Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

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


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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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Writing, working, and goals – oh my!

Hi everyone and welcome to the year 2013!Writing, Books, Text, List

2012 has come and gone, and since we survived the end, I figured I might as well make some goals for the coming year and share them with you. Sounds like a plan, huh? Without further ado, here are my goals, and boy will I be busy this year!

  • Writing Goals: Write roughly 500,000 words. I know, it sounds like a lot. This equates to about five 90,000 word novels and two novellas.
    My main project is to finish all four books in The Forbidden Series, one book per quarter, and then work on a side-project throughout the entirety of the year. Here’s a breakdown for anyone who’s curious about my schedule:

    1. Tales of The Forbidden – March 31st
    2. Mercy of The Forbidden – June 30th
    3. Prophecy of The Forbidden – September 30th
    4. Absolution of The Forbidden – December 31st
    5. Novella #2 (in a trilogy) – March 31st
    6. Novella #3 (in a trilogy) – June 30th
    7. Survival (Book #1 in a trilogy) – December 31st

    It’s a bit of a strict schedule, all things considered, but I think I can pull it off. All it will take is dedication. And the best thing about this schedule? It leaves my Sundays free for relaxing and even has two weeks of vacation planned into it. And to be fair, even if I don’t quite finish everything I intend to, it still isn’t a bad haul and is definitely better than last year.

  • Publishing Goals: These goals are fairly loose and I’m not sure how well they’ll go. However, here is a tentative plan:
    1. Query Literary Agents (after finishing/revising Tales of The Forbidden)
    2. Publish Novella #1 (in a trilogy) by the end of May
    3. Publish Novella #2 (in a trilogy) by the end of September
    4. Publish Novella #3 (in a trilogy) by the end of 2013 (or January 2014?)

    These publishing goals in particular are subject to change. I don’t know how everything will go, but I’ll keep you updated throughout the process.

  • Weight Loss: I think this one speaks for itself. I’m not really going to dwell on it too much here, but dropping a few pounds is definitely one of my goals.
  • Job: This one is really a priority. I need a job. I’ve been looking for months without any form of success and it’s really starting to grate on me. Hopefully I can enter the work force in the very near future.
  • Social Media: One of my issues this past year has been that my presence on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, etc.) has been extremely erratic. I intend to fix that issue. This means you’ll be able to talk to me more on Twitter and the like, and that you can expect me to post my standard three blog posts per week. And don’t forget, until January 7th, I’ll be posting daily!

So, these are my goals for the year. The major ones, at least. There are some other, smaller ones (like going to gamescom this year, in August), but I won’t bore you with all of those. This post is long enough as it is!

I hope you all had a safe, wonderful start of the year. Here’s to a brilliant year for all of us!

What are your 2013 goals? Let me know in the comments!


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To write, or not to write…

Or rather: To write this, or to write that. That is the question.

This is the dilemma I’m currently faced with. I have three short stories that I must write and send off to various places. One for a magazine, two for anthologies. Great things, of course, but the deadlines are so close together!

One needs to be done by October 22nd and the other two by November 1st. Oy.

300 – 3,000 words. 4,000 – 8,000 words. 1,000 – 5,000 words.

…Wait, what?

Okay. I can do this. I’ll be busy. A bit busy, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do it, right? I have ideas for two of them and only a vague inkling of an idea for the other one. That’s the one with the nearest deadline. Lovely.

The plan: Finish and send off all three by Monday the 29th, at the latest. Any later and it’ll interfere with my Halloween Stream Project. We can’t have that now, can we?

Again, I can do this. I’ll just need to sit down and do what’s rather important when writing submissions for places. Write. Now excuse me while I go procrastinate for the rest of the day and mull the ideas over so that things will flow smoothly as of tomorrow. Promise.

What’s the one thing that made you feel the most stressed, or busy in general, and how did you deal with it? Tell me in the comments! I love hearing from you.
Halloween Stream!


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Submitting to Literary Magazines: Recommendations?

Most writers know that the best way to build up your publishing credentials is by going for magazines or anthologies. This is how I first had my work published traditionally. One of my short stories – Sex, Guns, and Lies – was accepted by Divertir Publishing and was then published in one of their anthologies, Under the Stairs, in February of 2011.

Getting short stories published is a great way to get your writing and your name out them. Because of this, I’ve decided it’s time to polish up some flash fiction and short stories, even write some new ones, to send off to some magazines. Now, here’s where my question comes in.

Which magazines would you recommend?

I’ve been looking at some lists of magazines and have selected a few that could work out, but what I’m wondering is, if you’re a writer; which magazines have you submitted to? Which magazines would you submit to? Sadly, magazines are one of the things I don’t know too much about.

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Enjoy the rest of your week, everyone.


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Werewolf’s Lair: Progress + Snippet!

Work on Werewolf’s Lair finally resumed this week. Two day and just over 6,000 words written, which put me at the one-third mark of the book. At nearly 30k, I’m making good progress and intend to finish the first draft by my August 31st deadline.

A lot of major scenes happened in the past few chapters, including new characters being introduced, emotions unraveling, and sheer bloody carnage. It wasn’t all pretty. Heck, most of it wasn’t. Paige’s luck in life is plummeting and spiraling out of control.

At this point, it’s hard to say how things will turn out for her.

Not that I don’t know, though.

Overall, I’m happy with how it’s progressing and can’t wait to dive deeper into the story – not to mention the two sequels that will follow. I’m having a lot of fun writing this and can’t wait to get back into it, after taking the day off today.

Relationships are definitely getting more interesting now and little curves are being thrown into the mix to shake things up. Before I end this post, here’s a little snippet for all of you to enjoy:

A hunt. It was a hunt.

And Matt was the hunted.

The scent was strong and grew stronger by the second. A mile away. They’d reach him before he even had a chance to flee. No matter his speed, he couldn’t outrun them. He didn’t stand a chance.

How had she been so oblivious? They paid attention to more than just their territory.

The thoughts whirled in her mind and by the time she made sense of them, the scent strengthened. Within moments, she saw Matt in the distance. He stood in a clearing – the same spot he told her he would wait for her at. He saw them; she knew he did. His gaze fixated on the incoming group of wolves.

He had less than thirty seconds.

Ideas. Options. What would she do? Paige snarled, an act natural enough that it came across as disgust at the sight of the vampire. Destroy her relationship with the pack by saving him? Let them kill him and betray the trust Matt and her had? If she helped Matt, they would both die. The odds were not in their favor. They’d brand Paige a traitor and kill her alongside the vampire she sacrificed her life to help.

They entered the clearing and Paul lowered himself mid-run to lunge at the vampire. Three seconds. He’d clamp his jaw around Matt’s neck in three seconds. His pack would grant him the highest honor for killing a hideous vampire – one of their enemies.

Paige thought back to her night with Matt and something tugged at her chest. She turned left and lunged just as Paul did the same. Her body slammed into his halfway through his lip, throwing him off course. He crashed to the ground and Paige followed him down. She landed on top of him and snarled, before she quickly found her way to her feet and backed away until she stood near Matt.

Her heart pounded in her chest, hard and fast. She didn’t think. Instinct threw her at Paul before she could make her decision. The pack stood opposite of her now, their bodies rigid and their stares intense.

Paul found his footing again and returned to stand in front of the others. He snarled, loud and ferocious. “How dare you,” she understood. “Traitor!”

That’s all for now. While you’re here, don’t forget to enter my giveaway of Dominant Race by Elisa Nuckle. The deadline is Sunday!


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Originality: Why it’s a double-edged sword

We’ve all heard people say it. A lot of people dread hearing it and feel that merely hearing the words destroys any hope we have at making our art, or our stories, succeed.

Be Original

Yeah, you’ve heard it; don’t deny it. We all have at some point or another. There’s a problem with this phrase, though. Because honestly, who can truly define what original is? How can we go around and say “That’s original.” or “That’s not original at all.”?

Face it. True originality died a long time ago. Is that to say that everything people write now is bad? Not at all. After all, while the main concepts stay the same, it’s the portrayal and tiny tweaks that matter.

How many published books do you know, from different authors, that focus on vampires? I can name a few and know of a couple dozen. Does that mean they’re all the same and all unoriginal? Of course not. After all, it’s how the authors portray the characters that really brings them to life – vampire or not. That aside, the plots are different and it’s these tweaks that create a refreshing air of originality.

This does not mean that some stories won’t seem like others. Sure, some will. However, there is still originality left in writing and it will never fade, so long as writers think outside the box and bend the rules.

Take a risk and take the plunge. Believe it or not, even if you’re writing a book about something that you swear is unoriginal – it might not be. Keep up the writing and you might find that there’s an entirely different air of originality about.

Originality is a double-edged sword. The edge you hit just depends on how you choose to do things.

Posts may be sporadic (you may have noticed that I missed Sunday’s post) due to the fact that I’m on holiday. Fear not! I’ll be back.