The Snake and the Caterpillar

There was once a great snake that forever crossed the endless seas. On her back rode her one young progeny. As great as was the mother, her young was small and tender, curled clinging to her dark back. One day she heard a sirens call. Off in the distance, quietly at first, but then slowly becoming louder. It swayed the young snake with its plethora of voices, all seeming to call to it.
Distracted, it no longer held tight to its mother’s back where it clung.

Suddenly the young snake realized it was on her back no more. Lost among the calm seas, it floated alone.

Until one day, it found itself on the land. A land it had not known existed. A land of heat and jungle. A land of deep crevasses, mountainous heights, and snow. There it found itself changing, becoming something it wasn’t before. Legs grew along its long body as it grew in size, similar to the creature that lived around it. Sixteen legs grew along its belly, allowing it to walk and climb. As large as a man, he chose to converse with them. Seeking solace where none had been found since losing his grip on his mother’s back.

He traveled and met many people. People of all shapes and sizes. Men and women, large and short, thin and fat, intelligent and not so much. With each, he would offer foods, conversation, and acceptance. Many thought of him as a friend. But some looked at him and cried out of monstrous things. Some rallied to the crier’s side, gathering more around them, casting aspersion where there were once none.

So he traveled to the land of cold and snow. His many feet carried him far. Deep crevasses covered and hid in mountainous regions, but here he felt safe, allowing himself to grow a hugely monstrous size. For if they were to call him so, why should he not be?
But still, some intrepid wanders came. Not for him, but for the solitude of the high mountains, the clear deep rivers, and crystal pure air.
When they happened upon, they were at first frightened, but that was soon forgotten as they were offered foods and conversation as pure as the air.

As these wanders reluctantly left, they carried him in their thoughts and minds. Sharing some of the things they learned with others. Soon they were more. These were not wanders in body, but in troubles, and of the mind and soul. Seeking all they could not find within themselves. Offered foods and conversation, the caterpillar, soon thought of finding a mate. So many came to see him but never really did. They saw what they chose to see rather than what or who he was.

Tempted by some, the foods and wrappers lie discarded across the snow—wind pushing the flotsam and jetsam into the deep crevasse nearby. Years passed as fewer people came and more forgot. The litter became buried deep in the endless snow. One day, I, too, traveled there. My thoughts drove me with no care from whence I came. Along the edges of a great crevasse, the trees and land covered in snow, I saw the offerings of food strewn along the way. Capturing my eyes as it did, I felt the pull of worry. Perhaps I, too, much like the flotsam and jetsam the wind carried along, would be pulled into the crevasse. But soon, I heard the purr of a friendly voice welcoming me. Moving towards it, my worries gone, I saw him. Blue or green, it was hard to interpret the colors in my mind, so I did not try. He spoke to me of things I could not and perhaps should not know from a snake that rode on its mother’s back across the endless seas.

As he was drawing to a close, I realized he had indeed found a mate. Someone to listen to him, hold in his sixteen arms, and feel warmth on cold, dark nights of the soul. Seeing his smiling face, I realized he, too, was changing again, just as all caterpillars must, no matter the size. Once neither male nor female, then male as a caterpillar, he would enter a chrysalis, changing once more—this time emerging as a female. For age, size, sex, mattered not.

Only what was in the heart of the snake that rode its mother’s back across the endless seas.

Walking in the shadows

It has been a long walk this year. Departing my old work roles, then starting a new one while stressing about both. Construction on our home for more than a month (hammering, sawing, dust, heat, etc.). Our A/C failed, then we had the entire A/C/Heat system replaced (expensive), all while my mother moved in with us, and I struggled with myself to adjust. Then just when I felt somewhat well adjusted (trigger events finally dampened down), she left for the summer to live with my brother and sister-in-law. Now I miss her being here.

Top all that off with me really diving into the 3D printer technology at the end of last year (2021), and it has been crazy. Not conducive to novel writing. So my current novel has suffered for it. Daily word count dropped, while I felt guilty and beat myself up about it.

So I’ve been going really slow, at least up to this point. But lately, I’ve been back in the saddle, being productive and working on the most difficult novel I’ve written so far.

It’s only difficult because the concepts I’m working with are difficult. The novel runs along a different timeline that eventually leads us back to where we began. A story that started as one thing, then quickly became another. I often wonder if I am writing the story or if the story is writing me. It’s hard to tell some days.

And that is ok.

Sanity is a relative thing. How you connect to the society you live in. Face values for those that need it, deep philosophical connections for those that don’t, then taking one single step at a time, being careful not to look down as you don’t want to lose your balance-An easy thing to do.

Currently, I am at the 30,000 words line and am shooting for 120,000 words total or more. The story is taking on its own life now. They often do around the 30K point. That’s when I start to feel like I am just along for the ride. And it’s a good feeling too. The characters think and act, often doing things that surprise me as I get to know them. It’s good either way, watching them grow, be trapped, sometimes to the death, then become something more than they were. Struggling, suffering, experiencing pleasure and pain, finding themselves only to lose everything else.

There are some new aliens. A fun group that distracts with scariness while making you wonder if that is all they are.

I love writing novels, not so much on the marketing parts and so on. I fact need to start converting my first six books in Audible for those lazy readers out there (I am one sometimes). I just haven’t found enough time to work an 8 to 5 job making the money I enjoy so much, writing early in the morning writing, then being a part of my family, enjoying my newfound 3D printing hobby, electronics/robotics hobbies, programming, and more. Frankly, it’s exhausting. I’m looking forward to the day when my only career is writing novels, and my hobbies are just fun things I do the rest of the time.

I’m fortunate. My wife (soon to be of four years) is simply a sweetheart. My mother now lives with us, and I get to experience her company in a way I have not as an adult. My wife’s kids are easy to get along with and just plain well-behaved kids. My three little dogs are the loving little creatures that live to be around us. I’m healthy, my mind is as creative as it’s ever been, and I acknowledge my core nature is one of anxiety. Knowing that makes life a lot easier and allows me to give myself perhaps some extra room when I need it.

Time to go; I have more writing to do. Always more. Maybe next time around, I will start much younger. Use all those hyperkinetic dreams for fuel.

Next time.

Mongruxx: Until We Cross This Bridge Again

Book four of the Mongruxx series is finally out!

It was a long book to write, but it took the story into a different direction with a completely new cast of characters. Interesting, dark, gritty, with a smudge of something that reflects the events of our world.

As always, when a book is finished, it’s like watching one of your children leave home. You always want to do more, but the story goes where it goes. The older I get, the wilder my mind seems to become. A good thing in science fiction, an outlet for that black hearted pirate, the gunman that never grew old, the lonely wander across millions of astronomical units of space.

Read it if you dare. Reviews are always welcome.

Stay frosty my friends, we can’t let even one of of those things in here…

Until we cross this bridge again

Mongruxx: “Until we cross this bridge again” is complete. Actually it was done two weeks ago. I handed it over to my editor who is scheduled to do her magic over January, 2022. Then it will be up on Amazon, waiting to be read.

Until we cross this bridge again
Mongruxx: Until we cross this bridge again

It was a long book to write, with a lot of new characters. Some new concepts, as more parts of the White Desert planet were revealed. It’s easy to luxuriate in that environment, to revel in the character’s strange and gratuitous behavior.

Planting seeds it seems, is what I do.

So the next novel (Q3 or Q4, 2022) of the Mongruxx will have all of these interesting people (at least the ones that survived) to make their way in that world. When I’m writing, I never know where we’re going next. I think I like it that way. It keeps it interesting for me. After all, these books are for me. I want people to read and enjoy them, but if I’m completely honest, I write them for me. Places I want to go, people I want to be. Stars still unvisited.

My next book is titled, most of the characters populated, and I’ve been percolating for the last couple of weeks. During this holiday season, I’ve spent a lot of time becoming proficient in 3D printing (I received a Prusa i3 MK3S+ 3D printer for Christmas, liked it so much, that I bought a second one. More on that in another post). Also reviving my long lost interest in electronics, building and experimenting, and having fun there in.

But the new book calls. My dreams become turbulent with no outlet in writing. With maybe 44 years left on this planet, I must always be moving forward. Learning what I can learn, accepting the broken nature of who I am, and loving the people around me.

Have a good Christmas holiday.

I’ll see you on the other side of the black, pilgrim.

Meandering Thoughts ~ Tuesday, Sept 28th, 2021

Until we cross this bridge again

I don’t write as much as I’d like to here, as I put most of my efforts into the novel I’m working on. As you can see from the cover above, the current book I’m writing is “Until we cross this bridge again.” The word count stands at 127K, targeted for 150K. But it may go further if the story requires it.

There are a lot of moving parts in this one. A large cast of characters, taking us places we haven’t gone before. Places, in fact, we didn’t know existed. This world, Planet X037.54501, continues to grow and intrigue me the more I learn about it. Surprise after surprise, things I didn’t expect to happen at all do. Often in ways, I wouldn’t have guessed. “Uncovering the dinosaur bones,” as Stephen King would say. His book on writing helped me discover my own method of writing when I first started. My first book (I’m now working on my sixth) was one of the most difficult things I had ever done, yet the easiest, most creative, and exciting. Each one after that has been challenging, teaching me so much about writing, world creation, characters, dialogs, and much more.

Inspiration comes easily when you give up the things that distract you, that you choose to escape into.

I constantly take notes. Many times, I have an interesting thought, a bit of dialog, a strange idea, while in the shower, laying in bed about to go to sleep, only to jump out of the shower and write it down (on my phone notepad), or put on my glasses in the dark, tapping away furiously recording it for future use. Only my day job pulls me regularly away, to do the things that make money, save, and so on. Eventually, that too will pass.

In the meantime, I’ve been working on closing a story arch that began at the beginning of the arrival of the Mongruxx at the S.A. Mursa base. Something they didn’t become aware of until this novel. Funny because this novel isn’t entirely about the Mongruxx. The bulk of the book is more about “The Lost.” Another human attack tank unit, similar to the protagonists of the “Bleeding Fist.” Only these characters didn’t meet the Mongruxx. They survived out on their own. Grit and determination are leading them down another path, a darker one. Perhaps due to their character? The callousness of mind that develops over a lifetime? It’s easy to hate what you don’t understand. To think you understand someone when you don’t.

Life isn’t easy.

We often make choices that come back to haunt us. Harrigan and Seeliger certainly do. But we’ll wait and see. The final pages of this story haven’t been written yet. Although we might glimpse the horizon, we still don’t know what’s ahead until we cross this bridge again.

Gaining Momentum

The long hard climb of my new Mongruxx book with a lot of new characters is gaining momentum. Forty thousand words in now, only another one hundred ten thousand words to go. A lot of the unique characters of the attack tank group “The Lost” are getting interesting.

The book “Mongruxx: Until We Cross This Bridge Again” is the 4th book of the Mongruxx series. It is very different than the others, for it is really about “The Lost.” They definitely get a lot more print time; however, some story arcs do carry over from the last book, “Mongruxx: Where the river ends.” This one is a lot darker and can be read as a stand-alone quite easily.

Mongruxx: Until We Cross This Bridge Again ~ Cover by Robert Day

I think I’m enjoying the journey even more so than I’ve done in the past. All of the books I’ve written have taught me something. Every one of them feels like another life I’ve lived. Usually, when I start a new book (of a series or using the same characters), I will read the last book to get the character entirely back in my head. It’s a different kind of fun, as I know these characters like the good friends that they are, yet I enjoy the story surrounding them as if someone else had written those words. Our brains are fascinating!

As a fun fluff project, I’m starting a small set of serials on Kindle Vella. A fun thing to do. It’s called “Dead Lost,” the story is of a character lying in the desert, slowly dying of thirst, yet telling us his story. Of the Alabastro and the “Book of Madness” (another short-term project. Maybe after the “Mongruxx: Until We Cross This Bridge Again” is completed). How it took his life to dark places because of his desires, and what unfolds from there. Told in the first person, much like “One Way To Hell” and “Transport Unfriendly Skies.”

See you on the other side of the black, Pilgrim.

Collectiveness of I

On the down hill side

“One Way To Hell” is reaching that point where you can feel the story starting to wind down. That’s both good and bad. Good, because you want the cover to be finished, the novel to go to the editor, and then be published. Bad because there is always something else EB intends to say, another few steps along in the story taking us someplace new.

Cover Art

I’m excited about this novel as it is very different than the last four. “One Way To Hell” is written from first person perspective. Set in the same universe as the Mongruxx novels and Transport Unfriendly Skies. You see EB’s world only from his viewpoint. Some characters from other novels in this universe come into play as well. It makes for a fun experience, getting to know EB, Valentine, Tiffany Siuchykava, Spill Barryman, and many others. Definitely, a more challenging novel to write, as I never get to enjoy other characters’ viewpoints. At 80K words, it is an easy, exciting read. It should be out by April, 2021.

That said, I am excited about starting on the next Mongruxx novel, “Until we cross this bridge again.”

This novel will bring some new characters that will change how you see this world and maybe your own. The novel will be split between the new characters and the existing ones, almost feeling like two novels in one. After that, I can’t say as I haven’t uncovered those dinosaur bones yet.

But as the images show, there will be large, fully developed tank battles. Some desperate and interesting long running battles of attrition that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.

I’ve been working on the cover and plan for this to be known as the black book. For the overtones within it, and the black-hearted lives that lead men to do unspeakable things that they often live to regret. For lives are lived across many lifetimes, and regrets are carried far within them. A tiger may not change its stripes, but growth remains even if it is across a thousand million lifetimes.

This is the tale of those lost in that foreverness that is life just as we all are. No rest, no respite, just an unending battle across one life to the next. Some told here, more experienced by us all. Nothing remembered, all forgotten. This is our curse and blessing. Lost among the stars, these bugs clinging to a ball of mud flung out into the great endlessly expanding beyond.

Steady, pilgrim; it’s coming. Mongruxx: Until We Cross This Bridge Again – March 2022. 150K words.

Book list for the years 2021 – 2022

Strap in tight, and keep the cigar clamped between your jaws. Here are the books that are coming up next:

One Way To Hell – EB the Rabbit
Set in the same universe as the Mongruxx series, and Transport Unfriendly Skies, it’s a first person thrill ride. Plenty of action, trouble everywhere you look, it is as EB says, “One way to hell…”
80K words
Coming Q1, 2021

Mongruxx: Until we cross this bridge again
This is book four of the Mongruxx series. Dark days have set in upon the Mongruxx as they reestablish themselves at S.A.Mursa base. A new story will be told, some old friends appear, and life become pretty gods damned messy on among the vast dunes of the white desert.
Come along for the ride.
150K words
Coming Q4, 2021 – Q1,2022

Transport Unfriendly Skies – Survivors
The next installment of Transport. Our intrepid heroes, Taros, Ivan, and Ave are in the biggest fight of their lives. For their survival, the expanding war in Sabulo Megalopolis. For sanity itself.
80K words
Coming Q2-Q3, 2022

One Way To Hell ~ EB the Rabbitine
Mongruxx: Until we cross this bridge again
Transport Unfriendly Skies ~ Survivors