Who I'm Reading

 I usually read through a profile twice perhaps three times to get a feel for whom I’m about to read about, but this author had me going over hers many times. It wasn’t that her story was complicated, on the contrary, it’s simple, but in its simplicity I found determination and strength of well and self sacrifice that I love in a good story. This cute, puckered brow, young woman is more than a gifted author here on Bookrix. I hope that after you read this blog, you take the time to go over and check out her homepage. Only then will you get a sense of the passion to entertain that Meli J. Nightly desires to create. Not only in her own work, but also in the work of others as the co-moderator of ArtWriters, which is a sister group to the BetterWriters and YoungWriters groups.  Her username was derived from her real name Melissa J. Castillo. She chose Nightly, because her inspirations to write basically come to her at night. Melissa is a self proclaim workaholic that has always wanted to entertain. Since she didn’t become Dakota Fanning or Beyonce. She chose, instead, to entertain us with the head of her might pin.  

Melissa Castillo’s life began in El Salvador, but when she was about two; her father moved the family to the New York because of his business. She flourished here for thirteen years, only to be uprooted at fifteen, when the family returned to El Salvador. Her father moved them around a lot during her formative years which was frustrating, causing both her home life and school to be unstable. Melissa struggled with both the English and Spanish vocabulary as a result.  I’m sure it was exasperating, and a little frightening, to be the new girl in a strange school looking for friends and having difficulty using the Languish. I wondered what she faced, being reminded of all the bulling that has always gone on in schools. But not everything in Melissa’s life, during this time of transition, was disheartened.  Melissa found that she loved books, and at ten embarked on her first full ‘novel like’ book. It was ‘Ella Enchanted.’ “I burned through those pages in only one week.”  She tells me it’s still her all time favorite book, just for that reason. That’s saying a lot in this age of children, being sustained on computers games and television.   Also during this time, after encouragement from a certain English teacher, Melissa spent a lot of her time in the library. She was considered a geek for liking it, but told me she didn’t care what others thought. I love to hear of her self awareness, in the face of everything thing else, and to know that it was brimming inside young Melissa during a time of admitted instability.  But she was openly truthful with me. “Not the greatest feeling in the world, to meet new people and form relationships, only to become attached, and then have to move again.”

Literature and English classes were always Melissa’s favorite subjects, receiving excellent grades, which helped to root her passion for writing. Her zeal, started early on with her love of anime. She became a huge fan and went in search for like souls on the web. At thirteen she posted her first story or ‘Fan-Fiction’ on a website. She wrote her own plots and twists for characters of her favorite cartoons and anime.  Fan-Fiction isn’t as simple as most people think, if you write about a particular anime, its characters and back ground, the fans know them, either they are going to like it or they aren’t and they will let you know. But Melissa soon found that other people were noticing her work; they were enjoying her plots and characterizations and were actual leaving encouraging reviews.  It was the most empowering thing to realize that she could actually entertain people with her writing, she said. It was that revelation that ignited her passions, knowing now, that she could entertain, even if it was just one person.  She hasn’t stopped writing since. 

“I felt my writing had a purpose.”
Melissa told me a lovely story about receiving an amazing request from one of her Fan-Fiction, fans. She had writers block for months and hadn’t updated her story, “Beautiful Lie.”  This young reader sent her a personal email, asking Melissa if she would update the story for her birthday,’ Because it would be a great present.’  Melissa said that brought her to tears. To think that someone thought that much of her work was more than Melissa could ever ask of her writings. It’s every writers desire, famous or not, to have their words move people in some way.  “Better than money and anything else I have in my life at the moment, are the responses I receive from my writings. They give me a sense of purpose and a reason to be happy. A comment, a review or an email makes my day that much brighter.”

Melissa is obsessed with reading! She reads everything she comes across, the boxes in the grocery stores, news papers and magazines, billboards, posters, etc. She reads to inform herself, to learn and for fun. “Reading is the next best thing to writing.” She can’t seem to get enough. Some of her favorite authors are Gail Carson Levine, Phillipa Gregory, Michelle Moran, her book “Cleopatra’s Daughter” was the reason Meli said, that got her into Historical themes, and so many more, but Stephen King was a huge inspiration in the horror department. She has many favorites on Bookrix as well, like Anja Uhren,’ loving her art and writing.’ Judy Colella, ‘her wittiness and her writing is fun.’ Wendy Reakes, ‘her writing is flawless.’ There is T. Black, Lazarus, Melessa Monroe, and so many more talented people, she wishes she could name them all and they all have been inspirational in some form. I’ve heard and read other writers saying, “I have my most creative writing come through at night.”  Melissa is no exception, although she doesn’t do it much any more, with working long hours and school. She wonders if she should change her pen name because of it or if Nightly will stick. I vote she sticks with Nightly, it’s a great pen name.

While Melissa works a full-time job as a Staffing Specialist, a stressful job I’m told, she also attends college part-time. “I think I’ve always been pretty studious, I love learning new things.” Melissa is pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Design and Development.  She loves art; loves to create and design, it gives her a sense of purpose, just like writing does.   She loves art, but told me with a slight giggle ringing in her words. “I can’t really draw that great.”   She uses 3D art to help her create wonderful images that other wise would be trapped inside her head. Her dream is to incorporate her digital artwork with her books.  While her work week is busy, she uses reading to take the edge off her hectic weekly routine; but still manages to have time for her writings, her art work, and logging onto Bookrix to help others with their artwork and writings. “It has become my second home.”

Little known fact, Melissa has a strange fascination with the macabre; horror, ghost, zombies, the crazy and creepy things that go on in the minds of psychopaths and serial killers. She conveyed that if she could, she would have loved to be a psychiatrist, to explore the minds of miscreants. Some of the people that know her, think she's weird because of it, but I think she just has the mind of an inquisitive writer. How can someone truly know and understand the mind of a killer, and write a believable story, without first probing the resources.

Melissa hasn’t won any contest on Bookrix as of yet, but has on other sites. She won third place in a Children’s story contest and First place in a Short Story Horror contest.
Although she’s never been published she would love to have something published one day like us all.

 Melissa was still living in El Salvador, when circumstances lead to her mother’s sacrifice. Not welling to uproot her family again, she return to the United States to work, leaving Melissa to care for her brother, six years her junior. Stable, working and married, their mother sent for her brother a few years later. Melissa debated over remaining to finish her degree at the University, having only two years left. She has always been a very protective sister, so when her brother mentioned he wasn’t getting alone with their stepfather, there was no longer a debated. She was heading to the United States. This, to me like her mother, was truly a sacrifice of a loving and caring sister. Melissa lives in California with her mother, stepfather and, her twin from a different year, younger brother. (They have so much in common it’s their inside joke)  Melissa tells me she’s too involved with work, school, writing and designing to begin thinking about marriage and children at this time.  “I don’t think I’m even looking at the moment.”

  “Writing is a passion to entertain the people that read my work, to give them an escape from reality just like other books do for me.”


The first time Melissa can remember ever being acknowledged for her writing was when she wrote an essay regarding Thanksgiving. She hoped she wouldn’t get in trouble, having written about her opinion regarding the tradition. She wrote that. ‘While I thought it was a great American tradition the taking of the land was something I thought was wrong.’ When her teacher called Melissa over to talk with her in private a few days later, she really thought she was in trouble, but instead the teacher informed Melissa she had submitted her essay into the National Contest, held for all the public schools. Needless to say little Melissa was shocked, but little did she know, she was in for a greater surprised. Melissa placed second overall nationwide and received a silver medal and a certificate signed by President of the United States at the time, Bill Clinton. She said she was overjoyed, especially with the certificate She was invited into the Elementary Writer’s Club by that very same English teacher.

Author's Choice:

1st place in a short story Horror Contest. 

I had no reason to dislike silence or fear it, for those who fear it, they are most likely are running from themselves or the hurtful lessons of the past. I however, am not running away from either.

This is a clever twist on an age old theme. I like the way you told the story without mentioning zombies.

It's surreal and metaphoric with intrigue.

Very Compelling Read!
I don't usually read this type of graphic horror but it was so well written and I had to see it to its end. This nightmare really struck a deep chord in me from my own past. At least she was able to know that she was loved and protected.

That was...WOW!!!
Graphic...descriptive, put you right in the moment of the attack.Could picture the event as it happened. Gruesome. Loved it! Great talent.

My Favorite:

When you are born from evil, all you know is how to be evil. People don't change...

Reina is a girl who had gone through horrible things in her short life. A lot of mistakes she had made only brought her closer to prison which is what she desired most. She believed that the only way to truly hold back the monster within her was to be locked away forever or dead. A certain situation however would teach her otherwise...


This was awesome, Mel! Really descriptive and well written.
that was awsome!!!

This was awesome! I'll admit though that whenever I saw Escobar, I couldn't help but think if the novela, Pablo Escobar. The plot was action packed and the message behind people finding forgiveness and changing even at the last minute was portrayed beautifully.

Meli, I think this work is wonderful.

The passion you have mustered to write this story is evident and the execution of it was very well delivered I must say.

Wonderful story, wonderfully written and  nicely done!  I like this, story and I hope others will like it as well as all her other book. Please check out this wonderful young author.

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