Chocolate Heaven Cupcakes

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I  know,  you’re  probably  looking  at  this  post  and  thinking  what’s  it  got  to  do  with  my  writing  considering  that’s  what  I  generally  post  about  on  here.  But,  before  I  became  an  author  I  had  my  own  cake  business,  making  lots  of  tasty  treats  like  the  picture  above.

Late  last  night  I’d  been  asked  to  make  these  beauties,  and  after  uploading  this  photo  to  social  media,  requests  for  the  recipe  came  filtering  in.  So  I’m  sharing  my  secrets  to  a  chocoholics  dream.

This  recipe  makes  12  cupcakes,  16  if  you’re  lucky.

Ingredients
Cake Batter:                                                                                           Buttercream:
200g  Margarine                                                                                   100g  Unsalted  Butter
200g  Caster  Sugar                                                                              100g  Dark  Chocolate
4  Eggs                                                                                                   1tsp Vanilla Extract
1tsp Vanilla Extract                                                                               350g  Icing  Sugar
100g  Dark  Chocolate                                                                          Pinch  of  Salt
50g  Cocoa  Powder                                                                              Milk
160g  Self-Raising  Flour
1tsp  Baking  Powder
100g  Dark  Chocolate  Chips

 
Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with cases.

Place the margarine and caster sugar into a bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time and mix well, adding the vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, melt the dark chocolate and add to the egg mixture. At this point, you’ll want to bathe in the chocolate river. Please try to resist. Sift in the self-raising flour, baking powder, and  cocoa, leaving a little of the flour behind. Slightly mix it together – you don’t need to go crazy here. Over-mixing flour makes the batter dense once it’s cooked, and we haven’t finished adding our ingredients. Go easy! Put the dark chocolate chips in with the leftover flour (it only needs to be a tablespoon or two) and make sure those chips are covered in the flour mix. This stops the chocolate chips from sinking to the bottom of the cake when they cook. Handy little tip! Mix the batter until there’s no more dry ingredients (do this with as little mixing as you can, remember dense cakes are heavy!) Using an ice cream scoop, divide the batter into the cases and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until cooked.

For the buttercream, add the butter into a bowl and mix until softened. Sift in the icing sugar and combine. It might look like breadcrumbs here, but don’t worry – it’s not ruined! Melt the chocolate and add to the icing sugar mixture. Now, it might look like chocolate breadcrumbs. That’s okay. Don’t panic! Add the vanilla extract and milk a teaspoon at a time until it all comes together. The amount of milk you use depends on the consistency you’re looking for. I generally add around 3-5 tsps. depending on how much the icing sugar soaks up. Add a pinch of salt to offset the sweetness. Beat until smooth. Place in a piping bag with your favourite tip and pipe onto cupcakes when they’re cooled! Or, you know, just use a knife and spread it on. It’s your creation after all!

And Voila. Chocolate Heaven.

P.S. You can totally add whatever toppings you fancy – supermarkets have a wide variety of decorations nowadays.

Read an Ebook Week 2016

From today until March 13 at midnight, Smashwords are holding a ginormous sale to encourage reading. Which is fantastic! Check out their site and fill your e-reader up!

For the first time since its release, Wicked Sunshine my romantic comedy novel is enlisted in the sale at 50% off. Half price. Instead of $4 get it for $2. All you have to do is follow this link, add Wicked Sunshine to your basket, and make sure you input the code RAE50 when you go through checkout for your discount.
Simples.

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Nature’s Destiny and Alpha Wanted:Part 1 are both FREE too!

Bargains, bargains everywhere!

Alpha Wanted 1 OTHER SITES  Nature's Destiny

P.S. I’m working hard behind the scenes. Stay tuned for some announcements soon – keep up to date with me on facebook and Instagram. Pretty pictures are coming. . .

Cliffhanger Controversy

Cliffhangers. They’re a lot like Marmite, aren’t they? Some people love them, others hate them. And then you get the odd marbles who love to hate them, and hate to love them. Which one of these lovely specimens are you?

I’m somewhere in between the likability spectrum.  You see, it all depends on the genre. Cliffhangers can’t work with every book. Can you imagine how infuriating it would be reading an entire novel full of crimes, only to get to the last page and not find out who the perpetrator is? You’ve been guessing all along only to realise you have to buy the sequel to get your answers.

That doesn’t work – it’s the key aspect of the plot. It’s also a bit of a con.

However, a paranormal read with a new twist at the end of the already-solved plot works. It’s a teaser of what’s going to come next. It gets you thinking, makes you excited, and fills you with anticipation. That’s what a cliffhanger should do.

The problem, of course, lies in the self-publishing revolution. We’ve been spoiled. No one has the patience to wait a year anymore, not unless it’s being traditionally published. We’ve become the generation that expects things instantly. It’s the disease that’s come with the internet.

Instant gratification.

But here’s the thing. A great cliffhanger is supposed to make you impatient not greedy – don’t expect the next book to land in your lap with a click of your fingers. Excellent writing takes a lot of time and energy.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t want to scoff the next book down like it’s chocolate cake day after a week of dieting.  You should totally inhale those words as if they’re your last hit of oxygen for the day.

From a business perspective, if a well-written book ends on a cliffhanger, it’s no doubt a ploy to get the reader to buy the next. Fundamentally, that is it’s basic function. But it has to fit the story. There’s no point killing off a character for the sheer sake of it. There has to be a reason behind it or you’re gonna lose interest from your readers. They’ll think you’ve literally lost the plot. Logically, even in your fantasy land it won’t make sense.

What bothers me most nowadays is that authors (particularly self-published authors from what I’ve seen) are writing *WARNING* signs in their book’s description because it has a cliffhanger. Since when did the use of a cliffhanger become relevant in the decision of which novel you’re going to read next?

Are we really suggesting that a cliffhanger is a make or break decision on what could potentially be a fantastic read?

It’s like the author is apologising for writing what they wanted to; which is very sad. You shouldn’t be saying sorry for what you believe in. It’s your work.

So I want to know:

Where do you stand on the Cliffhanger Controversy? Are you for or against the movement?

Warrior’s Duty is LIVE!

Title: Warrior’s Duty

Series: Nature’s Destiny #4
Author: Justine Winter
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: February 17, 2016
Death. Destruction. Demons.
War was officially declared.

Blade’s rebirth into the world became something we truly weren’t prepared for. And I felt guilty. Blaming myself for not getting to Lara in time. 

She was gone. Nature’s Destiny was grieving.

In the midst of our woes the battle was brewing. Incubi kept coming. Hell beasts were slaying. And the demon master was another step closer to winning.

With an army of supernatural beings in my arsenal I was optimistic that we were enough. We had the prophecy and my fortitudo on our side.

Whatever happened there was one thing I knew for certain.

The end had come.

He yanked me by my chains, my wrists bled with the cold, silver metal cutting into my skin. My bare feet dragged along the stony ground, covered with scrapes from the uneven surface. He pulled me to follow like a dog on a leash, tugging my manacles harder than was necessary. 

I kept quiet despite wanting to scream the dark, dank dungeon down. He always found pleasure in my pain, so I’d learnt to conceal it. My lips were incredibly tender from biting into them to stifle my groans.  

“Why hasn’t she come yet?” The woman yelled the second I entered her presence. She never came further than that, didn’t want to dirty her precious clothes. I was always to be brought to her.

“She’s deciding,” I answered.

“No, she’s clearly made her choice. You screwed this up for us!” The woman’s hand lashed out, marking my face as her slap connected with my cheek.

“I didn’t! I did everything you asked of me.” I was desperate for her to loosen my binds, to let me out of the dreary cell for good. There was no chance I was going to risk exposing myself. My freedom was all I wanted, what I hoped for during  the long hours of torture and loneliness.

“We won’t survive without them!” The woman paced, biting her perfectly manicured nails. “Take her back to her cell,” she  ordered my torturer. “I’ll have to force the pretty wolf’s hand into helping us.”

“NO!” I yelled, using all my strength to fend off my chain-holder. “No, don’t do this to me!”




I’ve always lived a life based on my imagination, from hopeless dreams of romance to concocting alternate realities involving supernaturals. I’m completely fascinated with anything hero-related, and often speculate which superpower I’d possess. I haven’t settled on one yet.

I was born in England, and currently reside in Wales, UK. I love to write, and most days you’ll find me happily tapping away at the computer whilst in my pyjama-clad bubble. I also spend my time reading, and if that isn’t enough I’m often in the kitchen baking up a treat.

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Warrior’s Duty Cover Reveal

You guys, it’s finally here! And this is no doubt my favourite cover of them all.
SO PRETTY!
What do you think?
Title: Warrior’s Duty
Series: Nature’s Destiny #4
Author: Justine Winter
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: February 17, 2016
Death. Destruction. Demons.
War was officially declared.

Blade’s rebirth into the world became something we truly weren’t prepared for. And I felt guilty. Blaming myself for not getting to Lara in time. 

She was gone. Nature’s Destiny was grieving.

In the midst of our woes the battle was brewing. Incubi kept coming. Hell beasts were slaying. And the demon master was another step closer to winning.

With an army of supernatural beings in my arsenal I was optimistic that we were enough. We had the prophecy and my fortitudo on our side.

Whatever happened there was one thing I knew for certain.

The end had come.

The beast taunted me, stalked me like I was its prey. Its coal-like skin, straight from the mouth of hell, sizzled brightly with streaks of orange. The lava of its home. I never stood a chance in this war, I was one wolf against an army of demons; they kept me distracted long enough to ensure there was nothing I could do to jeopardise their hostile takeover. I soon learned that distraction was their greatest tactic, their only worthwhile weapon. But still, there were little acts of heroism I could partake in; chained and bound in a cage granted me little freedom. I was the hell beasts’ toy, to scratch, to bite, to chase when dull moments had them bored. Compared to my torment, I was sure death would be a gift as inviting as a freshly picked bouquet of flowers. I no longer wanted to endure such heinous, criminal, apocalyptic affairs. I wished for death, and the devil laughed in my face.

 
I’ve always lived a life based on my imagination, from hopeless dreams of romance to concocting alternate realities involving supernaturals. I’m completely fascinated with anything hero-related, and often speculate which superpower I’d possess. I haven’t settled on one yet.
I was born in England, and currently reside in Wales, UK. I love to write, and most days you’ll find me happily tapping away at the computer whilst in my pyjama-clad bubble. I also spend my time reading, and if that isn’t enough I’m often in the kitchen baking up a treat.

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Remembering Beauty

spitfire_poppy_fields_by_stephenjohnsmith-d8vyicj

I  hear  the  alarm,
Howling  around  the  hangar.
As  I  rush  for  my  gear,
It  ignites  my  anger.

My  baby  she  waits,
With  wounds  to  tell,
Of  a  sortie  with  victories,
Painted  on  her  tail.

I  sit  in  her  cockpit,
Roaring  to  go.
We  take  to  the  sky,
And  give  them  their  show.

Their  fighters  are  fast,
But  my  spitfire  is  cunning.
Along  with  my  wingmen,
We’ll  just  keep  on  hunting.

The  night  raids  continue,
Orange  blasts  fill  the  sky.
As  debris  hits  the  ground,
Another  shall  die.

My  baby  she  flies,
With  more  stories  of  horror.
A  congratulations  of  triumphs,
She’ll  be  branded  a  warrior.

I  keep  losing  my  friends,
In  the  war  that  rages  on.
We  fight  for  our  country,
We  protect  the  dawn.

There’s  an  emptiness  inside,
As  I  fly  over  Dover.
I’ve  been  shot  to  the  torso,
I’m  bleeding  all  over.

I  take  in  the  scene,
Of  the  red  rising  sun,
Kiss  my  baby  goodbye,
It’s  my  time.  I’m  done.

I  fought  for  Great  Britain,
To  honour  my  duty.
I’ve  run  out  of  chances,
To  tuck  in  this  Beauty.

I  shan’t  be  alone,
My  lost  brothers  will  find  me.
They’ll  bring  whiskey  and  laughter,
For  death  has  no  enemy.

I’ll  salute  no  regrets,
And  bid  the  world  adieu.
Herein  please  remember,
What  I  sacrificed  for  you.

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Wicked Sunshine Release Day!

Title: Wicked Sunshine 
Series: A Rush Enterprises Novel
Author: Justine Winter
Genre: NA Romantic Comedy
Release Date: October 30, 2015 
Billionaire. Philanthropist. Manwhore.
Grayson Rush is a title sandwich that everyone’s trying to snack on, but when it comes to women he has rules that he’s been implementing for the past eight years of his twenty-seven year-old life. 
1. Condoms are sacred.
2. Never hook up with an employee.
3. No double dipping.
He likes his women fresh and their names forgotten, thrown in the bin along with their dignity. He’ll profess to being a deity of sex, that his precious Excalibur is the source of all gratification. And the media will attest to that. Satisfaction is his specialty. Pleasure is his mission.
But like all great heroes of history’s legends, he claims a weakness resonates in his rickety, tattered heart. The premise of more is his Kryptonite. The word alone invokes an instant BD: Boner Destroyer.
Why is it, then, when smart-mouthed, twenty-three year-old Maya Kennedy comes waltzing in his office, pitching her creative designer services, that he’s suddenly eager to rebel against his own foundations?
When his wise younger sister, and best friend conspire against him, he realises that chasing Maya might be just what he needs despite his reservations on romance. Love is a bitch, and her name is Sabrina. 
Stepping out of his cob-webbed past, he’s determined to keep the dust from tainting his future. 

Can a womanizing Manwhore change his ways, or is Gentleman a title too unattainable?

“Is there anything you can’t succeed at, Grayson?”

My magic wand and I can think of something. Oh, what I’d give to put a spell in her.  

“Do you want to know my secret?” I lean on the table, closing the gap between her lips and mine.  

“Yes,” she whimpers, her warm breath dances on the surface of my lips.  

“I never give up.”  

She closes her eyes as she swallows hard. I sit up, reinforcing the distance between us. I want her badly, I want her now. But when I kiss her, I want us alone where only I get the pleasure of watching her. I’m not about to put on a show for all the businessmen in the room.

“Come on, let me take you home.” I stand, holding out my hand to help her.

“Have I bored you already?”

“Quite the opposite,” I say, opening the door to let her through. On the quiet porch I guide her gently against the wall, away from the tumbling rain as we wait for Logan. “I’m captivated by you, Maya, and I’m not entirely sure what that means. I want you badly,” I press up against her, letting her feel how true my statement is.  

She moans in my ear, clearly excited at the prospect. I harden even more, painfully so, just as Logan pulls up in my limousine. “Where to, Maya?”

I’ve always lived a life based on my imagination, from hopeless dreams of romance to concocting alternate realities involving supernaturals. I’m completely fascinated with anything hero-related, and often speculate which superpower I’d possess. I haven’t settled on one yet.

I was born in England, and currently reside in Wales, UK. I love to write, and most days you’ll find me happily tapping away at the computer whilst in my pyjama-clad bubble. I also spend my time reading, and if that isn’t enough I’m often in the kitchen baking up a treat.

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