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Wizard Battle of Vengeance

Time of Faith (Book One) part #003: An epic science fiction/fantasy, time travel adventure

Char edged forward through the darkness, sandals crunching on rocks. A thick fog surrounded him, hot and clammy.

His staff flickered with a dim green glow, enough to see by. The hair on the back of his neck prickled. His stomach clenched tight. His mouth was dry. Was he panting?

Char stopped walking and bowed his head. He concentrated on slowing his racing heartbeat. He had to control his emotions.

Master Joseph echoed in his head, “Master your emotions or they will master you.”

He wished he could hear those words again. His eyes began to well up with water. He swallowed and brushed a hand over his face.

Breathe, Char. Breathe. He brought his mind into focus. He had to stay in control. He imagined leaves swirling in a fall breeze. He imagined the bending of grass in a clearing.

His breathing became even and strong.

The glow of Char’s staff intensified.

You should get out while you can.

Char’s eyebrows rose. It was his voice, yet it was not his thoughts. It was the Overlord.

Char waved his hand in a small circle and spoke one word, “Clear.”

The fog around him fled. As it went, Char’s mind became clear again. Fear scurried away from him. He pressed his lips together. It was a spell of fear.

“Resist evil and it will flee.” The old saying made him smile.

Amusement turned to anger. The Overlord had killed his master, and Char had come to seek vengeance. He raised his voice to the darkness, “Enough games, Overlord. I’m not leaving. You’ll have to show yourself.”

The voice in Char’s head laughed. It was Char’s laugh, but not his. It made him feel like he was laughing at himself.

Is it bravery or stupidity that makes you come here? Do you think you can command me in my own house? Very well. If you will not leave, I will make myself known. I hate to stab a man in the back.

On the walls of the cave, torches sputtered. One after another they burst into flames. The room filled with heat and light. Char held his staff tight.

He was standing at the entrance to a huge throne room. The tunnel behind him had walls of stone. Ahead were four walls of glittering white marble. Each wall held torches set in ornate golden fixtures. The fire lights caused something in the back of the room to glitter. Char’s eyes pulled to the stacks and stacks of gold. It was a pile fit for a dragon. There were coins, goblets, flatware, jewelry, medallions, and heavy-looking bars. Dotted amongst the loot were jewels of every color, in every imaginable size. The sight made his eyes boggle.

In the middle of the treasure sat a fat, golden throne. Atop the throne, the Overlord lounged. He smirked and waved with a gold scepter.

“Have you come to join your master?”

The Overlord’s dress was dramatic, like a king—purple robes and fur-trimmed cape. Long sleeves draped thick over each armrest, pooling on the bed of treasure. His curly blonde hair coiled and bounced on both shoulders. He had a handlebar moustache that curved upward on both ends.

The Overlord’s ornate scepter emitted a black glow that pulled at Char’s soul. That must be the Overlord’s power source. Char could see magic auras—it dripped magic.

Master Joseph had warned him, “If you see the Overlord, you won’t know if he is friend or foe.”

The Overlord was a dark magician of the highest order—a mercenary for hire. He’d been fighting wars on both sides of the fence for years.

The Overlord stared hard at Char, considering. The words spoke into Char’s mind again.

Now I can see it. You have power, young one. Someday you might have even been a match for me. You still lack the necessary skill.

It was not smart to come here. That was foolish.

The Overlord cleared his throat. When he spoke, his voice was haughty and bored. “I grow tired of always speaking with my mind. It is good to exercise now and again, is it not?”

Char said nothing.

The Overlord filled the void, “I spend most of my time going from place to place, finding creatures to enslave. I make them do my work. The holders of my contracts reward me generously.” He motioned to the pile of riches around him.

Char pressed his lips together.

The Overlord continued, “There’s a trick to controlling creatures, you know. Did your master ever tell you?”

He leaned forward in his seat as if he were reaching the best part of his story. “Your name is Char, right?” He waved a hand, “You don’t have to tell me. I could see that plain as day in your mind. No first name. No last name. Only Char. And it’s not a nickname? You should guard your young mind. You don’t know who might use what they find there against you.”

The Overlord narrowed his eyes, staring at Char. “You see, I must know a creature’s true name if I am going to command it. Allow me to demonstrate. Char. I command you to approach my throne.”

Before he knew what was happening, Char was gliding forward. He hadn’t meant to and realized in horror that he could not make himself stop. He tried to pull back, but his legs wouldn’t listen. He moved forward, straight-legged, like a stiff soldier.

“This isn’t much of a compulsion. I’m not even trying. You should be able to break my control.” He tsked his tongue. “So untrained.” He widened his smile, exposing yellow teeth.

Char squeezed his eyes shut, concentrating hard. He slowed his breathing. He found his core and focused on it. He was one with everything and everything was one with him. He felt the Overlord in his mind. His thoughts were like fingers exploring his consciousness. He was playing games.

Char pulled his mind back and pushed the presence away. Char stopped moving forward—back in control of his body.

“There,” said the Overlord. “That wasn’t so hard, was it? You could train to do what I do.” He waggled a finger. “But you aren’t here for a lesson. I smell a silly need for vengeance.”

Char ground his teeth. “I have no times for games, Overlord. I am here to kill you. I have all the power I need to get the job done.”

The Overlord sat back in his throne and placed his hand on his chest, “Oh, dear! If I had any feelings, they would hurt.”

He cracked his knuckles. “Were you not paying attention, boy? You are nothing. I am the one with the power here. I could turn you and your empty threats to ashes in an instant. I could make you bow to me and pledge your unwavering devotion. I could destroy you with a blink. I could even make you kill yourself and save me the trouble.”

He let out a long sigh. “The problem is no one has paid me to kill you. I have a strict code about such things. If I start giving away killings for free, well, that’s just bad business.”

The Overlord smiled at him over clasped hands. “Besides, if I wanted you dead, I would have stoked the fire hotter when I burned your parents.”

It was like a punch in the stomach. Char felt his magic rushing to him even before he called for it. Tightness gripped his chest, like the world crashing in around him. His vision grew black at the edges. He hefted his staff high above his head. “You killed my parents! You made me an orphan! Die, Overlord!”

The air around Char sizzled and snapped. An explosion rocked the walls. Bright light surged from his staff, streaking through the air in a sharp, jagged arc. Char could feel magic coursing through him, burning hotter than his own anger. Thunder rocked Char’s eardrums. The bolt of lightning struck, pinning the Overlord to his throne. White energy flashed across his muscles as they convulsed. His body thrashed under the current.

Hot tears streamed from Char’s eyes. “You took everything from me!” he channeled his anger into the lightening, making it burn hotter. The Overlord’s robes burst into flames. He thought he could hear his flesh sizzle and pop. Char clenched his jaw as he squeezed as much power into the bolt as he could.

And then it was gone. Char stood panting, hot tears flowing down his cheeks.

From the cloud of smoke, the Overlord started to laugh. It was a deep guffaw that turned Char’s stomach.

The Overlord began to pat out his flaming robe. He stopped after he realized there wasn’t much left to save. Smoke drifted up from the remains of fabric in lazy circles.

Still smiling, the Overlord leaned forward. He lifted a hand, displaying a gaudy ring in the shape of a dragon’s head.

“What kind of mercenary would I be if any random wizard could vaporize me with a lightning bolt? See this ring? No creature from this realm can ever harm me.”

He gazed at the ring. “Too bad I had to kill the witch after she crafted it. You can’t risk that kind of protection falling into the wrong hands.”

He looked down at his smoking clothes. “I am afraid that you have ruined my robes. It is so hard to get a good tailor to travel to the top of this mountain. I suppose I deserved it with that whole thing about burning your parents. Business is business. I hope we can move past this.”

Char opened and closed his mouth. He was in over his head. He had depleted a good deal of his limited magic out of anger. It would take much more than a lightning bolt to defeat him. Was it even possible? Char gulped. His mind whirled, trying to invent an escape.

The Overlord fixed his gaze on Char. “We should start over, young man. Why don’t you sit down?” It was a question, but Char felt the power of compulsion pulling him down. A plain wooden chair appeared behind him. Char told himself he was choosing to sit down.

He tried to banish the Overlord from his mind as he did before, but this time the control was stronger.

“Even though you have not been too polite, I will still give you another chance, Char. There is much I could teach you. I have been meaning to take an apprentice.”

“You.” Char faltered, licked his lips, and started again, “You killed my family and my master. Why would I ever work for you?”

“When the Union wants someone dead, I’m not going to argue. Their gold was quite impressive.”

Char felt despondent. Everything was gone. What could he do? Was there enough magic for him to do anything? He felt a wave of despair. He felt dizzy.

He frowned and berated himself. Why had he come here? What had he expected?

Anger began to boil again. It nibbled at the side of his perception. It dripped into his lungs. It tightened his chest. His master had said that he could tap into the limitless fount of the earth. There were mighty rivers of magic below him. He had purpose and desire.

Char imagined his mind was a drill—going deep into the Earth. He didn’t feel any magic at first, and then he sensed warmth. He continued to dive with his mind. , he felt the familiar warmth. He was back in business. He narrowed his eyes as he looked up at the Overlord.

The Overlord couldn’t continue this way. He killed and took. His reign must end. The words of another spell played across Char’s mind. The head of his staff burst into flames.

The Overlord shook his head and tsked again, “What a waste. Did not we just discuss the ring?” He sighed. “Very well. I can tell that you are not going to change your mind. Learning is not your strong suit.” The Overlord stood and lifted his scepter. “Remember that I gave you an alternative. I have other matters to attend to. You are wasting precious time.”

An aura of magic surrounded the Overlord. It expanded outward, changing from black to deep purple and finishing with a bright red. Char could feel the wave of magic as it washed over him. It seemed familiar. He leaned back, closing his eyes.

The ground began to rumble.

The Overlord continued. “I will make an exception of you. Since you are keeping me away from making money, your death will allow me to make money. I will take that as payment for your contract. Congratulations! You earned yourself a free slaying!” he laughed. “That was funnier to me than I am sure it will be for you.”

He continued, “I will make your death something extraordinary. I mean, look at you, you have come all this way. I have so many creatures at my disposal. Most of them are strong enough to kill you. You do not want an every-day death, do you?”

He tapped his chin with a finger. “Hmmm.” Then he nodded. “Yes, that will do. Only the best for my houseguest. May I introduce you to my favorite demon,” He chuckled again. “For your sake, I wouldn’t struggle. It will be over faster.”

Char could see something appearing in the air before him—a sliver of light yawning open. It sliced the air until it connected floor to ceiling. It stretched wide, letting in a flood of light. Char had seen this before. That’s why the magic seemed familiar. The Overlord was opening a Gateway to another world and summoning one of his minions. He said it was a demon? That was very non-specific. Any creature from another world could was a demon.

The Overlord smiled, satisfied. He stood and waved his hands in the air. A gilded door shimmered into existence. The door swung open at his approach. He strode through. The door closed behind him. The doorway faded again into shadows.

Char looked back to the Gateway. It was continuing to widen. He didn’t have much time.

His mind shouted at him to flee. Rising with shaking legs, he half turned to run. Again, the words of his master stopped him dead in his tracks.

“No magic is stronger than other magic. The strongest fire is defeated by air or water. For every spell, there is a counter. If the magic cannot be overcome, try moving the target.

Char closed his eyes and took a deep breath to center himself. He had trained for this. He had tapped into a new magic source, so he had his full book of spells at his disposal.

“Ok, think, think, think.” He ignored the sound of rushing wind as the Gateway connected to another world. He planted his staff on the ground ahead of him, rolling it between his palms. The wood ground on the floor, making a small ring of dirt.

He visualized the rocks underneath him. He drew upon his new magic source like pulling in a breath. His staff started to shine with brilliant light, growing warm under his fingers. Char opened his eyes and began to chant words of magic.

Char channeled magic into the head of his staff, which was still ablaze. He added static charge to the fire. Each impact would deliver a bolt of shock along with a burst of flame. He didn’t know how many charges it held. He hoped it was enough.

Turning his attention to the other end of his staff, he channeled more magic. The wood flickered. Ice crackled as it covered the end of the staff. A touch of that side of the staff would freeze a target solid.

With those two spells finished, Char readied his mind to cast a spell of vapor concussion. The spell would attack with an invisible hammer of air.

He needed to see how vulnerable this demon would be to the elements. He had fire, shock, ice, and air. If he had enough time, he would also try earth.

Char gazed hard at the Gateway, staff gripped tight.

A low howl drifted through the air.

In the Gateway, a shadow appeared. It was man-sized at first, but as Char watched, it grew larger and larger. Soon it was double man size. A single hoof emerged to plant itself on the stone floor with a hollow click.

Augmented, Super Slow-Motion Battle

Time of Faith (Book One) part 002: An epic science fiction/fantasy adventure

The tendons of Kerr’s fingers tightened. Hands tightened into fists. They felt heavy—ready to bludgeon.

His weight shifted forward. He was ready to launch forward. His legs were springs screaming for release.

The suit performed a rapid emergency system check, flashing words too quick to read on Kerr’s LENS. One by one, his muscles tensed and relaxed. Calves. Quads. Biceps. Back. Shoulders. Stomach. Chest. Each burned with potential energy.

Kerr’s nostrils constricted and his lips pressed together. Thousands of microscopic oxites tumbled into his bloodstream. Kerr no longer felt the need to breathe.

Drugs began to trickle into his brain. Endorphins began to fire. Switches began to flip. He felt good. He felt unstoppable.

Kerr’s universe exploded.

Time stopped as a flurry of activity hijacked his mind.

Everything was brighter. Crisper. Louder.

Kerr could almost taste every passing moment. It was time to move, Move, MOVE!

Braun held a frozen smile, teeth parted. He was saying something, but Kerr couldn’t wait.

His peripheral vision absorbed the position of everything around him. They surrounded him. Braun ahead. Blanc right. Neither with gun drawn.

His real problem was Murphy and Johansson. Both had their guns trained on him. Johansson almost had a look of glee on his face. He seemed eager to get off a few shots.

These were trained soldiers. His movements would bring an instant response. Even with time “stopped” he could attack one, but not both.

He could do a lot of damage wearing the suit, but he wasn’t a soldier. The suit was bulletproof, but bullets would still knock him around. How long until somebody got a headshot?

Enough thought, it was time to act.

Kerr launched toward Braun in a blur of motion. He grabbed Braun by the shoulders and spun him around to be a shield. His trained soldiers held their fire. They ran toward him in slow-motion.

Kerr’s kicked up with his knee, burying deep in Braun’s stomach.

Another message from the suit flashed on his LENS.

INCOMING...

Kerr’s eyes widened. A dark shape was coming from the right. It was Hendrikson. He rocketed toward Kerr with a combat knife in his hands. He was fast! Everyone appeared to be moving through water, but not Hendrikson.

Kerr realized with horror that he was up against an enhanced soldier.

Kerr fell sideways, repositioning Braun before Hendrikson slammed into him. The knife swung wide, trying to strike behind the colonel. Kerr continued to roll, pulling both Braun and now Hendrikson with him. As he landed, he planted both feet on Braun and kicked.

Thank you, judo lessons!

His legs fired like pistons, launching Braun and Hendrikson into the air.

Kerr planted his palms and pushed off. Twisting like a cat, he landed ready for his next maneuver.

The suit augmented his movements. That wasn’t one of his judo lessons.

Johansson rolled onto the ground, getting into a better firing position. Murphy was lifting his gun to get a lock. Major Blanc pivoting her gun.

Kerr smiled. He wouldn’t be in the same place by the time they could fire.

Braun and Hendrikson tumbled through the air. Hendrikson wasn’t wasting the motion. Using Braun, he swung around to face Kerr. His mouth curled in a dark smile. The knife was gone. A gun was in its’ place. Kerr locked eyes with him. Hendrikson winked and squeezed the trigger. The gun erupted flames.

He watched as a bullet drilled through the air.

Without realizing what was happening, he had done a small forward roll. Three bullets hit the ground where he had been moments before. He twisted, getting his legs under him.

Using the ground as a springboard, he launched himself forward in a run. He spotted his silver briefcase out of the corner of his eye. He scooped it up as he ran.

Another short burst of bullets belched behind him. Kerr risked a look back as he ran. Colonel Braun crumpled against a concrete pillar.

Hendrikson hit the pillar with both feet, bent his legs, and pushed away like a coiled snake. He hit the ground running. His gun continued to erupt fire.

Johansson and Blanc began firing their weapons but they were firing at the spot where Kerr had been. Now he was a running machine. An inferno of energy coursed through his legs.

Clouds of dust surrounded him as bullets chewed up the floor. He kept his head low. He could feel bullets impacting back and legs, but he ignored the pressure.

He dodged right, rounding a concrete pillar, and kept running. For a split second, the bullets no longer found him.

He had gained and lost the element of surprise. A team of trained soldiers were pursuing him. It was laughable to think he could escape. What was his end game?

Kerr dashed left and right. Bullets shadowed his every step.

He ducked behind another pillar but the bullets kept coming. Hendrikson was now running parallel to Kerr.

He dove into another forward roll. As he moved, he twisted his body to face the opposite direction. His feet braced, stopping his forward momentum. His hands launched him off the ground and he pulled himself forward like a monkey—feet over hands. Springing up, he was running again.

Hendrikson cursed as he stopped his sprint and changed direction, tripping and skidding.

Tears streamed from Kerr’s squinting eyes as he flew forward. His path was taking him toward the other soldiers. He ducked into a skid and shifted directions again. Ahead of him, Kerr could see a light—the light of the Portal.

He ran toward the light.

The ground around him came to life again. A flurry of pebbles and dust shadowed his every move. A shot struck the back of Kerr’s leg with enough force to make him miss a step. He stumbled forward, almost falling. The suit righted his steps before the final tumble, letting him race ahead once more.

The Portal was now in full sight.

There was nothing but white light through the Portal. Kerr skidded to a halt. It was no longer connected to the Time Dock. Who knew where it would lead?

The bullets behind him ceased. Hendrikson had him trapped.

“Game’s over, hero,” he chuckled. His gun smoked. It was no longer pointed at Kerr. There was no point, “There was nowhere to go, anyway. The only way you’re getting a cure for that virus is going back home. It’s either ‘join us’ or die.” He shrugged. “Your choice”

Only three steps.

That was the distance between Kerr and the Portal. Inside the opening was nothingness—swirling white lights and squirming fog. No one knew what it was like. No one had ever returned.

Kerr began running.

One foot down. One foot up.

“Stop!” yelled Henderikson.

Kerr ignored him. One foot down. One foot up. He grimaced. Last foot down. Last foot up.

Kerr plunged into the Portal and the whiteness swallowed him whole.

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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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