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New fantasy novel release: The Blue Gem

It took nearly four years, but the completion of The Blue Gem, follow-up to 2014's The Dragon Princess, has finally arrived. 
Granted, this is not the over twenty years it took me to complete the first novel. That one took form before I even hit my teens so it can be somewhat excusable the novel took so long to complete.
The Blue Gem, on the other hand, was started a month or so after I self-published The Dragon Princess. The second novel ended up being roughly 40 pages longer, involved more research and I even took some time to draw (possibly unneeded) floor plans. 

Between a busy weekend of NCAA basketball, St. Patrick's Day, and working on other projects, I was able to finally edit (for the 5th time) the final 20 pages of the manuscript. Thus began the process of readying author profiles, updating the manuscript format to fit requirements, and submitting the file to Kindle Direct Publishing. 
We went live late Friday night.
The Blue Gem is now available for download via Kind…

Dropping in for a quick hello, plus a newsletter

It's been a little quiet here on The Journey of Now blog so far in 2020. That being the case, it was time to drop in for an update and some pop culture sightings. Into the bag of tricks we dig, conjuring up a one-time reappearance of a good old fashioned newsletter.
More consistent posting will take place in the future. March Madness is nearly here so there will be plenty to discuss then. Then we have the Summer Olympics taking place in Tokyo. And next fall I'll be continuing my series following the careers of the five quarterbacks taken in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft.
I am also working on a couple of bigger writing projects outside of the normal plays and novels. One is a dive into an underrated sitcom from the 1990's. The other is in the vein of the summer box office tournaments and favorite holiday film tournament from year's past. Be sure to keep an eye for these projects later in 2020.
For now, we return to a newsletter and a few things I've been wa…

NFL: The first-round quarterbacks from 2018 draft wrap second regular season

Five quarterbacks were taken in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft. This is the last of the series for season number two, with the regular season now complete. The NFL playoffs are upon us. It would have been pretty fantastic to see all five quarterbacks from the first round of the 2018 draft in the playoffs in only their second season.
A pipe dream to begin with, sure, but could you imagine if 5 of the 12 playoff teams were led by a second-year quarterback? This would be a youth movement like no other, declaring to the world that the league will be in good shape for years to come.
One can only dream.
Five would have been a tall task. There are still an abundance of great quarterbacks on well-rounded teams with established coaches.  Even four would have been magical. Three might have been pushing it, but seemed very doable heading into the 2019 season.
Instead, we will be blessed with two: Lamar Jackson of the 14-2 Baltimore Ravens and Josh Allen from the 10-6 Buffalo Bills.
In th…

Christmas Letter 2019

Unleashing the 2019 Christmas letter upon the world. Enter at your own risk. Ah, it's that time of year again. The time of year to reflect on days passed (and past); to explore the paths traveled, reflect on the fleeting moments of year gone by, and to hopefully spread -- and gain -- a little holiday cheer.
Yes, Virginia, it's time for the annual Christmas letter (or in this case, annual blog post).
This might be the first year that I actually wrote a draft by hand before putting finger to keyboard. There is a lot to be said and I a lot I wanted to convey. Through scribbles, false starts, discarded paragraphs, and maybe a few tears, I still ended up scrapping much of my handwritten words and going from the place I usually write the Christmas letter from: off the cuff and from the heart.

Christmas memories, when traditions are carried from year to year, have the possibility to blend together. One might recall the events of a specific Christmas in one way, when in fact they'…

NFL: The rise of the 1st-round quarterbacks from 2018 draft

Five quarterbacks were taken in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft. This is the latest in the series charting their careers, now through week 13 of their second season. The last four games have been quite the stretch for four of the five quarterbacks taken in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft.
Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield, and Sam Darnold have combined to go 13-3 over the last four weeks. Jackson is the only one to be 4-0 in this span, with the other three all suffering one loss.
Mayfield and Darnold both suffered a loss in week 13, while Allen picked up a Thanksgiving Day win over the Dallas Cowboys and Jackson and the Ravens won a battle with the now 10-2 San Francisco 49ers.
Allen and the Buffalo Bills (9-3) are in the thick of the hunt for the playoffs. They currently hold the top wildcard spot, leading by two games over the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans. The Bills and their fans, however, have a grander goal in sight: dethroning the New England Pat…

NFL 1st-round quarterbacks from 2018: Halfway through 2nd season

Five quarterbacks were taken in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft. This is the latest in the series charting their progress, now through week 9 of their second season. Two quarterbacks who were selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft are on track to make the playoffs in their second season.
It just may not be the two who many pundits had tabbed to lead their respective team to the playoffs in 2019.
Halfway through the 2019 season, the playoff race is already taking shape, in a muddled kind of way. Teams like the New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers, and New Orleans Saints are all where they are supposed to be, sitting atop their divisions.
And there are surprises as well, with the San Francisco 49ers, behind a suffocating defense and efficient offense, the only undefeated team at 8-0. It seems we were all too busy anointing the Cleveland Browns the next NFL darlings to see what was really developing.
The Browns and Baker Mayfield are one of the le…

NFL: 1st-round quarterbacks from 2018 draft on cusp of next level

Five quarterbacks were taken in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft. This is the continued series charting their progress, now through week 4 of year two. In 2004, four quarterbacks were selected in the NFL draft. There was Eli Manning, selected by the San Diego Chargers but traded to the New York Giants for Philip Rivers, who was taken with the fourth pick. Ben Roethlisberger went at no. 11 to the Pittsburgh Steelers, while the Buffalo Bills selected J.P. Losman with the 22nd-pick.
A trio of these quarterbacks have gone on to what are likely Hall of Fame careers (apologies to Losman, who still ended up playing in parts of eight seasons in the NFL). Manning, Rivers, and Roethlisberger all have stats and accolades worthy to be considered among the best of all-time.
Will the quarterbacks taken in the first round of 2018 end up on the same path?
Now in their second season, a trio from this class is starting to separate themselves from the pack. Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield, and Josh …

Five quarterbacks taken in first-round of 2018: Season 2

The 2019 NFL season is upon us, meaning we continue this journey of following the progress of the five quarterbacks taken in the first round of the 2018 draft. It used to be rookie quarterbacks starting right away was a rarity in the NFL. The youngsters needed to learn the playbook first and do so while also adjusting to the speed of the pros. The idea of throwing these rookies, especially those taken in the first round and their accompanying salaries, to the proverbial wolves was out of the question.
In 2018, that idea was tossed aside, for the most part, as the five quarterbacks taken in the first round of April's draft were all starting by season's end.
All had varying degrees of success in their rookie year and most all proved worthy of their first-round selection.
In 2019, taking the next step is expected from all of these quarterbacks. Four of them are still starting for the team that selected them in the draft. The fifth, Josh Rosen, was sent packing from Arizona when …