Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Josie of Amber Island

Today I decided to introduce you to one of my favorite characters in our books. She is the Time Master of Amber Island, which makes her second in command under Lexie or Alexandria, who is the Time Keeper. Josie's full name is Josephina, but she figured it was too big of a mouth full and shortened it to Josie. Josie came to the time islands from 1500's England, where her family was in the middle of a feud with the de Smallwode family. Her brother was killed and her sister is having to marry one of the de Smallwode brothers to be able to have peace between the two families. Josie's nemesis from the de Smallwode's came to the time islands the same time she did, Xander.

Josie covers up her feelings for Xander by being abrupt and mean to him. Some of their fights have become the thing of legends on Amber Island. Her most memorable one is when she sent him to Antarctica to swim with the penguins. Now every year on his birthday she gets him a new penguin, and after 500 years that's a lot of penguins. She tries to be creative and has gotten him penguins that are stuffed, penguins on his clothing and her latest was a penguin watch. She was thinking about for his birthday this year, taking the picture she has of him in a tuxedo and changing his face to that of a penguin and getting it enlarged and framed for him, that way he can have a self-portrait.

As I have said before, Josie is a handful but we wouldn't have her any other way. She is a character that tries to stay aloof, but it is difficult because she is caring and wants to help everyone. She has a bad temper and will retaliate if she feels like someone has done something to her (normally Xander), but then she feels bad when she does retaliate. She loves to have fun and one of her favorite things to do is go out on the sailboat with Lexie, who is her best friend.
Stay tuned for more talk about Josie and the whole gang.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Be Prepared!

I was trying to figure out what to write to you about today and I decided that the topic for today would be being prepared. Sounds like the Boy Scout motto right? Well it is, but it is important in other areas of your life also. I work for a company that I write their blogs, newsletters, website copy and occasionally their press releases. To come up with ideas for their blogs and newsletter on a consistent basis can be difficult. So I decided to tell you how I go about deciding on this information.

To research for my job, I reach industry newsletters, articles, magazines and white papers. My doing this I am able to keep up with the market and know what knew products and ideas are coming down the pipeline. When I read the above mentioned materials, I keep a notebook next to me and write down any ideas that I think are interesting. Then I go back to them and review them. If I think it is something that would be pertinent to the company I write for then I highlight it, if I don't I leave it alone for now. The reason I do that, is because it might not be relevant now but in the future it might be.

There are all kinds of writers in the world, from people who write novels to people who write a daily journal. Writing isn't something that can be assigned to someone to do and have them do it well. It is a skill that has to be refined and practiced. If someone just throws out random ideas, the end product won't work because there isn't any cohesiveness which means it will fall apart. So as with any skill you need to work on it, research information, practice and practice some more until you get a product that you can be proud of, even when you reread it five years later.

Enjoy writing and it will bring you enjoyment.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Characters Consistency

When we started writing our first book, because there weren't a lot of characters we were able to remember them. When we decided to continue the book into others and create a series, we started having to keep track of all of the characters. So we kept notebooks on the different ideas we had, the different characters we were planning on putting in the books, what time era we were going to write about.

I put up in my office a poster board that listed the twelve islands, who was in charge of each island, the island theme and time period and any characters that came from that island. As we wrote the books and new characters would be introduced we put them under the correct island. We did this so that we wouldn't mix up characters and use different names for the same characters and it made it so their history stayed the same.

Consistency is important aspect of writing. If you have a character that is in the car and then all of a sudden they are in the house, you need to explain how they got there. Your writing needs to flow. Which means there shouldn't be parts where people ask themselves, okay how did that happen because it will stop the flow of the book and people will be more likely to put the book down at that point and might not pick it back up.

I used to play online games and in this game we were able to create areas where people could go into and fight monsters. So I had created an area and in the first part of the areas was the entrance to the Crystal Castle, and it described the area as being bright and filled with rainbows and light because the sun was reflecting off of the crystal. It sounded great until I went back and reviewed it before it was released and realized that it sounded great but the room was listed as a dark room without light, so how could the sun reflect off of the crystal if there wasn't a light. This is the kind of thing you need to be mindful of because it could completely through your writing our of focus and make it difficult for someone to relate to.

So remember, it is always important to make sure your characters have consistency in their behavior and history.

As always, have fun with your writing.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Writing Tips - Organization

Someone asked me the other day what I do to get myself ready to write a book. So I was thinking about it and I decided that it all comes down to organization. If you aren't organized in what you do then you have the possibility of getting off track. This unfortunately can cause your story to sound off track and disorganized. Now I am sure there are people out there that believe that you don't have to be organized to write. My son saw my desk the other day and commented on how messy it was, when he came in 5 minutes later, after I had finished for the day, he was surprised how clean it was. It all comes down to organization.

If I am starting a new project then I create a folder for it to put in all the notes and comments I come up with. I create an outline for my story or project, place it in the folder and make sure the folder is labeled. Once this is done cleaning up at the end of the day is easy. You just put the information in its appropriate file and put it away.

It is important to also be organized on the computer. I work for a company that I write their blogs, newsletters, website copy, ad copy and on occasion their press releases. They currently have 4 different websites that I handle. To keep them straight in the computer, each website has its own folder and each folder has subfolders for the above mentioned topics. This way when someone needs information I am able to get it for them quickly and easily.

I believe it is important in whatever you to do stay organized. I had a boss that couldn't see his desk unless I cleaned it off. Everyone thought he was organized and knew where everything was on his desk, but what they didn't know was that when they left his office he had me help him find what they were looking for.

Organization is one of the key to success. Without organization, people are apt to flounder and misplace items. If you want to succeed in any business it is imperative that people find a system that works for them. Organization isn't about fitting into strict guidelines that you feel would stifle your creativity, its about finding a place where you can find items with ease.

Enjoy and Happy Writing

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


I was thinking about writing and that one of the largest setbacks for any writer is procrastination. I have outside my house a pond and trees that are currently covered with snow. My office windows looks out over this, with the deep green from the fir and spruce trees with snow and ice weighing heavily on the stout branches, the sun reflecting off of the pond and sometimes gentle snowflakes floating from the sky. With this heavenly view out my office window, it can make it difficult to concentrate at times. It is much nicer to look toward the trees and see the birds flying or watch a deer cross the meadow. But with anyone who is serious about their writing it is important to set aside specific times every day to write. Even if you make yourself sit in front of your computer for one hour a day. It isn't the time that you invest into your writing that is important at this time, it is making it a habit to sit down and write. By doing this you are able to make it so that you set up a routine and the more you do a routine the easier it becomes. You would do the same thing if you smoked, you would make time every day to smoke but isn't writing more important to you than smoking (it's what will pay for the cigarettes). So my advice, which is free because we all have advice, is to make sure you sit down at your computer on a daily basis and write about something, put something down on paper.
Good luck with your writing.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Writing Tips

Good Morning
Here is the new section on writing tips for anyone who would like to use it. Now remember this is just my opinion. I have found when I am writing that I don't worry about proofreading what I am writing until I am finished with the section I am working on. If you interrupt your train of thought to fix typos then the thought that was winging through your head might never ever come back and could be lost in the great abyss of missed writing opportunities. To avoid that from happening to any other writer I suggest that you handle proofreading after you have finished writing for the day. I would also recommend that you do some of the proofreading before you hand it off to your proofreader because they will be eternally grateful especially when you type a word that you know exactly what you mean but the proofreader is looking into that great abyss and wondering why you didn't let that idea fall into it.
I have learned that if I do not force myself to sit down and write at least an hour a day then I will procrastinate and never finish the book. There were times that I wouldn't write for months because I had a "writer's block" but if you force yourself to continue writing you will eventually make it through the block and be able to write again. This doesn't mean that you won't have to go back and edit everything you have already written, but it will help you make it through it and keep your book from never being finished.
One of the hardest things for me is when I have 3 or more book ideas floating through my head and they are all clamoring to get out. How do I choose which one I want to write about? Will they stay in my brain long enough for me to get them out? I have found that if I start writing about one, I need to at least get the others down on paper whether it is with an outline of the book or just a synopsis of what it is going to be about. If you are going to do a synopsis then it is smart to put into any ideas you had about the book to include cool details and some action on the character's part.
I think that is enough information for now. I will definitely continue this later and hopefully get some interest and feedback from other authors. Have a great day and comments are always welcome.

Friday, January 12, 2007


Hi, My name is Patti Winters and I live in Michigan. My co-author, Sue Wulf lives in Virginia. Together we write a series about the Time Islands and specifically Amber Island whose Time Keeper is Lexie. We have been writing together for about 3 1/2 years and enjoy it very much. We have one book published, Mirror of Remembrance, currently have books 2 and 3 with our proofreader and are working on book 4. As we continue in this series we will give our readers excerpts from the books and also provide you with a more indepth look at the favorite characters, so if there is a favorite character let us know. We will also be using this blog to give writing tips and let you know how our books are progressing.

We both also write books separately. Sue will tell you what hers are about and I will give you a little bit more about mine.

The book I am currently working on is a mystery suspense about Atlantis. I will give more information as I go along.

I look forward to talking to everyone. Thanks