Changing Blogs

July 28, 2014

Hello my Imaginary Friends,

The time has come to upgrade my blog.

My wife and I have finally conglomerated our multiple sites.

Please visit me at: www.EricDesmarais.ca for my new blog.

While you’re at it check out the Travelling TARDIS at: www.TravellingTardis.com and my wife and I’s shared site at: www.JenEric-Designs.ca.

I’ve had a great run here, I hope you’ll follow this blog to it’s new home

Thank you,

Éric


Artificial Gravity

July 25, 2014

The movie Lucy has me thinking about science and science-fiction. If you haven’t heard about the movie here’s the trailer.

The premise is flawed. Ridiculously flawed. It got me thinking about other concepts that are flawed or that seem out of place.

Artificial Gravity

This is a normal trope for Science-Fiction space shows but it’s rarely based in science.

Some, like Babylon 5 or 2001 a Space Odyssey, use centrifugal force. (That’s when you spin something to simulate gravity.) However most will hand-wave the technology away and just say they have some sort of way of creating a Gravity Field.

Star Trek has gravity plating in its ships. It creates a gravity field that can be adjusted.

The obvious reason for this trope to exist is simplicity. TV and Movies don’t want to spend millions of dollars creating realistic anti-gravity and audiences want to see their hero’s walking and talking like normal. In stories, it simplifies the storytelling. You don’t have to look into how people and objects would move and it’s less alien to a reader.

But take the concept one step further. If we could control gravitational forces with such ease, why hasn’t anyone applied the tech to something else like weapons, flight tech, or space travel?

A gun or grenade that could control the gravity around an individual would be devastating. Increase the gravity by ten times from 1g to 10g in a second, you’d seriously hurt someone and probably kill them.

The problem with most science-fiction worlds is that Artificial gravity is incongruent with their level of technology. With the artificial gravity of Star Trek, they could easily have created artificial and collapsible black holes. Think how devastating that would have been as a weapon.

In less violent fashions, if they can get the plating to apply in reverse to their ship, they wouldn’t need more than a tiny push to get off planet. They’d be able to nullify the effect of gravity on their ship and float off into space.

 

There are various other pieces of Science-Fiction that are unbelievable or incongruous. What’s your favourite?


Thinking on Covers, Names, and Self-Publishing

July 23, 2014

Hello my imaginary friends,

I’ve been thinking again about self-publishing. Less about the idea of doing it and more about the puzzle of doing it.

From what I can tell there seems to be 8 parts to it:

  1. Writing the book
  2. Story and Copy Editing
  3. Formatting the inside of the book for various outlets (Ebooks, Print, Etc)
  4. Formatting and producing a cover for various outlets (Ebooks, Print, Etc)
  5. Having the books printed.
  6. Distributing the printed and Ebooks.
  7. Letting people know that the books exist.
  8. Repeat number 7 several times in many different ways.

Written out as a list it looks a lot less intimidating than it does in my head.

Now the problem with self-publishing is that an author isn’t by nature good and doing all 8 steps. I knew that I can handle 1 (I’m close to finishing novel five) I know I can do 3 (I’ve worked as a Layout Artist for over five years now) and I have a good idea how to do 5 and 6 (I also have friend who have offered to teach me how.)

My big problem is 2, I know I need to pay for an Editor and the minute I know if I’m self-publishing, I’m contacting people who can do it. I realize it isn’t cheap but it’ll be worth it.

Let’s leave 7 and 8 for a later post.

Book Covers

So the majority of my thinking has been about 4. I strongly believe that an awesome cover is worth its price. If I self-publish I want the book to practically sell itself. I want to pass by it and say, “That looks awesome I should read that… oh wait that’s my book.”

For The Elizabeth Investigates series, if I self-publish, I want to make sure that the covers stay consistent in style and feel. That means I need, not a cover artist but an artist. I have one person who I know will do a great job but is ridiculously busy with other projects.

I know that there are cover designers out there but I haven’t found one that matches what I write. So I looked on DeviantArt for artists that match certain styles. I found a bunch and I wonder if getting a commission from them would be difficult. I know I’d have to look into copyright issues and so on but I think it might be the best option. I can format the cover myself, what I need is the art.

I’m sure a lot of them will/would ignore me but it’ll be worth a try. I wouldn’t offer anything specific; I’d lay out my needs and ask for a quote. I’m assuming it would be somewhere in the ballpark of $100 to $1000. Dollars but maybe I’ll be surprised.

The next question becomes one of style. Since I write YA, I tend to mix genres a lot. The Elizabeth Investigates series is Urban Fantasy, Adventure, Mystery, with smatterings of Supernatural, Suspense, and Romance. That’s not the easiest thing to show off in a cover.

I could go with the normal YA Urban Fantasy style, like the Percy Jackson or Harry Potter covers, I could follow the Adult duo-coloured Urban Fantasy style, I could go with an old style fantasy cover where they try to put everything that happens into one illustration, or I could go for the simplistic Twilight style of cover. Or do I go for the older Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys style? All of which are awesome.

It depends on what I’m trying to sell the book as. If I go with the old teen mystery books, I’m telling people this book will be similar but with magic. If I go with a darker Urban Fantasy cover I’m telling them that this is a kid’s supernatural thriller.

nancy-drew-books-cover

It’s a lot to decide, I almost think it could be more important than even the title. The best case scenario, I think, would be to get an homage to the old mysteries with the art style of newer urban fantasies. Best of both worlds.

Author Name

The next thing that’s been bugging me is my name. I don’t want a pen name because that would be a pain but I’m trying to decide what variation to use for my writing.

In day to day life I sign my emails and credit card receipts with Éric Desmarais. My full name is Éric Albert Desmarais.

For a long time I considered using my full name but I don’t know, it feels pretentious.

I could use Éric A. Desmarais and I have. The initial makes it seem more literary for some reason. I could also use É.A. Desmarais.

You get the point. It’s an identity thing I guess. Maybe I should just go with Éric Desmarais.

 

Does the cover affect your interest in a book?

Would the name of the author, who you don’t know, make a difference in whether you bought a book?


Faith

July 22, 2014

Oh what a troubling word. Faith can mean many things to many people. At its core it means to believe in something. It’s often associated with religion or spiritual belief.

It’s a beautiful concept, to believe in something but I wonder if it’s that simple. It often seems that devoutly religious person would have the strongest faith and that the non-practicing wouldn’t. I think that’s wrong.

I think faith, as an integral belief which you whole heartedly honour, isn’t only the purview of religion. I think faith, in one form or another, is present in everyone. I’d go as far as saying faith is not only pervasive but essential to a healthy life.

Difference Between Having Faith and Needing Faith

There has to be a distinction made between having faith in something and needing faith in something.

You can have faith in God, Science, or Humanity. There’s a lot more but the point is that you can even have faith in yourself. How you’ve gained this faith or why doesn’t matter. The power of it, is that you have it.

Needing faith, is how you get to your belief. No matter how much you study you’ll always need faith that there is a God. But, if you spend a couple of decades training and testing theories, you can prove evolution through fossil and empirical evidence. You don’t need to have faith in something for it.

I suppose you need to have faith that the scientists that did the work, did it while respecting the scientific method. But you don’t need to have faith in evolution, just in the people who have proven it, over and over again.

The difference is simply in the method. Needing faith is a path to belief. Having faith is the last stop on that path but reaching the last stop can always be done through another path.

Why I think it’s important

I think as human beings we need to have a certain amount of stability in our lives and beyond that we need hope.

Faith, in every form, is about hope and the belief that things are going to be ok. As an example let’s take the afterlife.

Christian religion tells us that we will be judged and either go to heaven or hell (or the in-between places). Science tells us that we will decompose and that our atoms will return to the earth and help spring forth new life. Eventually our world with be destroyed and our atoms will float through space until they are used to create a new planet, sun, or other astral body.

Are both of them true? Who cares, that’s needing faith part. Are they both beautiful? Yes to a certain extent. Heaven can sound down right horrifying to some (That’s a whole other post) while the idea that we’re made of “star-stuff” might seem cold and unfeeling to others.

Having faith isn’t about what other people believe it’s about what you believe and how it make you feel.

My Beliefs (Cause I know you care)

I believe in stories and I believe if humanity. Although it’s not always easy I have faith that humanity is genuinely good.

I believe in being nice to people. I believe that life is a beautiful and magnificent thing that needs to be cherished. I have faith in the power of words, love, and kindness. Most of all, I believe that the pursuit of knowledge should be the goal of our lives.

What are my thoughts on the afterlife? I hope there are further challenges after our bodies stop working. I believe that the consciousness, or soul, must be bound to the laws of physics that say no matter or energy is ever created or destroyed. What it becomes after death is a great mystery to me but I don’t think it disappears completely.

I also believe that you live on in the hearts and minds of your friends and family. And they say the internet never forgets.

If you need to label me, this all means I’m Agnostic. Meaning I’m not sure what to believe but that we should keep trying to find out.

 

What do you have faith in?


Recommendation Wednesday – Biodiesel Production Expansion Indiegogo

July 16, 2014

Ottawa Biofuel is a great local company that transforms used cooking oil into diesel fuel.

They’re currently running an Indiegogo campaign in order to update their equipment and expand their production.

They also make wonderful glycerine soap.

Even if you’re car-less, like me, it’s worth helping them out even for the 1 or 5 dollar pledge. You’ll be doing something good for the environment and helping out a great company.

wpid-wp-1405453880372.jpeg

Go check it out,

Éric


PsyCorps Academy – Story and Proof-of-Concept

July 15, 2014

Hello,

I don’t talk with many other authors about their process for writing. It usually feels like prying. I’ve read lots of great books about the craft of writing and lot of blogs telling people how to write or how not to write.

I’ve learned that everyone does something different. I know that Stephen King normally writes his books in chronological order, while Neil Gaiman writes scenes and then ties them together. Some people plot out every scene and others don’t. Some type some use a pen or pencil.

One thing that I do that I’ve never heard anyone else doing was writing a proof-of-concept. I’ve done it for each of my novels so far and I find it extremely useful in find the right tone and feel. I find it extremely useful.

This post was a proof-of-concept for Parasomnia, and if you ever get the chance to read the novel you’ll realize that they’re completely different. What I learned from it was that I enjoyed the tone and the mirroring of dreams.

The following is a proof-of-concept for a novel I’m thinking of writing that’s set in the far future where 1 in a billion people is a Psionic. Each kind of Psionic is separated into a guild and that guild is like their family and decides what they do as a living. Precogs are the pilots and body guards, Telekinetic are the soldiers for hire, etc.

But at the core of the story I want it to be about a girl who has three of the eight possible powers and how she deals with training in the PsyCorps Academy. It should be a riff on the Boarding School stories, like Harry Potter, but in the future, with Psychic powers. I’d like it to have the feel of the Tamora Pierce Tortall novels (The Song of the Lioness and Protector of the Small books), with a hint of Star Trek and Babylon 5.

After writing this I think it didn’t have the tone of awe or sci-fi that I wanted. I think the character acts too young for her age and I think I need to go to third person to better describe the effects.

I am still extremely interested in writing this novel and it most likely will be my 2015 writing project.

Read the Proof-Of-Concept after the break.

Let me know what you think. Please!

*Warning: There is some violence and an attempted sexual assault*

Read the rest of this entry »


Recomendation Wednesday – Silver Stag Entertainment

July 9, 2014

Hello,

This week’s Recommendation Wednesday is for a Webseries and web organization.

I’ve mentioned them before but Silver Stag Entertainment, is a great website that delves into Books, Movies, and all the awesome speculative fiction stuff.

Go ahead and follow them on:

Their Youtube channel has several great shows and covers book readings/launches.

Let me be honest with you; I’m an occasional contributor to their Nights at the Round Table (NatRT) show that reviews and discusses books and movies. So this is mildly self-serving but even if I wasn’t involved I would follow, subscribe, etc because the people who run it are awesome!

Silver Stag Entertainment has only been around for half a year now and I’m impressed with what they’ve been able to accomplish. I also look forward to seeing how they’ll grow and the wonderful things they’ll do in the future.

Enjoy the bloopers below.


Éric


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