Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

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


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Blog & Writing: Upcoming Changes

Hi all! Please forgive my absence these past weeks. Between personal things and making some changes to various things, I’ve been incredibly distracted and needed some time to think. Thinking about what, you might ask? My blog and my writing, as the title says.

Allow me to elaborate.

  • Blog
    I’ve come to realize that my blog focuses too much on the art of writing. Yes, I am a writer and yes, some are bound to be interested in reading about my views on different writing techniques and the like, but that shouldn’t be what this blog is about. I want all kinds of people to feel comfortable reading my blog – not just those who like reading things you can pick up in non-fiction books. Because, let’s face it, I don’t write non-fiction.

    Because of this, I want to make this blog more personal. I want to write about some day-to-day things, about things that I like and hopefully, about things that you like as well. This change should start taking hold in Wednesday’s blog post.

  • Writing
    I’ve always clung to fantasy for my writing and I thoroughly enjoy writing fantasy, but while writing my horror/dark fantasy novella, I’ve come to realize something. I enjoy writing about the darker, psychological aspects that are present in dark fantasy and horror. Rather than just writing paranormal fantasy, I want to write about things that are darker. I started to notice it in recent story ideas, but this novella is what properly made me take a step back and see what was going on.

    This means that as of immediately, my writing will turn darker. Paranormal fantasy will turn into dark fantasy. I don’t intend to scrap any projects, but they need to be reworked. Changed. The plot needs work so I can add that darker hint to these already-existing ideas. Meanwhile, I still intend to finish the dark fantasy novella by the end of November; that plan hasn’t changed.

So, please forgive these changes! I’d love to hear what you think of them and I’d like to thank everyone who participated in my Halloween Project. Without it, I don’t know how much longer I would’ve had to wait before I realized I prefer the darker side of fantasy.

What would you like me to blog about? If you have any suggestions, feel free to mention them in the comments!

Have a great week, everyone!

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WIP Blog Hop: Horror Novella

The lovely Clare Davidson and my good Twitter friend Imran Siddiq tagged me with this little list of questions. The idea? Take a work in progress and answer these questions, to let readers find out more about it! So, without further ado, that’s exactly what I intend to do.

Enjoy!

What is the working title of your book?

At this point, I don’t have a proper title. Right now, it looks like I won’t figure out the title until it’s done. Currently, I either refer to it as my Horror Novella or as my Halloween Stream Novella.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

It actually spawned from my recent Halloween Stream Novella. project. Basically, readers were able to vote on five different polls about the characters and setting of the novella. I then took the winning votes and combined them into what would become this novella.

What genre does your book fall under?

It’s either dark fantasy or horror, but I’m leaning towards horror. Right now, it’s just a matter of writing it and from there I can go back and edit accordingly. Luckily, the gap between dark fantasy and horror isn’t too large.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

This is a difficult one. Excuse me while I scurry off to imdb.com!

Okay. An hour-long search only led me to actors I can imagine playing two of the four important characters have. So, without further ado, here are the two side-characters, the siblings, Nate and Emma.

Nate = Alex Pettyfer & Emma = Alicia Silverstone

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

When their mutual rival lures them into a forest late at night, Gary and his friends realize that things are never what they seem – and that they will never be the same again.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Novellas are a hard sell for publishers, so the plan is to self-publish it. I might query a bit to test the waters, but if nothing comes from that, I’ll take the self-publishing route. Most likely, self-publishing it is what will happen, with an estimated release date of next summer.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I’m writing it as we speak and the goal is to finish it by the end of November, which means the first draft will have been written within a month. Editing will start shortly after!

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Admittedly, I’m not as well-versed in horror and dark fantasy novels as I’d like, so I’ll have to leave this a bit open-ended. Just imagine darker types of paranormal creatures (ghosts and demons), combined in a horror novella with simple humans as the main characters.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Mostly, the readers. Without them, this novella wouldn’t exist. Without their votes, the idea never would’ve developed and it wouldn’t have become what it is now. Readers, and my friends. They were and still are my inspiration, and this novella is for them.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

It’s a novella, so it’ll be a quicker read than a full-length novel, but will still be a nice sized read. The characters are diverse, and well, who doesn’t like a bit of horror? Plus, you can watch me write roughly the first 5,000 words live on Livestream.

And, last but not least, here’s a synopsis that’s a bit longer than just one sentence:

Paranormal are a myth, a foolish thought spewed by people looking for attention. That’s what hardworking people believe and the soon-to-be-cop Gary wants to be one of them. But when his friend Nate receives an alluring email from their mutual rival, Adam, he’s thrust into a situation he’s only seen in movies – and what he learns there will change his future in ways he never foresaw.

Now, let me tag two fabulous writers and make them answer these questions! They both have a project for National Novel Writing Month, so they have plenty to write about!

Make sure to check out their writing and their WIP Blog Hop posts once they’re posted them! Enjoy your Sunday, and have a great week, all!


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Friday Snippets: Horror Novella – Scene #3

Hi everyone and welcome to this week’s Friday Snippets! This week, I’ll be sharing the first scene of my currently untitled horror novella, which is the result of my Halloween Stream project, and is what I’ll be writing during National Novel Writing Month.

This scene is one of the scenes written during the first live stream on Wednesday. There are two live streams left! Watch them on Livestream.

Saturday, Nov. 3rd: 12 am PST | 3 pm EDT | 7 pm GMT

Sunday,    Nov.  4th: 11 am PST | 2 pm EST | 7 pm GMT

Without further ado, enjoy this scene – the introduction to the character Adam. You can read another scene on NaNoWriMo. Feel free to add me as a Writing Buddy!

Note: This comes directly from a first draft and has not been edited in any way, shape, or form. Let me know what you think; I love hearing from you!

Small creatures shifted the leaves as he strode through the forest. His hands hid in his pockets, away from the crisp air. A small smirk twisted his lips as he came to a halt and leaned against a tree. Absentmindedly, he kicked a small rock and sent it flying.

“Is everything going as planned?” The female voice appeared out of nothing, drifting over him like a veil. “Will they come?”

A heaviness settled over him, as if someone pressed down on his shoulders and forced him to be still, to be silent and listen.

“Yes.” He swept a stray strand of black hair out of his face. “They’ll come. Don’t worry. There’s no way they’d resist something like this.”

“You had best be right, Adam,” the voice whispered. “After all, it’s your future that depends on tonight. Or have you forgotten?”

“I didn’t forget. They’ll show up tonight, just like I said.” His lips formed a tight line. “I know how to get them to do these things. They’ll be here.”

“We’ll see. Soon.”

The weight lifted off his shoulders and he inhaled sharply in relief. The twats were too stupid not to show up, too easily goaded into doing what others wanted them to.

The fools would regret it.

Have a great weekend everyone and swing by the live streams this weekend if you have time! The more, the merrier.

What are your weekend plans?


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Halloween Stream: Final chance to vote!


That’s right, folks. Two weeks of voting is coming to a close. Tomorrow, the 29th of October, is the last day that you can vote on the polls that will decide key aspects of the Halloween novella I’ll be writing – part of it live for all of you to see!

For those of you who haven’t voted, here are the polls one last time!

To see what all of this is about check out the official blog post. If you’ve already voted, hang tight! The first live stream is coming this Wednesday.

Have a great week everyone, and have a brilliant Halloween!

 


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Halloween Stream: Create the story – live!

Welcome to my interactive Halloween Project, the Halloween Stream! After a week of hinting at it, it’s finally here for your enjoyment. Let me explain exactly what this is and how it’ll work.

What is this all about?

This is my attempt to create an interactive project and to involve readers in the writing process, while letting both the author and the readers communicate and have a great time while doing so.

The result of this project will be a dark fantasy or horror novella, available for sale on Amazon as an eBook – and potentially paperback.

How will it work?

Starting tomorrow, Monday the 15th of October, I will add a new poll to this post every day this week. Friday the 19th, I will post the last of the five polls. Each of these polls will focus on aspects important to stories: Characters, the setting, and so on and so forth. It will be up to all of you to vote on your favorite choices in each poll! At the end of the voting period, the winning choices will be taken and used for the novella.

The writing process of the start of this novella will be shown live. On Halloween and November 3rd and 4th, I will be streaming as I write the beginning of the novella. During this live stream, I will also answer questions that you submit into the chat during the live stream.

Excited yet? I know I am!

When and where is all this happening?

The five polls will be posted Monday, October 15th through Friday, October 19th.
I will add each poll to this blog post.

The voting period starts as soon as the first poll appears in this post and ends Monday, October 29th. Don’t forget to get those votes in!

Let’s not forget the live streams! The times and dates are:

  • Oct.  31st:  2 pm PST | 5 pm EDT | 9 pm GMT
  • Nov.  3rd: 12 pm PST | 3 pm EDT | 7 pm GMT
  • Nov.  4th: 11 am PST | 2 pm EST | 7 pm GMT

The live streams will take place on my livestream page. The Halloween stream will last two hours and the November live streams anywhere between one and two hours. If you’ve ever wanted to chance to really see what goes into the writing process, then this is your chance! And if you have any questions you want to ask me, this will be your time to get them off your chest!

Polls

If you’re excited to see this project progress, then share the word! The more people who join in, the more fun we’ll all have. Thank you in advance to everyone who joins in with the fun; I’m looking forward to hearing what you all have to say!

Many thanks to graphic designer Nakaya de Jong for creating the Halloween Stream banner at the top of this post and many other small goodies you’ll see on my blog in the next few days. You can see more of her work here: deviantArt | Portfolio

Let’s make this a brilliant Halloween!


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Friday Snippets: Short Story – Trapped

This week, I’d like to share a random snippet; I literally just wrote this for fun. Consider it a short little scribble of something that might one day become something longer, eh? That said, should it turn into something longer, it’ll most likely be in the Dark Fantasy genre as opposed to my usual Paranormal Fantasy.

Anyways, that’s enough rambling from me.

Without further ado, here’s the story!

The clock ticked along on the wall. Two minutes and twenty-seven seconds. Two minutes and twenty-six seconds, twenty-five, four. The soft ticks broke through the blood rushing to her head, though the noise of her deep breaths. Calm. She needed calm.

Two minutes until nine.

A young woman paced back and forth, lips parted and inhaling and exhaling sharply. Nearly three weeks. For nearly three weeks, horrors beyond her imagination plagued her. They came at night, demanded entrance. So far, they remained outside and she was safe. How long would that last?

Her hair felt soft as she ran a hand through it and swallowed hard. A children’s book lay on the arm of the couch. Bedtime reading. Teaching life lessons. Passing on the love for literature. The woman crossed the room and grasped the large hardback in her hands, flicking through the pages. Colorful drawings depicted events from the story.

Her daughter’s favorite book.

Three knocks echoed off the front door and she yelped. The book fell from her hands as she quickly stepped back from the door. Fear clenched its clammy hands around her neck. Pressure clamped her windpipe shut, stole her breath away. She gasped for air and backed away until she hit a wall.

Auburn locks shifted as she shook her head, sliding down until she sat on the ground. Her eyes focused on the door and for once, the lack of small windows in the door, so common for the area, helped her along. She didn’t see them, wouldn’t need to face them.

A cold sweat coated her body and she squeezed her eyes shut, fighting back tears.

Three more knocks.

Choking back a sob, she pulled her knees up to her chest. Her face vanished into the black jeans she wore. They kept coming. They would keep coming. She would fight for as long as she could. The memory of their first meeting returned to the front of her mind, sharp and detailed, and she whimpered, eyes snapping open.

I just hope I don’t give in.

I had a lot of fun writing this and I hope you enjoyed reading it! Let me know what you think; I love hearing your opinions.

Have a great weekend, everyone!