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Month: February 2020

Yaasmin and the Borg

Test of Faith 004: An epic science fiction/fantasy trilogy adventure

Yaasmin tried to speak, but her words came out as gasps. Her round cheeks were flushed. She put her one hand on her hip. The other tucked a leather-bound book under an arm. She squinted up at the sky, face red. Isis stepped forward to take the precious scriptures from her and put an arm around her shoulder. A hunter stepped forward to give Yaasmin a water skin. She took it with a smile and tipped it up, ignoring the mess of water as it splashed on her face.

She stopped drinking to gasp and wheeze. All eyes looked at her, expectant.

In a few moments, she regained her composure. Her breathing slowed. She straightened back up and smiled, looking from eye to eye.

“The marauders control the city.” Her face was dark. “They let all of the mothers and children live. The Warren is largely untouched. That’s where I was hiding. The mothers also hid some other warriors—a few from each sect. They mounted an escape for me.” She frowned. “A lot of good women died getting the scriptures out of the city.”

Isis looked down at the book in her hands. She opened the cover with reverence. She placed a gentle hand on the pages.

“We will remember their sacrifice,” she said.

Isis looked down to where her index finger was pointing in the scriptures. She cleared her throat.

“Deliver me from my enemies, O my LORD; protect me from those who rise up against me.”

“Amen,” said those around her in unison.

Isis looked back at Yaasmin.

“Can you walk? We should keep moving away from the UN outpost.”

For the first time, Yaasmin took in the newest arrivals to the group. Her eyes widened. She nodded without uttering a word.

Samia turned and started to walk out of the illusion jungle. Behind her, the others followed. Some of the women congratulated Yaasmin for finding them. She returned their grateful smiles and took a deep breath before following.

Nicko bounded ahead in excitement. He had woken up moments before. He didn’t seem to care about the extra people in his group.

Liam shook his head and followed the group. One of the hunter women, Ai, slowed her pace to walk alongside him. She looked up at him for a moment before asking, “What’s it like?”

“What is what like?”

“I’m sorry,” she looked away, blushing. “It might be too personal.”

Liam was quick to respond, “No, no! It’s not personal at all. I just didn’t know what you meant. Being a ‘borg?”

“Yes,” she brightened. “That’s what I meant. I have never met a person-robot like you. I am very curious.”

Liam looked into the distance. There was nothing but sand for miles. “I imagine we have a long way to walk. Ask me any question that comes to mind. I have no secrets.”

Ai was almost eager, “How much of you is human?”

“Very few original parts remain. The only thing left is my eyes, brain, and spinal column. It’s easier to build a computer to interface with a human spine than to build an artificial spine. It can be done, but not on the cheap.”

Ai frowned at the words she could not understand. Then she asked another question, “How did it happen?”

Liam sighed. “It was slow at first. I was a good soldier. We had a very tight unit. We were special forces. The other members of my unit were my family. I didn’t want to go home. I wanted to protect my brothers and sisters.”

He continued, “Then there was the bomb. It took one of my legs. I thought that was the end of my career. My buddies were cheering me on. ‘You can still fight! Get an upgrade!’”

He walked in silence for a second. “That is where it started. I had a brand-new robotic leg. It was stronger. My friends in the unit said it made me a better soldier. If only both legs were robotic. Then I could run faster and jump higher. Yeah!” He raised a triumphant fist.

“The second amputation was voluntary. I chose to be a better soldier to better protect my brothers and sisters.”

He didn’t look over at Ai, who was gazing at him with an admiring smile. “We know about sacrifice for the good of our sisters.”

“Yes, but it didn’t stop there. I could, indeed, run faster and jump higher. I took more risks. I charged into battle. I was kick-ass, as the unit said.” He paused. “I probably shouldn’t have run gung ho into every firefight. That’s how I ended up taking several bullets to the chest.”

He pounded his chest with a metal fist. One! Two! Three! The metal twanged.

“No worries! They said. We could just put a metal plate in your new robotic chest!” Liam smiled. His mouth gears pulled back to expose two horse-shoe plates that simulated teeth.

“After that, I was bullet-proof. I could really charge into combat. Then, I needed stronger arms to carry bigger guns…” He trailed off. The continued to walk in silence.

“I was an unstoppable force in the field,” He paused. “That was until the next generation of ‘borgs were developed. They could have upgraded me, but at that point, it was about money. It was cheaper to release newer, better models. I was re-assigned to the cargo bay. I move heavy boxes all day.”

He sighed again. “The other members of the unit never even visited. I guess we weren’t as close as I thought. I hope they are being protected by a newer, better ‘borg. I still think about them from time to time.”

They continued on in silence. Ai was finally the one who broke the quiet, “So you are still a man on the inside?”

“I still have awareness and a soul (I hope). There’s nothing left on the outside. I didn’t need anything else to be a better soldier.”

Ai reached out her mind to him. All the women could do it. She brushed the edges of his consciousness. The borg could feel the touch in his mind. He stopped walking and looked at her.

“What are you doing?”

Ai seemed satisfied and pulled her mind back. “Yes. You have a soul. On the inside, you are still a man.”

She nodded and started to walk again.

Liam looked after her and then followed.


<< Start From the Beginning…

This is the next instalment of my second book, Test of Faith. If you want to read my first book for FREE, you can sign up for my mailing list . I am posting this book serial-style. Each Wednesday I will post the next section. Give me feedback, it encourages me to write!

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MOVIE REVIEW: The Gentlemen

3.5/5 A brutal crime movie with an interesting, twisting plot

Vitals

Source: YouTube.com. © 2019 STX Financing, LLC. Used under fair use trademark law.

Release Date: 24 January 2020 (USA)
Studio: Mirimax/STX
Director: Guy Ritchie
Writer: Guy Ritchie
Official Site: https://www.thegentlemen.movie/
Rating: R
Running Time: 1h 53min
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam
Genre: Action, Crime
Base Score: 3.5 (Decent)

Review

I don’t much like crime movies. There’s just too much realistic violence now-a-days. Maybe I would like an old black-and-white crime film with loud bangs and over-acting. Now there’s just too much fake blood and language.

We live in a world where real crimes actually happen. We watch a film that contains content from last night’s news broadcast. I also don’t watch the news. Just ick.

But I’m a bit off track. Suffice it to say that I went into this film with reduced expectations. That is reflected in the base score. If you’re a fan of crime film, you can just give yourself a bonus .5 points. Are we all playing at home?

This movie has a gigantic star-studded cast. It’s like anybody who was anybody in Hollywood piled on. It was a modern-day Godfather (as far as casting). There were a lot of A-list stars. Above, I only listed two “stars,” but there were many here. Hugh Grant isn’t aging very well.

The plot twisted around. I figured it out by the end, but only slightly ahead of our protagonist (Charlie Hunnam). I consider him the main character of the movie, and not Matthew McConaughey, but it’s close.

I would have given it a better score if it was a little cleaner. The language and violence is rough. If this ever comes to TV with a clean version, definitely check it out!

Modifiers

Is it worth 3D, IMAX, or any other special viewing? If you like crime/action movies, check it out on the big screen. It will make the POWS! more intense.
Would I see it again? No, I saw it once. I know what happens. I’m good.
Should I rent it? Buy it? If you like crime/action movies, see it on the big screen. Otherwise, wait for video. No need to buy it. This is a one-and-done affair (it wouldn’t be the end of the world if you skipped it entirely).
Is it family safe? No, it is not. Think of The Sopranos. It is gritty and realistic. It’s not pretty. There is no nudity, but a bit of sexual suggestion. Language is rough, and the violence is heavy. I’ve seen and heard worse on screen, but it’s up there.
Did it have “the look?” No, it wasn’t a period piece. It was set in the UK, so it was unique, but it seemed like modern times.
Did it have “the feels?” It had a couple “huh!” moments as the plot unwound, but nothing triumphant here.

Source: IMDB.com. © 2019 STX Financing, LLC. Used under fair use trademark law.

Matt loves movies. He sees a lot of them. When he sees a movie, you will see a review here. Expect at least one a week. Don’t miss a review! Sign up for my once-a-month newsletter over on mwccabe.com.

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Professor Kerr Visits 1993

Time of Faith 001: an epic new science fiction & fantasy adventure.

The world split open.

Kerr’s gut turned. He tried holding his breath, but didn’t help. He hoped he could keep his breakfast down.

The crack in the air before him puckered and stretched like it was giving birth. Air roared from the hole. Light poured out, making Kerr squint. The LENS on his eyes adjusted by applying a brown tint.

The air in the room changed directions. Kerr felt his hair move as wind rushed into the new vacuum.

And then there was silence—no sound at all.

Kerr had read about this, but never experienced it first-hand. He was seeing an actual Portal. He realized the sides of his mouth ached from his smile. “It’s beautiful!” he whispered.

Beside him, Colonel Braun chomped on his cigar. “It’s something to see the first time, but when you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ‘em all.”

Kerr straightened his face. Across the table, Private Johansson sputtered a mocking laugh. Ignoring him, Kerr looked back to the Portal. His mind took in every detail. He wanted to remember everything.

The brightest glow was in the center of the opening. Shining beams shot out—rays of swooping flashlights. Was it coming from the Passage itself?

Kerr willed himself to stay in place. Like a siren call, the lights beckoned him forward, but he knew better. Entering the Passage now would mean being lost in a sea of time.

Now something was happening in the lights. They began to fade away. In their place was another world.

Kerr smiled. He could make out an underground structure full of concrete pillars. They stretched away into the distance. White lines marked the ground at regular intervals.

Colonel Braun cleared his throat, “Welcome to 1993. The place is New York, New York, in the grand ol’ Eyu-nited States of America.” He drawled out the last part of the sentence in an accent Kerr couldn’t place, but he understood the sarcasm. The United States of America had been a grand social experiment in its day. It was a pity it never worked out.

Kerr was about to step into history. He started to catalog all the major events he could remember from 1993. His questions tumbled out a little too quick, “Who are we meeting? What’s the exact date?”

Braun held up a finger to silence him. His eyes shifted to Private Johansson and locked before issuing a command, “Take point.”

Private Johansson nodded and readied his gun. He moved through the Portal—now wide enough for two men side by side. He bent to a crouch as he walked, still moving fast, keeping his gun raised at the ready. Nothing special happened when he crossed the threshold of the Portal—like walking through an open door.

On the other side, Johansson stopped moving. He made a slow rotation on his heels, eyes scanning in all directions. He held up two fingers and waved them forward—all clear.

“Bring it in,” said Braun. “Murphy. Hendrikson.”

Murphy moved with brisk urgency. On the other side, he looked left and right—confirming that it was clear. He squated behind Johansson, gun at the ready. He watched one way while Johansson watched the other. They were careful not to make any noise.

Private First Class Hendrikson also walked quickly, gliding through the air. His short form made no noise at all when he moved. He sliced past the other two soldiers and disappeared from view behind the concrete pillars.

Braun nodded at Major Blanc. “Ahead and hold.”

Major Blanc tucked the silver briefcase under her arm and walked through the opening. Her other hand gripped a pistol with a long silencer, barrel angled downward. Her boots clicked on the pavement with confident calm. She took up position behind the other soldiers, looking back at them.

Braun looked at Kerr. “After you, sweetheart.”

Kerr cleared his throat. Nodding, he hugged his own silver briefcase and moved toward the Portal. He stood before it and looked through. Not a big deal. What’s a hundred-year trip between friends?

He closed his eyes and stepped forward. He flinched as he tip-toed through the opening. He didn’t know what to expect.

Nothing happened. He sighed. He had been nervous for no reason. Feeling foolish, he lowered the briefcase hugged to his chest.

Johansson smiled and shook his head. “Look at this guy. Is it his first time?”

Kerr surveyed his surroundings. There were no vehicles anywhere he could see. It was a parking structure, abandoned right now. The row of lights above created circles in the pavement. It was a sea of concrete columns and white lines. It could have been any time of the day or night. There was no natural light. Since there were no cars, it was either very late or very early.

Kerr shivered and rubbed an arm. This place was a cold tomb.

Major Blanc spoke up, her voice echoing, “It’s a nice, crisp February morning.” She sucked in a breath, nostrils flaring. “Smell that oil and stale air.” She smiled at Johannson and Murphy.

Kerr took a deep breath.

Concrete. Oil. Gass. Bubble gum?

The others he understood, but bubble gum?

Colonel Braun was right behind him. He had ditched his cigar in favor of a wad of gum. Kerr was embarrassed again.

He looked back at the the open Portal. He bowed his head. He could still see the rows of computer screens casting a green glow on rows of technicians. As Kerr watched, the image of the Time Dock faded to be covered by white light again—now a doorway to nowhere.

He gulped.

“Keep it moving,” growled Braun, bringing Kerr back.

Major Blanc nodded her head, blonde hair swaying forward. Murphy and Johansson stood and moved before her, guns at the ready. They moved easy, with their legs bent to absorb the sound of their steps. Kerr felt invisible eyes watching him. He imagined Hendrikson crouching like a ninja behind the next column.

Major Blanc still didn’t seem concerned about hiding herself. Each of her steps clicked on the pavement and echoed through the structure.

Colonel Braun marched behind them with strong steps. His gun was still strapped to his hip. He kept his angry gaze pointed forward, almost daring the air to attack them.

Major Blanc moved with casual grace. Seeing no immediate danger, she tucked her gun back into the holster at her. She took her silver case from under her arm. It swung while she weaved through the pillars. Murphy and Johansson kept an eye on her as they tried to keep ahead of her brisk walk.

A large, white van came into view. A red company logo on the side proclaimed it the property of Ryder.a yellow license plate was stamped “Garden State.”

Kerr spoke sideways to Braun. “I thought you said this was New York?”

He shrugged. “Aren’t they all about the same?”

Kerr began to protest, but didn’t want to be that guy and remained silent.

The van door opened, and a pair of legs swung out. The driver was short with black hair and dark complexion. He raised both hands. His blue coveralls were too big for him, bunched up on his wrists and ankles. His unshaved face looked haggard. His tired and shot eyes shifted between them.

Kerr frowned. At first glance, this man didn’t look like a proper candidate for the Gift. Kerr wondered if the man had been sleeping in his truck. Kerr’s ideal candidate for the Gift was a white-bearded scientist or crisp politician—maybe a man dressed in an expensive suit. This man looked like a delivery person from the slums.

Murphy and Johansson lowered their guns. Murphy dropped back to the nearest column. His eyes continued to scan the forest of concrete around them.

Major Blanc called to the man in a cheerful voice, “Ramzi, good to see you again, my friend!”

Ramzi gave a tired smile, nodding, “And you, my friend.” He lowered his raised hands. Kerr noticed beads of sweat on the man’s forehead. What was wrong?

Braun’s voice echoed in the empty space, “How’s your uncle?”

Ramzi played with the clasp of his coveralls, “He is good. We’re looking forward to the operation today.”

Colonel Braun gave a satisfied nod. “Don’t keep the man waiting, Major.”

Ramzi twitched as Blanc approached. Major Blanc presenting her briefcase to the man with a quick flourish.

Kerr cocked his head to one side. He turned to Braun, “Shouldn’t I be the one to give the Gift?”

Colonel Braun’s hard eyes silenced him. He chewed the wad in his mouth and considered Kerr for a moment. He glanced first to Johansson and then to Murphy. Johansson nodded. Murphy shrugged. He looked back at Kerr, seeming to make a decision.

“Here’s the deal, egghead. We aren’t giving him the Gift.”

Kerr’s mouth opened and closed his mouth. His mind drew a sudden blank. He sputtered, “W-what do you mean?”

Braun watched Major Blanc as she pressed her fingers against both latches on the silver case. The latch sprung open with a click. She displayed the contents of the briefcase to Ramzi. Kerr couldn’t see what was inside. Ramzi raised his eyebrows. His lips puckered in a silent whistle.

He turned to retrieve something from the van. Murphy and Johannson raised their weapons again. Ramzi held up both hands and slowed. He kept one hand up as he reached in the cab.

He took a brown briefcase off the driver’s seat. He showed it to the pair of privates. Both soldiers lowered their guns.

Ramzi presented and opened the briefcase. Kerr saw stacks of green and the glitter of metal and gems before the case was closed again and handed to Major Blanc.

As the case switched hands, Ramzi added, “The USB drive also contains coordinates to the other things you have ordered.”

Major Blanc met his eyes while their hands were both still on the case, “Don’t double-cross us, Ramzi. You know we can make sure this whole thing doesn’t happen.”

Ramly gave a nervous chuckle, “Of course. We are all on the same page. You give me what I need. I give you what you need.”

Satisfied, Major Blanc took the brown case.

Braun watched the exchange while still talking to Kerr, “We couldn’t discuss this at the Time Dock. There’s too many eyes and ears.”

Johansson and Murphy had shifted their positions. Both of their guns were up again, but now pointed at Kerr. His blood froze. His skin prickled. What was going on?

He placed his silver briefcase on the ground slowly. He held up both hands. He was starting to wonder if the Gift was even contained there. This was too much to take in at one time. He spoke clear and slow. “Discuss what, exactly?”

Braun waved a hand at Johansson and Murphy. They lowered their weapons, but kept them drawn. Braun put on a wide smile, “Hey, We’re talking. No need for violence.” His face hardened. “Yet.”

Kerr’s mouth was dry. He tried to swallow. Under his clothes, he felt tingling. He would have called it nerves, but he recognized it as the Jump Suit releasing some drugs into his system. He was not the type to fight, but he had come ready to fight, if the need arose.

His heart rate increased. The suit detected this and released some extra glucose. His fear subsided. It must have released something stronger. Now he felt angry. He clenched his fists. He gritted his teeth. He buzzed with energy. He shifted his weight forward on his toes.

Braun nodded to Major Blanc. She returned it with a small smile, “He’ll wait in the van until we leave, sir.”

Kerr looked from one face to the other, “We’re here to deliver the Gift, but we don’t have the Gift.”

Braun shrugged, “Oh, we have it.” He eyed the briefcase at Kerr’s feet. “I never cared much for the thing. Too much scientific jargon for my liking. Improving the Human Race, and all that. I’m more of a fighter than a thinker. I leave that to the poindexters”

He cleared his voice, “We need the Gift as an excuse to get the field. I don’t much care what happens to it after that.”

He laughed, “Some guy from the floating city of Paris wants me to deliver a package with freakin’ time travel?he shrugged. Whatever floats your boat, Pierre.”

Silence hung in the air as all eyes were on Kerr. They were waiting for his next question. Kerr couldn’t stand the silence. “So if you aren’t delivering the Gift, what are you doing out here?” He paused before adding, “And why are you telling me?“

Braun shrugged, “That’s what we call a ness-eh-ssary evil, son. As I said. I need the Gift to get out here. Then we are free to do real soldier’s work.”

Kerr’s mind raced. “You’re changing past? You’re changing the future?”

Braun laughed, “Heck, boy! We’re all changing the future. Even you with your grand ‘ol plans of making the world a better place. If you give the Gift to someone, do you think that doesn’t change the future?”

Then the cylinders which had been tumbling in Kerr’s head slammed into place. His subconscious had been going through major events of 1993. An old history lesson had been triggered.

New Jersey. Ryder. Ramzi. 1993.

Ramzi was a terrorist. The bombing of the first world trade center. It was their fault.

His heart began to race again. In response, the suit released even more drugs into his system. His smooth confidence returned.

He kept talking while he considered his options.

“And what are you getting out of this?” Kerr looked at the brown briefcase in Major Blanc’s hands.

Johansson laughed, interrupting them, “A better question: ‘What don’t we get?’

“Heck yeah!” Murphy pounded fists with his friend. “Money, girls, and power, baby!”

Major Blanc coughed into her fist, concealing a grin.

“Who do you think saved the Union?” asked Braun, locking eyes with Kerr. “The Escalation of Baker’s Point? The Baker War? You don’t remember, but that could have gone badly for all of us…”

Private Murphy interrupted, “The first time around, it was.”

Johansson agreed. “We were all there. But we got out.” He shared a look with Braun. “Thanks to the Colonel.”

Kerr remembered the Escalation. It was frightening. Both sides came close to conflict.

“There was no war,” Kerr stated, knowing how Braun was about to respond.

Braun shrugged, “As I said. We took care of it. The Prime Minister had an accident that nobody needed to know about.” He made quotes in the air. “The other guys backed down. As you remember it, there was no war. Just the first time around.”

Kerr looked from face to face, trying to find a sympathetic look. “That’s the kind of thing prohibited by the UN Charter.”

Now Major Blanc broke in. Her cheeks flushed, “In the years before the Charter, the military had its own ways of dealing with time. You want to know how bad it was for me the first time around? I don’t remember the first time, because I was dead. I died in the beginning of the conflict.”

Kerr remained silent.

Braun eyed Kerr. “Let’s change the subject, Professor. What can you tell me about the Xeno Flu.”

The sudden change of subject took Kerr off-guard. He recited as if he were reading from a text book. “It is a common virus discovered in the late 21st century. It causes flu-like symptoms before causing a cascade of organ failure. A simple cure discovered in the 22nd century saved us, but not before over tens of millions died.”

“So, how are you feeling, Professor? Any muscle pain? Sinus pressure?”

Kerr realized with horror where he was going but asked anyway. “What do you mean?”

Braun waved his hand in a casual motion. “It would be an easy thing to slip the virus into an injection. Perhaps a routine shot before going into the field. We are going back home, after all, where a cure is common. Too bad there is no cure in this time.” Braun let the words hang in the air. Kerr was speechless.

“So, are you in or are you out?” He paused, cocking his head. “If you’re in, we go back to the Dock. We give you a little injection to clear up that little cold you have. You dispose of the Gift at your discretion. You write a glowing report about how well your first mission went. Blanc can help with any of the details you’re foggy about.” Blanc nodded. “In about a month, you’ll receive your regular Air Force check. We’ll include a generous bonus from the Union Army for a job well done.” He shrugged and brushed his hands against each other, “No fuss. No muss.”

Kerr could feel a little moisture in one eye. He blinked it away. “And what if I’m not in?”

Braun shrugged, “Then you don’t go back. How does one die of the Xeno Flu? I heard it’s quite painful after your organs start to shut down.”

Major Blanc grinned, nodding with approval.

Colonel Braun coughed, “We could tell them anything. The pressure of time travel might have been a bit too much for you. You had one of those psychotic breaks. You attacked us and we returned fire. It was so strange. Tragic, really.”

Private Murphy, placed his hat over his heart. “It happened so fast.”

Kerr shook his head, “A lot of innocent people are going to die because of this.”

Braun thundered back, “This is War! Be a man! These people are already dead!”

Kerr blinked twice and realized he wasn’t going to be able to reason his way out.

“All right, all right,” said Kerr, holding up a hand in surrender. His other hand pressed against his thigh. His fingers pressed a combination against his leg. The combination sent a signal to the nano-processor controlling his Jump Suit. It was the panic signal. It opened the pipes and started the hydraulic push.

It turned on everything in the suit at once.


This is the first instalment of my first book, Time of Faith: an epic new science fiction & fantasy adventure. 

I am posting this book serial-style. Each Sunday I will post the next section. Give me feedback, it encourages me to write!

Click here to join Matt McCabe’s monthly digest.

Notes from Paradise: January 2018

Reflections on then and now

What I said then…

Piers Anthony was a great author. He used to include little snippets of his life in the back of his novels. It was kind of a blog before blogs existed. I like that tradition. I’m going to borrow it.

I’m not saying I’m at the level of Piers Anthony, but you borrow from the best.

This here is the very first of my author notes. That should be noteworthy in some mighty hall someplace. Trade them with your friends! This is the very first note from MW McCabe! Eh-hem. Let me back down a couple notches. Right now, I’m only famous in my own head. Then again, that’s all that counts.

If you’re not having fun in life, you’re doing it wrong.

And then there’s the title of this nog (that’s like a blog post at the end of a novel).

What was I talking about? Oh, yes. The title. Paradise. Is that wishful thinking? When I have a buck or two under my belt, I plan to move to an island paradise. That’s a bit of a long-term goal. Is this paradise now? I suppose that’s a state of mind. I’m doing the work I want to do. I’m sitting at a keyboard in front of a new laptop. I’m not stuck in a cubicle and nobody is telling me what to do. Yeah, that’s the stuff.

Of course, this would be a whole lot better if I was making a couple bucks. (That’s where you come in)

Since this is my first nog entry, we don’t yet have a dialog. You don’t know anything about me. If you want a one-on-one chat, I’m always available by email. I am matt@mwmccabe.com. You know you wanna.

Anyway, I am an author with exactly one book under his belt. This here is the first book in a trilogy. I have the next two books in my head with plans for a continuing series. I’m going to see how fast I can slap these babies down. No promises at this point. But, big plans are sparkling in my eyes, fair reader.

I am oooooold. That depends on how old/young you are. I have one friend in her 70’s who calls me, “kiddo.” I look very young for my age, but I am 44. I have had to restart my life twice now, so it’s a good thing I look young. I’m gonna need it.

My future looks bright (God willing) so let’s fix our eyes forward. I have met my soul mate and am in love for the first time in my life. Looking back, you can see that past loves were only crushes. I connect with my fiancé on a very deep level. I like her insides as much as the outsides. Beauty will fade as you grow older. Inner beauty only grows more profound with age.

She has SIX kids and one grandchild. I am about to become an instant father/grandfather. I’m pumped about it. Four of the kids are adults, 22 through 26. There are two seven-year-old twins. The grandchild is five. I connected in an instant with the young kids, and I have a great relationship with the older kids. I’m looking forward to raising some young ones.

That’s all that’s fit to print! See you next time, fair reader! Stan Lee signed off with Excelsior. That kind of became his catchphrase. It’s time for me to pick my own.

Peace, love, and hope!

And this is now…

I was so incredibly hopeful two years ago—dangerously so. I say dangerous because I had a massive bubble to be burst.

It is now February 2020.

I was about to launch a book that I was certain would be a blockbuster. It was not. I was going to make a ton of money. I didn’t. Writers around the world were going to be asking me for success tips. That last one amuses me down deep in my soul.

They don’t.

I have aged a lot in the last two years.

I married my wife in January of 2019. That is now a year behind me as well. We are working on the VISA process to move her to the US. She lives and works in Rome as a chef.

How long will that take? We don’t know. They specifically ask you not to make any solid plans. It could take months. It could take years. I am bracing myself.

I’ve taken a lot of hits in the last few years. I am much more humble and pessimistic. Sometimes I plan for the worst (or at least brace myself).

The other day I was thinking out loud with my roommate. I was thinking about stand-up comedians. How long do they have to struggle before they “make it?” They do stand-up for months and years before anyone takes them seriously. They have to know that the chances of being famous are next to ‘nil. They work for very little or in some cases nothing.

I remarked that you have to love something to be willing to work at it for free. You have to like your art enough that you would do it for free.

That’s writing for me. I could be doing a minimum wage job and make far more than I do writing. Last month I made $0.40. Yes, that’s less than a dollar. I’m not complaining, I’m just giving the reality. I’m likely to make more in the future, but I’m not counting on it. I gotta do this for me. That’s the only thing that’s going to sustain me.

I’ve got the plot for this trilogy stuck in my head. It’s been stuck in my head for a good 25 years. It’s digging a hole in my mind. I gotta get it out and on to paper. Only then will I be free.

So, I got over my massive disappointment from the lackluster launch of book 1. I brushed off what I had of book 2. I started to release it in segments on Medium and on my own web site. Suddenly, I realized I didn’t know all the particulars from book 1! The major plot was still in my head, but the names were not. I decided to get my head back in the game. I am going to edit and release book 1 simultaneous to book 2. Maybe they will finish at the same time and I can grow momentum with book 3.

Releasing an edited version of what I have already written is much faster, but I will soon run out of content I have pre-written for book 2. We’ll tackle that problem later, eh?

That “new” laptop from two years ago is now a little less so. It’s gotten very slow. It’s time to take it to a shop.

I’m also looking for work. I need a side-gig to supplement my writing until I get some traction.

I hope it doesn’t take another two years to get the next one of these out. Look for my next nog at the end of book 3. Until then, courage!

Peace, love, and hope!

MW McCabe
February 1, 2020