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. 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.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

distractions and dimensions of life

I'm having mixed feelings today... It's weird in our house. Even though I didn't see her much because she hid out in her room so much, our oldest did hang out in the kitchen or watch TV once in a while. Now, she's nearly four hours away at college where I can't see her at all or hear her coming and going, and I feel like a part of me is missing. The house feels a little emptier and I'm sort of grieving, even though I can call or text her. (She probably won't call home, except yesterday when she realized she had forgotten a couple of items already.)

Hubby and I followed her in a separate vehicle--her little SUV was stuffed with belongings she had packed for her new temporary home in the dorm. However, we didn't contribute much, except to help her adjust her bed. (Each roommate has a separate bunk that can be set from high to low height.) I just hope my kid doesn't fall out of bed since she wanted it so high.

While hubby drove following our daughter to college and then without her coming back home, we talked a little here and there. Other times I read news online, but mostly, I had hoped to get some writing in on Book 15 of Starfire Angels: Forgotten Worlds.

I did have some great ideas come to me on the long 3.5 hours there and another 3.5 hours back home. That's how it goes even at home. I can't sit for hours at a time and just write--I alternate between reading news and writing (I'm not on social media, except MeWe). I find that I get more ADD symptoms as I get older and my thyroid condition progresses and my other hormones also go wonky into that time of a woman's life. (I can't imagine why anyone would want to artificially induce menopause by having a hysterectomy if they didn't absolutely have to--the regular transition is miserable enough!)

Those ideas that came in the long hours on the road have advanced the story immensely, but my concentration has improved recently. Much of that was helped by switching my thyroid meds and changing the dosage. Hashimoto's is awful in that one day the dose is perfect and the next, you might feel hyper on it, so I tweak it but through diet, I mostly keep it stable. Luckily, I don't swing hyper-hypo anymore. Now it's just degrees of hypo, which is troublesome enough. I think that something in the generic meds was causing as many problems for me as no meds (mostly brain fog like what happens with certain foods and ingredients, the reason I mostly just eat single-ingredient foods). Those fillers make a big difference, along with the dose. My writing cognition and creativity are so much better that it's night and day! I feel like my old self again more often than not, and this series gets easier to write. That's why I've been struggling with the last few books, I think.

My hope is that I continue to improve, because it makes the writing so much easier. I just have to get past the grief and worry of having a kid out of the house now.

However, I can say that I have a few title ideas for Book 15 and had an epiphany on the central theme of this book, which connects with the title. The whole book is up to about 31,000 words, and things are starting to make sense and fit together. It's weird how there's something there that needs to come out but I don't always consciously know what that is until a certain point, just like a reader might not. But there's something that develops until it all makes sense. Writing is as much, maybe more so, of an adventure than reading.

Thanks for reading!

PS-- once I'm done writing the first draft of Book 15, I'll edit and publish Book 13. Follow me on this blog or sign up to receive email notices by completing the form at https://melanienilles.com/contact/.

Friday, August 5, 2022

picking up the pace

It's been several days since the brain fog and dizzy spells lifted and I started getting back to writing after a period off. That illness-induced break helped tremendously for me to review what I had of Book 15 and to re-evaluate how to proceed with the plot. I had prayed for help and had it, albeit not as I expected. God works in mysterious ways, using what he created to influence our lives and affect the outcomes in answer our prayers.

It wasn't fun being sick, but it was what I needed. He is the most brilliant storyteller of all; we just have to trust, which is known as faith. We're all living in the greatest story ever told.

I'll spare you further depths of my faith. I'm here to talk about writing, although my faith does influence me, so it is a part of everything I am.

Anyway, Starfire Angels: Forgotten Worlds Book 15 is moving along at a better pace, although behind where I'd like to be in the process. I don't know if I'll catch up, but one never knows. I'm not pushing myself to a schedule. I'd like to publish four books a year, but that's just not happening. I have a busy real life, so I'm not going to stress about it if I don't meet my goal. If the story comes at a fast pace, excellent. If not--if I have trouble feeling clear about the story--I won't sweat it. I want to feel confident in the story I write, even if that means a little extra time to think about it. It has to be right by me.

I hope you appreciate the dedication I have for this series. I am going to see the whole series arc through to the end that I have in mind, but it will take time. And the series does grow a bit more complex over time, so there's more to think about, even if it is episodic.

I'm just glad to be able to focus again to write. I was miserable with that brain fog, and that was much worse than what I periodically have from other causes. But that break helped me get unstuck in the story and it's now moving along like it should.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

back to work

So much for getting writing done last week. Not only did I hit a roadblock with making the plot point I had written into Book 15 work, but I was knocked out by covid. It wasn't terrible. I'd been exposed to it previously and never had more than barely-there symptoms so that I questioned whether I was really affected. However, this knocked me out for several days and caused brain fog and fatigue that's taken a little more work to clear. It made writing impossible for over a week, although I did start regaining my clarity of thought enough to finally come up with what had been stumping me. I still have a lot of fatigue and fog, making writing difficult, but the break was probably for the best. I'm starting to regain my focus on the story again and, with that comes some fresh perspective.

I thought I had the plot figured out, then stumbled, then thought I had it and stumbled. Something wasn't right--I wanted more action. Finally, I realized I had to look at things a little differently. The ideas and writing so far was good, which is why I couldn't just start over. This had the right foundation and good ideas, but I had to resolve why the latest threat is important. The other day, I got it. It just took a lot of effort to reach that point, and the break from writing probably helped. Thank you Covid (sort of).

Writing isn't always easy. The plot has to make sense and use tension and conflict so that readers want to know what will happen next and, as in this series, that means some sort of action with it. If I get bored, readers will definitely get bored. I like action and tension in various forms. And the characters need to stay true to what's established while showing some growth. It's always a balancing act.

Coming soon in paperback
and hardcover

Today, I've been working on formatting Collection 2 for paperback and hardcover. I also received a hardcover proof of Collection 1 from BN Press. I'll soon have a new proof and make that available for sale. The paperback of Collection 1 is available presently through Amazon Expanded Distribution for $27.95, but the hardcover will be just a little more worthwhile at $34.95 if you can wait until October. (Collection 2 will be about 76 pages more than Collection 1, so I'll see what price minimum I have to meet for that one.)

Btw, I can taste food again! It was tough tasting just the four basic tastes--sweet, sour, salty, and bitter--but no flavor. Thanks to the zinc and quercetin and also B12, that's coming back, along with my energy level. Covid is a strange illness. I wouldn't wish it on anyone, but it's nothing to worry about. One dose of my horse dewormer snapped me out of the worst, like most horsepeople I know who had Covid--and yes, I actually used horse ivermectin, because I had it on hand and know how to dose it safely (by weight), and it worked. My horse will get the rest, since what's remaining is about right for his weight. For him, it's summer dewormer time, so perfect timing to use that up.

And I haven't seen much of him lately because of the fatigue, but I hope to get back to him tomorrow or Friday now that I'm feeling normal again already.

There's my adventure in Covid. Now, I'm anxious to get back to writing and living my life!

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Sunday, July 17, 2022

Forgotten Worlds updates

It's been a hot month here but we had some much needed rain before the 4th of July and afterwards. Both of those combined to boost our garden growth. But it has also kept me mostly inside. My poor horse (fat and happy on a lush pasture) isn't getting much attention because of the weather, but he's still advancing in training when we do ride. (I'm especially glad that he's not prone to laminitis! He can be in the pasture to maintain his own exercise playing with his friends and moving around grazing.)

Given that, you'd think I'd get lots of writing done, but with autoimmunity and middle age, my brain isn't always up to the task. However, on those brain foggy days, I get other necessary tasks done.

I've been working on the paperback and hardcover versions of 5-book collections for Starfire Angels: Forgotten Worlds (Collection 1: Books 1-5 & Collection 2: Books 6-10). I have the Collection 1 paperback for sale through Amazon and expanded distribution to other stores and am still working on the hardcover. That takes a little more time, since I have to use a different printer source because of the length and they have different processes. (Amazon's hardcover length limits me to less than what the paperback length allows, and that's even borderline.) I've also started the process on Collection 2, but I don't know what I'm going to do since it's longer; I may have to make that four books instead of five, but we'll see what the printers allow for page length in the different formats.

I make the most of the days when I'm less focused by working on tasks that don't require such clarity as writing. Why waste the good days doing these tedious tasks when I'd rather be writing?

And when I have good writing days, I get a lot done. Part of that lately has been on Books 13 & 14 as I adjust certain plot points in writing Book 15 or reconsider some aspects while writing Book 15. It's all interconnected as a series, despite each book being a complete episode.

And I have been dropping some hints of something big to be revealed that will tie many things together and answer some big questions in the series plot. You may or may not catch those hints; they're in the small details. And don't worry if you don't catch them. I hope that when the big reveal of what I'm planning comes (around book 17 or 18), that it won't be a WTF moment and readers will be able to look back and see all the pieces that came together. I can't wait to reveal it, because it will change some things for the homestretch to the end of the series. I want to talk about it, but I can't, which is why I'm mentioning it but not being specific now. So much will make sense when it comes; I've been planning it for a long time now.

For those wondering about the romantic thread, Book 14 will finally bring that to fruition (the cover should make that clear), so have faith. I try not to leave big plot points like that outstanding too long. I hate when series hint at a romance and the characters never get together.

I still have around 25 books planned but could easily write more with all the ideas I have. Nevertheless, I'm going to try to stick to 25. I hope you're enjoying it so far.

Thanks for reading!