Writing Update

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Wow. We’re already in February. This year has been going really fast. Lots going on. See updates below.

Elizabeth Investigates: The Sign of Faust (A Baker City Mystery)

This book has gone through 2 editors and is currently with a third. It’ll be released by Renaissance Press this year. The exact date depends on how edits go and how their production schedule looks. This is a direct sequel to A Study in Aether and picks up a few weeks into Elizabeth, Jackie, and Angela’s second semester of grade nine.

Haven’t read the first one yet? Pick it up from Renaissance Press or from Amazon.

Everdome

I have pitched Everdome as the setting for a super secret project and it was accepted. I don’t have a contract in hand so it could change, but I’m really excited about this. Not only does it mean that the world will be used and expanded, but that the book will find a good home.

I’ll let you know more when I do.

Four Attribute Duel Dodecahedron System (FADDS)

I’ve been working on a role playing system for the better part of eight years. I’m at the final play-testing stage before I do a deep edit of the wording and text. After that it can all be submitted to a publisher.

If all goes well with the super secret Everdome project, I might be able to pitch it as the main FADDS fantasy setting.

Devices of Desire: Serial Story

I’ve written the first installment and will be adding another soon. I can’t admit that comments can and will affect the story but…

Go read Devices of Desire!

Elizabeth Investigates: The Mystery of the Dancing Lights (A Baker City Mystery)

This book will be the fourth Elizabeth Investigates and I’m currently at the fifth mark or 20% into the book. At this pace I should hopefully be done by November. That’s a great pace for me and I’d happily write one book a year.


If you need something to read I recommend checking out my Story Archive.

Happy Reading,

Éric

Éric’s 2018 Resolutions

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Last Thursday I graded my 2017 resolutions. I accomplished a lot but only 55% of what I was hoping.

I make these resolutions to push myself and to do more. Even if I only accomplish half, that’s more than I would have without them. Let’s hope this year is fruitful.

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

This is arguably more ambitious than last year’s 3000 words, since that included blog posts and short stories, but I really need to kick myself into writing more of my novels. I’m getting stressed at the idea that I’ve only written one publishable novel in the past four years.

Pitch Everdome and the Super-Secret Project

I need to decide if I’ll pitch Everdome to the big publishers, if I pitch it to others, or if I self-publish. It’ll, in part, be decided by how my pitch for the Super-Secret Project goes. Something I need to write up and submit. (I’ll hopefully have news by the end of the year.)

Write a Monthly Serial Story

I like writing these, they don’t stress me and they’re a lot of fun. It forces me to think on my feet and learn not to plan too hard and let the story go where my weird brain sends it.

If you haven’t already voted for the 2018 Serial story, go do that now.

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.

Read 30 books

I succeed at this last year and I hopefully I’ll do the same this year. I love reading and it’s important to me that I keep doing it.

Finish the new content for FADDS and playtest it

This has been on my list for a long time and if FADDS were a human child, it would be going into second grade at this point.

I need to finish the new content and do an overhaul to take out the races. I’ve come to find that a race system in RPGs is, well, kind of racist. Instead I’ll be switching it to bonuses based off of Nurture and Nature.

Test, Design, and Produce 2 new coffee flavours

This will be easy. I have two flavours chosen. They need some more testing with people and I need to design their theme. We’ll have at least one for Comic Con.

Edit and send Dinosaur Road Trip to a willing betareader

This will be tough. It’s not a great book, but it was extremely personal and I really need to get it into a physical form for my daughter. I’m sure I’ll add some stuff along the way.

Jen, Weditor, has gone through it and made comments. She doesn’t seem sure it’s publishable so I’d like another opinion and a betaread. Depending how that goes I’ll either pitch it or just print a copy for myself and baby Dragon.

Start getting a short story collection together

This is going to be the fifth year of the Serial Story and I’m really proud of the worlds that have come out of it.

What I’d like to do is write an extra chapter for each story and put them all together, this year included. That would give me roughly 65,000 words and I’d pitch it to my publisher. I’d want to write 2 or 3 stories featuring characters from my books to try and tempt people to buy it and round it out to 70,000 ish words.

Play more Videogames

I have been doing a lot. Between my full time job, my part time job, coffee roasting, writing, housework, freelance layout, and other things; I spend a lot of time creating or doing things.

I need to force myself to sit down and play some of the games I’ve been wanting to play. Even if it’s only a few hours a week. It’ll help me relax.

Keladry is getting old enough now that soon she’ll be able to boss me around or at the very least stop attacking the controller.

 

Once again it’s an ambitious list. Hopefully I can get at least 50% done. Wish me luck.

What are your Resolutions this year?

Éric

 

2017 Resolution Report Card

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season filled with warmth and joy.

Last year, I set forth some lofty goals. Let’s see how I did.

1. Write 3000 words a week. (Fail)

This year has been terrible for productivity in writing; unfortunately I haven’t fallen back into the groove. I did manage a Novella of 30,000 words, the serial story, regular posts, and roughly 3000 words into Mystery of the Dancing Lights. I’ll have to alter this goal for next year.

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

I decided mid-year to put this one away and come back to it someday. It’s only at 15,000 words and I’m not happy with it. I think I’ll try and re-work it at a later time.

3. Start the next Elizabeth Investigates. (Pass)

The Hounds of Baker Ville:  I realized it wouldn’t have enough emotional weight if we weren’t more invested in certain characters. I’ve moved the concept to book 6.

I started book 4, called The Mystery of the Dancing Lights. I wrote the intro and the first chapter and then I stalled. Recently I sat down and plotted out the book and now I can’t wait to write it.

4. Read 30 books. (Pass)

I had to read a few graphic novels near the end, but I made my goal. It’s a great way to motivate myself to read and read more than that one series I’m obsessed with. Or worse, just scrolling through Facebook endlessly.

5. Write a Monthly Serial Story.(Pass)

Story is all finished as of December 21st.

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

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

Both Green Apple and Marshmallow have been great successes. I’ve even got plans for next year.

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

I got overly ambitious and added too much to the rules. Now I’m scrambling to finish them. Hopefully I can submit by end of 2019.

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

Despite the baby, going back to work, multiple colds and flus, not to mention life in general, we were able to continue producing content, and quality I think, every weekday of 2017.

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

I haven’t even looked at A Case of Synchronicity this year. It’ll have to wait… unfortunately.

I did pitch Everdome to an agent and queried a big publisher. It was rejected both times but I will find this book a home.


Final Score

So I accomplished 5.5 out of 10. That’s 55% and technically a pass.

Looking at past years I seem to be slipping by 5% each year. Considering that the goals are getting more intense, I suppose that’s normal.

Next year hopefully I won’t get below 50% but in the end it doesn’t matter if I have a goal of writing 150,000 words and I write 100,000, I still did better than if I hadn’t tried.

 

How did your resolutions go?

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

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.

203_newyearsresolution

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

Bitesize News

Hello my Imaginary Friends,

Today we have all kinds of news, exciting little news like tidbits. Yum, bitesize news!

Serial Story

After a tied vote and some soul searching, I have decided that this year’s serial story will be Wargrave Island. It’s a Murder Mystery Homage to And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.

Next week, if all goes well, I’ll have a list of characters on Tuesday and the second part on Thursday.

Stories

Speaking of stories… I have created a page with a listing of all the stories that have run on this blog. It’s an easy and convenient way to find new stuff to read. Each story or part of a story is between 500-1500 words, which is perfect for a washroom break or bus ride.

Here is the story page.

A Study in Aether

My publisher sent me edits to the first draft and now I get to work through them. I’m mildly intimidated by the 600 or so comments but I was expecting it. I should start today or tomorrow depending on work and other projects.

Events

JenEric Designs will be participating in three to five events this year. The times and dates have been updated on our Events page.

If there’s an event you’d like to see us at feel free to contact us.

FADDS

I’ve been working really hard on FADDS the past few weeks and I had a breakthrough. I’ve tweaked some rules and I think it’s finally close to ready, mechanically speaking. I’d say it’s at 80% done writing.

The next step after the rules are written and tested, is to go through the entire 60 page rulebook and standardize language, add explanation, rearrange rules into a more logical order, and finally submit it to a publisher.

It’s still a ways away but I’m hoping the rules will be finalized by end of summer and rewrites by Christmas.

Everdome

Gah. This story is taking me forever. My issue is sitting down and writing it. I have the rest plotted out and I know how it ends. I just need to sit down and do it but I’m always distracted by something else…

Hoping to be done soon… Sigh.

Coffee

One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to develop 6 new flavours.

The first and an automatic addition to our Core Flavours is Muggle Coffee. It’s actually not a flavoured coffee. It’s the first, and probably only, unflavoured coffee that we’ll hold. It’s delicious.

Go check out our Coffees. They’re always available for commission.

A Medium Roast without Flavouring
A Medium Roast without Flavouring

 

As you can see I’ve been slacking off a little lately *sarcasm*. Between the stuff above, work, layout work, family, and friends ; I’ve been happily busy this year. Let’s hope I can keep up the pace.

 

Any questions about the stuff that JenEric Designs does? Anything we don’t do that you’d like to see?

 

Later Days,

Éric

 

I resolutely attempted to resolve my Resolutions

Taken from LIVEdigitally

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Last year I made a series of resolutions for 2015. This is my end of the year review to see if I came anywhere near finishing them.

I may have gotten a little overly ambitious…

Taken from LIVEdigitally

My beginning of the year resolutions

I will Write 500+ words a day and complete 1 novel

Between blog posts, short stories, FADDS, and the Serial Story; I have certainly written at least 500 words a day. [PASS]

I haven’t finished Everdome unfortunately. As much as I wish I could. I’m only on Chapter 24 of 32. I’m roughly 20,000 words short… Hopefully I can finish it quickly in the new year. [FAIL]

I will continue to read regularly and attempt to read 30 or so books

According to Goodreads I’m currently reading my 31st book of the year. It’s been an extra challenging year for reading since I’ve been reading the first in over 35 series. There have been some amazing books and some horrible ones. [PASS]

I will ensure there is 5 days a week of content on JenEric-Designs.ca

We have been steadily updating content every week day this entire year. With the new addition of the Blush and Fandom Travel articles by my wonderful wife and the pictures of the travelling TARDIS we have more than enough content. I’m even considering adding an extra day. [PASS]

I will submit Parasomnia to at least 3 publishers and 3 agents

I have submitted Parasomnia to 1 agent (No reply) and 3 Publishers. One of the Publishers has said it isn’t for them but they’ll read it and the other two have promised word by February.

This is probably the best thing I’ve ever written and I hope it finds a publisher willing to take it one.

I’m going to give myself a pass on this one. Publishing takes time and it was a lack of it that meant I submitted to publishers first and not agents. [PASS]

I will start a web-show and update regularly

Once again this is a fail… I really want to and I have all the equipment but I’m having trouble finding the time. [FAIL]

I will write a serialized story that I will update every month (Wattpad maybe?)

I went a little overboard with this one. Only Human was updated once a month except for November and December where I wrote 2-3.

The final Instalment updates this Thursday. [PASS]

My mid-year resolutions

I wasn’t satisfied failing my start of the year resolutions so I wrote up some extra ones in June.

Re-Submit A Study in Aether

After 2 years of beta-readers and editing. I finally resubmitted it to the publisher that wanted it. I feel like there’s still a lot of work to do on the book but I still love the characters.

I’ve been planning out, “The Hounds of Baker-ville” Which will see what our heroes are doing for their summer break. [PASS]

Re-Design and keep updating Website

I’ve been making minor changes to the website but it needs a full upgrade and I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Sorry. [FAIL]

Short Stories

This was a resolution to write, A Funny thing Happened on the Way to my Funeral and hopefully write a few more short stories that were kicking around in my head. I succeeded in the primary and wrote on extra short story. [PASS]

Versus

I still like the idea of writing this disaster novel but I won’t get to plotting it this year. I may make it my novel for 2016. [FAIL]

How’d I do?

Overall I passed 6.5 out of 10. That’s 4.5 of 6 for the Year and 2 of 4 for the midyear.

It’s not a fun percentage but I’m extremely proud of the things I’ve done this year. They were ambitious and ridiculously many and I managed to accomplish a lot more than I expected.

Go me! Now to work on 2016’s resolutions.

 

Thanks for following and I hope your resolutions have gone just as well or better than mine.

Éric

Basic Update – July 14

The morning heat rushed to embrace me as I left the house. Its touch was warm and soothing to start but quickly it started to suffocate me. As I walked the short walk to the bus the heat threw a blanket of humidity over everything and made the world feel and look like it was under water, without the soothing liquid.

That’s not the start of a story, it’s just my morning commute… blarg. I hate heat. Fall is my favourite season. Give me 5-15 degrees Celsius and I’m happy. I realize it’s only been a few days of 30 degree weather but I’m not a fan.

Other than the heat my weeks are busy with multiple big projects at work, tweaking FADDS from player feedback, and trying to get some writing done. With the constant urgencies at work I’m starting to feel like I’m falling behind on my writing. I think it may be time to start writing at night again. (Yeah I know I was spoiled.)

FADDS is coming around really well. My two major blocks were Magical items and Villains. Last week in the shower I figured out magic items cost and creation.

Villains, Monsters, Fiends, Challenges, opponents, adversaries, bad guys, etc. whatever you want to call them they’re essential to role playing games. My biggest issue with most games is their lack of instructions for making a villain that isn’t a player class. Sometimes I like to have an insanely awesome rat fight my high level characters. Without making it really big or giving it class levels.
On the flip side as a game master I really don’t want to spend 1 hour or more making a monster that my players will ignore or kill in under 30 seconds.

So the challenge I have is creating a two tiered system, one for genuine big-bads and one for the challenging but quick monsters. All without players knowing the difference.

Building a game system is difficult but really exciting. I’ve spent so many hours in front of a screen that I can say with authority, get yourself computer glasses. I love the feeling I get when everyone is having fun and the game is moving forward. It’s great.

Éric

Gaming and Writing

Hello my Imaginary Friends,

I may have way too many things on my mind right now. It has nothing to do with being busy and everything to do with my mind working in overtime. I blame running oneshots and preparing to run a new campaign.

Gaming

After nearly four months of not running or playing in any games (pen and paper games like D&D) I ran a oneshot two weeks ago and another yesterday. Oneshots are short adventures that take an evening to start and finish.

I’ve learned some valuable lessons with both games. The first being that rules light games are harder for people to grasp as a first gaming experience. Second is that I’m very rusty with the D&D 3.5 rules. It took me forever to make characters.

I also got the Emerald Spire Superdungeon in the mail from Paizo. It’s the special Kickstarter, leather bound edition. It’s beautiful and exciting. I can’t wait to run my group through it on Thursday.

Hobbies

I’ve noticed most authors I know have another creative outlet. It varies from person to person, there’s gardening, sculpting, drawing, painting, music, acting, web videos etc.

I think it’s important to have an outlet that lets you do something other than writing. I’m still not an official author but I’ve noticed that writing sort of steels a section of my brain. I’m constantly thinking of scenes, stories, novels, characters and other things for what I’m writing or want to write. It’s exhausting and sometimes builds into stress.

If I don’t do something else with my mind, I often feel guilty for not writing. Writing is a combination urge, craving, and need.

The closest thing I have to another creative outlet is gaming. It allows me to use the same parts of my brain that create stories for another purpose. A good gaming session, or preparation session feels like I’ve rebooted or defragmented my brain. It’s great.

I’ve also greatly enjoyed working on my own gaming system called Four Attribute Duel Dodecahedron System or FADDS for short. I’ve talked about it before but I’ll be doing some playtest at the end of August for the game.

I’m toying with the idea of filming a playtest oneshot to see how well it plays.

fadds

Parasomnia

On the note of writing, I’m hard at work on chapter 20 of Parasomnia. It started out as a Supernatural Suspense but I think I’ll have to re-classify it as a Drama Fantasy. I also started writing it for Adults but I’m fairly sure it’s better suited for Young Adults, or that odd new category called New Adults.

The book should have roughly 23-25 chapters and I’m going to do something with it that I’ve never needed to do before and that’s edit the crap out of it before my Weditor (Also known as my Wife) looks at it.

Unlike the Elizabeth Investigates series, I find this book needs a lot more cleanup. It might be that I have 5 POV characters instead of 2 or maybe the others need it and I didn’t notice. Either way once I’m done I’ll have a few weeks’ worth of work before I send it to the Weditor.

An author I know, and respect, sends her beta readers her new books one at a time. So she’s already edited what the first one says before she sends it to the second one. I think this is a brilliant way to get a book edited and that’s what I’ll do with this one when it’s done.

It’s been a hard book to write. Each of the five main characters is fundamentally broken. I don’t mean a fatal flaw but a mental problem that hampers their development and their ability to deal with the world. It’s hard to include those things and try to make them realistic without caricaturizing them.

There’s still a strong dose of action and adventure throughout but this book has more character introspection than I’ve ever attempted.

I’m very proud of it so far and I hope it will be well received.

That’s it for today.

See you tomorrow with more random topics.

Éric