Éric’s 2024 New Year’s Resolutions

Hello 2024,

I want you to know that I’m watching you closely and I think you need to be the “rebel” year where everything goes well for everyone. I think we all need one year to rest and have nice things happen.

I took 2023 off from making Resolutions because of my arm injury. I’ve improved significantly, and then in December 2023, I almost died from RSV.

The combination made me realize that I need to strive to improve and give myself goals. These resolutions aren’t cheap promises; they are things I want to do.

1. Write a serial story.

This is year 11 of me writing 1000 words a month for a serial story. I’m very proud of them and think they’ve helped me think on my feet.

I’m not sure what this year’s will be but I’m going to write 1000 words per month, and if I miss a month I have to write an extra chapter.

2. Finish Speaker of the Rebel Sun

I’ve been working on stories involving Hal the Sun Speaker and others in his universe for almost 11 years. I have 63000 words in a compilation book and I just need the big ending. I had planned on it being the serial story, but I’m not sure if 12000 words will be enough to tie everything together and end the series.

Either way, I’d like to have this done and ready for submission by the end of the year.

3. Finish Fanatics! Inevitable Honeymoon Crashers

Jen and I have been working on this one since early November and we’re a good 6 chapters in. Between health and life, it’s going slower than we’d like but it’s still moving. I’d love to see this done by July but I’ll be happy by end of year.

4. Clean up FADDS and continue the re-skin towards making the Aetherverse the default setting.

I’d like to get FADDS published sometime in the next decade. The rules are almost there and it just needs some cleaning up and re-skinning to set it in the Aetherverse. It’s the perfect combination since it has elements of fantasy, urban, sci-fi, and horror.

5. Play more Ukulele and Bass

I haven’t played in over a month because I’ve been too sick and dizzy but I’d like to get back into it. It’s a great way of relaxing.

6. Work weekly on my magical café

My wife and kids gave me a build your own thing (Christmas 2022) and it’s wonderful but takes a lot of tiny details. I asked for it and I think I was overly ambitious. I got frustrated and didn’t keep going but I’d like to finish it.

7. Read at least 10 books

I’m slowly working on letting myself read for pleasure. It’s been hard since COVID, and I’ve felt like it’s a selfish thing. I need to get over that and read for fun.

8. Be kind to myself

I’ve been really hard on myself the past few years, concentrating on what I couldn’t do instead of what I did. I’ve felt a little like a failure despite quantitative proof to the opposite. I need to be nicer to myself.

9. Find time for more

I need to find a few minutes everyday where I relax and take time for myself. I’ve been doing that more in the past month since if I didn’t, I’d collapse and it’s helping emotionally as well as physically.

10. Restart posting JenEric Movie Reviews

December 2nd was the last movie I managed to review. Unfortunately, with getting sick it’s taken a back seat. Both watching and reviewing. I’d like to restart hopefully by February and stick to a weekly schedule, but we’ll see.


I think this is a good set of goals, ambitious without being unreasonable.

What are your goals this year?

Éric

Dear Dragon – Welcome to Level 7

Dear Dragon,

What a big year. It started out a little rocky when the digital school switched their teachers around and you went from Mme Natalie’s class to Mme Francine’s class. It was a 1-2 split and you were inconsolable for almost a month. In the end, Mme Francine won you over and proved to be an excellent teacher.

This year you learned and did a lot:

  • Lots of math and arts (Art was your favourite subject)
  • French (You’ve improved so much it’s amazing)
  • Reading (You’ve gone from struggling to read a small book to devouring novels) Seeing you go to the library and how excited you got was the highlight of my summer.
  • You had your first crush and it’s freaking cute
  • You learned to swim in Grannie and Granddad’s pool
  • and so much more

This weekend you had your first birthday party with friends. It was super stressful for Mum and I, but you seemed to enjoy yourself, mostly. You had a small meltdown when you struggled to keep up with the 4th and 5th graders that were at the party. You loved your presents, although you said, “My friends over-estimated how much I like unicorns.”

You had definite Ideas of what you wanted at your party.

I’m extremely proud of how welcoming and inclusive you were. You made sure everyone was having fun and felt included, which isn’t easy with a group of shy kids. You’re showing signs of a good leader.

Another big step was going to in-person school. I think that was much harder on me then it was on you. Not seeing what you’re doing makes me feel like I’m missing out and simultaneously like an overbearing parent. Sigh. You seem to be loving it and have made friends. One of which you actually remembered their name. Lol. I wonder how long we’ll refer to the one as, “the girl with the same shoes”, another as “the cute girl”, or the “cousin of the girl with the same shoes”. You seem happy and that’s what matters. I hope you’ll be able to learn and experience as much as you did the previous year.

You are clever, sassy, strong willed, and fast to help others. I worry about your penchant for being distracted, anxious, and having meltdowns when you don’t understand something.

You are still highly competitive and precocious, two things that can be great assets as you grow up. They can also be negatives if you’re not careful. As long as I’m around, I’ll support you and help guide you as best I can.

Happy Birthday and I hope you have a great year.

I love you so much my Dragon girl,

Your Papa

Stress relief with an arm injury

Hello Readers,

My biggest stress relievers before my injury were playing video games, making pretty noises on the ukulele, reading, writing, and baking.

All of those use your arms.

I was able to make some adjustments and still bake. I have an excellent helper and a wonderful new mixer. I can even write in small bursts or with text to speech.

I can read on my kobo if I prop it on some pillows. However, reading outside the house is near impossible without hurting my neck. I definitely can’t read when I’m getting physio. My wonderful wife recomended I listen to an audiobook.

We owned the Percy Jackson series so I listened to those and they were great. I then discovered the AMAZING selection of audiobooks available at the Ottawa Public Library. I’m really impressed with their selection.

Audiobooks have been a massive help in relaxing while at work. I’m currently supposed to work 20 minutes and then rest for 30. I do my stretches and listen to my audiobooks. It’s relaxing and means I’m not holding my phone or figiting too much.

So yes, Yay for audiobooks! And double yay for the OPL!

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Renaissance is looking for readers!

Hello Book Readers,

My publisher is looking for people to read submissions. I would love to do it, but I’m not eligible since I keep submitting books to them.

Read below, and if you’re interested in helping choose what awesome books get published, go ahead and apply.

Thank you,

Éric


There are so many amazing stories out there, and every time we open ourselves to submissions, we become inundated with them, and it’s become evident that we need help! Please read below to see if this is something that might interest you, and please share this call with your network!

What will I be reading?

Renaissance is interested in stories that live in liminal spaces; between genres, between identities, between states. We love to publish stories of joy, triumph, hope, and optimism; but the optimism which takes work and commitment, the joys which come from radical hope and love. These are the stories we hope to receive, and we hope those will be the ones you will read.

What is the time commitment?

You get to choose your level of commitment, whether that is a manuscript once every few years, or one a month, you are only obligated to read and evaluate the manuscripts you’ve committed to, at the frequency of your choice.

How will I rate the books?

We have a comprehensive form for you to fill out which will guide you through the process of commenting by asking you questions about the plot, characters, style, and our specific editorial concerns. We strongly encourage you to read the questions before you read the manuscript so that you are familiar with what you are looking for, and we will send you those questions on a word document along with the manuscript, and most of the questions are answered on a scale of one to ten, with requests for you to comment on why you chose that number (the final submission for your comments is done via Google Forms.)

Who makes the final decision?

We take your comments under serious advisement! However, you do not bear the burden of the final decision. We make sure that a minimum of three readers read each submission; after that, we look at the results of your evaluation, and based on these cumulative results, we determine whether or not the final acquisitions committee will read the manuscript. When the committee does, they will come to a final decision on the manuscript; your role in the selection process is to filter what ends up on their plate.

What’s in it for me?

References

Even though this reading work is done on a volunteer basis, this still counts as work experience, which allows us to act as professional references for you in future employment endeavours!

Industry contacts

Renaissance is a member of the Association of English Language Publishers of Quebec, the Association of Canadian Pubilshers, and the Literary Press Group of Canada. One of our co-founders, Nathan, also sits on the board of directors of LitDistCo. We get all their newsletters, and we keep very informed of what is going on at other independent presses, which means we can easily pass on job opportunities and other industry news to you, as well as invite you to meetings you might be interested to sit in on, which often provide trainings and/or insights in the current Canadian publishing landscape.

Fun books to read

We have received SO MANY amazing stories every time we have opened for submissions in the past, it was sometimes physically painful to say no to some of them. One of (in our opinion) the best perks of reading our incoming manuscripts.

Please apply now if you are interested, and share widely with your network!

Conditions and conflicts of interests

Confidentiality

Authors who submit to us trust us with their precious book babies, and we owe it to them to exercise the utmost discretion with it. Be respectful of their creative labour and do not disclose anything you read about the manuscript outside of filling the forms and speaking to Renaissance staff, whether positive or negative; authors deserve to know their ideas, characters, and worlds are safe with us.

3 years after having published a book with us

If you have published a book with Renaissance before, please know you cannot be a reader for us until three years have passed since original publication.

2 years before publishing a book with us

If you choose to be a reader for Renaissance, please know that you cannot also submit a manuscript for our consideration. You must wait at least two years after your resignation from reading for us before you may submit a manuscript.

Other conflicts of interest

You may not be a reader for Renaissance the same calendar year as a member of your immediate family, such as a spouse, parent, or child, submits a work for publication.

You may not be a reader for a work of which you are friends, ex-friends, ex-partners, or family with the author (this includes cousins, niblings, in-laws, grandparents, etc.), or any other person you have an existing relationship with (neighbour, co-worker, dogsitter, cat’s ex-lover’s sister-in-law, etc.) This rule is true whether the feelings you have towards this person are positive, negative, or neutral.

You may not evaluate a work you are also evaluating for another publishing company.

Please make use of judgement when evaluating whether a conflict of interest exists. You are required to disclose any conflict of interest immediately as they arise.

Apply to be a reader!

Cuteness

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

This week has been tough but I managed to accomplish a lot and still took some time to rest. Heck, I even finished the book I’ve been reading.

Anyway, it’s late, so have some cute Dragon and Pegasus cuddling.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

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

Mid-Year review of Éric’s 2021 New Year’s Resolutions

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

It’s a good thing that my wife reminded me I made these cause I had completely forgotten. The past sixish months have been a roller coaster of emotion and a study in lack of sleep.

Here are my resolutions for this year.

Let’s get right into this and see how I did.

Writing

1. Write a Monthly Serial Story (Succeeding)

I’m pretty proud of this year’s story and impressed with how easy it is to write. Check out Diamond Stars and the Galactic Heist now.

2. Start and write half of SUPER MYSTERY BOOK PROJECT Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers. (Success)

Oh my. This went so much better than I could have hoped. We managed 100k words and Jen went a step further and wrote most of a short story collection to go with it. We submitted the book to Renaissance Press in May and are planning on writing the sequel in the Fall.

3. Write Another Hal Story (Failing)

I haven’t written another Sun Speaker universe story, unfortunately. However, I have written over 20,000 words in short stories for the short story collection that follows Assassins. That counts for something right?

JenEric Designs and Coffee

4. Ensure 5+ days of updates (Succeeding)

So far so good. What I’m most struggling with is the movie reviews. Not writing, but watching. We’re watching too much television and not enough movies.

Editing and Marketing

5. Start Editing Dinosaur Road Trip (Fail)

I’m going to call this now. I don’t have the motivation to do this. As much as I love the story, there are other stories to work on.

6. Keep Working on FADDS (Succeeding)

I’ve reworked tables into accessible columns and added a whole new power section to the rules. My playtesters are fantastic and things are going well.

Personal

7. Read 15 Books (Failing)

I was reading at night before bed, but since writing Assassins at that time worked so well, I’ve been doing it for Elizabeth 4 and short stories. That means I’ve barely finished 2 books this year. I doubt I’m making this.

8. Play more games with the kids (Succeeding)

We haven’t done enough board games, but that’s mostly because the 2 year old can’t follow. We bought a Nintendo Switch and both kids play Mario Kart and I’ve been playing Yoshi Craft World with Dragon. I’ve also been playing Link’s Awakening, which both kids love to watch.

9. Be More Patient (Unsure)

I still yell a little too much and I’m a little too stressed. I need to chill. I’m doing a little better but I still need to work on it.

10. Keep pressing my doctor to find out what those attacks were in November (Fail)

In November I had some serious health issues. I had massive cramping in my lower left abdomen, fever, weakness, nausea, and fatigue. It happened twice in November and both times faded away.

So I haven’t pressed on this. I probably won’t. It hasn’t happened again and when I started to feel something similar I made sure to de-stress and relax a little and it helped. I don’t know what happened, but at this point I’ll see if it happens again.


Results

Well it’s not great but it’s not bad either. I’ll call that roughly 50%. I’m not going to add anything to this since I already have my hands full trying to improve this score.

  • 1 Success
  • 4 Succeeding
  • 2 Fail
  • 2 Failing
  • 1 Unsure

What do you think? How are your resolutions going?

Éric

Coffee Shop Between the ‘Verses

Hello My Imaginary Friends and Book lovers,

My new book will be released September 15th! Yay!

Get it here:

Jackie sometimes likes to have conversations with the characters, and as he reads five novellas in the small Ontario town of Baker…

In The Ridiculous Adventures of Felix Felicitous, the grumpy Felix is thrown into an adventure through time, despite his protestations.

In Only Human, Rachel has accidentally signed up for the University of Monsters.

In Wargrave Island, Inspector Riko Dulac has to find out who’s killing all her former high school classmates before there’s no one left.

In Database of the Ageless Kings, Sophia rebuilds an alien ship, only to find the galactic prince still inside.

In Devices of Desire, follow Artemis, Diana, and Ezekiel as they navigate secret identities, demons, and love in the kingdom of Cillian.

Are the characters Jackie is talking with real? Is he just talking to himself? Or is something else going on?

Here’s the awesome book trailer:

Recently I read the first chapter for the Cover Reveal Party:

I’m very proud of this book and can’t wait for you to read it.

Thank you!

Éric

Éric’s 2021 New Year’s Resolutions

Welcome 2021! (I’m watching you…)

Today marks the first day of a whole new year. A made up, arbitrary, unimportant date that nonetheless feels like a renewal and rebirth. The human mind and spirit is a fascinating and messed up thing.

Last year was all over the place. I was on paternity leave, we went to Disney World, and then PANDEMIC. I’m ridiculously privileged that I got to work from home and we didn’t lose much income (Jen’s travel booking did suffer). I got to spend so much more time with my son than I would have and that’s a blessing.

It was a terrible year for my New Year’s Resolutions, however. This year I’m going to take it easier… I think.

https://theawkwardyeti.com/

Writing

1. Write a Monthly Serial Story

This will be the 8th year for the serial story. Voting Ended yesterday and I’ll have the first installment by the end of the month. I’ll be writing 1 installment every month of 800-1000 words.

2. Start and write half of SUPER MYSTERY BOOK PROJECT

This year will see the start, and hopefully the finish, of a new book. I’m really excited about this one. The goal is to get to at least 40,000 words this year.

3. Write Another Hal Story

There are 5 stories in the Sun Speaker universe and I’ve been wanting to add another. Hopefully I can write something around 3000-6000 words.

JenEric Designs and Coffee

4. Ensure 5+ days of updates

Our schedule and lineup will be changing, but that’s another post. I’m going to hopefully keep up the streak of having at least 5 posts per week.

Editing and Marketing

5. Start Editing Dinosaur Road Trip

I wrote this novel in 2017 and my weditor edited it. I need to go through it and make the recommended changes and edits. Maybe even pass it to the next beta reader… It’s just such a personal book that it’s hard to revisit.

6. Keep Working on FADDS

The system isn’t perfect, but it’s getting better every playtest. I want to keep playtesting and adding on to the powers. Maybe rethink the advanced classes and powers.

Personal

7. Read 15 Books

Like writing, I need to carve out time to read. It’s important to both my mental energy and health.

8. Play more games with the kids

I need to play more board games and video games now that the kids are getting older. It’ll be a fun activity.

9. Be More Patient

This is a hard one. I yell a little too much and it’s not good for me or the kids. I need more patience with them, work, and life in general.

10. Keep pressing my doctor to find out what those attacks were in November

In November I had some serious health issues. I had massive cramping in my lower left abdomen, fever, weakness, nausea, and fatigue. It happened twice in November and both times faded away.

It also happened last year and I went to the emergency room, but they couldn’t find anything wrong.

In mid-December, I called and asked the receptionist to get a referral to a specialist. I think this is related to my IBS and other issues, but I’m not a doctor.

I’ll keep pushing.


Those are my resolutions for 2021. Ambitious, but less so than in the past.

May your 2021 be gentle and you be strong!

Éric

Fanfiction What? – Guest post by Lindsay

I made a goal for myself this summer…to read some books. I even went to a library and took out nine books of a variety of genres and authors in the hopes to kick start this goal. It’s August 1st as I write this and I haven’t touched a single one of them. Yet, I have read over 1 749 260 words since July 1st. A MILLION AND A HALF WORDS! Which, based on an average 80k word book, is roughly 22 books. But I haven’t opened a physical book…or actually, I haven’t opened any published books. Allow me to introduce to you a written world often unknown, often disgraced…the world of fanfiction.

For those of you not in the know, Mirriam-Webster defines fanfiction as “stories involving popular fictional characters that are written by fans and often posted on the Internet — called also fanfic”. So basically, a story created by someone who isn’t the original author. Sound familiar? Your thoughts might automatically jump to Fifty Shades of Grey, one of the most infamous examples of current media that started off as a Twilight Fanfiction. But many popular stories can be fit into this definition. Lion King? Simply a lion AU (alternate universe) version of Hamlet. While on the topic of Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet? One of the most famous love stories of all time? Basically a fix-it fic of Arthur Brooke’s The Tragical Historye of Romeus and Juliet which could be viewed as an AU of the legend of Tristan and Iseult and it just keeps going.

My first experience with fanfiction was asking my sister what she was reading on the computer when I was in grade 6 (after the fourth book came out). “A book about Harry Potter written by a fan,” she answered after several minutes of my persistent asking. WHAT? My brain was so confused – why would someone a) write a Harry Potter book that wasn’t J.K. Rowling and b) why would someone read a book written by someone who wasn’t J.K. Rowling? Fast forward four years to me in high school, lamenting to my friend that I really wanted Ron and Hermione to develop a romantic relationship in the series. “Why don’t you just read some fanfics? I know a couple you would love!” WHAT? Fanfiction? NOoooooooooo. But I gave it a go…and haven’t looked back since.

So why is the main social perspective of fanfiction viewed so poorly? What uses are there for this form of storytelling? The answer to the first question is one I cannot answer, but probably stems from the fact it is mostly written and read by marginalized people looking for representation. That is a whole other aspect that could be examined in another article (there are some awesome posts and threads about this on Tumblr and Twitter that are far more eloquent than anything I could write). The answer to the second question is far easier to express.

Writing fanfiction is a great tool for writers.

  • Want to work on characterization without having to world build? Write about original characters in a certain fandom world
  • Want to explore creating a functioning society but don’t want to character design? Write an AU for characters you know well
  • Struggling with dialogue? Struggling with descriptive passages? Practice with characters and worlds you already know well
  • Spelling and grammar a problem? Practice with fanfiction!

Reading fanfiction is fun and easy for readers.

  • TAGS – the best thing about fanfiction is how easy it is to search for the kind of story you want. Want angst with a happy ending? Hurt/comfort. Want sweet wholesome anxiety-free stories? Fluff. Want raw emotions expressed physically through vigorous lovemaking? Smut…well…just adjust the rating to R or E and you can pair that with any other tag to really hone down the type of story you want!
  • Short or long – based on the amount of time or energy you want to invest in a reading session, you can find short stories to novellas to novels to epic long series
  • Tropes galore – like reading a certain trope? People love writing them too so you can spend as long as you want exploring the same flavour of story again and again
  • Unsatisfied with the media you consumed or you simply want more of that world – Fanfiction will fix it or provide you with enough content to satisfy your needs

So yes, I’m obsessed with reading fanfiction and have even dabbled in writing it. There’s a fanfiction from your fandom, about your favourite characters waiting for you for whatever kind of story you are interested in reading. Go forth with an open mind and you can discover some literary gems. Explore fandoms you haven’t even seen the original media of (I’m so into Teen Wolf fanfic right now without ever having seen a single episode), read a genre you don’t normal expose yourself to, and have fun!

Resources

(some of these I hesitate to recommend but I’m trying to be impartial):


Lindsay is an all around geek who mostly spends time consuming fan-created content rather than the original piece of media.

She can be found pottering around TumblrTwitterInstagram, or her portfolio site.