Justine who? Yeah, I’ve forgotten too. . .

6 months of the year already over and I’m feeling even more detached from this beautiful book world. When I took on my Master’s Degree last October I had no idea how much it would consume every aspect of my life, I thought I was the Queen of multi-tasking and organisation. And even though I haven’t stopped writing, I haven’t necessarily been able to write the projects I’ve got lined up for my author biz. I know, it seems daft. My inner monologue goes something like this. . . “How can you write all these words and still not have anything ready to publish?!” I’ve even driven myself insane by imposing deadlines on my work and having to push them back All. The. Time. because just when I think I have a handle on all the work. . . BAM! New pile. More deadlines to crunch. But I’m LOVING this degree. My mind is pop-pop-popping with brand new ideas and information.

Back at the beginning of the year, I said I’d do a vlog answering all of your burning questions, and funnily enough you all seemed to have the same two questions, so I’m going to quickly sum them up here.
1. Where the hell have I been?
2. What’s next dammit?!

Amongst the really hard work, I recently ventured out and did something I’ve wanted to do since I was little.
I drove a Ferrari.
AND AN ASTON MARTIN…
Around a race track! Undoubtedly, it was the BEST day ever! I had the widest, cheesiest grin on my face all day, and was so focused on pushing the cars around the bends Top Gear-style I completely forgot I had a camera pointed at me the entire time. There’s video evidence, but for now I’ll stick to a couple of photos.

 

And this past weekend I headed over to Swansea Bay for the annual Wales Airshow which I absolutely enjoy every year, especially now that I have my Canon EOS to play around with. Can’t go wrong with an Airshow on the beach in the sunshine.

 

As for what’s next from me, that’s more of a tricky question. For more than a year I’ve had several projects on the go, some closer to finishing than others. You might recall me mentioning a holiday-themed Nature’s Destiny short story book – I can tell you that I have every intention of releasing that during the remaining months of the year. I’m really close to the end. SO CLOSE. It’s like saying goodbye to Luna and Riley all over again. (That’s probably why it’s taking me so long to complete, I can’t say bye-bye again.)

Finally, the biggest news I have to share is that I’ll be attending Chapter Con 2017 at the end of August (25th-26th) in Teddington, London. What does that mean? During this two-day event I’ll be talking on one of the five panels set up, whilst also having a table with my books to sell and swag to give away with a ton of other awesome authors from around the globe. Come meet me, ask me anything, take some selfies. For some more in-depth information, click here.

 

Tickets are available here with many different options. Friday only. Saturday only. Both days including the evening ball. Whatever takes your fancy and budget.

This is the first indie book conference of its kind in the UK, adopted from Nashville’s UtopiaCon which has now, sadly, ended its annual event. But, as one page ends, a new chapter begins. And I’m ridiculously excited to meet you and talk about the things we love most. BOOKS!

To spread the love for this event, I’m giving away 3 tickets to the Saturday Signing (26th August – either morning or afternoon). To enter, head here to the rafflecopter giveaway.

 

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 😉 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. *

“It’s  all  my  fault.”  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. 

“You’re  gone,  and  it’s  all  my  fault.”  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.

“I  tried,  Lara.  I  tried  so  fucking  hard  to  get  to  you!”

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  – Check  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!

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

“Oh,  you  mean  to  save  me  from  the  wound  I  incurred  by  saving  you?”  I  counter  balanced,  batting  my  eyes.

“So,  chivalrous  one  minute,  and  pervert  the  next?”

“I  like  to  think  I’m  well  rounded.”  I  stood,  wobbling  ever  so  slightly  as  I  fought  to  find  my  balance.  “I’m  okay,”  I  said  as  she  hurried  to  hold  onto  me,  wrapping  my  arm  around  her  shoulders.  “Just  watch  out  for  the  trip  wire  next  time,”  I  joked.

“It’s  all  your  fault  anyway.  You  distract  me  too  much,”  she  berated,  heading  into  the  apartment.

I  shook  my  head.  “Says  the  woman  walking  around  half  naked.”    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 – YA
Amanda Aksel – Women’s Fiction
Felicia Tatum – NA Fantasy
Kayla Smith – YA
Steph Nuss – Contemporary Romance