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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21st Birthday + Writing!

Yep. That’s right. Yesterday, January 7th, I turned twenty-one. I know that’s supposed to be a huge deal here in the United States and whatnot, but really, it’s just another year.

I was ready for the day!

I was ready for the day!

My cousin’s wife took me to see 47 Ronin in the morning, which was a lot better than I expected it to be! The final battle in the movie was a bit short for my liking, but other than that, I really liked it. It made me cry three separate times.

After that, I went and watched my cousin’s high school basketball game. Unfortunately they lost, but he did really well! After that I went out to dinner with my family. We had Mexican food and they forced me to wear a sombrero while they sang the happy birthday song. Never again!

My parents surprised me by having my cousin’s wife Jessica (who manages the floral department at a store) make a bouquet of flowers for me since they’re in Germany and couldn’t be here. I also got some lovely Japanese Cherry Blossom scented candles and body lotion from her and my cousin.

The gorgeous bouquet Jessica made for me!

The gorgeous bouquet Jessica made for me!

All in all, it was a great day, but I was exhausted by the end of it. All I wanted to do after I got home was relax and play some video games, but I couldn’t even focus on that. I ended up in bed by 9:45 last night.

And before anyone asks: No, I did not touch a drop of alcohol.

That aside, my writing is going really well so far in 2014! Just take a look in the sidebar. That progress bar is starting to get pretty full…

I can really feel the end getting closer and closer… I might be able to finish the first draft of Silent Spirit by the end of January! We’ll see.

How was your first week of 2014? Let me know in the comments! đŸ™‚


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Back to blogging! Why I’ve been gone.

My last post was on April 19th. Yikes!

Let’s dust off these cobwebs, shall we?

It has been a long couple of months for me. Ever since that last blog post in April, I’ve been going, going, and going, and haven’t had much time to stop. On May 1st, I moved out of my parents’ house, and from Germany back to the United States, where I was born. I’m now sitting happily in Washington state, back home, surrounded by family I hadn’t seen in almost eight years.

The moment I got here, I had to get a job and get all my affairs sorted, which luckily didn’t take too long. Between that and catching up with family, I haven’t had much time to do anything.

On June 3rd, my grandmother passed away. She was seventy-six years old and in the best health she had been in for years. Her death was unexpected and a hard blow for my family. We spent weeks dealing with the service and everything else that we needed to do, and I couldn’t focus much on anything else during that time.

I got to pet, and play with, Mimi, a 9-week-old baby tiger! That was an amazing experience.

Things calmed down for about a week once July came around, but then I flew to Dallas with two aunts and two cousins on the 11th, and we spent twelve days in Texas and Oklahoma on vacation. We just got back from that yesterday afternoon.

Now, it’s time to get my stuff back in order. I want to slowly ease myself back into my usual routine. I need to start writing again, and my plan is to write three chapters per week to begin with. For now, I can’t guarantee three blog posts every week, but I will do my best to post at least once every week (Wednesdays), and if I have more time, on Sundays as well. Depending on my schedule each week, there may be Friday posts.

I’ll write more detailed blog posts about things I did on vacation and my move back to the US in the near future. For now, I just wanted to get this summary post written, and kick-start my blogging schedule.

Thank you to everyone who has been patiently waiting for me to return. More posts coming soon!

How’ve you all been?


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Christmas Gifts: Have you bought them yet?

It’s that time of year. Decorations are going up and in many places, they’ve already gone up. In less than three weeks, Christmas will be here! People are rushing to get Christmas presents and, for those of us who hid inside our homes with locked doors during ignored Black Friday, we have to get them some other way, which brings me to my question.

Pile of gorgeous gifts

Pile of gorgeous gifts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Have you bought gifts for your family and friends yet, or do you still need to?

I got most of mine the other day. Personally, I ordered them online because I was at the mall last week for groceries and it was sheer chaos. What about you? Do you buy your gifts in-person at a store or do you just order them online?

As much as being able to see and take a look at what you’re buying in person before actually purchasing it, online shopping has a certain convenience to it. I’m expecting my package tomorrow!

What are your holiday shopping experiences? Good ones? Bad ones? Share your stories in the comments!


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Lifestyle Changes

You read it right; it’s time for me to start making changes. These changes will start Monday and I intend to keep at it. What all do I intend to do? Here’s a small list of the important things:

  1. Find a job
    While at school, I had to juggle schoolwork with a part-time job, as well as my writing, all while also trying to find time to relax and have time to myself. Because of this, I felt drained and when both school and my work contract ended, I elected to take a few months off before starting a full-time job. Now is the time to head off to work.
  2. Write
    My writing schedule is too irregular. I’ll write 3,000+ words a day for a week and suddenly I won’t write for weeks. That needs to change. I need to have a solid schedule. My goal is 2,000 words per day. If I fall into a good rhythm with that, I’ll give myself weekends off. I’ll be happy with 10,000+ words per week.
  3. Exercise/lose weight/be healthier
    Same situation as my writing. I’ll start exercising (that’s what our elliptical machine is for, after all) and it will go great for a week – and then it stops. Again, I need to fall into a solid pace for it and stick to it. To go along with that: Fewer snacks. Small changes can make a huge difference.

I won’t lie: I might need some help with this. Small things. If you follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Goodreads, feel free to send me a message. “How’s the writing?” Simple things. They mean a lot to me and I always respond to messages; I love reading them.

You can also email me at nrmcneely[at]googlemail[dot]com.

If you’re making any changes in your life, let me know and I’ll be happy to send supportive messages, as well! Speaking of which, feel free to share your stories about lifestyle changes in the comments!

I’m going to enjoy this lazy weekend and then Monday, everything is going to change. Have a good one!

Don’t forgot about my Halloween Stream project! Voting is open until Monday, so click the banner and go cast your votes. You decide what I’ll write.
Halloween Stream!


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Character Fun: “What is trust?”

Welcome all to a new thing that will be appearing on my blog from time to time! What is Character Fun? In these posts, I will be taking questions that you suggest or questions that I stumble across, and will be making one of my characters answer them. This will not be a weekly thing, but expect more to come in the future.

The question this time is, “What is trust?” Paige, the main character of The Hunted Trilogy will be answering that question with her personal opinion. So without further ado, here’s Paige with her answer.

Trust is family. There is no one you can trust fully except family. What would you do without them? Your family raised you. They know you and you know them. It’s a bond. A simple bond that’s more important than anything else.

People can become family. Friends aren’t family. You can’t trust them, can’t know what they really think. People lie and they kill. They destroy. You can’t trust them. You can only trust family. I can only trust family. There’s always a sliver of trust between friends, but you can’t risk it. They’ll betray you.

I’m not ignorant. Not all family is good. Some will try to destroy what they helped build. Their family. Their pack. And then? We try to move on without them.

Trust is never a guarantee, but it’s strongest in family. My parents had friends once. I had friends once.

Not anymore.

This is how Paige views trust at the start of the first book, Werewolf’s Lair. Will her view change as the story progresses? We’ll see when we get there, won’t we?

Let me know in the comments if you like this idea and if you do, recommend some questions for characters to answer in the future! I love hearing what you think.

Have a great weekend!
Halloween Stream!


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FAQ: Do you have any questions?

This is just a short post. The heat is becoming unbearable, so to eleviate some of that, I’ve been making some minor changes to my blog. I’ve created an Interviews & Guest Posts page. It’s fairly empty now, but two more will be added in the near future and hopefully many more will follow!

English: Speech balloons. Question and Answer....

Ask and you shall receive! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ll make sure to mention whenever a new guest post gets uploaded.

Now, let me explain this post:

I’m looking to create a brief FAQ to add to my About page, to give everyone a bit more information about me. To do this, I need questions! And that’s where you lovely people come in.

What would you like to know about me?

My favorite movies? Music? Books?

How my writing has progressed?

My writing schedule?

Think up some questions and leave them in the comments! I intend to start making the FAQ page within a few days, so post those comments.

I’m looking forward to answering them.