Wednesday, July 1, 2020

horsing around - midsummer edition

Today was a good day to see my boy. I haven't had many good days like this--either the weather has been crappy or I've been dealing with chronic fatigue issues. I haven't been out to ride in two weeks, but I started a new medication that has given me back my focus and energy. And in the two times I've been out to him since we helped sort cattle, I did manage to resolve some issues with Buddy.

I've confirmed that the reason he's always been so difficult is because he has tummy issues. I suspected it, but after seeing a small but noticeable difference in his behavior after giving him Smart Digest Ultra before I work with him, I tried adding a couple of other supplements. The best combination seems to be the Smart Digest Ultra and Aloe Vera pellets (also from Smartpak). So far, the two times I added aloe vera, he turned into mister mellow, as a horse of his type should be.

And after he put his tongue over the bit when we were sorting cattle early in June, I tried a couple of different bits. The advice I found online was to allow room for the horse's tongue. The bit I was using (which he put his tongue over) allowed that, so that didn't seem right, especially when I put a curb in his mouth with a roller, which doesn't allow any room for the tongue, and that quieted his mouth. So, with my instructor's advice, I tried a double bridle. He didn't like that, but he did go nicely with the bradoon of that combination. Today, I put just the bradoon on his regular bridle headstall. He was fantastic! The bradoon is a loose ring, narrower snaffle than my other snaffle mouthpieces, and it's a special alloy and straight, not curved for tongue room. He was much quieter with his mouth than I've ever experienced (except in the sweet iron curb with the roller, which quieted his mouth a lot also). I think that, in Buddy's case, He needs the bit to be as flat and still as possible, and the special metals of each of the bits that quieted his mouth probably played a part also.

I'll stick to the bradoon for this summer, along with the two supplements before we ride, and see if I finally found what works to turn him into the trailriding horse I've been trying to train him to be for nearly five years, and turn him into a true cowhorse, complemented by our dressage training, which we will continue. My only worry is that if he gets excited, the bradoon won't be strong enough to stop him. We'll see.

I also started taking out the fly sheet I bought last year but never used. I decided to put it to use this year. I can't leave it on him when I'm not there because of the danger that he could get tangled and get hurt (not to mention the trashing of the sheet and my money down the drain), but I can let him wear it and have some relief from the flies by taking it with me when I go to catch him in the pasture and let him wear it on the walk to the barn or, like today, after we ride and I let him graze a while just to spend more time with him. It's a closed front sheet, so I have to put it on over his head, but he's so smart, he loves having it on after just the first time, which wasn't bad either. He already knows it means relief! Buddy is super smart though. I wonder how long until he's sticking his head through the neck opening on his own when I hold it up ;)



Later this month, he'll finally get his annual dental work done. That was postponed due to coronavirus.

Monday, June 29, 2020

T-10 days

In only ten days, DISPOSITION OF DREAMS will be available for download from all the major ebook retailers. Starfire Angels: Forgotten worlds Book 6 will be released on July 9th. Don't wait. Pre-order now!


When she wakes up at Starfire Tower, life is almost perfect for Nya, even if she is late for a class and her parents have planned a surprise visit. Being a Keeper in training isn’t easy; and being the child of a Crystal Keeper is awkward, but it has its benefits. When her father is called to a first-contact situation with a new race, Nya is included in the meeting, but there is something sinister about the emissary. She doesn’t know how she knows about the Feri. She only knows that the dreams of another life are so real that she can’t ignore the warning about the visitors to Inar’Ahben who want to know about the powers of the Crystal Keepers.

And if you haven't started this series yet, what's stopping you? Book 1, A NEW BEGINNING, is now free!

There will be much more to come. Start reading today!

Learn more about this and the other books of the series at melanienilles.com.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

kitty cuteness

Dargo and Jack are BFFFs (best feline friends forever). These two are play buddies and sleep buddies. They LOVE to wrestle and rough-house. It's nice to get some pictures of them in these moments. Usually it's late at night at the foot of our bed when they're cuddled like this. As it is, I've been sitting in the chair with my feet next to them on their ottoman to get some editing done. They were so cute that I had to take a break to share what it's like when I'm working:





Not a cuddly kitties pic, but too cute not to share--Dargo looooves clean towels:

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Awakening... The Luriel Cycle

When I originally wrote AWAKENING, it was a different time in the real world, before the 2016 U.S. elections. Already, there were divisions in our culture. I initially knew that I wanted to write a story about good versus evil and a bad boy who would be changed. Originally, the series was to be called the Shadow Realm Saga.

Around the time that I published the book (the first time), I had my health fall apart. I didn't know if I could finish the series I had in mind. At that time, I had planned four books. Apparently, that was not meant to be. It wasn't out long before I pulled the book off publication and put it aside. I didn't want to have a book available that was promising more but which I couldn't follow through.

A couple years later, as I started recovering my health, I re-imagined the series into a trilogy and renamed it The Luriel Cycle. I had a clearer idea of what needed to happen in the series, which wasn't as big as I originally expected, but it still surprised me. I knew I only had enough ideas for two more books, and ENLIGHTENMENT and ETERNAL fit. The series was to be about a healing. I knew that the daemons and luriel originally were single beings but that something split them into their dark and light sides, not just visually but in personalities.

I knew that I couldn't write the Luriel Cycle as described in the books to become the book titles -- Awakening, Enlightenment, Ascension, (and Eternal as a fourth book originally) -- but had to skip Ascension. The series was about breaking that cycle. There was no Ascension, because it had to be stopped there. That realization became a sort of revelation event and jumped to Eternal, which was not a stage in the described Luriel Cycle in the series but was the end, representative of breaking the cycle.

So, I started digging deeper into the root of the series. I also had to make it work in the way I wanted, so I made some tweaks to AWAKENING, small adjustments to fit with the new vision of the series, and re-released it. It didn't take much and anyone who read both version probably missed those details because they were so small; but I had to make the series make sense for what I knew was to come.

In writing ENLIGHTENMENT, I realized that the real purpose of the series was to use Lilly and Darrac to reunite those who had been split. At the time, our culture was being split along ideological lines and that worked its way into the series. The characters became a tool for healing the Eternals who had been victims of their own hubris. They had been split into the evil and good sides, represented by the cliche light and dark. Lilly's world was still whole, gray (the combination of light and dark), hence the reason that the daemons and luriel referred to it as the Gray Realm. Through the second book, I explored the idea of the cause of the split.

Lilly also had to grow. She is reluctant to accept the truth in the first book and is a bit selfish in her own little world, but she begins to accept her fate as she learns the truth throughout ENLIGHTENMENT about Darrac and his connection to the source of the cataclysm. She learns about her power to heal the people from the Shadow Realm. She goes through the Luriel Cycle enlightenment but she also enlightens Mychel to the truth about the daemons. It doesn't make them any less evil, but it does reveal to him that they are as much victims as the luriel. Through one which he comes to care about, he accepts the responsibility that leads to his healing in ETERNAL.

In the final book, all the pieces come together, literally. It doesn't come easy. The healing isn't only applied to the daemons and luriel but also to the characters who had to face their own prejudices and reconcile with the new reality.

Our world is split in such a way, each side thinking the other is oppressive, but both have been wronged and are mistaken; like the struggle between the luriel and daemons in this series, neither is completely right. There is true evil, but it exists primarily at the individual level. Also, when one side of an ideal is destroyed, it destroys the other. There must be balance, a moderation. Both must perish for one to survive.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Western lite

I cannot comfortably spend any length of time or hard riding in a western saddle. I don't know why, but my right leg starts to kill me, especially my ankle. However, I can sit in my dressage saddle all day, which I did on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday for some hard riding. I'm calling it my western lite saddle.

What western riders may find unbelievable but dressage riders will not (or they might if they've never chased cows before) is that I can stay with my horse turning a cow better in my dressage saddle than I ever did in a western saddle, and I grew up in a western saddle. I feel closer and more "plugged in" to my horse in my dressage saddle than in a western saddle. And, as I pointed out to my BIL, the knee rolls on my dressage saddle are just as good for stabilization as any swells on a western saddle.

I was on the ranch Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this past week helping my family sort cow-calf pairs for different pastures. Buddy had some moves! And I was right with him in my dressage saddle... all day (5-6 hours each day) three days in a row. We didn't work as hard as my sister and brother-in-law, but we had our moments. Besides, I'm older, and I also find that not getting the cows or calves excited the way they do usually results in less escape attempts and, as a result, less trouble.

The only trouble I really had, since Buddy LOVES working cattle, is that he got his tongue over the jointed mouthpiece of his pelham bit a few times and I had to get off to drop the bridle to fix it. If you've never had it happen, the joint will poke up under the tongue and bother the horse when that happens. Buddy tossed his head, until I fixed it. But he didn't stop doing it. So, I came prepared on the last day. When he did it again, I switched to a western bridle from a past horse I had, a low port sweet iron curb with a copper roller. It took him a while to accept it, but once he did, he quieted his mouth and didn't once get his tongue over that bit. Given this, we're going to try a double bridle, using the curb as a means to keep his tongue down while I ride primarily with the bradoon (a snaffle that is the primary tool of riding with a double; the curb being there only for refinement). I learned to use it on my last horse, a powerful and big warmblood who had an exuberance that could take him away from me in just a snaffle. With both horses, I had used pelham bits for some control when I could, but now with Buddy developing this new tongue talent and the curb having stopped it, I don't have much of a choice if I want to train him properly. I may not be able to go back to just a snaffle, but time will tell.

Buddy just had to make things difficult.

Thanks to my sister, I have some pictures of us at work.

Getting a pair sorted. We need to keep this kind of
forward in our dressage work!

Taking a group down the alley to the loading chute
to be hauled to one of the pastures Tuesday.

Ponying my sister's horse back to the corral after
a long day of work Tuesday. She took the pic
while driving the Ranger and leading her donkey.

In the corral at the end of the day Wednesday,
Buddy waits in his western bridle to move
cow-calf pairs to the pasture down the road

It's been a long time coming for Buddy to get to this point in his training, but it's a process. Dressage work has prepared him well for doing this. He had his good and bad moments, but those good moments made the moments of being ornery excusable. A few times, he sat down like a cutting horse to turn a cow, and I stayed right with him in my dressage saddle. However, he still gets intimidated by them looking at him and especially when they approach him. A few cows were chargey and needed caution near them. Those cows behaved with two riders coming at them. He's gaining confidence, but that can be unraveled quickly with a bad experience.

Buddy absolutely loves moving cows. He does NOT like being held back, which is funny considering he can be such a chicken. For example, he will snort at and try to get away from strange footing, but when it comes to cows, he doesn't think twice about muck or piles of dirt; he wants to chase a cow! He likes having a job and once he learns the routine, such as with sorting cows, he really gets into it. It's a lot of fun working with him.

In looking at the pictures, I see myself sitting crooked and don't know if it's the ground angle, the stride point, or me. I plan to get together with my instructor for a lesson this summer to fix things. It's been too long.

ps--Because I was so exhausted after these long days, I haven't gotten as much writing done as I wanted, but it was worth it. The writing will catch up, hopefully this weekend.

pps (6/7/20)--This is 100 miles round trip each day for me, which is one reason why I only see my horse (and family) on average 1-2 times a week besides weather factors and timing (no indoor arena like boarding stables, only the wide outdoors). And for anyone who thinks this looks romantic, I can only say NO! There's nothing romantic about farm/ranch life; it's the hardest work you'll ever do. (It takes a special person to work this hard (and harder!); family farmers/ranchers do it for the love of their independence and providing essential products for life, and they love the land and are the best stewards of those resources because their livelihoods depend on it.) Horses, humans, and dogs alike were beat at the end of each day. Thank goodness for sunscreen, or we would have been beet red and swollen of sunburn besides.

Friday, May 29, 2020

getting my cowgirl on

So, I realized that I was going to have to cowgirl up on Buddy. I don't like to do that, because it means getting gritty, but he does need to get over his anxieties. Some horses get more excited the harder you get on them when they act up, until they do something completely dangerous, especially for the rider. I'm not as young and daring as I once was and have been through enough bad situations to have become a bit cautious, perhaps overly cautious... or not.

I know better than to get on an excited horse whose head is lost. It's insanely dangerous. Buddy can be that way sometimes, but I've come to realize there are two things that will do that two him--1) too much excitement, such as other horses running around, like when we're trying to help round up cows and the other horses are doing all the work flying back and forth while he's dancing out of his mind not sure what to make of their activities, and 2) when I put the western saddle on him. For some reason, this always precipitates difficult behavior. I don't know if it's because it doesn't fit right (it seems to it just fine) or if it's because I've always put it on him when we are in the situations of rounding up cows, and a few trail riding sessions. Even our spring trail riding before we tried to do any cattle work had him a little uneasy in the western saddle.

Part of that could be me, because I'm not comfortable in it. I don't like feeling like I'm sitting high above my horse instead of on my horse. My dressage saddle gives me a "plugged in" feeling on his back and I'm more at ease. Western saddles are bulky and heavy and don't allow for any close contact feeling like a dressage saddle does. I also think Buddy has come to like feeling me more closely and relies on the communication of my relaxation through my seat to help him know that he shouldn't worry, since he can't read my body language visually as when I'm on the ground with him. He's a very smart boy and I wouldn't put that past him.

And that all is the long-winded way of saying that I'm working cows in dressage tack and it's going much better with Buddy. However--there is a caveat here--he still gets too worked up when there's a lot of excitement going on around us. Today was quiet and we had a fantastic ride in the pasture and exercised some cows for practice ;) Chasing cows is amazing when you feel close to your horse. He only got worried when the dumb ass, Jewel, started running towards the gate instead of joining us--I let her tag along most of the time we head out on a ride, since the two are best buds and don't like to be apart. That's when I had to "cowgirl up" and deal with his naughtiness from worrying about his friends. I managed to get his mind on the cows, but he still can be difficult when I want him to canter to get ahead--he wants to take control the faster we go and not listen to me, but he's better in our dressage tack. So, we have some work to do this summer, and I'm finally up for the challenge.

He was a very good boy today and seemed to enjoy the workout. I've found that giving him Smart Digest Ultra before we ride does seem to help calm him about an hour after I give it, so part of his anxieties may be due to ulcers, and that's also why I feed it to him before we ride. And afterwards, he earned an extra handful of grain, and then some grass.

He's shed out nearly every last winter hair.

I never have to worry about him stepping on his rope--
he doesn't get upset and just steps off.

A family of Canada geese has been growing up in the pasture dugout pond.

Lastly, I am making good progress on RACING THE ORAST BELT. I've written nearly 27,000 words of it, or around 2/3 done with the first draft. I am aiming to have it done in two weeks, but we'll see. I better get back to it. The day was eaten up by my trip out to work with Buddy after work.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

writing progress update

available for purchase
I've been making great progress on RACING THE ORAST BELT. This is an episode of the Starfire Angels: Forgotten World series that features the space racing mentioned in THE RULE OF YONDER. Ever since I thought of that and inserted it as popular entertainment in that second book of the series, I knew that I wanted to write a story featuring the racing.

Now, I am 1/3 done with RTOB, book #8 of this series, and have expanded the details of this aspect of the galaxy in which Nya is carrying out her mission. I probably won't get into it again, but it is fun to give it so much focus. Nya has to have some fun once in a while, and so do readers, but it's not all fun and games for the characters.

pre-order today!
(available July 9, 2020)
I am hoping to finish the first draft in June, hopefully with plenty of time to finish final edits on DISPOSITION OF DREAMS. That would allow me to get back on track with my publishing schedule without cutting away in the midst of writing RTOB.

As a note to my readers, I generally publish a book about six to seven months after I finish the first draft. I'm trying to stick to that, but sometimes a book takes more work to write or ends up being longer than the 40,000-42,000 word first draft that I aim for with each of the Forgotten Worlds series books. In either case, it delays my schedule. DISPOSITION OF DREAMS and REMNANTS broke my pattern, both of them being closer to 50K words and REMNANTS being a difficult book to get started but one that turned out fabulous (imho), making all that trouble worthwhile. However, that book 7 did set back my publishing schedule a little bit. So, it does happen, but I try to get back on track.
Coming Fall 2020

On another note, I do my best to be sure the next book in the series is set up for pre-order as the preceding book is released.

Be sure to follow my author profile on whatever ebook retailer you prefer to be notified of new releases, such as my Amazon profile.

The best way you can show your support for any author is to leave reviews and to tell others on social media.

Thank you!

Sunday, April 26, 2020

my dressage cowhorse

I'm more comfortable in my dressage saddle, and it's easier to carry to and from storage, than my western saddle. Granted, both are basically custom fitted, but my right ankle kills me when I ride in my western saddle. Otherwise, either one is fine for Buddy, but I prefer my dressage saddle, even if we're riding out among cows. I train Buddy in dressage, which has helped him make the adjustment to being a cowhorse, which is why I call him my dressage cowhorse.

I don't know if Buddy finally hit the age of maturity mentally as he has physically or if the farm has changed him, but this spring, he's been showing me a calmer side (at last! It's only taken 4 1/2 years /sarc). He's seven this year, officially a fully mature horse. And he's finally decided that we can go out on a loose rein and not have to fight each other because he's freaking out being too far away from his herdmates.

Granted, a lot of the change is simply consistency and patience in training him, but he's even walking through mud or uneven footing for me without much fuss. He used to freak about that and try to avoid it, even as recently as last fall. This spring, he's marching right through mud to move cows.

And he loves cows! I swear that moving cows gives horses the confidence for anything, or nearly anything. Having an animal as large as them move out of their way... Whoa! Mind-blown (for the horse). When they finally accept that those cows don't challenge them, something changes. Buddy just took a year and a half to reach that conclusion, but at least he's gotten there. It's a huge confidence boost, but so is learning to trust a rider, which he can only feel and not see.

Buddy is a reader--he likes to see his leader (handler) to read body language as indicators of how he should feel. He's only slowly come to trust in my feel on his back to determine how he should feel. In other words, he's generally not a very confident horse, so anything I can do to help him gain that has been the key to training him. First, they learn that in ground work. Then, the harder challenge is to carry that over to under saddle, where the leader is riding and out of their site. Because of Buddy's nervous personality, it has taken him longer to get to that higher stage. A ridden horse feels more alone, and a horse like Buddy who is a middle-heirarchy herd personality would rather have a leader he can watch for cues about how to behave.

It just takes patience, time, and consistency. Buddy is getting there, finally. I'm so proud of him for how he's blossoming into the horse I always knew he could be. Today, I lunged him in side reins, and, although we haven't done that in a couple of years, it really helped him rediscover his balance and lift his back. Then, the wind decreased, so I rode in the same uneven, grassy area where I had lunged (where he's grazing in the pics below), and he was just as good. In fact, he was better than he's ever been, even cantering on both leads without any fuss. I was going to quit there after such a superb ride (for him) but the wind was so low and he was so good that I decided on a little trail ride out checking cows. After a little fuss to leave the gate, he went out on a loose rein, although he leaned towards home.

We'll be doing more with the cows this spring and he's definitely ready for the work. He's shed a lot in the last few weeks--not a shaggy yeti anymore--but still has a lot to shed out. Today, his mane got a trim so it doesn't tangle so much. He needs a lot more work to lose the winter belly. As a reward for being such a great boy today, he got an extra helping of grain and the chance to graze on the green grass growing after a smidgeon of rain the other day. (We really need much more rain, just not like last summer.)



Definitely less winter hair on his face than a few weeks ago.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Dr. Erickson COVID-19 Briefing -- TRUTH CENSORED BY YOUTUBE!!

Update 4/28/2020: Youtube is censoring the truth about coronavirus!! Big tech is controlling what you can see and not letting you judge for yourself. They have taken down a very revealing video of MDs who have explained why the lockdowns should be lifted.

The first video is available on Bitchute at https://www.bitchute.com/video/NkiM9fo1Ba0h/.

My original post:

Some sanity in an insane world too afraid of infections to live. These two explain how to keep your immune system strong, what the real fatality numbers of coronavirus are, and the truth that is being suppressed by the political elites.




Part 2:

Saturday, April 18, 2020

REMNANTS update


Good news! I finished the first draft of REMNANTS yesterday. It came in at just under 50,000 words, the longest of the Forgotten Worlds series so far (and hopefully ever). I'm now doing my first read and rewrite for consistency from beginning to end. Later edits will be sure of consistency in other things, although, as I mentioned in a previous post, that's why I build up a wiki file with all my world-building notes.

I really like how it came together, although I think that it needs one more scene to fully wrap it up. I just have to get through this read to see how it flows for plot and character development. After this, I'll get to start RACING THE ORAST BELT. I'm so anxious for that one! I'm eager to write so many other ideas I have for this series, but ever since I came up with the Orast Belt racing in THE RULE OF YONDER, I've wanted to get my characters in that race, although not as readers probably expect.

I also have to prepare DISPOSITION OF DREAMS for its July release.

Busy! Busy!

And for fun, some pics of the cats.

Can you find two cats?

"Here, I am!" - Suki

"The throne is all mine!"

"I am your master! Bow to me, human slave."

"Bird!"

Monday, April 13, 2020

Forgotten Worlds Q and A - Part 2

The following is the continuation of the Forgotten Worlds Questions and Answers started on April 11, 2020:

Q: How did you come up with so many different creatures?
A: I love science fiction and fantasy and let my imagination fly. I think in terms of "what would I like to see with this book?", and then I go ahead and create. Forgotten Worlds lets me let loose. The difficult part is that, once I create a species/organization/planet, they're a part of the canon and I need to be careful for the next time I use that particular piece. I keep track of everything in a growing wiki file that started with my base ideas and evolved from there. I refer back to it periodically for reference.

Q: Who are the main bad guys of the Forgotten Worlds?
A: The Issan are religious zealots who worship the creature of death that they call Issa. The name is based on the sound the creature makes when it is able to connect with those in the vicinity of a weak dimensional barrier, a sort of a hissing sound like "issssaaahh". Obviously that would be hard to write every time, so it just gets written as Issa, or Issan for their worshippers. (However, shortly after releasing the first book, I found out about a statesman with the last name Issa. This has nothing to do with any politician but was purely onomatopoeia.) These Issan have no value of life, so they will enslave, torture, mutilate, and kill without hesitation or shame. Their god is death, so their whole culture revolves around the concepts of honor in death and dishonor to their enemies. It is a rigid, cold culture, which is in stark contrast to the Inari.

Q: You have several subplots going throughout the series so far. Do you ever plan to resolve any of them soon?
A: I have an outline of how I want the series to go, with room for adjustments. I do plan to resolve the subplots when they are each ready. Every book in the series will build on multiple subplots, although not all of them in every book. I know exactly how the series will end, so I already know how I want those subplots to play out, although I leave room for them to surprise me, such as in REMNANTS. I'm exploring more deeply the idea that the Inari were in that galaxy previously. I can't say any more than that it is revealing some connections. I feel like I'm juggling with too many balls and afraid of dropping them all, which is why I like the shorter length of these novels, which are barely qualified as novels at just over the minimum 40,000 words. It's just long enough to get in an episode but to also play with those subplots without being overwhelmed.

Short answer: yes, I will resolve them, just not necessarily as soon as readers may want.

Q: How many books do you plan to write? Why should readers start now if this is going to take awhile? Will you ever finish?
A: As I mentioned, I do have it outlined and know the ending of the whole series. Readers who start now have a chance to influence the plots of upcoming books with their input. I leave room in my outlines for other ideas. That's how the Dark Angel Chronicles went on into five books plus a novella, WHEN ANGELS CRY, and also into the Revelations series with SHARDS (the story of Leksel and Korali). Those were because of enthusiastic readers requesting more. Readers could have the same influence now on future books in the Forgotten Worlds series. I will finish, but only after I've satisfied myself and exhausted all the fun variations of stories I want to tell in this series. As for the number, I'm thinking a couple dozen in the Forgotten Worlds series should cover it, although a better range is 20-30 books.

Q: Some writers get out a book a month at that length. Why don't you?
A: Every writer is different. I write at my pace because I have a day job, a family, and my own set of health issues, namely autoimmunity, to manage on top of writing. Some days I sit down and can't stop writing and other days I can barely get out a few sentences. Every story is different also. I can usually write a first draft of the Forgotten Worlds books in about two months, but then I need time for several rounds of rewriting and editing. And then there's REMNANTS, which has gone onto 3 1/2 months to write a first draft. I had some health issues get in the way but also the story itself didn't know what it wanted to be initially. Once it got going, it really started to pick up speed to a normal pace for me. So, for me to write a good book, I need time. My goal is to publish a book every three months, but I'm a little behind because of REMNANTS being such a challenge.

Q: Can you provide any teasers or hints of what's to come in Forgotten Worlds?
A: I won't give away anything, but I will say that there's far more to the Inari-Feri issue than anyone, except maybe me, can imagine. There is so much more to come with the Paxons and Issan and Inari that I can't give away. I also have some side stories, like the upcoming RACING THE ORAST BELT. I anticipate that being a lot of fun. I have ideas for a lot of explorations of the galaxy's history and cultures that have developed. You have to keep reading each adventure with the multi-species cast racing to help Nya find the Starfire crystals before the Issan can complete their mission to free their god. There will be pain and joy in the lives of all the characters, space battles, exploring other planets, and everything that is fun about science fiction, particularly space opera. There will even be some romance.

That's it for now.

THANKS FOR READING!

*****

If you have questions you would like answered, please use the contact form at http://melanienilles.com/home/contact/ or comment on this post and I will share those in a future post.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Forgotten Worlds Q and A - Part 1

I imagine some of the readers of the Forgotten Worlds might have some questions, so I thought I'd try to answer what might be the most pressing of those:

Q: How did you come up with the idea of the Starfire?
A: That particular word has been used in other science fiction, but I wanted it as a name for the particular crystal that gives Inari their special abilities. I needed a way to make them not only look like angels but also have the powers of angels when I wrote the first book, Starfire Angels. At that time, I had them frequently visiting Earth and influencing the history of our world, so I had to explain how they might fit the images, virtues, and powers of the angels of the Bible. So, I conceived of the Starfire crystal, the form of the energy entities from another dimension in our universe. They had to be a part of the Inari in some way and give them the abilities that came to be known of Keepers. The Inari also needed the culture around the virtues in the Bible. It had to fit as near perfect as I could while still being explained by science rather than religion. I had the most marvelous brainstorm of how it all connected, right down to how they evolved to have wings--on their homeworld, they needed to fly to survive.

Calling the crystalline form of the entities "Starfire" just fit. Those beings explored our universe, but in Forgotten Worlds, they also are revealed to know about other dimensions and one in which a monster exists that would destroy everything. Thus, the entities of the Starfire crystal consider themselves to be Guardians, not only of the universe but also of the life within it. It fit with turning the Inari into guardian angels, a very old and peaceful species (mostly) who earned the reputation of being the mediators of the universe.

Q: Why didn't you continue with Elis and Raea?
A: I have to address this because I had received SO many requests when I wrote the first part of the Starfire Angels series, the Dark Angel Chronicles. that first book, STARFIRE ANGELS, came out at a time when young adult books and also ebooks in general, were at their highest popularity. Readers loved Elis and Raea, but I didn't want to ruin my characters, so I wrote what ended up being five books that I felt completed their story and saved their world (and Earth as a result, or so I thought). I didn't want to write them into the ground, so to speak. I wanted to end with them on a high note, and I believe FOREVER DARK was a good end for their story. However, I touch on them in Revelations and will briefly revisit them in Forgotten Worlds, but Forgotten Worlds is Nyalin's story.

Q: How many Starfire shards are there?
A: More than I expected. Originally, I wrote about four that were known, then that grew with the discovery of another shard on Earth and another whole crystal cluster on Earth, and then with Kaira being granted a whole new shard from entities directly from their dimension. And finally, we discover in Forgotten Worlds, that they have sort of been seeding the universe, particularly one galaxy, ready to defend against a monster that seeks to destroy everything.

Q: How are you able to expand on these stories and keep going in this Starfire Angels universe?
A: I had always imagined that Starfire Angels could be so much more than Raea and Elis's stories. I had always thought "If only a studio would pick up the idea for a series, they could put together a group of explorers with the Starfire who could go on adventures anywhere." I was big into Stargate, among many older shows, and still am. I saw a big possibility of a science fiction adventure series but didn't have the interest or the time to write out such a series.

Then, the time came and I was ready. The right basis for the series came, along with the right blend of characters for a well-rounded cast. As I wrote in the introduction to A NEW BEGINNING, I was inspired by the 90's and early 2000's science fiction series that I liked--episodic but also with an overarching plot. I even cut the stories shorter than most novels so that I could get in all the various adventures I had in mind without getting bored or having plots too big and complicated. I wanted to keep it simple so it would be easier to manage, or to feel like one was reading an hour-long episode with each book. The length is perfect and I'm having fun with each book.

Watch for the second part of this Q and A session on Monday, April 13th.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

animals don't know there's a pandemic

My horse needs his exercise. I do what I can when I can. Today, I took advantage of the weather and he took advantage of half decent footing on the lunge-line. Corrals are muddy after our snowstorm last week and rain since then, but I found an area of grass where he could stretch his legs. (There is no indoor arena available.) I didn't have to do anything but keep him from going too fast.

Afterwards, he enjoyed some of the green grass starting to sprout for the spring.

In case you didn't notice, I've been feeling good lately and making the most of life with the changes we've had to make. We will all eventually get this disease, like the flu or a cold, but the point is to keep the spread slow enough for medical facilities to provide appropriate care to those afflicted.

So, I'll do what I can to provide something positive for anyone reading this blog. I hope it brightens your day.






Still a lot of winter hair, but I brushed out a LOT prior to lunging. I'll admit he is looking less shaggy than a month ago. Also, I have not touched up any of the pics, and he is that chunky (not terrible but not in shape) after standing around a bale all spring, which is another reason he needs exercise.

It'll be interesting to see him change as spring greens up the land and we get more riding done. Then I can compare later pictures to these. He's seven this year--a mature adult horse.

ps--I remember when equine herpes virus became particularly troublesome many years ago with horses dying from neurological issues due to EHV-1. It was a difficult time for the horse industry because of the ease of transmission on that. It's become a risk of owning horses, and they can still die even when they've been vaccinated. It's a scary world for humans and horses, but we'll get through it.

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.