Busy busy busy

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I’m working on a new writing project and it seems to have taken over a large portion of my brain. In order to free up my brainspace I’ve been trying to write. Not easy with all my other responsibilities but I’ll make it work.

It’s really exciting and a little different then what I normally do, but so far it’s great.

Now I really need to go finish the last hundred or so words of this chapter.

Have this cute picture of Dragon building Maleficent the Snowperson.

Be safe and be kind

Éric

Just Add Magic – Recommendation Monday

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Keladry loves magic and loves baking, so when I came across a show on Amazon Prime that was about 3 young girls who find a magic cookbook, called Just Add Magic. I thought she’d love it.

I really expected a cheesy magic show for kids. It reminded me of Alex Mac or Eerie Indiana. And to start with, it was pretty much that, but by the end of the first season, I was hooked.

The seasons have story arcs that are planned and cohesive, the magic system is as fascinating as the mythology. They even plant hints at next season’s stories.

There are some seriously awkward stories but overall it’s really well done.

We’re just about to start season 3 and I can’t wait.

Check it out if you have Amazon Prime. Warning, it’ll make you want to cook.

Be Safe and Be Kind,

Éric

Éric’s 2021 New Year’s Resolutions

Welcome 2021! (I’m watching you…)

Today marks the first day of a whole new year. A made up, arbitrary, unimportant date that nonetheless feels like a renewal and rebirth. The human mind and spirit is a fascinating and messed up thing.

Last year was all over the place. I was on paternity leave, we went to Disney World, and then PANDEMIC. I’m ridiculously privileged that I got to work from home and we didn’t lose much income (Jen’s travel booking did suffer). I got to spend so much more time with my son than I would have and that’s a blessing.

It was a terrible year for my New Year’s Resolutions, however. This year I’m going to take it easier… I think.

https://theawkwardyeti.com/

Writing

1. Write a Monthly Serial Story

This will be the 8th year for the serial story. Voting Ended yesterday and I’ll have the first installment by the end of the month. I’ll be writing 1 installment every month of 800-1000 words.

2. Start and write half of SUPER MYSTERY BOOK PROJECT

This year will see the start, and hopefully the finish, of a new book. I’m really excited about this one. The goal is to get to at least 40,000 words this year.

3. Write Another Hal Story

There are 5 stories in the Sun Speaker universe and I’ve been wanting to add another. Hopefully I can write something around 3000-6000 words.

JenEric Designs and Coffee

4. Ensure 5+ days of updates

Our schedule and lineup will be changing, but that’s another post. I’m going to hopefully keep up the streak of having at least 5 posts per week.

Editing and Marketing

5. Start Editing Dinosaur Road Trip

I wrote this novel in 2017 and my weditor edited it. I need to go through it and make the recommended changes and edits. Maybe even pass it to the next beta reader… It’s just such a personal book that it’s hard to revisit.

6. Keep Working on FADDS

The system isn’t perfect, but it’s getting better every playtest. I want to keep playtesting and adding on to the powers. Maybe rethink the advanced classes and powers.

Personal

7. Read 15 Books

Like writing, I need to carve out time to read. It’s important to both my mental energy and health.

8. Play more games with the kids

I need to play more board games and video games now that the kids are getting older. It’ll be a fun activity.

9. Be More Patient

This is a hard one. I yell a little too much and it’s not good for me or the kids. I need more patience with them, work, and life in general.

10. Keep pressing my doctor to find out what those attacks were in November

In November I had some serious health issues. I had massive cramping in my lower left abdomen, fever, weakness, nausea, and fatigue. It happened twice in November and both times faded away.

It also happened last year and I went to the emergency room, but they couldn’t find anything wrong.

In mid-December, I called and asked the receptionist to get a referral to a specialist. I think this is related to my IBS and other issues, but I’m not a doctor.

I’ll keep pushing.


Those are my resolutions for 2021. Ambitious, but less so than in the past.

May your 2021 be gentle and you be strong!

Éric

Resolution Review 2020

Hello my Imaginary Friends,

What a year this has been. I’ve been extremely lucky overall, but it’s been an emotional rollercoaster.

I made 13 resolutions last year and then this summer I checked in to see how I was doing.

Calvin and Hobbs reading a newspaper. Calvin says, “These are interesting Times”.

Writing

1. Finish Writing The Dancing Lights (Failed)

Well this failed completely. I’ve had a really hard time writing this year. I need to find a way to force myself.

2. Finish Writing Paragenesis (Failed)

I’ve decided to rename this one… again. Other than that, I haven’t touched this since early in the year.

3. Write a Monthly Serial Story (Success)

Yay I did it. and I think it’s pretty good: Read this year’s serial story

JenEric Designs and Coffee

4. Ensure there’s content 5 days a week on JenEric Designs (Success)

It’s a year of change and there will be more in the new year.

5. Design and Produce 2 new coffee flavours (Success)

We released Apple Pie and a new branding for our unflavoured medium coffee. I’ll take that as a win.

6. Print, Package, and Sell Oneshot – The Simplest RPG (Fail)

I really think this will sell better at conventions if I can keep the price down. It’s on hold until the world is more vaccinated.

Editing and Marketing

7. Finish Playtesting the higher levels of Fadds (Success)

We tested the higher levels and it was great. I have a really good group at the moment and they’re finding all the loopholes and issues. I’ll hopefully keep going in the new year.

8. Figure out how to market my books better (Fail)

This is a great goal and a great idea… I wish I had something beyond this… I’m not great at pushing my stuff.

Personal

9. Read 20 books (Failed)

I managed 11 books this year. It’s not as much as I’d like, but like writing, I’ve had a hard time finding time to read.

10. Don’t Burnout (Success)

November almost killed me after some health issues. I came very close to a total burnout.

11. Be More Patient (Partial Success)

I’ve lost my temper a lot more than I should. I hate yelling. I hate that sometimes it’s the only way either child listens to me. I think I’ll say I half succeeded.

12. Play Some Video games with Dragon (Success)

It’s been ridiculously busy but we’ve played a few times. It’s fun and I hope we can manage it more in the new year.

13. Play Some Board Games with Dragon (Success)

We’ve played a few times and the holidays will hopefully lend themselves to some more games.


Looks like 7.5 successes out of 13… That’s 58%. For 2020, I’ll take it.

Here’s to hoping 2021 is a better year, for everyone.

Éric

Autumn Approaches

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Brace yourselves; autumn approaches!

In my little part of the world, the weather has turned and for the time being the 30+ Celsius temperatures are over (I live in Ottawa which means there’s a good chance we’ll get another bout of 40 before real Autumn). Pumpkin spice is just around the corner, my squash are growing in the garden (let’s hope some of them survive the cursed squirrels), and my mind turns to Halloween.

I’m looking forward to introducing Dragon to some classic monster movies this year. Maybe the original Mummy or Frankenstein. Hard to go wrong with Karloff.

Inexorably linked to fall in North America; school is starting, or started. It’s a different kind of year with many changes and a lot left up in the air. I don’t envy students and I really don’t envy teachers. We’ve decided that Dragon should be home schooled for her first year of kindergarten. See Jen’s post about that.

Because of the How I Taught my Dragon posts, we’re moving the JenEric Movie Reviews to Saturdays. So you’ll be be getting 6 days of content until I run out of Saturdays, then I’ll have to add some movies to Sundays. (I like only having one thing per day.)

I’m still struggling with my writing, but I’ve managed to write more in the past few weeks than I had in the 6 months before, so that’s a good thing. I wish I could write as fast as I come up with ideas, but unfortunately I’ve slowed down and I’m really happy I’m not a famous author right now. I’d love to be a rich author that people recognize the name, but not famous. (S.M. Carrière has a good post about this.)

This is how most of my meetings go. If I put him down, he screams to be picked up.

I need to stress less about productivity. I constantly feel like I have to be producing for work, writing, FADDS, this blog, and fixing/optimizing things around the house. I need to do what I can, relax and enjoy the time with family.

That’s about it for me.

Be Kind and Be Safe!

Éric

The State of my Writing

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I’ve been home since June 2019 and the day to day routine of family, house, freelance, etc. haven’t lent themselves to writing much. Now since March I’ve also been working from home for my day job and things haven’t improved on that front. I’ve managed to write the serial stories and a little bit in two novels.

Me trying to write when only 1 of the kids is awake.

More and more it’s looking like I’m not going to make my self-imposed deadline of September for the next Elizabeth book. This will probably mean I’ll break my yearly publishing streak. I have a contract for 2021 but no book for 2022 and I’m pretty sure if I don’t submit a novel by end of year my publisher will be out of release spots (if they aren’t already).

Imposter Syndrome by Fowl Language comics

It feels like failure. I hate how much I’m struggling. I’m not struggling with the story or the writing, but with finding time to write. It takes me a little while to get into the zone and I can’t stand writing for only 15 minutes. I have to find a way to give myself the time. As the pandemic becomes normal and we start homeschooling, I’m hoping I’ll find a spot in my busy schedule.

I’m not looking for advice, just wanted to complain. I know it’s a common problem with us writer types and despite the voice yelling at me to give up and that its proof I suck, I’ll get back to it. I always do. Writing is part of me and I love doing it; I’d do it even if I couldn’t publish. I just have to remember that and find the time to enjoy doing it.

If you’d like to lift my spirits please feel free to order one of my books from the publisher, your favourite ebook store, or my website.

If you want to make me giddy with happiness leave a review on those sites and Goodreads.

Thank you for all your support and I hope your creative juices flow… well that sounded dirty.

Good luck and stay safe,

Éric

Introducing Brew 42

Due to the hateful position taken by a certain author, we at JenEric Designs can not morally support them or the world they created.

All Harry Potter crochet will be discontinued.

50% of all sales of remaining stock (including a beautiful Hufflepuff inspired scarf) will be donated to the Trans Women of Color Collective (TWOCC).


Hello Coffee lovers!

I’m proud and excited to introduce our newest flavour: Brew 42. It’s a medium roast unflavoured coffee which which will make you a really hoopy frood.

Enjoy it soon on JenEric Coffee and Crochet!

Enjoy!

Éric

Éric’s 2020 Resolutions Mid-Year Review

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Well… Oh Boy… nearly half way through 2020… It’s been quite a year for the world.

So let’s see how I’m doing with my resolutions for 2020.

https://www.comicskingdom.com/Macanudo/

Writing

1. Finish Writing The Dancing Lights (Failing)

I’m still about a third of the way through… It’s been hard to write this year. I’m still hoping to having to beta readers by September or October but…

2. Finish Writing Paragenesis (No Movement)

If I’m lucky enough to finish Dancing Lights by October I’ll try and finish this one. It’s so close I can taste it.

3. Write a Monthly Serial Story (Succeeding)

So far so good. This reminds me; I better go get on that, eh?

Read this year’s serial story

JenEric Designs and Coffee

4. Ensure there’s content 5 days a week on JenEric Designs (Succeeding)

There was a major change in this year’s lineup but we’re doing well. Hopefully we have enough TARDIS pictures to last until we can get more.

5. Design and Produce 2 new coffee flavours (Succeeding)

We released Crowley’s Temptation and I think we’re going to maybe release something in the Fall, but I’m not sure.

6. Print, Package, and Sell Oneshot – The Simplest RPG (No Movement)

I’m probably going to push this one back. I wanted something for Ottawa Comic Con but I doubt that’s happening and I’m not comfortable investing the time or money into this for this year.

Editing and Marketing

7. Finish Playtesting the higher levels of Fadds (Succeeding )

We finished a high level campaign and I’m pretty happy with how it went. It needs a little more work but we’ll get there. I’m going to continue to beta-test various parts, but for now I’m not rushing anything.

8. Figure out how to market my books better (No Movement)

This is a great goal and a great idea… I put my books up on our coffee site and sold a few but I don’t think I’m going to spend much energy on this one this year.

Personal

9. Read 20 books (Failing)

I’m at 4 of twenty and I’m reading slowly. Between Pegasus waking a lot, pandemic stress, and no bus to work I’ve found it hard to find time to read.

10. Don’t Burnout (Succeeding)

I’ll be honest, I constantly feel on the brink of a breakdown. I’m trying really hard to not let that happen. 2020 isn’t an easy time for this resolution.

11. Be More Patient (Trying)

My daughter is in a licking/biting phase (again) and my son is trying really hard to learn how to talk which means he just screams like a horror movie vixen. It’s hard to keep my cool, but other than a few times I’ve used “Angry Dad” voice instead of “Losing Control and Likely to punch a wall” voice so I’ll say that’s a win.

12. Play Some Video games with Dragon (Succeeding)

We’ve played a few times and she’s really improving. Hopefully we’ll do more soon.

13. Play Some Board Games with Dragon (Succeeding)

We’ve had 2 board game nights so far and they went well. She’s not grasping the strategy of the games, but she is getting the mechanics which is good. Our current favourite is The Mysterious Forest. It’s a co-op memory game with a little resource management. She mostly loves being in charge of the stuff.


That’s not as bad as I expected. So far I’m succeeding at 7, Trying with 1, No Movement on 3, and outright Failing on 2. I expected much worse.

I’m not adding or changing anything this year. Who knows what 2020 still has in store for us. Hopefully I can continue at this pace.

Stay Safe, Wash your hands, and be kind,

Éric

Consume Media Critically

Due to the hateful position taken by a certain author, we at JenEric Designs can not morally support them or the world they created.

All Harry Potter crochet and coffee will be discontinued.

50% of all sales of remaining stock (including a beautiful Hufflepuff inspired scarf) will be donated to the Trans Women of Color Collective (TWOCC).

Use code BTLM for 15% off your entire order until Midnight June 14th.


Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Consuming media critically is something that I encourage everyone to do. You can love a story and still admit its faults.

I firmly believe that once a story is out in the world it not longer belongs (metaphorically and spiritually, not legally) to the creators. I wrote about this from a creator’s point of view in Your Stories and Characters don’t Belong to you. Get over it!

When you consume a story and love it, you take from it what you need. Once the story is out there and communities build around them, the entire world of it changes and grows. The fans fundamentally change the story, usually for the better.

That being said, it’s important to listen those who are hurt by the things we consume. To look at the negative aspects and accept that they can be hurtful. If someone says they are hurt by something, we must listen and learn from that.

Harry Potter is filled with racist, homophobic, classist, pro-slavery, colonialist, and antisemitic themes. I’m sure there are other things in there that I haven’t noticed. It’s also filled with messages about the power of love, found family, doing the right thing, and standing up against oppression. Nothing is perfect. It’s your responsibility to decide if the good outweighs the bad.

We plan on keeping our Harry Potter books and making sure we explain the faults to our kids. However, we gave away our Marion Zimmer Bradley books and I refuse to read Lovecraft. You need to decide on your own balance.

If the Harry Potter universe is important to you, if you have fond memories of waiting in line for the books, if you smile when you hear the words Mushroom and Badger close together, or if your life was influenced for the better by these book; those memories and events are still good and valid. As much as the creator influences the work, so do the consumers. Don’t allow the author’s misguided hateful views to dim the positive that the books have done.

If you still love the world and still want to consume things about it, I recommend looking into fan fiction, fan art, and other creators that have played with those worlds.

Art by the talented itsnucleicacid on DiviantArt.

Consume responsibly,

Éric

Why no extra content on JenEric Designs?

Hello my Imaginary Friends,

Some of my favourite creators are doing extra stories, readings, podcasts, and all kinds of awesome stuff. S. M. Carrière is doing live streams of her guitar playing (seriously cool). She’s also reading her works over on youtube.

Seeing as I tend to express my emotions and work thoughts through my writing, you’d expect that I’d be doing something extra… or possible “extra” as the kids say.

Fortunately for me and my little family, I’m an essential worker (from home) with the federal government. That means I’m pretty much working 8:30 to 4:30. Trying to do work with a baby and a child isn’t always easy, but it is doable. Some of the reports and documents I work on are legislated and must come out even this tiny-pocalypse. That means I’ve actually done overtime this week.

Unfortunately for you, that doesn’t give me much time to create or write. Honestly, I’m struggling to get everything I’m doing done, but I’ll get used to it and production will go up. But there won’t be extra awesome content.

However, there are plenty of amazing people doing great things. Those small businesses and creators that are doing these things need your support. Help them out by buying stuff, becoming a patron, buying them a coffee, or donating to their art. They need the money and more than that, it’ll let them know that someone cares enough about their products and art to give them money for it.

Stay home, wash your hands, and support artists;

Éric