Book Mood Board

I had fun looking for pictures that made me think of the book Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers.

And I thought, why not share it with you?

Mood board of Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers. Pictures of a black motorcycle, a stargate from Stargate SG1, a metal pineapple, a cottage, a street sign indicating Westmeath is to the right, a fun-looking mushroom, a stuffed bear, two croissants and a coffee, and a dessert pizza surround the front cover of the book, art by pinkpiggy93, layout by Nathan and Mackenzie.

Summary

Kennedy Fairfield just graduated in the class of 2002, and is now trying to find her purpose in life, or at least a job in her field. When she 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 and Jason to discover why people are disappearing in time to save her friends, they’ll have to face 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.

The first book of four in The Gates of Westmeath series.

Pre-order Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers now!

Jason Mood Board

I had fun looking for pictures that made me think of the main male protagonist of Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers, Jason Johnson.

And I thought, why not share it with you?

Jason Johnson mood board. Pictures of a black domino mask, a black figure in a martial arts pose, a black and silver motorcycle, a hungry man’s breakfast, a Hawaiian pizza, a black suit and tie, and a raw peridot as a pendant on a necklace all surround two images of Jason, one in profile and one as The Phantom, drawn by pinkpiggy93.

Jason Johnson

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)

Pre-order Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers now!

Kennedy Mood Board

I had fun looking for pictures that made me think of the main female protagonist of Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers, Kennedy Fairfield.

And I thought, why not share it with you?

Mood board of Kennedy Fairfield. Pictures of a raw peridot, a black lace corset, a runway, a plaid skirt, the one ring from The Lord of the Rings, a coffee cup, a stuffed bear, a fun-looking mushroom, and a field of gold surround two images of Kennedy, one from the front and one in profile, drawn by pinkpiggy93.

Kennedy Fairfield

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

Pre-order Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers now!

Spotify Music Playlist

Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers has some pretty great music in it, so I made a spotify playlist of all the songs, in the order they appear within the book.

Do you think you can figure out what happens during each song?

Songs in order of appearance

  • “Ordinary Day” by Vanessa Carlton
  • “Lapdance” by N.E.R.D.
  • “Lovers in a Dangerous Time” by Barenaked Ladies
  • “I Want You” by Savage Garden
  • “Let me Entertain You” by Robbie Williams
  • “The Nearness of You” by Norah Jones
  • “Bumblebee” by Aqua
  • “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera
  • “Ballroom Blitz” by Sweet
  • “Cartoon Heroes” by Aqua
  • “Deep Enough” by Live
  • “A New Day Has Come” by Celine Dion
  • “If The World Crashes Down” by Enrique Iglesias

One of the first things we did when writing this book was build a 2002 playlist.

I had already started writing my first chapter, and Kennedy had entered a bakery. I thought, shouldn’t there be music playing? What music would have been popular in September 2002?

Cue a post on Facebook asking about our friends’ favourite artists from twenty years ago. (Twenty? What?)

We bought a bunch of CDs to supplement what we already owned, and built an epic playlist to listen to while we wrote to add atmosphere. An entire scene in chapter 5 wouldn’t have been there without this playlist.

Pre-order Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers now!

Birth of the Aetherverse – Chapter 4 (Serial Story)


Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12


Chapter 4: The Gate and the Fox go to Atlantis

I barely had time to move out of the way as a spear flew by my head. I desperately wanted to look back at where it landed, but I had to close the gate.

The gate was the size of an elephant standing on its hind legs; it would let in an army very quickly. I did the only thing I could think of and ripped the entire structure out of the Fay Realms and tossed it into the Aether.

The Aether is a place of pure chaos and magic. If something, or someone, isn’t protected while inside, it will devour them and leave nothing but memories behind.

I turned back and found the fox, skewered by the spear. She whimpered gently as the spear dissolved around her. The realm’s deep hate for metal was still strong even all these years after the first civil war. 

I saw the life flowing out of her and my heart ached. There was nothing I could do to save her. Even my magic had limits.

Peaseblosson looked at the fox and cried. They picked up the fragile body and said, “I have nothing but a Fay’s magic left in me, but I give it all to you so that you can heal. Please live.”

My sibling’s last shreds of power flowed into the fox and mingled with the creature’s own magic. The result was a core of magic more powerful than any I’d seen.

Falling to the ground, the two breathed heavily, but they were alive.

“I feel weak,” said Peaseblossom.

“Thank you,” replied the fox. Her voice was soft and sweet, but with an authority that demanded attention.

As I watched, the fox grew into a beautiful woman. Her colouring was simpler as a human. Her skin was a tan colour that was almost orange, while her hair was black as the night without stars. 

Despite my age, I was a young fool at the time and thought I fell in love at that instant. I know now that I fell in love with her every day we were together.

My mouth opened and closed like a fish gasping for air and both of them, thankfully, ignored me.

“I will never forget what you did for me,” the fox said.

Smiling wanly, Peaseblosson said, “It was the least I could do. You released me from the burdens of being a Fay Lord. Now I can go live amongst the Humans.”

“You mean Everworld?” I asked.

The fox laughed and said, “For those of us that have walked the Deep Realms, time is just a direction to walk in. You must meet the humans. They are interesting.”

“What do we call you?” asked Peaseblossom.

The fox waited and said, “Call me Randi… Randi Peaseblossom. If that’s acceptable.”

“Yes. I would like that. Now I think I’d like to settle in Atlantis.”

As we walked towards the middle of the forest that was the Deep Realms, I felt something strange. I looked at where the gate had been and saw that there was a thin spot where the gate had punched a hole between universes.

I did my best to patch it, but it would require returning and repairing it every couple of centuries.

Atlantis was a wonder. A place of human imagination and power. Humans, I learned, were from Earth and had apparently taken over after the dinosaurs. They were very similar to us and those who had made their home in Everworld. It leads me to believe that there is some force at work shaping sentience. 

Somehow, humans had learned to harness the powers of magic so efficiently that they’d carved out a new realm adjacent to Earth, which they called Atlantis. They understood magic in ways me and my family had never considered. 

Peaseblossom joined the great world and became a musician. Although they no longer had any magic, their music was amazing.

“How long do you plan on spending here?” asked Randi one day as we walked the markets of Atlantis. We’d been sharing a small apartment with Peaseblossom and we were both learning about the Atlanteans. It was a calm life and honestly, I was happy. We had masked our magical signatures to look like simple Fay. I didn’t want to get involved with the royals or court.

The smell of food was heavy in the air with cumin, cinnamon, and silphium. My stomach grumbled and I didn’t know how to answer the question. I tried to be cool, but stuttered, “I was having a nice time here with you and this place is lovely I… I…” I shrugged.

She laughed and rolled her eyes before saying, “I have a bad feeling something is going to happen.”

No sooner had she said it than trumpets roared over the market and a cryer announced, “Lord Oberon, Lady Titania, and their son Melchior. Rulers of the Fay Realms.

I hoped to not be noticed, but of course Oberon saw us in the markets and loudy called to me, “Brother, join us. We go to see the greatest magic in Atlantis. They say it’s the work of the gods but I don’t remember making it.” He laughed at his own joke. 

Randi and I climbed aboard their chariot and I nodded to Titania and tried not to shudder at the sight of Melchior. Although still a young teen, he exuded power in the same way an uncontrolled brushfire did. From a distance he was beautiful, up close he was terrifying.

“What is this magic?” Randi asked.

“And who are you?” Oberon asked, lechery oozing out of him.

“This is Lady Randi Peaseblossom,” I said to him, a little petulance and defensiveness creeping into my voice. Using the name of one of the original five was a way of saying you were a descendant of theirs.

Putting a gentle hand on mine, Randi said, “I’m Robin’s girlfriend. Although I haven’t told him that yet.” 

My brother roared with laughter and Randi winked at me. My heart then tried to match the beat of a hummingbird’s and I missed a large part of the conversation.

It wasn’t until I heard the word “gate” that I came back to the conversation fully. I was going to ask the nature of this gate when we came up to it.

I recognized the magical signature immediately. Somehow, the gate I’d tossed into the Aether and that should have been destroyed by the raw power was sitting on a hillside in Atlantis. Worse, there were the hundreds of smaller versions created by the Atlanteans.

Read Chapter 5


While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:


Birth of the Aetherverse – Chapter 3 (Serial Story)


Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12


Chapter 3: God, Trickster, and Coward

We quickly realized, the other four and I, that we were different from the Fay. Our magic was inside and the world was linked to us. The Fay realms bent to our every whim and fantasy, while the Fay had immense magical power, but needed to pull it from the Aether. It limited them since they had to pull magic through the barrier.

We were gods among them and they loved us. For countless years, we were benevolent deities to adoring masses. I say we, but it was mostly the other four; I liked to disguise myself and live amongst the Fay. They were fascinating and overly serious. I spent most of the godly reign of my siblings pulling pranks and tricks throughout the realm.

I was a menace and I fully admit it. I’m not proud of those years, but everyone has some embarrassing moments tucked into their past. Mine just happen to be the basis for every trickster god in multiple realms. 

The problem with complete power is that it corrupts, even the gods. The four became capricious and mean. They treated the Fay like bugs and slaves. I’m not completely blameless either. 

The Fay grew angry and frustrated, as they should, and rose up. They discovered that worked metal hurt our magic as much as theirs and they took arms against us. The first great Fay civil war was a horrible thing where most of the Fay died. The fighting only stopped when Mav died, her heart pierced by cold iron.

That’s when the realm itself expelled all worked metal. I’m not sure what happens to the metal, but when it’s brought into Fay, it bubbles and boils and goes into the ground.

After Mav’s death, the remaining three disappeared, and we discovered that certain Fay had the strength and will to carve a kingdom out of the wild realm around them; they were the Fay Lords. And so was born the Fay Kingdoms, ruled by those who had killed their own gods. 

Again, I am not proud of my actions, but I left Fay completely. First I travelled to Earth, but it was controlled by wild magic and large reptiles, so I tried Everworld. It had been created with magic similar to my own and I had assumed it would greet me kindly. Although the people were kind, the realm itself fought my every move and one morning I awoke back in Fay. Everworld had expelled me the way Fay expels metal.

I had been gone long enough that when I returned there were nine kingdoms, the greatest of all being called Mav. After a few enquiries, I discovered its king and queen were Oberon and Titania. They had reinvented themselves as Fay Lords and started a kingdom. I was shocked to hear that they also had a son, Melchior.

In our time as gods, we’d had many children with the regular Fay. Most of those children went mad with power, so we stopped. In those countless days and nights, we had never successfully mated with each other.  

I had to see for myself what the child was. I’d convinced myself that he was just another Fay until I saw him. I looked at his magic; he had the same core of power as myself, but he was also capable of pulling power from the Aether.

That made him extremely dangerous and I grew fearful. With his power, he could rewrite the universe, maybe all universes. I did the only thing I knew what to do and I ran. I ran into the Deep realms until I couldn’t breath, think, or stay awake.

I woke up when someone slapped me. It was Peaseblossom and they looked different. Their magic was subdued and they looked peaceful. “Wake up, Robin,” they said, punctuating it with another slap.

“What if I don’t?” I asked petulantly. 

“Then the Deep realms will eat you, maybe.”

I laughed as much at their uncertainty as their joke. “What have you done to yourself, Sibling?”

Smiling, they said, “I travelled the Deep realms and came across a fox that walked in the shadows. I followed her and found her, I thought, eating another fox. When I approached I saw that she was transforming the fox’s core magic from internal to external. I watched her do it multiple times and finally with enough practice I was able to do it to myself. I am no better now than a common Fay.”

“Are you happy?” I asked, not sure how to respond. They nodded and I asked if they could show me where the fox had been.

My sibling did not explain the beauty that was this fox. She had fur as dark as night with shocks of bright red, her eyes were intelligent, and most interestingly, her magical core was the same as ours.

“Hello, my lady. You are magnificent. I thank you for teaching my sibling your magic.” I thought it best to be polite. I didn’t expect the fox to respond and I was surprised when she rushed forward and bit my leg. She yowled at me and bit again before turning and running.

“I think you’ve insulted her,” Peaseblossom said.

“I think she wants us to follow,” I replied and ran after the beauty.

I had no idea where we were going. I knew that to wander too far into the Deep was to lose yourself in time, but all that mattered was that fox. When I finally caught up with her she gave me a look that was what I assume was the fox equivalent to, About time. 

After that, we ran together until we reached the other end of the Deep realms, where reality just gave up, and it’s there that I saw the first gate. It was an arch of stone two stories high with sigils of magic all around it.

But it wasn’t the arch that chilled my blood and stopped my heart; it’s what was visible through the arch. An army dressed in some sort of silver metal lined up in rows that reached so far in the distance that together, they looked like a giant metal serpent.

“Mulciber,” I whispered in horror.

Read Chapter 4


While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:


Birth of the Aetherverse – Chapter 2 (Serial Story)


Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12


Chapter 2: The Oldest Merlin

“Ooo-ooo-ooo the heroes of Westmeath, The Phantom and the Wraith!” sang Merlin as they slowly walked towards the forest. “I’ve had that stuck in my head, this time, for over a millenia.”

“What is this about and why are you so old?” Oberon asked.

Laughing slightly as if the man had made a great joke, Merlin replied, “Don’t be hasty. I am very old, but we’ll get there in time.”

Titania looked like she was going to say something, but instead rolled her eyes. 

“This is about magic isn’t it?” I asked.

“Astute observation, Robin,” Merlin replied. “Can you feel it?”

I shook my head. “You’re a wizard, so I assumed.”

We walked for a long time until the Fay realms started to thin. They were young and hadn’t solidified; they weren’t a planet like Everworld or Earth. They were just a giant plain of existence.

We came to the end where the Fay realms reverted into pure Aether and Merlin, with the ease of a school teacher, explained, “The Fay realms were built of pure inner power, magic from another universe completely. It’s not compatible with the magic from this universe. It’s too…” He paused and looked around.

When he didn’t say anything, I ventured, “Organized?”

“Yes,” he said and clapped his hands together. “Aether is partially sentient and always trying to convert order into chaos. The nascent universe over there—” he gestured back where we’d come from. “—It has a natural defence against Aether called a barrier. You do not have one.”

That’s when I saw that the ground in front of us was receding slowly. 

Peaseblossom made a high pitched sound and said, “Fay is being eaten?”

Merlin only nodded as the rest of us stared at him, wide-eyed. It was Titania that finally said, “What do we do?”

“Nothing. It’ll slowly eat at Fay until a barrier is put up or it consumes everything,” Merlin said casually.

“Can you do anything?” Mav asked, somehow sounding bored and worried at the same time.

“Me, yes. Me now, no. I wasn’t expecting to be here yet, but since I was the only me here, I figured I’d warn you. Just don’t go into the Aether and you’ll be okay for a while. I’ll be back after I see a girl about a ring.” He fidgeted with a large crystal ring before turning back and slowly walking back towards the Deep realms.

The other others walked away from Merlin to do whatever it was they wanted to do. I stayed back to walk with him. After a long time of walking, I asked him something that had bothered me my whole life, or less than a few hours, I suppose. “Why us? Who made us? Why are we here? What’s the goal?”

Merlin seemed to think it over and finally answered, “Chaos thrives on imbalance. The Fay balance out the Humans just like New Albion will balance Everdome.” When I looked confused, he said, “Fay are important to creating a balanced universe that won’t collapse back into chaos.” 

He went back to walking as if that had explained anything and just when I thought he’d forgotten what I’d asked he added, “You were magical crystals created when powerful creatures died. The Mulciber took those souls and experimented, creating superpowered crystals they could use as a powersource. A group of brave people fought them and took the crystals, redirecting a great gate into this universe and planned on building a better, less dangerous home. They succeeded in creating the universe, but not so much with the safer.”

“So I’m a rebirth of a bunch of magical souls?” I asked.

“Yes,” he replied with a smile. “You were always my favourite Robin.” 

I watched Merlin walk towards the Deep realms forest as another version of him, somehow older, walked out. As they crossed each other, the younger said, “You dawdled.”

The elder replied, “Yes and you would have, will, do the same thing.”

They both burst into chuckles and then walked away from one another. The elder Merlin saw me and smiled like we’d not seen each other in a long time. “Robin, my old friend. If I had to choose who would be there when I die, you would have made the top one-hundred for sure.”

I ignored the bitterness in his voice and asked, “Die? Are you dying? What can I do to help you?” 

He patted my shoulder and said, “You’re so young. I’ve lived a long time. Not as long as you will, but longer than most humans should.”

“Why are you here if you’re dying?”

“I am the Guardian of Reality. The universe has given me everything I have ever wanted and it’s time I pay it back for that.” He said it as if it answered my question, but I felt like I was missing parts. 

“Are all wizards this cryptic?” I asked.

“Only the good ones and those that forget how much information they’re supposed to give.” We reached the fading parts of Fay again and I was alarmed to see how much had been lost. He nodded to me and said, “This is my stop. I’m going to become the barrier for Fay. The only advice I have for you is to take time to truly enjoy life. Sometimes we’re too busy living that we forget how much fun it is and take it too seriously.”

With that, and before I could ask any questions, he stepped back, and with a flash of white light, disappeared. When my vision cleared, the thinning was gone. I walked forward to where it had been and there was nothing but more of the realm. 

Our realm was complete and the universe set into motion. I didn’t appreciate what that meant at the time, but I wasn’t even a day old.

Read Chapter 3


While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:


Read more about Merlin in his Holiday Stories

Birth of the Aetherverse – Chapter 1 (Serial Story)

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12


Chapter 1: The Voices of Time and Reality

The first thing I remember is the voice of a young man saying, “Where are we?”

A second voice answered him, this time a young woman, “It’s not where but when, big brother.”

“Fine, Morgan. When are we?”

“We are at the beginning of our universe. This is the Aether, but the question is, what are those?”

A gentle, dark brown hand picked me up and the young man asked, “Don’t you know?”

“No. You never told me. Spoilers and all that.”

I tried to speak, but with no mouth or body per-say, I couldn’t. “These look a lot like the  Aetheria crystals. Its magic signature feels familiar.” The man finished what he was saying and I felt myself changing.

If you’ve never gone from crystal to humanoid, it sort of feels like the best stretch you’ve ever had. 

The woman, who I saw was dark with beautiful blue eyes said, “Ah. Robin Goodfellow.”

That is my name. I was named by the Guardian of Time. I am Robin, or Puck. Yes, that one, but my old friend William used little but my name.

“If this is the beginning of our universe, where’s Everworld?” the boy asked. He had the scraggly beginnings of a beard and close-cut brown hair. His skin was as dark as his sister’s.

I pointed at a large stone gate that seemed to float in the nothingness that surrounded us.

There were people walking through, lots of people. They were obviously carrying everything they owned into a vast nothingness. I felt bad for them and I didn’t know why.

“Wow. The original settlers of Everworld.” The man sounded awed. 

There were thousands walking through the gate and I started walking towards them, but the woman stopped me. “No, Robin. Those events are already decided and you aren’t part of them.”

I watched them walk away for what seemed like a very long time before seeing one man closing the gate with magic. He looked sad while he clung to two crystals. He turned to us; he and his crystals disappeared, replaced by a ball of golden light.

“I think we just watched the big bang,” Morgan said, her voice serene. 

“What about all these other crystals?” I asked, proud to have finally found my voice. “Are they like me?”

There were five other crystals, one of which had been shattered into three pieces. Morgana said to her brother, “Pick them up, you’ll know their names.”

In order, he picked them up and named them, “Oberon, Titania, Mav, and Peaseblossom.” As he touched and named them they became real and flesh like me. 

Oberon was of brown skin with a deep red beard, I knew him then as the king of all Fay, even if there were only five of us. His first sound was a deep rumble of laughter, it flowed from him and filled the Fay realms with water.

Titania was dark skinned and the queen of the day. Her eyes and smile became the sun.

Mav was as pale as the moonlight, queen of night and shadows. Her hair blanketed the night. 

Peaseblossom wasn’t tall and statuesque like the other three, they were short and furtive looking like a rabbit caught in the open. From them came all the plants and wildlife. They were the monarch of nature.  

They all looked at me expectantly. What was I compared to the kings and queens? I was all the rest, I was magic, hope, joy, luck, power, cunning, and everything in between. I wasn’t a king or queen, I was the first Fay lord. From me came the Fay themselves, in all their many forms and failures.

To the three pieces of the last crystal, Merlin whispered,” Charites, Horae, and Moirai, the Three Sisters. You belong in Everworld.” Their forms didn’t fill out, instead turning into balls of light that sped towards where Everworld had been.

“What are we?” I asked Merlin.

He looked pensive and answered, “You are souls made of magic from the old realms. You were brought here to kickstart a new universe where magic wasn’t based on the spiritual energy of its people, but was a fundamental element of the universe.”

Morgana cocked her head sideways and asked, “How did you figure it out? It took me millennia of studying the old texts.”

“My thesis supervisor told me. He lived through the Fay and Mulciber wars.” He looked at us and shrugged before adding, “Oops. Spoilers.”

Something about the word, Mulciber, made me shiver in disgust and fear. An image of a long line of metal, snaking around a mountain, popped into my mind. 

“So what do we do now?” asked Oberon. 

“Be Fay,” said Merlin. When we looked confused, he added, “You get to decide what that means and try to be kind.”

Oberon, Titania, and Mav scoffed at Merlin’s comment, but I’m not sure they understood it. Peaseblossom had wandered off part way through the conversation and was talking to a tree.

“Goodbye and good luck.” Merlin turned to Morgana and asked, “Is this where you…”

Giving him a dirty look, she replied, “No, it’s further in. Follow me.” They walked into the forest and they hugged each other. It was the kind of hug where they knew they’d never see each other again. As they hugged, the world melted around her and everything went a little distorted. Both of them disappeared.

That forest and it’s boundaries where Morgana died became the Deep realms of Fay, a place of wild magic and even wilder temporal effects. 

An old man walked out of the forest and looked at us in surprise. He looked like Merlin, but much older. His brown scruff had become a white beard, his brown skin turned a little grey, but his eyes hadn’t changed; they were still filled with mischief and curiosity. 

He smiled and said, “Oh my. I’ve gone a little too far back this time. Glad I stopped or I would have met myself. That would be awkward.”

Read Chapter 2


While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:


Read more about Merlin in his Holiday Stories

Holy Moley! We did it again!

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I was going to say Oops! We did it again!, but there was no oops; we planned and plotted and then wrote.

Jen and I have finished the second book in the Gates of Westmeath series, Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests.

I’ve considered writing with someone else in the past, and it’s always felt like more work than it’s worth. I like control of my worldbuilding and I like when my story and characters suddenly go left. I didn’t think I could do that with another writer.

Jen has listened and helped me with my books for over a decade. She knows more about some aspects than I do. (I have a terrible memory.)

It’s been a joy writing with her. Being able to bounce ideas of each other and build on our mutual excitement makes writing more fun. It’s helped eliminate the slump I usually get at the third mark of a book.

It’s not all perfect; we fought a few times over silly things (mostly because of my insecurity and feeling like I didn’t contribute enough words), but overall it was amazing and I can’t wait to do it again. (Okay, I can wait. I’m tired and I need a break.)

The next book we’re writing together is going to be a spin-off of the Elizabeth and the Gates of Westmeath series. I’ve been playing with this idea for over 12 years. It was based on a dream Jen had, so I think it’s fitting that she’s going to co-write. I’m so excited.

We’re planning on writing the next book in the Gates of Westmeath in Fall 2022, around the same time that book one will be published.

I couldn’t dream of a better partner in life, parenting, or writing.

I love you Jen,

Éric

P.S. Jen also wrote about it on her tumblr:


From Jen’s Tumblr

Sixteen years ago, my husband and I decided to officially date. Best decision ever! Married for 12.5 years, two amazing children, six published books, one published game, a fantastic business, and more! Love you so much, husband of mine.

This year, we took a giant step into the next phase of our relationship; in the middle of a pandemic, while homeschooling one child and the other having free reign, we decided to try to write a book together. It ended up working really well. Not only did we finish the first one in 3.5 months, but we got it betaed and submitted to our publisher before June. It was accepted before the end of summer and will be coming out next Fall (2022). Talk about a whirlwind!

But that wasn’t all! We so enjoyed our world that we wrote a collection of short stories in the spring, and then we wrote book 2 this fall. It took us 2 months and a week this time.

This summer, we also decided to both start learning an instrument. I chose guitar and my husband chose ukulele. We also bought a cheap ukulele for the kids to try out and for me to play when the metal strings on my guitar hurt me too much to practice.

All of this, and we’re still very happily married and excited to work together again. Not only do we have two sequels plotted (bare bones), but we have a spin-off that we’re going to start writing in the new year.

I feel so privileged to be able to be creative like this with my husband. He challenges me to try harder and be better every day.

I played my songs today. I tried using a pick for strumming. Not sure I like it. Feels weird.

Process of writing

Kennedy and Jason, in their first iterations, appeared in our D&D game in 2010. Kennedy Fairfield was Kennedy Lake, and she was a kindergarten teacher who had an affinity for guns. Jason Johnson was Giles Momoa, and he was a Mafia leader that the player characters had to interrogate. Kennedy rolled a natural 20 and did something fancy, getting his attention, and they flirted and eventually became romantically involved. The other players liked him too, and he kept coming back into the game. When that game ended, we played a superhero game, and Jen played Giles’s niece, a 6 year old water creator named Chelsea who couldn’t control her creation. She appears in our book as Brooke, Jason’s niece. After that game ended, that was it; we put them all aside.

Fast forward ten years, and we didn’t really remember the storylines from the game, but the characters really stuck in our heads (although we had forgotten most of their names, other than Kennedy’s first name). And then we started discussing potentially writing a book about them, together.

We started off by talking about it A LOT in Fall 2020. Then on Jan 1, 2021, we sat down and wrote jot notes for the first Act. We split the book between us by main character and alternated chapters (minus a couple places in Act 2). When we finished the first Act, we made jot notes for the second. And again for the third.

We have a separate document for the cast of characters and important locations, with descriptions about each so we could stay consistent.

We wrote in Google docs. After each chapter, the other person edited, and then Jen read it aloud to Keladry (4.5yo). She picked up on a lot of repetitive words and typos that way…

It worked really well for us, but we understand why it wouldn’t work for everyone.

We finished the first draft on March 14, 2021.

More than half of the words Jen wrote were written on her phone while nursing Adrien (18-20mo) to sleep!

Lots of writing late at night happened. Éric would bring his laptop to bed and write while Jen was nursing Adrien (when it was his turn to write). Occasionally, we’d get a nice chunk of time in the middle of the day when the kids were playing well together, and we could write.

One memorable occasion, Jen wrote 4k words during our daughter’s virtual school day while she (Dragon) was paying attention to the teachers. :O