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

Ending of a book

Hello,

Normally the last few chapters in a book that I’m writing take me a long time to write. Parasomnia took me four months to write up to the last three chapters and then another four months to finish. A Study in Aether took four weeks to write all but that last 10k words and then another year to finish.

It’s not that I think endings are hard. I just don’t like leaving the worlds of my books. I don’t like ending things. (Probably why I keep adding books to series)

Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers has been a quick ride. Three months of planning and three months of writing. It’s been exhausting and exiting and really awesome. I’m now on the last chapter and I don’t want it to end. Is this why some authors never finish their novels?

Hopefully I’ll take less time to finish this chapter than I have other novels.

Anyways, I should head back to writing.

Wish me luck!

Stay safe and stay kind,

Éric

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! AKA working with your partner.

Hello people,

I’m extremely lucky to have found a partner who I can spend lots of time with, who I can talk with until ridiculous o’clock in the morning, and who I can work with efficiently and happily.

Of course we have our problems and our disagreements, but I think we’re handling them okay. At least I hope we are.

Jen and I on our first Christmas as a couple back in 2005.
Look at those baby faces.

Ten-ish years ago I ran a D20 modern game that was effectively my spin on Stargate. Jen played a character who was both awesome and badass. At one point I introduced a mafia/pizza restaurant owning superhero. He was supposed to be a one time character but the group kept bringing him back and Jen’s character developed a relationship with him.

When the game ended, we talked about their story and then it slowly faded into my subconscious.

Fast forward to five years ago and a very sleep deprived me. I was doing NaNoWriMo and felt like I needed two alien hunting characters. I used the ones from our game as a stand in.

A year ago, I mentioned it to Jen and we started talking about it. The more we talked, the more we planned, until finally I said we should write a book about them. We discussed it for over four months as I was trying (and failing) to finish other novels.

January 1st we started. As of today we have roughly 78,000 words and 21 of 26 chapters written in Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers. Jen has been so excited that we also have 3 short stories and the basic plot of the next 2 books discussed.

(That’s approximately 1100 words a day or 2.3 chapters per week.)

I’ve never written at this pace and not gotten burned out or stuck in my writing. Splitting the writing and Jen’s abundant enthusiasm has me writing so much better. Also having someone as, or more, obsessed with the story has made it much easier.

It’s stressful, because I’m constantly feeling like I’m slowing her down, but overall it’s been a great experience. One I hope she’ll be willing to repeat in the future.

All that to say I’m extremely lucky and thankful for my wonderful partner.

Happy Birthday Jen and thank you!

Éric

Took two days off

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Taking time off while in lockdown is odd. I took two days off cause I was feeling a little frayed and poor work paid for it. Came back to 50+ emails. Poor boss that had to cover for me.

My days consist of watching Adrien while working and doing house stuff. On breaks, I’ll try to write or edit. It’s exhausting.

My two days off were pretty much a writing marathon trying to get chapter 15 of The Untitled Mystery Book Project finished. It was in my head and I needed to get it out.

Unfortunately, I also crashed physically. Full migraine, nausea, aches, and weakness. It’s like I just needed to get that chapter out and then my body said, “You’re not going to rest unless I force you.” So the weekend was painful. I hate migraines, I lost all peripheral vision on my left side for two days and every time the kids shrieked, I just saw red-ish static.

I’m feeling better today and the time off was restful, but taking time off with the kids home and lockdown going on is hard. At least I didn’t have a full social calendar.

It’s also why I forgot to prepare a post for today until just now.

All said and done, what you should take from this is that with me finishing chapter 15 and Jen finishing 16 we’re at 16/26, which is 2 chapters away from the end of the second act and that means we’re 2/3’s done. YAY.

Writing with Jen has been awesome, but that’s another post.

Be safe and be kind,

Éric

Changing tastes

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Little Dragon is going through a phase of discovering what she likes. It’s quite frustrating since it changes ALL-THE-TIME but I understand it’s because she’s trying to figure out what she likes and who she is.

“I really don’t like spicy,” she’ll say and then turn around and ask for Jalapeno cheese or extra hot sauce on her meal.

It’s as adorable as it’s frustrating. I know it’ll even out, but it’s hard to guess what she’ll eat. Sometimes when I ask her she changes her mind by the time it’s in front of her.

In the same vein, I’ve noticed that my tastes have changed in music at least. The Mystery Book Project is set in 2002 and we made a music playlist appropriate for the time.

There’s a lot of music from the time that I really enjoy and then there’s some others. At the time I enjoyed Eminem and Nine Inch Nails. They spoke to a part of me back then. Now not so much, it’s either a lot of whining and noise that sounds either entitled, pretentious, or both.

It’s interesting how tastes change over time, some over a couple of decades and some over a couple of minutes.

Ok. I have a lot of writing to do.

Be safe and be kind,

Éric

Busy busy busy

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I’m working on a new writing project and it seems to have taken over a large portion of my brain. In order to free up my brainspace I’ve been trying to write. Not easy with all my other responsibilities but I’ll make it work.

It’s really exciting and a little different then what I normally do, but so far it’s great.

Now I really need to go finish the last hundred or so words of this chapter.

Have this cute picture of Dragon building Maleficent the Snowperson.

Be safe and be kind

Éric

Just Add Magic – Recommendation Monday

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Keladry loves magic and loves baking, so when I came across a show on Amazon Prime that was about 3 young girls who find a magic cookbook, called Just Add Magic. I thought she’d love it.

I really expected a cheesy magic show for kids. It reminded me of Alex Mac or Eerie Indiana. And to start with, it was pretty much that, but by the end of the first season, I was hooked.

The seasons have story arcs that are planned and cohesive, the magic system is as fascinating as the mythology. They even plant hints at next season’s stories.

There are some seriously awkward stories but overall it’s really well done.

We’re just about to start season 3 and I can’t wait.

Check it out if you have Amazon Prime. Warning, it’ll make you want to cook.

Be Safe and Be Kind,

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

Resolution Review 2020

Hello my Imaginary Friends,

What a year this has been. I’ve been extremely lucky overall, but it’s been an emotional rollercoaster.

I made 13 resolutions last year and then this summer I checked in to see how I was doing.

Calvin and Hobbs reading a newspaper. Calvin says, “These are interesting Times”.

Writing

1. Finish Writing The Dancing Lights (Failed)

Well this failed completely. I’ve had a really hard time writing this year. I need to find a way to force myself.

2. Finish Writing Paragenesis (Failed)

I’ve decided to rename this one… again. Other than that, I haven’t touched this since early in the year.

3. Write a Monthly Serial Story (Success)

Yay I did it. and I think it’s pretty good: Read this year’s serial story

JenEric Designs and Coffee

4. Ensure there’s content 5 days a week on JenEric Designs (Success)

It’s a year of change and there will be more in the new year.

5. Design and Produce 2 new coffee flavours (Success)

We released Apple Pie and a new branding for our unflavoured medium coffee. I’ll take that as a win.

6. Print, Package, and Sell Oneshot – The Simplest RPG (Fail)

I really think this will sell better at conventions if I can keep the price down. It’s on hold until the world is more vaccinated.

Editing and Marketing

7. Finish Playtesting the higher levels of Fadds (Success)

We tested the higher levels and it was great. I have a really good group at the moment and they’re finding all the loopholes and issues. I’ll hopefully keep going in the new year.

8. Figure out how to market my books better (Fail)

This is a great goal and a great idea… I wish I had something beyond this… I’m not great at pushing my stuff.

Personal

9. Read 20 books (Failed)

I managed 11 books this year. It’s not as much as I’d like, but like writing, I’ve had a hard time finding time to read.

10. Don’t Burnout (Success)

November almost killed me after some health issues. I came very close to a total burnout.

11. Be More Patient (Partial Success)

I’ve lost my temper a lot more than I should. I hate yelling. I hate that sometimes it’s the only way either child listens to me. I think I’ll say I half succeeded.

12. Play Some Video games with Dragon (Success)

It’s been ridiculously busy but we’ve played a few times. It’s fun and I hope we can manage it more in the new year.

13. Play Some Board Games with Dragon (Success)

We’ve played a few times and the holidays will hopefully lend themselves to some more games.


Looks like 7.5 successes out of 13… That’s 58%. For 2020, I’ll take it.

Here’s to hoping 2021 is a better year, for everyone.

Éric

Autumn Approaches

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Brace yourselves; autumn approaches!

In my little part of the world, the weather has turned and for the time being the 30+ Celsius temperatures are over (I live in Ottawa which means there’s a good chance we’ll get another bout of 40 before real Autumn). Pumpkin spice is just around the corner, my squash are growing in the garden (let’s hope some of them survive the cursed squirrels), and my mind turns to Halloween.

I’m looking forward to introducing Dragon to some classic monster movies this year. Maybe the original Mummy or Frankenstein. Hard to go wrong with Karloff.

Inexorably linked to fall in North America; school is starting, or started. It’s a different kind of year with many changes and a lot left up in the air. I don’t envy students and I really don’t envy teachers. We’ve decided that Dragon should be home schooled for her first year of kindergarten. See Jen’s post about that.

Because of the How I Taught my Dragon posts, we’re moving the JenEric Movie Reviews to Saturdays. So you’ll be be getting 6 days of content until I run out of Saturdays, then I’ll have to add some movies to Sundays. (I like only having one thing per day.)

I’m still struggling with my writing, but I’ve managed to write more in the past few weeks than I had in the 6 months before, so that’s a good thing. I wish I could write as fast as I come up with ideas, but unfortunately I’ve slowed down and I’m really happy I’m not a famous author right now. I’d love to be a rich author that people recognize the name, but not famous. (S.M. Carrière has a good post about this.)

This is how most of my meetings go. If I put him down, he screams to be picked up.

I need to stress less about productivity. I constantly feel like I have to be producing for work, writing, FADDS, this blog, and fixing/optimizing things around the house. I need to do what I can, relax and enjoy the time with family.

That’s about it for me.

Be Kind and Be Safe!

Éric