this isn’t even my final form

So much has happened since I last blogged that I don’t even know where to begin. I feel like a completely different person, dude. At the end of May I was still so new into the whole being-an-author thing. There’s a whole summer with multiple events behind me. So what all has happened?

– After six months of unemployment, Olli found himself back with a new contracting job at his old employer. Different department, though. It was an easy fit, too, he knew half the people around there. So far the job isn’t very demanding which leads to boredom – and some frustration on the treatment of their contractors like him, but so far so good.

– I sent out ‘Bloed’ to my alpha readers and continued to work on it all summer, finally clocking in on 74K and an alpha version to be proud of – ready to send to the publisher. We probably won’t start working on it until November/December (probably December, if they even manage that), but I met my deadline and I am happy for it!

– Condamned was again, a lot of fun. I ran two games on Ribbon Drive (of which one was kinda meh, and the second one was fantastic – we were a rock band trying to make a comeback after internal squibbles) and unfortunately only one day, because the second day I had to be at an event.

– I went to multiple booksigning/selling fantasy events: Fantastyval (was fun, okay sales), Magic Fair (was shitty weather and shit sales, not going to do that one again), Castlefest (fucking fantastic, stellar sales, beautiful weather, smiles all around) and Elfia Arcen (was fun, okay sales). Reviews for my book were trickling in and to my surprise, they were all REALLY good. There’s only been one 3-star review, and I don’t  count that one, because it’s not a very in-depth review anyway. But still, if a three star review is my worst one, I should be really fucking grateful anyway. Who would have thought?
Book sales are going well enough, according to my publisher. Not due for a second print yet, but getting there. Book 2 in April 2015 should give everything a good boost once again, and now that I am going to do my Nano on a prequel book in the series, and working on the translation, things are looking well.

– My mother got married to her boyfriend of a year.

– Derek also got married, and his wife Moqi is pregnant! They are expecting a baby in January. It’s all very unreal. We celebrated a fun day in Amsterdam for a bachelor’s party, but they got married only with their families in London. Apparently there’s going to be a reception party next year. :)

– We had good times and pretty weather for the summer. It was mostly warm and sunny. If I think of July, I think of the day I spent driving first to Dordrecht for Marilyn’s book release party, and then onwards to Amsterdam for Kat’s birthday, going to the cinema for good movies (Captain America, X-men Days of Future Past), sitting in the garden, evening walks with Bodhi, writing on my book, adjusting to the fact that Olli was back at work, and just quiet time.

– Then there was the birthday bash – this time before our birthdays because I needed to be at Castlefest next weekend. The weather was gorgeous, so we had a BBQ and sat in the garden with the firepit until 4am. We lasted with Olli, Tijs, Kat and me at the end, during which we proceeded to get the giggles after smoking too much weed. Looks like Ol and I aren’t getting any more mature as we age. Our birthday present, by the way, was a balloon ride! So we immediately booked one for the end of August, ha. :D

– The first weekend there was three days of sun-laden bliss at Castlefest. I walked around on a huge high because wow, that was my JAM! I sold really well, made new friends, smiled at everyone, and was completely elated. I had a really good time and it felt like vacation, even though it was hard work. Even going to Brenda’s birthday at the end of the second day didn’t even feel exhausting. I slept to little and smiled too much, and it was all good. (Until after the weekend, when I was completely wiped. Based on this Olli offered that I would bring back my contract to 32hr per week, so I have a day for writing or writing-related business. Thankfully the boss supported me in this, so from there on I only work four days, which is awesome.)

– I finally got to play all the way through Grandia 2, when I borrowed the game from my sister. The game was fun enough, but it missed some plot opportunities. I guess that is something I can never really switch off, the writer’s view on any plot that you watch. Oh well, the game was easy, and fun, and it was nice for rainy days or downtime. So win on that one.

– We went to an Amon Amarth gig which proceeded to blow my mind because it was fucking AMAZING, and then it was time for vacation!

– Our first week of vacation we were staying home. The weather wasn’t stellar, but we made good use of the time we had in the sun: we took Bodhi on a huge walk in the (dog)parks near our home, we went to a fireworks festival in Scheveningen (during which the superspectacular sunrise-with-approaching-thunderstorm was even better than the actual firework show, go figure), and we went on our balloon ride! That was amazing, and I wasn’t scared about being high up in the sky at all :)

– The second week was for ArcTangent. Whoo! The lineup was frigging amazing and I was so so excited to be there. Unfortunately the weather was shit. On Thursday we had some drizzle that we could thankfully clothe ourselves for, but the Friday was a complete bust as it rained all day, and then all hell broke loose in the night, which caused our poor tent to flood. The thing had lasted for seven years at this point, and it just started leaking. 90% of Olli’s clothes got drenched. We had JUST enough to get through the festival – my fuzzy hoody didn’t get dry until we got home. I am grateful that only our front tent flooded and not the part where we actually slept. It dripped on us a couple of times during the night, but our extra warm sleeping bags and our air mattress held up admirably. We also had problems with our phones, which meant that when we lost one another, we completely DID lose one another. Especially in the dark. Ugh.
When the weather got better on Saturday, we decided just to stick to eachother like glue and never lost one another anymore, so that was better. The festival dried up, enough that we could sit in the grass, but jfc everything that was a path, was mud. Like, beyond ankle depth mud. They didn’t put sand or woodchips on it, so it was just horrid.
Thankfully the atmosphere was amazing, the people were just so nice (shoutout to our fantastic neighbours Tom, Navid and Andreas, and to our Spanish/Belgian couple) and , Maybeshewill gave the gig of their lives and Tall Ships made me cry a little, This Will Destroy You was fucking fantastic (I was stoned and loved every second of it), Russian Circles and ASIWYFA rocked like all hell, and I really enjoyed Nordic Giants with their freaky videos and Blueneck and Lost In The Riots, so that was good. Also, they still had the Pieminister pies. FUCK YES!
On the last day, Olli and I slept in. We went to bed way too late and couldn’t go to the hotel until 3pm anyway, so we took it fucking easy. Sleeping in, hanging in front of the tent getting sunburnt (because NOW the weather was good, go figure), slowly packing stuff up. We got a free pieminister pie in the process, haha! (they were going to throw them out, and when I congratulated one of their sales guys on being awesome, he gave me a pie :D).

– We went to Bristol, where we checked into our hotel, had the BEST SHOWER EVER (after three days of not showering, my hair looked like I had dreads. it was horrid and I may have cried of pain as I had to untangle the gnarly bits under the shower), a beautiful dinner, shopped for the way home (omg Bristol’s shopping center is huge!!), and then curled up on our comfy bed and watched the last Indiana Jones film on tv. (Wow, that is a pile of shit! I’d never seen it but it’s even worse than I imagined).

– The ride home went as well, the time on the ferry was spent in the sunshine (and the cliffs of Dover look fantastic in sunlight), and we had some seriously good karma because the lady from lost&found called us about the backpack that we lost on the way to England just as we were in line for the way back, so she could hand it to us personally. We picked Bodhi up the next morning, and then our vacation was already over. Of course the good weather then promptly returned, but it’s not like I haven’t caught any rays this summer so I’m not complaining.

– In September I’ve mostly been back to work, reconnected with friends (a nice night with Kat, one with Brenda and Tijs), and did the Elfia Arcen thing. So now the summer is officially over. Bleh!

– Music I’ve really enjoyed this summer: the new album by Sleepmakeswaves, the new Maybeshewill album, Amon Amarth, Lost in the riots, Northern Giants.

– Plans for autumn: we have a shitton of awesome concerts coming up, so I’ll be going for that, I have a weekend in Ghent coming up (F.A.C.T.S event), a couple of birthdays, and I’m planning to translate Stof into english, and then for Nanowrimo tackle the prequel project that I’ve been musing on for the past two weeks.

So I THINK you’re all caught up now. It’s only been 1700 words… :’)

they all know my face, i’m always on a restless detour

I think I finished the alpha version of “Bloed” tonight. I’m full of feels and I really don’t know where to crawl, so I think we’re ready for the proofreaders to try & make heads or tails from it. The prose will follow later, but for now I need some thoughts on the plot and the character development and the pacing, and on whether things flow correctly. This is both exciting and scary as fuck, so to share this is even worse than watching the (so far very favourable) reviews for “Stof” trickling in.

Anyone up for some alpha proofreading?
I’d be very, very grateful :)