To check out the first book in the "Dark Angel" series, you can currently download it for free at amazon or Barnes & Noble. You can also follow Melanie's adventures here on livejournal at amsaph.
Crystal lore applied in Starfire Angels
When Alana emailed asking to host a day of my blog tour, I felt a little giddy inside. It's an honor to be asked back. Yes, back. I've been here once before, a couple years ago, when Starfire Angels was going to be a different book with a different name, before it was rewritten into something greater. It's done well for itself, and I'm proud to announce the release of the third book in the series, Crystal Tomb. (The second book, Broken Wings, was released last August.)
In keeping with the theme of myths and legends in books, I want to discuss crystal lore and how it applies in the series. Crystals have long been considered to have mystical powers connected to the earth from which they come. I actually knew very little about the metaphysical properties of crystals when I started writing the books, but that changed in searching for what might best represent the Starfire crystal in the stories.
First, a little science. Crystals contain structures formed by repeating arrangements of molecules or ions throughout. The internal arrangement of those particles is often related to the external appearance. I assume everyone understands what atoms and molecules are. Often, we think of salt, which has a cubic appearance, or quartz with its hexagonal points when we think of crystals, but they aren't always faceted in these ways when we see them. It all depends on the molecular arrangements, which is revealed by the external shape. Crystals can contain other crystals or strands within them (phantoms or rutilations). They may also be polished or cut, such as gemstones, which changes the external appearance; but the crystalline structure remains intact.
Crystals are more than a geologist's inspiration, however. They have also inspired mystics. The history of using crystals in healing can't be dated. It has been with us for as long as we can trace our history.
In science, we learn that everything is made up of atoms, which are constantly in motion, even when matter is in a solid state, thus everything has energy. This energy resonates at a particular vibration, which varies for each object; thus the shatter of a crystal wine glass from a high musical note. In the study of crystal healing, it is understood that each crystal has a unique vibration that affects the body's energy and can realign it so that the negative energy can be cleared and the body cleansed to promote healing. Some crystals are thought to be record keepers said to hold the imprint of all that has gone before and open the self to spiritual wisdom.*
In many science fiction series, crystals are often seen as data storage devices or to align energy in a particular way, such as the Go'a uld ships on Stargate SG-1 using crystals rather than circuit boards in their devices, which was adapted into the Prometheus, Daedalus, and other ships of that fleet. Babylon 5 used memory crystals like we use flash drives, for data storage. In real life, we're not far off—lithium and quartz and silicon are in our computers and clocks.
Given all this, I didn't consider it a big leap to create a living, sentient crystal as my Starfire. Originally I needed a tool to give my angels the powers attributed to angels in mythology. But it couldn't be just anything. In a trunked novella from many years earlier, I had a story of a living, magic crystal that needed protection from those who sought to abuse its power. In that story, it had fallen to the world from the stars and was called the Starfire. I took that and modified it to give me what I needed, but there was one thing missing.
The Starfire needed a reason for existing, and I gave it one. It had to be special and it had to be plausible, not magic. I decided that the new Starfire would be from another dimension, one where solid matter can't exist, where only energy can. But in crossing dimensions, that energy must become solid matter, so it formed a crystalline structure, which would allow its energy to be contained and the entities to live. But in that form, they could not move. They could only influence the atomic energy in contact with them, whatever its form of matter. They were subject to the whims of physics and the intelligence of creatures which discovered them.
In giving the Starfire a background and history, it took on a life of its own. I'm still continuing to learn more about it, and learning about the metaphysical beliefs of crystals has helped to open up possibilities. My own spiritual beliefs have given me something more in deciding how the Starfire entities fit into the setting of the story. In Crystal Tomb, readers will gain a larger glimpse of the crystal's purpose in the series beyond life after death.
Learn more about the Inari as angels on Earth in the Starfire Angels series (Starfire Angels, Broken Wings, and Crystal Tomb) at the website at starfireangels.melanienilles.com.
To enter the drawing of a Starfire crystal (aqua aura natural quartz point) and a set of the ebooks in your choice of formats, please post your comments on or before June 1st. (Comments may include questions for the author.)
* For more information on crystals, I recommend The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall. (Walking Stick Press; Cincinatti, Ohio. 2003)