There was a PEBCAK error on Friday

Hello Friends, Family, and Fans,

I’ve prided myself on ensuring content every weekday for the past 10 years. Unfortunately, we had a major PEBCAK error last week.

PEBCAK stands for Problem Exists Between Chair and Keyboard.

Basically I messed up. Sorry.

I’ve been struggling to do updates. This new head cold I caught last week doesn’t help. Motivation has been hard to come by. I think it’s a combination of re-adjusting to the routine and wanting to do too many things. It’s leaving me unfocused.

I’ve been through it before; I just need to get excited about one thing and get it done.

How’s your 2024 going?

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Health Update Video 2

First video

Video Transcript

Update number two. The first one was at the beginning of August and honestly, there isn’t much of an update to give. Started out that in June, the first doctor told me I had carpal tunnel and an ulnar nerve compression. Then I saw my family doctor and he said that I had tendonitis, specifically tennis elbow, and possibly carpal tunnel.

Then I went to the specialist in Carpal tunnel. I did the test where they electrocute you and try to figure out which nerves are working. And at the time, he said that I had no carpal tunnel and he didn’t believe it was tendonitis, that it was myofasciitis.

I then have spent the past month trying to get an appointment with my doctor. He wanted to wait until he got the notes from the specialist. They got it last week. I got in contact with my doctor’s office and I was extended leave because I am still a lot of pain. Pretty much fingers to here hurts right now. And although physio is helping a lot, it’s not fast.

Fast forward to last week, when I went to my doctor’s office to talk to the nurse and to get things signed, I said I was really worried and needed an appointment with the doctor because this is getting ridiculous.

One person was telling me I didn’t have anything and the specialist that I didn’t have carpal tunnel and the nurse goes, “Whoa, no, no. I read the report. He says you have signs of carpal tunnel.”

I have no idea what’s going on, No idea whatsoever. Hopefully in the next week or so, my doctor will call me back, make an appointment, and we can figure this out. Because even WSIB and OHS are getting a little impatient. My work is wondering when I’m coming back. I would just like to heal and get better and get back to work.

I’m also getting a little antsy. I went from writing a thousand words a day up to like six thousand a week, to writing a thousand a month.

And that was really slow. I wrote the sereal story and even with my new ergonomic mini keyboard and everything, it’s… it’s… ah.. hard. Thankfully, the writing still flows out easily. It’s just the… The pain afterwards that is not much fun. So, unfortunately, the update is a non-update, but that’s what we have so far.

Hopefully, I’ll have more news soon and then we can proceed with an actual plan for getting better. That’s my hope. That’s what I want. I want to plan. I’d like plans, I like breaking plans, but in this case, I want to make a plan and stick to it. Hopefully I can start writing again and by the new year. That’s, that’s my big hope. If not, then I have to consider voice to text as a permanent solution and it sucks, but it’s better than nothing.

The other big thing that I’ve been doing is very slowly roasting, and with the help of my children and wife, packaging coffee. So, if you’re going to be at Ottawa Comic Con, we should have twelve flavours, including two that have never been in a convention before.

So that’s exciting. Hope to see you there. Hope that my next update is either by text or way more optimistic.

Bye.

Health Update Video August 2022

Transcript of Video

Hi!

I decided to try to record a blog post and that way I don’t have to worry about typing long blog posts; so today will be all about my health issues and how I’m doing. 

For those of you who don’t know, I’ll put a link in the comments, right HERE and you can see everything that’s been going on. 

But effectively in June, I started having massive arm pain in this part of the arm and this part of the arm, on both sides, and my doctor diagnosed me with tendonitis and possible carpal tunnel. I was scheduled to go to do some more tests for carpal tunnel specifically; I just got those last week and good news: I don’t need surgery! 

It looks like I don’t have any issues with carpal tunnel; the carpal tunnel specialist said that he thought maybe there was something muscular. 

My physio, which I’m seeing three times a week, is helping a lot. 

She’s a godsend. 

She thinks it has something to do with my ulnar nerve. 

Basically, all this is telling you more tests, more time. 

Meanwhile, I’ve been following the proper procedures and filling out workman’s compensation forms. 

Oh my gosh! 

Filling out forms when you have tendonitis hurts. Pencils, typing… 

Thank heavens for Jen. 

If it wasn’t for her, I would be having a lot of trouble right now. 

Beyond that, I am doing better. 

It’s been a month and a little bit and it’s no longer a burning, sharp pain. 

It’s now a burning ache, and if I don’t do too much, which means not going on my phone. 

too much, not typing too much, not cooking too much, not changing too many diapers, that kind of thing, I’m OK. It hurts, but I’m…

The problem gets when I’m trying to do something. 

So at the end of July I didn’t want to break my own rules and fail on the serial story, so I typed 1000 words over three or four nights and it was hard

I’m not going to be able to go back to my 3 to 5000 words a week that I used to do, and that makes me really, really sad. 

Hopefully with Physio, by the end of August, I’ll be able to do a little bit more, but until I know for sure what’s going on, I don’t know. 

I’m also really nervous about going back to work and doing document formatting, which basically means I’m doing short keys and mouse clicks for anywhere from 4 to 8 hours a day. 

And yeah, that doesn’t sound like much fun right now. 

My doctor has me going back on September 1st. 

I’m hoping that I’ll be OK to do that. 

I’m hoping my work will be OK with giving me a little bit more leeway in getting my stuff done. I have no idea what’s going to happen and it’s kind of scary. 

Right now, I am concentrating on the things that I can control. 

Those being slowly, carefully, roasting coffee for Ottawa Comic Con. It’s going to be the first convention, that’s going to be in September, the first convention that we actually get to sell at since COVID started and I’m terrified

Not only because I’ve heard so many stories of people getting sick at Montreal Comic Con and other conventions, but also because I have no idea if roasting and preparing for a month… Like, so much stock is going to be sold, or if we’re going to leave with a negative… I’m just hoping to make back our table. 

That’s my basic goal. 

We’ll see; and I guess my other big goal is not to get sick. On that front, Pegasus has gotten his first shot at the end of July. We’re hoping to get the next one by the end of August, early September, so that he’s covered when we go to Comic Con. 

He’s not coming with us, but if we’re going to bring anything back, which is always a possibility, I don’t want him to catch this thing after 2 1/2 years! Gah. 

So back to the health stuff. 

My doctor gets back on Tuesday, which is tomorrow when you guys are watching this, and hopefully he’ll have some sort of diagnosis for me or another series of tests, which I have a feeling I’m going to be doing a lot of those in the future, which sucks. 

And I really miss typing. 

It’s my stress relief. Even like just basic typing is my stress relief. 

I was really enjoying the stress relief of playing ukulele, but I… I’ve barely touched it. 

Although I did dust, literally dust, the ukulele the other day just because it looked sad. 

All that to say that I am nervous but I’m getting better and I am trying to prepare for Comic Con, so hopefully my doctor will be able to fix things, and my physio will help me fix things and I can get back to writing novels.

Speaking of novels, check out Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers

Well, I hope you’ve had an enjoyable time learning about my pain. [Fake sobbing]

I hope you’ve learned a little bit about what’s going on, and I hope to see you at Ottawa Comic Con.

Bye.

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!

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 Dragon (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 Pegasus (18-20mo) to sleep!

Lots of writing late at night happened. Éric would bring his laptop to bed and write while Jen was nursing Pegasus (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

Location and Time

Why Westmeath?

It’s set in the city of Westmeath, Ontario, which is a real place, but in real life is a small farming area. In our book, something significant was discovered there and a very large city popped up very quickly (think 3/4 the size of Montreal, about 1.1 million people) in the 1970s. The sister city is Demers, Quebec, which is about the same size. There are about 60 high schools in Westmeath.

We wanted a fictional city so that we could add areas, streets, and stores without worrying about real locations. There are certain areas that are based off of real-life locations (Kennedy’s apartment is based on the apartments at Lees in Ottawa, for example).

The characters were originally from a table top role playing game we played in 2010 and at the time, Éric wanted to have a city that could be a pastiche of Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, and Gotham.

Why 2002?

The book is set in 2002 to avoid conflicting or crossing over with too many elements of the rest of the Aetherverse, specifically events that will happen in summer of 2016 in book 7 of Elizabeth Investigates Her Last Bow.

Beyond wanting to avoid giving away the series ending (not to mention not wanting to deal with the pandemic) we also were in late high school and early university at the time and have some fond memories.

Music playlist 2002

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.

Songs used in the book (in order of appearance):

Ordinary Day by Vanessa Carlton

Lapdance by N.E.R.D. (not safe for children)

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

Bumble Bees 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

Bands and artists we listened to, in alphabetical order:

Alanis Morissette, Alicia Keys, Aqua, Avril Lavigne, Barenaked Ladies, Bloodhound Gang, Britney Spears, Bryan Adams, Cake, Celine Dion, Cher, Christina Aguilera, Chumbawumba, Coldplay, Creed, Daniel Bélanger, Dave Matthews Band, David Usher, Destiny’s Child, Enrique Iglesias, Enya, Éric Lapointe, Evanescence, Faith Hill, Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack, Flogging Molly, Foo Fighters, Garou, Goo Goo Dolls, Great Big Sea, Green Day, Jagged Edge, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Page, Jewel, Kevin Parent, Len, Live, Macy Gray, Meatloaf, Midday Blackout, Natasha St-Pierre, Nelly, Nelly Furtado, Nickelback, Nightwish, Nine Inch Nails, Norah Jones, Pearl Jam, Phil Collins, P!nk, Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Reel Big Fish, REM, Remy Shand, Ricky Martin, Robbie Williams, Rush, S Club 7, Sarah McLachlan, Savage Garden, Seal, Shakira, Sheryl Crow, Sky, Smashmouth, Spice Girls, Sum 41, Tea Party, Third Eye Blind, U2, Vanessa Carlton