Sunday, December 31, 2023

2024 writing/publishing goals

It's that time of year, time for resolutions!

I have many personal goals, but you're probably more interested, dear readers, in my books, so I'll keep this concise.

I am presently writing Book 18, SINS OF THE FATHER. The word count is at 34,000, and I have the final events to write yet. It will easily pass the 40K mark. Depending on how I care to develop the story ending--lots of potential yet--it could end up anywhere between 45-55K. That's a big range of word count to accommodate a range of ideas in which I could write a satisfying conclusion. I just can't let myself rush this. It's been quite the project.

And then I'll need to create a cover for Book 18 and write some descriptions for the upcoming books that are completed.

For 2024, I will finish writing Book 18. I also hope to complete Books 19 and 20. If the writing goes well, I may even get into Book 21 before the year's end; but I'll be satisfied with three books a year, especially since these have been a little longer than what I had originally planned (which was around the 42-45K word count).

In summary, I expect to publish these books in 2024, all in Starfire Angels: Forgotten Worlds, since that is my priority:

  • 16 - GHOSTS
  • Starfire Angels: Forgotten Worlds Collection 3 (Book 11-15) (print)

And I expect to finish writing Books 18, 19, and 20. I'll shoot to reach book 21, but I won't be disappointed if I only get three done.

Thanks for reading!

Have a safe and happy new year!

Friday, December 22, 2023

Writing trials

I got stuck.

This happens a lot more than most writers will admit. Usually, we don't get mired hip deep in impassible muck into which we've written ourselves, but it happens on occasion. It happened to me writing Book 18 of Forgotten Worlds. After thinking about what was happening, I realized that I had a plot hole I could spin a planet through, to my chagrin.

It's not as bad as Ghosts was, where I had to stop writing it and switch to editing another book to get my mind off it, then go back with a fresh perspective that showed me what I needed. This only required a couple attempts at rewriting from a certain point in the story.

I tried a couple of ideas but neither quite fit and I was getting despondent in thinking this story would never work the way I expected, but there was a lot of good stuff already.

Then the answer hit. It wasn't as bad as a complete rewrite would be. I needed a combination of the rewrites and original to make the closed plot hole work. I'm now working through the scenes to rewrite the new plot direction into it. Fortunately, a lot of it can stay, although reordered.

Better now than later. I had 30K words on the book, but now that's not the case. At least it's not 0.

Now, I'm moving on in the writing again, and part of what I didn't want to lose was some surprising new characters. They get to stay. 😁

Sunday, December 17, 2023

One-line prayers

I was inspired by a video (below) to share these simple one-line prayers that are easy to say when you need them. These are simple prayers that you can repeat over and over to great effect in your life. If you can't remember any other prayers, keep these in mind.

Note:  "To pray" means "to ask". (It is NOT worship.) You are asking, making a request. Requesting the Lord's mercy or the intercession of His Blessed Mother is very powerful in our lives.

Most precious blood:
Most precious blood of Jesus Christ, save us and the whole world.

Jesus prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Surrender prayer:
Jesus, I surrender myself to thee, take care of everything.

Miraculous Medal:
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Origins of the Christmas Tree

From the story of St. Boniface and the Christmas Tree:

From his missionary travels, Boniface knew that in winter the inhabitants of the village of Geismar gathered around a huge old oak tree (known as the “Thunder Oak”) dedicated to the god Thor. This annual event of worship centered on sacrificing a human, usually a small child, to the pagan god. Boniface desired to convert the village by destroying the Thunder Oak, which the pagans had previously boasted the God of Boniface could not destroy, so he gathered a few companions and journeyed to Geismar.

His fellow missionaries were scared and fearful that the Germans might kill them, so they balked when they reached the outskirts of the village on Christmas Eve. Boniface steadied the nerves of his friends and as they approached the pagan gathering he said, “Here is the Thunder Oak; and here the cross of Christ shall break the hammer of the false god Thor.”[4] Boniface and his friends arrived at the time of the sacrifice, which was interrupted by their presence. In a show of great trust in God and born from a desire to enkindle the fire of Christ in the German pagans, Boniface grabbed an axe and...

Read the rest of the story about what happened and how the Christmas tree became a new tradition at

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Writing update and cats

I'm still here, but I've been busy and haven't had much to say, except maybe on X/Twitter. I don't post much there either, however. I just don't feel the need to say much.

But I'm writing. Forgotten Worlds book 18 is moving along at a decent pace, but it's definitely not quite what I expected. I have over 24,000 words so far, so past the halfway point. It is a tricky one to write because of the developed relationships between the characters and the new characters of this particular plot.

Potentially, I could finish this book by the new year and then use January to edit Book 16 with an early February release date, but I can't promise that. However, my goal for Book 16, GHOSTS, is February. I just can't say when.

In the meantime, here's a video I shared on X/Twitter. Our youngest cat, Jack, is 8 1/2 years old and he goes on these talking streaks. We don't know what he wants. Once I picked him up for a little bit, he wanted down and took off, so I can only figure out he wanted some attention, just enough to satisfy something.

Cats are funny creatures. (Turn the volume up to hear him talking to me.)

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Checking in (writing update)

It's been a bit over a week since my last writing check in. I've had some great days of writing in the last week and Book 18 of Starfire Angels: Forgotten Worlds is growing.

Before I even get started writing today, it's currently at 13,500 words. Nine days ago it was at 9,000 words, so I've averaged 500 words a day, although most of that was in the last five days. Last week, I was stumbling about where the characters go next. Then, I figured out what needed to happen and the writing took off again. It's the normal writing cycle, the highs and lows. It'll happen again and I'll work through it again, as I have for twenty years.

Yes, it's been that long since I started seriously writing (Legend of the White Dragon). I'm familiar with the routine, although it never gets easier. You just learn to cope.

So, that's where things are in writing. I'm excited by what comes next, and that always gets the creative juices flowing.

I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving holiday and every day!

Gratitude grows grace and demolishes wrath. 

Appreciate the little things, or the big things are meaningless.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, November 18, 2023

It's a Beautiful Day!

This was probably the last nice day we would have for a while. I was determined to get out to spend time with my horse (still have him, going on 8 years). I've had so much trouble getting out to see him this year that half the summer, it was three times a month if I was lucky. If I can get out once a week, I'm doing pretty good (although I would like to see him more often).

Because of the busyness of my life, I had been thinking the last couple days, "Lord, should I sell the horse? Is that what you want me to do?"

Then, I have today. Gorgeous! Almost 60 F, no wind, fairly dry outdoor arena. I had the best ride in a long time! He was so good and flexible, and we still had daylight afterwards, so I trimmed his hooves. He stood almost perfectly for me and I trimmed exactly as I wanted to for the winter. His hooves look good and he's not sore on soft ground.

So, I think I know the answer to my prayer--keep my boy and enjoy what I can of him when I can. He's in a pasture with room to roam and is plenty fat and sassy (although more frequent riding would fix that). He's not lacking for anything.

Buddy from late October 2023, after much of the snow
melted from the Oct. snowstorm.

It was a beautiful, inspiring day. And I had even gotten some writing in before going out to play with him.

Now that I'm home and cleaned up and getting ready to return to writing, I remembered something I had seen some time ago. It's uplifting and fun and pretty well sums up how this day made me feel.

Even better -- I came home to find that Amazon had resolved the ratings bombing of my book! 🥳


Have a beautiful weekend!

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Conversion stories and miracles

Are you missing out on true love?

Do you harbor hate in your heart?

Do you want to be happy but something keeps dragging you down?

You have a mother who loves you. These are some amazing stories of our Blessed Virgin Mother's incredible transformation of lives. Real stories, not fiction. I share these because she has ignited in me a love deeper for Our Lord than anything I have ever realized was possible and I'm nowhere near where I should be. She can do the same for you.

This are just two examples of countless stories available.

Added after this post:

Monday, November 13, 2023

Writing update

I'll keep this brief.

I've had some great writing days on Book 18 of Starfire Angels: Forgotten Worlds. I currently have four chapters totaling over 9,000 words.

Once I finish Book 18, I'll edit Book 16 for publishing. Right now, it's looking like February 2024, but we'll see how everything goes. My autoimmunities sometimes get the best of me, which can slow my writing, but I'm taking that into account in my estimation of when I expect to have the next book ready.

Thanks for your patience.

And thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Creating animated images

I worked on it all night and am not fully satisfied, but it is a pretty cool thing to make a still image into an animated gif. I had to watch a short video, but overall the general method was easy in Photoshop. It was getting things to flow even this well that took several hours. And I still didn't get it to flow smoothly. Then the file was too big but I finally figured out how to make it a small enough size to use.

I had intended to write today, but I've also had the idea to make this image for a while (even before I had this exact image). So, I pushed myself to just get it done. It turned out pretty cool and the video version will be great to include in the series trailer that's brewing in my head.

Monday, November 6, 2023

Attack of the haters - the rage mob hits my book

The day has come. My book A NEW BEGINNING has been targeted on Amazon by 1-star bombing for some reason... or Amazon has had a major glitch. 30 1-star ratings in one day (154 to 184 ratings jump since this morning)?! That looks like an attack, a ratings bombing.

I don't know what I can do when my book is sinking from 4+ stars to 3.5 presently on Amazon.

It won't stop me from writing, but it is disappointing. This has never happened to me before. I don't know what I can do, except to beg readers who enjoy the book to leave your higher ratings to counter the attack.

If this is an Amazon error and it gets corrected, I would be relieved, but I've been indie publishing long enough to have seen authors 1-star bombed by rage mobs and jealous authors trying to sink those perceived as competitors... or thieves who steal books and try to sink the original.

Nothing anywhere else, so I hope this is something that can be corrected on Amazon.

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Midjourney - Forgotten Worlds - the nightmare

In Book 13, SOUL SHADOW, you get a glimpse of the nightmare that inhabits L'Ni's mind. This was hinted in Book 8, RACING THE ORAST BELT.

It is the evil that Nya and her friends are fighting, the creature that seeks to destroy the universe while promising the Feri a new creation where they rule. This creature manipulates them to serve it relentlessly with lies. Its hiss is the source of its name, Issa.

It wasn't too difficult to get this image, but it's pretty generic. I did have an idea of an amorphous black smoky shape with red eyes like I described as coiling around Nya and L'Ni in Book 13, but the face was not specific. 

Can you imagine what this nightmare would do if it escaped into our universe?

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Midjourney - Forgotten Worlds scenes (Book 14 spoiler)

I have a little time left with a second month subscription for Midjourney. With it, I've been trying to get action scenes for a series trailer.

I also wanted the romantic scenes, and those are probably harder still. I've tried a few times to get a scene of the romantic subplot that came to fruition in Book 14, the final decision of Nya, who hadn't been looking for love. Isn't that the way it usually happens? I had given up when I found the man who became my husband. I've heard the same thing from others. You try to find someone, but it's when you ultimately give up and accept God's fate that you may be single that the right person comes along.

In this case, I brought the same upon Nya. She wasn't looking and she even resisted love. And then it found her. Of course, I knew what was coming and had sprinkled in hints but didn't want to make it the focus of the overall story but incidental. Nevertheless, it was needed for other pieces of the series to fall into place. I could have made things happen differently, but this romance made it undeniable. That's the only hint you'll get. No more spoilers.

Nevertheless, this picture will spoil book 14 for anyone who hasn't read it yet. I fought and fought and fought to get the details at least close in Midjourney, and I still had to tweak in Photoshop for tiny details like eye, skin, and hair color. I still can't get the skin to be colored quite right, but I was able to give the ears the kind of point that I imagined for L'Ni. It's actually barely there. It was never meant to be long pointed ears the way some artists exaggerate with elves, but more like the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings movie elves or Vulcan ears.

Working with AI is tricky and frustrating, but once you learn to use it and refine it, you learn that you can get close. Nevertheless, it's never going to be exact, not like working with a human artist. But there are few artists with a style that's suitable and who are available, much less affordable. These images are for my own gratification... and for the hope of developing trailers for the series that are more like movie clips. We enjoy visual stories, and creating snapshots of those stories makes the characters come alive in a different way than mere words.

Truth be told, it helps and hinders me. It's fun to see them come to life, but it also takes away the ambiguity and focus on the internal character that drives me to write them. At least for me, it works that way.

Anyway, here is the image I manipulated in MJ that is a spoiler of Book 14, UNBROKEN BONDS:

My input wasn't for this, but getting characters to look right, much less look at each other is nearly impossible and requires a LOT of work with the AI. But when I saw the expressions on this, it was something else. To me, it seems to be her telling him she wants to help him with whatever it is that troubles him, and L'Ni has a lot on his mind in the series, as Book 13 reveals. Nya is the only person who comes to understand the depth of emotions he feels, which he doesn't typically reveal externally.

I love this wounded and loving connection between the characters. It reveals so much to me.

And I put a watermark on because I did the work with the AI to get this and then still altered it in Photoshop to make it unique and more specific to my characters by touching up certain features.

Monday, October 30, 2023

Former Yoga Teacher: “It Invites Demons" | Angela Ucci


Many say Yoga is not Hindu worship, but Satan will lie to steal your soul. Do you want to test the one true God by engaging in an exercise that originated through a belief that is meant to acknowledge something not of Him? The one true faith is through Christ Jesus. You can stretch in ways that are just as effective without engaging in the risk of demonic influence.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

And so it begins... again

Now that I've finished the stinger scene of Book 17, HOMECOMING, which has a HUGE revelation (you have to wait and see), I'm diving into writing Book 18. I can't tease anything about that, because it would give away too much. You'll have to wait and see.

I've written the first chapter already. It's a short but potent one and I feel good about it, but it opens with the climax and jumps back (similar to Book 4), so... we'll see if it plays out the way I expect. It will probably have some tweaks, but I expect it to remain mostly the same. First chapters on these books can be rather difficult. I don't like boring.

So, it's off and running on Book 18.

I'll let you in on a secret at this point--I have 25 books planned and synopsized. We've still got a ways to go, but things are amping up for the grand finale.

Stick around, because it will only get more intriguing!

Saturday, October 21, 2023

On Modesty - the forgotten virtue of Forgotten Worlds

Starfire Angels is based on Christian values. This means the whole series--Dark Angel Chronicles, Revelations, and especially Forgotten Worlds. The values of Crystal Keepers must be virtuous, or they could easily destroy the universe. The Starfire entities (aka Guardians) are creatures of virtue, but also judgment. They will destroy civilizations that devolve into vice, especially using their power for destruction.

But they decided to take a different approach with the Inari. They decided to blend with them and enforce this on their bearers, but in Forgotten Worlds, you learn that it has another purpose.

They require self-control on the part of their bearers, Crystal Keepers. This is part of modesty. Crystal Keepers often also are described as wearing a simple gray "flightsuit" (a type of fitted coverall), although they can wear other clothes. They are supported by their world for the services they provide and are not expected to own much. Sound familiar? This is how the saints often lived, what Jesus taught his disciples.

Dress and attitude often go hand-in-hand. Modesty is also a state of mind. Crystal Keepers are expected to be selfless and modest in attitude and dress.

In Book 3 of Forgotten Worlds, VAULT OF THE CELESTIALS, Nik and Vel are tested on virtues. One of those not highlighted is modesty, but when you consider the mirror, seeing within yourself includes modesty. It's part of seeing within yourself. Many of the other tests were based more on prudence but modesty is also there in a small degree. 

What inspired me in this post was this latest Saturday talk from Fr. Chris Alar. I am guilty of immodesty in my youth, but part of my transformation of faith is seeking greater virtue to please the Lord and honor His gifts, just as the fictional Keepers do to be worthy of the power of the Starfire.

Sunday, October 15, 2023

more rounds of Midjourney - Forgotten Worlds characters - Nya

I didn't like the original version of Nya from my early time with Midjourney, so I went back and fiddled with it some more. I like this much better.

She's not a fierce warrior type but has a gentler demeanor about her, which I used in my description this time. I also had to add the crystal, since I would never get that detail added the way I want in Midjourney. Instead, I had MJ render the necklace separately and layered it in with some blending techniques. Technically, her eyebrows should be silvery white also, but that seems to be more than MJ can handle.

I like this version of Nya much better.

Crystal Keeper Paveiros Nyalin as she appears 
through most of the books of Starfire Angels: Forgotten Worlds, 
without her wings.

I should get back to writing, but I want to create images of the characters that I can use in a promotional trailer video. That is my ultimate goal in making all these (aside from enjoying seeing my characters in a way that I've only wished--as more real).

Saturday, October 14, 2023

more rounds of Midjourney - Forgotten Worlds characters - Zaer

I'm playing with Midjourney again. Unfortunately, it seems that the stealth function is not working. I can see others supposedly in stealth mode and they can see my work (made apparent by the fact that someone used one of my renditions). Frustrating to say the least as these are my characters.

But, I worked on details and details and details and finally have a version of Zaer that I can be satisfied with. It has the coloring pretty close and the expression exactly as one would imagine--the confidence and almost a sort of scolding you could expect from her. She knows she's in charge and doesn't take an argument from anyone. She might be a bit over half the height of an average human male, but her demeanor is like she's much bigger. She's tough as nails but can have a very maternal side to those she feels need her, like Nya and the others. She also tends to assign nicknames to those whom she sees as being beneath her in some way (Nya, Nik, Ann). Individuals she respects more tend to be called by their name (L'Ni, Vel, Shen, Seska).

I found that a foxlike look was more appropriate for her. And I never pictured her with a human feminine figure, so this is quite accurate. (Midjourney isn't very good about centering a main image. It always wants to put the main piece towards the bottom.)

Now to tackle Shen... oh, boy.

Pumpkin processing day

I posted this as a thread on X but wanted to write it out in full for anyone interested.

It's that time of year. I've posted in past years about our pumpkin processing from our garden pumpkins. We had a great harvest this year with 11 pumpkins total before the freeze killed the plant, although one didn't ripen on the plant, and the plant was dying before the freeze but still alive in some ways. That was weird.

Note: Pumpkins that ripen on the plant are sweet and delicious for use. Pumpkins picked while still green and ripened off the plant remain bitter. We discovered this a few years ago and will only process pumpkins that ripened to orange on the plant.

The gap had a pumpkin in it, but the pic was taken
after that one was cleaned and put in the oven.

We're only going to cook 2-3 pumpkins this year, but that will still provide a few gallons worth of puree, especially when the rinds are 1.5-2 inches thick and pumpkins are about 18-24 inches in diameter as shown in the next pic.

Half of the first pumpkin to be processed for
seeds and puree.

Here's the process for anyone wanting to know:

  1. Remove innards
  2. Cut fruit in half
  3. Bake @ 350 F for about 2 hrs (until rinds are soft enough to press in/maybe browning and even collapsing, which is when the skin peels off after it cools a little)
  4. Let cool (and bake the next half pumpkin)
  5. Scoop out rind and puree
  6. Measure puree into freezer bags (we put 2 cups per quart freezer bag) and press out as much air as possible before zipping shut. Lay these flat on pan, and when the pan is full, put it in the freezer.
It really is that easy, but it is a long day and a long process. This year, we decided to buy a new Ninja with a larger blender container (72 oz) for this. We had been using a small Ninja with the largest (24 oz) cup, which took forever. This year, with the larger blender, it should go a bit faster, at least on pureeing and packaging side.

The seeds of all the pumpkins will be cleaned and baked also. For that, they need to be separated from the pith, then the prep begins:
  1. Wash seeds in clean water only (nothing else).
  2. Lay seeds out to dry on a pan or cookie sheet.
  3. Once dry, put seeds in a large bowl and pour on just enough olive oil to coat them without soaking them. Start out light and mix the seeds. If not enough oil, you can always add more a little at a time. (The oil will help salt or seasonings stick.)
  4. Add salt to taste (or other seasonings) and mix seeds to evenly distribute.
  5. Put parchment paper on cookie sheet.
  6. Spread seeds out one layer thick on cookie sheet.
  7. Bake at 350 F until they start browning. Do not overcook!
  8. Set out to cool, then pour into bowl.
  9. Repeat steps 5-8 until all seeds are cooked.
  10. Put seeds away (do not need to be refrigerated) and enjoy.
What pumpkins we don't bake gets turned into jack o'lanterns/decorations for Halloween.

Happy autumn!

ps--We ended up with 4 gallons (32 freezer bags with 2 cups per bag) of puree put away in our freezer for this year, from only two pumpkins. That's plenty, especially since most will be given away to family.

Real Spiritual Warfare (not the science fiction or fantasy kind)

I've written about fictional demon-like creatures, which is believable and entertaining, and one only needs to look to the real world to see such behaviors in people (who are influence by demon prompts/whispers/influences in their minds). But these are fictional and less frightening to me than the real thing.

I keep thinking I've listened to all of exorcist Fr. Chad Ripperger's lectures and then I find another or go back to what I've listened to. I swear he must have the charism of teaching. Once I start listening, I am engrossed.

This is very good, touching on the five top generals of Satan and their effects in this world and then expanding on the problems we face and must combat in spiritual warfare. D&D players may enjoy some of this and his other spiritual warfare and demonology lectures.

Thursday, October 12, 2023

One more new cover - When Angels Cry

Since I now have more consistent series covers for each of the series I have available, I decided I wanted to update the When Angels Cry cover. What I had was the best I could do at the time I originally published it over ten years ago. Now, however, there are many better options and artists available.

So, I have a cover now that is much more precise to what I wanted:

This novella about Raea's mother's escape to Earth and being followed by the Shirukan doesn't get much attention. I hope this cover catches the eyes of readers.

You can find more at

Saturday, October 7, 2023

New covers

After updating Shards, I decided to take on the whole Starfire Angels: Revelations expansion series and updated covers on all to make the series more consistent. It's not perfect, but I kept the same basic title, series, and author typography and design. The cover art itself was more difficult to figure out, but I made up or found some images appropriate for the stories.

Because I liked the general look of NEMESIS as it was, I only tweaked that and then used it as the basis for the rest of the series. Here are the books in order with the new covers. I also updated the formatting on the ebooks and cleaned up some details in the books. Full edits would take too much time, but I fixed the issues that I encountered which were, fortunately, few and far between.

ps- NOW I can get back to working on Forgotten Worlds. And this was an excellent time to take on this little project. Since Nya returns to her homeworld in HOMECOMING (tell me that wasn't obvious by the title), the refresher was very helpful!

pps- I was also pleasantly surprised by how good they are. Sometimes I think I'm going to cringe when rereading some books, but these are very good (aside from finding those few typos), although this is a series that is very character-driven. They each get very in-depth into a particular character. Overall, an excellent series that deserves more marketing attention than I've given it up to this point.

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Another update done - Shards

That didn't take much work.

And it was refreshing to go back to Leksel's backstory in Shards. I was afraid I had some things in the story that I would be ashamed of, but it wasn't as bad as I thought. I really haven't written any sex scenes that weren't glossed over, but there was some heat to it. I toned that down to focus on story instead of sex, even if that was how Leksel and Korali started out their relationship.

But while I was afraid of what I had written between Leksel and Korali, I forgot how much of his story wasn't about their physical relationship. It is a good, satisfying short read to revisit.

And now it's been updated so the TOC functions properly. I also tweaked the cover. It's more similar to Nemesis in style, and Nemesis is the standard that I want for this series.

At some point, I need to update all the Starfire Angels: Revelations books. They're a bit outdated in formatting and covers. I want to figure out completely new covers for Soriel, Deception, and Phantoms. And I'm debating whether I should just include Deception at the end of Soriel or not. Plus, I might like to even create a new cover for Shards. The only cover I don't like of this part of the series is Nemesis. I love that image, which is why I used it for my author branding on my website, blog, and Amazon.

So, when you end up reading Starfire Angels: Forgotten Worlds Book 17, if you want to know more, this book is all about Leksel's backstory. You'll want to read Nemesis, however, for some things mentioned in HOMECOMING that happen after Shards.

Monday, October 2, 2023

Incredible real angel story: the protection of Saint Michael the Archangel

I love stories like this and wanted to share. It's a true story from a Korean War soldier's letter to his mother as reported at

Make sure you read to the end. The result of this incident will have your jaw hanging on the ground. This is just a teaser:

"When I got to Korea, I prayed even harder. Remember the prayer you taught me? ‘Michael, Michael of the morning, Fresh court of Heaven adorning…’ you know the rest of it. Well, I said it every day. Sometimes, when I was marching, sometimes resting…I even got some of the other fellows to say it."


"I opened my eyes for one last look. ‘I’m dying,’ [I thought,] maybe I was even dead. I remember thinking, ‘Well, this isn’t so bad.’ Maybe I was looking into the sun, maybe I was in shock, but it seemed that I saw Michael standing erect again, only this time, his face was shining with a terrible splendor.

"As I say, maybe it was the sun in my eyes, but he seemed to change as I watched him. He got bigger, his arms stretched out wide. Maybe it was the snow falling again, but there was a brightness around him like the wings of an angel. In his hand was a sword that flashed with a million lights."

Follow the link above and read to the whole story. You will not be disappointed.

I love stories about angels. Today is the feast day of Guardian Angels. Michael isn't a guardian angel but, rather, an Archangel, specifically the one who cast Satan into hell upon God's order. He's considered the patron of soldiers because of this.

When I first created Starfire Angels (back in early 2008), I wanted to make my "angels" like the real angels as much as I could, but clearly they would not be true angels. That's where the Starfire crystal came in, an explanation for giving the mortal aliens extraordinary powers. Although my Inari will never be like true angels, stories like this prior to creating them were part of my inspiration.


Another guardian angel story that came out today: Actor Bug Hall's First Encounter With His Guardian Angel: "I Was Immediately Overwhelmed"

Sunday, October 1, 2023

leaving sex scenes out of my books

I have made Shards (Starfire Angels: Revelations) unavailable for now. I will be rewriting it and checking my other series as I have time, to remove any sexual content. A few years ago, I edited the Dark Angel Chronicles books to remove some of the swear words. I'm debating taking the swearing down to nothing (particularly the first book), but writing is a balancing act with reality and the reality is that kids do use some foul language in our public schools. Luckily, I've already kept sex scenes out of Starfire Angels: Dark Angel Chronicles and Starfire Angels: Forgotten Worlds. Legend of the White Dragon also has no sex scenes... that I can remember (it's been many years since I worked on that). Nor do the Demon Age books have sex scenes. And the violence in my books is never glorified, although because they are SFF, they do have fighting scenes.

What follows is a long religious explanation of my reasons. Stop here if you're opposed to truth or not yet ready for it.

It is sin to induce others to sin, which includes lust. Love is is not lust (sexual arousal/titillation), which is a sin, namely for someone who isn't one's spouse, including a reader reading about other spouses engaged in graphic sex scenes or even groping/kissing written to titillate readers. I don't care how much readers want that--it's our job as Christian writers not to cause others to sin. Every single incident will be counted against us on our judgment day. I have no problem personally with sex off the page or brief mentions of kisses or touches that don't go into enticing lust in readers. That would be expected at times, but it doesn't have to arouse the reader's lust.

I hate to say this, but writers of any genre who claim to be Christian need to rethink what they're doing if they're including anything that might cause readers to sin, including sexual arousal in the readers, such as comes from describing graphic sex scenes, groping, passionate kissing, etc. If it gets you aroused writing it (lust in the writer is already one sin), leave it out for the readers.

It's said that at our judgment, Satan is the prosecutor, getting the chance to name off every tiniest sin offense against us that is not confessed to a priest. The more a person sins without repentance, the closer to damnation is their soul.

The same goes for music, games, movies, etc. Entertainment is rife with glorifying sin, especially in our modern world.

And it's not just lust. It's any sin. It could be movies, books, games, etc. that glorify violence or even statements online that induce others to violence, engaging in or glorifying heretical, blasphemous, or even new age/occultic practices (which comes from demons, many of whom have been identified by exorcists with names known from mythological spirits or gods/goddesses), or which demean another person or the value of life. These are all sinful, multiplied by the number of others (readers/audience) who are influenced to such behavior. And it could go further than that. That doesn't mean we need to avoid the topics, but we must be careful not to induce curiosity and temptation to sin in our readers. Rather, the task is to show the truth of how it harms one's soul.

Nor should we be engaging with such risky stories in any form of entertainment. It stains our souls by influencing our thoughts toward sin. I'm beginning to understand why our ancestors were so, what we would consider, "rigid" about their faith. We see the result of loosening the laws of God in the spiritual warfare of our current society and the rise in crime and violence, child sacrifice (in so many forms, even if they were never at risk of being aborted), and attacks on Christianity, the Catholic church in particular (both from within and from outside).

The road to perdition is wide while narrow is the righteous path, because it's easy to sin or to not even realize we're sinning. It's very difficult to be a saint in the eyes of God.

Why I bring all this up:

I've been on a path to making huge improvements in my own life and want to help others do the same. I can't describe the tranquility and joy I've found in rediscovering my Catholic faith. The rosary every day has done wonders for me, but it is an effort. (Satan will use every weapon in his arsenal to stop us from invoking the Blessed Mother, whom he detests because she is a creature who should be below him (humans are generally lesser than angels, and demons are fallen angels) but is more perfect than him and has God's favor. He will even convince one that the rosary is blasphemy when, in reality, the blasphemy is in denying the miracle of the Immaculate Conception and perpetual virginity of Mary and the chastity of Joseph). See my Faith Resources tab for more about Marian devotion.

Now, I've started the Servite Rosary (seven sorrows (dolors) of Mary), which I find even more meaningful in combination with the regular rosary, and I've begun making time for Eucharistic adoration. (A fact about that--the consecrated hosts are sought by Satan worshippers for dark masses in which they desecrate them, because they are the true body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus, as the many Eucharistic miracles prove. See my Faith Resources tab for links to explanations.) Just an hour of sitting with Jesus's real presence in the Eucharist is an experience difficult to explain. It is magnificent and humbling. You leave feeling so peaceful and moved by the Holy Spirit that your heart swells greater than anything you can imagine with a love so pure that you feel a touch of heaven. I'm so glad I started these devotions and that I didn't listen to the voice that said it was too much work. These have given me a bigger boost to eliminating the smallest of sinful thoughts and learning to truly love others as God desires by controlling the worldly desires and resisting temptations and even praying for my "enemies", whom I have learned to see as much victims of Satan's lies as I once was so that I now pity them and pray for their repentance and conversion. I'll never be perfect, but I have the available resources to help me in the church. I'm also learning to accept my sufferings of any difficulties as penance for others who won't repent. We don't want to suffer, but the fake prosperity gospel many want to embrace is the road to hell. In this life, our suffering means more to Christ than the simplest of pleasures. Suffering aligns us more with Him and humbles us. Humility is our greatest weapon against Satan, who is pride incarnate.

The problem is that most people don't realize the minutiae adding up against them in the eyes of God in seeking pleasures and doing whatever they want that pleases them (Satan's motto). Discipline, humility, and charity are the basis of real love. I've learned to see it, and I see why Jesus weeps for us. Every small sin is another strike by a cat of nine tails (roman whip used on Christ in the scourging) or a nail or thorn. Our sins are His to bear, punishing Him every time, but it shouldn't be that way. We should resist the temptations of sin, especially in inducing sinful thoughts or behaviors in others. The Blessed Virgin Mary will help us learn to love him properly when we seek her, especially through the rosary, which is a meditation of "the Bible on beads."

Changing one's writing may mean fewer readers, but what is your soul's destination worth to you? Would you rather sell it for worldly goods ($$$, worldly pleasures) or preserve it for eternal life?

After years of avoiding it, I now also look forward to confession and the relief it brings to me in that absolution of my sins, which comes from Christ through his anointed priests (in what exorcists describe as a minor exorcism), which comes from the succession of the authority Christ gave his apostles who founded what became known as the Catholic church. Catholic priests are the only persons with the authority to exorcise demons; and sin allows demons into our lives. Although I will never be perfect, I have resolved to do my best to eliminate even near occasions of sin in my life, which is why anything inducing sin in others will not be included in my books, as I've mentioned. I didn't understand that for the longest time, but I'm awake to the truth now. What is seen cannot be unseen. God's law is immutable, it does not bend to the whims of his creatures.

When I found the image included here, I felt a need to share this as a warning. Sorry for the long-winded explanation, but I must obey what God is asking of me.

God bless.

Monday, September 25, 2023

It's here!

Last night, after I finished the fifth round of edits, I finally published BENEATH THE SURFACE.

Book 15 of Starfire Angels: Forgotten Worlds is slowly arriving at the bookstores. You can find all the currently available retail links on the book page here--

The newsletter announcement will go out in the next day or two (as soon as I have a link for Barnes and Noble, the last of the major retailers).

Now, I sit and wonder what the edit gremlins have been up to since I published. 😳

And get back to work on the other books. I have two more written and 25 books planned in this series, so eight more to write. Hi ho! Hi ho! Back to work I go!

Friday, September 22, 2023

religious topic - transformation stories

I love conversion stories, but this is more than that. Anyone who wants to love Jesus Christ more needs to listen to this. I love Gabi's Youtube channel, but I never knew his background.

And there's the incredible conversion story of Fr. Don Calloway.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Almost time... update on editing

It's almost ready.

I've been quiet about writing because I've been editing Book 15. And when I think I've finished, I find something major to tweak and wonder if I should give it another pass.

Worse than that, when I go back to look up something I thought I wrote in another book and want to verify some series canon that I've already established or simply verify some piece of information that I overlooked including in my wiki aka series bible, I then find typos. 🤦‍♀️

I swear I edited and everything was good. The edit gremlins love to wreak havoc on a writer's efforts. This is why I freak out about editing and why it takes me a while, aside from having a life outside my series, including a day job.

I've at least written a description of Book 15, which is now available on my website and on the series page of this blog:

Throughout her search for the Starfire shards, Nya has sought other resources her ancestors left behind. She gets her wish when her friends visit the coordinates of Nagami in the hopes that something was left to turn the tide of the war against the Issan.

However, they aren't the first to arrive. A private corporation has dug up the ruins of an ancient structure, and they aren't there for philanthropic reasons. They also aren't alone.

With a suspected traitor still at large on the Iludrin, the battle to control ancient Inari knowledge that has waited thousands of years to be discovered is only the beginning of trouble.

I promised this month. I just didn't expect it to be so late in the month, so I apologize for the delay.

Thank you for your patience. 

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Religious topic - Crazy Things Protestants Believe About Catholics

I highly recommend this channel. As one of many former protestants who have found the truth in the original church founded by Christ, which came to be known as the Catholic church, he clearly dispels all the misconceptions.

Something similar:

Saturday, September 2, 2023

more rounds of Midjourney - Forgotten Worlds characters - L'Ni in his hooded coat

Concurrently while I guided Midjourney to produce a suitable Vel image, I worked out the details of L'Ni in his long coat.

It wasn't easy. Midjourney wants to embellish such a coat. However, L'Ni's coat was made by the natives of Kurtuz. (See book 4, IN DARKNESS, LIGHT) They trade with outsiders, but it's mostly simple goods and useful items. There were forced through natural disaster into a simpler lifestyle. Their animals provide the hides that become leather. Although they would be capable of some fancy leatherwork, L'Ni isn't someone who wants to stand out. In that, I wanted a simple coat that fastened from neck to waist but had a loose bottom for freedom of movement but coverage. His coat also has some wear in it, so when I got a bottom that was uneven, I liked it. That's how I picture his long coat. Many of the options were open or had a cross-body strap. They also eliminated the gun holsters. And then they made the coat too long, but that was an easy adjustment once I got the style that worked. I had some nice results from different styles but finally settled on what seemed appropriate.

So, this is what I finally managed to obtain from many iterations and adjustments. Not quite as plain as I wanted but suitable. And the boots should have straps around them, not be plain like this. I'll take what I can get from Midjourney.

more rounds of Midjourney - Forgotten Worlds characters - Vel

After getting some good work on editing yesterday, I decided to reward myself with more playing on Midjourney. I actually got a twofer today. I concurrently worked on a hooded L'Ni and also Vel. I'll post that version of L'Ni after this.

For Vel, I wanted him working on some project. As a physicist/engineer type in a futuristic setting. I wanted to demonstrate that level of intelligence he has. Although his emotional intelligence is a bit on the immature side, his IQ is quite high. It would have to be to understand the calculations for creating portals instantly anywhere in space without using a Starfire crystal like a Crystal Keeper could. He was influenced by the Starfire, but he was also chosen by them for his high intelligence.

So, here is Svosted Vellin in his element, thanks to Midjourney. Getting the expression, hair, and facial structure (especially in light of his age) to come close to what my impression of what he should be was a challenge, but I'm getting better with Midjourney.

Monday, August 28, 2023

more rounds of Midjourney - Forgotten Worlds characters - Seska

I didn't think I'd have as much trouble as I did figuring out Seska, but Midjourney wanted to keep giving me someone too young looking.

Seska has quite the personality, but as a trained Paxon special agent who embeds herself into planetary governments where she stirs up suspicions and hostilities, she has a lot of skills and wears a lot of faces. Her job was to bring down the stability of societies so the Paxons could come in as saviors, but at a cost. Those who request their help come under their control as a protectorate. Special agents know how to manipulate others and blend in. But, like Ann, Seska has an added gift because of being the result of a secret Paxon experiment in their breeding program, one that has made her more successful than most special agents.

Putting a face to her was a bit harder than I expected. I never really pictured the face of Paxon Special Agent Seska Levat (to those who know her true identity), but now I have it. One of the big problems with Midjourney is the way it wants to make women super thin. Well, that's not only unrealistic in the real world but especially wrong for Paxons who are bred to be warriors, both men and women. This image of Seska is a woman with that fuller body, although I would have preferred smaller breasts.

GHOSTS (Starfire Angels: Forgotten Worlds book 16) will be out around February-ish 2024 at my best guess (preferably sooner, but it depends on how writing Book 18 goes). You'll find out then what happened to her.

more rounds of Midjourney - Forgotten Worlds characters - Nik

I took a break from Midjourney yesterday to finish the latest round of edits on BENEATH THE SURFACE. It'll go through a couple more before it's done, but the major work is done. Now, it's more into subtle things and catching the little details that might have slipped past.

Today, I let myself play with Midjourney again, and it FINALLY started giving me what I wanted for Nik, the prince who prefers to be recognized as a doctor and who has the skills to be respected as such. The face isn't exactly what I'd imagine, but it's pretty darn close. You'd be amazed at the subtle changes MJ makes with each iteration. His was a tough one to pin down--I've tried on several different occasions since I started playing with MJ--along with a gray and red uniform that was anywhere near what I had in mind for his work as a medic on an Ethalian starship. Like with Ann's armor, this uniform isn't perfect but it's pretty close, maybe even better than what I could have imagined. (When I "see" my characters, it's not actually as specific as readers may think. I generally leave a lot for readers to interpret for themselves.)

Overall, I'm pretty satisfied with this, except for the eyes. It's a glassy stare like they're zoning out.

But, I have my Lord (and doctor) Ivandru Nikkolas. He has a princely charm about him, wouldn't you say?

ps--I still prefer actual artists. This AI is hard to work with and leaves a lot lacking, even as I learn to use it more effectively.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

more rounds of Midjourney - Forgotten Worlds characters - the Black Dragon (Ann)

I'm still trying to get more characters to turn out with Midjourney. This took me over an hour to get right. But this is the face of Ann nearly identical as I see her and nearly perfect in the armor she would have worn in the battle games. The worst is the phoenix head, or whatever it's supposed to be, instead of a proper dragon head that MJ put on this. It takes forever for the AI to bring all the pieces together, but it can be done!

I present to you Andretta Draksten, Captain of the Paxon Dominion battlecruiser Predator as her secret alter ego battle games persona The Black Dragon:

The problem with using this face is the near impossibility of being able to get it to match with any other design for her that I'd want to play with. I really like this, though! It is so her.

Edit: I like the background below better, but the original arm was a mess. MJ makes changes you don't want to get changes you do want at times. Very frustrating. But I Photoshopped it with the correct arm from the above image.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Playing with Midjourney - including Forgotten Worlds characters Nya and L'Ni

I signed up yesterday on Midjourney, against the advice of my artist oldest child. I finally bit the bullet and paid the pro fee so I could keep my images private. Except I'll share them here.

First off, I wish I'd had this fourteen years ago, when I released Starfire Angels, the book that really started my writing career to the point of meeting the indie requirements to join SFWA, although I've quit that organization after just a few years since it wasn't serving me.

Anyway, Midjourney gave me Elis (pronounced EE-lis, not El-lis) after all this time of wishing I could get a good picture of him. The fans back then swooned over his description. I made this promo for the series with the image Midjourney gave me:

And for Legend of the White Dragon, I managed to get princess Istaria with the white dragon, even though he should technically be a ghost:

Last of all, I started my dive into the AI with Forgotten Worlds characters. They're not quite right but as close as I could get Midjourney to give me so far. I also haven't played with all the characters yet. I think readers can figure out who these are meant to be.

(See my post from October 15, 2023 for a better rendition of Nya.)

And he looks an awful lot like Henry Cavill's Witcher, imo; but it's as close as I could get when the AI made hair grow out of a hood on the pictures that would otherwise be perfect:

Of course, I started with Nya and L'Ni. I've tried Zaer, but it comes out as an anthropomorphic cat with a tail. The cat I can live with, but she doesn't have a tail.

Unfortunately, the more iterations one does of women, the less clothes they end up wearing on Midjourney. I'm not crazy about that. 

ps--I may keep trying for a better version of Nya and L'Ni, but these are good starts.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Book promotional features

I'm planting these here for myself. However, these are open to everyone, so feel free to share these images and videos. I'll make more in time, but for now, this is what I have. I'll add to this as I make more media to share, but the main task is to write and edit, so making graphics and videos is squeezed in where I can.

These are available as ebooks 
and also in paperback with beautiful wrap-around covers.

This will be updated as books are added. This particular
image shows books 1-17 covers.
ps - I purposely offset these covers because they
looked too blah perfectly aligned, but I can change that to preference.

This is also available on Vimeo at

This is also available on Vimeo at

Friday, August 11, 2023

Book cover reveal... Book 17

I've been playing with cover images and made some tweaks to Book 16 after finding the right image for Book 17.

And in putting together the cover for Book 17, I had to write up a cover blurb. This one was actually pretty easy to write, but the image didn't seem right with my working title for the book, so I changed it slightly. HOMECOMING seemed more appropriate, although I'm still not sure of that. HOME was a placeholder, since Nya returns to her homeworld, but it seemed too simple. HOMECOMING is better, but I may still change it. I have time to consider that.

I had considered playing with Midjourney, but there's plenty of good art available by actual people, so I'm trying to use that rather than AI art, as long as I can find something to fit the story from stock images (and most of what I have of that is from before AI art programs became available). The image I found fits the story almost perfectly. There is a space battle in this one with a variety of ships (whatever the Shirukan remnant could get their hands on), although most of the action is inside one of the ships, which none of the ships on the image match, so that will be up to your imagination.

Without further ado, here is the cover for Book 17 of Starfire Angels: Forgotten Worlds:

Quite the homecoming, isn't it?

ps--I also wrote up a description for Book 17. I need to be doing that for Books 15 and 16. My brain doesn't work in order with this series. 🤦‍♀️

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

done... sort of

The main part of Book 17 is finished. I just need to figure out what I want for a stinger scene. You know I can't end these books without something to tease for the future, a sort of epilogue or transition scene for the next book or for a few books later. That's all that remains to write, but I'm going to read through this before I do that and probably even start edits on Book 15.

Often it's while editing one book that I finally come up with those elusive scenes I want in other books. My mind can never stay on the book it's supposed to be working on.

I'll also have to design a cover image or find one that's right. Maybe I'll finally give Midjourney a try. I've been wanting to play with it since I learned about it. And there are other AI art programs now too, so I have options. We'll see what I feel like doing.

In the meantime, the first draft of Book 17 is about 45K words and a stinger scene won't add more than 1,000 words to that, so I'll likely hit the top of the range I expected. 

Sunday, July 30, 2023

So close to done (so I took a break to have some fun)

I'm excited to say that Book 17 of Starfire Angels: Forgotten Worlds is currently over 43K words and just two short scenes from being finished. If all goes well, I might achieve that by tomorrow.

I had a great writing streak Friday and Saturday with over 4K words getting written on this project. With all that momentum, one's creativity can get a bit drained and need a moment to refresh.

And since the weather ended up being so beautiful, I went out to play with my boy. I haven't posted horse pics in a while, but I still have Buddy. He's been at a boarding facility closer to where I live than my parents, but it's been exactly what he needed. I get out to him regularly, although not as often as I'd like.

This past weekend, there was an event at the facility, so I waited until today. I could have gone yesterday, but I was really on a roll with the writing and with the event, I figured one more day would be worth the wait. I ended up arriving after most of those who had hauled in for the event had left. The outdoor arena was open, so I was able to do whatever I wanted. (While there, I found a horseshoe with nails still in it and took it out so no one steps on it. One of the horses at the event threw a shoe.)

And I remembered to get some pictures after we rode. Buddy is ten years old now, and fat on a good pasture. The drought of the last two years is over and clearly he gets plenty to eat. I could work him harder, but I'm not as young as I used to be.

Watch for an announcement on the completion of the first draft of Book 17 soon. Once that's done, I'll give it a read through and then start editing Book 15, which I hope to publish by the beginning of September.