Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

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


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Friday Fortune #9 – Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Friday Fortune #9

Welcome to the ninth edition of Friday Fortune!

What is Friday Fortune? On Wednesdays and Sundays, my posts are generally serious and focus on specific aspects of writing or even life in general. Fridays are here to mix it up a bit. On Fridays, you’ll be surprised with giveaways, free snippets, general questions, and so much more! If you have any suggestions for questions I could ask or things I could do; let me know so we can make this interactive!

This week, I have a question for all of you that I always wonder about, since it’s so different for everyone who does anything artistic.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

For me, it’s almost everything around me. From nature, snippets of conversations I hear on the street or at the grocery store, at work, at school; there are so many situations that can offer inspiration. A single sentence or even a word can create an idea within the crevices of your mind.

There are other things that give me inspiration. Other books, movies, television shows. There are so many things and it’s astounding how inspirational such simple things can be.

Share your inspirations in the comments! What do you get the most inspiration from? Do you have any stories you could share about things inspiration has granted you?

Let me know!

Tune in next week for whatever I have up my sleeve for you in edition ten of Friday Fortune.


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Friday Fortune #8 – How do you choose what to read next?

Friday Fortune #8

Welcome to the eighth edition of Friday Fortune!

What is Friday Fortune? On Wednesdays and Sundays, my posts are generally serious and focus on specific aspects of writing or even life in general. Fridays are here to mix it up a bit. On Fridays, you’ll be surprised with giveaways, free snippets, general questions, and so much more! If you have any suggestions for questions I could ask or things I could do; let me know so we can make this interactive!

This week, I have a question for all of you, that a friend of mine brought up the other day.

How do you choose what to read next?

An unopened fortune cookie

If only we could open one and have the title of our next read pop out. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All readers know the dilemma. You just finished a great book and are glowing from the joy of it all, until that amazing sensation fades and leaves a hollow area within you. That’s when you realize, it’s time to move on to another book.

But, any self-respecting reader generally has more books stored away on their shelves or in their e-readers than they can read in one go. Perhaps alphabetized by author names, or book titles. On the other hand, maybe you have them organized by genre – perhaps even both. But that generally doesn’t help an avid reader select which pages to devour next.

You just read book XYZ in a series? The logical choice would be to start-up the next book, but do you want to speed through the series, or savour it by not reading it all in one go, and instead reading other books between those in the series?

Selecting books in a challenge. Figuring out what to read next always seems to be an impossible task. I know that, for me, books by my favorite authors tend to get read before other books – regardless of what order I bought them in. But for choosing books in general… I’m not sure I have a set way I go about selecting my next read.

What about you?

Do you have a strategy when it comes to choosing your next book? Share in the comments!

Tune in next week for whatever I have up my sleeve for you in edition nine of Friday Fortune.


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Friday Fortune #7 – Book Review of “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins

Friday Fortune #7

Welcome to the seventh edition of Friday Fortune!

What is Friday Fortune? On Wednesdays and Sundays, my posts are generally serious and focus on specific aspects of writing or even life in general. Fridays are here to mix it up a bit. On Fridays, you’ll be surprised with giveaways, free snippets, general questions, and so much more! If you have any suggestions for questions I could ask or things I could do; let me know so we can make this interactive!

This week, I’ll be sharing my review of The Hunger Games, which I read back in May.

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most of you have heard about the book and the series it belongs to you. Many of you have read it and others have seen the movie. Some of you even both. I figured I’d share my opinion in the humongous sea of opinions that are available on the internet. Enjoy the first review I’ve posted on my blog!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is the first book in a trilogy. I will admit that I saw the movie first, but I always make sure to read the books of movies I see. No comparison will be drawn between the two.

The main character, Katniss, is a skilled hunter who provides food for her mother and younger sister. In the world of Panem, The Hunger Games take place once a year and force one boy and girl between 12 and 18 years old from each of the twelve districts to fight to the death. A chain of events leads to the fact that Katniss, this year, is the so called tribute for District 12.

The characters in this book are unique and diverse. Katniss is strong-willed and surrounded by a variety of characters that each have their own unique personality. I grew to love almost every one of them in some way or another.

My one issue is that we did not get the chance to learn more about the other tributes, aside from very basic information. While I do understand that Katniss, herself, could not learn much about them or else it would ruin the game, I still feel it would have been nice to know a bit more.

That aside, Suzanne Collins did a good job keeping me interested in the story. It was not packed with action at every moment; the start is much slower and there are moments of rest, despite the threat that looms overhead.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and will be reading its sequel soon. Four out of five stars due to small things that I feel could have been improved upon, like getting to know the other tributes, but it’s still a great book.

I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good dystopian novel.

You can read all my reviews by keeping an eye on my Goodreads Author page. If not, look forward to the next review I share on WordPress!

Tune in next week for whatever I have up my sleeve for you in edition eight of Friday Fortune.


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Friday Fortune #6 – What is your childhood favorite?

Friday Fortune #6

Welcome to the sixth edition of Friday Fortune!

What is Friday Fortune? On Wednesdays and Sundays, my posts are generally serious and focus on specific aspects of writing or even life in general. Fridays are here to mix it up a bit. On Fridays, you’ll be surprised with giveaways, free snippets, general questions, and so much more! If you have any suggestions for questions I could ask or things I could do; let me know so we can make this interactive!

This week, I wanted to ask you all about your childhood favorite(s). What do I mean?

Every person has something they absolutely loved as a child and maybe even still do. A favorite book, a movie or show that you watched nearly every day, or in general, one of your favorite things to do. That’s what this week is all about.

What was one of your favorite things as a child, and do you still love it?

Cover of "The Lion King (Disney Special P...

Cover via Amazon

Mine, for movies, is rather cliché. The Lion King was one of my favorite movies as a child, and still is. Another favorite movie was/is The Little Vampire. Those aside, I loved the book Green Eggs and Ham, and favorite shows included mostly anime: Dragonball Z, Pokémon, Beyblade, and, in particular, Yu-Gi-Oh!

But that’s enough about me. Share your old and potentially current favorites in the comments! I’d love to hear about things you enjoy.

Tune in next week for whatever I have up my sleeve for you in edition seven of Friday Fortune.


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Friday Fortune #5 – Free snippet of “Werewolf’s Lair”!

Friday Fortune #5

Welcome to the fifth edition of Friday Fortune!

What is Friday Fortune? On Wednesdays and Sundays, my posts are generally serious and focus on specific aspects of writing or even life in general. Fridays are here to mix it up a bit. On Fridays, you’ll be surprised with giveaways, free snippets, general questions, and so much more! If you have any suggestions for questions I could ask or things I could do; let me know so we can make this interactive!

This week, I’ll be sharing one of the recent scenes written in Werewolf’s Lair. Without further ago, here it is, enjoy!

God, it hurt.

Paige slumped against a tree, cringing as the bark tore slivers of skin away. In her human form, she felt bare, naked. The cool night’s breeze tickled her skin and she shivered, pulling her knees up to her chest. One arm circled around them while her other hand pressed against a gaping wound on her left leg, a couple of inches above her ankle.

Pressing harder to cut off the flow of blood, she whimpered. Pain shot up through her leg, terrorizing her. They caught her, before she got close enough to the city. One of them caught her hind leg in her other form and tore flesh from it. She struggled hard to free herself from that wolf, before the others surrounded her. She got lucky.

Too lucky.

Fatigue tugged at her consciousness, luring her closer and closer to vulnerability. Paige fought the urge and pressed harder on the wound. Her teeth dug into her bottom lip to hold back a cry in pain. Every time she pressed, she felt the wolf dig its teeth into her leg again. It hurt. It hurt a lot, but it kept her awake – a step further away from vulnerability.

Paige rested the back of her head against the bark and stared up at the sky. Dark and decorated with specks of light; the day still hid from the world. The sun would not rise for another few hours.

How long had she been sitting there? It felt like hours. She made it to her goal, despite the injury. Close enough. Sitting, resting at the edge of the forest, she recognized some of the nearby houses. The world spun and she groaned, raising her right hand to hold her head. Steady. Willing the world to stop moving helped for only a moment. It spun again until it finally came to a halt.

Fatigue wasn’t her only enemy anymore.

Her grip tightened around the injury, slick with her blood. Any longer and she would start wishing the wolves finished her off.

“Paige!”

The voice cut through the haze that began to settle in her mind. Male, familiar. Matt. Her eyes scanned her surroundings, momentarily focused. When she didn’t spot the vampire, confusion flitted across her face. Then she realized it.

He would notice the blood before he noticed her.

Matt stepped between two trees to her left, gaze instantly finding her injury. His expression was devoid of emotion as he crossed the distance between them and kneeled down next to her. “They caught you.”

“Y-Yeah.” The thought crossed her mind to flush and be embarrassed at the naked state she was in. It vanished as he gripped her wrist in one hand and tugged it away from the bite. Paige gasped in pain and instinctively tried to pull away. His grasp held her in place. “N-Not the nicest wound, is it?”

He said nothing, instead searching through her bag until he pulled out her shirt. Matt tore a strip of it off and tied it around the wound. Paige cringed again but stayed still, allowing him to bandage her leg.

A vampire tended a bleeding injury without losing control. The thought occurred to her in a rush, confusing her, before the world spun again and she whimpered. Her eyes shut tightly and she tried to block out the feeling of uneven ground.

The pain became dull.

“Paige.”

Everything grew darker and she felt herself falling.

“Paige!”

Everything went black.

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

Tune in next week for whatever I have up my sleeve for you in edition six of Friday Fortune.


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Friday Fortune #4 – Can you buy just one book?

Friday Fortune #4

Welcome to the fourth edition of Friday Fortune!

What is Friday Fortune? On Wednesdays and Sundays, my posts are generally serious and focus on specific aspects of writing or even life in general. Fridays are here to mix it up a bit. On Fridays, you’ll be surprised with giveaways, free snippets, general questions, and so much more! If you have any suggestions for questions I could ask or things I could do; let me know so we can make this interactive!

This week, it’s time for a general question to get to know all of you better! So, here goes:

Can you buy just one book?

All readers out there will know what I mean. You’re in the mall, just looking around, and then you spot a bookstore and decide to take a look inside. No harm done, right?

You start browsing the books and find one that piques your interest. Now is when it gets difficult. Are you able to be content with just that one book, or do you impulsively walk out with more than one book?

Going by that, here’s another question:

If you walk into a bookstore with a specific book in mind, do you end up leaving with others?

It’s always difficult for me. When I know I have a strict budget, it’s easier to stay away from books than it is when I have money to spend. During my vacation in England, I bought seven books in three different bookstores. One was a trilogy, one was a steal, and the other three were in a special three-for-five-pounds deal. How could I resist?

Share your stories if you have any, and let me know how you are when it comes to buying books! I’d love to hear about it.

Tune in next week for whatever I have up my sleeve for you in edition five of Friday Fortune.


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Friday Fortune #3 – What’s your favorite genre?

Friday Fortune #3

Welcome to the third edition of Friday Fortune!

What is Friday Fortune? On Wednesdays and Sundays, my posts are generally serious and focus on specific aspects of writing or even life in general. Fridays are here to mix it up a bit. On Fridays, you’ll be surprised with giveaways, free snippets, general questions, and so much more! If you have any suggestions for questions I could ask or things I could do; let me know so we can make this interactive!

This week, I’ve decided to get to know all of you a bit better! So, here’s my question to you:

What’s your favorite genre?

It could be for books, for movies, for music, or anything else you can think of!

Personally, I love the darker genres of fantasy, including paranormal and urban fantasy. A little thriller or horror never goes wrong, either; not to mention a bit of crime or psychological stories.

So, what’s your favorite? And while you’re at it, why not mention a couple of books in that genre, that you like? I’m looking to broaden my reading tastes.

Tune in next week for whatever I have up my sleeve for you in edition four of Friday Fortune.