Why do you write?

Oftentimes, the conscious act of writing is personal. Our minds can become heavily trafficked by every day problems and life:

* Something you did didn’t go to plan and you start fretting.
* Someone else’s stress starts affecting you.
* Marital issues become unbearable.
* Lack of money and an increase in bills have you panicking.
* Your boss dumps a huge pile of work on your desk at 3pm on a Friday, expecting it to be done by Monday, yet you have plans to take the kids away to a theme park.

Daily struggles have a way of consuming our thoughts with loud chatter, and as humans we often need an outlet, a medium to voice the craziness in order to clear the clutter. For many, the choice is to sit with a cuppa and vent, let it out to those closest to you. For others, they choose to write it down. Whether somebody else sees it is irrelevant, the aim is to empty the mind.

This is why writing is often personal; it’s a kind of therapy.¬†
You bare all your darkest secrets, desires and fears on the page because you know it won’t judge you. There’s no reply. No criticism. It’s your sanctuary to explore your current journey.

Sometimes, you write to understand what you’re thinking. It’s a logical thought process that enables to get you from A to B in order to find the solution.

“The written word, in all its forms, holds tremendous power.”
Hrvoje Butkovic

However, I write to quieten the madness inside me, to give structure and purpose to my every day musings. It’s there I’m most objective; I see what’s going on around me as if through a filter lens.

“I write to give myself strength.
I write to be the characters that I am not.
I write to explore all the things I’m afraid of.”

Joss Whedon

I write to mould words into life, to give credence to what I observe. It isn’t easy to write coherently, to have readers sympathise with your characters, but the joy of fitting sentences together like the pieces of a jigsaw is undeniably satisfactory. Yes, it’s a long, lonely road filled with a constant battle between doubt and glee, but the gratification of a completed project makes it worthwhile. Your efforts will be rewarded eventually.

“The true alchemists do not change lead into gold;
they change the world into words.”
William H. Gass

I made a deliberate decision to write publicly:

* To open myself up to new opinions and thoughts in order to grow.
* To view the Universe through another’s eyes.
* To learn.

I will never know enough about this craft to honestly profess I need not study anymore. Writing evolves every day, making it more exciting and challenging, forcing me to work harder.

I might never reach the status of Writing Queen. But that doesn’t stop me from trying. When passion, determination and ambition collide, magic happens. Don’t let fear get in the way of your dreams; you deserve what you’re willing to work for.

“You can make anything by writing.”
C. S. Lewis


Struggling with being a writer in the age of social media? Check this article out. You’re not alone.


Finally, last call to submit your questions to me in my open Q&A session. All entries must be given in by the end of Saturday 4th February 2017. The giveaway is also open internationally. Read this short post for more information.

October – Paranormal Takeover

It’s officially one of my two favourite months of the year – the second being December. I’m not sure why, but every year when October comes around I get really excited. Maybe it’s the longer, colder evenings, the mass amounts of hot chocolate I consume or perhaps that my birthday happens to fall towards the end of the month. Whatever the cause, I know I get ridiculously happy. And I want to share that with you by tickling your supernatural senses. If you love Paranormal Romance as much as I do, you’ll want to check out this phenomenal giveaway hosted by Pure Textuality PR and Paranormal And Urban Fantasy Book Bargains. There are FOUR Kindle Fires up for grabs PLUS lots more! Head to the rafflecopter link to find out how to enter. Not only could you win a fantastic prize, you might also find a new favourite author. What have you got to lose?

A little while ago I mentioned about putting the Nature’s Destiny series into paperback. For the first time you can officially hold a physical copy of each novel. And though I’m probably biased, I think my cover designer did an excellent job. They’re so beautiful! Check them out down below if you don’t believe me ūüėČ If you fancy getting your hands on one, head over to Createspace or Amazon.

As for me, I’m heading into the writing cave. I’ve got a bunch of Nature’s Destiny short stories to complete before I’m buried under my Master’s Degree.
Have a great week, Wolves!

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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?

Seven 11 Blog Hop & GIVEAWAYS!!

Seven 11 blog hopHappy October! It’s my favourite month of the year, and the blog hop returns for its new 2.0 updated version. What does that mean? Well, there are a few changes. Firstly, it’s now a quarterly hop. Before you get all sad that our snippets are less frequent, we’re actually bringing a whole new lot of fun in the way of giveaways. Every author in this month’s hop will be offering their own giveaway. Scroll down below to find out what!

So, what teaser do I have for you all this time? Well, how about 7 lines from Warrior’s Duty, Nature’s Destiny 4? I know many of you are anxiously awaiting this one, and I’m sorry I don’t have a date for you yet, but I’m working really hard on making this one the big finale. Here goes. . .

*First draft. Unedited. Content subject to change come publication. Copyright, Justine Winter.*

I  wasn’t  going  to  watch  Riley,  Nick  or  Shane  collapse  next  to  me;  I  wouldn’t  allow  that.

Breathing  heavily,  I  tucked  in  my  legs,  getting  the  grip  I  knew  I  needed  for  what  was  about  to  come  next. 

Clenching¬† my¬† teeth,¬† I¬† grabbed¬† onto¬† the ¬†hell ¬†beast’s ¬†large ¬†paw ¬†that ¬†held ¬†me ¬†down ¬†and¬† slowly¬† lifted¬† until¬† the¬† gap¬† was¬† large¬† enough¬† for¬† me¬† to¬† escape.

I  rolled  away,  but  I  was  unfit  for  anything  else.  My  body  was  becoming  paralysingly  numb.  I  remained  on  my  side,  dragging  myself  until  all  feeling  had  left.

This  was  it.  The  demons  were  going  to  win.

For a chance to win an eBook copy of Sapphire’s Divinity, book 2 in the Nature’s Destiny series, enter the rafflecopter giveaway here.

Heather Hildenbrand is offering a $5 Amazon GC & Bitterroot swag. Enter at her site.

Amanda Aksel is offering an eBook copy of The Man Test. Enter here.

Kayla Smith is offering an eBook of Return To Pandora. Enter at her site.

Felicia Tatum is offering 5 ecopies of Scornful Sadie. Enter here.

Bethany Lopez is offering an eBook of 3 Seconds. Enter here.

S C Ellington is offering a surprise $600 GC. Enter at her site.

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Seven 11 Blog Hop

Seven 11 blog hop

 

I’ve ¬†been ¬†staring ¬†at ¬†the ¬†screen ¬†for ¬†hours, ¬†trying ¬†to ¬†determine ¬†the ¬†best ¬†opening ¬†line ¬†for ¬†this ¬†blog ¬†post, ¬†but ¬†my ¬†brain ¬†is ¬†frazzled, ¬†dead ¬†to ¬†any ¬†and ¬†all ¬†words. ¬†I’m ¬†a ¬†blank ¬†dictionary ¬†hiding ¬†in ¬†the ¬†burnt ¬†out ¬†corner, ¬†hoping ¬†for ¬†lexis ¬†to ¬†come ¬†flooding ¬†back ¬†to ¬†me. ¬†It’s ¬†exhausting, ¬†isn’t ¬†it? ¬†Trying ¬†to ¬†find ¬†the ¬†right ¬†thing ¬†to ¬†say ¬†when ¬†you’re ¬†mentally ¬†drained. ¬†I ¬†think ¬†I ¬†need ¬†a ¬†power ¬†nap, ¬†or ¬†something ¬†a ¬†little ¬†longer. ¬†Is ¬†it ¬†too ¬†early ¬†in ¬†the ¬†year ¬†to ¬†go ¬†into ¬†hibernation?

This ¬†month ¬†I ¬†have ¬†a ¬†treat ¬†for ¬†you ¬†all. ¬†While ¬†I’m ¬†suffering ¬†with ¬†airhead ¬†syndrome, ¬†it ¬†hasn’t ¬†escaped ¬†my ¬†attention ¬†that ¬†a ¬†lot ¬†of ¬†you ¬†are ¬†anticipating ¬†the ¬†fourth ¬†and ¬†final ¬†book ¬†in ¬†the ¬†Nature’s ¬†Destiny ¬†series. ¬†As ¬†it’s ¬†the ¬†ONE ¬†YEAR ¬†ANNIVERSARY ¬†for ¬†this ¬†hop, ¬†I’m ¬†going ¬†to ¬†share ¬†with ¬†you ¬†the ¬†first ¬†few ¬†lines ¬†of ¬†the ¬†novel. ¬†I’m ¬†in ¬†the ¬†very ¬†early ¬†stages ¬†of ¬†creating ¬†this ¬†one, ¬†but ¬†I’m ¬†still ¬†aiming ¬†for ¬†a ¬†release ¬†this ¬†year. ¬†Please ¬†bear ¬†with ¬†me!

*Unedited.  Content  subject  to  change.  Copyright.  Justine  Winter.  2015. *

‚ÄúIt‚Äôs¬† all¬† my¬† fault.‚Ä̬† I¬† stared¬† at¬† nothing,¬† blind¬† to¬† the¬† gravestone¬† I¬† knew¬† was¬† in¬† front¬† of¬† me.¬† The¬† rain¬† catapulted¬† from¬† the¬† sky,¬† splashing¬† down¬† on¬† the¬† ground¬† around¬† me.¬†

‚ÄúYou‚Äôre¬† gone, ¬†and¬† it‚Äôs¬† all¬† my¬† fault.‚Ä̬† I¬† sobbed¬† into¬† my¬† cold¬† hands,¬† my¬† body¬† heaving¬† with¬† motion.¬† I¬† cried¬† harder,¬† my¬† throat¬† sore¬† from¬† the¬† lump¬† that¬† had¬† been¬† building¬† with¬† each¬† tear.

Water  dripped  from  my  hair  and  face  on  to  my  already  soaked  clothes.  I  was  drenched  to the  bone,  my  arse  numb  from  sitting  in  the  middle  of  the  pack’s  lonely  graveyard  for  hours.  My  burden,  my  despair  had  brought  me  here.

‚ÄúI¬† tried,¬† Lara.¬† I¬† tried¬† so¬† fucking¬† hard¬† to¬† get¬† to¬† you!‚ÄĚ

Giveaways

Heather  Hildenbrand  is  offering  a  $70  Amazon  Gift  Card  on  Instagram.  Click  here  for  full  details.

Steph  Nuss  is  giving  away  a  signed  paperback  copy  of  Fantasized  By  You  on  Goodreads.  Enter  here.

Amanda  Aksel  is  giving  a  free  eBook  copy  of  The  Commitment  Test.  Enter  here.

And ¬†I’m ¬†offering ¬†a ¬†signed ¬†paperback ¬†copy ¬†of ¬†Alpha ¬†Wanted: ¬†The ¬†Complete ¬†Serial. ¬†Read ¬†this ¬†post ¬†for ¬†details ¬†on ¬†how ¬†to ¬†enter.

Also, ¬†today ¬†is ¬†our ¬†blog ¬†hop’s ¬†creator, ¬†Amanda ¬†Aksel’s, ¬†birthday. ¬†I ¬†just ¬†want ¬†to ¬†wish ¬†one ¬†of ¬†the ¬†kindest ¬†women ¬†I ¬†know ¬†a ¬†super ¬†HAPPY ¬†BIRTHDAY! ¬†In ¬†honour ¬†of ¬†her ¬†turning ¬†the ¬†Big ¬†3-0 ¬†she’s ¬†set ¬†up ¬†a ¬†campaign ¬†with ¬†Charity ¬†Water, ¬†an ¬†organisation ¬†that ¬†brings ¬†clean ¬†water ¬†to ¬†third ¬†world ¬†countries. ¬†Please ¬†consider ¬†helping ¬†her ¬†reach ¬†her ¬†goal ¬†of ¬†$750 ¬†by ¬†donating ¬†here. ¬†And ¬†here’s ¬†the ¬†interview ¬†that ¬†inspired ¬†it ¬†all.

As ¬†always, ¬†don’t ¬†forget ¬†to ¬†check ¬†out ¬†what ¬†this ¬†great ¬†group ¬†of ¬†talented ¬†authors ¬†have ¬†to ¬†share ¬†this ¬†month.

Amanda  Aksel
Heather  Hildenbrand
Kayla  Smith  РCheck  out  her  latest  novel  releasing  today!
Steph  Nuss
Felicia  Tatum

Seven-11 Blog Hop

Seven 11 blog hop

 

By now you know what it means when the 11th of each month comes about. It’s all about tantalisingly teasing you with snippets from projects in the works and published ones, too. This month I have a teaser from Alpha Wanted:Part 2, the serial that as of yesterday is out in its entirety. Oh, and did I mention part 1 is FREE on Amazon for a few days only? Though I know this teaser is longer than the proposed seven lines, I couldn’t stop myself from revealing it all. Also, this happens to be taken from one of Ryker’s POV chapters. Enjoy!

‚ÄúI¬† just¬† gave¬† up¬† my¬† shirt¬† to¬† save¬† you.¬†¬† You¬† could¬† be¬† more¬† of¬† a¬† gentleman¬† about¬† it¬† you¬† know.‚ÄĚ ¬†Kira ¬†folded¬† her¬† arms¬† across¬† her¬† chest,¬†¬† but¬† I¬† could¬† see¬† the¬† approval¬† in¬† her¬† eyes.¬† She¬† liked¬† the¬† way¬† I¬† stared¬† appreciatively.

‚ÄúOh,¬† you¬† mean¬† to¬† save¬† me¬† from¬† the¬† wound¬† I¬† incurred¬† by¬† saving¬† you?‚Ä̬† I¬† counter¬† balanced,¬† batting¬† my¬† eyes.

‚ÄúSo,¬† chivalrous¬† one¬† minute,¬† and¬† pervert¬† the¬† next?‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúI¬† like¬† to¬† think¬† I‚Äôm¬† well¬† rounded.‚Ä̬† I¬† stood,¬† wobbling¬† ever¬† so¬† slightly¬† as¬† I¬† fought¬† to¬† find¬† my¬† balance.¬† ‚ÄúI‚Äôm¬† okay,‚Ä̬† I¬† said¬† as¬† she¬† hurried¬† to¬† hold¬† onto¬† me,¬† wrapping¬† my¬† arm¬† around¬† her¬† shoulders.¬† ‚ÄúJust¬† watch¬† out¬† for¬† the¬† trip¬† wire¬† next¬† time,‚Ä̬† I¬† joked.

‚ÄúIt‚Äôs¬† all¬† your¬† fault¬† anyway.¬† You¬† distract¬† me¬† too¬† much,‚Ä̬† she¬† berated,¬† heading¬† into¬† the¬† apartment.

I¬† shook¬† my¬† head.¬† ‚ÄúSays¬† the¬† woman¬† walking¬† around¬† half¬† naked.‚Ä̬†¬†¬† How¬† was¬† a¬† man¬† to¬† concentrate¬† when¬† the¬† temptation¬† of¬† a¬† goddess¬† stood¬† before¬† him?

As always there are several incredibly talented authors joining in this hop. Don’t forget to check out what they have to offer. And Author Steph Nuss is offering a signed paperback copy of Pleasured By You on Goodreads. Head over there to enter to win.

Heather Hildenbrand РYA
Amanda Aksel¬†– Women’s Fiction
Felicia Tatum РNA Fantasy
Kayla Smith РYA
Steph Nuss РContemporary Romance

Seven 11 Blog Hop

Seven 11 blog hop

Bloody hell! I almost forgot to type this month’s teaser, and I know that would’ve been devastating. Right? ¬†Anyway, now that I’ve remembered, how about a little less chit chat and a little more show and tell. I got you covered. Next month I intend to release all 3 parts of my werewolf serial, Alpha Wanted, a week apart from one another. So, how about a teaser from part 1? ¬†Alrightey then!

¬†‚ÄúIt¬† was¬† a¬† mistake,‚Ä̬† I¬† forced¬† out¬† of¬† my¬† mouth.¬† Even¬† hearing¬† the¬† words¬† out¬† loud¬† turned¬† my¬† stomach¬† against¬† me.

‚ÄúSure¬† didn‚Äôt¬† feel¬† like¬† a¬† mistake¬† when¬† you¬† were¬† moaning¬† into¬† my¬† mouth.‚Ä̬†

I¬† turned¬† to¬† Ryker,¬† fixing¬† my¬† glare¬† on¬† his¬† rugged¬† face.¬† I¬† hated¬† how¬† easy¬† it¬† was¬† for¬† me¬† to¬† lose¬† control¬† around¬† him,¬† to¬† lose¬† all¬† my¬† inhibitions¬† inside¬† the¬† pools¬† of¬† his¬† blue¬† eyes.¬† I¬† tightened¬† my¬† lips¬† together.¬† ‚ÄúIt¬† won‚Äôt¬† be¬† happening¬† again,‚Ä̬† I¬† promised,¬† keeping¬† my¬† grip¬† firm¬† on¬† the ¬†steering¬† wheel.

‚ÄúPrincess,¬† that¬† was¬† the¬† best¬† mistake¬† I‚Äôve¬† ever¬† made.¬† So¬† you¬† can¬† trust¬† me¬† when¬† I¬† say¬† I¬† intend¬† to¬† do¬† it¬† again.¬† I‚Äôll¬† make¬† sure¬† I‚Äôll¬† never¬† learn¬† my¬† lesson.‚ÄĚ

I’m a mixture of excitement and nerves to find out the response to this serial as it’s something I haven’t done before. But, you know what? No great accomplishment was achieved without a little risk taking. So I’m diving in head first. It’s also the closest I’ve come to writing a crime/mystery type of book within the boundaries of paranormal/supernatural goodness. Of course. What’s a little crime solving without a hunky wolf? So be on the lookout for cover reveals/blurbs etc in the next couple of weeks. Yay!

As always there’s many brilliantly talented authors participating on the hop, so be sure to check them out. And GIVEAWAYS! So here’s what’s what this month:

Heather Hildenbrand has a custom Dirty Blood Mug up for grabs! Enter here.
Bethany Lopez has 8 weeks up for grabs on goodreads. Enter here.

Also it’s an exciting month for book releases!
Today, Heather Hildenbrand’s Broken Blood, book 5 in the Dirty Blood series comes out!
Steph Nuss is releasing Pleasured By You on March 20th.
Kayla Smith is releasing The Sacrifice on March 31st.

Congratulations, ladies!

Amanda Aksel 
Heather Hildenbrand
Bethany Lopez
Steph Nuss
Kayla Smith
S. C. Ellington
Felicia Tatum