Mid-Year Review of Éric’s 2022 New Year’s Resolutions

Hello my Imaginary Friends,

It’s been an exciting six months and by that, I mean blarg. I still find it disturbing how much of the world is convinced the pandemic is over. Hopefully soon, we’ll see a vaccine for infants approved in Canada. Then I will feel much better, but I still am going to continue to be careful. It will be a while before I give up my mask.

Anyway, let’s see how I’m doing with my resolutions!

Writing

1. Write a monthly serial story (Succeeding)

The hardest part about this year’s serial story is not writing ahead. Currently, as of this writing, dealing with carpal tunnel, that might not be a problem. Read from the beginning of the Aetherverse.

2. Write Guise and Dolls Faymous with Jen (Success)

This went famously (haha). I loved writing this story and I’m glad that it’s now vacated that part of my brain that it’s been occupying for the past decade. Unfortunately, a spin-off series has decided to move in.

3. Finish Copper Tarnish (Pending)

Pending health, I have no idea how this is going to go. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish it, but if not, I’m not going to risk injuring myself worse over it.

4. Write book 3 of The Gates of Westmeath with Jen (Pending)

Unlike Copper Tarnish, this book starts from scratch/random jot notes, and won’t need heavy line-editing before I start, so I should be able to do this one with dictation software. I hope.

5. Keep Working on FADDS (Succeeding)

I created an entire ridiculously complex module for mixing components that was just way too much. So, I remade it in a simpler way and it seems to be working really well. I’m continuing to tweak and add more monsters as I go. Mostly, I’m just having fun with the system and my players.

JenEric Designs and Coffee

6. Ensure 5+ days of updates (Succeeding)

You may be sensing a theme, but depending on health issues, we may be dropping to four days a week, but not yet, and I don’t know. So we’ll see.

7. Write a movie review each week (Succeeding)

So far, so good. I might need to create a template to copy-paste to make my life easier.

8. Design and release a new flavour and redesign Green Apple (Pending)

Ottawa ComicCon is happening in September. This one will depend on how my health is. It’s not the highest priority; that will be roasting and packing ComicCon levels of coffee.

Personal

9. Read 5 Books (Pending)

Other than books that I’ve written or that Jen wrote, I’m a little behind on this. As in, halfway through the first book. But for some reason, I forsee having more chances to read (if Jen will let me).

10. Be More Patient (shrug)

Honestly, I have no idea how I’m doing on this one. I do know that I’m a terrible injured/sick person. Feeling like I’m letting people down makes me grumpy.

11. Don’t over stress (Failing)

I have developed tools to help me de-stress. Playing ukulele, reading, writing, playing video games, and cooking. The only one of those that I can currently do without hurting myself is reading. Let’s hope this dictation software works and doesn’t add to the stress.

My work is also irrationally pushing a return to the office and that’s still causing lots of stress with an unvaccinated toddler. HURRY THE F UP, HEALTH CANADA!

12. Practice bass or ukulele 2-3 times a week (Failing)

I was doing well with this. I even memorized the Spider-man theme on the bass and wrote a song for the ukulele. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to do this for a while.


The good news, I haven’t utterly failed at anything yet and I have a few Successes.

I’m going to take that as a positive and just do what I can for the rest of the year.

How are your resolutions going?

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

Magic Key?

Dear Readers,

Here’s a conversation my kids had yesterday. Reminder that Pegasus is two and Dragon is five.

Pegasus: I want a cupcake.

Me: *Clears throat agressively*

Dragon: What’s the magic key?

Pegasus: Magic key?

Me: She means say please.

Pegasus: Please can I have the magic key?

Me: No, say please for the cupcake.

Pegasus: Please for cupcake. *I give him a cupcake* Where’s magic key?

Me: She meant magic word, which is please.

Dragon: The magic key is please.

Pegasus: Can I have magic key please?

Me: There is no key, it’s a word.

Pegasus: What’s magic word?

Me: Please.

Pegasus: *Confused* Can I have magic key please?

Dragon: *Mimes handing him a key* Here you go.

Pegasus: Yay! Magic key!

Me: *Throws hands in the air* Eat your cupcake please.

Some days I feel like an extra in Who’s on First.

Hope that made you smile.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Those Other Books I Make

Hello My imaginary Friends,

For the past 5 years, I’ve been creating books that you can’t read.

Don’t worry, they’re not fiction or that semi-autobiographical Dinosaur Road Trip. (I should work on that again… maybe.)

Every year I make photobooks of the Dragon and now of Pegasus.

It feels extra, but we take roughly 2500 photos of the kids a year and we rarely go look at the digital albums. It’s nice to go pull out the books. It’s like the old photo albums, but without the fading.

So every year I make a copy of the pictures and sort through them and eliminate them until I have 200-250 for each kid and I create a photobook through Costco. It takes a long time. Actually, every year I swear I’ll start earlier or maybe just let a software do it for me, but I can’t do that.

So I’m proud to say that my first two books of the year are printed and published. Yay!

It’s a good thing they’re cute.

Now to write a story that has been percolating for over 13 years. It started as a dream that Jen had and I came up with a basic plot. Over the years it’s changed a lot, but now it’s time to get it written, and since it was Jen’s dream, she’s going to help me.

We’ve planned and plotted and now I’m going to go write.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Éric’s 2022 New Year’s Resolutions

Hello 2022! (Glances around nervously)

2021 was a surreal year, both because I finished writing 4 books and because it started to sink in that this whole pandemic is going to last longer than I expected.

Here’s to hoping 2022 is better.

My resolutions are not breakable promises, but goals that I hope to achieve.

Changing the Outlook Heart and Brain Comics The Awkward Yeti

Writing

1. Write a monthly serial story

It’s going to be my 9th year in a row doing this and I’m really excited for this year’s story. Get ready to see the beginning of the Aetherverse.

2. Write Guise and Dolls with Jen

After over a decade of waiting, I’m finally going to write this one. Jen’s going to help me and I can’t wait. This will be a more complicated book for us than those we’ve written before because we don’t have an outline in advance.

3. Finish Copper Tarnish

I started this book in November 2016. It’s time to finish it and get the darned story out of my head.

4. Write book 3 of The Gates of Westmeath with Jen

This is super ambitious, but we managed it last year so I’m hoping.

5. Keep Working on FADDS

I’m loving this system and I think it’s a few years (at the rate I’m going) before it’s ready to submit. I’d like to do a cleanup of the monster rules and maybe a reread of the spelling and grammar, but as long as I’m adding stuff, I’m good.

JenEric Designs and Coffee

6. Ensure 5+ days of updates

I’m going to do my best to keep our 5 day a week schedule. We’re in a nice little groove, so I think it’ll go okay. If things change, I’ll let you know.

7. Write a movie review each week

I’ve managed it two years now and I think it’s feasible to do it again. People have told me they like the reviews, so I’ll continue.

8. Design and release a new flavour and redesign Green Apple

In theory, Ottawa ComicCon is supposed to happen in September. I’m not sure what this or future variants will mean for events, but I need to get ready. I’d like to get these done and roast appropriately.

Personal

9. Read 5 Books

I failed miserably at this last year. I’ve lost my dedicated reading time and I need to find another. I love reading and I miss it.

10. Be More Patient

Every year I get a little better and I’m trying really hard not to yell as much. Hopefully I can keep getting calmer and move more towards gentle parenting.

11. Don’t over stress

This will probably be a fail but I need to learn how to destress. I have minor depression and when I spiral I get very stressed, defensive, and insecure. It’s not fun and I need to learn when it happens and treat it like a health issue instead of noticing after I get snippy with my wife.

Beyond that, I also don’t react well physically when I get stressed and I need to learn how to destress for my health.

12. Practice bass or ukulele 2-3 times a week

I got a beautiful Kala U-bass for Christmas and need to use it. I’m hoping for daily, but that won’t happen. I love making pretty noises and I know it helps me destress.


So after 4 years of slowly getting worse at my resolutions, I have made this ambitious list. Let’s hope I can do it and no matter what, I know I’ll have something to show at the end.

I wish for you all you need to complete your resolutions.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Dear Pegasus – The Holidays

Hello My Little Pegasus,

Boy have you grown in the past six months. From partial sentences to full conversations and descriptions. You are utterly adorable. You’re also a little terror at times, but that comes with big ideas, big emotions, and trying to deal with them.

Last Christmas, you didn’t seem to understand what was going on; this year you don’t know what is happening, but you know you should be excited about it. You asked for a cash register from Santa. I’m not sure if that’s because you wanted one or because Keladry had once mentioned she wanted one.

Right now, I take care of you while I work and I sometimes feel like I don’t give you enough attention, but that’s the way things have to be for now; soon things will change again. Your sister got her first vaccine and hopefully you’ll have yours early in the new year. That means that Dragon should be going to first grade in person. Then you’ll have Mum and I for most of the day.

When someone opens something you chant, “What is it, what is it, what is it?” in the cutest voice filled with excitement.

You’re starting to do imagination play where you make figures talk to each other and make up little stories.

You give the best snuggles.

You are terrible when you’re hungry or bored. You’ll scream and refuse to clean up. Just the other day, I was explaining other religious holidays to Dragon and you were bored so you just screamed. So frustrating.

There are 3 search and find books that you love and I swear they are the most soul sucking experiences. You’ve memorized all the locations of the stuff so you get bored part way, but insist on having me read them to you and then you just drift off. Sigh.

Overall, you are a wonderful little person and I’m proud to be your Papa. I hope you have fond memories of the holidays and I can’t wait to spend them with you for years to come.

Love you,

Your sappy Papa

Being Productive Isn’t that Important

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I’m not sure when it happened, but I became one of those people who has trouble not doing something. I’ve always fidgited and couldn’t fully sit still, but at some point my inability to sit still went from physical to mental.

I do a lot of things for various projects, jobs, etc. There’s always something to do. Because of that, I’ve had a hard time reading for pleasure.

I completely stopped during university and was fine until parental leave. There’s not much I can do on the bus other than read, video games, or emails. I tried writing, but it wasn’t easy. So for the past fifteen years I’ve read on the bus and it’s worked really well, allowing me to read an average of 20 or so novels a year.

A tired author wearing a shirt that says, “So many books, so little time.” On the shirt is an octopus with glasses holding a cup of tea and reading two books and holding another.
Shirt available at Tee Turtle.

Since my second parental leave, I’ve had a lot harder a time. There are three reasons:

The first is simple and is just the lack of bus and forced time set aside.

The second will sound petty, but it’s my kids. I love my little Dragon and Pegasus, but they don’t seem to like me reading. Pegasus will physically put himself between me and a book or my kobo. Then when I put it down, he’ll go away and do something else.

He’s older now, so hopefully he’s getting over it, but I still have this weird instinct of not reading around him.

The third is something I’ve been been struggling with for a while. When I read, I feel like I should be doing something else. That’s how my relaxing evening reading turned into writing (that worked out for writing). There’s a kind of guilt and panic when I read that I’m having a hard time getting over.

I need to keep telling myself it’s okay to do things that aren’t productive. It’s okay to take ten or twenty minutes to be a little selfish. The other things will wait.

It’s okay to do things for pleasure and not production!

Maybe if I say it enough times it’ll sink in? I detest that I can know something intellectually and somehow not actually believe it deep down.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Quick update – cute cat and bunny

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

My wife and I are working hard on book 2 of The Gates of Westmeath, at work it’s report season, and between allergies and season change; I don’t have much time.

Soon it’ll also be roasting for Holiday Calendar season too. (Preorder yours before Friday)

So quick update, but the kids had a good Halloween and that makes me happy.

Hope you had a happy spooky season. Bring on the Holiday music!

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric