Organizations in Westmeath

Businesses

Oldtown Council

A council of seven members that owns lands and businesses in the Oldtown district of Westmeath. They are prominent members of the Community and the Council dates back to the original founding of Westmeath.

Westmeath Agricultural Research Cooperative (Westmeath ARC)

A research and development agricultural facility, they hold the patents to countless hearty crops and pest resistant strains. One of the world’s top agricultural researchers, Dr Amita Dubois, runs the cooperative.

It is funded by the Oldtown Council and its crops are used as a form of food bank and low income supplementation.

Yggdrasil Corporation

A subsidiary of Aesir Holdings, they own an empty warehouse and small fleet of black vans. It is suspected that they are a front for something, but unsure what.

Unidentified Tech Companies

In the sixties, several large tech companies moved facilities to Westmeath due to military contracts. With the tech companies came people, infrastructure, schools, and other businesses. In under fifteen years, Westmeath went from a backwater town to a metropolitan city.

The tech companies are extremely paranoid and have built massive city block sized campuses that have security walls around them.

Organized Crime

Andromeda Syndicate

One of the most elusive crime groups in the country, it is known to only operate in Westmeath, Toronto, and Quebec City. The Syndicate is brutal to its enemies and controls a lot of the smuggling and human trafficking in its territory.

Blue Bloods

One of the country’s most notorious, and hard to shut down, gangs. They operate each city as a cell with no one knowing the national leaders. They mostly deal in drugs, thugs, weapons, and robberies. 

Daemon Bikers

The Daemon Bikers are Westmeath’s largest drug dealers. They deal in everything. They are known to make deals rather than go into a turf war. 

Religious Organizations

Bifröst

This is a new religion that believes that a great power, they call the Key, will unlock a gate to a new world where they and the devout will be given their eternal reward. They seem to mix Christian, Norse, and science fiction concepts. 

They are known to be violently devout.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel church

An Anglican Church first built in the early 1900’s. The Reverend is known to be extremely accepting. This church is also an Aetherborn sanctuary.

Siblings of Death

A cult of trained assassins that believe the way to paradise is on a wave of blood. Once they are hired for a job they do not stop trying.

The Painting, Part 2

Missed Part 1? Read it here!


“What’s going on?” I clapped my hands over my ears, trying to drown out the sound. I looked for the waiter we had been talking to, but he’d disappeared.

Guests were rushing past us, towards the exits, I assumed, since I couldn’t actually see the doors.

“Come on,” ordered George, his mouth tight with worry. He grabbed my elbow and directed me along with the others, not towards the lobby where I’d seen the painting, but towards the back of the restaurant.

Outside the restaurant were several vans. The maître-d’ was directing people into straight lines, waiting for the vans to pull up at the bottom of the stairs.

“What’s going on?” I repeated my question to him when he reached us.

“Fire in the kitchens,” he replied, glancing at my husband. “We’re evacuating you to another location to keep you safe.”

George wrapped a protective arm around my waist. “Thank you,” he said, and the maître-d’ rushed off to the next couple.

“I wonder what happened to the others,” I mused. “I hope they got out alright.”

“I’m sure they did, sweetie,” replied George. He rubbed his hand gently over my belly. “But I don’t really care about them. As long as you’re both safe.”

I smiled. “I was safe the whole time, because I was with you!” My eyes filled with tears again.

“Your hormones are acting up again,” teased George.

“Next group, hop in!” shouted a driver.

George helped me into the van, and settled in beside me. The van wobbled as others got in after us, and then the engine started up.

“George,” I whispered. “I don’t feel so well.” The van lurched forwards, and I clapped a hand to my mouth. “Stop!” I cried. “Stop, I need to get out!”

The driver looked back at me. “What seems to be the problem, Madame?”

“I’m going to throw up all over the back of your seat if you don’t let me out right now,” I said, and my stomach heaved again.

“It’s not much farther…” he began.

“Now!” I screamed.

The van screeched to a halt, and I opened the door on my side of the car. I fell to my knees on the grass beside the road, dry heaving.

The van drove away–good riddance–as I felt hands pulling my hair back from my face. George’s voice filtered through the blood pounding in my ears. Eventually, as my stomach calmed, I was able to make sense of his words. “We don’t have to go to the other restaurant, we can go home and stay in, just the two of us, Sophie and George.”

I froze, my blood turning to ice in my veins, though I didn’t understand why. “And the baby,” I said cautiously. Something was niggling in the back of my brain, trying to make itself known.

George nodded at me, a half smile on his face. “Sophie, George, and the baby.”

I sat down, my legs too weak to hold me on my knees. I looked at George, my thoughts whirling quickly as the thought thrust itself into the forefront of my brain: my husband was French-Canadian; he always pronounced his name with a French accent, Georges. This impersonator Anglicized the name. I, however, never used his French name. On top of that, what was with all the nicknames? That was unlike him. What on earth was going on? He looked like my husband, but wasn’t him. Which brought me to my next question; if he wasn’t my husband, then where was George?

“I think a bit of a walk will help me,” I said calmly. “Help me up?”

George reached for my hand and pulled me to my feet. “Which way would you like to go?” he asked.

“Away from the restaurant!” I laughed, trying to show an outward calm, although my insides were screaming at me to run. “How about towards the forest?” I pointed in a direction that veered away from the road. “We don’t have to go in,” I continued, interpreting the look of apprehension on fake-George’s face, which I took to mean that this was a good direction to go.

We started walking slowly, as I was still a little shaky from the nausea. What had been with that vehicle? I sometimes got motion-sick, but rarely that quickly. I shrugged; the oddest things affected my body now that I was pregnant.

About halfway between our starting point and the forest, a short metal fence blocked our path. It barely reached my knees, so I went to step over it but fake-George yanked me back by the arm.

“We shouldn’t go that way!” he exclaimed, eyeing the fence anxiously.

“There’s no sign saying to keep out,” I tried to reason with him. “What’s wrong with you? We’ve gone places we shouldn’t before!” I attempted to pry my arm from his grip. “Let me go, you’re hurting me!” I could feel a prickly burning sensation on the inside of my wrist.

“No! We shouldn’t cross the barrier!” he pressed. “You can’t cross it.” He didn’t release my hand.

“Why can’t I cross it?” I asked, exasperated. I stopped struggling. It was only making things worse.

“You…you just can’t,” he retorted.

I took a deep breath and stepped closer to him. “Watch me,” I said, and kneed him in the groin. He dropped to the ground, letting me go.

I ran the two steps back to the fence and stepped over it. I kept going a few more paces before looking back at him, writhing on the ground.

I took one glance at the sickly blue-purple tinged creature that had been masquerading as my husband and had to turn away. Seeing him in his natural form brought my memories back in a rush, and my head started to ache. I was in Ireland, but I was alone. George had died a month ago in an accident. My eyes filled with tears, and I started gasping for breath. No wonder I had been so willing to accept that monster as my husband in the restaurant. I missed him.

“How did you cross the fence?” the creature wheezed. “You shouldn’t have been able to cross the iron barrier!”

I glared at the creature. “You should be incredibly grateful that I could cross, liar! You…you kidnapper!”

He staggered to his feet, and I backed up a couple steps. He was slightly taller than I was, with shiny scales covering his body. They were a sickening, swirling purple and blue colour that had no discernable pattern. He had a tail that curled down to the ground, sharp teeth in a mouth too wide for his face, and four eyes; two on the sides of his hairless head, and two at the front.

“What are you?” I gasped.

“A liar,” he smirked. “A kidnapper.”

I growled at him. “I knew that already. Tell me something I don’t know.”

“I don’t have to tell you anything,” he retorted.

“Even though I bested you?” I mocked. “Taken out by a human? A pregnant one, at that!”

His two forward facing eyes flicked down to my belly, and a green tongue came out to lick his lips. I shuddered.

“I can tell you whatever you want in exchange for one thing,” he offered.

“You’ll get nothing from me,” I spat at him. “You owe me for kidnapping me.”

The creature scowled. “Under what pretense? I didn’t kidnap you. You walked into our cavern. I was first in line to take care of the next human who came to us.”

A trickle of memory started to come back to me. I had been exploring the caves north of Belfast with my tour group after lunch. The tour was supposed to help get me out of my cycle of depression. “What did the painting have to do with anything?” I asked. “The Van Gogh. You were deliberately avoiding talking to me about it.”

“We are bound by law to give every human a chance to leave,” he sighed. “If you say the name of the painting, it activates an alarm. That gets you out of the restaurant, and you have the chance to get away. The Van Gogh is not seen by many.”

I narrowed my eyes. “Exactly how many humans have managed to escape?”

“Very few.” The creature grinned cruelly. “Most humans don’t even realize that they’ve been trapped, or they eat something and that keeps them from crossing the barriers.”

I was suddenly very grateful that I had not had any water. “So Van Gogh is a good painter?” I wanted to have the record set straight on that point.

“Van Gogh’s original paintings are so powerful that they have their own magical capabilities. A human that sees one will not be able to get it out of their mind. It will call to them.” He glared. “You shouldn’t have seen it. We get so few pregnant humans in our world.”

I glared right back at him. “And whose idea was it for you to impersonate my recently departed husband?”

“When humans step through our gateway, we can briefly see into their minds and hearts. Your husband featured prominently in your thoughts, so we knew he would be the one most likely to set your mind at ease.” He shuffled his feet. “How did you realize I was not him?”

“Oh ho!” I cried. “It seems you don’t know everything. You’re going to have to die not knowing the answer to that.”

“I will die shortly for allowing you to escape, for the colony must eat,” he said.

“Do you really think I care?” I replied in disgust. “Wait, you were going to eat us? No,” I raised my hand to stop him from answering, and my stomach roiled at the thought. “I don’t want to know.”

I turned and squinted at the sun, deciding which direction I should walk. I placed it behind me and started across the meadow, away from the creature.

“You and your child are marked. Death would have been a kinder fate.” On my wrist where he’d grabbed me was a crescent moon mark that could have been a tattoo.

“Screw you, monster,” I snapped at him over my shoulder. “I hope I never see you again.”

“You won’t,” he said, his voice a mixture of anger and sadness. Moments later I heard his screams and a noise like angry dogs ripping apart an animal.

I didn’t look back; I didn’t dare. The savage sounds faded behind me as I continued on my way back to human civilization. It wasn’t over, the mark on my wrist was proof of that, but for now I’d won. Everything else I could worry about later.


I hope you enjoyed that!

Introducing Secondary Characters Part 3/3

These are a few of the secondary characters in Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers.

See Part 1 and Part 2

In order of appearance:

Rachel

Appearance inspired by Aimee Carrero

Age: 20

Date of Birth: Unknown

Appearance: Dark hair and tan skin

Job: Student in third year at Westmeath University, working in sales at Discreet Frills

Connection to Protagonists: Coworker of Kennedy’s, was babysat by Jason when they were younger

Nick

Appearance inspired by Colton Haynes

Age: 23

Date of Birth: Unknown

Appearance: Grey eyes

Job: Head server at The Hawaiian in Oldtown

Connection to Protagonists: Works at Jason’s restaurant

Jesse

Appearance inspired by Tom Cavanagh

Age: mid-50s

Date of Birth: Unknown

Appearance: Tall and thin, greying hair

Job: Owns and operates Mortimer’s Diner in Oldtown

Connection to Protagonists: Jason loves his Hungry Man’s breakfast

The Painting, Part 1

This is a republish of the short story I wrote in 2016 and won an award with. We realized I had never posted it on our own website, so here it is.


I blinked, trying to see in the dimmer light inside the – where was I? Oh yes, the restaurant. A multi-faceted crystal chandelier hung from the ceiling, drawing my eye. I turned around, looking at the décor, and caught a glimpse of a server drawing a curtain over a painting.

“Oh wow,” I murmured under my breath. I could recognize the swirls in the painting anywhere. “Hey!” I raised my voice slightly. “Is that another painting in Van Gogh’s Starry Night series?” I squinted, trying to see through the dim foyer, while moving towards the painting.

He hurriedly finished drawing the curtain, blocking my view.

Disappointed, I stepped back. Something about the painting was not quite right. Before I could concentrate on what, I heard my name.

“Sophie! You finally made it!”

I spun, stepping into my husband’s arms. “George!” My eyes unexpectedly filled with tears. “Sorry I’m late.”

“Nothing to cry about, darling.” He brushed his fingers under my eyes to wipe away the tears. “We’ve only just been called to our table.”

I smiled shakily up at him. The light refracted through my tears, making his blond hair glow.

We followed the maître-d’ into the dining room. The various aromas tickled my nose, the combination making my stomach churn a bit. The tables were teardrop shaped, tucked into rounded booths that provided privacy to the diners. There was a surprising amount of room inside each section. On the walls were exquisite paintings; Monet, Rembrandt, Picasso, and Da Vinci.

I tugged on George’s arm as we navigated our way through the maze of tables. “Can we look at the art after dinner? You know how much I like Van Gogh.”

“Of course, sweetheart,” he replied.

The maître-d’ stopped at a table with two other couples and pulled out a chair. “Madame?” He gestured for me to sit, and placed George at my side.

“This is different,” I said, smiling at the other guests after sitting in my chair. “Sophie,” I introduced myself. “And my husband George.”

“Daphne and John,” replied the redheaded woman to my right. “We just got married three days ago!”

“Congratulations!” I exclaimed.

“Andrea and Felix,” said the blonde across from me. She had thin, angular features. “How far along are you?”

Startled at the question, I looked down at my slightly protruding belly and gave it a tiny rub. “Just past twelve weeks,” I said. “I’m not used to people noticing. It depends on what shirt I wear.”

“Humans have such an interesting gestation period,” said John.

“I’d rather the nine months than the elephant’s two years!” I said, and we all laughed.

“Do you know the gender?” asked Daphne.

“Oh, no, not yet,” I smiled ruefully. “I don’t get to find that out until sometime around week twenty.”

A waiter appeared between George and Felix. “Something to drink, Madame?” he asked me.

“Just water, please,” I replied. A painting on the wall across from us caught my eye, and I pointed it out to George. “Look at that Monet! It looks so vivid, I could almost jump into the river.”

George laughed. “Such an imagination!” He kissed my hand.

The waiter brought me a glass, and I left it in front of me without taking a sip.

“Not thirsty?” asked Andrea.

“No, not really.” I paused. “Actually, I feel rather full at the moment.” I frowned, confused. “Did I eat before coming here?” I didn’t think I had, but I couldn’t remember.

“You probably just need to visit the ladies room,” interjected George. He ran a soft hand over my belly. “You are pregnant, after all.”

My thoughts cleared. “You’re probably right. Where is the washroom?”

Fortunately, it was within sight of the table, so I would be able to find my way back on my own, as the paths between the booths were as twisted as a maze.

As I sat on the toilet, I examined the painting on the back of the door and considered the other art in the restaurant. “Van Gogh,” I murmured. “I haven’t seen any other Van Gogh here. That’s weird. And the one in the front lobby was one I’ve never seen before.” I thought about the part of the painting that I caught a quick glimpse of. “There was a large full moon, over a meadow.” I shook my head and got up to wash my hands. “I wonder what the name might be.”

I headed back to the table, but didn’t sit down. When George stood up to let me by, I said, “I’m really not hungry yet. Can we look at the paintings now?”

George gave a sigh and smirked at our tablemates. “Whatever you want, darling.” He took me by the hand and we started walking from painting to painting, admiring how realistic the paintings looked.

“These look so perfect!” I exclaimed, astonished. “Surely they can’t all be originals?”

A waiter passing behind us overheard me, and interjected, “Oh yes, Madame. All the art pieces in our restaurant are originals. The ones in the Hu-“

George coughed sharply.

“Museums are just copies,” smoothly continued the waiter.

“Wow!” I stared around, wide-eyed. There were at least fifty paintings within my sight, and I knew there were more beyond that. “Those are some impeccable forgeries in the museums, but I can definitely see how these paintings are more…” I searched for the right word. “Full. Three-dimensional, almost. Are there any other paintings by Van Gogh?”

“Other?” asked the waiter, swallowing hard. “We don’t have any paintings by Van Gogh. The quality of his work wasn’t enough to stand with the masters.”

I stared. “Are we talking about the same painter? The genius who died not knowing the brilliance of his work? I definitely saw a painting by him at the entrance.”

“You must have been mistaken, dear,” laughed George, his hand tightening on mine. “If the waiter says there are no Van Gogh paintings here, he would know.”

“I know what I saw.” My chin jutted out stubbornly, and I tried to let go of my husband’s hand. “I’ve never seen that particular painting, but the style was obviously by Van Gogh. It was of the same feel as his Starry Night series, except in this particular painting, the moon dominated the scene, over a meadow. Don’t you remember, George? You were there too.” When George shook his head, I sighed impatiently. “It was beautiful! I wonder what he named that painting. Moonlight over Meadows, perhaps? Or Moonlight over the Moor? Or ooh!” I wiggled in excitement. “We’re in Ireland! Maybe it’s Moonlight over Faerie!”

A piercing alarm went off.


Read Part 2 here!

Introducing Secondary Characters Part 2/3

These are a few of the secondary characters in Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers.

See Part 1 here.

In order of appearance:

Zhanna and Lydia Turgeneva

Appearance inspired by Jackie Burroughs and Cloris Leachman

Age: Unknown (very old)

Date of Birth: Unknown

Appearance: Old, hunched demeanor, Lydia uses a cane carved to look like Baba Yaga’s house

Job: They own and operate a tailoring and sewing store called Seams Likeable in Oldtown

Connection to Protagonists: Kennedy’s neighbours

Judy Fauche

Appearance inspired by Lorraine Toussaint

Age: Early 60s

Date of Birth: Unknown

Appearance: Very large, red hair, Black

Job: Owns and operates Judy’s Butchery in Oldtown, has a dojo on the third floor above it and runs classes on the weekends, in charge of policing and protection for the Oldtown Council

Connection to Protagonists: Trained Jason in Kung Fu

Michelle and Evanna Swan

Appearance inspired by Michelle Trachtenberg and young Alexa Gerasimovich

Age: Early 30s and 3

Date of Birth: Unknown

Appearance: Single mother and daughter, blonde

Job: Unknown

Connection to Protagonists: Kennedy’s neighbours

See Part 3

Introducing Secondary Characters Part 1/3

These are a few of the secondary characters in Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers.

In order of appearance:

Carter Batudev

Appearance inspired by Max Torina

Age: 14

Date of Birth: March 5, 1988

Appearance: Long and gangly, grey eyes

Job: Grade 9 student at Oldtown High School

Connection to Protagonists: Kennedy tutors him in math, son of the bakers at Oven Baked in Oldtown

Vee (Veronica) Giles

Appearance inspired by Olesya Rulin

Age: 25

Date of Birth: Unknown

Appearance: Short and pale, with shoulder length chocolate wavy brown hair, large eyes, heart shaped face, and pointy chin; has an air of innocence

Job: Something in engineering

Connection to Protagonists: Jason’s best friend and the Phantom’s ‘Person in the Chair

Claude

Appearance inspired by David Nykl

Age: 66

Date of Birth: Unknown

Appearance: Silver hair, attractively wrinkled face, handsome and affluent

Job: Manager of Jason’s restaurant The Hawaiian, treasurer of the Oldtown Council

Connection to Protagonists: Honorary uncle to Jason

Dr Amita Dubois

Appearance inspired by Amita Suman

Age: Unknown

Date of Birth: Unknown

Appearance: Tall, lanky, large eyes

Job: Lead researcher at Westmeath Agricultural Research Cooperative (Westmeath ARC)

Connection to Protagonists: Tutor of Jason’s during high school

See Part 2 and Part 3

Introducing Protagonists

The two protagonists of Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers are Kennedy Fairfield and Jason Johnson.

Kennedy Fairfield

Appearance inspired by Olivia Holt

Age: 22

Date of Birth: July 11, 1980

Appearance: Long blonde hair, green eyes, tall, white

Job: Currently working in sales at Discreet Frills, a boutique lingerie store. Looking for work in her field of Agricultural Science

Parents: Lilah and Gerard Fairfield live on a farm in Parry Sound, Ontario

Siblings: Older brother Phillip, married and has one son (15 months old). Twin older sisters Eliza and MacKenzie. Younger brother Tommy

Jason Johnson

Appearance inspired by a young Jason Momoa

Age: 25

Date of Birth: November 8, 1976

Appearance: Shaggy dark hair, hazel eyes, tall, golden brown skin

Job: Owner and operator of a pizza restaurant The Hawaiian. Head of the Oldtown Council. Aka the Westmeath Phantom, a vigilante with the power to manipulate and control shadows

Parents: Hammond and Monique Johnson, deceased.

Sibling: Younger sister Zoe is married to Gabrielle and they have one daughter Brooke (15 months old)

Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers

This is the first book in The Gates of Westmeath series.

Summary

When Kennedy Fairfield, a recent graduate (class of 2002) trying to find her purpose in life, or at least a job in her field, saves Jason Johnson, the leader of a secret Community of supernatural people called Aetherborn, from an attempted assassination, they embark on a whirlwind epic romance and adventure.

For Kennedy to help Jason discover why people are disappearing in time to save her friends, they’ll have to navigate teleporting assassins, grumpy wizards, gossiping hags, mafia robots, and secret military groups, all in the city of Westmeath, Ontario, which has more secrets than residents.

AO3 tag system

If we were to put this book on AO3, it would require the following tags. The tagging system gives a hint about what can be found in the book without giving everything away.

Rating: M (mature for sex and violence)

Tags: Urban Fantasy, Romance, main character injuries, kidnappings, fight scenes, deaths of NPCs, death of villain, superheroes, magic is real, aliens exist, no relationship angst, flirting, dancing, happy ending, puns

Aurora Award Nominations

Hello,

Last week I posted about How I Taught My Dragon for your Aurora Nominations.

Here are all the other products that JenEric Designs has worked on that are eligible for Aurora nominations.

Thank you in advance and good nominating.


aurora

The Aurora Awards are awards “for excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy works and activities.” They are administered by the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association.

It’s a fan voted award in the vein of the Hugo’s, but with way more awesome people.

You’ll have to join the CSFFA for a pittance of $10 before you can nominate anyone. Once you’ve paid, you can nominate 5 works in each category. You can nominate works from now until May 18th.

The extra bonus of joining the CSFFA is you’ll get a voters package that includes most of the works that make the ballot. That’s 8-10 novels plus a bunch of other awesome stuff.


Thank you!

Éric

Title Reveal of The Untitled Mystery Book Project

Hello Book Lovers,

Jen and I have been writing, a lot, lately and we’re at the 2/3’s mark of The Untitled Mystery Book Project. It’s been a lot of fun working on it with her and I hope we can keep pace with the rest of the book.

“The Untitled Mystery Book Project” is a cool name but since the book doesn’t involve mystery, projects, or books; we thought we should probably pick a better name.

Without further ado the name is:

Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers

The Gates of Westmeath book 1

Hope you’ll enjoy reading this half as much as we enjoyed writing it.

Stay safe and stay kind,

Éric