Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

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


Why are characters so difficult?

Excuse me while I do a bit of ranting.

I wrote in my previous post about distractions and how, these past few days, I’ve been distracted by Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD ReMIX. Now, I wrote that sometimes distractions are good, because they can refresh your mind and inspire you. That’s exactly what playing these games is doing for you.

Now, however, let’s move on to difficult characters. In particular Kieran and Avalyn, the characters shown in my blog header.

Mind you, I don’t necessarily mean difficult to write. No, I mean when I’m incredibly inspired to write, but then they’re incredibly forthcoming stubborn and absolutely ridiculous and secretive when I want to actually write.

Honestly, can’t I have immense inspiration and ideas at the same time? Apparently not.

I managed to write a few paragraphs just now (It was like pulling teeth, I tell you!), then hit a wall. I’m hoping to finish this chapter after writing this. I can’t be more than 200 – 300 words away from the end of the chapter!

Part of my problem’s most likely that I quit mid-chapter and stopped writing for two weeks. Once I get through this chapter and can start the next one, I imagine writing will become easier again.

Until then, however, I’ll keep pulling teeth to get these words written.

What do you do to keep yourself motivated? Let me know in the comments!


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Distractions: Good or Bad?

The closer you get to the light, the greater your shadow becomes.
– Kingdom Hearts 1

It’s inevitable. Every now and then, something shows up that will distract you from your goals. For me, that’s happening right now (although I yanked myself away from it to write this blog post).Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD ReMIX

Most people say distractions are horrible, but I beg to differ. I believe that every now and then, you need to be distracted from everything else. Allowing yourself to stray from your path for a while can relax you and even inspire you. That’s why my current distraction is one I welcome with open arms.

Today I got the limited edition of Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD ReMIX in the mail. I’ve had that game pre-ordered for at least three months and I’ve eagerly awaited the release for even longer than that.

For me the Kingdom Hearts games are incredibly inspiring. An inspiration boost is just what I need for my writing, so I’m allowing myself to indulge a bit. The next few days will include much video gaming, but in the long run, it’s not a waste of time – because it’s fun, it relaxes me, and most important, it inspires me.

I know that after just a few hours of playing this amazing game, it’ll recharge my inspiration and will increase my desire to write. And that’s exactly what I want.

What are things you do to relax or to find inspiration? Share in the comments!

Have a great week, everyone! 🙂

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Blog Redesign!

This post is taking the place of my usual Wednesday post because I am incredibly impatient have exciting news! Plus, it’s after eleven PM so it’ll be Wednesday soon enough anyways.

Remember that blog overhaul I mentioned a couple of weeks ago? It’s finally here! I switched themes, got a lovely image from the amazing Jenn over at J-Raye Studios to use as a header and I’ve tweaked other minor things. Like, for example, the domain name. I’ve dropped .wordpress from the link and my website is now!

Unfortunately, I was unable to use the entire image for the header due to cropping issues, but I believe I’ve found a suitable solution. 🙂 For those curious, however, and to give Jenn proper credit, here is a small version of the complete image.


Isn’t it beautiful? I can’t thank her enough for this amazing drawing!

These are the two main characters of my current project, Kieran and Avalyn. I’ve made some pretty good progress in their story so far and I don’t plan on stopping!

Overall, I’m incredibly excited to be taking this blog in a more professional direction. Expect more posts about my writing and other assorted things, as well! If there’s interest, I might even blog about my ongoing study of the Japanese language.

Let me know what you think of the new design!

I hope you have a great week!

If you can, show some support to the amazing artist! Check out her art here:


Week #1 of Writing: Success!

On Monday I started my new project with a very simple goal in mind. Write three chapters per week. At that pace, I’d have the first draft finished in three months – four if anything happens to interfere. And that’s my goal.

Four months.

In this first week, I wrote chapters 1 through 3 and therefore successfully reached the goal I’d set for myself. Having a good start is really motivating for me; it makes me want to continue and I feel like this project will keep running smoothly.

I know there will be times when I’m less motivated, but I’ll push my way through them. Nothing will stand in the way of me and my four-month deadline.

So far, I’m really pleased with the story’s progress and that has me in a good mood. So, enjoy this short excerpt from chapter three!

“Talking to yourself, hmm?”

Avalyn whirled around, coming face-to-face with the foreign noble.

“You do realize most people would question your sanity… correct?” Kieran stepped out of the doorway, sauntering towards her.

“But you don’t?” Her momentary peace dispersed and her muscles clamped up. He made her uneasy and that discomfort made her drop her polite façade. “Tell me, what does that make you then?”

You know, I don’t know why, but I get the feeling that Avalyn doesn’t like Kieran. Huh. Go figure.The World Ends With You

That’s all for this post! Here’s hoping week #2 goes just as well as week #1!

How was your weekend?

Now I’m going to barricade myself in my room and play more The World Ends With You. Just bought it this week and I’m having fun with it!


Let’s write – a new project!

That’s right. I’m finally going to kick my butt into gear and put my pen to paper. Or, in this case, my fingers to my keyboard. My muse decided to fling a new project at me and I’ve been writing the character bios and the rough outline this weekend.

My goal? Start writing tomorrow, on Monday, and go for at least three chapters every week. Going at that speed, it should only take me roughly three months to write the book! Four if anything interferes. So I’ll go for just shy of four months.

December 1st. That’s when I plan to have this novel finished.

My lovely new board that I bought last week to keep my projects organized! I'm so happy with it. Just wait until I fill it up with all kinds of little notes.

My lovely new board that I bought last week to keep my projects organized! I’m so happy with it. Just wait until I fill it up with all kinds of little notes.

The project will be dark fantasy, set in a world of my own creation, that mixes technology with magic and ancient kingdoms.

Personally, I’m excited to start writing! The characters are calling out to me and I can’t wait to bring life to their story. Tomorrow can’t come soon enough. Maybe I’ll go to bed early so it comes sooner. 😉

I hope you’ve all had a great weekend, and have a fantastic week!

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Friday Snippets: Fire

I have a slightly longer snippet than usual for all of you today, due to my recent absence! Expect posts to be irregular for a few more weeks, but after that, I’ll work on getting my schedule back on track.

Please keep in mind that this is a first draft and still needs to be edited.

Note: “Merde” means “shit” in French.

A sudden swell of power hit me. Dark, twisted, but most of all, the essence created a vicious heat. The magic coursed through the entire building. The overhead lights sparked, then went out. Darkness claimed the dining hall. Not entirely.

A flickering light near the open doorway drew my gaze towards it. Natural light, a mixture of orange and yellow.


“Merde!” All emotions vanished from my mind except for one: Panic.

I ran towards the open double doors and glanced out into the hallway. Flames licked across the wooden floor in both directions, removing them as potential escape routes. A swift kick shut the doors and I fled into another hallway. The fire clung to the walls and the ceiling, devouring everything in its path.

No flames covered the floor.

Against my better judgment, I stormed into the hallway and followed the path. Staying as centered as I could, I avoided the flames and sought a way out. Come on, I’ve come too far to die now.

The hallway forked in four directions and I swore. Pulling out the rag I carried in my pouch, I pressed it against my mouth and coughed. Smoke rose as the house burned. Quickly, I determined only one path was safe and I took it.

My chest constricted the second I entered the lounge. Thick black smoke filled it and the flames that consumed the room combined with it, creating a horrible gray-orange glow.

The windows. I needed to get to one of the windows. Avoiding the flames while I crossed the room proved more difficult than I anticipated. They licked at my arms in an attempt to bring me down along with the house.

No. I wouldn’t burn alive the way Richard had.

A flame caught my left sleeve and began traveling. A cry slipped past my lips and I moved back, frantically using the cloth to extinguish the flames. The wall. I finally reached the wall.

A grimace flitted across my features. I’d only get one shot at this.

In one solid movement, I swung my arm and hit the window with my sword’s hilt. The glass shattered, flooding the room with oxygen, and I cried out as the flames seemed to roar and double in intensity. Quickly I used the hilt to clear away more shards of the broken window.

Escape. Now I’d escape.

Instead of climbing, I flung myself through the window. I hit the ground rolling. Pain stabbed into my arms and legs. Still, I forced myself to my feet and ran, away from the burning building, away from the place where Richard kept me captive for three long years.

Let me know what you think! I love hearing from all of you.

Have a fantastic weekend! 🙂



What are your favorite meaningful quotes?

English: Final Fantasy wordmark created using ...

Photo credit: Wikipedia

“You don’t need a reason to help people.” – Zidane Tribal, Final Fantasy IX

My favorite game of all time, for the record – and I’ve played a lot of it this past week. There are so many meaningful messages in the game, and this is one you can see before even selecting New Game. There are many more, but I’ll just leave this one here for today.

Food for thought.

Help a person today. Just because you can.

What do you think about the quote? For that matter, what are quotes you think are meaningful? Share them in the comments!