Virtual Nerd Con Holiday Edition

Do you want to explore a 3D Convetion? How about a FREE 3D convention?

Join JenEric Designs and Coffee at our booth and check out what we have to sell for this holiday season. First orders on both days get a surprise.

Join us Nov 7-8 2020 for the next edition of Virtual NerdCon!

​Get your free tickets now!!

Be sure to download VirBela to join us! (Windows and Mac)

FREE TICKETS

https://virtualnerdcon.weebly.com/

Hope to see you there!


And don’t forget to check out…


The Holiday Shopping List

Find all your holiday gifts from local Canadian Artists.


Half Full – The Holiday Shopping List

Hello,

So far we have filled 15 of the maximum 30 spots for the Holiday Shopping list and it’s a fantastic mix of stuff. That means we still have some room if you’re interested in joining us.


JenEric Designs and Creative Ottawa Nerds (CON) have teamed up to create a list of 30 Canadian artists and artisans that have something to offer for the holiday season.

Beyond the list, we will create a post each day in November that highlights one of the vendors.

For those of you that need holiday shopping ideas, keep an eye on this blog. The list will be up November 1st.

As more vendors join, we will add their logos to the banner.

For those of you that would like to participate please email us at JenEricDesigns (at) gmail.com Subject: Holiday Shopping List with the following information.

  • Business Name:
  • Business URL(s):
  • Description of your products/store:
  • Final Shipping Date for Holidays:
  • Sales or coupons:
  • Photos: 1 logo, 3-6 product pictures (each must be smaller than 2mb)

This will be first come first serve. We will accept a maximum of 30 vendors. No resellers.

There will be a $5 fee for being listed. All money collected will be used to boost a post on CON’s Facebook page promoting the list.

Thank you and I hope you have a happy and profitable holiday season!

JenEric Designs and CON

The Holiday Shopping List

Hello Fellow Small Business owners,

I’ve seen a lot of social media posts about how we should support small business. The problem with those posts is finding them again and getting more than just other business owners to look at them.

For that reason JenEric Designs and Creative Ottawa Nerds (CON) have teamed up to create a list of 30 Canadian artists and artisans that have something to offer for the holiday season.

Beyond the list, we will create a post each day in November that highlights one of the vendors.

For those of you that need holiday shopping ideas, keep an eye on this blog. The list will be up November 1st.

As more vendors join, we will add their logos to the banner.

For those of you that would like to participate please email us at JenEricDesigns (at) gmail.com Subject: Holiday Shopping List with the following information.

  • Business Name:
  • Business URL(s):
  • Description of your products/store:
  • Final Shipping Date for Holidays:
  • Sales or coupons:
  • Photos: 1 logo, 3-6 product pictures (each must be smaller than 2mb)

This will be first come first serve. We will accept a maximum of 30 vendors. No resellers.

There will be a $5 fee for being listed. All money collected will be used to boost a post on CON’s Facebook page promoting the list.

Thank you and I hope you have a happy and profitable holiday season!

JenEric Designs and CON

Advent Calendar Deadline for October Shipping

Hello Coffee Lovers,

You have until this Wednesday (September 30th) to order your advent calendars for shipping in mid-October.

Here are the options for this year:

  • 24 Bags at 1oz each ($50)
  • 12 Bags at 2oz each ($50)
  • 24 Bags at 2oz each ($100)

This is a pre-order for our Advent Calendars. Flavours will be picked from our current selection and a few experimental flavours.

There will be two sets of pre-orders.
Deadline to order first wave September 30th – Orders will ship mid-October.
Deadline to order second wave November 9th – Orders will ship mid-November.

ALLERGY If you have allergies please email us at JenEricDesigns(AT)gmail.com to let us know your specific allergy.

Pre-orders are open now

Thank you,

Éric

More Advent News!

Hello Coffee and Crochet Lovers,

Last year Jen made fantastic festive coloured baskets. (I liked them so much I asked for one for Christmas.)

This year she levelled up her game and decided to make 3 new types; Santa, Snowman, and Gingerbread Man.

Aren’t these fantastic? Each Advent calendar will come packaged in one of the baskets and the 24 packet 2 oz will require 2.

Here are the options for this year:

  • 24 Bags at 1oz each ($50)
  • 12 Bags at 2oz each ($50)
  • 24 Bags at 2oz each ($100)

This is a pre-order for our Advent Calendars. Flavours will be picked from our current selection and a few experimental flavours.

There will be two sets of pre-orders.
Deadline to order first wave September 30th – Orders will ship mid-October.
Deadline to order second wave November 9th – Orders will ship mid-November.

ALLERGY If you have allergies please email us at JenEricDesigns(AT)gmail.com to let us know your specific allergy.

Pre-orders are open now

Enjoy your coffee!

Éric

Coffee Advent Calendar 2020

Hello Coffee Lovers!

We are doing the Advent Calendars again this year adding an extra option.

Here are the options for this year:

  • 24 Bags at 1oz each ($50)
  • 12 Bags at 2oz each ($50)
  • 24 Bags at 2oz each ($100)

This is a pre-order for our Advent Calendars. Flavours will be picked from our current selection and a few experimental flavours.

There will be two sets of pre-orders.
Deadline to order first wave September 30th – Orders will ship mid-October.
Deadline to order second wave November 9th – Orders will ship mid-November.

ALLERGY If you have allergies please email us at JenEricDesigns(AT)gmail.com to let us know your specific allergy.

Pre-orders are open now

Thank you!

Éric

The Griswold Effect and Your Disney Vacation

Hello my Imaginary Friends,

Holidays and vacations are stressful. It’s one of the few times in life where you feel you need to be perfect and make everything perfect for everyone around you. That stress can turn to anger and depression.

The need to make everything perfect on holidays and vacations is colloquially known as The Griswold Effect. There’s only one result to expecting perfection in a holiday or vacation, and that’s disappointment.

My father in-law said on our second day at Magic Kingdom:

“They say this is the happiest place on earth but I keep hearing crying and people screaming at each other.”

I had noticed the same thing. From little kids on leashes screaming at their parents, to one uncool man swearing at a Haunted Mansion cast member, to parents yelling at their kids.

All Disney parks are huge, exhausting, and filled with people who think the whole park is there for them. There’s this image of the parks as perfect experiences of awesome, but they’re like every other vacation.

Don’t get me wrong, Disney is absolutely fantastic and I’m sure I’ll be going back (I’ve been to Disney World 4 times and Paris Disney once.)

The trick is to keep your expectations realistic. Rides break down, you wait for hours to get on, everything is overpriced and there’s more than you can do in one trip. You also have to account for down time and eating. Everything is bright, loud, and exciting which makes it really easy to get overstimulated. It’s also super easy to forget to eat. Use your eating time to decompress, plan, and most of all, adjust expectations.

The most important part of any holiday or vacation is being with those you love. Nothing will ever be perfect, so plan, set things up, prioritize what’s most important, and then hold on for dear life as the universe throws everything it can at you.

Good luck,

Éric

Oneshot Scenario – The Lost Clause

Don’t forget to vote on what you want to read in 2020’s serial story


Hello Holiday Friends and Gamers,

This is a Scenario for Oneshot – The Simplest RPG.

Have fun!

Description

The players are toys that wake up in an abandoned Santa’s workshop. It’s up to them to save Santa and the holiday season.

Starting – The shop

The Group starts in an old-fashioned woodworking workshop. There’s paint, tools, wood, and lots of cobwebs.

There’s also a large design table with a fresh pad of paper.

There are two doors. One leads to the outside and the other leads to a small bachelor’s apartment.

Anything they draw on the piece of paper becomes real.

There’s also a large filing cabinet that has letters from every child in the world along with a list.

There are tunnels that lead to all three buildings. Search of 8 to find them.

Bachelors Apartment

Enemies: None

This is a spartan apartment with cot against the wall and a small kitchen. The kitchen has a large pantry cabinet, a counter, and a wood stove. There are some pots and pans in the cabinet. There’s one set of plates and utensils.

Search 4: They find a hidden panel in the wall with a diary. The diary says: “We think we’ve figured it out. The clock is the key.” Followed by either gibberish or code. (Mind 9 to figure out it’s instructions for winding the clocktower.)

Outside

Enemies: Polar Bear

Outside the small building is a land of snow and ice bathed in complete darkness. The only light being the dim reflections of the Aurora on the snow.

There are two other buildings. A large Clocktower, and a Stable. There’s also a lake.

When the characters leave a building there’s a chance they are seen by a hungry polar bear. Unless they are actively sneaking, flip a coin to decide.

Stables

Enemies: Feral Reindeer

These stables are both well kept and well built. There are eight pens with 7 reindeer. They are well fed, clean, and very friendly. There’s also a large red sled that seems equally as well taken care of.

The empty pen shows signs of a struggle. Scratch marks and hoof prints.

The feral reindeer is hiding in a dark corner takes a flip of 5 to see them.

If they don’t see them, the reindeer attacks as they leave.

Frozen Lake

Enemies: The Kraken

The frozen lake has one lonely but devoted gardian. The Kraken is there to protect the pole and stop the toys from escaping.

It is quite gentle with them but firm.

Clocktower

Enemies: None

The clocktower radiates power. It has an ornate brass door with clocks and time imagery carved into it. The words, “You must stop to go” are carved in wood over the door.

The clock face seems to glow from the outside. It chimes every 15 minutes.

Inside there’s just a staircase going up nearly 100 metres or just over 300 feet.

At the top there is a room filled with gears but with a small platform. The platform has a couch and two large levers.

One lever Stops the clock and one will make it go forward or backward. (This actually stops time or moves it.)

Conclusion

Enemies: Anti-Clause

The entire area was built by Saint Nick an ancient wizard. It’s self sustaining. Before he could use it, however, he was attacked by Anti-Clause and his last action was to cast a spell that would animate a group of toys to finish his mission.

Polar Bear Feral Reindeer Kraken Anti-Clause
Health 7 4 5 6
Defence 2 5 5 6
Body 5 2 3 4
Mind 0 0 3 4
Luck 0 3 0 4
Abilities Bite 1 Gore 1 Squeeze 1 Laser Eyes 2

Happy Holidays!

Éric

Untrained Deception Checks, (or How I Found the Right Voice for Faux Ho Ho) – Guest post by ‘Nathan Burgoine

This summer, I was lucky enough to take part in an all-writer Dungeons & Dragons campaign, alongside some amazing authors. Brandon Crilly was our DM, Marie Bilodeau was our fast-talking, shanty-singing aasimar bard, Evan May played a hysterical bugbear monk of few words (and even less grammar), Kevin Hearne played a grumpy human former-soldier turned ranger, and I rounded out the group with my perceptive—but really honest and trusting—half-elf cleric of the sea goddess. In the middle of a tense scene, where we were pretty sure we were up against a particularly bad foe who was skeptical of our arrival not being a hostile invasion (it was totally a hostile invasion, but we were hoping to convince him to leave without a fight), my wee half-elf tried an untrained deception check.

It went poorly. Or at least, he ended up having to blast the villain with the wrath of his sea-goddess, so it didn’t go as planned. But that’s D&D. You make a plan, the plan falls apart, you throw lightning and thunder around. Repeat.

Over the same time period, I was also working on a holiday-set, fake relationship trope romance novella, and our D&D sessions turned out to help coalesce some facets I was struggling with when it came to my protagonist, Silas. The set-up for Faux Ho Ho is pretty simple: Silas’s family isn’t particularly supportive of him, but they’re in the public eye as a political family, so they take pains to make things look better than they are. He lives in Ottawa, they live in Alberta, allowing him to keep his distance when he can, but at the start of the story, they’re trying to wrangle him back home for Thanksgiving, partly so they can have him included in an event for his eldest brother, a Member of Parliament, keeping the optics of “we support our queer kid” if not the actions. Silas can’t think of a single thing to get out of it, and then his roommate—who his parents don’t know exists—pretends to be his boyfriend, claiming they have plans already with his family for Thanksgiving. This sets into motion a series of further fibs that send Silas and his roommate on a path to a happy-ever-after, albeit one with quite a few hiccoughs on the way.

Now, Silas is an introverted sort, a coder geek and a gaming nerd, and while this is by no means outside of my wheelhouse (I mean, I don’t really code, but otherwise) I was struggling to find the right way to present Silas to the reader. His voice, in early drafts, wasn’t landing right.

Then we had the D&D session with my half-elf’s botched deception check and it struck me. While Silas is staring down his parents on the Skype call, his “boyfriend” behind him, Silas has to lie outright to them if he wants out of the Thanksgiving visit. I slipped into his point of view and wrote:

Okay. He could do this. He’d never put any points into deception in his entire life, but natural twenties happened, right?

And there he was. From that moment on, Silas took shape in my head, and everything started to flow just-so. Before I knew it, writing Silas’s dialog, his reactions, and his thoughts wasn’t just easier, it was fun, and I realized it was the first time I’d written a D&D playing adult as the protagonist of a romance, and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why I’d waited so long. I write queer characters in romance specifically because I want to see people like me with happy endings, but I hadn’t gone that extra step to add this particular flavor of nerdy gamer into the mix.

Dungeons & Dragons became one of the geeky lenses through which Silas viewed the world, and it was a joy to put those references in there. Luckily, my editor also has a history with the game, so I didn’t have to explain too much (and, in fact, some of the editing notes that came back included D&D references in return). Silas and his gaming group even get to play a session in Faux Ho Ho. Silas also dresses up in a Dungeons & Dragons cartoon cosplay outfit at one point (spoiler: he’s Presto).

In short, if it wasn’t for those gaming sessions this summer, and my writer friends who always have my back, I’m not even sure Faux Ho Ho would have made it out of the gate.

As for Silas’s ongoing deception checks to maintain the illusion of him and his “boyfriend” at his sister’s Christmas wedding, and how it all works out with his family and his roommate? Well, if you want to know how that particular campaign turns out, the answer is in Faux Ho Ho. But since Faux Ho Ho is a romance, it’s not a spoiler to say that even though it absolutely doesn’t go to plan, it definitely ends happily.

The Blurb:

Silas Waite doesn’t want his big-C Conservative Alberta family to know he’s barely making rent. They’d see it as yet another sign that he’s not living up to the Waite family potential and muscle in on his life. When Silas unexpectedly needs a new roommate, he ends up with the gregarious—and gorgeous—personal trainer Constantino “Dino” Papadimitriou.

Silas’s parents try to browbeat him into visiting for Thanksgiving, where they’ll put him on display as an example of how they’re so tolerant for Silas’s brother’s political campaign, but Dino pretends to be his boyfriend to get him out of it, citing a prior commitment. The ruse works—until they receive an invitation to Silas’s sister’s last-minute wedding.

Silas loves his sister, Dino wouldn’t mind a chalet Christmas, and together, they could turn a family obligation into something fun. But after nine months of being roommates, then friends, and now “boyfriends,” Silas finds being with Dino way too easy, and being the son that his parents barely tolerate too hard. Something has to give, but luckily, it’s the season for giving. And maybe what Silas has to give is worth the biggest risk of all.

You can pre-order Faux Ho Ho at the Bold Strokes Books webstore in all e-formats; it will also be available December 10th, 2019, wherever quality LGBT e-books are sold.


‘Nathan Burgoine grew up a reader and studied literature in university while making a living as a bookseller. His first published short story was “Heart” in the collection Fool for Love: New Gay Fiction. This began his long love affair with short fiction, which has seen dozens more short stories published, including his first collection Of Echoes Born. Even though short fiction is his favorite, ‘Nathan stepped into novel writing, and his first novel, Light, was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. Triad Blood and Triad Soul are available now from Bold Strokes Books, as well as his first YA novel, Exit Plans for Teenage Freaks. More novels, novellas, as well as works of short fiction are always under way.

Stuck in a Cabin for the Holidays

This story takes place the winter after the events in Everdome and at the same time as The Night of the Sisters

Everdome is available as an Ebook or Hardcover at Renaissance Press’s Website. It’s Also available as an ebook at AmazonIndigo/Chapters, and Kobo.

“Joyous Yule…” The tall dark-skinned man with an impressive white beard trailed off as he looked around the small cabin. Putting down a large red sack he asked, “Where am I?”

“Emrys, old friend. You look younger somehow.” The woman was covered in furs and looked to be both loving and hating the cold. Her wild curly red hair was tied in a semblance of a ponytail. 

The man looked confused at her and the only other occupant of the cabin, a woman with tan skin and the build of a fighter. She was wrapped in a thick cloak and looked miserable. “I’m sorry, who are you? And where is here?”

Sighing, the older woman replied, “Here, is a cabin in the mountains of Pakaha. I am Es’Sem and this is my descendant Jasmine.”

“Wait a second,” Jasmine said, “Are you telling me you’ve never been to Everdome before?”

“Not to my knowledge.”

“So all my memories of you teaching me about chivalry and the history of Earth, Everdome, and King Arthur while growing up?”

It was Es’Sem, not Emrys, that replied, “Happened in your past and will happen in his future. What’s in the bag, old man?”

“I’m barely a hundred, thank you. They’re Yule presents for young Arthur.”

Jasmine stood with her mouth agape and Es’Sem whistled before saying, “This is the youngest I’ve ever seen you.”

“Alright then. I know who you are, kind of, and I know where I am. When am I?”

“We’re post Montrose, if that tells you anything.”

“Great, so after the Corrupter and all that stuff.” Emrys said.

“This is very strange.” Jasmine shook her head. Her dyed blonde braid barely moved. “You were there, but it’s not you. Yet?”

“You get used to it.” Es’Sem smiled and hugged the tall man.

“I’m glad it’s possible to get used to because it seems I must.” Emrys sat down in a comfortable chair near the door he’d come in from.

“Is it… What was your midwinter festival called? Night of the Sisters?”

Laughing Jasmine said, “No. We don’t worship them. We respect them. You’re thinking of New Albion.”

“Right. Parasomnia.”

Smiling, Es’Sem said, “I liked that one. It was fun to write.”

Emrys gasped. “Oh my. I have so many questions for you.” The two spent the next few hours discussing her book series Everdome. 

When she had had enough, Jasmine asked, “Why are you here and can you get us out?”

“We haven’t discussed this yet? Wow. I am getting old.”

Es’Sem took a drink of her rum and said, “Talk to me in a few thousand years about being old.”

“Outside is a magical storm. The kind that can transport a poor old wizard over thousands of years and an entire Realm. This cabin is protected against most of it by some clever magic, but we’re not going anywhere.”

“I’m going to miss Cataclysm Day with my people, aren’t I?” Jasmine sighed and sat down looking completely defeated.

“Cataclysm Day, of course. Where you celebrate surviving and give thanks for family and the magic that powers the Domes.” Emrys nodded. It was the only major celebration that all of Everdome followed and it always involved a massive party and ceremony where the High King or Queen presided. He bowed and said, “I’m sorry your majesty, but there is nothing I can do.”

“That’s okay. I’m actually a little relieved.”

Es’Sem sounded annoyed as she said, “Oh for Goddess’s sake, you’d be fine. I’ve known you your whole life and you’ll be a fantastic Queen.”

“Yeah but I shouldn’t be. This wasn’t my job. I’m the warrior not the diplomat. I’ve been Queen for less than two years and in that time the whole of Everdome almost fell.”

“Focus on the fact that it didn’t, dear.” Es’Sem sounded worried and her Australian accent became more pronounced.

“It should have been Daniel. It was his responsibility, not mine. I should be out there not trapped in here.”

The cabin fell quiet. Shifting awkwardly, making his chair squeak, Emrys said, “So I’m going to ask a few questions and pry.” The two women looked at him expectantly. “Jasmine, do you want help or do you want to complain?”

“You sound just like my father,” Jasmine said and smiled. 

His voice cracking, he replied, “Thank you.” There were tears in his eyes.

“I need help. I have no idea what I’m doing. I’ve survived this long because I’ve been a wartime Queen. I don’t know what to do when we’re at peace.”

Taking her hand, he asked, “What happened to your brother?”

“He died heroically. The bastard.” Jasmine cursed. “He was raised to be King and he was going to be a great one. But when my father died, Daniel decided to take a tour of the kingdom before his coronation. ‘I must learn to know all the people not just those that live near us,’ he said. He insisted he didn’t need more guards and refused to let me go with him…” She trailed off.

Es’Sem continued the story, “He was in a remote village and there was a mudslide. He died saving the town’s children. Refused to leave until the last one was safe.”

“Stubborn fool!” Jasmine released a few more curses. 

Timidly, knowing the reaction, Emrys asked, “What would you have done differently?”

“Now you really sound like my father. Nothing. I would have died heroically. I’ve done the same damned fool thing a hundred times and survived. I have scars for proof. I’ve fought and defeated everything that should have killed me. Why didn’t he? Why did I survive and not him?”

“Fate, a Deity, or plain luck. Death is never easy and we all have our own ways of dealing with it.” Emrys stared out into nothing as he spoke.

“And how do you deal with it?”

“Don’t take my example. I wandered through fairy and the Realms for thirty years before stumbling onto a young boy destined to be king. Everyday I’m faced with my old grief and the knowledge that my charge must die.” 

“Not really one of my options. I have a kingdom and a world that looks to me for leadership. I don’t know what to do.” She turned to the window and didn’t see Emrys wink at Es’Sem.

The door burst in and a snowman wielding a large sword made of ice roared. Es’Sem looked at Emrys and cocked an eyebrow. He smiled and she sat next to her favourite sword and poured herself another drink.

As if she was expecting it, Jasmine took two long strides and unsheathed her two shortswords from their scabbards and attacked the snowman.

It got a lucky stab in and nicked her arm. Jasmine scowled and attacked in quick succession. The snowman was cut to pieces and a single scream could be heard from the storm. Jasmine ran out after the voice.

“What are you up too?” Es’Sem asked.

“Me? Up to something? I was brought here by a magical storm, nothing more.”

“Bullshit. That snowman was straight out of Calvin and Hobbs.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’m not some conjurer of cheap tricks.” Emrys sat down with a warm cup of peppermint coffee that seemed to appear out of nowhere.

The storm outside was a wall of iridescence, snow reflected and refracted with every colour in existence. There was always a path however and a new snowman to fight. Jasmine threw herself into the battle. Part of her knew it was shadows and snow but she ignored that part.

When she was thoroughly exhausted and suffering from several cuts, the snow parted and Daniel walked through. He was dressed in his finest livery and the three-day stubble he liked so much. He smiled warmly at her and said, “Sister. Why are you lost in this storm?”

She cursed at him and pulled him into a hug. The roar of the storm covered her sobs and froze her tears to her face. “You’re dead.”

“You’re not.”

“You should be doing this. Everdome needs you, not me.”

“Everdome needs a monarch with heart and a sense of fairness. Ruling like living isn’t about how good you are at it, it’s what you do with it. The people need someone who is strong and lucky.”

“Are you real?”

“I have no idea JayJay, but I know that I love you and that I can’t think of a better person to take my place. You’re going to be a fantastic Queen, if you let yourself be one.”

“Thank you.”

He turned away and waved. She watched him walk back into the storm and softly said goodbye.

Back at the cabin, she hugged Emrys and said, “Thank you for letting me say goodbye.”

“I’m glad you got to say goodbye. But I’m just a poor wizard who’s been displaced by a magical storm.”

“But you didn’t?”

“People always accuse me of doing and knowing things. It’s a bit frustrating and—”

A knock at the door interrupted him. A woman walked in. She wore similar robes to Emrys and had the same skin tone. Her hair was long and white and was braided over one shoulder. “Brother, you’re missing the celebrations. Are you done meddling yet?”

Es’Sem snorted in laughter. “I’ll be right there, Morgan.” The storm outside dissipated and Emrys turned to the other two in the cabin and said, “Well, look at that. The storm is gone.”

Es’Sem laughed harder and Jasmine shook her head. Neither said anything. Emrys picked up his sack and smiled, “May your fractured nights be followed by glorious dawns.” The traditional Cataclysm Day greeting given, he left.

“That was all rather melodramatic and over the top,” Es’Sem said before adding, “I loved it.”

The two women packed their gear and, dressed for the winter weather, headed back to the castle.

When they arrived at the castle, there were two presents wrapped in plain wrapping with garish red bows.

“Bless that man,” Es’Sem said as she opened her present to show a large jar of vegemite.

Unwrapping the larger, flatter of the two, Jasmine started to cry. It was a painting of her and her brother. It looked like it was from just before he left. “No painting was ever commissioned. How?”

“Look at the signature. J. M. Emrys.” Es’Sem then read the inscription on the frame, “Those who leave us are never gone as long as we remember them.”


This story is part of the Renaissance holiday blog roll! Find out what it’s all about here!