Pseudonyms: Tasha D-Drake, Tasha Duncan
Natasha is a British author with Wittegen Press and has been publishing genre fiction since 2011. Her work includes everything from horror to young adult fantasy and she has never met a genre she didn’t like. A prolific producer of short stories and novels alike, Natasha currently has over twenty five titles in her back catalogue with further releases always imminent.
Natasha has been writing since she was a young girl ever since she read The Hobbit at Primary School. She is a big fan of science fiction, fantasy and horror in all their forms and is a big advocate of fanfiction as a great tool for writers to polish their skills in a welcoming and supportive community.
Before establishing Wittegen Press with her twin sister, Sophie Duncan, Natasha was a database and systems consultant. She combines these skills with her writing to create and manage her career in the bold new eBook market.
Scroll down to see the most recent posts from Tasha’s Personal Blog and she is also a contributor to the Wittegen Press Blog. Both have free fiction, information about books, reviews of books and films and lots more.
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Tasha’s Latest Personal Blog Posts
This blog has Monster Mondays (all the best monsters), Tips Tuesdays (recipes, how tos and more), Writerly Wednesdays (all things about books), Thinky Thursdays (thinkings), Fan Fridays (geek day), Reviews of books, TV and film and so much more.
5 Reasons Taking Part in Challenges on Wattpad is a Great IdeaSo with everything that's been going on at home lately I really have gotten much writing done. It also hasn't just been a matter of time, but of motivation. My spark dried up because my brain was too busy focusing on other things. It's back, but I decided to feed the flames and make it burn brighter. One of the way I decided to do this is by joining in Wattpad challenges.
Wattpad has lots of communities (even though it actually has no structure to cope, communities have found a way :)). These communities often run challenges where writers submit their writing and there are usually prizes for the best. At the moment @WattVampires is running their Summer Challenge - Vampires Everywhere. Each week they choose a genre and writers are asked to submit a flash fic of between 50 and 200 words with vampires in that genre.
The first week was sci-fi
my submission Sunlight is here
and this week it is the classics
my submission Traitor's Fate is here.
Taking part in these challenges is great idea for many reasons and here are five:
1. They're FunIt's fun to just grab an idea and run with it without having to worry if it will fit with anything else, or lead on to more. The challenge is the challenge and does not have to have any consequences except making sure we read the rules and tag it correctly.
2. They Get the Creative Juices FlowingSometimes it's good to write something we hadn't considered before. Taking a challenge from somewhere else is good for our creativity. No matter how good a writer we are, it is all too easy to get stuck in a rut, especially if we are concentrating on a big project of some kind. Taking a momentary step back and writing something completely different can spark new ideas and new thinking, which can only be good for us.
Taking part in the @WattVampires challenge has me raring to go on my other projects as well.
4. Good Way to Find New Fic to ReadThere are always excellent fics submitted to the challenges. I haven't tried one yet that does not have some gems well worth reading. Communities offer an easy way to find the kind of fiction we really want to read. It's a win, win situation and I am sure many people see them the same way.
The creativity in the challenges is usually amazing. From the same challenge completely different stories appear. For this week's classics challenge at WattVampires there are already fairy tales, a historical insert and Shakespeare, and the prompt only went up yesterday.
5. Excellent Way of Making New FriendsAs I have already mentioned the communities are full of people who like the same thing we do, or we wouldn't all be hanging about in the same place. Wattpad can sometimes feel like shouting into a void because it's so big and so diverse. Catching the eyes of readers can be hard.
Taking part in challenges waves at all those like minded people and goes 'look, I write about vampires or werewolves or romance or whatever the niche of the community is'. We write our fic, they write theirs and it is a great way to get talking to people by swapping comments.
For example WattVampires has 6.5K followers but only a handful of those enter the current challenge. It's an easy way to see who is active at the moment and who might like to chat about similar things.
If we're open and friendly and drop comments we are much more likely to make friends.
Those Mad Ideas
You know sometimes we writers have mad ideas - oh boy did my darling sister (Sophie's Blog) have one :). She decided, in her wisdom, that it was time to create a database of all her fiction, from ideas through to finished novels, including fanfiction. So she jumped into Airtable with both feet.
Of course the next thing she did is drag me along for the ride ;).
It's actually a really good idea, because I had no clue how many drabbles I had scattered around this blog alone, let alone elsewhere. It's going to take work, but it will be so useful in the end.
So far I have learned one valuable thing - I use the name Jack for characters far too often. I don't think I have any major novel characters called Jack, but I have so many in drabbles and flash fiction. Clearly I like to abuse Jacks ;).
Do you have any names for characters that always pop into your head?
There's also part of me that loves cataloguing. I suppose it's my inner librarian - not that I have the skills and training that my friends who are actually librarians have :). My skills lie in databases since that was my speciality before this whole writing thing.
Do you have skills from your "proper job" that help with writing, be it for profit or for fun?
I like Airtable - it makes some things much easier than your average, from the ground up, databse. However, it does freak me out a little that it kind of pretends to be a relational database, but hides things like many to many relationships and indexes :). The fact that it pretends its primary key field is a name also rubs me the wrong way, but since it does not in fact have to be unique I know it has proper one hiding in the shadows.
Now all I have to do is convince my brain not to vanish into this database for days at a time. I shall have to be firm with myself and only do a little bit every day until it is done :).
What things do you have to ration so you actually do some writing/work?
My father has had his final round of chemo now, which means his treatment is finished and its all about recovery now. His consultant is incredibly pleased with his progress, which is a great weight off all our minds. I'm hoping to get back into the flow of proper writing and marketing and, y'know, all this author stuff again now. 😀
To all whose families/friends are going through similar things, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I wish you love and hope and patience, as well as a healthy dose of good luck.
Best wishes to all. To the writers: may your words flow and the feedback be joyous. To the readers: may you find stories that fill your heart with wonder and enjoyment.
Banana Cupcakes with Vanilla Icing
This is another fabulous recipe that is one of my favourites, even though I now realise I haven't made it in ages 🙂 *Makes note to buy some bananas* I have mentioned it before on this blog, but never posted the whole thing. This would undoubtedly be really nice if you added a tablespoon of rum to the bananas and took out a tablespoon of the butter milk too ;).
- Large mixing bowl
- medium missing bowl
- Fork or mouli for blitzing
- Two to three bun trays
- Measuring equipment (baking is a science rather than an art so you'll need to measure)
- Bun cases
- Electric hand mixer
- 2 teaspoons
- spatula (not vital, but makes life much easier)
- wire rack
- Piping bag
- 255g (2 1/4 cups) of plain flour (sifted)
- 110g (1/2 cup) of unsalted butter
- 2 ripe bananas (the riper they are the better the cupcakes taste)
- 55ml (1/4 cup) of buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 115g (1 cup) of sugar (caster)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 1/2 tsps baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 440g icing sugar (confectioner's sugar)
- 300g unsalted butter (softened)
- 2 tsps of vanilla extract
- Sprinkles to decorate
- Preheat the over to 190C/375F/Gas mark 5
- Place bun cases in the bun tins
- Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda, along with the salt into a middle sized bowl and combine thoroughly
- Place the butter and vanilla into the big mixing bowl and use the electric mixer to whip together until creamy and light in colour (you can do it by hand, but it will take longer)
- Add the sugar bit by bit, beating so that the mixture becomes light and fluffy
- Add in the eggs one at a time, beating each in before adding the next
- Mash the banana (either with a fork or an electric hand blender)
- Add a little of the butter milk and beat in, then add in some of the dry mixture and beat in, then add some of the banana and beat in.
- Repeat step 8 until all the ingredients are combined.
- Using the two teaspoons, spoon the mixture into the bun cases (to just over half full – about two teaspoons full)
- Bake in the oven for between 18 and 20 mins until golden on top - they will rise into quite sharp mounds
- Take out of the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack
- For the topping put all the ingredients into a large bowl (I did it in two lots to make it easier) and combine using the electric whisk until they go light and fluffy
- Put the icing into a piping bag and pipe over the cooled cup cakes (you can spoon it on if you don't have a piping bag) - this is where the spatula comes into it's own to get the last of the icing from the bowl.
- Sprinkle randomly with petty edible things 🙂