Sunday, April 5, 2020

counting blessings



Good things about the pandemic and some things you can do to make the most of it:
  1. Most of the world gets an extended staycation!
  2. Time with family really is a blessing but requires some creativity with kids:
    • play board games, card games, hide and seek, video games, etc.
    • dance
    • sing
    • tell jokes or watch comedy... just LAUGH. Laugh as much as you can.
  3. Time to learn to juggle--I mean literally juggle. Juggling balls are cheap and you can find any number of how-to videos online.
  4. Write that book you always wanted to write.
  5. Along the lines of the above, READ. Catch up on your to-be-read (TBR) pile. Ebooks are great--instant downloads and no chance of contagion, unless you download from torrent or pirate sites. Stick to legitimate, respected retailers.
  6. Connect remotely with family and friends you always intended to contact or didn't contact enough.
  7. Get to know your neighbors (from a distance). How many of us really visit with those in our closest vicinity?
  8. Pray or at least read the Bible. If you have any inkling that God exists, this will uplift you. If you are not a believer, then you'll get some history lessons; the Bible is based on actual history, although whether you believe in the divinity of Jesus or not is up to you. If nothing else, the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John have some great lessons, which is why the apostles called Jesus "teacher".
  9. Learn to slow down and enjoy every moment of life instead of rushing through. Take this time to "smell the roses".
  10. Eat right--cut out the sugar and inflammatory foods. This will help your immune system and overall health, and it may also help you keep off the weight.

We will get through this. Find something that helps you stay positive and remember that, no matter what you think, you are not alone in any suffering but only you can decide whether you're going to let it get the best of you or whether you are going to rise up and overcome it. I've been there; I know. I've prevailed over those demons many times, which is why I'm still here to tell you that YOU CAN DO IT!

Saturday, April 4, 2020

we've all become housecats

One thing I love to do at times when the cats are being cute is take pictures. So, for a Saturday in our third week of staying home, I am sharing pictures of two of our cats, the two boys enjoying the sun near the deck doors. Nobody exemplifies the stay-at-home rules like housecats. We have all become housecats:









Sunday, March 29, 2020

cover reveal - REMNANTS

I've reached 31K words on REMNANTS, or around 3/4 done with the first draft. I've been writing at a good pace for the last week, between 500-1000 words/day. At this rate, I should be done within two weeks (hopefully sooner). I've selected the cover image for it and made a slight modification to the original, as I did with the #3 (Vault of the Celestials) cover image:



Look for Book 7 of this series to be out sometime in the fall. I would like to release it between the end of September and mid-October, but that all depends on writing the next books to stay ahead of the publishing schedule.

For now, be sure to pre-order #6, DISPOSITION OF DREAMS, and catch up on the first 5 books of the Starfire Angels: Forgotten Worlds series:


AVAILABLE NOW:








COMING JULY 9, 2020:


All these and more can be found with purchase links at melanienilles.com.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

social distancing recreation

Most of what I do doesn't demand me to be around people, except to get household necessities like groceries. I write, which is solitary. I work in a small office where most of what I do is online, except for a few tasks that require me to make short visits to the office for an hour or two each week and do the rest at home. (Thank goodness this stuff came after our conference in February!)

And my favorite form of recreation is solitary:





It was a beautiful spring day. Although the snow is mostly gone, the ground is still saturated with water. The surface is drying out, but there is plenty of slippery or muddy footing. Nevertheless, I had a pretty nice day with Buddy out in the middle of nowhere. The closest neighbor is a mile away out here. I love it. He needed the exercise, and I needed the outdoors and horse time.

I ended the day covered in horse hair--full on shedding season now--after trimming hooves or at least the front hooves. Hind hooves can wait; my back can only take so much. One pair of hooves was enough for today. I was also tired after a long ride on Buddy with his little ass friend Jewel running alongside us.

As you can see, I prefer my dressage tack, even when checking cows. Every western saddle, even my special order saddle, is just plain uncomfortable for me. I am henceforth taking the title of Dressage Cowgirl. I can cowgirl in a dressage saddle. Buddy and I managed to help get a cow back into her pen that decided an open gate was an invitation to explore. And it's full-on calving season. So many cute little baby calves--three newborns when we were out riding today, and we didn't even ride through the whole herd.

I can't not take care of my horse. He gets food and water with my sister's horses, but he does need me to take care of other needs, like those hooves. Next up are spring shots.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

the perils of working from home... no different than writing

My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by Covid-19. Whether we are sick or not, we are all in this together, doing our part to slow the spread of the virus. I have parents who are in high risk categories and also a husband who is at risk.

My husband and I are both working from home for our day jobs. I could go into the office, since it's pretty quiet in the building right now, but it's just as easy to save on the driving. Unfortunately, my furry helpers with my writing don't know the difference between me being on the clock for someone else and just being home. Dargo just knows that there's a warm throne for his royal catness. For once, he isn't getting in my way and my hands are free to work.

Except that I paused in my work to take a picture of him hogging my lap.




Thursday, March 19, 2020

update on Forgotten Worlds #7

I am happy to say that the writing is finally going somewhere. This past winter was hard for me. I struggled to write but kept going. It turns out that I needed digestive enzymes. Not having a gallbladder anymore changes things, although not by much, since I was having digestive problems for years before it got so bad that the little sack of... bile (what did you expect me to say?) -- until that finally was removed. I've felt better since, but about nine months after having it removed, something changed and it took a few more months to find that enzymes were the answer. Since then, I have been back to being creative again. The story, and the series is moving forward at a good pace.

Of course, anything can disrupt that. However, coronavirus is not one of those. No, I don't have it. I pray to God it passes over this household. But with work slowing down at my day job, I will be working from home more. Mostly, that means being available to answer emails and any phone calls. The coronavirus has delayed some of my tasks for now. That can mean more time to write. Make the most of it, right?

I've also put one boxed set on sale for 90% off. You can scoop up THE LURIEL CYCLE: THE COMPLETE TRILOGY for only $0.99 now through April 4th, but only on Amazon.

With that done, I've been really inspired to work on Forgotten Worlds and am excited to announce a title:

REMNANTS
(Starfire Angels: Forgotten Worlds Book 7)

That's all I have for now. I will figure out a cover when I'm done writing, unless inspiration hits before then. With luck, I could finish by April 4th. At last! With all the trouble I had starting this one, it will be a huge relief to reach the end. I think this will be a good adventure transitioning from the events of DISPOSITION OF DREAMS and leading into RACING THE ORAST BELT, but rewrites will tell. Yes, I already have the title of #8. I have been eager to write that one since introducing it in THE RULE OF YONDER (book 2).

I hope I can get back on track with the writing schedule I had going. I'm about a month off at this point, but I also have the start of #8 already written, so that gives me a jumpstart for that. Also, situations are getting a little tricker to write as I get into the series, because now I have to keep track of facts and events from more and more adventures. I'm keeping a wiki file on much of the details for reference, but there are things about each book that require me actually going into the book to review on occasion.

As long as coronavirus doesn't get me, I should be able to finish this long series in a few years with a very satisfying conclusion.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

avoid infections and wash your hands, but be sure you do it right!

I'm just passing on some useful information I've found for keeping healthy in general:

1. Don't touch your face.
2. Cough into your elbow, covering your mouth and nose as completely as possible.
3. Every time you shake hands, touch something in public, sneezed, coughed, etc., wash your hands for 20 seconds and be sure to scrub fingertips and knuckles, as well as palms. Using plain soap and water is sufficient, and this twitter thread explains why:
https://twitter.com/PalliThordarson/status/1236549305189597189

CDC tips for hand-washing: https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html

When scrubbing your hands, there are some right ways to do it. Here's a helpful video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seA1wbXUQTs



4. Last of all, if you can't wash your hands, scrub with a squirt of hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. Or make your own. There are many home recipes on the internet.