Posts Tagged With: Robert Winter

Honorary Blogger Robert Winter: Defeating the “White Savior” Narrative + Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Defeating the “White Savior” Narrative

by Robert Winter

It’s a truism that we don’t know what we don’t know. In my case, I didn’t know I was blind to my own privilege until the editing process for Asylum exposed it.

When I wrote September, I expected that Colin Felton would be the main character in its sequel. I also had a story I wanted to tell, of an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador dealing with the realities of life in the United States. I planted the seeds of their pairing in September by making Colin a lobbyist who works with a nonprofit organization focused on the issues facing immigrants.

I originally wrote Colin as a Prince Charming type, bestowing gifts and safety with no expectation—or need—for Hernán to do anything for him. It’s certainly a common trope in romance, as evidenced by all the books out there with “billionaire” in the title, or that are derived from fairy tales like Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast.

My developmental editor, however, quickly pointed out that I was leaving myself open to a charge of the “white savior” narrative. I had to look that up, and what I read shook me badly. Simplistically, the term refers to a story where a white character rescues people of color from their plight. The common examples are movies like The Help, wherein the African-American maids “need” the activism of the wealthy white girl to find the strength to expose their employers’ racism, or The Blind Side, where the white woman “teaches” the young black man how to become a football star.

As soon as my editor pointed out what I’d done, I knew she was right. In the early drafts of Asylum, I focused much more on what the white Colin accomplishes for the Latino Hernán. I had produced a soft, feel-good story about a white man using his wealth to woo. For example, originally I wrote a scene where Colin takes Hernán to New York for a weekend, dazzling him with an expensive hotel and dinner. I liked the scene for its wish-fulfillment aspects, but I’d focused on the least interesting aspects of my own characters.

My first major rewrite, then, reconceived the book to focus on Hernán’s journey, experiences and growth. While Colin provides him with support and love (as do Rudy and eventually several other characters like Juan and Sofia who appear in later chapters), Hernán is the one who does the major work to repair his life. He makes all the leaps of faith, and ultimately deals with his troubled past.

The shift allowed me to see I had written about what Colin could do for Hernán, rather than what he might need from Hernán. I knew Colin was shy and regretted never having made a move on Brandon in September, but I began to wonder why. That gave me the opportunity to understand his weaknesses and the reason behind them, which in turn let me explore how Hernán could help. The book always began with Colin’s rescue after falling into a harbor. Now I could explore the other ways in which Hernán rescues him over and over.

The lesson I take away from this rewriting experience is that following old tropes like Cinderella without re-examination means that I have been lazy and have probably missed richer storytelling potential with my own characters. I hope you’ll give Asylum a try to see if I was successful in finding the deeper romance between Hernán and Colin.

You can find out more about Asylum on my website by clicking here. Continue reading

Categories: Book Promo, Excerpts, Giveaways, Honorary Blogger Post, Published in 2018 | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Audio Review: September by Robert Winter

Reviewed by Morgan

Title: September
Author: Robert Winter
Narrator: Kale Williams
Heroes: David James/Brandon Smith
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 10 Hours, 1 Minute
Publisher: Robert Winter Books
Release Date: February 7, 2018
Available at: Amazon and Audible
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb: David James is smart, successful, handsome… and alone. After the death of his lover, Kyle, from cancer, he buried himself in his law practice and the gym. At forty-eight, he is haunted by his memories and walled off from the world. When David injures himself working out, he’s assigned to Brandon Smith for physical therapy. The vibrant young therapist is attracted to David and realizes he needs a hand to get back into dating. What begins as a practice coffee date escalates to friendship, passion, and maybe something more, as they navigate a new relationship in Washington, DC, and the gay mecca of Provincetown.

But David remains trapped behind the barrier of fear and guilt. Will he remain loyal to Kyle’s memory if he moves on? Can he and Brandon manage a twenty-two-year age gap? Brandon thinks he understands David’s concerns, and for him, the answer to those questions is yes. He wants to be with David, and he believes he can overcome David’s barriers. But Brandon fails to account for the world’s reaction to a handsome young man attached to an older, wealthy lover.

David’s memories, Brandon’s pride, and an unexpected tragedy might cost them something very special…

Note: Another publisher released September previously with a different cover. The author has made only minor changes to this edition.
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Categories: 4 Star Ratings, Audio Review, LGBT, Morgan's Reviews, Published in 2018 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vampire Claus by Robert Winter: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

Blogger_Exclusive Excerpt

Exclusive Excerpt from Vampire Claus

by Robert Winter

On a cold winter’s night, Taviano scaled what passed in America for an historic building. From its roof, he hurtled to the belfry atop St. Stephen’s Catholic church. Rising out of a crouch, he turned slowly to survey the Boston streets below.

A recent snowfall had left rooftops and trees in the park across the road limned in white. Strands of lights wove in and out of metal window guards and dripped from ledges like icicles. Gold tinsel crowns and stars dangled from lampposts. Through windows, Christmas trees glistened.

Moved by the season—and sentimentality, he supposed—Taviano had come to a place he’d never before visited in many decades of wandering. As happened in recent years, though, when Christmas neared he longed for his childhood in Naples. In the nearby town of Quincy, he’d overheard references to Boston’s Little Italy. He therefore found himself in the North End to seek out those descended from his erstwhile countrymen.

He listened for a reaction from the passersby some thirty feet below. No one had noticed his body soaring overhead. Not surprising, since the Christmas bustle caught up most of the people crowding the streets. With any luck, he’d be able to relax for one night. He’d like to avoid whatever vampire claimed the area as its hunting ground, and continue to dodge the attention of any humans.

Low temperatures had everyone below on Hanover Street bundled in coats and scarves. His own thin black shirt and trousers—ideal for quick movement but not for passing unseen—would invite comment should someone spot him. A single observer would pose no trouble. He’d simply modify a memory or two and be on his way. But using preternatural gifts meant relaxing his tight control on the demon that shared his body. He hadn’t fed it in a few days for lack of a deserving victim. Hunger would make it more difficult to influence.

Far better if he could escape notice in the first place.

From inside St. Stephen’s voices rose, singing their devotion. It was “Silent Night” though he’d learned the song with different words. It was barely eight-thirty and he could identify forty-seven adults and children in the nave below. The scent of incense drifted to him, mixed with candle wax, communion wine, and boughs of evergreen.

Christmas customs had greatly changed over the decades. That was something he knew mainly from spying through windows and listening to radio and television programs. Even the rituals of Mass were different than when he’d last been inside a church. Lurking on the outside was as close as he could come. But other traditions had changed only slightly. He imagined the altar draped in white and purple as the priest led the celebration of the Nativity.

Peering down through a glass window of the belfry to see if he was right, he caught his own reflection. Thick black hair lay mussed from the bitter wind, and dark eyes glittered unnaturally like chips of obsidian. His full lips looked mischievous, belying his reserve.

Scruff perpetually darkened his cheeks. He’d been three days without shaving the night he was turned into the creature that stared back at him. Even if he bothered with a razor, the beard returned promptly. He’d heard often when he was alive that he was handsome. Still, symmetrical features and olive skin did not disguise that he was something other than human.

No, even if entering a church were not forbidden, he didn’t belong there anymore. No matter how much he missed it. Continue reading

Categories: Book Promo, Excerpts, Giveaways, LGBT, Published in 2017 | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment