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

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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.

HOSTED BY:

Binge Reading On A Reality Funk

When  I’m  not  in  the  throes  of  bashing  out  a  first  draft,  my  Sundays  are  often  spent  reading.  And  for  the  past  few  weeks  that’s  what  I’ve  been  doing,  all  because  I  fell  in  love  with  Cambria  Hebert’s  Hashtag  Series.  After  reading  all  four  of  those  books  in  just as  many  days,  I’ve  been  left  with  an  American  football  player-sized hole  in  my  heart.  Nothing  else  I  read  is  filling  that  gap  while  I  wait  for  the  fifth  book  to  be  released  later  this  month.  (YAY)  You  see,  I’ve  been  spoiled.  How  was  I  to  know  when  I  first  picked  up  #Nerd  that  I’d  fall  in  deep  down  the  fictional  tunnel?  The  characters  captivated  my  attention  so  badly  that  even  after  a  couple  of  weeks  I’m  still  not  ready  to  let  that  piece  of  me  go.  I’m  being  held  hostage.

I’m  positive  all  book  lovers  know  what  I’m  talking  about.  It’s  that  complete  euphoria  of  fulfillment  at  having  discovered  a  new  treasure.  We’re  all  literary  pirates  –  our  eyes  gleam  in  reflection  of  the  gold  sitting  pretty  in  our  hands.  Those  beautiful  covers  are  the  visual  enticement  to  our  addiction.  They  beg  to  be  read.

Writers  are  readers  whose  love  for  words  never  stop  at  the  last  page.  The  story  might  be  finished  but  the  writer  isn’t  done.  I’m  constantly  waking  up  with  complex  sentences  formulating  paragraphs  rolling  around  my  mind,  desperate  to  create  awe-inspiring  moments  for  like-minded  readers.  And  all  that  lexis  comes  from  somewhere.

Books.

To  learn.  To  nourish.  To  satisfy.

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I’m  stuck  in  a  reading  binge  funk.  I  have  plenty  of  books  lined  up,  but  nothing’s  grabbing  my  attention.  I  have  to  be  in  the  right  mood  for  a  particular  genre.  Right  now,  I’m  stuck  in  New  Adult  land.  You  see,  it’s  that  hole  in  my  heart  that  needs  patching  up  with  new  words.  I  need  a  new  set  of  friends  while  my  others  are  on  hiatus.

So  here’s  what  I  want  to  know  from  you.  What  are  you  currently  reading?  What  genre  is  it?  And  what’s  your  absolute  favourite  book?  The  one  that  made  you  fall  in  love  with  reading. I  know  it’s  a  tough  question.  I  don’t  even  know  if  I  have  one  myself.


Announcement:  The  winners  of  Alpha  Wanted:  The  Complete  Serial  paperback  have  been  chosen.

CONGRATULATIONS  to  Cindy  of  Indy  Book  Fairy  and  Myra  of  MsMe28!

 

The Vlog Has Arrived! (Finally)

Happy  Monday!  And,  for  a  change,  what  a  happy  Monday  it  is!  Why?  Because  I’ve  finally  created  the  Q&A  vlog  I  said  I’d  do  months  ago.  So,  without  further  ado,  I  give  you  my  face,  and  voice…  Enjoy! On  a  sidenote,  forgive  the  noisy  interruptions,  no  matter  how  many  times  I  did  the  video  something  always  came  up.  Ah,  such  is  life.  😉