Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

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

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Journey To Germany

Hi everyone!

This is just a quick update to explain what’s going on in my life. This coming Tuesday, September 13th, I’ll be getting on a plane for an almost ten-hour flight from Seattle to Germany.

I’ll be visiting my parents from September 14th – December 6th.

It’s going to be exciting and I’ll also get to see my cats, as well as the dog they got after I moved back to the US. I’ll definitely be blogging while I’m in Germany. I’ll likely also take a trip to the Netherlands and possibly England while I’m there.

This week so far has been full of meeting up with friends and family before I disappear for almost three months. More meeting up will happen in the next few days, alongside finishing up packing my suitcase and bags. Fun, but busy times!

This trip will be a good chance for me to catch up on my writing. I need to finish writing my book, Vanquished Virtue, before November hits so I can start writing the sequel during National Novel Writing Month!

Look forward to upcoming blog posts. If I don’t pass out when I land on September 14th (at 8:40 in the morning!), then I’ll try to blog that day. We’ll see how it goes!

Where’s somewhere you’d like to travel to?

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Final stages…

Things have been overwhelming lately.

So much has been going on and now I’m approaching the end of the first draft of Kaine and Vera’s book. All that’s left is the final scene plus an epilogue. The end is nigh and if all goes well, it could be done by the end of the week.

And after that, I’ll be participating in Camp NaNoWriMo during which I’ll be starting a new book. While I write the next book, I’ll let Kaine and Vera’s book rest so I can tackle editing with a fresh perspective on it later.

Just a few more days and this book should be done!

I’ll definitely advise you when I reach the end. 😉


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?


How does completing a project make you feel?

For writers, the journey of writing is long. Whether it is a short story, a poem, novella or novel, a long, grueling process accompanies the task at hand.

It will be hard to say "Farewell" to them.

The idea comes first. A vague inkling of something that could grow into something wonderful. Developing the idea and writing it down go hand in hand for some. Others do the planning first and only then begin the writing process. Even then, having a completed first draft is but the beginning.

Editing follows.

Every person, every author, has a different amount of times they need to edit their manuscript before it pleases them – before they feel that the hard work, the blood, sweat and tears that they put into it, paid off.

A long process follows the first writing and editing, but that is for another day entirely.

I have written short stories and poems in the past, but never have I completed a novel. Now, Tales of The Forbidden approaches its end. Despite the good 15,000 words that remain, butterflies have taken hold of my stomach and I feel the nerves – the excitement. Finishing a novel is something new. As the first part in a series that I started on September 30th, 2008, it is my precious. This entire series is.

Finishing Book One causes mixed emotions; I’m sure everyone has a system to these things; a specific way they feel when they reach their goal.

For me, the remaining 15k seem both so far away, and yet so close. It’s bittersweet. I really don’t know how I’ll feel once the last words hit the page.

What are your experiences with similar situations like and how do you cope?

And, to not forget; a bit of National Novel Writing Month sharing!

NaNoWriMo Word Count: 17,636

“We will find a way, Saria.” Lysire’s voice drifted into her ear. “I promise, but please, listen to us and let us help you. You cannot do this alone.”

Saria’s anger wavered. Lysire’s words penetrated the thick wall of rage and other emotions returned in a dizzying flurry. The flaring powers around her withdrew into her body and as they did, she weakened. Strength left her muscles and her legs wobbled.

“He killed them,” she muttered, legs giving out beneath her. “He killed everyone.”

Let me know what you think, and don’t forgot to tell me about your experiences; I’m dying to compare.



Irregularity: Is it possible to prevent it?

Blog posts have been irregular these past two weeks and for that, I apologize. I am working on falling back into my normal Wednesday/Friday/Sunday schedule, but between college, work and National Novel Writing Month, my blogs took a back seat.

Starting today is my attempt to get back into that rhythm. Blog posts will follow the regular schedule unless something extreme comes between them. Of course, there are rare days where things don’t work out the way they’re supposed to and I doubt that I can prevent that. I rarely use the WordPress feature to schedule posts in advance, because I tend to write my posts on the days themselves.

I might try to use that occasionally, but overall, my system does work – life just threw a lot at me, what with the extensive amount of writing and, to be fair, poor planning on my part.

Things will fall into place.

Do you have any advice for keeping a schedule, despite other things interfering?


Battle of Words: Word Wars

Word Wars. I can guarantee many people are unfamiliar with the name. It stems from National Novel Writing Month and is a technique for writers I only recently discovered. As recent as last night, even.

Inspiration. Books and History.

The concept is simple. Two people, or more, plan a specific time frame during which they will write, write, and write some more. Every person participating does this. Whether five minutes, twenty minutes or thirty; the idea is to put the pen to paper, fingers to keys, and get those words that evade you when you try to write, down.

Last night, the wonderful Elisa Michelle and I accepted the challenge. We went for twenty minutes – not too long, nor too short. And wow, did it help. At the end of the twenty minutes, 793 words twinkled at me from my computer screen. Oh, sure, they need editing, but they’re on paper. Fewer words that I must still write.

After that, we did another twenty minutes. 779 words. And once more. 775 words. That, combined with what I wrote earlier that day, put me at 2,548 words for the day! So close to 3,000 in only an hour and a half of writing; that’s double what I write during the best of circumstances, alone.

Elisa and I have planned many more little word wars between us, in the future. Even after NaNoWriMo, we will venture forth and battle for the queenly crown of words. Our plan is to do a couple, once a week. If we get more than that done, great!

There’s something about writing in such a challenging way – both with and against someone. It spurred me on and shot my word count to heights unimaginable before. I think every writer should find someone to go to war with, even if just to try it out. Find an opponent, pick a time frame, and write!

You know you want to.

Total NaNoWriMo word count: 12,121

Have a free snippet of Tales of The Forbidden, freshly written during yesterday’s word war!

Her bottom lip trembled and tears stung behind her eyes. The exhaustion faded from her body and she pushed to her feet. Aziel’s words tormented her – floated within the cavern of her mind and echoed louder and louder.

Worthless. A waste of time. A disgrace.

Aziel’s expression softened. “Saria –“

She ran. Away from them. Away from everyone. Her legs carried her around the castle to the furthest edge of Eteria’s capital. Blood rushed to her head. Someone called after her but Saria didn’t listen – could not hear. The words flew past her.

The grassy ground vanished behind her as she reached trees and other greenery. Bolting into the thicker nature, Saria ran as fast as she could. Adrenalin rushed through her, spurring her on. A branch tore skin off her upper arm. The pain registered as no more than a dull tug.

Walls appeared ahead – tall, thick and secure to ward off enemies. Beyond that, Jezil’s barrier awaited.

Trapped. Locked away where she was hated.

Let me know what you think! Opinions are always welcome and rewarded with the giver being showered in tinsel and sparkles and other random things I think of at the time!


Excitement: Do you look forward to writing?

I do. Or, I am now and have been for the past few days, since I started my National Novel Writing Month adventure. The fact that writing is going so well is making me have much more fun during the real writing process. I’m looking forward to writing, instead of eventually opening the document and staring at a blank page. National Novel Writing Month

I’m on a roll. Chapter Twenty-One is complete and, look at the right of this page. See that progress bar? I have officially passed the 60,000 words mark!

This excited feeling is new. The last time I felt it was when I started developing The Forbidden Series back in September, 2008. Even then, it was nowhere near as wonderfully enigmatic as now.

I am enjoying writing and am pumping out words that are not only high in quantity, but also quality for a first draft. I am falling in love with some of these scenes. Things are falling into place and I’m loving it.

This self-made NaNoWriMo goal may turn out as the best decision I’ve ever made.

Here are my daily word counts so far for the month of November!

Day 1: 325
Day 2: 1,380
Day 3: 1,310
Day 4: 2,318
Day 5: 1,000
Day 6: 2,381

Total: 8,714

And to hold you lovely folks over, here’s another snippet of what I’ve written in Tales of The Forbidden!

“Saria, go to the throne room. Wait for us there.”

Confusion flickered across her face. “Why –“

“If the person sees you too soon, we cannot be sure what will happen. As far as they are concerned, you are a traitor. Let us judge the situation; you will see the person when we bring them before Lysire’s father.”

“You are a distraction,” her mind translated Aziel’s words to. A quick shake of her head chased away the thought and she allowed herself a nod. “Very well.”

It sounds like things are heating up, doesn’t it?

I’ll be back Wednesday to post updates on how this writing adventure is progressing. Here’s hoping it continues this way; after all, I’m almost three days ahead of schedule!