2019 has been an interesting year so far, to say the least. The word interesting might sound a little insipid, but I use it only because there’s been both positive and negative things going on. Such is life. I won’t focus on the negative in this article, because I believe no one will be helped if I do. So, here’s what’s been going on in my life and what I’m planning to do with the rest of my time this year 😉
Living with a Book Dragon
My girlfriend Bren moved in with me during January and we’ve been together nine months now. We love our home (and each other, of course 😛), and the cats are all getting along very well, with the occasional quarrel. Our living room is gradually transforming into a library and we both love it. Thanks to her, I’ve been reading a whole lot more than I used to as well. Last year I helped Bren to start a new blog about books called The Book Dragon’s Nook and I have been helping her by doing maintenance for the website, checking her articles before putting them online, and helping out with designing the logo, and creating her business cards and bookmarks. I asked her for permission to write blog articles for it as well and she accepted my offer, which means I will be writing most of my reviews in Dutch for The Book Dragon’s Nook and in English for my personal blog. 🙂 We’ve really grown close to each other and we’re helping each other to be the best version of ourselves we can be. It’s been great and everything I could have ever hoped for!
Since the release of The Xoron Redemption I have received some really solid reviews and praise for how I ended my scifi/fantasy trilogy. One of the reviews I’m most proud of is a 9.5/10 review from the Dutch Stephen King Fanclub. According to the reviewer I left him in dismay! The blog tour also netted me a bunch of 4 and 5 star reviews, which I was really happy with. Overall I’m really happy with the way the book has been received by my readers and I really can’t wait to revisit the Ley Lines universe in the future. People have been asking me about the fates of several loved characters, and there’s a lot of stories and parts of the universe left to explore for me as writer as well.
The start of something new
I have been piecing together the plot of my new fantasy story and soon I’ll start the actual writing process. I’m excited to work on a new world, filled with extreme fantasy clichés, sarcastic characters and a plot that’s heavily inspired by the likes of Coen Brother’s The Big Lebowski, Terry Prattchett’s Discworld series, and Douglas Adam’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It won’t be an epic fantasy story, but rather a story about a below average guy who’s just a victim of his surroundings, as is the case with most people. 😉 The story will take place in a city called Swineburgh, a place filled with a diversity of races and colourful characters. I’m going to be drawing most of the characters too, so I can show you what they look like. And so I can train my comic drawing skills, which is something I meant to pick up again.
Besides writing a new book, I’ll also be blogging a lot! Writing reviews for books, LEGO sets and the occasional video game. I also plan to bring more content regarding books I am going to read and what my expectations are versus what I thought about them afterwards. And I’ll be doing most of it for both my own blog and The Book Dragon’s Nook, when it comes to books. Content on The Book Dragon’s Nook will be in Dutch, but my reviews will also be posted on this blog in English. It’s good practice for my translation skills. 🙂 I’m also working on a non-fiction project, for which I’ll be posting blog articles too, like the one about Facebook and internet trolls! There’s a lot of (content) writing going on!
Reconsider what I give a fuck about
Living together with Bren made me realize that I might have been giving fucks about the wrong things. Having a serious relationship has given me a lot to think about, it’s given me new insights and a new appreciation for the good things in life. This means letting go of old habits and appreciating just how lucky I am to have her in my life. One thing that I came to realize was just how busy I truly am all the time. When people used to invite me for something, I’d usually blindly accept. Nowadays I find that keeping weekends free of appointments is needed, because I also need to take time off for myself, so I can relax. I’ve been feeling stressed out by constantly trying to keep everyone happy, but realized that this is simply impossible. Sometimes you have to choose for yourself, unless you want to end up burnt out. I can’t say everyone appreciated the new me, but at least I stayed true to myself and that’s more important than anything else. I plan to keep growing and choosing what is right for me. Your friends and family will understand, because we’re all living a busy life. And if they don’t for some reason, that’s their problem, not yours.
I hope you liked reading this as much as I did writing! Did you have a good year so far? What are you planning on doing with the next half year? Please let me know in the comments!
Jeffrey, You put it all together here for a great “review of yourself” & the new you & your life!!! Following you & Bren, I had figured as much about The Book Dragon’s Nook & your own blog! –Good move! And your “review of reviews” on “The Xoron Redemption” should be very satisfying for you!!! (Personally, I’m up to 200+ pages & how could it be anything but a 5 Star sci-fi novel!!! I am gaining confidence to read a chapter & then write a few lines of notes. I had previously written 10 pages of notes as I read along!!!) Very interesting to read your creative process as you prepare to start writing your new fantasy novel. Your blog I am up on. And, once again, I so identify with your discussion of daily life & not fiddling other’s tune & time off for yourself & Bren & to hell with those who don’t understand why. From my older perspective, I look back in life & see that so much, perhaps too much, of my standards & activities, both professionally as an educator & personally from home/social/interests/etc., were filled with “hubris”!!! –That is, too caught up with myself & ego. An example would be my website that has been defunct since our house move. A modest person with humility would tend less to put himself out there like that! –But that’s a 72 year old talking! You are young & making your strides in the world with Bren & so in love!!! A GREAT POST HERE!!! Phil
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Thank you Philip for all your kind words! It’s easy to get tangled in all this “hubris” as you call it. I’m glad I’ve been able to identify some of it, but I’m certain more will come along as I age. It’s truly important to keep reflecting upon yourself and figuring out what is truly important to you. What your reason for living is, why you get up every day. Bren and our five lovely cats are one of those reasons I have now. Writing books and entertaining people with them is definitely another! -Jeffrey
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