Fanfiction What? – Guest post by Lindsay

I made a goal for myself this summer…to read some books. I even went to a library and took out nine books of a variety of genres and authors in the hopes to kick start this goal. It’s August 1st as I write this and I haven’t touched a single one of them. Yet, I have read over 1 749 260 words since July 1st. A MILLION AND A HALF WORDS! Which, based on an average 80k word book, is roughly 22 books. But I haven’t opened a physical book…or actually, I haven’t opened any published books. Allow me to introduce to you a written world often unknown, often disgraced…the world of fanfiction.

For those of you not in the know, Mirriam-Webster defines fanfiction as “stories involving popular fictional characters that are written by fans and often posted on the Internet — called also fanfic”. So basically, a story created by someone who isn’t the original author. Sound familiar? Your thoughts might automatically jump to Fifty Shades of Grey, one of the most infamous examples of current media that started off as a Twilight Fanfiction. But many popular stories can be fit into this definition. Lion King? Simply a lion AU (alternate universe) version of Hamlet. While on the topic of Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet? One of the most famous love stories of all time? Basically a fix-it fic of Arthur Brooke’s The Tragical Historye of Romeus and Juliet which could be viewed as an AU of the legend of Tristan and Iseult and it just keeps going.

My first experience with fanfiction was asking my sister what she was reading on the computer when I was in grade 6 (after the fourth book came out). “A book about Harry Potter written by a fan,” she answered after several minutes of my persistent asking. WHAT? My brain was so confused – why would someone a) write a Harry Potter book that wasn’t J.K. Rowling and b) why would someone read a book written by someone who wasn’t J.K. Rowling? Fast forward four years to me in high school, lamenting to my friend that I really wanted Ron and Hermione to develop a romantic relationship in the series. “Why don’t you just read some fanfics? I know a couple you would love!” WHAT? Fanfiction? NOoooooooooo. But I gave it a go…and haven’t looked back since.

So why is the main social perspective of fanfiction viewed so poorly? What uses are there for this form of storytelling? The answer to the first question is one I cannot answer, but probably stems from the fact it is mostly written and read by marginalized people looking for representation. That is a whole other aspect that could be examined in another article (there are some awesome posts and threads about this on Tumblr and Twitter that are far more eloquent than anything I could write). The answer to the second question is far easier to express.

Writing fanfiction is a great tool for writers.

  • Want to work on characterization without having to world build? Write about original characters in a certain fandom world
  • Want to explore creating a functioning society but don’t want to character design? Write an AU for characters you know well
  • Struggling with dialogue? Struggling with descriptive passages? Practice with characters and worlds you already know well
  • Spelling and grammar a problem? Practice with fanfiction!

Reading fanfiction is fun and easy for readers.

  • TAGS – the best thing about fanfiction is how easy it is to search for the kind of story you want. Want angst with a happy ending? Hurt/comfort. Want sweet wholesome anxiety-free stories? Fluff. Want raw emotions expressed physically through vigorous lovemaking? Smut…well…just adjust the rating to R or E and you can pair that with any other tag to really hone down the type of story you want!
  • Short or long – based on the amount of time or energy you want to invest in a reading session, you can find short stories to novellas to novels to epic long series
  • Tropes galore – like reading a certain trope? People love writing them too so you can spend as long as you want exploring the same flavour of story again and again
  • Unsatisfied with the media you consumed or you simply want more of that world – Fanfiction will fix it or provide you with enough content to satisfy your needs

So yes, I’m obsessed with reading fanfiction and have even dabbled in writing it. There’s a fanfiction from your fandom, about your favourite characters waiting for you for whatever kind of story you are interested in reading. Go forth with an open mind and you can discover some literary gems. Explore fandoms you haven’t even seen the original media of (I’m so into Teen Wolf fanfic right now without ever having seen a single episode), read a genre you don’t normal expose yourself to, and have fun!

Resources

(some of these I hesitate to recommend but I’m trying to be impartial):


Lindsay is an all around geek who mostly spends time consuming fan-created content rather than the original piece of media.

She can be found pottering around TumblrTwitterInstagram, or her portfolio site.

Harry Potter and the Magic of Words – Guest Post by Jamieson Wolf

Hello Imaginary Friends,

I’m enjoying some cuddles from Pegasus. You can enjoy this fantastic post by Jamieson Wolf.


Words have the power to heal. I experienced this firsthand.

In 2013, I woke one morning with little motor control and could barely walk. I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with Labyrinthitis. I wasn’t allowed to read or watch television or write at my computer for two weeks. Thankfully, my mother suggested I listen to audiobooks. I downloaded the first two Harry Potter books and started listening to them, certain I wouldn’t like them. Thankfully, I fell in love.

Listening to Harry Potter brought the story and the world that Harry lives in alive for me in a way that reading the book couldn’t. Hearing Jim Dale read out Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone and then Stephen Fry read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was also a balm to my soul. Over the two weeks that I had to take off work, I would sit back and close my eyes and let the words wash over me. I would let the world of Harry Potter fill in the darkness.

Then other problems began. I didn’t get better. I got worse. The left side of my body went numb; I fell almost daily. Eventually, after losing the ability to speak and type on a keyboard (having been able to type since I was in my teens), I knew that something was very wrong. There was something else wrong with my body and, after a day in emergency, the doctors had an idea of what it was that lived within me.

There was a neurologist on staff that night. After looking me over he informed me that it was probably multiple sclerosis, but they would have to run tests to make sure. It would be some time until I knew what was wrong.

I turned to books for comfort. As I didn’t have Labyrinthitis, the doctors said it was okay for me to read again, thank goodness. I picked up a book by a new author that one of my friends recommended to me: Cupcakes at Carrington’s by Alexandra Brown. It was about a woman named Georgie Hart who was desperate to put her life back in order. In a bizarre coincidence, she had lost her mother when she succumbed to her multiple sclerosis. This touched me deeply and I felt deeply connected to the book because of that. I went on to read Cupcakes at Carrington’s three more times and it was magical every single time.

I went through a battery of different tests: vision and hearing, bloodwork, a CAT scan and an MRI and a spinal tap to finish it all off. Now all I could do was wait. While I waited for the diagnosis, I knew that I needed to write something, anything. I would lie in bed at night and watch the stories I wanted to tell float above my head. Before, I could write ten thousand words in a weekend without breaking a sweat. Now, I could only write five or so words at a time, forcing my fingers to hit the right keys.

I decided that I had to write. I had to write something. I had dabbled in poetry in my teens before turning to short stories, novellas and novels. I figured that writing poetry would give me another way to tell stories. My poems would do away with iambic petametre and a rhyming scheme. Instead, they would be raw and real, part memoir and part story. I would take those five words that I wrote a day and stitch the poem together when I thought it was done.

Each poem took me about a week or more to write, but as I continued, I noticed something: I was getting better. Five words a day slowly climbed to ten and then to fifteen. I remember hitting twenty words a day and I felt elated. It was as if I had climbed a flat mountain and could look back at all of the words I had written. It was as if I could fly. Soon, I had a small collection of poems. I even thought that I might one day collect them all together and publish them. I had an idea for a title: Talking to the Sky. It would be a reference to when I was trying to heal and would sit at the computer, staring at the blank screen unable to type and tell the stories that I wanted to. It was like I was talking to the clouds.

Then, after three months, I received my diagnosis, a day before my birthday: I had relapse and remitting multiple sclerosis. I wasn’t afraid. Now, I knew the monster within me had a name.

I retreated into the world of Harry Potter once again. I have read the Harry Potter series more than anything else. I read the series once a year and have stopped counting the fortieth time I read the series the entire way through. That was years ago. I turned to his story when I needed comfort, when I needed joy. When I was sad or depressed, the story held within the books was pure magic. I needed Harry and company at that moment more than anything.

I also needed to write more than poetry. I needed to break out of the constraint of sewing words together like a patchwork quilt. I needed to write a novel. I didn’t know how long it would take, or if it would be any good. It didn’t matter; I was angry, surprisingly so, and I wanted to write something that would help soothe the anger. I wanted to give the anger a focus.

With that in mind, I started writing a novel I called The Other Side of Oz. In the novel, Justin is an Oz fanatic who has started seeing yellow bricks everywhere he goes. Is it his imagination intruding into real life? Then Justin and the boy he likes are in an accident. They travel to Justin’s version of Oz, but again, is it real or is it their imagination? I wanted to find some way to convey the sense of the unreal that I lived with every day. While not about Harry Potter, it was about the other series of books that had formed a large part of my childhood and adulthood. I wanted to write about someplace magical that wasn’t the world I lived in.

By the time I was done the book, a few months had passed. It had been exhausting, trying to force my brain to think of a story and forcing my fingers to type the words out. However, when I typed The End, I was elated once more. I had climbed another flat mountain, this one higher than the others that I had climbed.

I noticed other things, too. I was lighter, as if a weight had been taken from me. Scrolling through the pages of the novel that I had typed out, I knew it was because I had put the weight of that anger and uncertainty into The Other Side of Oz. That novel has never seen the light of day; perhaps, with a hefty edit, it will someday soon.

What I’ve come to realize six years later, is that I would have been a lot worse without the magic of words. The books I love kept me sustained and comforted when I need it and, when that wasn’t enough, my own words had flown out of me to relieve me of the pain and angst I was carrying within me. Words were the magic that I wielded. As much as the multiple sclerosis took a lot of things from me and made me revaluate how I lived my life, the one thing that didn’t leave me was the magic of words. Each one I write is part of the spell that I weave and each one I read heals me still.

I would be lost without them.


Jamieson Wolf is a number one best selling author (he likes to tell people that a lot!). His recent works include the memoir Little Yellow Magnet and the novels Lust and Lemonade and Life and Lemonade. A third novel, Love and Lemonade, comes out later this year. You can learn more about Jamieson at http://www.jamiesonwolf.com

CAN-CON 2016

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

CAN-CON is coming up pretty fast. (10 days) You could say I’m counting down the days until the 9th of September. Yes, we’re crazy enough to be selling at a convention the weekend that Dragon is due to hatch.

The reason we’re comfortable with that is simply that the people at CAN-CON are absolutely lovely and if feels more like a get together of friends than a convention. It’s a warm, inviting, and overall wonderful event.

This year I was invited to be on some panels but I declined so I’d be available in case Dragon shows up. I will however be doing a reading with my publisher and some other awesome writers.

Come see me at 2pm on Saturday the 10th if you’re at the convention.

If you’re not at the convention, feel free to swing by the dealers room and I’ll gladly sell you my new book!

Can-Con FINAL poster with text - 17 Aug 2016
Poster designed by Jay Odjick.

See you at CAN-CON!

Éric

Stressed is Desserts Backwards. Cake for Everyone!

Good Morning my Imaginary Friends,

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

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

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

As if stress wasn’t troublesome enough it loves to feed off of other conditions. Anxiety can make stress so much worse that it’s almost paralyzing. Click here for some options how you should deal with your anxiety.

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

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

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

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

What do you do to de-stress?

Live long and prosper my friends,

Éric

Coffee Pre-orders are open!

Coffee for CON

Last week I asked you to vote for which coffee’s you’d like me to sell at CON.

The response was pretty clear and I’ll be selling 4 coffees at CON:

  • Banana Cream: Rebranded as Minion;
  • Cinnamon: Raktajino;
  • Peanut Butter: Jabba the Peanut;
  • Raspberry: Morpheus’s The Red Pill.

I’ll have free samples of one of these available on the 21st.

Coffee Pre-orders

You can pre-order any of the flavours above and a few others on our new Coffee Pre-Order page!

Writing

I’ve gotten back into the habit of working on Everdome and I’m really enjoying the characters. It’s really easy to write this book.

Reading Quest

I’m trying to get through the first book in over 20 series I’ve accumulated over the years to see if I like them.

I recently finished Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews the first in the Kate Daniels series and I absolutely loved it. The author weaves genres together to create something original and fascinating. The maturity in the prose and world building is a joy to read. I look forward to devouring the rest of the series.

I give it an 85%

 

You excited for coffee?

Éric

Mid-Year Review 2014

Welcome to the new Blog.

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

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

Resolutions

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

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

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

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

Moving Forward

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

Projects

FADDS (Four Attribute Dual Dodecahedron System)

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

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

Project Kitchen Sink

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

The Dying World

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

I hope to start work on this in mid-2015

Youtube

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

Websites

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

My Tumblr will stay on its own.

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

This weekend’s job, after seeing Guardians of the Galaxy, is to build a commission request form that will act as a store. The idea is that my wife’s stock varies and with 2 giant cons coming soon she can’t take a lot of commissions. So using a form will allow us to decide what to accept. If we do accept your commission, we will then send you a Paypal bill. If you aren’t a Paypal user, fret not, because we also accept Perfect Money payments. Just check out this site on how to proceed with converting it.

Other Things

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

Parasomnia

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

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

The Ridiculous Adventures of Felix Felicis

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

Go and read it. It’s silly fun.

Conclusion

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

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

How have you done with your Goals and Resolutions?

Thanks and once again welcome to the new Blog,

Éric