Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

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


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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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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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Let’s try this again.

It seems the powers that be are working against me to prevent my writing. I’ve dealt with some personal issues this past week and am now stuck sitting at home for a few more weeks because of it. Yesterday, though, I kicked myself into gear. If I’m going to be home, I should be somewhat productive, at the very least.

1,019 words written yesterday and my goal is to finish chapter six today!

Speaking of which, I interrupted my writing to give you all an update here, so I’d better get back to work. But, since I’m getting back in the swing of things, I’ll share a snippet from chapter six with you before I go!

Disclaimer: This snippet is from the first draft and therefore hasn’t undergone much editing yet.

Something shattered outside this forsaken room where Kaine kept me locked away. My temporary guard stopped pacing and clenched his hands into fists, glowering at the door. It went oddly still on the other side of the door, save the distant shouts somewhere else in the hideout.

“Who are these people?”

I heard the guard’s soft murmur and suppressed my smirk. “The bringers of your death,” I told him, offering a polite smile.

The thief threw a quick glance over his shoulder. “What’re you talking about?”

With a crash, the locked door flew open, slamming against the wall beside it and cutting off any response I may have given. Georg barreled into the room and aimed a punch at the guard. The man sidestepped, threw his own fist, and rammed his balled hand into Georg’s left side.

Barely flinching from the contact, Georg moved in rather than back. He stepped forward, grabbed the guard by his throat, and tossed him to the left like a doll. Kaine’s follower gasped when he collided with the wall, falling to the floor, then barely had time to roll onto his back before Georg’s foot slammed into the side of his head.

When Georg stepped away from his opponent, the man wasn’t moving.

Well, I thought he’d last longer than that, at least. I shook my head.

Georg turned, finally facing me, and raised an eyebrow as he took in my current situation. Wrists shackled to the wall above my head, ankles shackled in turn, making it impossible for me to move. His lips curled in mild amusement.

I showed him my fiercest glare. “Don’t say anything.”

The moral of this story? Messing with Georg is definitely not recommended. 😛

How have you all been lately?


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Silent Spirit, Chapter 1 – Teaser!

The title of this post speaks for itself. Since I’m in the process of editing Silent Spirit, I figured I’d post a snippet from chapter one here.

Keep in mind that it will still undergo another round of editing or two, before it’s completely refined. However, the first five chapters are, in fact, second drafts now!

Enjoy the snippet. 🙂

The princess rarely ventured outside the castle, but when she did, I usually accompanied her. Today was one of those days. A special market, so much grander than the regular one, filled the main streets of the capital. An extravagant market to join the yearly festival, run by local merchants and traveling shopkeepers from all over the continent. The young princess browsed the market every year.

Everyone celebrated the end of summer. Halfway through the eighth moon, joyous festivities took place throughout the kingdom. Here in the capital, they took the celebration seriously.

The princess halted near one of the stands and I stopped by her side. Rena reached up and gently brushed her fingers against the feathers dangling from the bottom of a dream-catcher.

“This one’s beautiful,” she said, slightly breathless as she examined the dream-catcher.

Several moons passed since I last saw her so enamored by something. Growing up with her, I learned the signs – how to know what she thought.

The princess was sold even if she hadn’t realized it yet.

“Would you like it, princess?”

Rena opened her mouth to speak, “I -”

“Princess?” The seller turned towards us, a glint sparking in his eyes the moment he laid eyes on Rena. “You like it? For you, twelve copper!”

I choked back a gasp. “Twelve copper? Just what bird did you pluck those feathers from?”

The man’s dark eyes narrowed just slightly, before he flashed a smile. “Too much? If you don’ like it, this one is only seven…” He gestured towards a smaller, much less detailed dream-catcher. “But this is special bird. Very rare.”

Rena frowned, her gaze lingering on the more expensive dream-catcher. I let my attention drift so I could take it in.

Large and dyed a dark shade of green, the maker had woven the white web in the center to look like crisscrossed flower petals. Three smaller webbed circles hung from the bottom and beneath each of those hung small bundles of feathers; green for the outer two and red for the center.

Despite the man’s words, the princess’ attention never shifted from the dream catcher that had caught her eye. Rarely had I ever seen the princess so enamored by something. Often, she let others choose for her. They decided how to garb her, how she wore her hair, and her schedule. Sometimes she got a chance to choose for herself. When she did, I always felt my resolve shatter into tiny pieces and I could never tell her no.

This was that same scenario.

“Is this the one you truly want, princess..?”

“Yes.” The answer came without hesitation.

I used all my willpower to suppress a sigh, then took a pouch out of my bag and slipped twelve copper coins out of it. “We’ll take it.”

The shopkeeper grinned, showing rotten teeth. “Perfect.”

I stupidly gave him the edge in that round. Mentioning the word princess… Screaming, “We have money!” would’ve had less of an effect. Of course any self-respecting merchant would jack up the price.

Pressing my lips tightly together, I conceded and handed him the coins. In return, Rena received the dream-catcher she desired.

“Have a great day, your highness.” His smile became a smirk when he glanced at me. “You too, ma’am.”

If I could’ve gotten away with it, I would’ve smacked that smirk off his face. As things were, all I could do was show him an insincere smile and wish him the same.

Let me know what you think in the comments! I love hearing from you.

Now, back to more editing!


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2013 in review!

Just a short post. I’ll let WordPress do most of the writing for this one. 🙂

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 27 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


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Change of Pace: Summer Holidays

Very little feels better than getting that piece of paper that signifies your grades at the end of the semester and coming to realize that you passed with flying colors. Top of the class and on to the next year.

One of the things that surpasses that sensation is time off; six weeks, exactly. As of yesterday, June 22nd, my holiday has begun and I will have freedom until the 9th of August. A month and a half that I will use to work on my novel, catch up on my reading and just general relaxing. My novel is at a solid 36,000 words now. By the end of my holiday, I intend to have at least 50,000; it is very likely I will overcome that obstacle and venture even closer to my last word count.

To give a more precise plan: It is my goal to write a minimum of 5,000 words per week. With that schedule, I shall reach 50,000 by the midway point of my vacation. By extent, it means I could easily hit 65,000 words by August. Let’s make that my secondary goal, shall we?

The nifty little progress bar on the side of my page will change when I complete a chapter. After the holidays, it’ll reach at least 50%. Making my secondary task will have it at 75%. That’s progress, if I ever saw any.

I plan to get so much writing done, because I have a busy year ahead of me. As it is my exam year, I’m unsure how much time I’ll have to spend on my novel – and writing in general. It is a journey into the unknown. When the time comes, we will know how matters turn out. I will make it work. Nothing, even impending exams, will keep me from finishing this book by my nineteenth birthday.

As for unknown and uncharted territories; I will find my way into one from the 24th of September until the 21st of October. For four weeks, I will live with a yet-unnamed family in France, for an obligatory abroad work experience, organized by my college. For almost a month, I shall live and work in France; I will learn the culture, improve my language skills and find inspiration in ways that I never would have otherwise. Even if I cannot write while there; when I return, I will have inspiration aplenty.

Nothing will stand in my way of completing this novel, nor commencing the editing process and its sequel.

What are your plans when it comes to writing this summer? Do you have specific plans for your blog, reading or writing? Or do you have different plans altogether?