Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

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

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First 1 1/2 Weeks In Germany!

Anyone who has ever traveled somewhere with a time difference of more than just a couple of hours will agree with this statement:

Jet lag is evil.

I landed in Germany on the morning of September 14th and have dealt with the daily struggle of fighting to stay awake halfway through each day. Slowly, it’s gotten better and if all goes well, I should be fully adjusted in a day or two. I hope.

Things have been normal while visiting my parents so far. Sleep, naps, catching up on some shows (Lucifer and Master Chef), trying out new shows (Lethal Weapon), and playing games (currently Ni No Kuni and Xenoblade Chronicles). Now that my mind isn’t as frazzled from jet lag, it’s time to get back into writing as well.

Starting Monday, I’m planning for daily writing with a hope of 10,000 words per week. If I manage 2,000 words each day during the week, that gives me either free weekends or time to get extra words written!

With National Novel Writing Month just around the corner, I need to finish the first draft of this book so I can start something new during that event!

That aside, I’ve successfully stolen the dog’s affections and have been walking her on occasion as well. Now, time to relax this weekend before writing kicks into gear on Monday!

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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?


Camp NaNoWriMo – Winner!

Once upon a time, it was a dark and stormy night, in a land far, far away…

There, a writer who hadn’t honed her craft in months was tired of sitting around and decided to give Camp NaNoWriMo a goal, with a small goal of 15,000 words.

Ten days in and 15,000 words later, she upped her goal to 25,000 words.

She attained that goal.


We did it! Two writers in the local writing group and I all started with goals of 10,000 – 15,000 words and all three of us upped our goals to 25,000 words. Guess what? We all reached that increased goal. The three of us encouraging each other and sharing snippets along the way was an amazing experience and something that clearly benefited all three of us.

For me, I’m now about one third of the way through this book, titled Vanquished Virtue. My goal is to finish it before NaNoWriMo comes around in November. After all, wouldn’t that be the perfect time to start book #2?

I won’t ramble too much today. After all, I’ve got more writing to do!

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I’ll keep this one short.

New novel in progress during National Novel Writing Month. Once I finish this first draft, I’m heading back to Kaine and Vera’s novel to give that the editing it deserves. Gotta blow the dust of it. With any luck, I’ll finish this book by the end of the year and can start editing that book come January 1st.

I’ll write more here later, but for now, here’s a little snippet of the book I’m tentatively titling, Second Chance.

“Ben -” I froze as the elevator stopped on the second floor. The doors opened and it was like a tidal wave of energy that surged at me in one giant swoop. Dark, powerful, and distinctly reminding me of one person. Instinct pushed me forward, off the elevator and onto the second floor. I took a left, heading down the hall. An invisible imprint had been left in the air, noticeable only to those with illusionary abilities or stronger than average senses. The aura led me down the hall to the very end, where a door unlike the regular hospital room doors stood tall.

Over and out for now!

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14 Things You Didn’t Know About Me

This was going around on Facebook and I decided that, instead of using it there, I’d use it as inspiration for a blog post! One of my dear friends – the one who made my gorgeous blog header – gave me the number fourteen. Why? Because we’re both mildly obsessed very fond of the game Final Fantasy IX.

Her logic is that the title has fourteen letters and its anniversary is tomorrow!

It’s pretty hard to argue with that logic, so without further ado, here you go!

14 Things


  1. You might know I love studying languages. But did you know that I have enough language-related books to rival the average college student? And I’ll be getting more in time!
  2. While writing, I mostly listen to video game soundtracks. Specifically the soundtracks to Final Fantasy IX, Kingdom Hearts 1 & 2, Persona 3, and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. All these soundtracks inspire me to no end.
  3. Final Fantasy IX is my favorite video game of all time and has been since its release in 2000. The only game to ever challenge it is Persona 3 Portable.
  4. I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month right now. The goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. It’s my fourth try and I’ve never won – but I’m on track right now!
  5. Drawing is something I wanted to learn before, but I quickly learned that I don’t have the patience for it. My creativity goes to my writing. I’ll leave visual art to others.
  6. My favorite movie genre is horror, and my favorite horror series is A Nightmare on Elm Street. I don’t care that it’s classified as horror-comedy. It’s awesome.
  7. I’ve never been to a gaming/anime convention before, but 2014 will be my year! San Japan in San Antonio, TX should be the first convention I go to. If I’m lucky, Pax Prime will be my second.
  8. I’ve lived in Washington, Kentucky, The Netherlands, and Germany. I’ve spent time in France and England. Next up on my list is Japan. I’m saving up to spend two or three weeks there. In a few years. Once I know the language better.
  9. Those language books? I put them to good use. I’m fluent in three languages, am currently perfecting my French (I can survive using it), and have started studying Japanese. Spanish and Russian are on my to-learn list. We’ll see what comes after that.
  10. Nine times out of ten, I’d rather be writing than socializing. That doesn’t mean I’m anti-social. I’m just picky. Also, these characters I write about are incredibly demanding!
  11. I hate loud noises, i.e. fireworks. Fireworks absolutely terrify me. Just ask my family. They learned just how terrified I am of fireworks on July 4th.
  12. Concerts are an exception to that loud noises rule. That noise actually makes sense. It’s more than just noise. It’s music. Speaking of which, I’ve been to four concerts, in the following order: 30 Seconds to Mars, Tokio Hotel, Panic! At the Disco, and Within Temptation.
  13. I’m an incredibly independent person who hates accepting help from others. If I can do something myself, then I will, no matter how stressful it is. I’ll often keep going until I can’t anymore, rather than ask for help.
  14. I have no desire to be in a romantic relationship, nor do I see myself having kids in the future. If I decide to have kids, my plan is to adopt.

That makes fourteen, so I’m off the hook. I was just spewing nonsense there, I think. I never know what to write for these, so I just wrote the first things that came to mind. I might have also looked at my friend’s version for some inspiration.

So, that’s that! Enjoy those fourteen facts about me. Did you know any of them? I’m curious.

Have a great day! 🙂

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Best writing day – ever!

2013-Participant-NaNoWriMo-CoverThe title of this post really says it all. Today was, by far, the best day I’ve ever had for writing. I’ve never written so much in a single day. Do you want to know how much I wrote?

Alright, I’ll tell you. But shh. It’s a secret to everyone. 😉

7,240 words.

I completely and utterly shattered my previous record for most words written in a day. Before today, my record was somewhere around 5,300.

Here’s my NaNoWriMo progress:

This means I’m three days ahead for National Novel Writing Month. I’ve never been ahead. I’ve only just stayed on track – and I’ve never won. The most I’ve gotten is 30,000. Six days in, and I already have half of that.

This is my year. I just know it.

Are you participating? If you are, how are you doing? If not, what are you doing this November?

Let me know in the comments!

If you’re participating and would like to add me as a writing buddy, you can add me here.


Flash Fiction Month: Why is it useful?

Most writers are familiar with National Novel Writing Month. If you’re not, then let me explain. During National Novel Writing Month,which takes place in November, writers challenge themselves to write 50,000 words in only thirty days. That’s 1,667 words per day.

Flash Fiction Month follows a similar, yet vastly different concept. Whereas in NaNoWriMo you focus on one story, during FFM you focus on multiple. Thirty-one, to be exact. One for every day of the month of July. And guess what? That means that it starts today.

English: My own work. Created using "Inks...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thirty-one flash fiction stories, each up to 1,000 words in length, written in July. A challenge at least as difficult as NaNoWriMo.

I highly recommend that writers try it out. Why? Well, here are just a couple of ways that Flash Fiction Month can help you grow as a writer:

  • Character Development: You have much less time to portray the characters and make the readers care about them. You have to use the limited word count available to you to make them care. If you can do that in short stories, then it’ll be a skill you can transfer over to novel-length works.
  • Plot: Short and concise. Bare basics. Beginning, middle, end. Nothing more, nothing less. Creating a story that has all these aspects in under 1,000 words is a wonderful challenge. It will help you practise plotting a story arc that works.
  • Ideas: This is one of the most useful aspects and yet so many people forget it. So, you wrote a kick ass flash fiction story, but your muse isn’t satiated. Your muse wants more. The idea starts expanding and suddenly – it turns into a novella, or a novel, perhaps even a series. Many ideas start small, but given the right conditions, can grow into something more.
  • Writing Daily: Many authors struggle to keep up their writing. Inspiration avoids them, life interferes – somehow, something always manages to come up. Flash Fiction Month teaches writers to write every day, even if it’s as little as fifty words. Writing daily is a huge step in finishing your projects.
  • Details: With a word count as small as 1,000 words, the amount you can use for details is limited. It teaches writers to show only the essential details. We care that her hair is brown and her eyes light grey. We don’t care that her hair is slicked back perfectly except for that one strand that won’t cooperate, but that she normally wears her hair in an elegant bun with strands framing her face and falling to her shoulders. In a novel, explaining that once is acceptable; it gives readers a better idea of what the character is like. In a short story, unnecessary details should be left out.

But, what matters most, is that this project and others like it give writers a chance to do what they do best – write.

Will you be participating in Flash Fiction Month? What is your opinion of it? Share in the comments!