Friday, December 20, 2013

A Holiday Letter to My Readers

1912 image, courtesy Library of Congress
Dear Readers,

Thank you for an amazing 2013. The way you embraced In the Shadow of Blackbirds far exceeded my wildest expectations. I'm so grateful for every single person who took a chance on my dark little tale with the ghostly cover.

This book has found an audience largely because of reader recommendations. Thank you to everyone who took the time to spread the word about the novel to someone else, whether online or in person, even if it was just a quick mention to one other individual. I'm also grateful for all the letters, emails, vlogs, and blogger support, as well as the fan art and poems that I've seen. And to all of you librarians and booksellers who have shown love for the book on a major scale, you people are superheroes to me! We authors appreciate you more than you probably even realize.

I'm looking forward to all that's yet to come in 2014. In January I'll be making an appearance at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia, along with the other finalists of YALSA's Morris Award. In Fall 2014, most likely in October, my second novel, The Cure for Dreaming, will be available from Amulet Books. The novel involves hypnotism, women's rights, the publication of Dracula, and life in 1900 America, and I can't wait to share it with you (I recently divulged a few more details about the book at Read My Breath Away). The paperback edition of In the Shadow of Blackbirds will also be hitting shelves in 2014, and a little bird told me it just might contain a preview of The Cure for Dreaming. Details about both publications, including a cover reveal, should be available this spring.

Happy holidays, lovely readers! May the coming year be a good one for everyone!

Warmest wishes,
Cat Winters
Santa visiting me on my very own street when I was a kid.

A scene from the WWI-set movie Joyeaux Noel, based upon a
real-life Christmas truce during the war:


One of my favorite holiday songs, "Winter Weather,"
the Squirrel Nut Zippers rendition:

Monday, December 16, 2013

My Adult Fiction Novel, THE UNINVITED, Sold to William Morrow/HarperCollins!

I sold an adult fiction novel, The Uninvited, to Lucia Macro at William Morrow!

The official Publishers Weekly announcement:

Lucia Macro at HarperCollins’s William Morrow imprint acquired world English rights to Cat Winters’s novel, The Uninvited. The book, which Morrow compares to The Night Circus and The Thirteenth Tale, is a paranormal work set during the influenza pandemic of 1918. Winters, who was represented by Barbara Poelle at the Irene Goodman Literary Agency, was a finalist for the YALSA’s 2014 Morris Award, for her novel In the Shadow of Blackbirds.

The story behind the sale of The Uninvited is a pretty remarkable one. Let me start by explaining that I spent close to fifteen years trying to sell other adult fiction manuscripts, with the help of two different agents, but the books never found a publishing home.

In October of this yearjust two months agoLucia Macro, a HarperCollins vice president and executive editor, picked up a copy of my debut YA novel, In the Shadow of Blackbirds, at Powell's Books in the Portland, Oregon, airport. She read the book during her flight back to New York, and then she contacted my agent, Barbara Poelle, and asked if I would be interested in writing a novel set in the same time period for an adult audience.

Admittedly, I wasn't 100% sure I wanted to revisit the fall of 1918. However, as I was busily working on revisions for my second YA novel, The Cure for Dreaming, a plot developed in my head. After I turned in my edits for The Cure, I sat down and wrote a sample chapter and a synopsis for an entirely different take on life in 1918. Barbara submitted the proposal for The Uninvited before Thanksgiving, and on December 2, less than two weeks later, we received the offer!

I started seriously writing adult fiction way back in 1994. In 2011, I got my first big break with a young adult novel and believed I would never think of writing for the adult market ever again. However, almost twenty years after setting out on this particular path, I finally have my adult fiction overnight success story!

This news doesn't mean I'm abandoning my young adult readers. The Cure for Dreaming will be released Fall 2014, and I already started work on a third YA novel that I haven't yet shown to my agent, plus I'm a contributor to the 2015 YA horror anthology Slasher Girls & Monster Boys. I will need to put the third YA novel aside while I write the rest of The Uninvited, but I'm really looking forward to revisiting the book this upcoming summer. And I can't wait to share more details about The Uninvited!

Writers: Keep writing. Keep believing in yourself.

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”
― George Eliot

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Book Sale News: SLASHER GIRLS & MONSTER BOYS, a YA Horror Anthology!

I'm excited to announce that I'm contributing a short story to the just-announced YA horror anthology, Slasher Girls & Monster Boys, coming Fall 2015 from Dial/Penguin. The collaboration is the brainchild of fellow horror-writing Oregonian April Genevieve Tucholke, author of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, and I am thrilled to bits to be a part of the project.

The official Publishers Weekly announcement:

Jessica Garrison at Dial bought world rights at auction to a YA horror anthology, Slasher Girls & Monster Boys. The collection features a large number of authors, including April Tucholke, Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, Kami Garcia, Carrie Ryan, Nova Ren Suma, A.G. Howard, Cat Winters, Stefan Bachman, Jay Kristoff, Kendare Blake, McCormick Templeman, and Megan Shepherd, and tells tales of gritty girls fighting back, seeking revenge, and claiming their victims. Publication is planned for fall 2015; Joanna Volpe at New Leaf Literary & Media brokered the deal for world rights.

We're keeping mum about our individual stories for now, but I'll post more info as soon as we can share details.

Speaking of YA horror, I gave my two cents on the topic in a recent CNN.com article.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

2014 William C. Morris Award Finalist

I'm blown away by today's news: In the Shadow of Blackbirds is a 2014 William C. Morris Award Finalist!

In case you're unfamiliar with the award, here's a quote about this incredibly surreal honor from today's official announcement at the YALSA website.

"YALSA selected five books as finalists for the 2014 William C. Morris Award, which honors a book written for young adults by a previously unpublished author. YALSA will name the 2014 award winner at the Youth Media Awards at 8 a.m. ET on January 27 during ALA’s Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia."

I'm still in a bit in a daze about this news, but I'm so grateful to everyone who helped get this book into print and to the members of the William C. Morris Awards committee. I'm also delighted to announce that some of my fellow members of The Lucky 13s are also finalists. Here's the full list:

Charm & Strange, by Stephanie Kuehn
Sex & Violence, by Carrie Mesrobian
Belle Epoque, by Elizabeth Ross



To make this news even sweeter, I discovered one of my favorite novels of recent years, Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys, was a 2012 Morris Finalist. That's what truly blows me away: finding my book in the same categories as authors I admire.

I'm not taking a single moment of this for granted.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Indie Bookstore Love on Black Friday & Small Business Saturday

Mary Shelley Black fans
at Georgia's FoxTale Book Shoppe.
I hope everyone is surviving or has survived the frenzy that is Black Friday (which I personally avoid like the Spanish influenza). I've decided to take this day to give a tremendous shout-out to the indie bookstores that have strongly supported In the Shadow of Blackbirds by either hosting me for a signing or supporting the novel in other generous ways. Please help me thank these wonderful stores by visiting their websites, having a look around, and buying from them if you're in need of a book this holiday season.


I'm sure there are other amazing indies that have been strong advocates for this book, and my deepest thanks goes out to them all.

I greatly appreciate the bigger bookstores as well, but when you shop at an indie store, your support of a local business helps your entire community. Thank you booksellers everywhere!

Shop Indie Bookstores

Book launch at Powell's Books.

St. Johns Booksellers signing.
Reading at Primrose & Tumbleweeds, an independent restaurant that hosts
Bards & Brews with Jacobsen's Books and NIWA.

Friday, November 22, 2013

A School Library Journal Best Book of 2013

Last night School Library Journal announced their Best Books of 2013 list, and I'm stunned and honored to announce that In the Shadow of Blackbirds is on that list! I'm absolutely floored, and so extremely grateful.

I'm also sitting on a few other exciting news items that I can't yet reveal, but to say the least, I'm incredibly thankful for my writing career this Thanksgiving season. Thank you, readers, for being so amazing and loving!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Where to Find Signed Copies

I just signed more copies of In the Shadow of Blackbirds at Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing, and they're offering free shipping through Sunday, November 17. Online ordering is available at Powells.com. (The Powell's link will take you directly to the signed editions of my book.)

Signed copies will also be available next Friday at the Lloyd Center Mall Barnes & Noble in Portland, Oregon. I'm going to be making an appearance in the store as part of the Barnes & Noble Discovery Day events. You can catch me there Friday, November 22, at 3:00 pm. If you want to request a signed edition before I arrive, please call the store at 503-249-0800.

I've also signed copies of the book at the following Portland indies:


Please call those two stores ahead of time to check on the availability of the signed edition.

Happy reading!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Holed Up with Edits for THE CURE FOR DREAMING

I'm currently working on the revisions my editor requested for my Fall 2014 release, The Cure for Dreaming, so this site will be a little quiet during the month of November. I don't have any blog stops planned for the coming month either, but I'm extremely grateful to all the bloggers, bookstores, and librarians who featured In the Shadow of Blackbirds during their Halloween festivities.

I'm happy to report that both The Cure for Dreaming and the paperback edition of In the Shadow of Blackbirds should be available in time for next year's Halloween season. My publisher, Amulet Books, and I will be busy getting everything ready over the next several months, and you should hopefully be hearing more about both of those releases in the spring.



Monday, October 14, 2013

Halloween Blog Tour & Treats

Bloggers have been very kind about inviting me to participate in guest posts and interviews this Halloween season. Here's a list of my visits, many of which include giveaways.

October 4 - "The Ghosts in my House"

October 7- Top 10 Favorite Ghost Songs

October 20 - Top 10 Favorite Ghost Books

October 22 - Interview
The Book Wars

October 23 - Top 10 Favorite Creepy Characters
Candace's Book Blog

October 23 - Interview

October 29 - Top 10 Favorite Haunted Sites

October 30 - How to Give Your Readers Chills

Special Halloween Treat: If you dress like an In the Shadow of Blackbirds character for Halloween, please send me a link to a photo of you in costume. I will mail a signed bookplate and bookmark to anyone who does so. Send photos to catwintersbooks AT gmail.com, or send your link via Twitter (@catwinters).

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS Audiobook

I'm happy to announce that the In the Shadow of Blackbirds audiobook is now available from Recorded Books. The publisher's website contains ordering information for school and libraries, and Audible.com has purchasing info and listening samples for everyone.

The audiobook is narrated by Angela Goethals, who narrated the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. She has also appeared in movies such as Home Alone and Jerry Maguire and on TV series such as 24 and Law & Order. I've listened to the sample and think it's amazing.

Monday, October 7, 2013

More October Events

I received my editorial letter for my next book, The Cure for Dreaming, so I'm spending most of my time working away on revisions. However, I have two more in-person events this month that I'd love to quickly mention:

Tuesday, October 8, 2013, 9:45-10:15 am:
Autographing Session
PNBA's 2013 Fall Tradeshow, Airport Holiday Inn, Portland, OR
(Only open to book industry professionals.)

Saturday, October 12, 2013, 2:00 pm:
"How to Give Your Readers Chills"
League of Exceptional Writers Workshop for kids and young adults
Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing
3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd., Beaverton, OR

Monday, September 30, 2013

Wordstock!

This upcoming weekend I'll be making an appearance at Wordstock here in  Portland, Oregon. I'll be speaking on a YA paranormal lit panel with Teri Brown (Born of Illusion) and April Genevieve Tucholke (Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea), and Miriam Forster (City of a Thousand Dolls) will be moderating. (Yep, we're all members of the long-title club.)

Here are the full details about the panel:

Sunday, October 6, 2013 • 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Beyond Twilight: The Future of YA Paranormal Lit
The Mac Store Stage (OCC, D-137)

Devils, magic, séances, and ghosts...three authors of YA fiction discuss the state of paranormal teen lit in our post-Twilight world. 

Directly after the panel, I'll be signing copies of In the Shadow of Blackbirds.

Wordstock is held at the Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd., Portland, OR. The festival runs from October 3-6, and the book fair runs October 5-6.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

September and October Events

Halloween is the perfect season for celebrating the release of In the Shadow of Blackbirds, so I've made several plans to promote the novel, both online and in person, from now through the end of October.

Already underway is my stop at The Uninterrupted Reader, part of the 2013 Debut Authors Bash. I'm sharing a list of my Top 10 Favorite Ghost Movies and giving away a signed copy of In the Shadow of Blackbirds.

On Friday, September 27, at 7:00 pm, I'll be speaking about and reading from In the Shadow of Blackbirds at Bards & Brews, a monthly event held at Primrose & Tumbleweeds, 248 E Main Street, Hillsboro, OR. Jacobsen's Books will be on hand to sell the novel, and I'll be signing copies after the presentation. Here's a flyer of all the authors who will be participating that evening.


In October, I'll be making three appearances in Portland, OR, including a panel and signing session at Wordstock 2013! Here's my schedule:

Sunday, October 6, 2013, Noon-2:00 pm:
Noon - Beyond Twilight: The Future of YA Paranormal Lit, with Cat Winters, April Genevieve Tucholke, and Teri Brown (moderated by Miriam Forster)
1:00 pm - Book Signing
Wordstock, Oregon Convention Center, Portland, OR

Tuesday, October 8, 2013, 9:45-10:15 am:
Autographing Session
PNBA's 2013 Fall Tradeshow, Airport Holiday Inn, Portland, OR
(Only open to book industry professionals.)

Saturday, October 12, 2013, 2:00 pm:
"How to Give Your Readers Chills"
League of Exceptional Writers Workshop for kids and young adults
Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing
3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd., Beaverton, OR

Yes, my events all occur in Northern Oregon right now, but hopefully one day I'll get to travel around to meet readers more. I will be making several yet-to-be announced blog stops in October, so please keep an eye on my Twitter and Facebook updates. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Great Gatsby Book Party

On Saturday, September 14, at 2:00 pm, I'll be participating in a panel discussion and celebration of all things 1920s at the indie bookstore A Children's Place in Portland, Oregon. Yes, In the Shadow of Blackbirds takes place in 1918, not the 1920s, but the roaring decade of jazz and booze was a direct result of the World War I era.

I'll be speaking with Rosanne Parry (Written in Stone), Teri Brown (Born of Illusion), Susan Hill Long (Whistle in the Dark), and Janet Fox (Sirens). We'll all be signing copies of our books directly after our presentation.

If you live too far away from Portland to attend, or you just can't make it, you can inquire about ordering signed copies of our novels by calling A Children's Place at (503) 284-8294 or by using their online request form.

If you can make it to the event, I look forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Highlighted VOYA Review of IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS

I'm thrilled beyond words to announce that VOYA Magazine has given In the Shadow of Blackbirds its fourth starred review! VOYA, which stands for Voices of Youth Advocates, is the leading library journal for YA librarians, and it has its own unique rating system. Unlike other trade review publications, they technically give highlighted reviews instead of starred reviews, and they rank a book's popularity on a scale of 1P to 5P, with 5P meaning "Every YA (who reads) was dying to read it yesterday." I actually just learned all of this info after I received the In the Shadow of Blackbirds review, and I'm extremely honored that the magazine gave the book a highlighted review and such high rankings.

Here's an excerpt:

“All of the historical elements—fascination with séances, women working long days in factories, young men severely disfigured by the war—are rolled naturally into Mary Shelley's quest to discover Stephen's fate. Romance fans will love Stephen's ghostly visits to Mary Shelley... Mystery lovers will enjoy the satisfactory resolution of the puzzle. Of particular interest is Winters's treatment of the condition of 'shell shock,' which becomes relevant each time there is a war. Recommend this title to fans of Libba Bray's The Diviners.”
VOYA Magazine, Diane Colson 4Q 5P J S

For more trade reviews, please visit my Reviews page.

Monday, August 12, 2013

New: A Fan Art Page

I've just launched The Embers Gallery: a brand-new page for In the Shadow of Blackbirds artwork, spirit photography, and book trailers, all made by fans of the novel. The gallery is located at www.blackbirdsnovel.com/p/embers-gallery.html, and it's a little sparse right now, but I really wanted to start showcasing the readers who have already paid tribute to the novel. I greatly appreciate fans' creativity and enjoyment of In the Shadow of Blackbirds.

Here's the very first piece of fan art I received:

"A Happy Ending," by Danielle-chan
I love it! Feel free to send your own In the Shadow of Blackbirds artwork and reader-inspired book trailers to catwintersbooks AT gmail.com. You must own the rights to anything you submit.

Thank you, readers!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Booklist's Top 10 Horror Fiction for Youth

I'm thrilled beyond words to announce that In the Shadow of Blackbirds made Booklist's Top 10 Horror Fiction for Youth list, available in the August 2013 "Spotlight on Horror" issue. My little novel was included with books by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (one of my modern-day literary heroes), Daniel Kraus, Gretchen McNeil, Rick Yancey, and other extremely talented YA and middle-grade horror novelists. I'm absolutely speechless.

Thank you, Booklist, for once again showing In the Shadow of Blackbirds some love!

Other Booklist spotlights on the novel:


Saturday, August 3, 2013

More Details about THE CURE FOR DREAMING

As part of the second annual Authors Are Rockstars Tour, I'm divulging more details about my next novel, The Cure for Dreaming, at the wonderful Carina's Books. The book won't be available until Fall 2014, but over at Carina's site you can learn a little more about the plot and discover which classic horror novel plays a role in the storyplus I'm revealing the name of my young hypnotist character for the very first time. I'm also offering an In the Shadow of Blackbirds/The Cure for Dreaming signed swag giveaway.

My talented Amulet Books editor, Maggie Lehrman, will be sending her editorial notes for this new book in the next month or so, which means I'll soon be ducking away to work on her suggested revisions. She's extremely excited about the novel; I'm extremely excited about it, and I can't wait to share even more info about it.

In the meantime, definitely check out my Authors Are Rockstars post, and if you so desire, have a listen to the song that frequently runs through my head when I'm talking about this historical hypnotist novel of mine...

Saturday, July 20, 2013

My Worldbuilding Secrets

Building a fictional world that's vibrant and intriguing is extremely important, no matter the genre, so this past week at Corsets, Cutlasses, and Candlesticks, Katherine Longshore (Gilt, Tarnish) and I shared our tips and tools for creating vivid, believable settings.

Here are the links to our posts:

Building a Believable Story World by Katherine Longshore

The Art of Worldbuilding by Cat Winters

If you have any questions, please let us know in the comments sections.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

July Updates: News about My Next Book & Upcoming Events

First of all, thank you to those of you who participated in my Goodreads Q&A this week. The group is officially inactive at this point (I chose to run it for three days), but I'll leave it up there for a while in case you want to check out my answers. If a late question happens to creep in, I'll likely still answer it if I'm not having an overly busy moment. You can also always ask me questions via Twitter, Facebook, and email.

My big accomplishment of the summer, so far, has been sending my brilliant editor, Maggie Lehrman, the finished draft of my second novel, The Cure for Dreaming. If you're curious about that book, here's how I described the plot in that recent Goodreads chat:
 _____________________________
The Cure for Dreaming takes place in 1900 Portland, OR, and it's about a seventeen-year-old girl named Olivia whose father hires a young male hypnotist to remove her rebellious thoughts. Olivia's father is worried she's becoming a suffragist and a "modern woman," and he's terrified she'll turn into her mother, who abandoned their family to return to a life in the theater. The hypnotism cure, however, doesn't go quite as planned...and Olivia has to figure out if the hypnotist is a friend or a foe.  
_____________________________

The book is still scheduled for publication in Fall 2014, and I'll likely be launching into my intense revision stage this upcoming fall, once I receive my editor's letter. I have no idea what will be appearing on the cover of this one yet, but I'm looking forward to finding out. For now, I have a Pinterest page and a Spotify playlist to share for the book.

If you're in the Portland, OR, area, and you're an aspiring author, please consider joining me for a mansucript critique at the following event:

Saturday, July 20, 2013, 9:00 am:
The Great Summer Critique
 The Dining Room, TaborSpace
5441 SE Belmont St, Portland, OR

I'll be taking a break from appearances in August to spend time with family, but I already have events planned for September and October, with more in the works. You can find them all at my Events Page.

Last of all, I'm happy to report that I proposed an idea for a third standalone YA novel to my agent, and she's thrilled about the concept and title (both of which will remain tightly under wraps for now). I've already started a draft and look forward to working more on the project this summer.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Ask Me Questions in My Q&A Group!

From now through Wednesday, July 10, I'll be available to answer questions at a Goodreads Q&A group. Feel free to ask me about In the Shadow of Blackbirds (including your burning spoilery questions), my characters, The Cure for Dreaming, and writing in general. I'm happy to answer.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Giveaway Winners & Next Week's Q&A Group

Thank you so much to everyone who entered my In the Shadow of Blackbirds "Thank You, Readers!" giveaway. I selected my winners using Rafflecopter's random-drawing option, and yes, I deleted any incorrect trivia answers before I even drew the names.

Congratulations to the following winners (whom I'll email directly):

First-Place Prize Pack
Victoria M.

Signed Bookmarks & Bookplate
Heather C.
Sierra W.
Lisa C.

If you didn't win this time around, have no fear. I will certainly run more giveaways in the future. In fact, Christianna at The White Unicorn is currently giving away a hardcover copy of In the Shadow of Blackbirds, plus she interviewed me about the novel and my 2014 release, The Cure for Dreaming.

One other bit of news: From July 8 to July 19, 2013, I'll be answering questions at the "Q&A with Cat Winters" Goodreads discussion group. I'm even allowing a thread of spoilery questions. I'd love to have you join me over there.

Monday, June 10, 2013

My "Thank You, Readers!" Giveaway

I am so incredibly grateful for my In the Shadow of Blackbirds readers! This is not a novel that's being promoted with giant print ads and Entertainment Weekly features. It's a word-of-mouth type of book, and you readers and reviewers are doing an amazing job at creating buzz.

To show my appreciation, I've prepared an international In the Shadow of Blackbirds giveaway that's geared toward people who have already read the book. The giveaway will close July 2, 2013three months after the novel's release dateso if you're just now picking up the book, you still have a chance to participate.

Here's what I'm giving away...

First-Place Prize Pack:
Signed 12 x 18" poster.
Custom-made In the Shadow of Blackbirds bracelet.
Clock gear necklace.
Plus three signed bookmarks (in the brand-new design) and one signed bookplate.

Three other winners will receive:

Signed bookmarks (brand-new design) and a signed bookplate.

Below you'll find a Rafflecopter. Once you sign in, you'll be asked to answer a fairly easy In the Shadow of Blackbirds trivia question, which will unlock seven other questions. You don't have to answer them all, but each correct answer you submit will earn you an extra entry in the raffle. The giveaway is international. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 3, 2013

IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS Charm Bracelets!

My lovely and highly talented sister, Carrie Raleigh, has launched an Etsy store called Novelry, and the first items she's selling are the beautiful, custom-made In the Shadow of Blackbirds charm bracelets you may have seen in some of my recent giveaways.


Each charm represents a plot point in the book. Charms will vary, but you get to select the band size and type.

Visit Novelry at www.etsy.com/shop/Novelry.

Thank you, Carrie!

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Few Quick Notes before Disappearing into the Writing Cave

I'm currently on a deadline for my next novel, The Cure for Dreaming. Therefore, this website will be a little quieter for the next two months or so, and I won't be doing as many guest posts and interviews. In the meantime, you can learn more about In the Shadow of Blackbirds, The Cure for Dreaming (including more details about the plot), and other potential future projects in an interview with me at My Friends Are Fiction.

Here are my some of my post-deadline plans for In the Shadow of Blackbirds:

Appearances: I have one yet-to-be-announced appearance scheduled for June, but other in-person events won't start up again until July. Keep an eye on my Events page; I'll be adding appearances as soon as they're confirmed. Prepare for quite a bit of activity this Halloween season (mainly on the U.S. West Coast).

Goodreads Q&A group: I was planning to host an In the Shadow of Blackbirds question and answer forum on Goodreads this month, but because of my current deadline, I've decided to move that event to mid-July. More people will now have time to read the book, so the delay will allow me to permit more spoilery discussions.

The Embers Photo Gallery: I'd love to add a gallery of reader-created spirit photography and fan art on the In the Shadow of Blackbirds website, BlackbirdsNovel.com. Check back for details on that project this summer. Before that point, feel free to send me notes and artwork at catwintersbooks AT gmail.com. I'm still checking messages, even as I'm writing.

Happy reading!

Monday, May 6, 2013

IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS in San Diego

Me, dressed for San Diego's Gaslight Gathering.
I spent the past four days traveling with In the Shadow of Blackbirds in its San Diego setting. I met high school students, librarians, booksellers, and other readers and enjoyed every moment.

To fully immerse San Diego students into the novel's 1918 setting, I had them wearing flu masks and smelling a bag full of raw onions. I also ventured into the world of steampunk conventions at San Diego's Gaslight Gathering.

A huge thanks goes out to the following schools, bookstores, etc., for hosting me:

San Diego High School
Grossmont High School
The Yellow Book Road
Mysterious Galaxy
San Diego County Library
Ara Burklund
Gaslight Gathering
My sister, Carrie
San Diego friends
Laura Mihalick at Amulet Books (who sent me down there in the first place!)

I've posted several photos from my trip, including pics from the novel's setting, on my Facebook page.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Latest News: YALSA Nomination and My San Diego Appearances

I was originally going to just make this post about my San Diego events, but I want to quickly add that I recently learned In the Shadow of Blackbirds received a nomination for the Young Adult Library Services Association's 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults! I'm so honored to see my book listed with the works of amazing authors such as the über talented Ruta Sepetys!!!

And now for the news about my trip.

Tomorrow I'm recreating Mary Shelley Black's journey from Portland, OR, to San Diego, CA. If you've read In the Shadow of Blackbirds, you'll know that the novel begins with my protagonist boarding a train bound for San Diego in the middle of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. I'm taking a much comfier route: a short flight involving snacks and some reading time.

On Thursday and Friday, May 2 and 3, I'm speaking at San Diego High School and Grossmont High School, with presentations coordinated by The Yellow Book Road and Mysterious Galaxy. I'll let you know if signed copies of the book will be showing up in those stores afterwardthere's a strong possibility they will. (Note: The San Diego History Center owns a wonderful photo of San Diego High School students wearing Spanish flu masks in 1918.)

On Saturday, May 4, I'll be at the Gaslight Gathering: Steampunk  & Victoriana Convention at the Town & Country Resort Hotel, 500 Hotel Circle North, San Diego.

My Gaslight Gathering schedule of appearances:

4:00-5:00 pm:
Victorian Gothic Literature Panel
Brittany Room

5:00-6:00 pm:
In the Shadow of Blackbirds Signing Session
Grand Bazaar Vendor Hall, Autograph Table

Yes, I'm dressing up for the steampunk convention! I have a lovely black WWI-style dress and will likely be wearing some Mary Shelley Black-style clockwork jewelry. In the Shadow of Blackbirds isn't a steampunk novel, but my main character loves clocks and technology and the works of Jules Verne, and she even owns a pair of lucky aviatrix goggles.

I'll post photos from the trip after I'm back next week! Hopefully, I can also snap some shots of my favorite San Diego haunted sites. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Blogger Love for IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS (Thank You, Bloggers!)

My lovely UK publicist put together this amazing compilation of In the Shadow of Blackbirds blogger reviews. Blogger love for this book has been incredible, and I'm extremely grateful for everyone who's been helping me spread the word about the novel.

9781419705304.jpgBLOGGERS IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS!!

See below a list of quotes and links to full reviews that have hit the blogosphere so far . . . with many more still to come.

‘I don’t need to be a clairvoyant to see the future that lies ahead of Cat Winters and her debut: awards, critical acclaim, translations to more languages than I can name (and I can name a lot of languages). If you squint at the cover, you can already see the shiny William C. Morris medal in the top left corner, possibly even a Printz.’ Full review from The Nocturnal Library here

It is creepy and sad and amazing and so perfect.’ Preview post from: Carina and full review here

‘Cat Winters is a very promising debut author and one I have added not only to my favourite list but my auto buy list.’ Full review from Read, Write and Read Some More here

In the Shadow of Blackbirds is more of an experience than it is a book. It’s haunting, emotional and wonderfully written, but it’s also educational and thought-provoking. Some striking photographs from this historical period feature throughout, adding an extra special touch to this remarkable debut novel.’ Full review from A Realm of Fiction here

‘I was completely  lost in this story and read the whole book in two days. It is definitely one I want to hand out to people and insist they read. I absolutely loved this book and I was quite taken with how wonderful it truly is. Definitely a  dark horse that needs to be explored further.’ Full review from Serendipity Reviews here

‘I will definitely be checking out more by the author and will recommend this book, with its haunting images and brilliant storyline to every reader.’ Full review from Read-a-raptor here

‘It scared me to the point that at times I wanted to put it down & come back to it later...however much I wanted to I couldn’t, it has me wanting to read on even when it spooked me.’ Full review from The YA Bookshelf here

A gripping, emotional, and heartbreaking read. I can say without a doubt that In the Shadow of Blackbirds is one of my favourite standalone books of the year so far.’ Full review from The Page Turner here

Mary Shelley Black is a great narrator.’ Full review from Book Angel Booktopia here

This novel is one that will stay with you for days and one that I can imagine myself re-reading again at a later date. It is a novel with a strong heroine that many feminists would be proud to read about. But truly it is simply Cat Winters and her amazing talent that should draw people to this book. I just really don’t think you should be missing out on this hauntingly brilliant book.’ Full review from The Daydreamers Thoughts here

‘In the Shadow of Blackbirds completely surpassed all of my expectations – Cat Winters’ debut is absolutely magnificent.’ Full review from The Aussie Zombie here

IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS is haunting, thrilling and very emotional. Full review from Kate Ormand’s blog here

‘The world building was haunting along with those photographs attached to the book which enriches the spookiness of the story.’ Full review from Pages from my Thoughts here

‘This book will definitely win the hearts of fans of YA historical novels like The Diviners or The Masque of the Red Death.’ Full review from Daydreaming Bookworm here

In the Shadow of Blackbirds, Cat Winters * 978-1419705304* Amulet

An added bit of news for readers of this post: an In the Shadow of Blackbirds audiobook will be available from Recorded Books later this year! 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Introducing THE CURE FOR DREAMING

I'm thrilled to announce that I sold my second novel, The Cure for Dreaming, to Maggie Lehrman at Amulet Books/ABRAMS! Maggie is the same extraordinarily talented editor who helped me whip In the Shadow of Blackbirds into shape, and I'm ecstatic that I get another chance to work with her!

The book is slated to be published Fall 2014.

Here's the official announcement from Publishers Marketplace:

Author of IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS Cat Winters's THE CURE FOR DREAMING, where, at the turn of the 20th century, a seventeen-year-old is hypnotized into seeing people's true selves, illustrated with late-Victorian images, again to Maggie Lehrman at Amulet, by Barbara Poelle at Irene Goodman Agency (World English).
Foreign: Heather Shapiro at Baror International


I first came up with the idea for The Cure for Dreaming about a month before I sold In the Shadow of Blackbirds. It was September 2011, shortly before Halloween, and I was interviewing musician Kristen Lawrence, the  creator of Halloween Carols. The following song of hers, "Dark Glass," served as inspiration for The Cure for Dreaming's Gothic, dreamy, hypnotizing atmosphere. 



I'll let you know as soon as I have any more information about the novel. In the meantime, I'll be hard at work on the book, getting ready for Fall 2014!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Interview with Cover Photographer Symon Chow

Symon Chow and cover model Olive.
My guest today is the talented Symon Chow, the photographer behind the In the Shadow of Blackbirds cover. Photography plays an enormous role in the plot of this novel, so I'm thrilled to feature someone who is both familiar with the art form and skilled at capturing the haunting look of the early-twentieth-century spirit photographs that are integral to this book.

Here is my interview with Symon.


Thank you so much for joining me today, Symon! As soon as my editor, Maggie Lehrman, gave me the link to your website and I saw your haunting, unique, vintage-style photographs, I knew you were the perfect photographer for the In the Shadow of Blackbirds cover. When and how did you first become drawn to this particular style of photography?

I guess it would have had to be in college when I started learning how to shoot “Alternative Process” photography. I have always been fascinated by old cameras and lenses, though even before college, I was fascinated by turn-of-the-century photography. But back then wasn’t as much about the gear and the process as it was about the subject. I have always had an affinity for the fashion of the era. If I had to pinpoint its beginning, it actually came from a shirt that my mother wore when I was a child. The shirt had a very intricate Art Nouveau pattern of sirens swirling through ribbons of fabric. I still remember it fondly and it has stuck with me though all of my creative endeavors.

When ABRAMS designer Maria T. Middleton approached you about photographing the cover of In the Shadow of Blackbirds, what were the first steps you went through to design and prepare for the shoot?

The first step of most covers I have worked on is to, of course, discuss what the designer and editor envision. I like to get as much details about the feeling they want to convey, so that I can get an idea of what kind of lighting will be involved. Then I like to ask about what types of props they want to incorporate. With that information, and the actual story for reference, I try to get as much detail before I work on “sketches.” I present as many different options as I can, focusing on different key elements that we’ve discussed. When the sketch is approved I can then concentrate on putting together the actual elements of the composition and source props and setups. The process is very much like putting a jigsaw puzzle together. It can at times be very fun and at times a little frustrating, but in the end, ALWAYS super fulfilling!

Your online portfolio shows a variety of costumes and eclectic Victorian/early 1900s-style backdrops and props. For the In the Shadow of Blackbirds cover, did you provide the costumes and all the accessories, including the goggles? 

I did actually, but not as much as I normally would have. Maggie and Maria already had a very particular outfit in mind before I even got involved in this project and had the costume pretty much sorted out. The only thing they didn’t have were the goggles...which I just happened to have sitting around (I collect old military goggles). On the day of the shoot we also played with different shoes and accessories. We have a fairly large collection of turn-of-the-century, pre- and post-WWI outfits and props that we’ve been collecting for years.

Did you use various costumes and backdrops for this shoot, or was there one particular look that you wanted most?

I believe we did a number of set-ups for this cover. Mostly wardrobe changes, different lighting set-ups, and positioning. We wanted to keep the setup simple in terms of the pose, because we wanted to focus on atmosphere. We were going for haunting, but also at the same time, inviting. We wanted the reader to get sucked into Mary’s world, and actually want to stay a while

Early-twentieth-century spirit photography plays an enormous role in the novel. Decades before the Photoshop era, photographers used methods such as double exposures to create ghostly images in the developed pictures. Are you able to divulge how you and Maria created the spirit lurking behind the model on the cover? 

Smoke and Mirrors.

If you lived in the early 1900s, would you still have been a photographer and designer? Do you think it would have been easier or harder to make a living with that art form back then?

I believe I would absolutely be working in photography and/or design in some shape or form. Especially in my photography, I use much of the same equipment, technics, and chemicals that were being used back then. It would be a toss-up as far as ease goes. While it would be easier to do the work of actually taking the picture and developing, it would be much harder to have the picture altered, press ready, and reproduced. This type of work is just in my blood, whether it be taking photos or making a sign or creating a book. I think if I were alive back then, and given the choice, my job would have been in the arts/technical field.

Thank you so much for joining me, Symon! I love hearing about the creation of this highly unique cover.

Visit Symon Chow online at www.SymonChow.com.

For more behind-the-scenes In the Shadow of Blackbirds cover info, please see my interview with the book's designer, Maria T. Middleton.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Second Starred Review

I was thrilled and stunned when Publishers Weekly honored In the Shadow of Blackbirds with a starred review, so I was doubly amazed when a second such review showed up, this time from Booklist:

A scattering of period photos, including eerie examples of spirit photography, further the sense of time and place, but the main event here is Winters’s unconventional and unflinching look at one of the darkest patches of American history. More than anything, this is a story of the breaking point between sanity and madness, delivered in a straightforward and welcoming teen voice.
Booklist, starred review

The Atlantic Wire also featured In the Shadow of Blackbirds in their recent article "The Spring Book Preview, Y.A. Edition." Here's what they had to say about the novel:

"One of the creepiest (in a good way) covers of the season! What's inside, historical Y.A. set at the time of the Spanish influenza, is equally haunting."

Thanks so much to all the reviewers who are helping to give In the Shadow of Blackbirds a fighting chance in the world!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Reading and Signing at St. Johns Booksellers

Portland, Oregon, was just ranked the second nerdiest city in the U.S., which is probably why I feel so at home here. "People per bookstore" was one of the criteria for receiving this honor, and without a doubt we Northwestern Oregonians love our books.

As further proof of the local literary love, I'm heading into my second weekend of sharing In the Shadow of Blackbirds in a Portland-area bookstore.

Here's where you'll be able to find me:
Reading & Signing
8622 N. Lombard St., Portland, OR
Sunday, April 14, 2013
2:00 PM

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Launch Party Recap

On Saturday, April 6, 2013, Powell's Books in Beaverton, Oregon, hosted my In the Shadow of Blackbirds launch party. Local authors, bloggers, friends, and even out-of-state family members  joined me in the celebrations. 

Here's a pictorial tour of the afternoon:

In the Shadow of Blackbirds, ready to be sold before the event.
Receiving moral support from my long-time friend Cindy, who drove down from Washington state.

Blackbird and clock gear cupcakes!

Introducing myself and the book to the audience.

A pictorial tour of the novel's 1918 setting.

Signing the novel and chatting with visitors.

Left to right: My sister, Carrie (the creator of the charm bracelets I've given away), me, and my mom, Jenny.

Left to right: Candace (Candace's Book Blog, Novels, News, & Notes),  me, and Mel (Novels, News & Notes).

My name (in the middle of some amazing company!) on the Powell's events board.

I signed all the remaining stock, so if you'd like to order an autographed copy of In the Shadow of Blackbirds, please call Powell's Books at 800-878-7323.

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