Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

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


Submitting to Literary Magazines: Recommendations?

Most writers know that the best way to build up your publishing credentials is by going for magazines or anthologies. This is how I first had my work published traditionally. One of my short stories – Sex, Guns, and Lies – was accepted by Divertir Publishing and was then published in one of their anthologies, Under the Stairs, in February of 2011.

Getting short stories published is a great way to get your writing and your name out them. Because of this, I’ve decided it’s time to polish up some flash fiction and short stories, even write some new ones, to send off to some magazines. Now, here’s where my question comes in.

Which magazines would you recommend?

I’ve been looking at some lists of magazines and have selected a few that could work out, but what I’m wondering is, if you’re a writer; which magazines have you submitted to? Which magazines would you submit to? Sadly, magazines are one of the things I don’t know too much about.

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Enjoy the rest of your week, everyone.


Book Review + Giveaway of “Dominant Race” by Elisa Nuckle!

On Sunday, July 1st, Elisa Nuckle released her novella, Dominant Race, the first in The Modified Trilogy. As a friend and beta reader, I was lucky enough to read the novella twice before its release and immediately after its publication, I purchased the Kindle version and read it a third time.

To celebrate the release of Dominant Race, I would like to share my review. Additionally, Elisa has graciously allowed me to host a giveaway of two copies of her new novella.

Book Description

Lilia is a genetically altered human – a modified – with special animal instincts and abilities. She is half wolf and half human under the microscope, and it shows in her territorial pack mentality.

When Lilia learns about a growing threat against all modified, she leaves home for the first time to join a militia that, like her and her family, survive in the fragmented remnants of the United States, the Old People country.

Their enemies? The Eighth General of the Greater Cities and the ever-expanding devolved, degenerate modified that are mindless killers, blind instinct and rage in human form. When a coup occurs in the First City, Lilia and the other defenders must choose: help reinstate a government in the business of killing their kind, or defend a radical modified in the business of killing everyone else?

Dominant Race is a 32,000 word novella and the first book in the Modified Trilogy.

Doesn’t that sound awesome? Well, trust me, it is. Here’s my review, if the description alone wasn’t enough to convince you:


Disclaimer: I am the author’s friend. I did, however, buy my own copy of the book to read and review and I do not regret sticking with her during the journey of writing this book, nor do I regret spending $2.99 to get it.

In Dominant Race, the author has created a dystopian world with scientific aspects and merged them alongside unique and interesting characters to create a world that I want to know more about.

Lilia, the main character, is strong-willed and a touch rebellious as she leaves behind the only life she ever knew to help others like her. She is a modified; a human with DNA enhanced by animal DNA. The story focuses on the modified struggle with the normals – the humans without genetic enhancement.

Between the war that blossoms as this novella progresses, there is love, heartbreak, and a family struggle. Elisa Nuckle tells only the basics of the Earth’s past, which leaves readers with plenty of room to envision the history of the Old People (the original humans on Earth) and how things turned into their current state.

Emotions get in the way and create a spectacular story that left me wondering how it will progress. It is war. A brutal war. Not everyone will survive. Judge for yourself if it’s a happy ending.

If you enjoy science fiction, dystopian, or fantasy, then I recommend this novella that contains a touch of all of the above.

4 1/2 stars from me. It is worth the read and I’m looking forward to the rest of the trilogy!

Dominant Race is available for purchase on:

Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Apple Store coming soon!

You can also add it to your shelf and review it on Goodreads.


Two random commenters will receive a copy of Dominant Race via Smashwords coupons. Leave a comment and you will be automatically entered into the drawing, which will happen via a random number generator.

The giveaway ends next Sunday, July 15th! Get your comments posted on this blog post before then. Winners will be announced in that day’s blog post.

To help the author along, it would be great if you could spread the word about the giveaway! Reviews after reading the novella would also be much appreciated. Reviews should be posted on at least one of the above-listed websites.

To wrap this up, follow Elisa Nuckle, without whom this giveaway wouldn’t be possible at all. Check out her websites:

WordPress | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Enjoy the giveaway and spread the word about it! And even if you don’t win, pick up Dominant Race; for only $2.99, it’s well worth it!


Choosing Your Path: Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

Oh no, could it be? Is this another one of those generic “Let’s show pros and cons” blog posts? Maybe. Perhaps every single word I type on my laptop keyboard is just the same thing someone else has already said; I could be repeating things everyone has heard.

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

Cover via Amazon

I’m still writing it, so sit back and read these words that you might have heard before, but maybe, just maybe, you’ll hear something unique – something that will pique your interest. Something unique to me. Will you? I don’t know. Let’s take that journey together.


Let me give you a taste of the pros in this matter:

  • You earn more royalties – up to 70% on Amazon.
  • You choose the prices.
  • You avoid the hassle of finding an agent, then publisher.
  • You make your own schedule.
  • You pay for printing.
  • You choose what stays and what goes.
  • You have full influence over the cover design.
  • You make all the decisions.
  • In short, you are the boss.

However, each pro has a con to go with it. Let me share those:

  • You pay for editing, cover design, formatting, etc.
  • You deal with advertising, as well as accompanying costs.
  • Planning takes away writing time.
  • A heavy workload induces stress.

As you can see, while there are many pros, the cons are there to balance it out. In the end, it’s a risky move and writers need to consider their options, all of their options, before they jump off the deep end. Is self-publishing for you? It might be, but let’s take a look at the other option before making any hasty decisions.

Traditional Publishing

So, you would rather go for the traditional method – get published through publishers. It might be for you, so let’s take a look, shall we? After all, the self-publishing world has much to offer, but that doesn’t mean traditional publishing is old school! Let’s start with the pros:

  • You pay nothing up front.
  • Editing, cover design, and production gets managed for you.
  • You could receive an advance.
  • Some advertising might be provided.

So, there are some pros, but are there cons? Of course. Black and white, evil and good – opposites. Two sides of the same coin and I’ll show you the darker side now:

  • Low royalties, generally between 7,5% and 15%, depending on the version of the book; paperback, hardback, eBook.
  • Long wait times, often years, before an agent accepts you, and longer still for publishers.
  • Advertising is often not provided and falls on your shoulders.
  • The advance is often not jaw-dropping, nor paid out at once.
  • Less input on editing.
  • Even less on cover design.

I do not claim that all these things are true for every publisher, nor that these are the only pros and cons. These are common ones that people think about the most and are very important when considering which path to take.

Self-publishing may seem like the right choice, but it is also a lot of work if not handled correctly. Traditional publishing might not seem worth it, but it depends on your relationship. Relationships must be nurtured and if you land an agent and a publisher, those relationships are no different.

The important thing to remember is that if you can do something, then why shouldn’t you? One of my favorite lines from the song “Nine in The Afternoon” by Panic! At the Disco, is the following:

You could ’cause you can so you do.

What does this mean? If you could potentially do something, then it means you can do it and if that’s the case, what’s stopping you? Take the plunge and do it!

Because whether you choose the path of self-publishing or go the traditional route, there’s one thing to remember: It’s a choice. In the end, you must make the decision. Weigh the odds, check out the competition; heck, give both a try if you’re not sure!

Find what works for you and don’t be afraid to take action. If you do that, nothing will stop you.


E-Book Giveaway: A Glimpse of The Dark

That’s right, folks. I’m starting off the new year with a giveaway of my book A Glimpse of The Dark. It is available only in Kindle format; if you do not have a Kindle, there are plenty of programs that allow you to read Kindle files!

This giveaway is a thank you to everyone who follows my blog and puts up with my sometimes irregular posts. Because of all of you, I passed 100 followers this morning; thank you so much!

There are three copies available.

Without further ado, here’s the synopsis and then your entry form:

A teenager’s taste of death.
A lover’s fall from grace.
A spiteful ex’s chance at revenge.
A fearful girl’s moment of peace.
An ancient heir’s breakthrough in magic.
A succubus’ memories of a painful past.
A scorned son’s night of fun.

Seven stories, seven topics. Seven tales fill this book and lurk in the darkest depths of fantasy. The dark is their common theme, while each individual story shows an entirely different view. The victim, the successor, the antagonist. Take a look through the eyes of each character and live their lives, feel what they feel, and find out what drives them.

Many horrors lurk in the dark. Are you ready to see them?

Fill this out to enter! Name and email gets you one entry. If you do everything, you have four!

Subscribe by adding your email on the right side of my page.

‘Like’ Natasha McNeely on Facebook.

Enter now and see if you’ll win! The deadline is January 29th and the winners will be announced February 1st.

You have two weeks to enter, so get to it! Please spread the word; let’s make this a great giveaway!


E-book prices: The lower, the better?

E-book prices are a major cause of dispute, both among authors and readers. Readers often claim that publishers set their eBook prices too high and while I will not say they are wrong with that, I will also not say they are right.

Some eBooks are priced at the same price, or even higher, than their paperback counterparts. This is something I disagree with. I would not pay $12.99 for an eBook when I can get the paperback for $9.99. I won’t mention titles, but I have seen it happen.

English: A Picture of a eBook Español: Foto de...

Image via Wikipedia

However, I am a firm believer that there must be worth to each book sold. If the paperback sells for $9.99 and the accompanying eBook sells for only $0.99 on Amazon, then is that fair to readers who prefer to stick with paper? There are always costs in publishing eBooks, much like print books. Editing, cover design, copy-editing. The price of paper, ink, and binding is what falls away.

You have a friend who can design your cover, a family member who is an English teacher, and can do formatting yourself? Great! If you want high sales and have low production costs, then go for the $0.99 price. On the other hand, that sometimes devalues the book. If many readers were willing to pay $4.99 for the quality a book has, would that make a difference? Would writers change the price?

The $0.99 price is a common one that authors new to self-publishing use. Starting low is a great strategy that I am using at this very moment. While the price of my flash fiction collection is $1.49, it is now on sale for $0.99 and I have watched the sales slowly trickle in since dropping the price.

Readers are more willing to risk $0.99 on a new author whose writing they may not enjoy, than $2.99 or even higher prices. This is why so many new authors try lower prices and why publishers are struggling with eBook sales.

Authors with an established following will have less issues with their sales than a new author publishing their first book through a publisher. While that book has the desired publisher’s approval that so many readers see, it is still a risk – a gamble. It is a new author and the $5.99 the book is priced at might not be worth it.

E-book prices will be a cause for dispute for a long time to come. I doubt we will ever decide on what is the right price for them is. For me, I lean towards $2.99 – $4.99 for novels, and I have no problem admitting that it also depends on the author. The first book of a new series by my favorite author? I’ll hand over that $4.99 without a second thought. A new author, a book that is a gamble? I might pause and consider before I decide.

The low price is a great way to gather a following – to get people who may be willing to pay the higher prices if it comes to that. Every self-publishing author has to make the choice for themselves, and it will affect their sales.

When Tales of The Forbidden is ready for publication, I’ll face that same choice.

What is the most you are willing to pay for an eBook, and what affects your decision when choosing how much to spend on a book?

Don’t forget that A Glimpse of The Dark is on sale! Only until January 7th, this collection of dark and paranormal fantasy tales is available for $0.99 on Kindle!