Sunday, February 11, 2024

updates - books, indoor garden, and cats

I don't have much of a writing update today. I'm still working on edits of Book 16. It's going more slowly than I hoped, which is why I've at least temporarily deactivated my X account (and maybe permanently). So, I thought I'd add something different about what's been happening lately.

First, I've just uploaded a revision of A NEW BEGINNING. It now includes a note about the [ ] and { } indicators of alien languages. That was the only update to the file. I wanted to make sure new readers understand. Most SFF readers should have some familiarity with using such devices for dialogue translations of fictional other languages, if they've read anything from around the 80's. I saw this in books growing up, which is what gave me the idea to use those to encapsulate translations of fictional languages being spoken by characters where I want the reader to understand it.

Second, I have updated the series description on Amazon. I've tweaked it a couple of times now. It had defaulted to the description of the first book and I left that for a long time. Now, I've given it a brief overview of the series, as well as a note about... Well, why not just let you read it. Here's what it now says:

The truth behind the warrior disciples of an ancient religion is no myth. To stop the ancient evil from being released to destroy the universe, a group of strangers joins together to find the scattered Starfire shards, the only weapon known to defeat the creature. 
Take off with Nya and the strangers who will become her friends on a quest across a galaxy of forgotten worlds where the Starfire shards have been hidden for such a time as this. In the course of their adventures, they will discover secrets that her ancestors left behind and revelations that could shatter the lives of many. 
These books are short novels intended to be read in order. Each book is a complete story but leads into the next. Like chapters in an individual book, each book of this series is a "chapter" in the larger series arc of 25 books.

Note: Although there is some romance in the series, there are no sex scenes. Also, no foul language is used.

I wanted those looking for hard science fiction to realize that this probably isn't what they want. It isn't a porno/swearing fest like so much fiction is these days. It's also not all shoot 'em up war/fighting, and it's not full of broken characters. Sure, each character has their traumas, but they don't dwell on them all the time. I like likable characters and action that's balanced between drama and fighting (or pew pew! as some call it 🙃).

idoo hydroponic garden,
available from Amazon
The series was always written with the intent of going back to the 80's and 90's style SF series, when entertainment didn't punch one in the face with an agenda or sex but, rather, focused on telling stories and the sex was fade-to-black or mentioned in passing so that you knew it was there but not front and center. I've learned there's a name coined for stories without an agenda other than telling a good yarn--ironage. It's not because it's medieval or anything but because of the ironage of storytelling, before the woke agenda ruined entertainment by focusing on pushing a narrative instead of focusing on telling a good story.

(Also, in this description, I'm hinting the title of the final book in the series, Book 25 - FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS. I already know that works for what I have outlined. 😉)

Third, I've had to do some pulling of old lettuce and reseeding in my indoor hydroponics garden. I started the lettuce but haven't had an interest in eating many salads, although it is nice to have our own lettuce instead of store-bought with who knows how many chemicals sprayed on it.

I pulled up two of my larger plants that were looking pretty shredded and not fitting under the light anymore and have new sprouts growing. I'll pull up those last two large plants once the new sprouts take off with enough leaves to start using for salads.

The picture is blurry because it was before the sun rose
and zoomed in from a ways back from the glass deck door
so as not to frighten her. She's pretty skittish.
Fourth, we feed feral cats that come around. Last winter, we had Lenny, but he disappeared come summer. We like to keep outdoor cats around as hunters to keep the mice, gophers, and volls under control. Hubby had made a suitable shelter out of a Rubbermaid container, but I think the latest feral, Remy, felt entrapped in it, so I bought this off Etsy for her. It may not be as cozy warm, but she can eat while sheltered on windy, snowy, or rainy days. While she was reluctant to use hubby's shelter, she was in this within two days of us putting it out for her.

It's a small shelter and the roof is hinged like a lid. If you're interested, here's the link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/226068063/all-season-ark-workshop-medium-outdoor?ref=yr_purchases

Fifth, pay attention to your health. My eyes were giving me problems lately and I hadn't thought to connect it to headaches and tiredness. I made an appointment and, just over a year since my last pair of glasses, ended up needing new glasses again. My eyes are healthy, although the psoriasis around them causes minor issues (easily kept under control with Aquaphor); but my vision has changed dramatically. I wear bifocals, and my old close-up prescription is better for distances now. That's how much my vision has changed. I can't wait to get the new glasses, but that's going to be a big adjustment!

Last, Wednesday, February 14th (Valentine's Day), is Ash Wednesday. For those who honor Our Lord during this season with extra mortification, I pray you achieve the change this season is intended to inspire. I've also been adding to my faith resources page and hope you can find some support there for your faith journey. God bless!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Why discipline in life is important

Fr. Ripperger always has good lectures, and you don't have to be Catholic to appreciate many of them. This is one that applies to everyone. He offers great insights into bettering your life.

What is Laziness, Sloth, & Workaholicism & Their Dangers ~ Fr. Ripperger



Thursday, January 25, 2024

Cover reveal - SINS OF THE FATHER

There's a good reason for the title, but you'll have to wait to find out. Your suspicions are probably close, however.

I finished the first draft a few days ago and have been enjoying a first read-through. It was a struggle to write, but because of that, I really had to buckle down and think about things. So far, so good when it comes to writing struggles. These tend to be some of the best books (in my opinions).

I had to then create the cover, or at least plug in the title, series number, blurb, and image to my template for this series. Oh, and modify the series title colors to coordinate with the image. Seriously, that's all these are--basically plugging a suitable image into the template I created in Photoshop. There have been times I found a stock image and modified the story to fit it. Other times, I photo-manipulate (multiple covers of this series). And some are good enough as they are when I find them.

Without further ado, I present the cover of Starfire Angels: Forgotten Worlds Book 18:


Now to finish my read-through and then edit Book 16. I hope to publish that by the end of February. If you're not on my mailing list, go ahead and send me an email. You can do this by clicking the Contact me link on the sidebar of this blog, which will take you to the contact page of my website. Or just use this link: https://melanienilles.com/contact/.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, January 20, 2024

update and a question

SINS OF THE FATHER

It's taken longer than expected, but I only have the final scene to write on Book 18, and can then move on. On the other hand, I might even leave it until after edits on Book 16, like I've done with others. What's left is that stinger outside of the main action of the story. I've had those in most of the books to add a series depth where it wouldn't otherwise fit into the main episodic story.

I'm still discovering little things to tweak of the plot in this too, like last night after laying in bed to go to sleep. I had to pop back up when something struck me. It was brilliant! It didn't take much--probably less than 100 words--but that little bit added a whole new dimension to the story. It was exactly what had been missing.

Presently, Book 18 of Forgotten Worlds is just over 47,000 words, and the final scene (or maybe even two short final scenes) should wrap up the story at around 48,000 words.

So, that's what's going on in writing.

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Progress on book 18 - the homestretch

It's so close now to being finished. I had a couple of very good writing days recently and Book 18 is presently about 41,500 words and should be finished around 45K words.

I've had to resolve some small plot holes, but that's always part of the writing process. As things get sorted out, the story gets better and better. I didn't have this planned out the way I should have, but it's turning out better than I could have planned anyway. It's just not what I would have expected. You'd think I'd expect THAT in this series by now, but the individual books still surprise me.

When it comes to writing, you have to be willing to let go of what you expect and let the story become what it needs to be. Once I let go of what I had wanted, the story sorted itself out.

I hope to finish this soon. I'd like to get done and then edit Book 16. I want to publish GHOSTS before the end of February, but it's going to be tight.


Saturday, January 6, 2024

A devotion that will change your life

I have a revelation for many who love to hate on the mother of Jesus.

Guess what? The Hail Mary is in the Bible! EVERY. SINGLE. LINE! It is Biblical!

Stop! If you're fuming, tell Satan to take a hike and keep reading. Don't listen to his anger and pride and envy against the Mother of Jesus. Hear me out.

Line 1:

Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee.

"And coming to her, he said, 'Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.'" (Luke 1:28)

Line 2:

Blessed are thou among women, 

"Blessed are you among women" (Luke 1:41)

Line 3:

and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus.

"Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said 'Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.'" (Luke 1:42)

Line 4:

Holy Mary, Mother of God,

"How does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" (Luke 1:43)

(Mary is the mother of Jesus (Lord with capital "L", an honor bestowed only on God). Jesus is the second part of the Holy Trinity aka God. Therefore, Mary is the Mother of God, specifically of the second part of God.)

Line 5:

Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

"Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful." (James 5:16)

"And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand." (Revelation 8:4)

Saints are those who have died and live in eternity in heavy. Do you not expect when you die to go to heaven? Will you be dead, nothing... or will your spirit be with God (alive)? What about everyone who has gone before you? If they were followers of Christ, do they not go to heaven? Are they "dead" in heaven? NO! They live. What better saint than the first Christian, the first follower of Christ--his mother who loves Him eternally--to add their love of us to our prayers in petitioning God for mercy?

Think about it.

But don't take my word for it. Look up the the scriptures yourself and see how they've been pulled out of the Bible and put together to create what we know as the Hail, Mary (Ave, Maria) prayer.

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee!
Blessed are you amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, mother of God,
pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.