Busy Busy and Paragenesis

Hello Imaginary Friends,

I’m juggling multiple things at the moment. This weekend is Comiccon Holiday edition, we have another event the week after, I’m doing a bunch of other creative work and finally I have NaNoWriMo, which is kicking my butt.

So in the spirit of not wasting time here’s the first 1000 words of Paragenesis: The Copper Tarnish.

Old Cover from when I thought the book wouldn’t be part of the Aetherverse.

Enjoy and Later Days,

Éric

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I can do this again… I hope

Hello Imaginary Friends,

Some days staring at the unwritten parts of a novel I freeze and wonder if I can actually do this. In those times I need to remind myself I can and have.

Here’s he list of things I’ve written, excluding short stories and serial stories, for the past 10 years.

  • 2018: Elizabeth Investigates: Mystery of the Dancing Lights, Paragenesis: The Copper Tarnish, and The Café between ‘Verses (All Unfinished)
  • 2017: Dinosaur Road Trip (Finished beta read and awaiting editing)
  • 2016: Paragenesis: The Copper Tarnish (hoping to finish this for nano this year)
  • 2015: Everdome (Accepted by Renaissance and hopefully being released in 2019)
  • 2014: Everdome
  • 2013: Parasomnia (Published 2017)
  • 2012: Elizabeth Investigates: A Case of Synchronicity (Submitted to Renaissance)
  • 2011: Elizabeth Investigates: The Sign of Faust (Published 2018)
  • 2010: Elizabeth Investigates: A Study in Aether (Published 2016)
  • 2009: Veridian Skies (Never going to see the light of day. It’s that bad.)
  • 2008: Veridian Skies

So that means in the past 10 years I have completed 7 novels, had 3 published, and I’m working on another 3. A rough total of 640,000 words.

This is the first and early part of my career and I hope to keep writing and publishing for another fifty years.

It’s important to remind myself that I can do it. I’ve done it 7 times before and I’ll do it again. It’s hard and lots of work but totally worth it.

Ok, peptalk over. Back to writing.

Later Days,

Éric

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Can-Con 2018 – October 12-14

The Conference on Canadian Content in Speculative Arts and Literature, or just Can-Con, is one of my favourite conventions. It has the best people and panels.

October 12-14, 2018
Sheraton Hotel,  Downtown Ottawa
150 Albert St, Ottawa, ON K1P 5G2

Eric Desmarais Author, JenEric Coffee, JenEric Designs, and toddler Dragon will be there for the entire weekend.

The dealer’s room is free to the public so come say hi, get some books, and coffee.

I, Eric, will be one panel this year: Star Wars, Heroism and Society Friday at 4pm in Salon C. Come by and laugh at a Trekkie trying to talk Star Wars.

Hope to see you there!

Éric

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Point Zero – Word of the Day – Cloister

Every generation has a disaster that is etched into their memories. My grandparents had JFK, my parents had 9/11, and we had first contact.

It was a cool August night in my childhood hometown. It had a name at the time, something nature related that no cares about; now it’s called Point Zero. It was a small town barely numbering in the four digits. I sat on the duck in the grade school playground, it sprung back and forwards every time I took a drink from the bottle of vodka in my hand.

The small schoolyard had a fence around it. You could say that the yard was as cloistered from the town as the town was from the rest of the world. Other than the media from the outside world, Point Zero was its own little world.

The five of us sat on various remnants of our youth and drank to forget that we’d be leaving soon. Each of us heading to a college, university, or apprenticeship. I was supposed to be leaving the next day; I’d managed an apprenticeship with my uncle as an electrician at the new diamond mine near Timmins.

Frank was going into theatre in Toronto, Mel was heading to Vancouver for animation, Jane was going to study and travel the world in Ottawa, and finally James was going to save the world on the east coast.

“Is it a relief to have found what you want to do for the rest of your life James?” asked Mel.

“Sure,” her replied tentatively.

“Must be nice to have found your porpoise.” She burst into giggles and the rest of us groaned. We’d been friends our whole lives and despite multiple hiccups we’d managed to stay together.

“What’s the first thing you’re going to do when you’re on your own?” Frank asked the group.

“I’d say get drunk, but I’m not doing that anymore.” Jane shook her fourth beer before adding, “Without you freaks to keep me safe, I’m going to be paranoid of everyone.”

“I’m going to make a huge chocolate cake, with chocolate icing, and I’ll eat it without having my mom yelling at me.” Mel’s mom was a diet freak and severely allergic to chocolate. I’d once forgotten to brush my teeth before coming over at Halloween and almost sent the woman to the hospital.

“I’m going to go swimming in the ocean,” James said wistfully.

“How about you Sam?” Frank asked me, his green eyes seemed to glow in the yellow streetlight.

I took another swig of vodka to avoid answering the question. I’d had a crush on Frank since… well since I met him in kindergarten. Tonight was my last chance, so I thought, to tell him how I felt.

“I don’t know,” I replied lamely.

“Going to stay current?” Mel’s pun fell flat as the park was flooded with bright green light and searing fire. I still have nightmares about the green fire, the smell, and the pain.

The entire thing felt like it lasted minutes, but when we awoke on the glass surface known as Point Zero it was three months later and the five of us were alone.


If you enjoyed this word of the day story, you can find more on our stories page and catch up on this year’s serial story, Devices of Desire

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The Importance of Quiet Moments

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

The fourth novel in my Elizabeth Investigates series is kicking my butt. I thought I had everything planned out and set up. I was wrong. As I wrote I kept feeling like I was going too fast. I hit a wall about a month ago and instead of trying to find a solution I flirted with another book idea.

Writing isn’t a hobby so much as an obsession. When I’m writing, my mind is consumed with what’s going to happen. I think about scenes in the shower and I play out dialogue on the bus.

When the obsession stops being productive or switches stories my writing stops.

It’s an extremely frustrating feeling not knowing what to do to make the story move forward without becoming derivative or dumb.

My Daughter has appended her bedtime routine. It’s shortened and removed the last GOPEE! Instead now she says, “Wake up… Papa! Wake up… Papa.” It’s followed by, “Sing” and after her two songs (Goodness I’d missed holding her and singing.) and finally by “SIT!?”

So I sit there for ten minutes whiles she goes to sleep. Not every night, but it goes better when I do.

In those ten minutes she’s pretending to sleep, my wife is in bed, and I have nothing to do but think. Those quite moments are slowly helping me understand what to do next. I have some good ideas now, but the next 2/3rds of the novel have changed a dozen times. It’s amazing how much just stopping and thinking has helped.

If you’re stuck in your writing, try shutting yourself off from distractions and letting your mind go over the story. Like all writing advice, your mileage may vary.

Later Days,

Éric

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Massive 5th anniversary party

Hello Book Lovers!

Come to the launch of my third book and a celebration of an amazing publisher.

Hope to see you all there!

 

 

It’s been five years already since Renaissance was founded by a group of friends, and it hasn’t just grown in that time – it’s exploded. In that period of time, we  signed a total of 19 Canadian authorsbuilt a team of 13 editors, designers, and artists; published twenty novels and three games; and are planning ten more releases, including one game and one anthology, by the end of 2019.

We’re having a party to celebrate our accomplishments, and most of all, our amazing people. We’d love for you all to join us at the Red Lion (47 Clarence St., Ottawa) on Sunday May 27th, 5-7 PM. Entrance is FREE, and you’ll be able to buy our books and get them signed by our authors!

Since we’ve always been very silly, geeky people, we invite you to attend cosplaying as your favorite literary character. This is entirely optional, but we will be giving out a prize to the best/cleverest costume!

Don’t worry if you don’t feel like dressing up – as always, we’ll also be giving out excellent door prizes as well!

Last, but not least, Frankenstein lovers, you’re in luck! As part of their fifth birthday celebration, Renaissance is also launching an anthology to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the release of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. It is currently on Kickstarter, funded in just under a week! — and all backers of the Kickstarter project will enjoy an additional 10% off any Renaissance purchase they make at the launch!

As part of our celebration, we will be launching four new titles, all by Ottawa authors, some of whom you already know and love, and some brand-new names you’ll quickly add to your favorites:

The Sign of Faust (Baker City Mysteries, Elizabeth book 2) by Éric Desmarais (YA Supernatural suspense)
Can Elizabeth find out who’s trying to kill her — and discover the source of everyone’s luck — while navigating dating, concerts, school, and competing in the science Olympics? ISBN: 978-1-987963-33-5 – Available now!

Life After Redby by Kaitlin Caul (Horror)
Die. Become a zombie. Get needled. Do it all over again. Caught in the endless cycle of death, zombification, and resurrection, Cass became scarred inside and out. Now, her skills are needed again. ISBN: 978-1-987963-29-8

To Pluck a Crow by Sue Taylor-Davidson (Historical mystery)
Could Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets have been written by more than one person? As Janek and Sarah investigate, they get tangled up in another mystery. ISBN: 978-1-987963-30-4 – Available now!

Life and Lemonade by Jamieson Wolf (LGBTQIAPP2+)
All’s fair in love and war . . . but sometimes life gets in the way. ISBN: 978-1-987963-36-6 – Available now!

Accessibility

This location has a street-facing accessible entrance, and a city parking lot directly across the street from it.

We will have a specialized menu for the event which will include vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.

The location unfortunately could not offer gender-neutral restrooms at this time, but we will have designated and clearly identified bathroom buddies to accompany you to the bathroom for any reason, no questions asked.

Menu

The location has provided us with a specialized menu just for the event. Please note that burgers have optional gluten-free buns!

Nachos $17 : Corn Chips/ Pico de Gallo/ shredded cheese/ Jalapeños/ sour cream/ salsa/ guacamole.

Spicy Thai Chicken Bites $15 : Breaded chicken/ cucumbers/ sweet & spicy Thai sauce

Chicken Wings $15 : Breaded Wings/ Fries

Classic Poutine $15 : French Fries/ Cheese Curds/ Gravy

Kung-Pao Calamari $15 : Spicy Breaded Calamari/ Cucumbers/ Red Onions

Caesar Salad $15 : Romain Mix/ Parmesan/ Bacon Bits/ Croutons/ Creamy Caesar Dressing

Chicken Avocado Salad $17 : Heritage mix/ Red Peppers/ Red Onions/ Balsamic dressing/ Avocados/ Cheese

Fish & Chips $16 : Haddock/ Beer Batter/ Fries/ Tartar Sauce

Garlic & Herb Chicken Sandwich $17 : Garlic Chicken/ Bacon/ Cheddar cheese/ Southwestern ranch/ Pico De Gallo/ Lettuce/ Avocado/ Kaiser bun

The Loaded Stack Burger $17 : Double Beef Patty/ Sautéed Mushroom & Onions/ Southwestern Ranch/ Bacon/ Cheddar & Swiss Cheese/ Lettuce/ Tomatoes/ Pickles/ Kaiser

Shepherds Pie $15 : Ground Beef/ Corn/ Mash/ Cheese/ Gravy

Bangers & Mash $15 : Banger sausages/ Mash/ Onions/ Bacon/ Gravy

Chicken Curry $17: Chicken Curry/ Rice/ Naan

Sundried Tomato Pesto Penne $15 (available Gluten Free) : Broccoli/ Sundried Tomatoes/ Mushrooms/ Pesto/ Cream/ Penne

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Feeling Inspired

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I get inspired by a lot of things. When it comes to writing, for me, there’s nothing better than a good conversation. Friday I got to hang out online with my writer’s group and they are absolutely genius. The things they read were diverse and inspiring. It’s great to be with so many talented authors.

Then on Saturday, I hung out with some close friends that I wish I had the chance to see more of. We talked about everything from books to politics and it was wonderful.

I’m feeling extremely inspired. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to do some writing.

I just got the third round of edits from my publisher for The Sign of Faust and I can’t wait to dig in.

Later days!

Éric

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The Interconnectedness of all [book] things

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I’ve recently finished the second, and sadly last, season of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.

It’s weird, silly, irreverent, and absolutely wonderful. Warning that it is a little gory and there’s lots of death. It was everything I loved about the novel and a little more. I highly recommend it.

One of the main themes of Dirk Gently is that everything is connected. It means the show throws a whole lot of disjointed weirdness and then manages to put it all together in the end.

Interconnectedness

I got a great email from a reader this weekend and I have to say it made a particularly tough weekend so much better.

The email was praising Parasomnia (Available on Amazon and from Renaissance Press). I had mentioned to this reader that Parasomnia and A Study in Aether exist in the same world and they asked for clarification and if we’d see more of that in the future.

I have a plan to connect all my novels. It’s not going to be necessary to have read all of them to follow, but those that do will get an extra treat and information about certain characters.

It won’t be soon; it’ll come to fruition after years of novels but I have plans…. Mhuhahahaa!

Stay tuned and you’ll get all kinds of interconnectedness.

 

Later Days,

Éric

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Writing Update

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Wow. We’re already in February. This year has been going really fast. Lots going on. See updates below.

Elizabeth Investigates: The Sign of Faust (A Baker City Mystery)

This book has gone through 2 editors and is currently with a third. It’ll be released by Renaissance Press this year. The exact date depends on how edits go and how their production schedule looks. This is a direct sequel to A Study in Aether and picks up a few weeks into Elizabeth, Jackie, and Angela’s second semester of grade nine.

Haven’t read the first one yet? Pick it up from Renaissance Press or from Amazon.

Everdome

I have pitched Everdome as the setting for a super secret project and it was accepted. I don’t have a contract in hand so it could change, but I’m really excited about this. Not only does it mean that the world will be used and expanded, but that the book will find a good home.

I’ll let you know more when I do.

Four Attribute Duel Dodecahedron System (FADDS)

I’ve been working on a role playing system for the better part of eight years. I’m at the final play-testing stage before I do a deep edit of the wording and text. After that it can all be submitted to a publisher.

If all goes well with the super secret Everdome project, I might be able to pitch it as the main FADDS fantasy setting.

Devices of Desire: Serial Story

I’ve written the first installment and will be adding another soon. I can’t admit that comments can and will affect the story but…

Go read Devices of Desire!

Elizabeth Investigates: The Mystery of the Dancing Lights (A Baker City Mystery)

This book will be the fourth Elizabeth Investigates and I’m currently at the fifth mark or 20% into the book. At this pace I should hopefully be done by November. That’s a great pace for me and I’d happily write one book a year.


If you need something to read I recommend checking out my Story Archive.

Happy Reading,

Éric

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Scripts, Clichés, and Tropes! Oh My! Part 1

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

The Weditor and I were talking about genies the other night around 11pm while the Dragon roared herself to sleep. I’m sure that’s normal conversation for a married couple as they’re going to sleep right?

We were discussing how she had been surprised when a genie turned out to be malicious, and I really wasn’t. It’s not that I’m smarter (Hahaha, far from it). It’s that we were exposed to different kinds of genies. She was mostly exposed to Disney’s Aladdin and I Dream of Genie, while I spent my youth reading horror and adventure stories like Goosebumps and Bruce Coville. We’d been exposed to different Scripts for what it means to interact with a genie.

When I talk about Scripts, I’m talking about tiny stories and definitions that a writer doesn’t need to explain because the audience already knows them. It’s a form of shorthand that we use to create consistancy and fast paced narratives.

When someone reads Genie, they will assume certain things are true. (Eg. There’s a lamp, grants wishes, Middle Eastern origins, etc.) Scripts are extremely important and we use them all the time. Often when a character is alien to the main culture, them not knowing the Script is played for humour.

There’s an episode of Stargate SG1 where a character is telling the group they’ve been impregnated without having sex. When asked if they’d ever heard of anything like that one of the characters replies with, “Vader,” and a second replies with, “I was thinking of King Arthur,” to which a third character goes, “You were!?”

A virgin giving birth is a simple Script that we associate with Christian mythology. By naming other less known instances and avoiding it, the writers are playing with our expectations in a humorous way.

This subconscious use of Scripts is one of the biggest reasons that when you write you need to know your audience. Either while you’re writing or while you’re editing. Using an unfamiliar Script or a different version can not only throw someone out of the story, it can confuse them enough to stop reading.

Always make sure your stories go through multiple editors or beta readers and you’ll find how some people have no concept of certain kinds of Scripts, and others are so aware they think it’s obvious.

The next book of mine to be published is called The Sign of Faust and deals with a genie, D&D, and a lot of confusing wishes. It relies on the audience understanding certain fantasy Scripts. One of the editors had a little trouble at some points because they weren’t familiar with the Scripts, and because of that I made sure to explain a little more to avoid confusion.

I’ll talk more about Scripts and how they are similar but different from Clichés and Tropes in a later post.

 

Later Days,

Éric

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