Storytelling Forms: For or Against?

Bibliobibuli
(n) Those who read too much
Coined by H.L. Menken in 1957: There are people who read too much, bibliobibuli. I know some who are constantly drunk on books, as other men are drunk on whiskey or religion. They wander through this most diverting and stimulating of worlds in a haze, seeing nothing and hearing nothing.

As readers we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to genres, and now with the revolution of eBooks, we’re privy to all sorts of forms at the push of a button. Whether it’s the short story, novella, full-length novel, or even series and serials. There’s an ideal book to match the mood and time you have.

The beauty of writing is that there’s no limitation on imagination. So why should storytelling be subjected to something as constrictive as word count?

As a writer, I let my characters dictate how much they have to say, it’s their journey not mine. Because of this, I’ve written a series of full-length novels, a 3-part serial and even a bunch of short stories that come together with the same theme. I’ve recently been polishing a novella I’m submitting for my Master’s degree, and come next week, I’m going to be starting on the longest novel I’ll have written to date.

It’s all incredibly exciting because there’s so much room for creativity. If I bound myself with the ties of a mundane routine, sticking to the same style, form, genre, even the type of hero/heroine, there’d be no joy and life in what I write. The characters would be as dead as I’d feel. And you, the reader, would be throwing the trash back at me for wasting your time.

I know that there’s a lot of controversy when it comes to the length of a book. Some people love the episodic serials, they’re great for commuters with limited spare time, or for those that like to consume its entirety before bed. Others complain they’re not getting their money’s worth, but in this age of eBooks the pricing has no limit. And it’s all relative. How do you base the amount you’re willing to pay for an eBook? Is it on length? Quality? The author? Would you consider the daily cup of coffee you buy from the local chain-store is worth more than the story you pondered purchasing?

I love to read. And like my characters, I don’t confine myself to just the one genre, form, and size. Having the choice is what makes it enjoyable. Do you agree? Or would you rather we took a step back and stuck to more traditional rules?

You can make anything by writing.
– C.S. Lewis

 

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Readers: What’s Hot & What’s Not?

Happy New Year! 

I know, it feels strange reading that in the middle of January, doesn’t it? This time of year comes with a clean slate and a list of good intentions – honestly, how many of you have deviated already?

I, myself, have big plans for the year ahead. Lots of publishing is on the horizon – I currently have 4 projects on the go. Doesn’t that show how indecisive I’ve been lately? But, I just want to. . .

WRITE ALL THE THINGS!!

For now, I’m interested in hearing your opinions on this big wide world of words. What genre book are you currently addicted to? What or who’s making you 1-click immediately? And what are you absolutely fed up of seeing?

I’ve been on a crime fiction binge for months now, devouring between 1-2 a week – my purse can’t keep up with my voracious hunger for the written text. I’m also slowly getting back into the groove of fantasy/paranormal. Do you have any recommendations for me?

Last year we saw the rise in step-brother romances, pushing the boundaries of taboo subjects. This year I believe we’re going to be seeing more cross-genre fiction – bleeding the lines between categories even more. What do you think is going to be this year’s biggest trend?

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.

 

Happy New Year

justine-winter2

I do desire we may be better strangers.
William Shakespeare

Happy New Year, Wolves!
I know, doesn’t that seem strange reading those words so late in January? But I’m sure you’ve noticed a considerable amount of silent treatment on my end the last few months. Sometimes, life has a funny way of creeping up and consuming you. Even in my absence I didn’t stop thinking of you, and I’ve been writing. I’m constantly writing, it’s just not what I always want to write. I’m looking at you, Uni assignments. However, my intentions and goals for this year are pretty humongous – both personal and professional.So, why am I quoting Shakespeare today? Well, it’s pretty simple. I’m well overdue a new Vlog – that’s a video blog btw, you know, in case you’re not down with the kids. (I can hear my younger self tutting and shaking her head in disapproval at that. When did I get old? Scratch that question, I don’t think I’d like the answer, it’ll probably have something to do with grey hairs. Yes, I have them. A LOT OF THEM. Gone are the days of snipping one or two. Anyway, I’ve digressed…)

The last time I created a video I’d only just started out in this Author ShowBiz back in 2014. Everything was all new back then! If you haven’t seen it, please cringe along with me here. But now, I’m ready to dive back into the swing of things, and that means keeping in touch with you about words I’m finally going to publish this year. Want to know more? Then ask me. That’s right. I want to know what you want to know from me – sorry, this isn’t supposed to be some riddle you have to solve before you get the prize. Basically, I’m going to answer all your questions in a video. Whether they’re about my books, what I’m working on, what I’m currently doing with my weird life or even who my favourite superhero is. Actually, no, please don’t ask me that. I don’t have an answer! What I’m suggesting is you have carte blanche. Go crazy! All you have to do is comment below with your question. And what’s more, one lucky inquisitor will win a mystery prize. Game on?

Let’s do this!
Speak soon,
Alpha J – XO

Good News & Giveaways

The Bank Holiday weekend is here!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a pretty darn epic week. Good news hit me on Monday and I’ve been surfing the happy wave since then. Last month I applied to do a MA in Creative Writing due to start this October. I know, several people do the same thing every year. So why is this such a big deal for me? I don’t have a bachelor’s degree. But why should that stop me, right?
The optimist in me hoped every day that I’d get an acceptance letter through the post, but the realist side of my brain knew my chances were slim despite my self-publishing experience. BUT. . .

I GOT IN!

So please join me in celebrating by entering for a chance to win a handmade Nature’s Destiny inspired bookmark. I’ve recently rewritten the first book of Luna and Riley’s series, and you can still get it for FREE if you haven’t already. Otherwise, just update the version on your device.

More news to come from this and the release of ALL 4 PAPERBACKS in the series soon! Can I get a woop woop?

IMG_3346Here’s what you need to know to enter this giveaway. Follow this rafflecopter link and instructions will await you there. You can even enter every day to increase your chances of success! And, as always, my giveaway is open internationally!

Good luck!

P.S. I made this bad boy! 😉

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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?

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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