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.
Greetings and welcome to Writerly Wednesday. I am very pleased to welcome the lovely Ronel Janse van Vuuren to my blog today, some of you may know her as Ronel the Mythmaker. She has very kindly agreed to do an interview, so settle in and enjoy.
Author Interview - Ronel Janse van Vuuren
Section 1 - Introduction
I’ve been writing since I was a tween (twelve), but seriously started writing a decade ago. It took a while to find my voice, a genre I love and to do the world-building necessary to “just write”.
I blog regularly about folklore and the writing life over on my blog Ronel the Mythmaker and I also guest blog monthly over on Writing Wranglers and Warriors. Instagram – and taking good photos for it – is something new I’ve been trying out. It’s actually a lot of fun!
2. Tell us about your book(s).
“Once…” is a collection of tales, myths and legends of Faerie (as the subtitle says). The secrets about how Faerie changed, why Faerie changed, who the rulers of Faerie truly are, the secrets of the seasons, and how magic and fae have infiltrated the mortal realm all make up part of the stories – the rest is about the characters, their choices and experiences.
I wanted to write about what the original fairy tales never shared: the how of it all. Somehow it all came together…
I started with writing how Faerie changed, learned about the publishing competition on INK: Skryf in Afrikaans and then wrote the rest of the stories by drawing from notes and character sketches in my notebooks. It turned out to be fortuitous: The Afrikaans edition of “Once…” (“Eens…”) won the competition and got published.
Since then I’ve ran around like a nearly-headless chicken to figure out the publishing side of the author business – scary! – and both translations of “Once…” are available now in print, audio and eBook editions globally.
I also have short stories in three anthologies: “Just Deserts” and “Lights” in “Cinderella Reimagined” – both are New Adult contemporary Cinderella retellings; “Black Moon” in “Unbound” – Valkyries and Furies fight over the souls of the recently dead; “The Inn” in “FairyTale Riot” – an Urban Fantasy retelling of Fitcher’s Bird (this anthology was released last month).
More excitement – and stories from Faerie – will follow in 2019.
Section 2 - Some More Serious Question
The voices in my head needed to be quieted… Turns out they were characters vying for attention in the form of their stories being written down.
2. What inspired you to start writing in your favourite genre?
I read Holly Black’s “Tithe” and realised that this is my genre. My stories can be Urban Fantasy, Low Fantasy, whatever you want it to be – but it will always be Dark Fantasy.
3. What is the hardest part of a book to write, beginning, middle or end?
The muddy middle. Maybe because I know where the character starts out and where she should end up, but the middle can get boring – or overwhelming! – and turns into “work”.
4. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Absolutely! But that will take forever… So just head over to my blog. I’ve added a new page “For Authors” listing the posts on my blog (with links) that will help.
5. Is there any genre you won't write and why?
Erotica. At least not under my own name. Why? Because I don’t want readers who know me to blush every time they see me.
6. What is your favourite genre to read and why?
Currently, I’m enjoying thrillers. Usually I read within the genres I write (Young Adult, Fantasy, Middle Grade, Fairy Tale retellings, etc.), but I’ve been seeing the tropes more than the stories of late, so I’ve decided to take a break and read a genre I like to watch. And it’s been quite inspirational.
7. How do you publish, print, ebook or both?
Both (when I’m in charge and it makes sense). When possible, I have it turned into an audiobook too.
8. What social media do you find most effective for connecting with your readers?
Twitter and Instagram. Images with a few carefully selected words, hashtags and links (when necessary) have been met with lots of likes (and retweets).
9. How do you approach constructive criticism, either giving or receiving?
It comes from a place of honesty and someone really wanting to help: so when receiving, I don’t get angry because that person didn’t “get me” or told me I have a crutch word I didn’t know about, rather, I look at what they said and figure out how I can make my story better. When I give constructive criticism, I sprinkle in the compliments of what I liked because it takes away the sting of the things I didn’t (or should change) to make it better – I also try not to take over the story and make it mine, remembering that it’s the work of another author.
11. What makes this particular genre you are involved in so special?
I’d define “Once…” as being Dark Fantasy and New Adult. I already explained what makes Dark Fantasy special (all that digging around in the psyche and looking at reactions). New Adult is all about figuring out who you are, who you want to be and what you have to do to get there. Some would say it’s all about the journey of becoming an adult: the trials, decisions, and reactions to things in life that has far-reaching consequences. Taking all of that into consideration while writing a story means deciding how you want to depict the world and what message you want to share about growing up.
Section 3 - Less Serious Questions
And arguments! And not just while I’m writing…
2. Do you have any odd (writing) habits?
Does staring at the blinking cursor count?
3. When do you have the most fun writing a book? When you first start? When you are blazing along with the main bulk of the plot? When you are rounding it all up?Definitely when I’m rounding it all up. There’s this feeling of elation when I know I’m putting the finishing touches on something I’ve been working hard on. Sure, starting a shiny new project is always fun, but actually finishing it is a much more satisfying.
4. If you could invite one character from your books to dinner, who would it be?
Cian, the Assassin who works for the Faerie Queen. There’s just something about him… I think he’ll be starring in more stories from now on.
5. Do you ever cast your characters with actors in your head?
Yes. For a while, Ian Somerhalder played the lead in many stories… Many others might be quite exhausted by now – seeing as they had to play major and minor roles not just in my writing, but in the works of other writers and in their actual jobs, too 🙂
6. Do your characters every run away with the plot when you're not looking?
I’m sure someone’s trying to alter their destiny as I answer this question…
Faery dogs – or Cù Sìth (pronounced “coo shee”) – play a major part in Faerie. They do not answer to the monarchs of either Court and are more powerful than any other fae (there are a few exceptions, but that’s for later). I like to sprinkle them in through my stories just to make sure everyone remembers that they are there even if they are not the main character (though, Tony is the MC in “The Fae of Bremen” in the anthology “Once…”).
As for my inspiration… As I learned more about faeries, I came across various dogs in mythology and folklore (Barguest, the Church Grim, the Cù Sìth, among others) and realised that I would like a powerful race of dog fae. I have had many Rottweilers in my life, taken away too soon. (I lost another one this year to a fatal disease.) So I decided to immortalise them in my writing.
The Cù Sìth – or faery dogs as I use them in short stories and Middle Grade novels – look just like Rottweilers and make for great protectors (and intricate characters).
Section 4 - Random Questions!1. Are you a dog or a cat person, why?
A dog person. Dogs give unconditional love. I work hard enough to woo my characters to do what I want them to, I don’t want to win a cat’s affection anew every day.
2. What's your favourite colour, why?
Purple. It’s such a vibrant colour, filled with passion and life. (Maybe that’s just me?)
3. What is your favourite style of music?
A mixture of symphonic metal and hard rock (example: Within Temptation and Linkin Park). We were talking writing music, right?
Yes. Check out my folklore posts for more… But I just go with: if I leave them alone, they’ll leave me alone. And everyone should stay out of the faery circle in the corner of my property – unless they want to end up somewhere else.
About the Book
Unexpected changes to reality causes more than one damsel to turn into a strong, independent woman who takes charge of her own life.
A collection of short stories about Faerie and the fae that live in the human realm. A few of the stories had won competitions and all of them had enchanted readers.
Learn their secrets and enter the realm of the fae…
Excerpt:Mortals cannot perceive the veil unless they are invited to – or extremely gifted. For centuries, Man and Fae have been kept apart, for nothing good ever comes from them mixing. The collection of The Adventures of Saphira the Faery Dog is proof of this.
Still, there are magical creatures that side neither with Man nor Fae.
Dragons are such creatures. They hold the knowledge of both worlds. Some even collect it in the written word, keeping it safe in their lairs.
An inquisitive half-fae once broke into the lair of a dragon known to hoard books. The knowledge she found was too much to keep to herself…
Here are a few tales, myths and legends from Faerie. Some may sound remarkably similar to legends held by mortals, while others are… well… as otherworldly as the fae themselves.
About the AuthorRonel the Mythmaker. She won Fiction Writer of the Year 2016 for her Afrikaans stories on INK: Skryf in Afrikaans. Her published works can be viewed on Goodreads.
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.
Happy Halloween!Greetings lovelies, I hope we are all having a fun and spooky time this 31st October! It's Halloween when the ghouls and the ghosts, the sprites and the spirits all come out to play and that means:
As usual, Soph and I have put together a small anthology of 2 ghost stories to give away in support of All Hallows Read.
We All Fall Down
Author: Sophie Duncan & Natasha Duncan-Drake
Genre: horror, ghost
Length: 2 Short Stories
Coupon Code: QF26Z
Join us as a lone grad student braves the silence in the restricted books section of her campus library and all the mystery it contains, or as a witch dares to investigate the cryptic darkness on the third floor of her local tea room.
Both are fraught with danger and the icy spark of fear. Come in and find out why.
How to get your free book:
- Click the link We All Fall Down and visit Smashwords.
- Click the buy link to add the book to your cart.
- Put the coupon Code QF26Z into to box on the checkout screen.
- Click "Apply Coupons"
- Click "checkout" and the book will available for download.
Coffee Morning in Aid of Cancer Research UK
Good morrow my dear friends, with a quote like this one, of course I went with vampires 🙂Every day in October I will be posting a horror/paranormal drabble (100 word story) inspired by a Shakespeare Quote.
What light through yonder window breaks
"While the chase has been delightful, my dear, I tire of it. Surrender, you will enjoy it."
Paul backed off, but thudded into the wall. When Hector had come for him, he had run, but now there was nowhere to go. It was ironic that a vampire claimed to love the son of a vampire hunter.
Paul was sure Hector had no idea what love really was.
He closed his eyes as the monster stepped in closer. He expected a bite, what he got was a scream as daylight crept over the windowsill.
Maybe his plan had worked after all.
If anyone would like to join in, please do!