Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

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


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21st Birthday + Writing!

Yep. That’s right. Yesterday, January 7th, I turned twenty-one. I know that’s supposed to be a huge deal here in the United States and whatnot, but really, it’s just another year.

I was ready for the day!

I was ready for the day!

My cousin’s wife took me to see 47 Ronin in the morning, which was a lot better than I expected it to be! The final battle in the movie was a bit short for my liking, but other than that, I really liked it. It made me cry three separate times.

After that, I went and watched my cousin’s high school basketball game. Unfortunately they lost, but he did really well! After that I went out to dinner with my family. We had Mexican food and they forced me to wear a sombrero while they sang the happy birthday song. Never again!

My parents surprised me by having my cousin’s wife Jessica (who manages the floral department at a store) make a bouquet of flowers for me since they’re in Germany and couldn’t be here. I also got some lovely Japanese Cherry Blossom scented candles and body lotion from her and my cousin.

The gorgeous bouquet Jessica made for me!

The gorgeous bouquet Jessica made for me!

All in all, it was a great day, but I was exhausted by the end of it. All I wanted to do after I got home was relax and play some video games, but I couldn’t even focus on that. I ended up in bed by 9:45 last night.

And before anyone asks: No, I did not touch a drop of alcohol.

That aside, my writing is going really well so far in 2014! Just take a look in the sidebar. That progress bar is starting to get pretty full…

I can really feel the end getting closer and closer… I might be able to finish the first draft of Silent Spirit by the end of January! We’ll see.

How was your first week of 2014? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

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The New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone!

I’m going to keep this one simple. No long-winded explanations of my goals for 2014, no lamenting the goals I failed to reach in 2013. None of that!

Instead, there will just be a very short summary.

My goals include, but are not limited to:

  • Writing 1,000 words per day.
  • Losing weight.
  • Learning to drive.
  • Traveling more.
  • Doing things I like.

Sounds simple enough. I started off my writing goal well enough, with 1,252 words written in the past hour! That’s it for tonight though; I need to do some things.

Like I said, I’m keeping this one short.

I hope 2013 was a great year for you and that 2014 will be even better!

How did you celebrate the new year, and what are some of your goals for 2014? Let me know in the comments! 🙂


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Holidays approaching… Also, my birthday?!

I can’t believe Christmas is only one week away. In fact, it’s less than that since I’m writing this on Wednesday night.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m one of those people who’s already done with all my shopping and wrapping, so I don’t have anything major left to do before Christmas. Besides work. Because of the busy holiday season, I’ll be working some extra hours and I definitely can’t complain about that!

This means I’ll have a busy two weeks, though, but I’ll get through it!

On Monday I’m going to see The Hobbit with some family, which will be fun.Rosetta Stone

That aside, Christmas being so close means my 21st birthday is fast approaching. It’s only a few weeks away – January 7th! Admittedly, I cheated and got myself an early birthday present.

What, you might ask? The Rosetta Stone language program, specifically for Japanese! I have all kinds of books for learning the language, but this will help me with learning to truly speak the language. It got here today and I immediately spent two hours using it.

This will keep me busy, that’s for sure.

So, what are your holiday plans? Hanging out with family? A big get-together? Let me know in the comments!

Happy holidays, everyone! 🙂


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14 Things You Didn’t Know About Me

This was going around on Facebook and I decided that, instead of using it there, I’d use it as inspiration for a blog post! One of my dear friends – the one who made my gorgeous blog header – gave me the number fourteen. Why? Because we’re both mildly obsessed very fond of the game Final Fantasy IX.

Her logic is that the title has fourteen letters and its anniversary is tomorrow!

It’s pretty hard to argue with that logic, so without further ado, here you go!

14 Things

photo

  1. You might know I love studying languages. But did you know that I have enough language-related books to rival the average college student? And I’ll be getting more in time!
  2. While writing, I mostly listen to video game soundtracks. Specifically the soundtracks to Final Fantasy IX, Kingdom Hearts 1 & 2, Persona 3, and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. All these soundtracks inspire me to no end.
  3. Final Fantasy IX is my favorite video game of all time and has been since its release in 2000. The only game to ever challenge it is Persona 3 Portable.
  4. I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month right now. The goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. It’s my fourth try and I’ve never won – but I’m on track right now!
  5. Drawing is something I wanted to learn before, but I quickly learned that I don’t have the patience for it. My creativity goes to my writing. I’ll leave visual art to others.
  6. My favorite movie genre is horror, and my favorite horror series is A Nightmare on Elm Street. I don’t care that it’s classified as horror-comedy. It’s awesome.
  7. I’ve never been to a gaming/anime convention before, but 2014 will be my year! San Japan in San Antonio, TX should be the first convention I go to. If I’m lucky, Pax Prime will be my second.
  8. I’ve lived in Washington, Kentucky, The Netherlands, and Germany. I’ve spent time in France and England. Next up on my list is Japan. I’m saving up to spend two or three weeks there. In a few years. Once I know the language better.
  9. Those language books? I put them to good use. I’m fluent in three languages, am currently perfecting my French (I can survive using it), and have started studying Japanese. Spanish and Russian are on my to-learn list. We’ll see what comes after that.
  10. Nine times out of ten, I’d rather be writing than socializing. That doesn’t mean I’m anti-social. I’m just picky. Also, these characters I write about are incredibly demanding!
  11. I hate loud noises, i.e. fireworks. Fireworks absolutely terrify me. Just ask my family. They learned just how terrified I am of fireworks on July 4th.
  12. Concerts are an exception to that loud noises rule. That noise actually makes sense. It’s more than just noise. It’s music. Speaking of which, I’ve been to four concerts, in the following order: 30 Seconds to Mars, Tokio Hotel, Panic! At the Disco, and Within Temptation.
  13. I’m an incredibly independent person who hates accepting help from others. If I can do something myself, then I will, no matter how stressful it is. I’ll often keep going until I can’t anymore, rather than ask for help.
  14. I have no desire to be in a romantic relationship, nor do I see myself having kids in the future. If I decide to have kids, my plan is to adopt.

That makes fourteen, so I’m off the hook. I was just spewing nonsense there, I think. I never know what to write for these, so I just wrote the first things that came to mind. I might have also looked at my friend’s version for some inspiration.

So, that’s that! Enjoy those fourteen facts about me. Did you know any of them? I’m curious.

Have a great day! 🙂


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Best writing day – ever!

2013-Participant-NaNoWriMo-CoverThe title of this post really says it all. Today was, by far, the best day I’ve ever had for writing. I’ve never written so much in a single day. Do you want to know how much I wrote?

Alright, I’ll tell you. But shh. It’s a secret to everyone. 😉

7,240 words.

I completely and utterly shattered my previous record for most words written in a day. Before today, my record was somewhere around 5,300.

Here’s my NaNoWriMo progress:

This means I’m three days ahead for National Novel Writing Month. I’ve never been ahead. I’ve only just stayed on track – and I’ve never won. The most I’ve gotten is 30,000. Six days in, and I already have half of that.

This is my year. I just know it.

Are you participating? If you are, how are you doing? If not, what are you doing this November?

Let me know in the comments!

If you’re participating and would like to add me as a writing buddy, you can add me here.


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What will you be doing in the future?

I’m writing this post while listening to the soundtrack of my favorite video game of all time. Odd, to be inspired to write a blog post by a video game, or is it? This post in particular centers around a quote by one of the playable characters in the game.

The main playable characters of Final Fantasy ...

The main playable characters of Final Fantasy IX, from left: Quina, Freya, Eiko, Garnet, Zidane, Steiner, Vivi, and Amarant. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“The only dependable thing about the future is uncertainty.”
– Amarant, Final Fantasy IX

Blunt, to the point, and true.

Do any of us truly know what’s coming, what will happen? No. The future is a gaping void that looms over our heads and expects us to try to figure out what will happen. Will we be successful? Will we fail? Will we reach our goals?

Only the future knows, but that doesn’t mean we should ever give up. We can’t decide the future, not in the long run. This doesn’t mean it’s pointless.

Can I guarantee that I’ll one day find a literary agent who loves my work, and then get a publishing contract? No, but what I can do is fight for it. I can write, I can improve my craft, and I can keep trying. Whether or not I’ll succeed, I don’t know, but at least I’ll know that I’m trying my hardest to carve out the future I see for myself.

We can plan short-term things. Going out to a movie with a friend next week? Sure. Saving up money for an eventual vacation? Absolutely. Even short-term, though, things can interrupt our plans.

We keep trucking along.

Never give up. That’s the moral of this story. Even though the only dependable thing about the future is uncertainty; keep going. You’ll get there.

Fight for what you believe in, for what you want. If you do that, then your future will be worth it. 🙂

What are your plans for the future?


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Exercise: Getting healthy!

Between writing, working, studying Japanese, and having time for myself, it’s time for me to start losing weight. Now, weight is something most people are uncomfortable talking about, but I believe that opening up and talking about it can have great benefits.

Why? Because when others know your goals, or know that you’re working on losing weight, they can help. Even simple things like moral support are of great assistance to someone with low self-esteem. Or maybe your family and friends can help you make healthier food choices.

Support, in the end, is a necessity. It makes you feel like you’re not alone and that your battle isn’t fruitless.Just Dance 4I ordered Just Dance 4 from amazon last week and it arrived today. I played the demo of its prequel before it came out and enjoyed it, which led me to buy this one. I played it for 40 minutes tonight and I must say, I could feel it working!

Aside from this, I also have some dumbbells and a weighted jump rope for exercise. My grandparents also have a treadmill; we just need to get it out of the garage.

Between these things, I’ve got a good exercise routine going. Add the fact that I’m eating more fruit and am cutting back on snacks, and I think weight loss is something I’ll be successful in.

I’m down 15 lbs already this year, and that was before all these changes. Now, I’m going to lose even more!

What I’d like to say to everyone is that, if you have a goal, no matter what it is – weight loss, writing, drawing, work-related, anything – just go for it. Get support from the people around you and don’t give up. Remember that a lot of people have achieved their goals and if they can, then so can you.

If you fight for it, you’ll make it.

Have a great week, everyone. 🙂