Monstrous Valentines

Have you made Valentines for your friends and family yet? Fear not, we’ve got you covered with our Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests valentines!

Print them out, write your loved ones names, and you’re done!

Link to our drive here

Cover art by @pinkpiggy93 on Tumblr and Instagram

Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests by Jen and Éric Desmarais is available for pre-order soon!

Physical from Canadian indie bookstoresphysical from Indigo, electronic version

Add it to your “Want to read” on Goodreads here!

Santa Part 2

A short story for Christmas when Kennedy was 8 years old. This was not written for small children.

It was, however, written for those who recently found out the truth about Santa Claus, a group to which my daughter now belongs.

Read Part 1 here

“Hey, Tommy. Are you taking a bath with me?” Kennedy asked the seven-month-old, who was sitting in the empty laundry basket next to the tub.

The little boy smiled happily at her and waved the yellow duck bath toy clutched firmly in his fist.

“No, he had his bath this afternoon,” her mother said. “He’s here because the big kids have chores and homework to do.”

“Oh, I don’t mind.” Kennedy made quick work of her clothes, dropping them in a little pile next to the basket. “I love hanging out with him.”

The water was nice and hot, and she sank into it with a sigh of satisfaction, propping her elbows on the edge of the tub so she could continue to watch Tommy playing.

“I got a call from Mrs. Fox, Sadie’s mom, this afternoon,” her mother said, digging a washcloth out of the linen closet behind the door.

Kennedy dropped below the edge of the tub, sinking as much of herself under the water as possible, but didn’t say anything.

“Sadie told her that her bloody nose wasn’t as bad as your black eye.” Her mother squirted a bottle of bubble bath into the water near the faucet before perching on the edge of the tub and sighing. “Kennedy, we need to talk.”

“They were being mean to the grade ones!” Kennedy blurted out.

“The grade eight boys?”

Kennedy nodded and swished herself around until she was sitting cross-legged, her knees poking out of the water. “Sadie told them to leave the kids alone, to stop telling lies about Santa not existing. They wouldn’t leave!”

“And instead of going to get a teacher, you decided to fight them?”

“I was angry.” Kennedy scooped some bubbles up with her hands and made them into a tower.

“Did it solve anything?”

“Maybe they’ll think twice next time.” Kennedy squished her mountain fiercely, sending bubbles splashing up the wall and onto her mother’s leg. “Oops. Sorry, Mom.”

“Would it be worth it if I got angry with you right now? You know you’re not supposed to splash in the tub.”

“No,” Kennedy replied quietly.

“What could you have done differently?”

Kennedy gathered the bubbles into a large circle in front of herself. “They attacked Sadie first. If I’d run for a teacher, she might have gotten hurt worse. I suppose… I could have asked a little kid to get a teacher and screamed my head off?”

“They attacked Sadie first?” Her mother’s mouth thinned. “I hadn’t heard that part. I think we need to have a discussion with those boys and their parents with the principal present.”

“Good idea. They need to know that they can’t tell lies and get away with it.” Kennedy started making a smaller circle above the big one.

“You’re right, but Kennedy, darling, we need to talk about Santa Claus.”

“Did he not get my letter?” Kennedy asked, sloshing the water when she flailed.

“Sweetheart, he doesn’t exist.”

“Of course he does!” Kennedy said, brushing off her mother’s words unconcernedly. “I have his letters to me in my closet.”

“No, dear, your father wrote those.”

“They don’t look like his writing.” Kennedy narrowed her eyes suspiciously at her mother. “Why are you saying this?”

“He wrote them with his left hand.” Her mother waved a hand in the air. “That’s not the point. The point is that you are old enough to understand that Santa is a concept used to teach little kids about the spirit of giving.”

“But…” Kennedy couldn’t stop the tears, her throat going tight with the pressure of them. “But Santa!” she gasped. “He’s real!” She buried her face in her hands, regretting that she was in the bath and couldn’t hug her mother.

“Oh, sweetie.” Gentle hands smoothed her hair back. “I think you know I’m telling you the truth.”

“What about Tommy?” she sobbed.

“What about him?”

“If Santa’s not real, how can he bring Tommy presents? It’s not fair that he doesn’t get presents from Santa!” She inelegantly wiped her nose with the heel of her hand.

Her mother chuckled. “Your father and I will buy him Santa presents, just like we did for you and your older siblings.”

“What about the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy? They’re real, aren’t they?” Kennedy asked, grasping at straws. She couldn’t believe it.

“What do you think?”

A fresh wave of sadness swamped Kennedy. “No,” she said softly, tears flowing silently down her cheeks. “I guess they’re not either.”

“But now that you know the truth, you can help make Christmas special for Tommy and for the other little kids at your school,” her mother said.

“How?”

“Well, what is it that Santa does?”

Kennedy swallowed a knot in her throat. “He gives presents.”

“Okay. And?”

“He spreads joy.”

“How do you think you can do that?”

“By being nice to people?”

“How do you want to do that?”

“I could give them presents?” Kennedy frowned. “I don’t have any money.”

“You don’t. But you have time. How would you like to volunteer with the church youth group? They’re going to be wrapping presents for the homeless shelter after the service on Sunday.”

Kennedy brightened. “I can do that! I wrap really well!”

“You do.”

“I can wrap the presents for you too!”

“Not yours,” her mother teased.

“Of course not! I want to be surprised!” Kennedy said, shocked at the idea. She leaned over the edge of the tub and gave Tommy a kiss on the forehead.

He burbled back at her and grabbed for her hair.

“No, Tommy. We don’t grab hair,” her mother said firmly. “Are you feeling better about the whole Santa thing, dear?”

Kennedy sniffed. “I’m sad that he’s not real. I feel like someone I loved died.”

“He’s still here. He’s in all of us.”

“That’s what you said when Great-Uncle Ernest died,” Kennedy accused.

“So I did. Was I wrong? He lives on in the stories we tell about him.”

“I suppose.”

“Come on, let’s get you washed.”

“But I didn’t get to play!” she protested, sticking her bottom lip out. “And you just told me that Santa doesn’t exist!”

Her mother chuckled and shook her head. “That will only work for tonight. I can make your favourite for dinner, how’s that?”

“Chicken casserole? The one with the carrots?” Kennedy said, perking up. Usually that was dinner when they had company.

“Yes, that one.”

“Okay. Can I help?”

“You can peel the carrots.”

“Awesome. Where’s my washcloth?”

Cover art by @pinkpiggy93 on Tumblr and Instagram

Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests by Jen and Éric Desmarais is available for pre-order soon!

Physical from Canadian indie bookstoresphysical from Indigo, electronic version

Add it to your “Want to read” on Goodreads here!

Save the Date

Cover art by @pinkpiggy93 on Tumblr and Instagram

Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests by Jen and Éric Desmarais is available for pre-order soon!

Physical from Canadian indie bookstoresphysical from Indigo, electronic version

Add it to your “Want to read” on Goodreads here!

Santa Part 1

A short story for Christmas when Kennedy was 8 years old. This was not written for small children.

It was, however, written for those who recently found out the truth about Santa Claus, a group to which my daughter now belongs.

Friday the 9th of December, 1988 – Parry Sound, Ontario

Kennedy wiped her nose on the back of her woollen mitten as she waited for her older siblings to pass her on the bus. The eight-year-old avoided eye contact with the other kids on the bus, fixing them on the grey leather of the seat back in front of her.

“Come on, kiddo,” Phillip said, pushing her hat down over her eyes as he passed.

Kennedy fixed her hat and got up, dragging her backpack by a strap behind her.

“Have a good day!” the bus driver called after her, but she didn’t answer the way she usually did.

Instead, Kennedy trailed after her sisters, her backpack bumping against her leg with each step.

“You going to be okay?” Phillip asked. He was still beside her and she hadn’t noticed.

Not that she cared. She shrugged.

“Can I check your eye?”

“Okay.” Kennedy paused and looked up at her big brother. “When did you get so tall?”

He chuckled. “Probably when I turned sixteen last year.” He bit the finger of his glove and worked it off before gently holding her chin in his hand and tilting her head toward the light of the moon. He exhaled slowly, the steam of his breath fogging the air between them before putting his glove back on. “That’s a beauty. It’ll be nice and purple tomorrow. Does it hurt?”

“Only when I smile.”

“Best not to do that then.” They started walking again. “Why were you fighting?”

“The big kids ganged up on Sadie,” Kennedy said. “I couldn’t let her face them on her own.”

Phillip’s eyebrows rose. “Sadie, your best friend, who wouldn’t hurt a fly? Why?

“They were saying mean things. Telling the little kids that there wasn’t a Santa Claus. Why would they do that?” Kennedy sniffed hard. “Of course there’s a Santa Claus. Why make up such an obvious lie?”

“Let me get this straight,” Phillip said, frowning. “You heard some of the big kids telling lies to little kids, Sadie stepped in, then you joined her, and where exactly did the fighting come into play?”

“We were all yelling pretty loudly, and one boy took a swing at Sadie’s head. He was probably the biggest there. When she fell, I jumped on him and bit his nose,” Kennedy said unapologetically.

“Bit his nose?” There was a strange squeaky tone to Phillip’s voice, but when the eight-year-old glanced at him suspiciously, his expression was devoid of emotion.

“It was the only part of him not covered by winter gear,” Kennedy explained.

“Right.” He coughed. “And then?”

“We fought.”

“So I gather.” He sighed. “You’re going to get in trouble with mom.”

“I know.” She pouted.

“You were very brave to help your friend.”

She brightened. “You think so?”

“I know so, kiddo.” He pushed her hat down again and ran ahead, slowly enough that once she could see, she could chase after him.

The twins were still hanging up their coats by the time Kennedy and Phillip burst through the front door, rosy-cheeked and out of breath. Phillip’s jeans were soaked, but Kennedy’s snow pants had kept her dry.

Their mother was waiting for them, the baby on her hip. “Kennedy, it’s time for your bath.”

“Before my snack?”

“There’s a piece of cheese wrapped in cold meat on the counter. Grab it and let’s go.”

Kennedy brought her My Little Pony lunch box into the kitchen and left it on the counter next to the sink. Grabbing her snack, she returned to the front hall.

“You’re in trouble,” Eliza sing-songed, MacKenzie joining in on the second round.

Kennedy ignored them and trudged up the stairs. She could hear the water running in the shared bathroom at the top before she entered.

Part 2 is here!

Cover art by @pinkpiggy93 on Tumblr and Instagram

Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests by Jen and Éric Desmarais is available for pre-order soon!

Physical from Canadian indie bookstoresphysical from Indigo, electronic version

Add it to your “Want to read” on Goodreads here!

Cover Reveal for Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests

It is my great privilege to show you the cover for our newest book: Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests. It is an urban fantasy romance, and it’s coming to bookstores on June 14, 2023!

Cover art by the incomparable @pinkpiggy93. Cover design by Éric Desmarais and Nathan Fréchette.

What happens when superheroes plan a wedding? Monsters, that’s what.

Kennedy and Jason are ready to get married. They just have to deal with evaporating monsters first. Available for pre-order soon. (Keep an eye on our blog by signing up for posts in your inbox!)

Cover art by @pinkpiggy93 on Tumblr and Instagram

Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests by Jen and Éric Desmarais is available for pre-order soon!

Physical from Canadian indie bookstoresphysical from Indigo, electronic version

Add it to your “Want to read” on Goodreads here!

Crushing It puzzle

Crushing It

There’s this site that allows for any picture to be transformed into a digital puzzle. For free. And you can play for free.

I used it for the cover of Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers. See that puzzle here.

And now, here is the puzzle for Crushing It!

Cover art by @pinkpiggy93 on Tumblr and Instagram

Crushing It by Jen Desmarais is available now!

Physical from Canadian indie bookstoresphysical from Indigo, electronic version

Which Character Are You? Crushing It edition

Crushing It
Cover art by @pinkpiggy93 on Tumblr and Instagram

Crushing It by Jen Desmarais is available now!

Physical from Canadian indie bookstoresphysical from Indigo, electronic version

Mini MSN Chats 8-10

Crushing It

Here follows the accounts of 2003-version MSN chats between Tommy and Carter, set in the middle of Crushing It as they navigate their long-distance relationship.

MSN chat #8
MSN chat #9
MSN chat #10
Cover art by @pinkpiggy93 on Tumblr and Instagram

Crushing It by Jen Desmarais is available now!

Physical from Canadian indie bookstoresphysical from Indigo, electronic version

Which Charater Are You? Elizabeth Book 4 edition

The Mystery of the Dancing Lights by Éric Desmarais is available now!
Physical from Canadian indie bookstores, physical from Indigo, electronic version

Discussion Questions for The Mystery of the Dancing Lights

Download the printable Discussion Guide

  1. Early in the novel we see that Jackie has grown, how is this paralleled by his growth regarding magic? Do either affect his confidence?
  2. Jack, in 1989, is taken out of his regular school in order to attend a special magic school. He didn’t want to go, do you think his parents made the right choice and why?
  3. The Aetherborn, who are first introduced in A Case of Synchronicity, play a larger role in this novel. How would you feel if you discovered that some of your classmates were mythical characters brought to life with magic?
  4. The time loop gives Elizabeth the opportunity to work through the traumatic events of the previous book. Does she use that opportunity? Why or why not?
  5. When Jack first meets Morgan, he seems to trust her completely. Why do you think that is?
  6. Elizabeth travels back in time, again, this novel. There are some major differences in how it plays out. How and why do you think that is?
  7. Each Elizabeth novel relies on imagery of abandoned undergrounds. How does that reflect the theme of a “hidden magical world”?
  8. We see Jack, in 1989, lose his temper and melt perfect footprints into the rock floor. Do you think you’d have the strength of will to control that sort of power? What would make you lose that control?
  9. Time loops can be fun. If you were stuck in a loop, what books would you want to read? And what instrument would you want to learn?
  10. In each novel, Elizabeth succeeds through planning, knowledge, her friends, and luck. Why do you think this combination is more successful than the power or strength of her opponents?
  11. Suppose this book became a movie or a TV show. Who would you pick to play the roles? What aspects of the book would you want to see more of? What would be the most difficult part of filming?

The Mystery of the Dancing Lights by Éric Desmarais is available now!
Physical from Canadian indie bookstores, physical from Indigo, electronic version