Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

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


Thoughts on Publication: Go for it!

Some of you have followed me on WordPress for months, while others are recent followers new to my content. During these months blogging, I’ve met a lot of wonderful people who have inspired me and pushed me to follow this path I’m on, to focus on my goals.

Despite being hesitant at times, I’ve come to realize that the only way to put fear behind me is to go for it. That is what I’m doing now and I couldn’t have done it without the support all of you have given me.

So, I present to you my first ever book.

A Collection of Paranormal Tales

This book is a collection of flash fiction and short stories, written throughout the past two years and polished up to standards for this book. The book will be available on Amazon as a Kindle eBook, as of December 7th, for the price of $1.49.

In this collection you’ll find my best short works, edited and brought to new heights specifically for the occasion! Available for the first time in this new quality, these stories each contain a hint of paranormal in their depths. In this book, tread into the waters of dark fantasy that verge on thriller. A mixture of first and third person view, some of these stories will make you think with their vague, philosophical ways, while others have a meaning clearer than those.

While one of my stories appeared in this anthology by Divertir Publishing, this is the start of my journey into self-publishing. I chose these stories, because not only are they the best of my short works that fit the theme, but also because they show my writing.

This book will be available only in eBook format, but I will publish my novel-length works as paperbacks and eBooks, for the wider audience. I know many readers enjoy reading paper books, despite the rapid increase of the eBook’s popularity.

This one’s for everyone who has supported me: Thank you.

Mark your calendars, folks; there’s only two and a half weeks until the release!


Word Count: How high can you go?

Word count. Something that is important to any story. Some people go for daily word counts, others for weekly word counts. In the end, no matter the pace, getting the words down is the key to writing any story.

Some people only write a couple hundred words per day and others can knock out a whopping 10k. As long as writing gets done and the words make it to paper, then who can judge by the amount?

This brings me to National Novel Writing Month. A challenge to push writers to their limits and try to write 1,667 words per day, for a whopping 50,000 in a month.

I’m participating, though not going for the 50k. My goal is to finish my novel, Tales of The Forbidden, for which I expect to need a rough 30,000 words total. 1,000 words every day.

I’ve put two days behind me and am at 2,222 words – right on track. Here’s hoping this writing pace keeps up and that, at the end of the month, I’ll have a completed first draft!

That would be one book (of that series) down, three more to go! We’ll see how it turns out. Happy NaNoWriMo, everyone!

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? What are your goals and how are they panning out so far?


How to Achieve Your Goals


A friend's support for my first journey into National Novel Writing Month, last year.

Everyone has something they want to meet. It’s only natural and it’s our internal survival instinct. Survival of the fittest, people often say. Well, only those who take action can live among the fittest. Laying back and watching time fly by like the wind will only serve to waste precious moments that could have extensive productivity in them.

How you deal with this is your choice. A common question is how to maximize productivity, and not have it disappear. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Choose your goal!
    A deadline looms ahead – an essay, project, or test. Perhaps you intend to write a novel, short story or poem. Maybe it’s not even related to writing; lose weight or start working out. All valid goals, but small details are a necessity to making it that far. These goals are too open. Narrow them down.
  2. Narrow it down!
    So, you think you can make it work? Not if it’s that broad, you can’t. Set a deadline, a daily, weekly or monthly goal; figure out exactly what you want to do. You want to write a short story? How long, by when, and about what? Tomorrow, next week, next month? 1k, 2k, or 4k? Lions, tigers and bears, or something else?
    The more detailed you plan, the more likely you are to succeed.
  3. Solve the dilemma!
    So, you know the what, by when and how much. Great! Now, let’s figure out when you’re going to get around to working on it. After class or work, after dinner, before you leave the house in the morning? Pick a time and minimize distractions. For writing, turn off the internet during your writing period, so you can focus. Turn off your phone, bolt the doors and enjoy being alone.
    Figure out the best way for you to work productively. Without that, it’ll be a long ride.
  4. Find some support!
    What’s life without those people who stand by you? Without a friend or family member who will listen to your troubles and help you through them, how can you succeed? Find a person or two, however many you need, whom you trust and are close to.
    Inform them of your plans. Let them help you. You’ll be surprised how useful it is.
  5. Get to work!
    Now that you’ve figured out what to do, what stands in your way? The greatest enemy who stands between you and that task you wish to accomplish, no matter how small it is, is you. If you can’t make the time and discovery what works best for you and you alone, then how can you manage your time?

You can do it. All you have to do is try.


Life in France: Day 13

Day 13, October 6th

I wrote today!

Because I’m so happy about that, it has to be the first topic in this blog. I wrote a whopping 1,262 words, namely a start to that new series of mine, of which I will not yet review too much. All in good time. All in good time, my friends.

Either way, it felt great to get non-blog related words on paper and brightened my day majorly – there’s no other way to express it. It felt great and I love what I wrote in this story so far! Here’s hoping it keeps up this way; that will make for a lot of fun writing.

Work was mostly registering books in the computer system, though I was alone for a few hours. It was pretty interesting, considering students kept wanting stuff. At one point someone said something really fast and I was pretty much like, “…Slowly please.”

Still, it was an interesting experience!

After work, I came straight back to the apartment and Melanie headed off again shortly after she got home. So, it’s just me and the cat again. I might see about getting some more words down – I’m on a roll!

If you’re interested in seeing a snippet of the unfinished short story that inspired this series, check out my earlier post. Like I said then; more information on it coming soon. I won’t leave you hanging!

To round off this post – What are your plans for the upcoming weekend? Let me know!


Life in France: Day 9

Day 9, October 2nd

Cover of the first tankōbon for Bleach, releas...

Image via Wikipedia

Today was a wonderful, relaxing day. I got out of bed around 10, this morning and spent the day in the apartment. I didn’t leave once and purposely just let the day progress in peace.

I wrote a bit during the afternoon, though not much; I might try for a bit more later. Aside from that, I just browsed the internet and, to my surprise, as I was flipping through French television channels, I came across one just as an episode of Bleach started. That kept me entertained for nearly two hours.

I found it at the start of a five-episode marathon. Episodes 6 through 10. Luckily, I’d seen those before; it made understanding them in French a bit easier than if I hadn’t seen them.

Needless to say, I went online and checked out the channels website. During the week at that time, they always have five episodes of One Piece, which I’ve never watched. I’m assuming they have Bleach on Saturdays and Sundays. It would fit, as it’s always five episodes and today’s marathon started at 6. Yesterday would’ve been the first five.

At least I know something I can do for a bit of relaxation during the evenings of the weekend.

Aside from all that, I didn’t do much today. I enjoyed the peace and that’s what mattered; it was just a calm, well-spent day. It was fun re-watching these five episodes of Bleach. It’s been ages since I could do that – even if they were in French, rather than Japanese.

Other than that, I don’t have much to blog about; like I said, it was a relaxing day. A desperately needed one, at that.

See you all tomorrow; I’m bound to have more interesting stuff to report in that blog!


The Journey: Dealing With Rejection


Image via Wikipedia

Rejections are a part of any writer’s career – I’ll be one of the first to agree with that. Any writer, editor, agent or publisher will tell you of it. It’s publishing 101 – you will receive rejections at some point of your career.

I guess I’m one of the lucky ones, depending on how you look at it. The first short story I submitted ended up in an anthology; no rejections involved. Lucky? Yes. Unlucky? Probably.

Anyone who knows me well enough, knows that I easily take a step back from my writing and disconnect. I accept constructive criticism well and work to improve the stories I write. This brings me to the point of this post.

This morning, I received my first rejection e-mail. A greeting and thanks for submitting, a polite, “While we enjoyed reading it, we are going to pass on it for publication.” and well-wishes for submitting it to other places.

Okay. It’s not hitting print. I can deal with that.

That was my attitude throughout the morning. Then little things started piling up and it made me miserable. The rejection, stuff at college and little things along the way.

Maybe I shouldn’t have checked my e-mail before getting out of bed.

Perhaps it was an omen of the day?

While the rejection itself doesn’t bother me – no, I am not just saying that – it, combined with this other things, just piled up into a heap of blah. Now, I don’t know how to get out of it.

I don’t want to spend my day like this – it’s already 5:30 pm.

Do I need to talk about the other things that happened to some friends? Probably, but it’s more. I need something to cheer me up. I browsed around for other publishers or magazines looking for submissions, to potentially resubmit this story to. No luck so far. I’ll try again. What do I have to lose?

Tomorrow, I’m getting back into writing my novel. The more I can get done, the better. I’ll just bounce back from this day of blah – really, the rejection was the happiest poor thing that happened – and spend time doing what I do best.


Has one of your stories/poems ever been rejected? If so, how did it make you feel and what did you do?


A Favorite Character: Do you have one?

Of course you do.

It’s impossible to not have a character you feel more attached to than others; one who draws you in and makes you feel like you’ve entered a different world. A character you’d like to have as your friend, or just to see for real once. One time. Just to suppress the roars of distress within you – crying out at the fact that, really, you can’t and won’t ever see that character in the flesh.

Perhaps it’s a character from a movie. Consider yourself lucky; you got the chance to see the character that caught your interest.

Thank you again, ~EnshroudedVixen on deviantArt.

Maybe it’s a character from a book. In this case, you’re not as lucky. You have descriptions and with that, a visual forms in your mind. That’s what the person looks like. If it’s a character you created for a story, it’s more detailed; you know more intimate information about them.

For me, my favorite character in my novel is Damien.

I am shamelessly reusing this drawing.

I could not resist.

While he is the main character, the series focuses on events that happen around him. He is one of my most in-depth characters, and I have spent three years working on the series he’s in – with him haunting my mind for at least two years before I started.

I can only hope readers will find him as intriguing as I do.

But that, my friends, is a story for another day.

Who is/are your favorite character(s) in movies, televisions or novels – both other’s and your own? What makes them so special?