Crushing It Book Mood Board

I had fun looking for pictures that made me think of the book Crushing It.

And I thought, why not share it with you?

Mood board of Crushing It. Pictures of a DIY vaccum, Ishihara plates, a bridge, the Toronto skyline, a robot labelled Door Tech, a promo image of the dinner theatre “Knights of Everdome”, a street sign indicating Westmeath to the right, a drawing of DNA, and a maze surround the image of the book Crushing It in various formats.

Summary

After an epic grounding for some bad decisions with even worse friends, Tommy is lucky to even go to the Door Tech March Break camp. There, he crosses paths with Carter Batudev, and chemistry isn’t just for the classroom. With love and a renewed interest in STEM, Tommy returns home to Parry Sound, where, to the relief of his parents, he makes better friends, and joins the STEM club.

When the club goes to the province-wide competition in Toronto, he’s reunited with Carter, whose team is also competing. Thus ensues a wild long weekend full of romance, hijinks, STEM, and singing.

Includes a novelette from Carter’s POV at the dinner theatre show Knights of Everdome.

The first book in the Lucky in Love series.

Cover art by @pinkpiggy93 on Tumblr and @flowerraven93 on Instagram

Pre-order Crushing It by Jen Desmarais now!

Physical version, electronic version (Coming Soon)

Carter Mood Board

I had fun looking for pictures that made me think of the secondary protagonist of Crushing It, Carter Batudev.

And I thought, why not share it with you?

Mood board of Carter Batudev. Pictures of bread, a target, a throwing knife, a sillhouette of a martial artist, a rock, STEM image, a lightbulb outside of a box, and a heart in the bisexual flag colours surround a drawn image of a brown haired boy.

Carter Batudev

Age: 15

Date of Birth: March 5, 1988

Appearance: Curly brown hair, grey eyes, tall, bronze skin

Grade: 9

Favourite class: Science

Parents: Sam and William Batudev own a bakery in Westmeath, Ontario

Siblings: None

Cover art by @pinkpiggy93 on Tumblr and @flowerraven93 on Instagram

Pre-order Crushing It by Jen Desmarais now!

Physical version, electronic version (Coming Soon)

Introducing Protagonists

The two protagonists of Crushing It are Tommy Fairfield and Carter Batudev.

Tommy Fairfield

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Maxwell-Jenkins-as-Tommy-1-1024x819.jpg
Appearance inspired by Maxwell Jenkins
Appearance inspired by Maxwell Jenkins

Age: 14

Date of Birth: May 11, 1988

Appearance: Short blond hair, green eyes, tall, white

Grade: 9

Favourite class: Math or Science or Music

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. Older sister Kennedy, engaged to Jason Johnson and lives in Westmeath (seen here).

Carter Batudev

Appearance inspired by Max Torina

Age: 15

Date of Birth: March 5, 1988

Appearance: Curly brown hair, grey eyes, tall, bronze skin

Grade: 9

Favourite class: Science

Parents: Sam and William Batudev own a bakery in Westmeath, Ontario

Siblings: None

Cover art by @pinkpiggy93 on Tumblr and @flowerraven93 on Instagram

Pre-order Crushing It by Jen Desmarais now!

Physical version, electronic version (Coming Soon)

Tommy Mood Board

If you missed the cover reveal video post last Friday, due to the email mess up, you can go see it here!

I had fun looking for pictures that made me think of the main protagonist of Crushing It, Tommy Fairfield.

And I thought, why not share it with you?

Mood board of Tommy Fairfield. Pictures of a guitar, torn pieces of sheet music, STEM image, a rainbow heart, an icon reading ‘Best Leader’, and the interior of a bedroom surround a drawn image of a young blond boy. Art of the bedroom and boy are drawn by pinkpiggy93.

Tommy Fairfield

Age: 14

Date of Birth: May 11, 1988

Appearance: Short blond hair, green eyes, tall, white

Grade: 9

Favourite class: Math or Science or Music

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

Siblings: Older brother Phillip (who lives in Parry Sound), married and has one son (15 months old). Twin older sisters Eliza (who lives in Toronto) and MacKenzie (who lives in Ottawa). Older sister Kennedy, engaged to Jason Johnson and lives in Westmeath (seen here).

Cover art by @pinkpiggy93 on Tumblr and @flowerraven93 on Instagram

Pre-order Crushing It by Jen Desmarais now!

Physical version, electronic version (Coming Soon)

Crushing It cover reveal video

OMG I CAN FINALLY SHARE THIS!

Seriously, the first time I saw this cover was in SEPTEMBER.

On to the cover reveal:

The actors in this film are Dragon and Dragon’s friend. Pegasus attempted to assist.

They were given the task of completing an obstacle course similar to the one in the book. (Simplified, obviously, as these are not 14-15 year olds.)

The music was written by me (with heavy assistance from Bruce Gordon for the chords! I was so lost as to how to put chords to the tune in my head!), sung by me, and recorded by Éric.

Cover art by @pinkpiggy93 on Tumblr and @flowerraven93 on Instagram

Pre-order Crushing It by Jen Desmarais now!

Physical version, electronic version (Coming Soon)

Aurora Awards Update

Hello family, fans, people who randomly read this blog, and friends (both real and imaginary),

Just a reminder that the nominations close on April 22, 2023 just before midnight.

One of the questions I was asked about this was “When will I receive the package of downloadable works?” and I had no idea and thought it was an excellent question, so I reached out to ask. Here is their response:

“We hope to have the voter’s package out around the 20th of May. With nominations not ending until the 22 of April, we expect it to take about a month. We first have to confirm who is on the ballot, then it usually takes 2 to 3 weeks for us to get the works for the package and put it together and test. If it’s ready earlier then it will be announced but at this point later in May is the best time to expect it.”

Thank you all for your time, attention, and support. Wish us luck!


The Aurora Awards, which are for Canadian science fiction and fantasy writers and artists, are open for nominations! This means the LONG lists of eligible works are being narrowed down to 5-6 per category.

Once they have a list of nominated works, every single person who signed up and paid the $10 membership fee gets ALL the nominated works as downloads. That’s all the adult novels, YA novels, novellas, short stories, graphic novels, and related works (usually anthologies), so about 36 works, for just $10 CAD, which is a great deal.

Getting nominated for an Aurora Award is a BIG DEAL in the writing community. You get a nomination pin (only once, so I’m terrified I’ll lose mine!), and you’re part of an elite group of people.

How do you nominate?

  1. Go to this website
  2. Join, pay membership fee
  3. Nominate up to 5 works per category

It would mean a lot to us if you’re willing to nominate us! (Categories are in alphabetical order by work)

  • Category 1 – Best Novel
    • Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers by Jen and Éric Desmarais
  • Category 3 – Best Novelette/Novella
    • Birth of the Aetherverse by Éric Desmarais
  • Category 4 – Best Short Story
    • Ringing In The New Year by Jen Desmarais
    • Choose Your Own Adventure – Welcome to Westmeath by Jen Desmarais
  • Category 7 – Best Related Work
    • Nothing Without Us Too by Cait Gordon and Talia C. Johnson (Jen has a short story Semper Ubi Sub Ubi in this one!)
  • Category 9 – Best Fan Writing/Publication
    • JenEric Movie Reviews by Éric Desmarais
    • The Travelling TARDIS by Jennifer Desmarais

In case you’re wondering why Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers is not included in the best cover art category, it’s because our cover artist is Vietnamese! Only Canadian creators are eligible, unfortunately.

Thank you so much for your time, attention, and support!

Jen and Éric

Discussion Questions for Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers

Download the printable Discussion Guide

  1. Do you think that with half a martial arts class, a magic jewel, and a new suit, Jason should have been okay with Kennedy joining him for superhero work? Why do you think he agreed?
  2. Jason falls fast for Kennedy. Does his vocalization of that come off as honest or creepy? How would it differ if their positions were reversed?
  3. Kennedy is underestimated by both her boss and Jason’s uncle. Why do you think that is and how does she handle it?
  4. We meet several Aetherborn, both with and without powers, some who look human and others who don’t. How do you think the political power dynamic is balanced? Are some better off than others? Why or why not?
  5. Is Kennedy’s job at a boutique lingerie store empowering or fetishizing? When she chooses her outfits for the fashion show, do you think she felt pressured to wear certain items? How does her viewpoint make a difference?
  6. Jason is not shy about showing his emotions. Do you find that realistic? Why or why not?
  7. This book mixes urban fantasy and romance genres. Do you think it worked? Why or why not?
  8. Jason’s behaviour varies depending on who he’s around. Does this make him seem disingenuous? With whom, other than Kennedy, do you think he is most himself?
  9. Do you have a favourite secondary character? Who do you wish got more attention in the story?
  10. Suppose Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers became a movie or a TV show. Who would you pick to play the roles? (You can check out our dream casting for ideas) What aspects of the book would you want to see more of? What would be the most difficult part of filming?
Cover art by @pinkpiggy93 on Tumblr/@flowerraven93 on Instagram

Read Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers by Jen and Éric Desmarais

Physical versionelectronic version AVAILABLE NOW!

Nominate us for the Auroras please!

Hello family, fans, people who randomly read this blog, and friends (both real and imaginary),

The Aurora Awards, which are for Canadian science fiction and fantasy writers and artists, are open for nominations! This means the LONG lists of eligible works are being narrowed down to 5-6 per category.

Once they have a list of nominated works, every single person who signed up and paid the $10 membership fee gets ALL the nominated works as downloads. That’s all the adult novels, YA novels, novellas, short stories, graphic novels, and related works (usually anthologies), so about 36 works, for just $10 CAD, which is a great deal.

Getting nominated for an Aurora Award is a BIG DEAL in the writing community. You get a nomination pin (only once, so I’m terrified I’ll lose mine!), and you’re part of an elite group of people.

How do you nominate?

  1. Go to this website
  2. Join, pay membership fee
  3. Nominate up to 5 works per category

It would mean a lot to us if you’re willing to nominate us! (Categories are in alphabetical order by work)

  • Category 1 – Best Novel
    • Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers by Jen and Éric Desmarais
  • Category 3 – Best Novelette/Novella
    • Birth of the Aetherverse by Éric Desmarais
  • Category 4 – Best Short Story
    • Ringing In The New Year by Jen Desmarais
    • Choose Your Own Adventure – Welcome to Westmeath by Jen Desmarais
  • Category 7 – Best Related Work
    • Nothing Without Us Too by Cait Gordon and Talia C. Johnson (Jen has a short story Semper Ubi Sub Ubi in this one!)
  • Category 9 – Best Fan Writing/Publication
    • JenEric Movie Reviews by Éric Desmarais
    • The Travelling TARDIS by Jennifer Desmarais

In case you’re wondering why Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers is not included in the best cover art category, it’s because our cover artist is Vietnamese! Only Canadian creators are eligible, unfortunately.

Thank you so much for your time, attention, and support!

Jen and Éric

Ringing in the New Year – Part 8

This is a short story set at Christmas after Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers. If you haven’t read that yet, you can find it at all major book retailers, including Chapters Indigo.


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8


Tuesday the 31st of December, 2002 – Westmeath, Ontario

“Five, four, three, two, one!” Jason, Kennedy, Zoe, and Gabrielle counted down with the TV. “Happy New Year!” The couples exchanged kisses, and then hugged the others.

“I can’t wait to see what year two thousand and three will bring,” Kennedy said, cheeks flushed with the champagne they’d opened.

“Plenty of good things,” Zoe replied, smiling at Jason, and squeezed Kennedy’s hand.

Jason grimaced anxiously at his sister, who he could see was trying not to laugh. “I know what’s in your immediate future,” he said to her. “Sleep.”

Gabrielle checked the clock. “For another hour at least. Brooke usually wakes up at one or one thirty for a boob.”

“Then we’ll get out of your hair and let you get as much sleep as possible,” Kennedy said, wincing in sympathy.

More hugs were given once they were dressed in their winter gear. Jason tucked her under his arm and they headed next door, back to their house.

“Do you mind if we go into the backyard for a minute?” he asked, his stomach tying itself in knots. “I’m not quite ready for tonight to end.”

“I’m up for anything as long as I’m with you,” Kennedy replied, giving his arm a squeeze.

I really hope she is, Jason thought anxiously. He led her up the driveway to the back of the house and plugged in the cord that turned on the fairy lights he had set up the week before, while she’d been at her parent’s.

“Ohhh!” Kennedy gasped, clasping her hands to her chest. “Jason! Did you do this for me?”

“I did.” He took her hands in his and admired the way the little lights reflected in her eyes. “You’re so beautiful,” he breathed.

Kennedy blushed. “Is this when you’re finally going to tell me what’s been on your mind? You’ve been distracted for weeks.”

Jason gaped at her and then laughed ruefully. “I should have known you’d notice.” His carefully prepared speech vanished from his mind and he gulped nervously. “You haven’t felt upset about it, I hope?”

“Not at all!” Kennedy replied cheerfully. She kissed him gently. “You don’t keep secrets from me without a very good reason. I look forward to hearing about this one, whenever you’re ready.”

He nodded. “I’m ready.” He took a deep breath. “But it’s okay if you’re not.” He smiled at her confused expression. “I had a whole plan, but now that it’s time, I’ve forgotten everything I wanted to say. So I’m going to keep it simple.”

Her eyes widened as he let go of her right hand, pulled out a box from his jacket pocket, and dropped to one knee. “Kennedy Fairfield, you make me happier than I ever thought I could possibly be. You are my light and I love you with all my heart. Will you marry me?” He opened the box with a flick of his thumb, revealing the emerald ring.

“Jason!” she gasped, her hand trembling in his. The other rose to her mouth. “We’ve only known each other a few months!”

“I have never been more sure about anything in my life.” He swallowed hard, steeling himself for her refusal.

Kennedy looked thoughtful. “I have fought assassins, robots, aliens, gang members, and monsters of all shapes and sizes with you.” She collapsed into a straddle on his knee and kissed him, lips trembling. “I will gladly keep doing that as your wife.” She kissed him again, more firmly this time.

Jason could hardly believe his ears. He pulled back to look her in her eyes, heart beating what felt like double-time. “Wait, sorry, is that a yes?”

“Yes!” Kennedy laughed. “Yes, yes, yes!”


I hope you enjoyed this year’s Christmas story! Have a great New Year!

Ringing in the New Year – Part 7

This is a short story set at Christmas after Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers. If you haven’t read that yet, you can find it at all major book retailers, including Chapters Indigo.


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8


Saturday the 28th of December, 2002 – Parry Sound, Ontario

Suddenly Kennedy was draped across his back and he collapsed to the ground with a wheeze. “Warning!” he gasped, and everyone chuckled. “Or you can go with high weight, low rep.”

Kennedy settled herself, the scent of her shampoo filling his nostrils. He braced his hands and toes on the floor, tensed his abdomen and glutes, and pushed up. Down, up, over and over, he concentrated on pushing his body through the motions it was used to until he reached ten. He controlled his downward motion one last time until he relaxed.

He heard clapping and flushed. “It’s just a push-up,” he mumbled into the carpet.

“It’s impressive and you know it,” Kennedy chuckled. She sat up and climbed off him, letting him stand. “Come on, get in the shower and then we can start our day. Dad’s promised to take the sleigh out for rides!”

It turned out that the sleigh was large enough for four adults and a driver.

Jason helped push the sleigh out of the barn and watched, curious, as Gerard hooked up the two draft horses to the shaft. Then he helped the others pile the inside with warm quilts and blankets.

“Sometimes my dad would wake us up in the middle of the night to go for a ride,” Kennedy told him. “The stars would be out and it felt like we could see the whole universe. It was absolutely breathtaking.”

“Sounds idyllic,” Jason replied, smiling.

They were joined in the sleigh by Eliza and MacKenzie, and Kennedy cuddled into his arms. He knew she didn’t always get along with her sisters and gave her a squeeze.

“All set?” asked Gerard as he sprang into the driver’s seat at the front of the sleigh. He clucked at the horses and flicked the reins.

The brisk wind swept into the open sleigh and Jason burrowed deeper into the coverings, tucking his hands under Kennedy’s sweater and tracing her developing muscles. Her soft skin twitched as she giggled.

“Your hands are cold,” she murmured into his ear.

“They’ll warm up fast.”

She placed her hands over his, stilling them. “This is nice,” she said, loudly enough to include her sisters in their conversation.

“So how did you two meet?” Eliza asked, leaning forward to see past her sister.

Jason smiled. “I was out for a jog and I saw this beautiful girl eating a croissant. I waved and said hi, and she almost choked on her food.”

“That’s not the whole story,” Kennedy protested. “I saw him, wanted to get his attention but couldn’t figure out how, and then inhaled croissant crumbs. He made sure I was okay, we introduced ourselves, and then he said he’d see me around.” She pretended to swoon.

“And here I thought you meant that the whole story was you beating an assassin with a chair, kicking his knife away from him, and then sitting down to finish your croissant, as cool as you please!” Jason said wryly.

“I had to sit down, or else my knees would have given way.”

“That makes so much sense.” Jason grinned at the shocked expressions on the twins. “Then I found her again after work and brought her to a dance.”

“Where we stayed until it closed at three in the morning!” Kennedy laughed. “I was so tired at work the next day!”

Jason ducked his head sheepishly. “I actually slept in the next day.” He’d been up until almost sunrise with Phantom work.

Kennedy glanced at him sideways. “Lucky.”

“Mmm, I am.” He planted a kiss on her hair.

“And your first kiss?” Eliza asked slyly. “Was it at the dance?”

Kennedy blushed. “I wanted one then.”

“Did you?” Jason asked.

Kennedy rolled her eyes. “I would have let you—” She cut herself off abruptly, flushing even more.

Her sisters made faces. “We get the picture.”

Jason grinned and settled back. “Is that what you were thinking about while we were dancing?” he murmured into her hair.

“Trying not to think about,” Kennedy whispered back. She kissed his lips, her nose cold against his cheek. “I barely knew you at that point. I would have kicked myself if I’d fallen into bed with you so fast.”

“So you waited, what,” he did a quick calculation on his fingers, “Six days?”

“And five more dates,” Kennedy said primly.

Jason chuckled. “Only you would count all of those as dates.”

She raised her eyebrows at him and he laughed harder, pulling her closer. “It was the right timing for us. Too fast, too slow, those only apply if we say they do.”

“What is it that you do, Jason?” MacKenzie interrupted. “Kennedy said something about investments?”

“I run a pizza place and an investment company with my younger sister.”

“Working with your sister?” Eliza wrinkled her nose. “What’s that like?”

“We butt heads sometimes, but if we take a step back, we recognize that we’re working toward the same goal and can figure out a compromise.” Jason tried not to laugh as he remembered one standoff last week, when they were discussing the Council at home. It had ended with him soaking wet from a ball of water she had dropped on top of him. “She’s usually right. I have a one-track mind and sometimes fail to see the bigger picture.”

The girls looked impressed, and silence fell over the sleigh.

Jason looked out across the snowy fields, filled with what he knew was winter wheat, oat, and barley. “This place must have been pretty amazing to grow up in, with all this space.”

“We didn’t go out in the fields much as kids, but we rode the horses around the property pretty much every day.”

The house reappeared on the horizon, and they pulled back in front of the barn for the second group.

Jason hopped out first and offered his hand to each family member as they stepped down.

“You’ll do,” Eliza said as she accepted.

“Ringing praise,” Jason replied dryly.

MacKenzie laughed. “Gotta keep you on your toes.”

“What was that about?” Kennedy asked him as they walked back to the house together.

He shrugged. “Sibling approval?” he offered.

Kennedy glanced at the empty house, the rest of the family having squeezed into the sleigh for a second trip. “Hey… How long do you think they’ll be gone?”

Jason grinned down at her, hoping she was thinking along the same lines as he was. “At least half an hour, plus putting everything away.”

“What are we waiting for?” she asked, breaking into a run and tugging him toward the house. “That’s plenty of time for a quickie!”

He tossed her, laughing, over his shoulder when she stumbled in the snow. “I love how your mind works.”


Read Part 8 Dec 30, 2022