Monday, November 11, 2019

A salute to all U.S. veterans

Today is a day of remembrance of all those who have served our country to defend our freedoms, our Constitution, and our way of life. Thank you to all men and women who have served and are presently serving in the U.S. military, including many of my family and friends. I am humbled by your sacrifices.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

small prayers big blessings

If you ever doubt the value of even a small prayer, you're missing out on some big blessings. In fact, you probably don't even count the smallest of blessings but only see coincidences in your life. I feel sorry for you, because you probably also miss out on the blessed light of truly meditative prayer. There is a wondrous light that can fill all the holes in your soul and quench the thirst for belonging to something greater than you alone.

Faith in the one true God is rewarded with the sharing of his Holy Spirit, which is as a fire in the soul. Deep, mindful prayer seeing the truth of God will connect you with this. And it will have profound effects on your life, as you learn to maintain that state of grace for longer and longer periods. (This state of peace had a big influence on my Starfire Angels series, which is Christian allegory for those who want Christian books without the preaching or not for those who don't want to read something overtly Christian. Yes, my faith comes out in my writing in different ways.)

But there are lesser prayers to be made throughout the day. I give thanks for all the little blessings.

Today, I asked specifically for a small blessing. It was a chilly day--mid-40s--but without the wind, a fairly good day for a ride. I didn't need to cover my ears and didn't need more than a jacket and vest. I wasn't so sure what Buddy would do, however. Small prayers can work wonders, though. Today, before heading out on my horse, I asked St. Francis (of Assisi) and St. Christopher for a safe ride on my boy... I had a great ride and the wind held off until just after we returned to the barn after being out in the open pasture. It was a strange thing that as I was taking him into the barn that's when the wind started to blow. It had been so still until then, and I hadn't been trying to rush anything. I didn't know what the weather would do. The wind held off until I was done, and I know there was a divine influence in that. Buddy turns difficult when the wind comes up.

When I arrived, the horses were in the corral. The pasture was open, which worked out great to ride in the open instead of in the yard. I was hesitant to take her but let the donkey follow freely. While I rode Buddy, she'd get behind eating and then come running to catch up. Buddy didn't get excited as I expected him to. Nor did he worry about his footing. The ground was slightly wet from the snow that had melted from our October snowstorm, and the ground was too frozen deep down to drain off and the air was too cold for the water to evaporate. Buddy didn't worry at all in fact, which also surprised me, because he's always been a worrier about the slightest change in footing. He even crossed the creek areas without a fuss.

While we were out riding, we practiced our dressage work. In different flat areas of the pasture, we worked on our haunches-in and even small steps of walk half-pass. But it was the flexions that really calmed him. I have to remember that. Buddy worked hard--he was sweaty half-way through our ride and I was mostly walking with a little trotting. But the bending work was quite the workout for him.

I didn't have any major act-ups from Buddy, just a couple of small, easy-to-correct issues. So, my prayers were answered. I had safe travel (St. Christopher, patron saint of travelers) on a healthy and listening horse (St Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals), if a bit of a fatty right now. It was a blessed day and a good likely last ride of the season. I am grateful for that, especially since it's been about five weeks since I last rode him.

Never take the small things for granted.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Ebook giveaway - Enter today!

Enter to win one of 100 Amazon ebook copies of A NEW BEGINNING from Goodreads. To enter, click here:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

A New Beginning by M.A. Nilles

A New Beginning

by M.A. Nilles

Giveaway ends December 10, 2019.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

This is the first of a multi-book space opera series that is ongoing. Presently, the first three books are available with the fourth book releasing on December 19, 2019.

I am currently writing Book 6 and have a dozen more planned, as I've been saying on this blog since writing this first book pictured above.


The downside of having given up on most social media is limited reach. Please share the link above with your contacts wherever they may be, especially if anyone is a Starfire Angels fan or loves space opera with action, intrigue, aliens, and episodic stories with an overarching plot throughout the series. All I can offer in return is many thanks and prayers, and maybe another free book, but you'll have to send me a screen shot of your post.

Thanks for your support!

Saturday, November 2, 2019

horses are ready for winter

Since mid-summer, I haven't been getting nearly as much horse time as I'd like. However, I do what I can. It's just been too darn busy or the weather is uncooperative. A wet year and too many appointments for me and the kids in my free time eats away at my available horse time, especially when I have to plan two hours for driving time round trip. And then there are days that I just really feel blah or am on a writing streak I don't want to break (but I break them anyway if the weather is too good to pass up).

But I do get to the farm to see my Buddy and my family when I can. I haven't even ridden Buddy since four weeks ago. He's fat and fatter and getting a winter coat now. They all are.

I didn't ride, but I did check up on him and lunge him, trimmed his mane and pulled burrs from his forelock and tail. Feedlots were getting cleaned, so the commotion was a distraction, and it was a bit chilly. I was bundled up too much to want to deal with any antics if he acted stupid because of the activity.

Nevertheless, I took some pictures today, just for fun...

Me: Let's try a selfie.
Buddy: I know there are treats here somewhere! 

Don't tell my sister, but I think Jewel likes me.
Although I still find her to be a nuisance,
I’m doing what I can to make things work
and I pick burrs from her when I can.
When the other horses finally wandered off today,
she wouldn't leave me alone. Only after I
closed the gate and started away did she start
hee-haw braying to them and then ran off to join them.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Happy Halloween (early)

Many local events for Halloween take place on the week of or before the fun holiday of dressing up and make-believe in being something else for a day.

At least one of the local high schools has indoor trick-or-treating for the kids put on by the high school students and their teachers. While my oldest helps with the event as part of her school group, the youngest likes to dress up and get candy.

I got into the spirit a little with a picture of my youngest in her wizard costume. The photo manipulation isn't perfect, but it was fun to create. Below are before and after pics of my Photoshop manipulation.

And here's what my family did for jack-o-lanterns with pumpkins from our garden this year, the few pumpkins we had:


Saturday, October 19, 2019

creative sparks

This morning, after a fairly good night of sleep (which is elusive for me), I was lying in bed thinking about Forgotten Worlds #6.

I've been cruising along writing but was feeling like something was not coming together with the story, and I'm at the midway point. I knew it was there and that the link existed but couldn't quite see it yet. I'm a plotter as a writer, but I also allow room for surprises. And those give me a rush, which I suppose is akin to a gambler winning at slot machines (I don't gamble). I LOVE those moments!

It happened again with this story. I could feel in the back of my thoughts for the longest time, but I didn't know what it was. I was having trouble with inserting the action I wanted in a transition in this story and trying to come up with the right way to do it and to keep the characters in trouble--without challenging the characters, there is no purpose to the story. I had to dig the hole deeper for the characters, instead of letting them crawl out. I'd been struggling with the right way to do this.

This morning, while lying in bed thinking, the answer finally emerged. I had the missing link in the story and the revelation that the story needed. Then everything made sense, and my characters got into even deeper trouble. Even better, it adds a twist that will really add some intrigue and new concerns to the rest of the series.

I hate sagging middles and do my best to prevent them. This will definitely lift it.

I feel like the evil genius rolling his fingers together and grinning malevolently as his diabolical plan unfolds better than expected.

Until you read this next summer, you can catch up on the series so far by reading A NEW BEGINNING (#1), THE RULE OF YONDER (#2), and VAULT OF THE CELESTIALS (#3) and by pre-ordering IN DARKNESS, LIGHT (#4). THE DESTRUCTION OF WALLS (#5) will be listed for pre-order once a release date has been determined.

Keep up on the latest book pre-orders and new releases on my MeWe page at or follow to receive notifications from my Amazon profile at .

Friday, October 11, 2019

October snow storm

We've been in the midst of a big snowstorm this week. It was beautiful on Tuesday, which is why I went out to see my horse (see Tuesday post). Wednesday was cold and misty. The storm was supposed to hit overnight then but it wasn't too bad yesterday. Last night, however, the snow fell heavily and the wind blew hard. The deck was protected from the wind, so we get a better idea of just how much snow fell. The wind created a big drift in our driveway. Luckily, school was canceled and hubby had already taken the day off. I did the same; my regular job is flexible.

I had also planned and made sure we had supplies on hand for several days of being snowed in.

What I can't believe is that we had a snow storm like this so early in October! This is usually reserved for November, but anything can happen and has happened in North Dakota. Looks like it'll be a loooong winter! Bring on the global warming!

Dargo looks out the back deck door.

The front yard and the big drift in the driveway.

A couple hours later, the drift is almost 3 ft high
and about 40 ft long (half the driveway).