What Do They Really Look Like?

After a bit of fun making avatars of my characters, I’ve moved on to Artbreeder. All I can say is… wow! “Real” people that don’t exist! 

One use for Artbreeder is to “breed” any two images together (such as a cat and an octopus, which was the first thing my daughter did). So you could upload “parent” faces and create “children” – but in my case I just wanted to visualize my book characters.

Creating faces is not entirely under the user’s control – you can’t tweak a nose exactly the way you want because you’re mostly adding or subtracting “genes” from different parts of the world. But you can easily get photorealistic portraits with a few twists of the dials.

So, here are my results – just my impression of how the characters look, for my own amusement. Most of these characters are related to each other one way or another, so for many I started with the same “base” and fiddled with the age, gender, hair and eye color, etc.

[Mild spoilers ahead for the later books in the Wynter Wild series. The Wynter Wild Wiki has more information on these characters.]

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Duet (Wynter Wild Book 7) is OUT NOW in paperback

New paperback out today!

Duet is the seventh book in the series and introduces a new POV character Xay.

 We’ve already heard a bit about him in the previous books, of course. Getting into his head was a refreshing change from the other four characters. He has a positive optimistic outlook on life, making the best of things, but harbors bitterness over what happened to him and his best friend Roman at the ashram. When he finally discovers that Wynter escaped the Light and is living what he believes is a dream life in Washington, it raises all kinds of self-doubt in Xay.

Meanwhile, the road trip at the start of this book, where Wynter and Jesse head south to rescue Indio, was one of my favorite sections to write in the entire series! I love putting these two together in a confined space just to see what happens!

Jesse and Wynter set out on an adventure-filled road trip to San Francisco, to rescue Indio from drugs and despair. Back home, eldest brother Caleb resolves to take control of his family as once-close relationships deteriorate.
Meanwhile, in Sacramento, Xay lives with his ailing mother and a whole heap of bitterness over his year spent in the Light. He’s doing okay, all things considered. But he’s never forgotten the girl from the ashram who used to climb through a hole in the fence in the dead of night to listen to rock songs on the radio with him…
As family secrets are revealed, this divided family draws ever closer to the truth… and to each other.

Natural Harmonics (Book 6) is OUT NOW in paperback

I’m slowly converting my ebooks to paperbacks, and the newest release is Natural Harmonics (Wynter Wild Book 6). This is one of my personal favorites in the series because I finally got to write about the family out and about in Seattle playing their music.

Wynter and her brothers are ready to rock venues all over Seattle. No one can deny the natural chemistry Rule212 has on stage. Behind the scenes there’s tension brewing.

It’s not easy to work, play, and live together. Family means everything to Wynter and she’ll do whatever it takes to keep it together.

But something at the very heart of this family is ripping it apart. They are finally learning that things went wrong years before they were born. No secrets or lies—it’s one of Caleb’s house rules. So why does everyone keep breaking it?

Broken Strings (Book 9) is Out Now!

This was probably the hardest book to write in the series so far, for two reasons.

Firstly, because it was the first book where I was starting from scratch. While I wrote half a million stream-of-consciousness words a few years ago that became the basis for all ten books, once I put the scenes in order, I only “completed” 8 books before I started publishing book 1 on Wattpad. I don’t really mean completed, as I was rewriting and editing (and adding thousands of words to) the books as I published them, but essentially the plotting and two-thirds of the writing was done.

Book 9 had a bare-bones plot and a few scenes written, but I was writing on the fly for the most part, and under a little self-imposed pressure to keep updating regularly on Wattpad (where it was uploaded chapter by chapter every few days).

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Useful Free Internet Tools for Writers

Gone are the days when writers had to spend hours in the library researching how to care for their character’s pet python, or on the phone exploring the price of a plane ticket, or at the bookcase in the next room flicking through classic novels to find the perfect quote.

Everything’s at our fingertips – and not just for researching our stories, but for editing and publishing our books as well. Here I’m focusing on some of my most-used tools and websites, and they’re all free. Some do have paid services that expand the options available, and for others you will need to make an account (often, signing in via Facebook or Google is possible).

I’ve mentioned a couple of these tools before, and added lots of new ones.

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The Ashram at Touchstone Pass

Do you get a visual image of the layout of a place when you read about it? I have a very firm impression in my mind of the ashram in the Wynter Wild books, but I’ve never actually drawn a map. Now that I’m writing flashbacks for book 10 (The Beat Goes On), where we spend some time in the ashram (and – spoiler! – there are present scenes set there, too), I decided I needed a clearer idea of where everything is.

Firstly, to set the scene…

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Xay’s Playlist

It’s not really a spoiler to say that in the forthcoming and final book of the Wynter Wild series (The Beat Goes On), Xay Morant is going to launch his singing career. He’s a rockstar through and through (or will be, he hopes!) – and I’ve put together this playlist to give you an idea of the kind of music he sings.

XAY’S SPOTIFY PLAYLIST

Follow me on Spotify to find more playlists for the Wynter Wild books.

If you don’t listen to anthemic rock music (as opposed to the indie rock of Rule212), these songs might be an eyeopener. They’re mostly from current but not particularly huge bands (in some cases, unknown bands) including a couple of covers. In style and lyrical content they represent the spirit of Xay’s music. Cigarette-lighter songs included!

Other playlists for the Wynter Wild series:

Wynter Wild Wiki is live

Introducing the Wynter Wild Wiki! This project was suggested to me by a friend and reader who is helping write and administrate it, and appeals to my natural inclination to keep things orderly.

Take a look around! This is a community project – anyone can edit or add pages after reading the “Guidelines” – which are the standard rules of fandom.com, with the last couple of points related to spoilers and formatting for the Wynter Wild Wiki. (A few pages are protected so only registered users can make changes – you just need to make an account for that. Most pages are freely editable.) Or add comments on a page if you have suggestions and improvements.

Note that the fan casting images and mood boards I’ve used on Wattpad can’t be uploaded to the wiki. Wattpad’s free pass for “famous people and celebrities” doesn’t apply here. I’m working on some original artwork, and fan art or copyright-free art can be added as well.

As of today, bios for the main characters and most of the minor characters from books 1 to 3 are live, along with some information on pets and bands and a few other things. With your help we can grow the wiki into a useful resource for readers wanting to explore Wynter’s world.

New Release: Distortion (Wynter Wild Book 5) in paperback

The fifth book in the Wynter Wild series, Distortion, is out now in paperback!

In this book, Wynter puts together her first all-girl (well, not quite) band. While she’d love to be playing just about every song with the amp turned to 11 to maximize distortion, the Mail Order Chicks play mostly 80s and 90s British pop. This story also sees the genesis of the rock band she puts together with her brothers.

“Distortion” refers to how the siblings’ mother, Miriam, has affected her children by her actions years ago. Particularly for Indio, he believes the ongoing absence of maternal love is what has formed him, rather than the abandonment itself:

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