Blush: Recommendation Wednesday

One of my close friends posted a very good article on coming out as asexual last week, and I got permission to link to it for my Blush post this week. Please go and read it, and like her on Facebook (here).

I was greatly heartened after the surprisingly well-attended Asexual Identities panel at CanCon this year.  It was really awesome to be on a panel with other people who were so similar to myself, and had similar experiences.  It was wildly reaffirming, and helped me a great deal on a personal level. [Read more]

S.M. Carriere’s website.

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

2016 Book Ranking

Last year I read 24 books, although one of them was my own.

If you’re in the mood for a fun YA mystery/fantasy go check it out. If you’ve already read it, leave a review or at least a star rating. Please and thank you!

A Study in Aether: A Baker City Mystery By Desmarais, Eric

5 Stars

  1. The Fearsome Foursome(Tales from the Haunted Mansion #1) By Arcane, Amicus
  2. Chaos Choreography (InCryptid #5) By McGuire, Seanan
  3. Late Eclipses (October Daye, #4) By McGuire, Seanan
  4. Oddly Normal Vol. 1 By Frampton, Otis
  5. An Artificial Night (October Daye, #3) By McGuire, Seanan

4 Stars

  1. Sky Road Walker By Carrière, S.M.
  2. Kiss and Tell (Veronica Mars, #2) By Thomas, Rob
  3. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Volume 1: Squirrel Power By North, Ryan
  4. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Volume 2: Squirrel You Know It’s True By North, Ryan
  5. Oddly Normal, Vol. 2 By Frampton, Otis
  6. Fowl Language: Welcome to Parenting By Gordon, Brian
  7. One Salt Sea (October Daye, #5) By McGuire, Seanan
  8. Dragon’s Egg By Forward, Robert L.
  9. A Local Habitation (October Daye, #2) By McGuire, Seanan
  10. The Diamond Conspiracy(Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, #4) By Ballantine, Pip

3 Stars

  1. Heroine Complex (Heroine Complex, #1) By Kuhn, Sarah
  2. The Sleeping God (Dhulyn and Parno, #1) By Malan, Violette
  3. Death by Cliché By Defendi, Bob
  4. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy – Prelude By Abnett, Dan
  5. Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X, #1) By Mead, Richelle
  6. The Hunter’s Moon (The Chronicles of Faerie, #1) By Melling, O.R.
  7. An Accidental Goddess By Baker, Megan Sybil
  8. The Shining Girls: A Novel By Beukes, Lauren

What was your favourite book of the year?

Éric

A Study in Aether and Blush (Book and Game Launch)

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

My first novel A Study in Aether, and Jen’s game Blush will be launched this Saturday the 29th of October at a Monster Launch (We’re launching books not monsters, but feel free to come dressed as a monster.)

Come by and say hello and get a signed copy and meet lots of amazing Authors.

See you there,

Éric


 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE by Renaissance Press

Join us for our MONSTER LAUNCH party!

Eight authors. Seven books.

One revolutionary game.

The celebration will be held at the 3 Brewers pub (240 Sparks St., Ottawa)
Saturday October 29th, 2015, from 5:00 – 7:00 PM
.

There will be readings by the authors, prizes to win, special prices and of course, the opportunity to get your books signed. The authors will be wearing costumes, so please feel free to dress up as well!

Blush – A sexual education trivia game by Jen Desmarais

Picture taken by Caroline Frechette of Renaissance Press.

With 250 questions (and their answers!) this trivia game is the perfect tool to initiate important discussions about all aspects of sexuality. With subjects like reproduction, general health, gender identity, and sexual orientation, Blush aims to help parents and teachers approach the topic of sexual health with their teens and pre-teens, and to give kids the opportunity to ask the questions they have in an atmosphere of fun and comfort.

ISBN 978-1-987963-11-3 – Available now!

Bonhomme Sept-Heures by Evan May

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A supernatural suspense which follows Adam Godwinson, the main character of The King in Darkness, as he tries to save the children in a small northern Québec town.

ISBN 978-1-987963-14-4 – Available October 29th!

Life in the ’Cosm by Cait Gordon

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This science-fiction comedy follows the adventures of Virj Ofreesin, a lovesick writer who goes on a foolish adventure to save the half of the bigender being he loves… in all the wrong places.

ISBN 978-1-987963-16-8 – Available now!

M School by Kevin Johns

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A spy thriller which delves into the dark spaces we have within our own souls, all the while taking us on a thrilling adventure which follows an unusual girl trying to solve the murder of the only person she ever really cared for.

ISBN 978-0-9952932-1-2 – Available October 29th!

Making a Living by Caroline Fréchette

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An undead woman, a scared boy who can manipulate machines, a nefarious laboratory trying to find the secret to eternal life… and did we mention zombies?

ISBN 978-1-987963-08-3 – Available now!

Sky Road Walker by S. M. Carrière

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Chased by wraiths of dark smoke, without knowledge of the land in which I found myself or memory of my life and purpose, I became embroiled in a perilous quest to restore the throne of a fading Empire. Little did I know how dangerous a task that would prove to be.
This is my story; the tale of the Sky Road Walker.

Sky Road Walker is the first of the democratically created Your Very Own Adventure books by author S.M. Carrière.

Proceeds from the sale of this book will go to The Ottawa Caring and Sharing Exchange, a charity which provides relief and dignity during difficult times of the year.

A Study in Aether by Éric Desmarais

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A Sherlock-Holmes-obsessed girl detective, a bunch of disappearances, a witch, and… mittens? Dive into this highly entertaining Young Adult paranormal mystery set in a small Ontario town!

ISBN 978-1-987963-12-0 – Available now!

Wolf Ice by award-winning author Melissa Yuan-Innes

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Wolf ice disinhibits werewolf brains: it makes them act like animals. Lusty, angry, hungry animals. Wolf ice drives Leila straight into the arms (and on to other anatomical parts) of her ex-boyfriend.Wolf ice could slay all Montreal wers–in fact, all wers around the world–unless Leila stops him. Will she fight past the lust in order to save her species?

ISBN 978-1927341520 – Available now!

For more information, please contact Renaissance Press:

819-230-8968

http://renaissancebookpress.com

info@renaissancebookpress.com

Reading Bites

Somehow I missed posting the pictures from Can-Con 2015! This is one of our absolute favourite conventions of the year, which is kinda obvious if you know that our due date coincides with their convention THIS year. (Sept 9-11) Seriously, go check them out and then buy a ticket. The writing community of Ottawa is incredible.

A red shirt, author Éric Desmarais (Follow him on Facebook, his blog, sign up for his newsletter through his website, and buy his book here) is about to get bitten by a vampire, author S. M. Carrière (Follow her on Facebook, her blog, sign up for her newsletter through her website, and buy her books here) and is pleading for the Doctor to help!

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Blush: Demi-sexual

The questions have been written and sent to the editors but if you’d like something answered on this blog feel free to ask us your anonymous questions!

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Blush: A card game logo. Image by Caroline Frechette of Renaissance Press. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter!

Hello S. M. Carrière. Thank you for answering my questions today!

My pleasure!
For those who don’t know, what is demi-sexual?
A demi-sexual is someone on the asexual spectrum who requires a strong emotional bond with a prospective partner before there is any chance of sexual attraction. Which is to say, they don’t experience sexual attraction except in certain, quite particular, circumstances.  I should note here that a strong bond doesn’t necessarily equate sexual attraction, either.
How did finding out that there was a name for your sexuality affect how you saw yourself?
Honestly, the fact that there was a name for my identity gave me such a sense of relief.  I suddenly felt like I wasn’t a freak, after all.  Enough people are like me that they have a name for it, and it describes my identity almost perfectly.  It certainly has helped in giving me the language necessary to describe myself to others, and it’s a language that helps normalise my experiences.  That’s huge.  It’s helped me so much, especially in raising my self-confidence.
Are there any fictional characters you believe represent demi-sexuals in a positive way?
No, actually.  I’ve been racking my brain to find a character who is explicitly demi-sexual that I am aware of.  I can’t think of any at all. Asexuals of any stripe are wildly under-represented in media, it seems.
What kind of reaction do you like the most when people are told you are demi-sexual?
“Oh. Okay.”
Not to have your identity put under an aggressive cross-examination is refreshing, and I always feel less judged, less freakish, and less alone when the people I confess to aren’t really bothered about my sexual identity.
What kind of reaction do you dislike the most when people are told you are demi-sexual?
People can get ridiculously patronising when they find out, as if I couldn’t possibly understand my own identity as well as they understand me.  There’s usually some variation of: “Oh sweetie, you just haven’t had good experiences.”  It’s so frustrating and diminishing and, depending on who says it, quite upsetting.
I’ve also had the slimy: “Come home with me, I’ll change your mind.”  My sexual identity is not a challenge to be overcome, and acting like a sleaze is generally not conducive to forming that bond I require before I even entertain the idea of sex with someone.
Honestly, I’m not entirely sure which is worse.
Why do you think people have such strange reactions?
Not a flipping clue.  I understand not comprehending something outside of one’s experience, but acting as if asexuality and the various identities along the asexual spectrum don’t exist is really confusing to me.  Lack of comprehension should prompt questions, not outright denial.  I remain confused and bewildered by some of the reactions I’ve received.
Are there any attitudes or societal norms that are frustrating for demi-sexuals?
I cannot pretend to speak for all asexuals, but asexual erasure really bugs me.  In a culture obsessed with sex, being someone who isn’t can make things tough.  It’s tough relating to people a lot of the times.  It’s worse when people outright disbelieve you, and try to come up with all kinds of psychological reasons, or other possible explanations for your sexuality.  It’s a slap in the face, because it’s tantamount to being called a liar, or broken/wrong/somehow deficient, or that an integral part of what makes you you simply doesn’t exist.
Do you know other people in the demi- or asexual spectrum?
No, actually.  At least, none that have openly identified as demi- or asexual.
Are there any communities and support groups (either in person or online) for people discovering themselves?
I’m a huge fan of The Trevor Project, which gives information on pretty much all sexualities.  It’s where I first discovered that asexuality was a thing, and that it didn’t mean I was broken/wrong/somehow deficient.  There are a couple of great YouTube channels that cover all kinds of stuff about sex and sexuality: lacigreen (Sex+) and Sexplanations.  Watching those in the early stages of self-discovery really helped open my eyes and got me asking the right questions.  Sexplanations led me to asexuality.org.
What is one question that you wish you could be asked about being demi-sexual?
Where can I learn more?
That would be nice.  No arguments about whether or not my identity is a real thing (it is), no sleazy propositions trying to get me to change my mind, just, “I don’t get it, where can I learn about it?”


Born in 1983 and raised in various countries around the globe, S.M. Carrière has always felt drawn to epic tales of heroes and villains.  An avid reader herself and despite always writing, she did not think of becoming an author until her final year of university, when she found herself compelled to the craft (when she ought to have been studying).  She self-published her first title, The Dying God and Other Stories, in 2011 at the urging of a friend, and has not stopped since, publishing one book each consecutive year.

Can-Con Report 2015

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

If you hear loud snoring coming from downtown Ottawa, know that I’ve fallen asleep at my desk. Between conventions and various stresses I haven’t slept much and when I have, it’s been filled nightmares.

I know what I’ve been stressing about and I’m dealing with it; both from the “let’s get this done so I stop stressing” and the “must learn to deal with stress” points of view.

One big stress, which shouldn’t have been, was Can-Con. Between selling, attending, and pitching novels, I was wired the entire three days.

Panels

Since I felt guilty going to panels when I should be selling, I only went to eight panels. Here’s a basic rundown:

Backstories and the Development of Villains

This panel mostly revolved around the difference between Villains, Evil-Overlords, and Antagonists. A lot of good advice on how to avoid creating cardboard cut-out villains.

It’s a great panel for someone who wants to write Bond or Adventure Fantasy.

“Nobody is a villain in their own story. We’re all the heroes of our own stories.” – George R. R. Martin

Preparing to Pitch Novels

This panel prepared me for my pitches, but I didn’t learn anything earth shattering.

Whether you pitch or submit, always remember:

  • Read the Guidelines
  • Follow the Guidelines
  • Present yourself professionally
  • Don’t beg, threaten, or cajole.
  • Be passionate about your story because if you aren’t, no one else will.

Serialization Past and Present

Everyone agreed that Serialization isn’t a fad and is probably here to stay. It’s also something that is changing quickly.

There are two major ways of serializing, distributing a finished and edited project, and writing it as time goes by.

The panelists agreed that the second way was less desirable because it meant less ability to edit and a higher chance of writing yourself into a corner.

I like the challenge of writing a serial novel/story as you go. If you don’t believe me, ask Felix Felicis, or Rachel of Only Human. However these aren’t stories that I’m writing for publication. I’m writing them for practise and enjoyment.

The Frontiers of Young Adult Fiction

This panel spoke a lot about normalization and the dangers of not giving social issues enough consideration. It’s not easy for someone like me (Cis-White-Male) to fully understand anything but my own experiences, but the panel seemed to think that with proper research and editing it’s important to have a diverse cast of characters.

This was something I already try to do as much as possible.

Advice to Aspiring Writers on the Craft

My wife and I both went to this panel, but I barely remember it. It must have been Saturday. The one thing I remember is the panellists explaining that there isn’t one way to write. All those “Rules” are really just suggestions and tools that you can use.

There seems to be only one golden rule of writing and that’s to finish what you start.

Fantasy Novels: A Readers’ Panel

The panel was mostly the panelists geeking out on their favourite authors. There were a lot of book names and author names bandied about.

It was very skewed towards Epic fantasy, Dark fantasy, and Literary fantasy; with little to no mention of a lot of the other subgenres of fantasy. I don’t think this was the panelists’ fault so much as the fact that they all wrote and read in those sub-genres and didn’t know that much about the others.

I was extremely happy to have Tamora Pierce mentioned in the positive.

Two things that seriously annoyed me were the lack of mention of Terry Pratchett and one panelists’ utter disdain for Urban Fantasy and Supernatural Romance.

Hopefully, there will be a better mix of expertise in future years. I would love to be on this panel.

Police Procedure: Busting Myths and Preconceptions

Wow! This was by far the most educational panel I went too. The presenter was engaging, fun, and informative. It helped me separate the major fiction of police dramas with real life.

I really hope they have him back next year, maybe for a double length panel.

Crowd-Funding

I considered crowd funding a book, but it seemed like more work than self-publishing it. I eventually dropped the idea because of the cost of editing. Trust me, a good editor is worth it. REALLY worth it! I love my beta-readers but it’s just not the same thing.

The panel did give me a few ideas for a crowdfunding project I have in mind for spring. Don’t worry. You’ll hear about it Ad-nausea in 2016.

More Panels

Check out S.M. Carrière’s write up of the panels that they were on and attended.

Parasomnia

This year’s Resolutions had submit Parasomnia to 3 agents and 3 publishers. I half accomplished that already.

I had three pitches to three different publishers and all three agreed to read my book. Two were extremely excited. Now it’s a waiting game. I’ve decided to skip the agents – I don’t need them.

So if you’re counting, that’s 2 novels with publishers right now. Hopefully I’ll hear by March if any of them will publish my books.

*Keep your fingers crossed*

Coffee

One of my thrills for the weekend was seeing authors, editors, publishers, and people, whom I greatly respect, loving my coffee.

So far most people love the coffee I’ve been roasting and it makes me really happy to hear. It’s been a little over a year since I started roasting my own and almost a year since I started selling.

After Pop-Expo I will sit down and see if it’s been financially worth it. If it has, I will consider expanding my operation. If it hasn’t, I’ll see what I can do to make it profitable without sacrificing quality.

Overall

This is one of my favourite Conventions. I love it so much!

I’m still not sure if I want to be a vendor, pitch a book, and attend panels next year but we’ll see. Maybe I’ll be able to add panelist to the list…

 

If you like speculative or genre literature, this really is the Con for you.

Thank you to the organizers and see you next year!

 

Éric

Massive Book Launch and Party!

Hello,

This Sunday will be a huge party at the Royal Oak on Laurier starting at 1pm! Four Authors, Five Books, Two Card Games, and lots of awesome people. Here’s the Facebook Event.

This is going to be AWESOME. It’s a combined Renaissance Press and S.M. Carrière launch. 12036663_892001520881886_1338462069834919109_n

The Books Being Launched

Blood Matters

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The Fourth Family by Choice novel by Caroline Frechette. I absolutely loved the first in the series. Check out my review here. They should have all four books available at the launch. Don’t waste your chance to own one of the best Urban-Noir Fantasy Series available.

Human

Human

I may have mentioned this awesome book recently. Now is your chance to own it! It is my favourite vampire centric book that has a touching romance and a few steamy scenes. Not to mention more action than you can shake a stake at.

The King in Darkness

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I haven’t read this one but I’ll be buying it. It’s a Supernatural-Suspense and looks fantastic. Read more about it here.

Journey of a Thousand Steps

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This is a mystery thriller starring someone with MS. That’s really cool. I’ll be picking this up this up for sure. Read more here.

Unblocked

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This is the only non-fiction being released and it should hold a nice place next to your writing style guides and dictionaries. It’s a wonderful combination of advice, motivation, and self-writer-help book. If you’ve ever felt you wanted to write but struggled this is the book for you.

The Games Being Launched

A Match Made in Austen

A Match Made in Austin

I mentioned the kickstarter for this game a few times before. Now it’s available to everyone. I already have my copy and it rocks. Great quality and fun game.

Extrahumans

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You’re going to like the Family by Choice novels so much that you’ll want to play in the world. With this awesome card game you now can. Plus it’s cooperative, which is one of my favourite kinds of game.

 

I hope to see you there!

Éric

CON, Words, Language, and Books

Hello and Welcome to Thursday,

Today will be a mix of subjects. Feel free to skip the ones you don’t care about.

Creative Ottawa Nerds First Craft Fair

Last Saturday was CON’s first event and I have to say I was impressed. We had over 150 people pass through the hall and most vendors seemed happy with their sales. We managed to raise over $600 for the food bank and something like 4 big boxes of non-perishables.

For a first event it was a success! Yay! That means we’ll try to duplicate and improve on that success. Our next event will be announced sometime in the near future. We just have to lock down dates.

Words

S.M. Carrière knocked it out of the park with this post. Go read it.

It’s a fact that I think we often forget. Words are powerful, they can make us feel and make us act. They’re too often short changed in what they do.

Word Cleaner

Words are powerful. The choice and structure of a sentence is important. I don’t use much profanity in my writing or my life but when I do I do it for a reason. There’s a new app out that that will filter you ebooks and “Clean” them. It’s disgusting. An author uses words for a reason and changing them changes the book.

The website for the App makes it seems like they’re protecting the children but it’s not a few F-bombs that they need to worry about. The truly objectionable things won’t be cleaned by a single word.

Don’t trust an app to clean a book for your kids, read the book and decide for yourself.

Lynda Poitevin has a great post on the subject.

Stories vs Posts

I can knock out a 1000 word story in an hour, maybe an hour and half if it’s a hard story or that annoying middle section. It can take me 2 to 4 hours to write a 500 word post.

Why is that? I think it’s that I can picture and follow a story much easier that a post. A post is supposed to say something that will keep your interest and keep you informed. A story has to keep you entertained.

It gets even worse when I’m stressed. Being stressed means I over analyze and over edit a post. I don’t want to piss off to many people or say something that can be misconstrued.

Books

Do not read an epic fantasy when you’re sick or recovering from a cold. I’m currently reading Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson. It is an unforgiving read. If you don’t remember who a character is, he doesn’t remind you. It’s an expansive and intricate book that shows an artistry I can only hope to someday accomplish.

Beta-Reader number 1 for Parasomnia has sent me their changes. It’s absolute torture not to jump into editing it again but I want to finish beta-reading what I have before I jump into it. I should be done the beta-reading I’m doing now by this weekend and then I can start editing Parasomnia for Beta-Reader 2. I’m scared and excited…

 

What have you been up to?

Eric

Recommendation Tuesday – Can-Con

Hello,

I’ve been alternating between excited and terrified for this weekend. It’s the second year I’ll be attending CAN-CON: The Conference on Canadian Content in Speculative Arts and Literature. Last year was amazing and I had a lot of fun.

It’s a calm and relaxed atmosphere with professional and wonderful people.

I’m nervous for the silly reason that I’m going alone this time. My wife will be selling her awesome stuff at Geek Market, across town. It’s at times like these that I realize how much I rely on her to break the ice and be the sociable one.

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Panels

The best part of Can-Con, other than the people, are the panels. I’m particularly excited for:

RPGs: The Game’s the Thing – Writing RPGs: Ever wanted to write a module and have it published? Come hear about the experiences of our panelists who have done just that! Geoff Gander (m), Alice Black, Timothy Carter

Space Opera: It’s History and Its Place Today

Multimedia fandom: Joy Odjick, graphic novelist and TV producer, Gina Frietag of Cellar Door Film Festival, costumer and interactive gamer Alice Black and S.M. Carriere of Silver Stag Entertainment discuss expressions of fandom in other media.

Opportunities for Self-Publishing and Hybrid Models for Authors: Mark Leslie Lefebvre, Director of Self-Publishing and Author Relations, Kobo

And of course: Special Live Filming of the “Nights of the Round Table” by Silver Stag Entertainment. S.M. Carrière and others will discuss Calculating God by Robert Sawyer. See my review of the book from 2012.

That’s just a few panels that look awesome, there are a lot more.

If you’re in Ottawa and love reading Science Fiction or Fantasy get a ticket and come by.

What panels at Can-Con are you most excited for?

 

Éric