Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Where in the world is Maureen San Diego?

It was either that or a Where's Waldo reference. Not sure either works. :/

Happy Halloween!!

I received these flowers yesterday from my fabulous author-relations team at Amazon Children's Publishing. Isn't that amazing!

Here are a few places where you can find me on the web this week--and discover lots of revealing secrets interesting facts about me and about DEVIANTS.

Get Lost in a Story -- interviewed by Donnell Ann Bell

Diana Peterfreund's Blog -- She asked really interesting questions! (not surprisingly, if you know Diana or have read her fabulous books)

Honestly YA -- Interviewed by Jennifer McAndrews -- more really interesting questions... and a discussion about eating rat meat...

The Reading Cafe -- A fun interview and a great review!

Inkygirl -- Great interview wherein I offer lots of tips about writing and publishing

And there are giveaway options at most of the places! And below!


If you're not a gambler, and don't want to risk the giveaways, DEVIANTS is only $3.99 for the kindle right now, if you live in the US! (A bit more in Canada and elsewhere--click on the link to find out how much is is, where you are.) And the hardcover is on sale most places too!

I'm also thrilled that DEVIANTS is listing in the top 50 on Amazon under "spine tingling horror' which is kind of awesome, especially on Halloween!

On Friday, I'm super excited to be blogging at Omnivoracious! Where today, they're discussing great YA Halloween reads and Friday, I'll be talking about why adults do (and should if they don't) read teen fiction.

Tomorrow, I'm on the panel "Romancing the Beast" at the World Fantasy Convention. Fellow panelists include #1 NYT Bestselling author, Patricia Briggs! I think I'll just sit and listen to her. :)

And on Saturday, I'll be a VIP Guest at the Ontario Blog Squad's Annual Meet Up! Very excited to meet everyone there!

(And somehow, at the same time, I need to do line edits for COMPLIANCE, The Dust Chronicles #2, before Sunday night... Sleep? I hear it's overrated.)

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Goodreads Book Giveaway

Deviants by Maureen McGowan


by Maureen McGowan

Giveaway ends November 09, 2012.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Sorry gentle readers for the blatant self promotion. :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

DEVIANTS Launch Day!

It's finally here. Although part of me wishes I had another month to do promo and get ready. But c'est la vie. :)

If you haven't seen it yet, here's the first chapter.

Deviants by Maureen McGowan - Chapter One

And I'm doing a giveaway!

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I've been pretty thrilled by the reviews for this book so far. Fingers crossed.

Here are a few photos from my launch. Like a dummy, I didn't give my camera to anyone to take photos and somehow didn't get a photo with Molly and Sinead. Oh, well. :) It was a blast.

The cake! (red velvet)

Me with my friend, middle grade author, Claudia Osmond

Me signing

Me signing in black and white. :)

Thanks so much to Debbie Ohi (illustrator of the fabulous picture book I'm Bored) for taking these photos!!

Monday, October 29, 2012


Well, the Drunk Writer part of it anyway. Thanks everyone for stopping by and saying hello. The winner of a whole big whack of books is: LAURIE!

As a special surprise I'm also going to giveaway a digital version of the Naughty and Nice Anthology to: Tracie Lampe!

Please Tracie - contact me through my website with your email address! Laurie - I'll be in touch.

Thanks again, everyone. It was fun!!

Monday, October 22, 2012


We have never done this - I have never done this - it's going to be a wild and fun experiment! Here are the deets:

This hop is all in celebration of the fantastic Christmas Anthology NAUGHTY AND NICE - my novella in it, ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU, is a prequel to my Jan book - CRAZY THING CALLED LOVE

So you hop around from site to site, entering to win:

Prizes - R@R is giving away (must be 18 or older to participate):
• 15 Net Galley Preview copy winners of Naughty & Nice +
• 5 ABOUT LAST NIGHT paper giveaways (US only) +
• Grand Prize of $15 Gift Certificate to eRetailer of choice!!

As a special little something here at Drunk Writer Talk - I am giving away a copy (digital or paper, your choice) of CAN'T BUY ME LOVE and CAN'T HURRY LOVE. Stephanie Doyle will giveaway a copy (digital or paper) each THE WAY BACK and ONE FINAL STEP. Eileen Rendahl will give a copy of DON'T KILL THE MESSENGER. And Maureen McGowan will giveaway a signed hard cover copy of her fantastic new YA, DEVIANTS.

This giveaway is open to North America but you have to be 18 years old to enter. So enter the big giveaway by using the form below. Enter the Drunk Writer giveaway by either following us, or saying hello in the comments. All the winners will be picked on 10/29. The Romance@Random winners will be posted over at Romance@Random. And I will post our winners here.

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Friday, October 19, 2012

I miss Arrested Development

Television is amazing right now. Between Homeland, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Vampire Diaries and more, the hour long drama has never been better written/ acted/ directed. And they are sustaining the greatness over several seasons, which is even more impressive.

But comedies just aren't quite there right now. I loved New Girl last season, but so far this season, it's been only OK for me. I enjoyed some episodes of Suburgatory, but last night watched the one from this week and barely chuckled. I got a little bored with Modern Family last season, so stopped watching and can't think of a comedy right now that makes me laugh out loud more than once an episode.

Louis CK is great, but it's more awkward humour and brilliant self-awareness than it is laughs a moment, and nothing has matched Arrested Development for me. Over three seasons that show was hilarious. The characters were almost completely unlikeable except for Jason Batemen and his son, and they seemed to take glee in making them as unlikeable as possible, but they were funny. I've watched all the episodes at least twice and actually physically jumped for joy when I found out they're making a movie.

Comedy is ridiculously hard, I get that, but I've had enough poignant laughs from Modern Family/ Suburgatory/ and almost every other comedy out there. I want to belly laugh. Anyone have any suggestions?

and, not to gush, but The Vamp diaries. Amazing. This season they are doing some incredible things with plotting and character. The scene where Damon walks into the church and smirks as he crosses himself with holy water was priceless.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Amnesia - Why we love it or hate it?

So earlier this week Molly talked about the Thomas novel which features an amnesia plot. Now the Amnesia plot in romance is a staple. I want to say it was almost like the “first trope”. The Adam and Eve of romance tropes.

I can tell you my first category book I ever wrote… amnesia. It’s like a rite of passage. Somewhere deep in our romance psyche we all have that burning amnesia story in us. I have actually planned for the 4th book in my Tyler Group series to be an amnesia story. Yikes!

Why are they problematic? Because they’ve been done to death. Because Soap Opera’s abused them horribly. Because getting hit on the head does not typically equal a total loss in memory. And getting hit on the head again – does not typically bring it back. Although certainly head trauma can equate to memory loss. As can emotional and psychological trauma.

As I’ve documented this year I’ve fallen back in love with 1995 Lois and Clark. In the typical horrifically plotted episodes we have Clark losing his memory after trying to destroy an asteroid. Then Lois losing her memory after hitting her head on a fire hydrant. Memory loss all over the place.

So why do we love it? Why does it work?

In the case of Lois and Clark – and we’ll take Lois (because in romancelandia it usually is the woman who suffers from the condition) - it’s a nice reset. We have two lovers, they are about to get married. They’ve worked out all their emotional issues but we’ve got 4 more episodes we have to produce. Bam! Amnesia – and now she doesn’t remember that she loves Clark and instead thinks she loves Lex Luther. Wonderful new conflict all created by a bonk to the head.

In romance though how is it used? Same scenario where the husband suddenly has to win back his wife? Or in Thomas’s case she used it to basically allow for a reset of a horrible relationship. So the heroine could forget everything the hero did to her and start over.

How am I using it? Well, someone is killed. She has blood on her hands. Only she doesn’t remember anything. Yep – totally cliché. See movie Dead Again with Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh.

So it has to be deeper. There has to be another reason.

Remember the moving Regarding Henry with Harrison Ford. In his case it was a bullet to the brain. And I remember the critics saying that he starts out as a jerk and the only thing that reforms him is that he got shot and became someone else. Meaning he never had to work to reform himself. He never had to grow.

In my case beyond the implications of the murder my hero is professional lie detector. A masterful psychiatrist who can use visual clues to determine if someone is potentially lying. So what heroine can I give this guy that he can’t possibly possibly read? She’s either got to be a sociopath (talk about a taboo in romance – sociopath heroine!) Or… she has to be a completely blank slate. A person he can’t read, because beyond her most recent memories there is nothing to read.

Now will I get it right? Probably not. Because pulling off the mother of all tropes – Amnesia – it’s just not easy.

But I’m a romance novelist. I have to try damn it!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hey Girl...

This photo simply sums up my state of mind right now.

At least I've got Ryan in my corner. :)

And if you want someone fun to follow on twitter:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Lovin' the Homeland second season

I am pretty crazy about this show. I think they totally deserve the basket full of Emmys they brought home. The first season was incredible. The second season is turning out to be just as good.

What really struck me tonight is how invested I am in both the main characters and how I'm rooting for both of them while their goals are diametrically opposed. Or maybe they're diametrically opposed. Whatever. They both can't get what they want and yet I totally want both of them.

At the end of Sunday's episode as Carrie starts to cry when she finds out she's been vindicated, I nearly cried with her. Her vulnerability. Her fragility. It's all out there on display. Maybe even more so when she tries to hide it.

And Brody! Out there in the rain and the muck, burying that guy who he just wanted to take to safety. I really wanted him to make it to the fundraiser and give his speech. Somehow they've made him so appealing that even though I know I should probably be rooting against him, I just can't. Part of this is Damian Lewis himself, I realize. I loved him in Life, also. A lot of it, though, is just the great writing.

There are so many other little touches that are awesome. Brody's daughter and how she sees way more than anyone realizes. The cranky guy in Brody's outfit who knows something's wrong with Brody, but nobody listens to him because he's just the cranky guy who hates Brody.

Anybody else watching this one? What do you think? Are you rooting for both Carrie and Brody?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sherry Thomas Tackles the Tropes

So I finished the last of Sherry Thomas' latest series. They all have sort of interchangeable names as is suddenly the norm in Historical romance these days. And I had some quibbles about the books - minor things, largely because Thomas has set the bar so damn high. Honestly, so damn high.

The main quibble was that in each of the books I felt short-changed on the pay off. It felt rushed, or didn't hit the right note I needed after the deft and emotionally intricate and specific set up. There is no part of Thomas' work that has ever felt generic to me. I have often thought I could read a passage of her work, without knowing the author and I'd know it was hers. That's a powerful voice in romance.

And the voice is the same, and that discordant sound at the end of the books wasn't about the writing, but more about the plotting.

But the funny thing - having read the three books now - I love them as a whole, a little more than I loved them individually. It was like a Greatest Hits of Romance Traditions - the first book is a revenge plot, the second is a marriage of convenience and the third is an amnesia story.

What freaking fun!! Honestly - I felt like it takes someone who truly TRULY gets the genre to have such a lark with her books. It both elevates and revels in the tropes we romance readers love best. There were delicious reversals and reveals. She both turned the trope on it's head, while at the same time giving readers what they want.

I highly highly recommend the books.

Have you read them? What do you think?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Guest Blogger Karen Whiddon: Switching from Story to Story

Hello all - please join me in welcoming my good friend Karen Whiddon to DWT! Many of you may already know her as Karen W. from the comments. She's filling in for me today with her blog: Switching from Story to Story!

As a reader, I often am reading more than one book at a time. But truth is, if a book grabs me by the throat and won't let go, I can't read anything else.

When I'm writing a story, as I immerse myself in the world and get to know the people, it's sometimes difficult to let the story go. Sure, I type "The End" and email it off to my editor and sigh with relief and some sadness. It's over. At least until revisions or line edits.

Because I have tight deadlines, I often don't get to take too much time off between books. Ideally, I'd like to take at least a couple of weeks. But that's not always possible. The book I'm working on now - Broken Wolf, which will be out in September 2013 - I had to start the day after I turned in The Millionaire Cowboy's Secret (May 2013).

There were various reasons I had to do this, but because the deadline is December 1st and I have a writer's conference, a vacation, and Thanksgiving all occurring during that time period, I couldn't take time off. And while I really didn't have a choice, it might have been a mistake.

I keep confusing the two stories. Calling my hero Lucas by my other hero's name (Matt). Same with the heroine. And while I never forget that this couple are both Shape-shifters and the others weren't, it makes for a bit of confusion.

As a reader - or a writer - do you ever do that? Read a really great book and then find yourself needing to take time off before reading a new book?

Speaking of new books - please check out mine. The Cop's Missing Child was out from Harlequin Romantic Suspense in September, and The Wolf Princess is out from Harlequin Nocturne now (October). If you've never read me before, I have a free on-line read, Wolf Dreams, up at A new chapter is posted every Monday, so chapter 4 goes live tomorrow. I hope to see you there!


Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Tapped Out

Sorry. It's one of those weeks. The only things I'm thinking about are largely negative and I just don't want to put that out in the universe. Instead, I bring you a picture of my cats. They are not doing anything funny. They are old men, but I still think they're cute. Here they are:

Friday, October 05, 2012


I've started watching one of the new TV shows, Last Resort. I'm mixed on it so far. The dialogue can be really over the top, and there is a lot of sermonizing, but the acting is great and what's at the core of the show so far, is this really interesting friendship between two men.

At first the friendship seems more like a mentor relationship between an older man and his second in command, but as the episode progressed, it became more of equals. Two men in a tense, precarious situation, and how they react to each other and their individual decisions. And the writers made a smart choice, because there is a ton of external conflict, there isn't much between the two men, there is trust and respect and they show us this through more than just dialogue. Andre Braugher and Scott Speedman are selling the hell out of their roles. It's subtle, but it's in the way they each look to each other for confirmation once they've made a decision, it's in Speedman's subtle nods each time Andre clashes with another crew member, it's in how they interact when they're not saying anything.

Another show that does friendship really well is Grey's Anatomy, which at it's core is about a friendship between two women and I believe Shonda Rhimes never loses sight of that.

The problem with friendships in genre storytelling is that they can reduce the tension. I read somewhere that so many romance heroines are motherless, because if they got some decent advice on how to handle the hero that the story would be over in three chapters. And a romance by it's nature is a focus on the hero and heroine, not her friends, but even in YA, the focus is often not on friendship.

I can't think of a genre story that has a great friendship outside of thrillers, where two people connected by solving a crime form a friendship. I did love the friendship between Butch and V in the brotherhood series. but it's the only one that can creep into my head right now. I'm probably not caffeinated enough..

Can anyone think of any I missed. I'd love to read a story with a solid friendship.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

It's the best I've ever done...

As Molly announced on Monday, One Final Step is now out in stores for the month and digitally forever. Yeah! And so I decided to put it out there and say what I really feel about this book. A lot of times readers will ask writers what is their favorite book they wrote. Many will answer, the book I’m working on now. (I think that’s Nora’s favorite line.) Or they can’t choose between their books, it would be like choosing between children.

I’m not really saying One Final Step is my “favorite” book. That probably would be a hard call. I like them when I write them, but I don’t think about them much when they are done.

But I can say without a doubt that this is the “best” book I’ve ever written and for only one reason. When I sit down and think about a book, the story is always in my head first. I see the scenes, the characters, hear the words. The process of writing is getting the story out of your head and onto the page. And the hard part about that process is getting the typed version of the story to match EXACTY what the vision in your head was. I have never fully accomplished this. It’s usually almost there… but then something is missing. Or I didn’t quite get it right… but it was close.

The hero in this story for me is my Wow moment. Michael on paper, was the Michael in my head. He was everything I wanted him to be and accomplishing that meant I had achieved something with this book I had never done before.

Does this mean it’s perfect? Hell no. Does this mean I’ve reached the top? Absolutely not. If fact many of the reviews about this book talk about loving the hero, but not quite getting the romance. Which is the beauty of writing. I got him right this time. Maybe I get her right the next time. Maybe I get them both right AND the romance right but not the plot absolutely one hundred percent the way I want it.

There is so much growth in writing. I know people who write that first book, and it’s published and it’s a hit. But that’s not going to be my story. I’ve written over 25 books at least, had 15 published and now with this book I’ve accomplished one small thing that I need to learn from and take into my next stories.

And the irony is, just because you love it, just because you know it’s your best, you have no idea what readers will think. Despite a lot of buzz on the internet my Amazon ranking is the worst of all the books for my month.

Now let me be clear I’m not envious of my fellow Superromance authors – I want them to sell zillions of copies and hope they all tie for a number one ranking. What it brought home for me though was the reality that just because it’s the best I did, means nothing. Because once the book is done and on the shelves it’s not about the writer anymore. It’s about the reader and what they want to read.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Life as a Trained Seal

Okay, according to John Steinbeck, a little above a trained seal. A little below clowns.

For the past 6 months or so, I've made numerous trips to Salinas. On nearly every one of them, I've meant to stop by the National Steinbeck Center there. There were reasons that I didn't manage to do it until last week, most of them (shamefully) having to do with beating traffic through the Bay area which is an impossible task anyway and I should have abandoned it before I ever started.

Which is to say that last week I finally visited the Steinbeck Center. I wasn't originally a fan of Steinbeck. They made us read The Pearl and The Red Pony in school and I didn't like either of them. Then one day I picked up a copy of East of Eden that was on my parents' bookshelves. Wow. Just wow. Steinbeck had me. He had me for life once I read Cannery Row and couldn't stop laughing at the The Great Frog Hunt. And The Grapes of Wrath? Suffice it to say that my grandfather was a sharecropper and it was only really because of a mule that kicked him in the kidney in Enid, Oklahoma that my own mother wasn't an Okie.

It turned out there was a lot I didn't know about Steinbeck. For instance, I didn't know he never wrote fiction again after winning the Nobel Prize for Literature. I actually didn't know he'd won the Nobel Prize at all. There were a few other details like that and more, but what I loved were the quotes about writing that they had posted on the walls.

There's the one I mentioned at the top about writers being a little below clowns and a little above trained seals. Then there's this one:

The profession of book writing makes horse racing seem like a solid, stable business.

So those are a little cynical, try this one on for size:

In utter loneliness a writer tries to explain the inexplicable.

And this:

The writer must believe that what he is doing is the most important thing in the world. And he must hold to this illusion even when he knows it is not true.

And finally, from his Nobel Prize acceptance speech:

Furthermore, the writer is delegated to declare and to celebrate man's proven capacity for greatness of heart and spirit - for gallantry in defeat - for courage, compassion and love. In the endless war against weakness and despair, these are the bright rally-flags of hope and of emulation.

It all made me a little weepy. Then, I saw the quote (which they have etched into a beer mug in the gift store) by Steinbeck's good friend, Ed Ricketts: There's nothing like that first sip of beer. Supposedly he said it after waking from a 3-day bender.

Cheers to you, drunk writers! I felt like you were there with me in Salinas.

Monday, October 01, 2012


So, Stephanie's latest book is out - One Final Step. And in it she tackles some serious serious taboo subjects. Our heroine was the other woman in a presidential cheating scandal years ago and our hero has a past with ramifications that I'm not going to spoil for anyone - because it's so so so worth letting it all unfold as you read it.

I like talking about writers that subvert romance conventions - and I think Stephanie is tearing up sacred ground left right and center - which is difficult in romance but she's that she's doing it in category romance where the conventions seem more like laws just kills me. KILLS ME! I can't believe what she gets away with. I couldn't kill a dog in Superromance, and she's ...well, you have to read the books.

I am inspired by what Stephanie is doing, I am literally stealing things from her as she writes them. In her next book she takes on the secret baby trope and she's just killing it.

I want to be like Stephanie when I grow up!
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