resolutions and I’m hoping, as always, to complete them all.

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1. Write 3000 words a week.

In years past, I’ve said 500 words a day. The importance for me is to write as often as I can. This 3000 will include books, stories, and blog posts.

2. Complete The Copper Tarnish by March

I’d like to finish The Copper Tarnish as soon as I can. I’m not sure if I’ll be submitting this book or not, but I’d like to finish it and see what I think.

3. Start the next Elizabeth Investigates

I really want to start The Hound of Baker Ville. I’ve been thinking about it for three years and it’s time to return to Baker City, Ontario.

4. Read 30 books

I failed at this last year but I was close. Let’s see if I can do it this year.

5. Write a Monthly Serial Story

This is going to be the fourth year for serial stories and I think I’m getting better at it. The goal is to write 800-1200 words every month without preplanning the story. Just letting it go where my mind wants.

Help me out and vote for the 2017 Serial Story – You Vote, I Write.

6. Test, Produce, and Develop 2 new coffee flavours.

The tough part will be not doing more. But we’ll be doing a lot of conventions and I want to give each flavour a chance to shine.

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

I still have a lot of editing to do on the system, and with the new content it’ll take some time. Hopefully I’ll get to it and be able to shop it out in 2018.

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

We’ve been going for four 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. A big thank you to all the guest posters on Fandom Travel and Blush when Keladry was born!

I’ll do my best to ensure we keep that streak going.

I also want to look into making a separate page for EricDesmarais.ca

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

I have a lot of cleaning up to do in both novels, but it’ll be nice to revisit them and clean them up. If I decide that I’ll be pitching The Copper Tarnish, I’ll want to do that one also.


This years resolutions are skewed towards writing and are extremely ambitious but I’m okay with that.

What resolutions have you set for yourselves for 2017?
Éric

2016 Resolution Report Card

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Hello My Imaginary Friends,

So 2016 is almost over. A lot of good things happened to me and my family this year. The best of which being Keladry, AKA Baby Dragon.

Let’s see how well I did with my resolutions for 2016:

1. Write 500 words a day – Pass

I might not have written every day, but between the blog, stories, and novels, I’ve written approximately 120,000 this year. It’s not quite 500 a day, but I wrote most days and that’s a good thing.

2. Complete Everdome before April – Fail

I finished before July and I’m still editing it, but at least I’m not a total slacker.

3. Start and finish a new novel – Half Pass

I’ve started The Copper Tarnish and I’m roughly a third of the way through, which is pretty good. I won’t have the time to finish it this year.

4. Read 30 books – Fail

As I’m writing this, I’m at 23 books for the year and I don’t think I’ll make it. A combination of Pokémon Go taking up my bus rides this summer and not having bus rides since September.

5. Write a Monthly or Bimonthly Serial Story – Pass

Wargrave Island was the most difficult serial story so far, but I’m happy with what I learned during it. I’m also happy that I managed to finish it without much trouble.

6. Test, Produce, and Develop a total of 16 Coffee flavours – Pass

At JenEric Coffee’s website we have 16 different flavours available and I have another 5 potential ones for next year. So yay coffee!

7. Develop a simple concept for a Youtube show – Half Pass

I have the concept but not the enthusiasm to actually make it. I think I may need to rethink how much I want to have a YouTube show.

8. Playtest the various stages of FADDS and prepare it for submission in 2017 – Fail

I played two games a week of FADDS and managed to get the system to a wonderful balance. Then in September I came up with 3 new power types for players and ran out of time before Baby Dragon came around. It’s close but it’ll have to go into next year’s resolutions.

9. Update JenEric-Designs.ca and add a proper webstore – Pass

I updated the look and feel of the website and built a total of 3 webstores before settling on the one we’re using for coffee.

10. Prepare Memories of Faust for submission (Added Mid Year) – Pass


Looks like I managed six out of ten resolutions. 60% is a pass in my book. I make these in order to push myself and to be completely honest I don’t expect that I will finish them all, but I’m extremely proud of what I have accomplished this year.

Stay tuned on Thursday for my 2017 New Years Resolutions.

 

How’d you do this year?
Éric

Blush: Nursing

Nursing vs breast feeding

You might think that these two terms are the same, and for myself, they are. However, there are people who do not identify as female, and using the term “breast feeding” might generate a feeling of dysphoria in them. So I am trying to use the term “nursing” universally.

Nursing vs formula

I chose to nurse Dragon, rather than to use formula. For multiple reasons, this was the best choice for us. On top of the doctors and nurses telling us that nursing was the only way to go (I felt bad for the woman in our baby classes who was choosing to formula feed. The nurse running the class was shaming her), it’s so much cheaper to nurse than to buy formula, and it’s much faster to feed the baby when nursing; shirt goes up, bra goes down, baby latches to the body.

While the woman in my class did choose to formula feed, there are many people who don’t get that choice and must use formula for a variety of reasons. No one should be shamed for their inability or choice when it comes to nursing.

The Beginning

Nursing was really confusing to start with, because I constantly felt like I was doing it wrong. Is she latching properly? Is she getting enough? How do I hold her? How can she breathe?

One of the major benefits of being at the Queensway-Carleton Hospital was that my nurse was someone that I’ve known since she was 3 years old. I felt very comfortable asking her for help. The QCH also has excellent lactation consultants. There are numerous places you can go to if you need additional resources as well, like ottawa.ca/prenatal, parentinginottawa.com, lllc.ca, breastfeedinginc.ca, ottawabreastfeeds.ca, and 311 during business hours to talk to a public health nurse. The QCH also offers nursing classes on certain days.

Fortunately, we figured things out fairly quickly, which I am grateful for, and my milk came in after about 48 hours, so Keladry didn’t lose much weight before she started gaining it again. There’s nothing like seeing the numbers on the scale drop to make you feel like you’re failing as a parent, and this happens right after birth.

Interesting things I discovered about nursing

There’s something called let-down that happens when the breasts fill with milk unexpectedly. (I say unexpectedly, because I am often surprised by it.) This happens after a certain amount of stimulation of the nipple. The amount of time required for this varies from person to person, and the amount of let-down varies as well. I’ve discovered that if I’m already full of milk, let-down causes some milk to escape, even if the baby is attached to the other side. I assume to see a problem here. I’ll come back to that.

Let-down can also happen if the baby hasn’t been fed in a while, if the baby cries, if another baby cries, if you think about the baby and are nowhere near the baby, etc.

So to get back to that problem. The problem of leaking. I find that I have this problem most often at night, because Keladry is a very good sleeper. If she has fed well enough before bedtime, she has slept 8 hours straight. Compare this to during the day, when I feed her every 4 hours or so. You can imagine that that extra 4 hours means that I am incredibly full. I’ve had several incidents of waking up with a soaking wet pyjama top.

Solution:

nursing-padssmall

Nursing pads! I commissioned these from Crafty What-Knots, and OMG they are the most comfortable things of life! The pad on the bottom left (the purple one) is showing the inside. It is a super soft material that I want to rub constantly, and it is incredibly absorbent. There is an inner layer that is extra absorbent. Then the backing…the awesome backing that is the reason you should get your nursing pads from Crafty What Knots; I told her that I loved all things geeky, and she found me Avengers, Star Wars, Star Trek, and Minion fabric!! The backing protects my clothing by locking the wet inside the pad.

I am so impressed by these pads – they’re big enough that my shifting around at night doesn’t move them (which was my problem before), and they’re exactly what I wanted. (She can do non-geeky fabrics, too, if that’s what you want.)


If you’re enjoying the Blush blogs, consider learning more with Blush: The Card Game from Renaissance Press

Keladry’s Room

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Some people put a lot of effort into a baby’s room. They pick out the right colours, paint the walls, murals, get special thingies, using those small room décor tips etc. Jen and I decided that was all awesome, but felt less personal. What we did instead was ask some fantastic artists to make things for the baby’s walls.

They are all fantastically talented and you should go buy their stuff.


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Big Hero 6 Painting – Gilove2dance Designs

Lindsay Coderre is a talented and versatile artist. She primaraly works digitally, but painted this amazing image of Hiro and Baymax that Keladry will always love. Her online store primarily has photo manipulation and design.

Lindsay is Keladry’s Aunt and one of her Godparents.

Dragon’s Den Painted Plaque – The Art Shop

This was given to us as a baby shower present from one of my in-law’s sisters. It’s great when even your extended family’s family know you well enough to get something so perfect.

It was made by the Art Shop. They have some fascinating pieces.


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Firefly Cross Stitch – Rebecca

My wife has an amazing super-power; it seems to run through her whole family. It’s the ability to make friends easily and anywhere. Jen met Rebecca on the bus and loved her TARDIS hat. They struck up a conversation and became friends.

She’s an extremely versatile crafter which can be seen on her Tumblr.

Rainbow Wall Hanging

This is from Jen’s room when she was a child. We have no idea where it’s from, but it’s adorable.


keladrys-room-03

Baby Dragon and Tardigrade – S. M. Carrière

The beautiful baby dragon print was painted digitally over our first ultrasound. It was done as a beautiful surprise. The Tardigrade we tried to commission, but she gave it to us as our baby shower present. Don’t you love the detail in the spacescape? So beautiful!

I’ve commissioned her to design me my first tattoo. I’m both excited and a little scared.

S. M. is Keladry’s other Godparent. She’s a talented author, artist, and all around wonderful person. Her newest book was written by votes on her blog and the profit goes to charity. Go buy it and read for a good cause!

TARDIS Lovey – Nerdy Needles

This soft and adorable TARDIS was given to us by the wonderful Nerdy Needles. She has a wide variety of knit and crotchet items. All wonderfully geeky.

Check out their facebook for all the cool stuff.

Dragon Name Plaque – 9five7 Pyrography

We commissioned this piece, and boy did 9five7 do an amazing job. It has the Hogwarts motto on it, Keladry’s name, and her date of birth. The dragon in the middle is really awesome and designed especially for her by the artist.

They do a huge variety of fandoms and I’ve never seen woodburning done so well. Check out their Facebook page and their Deviant art page for more amazing work.


So many talented people. Keladry is extremely lucky.

 

Later Days,

Éric

Blush: More Weird Pregnancy Stuff

You can read the first part here.

There are some things that I’ve only recently realized were weird during my pregnancy, like that hair grows abnormally fast. Armpit and leg hair included. Or maybe it just grows slower now that I’m nursing.

Contractions don’t necessarily hurt very much at the beginning. It took mine about 7 hours to start being anywhere near the realm of what I would call painful.

Then there’s all the weird delivery stuff that happens:

  1. You will get used to, or not care, that you are naked in front of people
  2. Labour might be way longer than you expect
  3. You will probably throw up during the pushing part of your delivery because of how hard you’re pushing (I did)
  4. You will probably poop at some point during delivery (I didn’t)
  5. The placenta is bigger than you think, and very squishy-hard when it comes out
  6. The first time you get up from the toilet (whatever you excrete) will be terrifying – there is SO MUCH blood in the toilet. Don’t worry – the next time will have a lot less
  7. You still look pregnant after delivery – it’ll take some time for the belly to go away. This makes for a great resting place for the baby if you choose to nurse
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Photo credit to Kat, who managed to sneak in just before noon to meet Keladry.

There’s also some pretty strange things that nobody tells you about having a newborn, like cluster feeding – this is what helps the milk to come in, and it happens over the second day and night. It’s exhausting, and would definitely have made us think we were doing something wrong, because she woke up every hour to feed a tiny bit and then go back to sleep. Every time the baby has a growth spurt, this happens again, except on a slightly smaller scale.


If you’re enjoying the Blush blogs, consider learning more with Blush: The Card Game from Renaissance Press

Top 5 Online Big Box Store Failures

Hello Imaginary Friends,

With Keladry, we received a lot of gift cards and we bought a lot of things online. This led to some serious frustrations. Small stores were easy to deal with but some of the big box stores were not.

Top 5 Online Big Box Store Failures

Me trying to figure out what these stores were thinking.
Me trying to figure out what these stores were thinking.

5. Restricted Items: Think Geek

I’m sure this isn’t their fault. There are severe restrictions to what you can sell over the border, but I really wanted the Tactical Diaper Bag. It’s a real pain to constantly deal with restrictions and seriously… a diaper bag?

4. Let’s Charge Way Too Much: Amazon Canada

Baby things are a niche market, but some of the re-sellers on Amazon Canada go one step too far. I saw diapers for over $100 that I can buy from the creators for $35.

Unfortunately these re-sellers flood Amazon’s listings and it’s near impossible to find what you’re looking for without being flooded by overpriced versions.

3. We Don’t Take Our Own Coupons Online: Best Buy Canada

Best Buy has a decent online store and an ok points program, but the two are not compatible. The points let you get certificates that can be used like money, but only in a physical location.

For Canada’s largest electronic retailer, that’s pathetic.

2. We Don’t Take Our Own Gift Cards Online: Walmart Canada

Not taking coupons or certificates is one thing, but Walmart won’t even take their own gift cards. That’s right – a Walmart gift card cannot be used online.

1. Let’s Organize Everything Into Stupid Categories: Babies R Us

Are you looking for something? Maybe it’s under “Pregnancy Essentials”, “Gift Ideas”, or “Parent Tested Parent Approved”.

Seriously, just label your categories in a simple, easy to understand way. Stop trying to be cute, and instead be useful.

 

Do you have any online stores that do dumb things and make you angry?

Éric

Geek Market and other things

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

It’s been a wild three weeks with Baby Dragon. Here’s a short update to let you know what’s been going on and what’s coming up.

Geek Market

Geek Market logo

This weekend is Geek Market, I’ll be there selling my book with Renaissance Press and selling coffee with JenEric-Coffee. So come by and I’ll chat your ear off about my two favourite things.

Baby Dragon

Keladry is absolutely adorable and sleeping better than most little babies. I’m still really tired but that’s okay since I’m home from work.

Books

Parasomnia

Early this year I received a contract for A Study in Aether, my debut novel. Less then a month later I got another contract for Parasomnia.

It’s a story of five people who are in an institute for dream related disorders, and the fantasy dreamworld they share.

I’ve received comments from some amazing and decorated editors and passed them to my publisher. I’m now working on the edits. I’m hoping to get them done by end of the month.

The Sign of Faust

This is the second novel in the Elizabeth Investigates / Baker City Mystery series. I’m mid way through editing it and I’m hoping to have it ready to send at the end of the year.

Everdome

Another novel that I’ll be editing and hopefully have ready for beta readers by January.

NaNoWriMo

I’ve decided to write my next novel as a NaNoWriMo novel.

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. A month that people from all over the planet decide to try and write 50,000 words in 30 days.

I’m going to be trying to write a classic monster movie style book. I’m calling it The Copper Tarnish. It’ll be the first book that I’ve written that doesn’t connect with the Baker City universe.

Wish me luck. If you’d like to follow my progress or add me as a NaNoWriMo buddy check out my profile.

Not final artwork
Not final artwork

That’s it for now. Later Days!

Éric

Ten Days of Fatherhood

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Just a short break between episodes of Gladiators in SPACE!

I have officially been a father for ten days. So much and so little has happened since she was born. In an attempt to avoid rambling too much I’ll separate this into parts.

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Birth

A theme this past ten days has been, “I thought I understood what was going to happen, but I didn’t.”

The birth and labour was much longer than I expected and very different. I won’t go into details but despite all our preparation we had no clue.

When I saw the little wriggling baby for the first time I didn’t experience what a lot of people had described. I didn’t instantly fall in love, I didn’t just know, etc. I just saw an adorable baby that vaguely looked like her mother. I instinctively wanted to protect her, but I get that with all babies. There was nothing spiritual or magical.

All the love and the urge to make everything better for her came slowly over time. It started when we first learned she existed and continued to grow. It’s still growing now.

I think even if she weren’t my child, I’d find her adorable. She makes these little snuffling noises, squeaks, and mini-roars that sound just like what I’d imagine a little Dragon would sound like.

Imposter Syndrome

In case you don’t know what Impostor Syndrome is, it’s “an inability to internalize […] accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a ‘fraud’.”

It’s most common in artistic people from what I’ve seen. I sometimes wonder how long it’ll take people to realize that it was mistake to publish me. By the way, check out A Study in Aether and leave reviews on Goodreads or Amazon. Ahem…

I’ve found the same sort of feeling with Keladry. One moment I’ll be changing her diapers and the next I’ll wonder when her real parents are coming to take her home. It’s like my brain is unable to fully comprehend that we’ve created a human and are now responsible for her. It’s terrifying.

There’s a disconnect between understanding the principles of making and having children and truly internalizing the information.

I’m told that the Parental Impostor Syndrome goes away eventually. Hopefully the other one will as well, but it’ll probably take longer.

Sleep and Doing stuff

Everyone warned me that once the baby would be around, there would be no time for sleep or anything else. So far we’ve been lucky; she’s sleeping 2-4 hours in a row between feedings. I can’t imagine doing this and going to my full time job, but I’ve been able to do a few little things here and there on projects.

The first few days I felt utterly lost and a little panicked but we’ve been introducing elements of routine into our days and that’s making me feel better.

As she grows older, we’ll try to instill a nice routine into her life as well and we can hope that will prevent us all from going crazier than we already are.

Friends and Family

I’m a shameless optimist when it comes to the human race and the innate goodness in each of us. That being said, I’m extremely insecure and have as a default assumption that everyone dislikes me. (It’s unfounded and silly but my brain is a jerk.)

Our friends and family have been absolutely amazing. Any and all support we need is there and we greatly appreciate it. You are all amazing!

Godparents

We thought long and hard about who and what we wanted for our little Dragon’s Godparents.

We narrowed down the criteria to someone who:

  • was spiritual or had a good academic knowledge of world religions;
  • could teach her things she won’t learn in school;
  • was a good person and role model;
  • who would take the job seriously; and
  • who could be friend and confidant that wouldn’t have an issue telling us if we were being unfair.

In the end we chose her Aunt Lindsay, who’s one of the most good and genuine people I know, and S.M. Carrière, who’s a wonderful person with a lot to share with Dragon. I know both will be there for her and make sure she grows up to be an awesome person.

Read S.M. Carrière’s post about it that made both Jen and I cry.

 

There’s a lot more I could write but I’ll stop there.

Later Days,

Éric