Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

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


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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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Life in France: Day 11

Day 11, October 4th

More registering books and magazines today. Same old, same old. What was new at work was that I essentially became a teacher in an English class for an hour. Before the class, I got the homework to correct both in grammar and spelling, as well as the contents of the papers.

Then, in the lessons, the students (nine guys) had to read their texts out loud and I’d ask them questions about the text, correct major pronunciation mistakes and let them know how their accent is when speaking English. A pretty interesting way to spend time, I must say.

One mistake they all had, which I linked back to the French language. When writing the name of a country, they’d write “the Turkey”, “the Belgium”, etc. All of them made that mistake. In French, they say “la France” and “la Belgique”. They essentially translated too literally from French to English and didn’t pay attention to the grammatical rules in English.

Oh well; I told them about that, so with any luck, they’ll keep that in mind.

I found another game reference on a wall. I swear, I just need to go for a walk in this city and look at walls - see what else I find. I demand a Mario reference!

The temperature is finally cooling down, thankfully. It’s been too warm for my liking ever since I made it to France. I need cooler weather! We even had clouds today. Clouds, I say, clouds!

Too bad they didn’t last all day.

Still, the temperature should keep dropping and make it to real autumn weather.¬† Wind, cooler temperatures and rain: I can’t wait for it to get that far!

Aside from that, today was rather relaxing. No extra stuff done after work; I just went back to the apartment and am now relaxing. Days like these are necessary.

I’m going to see about writing tonight, though. I need to get back into that habit, even if I don’t write every day due to everything going on. I at least want to get a few words in every now and then.

I must make progress!

Writing tonight, back to work tomorrow. I’d better make the most of my evenings.


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Life in France: Day 6

Day 6, September 29th

Work went fine again today, back in the computer room.

I did some research to seek out specific articles in magazines, registered magazines in the school database and put them in their right spots, organized by edition and date. I did the same with the newspapers, minus the registering in the school database – they don’t do that for the papers.

Still, little influences got to me, so I declined Melanie’s invitation to go to a barbecue and stayed in the apartment, instead. It’s been a long week and I haven’t had time to rest.

Tomorrow morning, our teacher goes back to Germany, so it’ll be just Kujtesa and I – with our guest hosts, of course.

Still no writing done, save for blogging. I’ve had so little time and what time I did have, I used to blog. As for tonight; I just couldn’t focus enough to get writing done. Here’s hoping for a change in that soon; I really would love to write. It feels like ages have passed since I put words to paper, when really, only a week has passed.

It goes to show how tightly things tie into your life. The shortest amount of time separating from that thing and life changes drastically.

Now, I get more sleep, which will hopefully help me. We’ve met our teacher by 09:00 every morning this week. I work at 09:30, as does Kujtesa. I can get in another half hour of sleep without that little rendezvous.

She did give us a list (read: three pages) of questions about the history here, that she wants us to answer before class starts again the 24th of October. I’m not very enthusiastic about figuring out the answers; even Sylvie, someone I work with, doesn’t know some of them.

The weekend approaches rapidly. With any luck, I’ll finish at 12:30 tomorrow, since that’s what time the person in the computer room finishes. On the other hand, I might get sent to the secretaries again. That would mean 17:30.

We’ll see how it goes.

I’m hoping 12:30. Then again – who wouldn’t?


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A Favorite Character: Do you have one?

Of course you do.

It’s impossible to not have a character you feel more attached to than others; one who draws you in and makes you feel like you’ve entered a different world. A character you’d like to have as your friend, or just to see for real once. One time. Just to suppress the roars of distress within you – crying out at the fact that, really, you can’t and won’t ever see that character in the flesh.

Perhaps it’s a character from a movie. Consider yourself lucky; you got the chance to see the character that caught your interest.

Thank you again, ~EnshroudedVixen on deviantArt.

Maybe it’s a character from a book. In this case, you’re not as lucky. You have descriptions and with that, a visual forms in your mind. That’s what the person looks like. If it’s a character you created for a story, it’s more detailed; you know more intimate information about them.

For me, my favorite character in my novel is Damien.

I am shamelessly reusing this drawing.

I could not resist.

While he is the main character, the series focuses on events that happen around him. He is one of my most in-depth characters, and I have spent three years working on the series he’s in – with him haunting my mind for at least two years before I started.

I can only hope readers will find him as intriguing as I do.

But that, my friends, is a story for another day.

Who is/are your favorite character(s) in movies, televisions or novels – both other’s and your own? What makes them so special?


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Just For The Record: Music

I was going to start this post with a clich√©, “If you’re reading this now, it means I am no longer with you.”, but I decided against it. The fact of the matter is that I’m actually going out tonight; I don’t do stuff out of the house often, excluding college, work and groceries. Very rarely do I go to the cinema or things like that, despite enjoying it.

Tonight’s culprit is a concert. It’s the first time I will see my favorite band, Panic! At the Disco.

I meant to see them in May, even had tickets, but personal situations led to me not going. Tonight, however, is the night all that will change!

It’s been three years since my last concert and this will be my third concert. What a coincidence that my favorite band of six years will be my third concert. They do say the third time’s the charm, don’t they?

Either way, at 19:30 is when the concert begins, with entry at 18:30. I’ll admit to not liking what I heard of the opening band when I looked them up on YouTube, but let’s look at it from an optimistic point of view:

I’ll be all the more thrilled when Panic! hits the stage.

What is your favorite concert memory? Which singer(s)/band(s) would you love to see live?


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Mixed Emotions: College Life and A Surprise

Tuesday, my life as a college student will begin again. This is both an annoyance and a savior. It means I will have something to do with my time, which is great as I work better when I have more things to do, but at the same time, I don’t want to go.

Last year, my class existed out of thirteen students. This year, we’re down to eight. Supposedly, due to our class’ small size and a lack of teachers, there will be cuts made to the amount of hours we spend at college. I don’t know how everything will turn out, but I assume I’ll find out on my first day back.

With my education so rapidly approaching, I need to make the best of my last two free days. Today, I will be relaxing by playing some video games and chatting with some friends. I already wrote 2,004 words today, so I deserve the break! Tomorrow, I’ll close the gap between my current word count and 50,000 and see what I do with the remaining time. So much to do and so little time to do it.

I’m less than 800 words away!

That’s life, isn’t it? Next time I set a word count goal, I’m not going to wait until the last week to go for it. Despite the late start, it looks like I’ll be hitting it in time.

Really, it doesn’t do much good.

On another note – if I make my 50,000 word count goal by Tuesday, you’ll have a surprise coming this Friday. What it is, I won’t spoil. I’ll just say that some of you have asked about it and I hope you’ll enjoy it. I will give you a hint, though:

It involves Tales of The Forbidden.

You shouldn’t worry, though. Something horrible would have to happen for me to not make it.

50k, here I come!

How do you feel about returning to college, if you still go? Is it as much of a mixed experience for you as it is for me?


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Similarities: What are hobbies and relaxation to you?

Prior to this blog, I wrote a post titled Oddities: What is relaxation? in which I mentioned different options for relaxation and asked for your personal preferences on how to relax or what to do while doing such. What I did not discuss in that blog is how hobbies often meld into relaxation. Hobbies are things you enjoy and therefore ideal when it comes to wanting to take a step back from reality.

For many bloggers, reading or writing are enjoyable and help us stay calm and escape into a different world. Others prefer watching a show or movie, perhaps venturing forth into a video game world. In the end, it does not come down to what you do, but how much it means to you and that you have fun doing it.

If you don’t have fun doing something, how can you expect it to help you avoid the stress life causes?

My collection

My collection of books on Ancient Egypt and everything around it; extremely helpful for relaxing.

What you do isn’t important, so long as you enjoy it and it helps you. If you need to read an 800 page book, because your hobby is reading and it’s the best way to do it; go for it! It’s your choice what you do. Stay home for a day and read; take out that dusty manuscript and see if you can work on it some more.

Make a decision and stick with it. Be stubborn. Fight against the norm. It’s your life and whether people agree with your way of taking time for yourself or not, that’s their problem. Your life is yours to live, not theirs. Pick up a book, a pen, a controller or strike a pose. Whatever you do, remember to go for it and don’t stop.

Stay honest with yourself when it comes to what you want to do and what you don’t.

Honesty is what will keep you going.

Do your hobbies match up to what you do to relax? What are they?