Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

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


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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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!


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.


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!

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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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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Character Fun: “What is trust?”

Welcome all to a new thing that will be appearing on my blog from time to time! What is Character Fun? In these posts, I will be taking questions that you suggest or questions that I stumble across, and will be making one of my characters answer them. This will not be a weekly thing, but expect more to come in the future.

The question this time is, “What is trust?” Paige, the main character of The Hunted Trilogy will be answering that question with her personal opinion. So without further ado, here’s Paige with her answer.

Trust is family. There is no one you can trust fully except family. What would you do without them? Your family raised you. They know you and you know them. It’s a bond. A simple bond that’s more important than anything else.

People can become family. Friends aren’t family. You can’t trust them, can’t know what they really think. People lie and they kill. They destroy. You can’t trust them. You can only trust family. I can only trust family. There’s always a sliver of trust between friends, but you can’t risk it. They’ll betray you.

I’m not ignorant. Not all family is good. Some will try to destroy what they helped build. Their family. Their pack. And then? We try to move on without them.

Trust is never a guarantee, but it’s strongest in family. My parents had friends once. I had friends once.

Not anymore.

This is how Paige views trust at the start of the first book, Werewolf’s Lair. Will her view change as the story progresses? We’ll see when we get there, won’t we?

Let me know in the comments if you like this idea and if you do, recommend some questions for characters to answer in the future! I love hearing what you think.

Have a great weekend!
Halloween Stream!


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!


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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Coming Soon: Halloween Project

With Halloween just around the corner, the temperature is starting to drop, light comes later and leaves us faster, and of course, the darkness is creeping ever closer. And with darkness, I mean the wonderful thing that is Halloween!


Jack-o-lantern (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why is this important, you might ask? Well, I’ll tell you.

I have a super secret Halloween project planned. Shh. Don’t tell anyone I told you. You’re not supposed to know yet. You also shouldn’t know that this Sunday, October 14th, is when more details will be announced – right here. So, let’s get this straight:

  • You know nothing.
  • If you do, you didn’t hear it from me.

Keep an eye out for this Sunday’s blog post. I guarantee that it’ll be quite a thrill to read.

Enjoy October everyone and keep your doors locked! The darkness will find you if you don’t.

Remember: This Sunday. Super Secret Halloween Project.

You didn’t hear it from me.