Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

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

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Book Review: “The Transient (The Castle Trilogy, #1)” by M.W. Russell

Welcome to my review of The Transient by M.W. Russell!

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Stick around while I give you my opinion about it; you might even realize it’s something you’d like!

the transient bk 1 cover 1She never believed. Not in ghosts, not in friendship, and especially not in love.

When Melodie Gibson moves halfway around the world to upstate New York, her entire world turns upside down. Living in a quirky castle turned bed and breakfast, she finds herself confronted with someone watching her every move. That someone is Joseph, who captivates Melodie’s heart, fulfilling her dreams and drawing her into his world—a world that is beautiful, magical… and treacherous. It will take all the courage Melodie has to face those who will stop at nothing to rip them apart.

From the pages of a Victorian Gothic novel transplanted into modern times, The Transient is the first in The Castle Trilogy, a powerful fantasy romance series for teens.

Rating: 4/5 stars

This book is aimed at teenagers and that’s obvious when reading it. It touches on common issues teenagers have (such as moving and needing to make new friends, romance, etc) and guides readers through the novel.

The paranormal in this book drew me in. The concept is interesting and something I’m eager to read more of. It feels as if in this book, only the surface of the paranormal has been touched upon, and that there is much more to come in the future. I’m excited for that time and can’t wait to learn more about the unique mechanics and the paranormal that this trilogy has to offer.

This book got better as it progressed. The start, in my opinion, wasn’t as good as later parts of the novel. It felt boring, almost, and I had to push my way through it. Once I reached about the 10% mark, things started to pick up a bit and it just got better along the way. If you can get through the first few chapters, this novel definitely picks up the pace and becomes a lot more interesting.

Some bits felt a tad rushed, but other than that, I enjoyed reading this. The characters were diverse and I had a lot of fun envisioning the scenes with them. Some characters intrigued me more from the beginning and the author did well in making me dislike and like specific characters.

Overall, I’d say this is definitely worth the read. Some minor issues made me give it 4 rather than 5 stars, but I’m still looking forward to the second book – especially after revelations that happened at the end of this one!

Pick it up on Amazon in paperback ($11.99) or Kindle ($1.99): The Transient


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!


Can you feel the love tonight?

Or, yesterday eve, as they say in my novel.

Day four of my self-planned challenge for National Novel Writing Month, namely finishing the first draft of Tales of The Forbidden. As you’ll see on the right of this page, the nifty little progress bar is filling up and the percentage is rising.

I’m even ahead of schedule! On Day 4of 1,000 words per day, I’m meant to have 4,000 words. Instead, I have 5,333 words. Not too shabby. This gives me something to fall back on if I miss a day, or don’t quite hit 1k one day. Still, why stop now? Tomorrow, it’s back to work for another 1,000 words!

My own work. Created using "Inkscape"...

Image via Wikipedia

I wrote a whopping 2,318 words today, successfully completing Chapter Twenty. Here are my daily NaNoWriMo word counts for the interested among us:

Day 1: 325

Day 2: 1,380

Day 3: 1,310

Day 4: 2,318

I blew that bad start away, didn’t I? Let’s continue this and see how quick I can complete the draft! Once it’s finished, I’ll let it sit for a little while – two weeks or so – and then buckle down for some heavy editing. Well, a general read through and small edits first, and then a second time with heavier, more intense edits. This story will feel my wrath as I tear it apart and turn it into something shiny and new.

To end this off, here’s a little snippet of today’s words for any interested readers. Romance is in the air and finally in my novel, too. Introducing sub-plot!

“Father,” Lysire began, pausing until the king’s attention was on him. “You have often told me that I must focus on finding someone to care for.”

Understanding sparked in the older man’s eyes, quickly suppressed by a serious gaze. “This is not the time to focus on that, Lysire.”

“What if it is already too late to turn back?”

Saria’s eyes widened slightly as realization smacked her in the face. The princess of Cavor and the prince of Eteria. Together. Change loomed ahead for their kingdoms – especially should they regain Cavor from Haral’s incapable hands. If she and Lysire maintained their relationship, what would become of the two kingdoms?

King Theodor kept silent and Lysire said nothing as his father glanced from Lysire to Saria. “Does this have to do with what Jezil informed me of yesterday eve?”

Saria nearly choked on her drink. Oh no. He didn’t –

And cut! Let me know what you think. Editing is still required, but general opinions are most welcome and gifted with little ribbons and sweatshirts for the cold season. Until Sunday, all!


Life in France: Day 12 (with a story snippet!)

Day 12, October 5th

This is an ad I saw on the street. This is this city saying, "Ha! You should have planned on two extra weeks."

Today was more a planning day, than a working day. Throughout the morning, I worked on figuring out the answers to the questions my teacher wants Kujtesa and I to answer before going back to Germany.I got most answers filled out and I feel pretty confident about them – I think.

I’ll see how it turns out.

The afternoon, however, passed entirely differently.

They didn’t have anything for me to do today, so instead of just sitting around, I decided to do some novel-planning. I’ve had an idea for about two weeks now and wanted to get character bios out-of-the-way and figure out the title. Over the course of three hours, my inspiration went into overdrive.

I now have six titles, in order, and a synopsis for each of those six books – a series.

My muse went into power-mode and I’m glad she did. I’m loving the sound of this series. If all goes as I’m planning, I’ll work on it as a side project, with the Forbidden series as my main one.

To cut off this blog, because I have nothing else of interest to write about; here’s a snippet of the short story that morphed into a six-part series! Be warned – it’s unedited.

“What are you?” The vampire stood and walked around the fire, his gaze not leaving me.

“Excuse me?” I raised a brow. “The common question is ‘Who are you?’.”

“Your name is Kimberley McEwan and you’re twenty-one years old, only just legal enough to enter that club I so conveniently found you at. You live with your parents and younger cousin, are half-British, half-American, with the British side coming from your father. How am I doing so far?”

I stared. Time froze as a haze of confusion halted my thoughts.

“Shit,” I ground out. “Did you follow me?” The last thing I needed was a bloody vampire tailing me.

“On the contrary. I found that out from the contents of your purse and connecting the dots.” He grinned and tossed said-purse at me. “You also carry pepper spray. Devastating for pesky humans, though a mere annoyance for vampires, assuming you manage to get a lucky shot with it. No doubt that’s why you carry this nifty little blade.”

He held a nine-inch weapon between his index fingers, tip and hilt pressing into his skin. Moonlight reflected off the blade and he glanced from it to me.

Damn. There went the stab and run route.

I hope you enjoyed this snippet of a scene that will be similar in the first book! Once I get more written, I may spoil you. 50 subscriber special? Who knows; we’ll see!

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Available Read: Tales of The Forbidden – Prologue

The first topic I’d like to talk about is that I missed Sunday’s blog post. Those who follow me on Twitter will have heard about it. If you don’t follow me on Twitter, I suggest you do as it’s the best way to get quick updates from me which I might not mention here.

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That aside, the reason I didn’t blog is because I got sick this weekend. That, coupled with no sleep Saturday night meant that I was about as understanding and able to focus as a wall. Or my cat. The little fur ball gets distracted easily. Too easily, really.

Syrah, a character in this series who has yet to be introduced, drawn by ~catgirlnekochan on deviantArt.

I ended up missing two days of college, but I’m feeling better now. I’m still not 100%, but it’s a work in progress and I did survive class today. A whopping two lessons. An hour and a half. Yeah. I’m proud of that accomplishment.

Moving on!

The point of this blog is a nice little surprise I made for you dear readers. Remember how I said I’d edit the prologue of my novel today and post it either Friday or Sunday for your reading pleasure? Well, I lied. I managed to do the first editing yesterday and gave it another once-over today. This beauty is now better than I thought it could be and ready for those interested. Without further ado, follow this nifty little link and see if it’s something you enjoy.


Please let me know what you think. I’m always glad to hear opinions, feedback and constructive criticism, so go for it!

One last thing. You’ll probably notice my blog has done a complete one-eighty. That’s because I’m finding out how I want my blog looking in the long run and this theme has a lot more options I like than the previous one.

Also, that header? My picture. I’m so horrible at pictures that it’s not even funny, but I did it anyway! It’s the only way to learn.

That covers everything I wanted to mention in this post.

Let me know what you think of the prologue and the new page layout and design! If there’s any advice you have, please feel free to tell me; it would mean a lot to me.


Fatigue: A Writer’s Eternal Enemy

Fatigue. A writer’s eternal enemy. That pretty much sums up the reason this post is so late. This first week back at college has been rough and wore me out. Now, starting tomorrow, I’ll be working for four days straight, meaning Monday and Tuesday I have class, then work. It will be a rough weekend and begin of the week.

I originally intended to not post because of this. It feels like I’m seeing things through a haze and I can’t get around it. Luckily, I’ll be able to sleep in before my eight-hour work day.

The surprise I meant to post today will have to wait, but I’ll unveil what it. The newly edited prologue of my novel, Tales of The Forbidden.

The problem is that I wanted to edit it earlier this week, but couldn’t get around to it due to college and all. So, I now offer you a new date; either next Friday or Sunday. After my four-day stretch, I’ll have time to edit and present to you the shiny new version, seen for the first time. To hold you over, I’ll give you a look into part of the prologue. The first couple paragraphs.

I felt bad not having this done by the time I wanted, so I figured the least I could at least give you this. Before I pass out.

This is about as much as I can write without losing coherency, so happy reading!


Bitter winds ripped across the gritty plain, casting grains of sand into the air. A man clad in tattered white robes stood in the desert. The sand beneath his bare feet caressed his skin, though colored crimson as blood trailed from many wounds and soaked into it. The upper part of his robes had been shredded and hung past his waist – a large gash tore across his chest and bled profusely.

The lacking garments on his upper body freed his wings; two wings larger than himself, once a stunning white were now tainted by dirt and blood, the remnants of his battle. His left-wing twitched and hung limp, and he cringed in pain, knowing full well that multiple bones were broken. The battle he ignited had stolen one of the few things that defined whom he was.

Despite his wounds, the man, no more than twenty-five summers, kept his composure. His sharp features, though twisted in slight detest, did not show the pain he felt. Pressing a hand against his abdomen to slow the blood flow of one of his wounds, he cast a glance around.

The battleground had fallen into silence, though once raged with the fight between both sides – the rebels and the holy. Now bodies littered the ground, wounded and fallen from both parties. Even though the war was fair at the beginning with no end in sight, the holy had soon received back-up and upon cornering the leader of their opponents, sealed their success.

Let me know what you think! I’m eager to hear your opinions on this first part of the prologue. The entire, edited, prologue will be available for reading soon!


Oddities: What is relaxation?

I’m not talking about any medical terms or what the generalized consensus of relaxation is. I’m asking what you, as an individual, find relaxing. Do you read books, to delve into unknown depths of the tales within, or do you play video games for the thrill? Perhaps you go for walks in nature, or spend time drawing?

For me, what’s most important for relaxing is chatting with friends. Just talking to them about daily occurrences and common interests. Re-occurring discussions include games and books – both things I enjoy using for my relaxation. Just to take a break from work, or college. It’s a great way to escape and journey to different worlds, pondering the history and what could or should have happened.

Which brings me to my next point. Thoughts.

I love thinking. It helps me come to an internal peace – whether I think about random things or specific topics, like the games I play or the stories I read. Or my writing; another common thing I think about.

My most prominent character

Chibi Damien, drawn by ~EnshroudedVixen on deviantArt

I often think about Damien. Why? Because thinking about him means I can ponder my novel Tales of The Forbidden and its sequels. Sure, I consider writing a career and therefore, writing my novel is a job. Despite that, thinking about it in my spare time helps me relax and just enjoy the day.

Odd, how stressful things can make a complete one-eighty and be the exact opposite. I won’t complain; I’m glad it does that, really glad. Without that sudden difference, I’d have less chances to take a step back and calm myself. Whereas gaming and reading is an excellent help at times, thinking about future projects and even current ones can have the same effect – if not more so.

I love it.

Damien is a great source of inspiration and relaxation. Not just him, but any character I’ve ever written about or will write about. Someday. Each and every one of them aid me more than I could ever express in words. And for that, I’m grateful. They act as a scale; causing stress and tension at times, but lessening the load at others. I need that scale in my life. I don’t want to lose it.

It makes me who I am.

What helps you to relax, or what do you do when you want to take a break from the stress life causes?