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!

A Whole lot of Books Coming out

Hello Readers,

Jen and I have been busy and we have 3 books between the two of us coming out in the next 12 months. They are being published by Renaissance Press and will be available at any place you buy books.

I hope you’re excited, because we sure are!

Éric


Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers

Release: September 15th, 2022

Authors: Jen and Éric Desmarais

When Kennedy Fairfield, a recent graduate (Class of 2002) trying to find her purpose in life, or at least a job in her field, 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 to help Jason discover why people are disappearing in time to save her friends, they”ll have to navigate 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.

Pre-orders for this books are available at all bookstores and ebook vendors.

Crushing It

Release: Spring 2023

Author: Jen Desmarais

When Tommy Fairfield, an ordinary science geek, meets Carter Batudev at the Door Tech March Break camp, chemistry isn’t only in the classroom.

After an epic grounding for some bad decisions with even worse friends, Tommy is lucky to even go to the camp. Thankfully, his mother still drops him off in Westmeath, leaving his sister Kennedy and her fiancé Jason in charge. With love and a renewed interest in STEM, Tommy returns home to Parry Sound.

Despite his parents’ worries, Tommy makes better friends and joins the STEM club, which goes to the province-wide competition in Toronto. Carter’s team is there, too. Romance, STEM, singing, and hijinks ensue.

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

The Mystery of the Dancing Lights (A Baker City Mystery Elizabeth Investigates Book 4)

Release: Spring 2023

Author: Éric Desmarais

Mysteries are Elizabeth Coderre’s life, and after wizards, hags, artificers, vampires, kobolds, genies, and killer kittens, she thinks she’s seen everything.
She’s wrong!

And when she goes to Riding Thorpe summer camp, which is build on an old government experimental facility, she discovers that there’s a lot she doesn’t know.

Can she solve the mystery of the dancing lights, save her friends, and escape a time loop? Or is she cursed to relive her friends’ deaths forever?

Includes a brand-new murder mystery novella by Jen Desmarais starring Kennedy Fairfield (from Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers) about her 1995 summer vacation in Baker.

Turning Red – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film Turning Red.

Story

This was a coming of age movie done extremely well. I loved the supportive friends and the music obsession. The family trauma was well done. I’m also amazed that with no real villain they managed to have a marvel-worthy boss fight at the end.

Score: 1

Characters

The kids in the movie were all stereotypes I remember from my high school. They are, however, well nuanced despite the little amount of screentime.

The overbearing mom with the soft-spoken dad is a dynamic I’ve seen in real life and is nice to see a move away from the idiot/useless father figures.

The aunties gave me flashbacks and made me giggle.

At the heart of it, Mei was both cringingly 13 but extremely relatable.

Score: 1

Dialogue

It was odd watching a Pixar-Disney movie with Canadian accents and expressions; odd but comforting.

A lot of information was given as worldbuilding and came back as important to the plot. The dialogue was fast, frantic and well crafted. I’ll need a rewatch to appreciate the full scope.

Score: 1

Music and Visuals

The songs are perfectly crafted to match the time period and the style of music. It reminded me of sitting in my cousin’s room listening to TLC, Destiny’s Child, Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, and 98 Degrees. Meanwhile the score was absolutely epic.

The animation is spectacular, as expected for Pixar. The backgrounds and details are wonderful and the character design was spot on.

Score: 1

Fun

The movie’s pace and energy is so perfectly reminiscent of being an early teen that it took me a little time to acclimate. It was great to step into that feeling and world again. I also thought it was fun spotting all the Canadianisms and things that are purely Toronto.

My kids liked it, although the 2 year old found the big panda scary and my 5 year old writhed in secondary embarrassment for most of it.

The most unrealistic thing was that they could get their concert tickets that close to the show and be on the floor.

I can’t wait to rewatch it and see all the little details I missed in the animation and storytelling.

Score: 1

Overall

This movie throws you into the life of a teen and drags you at the breakneck speed of youth. It’s exciting, heartwarming, and extremely poignant. It continues the excellent storytelling that Pixar is known for.

See this movie with an open mind and heart and it’ll transport you to the exotic land of Toronto and remind you what it means to be a young teen.

Final Score: 5 Stars out of 5*


*A 5 star review doesn’t mean the movie was perfect nor that it is perfect for everyone but it is a movie I believe is as close to perfect as possible.

The Three Musketeers (2011) – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2011 film The Three Musketeers.

Story

The basic story is there with all it’s swash and buckle. There’s a few interesting twists and some fun clock-punk elements (like steampunk with with clockwork mechanisms instead of steam power.)

It’s a lot of talking, scheming, fighting, and quipping.

Score: 0.5

Characters

There’s a lot of variation that can be had with these characters. It worked extremely well with this group. I particularly like the changes in Milady, the King, and Queen.

The acting was purposefully and wonderfully over the top. Orlando Bloom channels a combination of Tim Curry and Alan Rickman, which I’d love to see more of.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue vassalates wildly from pure cheese to genius.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The movie is absolutely beautiful. The saturation, in my opinion, should have been higher, but other than that it was a beautiful film.

The music was great at what it did, occasionally feeling like a videogame, but it worked.

Score: 1

Fun

The kids weren’t big fans of anything but the action, but there was plenty of that to keep the five year old entertained. I thoroughly enjoyed the ridiculous action, sets, and history bending.

Score: 1

Overall

This clock-punk take on the Three Musketeers is action-packed and filled with fantastic action. It has all the excellent elements of action and over the top visuals that are the director’s standard.

Overall, it’s a lot of fun.

Final Score: 3.5 stars out of 5

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

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

Breaking News!

Pardon me while I interrupt your regularly scheduled posts to inform you that…

Drum roll, please!

Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers has been picked up by Renaissance Press for publishing! It will be published in Fall 2022 (twenty years after its setting).

We are so ridiculously excited about this, you have no idea!!

Our family wearing different coloured shirts that all say “Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers”

Organizations in Westmeath

Businesses

Oldtown Council

A council of seven members that owns lands and businesses in the Oldtown district of Westmeath. They are prominent members of the Community and the Council dates back to the original founding of Westmeath.

Westmeath Agricultural Research Cooperative (Westmeath ARC)

A research and development agricultural facility, they hold the patents to countless hearty crops and pest resistant strains. One of the world’s top agricultural researchers, Dr Amita Dubois, runs the cooperative.

It is funded by the Oldtown Council and its crops are used as a form of food bank and low income supplementation.

Yggdrasil Corporation

A subsidiary of Aesir Holdings, they own an empty warehouse and small fleet of black vans. It is suspected that they are a front for something, but unsure what.

Unidentified Tech Companies

In the sixties, several large tech companies moved facilities to Westmeath due to military contracts. With the tech companies came people, infrastructure, schools, and other businesses. In under fifteen years, Westmeath went from a backwater town to a metropolitan city.

The tech companies are extremely paranoid and have built massive city block sized campuses that have security walls around them.

Organized Crime

Andromeda Syndicate

One of the most elusive crime groups in the country, it is known to only operate in Westmeath, Toronto, and Quebec City. The Syndicate is brutal to its enemies and controls a lot of the smuggling and human trafficking in its territory.

Blue Bloods

One of the country’s most notorious, and hard to shut down, gangs. They operate each city as a cell with no one knowing the national leaders. They mostly deal in drugs, thugs, weapons, and robberies. 

Daemon Bikers

The Daemon Bikers are Westmeath’s largest drug dealers. They deal in everything. They are known to make deals rather than go into a turf war. 

Religious Organizations

Bifröst

This is a new religion that believes that a great power, they call the Key, will unlock a gate to a new world where they and the devout will be given their eternal reward. They seem to mix Christian, Norse, and science fiction concepts. 

They are known to be violently devout.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel church

An Anglican Church first built in the early 1900’s. The Reverend is known to be extremely accepting. This church is also an Aetherborn sanctuary.

Siblings of Death

A cult of trained assassins that believe the way to paradise is on a wave of blood. Once they are hired for a job they do not stop trying.

Introducing Secondary Characters Part 3/3

These are a few of the secondary characters in Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers.

See Part 1 and Part 2

In order of appearance:

Rachel

Appearance inspired by Aimee Carrero

Age: 20

Date of Birth: Unknown

Appearance: Dark hair and tan skin

Job: Student in third year at Westmeath University, working in sales at Discreet Frills

Connection to Protagonists: Coworker of Kennedy’s, was babysat by Jason when they were younger

Nick

Appearance inspired by Colton Haynes

Age: 23

Date of Birth: Unknown

Appearance: Grey eyes

Job: Head server at The Hawaiian in Oldtown

Connection to Protagonists: Works at Jason’s restaurant

Jesse

Appearance inspired by Tom Cavanagh

Age: mid-50s

Date of Birth: Unknown

Appearance: Tall and thin, greying hair

Job: Owns and operates Mortimer’s Diner in Oldtown

Connection to Protagonists: Jason loves his Hungry Man’s breakfast