EPIC POST ONCE AGAIN…GET READY FOR RAW HONESTY

Has six months gone by? I’m not sure, but I have another epic post to deliver. (which normally comes every six months or so…) If you’re going to read the below, my advice is to go get a nice drink, grab your glasses, and put aside a few minutes because, I warn you…it will be another long one.

Once again, ignore typos, I don’t censor myself when I do a post like this so what you’re getting below is raw, open honesty that is meant to show all facets of writing: from the made-up confident author at signing events, to the neurotic writer hiding in her house. There is no such thing as a perfectly confident person, we all have those moments where no matter how awesome things are going or how content we are in what we’re doing, that the inevitable ‘I can’t cope and don’t want to get up in the morning’ happens.

And that’s okay.

It just means you have to be kind to yourself and have a quiet day, or slap yourself and get over it…either way…we’re not super-humans and all have different highs and lows that we can’t control—no matter how much we like to think we can.

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Right, now onto my point…

Last week, I released my 10th book. This is where I say, it’s my favourite book ever, or the best book in the series, and talk up my creation. After all, it’s MY creation. Something I’ve slaved over for hours a day, gave up my time to the characters, and invested myself in a world that no one else can see.

However, I’m not going to do that.

I’m going to be HONEST. I can’t talk for all authors but I can talk for me…and when I’m talking about my work, or signing books for readers at events, or even replying to wonderful messages, I always feel a little uncomfortable.

Why?

Because I KNOW they aren’t perfect. I know you’re supposed to love your work as if it was your own child, because there truly is a part of me that goes into every creation—just like childbirth (only nowhere near as messy or painful) (then again, the cursing and sometimes frustrated tears can get a bit ugly.) Instead, I actually grow to dislike my books. By the end of writing, re-reading, beta-implementing, critique-fixing, and editing, I see so many faults and flaws that I feel like an imposter when someone says they loved it, or grants me a glowing review. It’s only through THAT (the OMG I loved it) feedback that I can take a step back and try and see it through their eyes and think…yes, it’s not THAT bad, it’s readable, so now I shall relax a little and claim ownership of this mess of a tale.

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Does that surprise you?

To hear that as an author, I cringe when I release, wondering if others will see the faults that I do? Should I lie and say I love every book I’ve ever written, every chapter, every character? Should I admit that after numerous trusted critiques and edits, I never feel the book is good enough? Should I keep secret that even after ten books, I feel as if I’m playing dress-up and still don’t know what I’m doing, nor deserve the incredible support that I’ve been given?

Maybe I should.

Maybe that’s what people expect. Maybe the only acceptable response is ‘Yes, I deserve this and I know what I’m doing.’ Just like seeing my books on the shelf for the first time in Barnes & Noble and Target should’ve been an awe-inspiring moment rather than a ‘holy crap, why ME? Why am I on that shelf and not so many other incredible authors? What makes my fumbling around worthy enough that people forget that I’m an imposter, just rocking in her corner after every release? Perhaps it’s because if the author doesn’t 100% LOVE ADORE and OBSESS over her own work, then how can others be expected to love it? Good question, and one that I don’t have an answer to.

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All I can say is, YES I wish I believed in myself a little more, but at the end of the day, I’m GLAD I worry over every release and generally have a reservation on all my work.

Why?

Because it keeps me HUMBLE. My ego isn’t on a pedestal; I don’t believe I’m the greatest thing since salami, and I certainly don’t believe that my work is some award winning, bestest written stories ever invented.

In fact, I think the opposite. I’m a mess when it comes to publishing, second guessing myself, over analysing things, and getting upset with how I SHOULD have done it…even though I’d worked my ass off on every plot. I still don’t feel like I deserve the amazing readers, support, and incredible life I’ve been given…all because I’m still learning, still growing. I doubt I’ll ever feel completely worthy, and you know what? I’m GLAD. Because I think once you take this for granted, once you cock your chin and say with oozing confidence that ‘yes, my book made the New York Times because it deserved to be there’ then you’re no longer learning or growing. You’re COMPLETE and there is so much more I want to evolve into.

Whenever my books are lucky enough to hit lists and accolades, I want to shout from the hills that I’m so blown away and awed and okay, slightly proud–but the voice inside me is going….’but it’s not perfect, it’s not perfect, it’s not PERFECT.’ I can’t tell you the strange mixture of pride and embarrassment I get every time a book does well. It’s like this odd cocktail of happiness and disbelief and cringy fear that it was all a mistake.

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Why am I telling you this?

It’s to explain how I feel when I see a discussion over my work, or a bad review, or a snide comment.

Does it hurt?

Of course, it does. I’ve put in a lot of time and commitment into this. It’s like someone coming into your house and going…’you missed a bit when you dusted. The house is FILTHY’ Even though you spent all morning cleaning, have blisters on your fingers, and really there is only a speck that you missed. It makes you see every figment filth EVERYWHERE and you go off into a tailspin cleaning things that don’t need to be re-cleaned. (exact thing with writing…if I could, I’d unpublish all my work, ‘re-clean’ and fix the specks before ever being confident enough to re-release.)

Everyone has their insecurities and mine is trying to please everyone. And no matter HOW MANY TIMES I remind myself that that just isn’t practical…it’s still a compulsion when trying to create a story for everyone. However, I also VALUE their opinions because nine times out of ten, I’m thinking the EXACT same thing. I’m rolling my eyes at certain things, and hating particular elements. And I’m not afraid to say that some of my books are better than others. That some I’m proud of and others…I’m not. And that’s okay, too.

I don’t know how better to explain it but I’m my own worst critic. No matter what thoughts you’ve had over my work, chances are I’ve already thought it, hated on my work, tried to fix it, and then got brow-beaten by my characters to leave it alone. I want everyone to know that your opinions are respected and encouraged. I have nothing against honesty because at the end of the day….NOTHING is set in stone because we all view things differently. It’s the deliverance and maturity that makes a difference—after all, there is nothing better than making your brain work than a good ole debate.

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Right, back to my point….when I see a thread henpecking my work or tearing apart a fact, or plot, or character’s decision, two things happen. One, I immediately shut down. It’s not something I can help. I’ve always been that way. Call it a safety mechanism but if something emotionally hurts me, this gate slams up and I block it all out. It’s handy that little switch but it’s also is hard to flip back to happy again—even if I know it’s meant without malice, it does take me an hour or two to stop glaring at my ‘dirty house’ and just nod and accept rather than desperately try to fix the issues they’ve raised. The second thing that happens is, I AGREE WITH THEM.

Are you shocked?

You shouldn’t be after what I just explained above. Every fact, every plot, every character, dialogue, description, location, travesty, sex scene, make up scene, and growth that the books unravel is NEVER GOOD ENOUGH.

I agree that there are plot holes.

I agree that there are areas that are entirely fictional.

I agree that some parts could be trimmed and others could be elaborated and others could be cut entirely.

I agree that I have a typo here and there and I agree that it’s NOT PERFECT.

Because nothing and no-one EVER IS.

And that’s the best thing about books. Every reader has their own imagination and every author has their own creativity. The joy about writing is we can twist anything we want to create a fictional world. Fact checking and historical accuracy isn’t something I put first. I put the STORY first. I put EMOTION first. I’ll research and ensure I find enough plausible evidence to support my idea, but at the end of the day, I go where the characters tell me to go. If something doesn’t seem realistic in YOUR world, then that’s fine because it does in mine. That’s not to say that I DON’T AGREE that it isn’t realistic. I’m not claiming to be a historian or a doctor or a legal counsel, I’m a writer who has the freedom to take something and twist it into something else. If I make you FEEL and ENTERTAIN you for a few short hours, then that’s all I care about.

However, every book I release, the facts and basic world building are the things I worry most about, mainly because I know some won’t enjoy if it doesn’t fit into what they conceive as gospel or true. Which I GET and UNDERSTAND and like I said…AGREE with. HOWEVER, (and yes, there is always a caveat) what movie, book, comic, tale, or fable is ever entirely CORRECT? Even in contemporary romance (stories that are supposed to be based entirely on real life ask you to suspend believe.) How? Easy….

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Have you ever read a book where the heroine has sex a few days after giving birth to the most darling baby ever and been OVER THE MOON? Yes. The reality: Post Natal Depression is a very common thing, let’s face it…babies are hard work, and the chances of her wanting to jump her husband a day or so after pushing out a child…not likely. The recommended ‘medical’ time frame is 6-8 weeks before she’ll feel REMOTELY like having sex.

Have you ever read a book where the hero is SO messed up from an abusive parent or trauma that he goes on a killing rampage and does horrible things, only to be redeemed because he can be ‘changed’? Yes. The reality: He’d end up in prison, or running from the law and NO woman would ever go…aw, he just needs love to know he doesn’t have to be angry with the world.

Have you ever read a book where someone went to the movies to see a show and it stated it was a new release, but you happen to know that movie didn’t come out for another two years? Yes. Did it matter in the overall story? Maybe…depends how much it bothered you, I guess.

The point is…every one of those is a TINY error, but an error nevertheless. To some it can be overlooked and others it will drive them mad. And that’s OKAY. We’re all different and I RESPECT everyone’s opinion. In fact, like I said…I agree with them. So much so, I’ll even pull apart my own books:

Would Tess have had the inner strength to overcome what happened to her in Tears of Tess and Quintessentially Q without any serious emotional scars? Probably not. I know I could never do that. Some people could…but the reality would be we’d all be f**ked…even with Q helping out.

Could Roan Fox ever really have had a relationship when he’d been so conditioned by a past of hatred and maiming? Definitely not. Don’t be silly.

Could the memory loss work really happen in Ruin & Rule as I wrote it….probably not. But then again…who knows with the human brain? Miracles happen and can’t be explained. Wondrous things occur all the time with no rhyme or reason…so yes…anything (fictional or real is possible) And another thing to mention….Ruin & Rule was released by a publisher, NOT self-published. Grand Central have highly trained editors, fact checkers, and professional helpers when creating the book for sale. I went into the contract with the publisher expecting to be ripped into pieces in my edits. I honestly was terrified to open the email when the edits came back…but know what happened?

Nothing.

The edits were kind and supportive (with a few tweaks, of course) but the overall story was left alone. Even though the girl was young in the flashbacks. Even though the love story had a lot of challenges that wouldn’t happen in any real world…they TRUSTED me (a huge publisher with many titles and authors in their stable) trusted me to tell MY story because at the end of the day…that’s all it was…a story. A love story. That’s all.

My last example is: Could the Indebted Series ever exist if I didn’t take a little bit of this world, a little bit of that world, and a whole lot of inspiration from characters?

No.

It wouldn’t.

Fair and simple.

The entire concept is based on suspending belief and just enjoying the ride. No one would ever be indebted. No one would ever get away with that. However, the story isn’t about debts or family feuds, it’s about MONEY and POWER and GREED and the fact that YES, all of that DOES HAPPEN. It’s happening as we speak all around us. The government blinds us, the companies we trust lie to us, and ultimately those 1% who own the world’s wealth have carte le blanche to do as they like, whenever, wherever, and to whoever they want…no questions asked. Because money buys silence, loyalty, fear….it RULES the world. No other explanation. And that’s what the Indebted Series is about.

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Right, I’m getting to the end of my epic post so you can get ready to swig your drink and go back to whatever you were doing before I stole you away.

It’s no secret that I’m a lover of chemistry and true connection between characters, soul-mates, and best friends. In fact, I blatantly admitted it in Ruin & Rule. The main character LOVES The Princess Bride. She quotes it often, and that comes entirely from me. If you ask me what my favourite movie is: It’s the Princess Bride.

Why?

BECAUSE NOTHING ABOUT THAT MOVIE IS LOGICAL, PRACTICAL, REALISTIC, OR PROBABLE BUT MAN IT’S THE BEST ROMANCE EVER.

He dies for her, he becomes a pirate for her, he never stops loving her even when she doesn’t trust in true love. THAT is what reading is for me. The escape from reality and the POWER of true love. And that’s what inspires me with EVERY book. No matter if it’s contemporary, fantasy, or plain made up.

I never said I was an author.

In fact, to this day if someone asks me what I do, I STILL say I’m self-employed rather than I’m a writer or a storyteller. I don’t know why, maybe because I still don’t feel qualified to claim that I know what I’m doing. I’m still learning, still growing, and if people ask which of my books is my favourite, I have no answer because the honest answer is I STILL HAVEN’T WRITTEN IT YET (I think I stole that from Stephen King) But it’s true, so I’m using it.

So, to those I let down by not hiring a historian, or lawyer, or other fact checker, I apologise.

To those who think I should get feedback on certain things before releasing, I apologise.

And to those who believe every book should be perfect, I apologise.

Because everything I put out will never be perfect. The characters will take me wherever they want to take me and I’ll let them because it’s the LOVE and EPICNESS that I’m chasing, not the facts. I also don’t have the luxury of taking a year to write each book, making sure every part that I mention is spent with hours of research. In today’s world people expect everything NOW and I’m no exception. I want to write my next book NOW. I want to write what Nila says to Jethro or the new characters in my head are arguing about in my new series NOW. If that means that my work isn’t flawless (not that that is ever possible with so many individuals and opinions reading it) then I’m okay with that.

As long as my legacy reads: SHE MADE ME FEEL WITH HER BOOKS then I’m happy. And will happily bow to those who point out the errors and will learn and grow from them. To those who didn’t enjoy my work for one thing or another ‘thank you’ for being respectful and discussing your dislikes where I can’t see them. Thank you for being diplomatic and keeping emotion out of it when focusing on a plot hole rather than a personal issue. And thank you for being courageous enough to speak your mind so that I can evolve as an author and also learn FROM YOU. Because there is no better way to teach each other than with kindness and discussion and interaction rather than a stuffy old library book. I don’t often do this, but if you DID have an issue with any part of my work, then a respectful email outlining the issue is more than welcome and I will see what I can do to either fix, amend, or tweak so it’s more fitting with the reality you prefer. (No promises I will though, because at the end of the day…this is MY story and I hope you’ve enjoyed it enough so far to continue the journey with me.)

For those who trust me to take you away from our slightly broken world and twist the facts a little THANK YOU. Thank you to those who debate on my behalf, and truly so sweet to support me—I love both sides of this delicate balance I live in. Love or hate my work, I’m getting a reaction which is more than I can ask for. I can’t tell you how much your messages and support mean. I know I say it often but without you saying you enjoy my work…I truly wouldn’t have any fondness for my own books because all I would see is flaws. It’s only through your enjoyment that I can see their merits.

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I hope I got my point across, even with my rambling, and hope I showed that I’m human. I see what you see. I worry over what you worry. And I also have the same issues even when I stamp my name on the book and press publish. The true point I’m making is….I’m grateful for every feedback and hope that even if you didn’t like this series or this book or this character, that you enjoy my writing enough to try another one.

And now for a shameless plug….Forbidden Flaws which will come out in a few short weeks will be based entirely in real life with no need for historians. However, if there are entertainment lawyers or any actresses around, feel free to email me and I’ll ask you to beta read so I can get my Hollywood facts straight. Same goes for my upcoming release in 2016 which I’m HIGHLY excited about and can’t WAIT to release the covers and blurb.

Thank you for reading, even if it was convoluted and I hope the honesty worked both ways. I can see your frustration with not having a book living up to your ideals and I’m eternally grateful for those who appreciate what I’m trying to do. I’m just a simple girl, tapping away on her keyboard and playing God with her make-believe worlds. I truly have the best job around, however when it’s time to come out of my imagination and invite people inside…it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But then again…you never get anything rewarding without a little pain. After all, pain comes with pleasure and pleasure comes with pain. Being a writer ensures I get equal doses daily.

Have a great night, everyone, and like I said, my email is always open. No matter how busy I get, I will always have time to respond to passionate, caring people…no matter if it’s to agree or disagree. That’s why I love what I do…because we are all DIFFERENT and that’s 100% perfect. Maybe it’s the only perfect thing in the world…all our imperfections joining into one perfection.

Never change! And have a good day. Bye!!!

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73 thoughts on “EPIC POST ONCE AGAIN…GET READY FOR RAW HONESTY

  1. What are the criteria for a good read?.enjoyable, fast paced and it keeps you turning the page till you you end up finishing the book in two days. Well, thats how it was for me with the indebted series, so i do not know what some are rambling about, lol.

    Ignore the armchair critics ms Winters, some people need to get a life.

  2. Beautifully written! While I have nowhere near as much talent as you, I truly get every word you just wrote. I write the way you do, and I feel the way you do when I’m writing, and when people leave bad reviews, and when people leave good reviews. Like you, I am fully aware of my own flaws, and I have books I’m especially proud of, and some I feel just okay about. And that thing about trying to please everyone – boy, do I know that feeling! Ultimately though, you just have to keep doing what you’re doing because it’s working out well for you. I am immensely proud of all you have achieved!

  3. This post is, indeed, EPIC. Thank you for this. THANK YOU!!! And by the way, I haven’t seen any dark romance author do it better…..YOU ROCK PEPPER WINTERS!!

  4. Nope no complaints out of me (except I need the next one NOW!) I love your books. I view what you said the same. I don’t understand why people have to make an issue out of everything. If you don’t like it, fine but don’t be mean or rude about it.

    But I am real bias when it comes to you and your books because I’m your stalker from Arkansas!!!

    Thanks again for all your honesty and letting the characters lead you!!

  5. I love all of your books! Read each series several times, not looking for mistakes, just trying to recapture that first read magic. Everything else I read is just filled, while I’m
    Waiting for the “new Pepper” to come out. I think your awesome, and compare all others in your genres to you

  6. I agree with bellaball but I’m not from Arkansas. lol I can’t say that I read your rant word for word. I did skip over a tiny bit, but I totally get what you are saying, I read because I enjoy reading. I do not pick apart every little part of the story because that is no fun! I like reading about vampires sometimes too and I loved Twilight. Do I think it can ever happen..of course not! But that did not stop me from watching it over and over. I loved the Debt Series. Of course it could never happen in real life but I still loved it…love it. I can’t wait for the final book! I dont’ read so I can pick your writing apart and call you out on your shit. Keep up the good work…and kind of hurry up with the final book please….I’m dying to find out what happens
    thank you!

  7. Oh, Pepper! I cannot agree more with this statement of yours: “THAT is what reading is for me. The escape from reality and the POWER of true love.” On those two sentences you explained exactly why I read FICTION and not nonfiction books. If I wanted to read something perfectly accurate when it comes to facts and reality, I wouldn’t call reading my escape. So I’m more than with you there, I DON’T care about my stories being perfect. I care about the emotions, the love, the intensity, and the connections in the stories and in my humble opinion, I get the best of all that from your books. You truly take me away from this real world into more amazing and exciting worlds filled with all kinds of emotions and I absolutely LOVE that because that’s exactly what I wanted to get. I know that with your books I can always count on getting a story that’s going to make me FEEL so as long as you keep doing that I couldn’t be a happier reader and care less about facts/history errors. So THANK YOU for writing and for staying humble, I personally appreciate your honesty and it makes me love you even more! I wish you always the best!! xoxo

  8. As I have said you are an amazing storyteller. I love the indebted series (especially the last one).I have read all your books and have enjoyed some more than others but the INDEBTED SERIES is your best.Keep writing PEPPER WINTERS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Pepper…you are truly an amazing amazing woman. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your books. I think the NYC signing in which a ton of people, myself included, waited hours on a line just to meet you is a true testament of what it is you have accomplished so far. And to be honest, I have YET to read a dark romance novel in which 100% of it is factual and based on something that could actually happen.

    Keep doing what you do…you have a ton of people who love you for it!

    – Katie

    Ps; can’t wait for the next Indebted book! Ahhh!

  10. Let me first say…  THANK  YOU!! Thank you for such a heart felt and clearly personal mea culpa.  Your honest assessment  of your own work is a reflection of what an amazing person you must be. (I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting you)   So many “famous” people today get so wrapped up in the “Awesomeness of ME” cult that they forget who they really are and begin to believe they are the press and comments about them.  you probably don’t even like considering yourself famous but considering I know people waited in line 3 hours to see you, you have to claim a little slice of fame.  There are so many trolls and truly sour people in this world who take great pleasure in tearing other people down, I am sort of surprised to see that you read ANY of the comments and reviews (although I imagine it’s very difficult not to). You are absolutely right that there is a healthy amount of willing suspension involved in any story we consume.  After I started to read the Indebted series, I would try to explain to my hubby what I was reading.  I was clearly having emotional (sometime physical) reactions to the story so he asked what it was about.  I gave him a primer and he made the strangest face.  He couldn’t figure out why I would be reading such a story.  (It happened with Tess too.)  Two nights later, we sat down together to watch television and I pointed out to him the hypocrisy of his reactions.  We were watching an episode of Game of Thrones.   I pointed out to him that we were watching a show that includes: rape, incest, murder, torture, extreme violence, oh yeah and giant white zombies that come out now where riding ghost horses!  I am sure somewhere there are groups of people who challenge the plots and characters of George RR Martin, but on the whole the culture (at least in the USA) has eaten his stories up ravenously. I was new to the Dark Romance genre (I don’t count 50 Shades because frankly its not very good but it did open the door) when I found Indebted and to be honest I read it because the first book was free.  A devilish tactic but clearly an effective one.    I couldn’t believe how absorbed by the story I was.  I finished the first 3 books (in 3 days) and breathlessly waited to know what would happen next.  Loving your work SOOOO much, I moved on to Tess which I admit was quite difficult to read.  Was the entire story something I would WANT to read or that I could completely relate to?  Not really.  But your writing style and character development had me hooked and now I can’t wait to read Je Suis A Toi.  (No pressure though.  I have a lot else on my list.)  Destroyed was a great book that only solidified my love for your style.  I have read a great deal of CRAP romance books now that I know they aren’t all Fabio stories, but the ones that keep me coming back take the time to let you in the characters heads, not just in their pants.  Ruin and Rule is by far my favorite book.  Even though her age in the flashbacks seemed a little young, I didn’t care because I was so invested in him believing her and the hope that they could get back together.  I don’t like wishing time to move faster, my kids are growing too quickly as it is, but I cannot wait to read Sin & Suffer (let alone the last Indebted book). I think the fact that so many people are talking about your books, picking them apart and even criticizing them shows just how compelling the stories are.  If they were like some of the drivel I’ve read, no one would take a moment to comment or criticize.  They would simply move on. 

    We are invested.  We are in love with these characters and where they are headed.  We mourn their loss when each series ends.  And we will happily devour the next story you offer us.  Please keep up the good work. 

    Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with you.Katherine OberhillSt. Charles, MO   USA

  11. Wow pepper I read your books because I thoroughly enjoy and devour them please do not lose heart. To me and I’m just an average lady – nothing special – you are a great story teller. I don’t read the critics, I read what I enjoy. The only complaint I have is waiting for 6 and my bookfeast. I have a week off in October and one in November and want to read the whole indebted series then. You have me totally hooked on your books. And there must be thousands of women who appreciate your work and yes it is work for you the author. Oops I’m ranting a bit so forgive me for the rant and carry on Working hard writing your delicious,devastating,enjoyable books.

  12. Your books are beautiful stories of twisted love. It’s a fantasy. If I wanted facts I would read a historical book or a documentary. Those are boring. Your last book Indebted 5 made me scream, that’s a 5 star in my mind. Always a fan Pepper. ♡♡♡

  13. i don’t know what prompted this epic story but since i loooove all your stuff, even this was read with delight. your books take me away and i,m invested in the lives of all characters . waiting for next in series makes me practice patience,
    but so worth the wait!!! i almost hold off on starting your books until i have a few days to devote to the book 100%, but my family understands, thank you family! please know that what you publish is embraced by many

  14. Lisa Aug.14,2015

    No complaints from me I adore and love your books have read all.I cry,I scream,get mad etc.I love the characters it seems so real.I have just finished the lastest Debt book in a day n half.It was so emotional what they did to Nila I am so nervous for the next book.Keep them coming I cant wait.
    Thankyou

  15. Okay, who are these heartless ugly trolls that are ripping on your stories? Seriously, I want to just B*tch slap them right now!!! 😉 Dark romances are my favorite genre, and the really really great authors, I can count them on one hand – and YOU are most certainly in that select group!

    To quote the end of your post: “Never Change” Don’t overthink things and trust yourself…..everything else will work out fine. Thank you for such wonderful stories and characters – I have truly enjoyed them all.

  16. You stories are great, its your imagination for heavens sake, who give 2 cents about historical facts anyways, history can also be wrong because it is written by men. Case in point: Christoper Columbus claimed to have discovered Jamaica in 1494 but that’s a down right lie, the Island was inhabited by the Arawak/Tainos long before the Spaniards came and place them in servitude. History is or can be skewed!!

    My point is Ms. Winters your work is frigging great and I’m Jamaica, we are know by the world to be a tough crowd to please.

    Don’t let facts get in the way of your imagination and creativity, normally its the persons who cant or don’t have the guts to put themselves out there like that have the most to say about other peoples work, and that just pisses me off.

    By the way please don’t give Bonnie and Cut a quick death, please……… let them suffer long and hard!!!

    I LOVE your books, I think you have an awesome imagination!!!

  17. I’ve read hundreds of books….I have 3 authors which I truely just go..”.wow to”…you are one of those…just please keep writing more

  18. I think you are amazing and I love all your honesty. There is not one book that you have written that I have disliked or have complaints about . Please keep doing what you are doing .

  19. I can’t imagine, as an author, the courage it takes to hit publish on something that took months, blood, sweat and tears to put together. The fact that you can put together a coherent story is a talent that many take for granted, even though they couldn’t do it themselves. Don’t apologize for minor mistakes, don’t stray from the story your characters are telling you to write. As for fact checking and creating a perfect lawyer, or doctor, or describing a actual place a little wring – eh – you’re not writing a text book. You’re writing fiction which by definition is a story that ins’t true.

    A good story keeps you interested, a great story sucks you in and leaves you wanting more. It takes you somewhere else and if that place is slightly (or really) far from reality, all the better. That there may or may not be things that require you to suspend belief shouldn’t make a person blink. Hell, my own fantasies include being the filing between two cover models. Ain’t gonna happen but makes for a good story in my head!

  20. I can’t even begin to fathom the courage it takes to put yourself and your books out there. You are incredibly talented and strong to do so. I have 7 manuscripts under my bed gathering dust and proberly creepy crawlies! I can’t do it. But we are all so lucky you can and do. The feeling and emotions that are sparked when I read your books are amazing and sometimes very overwhelming. I finished Destroyed months ago and it still affects me. Thank you lady for having the courage we are forever grateful.❤️

  21. I don’t know what you are apologising for, it’s your book you can write what ever the hell you want. I love your work as it let’s me escape. If I wanted reality I would watch the news. I remember once dissecting Terminator 2 on the train when it came out, and a guy behind us interrupted and said “it’s a movie just accept it and enjoy it for what it was”. But I get how you are feeling, even in the corporate world I feel the same thing – if I had more time/resources we could all do a perfect job and it’s easy to become defensive. Sometimes I wonder if it’s because I’m female and we always want to please everyone but never going to happen. Hope you keep doing your thing….looking forward to Forbidden Flaws and meeting you in Melbourne in October.

  22. First of all, I loved your ranting! I am surprised to find out that you doubt yourself but it’s only natural I guess in anyone’s life regardless of their job. I have no doubt though that you are a great story teller and that is why I love this series so much. Keep your chin up and ears closed to all the critics. 😊❤️

  23. First I want to say I love love love everything you write! I absolutely love your characters and hope you never stop following them to all the dark places they lead you to. You are one of very few authors I one click automatically because I love your worlds and the imperfect characters who live in them. I hope you continue to chase your favorite book as I will enjoy reading all the perfect imperfections you release along the way. ❤ you! Huge hugs!

  24. Just like you said you’re not perfect but you know what? NO ONE IS!!!! I love your books and can’t wait for each one. I admire you as a person and a writer because I know I couldn’t do it. I don’t take criticism well but that’s just me. Please keep the books coming because I for one will continue to read them. From a VERY grateful reader in Oklahoma.

  25. You are one of my favorite authors. I find your work to be so intriguing. I love your books and look forward to each new release. Thanks for sharing your characters with us.

  26. Awesome post! I recently had the same discussion with an author who recently published her first book. The book encompassed so much of her thoughts, energy, tears and sweat that when people nit picked over unimporant details, it was a blast in the gut. I find that there are some people that get pleasure over finding fault in anything or everything that is not their own…. I have read hundreds of books over the years and very few come even slightly close to the emotions I go through when reading your books. Especially the Indebted series! I can’t even listen to Maroon 5 Animals without having the story and the rush of feelings it has evoked come flooding within me. What I love about the story is that is so unique and original! Thank you! ❤

  27. I just wanted to let you know that I just love all your books!!! Your an amazing author and storyteller. I look forward to many more books. I’m in awe of your creative mind the plots, the twists, the cliffhangers that leave u with your mouth hanging open, thinking wtf, I can’t believe she did that. Thank you for writing and giving us such amazing stories.

  28. Pepper~~Amazing!! I am diving into Fourth
    Debt as soon as I finish here and do not expect
    to get any sleep tonight. Your books are called
    fiction for a reason. They are a release from the
    real world and I cannot get enough! It pained.
    me to think that you feel like Tess with her brick
    tower of safety. There will always be critics but I
    hope you realize just how many us Love your
    books, so called flaws and all. Keep doing
    what you do Queen of Darkness! Hugs!!

  29. Ignore the readers that don’t like what they read. Obviously they aren’t as talented as you or they would be writing too. I absolutely love your books. NO ONE is perfect. I don’t enjoy critisism as much as the next but sometimes it should be kept to themselves. You are an absolute wonderful writer and please don’t quit writing. Thank you for enjoying what you do because without you, we wouldn’t be enjoying your thoughts. From a grateful fan in Oklahoma.

  30. I got my very first Kindle about 6 months ago. I’m an erotica literature fan from way back. As I perused books to buy, the Indebted novel kept appearing in suggested reads. So, I decided ‘what the heck?’ I was hooked on the first chapter – Jethro’s self description. I thought to myself, “Oh my God, what have I gotten myself into?” It was sickly alluring. I was and am absolutely thrilled with your creativity! I admire an active imagination.

    Discovering you led me to one of the best series I’ve ever read: Monsters in the Dark. The way you create and define tortured souls is inspiring and eerily accurate.

    Your books provide a great deal of comfort for me. It’s easier knowing I’m not the only dark and tortured person in this world. Needless to say, I’m a fan for life.

    Don’t take criticism too hard. Even if you produced perfectly cogent novels, then people would just complain about something else, like the book cover, typeface, and font size. Pleasing everyone is impossible.

    Keep doing what you do, Pepper. I look forward to the upcoming novels.

  31. Totally get where you are coming from, on a much smaller scale because my writing doesn’t take the risk you bravely do with your work. You can beat yourself to death over this but at the end of the day…no one ever reads the same book and its FICTION!!! phew…thats better… Love your work, you have a true talent…hate the cliffhangers, you are a true sadist….you love, because you have always been kind enough to help out a newbie and answer your pm’s… ❤ ❤ ❤

  32. Loved your epic post 😆 makes me feel bad though that some feel it’s necessary to criticize your work! I think I have just about read all your books and am anxiously waiting for the follow up to Ruin and Rule. I have accumulated over a thousand books the past 3 yrs and I read sometimes several a day. I have only read a couple authors who I would say need some remedial English lessons lol but I don’t have that sense from reading your books. I’m a Pisces 😄 and really enjoy a good fantasy! You do write very good and entertaining books! People need to lighten up or write there own books to see what it takes! Anyway please ignore the critics and keep doing what you do best! Lol

  33. After reading your post yesterday, I thought long and hard about what I wanted to say to you. I hope I don’t blunder many words, but here goes…….

    I think you are a very talented and humble author. Your ability to craft a story is a blessing that takes many readers to places that they can experience with their own minds..

    There is always going to be a downside to everything…Positive and negative….but remember this…. it’s subjective….I have been an avid reader for many years (51 yrs old), and I started out reading historical romances as a teen….now as I’m older I prefer supernatural elements, gritty, dark fantasies, and whatever else captures my interest.

    Reading is an escape for me..taking me away from the crap I have to deal with and place my mind elsewhere to relax and enjoy.. I don’t let the negativity make my decisions, because what I might like to read, there will be someone that doesn’t like my interests..I think many readers will agree with this statement.

    So keep writing and your awesome fans of your works will continue to be blessed with your creative ability. I, for one, have enjoyed every books of yours that I’ve read and will continue to do this…So keep your head up and clap yourself on the back, because you are Awesome…….

    Look forward to reading more from you….

  34. 8:00am, PNW time and I have slept for 2 hours. I’ve tossed and turned and cringed at the pages I have written. Telling myself, not good enough, it doesn’t make sense, people wont get this, you’ll never be published, how dare you even consider anyone will read this? And so my internal turmoil continues as I try to stack myself against the BRILLIANCE, yes, brilliance that is your work, the works of K. Bromberg. CD Reiss, Laurelin Paige, Ella James, M. Never, and the list goes on and on. To me, your works and theirs, in my own world are that high standard that some of us could only dream about. I see the fans posting about releases, how much they loved (or not) a particular book and I think to myself, will I ever have that chance, can I make it, will my book ever hit a B&N shelf?

    And so I sit here, drinking my almost cold cup of java and silent tears are just streaming down. Why? Because is almost like you pulled thoughts out of my own head and posted them here and I just read myself in your lines. And now I feel at peace, because I no longer feel alone in my thoughts.

    So Thank you, thank you for writing this, thank you for your honesty, thank you for your works….just…THANK YOU!

    Isabella Cross, Seattle WA

  35. I’m disgusted to think you have even felt one moment of sadness or hurt for such an accomplishment on being such a stellar writer..You are an Author, a writer, a storyteller, a creative being..what a gift you have Pepper Winters. Please from someone who loves to escape from reality, and into a world of the unknown your work isn’t just good its Amazing..As far as facts and so forth no where did I read that this book was Non Fiction..and honestly if people don’t like what you write then why do they continue to read it..Grrrr.. I hope to read your books until the day I go..because you always always MAKE ME FEEL WITH YOUR BOOKS!!

  36. Epic, indeed! Can I just say I think you and your books are amazing! Real or not I feel I know these characters you create and I feel so involved and invested in what happens to them. That to me is an amazing talent; its not just 10 people who read your work and love it but millions. I met you in NY you were humble and gracious to everyone – which makes you a very special person inside and out.
    (Aside from you stressing me out with anticipation for the conculsions of Nila & Jethro and Kill & Cleo’s stories! uuugh 🙂 )
    Of course to those who comment that the stories couldn’t be reality – Of course not! Who wants that after working in the rat race, raising a family, maintaing a house, trying in this day and age to save a few bucks and trying to fit yourself in that mix? I want the tale, the story that makes me cry, laugh and hope for the best. Keep doing whatever it is your doing, because typos or not I have not picked up one of your books yet that I haven’t had to re-read and literally force myself to move on to another book.
    All the best to you –

  37. Pepper in my opinion you are a Fantastic Writer / Author and I love being able to snuggle up in bed reading your imagination, your own Magic that appears in every book you write! I’m a huge fan of your work and can’t wait to see what you have next for us 💗

  38. I love your work Pepper Winters. Anyone who does not, does not matter. It’s the ones like me who appreciate every word, every nuance that the characters feel, hear, see … you engage the character and the reader, so continue to be proud of what you do, and forget the other readers who don’t matter.

  39. I love your stories! They haunt me. Please, please, please keep doing what you are doing. Forget the critics and focus on your fans. Personally I try to follow that old rule, if I don’t have something nice to say then I don’t say it. That’s how I handle my comments and reviews. Nobody is perfect and that is okay. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

  40. Loved your blog & can understand how how feel with the “haters”. I loved how your stories suck me in & take me away from the day to day life 🙂 You have great imagination, thank you for sharing you stories. I just found your books not that long ago “Debit Series”. I’m never been at ALL reader, but wow I love the charterers, plots. You keep me on the edge of the seat, where I can’t put down & I want to find what going to happen next. So I have gone bought more of your books & currently have few on pre-order. LOVE YOUR WORK!! Thank again for sharing 🙂

  41. You are awesome Pepper and no matter what, I always LOVE your books. They take me away to another place and another person’s life for a little while. To  just relax and unwind and enjoy the ride. And yes your books are a ride. I love the romance and mind blown mind f**k. As I said before on Facebook you are a writing GENIUS and your fans love you unconditionally.

  42. Loved the post. It was well said. But regardless of how others may feel once I read Tears of Tess just recently when when I was introduced to your work I was in awe. Your writing is so beautiful and I will be forever grateful to author Kitty Tomas for introducing me to your work through a FB event. Since winning Tears of Tess I have managed to one click my way through a lot of your work and I will be one clicking again as soon as budget allows. I am hoping one day to own all of your work in Print. I do not have a fave book of yours as all of the ones I have devoured has set its own special place with me. I have taken so many different roller coasters rides with your extraordinary writing that I can never wait to take the next ride and see what emotions it evicts from me.

  43. You are still my fav dark romance expert/specialist out there. You created Q Mercer for godsake!

    I love you, but I don’t expect myself to love every single one of your book. I don’t expect you to be perfect. But I do find myself anticipating every single one of your release. There are bounds to be ups and downs and if I didn’t like one of the books, I will just move on and wait for the next one that will blow me away again.

  44. Debt Inheritance was the first book by you I ever read. This was in March 2015, I have since read almost ALL your book – except from Monsters in the dark series.
    I have to say that I was intrigued, how you would ever be able to make Jethro redeamable, and you have succeded beautifully! Since reading the Fourth Debt, I have re-read the First Debt and now I have answers to my questions about some things.
    I always wondered, WHY jethro would not run away, WHY he obeys his fuckwitt of a father, and the most intriguing question, what he meant when he told Nila that being his is not the worst thing, how she should trust him in order for him to protect her…
    With Jethro out od the picture in Fourth Debt z Hawks truly let their humanity (if the ever had any) vanish and showed Nila, how Jethro – even ice cold as he was in Debt Inheritance – was a blessing in disguse.
    I read many reviews, some saying how unbelievealbe the plot was, but like you say in your “epic post” money realy rules the world. People od money and power, who have not a care in the world, who are bored to death, do cruel things just to spice up their life. Thinking of the movie 9mm and the rich and theis snuf movies…

    Making this short (I already wrote more than I meant to) I LOVE this story. Things that got uncovered (Owen and Elise) explain samo of the questions I had, the Hawk family cruelty also sheds new light on the words od Jethro and so on. I just wonder, how Owen was Jethro`s great grat grandfather if he was killed? Than someone else must have taken his place, inherited it all and procrated…

    All in all – great story, loving it and can`t wait for the Final Debt. When the release date will be know, I plan to re-read al 5 books to start reading the Grand Finale with fresh knowledge!

    Keep up the good work!

  45. I have loved every book of yours that I have read ! They just keep getting better and better. You are an amazing writer. I feel every word you write and get so engrossed in your writing that my life literally stops until I finish the book ! Keep doing what your doing , your amazing .

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