Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

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


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Back in action!

Life. It is busy. I’m sure everyone has that overwhelming feeling when everything just becomes too much, every once in a while.

…Right?

Moving on, that is the reason for my recent absence. After my two-week holiday, I returned only to be thrust back into college and work life, as well as forced to start preparations for my exams. That’s right. Exams.

My written exams are on May 10th, 11th, 15th, and 16th. I still have a bit of time until my oral exam, however, as that one is on June 11th. Guess what that means?

I only have six days until exams. Oy.

As much as I will do my best to keep up blog posts from now on; if my posts are still a bit sporadic these next two weeks, my exams are to blame. They’ve already eaten up a lot of my writing time.

Fear not! After exams, writing will continue and regular posts will join it!

On a completely unrelated note: I’ve started reading more as of late! I just finished Mark Lawrence’s Prince of Thorns and I recommend it highly! It was quite a wild ride and I’m looking forward to its sequel this August.

How have all of you been?

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Friday Fortune #1 – Free Kindle eBook!

Welcome to the first post in my newly dubbed Friday Fortune posts!

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 never know what I’ll post. If you’re looking forward to see how this will go, here’s a preview of some things that could and most likely will happen in the future:

  • Book reviews. Take a look into my reading material and see what books I like. Got any suggestions for books I should read? Let me know!
  • Story snippets. There are days when I’m just dying to share something I wrote. Fridays will be those days.
  • Questions. That’s right, it’s time for us to discuss things. Your favorite book? What you’re doing this summer? This is my way to get to know all of you better.

Do you have any suggestions as to other things I could do? Let me know and I’ll take them into consideration! Let’s make Fridays fun and a great way to really celebrate the end of another week and the start of two days of freedom!

Without further ado, let’s start Friday Fortune with a blast.

Friday Fortune #1

Today, A Glimpse of The Dark is free on Amazon Kindle!

It’s free until midnight PST time (What time is that for me?). If you’re interested in a collection of short stories that dwell in the dark and paranormal fantasy genres, with a bit of a psychological twist, then this book is for you!

This is a thank you to everyone who supports me. Thank you and I hope you enjoy A Glimpse of The Dark!

Stay tuned for next week’s Friday Fortune; send in any suggestions you come up with and I may very well do it!


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Blog Updates + New Look!

Updates, designs, and text, oh my!

That’s right, everyone. Today’s post is on the short side, as it’s just meant to make you aware of a few things. Nothing major, just some minor changes and things coming in the future. Shall we begin?

I thought so.

Design

As some of you may have seen, the design of my blog has changed. The overall color scheme has remained the same, but other changes have been made. Small details edited and improved, and some other, major changes.

The very lovely Nakaya de Jong took her earlier work and improved it tenfold. Many thanks to her; I can’t express my gratitude enough.

Vacation

Between April 1st and April 14th, I will be visiting a friend in England. These means that during those two weeks, I might have limited time on the internet. I intend to write blog posts for those two weeks in advance and schedule them to post on the correct dates, but should a post not show up in your inbox, that’s the reason.

If all goes as planned, however, posts will continue as scheduled.

Changes

During the next few weeks, you’ll notice some changes to my blog. These changes will target my blog pages. I won’t spoil what kind of changes they are, but look forward to them!

In the meantime, have a wonderful week! Proper posts will continue Wednesday.


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General Update: New Schedule

As most of you have noticed, my posts have been very irregular as of late. This is because of an increased workload at college, including an increase in lesson count as of Monday, due to exams approaching, my part-time job, and my writing and editing. To compensate for this, I’m trying to lessen my load.

This means that, until I feel I am able to pick up the Wednesday/Friday/Sunday schedule again, I will only be posting on Wednesdays and Sundays. While I will do my best not to miss any days from now on, if I do, you will know why it happened.

I just ask you to understand and recommend that if you want to stay updated on things as they’re happening, that you keep an eye on my Twitter and/or my Facebook Page. Any updates about delays will be posted there.

Thank you in advance for understanding and stay tuned for regular posts returning on Wednesday!

 


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Holiday Season: Gifts and Designs

It’s the season to be jolly, and grandma got run over by a reindeer!

Christmas songs echo throughout the house 24/7 as Sunday approaches rapidly. Meanwhile. I finished Christmas shopping on Wednesday, but have yet to wrap anything. Tomorrow’s the last day, so no more procrastinating for me!

Tomorrow, wrapping paper will surround the gifts I bought.

Sure, these festive times have cut me off from writing, but I figure taking a break to spend time with family is perfectly acceptable. Writing will continue after this lovely time!

Kaya demanded this as payment for her services. Consider my debt paid.

Moving on to something else – you may notice that my blog has a new background, a new header, and overall, just looks much more personalized. Collaborative efforts before my friend, Nakaya de Jong, and myself, made this possible.

What I mean with that is that I gave a rough idea of what I wanted, and she made it possible. I highly recommend checking out her work over at deviantArt, and, if you’re interested, check out her Red Bubble, where you can buy t-shirts with her designs!

She is a great friend and is the reason my Facebook page, Twitter background, and blog are so personalized. Without her help, they would be bland and nowhere near the way they are now.

Let me know what you think of the new design!

Enjoy your holidays everyone, and stay alert; I have a special announcement coming on Christmas!


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Irregularity: Is it possible to prevent it?

Blog posts have been irregular these past two weeks and for that, I apologize. I am working on falling back into my normal Wednesday/Friday/Sunday schedule, but between college, work and National Novel Writing Month, my blogs took a back seat.

Starting today is my attempt to get back into that rhythm. Blog posts will follow the regular schedule unless something extreme comes between them. Of course, there are rare days where things don’t work out the way they’re supposed to and I doubt that I can prevent that. I rarely use the WordPress feature to schedule posts in advance, because I tend to write my posts on the days themselves.

I might try to use that occasionally, but overall, my system does work – life just threw a lot at me, what with the extensive amount of writing and, to be fair, poor planning on my part.

Things will fall into place.

Do you have any advice for keeping a schedule, despite other things interfering?


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What difference does a detail make?

Details. These little buggers are what meld the separate parts of stories together and turn them into a whole. Not only that. They help other things – even those not related to writing.

Imagine that. A word common for all.

A few weeks back I mentioned the change of my saying, “I’ll try to write today.” to “I’m going to write today.” Believe it or not, such a simple change made all the difference. If I sit down and intend to write, I get it done; not always much, yet words hit the paper. That’s all that matters.

I recently discovered another such detail. Due to my absence from work until the 26th of October, most of this month’s hours were scheduled into the last six days of the month. Where I normally work once or twice per week, I now had 31,5 hours packed into six days unrelentingly. Six days of college, followed by work.

It has halted my writing, but with National Novel Writing Month just around the corner, I’m not worrying about that too much.

Initially, the idea of spending so much time at work terrified me. What if I got overworked, what if I got sick? So many questions and, of course, the physical labor this job calls for. Then, I realized something and this small detail has helped me through three of the six days.

It’s just work.

I go to work, do my job, and then go back home.

So what if something happens? This small difference has completely thrown my old perspective out the window and changed my mentality. For the first time, I don’t dread work, knowing I’ll be physically and mentally exhausted afterwards. On the contrary, these past three days have passed without any form of physical or mental exhaustion.

Maybe working full-time in France helped that. Either way: The small change and the working experience have banded together to help me. The next three days have longer hours and still my fear vanished – gone.

Remember, the smallest detail can make all the difference.