Monday, April 23, 2018

inherited creativity

I used to share some of these on my Facebook page, until I closed it down. Like mother, like daughter. While I use words to paint, my oldest daughter uses different media. She's a very talented digital artist when she wants to be. Here's one of her better works, inspired by an episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender and shown here by screenshot.


She creates some of her art (like the above picture)  on a Nintendo 3DS and posts it using a program called "Colors". She is also expanding to drawing on a computer with a drawing pad and creates some amazing art with the traditional pencil and paper. If you have a passionate artist, I recommend the Colors program and the supportive community of artists accessible through the 3DS.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

a lesson from being sick

There's something about chronic illness that changes you, and not only because it changes your physical health. Rather, it makes you realize your mortality and weaknesses. In that, you begin to appreciate the smallest of victories and the simplest of moments. Suddenly those days and events that once seemed like the end of the world don't seem so bad, because there are much worse things to worry about.

It's sad that we can't learn that until the irreversible illness happens. Those who understand without becoming sick are the truly blessed.

Treasure each moment that you can do what you enjoy. You never know when it will be taken away, nor do you realize how good your life is until you can no longer do the simplest of tasks without effort or not at all. Do not take anything for granted--not a breath, not a blink, not even a smile. Make changes for the better before you must learn the hard way that it could all be taken from you. Learn to appreciate every gift of your life.

This is what I wish I had more fully understood before getting sick. Just think what our would could be if everyone was thankful rather than envious and generous rather than greedy.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Enlightenment excerpt 3

Enlightenment continued from March 17th:

After what seemed an eternity, one of the soldiers re-emerged, shoving a black-robed man with his wrists strapped together before him. 
Lilly barely restrained a groan. Several more seemed to materialize from nothing, the last of four stumbling after a shove from the butt of a Peacekeeper weapon. Her heart sank to see one of the men she considered a friend among them, and it sank deeper when she saw the rest of the Peacekeepers emerge with seven more Velokians, some of them in their ordinary clothes. 
I'm sorry. I did this. If I hadn't feared for Mychel…  
She twisted around to see the taut lips of restrained anger on his pale face. He was Pallora Fen, the enlightened celemae preparing for Ascension. Luriel, the enemy of the daemons. Velokians served the daemons.
"Don't you even," she snarled.
Hard eyes flashed on her with accusation. 
"These are good men," she argued. 
Cheek muscles bulged with the tightening of Mychel's jaw. He didn't have to say a word--she saw it all on his face.
"That remains to be determined," Commandant Renvil said with a hint of conceit in his voice. "Sergeant." 
The smart clap of boots came from behind. 
"Take these two to a holding cell." 
At a motion of the commandant's chin, steely fingers on her shoulders dragged her towards the door. Mychel followed, hobbling on a leg brace with the help of a cane. 
At the door, they met another Peacekeeper who led them through the narrow, utilitarian corridors of the carrier. Fresh air wafted through the corridors with the faint tinge of chemicals that maintained the various parts of the airship. 
Through several tight corridors and past Peacekeepers in the wider spaces, they attracted few eyes. The men and women in their military uniforms were too busy with their duties and were too well disciplined to let themselves be distracted by prisoners; but Lilly didn't doubt they were not oblivious, especially when a young officer gave her a sly side look as she passed. 
Anger sparked a desire to wipe that look off his face but died after passing, to be replaced by guilt and regrets of having led the Peacekeepers to the castle. 
Before the Awakening of the luriel piece within her, she had often cheered their swift tamping down of civil disobedience demonstrations. Thrissen might be a free republic, but it had rules and she had gladly lived by them, would still if not for the chaos that had interrupted her orderly life. 
If only she could go back. 
But now, everything was different. 
Would the daemons come for her? Did they fear her? Would they continue what Darrac had started? What would happen in Velok without Darrac's leadership? 
A pang of grief plucked at her heart and emerged as a welling of moisture in her eyes. She swiped it away a moment before the lead guard keyed a cell door to open in the brig. 
When the woman stepped aside, Lilly was nudged into a square barely big enough for a man to fully stretch across either way, if one ignored the fold-down cots. 
When Mychel followed, she dropped onto one of those cots with her head turned away to avoid the scolding in his eyes. The faint click of the door and the tap from the cane told her all she needed—she was stuck once more in a tiny cell with him. 
The sound of fabric rustling accompanied a groan. After a heavy sigh, he fell silent. 
Several minutes passed in which Lilly started to think he might leave her alone. She dared to peer aside only to see him glaring in judgment. Those blue eyes were ice in their fix on her. 
"Those men came from the same place you did—you and Darrac. They served him, didn't they?" 
He didn't deserve an answer. 
"Tell me, Lilly. Are they revived Velokians?" 
"They're good men." 
"Are they Velokians?" 
She refused to give him the satisfaction. He didn't know them, but she knew him; he would make assumptions for the worst. 
"By your silence, I assume I'm correct." 
"You don't know them, Mychel." 
"They serve the daemons. That's all I need to know." 
She jumped to her feet before him, trembling in fury. "How dare you judge!" 
Mychel stared up at her, a curious blend of emotions on his face, but she wouldn't back down. She was done cowing to him and his Pallora Fen.
(c) 2018 Melanie Nilles and may not be reproduced without permission.

Watch for the full novel in late May-early June 2018!

Read Book 1 of The Luriel Cycle, Awakening, now in paperback or ebook:

Amazon (99c)

FREE:
Barnes and Noble
iTunes
Kobo
Smashwords


Sunday, April 1, 2018

A good reason to unplug

I haven't missed Facebook. Twitter I still kind of miss, sometimes thinking that there's something I want to share. Then, I'm forced to realize that I don't need to share and that my brain was rewired by social media to open my life to the world.

But, you know what? I feel so much HAPPIER without those platforms. It's liberating to be without both. At first, you think you're missing out, but if you wean off gradually, it's not quite so difficult. Social media is an ADDICTION. It is unhealthy for your mental state and a big reason our world is in so much trouble, imho.

Part of this was made easier because of a situation at my day job. I have a TV available by my desk and usually have it on various news programs while I'm working, on a low volume, occasionally turning it up to hear an interesting segment. However, when I'm really busy, I keep it off and play music from my phone app, quietly so it's not disturbing to me or my boss in his office.

Well, I realized something after the busy time of the year, after I had the TV off for a couple of weeks so I could concentrate on a gazillion tasks at one time, and then things slowed and I started turning it on again. If I have the TV off, I don't know what I'm missing but am too busy to care. When it's on, I tend to pay more attention to everything, only because it's there in front of me.

Guess what? The same applies to social media. Realizing that I didn't care about what I didn't know on the news made unplugging from social media that much easier for me. If more of us would just not care about what we're missing out on, we would be a lot happier. We don't need to know what someone we hardly know is doing on their vacation or that a social media celebrity got more bling. I mean--really? Does that change your life in some dramatic way?

Probably not. So, why should you care? People are just looking for attention in the form of likes and comments. It's called narcissism, and it's unhealthy behavior, on both sides.

I still have two social media accounts, but one is instagram, for picture sharing. That's all I really like anymore, if someone can tolerate my cat and horse pics and the occasional food or book pics. And I have my G+ account, which I hardly use, and then usually just to share blog posts. This blogspot is also owned by Google. (I had issues with Wordpress that came up on a periodic basis, so I gave up on that blog site.)

Social media can be very toxic, especially Twitter and Facebook. Whether that's in the form of our "friends" commenting something we dislike or something they dislike. It's not like spoken words that we only hear once. Written words are there to see over and over and tend to stick in our minds longer. Why torment yourself? There are helpful aspects also, but most people utilize both.

Back to my original point--unplug. If you are constantly checking social media because there's a little voice in your head questioning what you might be missing, turn it off. Delete one account without opening a new one. Give it four to six months and then delete the next big one. If you still can't slow down, after another six months, give up the next most active account. I promise that once you overcome the withdrawal symptoms (yes, they are real, even for our digital devices and social media), you will feel more peaceful. The world will be a quieter place. You won't know what you're missing and you won't know what should be making you angry, because it won't be constantly poking at you and irritating you. Do you like to feel angry all the time? No? I didn't think so.

I hope that others can see the light as I have. You don't have to quit social media completely, depending on your particular level of addiction, but you'd be surprised how much lighter you feel without the two heavies--Twitter and FB. Quit oversharing your life and begin looking inside for affirmation rather than outside. You'll learn to appreciate what living really is.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

About my social media

It's finally happened. I came to my senses. After years of wanting to make a change, but succumbing to the siren song of a few connected readers, I said good bye to Facebook and my author page.

I said farewell to Twitter months ago.

It wasn't a hard decision. This was something that I felt needed to be done for some time. I've been needing to simplify my life. Besides, I've been enjoying sharing pictures on instagram far more and wanted to cut down my accounts to those that I find most useful. Just as I deleted my MySpace account many years ago, so too have Twitter and Facebook lost their luster and been tossed into the rubbish bin.

Social media has changed our world, and not for the better. I grew up without social media in a time when people actually called each other on the phone or spoke. (Yes--you know that hole in your face? That actually can make words and express meaning more so than words hastily typed on a computer screen, and you are more likely to think carefully about what comes out of it.) I lived most of my life with the contact of others in-person, not through a computer screen.

There is a deprivation of culture in our technological society. It stems from the evils of social media and the inadequacies of instant access and short statements without the explanations for full context to form thoughtful replies. It also steals time and makes us lazy. What little good can come from connecting with others too far away to contact in person can be easily overwhelmed by the unconscious comparisons to others and being too quick to judge.

I've been seeking to get back to a healthier lifestyle, one in which I speak to my closest friends and family rather than wait to see what they post online for all the world. I want less of the stress that those forms of social media bring and certainly less of the toxic atmosphere they can fuel.

Most of all, I want to enjoy life without the attachment to my computer. I'll carry a phone with instagram, but my phone is mostly a device for actually speaking to people, not for ignoring my surroundings and the beauty of this world that we will too soon leave behind. When my time comes, I don't want to look back and realize how much I missed. At least in sharing pictures, I am showing the life that is offline.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Enlightenment excerpt 2

Enlightenment, continued from March 10th (unedited version):

She met the calculating gaze of the commandant with all the calm that she could muster amid the flurry of emotions. "Do you have infirmary vids?" 
Exasperation passed over his face. He turned aside to another viewer and keyed something from the side opposite her. Everything turned backwards on the viewer panel from her perspective. 
The viewer going static confirmed what she had suspected from his expression. Either they were toying with her or Soroya had done more than put the medical staff to sleep. 
"I was hoping you could tell me," Renvil said. "For several minutes, the cameras malfunctioned and doors stayed locked. Then...everything worked and your friend was gone. The medics remember nothing. I have only your word." 
She remembered the awakening of the medics and the rush of soldiers with weapons ready. That accusatory glare on his face directed at her and Mychel wasn't going to get the answer he wanted. "It wasn't us. It was her." 
"Do you accept that daemons are real?" Mychel asked. 
Commandant Renvil's glare darkened on Mychel. 
Really?! After seeing with his own eyes, he still didn't believe? It was useless explaining the truth. The Peacekeepers wouldn't listen. "Then you wouldn't believe me." 
"Mister Viltis has given us some information about a war that I find quite interesting." 
Interesting, as in, unbelievable. She was arguing with a wall. She might as well have been telling Deringer that the rover had fallen into a crater on Deiavo. Both men set their minds on what they wanted to believe and blamed someone else, and no one could change them once that happened. 
"Commandant, I can't tell you anything you want to hear," she said. 
He shrugged. "Then tell me what you know." 
"A being from the Shadow Realm came and took him away." 
"A daemon," he said with a note of disbelief.
"No. His mother." 
"A daemon's mother?" 
"Yes…and no." 
The commandant's crossed arms meant that she'd lost him completely. It would be useless to explain.
"I already told you, Am—Commandant…" Mychel corrected himself upon the stiff-jawed glower from the man. "These daemons were the dark side of the Eternals, what our ancestors knew as Gods. Luriel are the light side. During some…magical event, they were split and have been at war since." 
"I don't need another lecture on your religious nonsense." 
"It's not nonsense!" Lilly slammed her hands on the table. How had Mychel convinced her? 
He hadn't. Jazmin and the daemons had. 
If his own eyes couldn't convince him, there was nothing more she could do. 
"If you cannot give me a rational answer for the disappearance of your friend, this Darrac, I will be forced to investigate without your cooperation." 
I give up! It was pointless to argue the truth. 
When he tapped a series of keys on his end of the long table in the room and the viewers pulled up an image of the hill that was the hidden fortress of the Velokians, Lilly's breath froze. 
"We monitored you emerging from this location, Miss Lowreth." 
Mychel's eyes burned through her. 
Those eyes soon lifted to watch the activity on the screen. That activity sank her heart. 
A nearly-complete circle of Peacekeepers closed ranks with weapons aimed through personal FIZ shields from the generators of special gauntlets they wore. That circle of several hundred closed in on the mound that was the magically- and technologically-hidden ruins of Keigan Castle, the fortress of the Velokians serving Frael Darrac. 
Seconds pounded in her chest. 
And one realization struck like a hammer through glass. She barely contained the rage boiling from within. "You planned this all along!" Her blood ran hot, then cold in dread of what he meant. They monitored everything.
Commandant Renvil stood with the same haughty air that had left her disliking him since the first time they had met. 
The soldiers double-lined where they ran out of room to move shoulder-to-shoulder, until one of them vanished. They had hit the barrier between the outside and inside. It was passable by anyone, but in that remote area of Casanna Province, it was unlikely that anyone would stumble upon it. 
She had led them right to it. This was her fault.  
I'm sorry, Darrac…and all of you who tried to help us. The Velokians weren't evil or dangerous, not like the daemons they served. They were men in search of a purpose, in search of a resurrection of magic, the power that fueled the Shadow Realm. Granted, some sought power to dominate—Harrel came to mind—but many were simply intrigued by the old ways. 
And she had hoped they would teach her. 
The soldier who vanished stepped back from the grassy mound and lifted a fist. The helmeted figure turned aside to another, who gave a nod. 
She could see no expressions behind the black HUD displays covering their faces, but clearly they were communicating. 
After a tense minute, the first soldier paired up with another and, together, they disappeared. More pairs followed until only a single circle surrounded the mound that was Keigan Castle. 
Lilly swallowed, her eyes unwavering on the viewer. Please don't get Saul. Please don't find any of them. Please don't be able to find the secret wall… She could only hope the Velokians stayed behind that magic barrier. They were her only connection to Darrac and the bridge to Fal Oroneth. 
"Would you care to share what my men can expect?" 
"No." She wouldn't give the commandant the satisfaction, and she didn't want to miss anything on the viewer.
(c) 2018 Melanie Nilles and may not be reproduced without permission.

Enlightenment is coming in June 2018!

Read the first book of The Luriel Cycle, Awakening, now...

Amazon (99c)

FREE:
Barnes and Noble
iTunes
Kobo
Smashwords

Also available as a paperback.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Enlightenment excerpt

I present the opening two (unedited) pages of Enlightenment:


On the viewer, a dark cloud coalesced into semi-solid shadows standing two stories high. Monsters from the most horrid nightmares, they flowed like smoke with each movement as if not really there. More than a dozen materialized around the man lying on the ground. Twice as many red eyes glinted with malicious intent. Wings folded to their backs, and tails lashed. 
Lilly saw herself running to cover the weakened and unconscious Darrac, who had shrunk from being one of those monstrosities, his daemon form, to the man she loved. 
Her chest ached to watch the events unfold. Pieces came back to her memory so that, as the light flared to blind the camera, she felt the eruption of desire to defeat the daemons and save Darrac. 
She barely saw the lone pair on the grassy hill through the blur of tears that burned her eyes. She remembered that day. And with it something else that stabbed her—Mychel's betrayal. 
She clamped her teeth on the anger threatening to spew from her mouth. 
"I didn't understand," came a voice from the man beside her. "You were right. You were right about him. He was more." 
Sure, he said that now, but he had been willing to kill her to free the luriel attached to her life. 
The sharp lines of Commandant Renvil's face could have cut Mychel down cleaner than her anger ever could, granting her a small satisfaction. 
"You didn't want to understand." Lilly remembered that much about why she had been reluctant to tell him where she was. It should have been enough that she reassured him she was all right with Darrac. "You should have stayed away." 
Mychel's grimace was small comfort that he felt shame for his actions. He should have thought of that before acting. 
"Miss Lowreth." 
What did he want? The commandant was as much to blame. He must have given Mychel the location of where she had asked to be dropped off in Casanna Province that had led to the loss of Darrac and the hole in her heart. 
"What can you tell us of these…creatures?" 
She'd have a few words with Mychel later. The sooner she finished this interrogation by the Peacekeepers, the sooner she could return to contacting the luriel spirit within her to search for Darrac in the Shadow Realm. 
"Miss Lowreth?" 
"Daemons," she finally answered. 
The heavy sigh of exasperation from the commandant was not unexpected. She hadn't believed in any of this a few cycles ago, until she lived it. 
"Are they a threat?" he asked. 
"They kill to maintain their forms in this realm, this…dimension." Maybe he couldn't accept the term "realm"—mysterious and ancient in a way that described fictional creatures and myths. But dimensions; scientists had debated the existence of other dimensions. "They're from another dimension with…different energy, different time. Because of that, they can't simply exist here. They need to absorb our energy." She swept her arm around to encompass all of Ahlias. "They need that to maintain their form here, otherwise they are only strong in their own dimension. 
"That's why…she took him." Darrac wasn't from the Gray Realm. His injuries had been too severe. 
But he might have recovered with the bridge in his fortress, if he'd had that chance. 
"Who took…I assume you mean Darrac was the other man that was with you?" 
"Yes. His mother took him back to the Shadow Realm. Our medicine can't heal them, like our weapons can't hurt them." 
The Peacekeepers had been watching everything. It would stand to reason that the Eternals also had their own way of observing. 
Lilly stared at the last image still frozen on the viewer—her lying unconscious over Darrac and Mychel sitting by them. If the Peacekeepers had that recorded, they must have had everything on their carrier recorded. Everything…including the scenes of her life and Mychel's life before his Awakening. 
Another realization struck. They weren't the only ones involved. 
Her breath froze—The magi! 
She would have time to worry about them later. She could check in once she was free from the Peacekeepers. 
Now, he wanted to know about Darrac.
(c) 2018 Melanie Nilles and may not be reproduced without permission.


Enlightenment is coming in June 2018!

Read the first book of The Luriel Cycle, Awakening, now...

Amazon (99c)

FREE:
Barnes and Noble
iTunes
Kobo
Smashwords

Also available as a paperback.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Horsing around with my little Buddy



I've been going out to see my boy regularly all winter, although I haven't ridden him since late October or early November. With all the snow and ice we've had on the ground, he's been enjoying time in the arena, where he doesn't have to worry about slipping. Today he was a little more reserved than he has been but still enjoyed stretching his legs.

Two months ago, I started supplementing him with Vitamin E and then Smartgut and Aloe Vera pellets from Smartpak and he's really blossomed for me and has been feeling especially good. The pressure points indicating ulcers are much less touchy, in fact hardly at all anymore, and his stools are always formed and he doesn't poop all the time like he used to. It's made a world of difference for him.

At one point in the video, I comment about him looking sore going one direction. He's usually the opposite, but he could have some muscle soreness from bad footing (deep snow) in the pasture or from his habit of being tight in his poll and jaw, which I also work out with a little massage and myofascial release when I take off his halter. He could also need chiropractic work, but these little issues tend to work out themselves with him by the next time I see him. No worries.

I can't wait to start riding again, but in the meantime, I bring him in to stretch his legs on some solid footing and then do some in-hand lateral and natural horsemanship work. We'll start lunging soon under saddle and getting back to work.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Kindle ebook giveaway

Sign up beginning on March 7 (Wednesday) on Goodreads to win a copy of Awakening (The Luriel Cycle, Book 1) for your kindle. Since I can't make the price free, this is the next best thing (except that I have to pay to give copies away).

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/278228-awakening


To get a free copy from any other retailer, visit http://www.melanienilles.com/Awakening.html or click on the link below this page's banner for "The Luriel Cycle".

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Books and cats

Books and cats, and books and cats, and...

That was my attempt at playing on this post and turning it into beat boxing.

Not happening, huh?

Never mind, then. I'll get to the point.

I've been working hard to finish Eternal, the third of The Luriel Cycle trilogy. I finished the first draft of Enlightenment last fall, did major edits at that time, and then began writing Eternal. When I'm done with this first draft, I'll go back to Enlightenment and make the final edits. I hope to release Enlightenment in June of this year with Eternal following up in August or September.

Then...I don't know what I'll do. Maybe go back to one of my other works. I'm surprised by the requests I've had recently for a sequel to Legend of the White Dragon. However, I really want to return to my characters on the fictional world of Derandria. I could also return to more Starfire stories, or I could start something totally new. I'm not sure where my muse will take me. I live in the moment of whatever story idea grabs me when I'm available to write it.

Until then, I'm enjoying the lessons of the Shadow Realm with Lilly and the other characters of The Luriel Cycle stories. The drama is done and she's been on the run to reach Darrac, making new allies and confronting old enemies.

I am hoping to finish the first draft of Eternal by tax day. With my part-time job, family responsibilities, animals to care for, and taking care of myself, writing doesn't always happen at the pace I'd like.

When I'm writing, I usually end up with a cat or two on and/or next to me. Many of my pictures end up on my instagram account @melanienilles_author, but not always ...

I almost never get anything done when this big boy crawls
onto my lap and makes himself comfortable!

Love snuggling with Jack,
our other big boy,
although he looks small at this angle.




Jack, in a box

Hubby and I with all four cats 

Three cats on me!



Saturday, February 17, 2018

thoughts on prayer

As a person of faith in an almighty creator, I have to say one thing to those who deny the power of prayer. God doesn't stop bullets or prevent bad things from happening, at least not in a reactive way. He gave us free will and two hands to make tools and choices. But prayer is for the spirit, an adjunct to the physical being. It is not to be taken separately as a physical "tool". Rather, it is meant as a tool for the spirit and heart.

To those who have no faith, you are missing the point. It has been proven scientifically that prayer can help people recovering from illness or injury more quickly and keep people alive longer who are otherwise terminal. Psychology Today reported on this here. You can read about a study from NIH here.

The power of prayer lies in the hope and peace it brings. These have been known to increase brain chemistry for the positive, decrease stress, and help provide a balance in the body that is healing. Belief in a loving God also provides a positive influence for those who truly have the word of God in their hearts (not the hypocrites who say one thing but live another or who judge others when it is only God's place to judge us, nor the extremists who have forsaken the true word of God in the name of selfishness and distorted the teachings of true love and forgiveness.)

In a world where humans are increasingly rejecting God or at least the teachings to love one another, it's no surprise that we are seeing more violence. Perhaps if we all came together in unity and prayer instead of wallowing in self-righteousness and arguing, our world would be a better place.

Don't deny the power of prayer. Many times, miracles have happened because someone believed. The energy we create because of our beliefs and actions can be used for good or bad. It's up to each of us to decide. If generating positive energy comes from prayer, it ought to be embraced and shared.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

life is full of plot holes

I like some movies that maybe weren't popular in their genres and probably scored low or moderate on Rotten Tomatoes. I think about reviewers saying how bad the plot holes are, plot holes that I tend to overlook that really aren't too obvious, or a deus ex machina.

Some movies and books make me hate them for the plot holes, but then there are usually so many problems with the characters and plots in general that I can't overlook them because nothing works.

And then I realized something--some things that seem like plot holes really are not. In fact, they are more true to life than a perfectly explained and wrapped up logical plot. Let me explain...

Something looks like a plot hole because it isn't explained or not foreshadowed or contradicts what has been established. Entertainment is about drama and luring us in with emotions, allowing us to see and feel something other than our own daily routine. But entertainment comes from certain perspectives. Books allow us into characters minds but is still a limited perspective. It is based on a character's interpretations of events and other characters, or even the writer's/director's perspective (what the writer or director wants the reader to think). They are limited, just like our real-life experiences are limited.

Not all plot holes are plot holes but are, rather, simply misdirection, lack of information, or wrong interpretation. Unless we're omniscient or telepathic, we can't know everything--thoughts, purposes, emotions, plots, etc.--all of the time. That's what a story is about. It's the not knowing that keeps us reading/watching with these stories, continuing to find out what happens and where it all leads (climax and denouement).

And a clever writer/director can play with that.

In real life, we can't anticipate everything. There are certain predictable factors, but not always and not everything. Sometimes, something isn't what it appears to be or something happens that we didn't know could happen. For that factor, life is full of plot holes. It doesn't make sense, but when something happens to us without any explanation, we can't deny it, because we lived through it.

Ever experience something that fits the phrase "too crazy to be real" or something like it? Sometimes that's how life works--unexplained phenomena that totally don't make sense given our unique experiences or anything established previously.

Well, I say life is full of plot holes and surprises, and I think that's why so many of us can overlook the minor issues in fictional stories. And there really is a "God in the Machine" (Deus Ex Machina).