Thursday, March 26, 2015

Watch the Shadows - Blog Tour

Robin Winter

Publisher: White Whisker Books (April 20, 2015) 
ISBN: 978-0-9863265-0-9 
Category: Suspense/Thriller 
Tour Date: March 16-April 30, 2015 
Available in: Print & ebook, 
176 Pages 


In the college town of Isla Vista, California, small, odd things start happening. Science-geek Nicole notes the crows are leaving.  Meg Burdigal can’t find her tabby cat, Schrand. Brian the postman feels uneasy at the rustlings, the shadows he’s seen at the edge of his vision on his delivery route in town. Now Nicole sees fewer and fewer homeless in the park. Using her knowledge of biology and forensics, Nicole searches for answers—but will anyone take the horror she finds seriously? In this unusual thriller, 'Watch the Shadows', author Robin Winter explores where the ordinary slams against the extraordinary.

Praise for 'Night Must Wait'

“'Night Must Wait' is a knockout. Robin Winter really delivers the goods with her twisting tale.”-Norb Vonnegut, author of The Trust 

“The world Robin Winter takes us to in 'Night Must Wait' is not the fantasy of Dorothy and Toto, no longer in Kansas; it is the scary, all too-real Africa.”-Shelly Lowenkopf, author of The Fiction Writers’ Handbook 

"Readers never know when they pick up a novel if the story will become so compelling that they are taken away to that magical place where one finds oneself inside the world of the book's characters, conscious of little else. 'Night Must Wait' did this for me. I read, forgot that I existed."- Gina Rose St John, Amazon Reviewer 

"Robin's way around a sentence is nothing short of gorgeous. The beauty of her prose only highlights the tragedies of war and betrayal. In an era when women were still relegated to wife or teacher, Robin's characters want, and get, more in ways both shocking and violent. I might not want to go to war torn Africa, but I do want to go on more adventures with Robin."- Kathleen O'Donnell, Amazon Reviewer

Praise for 'Future Past'

"Robin Winter's 'Future Past' is an original, meticulously crafted science fiction tale that blends the fantasy of Pinocchio and the hero's journey with elements of time travel, redemption, and a post apocalyptic world that brings readers to a satisfying, yet unexpected conclusion."- Matthew J. Pallamary 

"Truly imaginative, unique, and gripping -- I really really liked it! Robin Winter has a gift for inventing a world we'd be interested in saving, characters we'd be enriched to meet, and ideas about the human condition we'd be wise to ponder."- John Foran 

"Winter shows the strength and versatility of her writer's voice in 'Future Past'. Published shortly after her debut novel Night Must Wait, in which the setting offers a strong sense of place as a separate character, the science fiction themes of 'Future Past' haunts the reader long after the book is finished. Her first person approach with Ash gives chilling insight into a man-made world with apocalyptic consequences. Winter's prose is crisp and her pacing sharp, giving fans a science fiction a thrill that is worth the spooky ride."- Gretel Russell


From Chapter Twenty Eight, p. 79

"Steady," said Jack Kushner.

She planned a sidestep to pass around him, taking another fast look over her shoulder. Transparent, idiot; now Dwayne will know you know he’s following you.

“Nicole?” Jack didn’t waste time on surprise, wrapped his cloak around himself. 
“You’re not OK,” he said. “I’ll walk with you. Someone bothering you?”

“Hurry,” she said.

He did, and his stride was good—long, loose, and fast.

“Who is it? Some punk from school?”

“Don’t know,” she said, more honest than she wanted to be. “It’s the garbage bag man. Did you see him?”

“What?”

She was glad to see he didn’t do anything so obvious as look back. “No, I don’t mean a guy who picks up the garbage. A nasty piece of work I know, costumed in plastic shopping bags.”

“I’ve seen several tonight,” he said. “Interesting.”

“What?” she said, a little breathless. She would have to look back in another moment. She hunched her shoulders in Dad’s coat and imagined a plastic touch brushing weightless against her. In just a moment, it would happen. It shouldn’t matter, but it did.

“Interesting that you don’t believe anyone’s going to help you out,” he said. 

“You’re moving through the crowd. You passed a policeman on a horse and didn’t even look twice, so I’ve got to be wrong.”

“Wrong?”

“I imagined maybe you turned in some drug runners or something like that, and that’s why you don’t depend on people to give you a hand. You don’t think being in public will make whoever’s bothering you back off.”

He managed all these long pronouncements without any apparent lack of breath, though hers was coming fast and a little tight. She kept remembering the sequined man in the alley with a shopping bag over his head. Not funny. There was something very bad about that memory but she couldn’t tease it out. Maybe she should have checked if the sequined man were all right.

“You’re sweating.”

“That’s not a polite thing to say,” Nicole said, trying to laugh. It stuck in her throat.

She looked back. Dwayne wasn’t visible; instead, she saw a shopping bag drifting between feet, seeming strangely purposeful. Garbage, trash, but why did it seem that an empty discarded piece of litter moved like a jellyfish in water, as though it intended something?

“You’re wearing a suit and tie, so the usual courtesies due a lady go by the way.” Jack said.

A drop hit her cheek. “It’s raining,” she said. “I mean, it’s not that I’m not sweating, but look. That isn’t fair, not on Halloween.”

“I thought it never rains in Southern California.”

“Rains in season. Like monsoons. This is early. I think you’d do better to turn off here and go another way. I’m headed home. I don’t think Dwayne will bother you if you’re not with me.”

Single drops, widely spaced. The heat of the crowd would evaporate them on Del Playa. No one would even notice. She could still see a few stars overhead between tattered clouds. This wasn’t a real storm, only some passing shower.

“Curiouser and curiouser,” he said. “By the way, I hate Lewis Carroll.”

“That pedophile.” She ducked around a moving castle with three pairs of feet. They caught up with each other on the far side of the castle. “Poor stupid Alice, but her parents were worse. Do you mind if I start running?”

“Depends what it is you want me to do. Make a last valiant stand behind you and lay the villains low, though I don’t know who they are, or run, too?”

“Run, too,” she said. “But maybe not the same direction.”

“Huh,” he said, “I’ll stick with you to see what’s next.”

She flashed one more irresistible glance behind before she took off and stumbled down into a long, sliding fall on hands and knees in candy wrappers, gum and spit. She swore, adding extra details when Jack hauled her up by one arm. Thank God she’d chosen to wear gloves, and Dad’s coat escaped damage.
“I don’t see anyone following,” he said. “Take a breath.“

“Yes,” she said. She stared back, peering around the costumes and partiers. 

“Stop; look. I don’t know. He’s gone.”

She didn’t want to tell the odd idea she’d had about the shopping bag.

“Could he be taking another route? Cutting us off?”

“Then he’d have to know where I live.” She stared about, trying to catch any possible clue. A white shopping bag eddied past, catching on the boot of the Lone Ranger. No more plastic bag man, though.

“You realize what the pursuit implies?”

She looked at him, noticing that indeed Jack took this seriously. His eyes kept moving, scanning for garbage men, his mouth set tight. He seemed white to her, but it could be the lighting.





About Robin Winter

Robin Winter

Robin Winter first wrote and illustrated a manuscript on “Chickens and their Diseases” in second grade, continuing to both write and draw, ever since. Born in Nebraska, she's lived in a variety of places: Nigeria, New Hampshire, upper New York state and now, California. She pursues a career in oil painting under the name of Robin Gowen, specializing in landscape. Her work can be viewed at Sullivan Goss Gallery in Santa Barbara or on-line at www.sullivangoss.com/Exhibits/RobinGowen2012.asp 

Robin is married to a paleobotanist, who corrects the science in both her paintings and her stories. She's published science fiction short stories, a dystopian science fiction novel, Future Past, and Night Must Wait, a historical novel about the Nigerian Civil War. 

You may contact Robin or read her blog at: http://robinwinter.wordpress.com, or on her website: www.robinwinter.net 



Meet Robin Winter !

Where are you from originally?
Well the first house I lived in was flattened for a shopping center parking lot in Lincoln Nebraska, but when you use the word 'originally', I start to think more widely. Most of my early years I grew up in Nigeria and New Hampshire, then added about two years in upper New York state near Rochester, followed by college in Massachusetts.

Tell us your latest news?
I just completed training for the Adult Literacy Project and I shall meet my first assigned student today -- this afternoon. A bit nervous here... I shall have to slow down. I talk too fast when I'm nervous-- I know I need to listen more and be calm, steady, clear. I last tutored about three years ago-- volunteer ESL tutoring, in biology, history and English language, though tutoring high school students feels to me essentially different from tutoring an adult who comes with specific goals, not just the need to pass courses.

For other news, we just finished rototilling about forty wheelbarrow-loads of horse manure from the stables across the street into the main garden, and I set out the first broccoli and Swiss chard seedlings. So many promises of good things right now, between tutoring and planting.

If you could have a dinner party with any authors from any time in history, who would you choose and why?
First I think of Charles Dickens-- he'd eat heartily and laugh the same way, a gentleman in his manners, with a slightly narcissistic turn. He'd probably bring bottles of champagne, which he loved. That would be a noisy party and the neighbors might object, so I'll invite them too. Dickens loved an audience. I'd ask him to read to us so we could experience his voice and dramatic abilities, which used to make women swoon and men weep. What a memorable evening that would be. If my French were only up to it I would adore sharing a meal with Montaigne, so long as I didn't have to cook. I love cooking, but Montaigne would make me feel concerned that my skills might come up short. But for pure conversation, maybe a writer like Van Loon who was such a reader and thinker, through good years and bad. Who wouldn't enjoy his insights? I pored over his Van Loon's Lives as a kid, re-reading some sections over and over. It's a sequence of imagined dinners with historical figures, there's a bawdy night with Queen Elizabeth the First and Shakespeare, there is the evening with Beethoven silent and Napoleon boasting. (He did invite Jesus once, but Jesus had to send his excuses, having been called away on His Father's business.) One disastrous evening Van Loon invited the Father of Mankind-- who turned out to be a proto-Homo who ruined the curtains, broke the dishes, scared the servants and had no conversation at all.

What are your current projects?
I should be painting. I am looking to a show of new landscapes in the coming year, and while I have a fair number of finished works I have some fresh ideas about light moving across the land. In writing, I am playing a kind of chess with two different plots, and characters who've not come in the door yet to challenge me. I'm in the plot outline /research stage on both.

What books or authors have influenced your writing?
Surely it would be easier to say who has not? Even the really awful books I've read haunt and influence me. I love my classics, but here's a true confession for you. I also love Max Brand. I will start reading almost anything, though if the story loses my trust, or characters break character, I'll drop the book as fast as I picked it up. I do believe that Stephen King is underrated as an author. He has great command of voice, and devastating insight into human nature, both essential to seduce a reader.

Is there an Author that you would really like to meet?
So many. How does anyone choose? Probably Douglas Nicholas, whose prose and heart swept me away as soon as the great ox leaned his forehead on the boy's chest for comfort in that marvelous horror novel, Something Red. His poetry also moves me-- Iron Rose, and his collection of animal poems--The Old Language. He never descends into thin sentiment.

Tell us a little about your background. When did you start writing?
I think I started writing before I could-- let me explain. My mother read to us all the time, told us tales from Les Miserables and Hans Christian Andersen, and The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, so I knew from my first thoughts that everything and everyone had a story. I used to draw and write long scribbles that I claimed were stories before I even knew my alphabet. But my first manuscript was Chickens and Their Diseases, which I wrote in second grade, with illustrations in colour. I'm sorry to say I lost that piece of work when we were evacuated from Nigeria when the civil war there began.

Where do you get your ideas?
Dreams sometimes bring me characters whole, as fully developed individuals; often they are people I don't like, or at least feel very uneasy about. Normally the events of these dreams are fraught, and I am inside a stranger's head, experiencing everything. The best dreams give hints of plot, which later I will puzzle out like an investigator deducing unseen happenings and motives. The person's reactions and actions, emotions and flashes of past memory give me backstory, and a good guess about where the character's fate leads. I research ideas, history, science that interest me, all the time, and sooner or later I piece together the characters and scenarios that belong together, that feel like they were always meant to mesh.

Are any of your characters based on real-life friends or acquaintances?
I tried that, but no matter how carefully one may try, a writer will always be writing about him or herself in fiction. So you can borrow traits, but I include my dream characters here in saying I believe that no character ever comes from any source other than inside a writer's own brain. In a dream creation my brain is simply reshuffling the pieces that make me. My first novel written when I left college was supposed to have my friends in it. When they started trying to kill each other in the book was the moment when I realized they weren't my friends at all, merely segregated fractions of my own personality in borrowed clothing. So perhaps you can say a person inspired a character, but no more.

Do you ever incorporate yourself into your characters?
Ah, I think I answered that-- yes, I believe that I am legion, and so is every other writer out there.

Tell us about your cover. Did you design it yourself? If so, where did you get the inspiration for it?
No, I left that in the hands of my publisher and his team and artist, who is a terrific designer. I was given a suite of choices, and consulted, but I believe that even though in one of my lives I am a professional artist, book design is a specialty, and a difficult one.

Ok, now some fun questions….

But all of these have been fun!

Coffee or Tea?
Coffee in the morning and then water plain, no ice. White wine in the evening, or champagne by preference.

White Chocolate, Dark Chocolate or Milk Chocolate?
Any chocolate I can get my paws on so long as it is good chocolate. Often the trick is to obtain really fresh chocolate! I love fruity truffles....

What is your favourite colour?
Now that's a hard question. I have to say it depends on what I'm painting, but perhaps red, the colour of life and horror and sacrifice.

Winter or Summer?
I guess, given my name I should say Winter; but the honest answer is neither. I love transitions and contrasts, so Autumn is my ultimate favorite of the seasons.

If you could have one superpower what would it be?
The power to restore.

If you could be somebody else for a day who would you choose and why?
I don't really want to change skins. Must I? If I must, Steven Hawking, for I imagine it would be an exchange that would let him walk and run about freely and go swimming and do any number of things he's missed for too long. Maybe some insight into calculus and physics might linger in my brain afterwards, which would be a definite gain.

What are three things you never leave home without (apart from keys, money and phone)?
Some paper, a book to read, and a writing implement, are all essentials.

Are you a technology buff (i.e have every electronic gadget known to man)?
Not at all. My phone is a flip phone that my kid laughs at, though I am a demon texter. I am a creature of habit who resents every rearrangement the grocery store inflicts on me.

What is a movie or TV show that you watched just recently and enjoyed?
Mr and Mrs Smith. I think every couple planning to marry should watch it.

Follow the 'Watch the Shadows' by Robin Winter Tour:

Indie Review Behind the Scenes Mar 7 Live I 11 am cst 
Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Mar 16 Tour Kickoff With Giveaway 
Bound 4 Escape Mar 17 Review 
Confessions Of A Reader Mar 18 Excerpt 
Inspire To Read Mar 19 Excerpt 
Devoted Mommy of 3 Mar 23 Review 
The Book Diva's Reads Mar 24 Excerpt  & Giveaway 
Books, books and more books Mar 25 Review & Excerpt 
Pinky's Favorite Reads Mar 26 Interview & Excerpt 
Mythical Books Mar 27 Review, Guest Post,  & Excerpt 
Cassandra M's Place Mar 30 Review & Giveaway 
Kritters Ramblings Mar 31 Review 
I Sold My Soul For Books Apr 1 Review, Excerpt,  & Giveaway 
Christy's Cozy Corners Apr 2 Review & Giveaway 
fuonlyknew Apr 7 Review 
Lisa's Wordtopia Apr 8 Review & Guest Post 
100 Pages A Day Apr 10 Review & Giveaway 
WV Stitcher Apr 13 Review 
Mary's Cup of Tea Apr 14 Review 
Beth's Book Nook Apr 15 Review 
Rockin' Book Reviews Apr 16 Review 
What U Talking Bout Willis? Apr  17 Review & Excerpt 
Celticlady's Reviews Apr 21 Review 
Buried Under Books Apr 22 Review 
Deal Sharing Aunt Apr 23 Review                                                                                    

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for hosting my book on your blog-- I deeply appreciate it! Your interview questions were so much fun.

    ReplyDelete