La Princesse and the Wailing Ghost  – Heroes, Legends, Fairies, and other Absurdities

The other day Dragon asked me to tell her a story that I made up. It’s the first time she’s asked in almost 2 years. I made up a quick story and she liked it. When she asked again, I took the opportunity to try and bring back La Princesse.


In a realm of magic, in a time of heroes; there lived Princesse. She lived in a large castle with her mum, the Queen, and her papa, the King.

She loved everything; adventure, myth, and magic. One day, she hoped to become a wizard. She also loved spooky stories and was reading one before bed.

The story was fun and sent shivers of excitement and fear up and down her spine. She turned off her light and closed her eyes.

A horrible wailing noise filled her room. It didn’t last long but she was so scared, she didn’t fall asleep until early the next morning.

The lack of sleep meant she was extra tired the next day, but she convinced herself that it was just the wind.

The second night the wailing happened at the exact same time and she was again too scared to go to sleep. She imagined all sorts of spirits, wraiths, and ghouls that could be hiding in the castle. She didn’t sleep at all that night.

When she fell asleep in her soup at lunch, her papa asked her what was wrong. She could tell he was trying really hard not to laugh.

“I keep hearing a sound like someone crying at night.”

He said maybe it was the wind, her imagination, or maybe she was dreaming. He offered to put a guard at her door or for her to sleep in their room, but she said no.

On the third night, she was struck by sympathy for whatever was crying and with frustration, she decided to find out what was making the noise.

She put on her housecoat and slippers before leaving her room and following the sound. It was coming from behind a large painting of her great-grandfather. She saw that there were curtains on either side of it and when she looked behind it, there was a passageway.

In large castles and some mansions, there are often hidden passages for servants and guards to move unseen and quickly. This was one of them and the sound was coming out of a large pipe that opened behind the painting and went along the wall.

The Princesse was so absorbed in following the pipe that she almost tripped on a younger girl, not much older than herself, who was sitting on some steps and crying. The other end of the pipe was over her head.

“Hello, are you okay?” she asked the crying girl.

“Yes,” she said glumly and then noticed who she was talking to and stood up. “Princesse, what are you doing here?”

“I followed this pipe from near my room. It was causing your crying to sound like a ghost.”

The girl turned bright red and looked directly at the Princesse. The girl’s eyes were purple. “I’m sorry. I’ve just been really sad. It’s been a year since I came here and you and your family have been very kind, giving me a job and a place to stay, but I miss my parents.”

“Where are your parents?” The Princesse tried to sound calming the way her papa did when he was trying to calm a horse.

“My home was in danger and they sent me here. They were supposed to follow me, but they never did.”

“I’m sorry.” it sounded hollow to her own ears, so the Princess gave the girl a hug.

“Thank you and I’m sorry I woke you up. I’m Meagan.”

“Nice to meet you, Meagan. Next time you feel sad you can come see me and I’ll sit with you while you cry. Maybe we can have tea.” The Princesse liked the idea of having a friend inside the castle.

She quickly found that Meagan wasn’t like other people their age. She went to school, but she didn’t know the same books or plays and she didn’t treat the Princesse any differently.

That was nice. She was used to people being guarded because of who she was. They weren’t afraid of her or her parents, just overly formal and distant.

The two started having tea together before bed and telling each other ghost stories, and the Princess was never again woken by the wailing ghost.


Heroes, Legends, Fairies, and other Absurdities are the expanded versions of stories I’ve told my children at night before bed. They’re short, silly, and were completely improvised in the telling.

Dear Dragon and Pegasus

Dear Dragon and Pegasus,

This week we did something that we hadn’t done since the before times. We visited your école. The last time we were at the school was the sliver of time between getting over Covid and the complete shut down. It was February 12th, I believe.

Last time we went, Pegasus had just started walking and Dragon was so tiny.

This week was about Pegasus seeing a real classroom and playing with other kids his age. We also wanted to get Dragon excited for school next year. Dragon, you’ve been in digital school for almost three years and I think you’re stressed at the idea of changing.

People have been telling us that it would be better for the you two to be at school versus digital school.

I’ve been hesitant for a few reasons. First are the memories I have of being in grade school; I didn’t have a great experience and I really don’t want the same for you.

The second is more selfish, I’ll miss you. Right now I get to have lunch with you 3 times a week and hang out after. I also get to hear or be told what you did and I know that’ll change.

Change is inevitable and I know the best thing for Dragon is to go into in person school. I’ve been seeing signs that the screen combined with the sound quality is bothering you. You’re showing some pretty obvious signs of neurodiversity, which would be mitigated by having a teacher next to you and the resources at the school. I’m still worried about your temper and emotional regulation though. You also fidget more than I did at that age, which is saying something.

I’m not as convinced that Pegasus should be going into full day junior kindergarten. You are advanced in your language, math, and letters. Your small motor skills are excellent too. Unfortunately, your social skills are heavily influenced by your sister, so you’re more used to playing with kids rather than parallel play. During the open house, you actually got into a little fight with another kid. They didn’t want you to play with the kitchen and you really wanted to. You used your words, but they only spoke in partial phrases and didn’t. You ended up pushing the child almost twice your size against the wall. You did have fun and you would probably thrive with the right guidance.

Added to the fact that you are stubbornly refusing to fully potty train, I’m not sure it’ll be the best place for you. We definitely need to take you to the park and set up some play dates with other kids though.

All of this is complicated by my fear and stress. I’m trying really hard to not show it though. Covid is becoming a new normal and honestly I hate it. I’m still dealing with side effects, mostly breathing issues, from the first time I got it 3 years ago and I don’t want this for you. I was told that long covid seems to mostly get better with time, but I still worry about you both.

It was great seeing you playing with other people and I love how independent you were. You both checked in with us and wanted to share your joy, but you didn’t need us there.

Once again, things are changing and I don’t like it. I’m going to enjoy the next few months of us all being together as much as I can. I’ll try and store up the snuggles before they’re gone and appreciate the happy sounds before the house is too quiet.

I love you both so much,

Papa

Dear Dragon – Welcome to Level 6

Dear Dragon,

In some ways, this has been an exciting year, and in others it’s been a lot of the same.

You finished senior kindergarden and were really sad to say goodbye to your teachers. You learned a lot of things this year.

  • You can count and recognize numbers in both languages.
  • You’re an (eggs)pert at cracking eggs.
  • You can recognize your letters in both languages with only a little trouble with U in French.
  • You learnt to read this summer. It was slow and you didn’t want to, but now you’re pretty good at it. Your French reading is also doing well.
  • You helped me garden.
  • We played all of Yoshi’s Crafted World together, and most of Kirby and the Forgotten Land before I hurt myself.
  • You learned to play multiple songs on the piano.

You’ve learned a lot more, but that’s what’s on the top of my head.

Excitingly, this past year has seen both you and your brother fully vaccinated against covid-19. It’s a big relief for evertyone.

We had planned on putting you into in person school once your brother was vaccinated, but we missed the deadline and you’re in digital school again this year. It has its advantages; mostly the class size and extra sleep. You have about 12 kids in your class which means you get a lot more attention and help.

You had your first playdate in almost 3 years and it went great. It was a friend from your digital class. We’re hoping to bring you for a day at Can-Con and it’ll be nice to do things with you out of the house.

You’ve grown so much this past year and I love who you are. Every day I get to spend with you and your brother makes me happy. I hope that when you look back on the past 3 years that you have happy memories of us being together as a family. I know I will.

Happy Birthday Little Dragon!

I love you,

Papa

This Saturday! Support Dragon and Jen at the Auroras

Hello family and friends!

Just wanted to let you know that the Aurora Awards are happening this Saturday (virtually)!

As you may be aware, Dragon and I were nominated for an award in the Best Fan Related Work category.

Here are links to the live-streaming awards ceremony. They are open to the public so you can watch:

The ceremony begins at 7pm EDT (5pm MDT) on Saturday, August 13th. Here is a quick overview of the order of what is happening at the ceremony:

  • Introduction 
  • Announce the first time nominees (Dragon will not be on camera at this time, but she will be named)
  • Hall of Fame Inductees
  • Update about the awards program and a look at this year’s trophy
  • Aurora Awards:
    • Fan Related Work (this is our category!)
    • Fan Organizational
    • Fan Writing and Publications
    • Artist
    • Visual Presentation
    • Related Work
    • Poem/Song
    • Graphic Novel
    • Short Story
    • Novella/Novelette
    • Young Adult (YA) Novel
    • Novel
  • Closing Remarks

We were nominated for How I Taught My Dragon: Kindergarten education through genre media.

It would mean a lot to us to have your support by watching the show.

Thank you!

Jen

Last Day to Vote for Jen and Dragon

Hello Friends,

LAST DAY to vote for the Aurora awards. You get books just for being a member. 

PLEASE consider voting for Dragon and Jen, who have been nominated for their amazing work on How I Taught my Dragon: Kindergarten education through genre media in the category of Best Fan Related Work.

Here are some examples of what Dragon made:

Look at this awesome art that she did as part of her school:

Effectively, it’s a guide (and results) for parents to use films as a jumping off point for kindergarten education, each week a new film with activities and learning sheets designed around the film’s themes and content.

It was designed with the Ontario Curriculum in mind and to supplement our daughter’s 1 day a week of online school. It could easily be scaled up to be a full home school, or down to simply add some extras for parents who keep their kids home.

What she did over 10 months is spectacular, both as a tool for other parents, and as a journey with Dragon.

Please check out the blog and consider voting for it in the the Aurora Awards category of Best Fan Related Work. Dragon is included as an author because her writing is included on the blog as part of the results.

Thank you in advance,

Éric

Jen and Dragon Need your Aurora Vote

Hello Friends,

It’s time to vote for the Aurora awards. You get books just for being a member. 
You have until July 23rd to vote!

PLEASE consider voting for Dragon and Jen, who have been nominated for their amazing work on How I Taught my Dragon: Kindergarten education through genre media in the category of Best Fan Related Work

Here are some examples of what Dragon made:

She also created a stop motion film:

Effectively, it’s a guide (and results) for parents to use films as a jumping off point for kindergarten education, each week a new film with activities and learning sheets designed around the film’s themes and content.

It was designed with the Ontario Curriculum in mind and to supplement our daughter’s 1 day a week of online school. It could easily be scaled up to be a full home school, or down to simply add some extras for parents who keep their kids home.

What she did over 10 months is spectacular, both as a tool for other parents, and as a journey with Dragon.

Please check out the blog and consider voting for it in the the Aurora Awards category of Best Fan Related Work. Dragon is included as an author because her writing and work are included on the blog as part of the results.

Thank you in advance,

Éric

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Stress

***TL:DR I have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Posts will be shorter and I might be doing some repeats. Guest Posts appreciated.***

Hello,

I’ve been a fool. Since February, my work has been fairly busy and regular. It’s a lot of short keys, typing, and mouse work. I’ve been having pain in my hands for a while now.

I wrote about it for the Spoonie Author’s Network. At the time, the Doctor thought it was the same arthritis that was in my big toes. After a year of tests he eliminated that option. We thought it was maybe tendinitis and he sent me to physio.

My prescription for physio was written in February 2020. I didn’t make it. I didn’t want to risk getting my children sick and was experiencing long covid. A few weeks turned into a few months and then a few years.

The pain came and went, but was usually worse when my hands were cold. So I didn’t worry. I kept thinking, “I’ll see my doctor about it when the pandemic is over.”

Fast forward to last November and I noticed my arms getting numb when I slept. (I sleep on my sides and it was the ones that I didn’t sleep on that went numb.) The pain got worse around Christmas, but got better after 2 weeks off.

Then we went into report season at work and I started writing a new book. So my days looked like this: Work 8 hours, Ukulele practice 15-45 minutes, and then 1-2 hours writing, formatting, etc. I’m also the primary diaper changer in the family… so… yeah.

The pain got worse and worse and I just kept thinking, “I’ll see my doctor about it when the pandemic is over.” and, “It’ll get better when I have less clicky work.”

Then Monday, I was told by my bosses that I had to come into the physical building of work. The meeting was tense and I won’t lie, I felt attacked. We’re so close to an infant vaccine for Pegasus… I asked if I could wait until September and they refused. “Isolating is a choice we made. Coming in to work is my responsibility.” That’s a paraphrase, but arg. I’m still angry.

I’m not sure what I did during that meeting to myself, but after, my pain in my arms and hands went from a 5 (Interrupts some activities) to 8 (Hard to do anything) the pain has been fluctuating from 6-8 since.

I made an appointment with my doctor, but he couldn’t see me until a week later. I was in tears as I tried to figure out what to do. I eventually decided to go to the after-hours clinic and saw a wonderful doctor. He diagnosed me with confidence after asking some insightful questions. He gave me two weeks off work, tests for my family doctor, and a prescription for splints to sleep with. Now it’s a waiting game. I’m seeing my doctor next week and so far, after 3-4 days, I’m still in a lot of pain. This post is taking forever to write, but I’m taking lots of breaks.

I’m worried that my reticence to see the doctor will result in permanent damage. It shouldn’t have taken a level 8 pain or my bosses showing how little they care about me to make me listen to my body and get help. The moment the pain started to increase, I should have made appointments.

I didn’t want to let my family down, I didn’t want to let myself down, and I didn’t want to let my work down. It was foolish! Work doesn’t care about me, they never really have, family only want me to be healthy, and I’m more disappointed now than if I had been treated earlier.

Expect this blog to have shorter posts (this took most of a day with breaks). I’ll let you know what happens.

At least I’m getting a lot of snuggles.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Vote for Dragon and Jen

Hello Friends,

It’s time to vote for the Aurora awards. You get books just for being a member. Go to https://prixaurorawards.ca/ and click on the “Become a Member” button. Once you’ve paid, you’ll be able to vote. Don’t forget to download your voters package.

PLEASE consider voting for Dragon and Jen, who have been nominated for their amazing work on How I Taught my Dragon: Kindergarten education through genre media.

Effectively, it’s a guide (and results) for parents to use films as a jumping off point for kindergarten education, each week a new film with activities and learning sheets designed around the film’s themes and content.

It was designed with the Ontario Curriculum in mind and to supplement our daughter’s 1 day a week of online school. It could easily be scaled up to be a full home school, or down to simply add some extras for parents who keep their kids home.

What she did over 10 months is spectacular, both as a tool for other parents, and as a journey with Dragon.

Please check out the blog and consider voting for it in the the Aurora Awards category of Best Fan Related Work. Dragon is included as an author because her writing is included on the blog as part of the results.

Thank you in advance,

Éric

Backyard transformation

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I have a bad habit. I like to feed the local wildlife every year. This is my eighth year gardening and other than a few times, I haven’t been extremely successful.

Dragon with a massive zucchini from 2017

That was the last year we were able to grow more than a few zucchini.

So I decided to completely revamp my garden and backyard.

Dragon modelling where we’re going to put the new pear tree.
Arial shot of my backyard.

I took apart all my boxes and spread the dirt across the yard before seeding white clover. I’d like a “lawn” of clover, mint, and dandelions.

Dragon and Pegasus lying in the bed. I guess they helped make it so…

We bought and built 3 new garden beds and set them up, re-purposing our old beds in new places.

The garden boxes are placed, now I just needed plants, dirt, and a tree.

I ordered dirt and a tree and then I just had to wait. I ordered a Flemish Beauty from Peter Knipple Garden Centre. I’m extremely happy with their work.

Our new tree, called Agent P or Peary the Pear Tree

Agent P looked a little sad to start with, but has perked up since. Maybe he knew that we were in for a severe thunderstorm later that afternoon.

With dirt and tree, I spent two weekends moving and planting and then everything was in.

A lot changed and I was still not done. Another arial view of an almost finished back yard.

The last part was adding the potatoes and I also added a chickenwire fence around the tree to protect it from the large rodents.

Final arial view of the back yard.

Now everything is in place. I’ve seeded more white clover and all I need now it to weed, wait, and water.

Let’s hope I’ll be able to harvest and eat things this year. At the very least, the herbs, spices, a chives, and rhubarb are killing it.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Semi-Coherent Ramblings

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Last night, between Pegasus waking up several times (it’s been a while since he’s done that), insomnia, stress dream, and a couple of days of really bad allergies; I didn’t sleep well.

I’m a little grumpy today. Mumble mumble mumble. So I apologize for today’s disjointed post and possible incoherence.

Jen and I’s newest work in progess is going well. I love being able to plan and geek out about stuff with her as we write. Even if it means we don’t get to bed at anything related to a reasonable hour. I’m planning on writing a song for it and I’m terrified I’ll screw it up.

I read up on the plot, deaths, and story of the new Doctor Strange movie and I have to say it sounds pretty tedious. I loved WandaVision and from what I’ve read, it undoes a lot of the character progression of Wanda and falls into the “hysterical woman” trope that Marvel comics love so much. It’s a good thing Marvel releases so many movies because there are more and more of them that I don’t like.

I’m just waiting for a large bag of dirt that comes in on Friday and I’ll be able to plant my garden. Every year I say I won’t garden, and every year I do. I love the idea of growing my own food. Unfortunately, I only have a green thumb with the help of a marker.

Shamelessly cute photo of the kids.

Jen and I are prepping two manuscripts for submission and it’s a little stressful, but fun. Both are related to Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers (Pre-orders now open at your local bookstores for September 15th) and that makes it awkward for our publisher. They have to judge the quality, but also have to decide if it’s financially worth publishing a sequel and story collection without having any sales data. You could make their decision easier by pre-ordering it. 🙂

I’m not good at this whole publicity thing. I need to improve my ability to get people interested about my books. They are awesome, but if you don’t read them, how do you know you want to read them? Jen has all sorts of exciting ideas that are great.

I think I’ve rambled enough for today.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric