Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

Never stop dreaming, 'cause the day you stop dreaming, is the day you stop living.


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Enough talk. Let’s do this!

There once was a blog that got covered in dust over the course of a month… It was a very sad blog and the blog remained that way until one day its author decided to return and wipe away the dust and start anew!

That day is today.

All joking aside, please forgive the lack of updates in the past month. The past few weeks have been rather horrible for writing in general. I’ve had a bit of a harder time adjusting to working full-time and not part-time than I’d like and that, along with some others things, made me neglect not just my writing, but this blog as well.

But now it’s time for change!

Blog updates will happen at least once weekly if not twice a week and that is a promise. Even if it’s just a single paragraph, there will be some sort of update. Unless something major prevents me from posting.

Moving on from that, it’s about time I get to writing. Those word counts in the sidebar have sat at the same number for much too long now. In fact, I’m going to write as soon as I press ‘Publish’ and get this post out to all of you.

Yeah, that sounds like a plan.

In fact, I’ll go to that now. Expect more updates from me in the near future!

Fun fact: The power actually went out while I was writing this blog post. I fear the powers that be may oppose my return! But that won’t stop me. ;)


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Writing? Yes, please!

I found my new writing spot!

For the first time in over a decade, I’m now in possession of a library card! The local library isn’t even a five-minute walk away from where I live, so I can grab my laptop, head over there, and enjoy the peace while writing.

I got my card yesterday and tested out the environment. Verdict? 2,003 words written in 1,5 hours. Today, I went back to the library since I don’t work until tonight. One hour of writing netted me a whopping 1,643 words. That’s faster than my average writing speed when at home!

Plus, walking to and from the library gets me a little exercise. ;)

Of course, I won’t do all of my writing at the library. It depends on my work schedule and all that fun stuff, but when I have the time and chance to go, I’ll definitely make use of it.

This leads me into something else: Multitasking.

I’ve got two stories and their characters have had a tug-o-war in my mind these past two weeks. “Write about us!” “No, us!”

Well, I finally told both parties to shut it and am going to attempt multitasking. I finished the first chapters for both stories in the past two days. One of the books, tentatively titled Solitary Spirit, is the sequel to Silent Spirit. The other book’s the first in a separate series. My plan is to write both at the same time. How? With a specific schedule.

Monday: Solitary Spirit (Book #2)

Tuesday: Untitled (Book #1)

Wednesday: Solitary Spirit (Book #2)

Thursday: Untitled (Book #1)

Friday: Solitary Spirit (Book #2)

That leaves me the weekend to either just relax or, if I want to, work on whichever story I feel like at the time. As you can see, Solitary Spirit is my priority and hence has been given three days of my attention. My goal is to write one chapter every day, making a total of five chapters a week – minimum.

Now, I’ll be testing this schedule in the next week to see how it suits my schedule. By Friday I should know if this is a schedule I can work with. I feel good about it so far, so here’s hoping I still feel that way after trying it out!

What are your plans for the upcoming week? Let me know in the comments!


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Gorgeous Weather: The Coming of Spring

62 degrees, sunny, with a light breeze?

That’s my vision of perfect weather right there – and that’s the way it was today! Of course, now the sun is setting and cold is creeping in once again, but I have hope; hope that Spring is, in fact, just around the corner.

Gorgeous weather like this inspires me. I was out and about doing all kinds of things today and now that I’m home, I need to tackle one more thing.

Writing.

Sounds easy enough, right? Right now I’ve got plans to write Solitary Spirit, book #2 in Avalyn and Kieran’s series, but two other characters are trying to capture my attention. Shoo, incredibly intriguing characters that I’d love to write about. It’s not your turn!

If nothing else, I’ll try multitasking. Reach my word count goal for Solitary Spirit for the week? Great! The reward is writing one chapter of the other book. Or something like that. I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

Now, I’m going to spend the night plotting this other book with its incredibly needy characters, then tomorrow? Back to writing. Those 1,010 words shown in that progress bar to the right look lonely.

Have a great rest of the week!

How do you usually handle dilemmas like this? Compromise? Force yourself to focus on one thing?
Let me know in a
comment!


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Progress: Silent Spirit

I finished editing Silent Spirit today. A few days ahead of schedule. Of course, after finishing it, I looked over the book again, tweaked some minor things here and there, and did all that fun stuff. But now…

I’m letting it fly out into the world! Will people like it? I suppose I’ll know in the next couple of weeks. I’ve done what I can do. We’ll see if it pays off.

For now, it’s time to start plotting out the sequel.

Kieran and Avalyn’s story isn’t over yet!

750-x.jpg


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Editing, editing, and… more editing!

Yep. The title is pretty much the reason for my somewhat irregular blog posts as of late. I’m knee-deep in editing the first draft of Silent Spirit.

This morning, I forced my way through chapters 16 through 21. That took a big chunk out of what I’ve got left to do and put me on track again, since I fell behind for a while. My goal? February 28th.

What’s left? Chapters 22 through 29, plus an epilogue.

The end is near.

Now, let’s see if I can make my brain function again before I need to work in a few hours, after all that editing turned it to mush.

That’ll be interesting.

And here, have a tiny snippet!

“I’d like to speak with the manager, please.”

“Are you certain that’s who you’re here to speak to?”

The smooth voice came from my right and my left fist clenched instinctively. Familiar, oh so familiar; Kieran spoke with a distinctive noble tone that crept under my skin like skittering insects. After one slow breath, I turned to the right.

Kieran descended one of the spiral staircases, one hand running along the railing. The purple cape he wore brushed just beneath his rear, shifting with every step. His smile didn’t seem like a smile, but more a predatory leer masked with manners.

“What a pleasant surprise.” He reached the bottom of the staircase and waved a hand in the other man’s direction. “Dismissed.”

“Yes, milord.” The employee bowed his head and quickly left the room.

I now stood alone in the room with Kieran, who wore that same predatory smile as he approached me.

Let me know in the comments what you think! Have a great weekend, everyone. :)


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Happy V-Day!

Hi all!

This is just a short post to wish you all a happy valentine’s day! I hope each and every one of you has a fantastic day – whether alone or with someone else.

750-x.jpgBack to editing Silent Spirit for me, then work tonight.

Enjoy your day and while I’m at it, have a fantastic weekend!


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Silent Spirit, Chapter 1 – Teaser!

The title of this post speaks for itself. Since I’m in the process of editing Silent Spirit, I figured I’d post a snippet from chapter one here.

Keep in mind that it will still undergo another round of editing or two, before it’s completely refined. However, the first five chapters are, in fact, second drafts now!

Enjoy the snippet. :)

-

The princess rarely ventured outside the castle, but when she did, I usually accompanied her. Today was one of those days. A special market, so much grander than the regular one, filled the main streets of the capital. An extravagant market to join the yearly festival, run by local merchants and traveling shopkeepers from all over the continent. The young princess browsed the market every year.

Everyone celebrated the end of summer. Halfway through the eighth moon, joyous festivities took place throughout the kingdom. Here in the capital, they took the celebration seriously.

The princess halted near one of the stands and I stopped by her side. Rena reached up and gently brushed her fingers against the feathers dangling from the bottom of a dream-catcher.

“This one’s beautiful,” she said, slightly breathless as she examined the dream-catcher.

Several moons passed since I last saw her so enamored by something. Growing up with her, I learned the signs – how to know what she thought.

The princess was sold even if she hadn’t realized it yet.

“Would you like it, princess?”

Rena opened her mouth to speak, “I -”

“Princess?” The seller turned towards us, a glint sparking in his eyes the moment he laid eyes on Rena. “You like it? For you, twelve copper!”

I choked back a gasp. “Twelve copper? Just what bird did you pluck those feathers from?”

The man’s dark eyes narrowed just slightly, before he flashed a smile. “Too much? If you don’ like it, this one is only seven…” He gestured towards a smaller, much less detailed dream-catcher. “But this is special bird. Very rare.”

Rena frowned, her gaze lingering on the more expensive dream-catcher. I let my attention drift so I could take it in.

Large and dyed a dark shade of green, the maker had woven the white web in the center to look like crisscrossed flower petals. Three smaller webbed circles hung from the bottom and beneath each of those hung small bundles of feathers; green for the outer two and red for the center.

Despite the man’s words, the princess’ attention never shifted from the dream catcher that had caught her eye. Rarely had I ever seen the princess so enamored by something. Often, she let others choose for her. They decided how to garb her, how she wore her hair, and her schedule. Sometimes she got a chance to choose for herself. When she did, I always felt my resolve shatter into tiny pieces and I could never tell her no.

This was that same scenario.

“Is this the one you truly want, princess..?”

“Yes.” The answer came without hesitation.

I used all my willpower to suppress a sigh, then took a pouch out of my bag and slipped twelve copper coins out of it. “We’ll take it.”

The shopkeeper grinned, showing rotten teeth. “Perfect.”

I stupidly gave him the edge in that round. Mentioning the word princess… Screaming, “We have money!” would’ve had less of an effect. Of course any self-respecting merchant would jack up the price.

Pressing my lips tightly together, I conceded and handed him the coins. In return, Rena received the dream-catcher she desired.

“Have a great day, your highness.” His smile became a smirk when he glanced at me. “You too, ma’am.”

If I could’ve gotten away with it, I would’ve smacked that smirk off his face. As things were, all I could do was show him an insincere smile and wish him the same.

-

Let me know what you think in the comments! I love hearing from you.

Now, back to more editing!

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