Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thanksgiving Blessings

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, even those who don't celebrate the holiday. I hope you all have a wonderful day and appreciate the many blessings in your life, starting with having a life and the cognitive ability to understand this sentiment.

Thanksgiving is about more than stuffing your face, time with family, and (for some) watching football (American). It was celebrated originally by the European settlers to North America who were helped by the natives to survive in a land that was new to them. It was an innocent time when those people were grateful to simply survive. They didn't judge one another based on skin color or political or religious affiliation but simply shared resources and were grateful to be alive. (I'm sure it wasn't perfect, but they did give thanks for what they had.)

That is the spirit of the holiday--gratitude. That is something that we should practice every day, but this day has been set aside as a U.S. holiday, and it should not be forsaken nor corrupted. Gratitude in all that we have is something we should feel every morning that we wake up, another day to live.

According to Psychology Today:

Psychologists find that, over time, feeling grateful boosts happiness and fosters both physical and psychological health, even among those already struggling with mental health problems. Studies show that practicing gratitude curbs the use of words expressing negative emotions and shifts inner attention away from such negative emotions as resentment and envy, minimizing the possibility of ruminating over them (a hallmark of depression). 
Further, the beneficial effects snowball over time. Brain scans of people assigned a task that stimulates expression of gratitude show lasting changes in the prefrontal cortex that heighten sensitivity to future experiences of gratitude. The emotion literally pays itself forward.

Gratitude is the key to joy. So, celebrate all that is worthwhile in your life--family, health, life, and all the little blessings that come your way--and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Disposition of Dreams - cover reveal

The first draft of DISPOSITION OF DREAMS is finished with just over 44,000 words. That will change with edits.

And the cover is ready:

This will be ready for release in summer of 2020. I will reveal the description/blurb at a later time. It was almost too easy to write that and the cover blurb, but I like to have time to hone the book description.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Forgotten Worlds update

It's almost done, and I can announce the title. Starfire Angels: Forgotten Worlds #6 will be called DISPOSITION OF DREAMS.

I'm still working on the cover.

This book in the series started out great. I thought I would have finished two weeks ago at the pace I was going. Then... the engine sputtered and stalled. I had sleep and concentration issues and the story was in a transitory place as it was. (Strange how things work that way.) I struggled, but that was good in some ways, as it made me think more deeply about what was happening in the story.

This "episode" was a different challenge, because there is actually a confusion of dreams and reality. It was easier than expected to write that part of the story, which gave me a break from the story reality. The hard part was getting back into the story reality after detouring and putting the next set of characters in a situation that achieved the goals I had for them.

Now, I just have to write the last chapter of the book, the teaser for continuing to the next book.

I hope you're enjoying the first three, because #4 comes out next month, in EXACTLY one month--December 19th!


Pre-order today from your favorite retailer

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.