Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

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


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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?
Let me know in a
comment!


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Progress: Silent Spirit

I finished editing Silent Spirit today. A few days ahead of schedule. Of course, after finishing it, I looked over the book again, tweaked some minor things here and there, and did all that fun stuff. But now…

I’m letting it fly out into the world! Will people like it? I suppose I’ll know in the next couple of weeks. I’ve done what I can do. We’ll see if it pays off.

For now, it’s time to start plotting out the sequel.

Kieran and Avalyn’s story isn’t over yet!

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Editing, editing, and… more editing!

Yep. The title is pretty much the reason for my somewhat irregular blog posts as of late. I’m knee-deep in editing the first draft of Silent Spirit.

This morning, I forced my way through chapters 16 through 21. That took a big chunk out of what I’ve got left to do and put me on track again, since I fell behind for a while. My goal? February 28th.

What’s left? Chapters 22 through 29, plus an epilogue.

The end is near.

Now, let’s see if I can make my brain function again before I need to work in a few hours, after all that editing turned it to mush.

That’ll be interesting.

And here, have a tiny snippet!

“I’d like to speak with the manager, please.”

“Are you certain that’s who you’re here to speak to?”

The smooth voice came from my right and my left fist clenched instinctively. Familiar, oh so familiar; Kieran spoke with a distinctive noble tone that crept under my skin like skittering insects. After one slow breath, I turned to the right.

Kieran descended one of the spiral staircases, one hand running along the railing. The purple cape he wore brushed just beneath his rear, shifting with every step. His smile didn’t seem like a smile, but more a predatory leer masked with manners.

“What a pleasant surprise.” He reached the bottom of the staircase and waved a hand in the other man’s direction. “Dismissed.”

“Yes, milord.” The employee bowed his head and quickly left the room.

I now stood alone in the room with Kieran, who wore that same predatory smile as he approached me.

Let me know in the comments what you think! Have a great weekend, everyone. 🙂


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Happy V-Day!

Hi all!

This is just a short post to wish you all a happy valentine’s day! I hope each and every one of you has a fantastic day – whether alone or with someone else.

750-x.jpgBack to editing Silent Spirit for me, then work tonight.

Enjoy your day and while I’m at it, have a fantastic weekend!


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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!


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Let’s write – a new project!

That’s right. I’m finally going to kick my butt into gear and put my pen to paper. Or, in this case, my fingers to my keyboard. My muse decided to fling a new project at me and I’ve been writing the character bios and the rough outline this weekend.

My goal? Start writing tomorrow, on Monday, and go for at least three chapters every week. Going at that speed, it should only take me roughly three months to write the book! Four if anything interferes. So I’ll go for just shy of four months.

December 1st. That’s when I plan to have this novel finished.

My lovely new board that I bought last week to keep my projects organized! I'm so happy with it. Just wait until I fill it up with all kinds of little notes.

My lovely new board that I bought last week to keep my projects organized! I’m so happy with it. Just wait until I fill it up with all kinds of little notes.

The project will be dark fantasy, set in a world of my own creation, that mixes technology with magic and ancient kingdoms.

Personally, I’m excited to start writing! The characters are calling out to me and I can’t wait to bring life to their story. Tomorrow can’t come soon enough. Maybe I’ll go to bed early so it comes sooner. 😉

I hope you’ve all had a great weekend, and have a fantastic week!