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.
If you would like to email Tasha, please use this Contact Form
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.
Interview - The Wonderful Ronel van VuurenToday I have the great honour of having Ronel Janse van Vuuren on my blog, and she has been kind enough to answer some of my questions.
1. Hello and welcome back! For those who are new here, would you like to introduce yourself and tell everyone what it is you love to do?
Thanks, Tasha. I’m award-winning, dark fantasy author Ronel Janse van Vuuren. Though I mainly write for children and teens, I have short stories in various anthologies meant for older readers. I tend to use lots of folklore and mythology in my writing. And though I love writing, I’m also a Rottweiler pack leader, chicken wrangler, horse servant and compost enthusiast. I also blog about folklore on my website. www.ronelthemythmaker.com
2. What draws you to be a writer and means you can never give it up?
Creating new worlds and seeing how people react to situations. I guess I can throw crazy situations at real people, but it probably won’t be legal (and it might get me locked up with the criminally insane).
3. What is the first thing you ever remember writing?
Something about faeries, lady bugs and a rock garden. Sadly, that story got lost in time.
4. Dark Fantasy is one of those terms that seems to pop up a lot these days, how would you define the genre?
Dark fantasy is all about examining the human condition, looking at the consequences of actions and decisions, and how the beliefs we hold can change the way we see our world. It can contain some gore, darker and frightening elements of fantasy, atmosphere of dread, but it mostly deals with studying the dark and frightening sides of our nature.
5. What is your writing process? Are you a planner or a pantser?
Is there a term for something in between? Basically, I’ll have an idea of what I want to write (theme), create basic characters and an outline. Then I have fun with a first draft (getting to know the characters better) before doing a synopsis and a rewrite. Though, this differs from one project to another.
6. You have a new book out, what's it about?
“Magic at Midnight” is about a farmgirl who takes care of her pegasi until one she is “asked” to take the place of a princess at a gathering of all the princesses from all the lands to compete for the hand of the prince of Acacia Wood. Conspiracies, betrayals, magic and romance become part of her life as she does her best to prevent war. She doesn’t want her pegasi to die needlessly in a senseless war.
Some readers have called it a “Cinderella” meets “Miss Congeniality” coming of age story.
7. Which aspect of the new book gave you the most trouble?
Writing about Amy’s feelings for Rachel. This is the first time one of my main characters have revealed to me their bi-sexual gender identity. (I’m not rude enough to ask if it isn’t pertinent to the story.) So dealing with Amy’s feelings, society’s rules against it, and juggling the other ways Amy can get killed made for a troublesome -- but fun! -- time.
8. Which aspect of the new book was your favourite to write?
The scenes with the pegasi. I based them on my chickens and horses -- and a bit on my Rottweilers! -- and it was by far my favourite time spent writing this book. For some readers, the pegasi made the book.
9. Do you have a favourite character from your new book?
Idil. She’s a pegasus and Amy’s best friend. (She’s also on the cover -- though the how’s and why’s are only revealed near the end of the book.)
10. What is your comfort read book(s) – the one(s) you can go back to when you need something you know will relax you and bring you joy (like and well-loved cardigan)?
“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen. The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. The Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr. “Coraline” by Neil Gaiman.
11. Do you enjoy movie/TV adaptations of books, or do you find they never do the source material justice?
I enjoy adaptations. Sometimes they are my first introduction to a book/series! Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Mortal Instruments, and Vampire Academy are a few that come to mind. Of course, you should see them as their own story and not compare them to the original book.
12. What part of the writing process do you love best, getting the first draft down, editing the first draft or polishing the final draft for publication?
Depends on my mood and the time of year. Spring and Autumn are best for first drafts. Summer for editing and Winter for polishing. But we don’t always get what we want. There’s always treats (bribes!) for getting through the not-so-much-loved parts.
Thank you so much to Ronel and don't forget to check out her new book below. Sounds exciting!
Magic At Midnight
by Ronel Janse van Vuuren
Amy has only known one life. Now she needs to put it all on the line to save what is precious to her. Can this simple farm girl survive court-life? Can she stop a war from burning down her world? And what of the mysterious princess of Hazel Wood and her covert glances…? Not to mention the prince of Acacia Wood who might or might not be involved with the prophecies ruling their kingdoms. With mysteries and secrets threatening the life she longs to return to, can she separate her feelings from the mission?
TO WHAT LENGTHS WILL SHE GO TO SAVE HER LOVED-ONES?
Ronel can be found tweeting about writing and other things that interest her, arguing with her characters, researching folklore for her newest story or playing with her Rottweilers when she’s not actually writing.
All of her books are available for purchase from all major online retailers.
Connect with Ronel on:
Monsters! #FreeFictionFriday Exclusive Free Short Story
by Natasha Duncan-Drake
The Perfect Boiled EggNow, I know, there is much debate about the perfect boiled egg. I'm not trying to be controversial😜. This is not a method that claims to make the epitome of boiled eggs for everyone, HOWEVER, it is a way of boiling an egg that produces the exact same results every time.
I don't know about you, but I've always found boiled eggs to be hit and miss. I'd use a time at my house and it would be perfect, then use the same time at my parents house and the egg would be over done or not done enough. Then I discovered the secret!
Keep reading to find out what it is...
- 2 large free range eggs
- 2 slices of bread of choice - I favour multi-seeded wholemeal
- butter (or spread, or nothing if you are so inclined)
- beverage of choice - mango and lychee green tea with honey is my choice
- 1 pin (one with a large head is the best, like the ones that are covered in plastic on the end and look like pearls)
- 1 desert spoon
- 1 small saucepan
- a timer of some sort
- a double egg cup or 2 single egg cups
- 1 teaspoon - preferably with a flat handle
- butter knife
- 2 plates
- Fill your saucepan 2/3rds with water and place over a high heat - if it is hot water from the tap of kettle it will be quicker.
- Put the bread in the toaster and pop down. Now I like my toast well done and cold for making soldiers because the structural integrity is better. If you like your toast warm, do this step once your eggs are on.
- Pierce the top of the eggs with the pin very gently. This will stop them cracking when they are placed in the boiling water.
- When the water is boiling, lower the eggs into the water using the desert spoon. Avoids any chance of scolding.
- Start timer for 4m30s. This produces a runny egg where the yolk is beginning to firm up on the outside and the white of the egg is no longer clear, but there is some runny white under the yolk. If you like your egg less done, reduce the time, more done, increase it.
- When your toast pops - take it out and put it on the plate to cool like you are balancing 2 cards against each other when making a house of cards. This stops the toast going soggy. If you like your toast with butter melted in - just butter it straight away - that's what i do for toast and jam, but for soldiers I use this method.
- When the timer goes off, carefully tip away as much of the hot water as possible down the sink. Then immediately fill the saucepan with cold water. Tip out again and refill with cold. This will stop the eggs from continuing cooking. THIS IS THE SECRET I MENTIONED!!!
- Pop the eggs into the egg cups.
- Cut up your soldiers - I butter them afterwards - I know, weird, but then they don't get soggy.
- Tap the top of the egg with the teaspoon to crack the shell, and use the handle of the spoon to carefully lift away the top of the shell. None of this whack it off with a knife in this house - too much chance of shell in the egg!
- Use the spoon to nip off the top of the egg white until the yolk is visible and consume.
- Dunk soldiers and be happy (while trying not to get egg yolk all down the front of the new top).
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