Making that left turn at New Albion

This story takes place twelve years after the events in Parasomnia, seven years after Everdome, and six years after the event in Night of the Sisters and Stuck in a Cabin for the Holidays.

Both Parasomnia and Everdome are now available at your local book store and our store.


“MERLIN!” screamed all three little girls at once. They were small and graceful and loud. They were obviously sisters, despite their difference in colouring; one being metallic gold, another being black as ebony, and the last being the pale copper of the woman who was watching me with a raised eyebrow.

When I nodded at the woman, the three girls threw themselves at me. We hugged and I desperately tried to remember anything that would give me a hint of what was going on.

At the age of fifteen, I discovered I was destined to be the all-powerful and all-knowing Guardian of Reality known as Merlin. Or Emrys or the prophet Merlinus Ambrosius or Myrdin of Earth and Aether. No pressure right? The frustrating thing was that I’d met my older self and had even looked up to him, which had made the whole thing weird.

“What are we learning today?” asked the golden little girl.

“Well…” I trailed off.

She finished for me, “Ugh, not a review day.”

The woman, who was in her mid- to late-thirties, spoke with a slight accent I didn’t recognize and said, “Jamie, what’s a review day?”

The little girl with ebony skin replied, “It’s a day where he pretends he’s forgotten what he taught us and we have to teach it to him.”

Here’s the thing about being Merlin, it doesn’t happen in order. I haven’t been at it long, it’s hard being a Guardian and having a life. They obviously knew me well, but I had never met them. 

The one thing I’d told myself last time I saw me, yeah, my life is interesting, was that I had to try and fake it as much as possible or we’d lose our mysterious wizard vibes.

“That’s right,” I said. “What was the last thing I taught you?”

The three girls pouted and their mother smirked, “Jamie, Adelaide, and Ajay, please humour him. He’s told me multiple times that teaching someone something is a great way to remember.”

That sounded more like something my father would say, but it was right.

The third little girl said, “You taught us about the importance of the Day of the Sisters and how it wasn’t just our birthday or a reason to party, it was a way for the world to celebrate the light overcoming the dark.”

I had come to this festively decorated castle looking for my sister. She’d taught me a spell that would let me jump between realms, realities connected through magic. I’d expected to arrive where she was, but magic doesn’t care about what I expect.

I’d been studying the realms with my thesis supervisor Mr. Batudev, who was an actual knight of Everdome. This wasn’t Everdome. Though the sky was clear of floating islands, there was a heavy snowfall and lots of clouds.

“Anything else?” I asked.

“You told us that we needed to know the realms and be able to name them,” Jamie said, looking proud of herself.

The woman smiled at me and looked away from the girls as she laughed.

“Right. So go ahead,” I said.

The three girls screamed the answer in perfect, unsettling, unison. “The new realms are Earth, the Fay, Everdome, Make-Believe, and here.”

“It’s important to say the name,” the woman said, winking at me.

“New Albion,” the girls replied. It was a strange realm; the youngest technically, only being a full realm for ten years, but it had its own history that dated back several thousand. It had been created by a group of people with more magical know-how than ethics and was now ruled by a High Queen that was said to be a great ruler and a massive nerd.

I was about to thank Queen Ashley of Cambria, High Queen of New Albion, when the girls continued, “The ancient realms are Asgal, Seidrheim, Mulciber, and the Great Forest.” I’d only heard of one of those outside Norse mythology.

“Alright, girls. I think Merlin has had enough for one day. Why don’t you eat some of that candy from your birthday?”

That reminded me. “Speaking of which, I have something for you girls. It’s not much, but happy birthday.” I reached into the pocket dimension that was built into my jeans and pulled out three chocolate bars. My fiancée loved salted caramel and I always had some on hand for her.

The girls took their chocolates and ran off. After a deep breath, Ashley said, “So you just always have those on you?”

“Yes,” I said, not wanting to say too much.

“Did you know that’s their favourite?”

“I do now,” I replied, which got me a chuckle.

She patted my shoulder and said, “I’m always amazed at how they don’t notice your change of age. Especially now, you’re what? Eighteen?”

“Twenty-two, actually,” I said sheepishly.

Nodding, she said, “You’re not supposed to be here yet. You don’t go off travelling until your nineties.”

I desperately wanted to ask why, but decided it was best not to know my own future. When you know you’re going to live a few thousand years, it’s best not to dwell on what will happen because it’ll inevitably be sad.

“I was looking for—” A portal opened with a loud TARDIS sound next to us and my sister walked through.

“There you are,” she said, almost scolding. “I left you a message to find me.”

Feeling like an idiot, I replied, “I tried.”

“I forget how young you are,” my sister replied. She was my sister, no doubt about it, but she wasn’t the sister from my time. My little sister was just over ten right now and this version of her looked eighteen. I’d never seen a version of her that looked older and that worried me.

“Right, I’m young and naive and you’re the ancient one.” I paused and looked at her eyes. They were tired and I realized she was ancient. “How long do you have?”

Ashley looked awkward and said, “Um. Sorry. Nice to meet you. You must be Morgana.”

“I am and it’s nice to see you again,” my sister said and shook the queen’s hand. Turning back to me, she said, “I need to show you the birth of time in our universes.”

“Why?” both Ashley and I asked.

“Like you guessed, I’m dying and you need to teach my successor.” She was the Guardian of Time.

I didn’t like the idea of my sister dying, but I asked, “Who’s your successor?”

“Me,” she replied and opened a portal.

The TARDIS noise reminded me I had a SD card in my pocket. Giving it to Ashley, I said, “This has seasons ten to thirteen of Doctor Who on it.” 

Ashley squeed and hugged me, saying thank you.

As I left, I added, “Blessed Yule and may your hearts always be warmed by the fires of love and hope.”

As I walked through the gate with Morgana, I wondered what was ahead of me and if I was up to the challenge of teaching her younger self.

“It’s okay, big brother. You’ll do fine.” I hoped she was right; even though she’d lived it, time could always change. 

Vaguely from all around me, I heard the girls’ voices say, “Myrdin, as you walk the paths of time, don’t forget to bring us to life.”

I guess it really was the Day of the Sisters for me. May the Goddess light my way.


Read More holiday stories featuring Merlin:

Holy Moley! We did it again!

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I was going to say Oops! We did it again!, but there was no oops; we planned and plotted and then wrote.

Jen and I have finished the second book in the Gates of Westmeath series, Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests.

I’ve considered writing with someone else in the past, and it’s always felt like more work than it’s worth. I like control of my worldbuilding and I like when my story and characters suddenly go left. I didn’t think I could do that with another writer.

Jen has listened and helped me with my books for over a decade. She knows more about some aspects than I do. (I have a terrible memory.)

It’s been a joy writing with her. Being able to bounce ideas of each other and build on our mutual excitement makes writing more fun. It’s helped eliminate the slump I usually get at the third mark of a book.

It’s not all perfect; we fought a few times over silly things (mostly because of my insecurity and feeling like I didn’t contribute enough words), but overall it was amazing and I can’t wait to do it again. (Okay, I can wait. I’m tired and I need a break.)

The next book we’re writing together is going to be a spin-off of the Elizabeth and the Gates of Westmeath series. I’ve been playing with this idea for over 12 years. It was based on a dream Jen had, so I think it’s fitting that she’s going to co-write. I’m so excited.

We’re planning on writing the next book in the Gates of Westmeath in Fall 2022, around the same time that book one will be published.

I couldn’t dream of a better partner in life, parenting, or writing.

I love you Jen,

Éric

P.S. Jen also wrote about it on her tumblr:


From Jen’s Tumblr

Sixteen years ago, my husband and I decided to officially date. Best decision ever! Married for 12.5 years, two amazing children, six published books, one published game, a fantastic business, and more! Love you so much, husband of mine.

This year, we took a giant step into the next phase of our relationship; in the middle of a pandemic, while homeschooling one child and the other having free reign, we decided to try to write a book together. It ended up working really well. Not only did we finish the first one in 3.5 months, but we got it betaed and submitted to our publisher before June. It was accepted before the end of summer and will be coming out next Fall (2022). Talk about a whirlwind!

But that wasn’t all! We so enjoyed our world that we wrote a collection of short stories in the spring, and then we wrote book 2 this fall. It took us 2 months and a week this time.

This summer, we also decided to both start learning an instrument. I chose guitar and my husband chose ukulele. We also bought a cheap ukulele for the kids to try out and for me to play when the metal strings on my guitar hurt me too much to practice.

All of this, and we’re still very happily married and excited to work together again. Not only do we have two sequels plotted (bare bones), but we have a spin-off that we’re going to start writing in the new year.

I feel so privileged to be able to be creative like this with my husband. He challenges me to try harder and be better every day.

I played my songs today. I tried using a pick for strumming. Not sure I like it. Feels weird.

Lots of stuff

Hello my Imaginary friends,

I love Autumn! Halloween, cooler weather, PUMPKINS, and everything else that goes with this season. (Although this year I’m seriously missing the conventions and the parties.)

It’s a good thing I love this season because mentally and physically, it sucks. I’ve always thought it was stress that made this time of year hard, but I’m starting to realize it’s allergies and season changes.

Spring and Fall are the hardest on me. My hands ache, I feel anxious and weak. Then there’s my allergy symptoms which include fatigue, coughing, stuffy nose, nasal pressure, and trouble sleeping.

I’m seriously looking forward to snow. The snow covers the ground and freezes the allergens and reflects more light. Overall, when nights freeze and snow comes, I start feeling better. Until the melt anyway.

Book 2 of the Gates of Westmeath is cruising by. We’ve been writing since early October and have already finished the first third. I’m hoping we’ll be done the book by Christmas.

I’m impressed by how easy it has been to write this book. Hopefully that holds out for the next two thirds.

It’s hard sometimes, realizing the authors and creators who make things you love are human. Sometimes not very nice humans. I wrote about my disillusionment before.

So it was nice to get a reminder that there are good people in the world when I saw this facebook post:

Thank you Tamora Pierce for being an awesome person. If you haven’t read anything by her, I highly recommend all her books. We named our daughter after one of her characters.

Completely unrelated I have the most adorable cape:

Thank you for reading.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Writing is Hard, Publishing is Harder

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I’m not asking for help or for advice, I just need to vent.

I’ve been writing my whole life. First novel was started when I was ten. I started writing seriously (meaning I actually finished my novels and stories) a dozen years ago. My first book was published in 2016 after 6 years of rewrites and re-submits.

My sixth book has just come out and I’m feeling a little frustrated. I feel like every book I publish is getting less readers, less reviews, and less interest. I have a lot of little easter eggs and details that cross between books and I’d love to hear someone geek out about them. (Other than my wife, mother-in-law, and daughter.)

I know part of it is caused from not seeing anyone, other than family, since March 2020. I miss talking to other authors, readers, and fans at conventions and in person.

My last two books have been launched digitally and it doesn’t give me any time to chat with one person at a time.

So I guess I’m both sad that my books aren’t reaching more people and that I can’t talk with people.

There’s hope for both cases; my publisher has recently gotten a distribution and promotion deal for all their books. And Health Canada is currently reviewing Pfizer’s vaccine for 5-11 year olds and they say that 4 and under isn’t far away.

I have high hopes for Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers (the book Jen and I co-wrote) next year. It’s set to be released in Fall and hopefully we can have an in-person release party. I’ll also hopefully be able to attend Can-Con that year.

Part of the distribution of new releases for my publisher means that some of the the books get placed in bookstores. The most recent wave, several amazing authors have had their books in stores. (Mine isn’t because it’s part of a series and they don’t put book 3.5 when they don’t have 1-3.)

I look forward to seeing Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers in bookstores. I hope it gets all the attention it deserves. It’s a fantastic book.

Thanks for reading.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric


Here We Go Again

Hello Readers,

In case you missed it, Jen and I wrote a book together called Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers. It took us two and a half months and was a wild ride. Renaissance Press loved it and will be publishing it in Fall 2022. It’s the first in a trilogy or quadrilogy, called The Gates of Westmeath.

I took some time to finish Elizabeth 4 and now Jen and I have started writing book 2 of the Gates of Westmeath.

We finished the first two chapters this week and I’ll be starting on chapter 3 today.

We’re super excited and can’t wait to share the first book with you. So excited we made shirts for the whole family.

It’s had the adorable (and awkward if in public) side effect of having the kids screaming “Assassins family!”

Well as they say, I should be writing.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Books, Beards, and way too much face

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

At Renaissance CON (June 2020), S.M. Carrière noticed my beard that I started growing out in January 2020. She mentioned it was an impressive COVID beard and I said, “It’s a novel beard. I’ll shave when I finish this darned book.”

Fast forward to last week and I finally finished the darned book.

Here are pictures of a wild bearded author who just finished his book (and received another):

And now here are the pictures of a newly sheared author who has much too much face for his own liking:

You can get any of my books at your local bookstore, or if you’d like, you can buy them on our website under the header of books.

Thank you!!!

Be kind and stay safe,

Éric

It’s all done except the crying.. uhm editing

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

The Mystery of the Dancing Lights is done. Now comes my least favourite part of writing, editing. Yuck.

Thankfully my awesome Weditor has been through the book and I’ll hopefully be able to apply her edits by the end of the week.

That means if all goes well by end of the week, I’ll be able to submit my book to my publisher.

I made a promise at last years Renaissance Con to shave my beard when I finished this book. It’s gotten a little unwieldy, so I’m looking forward to that. Expect some before and after pictures soon.

That’s about it.

Off to the editing mines for me.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Almost Done

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

When I returned to work after Dragon was born, I tried to finish a novel and gave myself until December 2017 to finish it. I failed and put that novel away for future writing.

In January 2018, I started writing The Mystery of the Dancing Lights, my fourth Elizabeth novel. I worked hard on it and it changed from a simple summer camp story to a time loop novel. I’ve re-written my outline for this book a dozen times.

I decided I needed to dig deep and finish it after Jen and I finished Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers. Somehow I managed to get this far.

I’m now writing the last chapter and hope to be done the writing of the novel by the end of the weekend or next week.

I’m hoping to submit it to my publisher by the end of the month and get it in for 2023 with my publisher.

Okay well, I suppose I should get back to it.

Thank you for all your support!

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

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

11 Years?

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Yesterday was the 11 year anniversary of me finishing my first ever novel. Viridian Skies was poorly plotted, filled with contradictions, and the only thing more cringy than the sex scene are the fight scenes. Its very much written like a D&D game and not like a proper novel.

I’d like to revisit the core concept of the story someday, but for now it’s locked in my writing folder.

I have to give the novel credit though, it taught me a lot about how to write and helped me start to develop my style. It also taught me to avoid three-chapter fight scenes.

Most importantly it taught me that I was able to to finish a novel and that gave me the push I needed to do NaNoWriMo and write a novel called The Mitten Wizard (Available now from your favourite bookstore as A Study in Aether.)

Since 2010, I’ve finished another 6 novels on my own and co-wrote two.

One Wednesday, I reached a milestone of 2/3rd done in my current writing project. I started it in 2018 and I’m so close I can taste it. I’m hoping to have it done by mid-September to submit to my publisher for a spot in their 2023 catalogue.

So if all goes well, I should have another 2 novels completed by the end of the year. (Jen and I are writing the sequel to Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers in October and the last one took us 2 & 1/2 months.)

The world might be shit right now and I’m feeling like crap (I hate ragweed season), but I’m proud of the writing I’ve done this year.

I hope your creative endeavours go as well or better than mine have.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric