Natasha Duncan-Drake

Natasha Duncan-Drake – Author

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Pseudonyms: Tasha D-Drake, Tasha Duncan

Bio

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.

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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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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.


Welcome to Day 26 of the AtoZChallenge and the letter Z. Every day in April (except Sundays) I will be making a post about shapeshifters of all kinds. Check back to see my choices and, from time to time some flash fiction too.

Z is for 

Zenobia

Z is usually a harder letter to fill, but with my theme it was so easy I have two shapechangers for you today. My first is Zenobia, played by Margaret Whiting, from Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger.

She is a sorceress and the evil stepmother of Prince Kassim of Charak and wishes her own son Rafi to take the thrown instead of Kassim. To do this she transforms Kassim into a baboon. Luckily for him Sinbad is docked so he can ask for permission to marry Kassim's sister, Princess Farah, and so he comes to the rescue.

It is not just Prince Kassim's shape Zenobia can change, but her own as well. She uses a potion which allows her to shift into any form she wishes. At one point she changes into a bird to get to their ship and then makes herself small, but is captured. She is later left with a bird foot after she uses the bird form a second time, but most of her potion is spilled.

The film is one of Ray Harryhausen's and has many of his wonderful special effects.

Zygon

Zygons are aliens from the wonderful Doctor Who. They use technology as part of their shape changing.

A Zygon can use what they call a body-print of an individual to mimic voice and appearance. They create this print by placing the captive in a special receptical, keeping the person alive but unconscious. In this version of the technology, a new print was required every two hours.

Over time this ability became more advanced, leading to not necessarily needing the specemin in the special receptical and then also being able to maintain the shape of a deceased person, with the proviso of not needing anymore information from the individual.

This makes them a formidable enemy for the Doctor and his friends.

Werewolf of the Day

Richard Zeeman (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter)

Richard is the Ulfric (leader) of the Thronnos Rokke Clan from St Louis. He was originally the Geri (second in command) to Marcus, but killed him to take the position after having spared him once.

He was engaged to Anita for a while, but broke it off after she slept with Jean-Claude. He is the third member of their triumvirate, which gives them all a great deal of power.

Anita calls him a "boy scout", in that he is polite and kind, but his wolf has a thing for violence and pain, which keeps him from accepting his other nature fully. He is a very powerful werewolf, able to control members of his pack and to protect them.

He is a junior high school teacher and, as such, keeps his status as a werewolf a secret. He did not choose to become one, but was turned by a bad batch of anti-lycanthrope vaccine. He is honey coloured, heading towards red as a wolf.

Richard is basically a bit of a bad ass when it comes to werewolf business and likes to think the best of people in all other situations.

And we're there - thank you so much for sticking with me over the AtoZ. See you for the reflections post.
  • So would you rather be up against Zenobia or a Zygon?
  • If you were a werewolf and found that your wolf form had urges completely at odds with your normal self, how do you think you would deal with it?

Click here and here to find other AtoZ posts.

Author: Natasha Duncan-Drake
Posted: April 29, 2017, 11:00 pm

Welcome to Day 25 of the AtoZChallenge and the letter Y. Every day in April (except Sundays) I will be making a post about shapeshifters of all kinds. Check back to see my choices and, from time to time some flash fiction too.

Y is for 

Yesenia

So I have to admit, my shapeshifter today is blowing my own trumpet again. Yesenia is a character from my The Chronicles of Charlie Waterman. She is one of the other six Questors and she is the Questor of the Spider Spirit. This means she had the power to change into the shape of a giant spider.

Charlie takes a while to get used to her in her animal form because he has an unfortunate case of arachnaphobia.

Yesenia is from the planet Hanean, which is a world covered mostly by rain forest and similar habitats. Her people live in harmony with their planet, going so far as to grow their homes and such things as furniture etc. The only place not covered in plan life is the space port.

She is althetic, with a Hispanic apearance. Her nature is to be very direct, which can come off as argumentative. At first she was not very impressed with Charlie, but he has slowly won her over.



Werewolf of the Day

I could not find a werewolf for Y, so I have written some flashfic for you instead.

Y is for Yani
part 4 of Curses
by Natasha Duncan-Drake
(each part can be read seperately, but if you read them in order they build on each other - there will be 4 part [Nicky, Paul, Xerxes & Yani])

Yani Blaid, werewolf, mate to Paul.

The note was short and it looked like Paul's handwriting, but Yani knew it wasn't real. Paul never would have left, not when they could both feel the mate bond humming at the back of their minds.

Mate bonds were something the elders of the pack told stories about to the children and what adolescents dreamed about, but the adults scoffed at as being silly legend. That hadn't stopped it from surging through Yani when he had accepted Paul's proposal to become Alpha-elect mate, but it was the reason they hadn't told anyone about it.

Now Paul had disappeared and everyone thought he had run away from his responsibilities, but Yani knew better. He also knew his father had to be behind it. He had seen the remains of the burned mistletoe in the kitchen bin. Attacking Paul outright would have damaged his father's pack bond, given Paul's position, but using magic could circumvent that.

His father had forbidden him from even mentioning Paul's name, but he was not paying any attention to what his father wanted. The ridiculous notion of a proper alpha his father had was utterly stupid and archaic. Which was why Yani had taken his father's car and was speeding down the M1.

He really didn't know what he was doing, but the mate bond was calling to him and he was following it.

"Sorry," he said, even though the Peugeot he cut up to make it to the Nottingham junction at the last second couldn't hear him.

It wasn't exactly like Sat nav, so he was having to be quick.

The feeling that was lancing from the base of his brain all through his body led him to the outskirts of the city and into a car park outside a wide low building. He was so focused on where he was going that it wasn't until he was out of the car he realised he was at a vet's.

"This can't be good," he muttered to himself.

The first thing that hit him as he walked in was the smell. Sickness and disinfectant and other even less pleasant scents assaulted his nose, but luckily he wasn't using it to find Paul. There was no one in reception when he walked in and he followed his instincts with no one to get in his way. The solitary woman and her dog in the waiting area both looked at him, but said nothing.

"Oh my god, Paul," he said as he barged into one of the rooms off the main corridor and saw his mate lying on the examination table with a strange woman standing over him.

Paul immediately sat up and the woman stepped back. Yani was so focused that it was only as he all but ran past her that he realised the woman wasn't a human at all.

"Hi," she said as he stared at her and the clippers and phone she was holding in her hands, "you must be Yani. Paul has just been telling me about you. I'm Nicky."

He looked to Paul then back at the newly introduced Nicky and he was totally confused. There was something about her that felt familiar, but he had no idea why. Then he saw what Nicky had been doing. A patch of fur the size of a postcard was missing from Paul's side and where it had been was a black sigil. Without knowing much about magic, Yani still recognised a curse mark when he saw it.

"Not right," he whispered, because it was the only thing the mate bond would let him think.

His mate was not in pain, but this was wrong, so very wrong and he had to do something about it. He reached out without thinking, placing his hand over the sigil, and just pushed. Heat rushed from his heart across his chest and down his arm like rivulets of fire. Paul yelped, but did not pull away as magic shifted in the room.

When Yani pulled his hand back the sigil was gone, not even a trace of it remained under the black palm print he had left behind. He felt faint and elated at the same time.

"Well I suppose that fixes that," Nicky commented, even as she steadied him.

Paul shuddered from head to toe and let out a low growl as the first sound of popping muscle and shifting bone erupted from his body. Hair retreated into skin, muscles rearranged themselves, his skeleton melted and reformed as Paul returned from wolf to man. Finally, as Yani watched, the leg that was missing boiled back into being, like wax being poured into a mould, until Paul was whole. There were small pink patches on his pale skin where wounds had healed and the leg had reformed, but that would fade in a few hours.

He couldn't help himself, he leapt forward and dragged Paul into his arms.

"I knew you hadn't abandoned me."

"Never," Paul promised.

Then the guilt hit Yani, because this was his fault.

"My father," he said pulling back.

"Nothing to do with you," Paul assured him. "Are you okay, that was a lot of magic?"

It was only then that his brain caught up with what he had just done.

"But I don't know magic," he said.

Paul was the one with the magical talent, that was why Paul was Alpha-elect.

"But magic knows you," Paul told him still looking him over carefully.

He would have complained at the fussing, but he was doing exactly the same thing to Paul.

"Okay ... wow, you're a big boy," Nicky said as she handed Paul what looked like a lab coat, "I think now would be a good time to take this elsewhere, before the rest of my staff get here and start asking awkward questions."

Yani might have taken offense at someone ogling his mate, especially an alpha potential female, but he was only getting friendly vibes from her. He'd met werewolves from other packs before and it had never felt so easy. Something was going on he didn't understand.

"Here are the keys to my Land Rover," Nicky said, handing a bunch to Paul. "It's out back so no one will see you. I just have to go and arrange cover and make up a fictitious emergency."

Paul nodded so Yani went along with it. Only once they had dashed down the hallway to a back door Nicky had pointed at and were safely in the back of her Discovery 3 did he ask his question: "What's going on?"

"They dumped me in the forest," Paul explained, "and the curse and the mate bond were fighting each other, it kept me a little bit sane, but not much. I wasn't thinking straight and I ran in front of a lorry. Someone brought me here and Nicky patched me up, but I bit her while she was doing it. She became a werewolf last night."

"She's yours?"

Yani couldn't believe it.

"But ... but you're not supposed to be able to do that."

"I know."

"Wow, I think the elders really knew what they were doing when they picked you as Alpha-elect," was all he could think to say.

"Says the man who just channelled magic without ever having being taught," Paul replied with a smile.

He couldn't really argue with that. He had never shown any magical potential before, so he had never been one of the rare few who were taught the craft.

"You'll have to give me lessons," he said.

"It would be my pleasure," Paul said and kissed him ever so gently before pulling back. "But first we have to deal with Nicky and then your father. I'm going to have to call him out."

"Will you kill him?"

Xerxes was an archaic idiot, but he was still his father and it caused a pang as he thought of losing him.

"Not unless I have to," Paul told him, stroking the side of his face. "I won't be able to do anything about what Kurt decides though. He might have named me his successor, but he's still the Alpha."

Yani nodded, he knew that. Werewolves rarely killed each other these days, their society had evolved in the same way human society had, but Xerxes had committed a terrible crime. As head beta it was usually Xerxes job to see to pack law, that he had violated that trust so completely would go against him badly. It would be up to Kurt to decide his fate.

"Kurt is fair," he said, "my father will deserve whatever he gets."

Family was very important to werewolves, but it was not just the trust of the pack Xerxes has broken. Yani could only side with his mate in this.

Click here and here to find other AtoZ posts.

Author: Natasha Duncan-Drake
Posted: April 28, 2017, 11:00 pm

Welcome to Day 24 of the AtoZChallenge and the letter X. Every day in April (except Sundays) I will be making a post about shapeshifters of all kinds. Check back to see my choices and, from time to time some flash fiction too.

X is for 

Xavin

Xavin is from the Marvel comic Runaways. They are a Super-Skrull in training and hence are a shapeshifter. They are also genderfluid and are seen as both male and female at different times.

Xavin is the child of the Skrull Prince De'zean and found it very hard to fit in with the Runaways when they first came to Earth because they were unfamiliar with Earth norms and the gender switching confused people. They are somewhat obtuse and have a warlike personality thanks to their Skrull nature. However, they often overcome this to help their team.

Xavin, when talking about their race, once state: "for us, just changing our gender is no different than changing our hair color". So it is believed that all Skrulls are genderfluid.

Werewolf of the Day

I could not find a werewolf for X, so I have written some flashfic for you instead.

X is for Xerxes
part 3 of Curses
by Natasha Duncan-Drake
(each part can be read seperately, but if you read them in order they build on each other - there will be 4 part [Nicky, Paul, Xerxes & Yani])

Xerxes Blaid - beta werewolf, father to Yani.

Xerces followed the alpha-elect from the farce of a gathering. He has stood there and smiled, pretending like he was supposed to all through it. Kurt knew he did not approve of the alpha's choice of successor, but, being a beta enforcer, it was not this place to disagree with the alpha in public. Before he had been willing to bide his time and convince Kurt slowly that Paul Ulvis was the wrong person, but now this involved his child.

Yani had stood there all through the announcements next to Ulvis, hand in hand, smiling brightly. Just the thought of it made Xerxes blood boil. How dare that pitiful excuse for an alpha-elect court his child as a mate.

When he was young, an alpha was always the strongest, the one who fought off all his rivals to prove himself worthy. Kurt said that that was no method to choose a successor, that their society had evolved since those harder days, but Xerxes thought it was time for a resurgence of the old ways. Ulvis was a powerful magic user Kurt insisted, he would make a strong and wise alpha when the time came. Xerxes was sure the man should have been bound as a child to be used as the tool he was. A sorcerer was useful to an alpha, they should not be one.

The time for talking was over. Xerxes had to protect the pack from Kurt's lack of judgement. He had to protect Yani.

The small bundle in his hand from the witch felt hot, even through the leather glove he had put on before he had touched it. He had had to look far from the pack for a witch willing to cast the spell he had asked for. All the locals would have gone straight to Kurt. Casting such magic in a territory with a powerful wolf pack would have been asking for trouble.

The witch he had found had been willing to do anything for money. The man had clearly been addicted to something. Xerxes had no qualms about using such wastes of oxygen. When this was all settled and Ulvis was dead in a ditch somewhere, he would go back and put the human out of his misery, just to be sure.

"Ulvis," he called, once he was sure they were far enough away from the party still going on.

The man turned, clearly unaware he had been being followed. Just another sign he was not worthy to be alpha-elect.

"Oh, Xerxes," Ulvis said, "I'm sorry, I was in a world of my own."

Xerxes walked forward, hand by his side.

"Actually, this is perfect. I know you probably think I did this to spite you, but I promise, that's not it and there's something I need to tell you..."

Xerxes did not want to know what the pathetic excuse for a wolf wanted to say and he lashed out. With one hand he grabbed Ulvis by the throat, pushing him back into the wall behind him, and with the other ripped open Ulvis' shirt and jammed the curse bundle into the alpha-elect's side. He felt the vial in the bundle break on impact and he pushed hard, speaking the one word to activate the spell as the liquid hit his victim's skin.

Then he released his hold and stepped back, just watching.

Ulvis' features were twisted in confusion and pain. He tried to speak, but all that came out was a tiny gurgle. Every reaction just cemented Xerxes opinion of him. Staring down at the bare skin, Xerxes watched the horror grow on Ulvis' face as the curse mark began to appear.

The look that came Xerxes' way clearly begged why.

"Your weakling strain will no longer infect this pack," he said as the transformation from man to wolf began in his victim, "and you will no longer claim my son."

Ranar, his most trusted lieutenant was waiting outside in the van. Once Ulvis was fully transformed the alpha-elect would be helpless for hours, barely able to move as the forced transformation weakened him. Xerxes had planned very carefully where Ranar would release the cursed wolf, just as Ulvis' strength started to return, but while their alpha-elect was still confused and vulnerable.

Ulvis would die in traffic, an unregistered pet, apparently set free in Nottingham Forest, only to wind up on the motorway in a tragic accident.

The letter he had forged would convince the pack that Ulvis just couldn't take the pressure of being alpha-elect and had run away. They would never know where he had gone or what had happened to him and it would be an end to the matter.


Next time Xerxes was going to make sure Kurt made a better decision.

Click here and here to find other AtoZ posts.

Author: Natasha Duncan-Drake
Posted: April 27, 2017, 11:00 pm

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