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        1. Birth of the Aetherverse – Chapter 7 (Serial Story)

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

          Chapter 7: Meeting the Guardians

          With the gem and the little gates taken care of, I thought we were safe from their influence. I was wrong.

          Before we left Earth, Randi and I asked Noa to marry us. We’d been together for centuries of Earth time and couldn’t bear the idea of separating.

          We left, wanting to avoid seeing my siblings, we decided to see what Albion was all about. We arrived and were amazed by the rolling green hills, crystal lakes, and absolutely sublime nature. It was a realm of green and growing things.

          “Hello, can I help you?” asked a man that looked strikingly like a younger Merlin. Instead of looking ancient, he looked like he was in his sixties. His hair was streaked in white and his skin was a healthy brown instead of grey.

          “Merlin? How are you here?” I asked.

          “I’m sorry, but I don’t often meet people in the proper temporal order. Nice to see you again, Lord Robin. I’m better known here as Emris. I’m the Guardian of Reality.”

          I stared, blinking awkwardly until Randi elbowed me and said, “I’m Lady Randi of Fay and this is my husband, Lord Robin.”

          “Oh.” He bowed. It felt strange for the wizard to bow to me. I’d been a god, a first born, and a lord, but Merlin was the stuff of legend.

          I tried to find some words, but was distracted by a woman walking quickly towards us. She was young, maybe fourteen, and still had a slight roundness to her face. Her skin was golden and her hair was pure black. Her eyes glowed with anger and seemed to shift from dark brown to red when she saw me.

          “What the hell is that gate doing in my Aether?” the woman demanded.

          “I thought the Aether would dispose of it,” I replied, caught off guard.

          “It won’t. That thing is made of pure order. It’s not from our universe and it’s slowly creating a pocket reality around itself. Get it out!”

          “Lord Robin and Lady Randi, this is Iman. She is the Guardian of Aether.” Merlin introduced us, suppressing a smile.

          “Why would the force of magic and chaos need a guardian?” I asked, confused.

          Putting her hand on her hip and scowling Iman replied, “For exactly this sort of situation.”

          “She has you there,” Randi said with a chuckle.

          Iman added, “Also for your information, Aether and Chaos are not the same thing and have two separate Guardians.”

          I opened my mouth to protest, but then shrugged. “Any suggestions as to where to put it to avoid it opening and releasing a massive army to destroy all the realms?”

          “I don’t care, just get it out of my Aether.” Iman looked somehow even more annoyed.

          Merlin nodded and with a wide smile said, “I have the perfect place. Embed it under rock in the Canadian Shield. Wait, you won’t have any idea about that for a while. I’ll show you.” He opened a portal that sounded odd, like some great beast wheezing, and Merlin and I stepped through. 

          The land we arrived at was harsher than Avalon, but no less verdant or beautiful. The trees were large and there was a slight chill in the air. I felt under me and could tell there was a natural cavern completely cut off from the surface about two kilometres down. The gate would be safe there. I pulled it from the Aether and put it in place. Without the Aether, the nascent realm collapsed into itself.

          “Why here?” I asked Merlin.

          “It’s pure rock and pretty isolated. Those that live here respect nature and have no need to delve that deep. It’ll stay hidden for more than a thousand years.”

          “That’s oddly specific,” I said, not really surprised. Merlin only nodded and I started to ask the question that had been bothering me. “I thought Guardians were beings of great power…”

          “And you want to know how a human became the guardian of Aether?”

          “It seemed like a rude question.”

          Merlin shrugged a little as if he didn’t believe in rude questions and replied, “What better being than a human? They are chaos and they wield Aether without ever knowing it. Humans are by far the most diverse and terrifying creatures in the realms.”

          “But without powers…” I trailed off, understanding dawning on me. “All humans can affect the Aether?” He nodded. “And she has complete mastery of it?”

          “Not quite, but close. She’s young, but can already wield pure Aether, something I’ve never seen anyone but the Guardian of Aether do. Also, unlike all other life in the universe, the Aether likes her.”

          The idea that the stuff of chaos and magic could have personal preferences for certain people or any form of sentience was enough to scare me.

          “How many Guardians are in Avalon?” I asked as we walked through the return portal.

          Merlin had a look of mischief in his eyes that I tried my best to memorize. It was both charming and ominous at the same time. “All seven are here for the first time since the creation of the universe. That one was an accident. This will be the final meeting of the original seven Guardians. Would you like to join us?”

          His words made sense, but left me feeling like I was missing information or context.

          Randi and Iman were chatting as we arrived and I took my wife’s hand as we walked towards a modest castle.

          Outside the castle gates were thousands of tents, an entire city of them. Walking between them were men and women in robes or armour. It was an army.

          “Why is there an army at the gates of your castle?”

          “Don’t worry. Camelot isn’t under siege. We’re preparing for war. Your nephew has a taste for conquest and he’s coming for Albion.”

          Read Chapter 8 (August 2022)

          While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:

          Fear Street 1994 – JenEric Movie Review

          How This WorksRead Other Reviews

          Hello Cinephiles,

          Today we’re talking about the?2021 film Fear Street 1994.


          This feels like a Fear Street book but with a little more gore. The end sequence of the movie in the grocery store felt like a way of killing off some characters, since they had an ambulance and could have driven around. It’s also not a complete movie.

          Score: 0.5


          I really liked the main three characters and even some of the secondary ones. They were all a little nylistic but that made sense with the setting. The actors were great.

          Score: 1


          Everything sounded a little too modern for my liking. It didn’t sound like the right time period. Beyond that the dialogue was a little awkward and tried to hard.

          Score: 0

          Visuals and Music

          Dark and aesthetically perfect for Fear Street and 1994. I like the background details that were nods to the books and other horror movies.

          The music did its job well.



          This was a lot of fun to start with, but I got frustrated at the characters quite often. The fact that they didn’t use the ambulance instead of the store annoyed me.

          Score: 0.5


          A fun throwback to the books, but the characters do some really dumb things. I enjoyed it, but it feels unfinished without the rest of the series.

          Final Score: 3 Stars out of 5

          Guitar Lessons Part 51

          April 26: Sing-along

          Mountain king went much better today. Not a high score, but better than yesterday. (Not a high bar, tbh)

          I only played two of my songs today, Get to Know You and the ballad. My son sang along with me for the first (I knew he knows the words because it’s one of his bedtime songs) and my daughter sang along with me for the second.

          I didn’t realize she knew so many of the words? Like, the chorus is easy. That’s the whole point of the song, that the chorus is easy and gets stuck in your head. But she knew some of the verses.

          So that was pretty cool.

          April 27: Rhythm

          When I was first learning an instrument in grade 7, the teacher evaluated our rhythm, if we wanted to play drums.

          I didn’t want to play drums, thankfully, as my rhythm was atrocious.

          It has gotten a lot better. I paid attention to it during my 3 songs and I was able to keep the rhythm throughout, much to my delight.

          I played Cody Simpson’s La Da Dee for the first time in a long time and it made me so happy.

          The kids danced and sang the entire time I played today. My son even pulled out the xylophone.

          I love the atmosphere we’ve created of positive music influences. It’s great.

          April 28: New challenge

          There was a new challenge in my app. I don’t always do the weekly challenges, but this one looked interesting. I actually did pretty well! Not amazing, but I’m happy.

          Then I played sugar plum fairy and mountain king. I did decently on both of them.

          I played all three of my songs and my shoulder started complaining at the end of the ballad. Sigh.

          April 29: Tiktok premiere

          I made a Tiktok video! My very first! And it’s the chorus of my ballad, so if you want to hear it, check it out!


          Also, my husband asked me to explain the rhythms of my songs to him, so I need to figure out how to write those down.

          April 30: Duet

          Today was super fun and complicated.

          My husband and I sat down together and played my songs together.

          Please note, I don’t know how to properly write rhythms.

          So I had to spend most of the time explaining my rhythms and counting strums because I don’t have them written down.

          It was still a lot of fun to play songs that I wrote with someone else.

          May 1: Had fun

          I played a bunch of different songs today from my books. My son decided what to bring me for my practise session today, so it was mostly Disney stuff.

          And then I made another Tiktok!

          I introduced my guitar and my son, sorry, I mean the Doctor.

          You can check it out here:


          Of course I also played my songs. I’m getting a weird buzzing when I play “Get to Know You,” so I’m going to have to figure that out.

          Kennedy Mood Board

          I had fun looking for pictures that made me think of the main female protagonist of Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers, Kennedy Fairfield.

          And I thought, why not share it with you?

          Mood board of Kennedy Fairfield. Pictures of a raw peridot, a black lace corset, a runway, a plaid skirt, the one ring from The Lord of the Rings, a coffee cup, a stuffed bear, a fun-looking mushroom, and a field of gold surround two images of Kennedy, one from the front and one in profile.

          Kennedy Fairfield

          Age: 22

          Date of Birth: July 11, 1980

          Appearance: Long blonde hair, green eyes, tall, white

          Job: Currently working in sales at Discreet Frills, a boutique lingerie store. Looking for work in her field of Agricultural Science

          Parents: Lilah and Gerard Fairfield live on a farm in Parry Sound, Ontario

          Siblings:?Older brother Phillip, married and has one son (15 months old). Twin older sisters Eliza and MacKenzie. Younger brother Tommy

          Pre-order Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers now!

          Last Day to Vote for Jen and Dragon

          Hello Friends,

          LAST DAY to vote for the Aurora awards. You get books just for being a member. 

          PLEASE consider voting for Dragon and Jen, who have been nominated for their amazing work on How I Taught my Dragon: Kindergarten education through genre media in the category of Best Fan Related Work.

          Here are some examples of what Dragon made:

          Look at this awesome art that she did as part of her school:

          Effectively, it’s a guide (and results) for parents to use films as a jumping off point for kindergarten education, each week a new film with activities and learning sheets designed around the film’s themes and content.

          It was designed with the Ontario Curriculum in mind and to supplement our daughter’s 1 day a week of online school. It could easily be scaled up to be a full home school, or down to simply add some extras for parents who keep their kids home.

          What she did over 10 months is spectacular, both as a tool for other parents, and as a journey with Dragon.

          Please check out the blog and consider voting for it in the the Aurora Awards category of Best Fan Related Work. Dragon is included as an author because her writing is included on the blog as part of the results.

          Thank you in advance,


          Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle ?– JenEric Movie Review

          How This WorksRead Other Reviews

          Hello Cinephiles,

          Today we’re talking about the 2017 Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.


          A rare sequel which is more coherent and better all around. Possibly the best video game themed movie of all time, it both relies on and mocks the usual tropes.

          Score: 1


          The main five actors do a phenomenal job at being the kids. It’s mostly believable and impressively detailed. Jack Black is amazing.

          Score: 1


          The problem with trying to capture the dialogue of teens is how quickly it changes. The dialogue already sounds dated after just five years. Although the quips, jokes, and overall tone is well done.

          Score: 0.5

          Visuals and Music

          The movie looks great and I greatly appreciate that they didn’t try to animate it like a video game.

          The music is haunting and exciting all at once.

          Score: 1


          The five year old found it a little scary, but she loved the action and humour. It’s nice to see her starting to appreciate word-based humour more.

          The rest of us enjoyed it as much as the first few times. I particularly appreciate that the humour around Jack Black’s character was so wholesome.

          Score: 1


          A wonderful adventure that balances action, humour, and character development for a near perfect movie.

          Final Score: 4.5 Stars out of 5

          Guitar Lessons Part 50

          April 20: Too much

          I was too enthusiastic during the ballad. My shoulder hurts a bit more today.

          But my kids were dancing and singing along with me.

          That’s a good excuse, right?

          April 21: Do I know what I’m doing?

          Spoiler: I don’t.

          I did one of the app challenges this week. It was chords. I forget how exacting this app is for chords. My fingers hurt a bit.

          Then I did Sugar Plum Fairy and Mountain King. I did… Alright.

          Then I tried Get to Know You in a couple different ways. It’s starting to sound wrong and I don’t know what to do about it.

          April 22: Changes

          I mostly played Get to Know You today, trying to figure out the additional chords. I ended up removing most of them… They just didn’t sound right.

          I practised mountain king through the app. Meh. Could have been better.

          I played the wedding song and the ballad, trying to pay attention to dynamics. I should maybe consider writing those down…

          April 23: Discordant

          I had a lot of trouble with mountain king today. I played it twice, hoping that would help. It didn’t.

          Then I played my songs, while my daughter accompanied me on the soprano ukulele.

          I honestly thought she’d get bored after one song.

          She didn’t. She played all 3 with me.

          Which is great. I love that she’s so into music.

          But she doesn’t play chords or anything… It’s just strumming.

          So it ends up being cacophonous discordant accompaniment.

          I consider it training my ear to not listen and sing what I know are the notes. I definitely need the practise.

          April 24: Feeling better

          Mountain king was as difficult as ever. So frustrating.

          I played Get to Know You and the wedding song. They both sounded good.

          My son requested Disney music after that and I played a bunch from one of my books.

          I actually ended up playing for about half an hour and my arm didn’t hurt at all!

          And then I tripped coming up the stairs and jarred my arm again… Hopefully I didn’t hurt it too much. I’ll know tomorrow.

          April 25: Beginner vs intermediate

          Mountain king didn’t go well today. I don’t know why. Lowest score in a while. Bleh.

          I played all three of my songs today. I need an allergy pill. My voice was all over the place. It’s kinda hilarious.

          I played Get to Know You multiple times; intermediate, beginner, intermediate again. The beginner sounds way too easy and a little weird now. It’s kinda funny.

          Makes me glad that I decided to make a version that was a little more complex.

          Oh, and yeah, my arm hurts again. Trust me, I’m annoyed with myself.

          Spotify Music Playlist

          Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers has some pretty great music in it, so I made a spotify playlist of all the songs, in the order they appear within the book.

          Do you think you can figure out what happens during each song?

          Songs in order of appearance

          • “Ordinary Day” by Vanessa Carlton
          • “Lapdance” by N.E.R.D.
          • “Lovers in a Dangerous Time” by Barenaked Ladies
          • “I Want You” by Savage Garden
          • “Let me Entertain You” by Robbie Williams
          • “The Nearness of You” by Norah Jones
          • “Bumblebee” by Aqua
          • “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera
          • “Ballroom Blitz” by Sweet
          • “Cartoon Heroes” by Aqua
          • “Deep Enough” by Live
          • “A New Day Has Come” by Celine Dion
          • “If The World Crashes Down” by Enrique Iglesias

          One of the first things we did when writing this book was build a 2002 playlist.

          I had already started writing my first chapter, and Kennedy had entered a bakery. I thought, shouldn’t there be music playing? What music would have been popular in September 2002?

          Cue a post on Facebook asking about our friends’ favourite artists from twenty years ago. (Twenty? What?)

          We bought a bunch of CDs to supplement what we already owned, and built an epic playlist to listen to while we wrote to add atmosphere. An entire scene in chapter 5 wouldn’t have been there without this playlist.

          Pre-order Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers now!