Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

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


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First 1 1/2 Weeks In Germany!

Anyone who has ever traveled somewhere with a time difference of more than just a couple of hours will agree with this statement:

Jet lag is evil.

I landed in Germany on the morning of September 14th and have dealt with the daily struggle of fighting to stay awake halfway through each day. Slowly, it’s gotten better and if all goes well, I should be fully adjusted in a day or two. I hope.

Things have been normal while visiting my parents so far. Sleep, naps, catching up on some shows (Lucifer and Master Chef), trying out new shows (Lethal Weapon), and playing games (currently Ni No Kuni and Xenoblade Chronicles). Now that my mind isn’t as frazzled from jet lag, it’s time to get back into writing as well.

Starting Monday, I’m planning for daily writing with a hope of 10,000 words per week. If I manage 2,000 words each day during the week, that gives me either free weekends or time to get extra words written!

With National Novel Writing Month just around the corner, I need to finish the first draft of this book so I can start something new during that event!

That aside, I’ve successfully stolen the dog’s affections and have been walking her on occasion as well. Now, time to relax this weekend before writing kicks into gear on Monday!


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Camp NaNoWriMo – Winner!

Once upon a time, it was a dark and stormy night, in a land far, far away…

There, a writer who hadn’t honed her craft in months was tired of sitting around and decided to give Camp NaNoWriMo a goal, with a small goal of 15,000 words.

Ten days in and 15,000 words later, she upped her goal to 25,000 words.

She attained that goal.

campnano

We did it! Two writers in the local writing group and I all started with goals of 10,000 – 15,000 words and all three of us upped our goals to 25,000 words. Guess what? We all reached that increased goal. The three of us encouraging each other and sharing snippets along the way was an amazing experience and something that clearly benefited all three of us.

For me, I’m now about one third of the way through this book, titled Vanquished Virtue. My goal is to finish it before NaNoWriMo comes around in November. After all, wouldn’t that be the perfect time to start book #2?

I won’t ramble too much today. After all, I’ve got more writing to do!


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Music: An Inspiration

This week, I took the time to listen to some music I haven’t heard in a while. Some of the bands, singers, and artists I’ve neglected recently. From Within Temptation to Tokio Hotel to The Gazette – English, German, Japanese. I returned to it all. There are two reasons for this, but one of them is a specific cause.

Panic! At the Disco’s new album, Death of A Bachelor, releases on Friday. My favorite band since I was twelve and the music I can always turn to and be entertained by; how could this upcoming release not excite me?PATD_Cover_FINAL_Death of a Bachelor

I’ve stayed in the loop as they released singles. I’ve listened to them all.

Now, I’m ready to hear the final product.

You might wonder why this led me to listen to other music. It’s really quite simple. Music is inspiration. Singers are artists. Writers. Storytellers. Music is one of my greatest inspirations. The right song of album can guide me through scenes I need to write. Finding the right song can create that burst of inspiration, that EUREKA moment that gets me unstuck if I’m struggling.

Music is a large part of my writing.

With the release of their new album, a new burst of inspiration is sure to come. I need to be ready for it.

How does music inspire you?


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2016 Writing – It Begins

I’ll admit it: I’m a horrible person because I haven’t written anything yet this year. My excuse is that I worked extra hours around New Years and that my third quarter of Japanese started last night. Between work and class, I haven’t had a chance just yet.

It’s time to change that.

I won’t waste too much time here, because I have writing to do. So for now, I’ll leave you with the opening paragraph. Expect updates to come more frequently from now on.

I worry sometimes that everything I’ve done will accumulate, one day at a time, until eventually it will erupt and bring with it horrible consequences. The future eludes me in that way. All I have are speculations – situations I think may happen to me one day. But what good are speculations?

What are your 2016 plans?


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Psst…

I’ll keep this one short.

New novel in progress during National Novel Writing Month. Once I finish this first draft, I’m heading back to Kaine and Vera’s novel to give that the editing it deserves. Gotta blow the dust of it. With any luck, I’ll finish this book by the end of the year and can start editing that book come January 1st.

I’ll write more here later, but for now, here’s a little snippet of the book I’m tentatively titling, Second Chance.

“Ben -” I froze as the elevator stopped on the second floor. The doors opened and it was like a tidal wave of energy that surged at me in one giant swoop. Dark, powerful, and distinctly reminding me of one person. Instinct pushed me forward, off the elevator and onto the second floor. I took a left, heading down the hall. An invisible imprint had been left in the air, noticeable only to those with illusionary abilities or stronger than average senses. The aura led me down the hall to the very end, where a door unlike the regular hospital room doors stood tall.

Over and out for now!


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Steady Revival

Slow and steady wins the race, many people say. That’s the strategy I’ll be applying in bringing my blog back from the dead. I’ll breathe life back into this page and wipe off the dust, one blog post at a time.

My starting schedule will be one day per week, on Wednesdays. Halfway through the work week (did I mention I’ve switched jobs since my last post in September?).

I suppose I should summarize what all has happened in the past few months, since my last post at the start of September. Brace yourselves for this quick, bare-minimum summary that’s being written close to 1 AM! I really should sleep, shouldn’t I?

A new, happier me!

A new, happier me!

  • Lost some weight.
  • Practiced driving with two friends and got my driver’s license!
  • Got a method of transportation.
  • Job hunting!
  • Left the fast food industry.
  • Started a new job in customer service at the end of October.
  • Met my absolute favorite author Ilona Andrews!

Five weeks of training later, I officially started work on December 1st. What I have not been doing much of during this busy, busy time is writing. I know. That’s the one thing I should be doing, but never fear! As I now am bringing my blog back from the dead, I also vow to start writing once again.

Daily. I don’t care how many words, as long as I write every day (although 1,000 words sounds like a nice daily goal).

There’s the summary of my past few months. Now that that’s out of the way, I’m excited to get back in the swing of things!

So, what have I missed?


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How do you get back in the groove?

It’s happened to everyone before. Whether you like to write, draw, study, or do something entirely different – eventually you hit a slump and want nothing to do with whatever it is you like doing. The inspiration isn’t there and even if you want to do what it is you do, you can’t push yourself to actually do it.

“I guess I’ll work on it later,” you might say. Or, “Maybe I need this break.”

Or maybe, just maybe, what we all need is to give ourselves a swift kick in the rear and get back to work!

For me, my passion is writing. Fantasy in particular, with darker undertones to it that make it so much more intriguing to me. Sure, I love writing, but every once in a while, life decides to throw stuff at me and then I hit the inevitable, “I really don’t feel up to this.” stage.

You would think that while sitting at home awaiting surgery for a good month that I would’ve gotten a lot of writing done. Believe it or not, I didn’t. Why? Because the accumulation of everything else going on made the idea of actually writing utterly unappealing. In hindsight, that doesn’t make sense, seeing as writing never fails to make me feel better. No matter how awful the day, I feel better if I write.

Writing draws me into the story, into another world, into the lives of different people. It is the best way for me to wind down, relax, and feel better.

But no. I waited and waited for surgery and got very little writing done. So, this week, I decided to kick myself back into gear.

See this? It's convenient located right underneath my television. It's the ultimate guilt trip whenever I want to watch something or play video games.

See this? It’s conveniently located right underneath my television. It’s the ultimate guilt trip whenever I want to watch something or play video games.

The best part about that little guilt-trip-inducing message? I’ve written at least double what that white board suggests every day since writing it.

This small gesture, this guilt trip, helped me get back to work. What I’ve realized also helps me is the location. At home, there are distractions – books, movies, those darned video games I just mentioned – so I have to go elsewhere. My safe haven is the library. Nobody bothers me there and when I’m there, I’m completely and utterly focused.

Yesterday, I wrote 4,760 words in just under four hours at the library. Today? 2,168 words in under two hours. The best part? These words have pushed me past the 50% mark for this book which has ignited a new spark of inspiration in me.

So for me, taking the time to go to the library to write, and having this visual guilt trip, is a great help in getting me to write. It might not work for everyone, but I’m hoping this post will inspire some of you to take a look and see what helps you write, draw, study, or whatever else it is that you do!

In fact, share what helps you in the comments! What helps you might help someone else. 🙂