Complicated Feelings about Pride

Hello Friends, Family, and Fans,

I was raised by my mom. I saw my dad occasionally, and although he had an influence on my upbringing, he wasn’t a big one. My mom raised me and she was very much a hippy. One thing that she did, and I’m not sure it was intentional, was to instill a deep mistrust of those that have pride.

I’m sure the ADHD didn’t help. I was always asking people why, and they usually just got angry. Especially when I would question national, cultural, school, language, or sports pride. Screaming “We’re Number 1!” has always seemed silly to me. I have respect for those that came before me and for the fact that me and my country are more privileged than others, but I’d never classify that as pride.

I’m not completely sure what the feeling of pride in that sense is like. I feel proud of my accomplishments, I’m proud of my family, and I’m proud of my friends. I’m also oddly proud of people I’ve barely met but who I like. But that feeling is a warm feeling of joy and satisfaction at their success, not an all consuming emotion the way I’ve seen it in others. If someone I’m proud of does something bad, I’m disappointed, and if they turn to hate, I grieve for losing them.

The concept of pride as I’ve seen it around me and portrayed in fiction seems more like blind faith or fanatical devotion. Something that deeply disturbs me.

2021 Intersex-inclusive redesign of the Progress Pride Flag by Valentino Vecchietti

This month is Pride Month, and that is a completely different type of pride. One i can understand much better than the one that people will be showing July 1st.

As you might know, I’m bisexual, and I haven’t had the greatest interactions about it. Both straight and gay people have told me I was “confused”, that I should just admit to being gay, jumping on the bandwagon, or just trying to get attention. It took a long time for me to find friends I was comfortable around and I still don’t feel comfortable in 2SLGBTQIA+ spaces.

All that being said, the pride in Pride Month is a feeling of grim determination and joy that we as a community have survived despite the ever-present hate. The first pride parade was a riot and a demand for basic human rights. Despite all the advancements we’ve made, we still have a lot of work to do.

This month, filled with rainbow capitalism, remember that it’s still illegal to be gay in 64 countries and same sex marriages are recognized in only 32 countries. In Canada, the US, and England, laws have recently passed that prioritize the rights of parents over those of queer and trans youth. In the past year, Ottawa has had multiple protests, some in front of schools, demanding that same sex and trans not be mentioned in the classroom.

We have a long way to go, and as you watch the community celebrate, remember the Pride Month isn’t about an irrational love and devotion, it’s about survival.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Red Day, Ere the Sun Rises – Characters

The text, "Red Day, Ere the Sun Rises: A Sun Speaker Story" over a red sun.

Characters | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12


I was told the sheer quantity of characters was a little intimidating. I started to understand as I made this list. Hopefully this will help keep the characters straight.

Hal the Sun Speaker

Hal

Born 825 Post First Earthen Emigration. A prophet called the Sun-Speaker, he gets visions from the god Sol that lives in the sun. He was raised on Venus from the age of ten.

Rose

A doctor who was part of Hal’s crew. She is currently in hiding, raising the future King of Mars with her wife Sofia.

Sofia

Former special forces in the Mars militia, she was dishonorably discharged for saving Hal’s life against orders. The first time she met him, she also beat the crap out of him. She is his former bodyguard.

Gwinevere the Second, High Queen of Venus

As a child, found Hal hiding in the luggage of the royal ship. They dated as teenagers. When he was ex-communicated from the church, she broke all ties.

Princess Lenay

Princess of Venus. She was born with an immune disorder like her mother but both were healed by Hal.

Thomas the sixth, Ruler of Mars

King of Mars being raised in exile on Earth. He was kidnapped as a child by the Venetians.

The Assassin

Suzie (AKA Helena)

Former assassin with the Maidens of Antichthon. Hal helped her uncover the corruption in the organzation and she joined his crew as his new bodyguard. They eventually developed feelings for each other and are now dating.

Samantha

The assassin trainer from the Maidens of the Antichthon. Disgraced, she was tortured and implanted with cybernetics and sent to fight in the arena. Hal healed her and the expelled cybernetics became their own person. Currently both are in charge of the The Mederei Alpha, a former gladiator ship which is now a home for refugees.

Seren Plentyn and the Secret of Hokulua Station

Seren Plentyn

An adventurous twenty-something archeologist and linguist. Member of the Children of the Stars.

Captain Jan Ng

A stern but fair life-long miliary soldier. They are the captain of the MOAS (Mother of all Suns) Warship Ennill.

Annie Musa

Wife of Seren and ace fighter pilot. Annie is sarcastic and loyal. Member of the Children of the Stars.

Mother of All Suns

The last remnants of an ancient civilization downloaded their minds into a great machine. Its power source was a sun and that sun’s consciousness merged with the people.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to my Funeral

Janet

Plutonian who discovered the secret to eternal youth. Despite looking 18, she is a brilliant doctor and scientist.

Adric

Computer and engineering genius. Helped free Callisto from mob rule with his hacking skills. Currently the engineer on Hal’s ship, the Hey Sunny.

Travis

A Mercurian pilot. Hal served as a medic on his ship. To save his life, Hal had to leave him on a pirate ship to be tortured.

Caro

The system’s strongest telepath and precog. Former member of Hal’s crew currently living on Xanthus.

Gladiators in SPACE!

Henrick Al-Mer of the house of Mers

Royal instructor to the kings and queens of Mars.

Aly

Martian-Barsoonian adviser to the King and former leader of his people.

Diamond Stars and the Galactic Heist

Diamond Stars (AKA Garnet)

Former Black-Sun operative who went rogue. Current incarnation of the Robin Hood style character Diamond Stars and captain of the Revenge. Also a recent Sun Speaker of Sol.

Onyx

Doctor on the Revenge. Boyfriend of Diamond Stars.

Sphene

Younger sister of Onyx. Weapons expert and gunner on the Revenge.

Ghost Ship Robinson

Fry

Ex-soldier and mercenary. Died on the Robinson

Hoff

Ex-soldier and mercenary. Bioscience expert on the Hey Sunny.

Teddy

Former engineer on the Hey Sunny. Died on the Robinson.

The Suns of War

Nessa Muldune

Captain of the ISS Galahad. She’s a Feline Martian who has a strong love for her crew, knowledge, and justice.

Alexandre Crowley

Senior science officer of the ISS Galahad. He’s a Serpant Tyrite who values logic over emotion.

Tanya Brook

Lieutenant weapons officer of the ISS Galahad. She’s a Sapian Martian. She’s tall, muscled, and looks like she’s been in plenty of fights.

Em Frechette

Master Sargent and communications officer of the ISS Galahad. They’re a Sapian Tyrite. 

Peri Anson

Doctor of the ISS Galahad. He’s an older Sapian Martian. His interest lies in his crew and their health above all else.

Bart Shelby

Lieutenant and pilot of the ISS Galahad. He’s Canine Arisian with plenty of years as a fighter pilot.

Arzure Pendreicht (Zuri)

Head Engineer of the ISS Galahad. She’s a young Sapian Martian, the reincarnation of King Arthur, and a Sun Speaker for Sol.

The State of Éric – November 2023

Hello Family, Friendns, and Fans,

A lot of stuff is happening so let’s do this rapidfire:

Queer Christmas Craft Fair

As we mentioned in a previous post, we’ll be at Queer Christmas Craft Fair tomorrow (Saturday November 25th) from 10-2. Come get your coffee!!!

Writing

Jen and I are writing the next book in The Gates of Westmeath series and it’s awesome. The only thing keeping me from binge writing right now is that we’re doing the first pass at editing Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests (Coming June 2024). As much as I love writing, I despise editing. Like everything else in the writing process, it’s much easier to do with Jen.

Renaissance has Copper Tarnish, Stories! The First Unexpected Collection, and Faymous and I will hopefully hear in the new year if they’ll publish or pass.

Work

I’ve been acting (in government that means I’m doing the job but it’s not permanent) at a higher level as a Web Accessibility specialist. It’s pretty much an evolution of my old job as print and PDFs fall out of favour, but it’s a promotion.

This week I signed my papers to make it permanent. It’s better pay and duties that are no longer 10 years antiquated. So yay!

Health

I’ve seen a neuro-opthamologist and had lots of tests including another MRI. Everything came back clean except for a loss of vision in my left eye and the fact that my left eye dilated slower than my right. He thinks I had some sort of nerve issue and he’s sending me to a neurologist and has set up a follow up for June.

Yay nothing serious and that he believes me but boo I didn’t get any answers.


That’s about it now.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Queer Christmas Craft Fair

We’ll be at one last show this year, so if you haven’t yet bought coffee for your friends, family, teachers, and neighbours, THIS IS YOUR CHANCE!

Renaissance Press will also be attendance, and will have all our books! If you want to get them signed (you can buy the books at your local bookstore and bring them in to us too), we’ll be there!

From the organizer:

Get ready for a festive and inclusive event you don’t want to miss! The Queer Christmas Craft Fair is here, and we can’t wait to see you on November 25th from 10:00am to 2:00pm at The Good Companions (670 Albert Street).

This is not just your average craft fair – it’s a celebration of diversity, creativity, and community! By joining us, you’ll not only be supporting Ottawa’s small LGBTQ2+ businesses but also local service agencies that do incredible work for our community. It’s a win-win!

What’s even better? Parking is absolutely free, making it hassle-free for you to come and enjoy the day. And let’s not forget about our famous chili! For just $6.20, you can satisfy your taste buds with a delicious bowl of chili and a side of corn bread. Trust us, it’s the perfect fuel to keep you shopping and mingling.

But wait, there’s more! The Queer Christmas Craft Fair will showcase an array of incredible handmade products. From unique jewelry and fashion accessories to home decor and art pieces, you’ll find the most wonderful gifts for your loved ones (or even yourself). Support local artisans and find something truly special to spread love and joy this holiday season.

So bring your friends, family, and colleagues to this fabulous event. Together, let’s create a warm and welcoming atmosphere, celebrating love, diversity, and the magic of the holiday season.

Mark your calendars and don’t miss out on the Queer Christmas Craft Fair on November 25th. See you there!

Crushing It puzzle

Crushing It

There’s this site that allows for any picture to be transformed into a digital puzzle. For free. And you can play for free.

I used it for the cover of Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers. See that puzzle here.

And now, here is the puzzle for Crushing It!

Cover art by @pinkpiggy93 on Tumblr and Instagram

Crushing It by Jen Desmarais is available now!

Physical from Canadian indie bookstoresphysical from Indigo, electronic version

Which Character Are You? Crushing It edition

Crushing It
Cover art by @pinkpiggy93 on Tumblr and Instagram

Crushing It by Jen Desmarais is available now!

Physical from Canadian indie bookstoresphysical from Indigo, electronic version

Mini MSN Chats 8-10

Crushing It

Here follows the accounts of 2003-version MSN chats between Tommy and Carter, set in the middle of Crushing It as they navigate their long-distance relationship.

MSN chat #8
MSN chat #9
MSN chat #10
Cover art by @pinkpiggy93 on Tumblr and Instagram

Crushing It by Jen Desmarais is available now!

Physical from Canadian indie bookstoresphysical from Indigo, electronic version

Discussion Questions for Crushing It

Crushing It

Download the printable Discussion Guide

  1. Crushing It is set in 2003. How would the story be different if it was set in the present day?
  2. Throughout the book, Tommy is completely unaware of the magical world surrounding him in Westmeath. Do you think it would have changed anything if he had noticed?
  3. Tommy and his mother are at odds at the beginning of the book. Who do you feel more empathy for? Can you see the other’s point of view?
  4. Icebreakers are a staple of camps. How do they make you feel? What type do you prefer?
  5. Do you think Tommy’s reactions and feelings when he realized he was gay were relatable? Have you ever had a crush on someone you didn’t expect? How did you feel and react?
  6. The technology in Westmeath is much more advanced than it was in real life in 2003. How does this affect the story?
  7. We only see Carter’s point of view at three points during the book. How would the story have been different if it had been equal parts from his POV?
  8. Long distance relationships are difficult, but in what ways is it a good thing for Tommy and Carter? How is it a struggle?
  9. Two themes that tie the book together are music and science. Can you think of more?
  10. The world isn’t ending in the book. Do you think it being low-stakes, or cosy, is a strength or a weakness?
  11. Suppose Crushing It became a movie or a TV show. Who would you pick to play the roles? (You can check out my 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 and Instagram

Crushing It by Jen Desmarais is available now!

Physical from Canadian indie bookstoresphysical from Indigo, electronic version

“Crushing It” Review 6

Crushing It was sent out for reviews in May, and I’ve received some in return. Here’s one from author S.M. Carriere:

Cover art by @pinkpiggy93 on Tumblr and Instagram

Crushing It by Jen Desmarais is available now!

Physical from Canadian indie bookstoresphysical from Indigo, electronic version

The Hidden Magical World in Westmeath

Crushing It

How do you write an urban fantasy if your main protagonist has no idea that he lives in a magical world? How do you let the readers who are introduced to the Aetherverse in Crushing It know that there even is a magical world, if your protagonist is unaware that it exists?

I had to figure out the answers to these questions once I realized that this book was, well, a book.

I decided to bookend the main content with a secondary point of view; that of Carter, the love interest. He grew up in the magical community and knows almost everything there is to know about it.

In the prologue, he and Kennedy are talking about the imminent arrival of her brother, who Jason wants to keep in the dark regarding the magical community. It’s Jason’s perogative; as the soon to be brother-in-law, he wants to get a feel for Tommy’s character before introducing life-changing information.

Then the interlude shows Carter’s anxiety over keeping such a big secret from Tommy. Will he be upset once he finds out? He won’t be told until the wedding, which doesn’t happen in this book!

Finally, the epilogue is a letter from Carter to Tommy counting down the days until the wedding. His excitement over finally getting to tell the secret is obvious.

The novellette at the end of the book, also from Carter’s POV, starts to really show his strengths and skills… and mistakes.

One of the benefits of leaving the main character out of the loop regarding the magical community: in book 2, I can introduce it to both the readers and the character at once. Not only does this happen in book 2 of Lucky in Love, but the explanation is in book 2 of The Gates of Westmeath as well as a nice little recap! Win-win, in my book! (Pun intended)

I don’t want to spoil too many surprises now, in the hopes that book 2 will be published in the future, but if you want to sneak a peek at what our magical world looks like (and you want to keep it in the Young Adult category), check out Éric’s Baker City Mysteries series! Book 4 came out this year!

Cover art by @pinkpiggy93 on Tumblr and Instagram

Crushing It by Jen Desmarais is available now!

Physical from Canadian indie bookstoresphysical from Indigo, electronic version

The Mystery of the Dancing Lights by Éric Desmarais is available now!
Physical from Canadian indie bookstores, physical from Indigo, electronic version