Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

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


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Friday Snippets: “Werewolf’s Lair – Chapter Three”

After a near-two-week absence, I am back with some new material for all of you! Currently, I’m going through Werewolf’s Lair to make necessary changes to the plot and the conflict before I enter the final stretch of the book. Some of these changes include adding some scenes in my second main character’s point of view.

Without further ado, enjoy this scene, written in Matt’s point of view, in chapter three. Do keep in mind that this comes from the first draft and will likely be edited in the future.

Matt tossed a lifeless body to the ground in an alleyway. No doubt, someone would find the woman that day. No one could save her. An early bird. She rushed from her house before most, before the sun illuminated the sky with its brilliant perfection. Her schedule made her one of the available few targets.

While the sun fought to ascend above the horizon, he traveled out of the city and towards the forest. He stayed near the outskirts of the greenery and far enough from the exit to avoid the sun. The trees acted as his shield, protecting him from the light that would harm him without their presence.

His search of the forest led him nowhere. Paige claimed he lacked the skill to hunt down werewolves. Perhaps he did. His hair shifted as he shook his head. Hunters found ways to locate werewolves. He was smarter than them and could do the same – could do it better, regardless of what she thought.

A frown twisted his lips as he leaned his back against a tree, arms crossed. “She’s traveling alone, but her pack is nearby?” He shook his head. “No. It’s one or the other; it can’t be both.”

He glanced in the direction of the city. Three vampires claimed it as their territory and countless others claimed it as their temporary territory, or hunted there while passing through. The three master vampires showed no mercy to those who hunted in their territory without their permission.

It was a miracle they learned to cooperate among each other. Even the strongest vampires agreed. Vampires spent their time alone. Cooperation between two happened rarely. Cooperation between three became the stuff of legends.

Alone, the three were average in strength. Together they became a powerful force that threatened most who crossed their path. Strategy came into play.

Mattheus never got permission.

His frown deepened and he watched the sun ascend higher. The sooner he and Paige journeyed into the forest, the smaller the risk that he would have a run-in with the other vampires.

He couldn’t guarantee their safety if they attacked him.

I hope you enjoyed this little snippet and the look into vampire dynamics! There will be much more of that throughout the series.

Have a good Friday, and have a great weekend!


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Do you stray from the norm?

No matter what you do, whether artistic, something essential to life, or something entirely random that you decided to try, there is a norm that many people have built. Something everyone, newcomers included, are meant to follow. They set the norm in place to keep the style and concept similar and to truly turn the art into its own brilliance.

Now, I am going to crush one of the common norms of writing.

What, you might ask?

Editing

Most writers, when giving advice to others, have one tip in common and it repeats itself throughout the industry. Write the first draft and then go back and edit. This is a norm I’m going to break for Werewolf’s Lair. Why? Let me put it this way:

If I wrote this draft in a notebook and not on my laptop, I’d have thrown it against a wall a few days ago.

Every author has a point during the writing process of each book during which they doubt themselves and the book. That doubt turned into a harsh reality for me. The reality that, honestly, I should have plotted more.

On a different note, I pre-ordered this last week!
That’ll be a nice change after the horrors of all this editing.

Many complicated thoughts later, I’ve decided to go back and edit the core elements that are just wrong in its current form so that I can continue writing with a clear conscience. At this point, I’m inclined to believe that plot-wise, I’m at least 10,000 words farther than I am in the actual written words.

That needs to change. Once I fix things earlier in the book so events line up more, I’ll proceed with writing the book and will finish it by the end of this year. September is meant for these revisions. Writing comes back as of October.

Now let me go bash my head against a wall again.

Have you ever strayed from the norm in something you do? Share in the comments!


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Friday Snippets: Werewolf’s Lair – Chapter Fifteen

Hi everyone! Welcome to this week’s Friday Snippets. I decided to share another snippet from my work in progress, Werewolf’s Lair, but from a different angle. So far, it’s all been about Paige, Paige, and more Paige. This time, enjoy a short snippet written in another character, Matt’s, point of view.

Let me know what you think!

Matt walked quietly during the night, through a small city in Illinois. Another day or two and he would reach his destination. “Anderson, Madison,” Luke had told him. Matt’s eyes narrowed as he walked. Dangerous territory for vampires. Dangerous territory for werewolves. A large group of hunters lived in Indiana and from there they kept in touch with the main base, further west.

Anyone who figured out its location refused to go. Refused, or died trying to infiltrate it. Matt wasn’t foolish. He had seen too many young, cocky vampires claim they could wipe out the hunters – only to never return. Too many died at the hands of the hunters and yet often, vampires brought it on themselves.

His muscles tensed beneath his skin even as he progressed with confident, soft strides. The sooner he made it into Indiana, the faster he would escape the territory he walked in. The territory that belonged to another vampire; one that Matt had no desire to meet up with. On the horizon, the first hints of dawn climbed towards the sky.

Scoffing, Matt upped his brisk pace and narrowed his eyes. He didn’t need to make it out of Indiana, he just needed to make it out of the other vampire’s territory before he caught up with him.

As the sun crept slowly higher, Matt broke away from the road and headed through tall grass. A barn loomed in the distance and he slipped through the crack in the door, shutting it behind him. Hay covered the ground and a second floor overlooked the lower level. With purpose, Matt found a spot hidden behind hay and farm tools and sat down.

He released a sigh and leaned the back of his head against the wooden wall. One more night; he needed one more night to hightail it out of Illinois. So long as the sun shone overhead, neither he nor the other vampire could make a move. Come sunset, they would fight to see who achieved their goal faster.

Matt didn’t intend to hang around.

I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into Matt’s head. Have a great weekend, everyone!


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Friday Snippets: Werewolf’s Lair – Snippet of Chapter 13

With Friday here again and the weekend just around the corner, it’s time for me to share another snippet of my writing. This particular snippet comes from Chapter Thirteen of Werewolf’s Lair, which was written today!

Keep in mind that it hasn’t undergone edits, so it’s still a rough draft. Despite that, I hope you enjoy reading it!

“That’s circumstantial, at best. We gave you our reason for missing the hunt.”

Maddy’s play. The thought floated to the front of her mind and throbbed hard, in time with the thumps of her heart. Something didn’t fit. Something in that theory, that reasoning, fooled her into believing it. She shouldn’t believe it. No one should.

Paige’s eyes widened and she glanced from Matt to Luke, before focusing on Paul once more. “A play,” she began. “Tell me, Paul… Since when is a child’s play more important than a monthly hunt? Since when is a child’s play at school more important than a hunt with a rival, but friendly pack, meant to enhance the relationship between the two packs?”

The words sank in and she let them. His expression morphed, twisting between horror and disbelief. His mouth opened, then closed, as if he reconsidered his words. A frown plastered onto his face and he said nothing, attention directed at her.

“Tell me, Paul… If it was your choice, would you go to a school play, or maintain and even enhance a relationship with a fellow pack?”

He groaned in irritation and kicked a rock unfortunate enough to be close to him. “The pack. I would choose the pack.”

“Then why didn’t your parents?”

Around them, the downpour faded to a drizzle as if nature sensed the hostility lessen between them. Nature gave her blessing, accepted that peace would reign again. For how long?

She watched the struggle in his eyes, the fight to make sense of the situation and find a way to prove his parents’ innocence. His lips thinned to a line and he shook his head to banish his thoughts. Finally, his shoulders slumped. The small difference spoke wonders and he heaved a sigh, looking straight at her.

“I don’t know.”

Have a great weekend, everyone!


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Friday Snippets: Werewolf’s Lair

I am in a wonderful mood today. Why? Blame it on exercise just making me feel really good about myself. Because of this, I’ve decided to share a little snippet of my current work in progress, Werewolf’s Lair.

Enjoy this little scene and let me know what you think in the comments! I’d love to hear from you. Happy weekend, all!

“I –“ Paige clamped her mouth shut, words failing her.

“If you would have told me why you needed privacy, I would have left you alone longer.”

“It’s not exactly something I go around telling everyone.” Her anger diminished in a slow whirl. “I, well, back home, everyone notices when this happens.”

“You didn’t give me much of a chance to notice.”

Paige flushed and turned away from him, arms crossing over her chest. “…I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be.” His presence neared and she fought the urge to back away further. “It’s more my fault than it is yours.”

“Nature,” she corrected, smiling bitterly. “Our power to change forms comes with pros and cons. In this case… it’s generally a con.”

His hand touched her shoulder and she flinched away. Her feet led her back several steps before she turned to glance up at him. That was how it started before. She wouldn’t let it happen again. Even with the urge gone, she wouldn’t risk it.

Matt stopped and looked at her. “I am sorry.”

“Are you?”

His face betrayed nothing, but she saw it in his eyes. Only a part of him apologized for what happened. The other part loved that it did, like any man would. Vampire or not, even he endured urges that normal men did.

As much as she wanted to, Paige could not blame him for that. Putting him at fault for going along with her was the same as him blaming her for her powerful desire. It was nature. Not the fault of those she used.

Still, if her parents had ever found out, they’d flip. Jaden was another story entirely. He’d find a way to make Matt human again, beat him within an inch of his life, make him undead and healthy again, and then kill him. He’d have Matt crying for his mother and there was nothing Paige could have done to stop him.

Matt was lucky.


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Plotting: New Story

For the past few days, I finally caved after my muse sparked an idea within me and started plotting this new story. The history of its world, the basic plotline, the characters, the cities and villages, and anything else that was relevant.

Except for character names and a title. I don’t have those yet, nor do I know how many books it’ll consist of. Mildly vital information, right?

Of course, that’s why I’m just in the planning stage and not writing the actual story yet. It’ll come – eventually. I have a lot on my plate right now, anyways.

I’ll be finishing up Werewolf’s Lair by August 31st, then getting the editing out of the way while starting to write the second book, Vampire’s Lair, planning for this new story, not to mention working on another project that will be revealed once I get into the final stages of it – most likely towards the end of 2012 or the start of 2013.

This new story will also have what I’m sure is my largest cast of protagonists. Sure, there is one main character, but there are five others who are just as important, and are not just support characters.

That’ll be a challenge, but I’ll see how it goes! For now, it’s all about the plotting.

In the meantime, let me know how your summer’s been so far! How are you spending it?


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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!