Friday, November 25, 2022

thankful every day

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Happy Black Friday. Yesterday was busy, or I would have said Happy Thanksgiving, but that also implies that it's only one day of the year to be thankful when we should always be thankful, even if just for the next heartbeat in our chests or the next breath from our lungs. It's the little things that mean the most.

I hope everyone was able to spend time with loved ones, whether family, extended family, or friends. These loving memories are the most precious treasures in life, not the stuff that money can buy. So, as you go about buying gifts for Christmas, just remember the greatest gift and be thankful that it exists in the world--LOVE. Not physical love, which is not love at all but is lust, one of the seven deadly sins which will rot our souls. But real love, like the kind provided by God the Father Almighty, a pure, unequivocal love.

Gifts are just an earthly show of what someone means to us, if not an empty obligation that means nothing. Remember that real love is charity, kindness, and sacrifice for others. It is not forced. It is not deceitful. It isn't an expensive TV or video game. It's not mindless hours of shopping. That is gluttony, another deadly sin that can destroy our souls.

Real love is Light and it comes from only one source. It makes us better people and brings us to God, the source of all true love. It is the reason for this Advent season coming upon us. God loves us so much that he provided us a way to reconcile with him through the ultimate sacrifice of his son, Jesus, who conquered death for us to have a way into heaven from that point forward. We will soon celebrate His birth, the son of the living God. Don't waste the gifts from the greatest love that He gave us.

There are entire books on all this pondering every aspect, but I'll leave this short summary here. Be thankful that you have a chance to reach eternity in heaven one day in the presence of pure love.

Pax vobiscum

CSSML

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Updates on writing progress

I hate getting older. Keeping track of a million things is about 999,999 more than I can handle at one time. I live off lists. I always did, but now it's going completely haywire! The day job has me feeling like a chicken with its head cut off most of the time, and I've had so many things going on outside of the day job that I can hardly keep up, even with a calendar. 🤪

Nevertheless, I do manage to get some writing time in. I'm working on Book 16 of Forgotten Worlds. So far, I have 6,000 words of that and a synopsis that leaves room for surprises. Since these are short novels of 40K-50K words, that's good progress.

Relationships have changed over the past few books and one character's arc is going to head down a dark path while others are resolving issues. You won't see some of it come to fruition for some time. I have to be careful how I plot those changes.

By now, you've had a chance to see something that you may have suspected, if you've read SOUL SHADOW. That book is a bit dark, because it reveals the creature that Nya has been conscripted by the Starfire entities to fight. She gets a taste of battle with the creature directly.

I have to reveal a little secret in developing that story, or at least in editing. I had been having questions about how to handle certain religious issues of this story; and shortly before I started the editing process, I found Father Chad Ripperger on YouTube (see this previous post). His lectures hooked me and explained a lot about spiritual warfare that I had some knowledge about but not to the degree that he clarified. The scariest part is that he confirmed some things I suspected, which were incorporated into SOUL SHADOW already.

Although the creature that the Issan worship isn't a true demon, it is a monster that acts like one. I focused on L'Ni, however, using the creature as a crutch and showing how he rejected it and breaks its influence on his life. This will give you the readers, like Nya and the other characters, a bigger revelation of what's at stake.

Once I finished editing and published Book 13--what a number for a book of such a dark plot (I didn't realize it until afterwards. Honest!)--I read through Book 14. That's a mess. I don't look forward to editing that one. Adding action to Nik's and Ann's wedding was a challenge--the wedding alone would have been boring--but I'm not so sure certain aspects flow well. Certain changes feel a bit abrupt. I may have to rearrange some things. 😖

I won't even touch Book 15 for a while, since I had just finished that. So, for now, I'll keep working on Book 16, but I really can't wait until Book 17. I will finally get to reveal something BIG that I've been planning for a long time and hinting. In the meantime, I'm trying to stay focused on 16, returning to Seska and the results of her helping her people escape. Ann's very public marriage to Nik has created some panic in Paxon leadership, so there's a lot to unpack for book 16. This series is getting a bit more complex.

Exciting! Isn't it? 😁

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Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Now Available: SOUL SHADOW

It is done! The latest book of the Starfire Angels: Forgotten Worlds space opera series is now available. It's always exciting and scary at the same time when I publish a new book. I hope readers like this latest installment as much as I do.

This is the book in which L'Ni's past is revealed. How did his people betray him? What was his experience with the Inquisitors? These and other revelations will come to light in SOUL SHADOW.

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A malevolent presence has interrupted Nya's sleep, and she tracks the source to L'Ni's quarters. When she can't awaken him, she has one option that might work… to enter his mind.

What she finds is a nightmare creature overshadowing L'Ni and trapping him in a battle he can't escape. Unlike other adversaries he has faced, L'Ni can't rely on physical strength or weapons to fight the creature he once served. This battle is from within.

Nya is determined to break the creature's hold on him. Together, they'll search his memories for an answer. However, the horrors of his past may be too much to escape. The creature L'Ni once considered a god wants revenge, and it won't stop until both he and Nya are dead.

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Thursday, October 13, 2022

very soon!

I am entering the final round of edits on SOUL SHADOW and expect to publish by the end of next week. I'll post an update here and will also send out an announcement to those who have signed up to receive emails. You can sign up for that using the form at https://melanienilles.com/contact/.

I have also decided to let my MeWe page expire. I don't get much activity there and can post more substantial posts on this blog. I've mostly gotten away from the need for frequent writing posts at this stage of life; I don't feel the need to share every detail of my life. I'm not going back to Facebook, and no one participates much on MeWe. If you feel that I should stay there, please speak up. Otherwise, I've cancelled my subscription to maintain the page on MeWe. I don't mind paying for it ($1.99/mo) but it's not doing anything. Unless it matters to someone, I'll let it go. November 5 will be the last day for that.

I'm a bit flighty about social media. I try out several but always leave at some point after discovering it never satisfies me. Most of it is a disgusting cesspool. (A few years ago, I had an inkling to write a book about a supernatural entity possessing the internet, which probably isn't too far from reality anymore, but I never got around to developing enough to write the story idea.) MeWe is different. I am staying there personally for the friends I have there. It's a much nicer place online than any other.

I don't have the ego that I did ten years ago with a need for lots of interaction. I enjoy communicating with readers, but I've never been a popular writer. I write what I love, and when others enjoy it too, that's the icing on the cake.

Anyway, I just wanted to put that out there and let everyone know about SOUL SHADOW coming up soon. I'll send an announcement to the email list once I have book links to the major retailers.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Book 15 has a title and cover! (and other updates)

Book 15 required a LOT of thinking in the writing and the title. I don't know why this book was so difficult, but I love how it's developed, and it ended up much better than I thought it would. The rewrites to bring a subplot out to the forefront were exactly what it needed. Coming up with a title for that was another challenge. It was difficult to encapsulate the central theme of the book into a title, but I finally did.

BENEATH THE SURFACE fits with several aspects--a traitor hiding in the crew, an Inari underground facility, and a secret of the Inari meant for the Issan, a message to them left behind (as the tagline suggests).

I won't say anything more until I have a description for the book, but I am excited to reveal this much, along with the cover:


Aside from that, I have other updates...

Print books!

The first five books of this series are now available for paperback as Starfire Angels: Forgotten Worlds Collection 1 (Book 1-5) from various retailers for $29.95. The hardcover will be available on October 4th for $34.95 from Barnes and Noble.

Starfire Angels: Forgotten Worlds Collection 2 (Books 6-10) is also available in paperback. The hardcover edition will be coming by Thanksgiving. As of this time, I am having difficulties with the printer for this.

This will catch up to where I am. I won't have a collection 3 available for at least a year, likely not until  after New Years Day 2024. I want to be writing Book 18 or 19 by the time I release a collection of books 11-15.

A NEW BEGINNING is now also available in a paperback format for $8.99. I hope to set up paperback editions for each individual book of the series, but it will take time to format and proof all of those. Once I'm caught up, it will be easier to keep it up. I kind of have to be in the mood to work on non-writing projects, but I try to do so when writing is more difficult.

Links for all books will be updated on my website. The series can be accessed on the Forgotten Worlds page

Book 13:

Once I've finished with the last couple of scenes of Book 15, which is all I have left of the first draft now, I will be editing Book 13, SOUL SHADOW, to be released in October. I couldn't have timed that better! SOUL SHADOW is about L'Ni's personal battle with the demonic entity his people worship, perfect for the Halloween season. This book is probably the darkest this series will ever get (by my standards). I'll be glad when it's done. I don't like such subjects, but it had to be done, and then you'll fully understand the Issan.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 5, 2022

a spark of insight brings it all together (Forgotten Worlds book 15 writing update)

I got it! I had been feeling from the beginning of this most recent start that Book 15 was good but missing something. 

I found that something. I had an inkling a while back and had a note to myself to refocus the plot, but there are multiple subplots of Book 15. This particular focus is where I knew the main plot needed to be. The final vision didn't come until tonight. Everything else works into it. I was focusing on the wrong idea when I started the book, thinking I needed to make it more action, but that wouldn't fit for me. Despite the difficulties and the restarts, somehow there was a framework already being built into place by my subconscious that I couldn't see happening right away, until I let it show me instead of me bullying the plot into what I thought it should be. This tweaked idea now makes it all fit!

I'll rewrite a few scenes to bring it all together and then be better able to finish the story, because it needs to have all the pieces of a trap put in place for it to snap together at the right time that all the other subplots do, which is where I am in the climax. This one piece needs to be better developed from the beginning before I can finish, but once it's in there, the story will all make perfect sense and fit the series. It's brilliant! It only took me nearly to the end to figure it out. 🤦‍♀️

Now that I have the central premise, I need a good title about a trap or snare... 🤔

This proves, once again, that sometimes the hardest books to write end up being among the best of works, at least in my opinion. Never give up; never surrender!

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Writing research -- spiritual warfare from an exorcist's perspective

I had something come up in my Youtube feed recently that started me down a rabbit hole, one which is fortunate for the upcoming edits on Book 13. If you haven't figured out by the title, cover, and description, Book 13 is one of spiritual warfare. L'Ni comes from a culture deeply spiritual and you'll discover just how dark that is soon. I'm almost done with Book 15 and will then get to work editing Book 13, SOUL SHADOW. These videos that I found have helped me see just how frighteningly accurate my depictions in SOUL SHADOW are.

I'm sharing it here for anyone interested and for future research. Father Chad Ripperger, Ph.D. has a lot to say on many topics, some of which I'm sharing here. And he is a very engaging speaker--relatable and amusing. You don't have to be Catholic to use this. It may be helpful for readers and writers for ideas or understanding and for those seeking a deeper spiritual connection. Take your pick where you fall. In any case, it satisfied a lot of my curiosity.

He will make you think, no matter where in the spectrum of audience you fall. None of these are short, but if you are looking for intellectual and paranormal ideas, they are worth listening to.

One caveat: If you are offended by Catholicism, don't watch these. Fr. Ripperger is a Catholic priest and experienced exorcist, which is where he gets his views concerning angels and demons. The first video is just one of many of him talking about spiritual warfare.


Only demons have to fear the rosary. Here's his explanation about it as mentioned in his spiritual warfare videos:


I find his stories fascinating, including this shorter video, which includes a story about an incident during an exorcism that was aided by the Virgin Mary:


And the video on brainwashing is very interesting and detailed on how we think. It is very useful for developing characters and plots (everything is fodder for ideas in writing) and for understanding how our associations of memory are formed, which I had known already but is needed for the rest of his lesson.

The caveat here is that his political leanings may offend some. Try to have an open mind and you'll get a lot out of it and maybe have your eyes opened, which is what breaking brainwashing is all about:


I almost forgot to add this, an interview of Fr. Ripperger about his book Dominion in relations to entertainment, among other things. Very intriguing for creatives:


Last of all, this was revealed by a friend of mine, not part of the Ripperger videos. The author, Jonathon Cahn, makes a very interesting point of his overview of his book The Return of the Gods... Everything is fodder for stories, but these videos apply to modern living also, this in particular:


So, if you're not disgusted by my reveal of research and Christianity, particularly Catholicism, then I think you'll find the plot of SOUL SHADOW intriguing. The thing is that I came across these just recently, not before or during my writing of the book, but it will be used in my edits.

My first intro to Ripperger came up in my YT feed from watching an interview with Shia LaBeouf turning Catholic from his experience at a monastery while preparing to play Padre Pio. (My grandmother always told me of the miracles of Padre Pio and prayed her rosary daily, so this intrigued me, especially considering LaBeouf's history.) After bingeing on Fr. Ripperger, I'm starting to understand things better and feel more at peace in myself. No one else has made things as clear to me as he has. I hope it helps others in their journey... or anyone looking for a new writing idea.