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.
So this weekend I was playing around in Excel trying to sort out our DVD library. I have a nice program that does most of it for me, but I wanted to do some other stuff, so Excel it was. Don't worry I'm not going to go into details about DVDs, but I did learn a couple of things that I just hadn't come across before.
I used to use Excel a lot when I was a consultant, but mostly I was doing hideously complex things in VBA, so a lot of the normal front end passed me by :).
2 Useful Excel Tips When Using HH:MM:SS Duration FormatThe DVD program I'm using exports in hh:mm:ss format for the duration of the film. What I wanted was it all in minutes only. Hence some scrabbling around to find out how to make the data useful.
Displaying Hours, Mins and SecondsWe can use formatting to display just the hours, minutes or seconds.
- Highlight the cell or col with the hh:mm:ss in it
- Right Click and choose "format cell"
- Choose "cutsom"
- Type in [h] or [m] or [s] accordingly
Hence if we need to take into account the smaller units we need another method.
Calculating Hours, Mins and Seconds
- Highlight the cell with the formula.
- Right click, choose format cell.
- Choose "number"
- Lower the number of decimal places to 0.
These are also numbers so they can be easily compared against other numbers.
As with all things in Excel, there are many ways of doing things, but these two were nice and straightforward and quick :). I also don't have the latest Excel, so for all I know there are now functions to do this anyway!
Free Fiction Friday
Can you believe we're in October already? Nope, neither can I. This year has been flying by. It's the first friday of the month which mean it's Free Fiction Friday over at Wittegen Press. We've posted a new short story for our loyal readers to enjoy. This month it's really spooky.
These stories are exclusively for subscribers of our newsletter, but anyone can join and it's really easy.
It is completely free to become a member and all you need is a valid email address. Fill in the form at the bottom of this page and you’re done. Don't worry if you join after the 1st Friday, the password for the month will be included in the welcome email after you subscribe.
What we WILL DO for our subscribers:
- Send you an email on the 1st Friday of the month to remind you about the short story and give you the password for the month as soon as the story goes live.
- Send you information about new books, competitions and events, so you don’t miss anything.
- Give you two Free eBooks just for joining.
What we WON’T DO to our subscribers:
- Spam you with loads of random advertising.
- Reveal your email adress to anyone else.
This Month's Short Story
by Natasha Duncan-Drake
Genre: horror, paranormal
Length: ~7.5K wds
Lucy and her team have the most successful ghost hunting show on UK TV. They investigate, they debunk, and every now and then they catch the supernatural on camera. Their latest project is Darling Manor. This place has a locked room, which may or may not contain the embalmed remains of a dead relative, a very strange inheritance cycle, and more spooky stories than any house really needs.
Lucy and her team have moved in to find out the truth, but the creepy manor has Lucy on edge. Is it her imagination, or is there something to be afraid of? This could be the one investigation that is really dangerous. Will modern technology trump historic legend, or will the supernatural gain the upper hand?
Newsletter Subscription FormWe'll send you details of book releases, competitions and other news from our authors, BUT we WON'T spam you, or pass your details on to anyone else.
We will also give you 2 FREE ebooks just for signing up.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of the Butterfly Approach to Writing
The butterfly approach to writing is when we, the author, do not write a story from the beginning to the end. Rather we jump around writing various scenes and then going back and filling in what is missing. It is like the butterfly going from flower to flower in random order until it has visited all the blooms it needs.
On a personal level, this is my favoured manner of writing. I can writer from beginning to end if I have to (you can hear the whine in my voice, right? ;)), but I much prefer to butterfly. When writing I rarely do much planning other than jotting down the odd note. Most often I have the beginning and the end written way before most of the middle.
There are however both advantages and disadvantages to the technique.
- The butterfly approach is very much an inspiration driven methodology, so we are able to write what is in our heads right at that moment.
- Jumping from place to place in the plot can inspire new ideas and ways forward, rather like storyboarding can, but because we're writing in detail it can spark off even more.
- Writers can and should be able to write when they are 'not feeling it', but the butterfly approach allows much more leeway for leaving off a particular part and coming back to it later. For example it is very hard to write a good battle scene, or sex scene for that matter, when we are not in the right head space. Butterflying around allows us to come back to those scenes on the right day.
- If our book has more than one protagonist it is possible to follow through arcs individually without worrying about jumping between characters all the time.
- Over thinking can sometimes result in writer's block, but because this is all about inspiration, over thinking doesn't often happen, especially in the early stages.
- Sometimes ideas change, so later scenes that have already been written have to be edited. This has to be done in-line, or at least notes made or it makes for more difficult editing once the first draft is complete.
- Once most of the story is there it requires much more discipline to go back and fill in the scenes that have been left out. This can be a bit of a shock to our systems after so much freedom.
- All the hard scenes (like battles and sex and bothersome character interactions) are left until last, so finishing can be difficult.
- Some planning is needed to go in and make sure our story has everything it needs - this is especially important when 'show don't tell' come into it. It can be very tempting to skim when putting in the final, often not so exciting, scenes.