Read an Ebook Week 2016

From today until March 13 at midnight, Smashwords are holding a ginormous sale to encourage reading. Which is fantastic! Check out their site and fill your e-reader up!

For the first time since its release, Wicked Sunshine my romantic comedy novel is enlisted in the sale at 50% off. Half price. Instead of $4 get it for $2. All you have to do is follow this link, add Wicked Sunshine to your basket, and make sure you input the code RAE50 when you go through checkout for your discount.
Simples.

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Nature’s Destiny and Alpha Wanted:Part 1 are both FREE too!

Bargains, bargains everywhere!

Alpha Wanted 1 OTHER SITES  Nature's Destiny

P.S. I’m working hard behind the scenes. Stay tuned for some announcements soon – keep up to date with me on facebook and Instagram. Pretty pictures are coming. . .

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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!

 

Self-Publishing; Why?

It’s  been  a  while  since  I’ve  posted  anything  of  worth  lately,  but  a  topic  came  to  mind  today  that  I  couldn’t  stop  thinking  about,  and  the  question,  simply  put,  is  why?

Why  did  I  choose  to  self-publish?

My  honest  answer  is  this;  I  didn’t  even  think  of  publishing  any  other  way.

Let  me  explain  a  little,  it  wasn’t  that  I  didn’t  know  about  other  opportunities  but  it  was  more  to  do  with  the  fact  that  I  knew  self-publishing  was  the  way  for  me.  It  was  only  a  year  ago  when  I  read  my  very  first  indie-published  book.  I’d  fallen  prejudice  to  the  stigma  that  self-publishing  imposed,  but  I’d  used  the  funds  I’d  set  aside  for  my  reading  addiction  that  month on  brand  new,  traditionally  published  novels.  It  was  gone,  but  my  cravings  for  a  new  fix  wasn’t.  I  had  to  ‘buy’  a  free  book  in  order  to  sedate  my  obsession,  and  what  better  way  was  there  than  searching  the  kindle  database  on  Amazon.  I was  fixated  by  the  plethora  of  books  I  could  read  for  minimum  cost.  Once  I  started,  I  couldn’t  stop.  The  very  first  book  I  read  squashed  every  perception  I’d  encountered.  It  was  good,  brilliant  even,  and  I  dare  say  a  darn  sight  better  than  some  traditionally  published  titles  I’d  read.

Shockingly  so,  I’ve  read  more  books  in  the  past  year  thanks  to  many  talented  indie  authors,  than  I  have  my  entire  life  with  traditionally  published  books.  I  will  admit  this  has  mostly  been  due  to  the  cost;  it’s  quite  expensive  to  keep  a  hunger  for  reading  well-fed.

Self-published  books  opened  a  window  I  didn’t  know  I was  seeking.

Here’s  the  blatant  truth;  I  didn’t  even  query  my  debut  novel,  Nature’s  Destiny,  to  any  publishing  houses  or  agents.  It  wasn’t  because  I  didn’t  think  I  was  good  enough,  or  that  I  was  too  scared,  but  because  it  wasn’t  what  I  wanted.  Some  might  say  I  was  foolish  for  not  even  considering  it,  to  not  seek  some  professional  feedback  from  the  people  in  the  know.  Others  might  think  I’ve  shot  myself  in  the  foot  by  not  thinking  of  the  exposure  I  could  have  had  if  by  some  crazy  reasoning  a  publisher  had  chosen  me.  Besides  the many  ifs,  I  still  stand  by  my  decision.

Why?  Because  I  like  the  freedom.

I  like  to  write  whatever  I  fancy  at  the  time  and  not  have  to  worry  if  it  conforms  with  a  publishing  house’s  guidelines.  I  like  to  work  hard  on  what  I  love  most  and  see  the  rewards  afterwards  knowing  I  did  it  by  myself.  More  importantly,  I  like  to  be  challenged,  and  self-publishing  has  been  just  that.  I’m  a  sucker  for  control.  I  love  finding  my  own  cover  designer  to  work  with,  and  having  the  final  decision  on  everything.  It’s  my  book  after  all.  Mostly,  I  like  knowing  that  if  anything  did  go  wrong,  I’m  the  only  one  to  blame.  It’s  down  to  me  to  create  as  much  exposure  as  I  can,  and  that’s  a  risk  I’m  willing  to  take.

There’s  a  certain  phrase  that’s  been  on  my mind  a  lot  lately,  and  I  heard  it  from  one  of  the  many  talented  indie  authors  I’m  always  aspiring  towards.  She  wisely  says,  ‘Be  a  Collaborator,  and  not a  Competitor.’  For  me,  that  explains  the  community  of  indie  authors.  We’re  always  striving  to  help  each  other  out,  to  Pay  It  Forward.  Why  wouldn’t  I  want  to  be  a  part  of  that  too?

There’s  nothing  easy  about  self-publishing,  and  it  really  isn’t  the  easy  way  out  or  the  last  resort.  It   was  my  first  resort,  and  I’m  so  happy  it  was.

It  wasn’t  until  I  clicked  ‘publish’  that  I  truly  began  to  feel  scared.  I’d  left  myself  open  for  criticism  on a  public  platform,  and  there  was  no  going  back  now.  When  I   wrote,  I  didn’t  have  the  time  to  think  of  that,  I  didn’t  make  time  for   it.  I  had  to  be  brave,  I  had  to  think  positively  that  it  wouldn’t  go  any  other  way  than  forward.  I  was  optimistic,  because  positive  thinking  had  a  greater  chance  at  a  positive  outcome.

There  are  days  I  question  whether  I  should’ve  taken  longer  on  my  novel,  comparing  myself  with  other  authors.  I  even  stop  in  the  middle  of  writing  and  think,  ‘Oh  God,  what  have  I  gotten  myself  into!’  And,  I  wonder  if  choosing  to  go  it  alone  was  really  smart.

The  reality  is  this;  I’m  an  individual,  I’m  different.  This  is  what  works  for  me,  whether  you  think  it’s  right  or  wrong.  My  magic  ingredient  will  be  different  to  yours,  but  the  spell  remains  the  same;  exposure,  readers,  connections,  relationships.

It’s  a  fabulous  journey.

Courage  is  resistance  to  fear,  mastery  of  fear  – not  absence  of  fear
–  Mark  Twain


 

Disclaimer:  This  post  is  about  my  journey  through  self-publishing,  I  have  absolutely  no  issue  against  traditional  publishing  or  any  other   form  for  that  matter.

Reflect And Renew Resolutions

2013  was  the  year  I  vowed  was  for  me,  not  because  I  depended  upon  luck,  but  because  I  promised  myself  to  make  things  better. I  was  stuck  in  the  shadows  of  my  past  as  they  tore  away  at  me  day  by  day.  I  was  becoming  hollow,  a  mere  figment  of  the  person  I  once  was.

I  wasn’t  the  type  to  create  resolutions  year  upon  year  that  I  already  knew  I  wouldn’t  keep.  Determination  couldn’t  succeed  if  belief  and  willpower  wasn’t  behind  it.  Why  set  yourself  up  for  a  fall?

I  didn’t.  I  succeeded because  I  believed  in  myself  to  not  give  up,  not  this  time.  Being  ambitious  and  determined  didn’t  make  me  naive,  it  made  me  dangerous.

A  person  with  a  dream  and  a  goal  was  far  more  likely  to  succeed  than  somebody  who  didn’t.

Who  was  the  fool  now?

Like  a  Phoenix  I  rose  from  the  ashes  of  my  buried  past,  and  made  the  year  better.

I  hadn’t  set  out   to  write  my  debut  novel  this  year,  but  like  a  sequence  of  events  everything  clicked  together.  The  pattern  that  formed  soon  after  was  what  led  me  here.  The  secret?

Reading.  Never  underestimate  the  power  of  a  good  book.  It  led  me  to  write  mine, to  create  this  blog,  and  most  importantly  to  connect  with  others  in  the  wonderful  writing  community.

While  they  may  not  be  resolutions,  I  do  have  a  plan  for  the  writing  year  ahead:

  • January  1st  will  be  the  day  I  begin  writing  the  sequel  to  my  novel  Nature’s  Destiny.  I’m  super  excited  about  extending  the  journey  that  begins  in  my  debut,  and  I  cannot  wait  to  expand  on  the  ideas  I’ve  had  rolling  around  my  mind  for  the  past  few months.
  • Nature’s  Destiny  will  be  published.  I’m  nearing  the  end  of  my  editing  process,  and  will  soon  be  depending  on my  beta  readers. 

While  I  cannot  promise  to  know  exactly  what  will  happen  in  the  long-term  future,  I  do  know  that  I’ll  make  the  most  of  it.  Why?  Because  being  optimistic  has  given  me  the  better  outlook  on  life.  The  time  I  wasted  trapped  in  the  past  changed  my  perception.  The  clock  continues  to  tick  whether  I  want  it  to  or  not,  only  now  there  isn’t  a  minute  I  want  to  waste.

Writing  has  become  the  essence  of  my  being,  and  I’ll  make  sure  it  has  a  place  in  my  future.

2013  was  my  year.  Will  2014  be  yours?