Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

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


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Halloween Stream: Create the story – live!

Welcome to my interactive Halloween Project, the Halloween Stream! After a week of hinting at it, it’s finally here for your enjoyment. Let me explain exactly what this is and how it’ll work.

What is this all about?

This is my attempt to create an interactive project and to involve readers in the writing process, while letting both the author and the readers communicate and have a great time while doing so.

The result of this project will be a dark fantasy or horror novella, available for sale on Amazon as an eBook – and potentially paperback.

How will it work?

Starting tomorrow, Monday the 15th of October, I will add a new poll to this post every day this week. Friday the 19th, I will post the last of the five polls. Each of these polls will focus on aspects important to stories: Characters, the setting, and so on and so forth. It will be up to all of you to vote on your favorite choices in each poll! At the end of the voting period, the winning choices will be taken and used for the novella.

The writing process of the start of this novella will be shown live. On Halloween and November 3rd and 4th, I will be streaming as I write the beginning of the novella. During this live stream, I will also answer questions that you submit into the chat during the live stream.

Excited yet? I know I am!

When and where is all this happening?

The five polls will be posted Monday, October 15th through Friday, October 19th.
I will add each poll to this blog post.

The voting period starts as soon as the first poll appears in this post and ends Monday, October 29th. Don’t forget to get those votes in!

Let’s not forget the live streams! The times and dates are:

  • Oct.  31st:  2 pm PST | 5 pm EDT | 9 pm GMT
  • Nov.  3rd: 12 pm PST | 3 pm EDT | 7 pm GMT
  • Nov.  4th: 11 am PST | 2 pm EST | 7 pm GMT

The live streams will take place on my livestream page. The Halloween stream will last two hours and the November live streams anywhere between one and two hours. If you’ve ever wanted to chance to really see what goes into the writing process, then this is your chance! And if you have any questions you want to ask me, this will be your time to get them off your chest!

Polls

If you’re excited to see this project progress, then share the word! The more people who join in, the more fun we’ll all have. Thank you in advance to everyone who joins in with the fun; I’m looking forward to hearing what you all have to say!

Many thanks to graphic designer Nakaya de Jong for creating the Halloween Stream banner at the top of this post and many other small goodies you’ll see on my blog in the next few days. You can see more of her work here: deviantArt | Portfolio

Let’s make this a brilliant Halloween!


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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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The Birth of Spring + Free Book!

Spring

Spring is finally here and that means that winter has come to an end. I love winter, because it has both Christmas and my birthday, but spring is my favorite season. It’s not too hot, not too cold and is just beautiful.

The view from one of my attic windows.

Flowers blooming, blue skies with the occasional rain, nice breezes, birds chirping, and just beautiful scenery all around. That’s what today looks like and it’s wonderful and inspiring. I’ve been in a good mood all week and this is a large part of the reason. This weather pushing me to write, because it fits what I like so perfectly. As you’ll see through the progress bars, I’ve made some decent progress this past week.

That aside, spring is the time to take walks outside and enjoy nature. Not only does spring inspire me to write, it even inspired me to do some spring cleaning to my room! I will admit, that’s a miracle completely normal day-to-day situation.

Spring is such a wonderful time of year… So we must savor it!

Free Book

A Glimpse of The Dark will be free on Amazon Kindle tomorrow, March 22nd, to celebrate that Spring is finally here! Get this collection of dark and paranormal fantasy tales while you can!

Don’t be afraid of the dark; you might find you like it there, with all these characters and their tales.

Clicking the above link will take you directly to the US Amazon page!

Change

It’s coming. A long, long time ago, I posted three times per week. The Friday posts mysteriously vanished in gaps between dimensions. But fear not! In just two days, these posts will return!

Not just any posts, but a project. Excited? So am I!

Enjoy this season, y’all. There’s only three months of it left!

How will you be spending the first day of spring?


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Editing: Choosing when to start

Almost a month has passed since I finished the first draft of Tales of The Forbidden and since then, I haven’t even opened the document. I chose not to for a specific reason – to distance myself from the characters I spent a year with, the trials I endured with them, and the twists and turns in the plot that I laid out for them – the words I weaved.

Many writers say to take a break from the draft after finishing it; I concur.

When you first finish a draft, you’re exhilarated, high from the rush and perhaps even sad that it’s over. Many writers want to whip the draft into shape as quickly as possible and dive into editing straight away.

That makes it easy to overlook mistakes.

Distancing yourself from your first draft is the first step to disconnect yourself from your characters and the world you created. That way, when you dive into it headfirst after your break, you look at it with fresh eyes, from the view of a reader, or an editor – someone who is rediscovering an old tale, something you have a vague recollection of in the distance shelves of your memory.

Editing with this fresh view allows writers to spot mistakes they would have been too blinded to see otherwise. Plot holes, no matter how small. Typos, sentence structure, grammar, wrong word usage, and every other little thing that shows up when you’re powering through words to get that first draft on paper (or a screen).

This is the reason I delayed my start of the edits of Tales of The Forbidden to February 1st.

Choosing that date gave me a month to relax and focus on other things, to use some of this much-needed time for myself and some fun things, like catching up on some reading and videos games.

But, fear not! In just ten days, I will begin edits and get into writing the sequel, Mercy of The Forbidden.

Let’s get this show on the road.

Don’t forget about my current giveaway! There’s one week left to enter. Click here to learn more.


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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...

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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!

 


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Self-publishing adventure: A Glimpse of The Dark

Weeks of buzz hung around my blog and other social media these past weeks, as the release date of my first self-published book approached.

Now, December 7th, my book, A Glimpse of The Dark, is available in Kindle eBook format on Amazon for only $1.49!

You can also find it over in the Goodreads Database.

No reviews as of yet, so if the idea intrigues you and you enjoy the book, feel free to let me know what you think! Let the Amazon blurb entice you:

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?

Again, many thanks to everyone who has supported me in my journey to get published. You kept me going and helped me push past hesitance that stopped me from moving forward.

Thank you.


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When do you work best?

These past few days, I have been incredibly busy. Sunday I studied and mastered Kindle formatting – at least enough to whip up a Kindle-formatted eBook. After that, I created a Facebook Author Page, studied HTML to learn enough to make a proper welcome page for it and create a new background for my Twitter Account.

Are these things all permanent? Probably not. I’m a writer, not a visual artist, but I darn well tried. That counts for something, right? It has given these pages a more personalized look.The Amazon Kindle 2

Today also marks exactly two weeks until the release of my eBook, A Glimpse of The Dark: A Collection of Paranormal Tales.Everything is right on track in regards to it!

Now, to the topic of this blog. As you can see from the first paragraph, business plagued me this week. Consider this: Between all those things, I also go to college every day and have homework. However, I work best when busy.

Admittedly, this schedule cut me off from my novel, but progress will resume once I finish the last details of the upcoming release. When I have a lot of things I need to do, I spend my time wisely to get everything done, whereas if I have nothing to do, I’ll intend to do something and then procrastinate, procrastinate, procrastinate.

Is this a familiar problem for others? If it is, tell me your experiences!