Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

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


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Rhythm

I’m slowly getting back into things now that I’m feeling better. Most of the pain after my surgery is gone now; all that’s left is a bit of tenderness and some pain if I move in a way that does not favor my abdomen. But, that makes sense.

I’ve started studying Japanese again, so that’s good. Slow progress, but I’m getting back into it.

Work begins tomorrow again, which I’m excited for. I’m so tired of sitting around, so it’ll be good to get out of the house and go make some money and hang out with awesome colleagues!

Today, I wandered to the library and managed to start writing chapter 12 of my yet-untitled book, so my writing is finally progressing again, too. My short-term plan is to finish this chapter tomorrow. Let’s see if I can do that. 😉

Speaking of my writing, here’s a short teaser as an apology for being so in-and-out lately!

Disclaimed: This teaser is from the first draft, so it hasn’t undergone editing yet.

“Who says I won’t take advantage and betray you?”

My lips curved upwards in amusement. Cute. He thought he could intimidate me. I’d have to set him straight about that. “You can’t betray someone who doesn’t trust you, because that someone expects to be betrayed.” I caught my foot behind his ankle and yanked hard towards me just as I thrust my weight forward at him. The motion threw him off guard just enough for me to yank my wrists free and shove him away from me. The entire thing took less than two seconds.

Kaine stumbled back two steps, quickly regaining his balance. Even now, after I shoved him off of me, his smirk never faded.

“I’m not afraid of you.”

Let me know what you think in a comment! I love hearing from you guys.

How’ve you all been?

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Short Update!

I swear, I don’t abandon my blog on purpose. Really.

Long story short, I ended up in the ER on Easter – well, more like at 1:30 in the morning after Easter – and one thing led to another and I just had surgery last Friday to have my gallbladder removed. Let me tell you something. Gallstones? Not pleasant. Not at all.

I’m starting to feel better now. Still dealing with a bit of pain after the surgery, but it’s a lot better than it was last week and I’m picking things up where I left off.

Pain aside, I managed to get some writing done during the past month, as you can see in that nifty word count widget in the sidebar on the right. Not as much as I’d like, but progress is progress. So, my goal for that still-untitled book?

Finish it by July 15th.

Why then? Because I leave for a week of vacation on the 16th and I know I can finish it by then. I have 7,5 weeks worth of writing and an estimated 50,000 words to go. That means a lovely 6,666 words a week until then.

Very doable.

So, that’s my goal. And I will get it done and I will blog at least once a week until then. That’s a promise.

Now, tell me, what have I missed?


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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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Writing? Yes, please!

I found my new writing spot!

For the first time in over a decade, I’m now in possession of a library card! The local library isn’t even a five-minute walk away from where I live, so I can grab my laptop, head over there, and enjoy the peace while writing.

I got my card yesterday and tested out the environment. Verdict? 2,003 words written in 1,5 hours. Today, I went back to the library since I don’t work until tonight. One hour of writing netted me a whopping 1,643 words. That’s faster than my average writing speed when at home!

Plus, walking to and from the library gets me a little exercise. 😉

Of course, I won’t do all of my writing at the library. It depends on my work schedule and all that fun stuff, but when I have the time and chance to go, I’ll definitely make use of it.

This leads me into something else: Multitasking.

I’ve got two stories and their characters have had a tug-o-war in my mind these past two weeks. “Write about us!” “No, us!”

Well, I finally told both parties to shut it and am going to attempt multitasking. I finished the first chapters for both stories in the past two days. One of the books, tentatively titled Solitary Spirit, is the sequel to Silent Spirit. The other book’s the first in a separate series. My plan is to write both at the same time. How? With a specific schedule.

Monday: Solitary Spirit (Book #2)

Tuesday: Untitled (Book #1)

Wednesday: Solitary Spirit (Book #2)

Thursday: Untitled (Book #1)

Friday: Solitary Spirit (Book #2)

That leaves me the weekend to either just relax or, if I want to, work on whichever story I feel like at the time. As you can see, Solitary Spirit is my priority and hence has been given three days of my attention. My goal is to write one chapter every day, making a total of five chapters a week – minimum.

Now, I’ll be testing this schedule in the next week to see how it suits my schedule. By Friday I should know if this is a schedule I can work with. I feel good about it so far, so here’s hoping I still feel that way after trying it out!

What are your plans for the upcoming week? Let me know in the comments!


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Gorgeous Weather: The Coming of Spring

62 degrees, sunny, with a light breeze?

That’s my vision of perfect weather right there – and that’s the way it was today! Of course, now the sun is setting and cold is creeping in once again, but I have hope; hope that Spring is, in fact, just around the corner.

Gorgeous weather like this inspires me. I was out and about doing all kinds of things today and now that I’m home, I need to tackle one more thing.

Writing.

Sounds easy enough, right? Right now I’ve got plans to write Solitary Spirit, book #2 in Avalyn and Kieran’s series, but two other characters are trying to capture my attention. Shoo, incredibly intriguing characters that I’d love to write about. It’s not your turn!

If nothing else, I’ll try multitasking. Reach my word count goal for Solitary Spirit for the week? Great! The reward is writing one chapter of the other book. Or something like that. I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

Now, I’m going to spend the night plotting this other book with its incredibly needy characters, then tomorrow? Back to writing. Those 1,010 words shown in that progress bar to the right look lonely.

Have a great rest of the week!

How do you usually handle dilemmas like this? Compromise? Force yourself to focus on one thing?
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comment!


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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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Week #1 of Writing: Success!

On Monday I started my new project with a very simple goal in mind. Write three chapters per week. At that pace, I’d have the first draft finished in three months – four if anything happens to interfere. And that’s my goal.

Four months.

In this first week, I wrote chapters 1 through 3 and therefore successfully reached the goal I’d set for myself. Having a good start is really motivating for me; it makes me want to continue and I feel like this project will keep running smoothly.

I know there will be times when I’m less motivated, but I’ll push my way through them. Nothing will stand in the way of me and my four-month deadline.

So far, I’m really pleased with the story’s progress and that has me in a good mood. So, enjoy this short excerpt from chapter three!

“Talking to yourself, hmm?”

Avalyn whirled around, coming face-to-face with the foreign noble.

“You do realize most people would question your sanity… correct?” Kieran stepped out of the doorway, sauntering towards her.

“But you don’t?” Her momentary peace dispersed and her muscles clamped up. He made her uneasy and that discomfort made her drop her polite façade. “Tell me, what does that make you then?”

You know, I don’t know why, but I get the feeling that Avalyn doesn’t like Kieran. Huh. Go figure.The World Ends With You

That’s all for this post! Here’s hoping week #2 goes just as well as week #1!

How was your weekend?

Now I’m going to barricade myself in my room and play more The World Ends With You. Just bought it this week and I’m having fun with it!