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 Snippets: Fire

I have a slightly longer snippet than usual for all of you today, due to my recent absence! Expect posts to be irregular for a few more weeks, but after that, I’ll work on getting my schedule back on track.

Please keep in mind that this is a first draft and still needs to be edited.

Note: “Merde” means “shit” in French.

A sudden swell of power hit me. Dark, twisted, but most of all, the essence created a vicious heat. The magic coursed through the entire building. The overhead lights sparked, then went out. Darkness claimed the dining hall. Not entirely.

A flickering light near the open doorway drew my gaze towards it. Natural light, a mixture of orange and yellow.

Fire.

“Merde!” All emotions vanished from my mind except for one: Panic.

I ran towards the open double doors and glanced out into the hallway. Flames licked across the wooden floor in both directions, removing them as potential escape routes. A swift kick shut the doors and I fled into another hallway. The fire clung to the walls and the ceiling, devouring everything in its path.

No flames covered the floor.

Against my better judgment, I stormed into the hallway and followed the path. Staying as centered as I could, I avoided the flames and sought a way out. Come on, I’ve come too far to die now.

The hallway forked in four directions and I swore. Pulling out the rag I carried in my pouch, I pressed it against my mouth and coughed. Smoke rose as the house burned. Quickly, I determined only one path was safe and I took it.

My chest constricted the second I entered the lounge. Thick black smoke filled it and the flames that consumed the room combined with it, creating a horrible gray-orange glow.

The windows. I needed to get to one of the windows. Avoiding the flames while I crossed the room proved more difficult than I anticipated. They licked at my arms in an attempt to bring me down along with the house.

No. I wouldn’t burn alive the way Richard had.

A flame caught my left sleeve and began traveling. A cry slipped past my lips and I moved back, frantically using the cloth to extinguish the flames. The wall. I finally reached the wall.

A grimace flitted across my features. I’d only get one shot at this.

In one solid movement, I swung my arm and hit the window with my sword’s hilt. The glass shattered, flooding the room with oxygen, and I cried out as the flames seemed to roar and double in intensity. Quickly I used the hilt to clear away more shards of the broken window.

Escape. Now I’d escape.

Instead of climbing, I flung myself through the window. I hit the ground rolling. Pain stabbed into my arms and legs. Still, I forced myself to my feet and ran, away from the burning building, away from the place where Richard kept me captive for three long years.

Let me know what you think! I love hearing from all of you.

Have a fantastic weekend! 🙂

 

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Friday Snippets: Magic

Hi everyone!

Friday is finally here and that means that I have a new snippet for all of you. This snippet comes from chapter two of my current project, which is going extremely well, I might add!

Please keep in mind that this is a first draft and must still undergo editing.

Enjoy!

Magic emanates from the crowd. It grows more powerful, more potent. I take another step towards Ella just as a loud blast erupts from the center of the crowd. It flashes and I cringe as people start to scream. They run, spreading out in a sudden rush. Guards shout and bolt forward, trying to calm and guide the people.

The pregnant woman’s eyes widen and she flees, passing by my sister. The magic-user makes his way through the dispersing crowd. Quick on his feet, he dodges between the running citizens of Senna. I dash forward as he breaks his way through the crowd. Behind me, I hear Lord Serkan yell. In just a few seconds, he’ll reach me and pull me away from danger.

The man lunges towards Ella and she steps back, eyes wide. Quickly, I slip between the two of them and his hand brushes against my arm instead of hers. Magic crashes into me and I gasp. It slips into me, pushing around my magic, trapping it. Searing pain courses through my veins as my magic tries to resist.

The foreign essence overpowers my magic and I release a scream. It yanks on me, hard and unrelenting.

“NIKA!”

Everything around me vanishes.

Let me know what you think! I love hearing from you. 🙂

That aside, have a fantastic weekend!

 


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Friday Snippets: Siblings

Welcome to this week’s Friday Snippets everyone!

This week, I’ll be sharing a snippet from the first chapter of my current, untitled novel. I just started it today, so please keep in mind that it will need to undergo some heavy editing sometime in the future!

This is also my first time writing a novel in present tense. It’s an interesting challenge, so keep in mind that there might be small inconsistencies that I missed.

That aside, I hope you enjoy it!

I glance back at the city. Childish giggles rise with the wind and I spot half a dozen children. They run, jump over obstacles, and dodge as a seventh child tries to tag them. My lips curl into a smile, remembering the days when my sister and I played such games. So long ago and yet the memory remains bright and detailed.

Oblivious to me watching, the children continue their game. I watch for several more moments, basking in the reminiscence, then turn and enter the building. A guard slides the door shut behind me and I flash him a small smile. My feet lead me through the hallway and down two winding staircases. Now on the first floor, I head down the hall until I reach a large, spacious room.

Two sofas stand in the center of the room, joined by two plush chairs. They surround a fireplace where a large flame flickers and devours the wood. I pay the sudden warmth little mind as I walk forward until a velvet carpet caresses my feet, and I sit down next to a young woman.

She looks up from the book she’s reading and shows me a smile that reaches her gray eyes – eyes so like my own. “Nika,” she says, placing a bookmark between the pages. “What can I do for you?”

“Are you ready for tomorrow?”

That’s it for this week! Let me know what you think in a comment; I love hearing from you!

I hope you have a fantastic weekend!


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Friday Snippets: Adrian

This week I’ve got a short snippet for all of you! I wrote some flash fiction and these couple of paragraphs come straight from one of them. The character, Adrian, is a bit homeless at the moment. I had a story for him, then shuffled characters around, and now he’s a character without a book. This is the first I ever wrote about him and hopefully I can figure out a story for him sometime soon!

Please keep in mind that this is a first draft and thus still needs to undergo editing. Enjoy!

Sirens sounded in the distance. Here they come.

Adrian headed to the front door and stepped outside, watching as the ambulance raced down the street. It pulled up into the driveway and medics rushed out of the vehicle. He ran towards them as they pulled a gurney out of the back.

“What do we have?”

“Lisa Miles, age six. Multiple lacerations, primarily on the arms and chest, severely beaten, trouble breathing, and internal bleeding. She went into cardiac arrest twice on the way here.”

Adrian stared at the small form on the gurney. Severe bruising and swelling made it near-impossible to recognize the girl. One of the ambulance staff covered her mouth, feeding her oxygen. A woman followed them out of the vehicle, her eyes wide and tear-stained.

“This way!”

Leading them up the driveway and into the house, Adrian directed them into the adjacent room. “Okay, let’s move her onto the bed.” He grasped part of the blanket beneath the small form. “Ready? Three, two, one.”

They lifted her off the gurney and carefully set her on the bed. Out of the corner of his eyes, he saw the mother in the doorway. She stood with one hand covering her mouth as she looked on with wide eyes. He’d deal with her later.

“Tell me what happened.”

Adrian focused and hovered one hand over the girl’s body. Lots of bleeding, most of it concentrated in her lower abdomen. He reached for scissors and cut through the bloodied fabric of her shirt. One laceration ran across the length of her lower abdomen. Pulling aside the skin, Adrian frowned. Deep. Whatever knife was used on her cut into her intestines. He sent his magic to his hands, concentrating on sealing the organ. Once he stopped the internal bleeding, he could focus on the other injuries.

“The mother’s boyfriend was alone with her for the past week. When she came home, he was strangling her. He fled and she called us.”

Adrian nodded. Crimson coated his hands as he pressed into the injury, drawing every ounce of his magic and using it for the task at hand. He wouldn’t lose her.

Personally, I’m rather fond of Adrian, so I’m looking forward to writing more about him! Let me know what you think, and have a great weekend! 🙂


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Friday Snippets – “Tales of The Forbidden: Chapter 2”

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve shared my writing on a Friday, so it’s time to change that! This week, I’m sharing the start of chapter two of my novel Tales of The Forbidden. The rewrite is going well for anyone who’s interested to know that and you can always see how it’s progressing by checking the progress bar in the side bar to the right.

This is the first draft of the rewrite, so typos are possible. Have fun reading and let me know what you think; I love hearing what you have to say. 🙂

Golden rays kissed the kingdom and bathed the citizens of Cavor in gentle warmth. Beneath the castle, the inhabitants of the capital bustled to and fro. Adults worked in the fields and traded and sold items in the market plaza. Saria watched from a window as younger children ran and played fast-paced games while the older children helped their parents. Her lips curled at the sight.

For now, the children enjoyed playing outside in the warm late summer weather. In the distance, clouds drifted in the sky, carried by the gentle breeze that caressed her skin. Another two, perhaps three days. The storm brought with it the start of autumn, during which the air grew colder and the nights longer. They would struggle through it, like they did the year before – and every year before that.

“Milady,” a voice broke her from her observations. “Lord Andreas and Lord Haral are looking for you. They want you to go to His Majesty’s chambers.”

Saria spun and nodded at the woman. “Thank you.” Her dress shifted, touching her knees as she walked past the woman and down the left path. She ascended the nearest staircase and walked down the hall to her grandfather’s room. Curiosity coiled in her stomach and quickly tightened; it formed a hard ball of dread. Her thoughts jumped to the worst and she waved away the thought. No. They simply needed to speak with her.

He would have summoned her to the throne room under normal circumstances, Saria realized. She crushed the thought.

A door farther down the hall swung open and Andreas greeted her with a small wave. He had forced a pathetic smile and it failed to mask his emotions. Sorrow darkened his eyes. The sight thrust the knot of dread into her gut and she parted her lips. Her words caught in her throat and she stared at him, even as Haral joined them outside her grandfather’s bedroom.

Please, no.

That’s it for this week, but I might share more next Friday! Stick around if you’d like to read more. And while I’m at it, happy holidays to you all! I’m excited for Christmas.

What are you excited about?


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Friday Snippets: Dark Fantasy Side-Project

Hi everyone!

Welcome to my contribution to this week’s Friday Snippets. This week, I’ll be sharing a snippet from chapter one of my new ultra secret side project, which I’ll be working on alongside The Hunted Trilogy. Keep an eye out for snippets from this side project, because that’s about all you’ll hear about it for now!

Do keep in mind that this is a rough draft and has not yet undergone any form of editing.

I appreciate all comments; I’d love to hear what you think.

“The sun rose eleven times since I told you what to do. I thought you were faster.”

Zali twirled the locket between her fingers, eyes locked on the man opposite of her. “With all due respect, if you think you could have gotten it back faster yourself, then why did you hire me?”

The man’s cheeks flushed a dark tint of red, bright and clear on his pale skin. He crossed his arms and tossed his shoulders back, his chest puffing out. Gazing down at her, he frowned and tried to work past the flush still present in his cheeks.

“I don’t have time for that. I’m a very busy man.”

“Which is why you hired me.” Her impassive expression bore into him. “Now, would you like to do this exchange or not? If not, I will take back this precious locket. I’m sure I can make at least the amount you were offering me, by selling it.” Or I could take my payment by force.

The determination on his face wavered, a hint of fear flickering to life in his eyes. “No, no – I’ll pay, like promised.” He turned his back to her – a mistake she picked up on immediately – and snatched a pouch off his cot. Spinning around to face her, he fumbled with the knot until he finally opened it and removed five copper coins. “Here.”

She took two steps forward and held out her hand. The weight of the coins dropped onto her hand and she handed him the locket. “A pleasure doing business with you.” The money vanished into her money pouch; five coins would keep her taken care of for a while.

“Speak to our maid. She’ll give you the food I promised.”

Nodding, Zali faced the open doorway, then glanced over her shoulder. “And our agreement?”

“If anyone asks about you, I will not say anything.”

She never even said goodbye.

That’s all for this week; I hope you enjoyed it. Have a great weekend, y’all!


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Friday Snippets: “Werewolf’s Lair – Chapter Three”

After a near-two-week absence, I am back with some new material for all of you! Currently, I’m going through Werewolf’s Lair to make necessary changes to the plot and the conflict before I enter the final stretch of the book. Some of these changes include adding some scenes in my second main character’s point of view.

Without further ado, enjoy this scene, written in Matt’s point of view, in chapter three. Do keep in mind that this comes from the first draft and will likely be edited in the future.

Matt tossed a lifeless body to the ground in an alleyway. No doubt, someone would find the woman that day. No one could save her. An early bird. She rushed from her house before most, before the sun illuminated the sky with its brilliant perfection. Her schedule made her one of the available few targets.

While the sun fought to ascend above the horizon, he traveled out of the city and towards the forest. He stayed near the outskirts of the greenery and far enough from the exit to avoid the sun. The trees acted as his shield, protecting him from the light that would harm him without their presence.

His search of the forest led him nowhere. Paige claimed he lacked the skill to hunt down werewolves. Perhaps he did. His hair shifted as he shook his head. Hunters found ways to locate werewolves. He was smarter than them and could do the same – could do it better, regardless of what she thought.

A frown twisted his lips as he leaned his back against a tree, arms crossed. “She’s traveling alone, but her pack is nearby?” He shook his head. “No. It’s one or the other; it can’t be both.”

He glanced in the direction of the city. Three vampires claimed it as their territory and countless others claimed it as their temporary territory, or hunted there while passing through. The three master vampires showed no mercy to those who hunted in their territory without their permission.

It was a miracle they learned to cooperate among each other. Even the strongest vampires agreed. Vampires spent their time alone. Cooperation between two happened rarely. Cooperation between three became the stuff of legends.

Alone, the three were average in strength. Together they became a powerful force that threatened most who crossed their path. Strategy came into play.

Mattheus never got permission.

His frown deepened and he watched the sun ascend higher. The sooner he and Paige journeyed into the forest, the smaller the risk that he would have a run-in with the other vampires.

He couldn’t guarantee their safety if they attacked him.

I hope you enjoyed this little snippet and the look into vampire dynamics! There will be much more of that throughout the series.

Have a good Friday, and have a great weekend!