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

 

Happy First Birthday Dragon

Dear Baby Dragon,

It’s been a year since you were born. It was a time of change, learning, crying, and general confusion… but enough about me.

The first few months, we were worried that if we mixed you in with other babies we wouldn’t be able to tell you apart. It was a great relief when we found the freckle on your left hand. Now you’re old enough to tell us from the other parents so we’re good.

It’s been a fantastic year with you. I was lucky enough to spend the first nine months of your life with you and I wish it had been longer. You grow and change every day, it’s wonderful and terrifying. Since I’ve gone back to work you’ve learnt how to walk, say, “Hi”, sort stuff, and climb up and down furniture.

If the stories your Grannie and Gramma have told us are true, you are right in the middle of your mom and I in terms of personality. Your mom was a ridiculously clever baby with a calm and happy temperament. I was an average baby with an exuberant and happy temperament. You are just as clever as your mom and just as exuberant as your Papa. You also have the stubborn streak that runs in both families and a temper that burns hot and quickly fades.

You already have a mischievous side. When you know you’re doing something you’re not supposed to, you look at the closest adult and smirk. You both want to do the thing and also get chased. I hope you grow out of that before your teen years.

Your Mum and Grannie are covered in bruise from your sharp little teeth. Teething hurts and you bite a lot. You’ve left your dental impression on, toys, furniture, family, walls, your crib, books, and clothing. I really hope you grow out of biting soon.

You frustrate me at times but more often you warm my heart. You’re warm, happy, talkative, excited, and just wonderful. I’d love to take credit but it’s all you.

You give the greatest hugs, they are filled with affection and I hope you never grow out of that.

It’s been quite the year and I’m so proud of you. I’m enjoying watching you grow and become you. It’s something that I will enjoy for the rest of my life.

I love you little Dragon,

Your Papa

Gates McFadden

We asked Gates McFadden (@gates_mcfadden) if she had ever had anyone tell her that they went into the medical field because of her portrayal of Dr Crusher. She said that there had been many stories like that, and that they were always the most precious to her.

She loved Keladry (of course!) and posed with the TARDIS for us!

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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

Blush: Nursing

Please note: This post is not meant to shame those who formula feed, stop nursing “early”, or continue nursing “late”. This is about my own personal nursing journey, and how I will be choosing to interpret the research I have done. I respect and rejoice in everyone’s decision on how best to feed their own babies. Any comments that shame anyone will be deleted. This is a safe space.


Nursing was very easy for me, minus a little hiccup overnight the first night. Keladry enjoyed chewing even back then, so I thought I was doing something wrong because it hurt. However, in the morning, things looked brighter (literally and figuratively) and we were able to progress quite well. Lanolin helped immensely.

I'm getting good at taking SFW pictures of Keladry nursing!
I’m getting good at taking SFW pictures of Keladry nursing!

At this point, Keladry is 8.5ish months. We feed her solids at every meal. She hates purees, so we give her tiny pieces of whatever we’re eating. And I’m nursing in between the meals. I’m also nursing before bed and when she wakes in the night.

Last week, my mother asked when I was going to stop nursing.

I had no idea. It certainly doesn’t feel right to stop at this time.

So I decided to do some research. And why not write a blog post about it?


The World Health Organization recommends nursing exclusively up to 6 months (we’re past that, so that’s good) and weaning around age 2 years. Personally, I currently feel like that’s a little old, but who knows how I’ll feel when she gets there? I think it feels old because I’m hung up on the number. But I can easily see how the comfort of nursing, and that bond felt with the child would push past any weirdness I feel. I really think that I’ll nurse until Keladry gives me an indication of wanting to stop.

If Keladry wants to stop before 1 year old, I would have to feed her formula until her birthday. At that time, I would be able to switch her to whole cow’s milk. Whole milk is important for babies because they need the extra fat content.

As for feeding solids, Keladry started showing an interest in our food at 2 months. She would track the food we put in our mouths, and open her mouth too. We held off feeding her anything until we got the go-ahead from her doctor just after 4 months, which is earlier than WHO recommends, but she was so enthusiastic about eating! So we fed her a little bit at each mealtime, and we didn’t cut down on nursing. When she had her first cold at 5 months, we cut out food and exclusively nursed so that she’d get more antibodies. I think that this plan worked okay for us. I would not recommend feeding solids earlier than 6 months without the approval of the baby’s doctor.

A note about extended nursing: It is not unusual for a child up to 4 years old to nurse. The health benefits are numerous, and it’s a shame that society pressures families to stop nursing because of their discomfort.

I found a number of really good sources for how to stop nursing. Oddly enough, two are from Australia. Please note; these references refer to “breastfeeding” as opposed to “nursing”.


References

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/breastfeeding-deciding-when-to-stop

http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/feedbaby.htm

https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/lactation-suppression


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

Dil, Tabitha, and baby Dab

My sister introduced me to Dan (Twitter) and Phil (Twitter) just after Keladry was born, so she has “grown up” with their voices. It just made sense for her first cosplay to be Baby Dab, from DanandPhilGames play the Sims. I cannot recommend these two YouTubers enough, on both of their own channels (AmazingPhil and Danisnotonfire), and on their collaborative efforts.

Also in the picture with Baby Dab are Dil (cosplayed by Lindsay (Website, Twitter)), and Tabitha (cosplayed by Victoria (Instagram, Twitter)), and Dan (held by Dil) and Phil (held by Tabitha) plushies.

(The TARDIS is hidden…can you find it?)

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Dear Dragon – Six Months

Six months

Dear Baby Dragon,

You turned six months old on Sunday and as I write this you’re playing on your mat making adorable sounds and rotating to the toy you want to chew on.

The past week or so has been tough; you caught your first cold and have been leaking from your nose. It’s gotten to the point where you start screaming when you see a tissue. You’re getting better now and I look forward to not hearing you be all phlegmy.

Crawling is about to happen any day. You get up on your hands and knees and rock back and forth. Sometimes you’ll army crawl. You also love to pretend that you’re skydiving.

Added to your screeching (Curse you DanIsNotOnFire) is growling, babbling, and a lot of giggles. Honestly, there is nothing better than hearing you laugh. It’s filled with such pure joy and love. I could listen to it all day.

One thing I really wish you’d stop doing is grabbing and pinching. I know you don’t understand that it hurts us and you’re just trying to keep your balance but it’s a real pain.

It’s been a wonderful six months with you and I wish I could spend more time but you’ll be eight and a half months when I have to go back to work. I’m doing everything I can to remember and appreciate this time together.

Well, I have a diaper to change.

Love you lots and lots my Little Dragon,

Your Papa