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.

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.  😉

Blogging Vs Vlogging

Happy  Sunday,  Everybody!

Today,  I  have  an  exciting  proposal  to  make  that  I  hope  sounds  just  as  fun  for  you  as  it  is  for  me.  I’ve  been  wanting  to  try  something  different  other  than  blogging  for  a  while  now,  and  I  think  I’ve  decided  on  an  idea.  I  absolutely  love  blogging  and  there’s no  way  I’ll  be  stopping  anytime  soon.  But  wouldn’t  it  be  cool  if  I  came  to  you  on  another  awesome  platform,  too?

What  is  this  awesome  idea  I  have  rattling  around  my  mind?  Well,  I’ll  tell  you . . .

YouTube  Videos,  otherwise  known  as  Vlogging.

And  because  you  guys  are  the  whole  reason  I’m  doing  this,  the  first  video  is  basically  a  Q&A  with  me.  You  can  ask  me  anything  about  the  books  or  even  what’s  to  come  in  the  series/new  ideas,  my  writing,  me.  ANYTHING.  All  you  have  to  do  is  e-mail (justinewinter@hotmail.co.uk)  your  question,   leave  a  comment  on  this  post  or  ask  me  on  twitter/facebook,  and  I’ll  make  sure  to  include  it  in  the  video.

I’m  so  excited  about  this  new  venture  that  I’m  offering  up  a  giveaway,  too.  Everyone  that  asks  a  question  will  have  their  name  entered  to  win  an  eBook  copy  of  Nature’s  Destiny  and  Sapphire’s Divinity  through  Smashwords (you can choose which format you prefer then).  Phew!  I’ll  announce  the  winner  on  the  vlog.

The  video  will  be  posted  in  the  next  couple  of  weeks,  so  until  then  I  hope  you  have  a  great  week!

Battling With A Poisonous Mind

I  pounded  my  head  against  the  desk  again,  frustrated  at  my  lack  of  creativity.  The  word  document  open  on  my  white  laptop  held  the  same  sentence  I’d  deleted,  rewritten,  and  deleted  again  before  deciding  it  was  actually  decent  enough  to  keep.  #Irritating

I  closed  the  document,  and  clicked  on  the  internet  icon  knowing  exactly  where  I  was  heading  –  Social  Media.  Twitter,  Facebook,  an  update  on  the  blogosphere,  anything  was  better  than  having   to  scrunch  my  brain  into  writing  something  worthwhile.

Between  self-doubt  and  procrastination  feeding  each  other,  I  wasn’t  getting  very  far.  The  blank  wall  always  seemed  infinitely  more  interesting  than  any  drivel  I  was  sure  to  waffle  on  about.

Writing  as  a  craft  was  exciting,  exhilarating,  stupefying  and  damn  terrifying.  I  was  alone  in  my  pursuit  to  create   a  masterpiece,  saving  all  comments  for  when  my  manuscript  was  perfectly  polished  to  my  satisfaction.  Only  then  could  I  really  appreciate  the  feedback.  That  was  until  the  seeds  of  doubt  grew  into  a  mighty  tree,  and  the  evil  demon  sitting  on  my  shoulder  grew  into  the  devil.

Do  you  ever  feel  like  your  head  has  turned  into  a  jumbled  mess?

I’d  read  articles  online  in  an  attempt  to  ease  the  warring  conflict  of  what  I  thought  was  right  and  wrong.  Trying  to  find  the  answer  to  my  harmony.  Was  I  good  enough?

My  already  gooey  brain  turned  into  an  even  bigger  slush  pile,  as  the  articles  contradicted  one  another.  What  was  I  supposed  to  believe  now?  I  liked  logistics,  and  I  liked  rules,  but  when  they  clashed  it  left  me  with  a  headache,  and  an  uneasy  stomach.

Advice.  That’s  what  I  needed.  The  best  I  ever  got  was  to  forget  about  the  rules  and  just  write.  I   soaked  up  information  like  a  sponge,  and  what  I  thought  was  the  right  way  to  do  something,  wasn’t  the  right  way  for  me.  I  flexed  out  my  fingers  like  a  pianist,  and  bashed  away  at  the  keyboard.  Something  was  better  than  nothing.

The   key  role  to  writing  was  that  it  was  personal.  My  way  wasn’t  your  way,  but  I’d  still  get  there  in  the  end.  And  wasn’t  that  the  point?  To  share  our  passions  with  readers?

Writing  was  as  solitary  as   I  made  it,  but  I  wasn’t  alone.  Not  really.  I  couldn’t  expect  my  writing  to  be  perfect,  when  I  wasn’t  a  perfect  human.  I  was  my  own  worst  enemy,  but  it  was  time  to  loosen  the  reins  a  little.

“Whatever  happens,  happens.  We  can’t  go  back  in  time,  and  there’s  no  point  in  guessing  what  might  happen,  it’ll  cloud  your  judgement  and  you’ll  second-guess  your  motives.  No  good  can  come  from  that.  You  need  to  believe  in  yourself  Luna.”
–  Riley,  Nature’s  Destiny,  coming  2014

Howling All Beta Readers

As  I  continue  to  edit  Nature’s  Destiny,  I  can’t  switch  my  mind  off  from  the  many  self-publishing  tasks  ahead.  Today’s  thought  of  choice  is  Beta  Readers,  and  the  irony  of  this  title  isn’t  lost  on  me.

I  have  researched and pondered  many  times  over  this  topic,  and  inevitably  questioned  whether  anyone  would  even  want  to  Beta  Read  my  novel.  It  is  such  a  trusting  nature,  to  send  off  your  pride  and  joy  to  someone  unknown,  in  the  hopes  that  they  won’t  tear  it  apart  completely.  I  know  as  a  general  rule,  that  I  won’t  please  everyone,  but  the  majority?  Yes  please!

That  means  feedback  is  the  only  way  forward.

I  have  an  awesome,  talented,  writer  buddy  whose  promised  to  read  my  novel  –  providing  I  haven’t  scared  her  off  already.  I  value  her  opinion, and  I’m  really  excited  to  hear  what  she  has  to  say  about  it.

 I’m  getting  ahead  of  myself,  because  as  I  say,  I’m  only  at  the  editing  stage  now,  but  I  like  to  be  prepared.  It’s  good  to  have  a  schedule,  right?

So  I’m  wondering,  are   there  any  other  Beta  Readers  out  there  who’d  like  to  read  my  novel  when  it’s  ready?