ComicCon 2022 is Over :(

Hello Everyone,

As you know, we sold at Ottawa ComicCon last weekend. We even met Cary Elwes.

Our table at the start of day on Sunday at Ottawa Comic Con 2022

We bought a table back in 2019 and we didn’t want to lose our spot. deposit, or goodwil we’ve accrued over the past almost decade so we decided to do it.

Despite Éric’s injuries, he roasted slowly and made sure to be as safe as possible. The weekend itself was painful, but didn’t set him back in his recovery.

The weekend was a success and all of JenEric Designs and Coffee did well enough to make us want to return. So see you next year.

Here’s a few exciting moments from the Con.

Éric

Writing is a very solitary act most of the time and as an author its easy to think we’re just launching our stories into the aether and that they aren’t being read.

A woman this weekend asked about Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers and when I mentioned that I’d already written a few, she said, “Oh, I know. I’ve read your other books.”

Apparently Everdome was one of her favourites. That made my day.

There was another instance where when someone saw the coffee, they got so excited they screamed in happiness.

It’s nice to be liked.

Jen

Nine years ago, I was prepping to sell at my very first show. I made 4 Mike Wazowski mini balls, and 2 Sour Bill mini balls. This story involves both of those.

As I was setting up on Thursday, I kept pulling things out of the bin and being surprised because I honestly couldn’t remember what I had available.

When someone on Saturday saw my little Mike Wazowski and cooed over it, I offhandedly mentioned that it was the last one. They bought it on the spot.

I mentioned to Éric at this point that we should probably gift the 2 Sour Bills to our kids.

A few minutes later, I peek into the bin under my table, and lo and behold! A Mike Wazowski was staring up at me! :O Apparently, I had another one, and not a second Sour Bill! Colour me suprised. (He sold on Sunday, and when I said he was the last one, it was true this time. I apologize to the first people. I didn’t mean to mislead you, I promise!)

On Saturday evening, someone came up to our booth, exclaiming about the Sour Bill! I was impressed he knew who it was, because not many people do. He said he was going to cosplay as Fix-It Felix Jr next year, and I said flippantly “Well, you should have a Sour Bill with you!” and he replied, “You know what? You’re right.” And BOUGHT HIM!

I no longer have little green ball stuffies after NINE years.

It’s a relief, but also a little sad, because I liked finding ways of displaying him. No, I’m not making more; he was a pain in the butt to make and his pattern is who-knows-where.

Beyond that whole thing, I thoroughly enjoyed getting to see my con family after two long years of missing them. It really didn’t feel like it had been so long; I fell into my usual banter about coffee (oh, your purchase is $16, did you want to add a small to that to round up to an even $20?) and FB helps keep people connected when you can’t see them in person.

A new exciting thing happened to me this weekend; I got to sign my first book for people when they bought it! I thought I’d be prepared for how exciting that would feel, but I really wasn’t. Every time someone brought our book to our table, I’d get that rush all over again. (And worry that I would mess up the signature, which I only did once and managed to play it off as intentional, thankfully!)

I want to thank all the people who came to see us, the other artists, the volunteers, and the organizers for making our first convention back such a good one.


Thank you to everyone who made it out, you reminded us after 2 years why we do all the things we do.

See some of you at Can-Con!

Éric and Jen

Sneakerella – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film Sneakerella.

Story

This was a modern take on Cinderella and had a lot of throwbacks to the Disney Cinderella. The story was pretty standard, but included a nice, if awkward, Aladdin twist.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The two mains had a lot of chemistry and the rest of the cast was great. The acting was top notch, I particularly liked his best friend and fairy god-father.

I am a little peeved at the lack of development dedicated to the step-father. He didn’t earn his happy ending by being anything but obtuse. He was still a jerk, just not too big a jerk.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue was excellent. It felt authentic to my ear and was quite witty. I liked the puns and plays on classic Disney.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The locations and cinematography were stunning. The dance numbers were cool and everything about it was beautifully colourful.

The music was solid. I won’t be humming the songs, but they were well done.

Score: 1

Fun

Maybe it was knowing how it ends or just not liking the angst, but the second half dragged a little for me. My 3yo was bored when there wasn’t any music and everyone else liked it okay.

Score: 0.5

Overall

A fun re-interpretation of Cinderella with great Disney Easter eggs and enjoyable songs. The movie doesn’t add much to the tried and true story, but doesn’t really need to.

Final Score: 3.5

Guitar Lessons Part 58

June 9: The pick

I’ve been practising using the pick for melodies and I think I’m getting faster… At least on the one melody that I play. I don’t like using the learning app with the electric guitar, so I’ve really fallen behind on those songs. Instead I’ve been playing the melody that I wrote for the book trailer for “Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers.” It’s not out yet, but I promise I’ll link to it when it is and flood your dashes with it as often as I have the cover reveal. 😉

I played the walking song, “Get to Know You,” and the ballad today on the electric. I kinda like the ballad on the electric. It’s got a cool sound to it.

Then I played the walking song on the soprano ukulele. I don’t think I tuned it quite right, as the G chord sounded off to me.

June 10: Woo no pain!

I played the walking song, “Get to Know You,” and the wedding song today on the electric. Then I played the walking song again on the tenor ukulele.

And guess what?!

Well, you probably already guessed from the title of this post.

My arm doesn’t hurt!!

It’s such a relief.

My son has been asking for “Randal’s standing song” for his bedtime song the past two nights. I almost didn’t correct him because that’s so cute!!!

I discovered that I know the lyrics (with a couple hesitations) fairly well, but the melody eludes me when I’m not playing an instrument.

In other news, @ericdesmarais and I finished writing our fourth book together last night!! (In a little under a year and a half, in case anyone is curious.) Faymous is going to be going out to beta readers sometime this summer, after the novella is written at the end of it.

Feel free to AMA about it!!

June 11: Memorizing

I didn’t play today, but I am working on memorizing the walking song. I only hesitated once while singing it to my son.

I’ll call that a win.

June 12: Walking song

My son is a big fan of singing along with me. I hope he never grows out of it.

Today, I played the tenor ukulele quickly, only practising the walking song. My son competed with me, trying to sing the lyrics ahead of when I was playing them.

So we had a discussion about how to sing with accompaniment and I played the song again. He seemed to have gotten the concept.

I’m so proud.

P.S. It’s our 13th wedding anniversary today!

June 13: Back at it

I played the electric again today. I practised the walking song, “Get to Know You,” and the wedding song.

I also played the soprano ukulele to practise the walking song again.

My son played the ukulele after I put it down. He’s getting very good at strumming.

June 14: Acoustic

I played my acoustic today for the first time in a while.

I so adore it.

I played the learning app (struggled, but managed to pass), the walking song, “Get to Know You,” and the wedding song.

My arm is tired. It’s not used to the wide body.

Meeting Cary Elwes

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

On Friday we met Cary Elwes. Here’s Jen’s wonderful description of meeting the Dread Pirate himself:


We asked him his favourite picture of the bunch, and he said the one where he just rescued Buttercup, but we wanted one of him as himself, so we chose him in a suit.

Here’s the picture we chose to have him sign.

He asked our names, Jen and Éric, and then I said “we’re JenEric” and he paused and had a sensible chuckle (TM). He stumbled over the pronunciation of Dragon’s name, but got it right after I corrected him. He asked their ages.

Then while he was signing, I asked my question, which was “We really enjoyed you in ‘A Castle for Christmas’ and we’re wondering if you were going to do any more Christmas movies?” He said that he really enjoyed his two months in Scotland filming that, and that he liked taking challenging roles, from which I gathered that he is unlikely to do that again lol.

Then when we were about to leave, he asked to see a picture of the kids, and he said they were beautiful and that we’re very lucky.

Then we got fist bumps.

My cheeks still hurt from smiling.


He was sweet, patient, and really great to interact with. We only got the autograph and not a photo-op.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Choose Your Own Adventure – Welcome to Westmeath

You place your last box on the kitchen counter. Finally, all moved into your new apartment, your first on your own! Satisfied, you look around the little bachelor apartment with a smile. You can’t wait to get started unpacking.

Before you can begin, the scrape of paper reaches your ears. You look down at your feet and see a white envelope. Quickly you open your door and poke your head out into the hallway, but nobody’s there. Shrugging, you close the door and turn your attention to the letter in your hands. There is no return address.

Open the letter

Open the letter

It reads, There is a $100 tax to the Oldtown Council, due on the 1st of the month. It shall be collected by assistants.

You frown, confused. You don’t recall the apartment manager mentioning this tax when you signed the rental agreement. Tomorrow is the first of the month. What do you do?

Ignore

Look for work

Ignore the letter

You decide to ignore the letter. The first of the month is tomorrow and you just moved in. There’s no way they’d want to collect so soon. You dig a magnet out of a box and put the letter on your fridge so that you’ll remember and start unpacking.

You go to bed excited for your first day in Westmeath. First up, job hunting!

The next morning, you are woken bright and early by a knock on your door. You open it, bleary-eyed, and see a young man. He asks you for the money.

You have no cash on hand and ask for an extension. He says nothing else and leaves. You close your door, feeling unsettled, but ready to start your day.

You leave your apartment and head down the street. A rough hand pulls you into an alley. You get the impression of a large body, larger than any human could possibly be, and you hear a voice growl, “If you cannot pay the Beast, your life belongs to him.”

You feel a swooping sensation in the pit of your stomach, and then know no more.

You have been kidnapped!

The End

Try again from the beginning?

Go Look for work

You try to figure out how to get a job quickly. You don’t have internet or a Door Tech cell phone. You don’t have a printed resume, and have no idea where to find the library. How are you going to get a job?

Ask a neighbour

Walk around the neighbourhood

Ask one of your neighbours if they know of a place that is hiring

You decide that meeting your neighbours would be better than aimlessly wandering around the neighbourhood. In your hallway, you wonder which door you should knock on first.

The door directly across the hall

The door at the end of the hall

The door beside yours

Walk around the neighbourhood to look for job postings

You head out the door to see if any of the businesses on Gore Line have job postings in their windows. You turn right and see a restaurant called Mortimer’s Diner. You push open the door, a bell ringing overhead.

Mortimer’s Diner

The door at the end of the hall

hall)

You decide to try the door at the end of the hall. A tall blonde white woman in her early twenties with sparkling green eyes answers the door with a smile. She introduces herself as Kennedy Fairfield and suggests you try Oven Baked. She offers to walk you there, as it’s on her way to work.

She grabs her purse and the two of you head to Gore Line, turning left when you reach it. Kennedy works downtown in a boutique lingerie store called Discreet Frills. You’ve only known the young woman for a few minutes, but you can see how her sparkling personality would work well in a sales situation.

She leaves you outside the bakery.

Oven Baked

The door beside yours

You knock on the door of the neighbouring apartment to yours. A short wizened woman leaning on a cane that looks like a house with a chicken’s leg answers the door and grins up at you. Apparently she was expecting you and introduces herself as Lydia.

A little unnerved by that, but reassured by her smile, you ask her if she knows where you could get a job for some quick cash. She directs you to The Hawaiian, on the corner of Raglan and Plug.

The Hawaiian

The door directly across the hall

You knock on the door directly across the hall from yours. A blonde white woman of average height in her mid-thirties opens it. A miniature version of her peeks around the mother’s legs, blue eyes wide. She introduces herself as Michelle Swan, and the little girl as Evanna.

Michelle furrows her brow in thought when you ask about any jobs in the area, and finally suggests Judy’s Butchery, on Gore Line to the left.

You’re willing to take anything at this point. You thank Michelle and head off to talk to Judy.

Judy’s Butchery

The Hawaiian

The Hawaiian, it turns out, is a pizza restaurant, part of a larger building that houses the Oldtown Community Centre. The sign on the outside looks cheesy, but it seems to fit. A large metal pineapple clock continues the theme inside the restaurant.

The assistant manager, a tall classically handsome white man who looked to be in his early twenties, introduces himself as Nick. You explain that you’re looking for work.

Nick hesitates.

Do you mention the note to Nick?

Do you say nothing?

Judy’s Butchery

You enter the butchery and are greeted by a tall imposing Black woman. When you ask for work, she gives you a once over and then offers you the choice between two jobs.

Hauling meat into the freezer

A padded assailant for her self-defence classes

Mortimer’s Diner

A tall thin white man who looks to be in his late fifties greets you pleasantly and introduces himself as Jesse, the owner.

You ask him if he has any job openings.

He doesn’t, unfortunately, and wishes you luck on your job search.

When you leave the diner, you are approached by a man and a woman in purple leather jackets. They offer you a job delivering packages. You’re fairly certain they’re not the reputable type of employers.

Accept

Decline

Oven Baked

The bakery smells amazing, even from outside. Smells of fresh bread and cakes waft over you when you open the door. There are a couple people sitting at the tables, chatting while they eat a quick meal. You walk up to the counter, where a Middle Eastern man with a name tag that reads Sam smiles pleasantly and asks how he can help you. When you tell him you’re in need of a job, he strokes his chin thoughtfully.

While he’s thinking, a teenage boy saunters out of the back. He greets you cheerfully and introduces himself as Carter, the son of the bakers. When he hears about your problem, he has a suggestion. So does Sam.

Do you take Carter’s suggestion?

Do you take Sam’s suggestion?

Hauling meat into the freezer

Hauling unbutchered meat into the freezer from delivery trucks is really hard work. You’re exhausted after the second carcass.

On a break between trucks, you are approached by a man and a woman in purple leather jackets. They offer you a job delivering packages. You’re fairly certain they’re not the reputable type of employers.

Accept

Decline

Mention the note

While Nick is hesitating, you blurt out the whole story and tell him about the note.

Nick listens patiently, a furrow on his brow. When you finish, he tells you that they’re not really hiring, but one of their delivery people called in sick that morning, and they can use a replacement for today only.

You leap at the chance and thank him gratefully.

On your fifth delivery, to a house on Riverdale St, you knock on the side door of a cute little bungalow, which seems to be the style of most of the houses on this street. A tall, muscular man with shaggy dark hair and bronze skin answers the door.  He looks to be in his mid-twenties, and is wearing a sweaty tank top and gym shorts.

He checks the pizza and hands you a wad of cash with a smile. You count it disbelievingly and try to hand him back half the tip. He shakes his head and closes the door, mouth full with a bite of pizza.

You look at the name on the receipt, Jason Johnson, and wonder who he is. His tip puts you over what you needed for the tax.

You pay the tax and are safe… this month.

The End

Padded assailant for self-defence class

Judy informs you that the first class is in ten minutes. You head up to the third floor above the butchery, where her dojo is located. Judy helps you into the padded outfit, securing the straps behind you when you can’t reach. The class seems to be for under five-year-olds. These kids barely come to your waist and you can’t help but find them adorable.

Adorable until one of them throws you across the room so hard that you hit your head against the wall. You’re dizzy when you stand up and Judy examines your eyes with concern.

You have a concussion.

She calls an ambulance and you get taken to the hospital for observation.

In the middle of the night, you feel a presence in your sterile hospital room. You ask who’s there, grabbing weakly for your call button. It’s not where you left it, clipped to the bar of your bed.

“You didn’t manage to collect the fee required by the Beast,” says a soft voice. You can’t tell if it’s a man’s or a woman’s, it’s so quiet. “The Beast grants no second chances. Say goodbye to your life as you know it.”

You have been kidnapped!

The End

Try again from the beginning?

Make a different choice at Judy’s?

Say nothing

While Nick is hesitating, an older, affluent-looking white man comes up beside him. He introduces himself as Claude, the manager of The Hawaiian. He looks apologetic as he tells you that they’re not hiring at the moment.

He suggests you try Oven Baked on Gore Line.

Take Carter’s suggestion

Carter suggests you head to Judy’s Butchery a couple buildings down. She often gets deliveries and could use the help.

Go to Judy’s Butchery

Take Sam’s suggestion

Sam suggests you visit The Hawaiian. They sometimes need extra hands when the community centre, which shares the same building, is booked for an event.

On your way to The Hawaiian, a big guy with a switchblade steps out of an alley. He demands money, which you haven’t got, and you nervously try to figure out how to get out of the situation.

Just when you’re about to run, a shadowy figure in black appears between the two of you. You know it’s not safe to stay and watch, but the figure in black disarms the mugger and has him unconscious in seconds. Then he turns to you. You see that he’s wearing a shadowy domino mask over his eyes, obscuring his features. He introduces himself as The Westmeath Phantom, checks you’re okay, and asks if you’re near your destination.

You explain that you’re heading for The Hawaiian to ask for a job, and he tells you not to bother, that they’re not hiring. Instead, he suggests that you try Mortimer’s Diner.

With that, he hoists his prisoner over his shoulder and disappears.

You blink in surprise. A real-life superhero? Not what you expected when you moved to the tech capital of Canada!

You continue on your way to Mortimer’s Diner.

Accept

You accept the job from the people in purple leather jackets. They give you a package and an address.

You head off with the package under your arm. A couple blocks away, a cop car stops you and an officer gets out of the car. He asks to see inside the package.

You know you can say no because he doesn’t have a warrant, but you nervously hand the brown envelope over, worried that there might be drugs or something else illegal inside.

When the cop pulls out a rewritable CD, you sigh with relief. It has a crude symbol drawn on it and reads Stargate Season 5.

The officer makes a tsking sound, pulls out his ticketing book, and writes you a ticket for two hundred and fifty dollars for intent to sell copyrighted material.

You return to the people in purple leather jackets and show them the ticket. They laugh it off, but the experience soured you. You didn’t get paid and you’re even more in debt than you were before!

You decide to try and find another job.

Decline

These people look kinda sketchy and you don’t trust them.

You politely decline and decide to try a different method of looking for work.

Decline (2)

You decline politely; you’ve already accepted a job with Judy and you won’t leave it half-done. The work doesn’t get any easier, and you’re near exhaustion by the end. At the end of the afternoon, Judy pays you and compliments you on a job well done. You count out the bills, almost crying with relief that you managed to make enough to cover the tax.

Judy is concerned and asks you what the urgency was.

You explain about the letter you received, and she frowns. “I’m going to look into this. If you need money next month, come and see me. I’m not aware of such a tax.”

You pay the tax and are safe… this month.

The End


Want to know more about the people you just read about? Do you want to solve the mystery of the letter?

Read Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers for more!

Physical version, electronic version AVAILABLE NOW!

Zombies 3 – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film Zombies 3.

Story

Although following the same themes as the first two, it deviates more in story. The overall plot is utterly ridiculous, but in the best way possible. There are a few inconsistencies with the first one (specifically the ages of the characters) but it’s still a fun story. I particularly like how they used the three groups’ tech together.

Score: 0.5

Characters

I like the third movie in these sorts of series. The characters are developed and sure of themselves. Zed is a proud Zombie trailblazer and even without knowing her origins, Addison is a leader and welcomes everyone. The rest of the cast fit really well together.

Score: 1

Dialogue

There are a lot of nice nods to classic sci-fi and monster movies. The dialogue leans into the cheesy and series nostalgia, which somehow works really well.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

By far the best filmed of the series, but the special effects aren’t as great as they could be. I liked how much they managed in the first two with little to no budget, but with a massive budget it was a little disapointing.

The music was great, but still not extremely distinctive. I doubt I’ll hear the soundtrack and know right away what it’s from.

Score: 0.5

Fun

This is a an angst-free and fun movie. It has all the elements that made the first two fun and everyone in the family enjoyed it.

Score: 1

Overall

My favourite of the three, but mostly for the return to an awesome world. It was fun and had some great songs.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5

Guitar Lessons Part 57

June 3: New uke

We bought a new soprano ukulele. The old one was losing its tune by the end of a song. I’m not sure about this new one yet. The strings haven’t settled.

I played the song that came with it “House of the Rising Sun” and the walking song.

I look forward to testing it more tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll like it better.

June 4: Bonus

I asked my son to get my music for me today. He brought up some books too (not surprised. There’s a reason I don’t ask him to get it very often).

Today I played three instruments (not all at the same time).

I started with the electric. I played the walking song, “Got that Feeling,” “Crazy little thing called love,” “Perfect,” and “Shake it off.”

Then I tried to play “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” but my electric is a full size guitar, and my fingers don’t stretch that far for the G7 chord.

So I put my electric away and grabbed my acoustic instead. I haven’t played my acoustic in a while. I missed it. So I played that mouthful of a song, and then I played the walking song again because I realized I hadn’t played it on the acoustic before.

And then I picked up the new soprano ukulele and tried to tune it again. Then I played the walking song for the third time today and checked the tuning, and it was fine! Yay!

Also yay: my arm doesn’t hurt too much!

June 5: Memorizing

I picked up the soprano ukulele just before lunch today and played the walking song.

Well, the first verse and the chorus.

I need to memorize the song.

I mean, I know the chords, because they’re pretty simple, but I don’t know the words yet!

June 6: Relief

I played the electric most today; the walking song, “Get to Know You,” the wedding song, the ballad, AND the French song.

And then I even picked up the soprano ukulele and played the walking song again.

And guess what?

My arm doesn’t hurt at all!

I’m not sure what happened or why, but I really hope this continues to be a trend.

June 7: Future

@ericdesmarais and I talked about our plans for the future of our songs.

As you may or may not know, all these songs I’ve been writing (there are 4 now and husband has written one) were written because of our books.

Our first book, “Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers” (available for pre-order, comes out September 15, 2022) does not have a song in it, but “Crushing It” (coming out spring 2023) has the first song I wrote in it.

So!

We were thinking of releasing that song as a single after our first book comes out in the fall. As a way of drumming up interest, you know?

I’m a little nervous, but mostly excited about the idea.

I played the walking song, “Get to Know You,” and the wedding song on the electric, and then the walking song on the soprano ukulele.

June 8: Quick

I only played two songs today; the walking song and “Get to Know You”.

The practice went well. I was just tired.

We’re not having a great day today, all combined.

Ottawa ComicCon this Weekend

Hello!

JenEric DesignsJenEric CoffeeThe Travelling TARDIS, and Eric Desmarais will be at this weekend’s (Friday the 9th to the 11th) Ottawa Comiccon. at the EY Centre.

We’ll be at booths 2606-2608!

We will have a total of twelve coffe flavours along with our newest flavours Apple Pie and Bavarian Cream.

Hope to see you there!

Éric