Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Maureen McGowan's Release Week of Deviants!

   Get Lost in a Story Readers, I'm very pleased to share my 2007 and 2010 Golden Heart Sister's Release Date with her.  Maureen McGowan is a storyteller extraordinaire and Today, we're going to learn all about this new series!  But first.... Let them eat cake!  





ABOUT DEVIANTS: 

In a post-apocalyptic world, where the earth is buried by asteroid dust that’s mutated the DNA of some humans, orphaned, sixteen-year-old Glory must hide and protect her younger brother. If their Deviant abilities are discovered, they’ll be expunged—kicked out of the dome to be tortured and killed by the Shredders.

Glory would give anything to get rid of her unique ability to kill with her emotions, especially when Cal, the boy she’s always liked, becomes a spy for the authorities. But when her brother is discovered, and she learns their father, who was expunged for killing their mother, is still alive, she must escape the domed city that’s been her entire world.

Outside in the ruins, they’re pursued by the authorities and by sadistic, scab-covered Shredders who are addicted to the lethal-to-humans dust now covering the planet. Glory’s quests to transport herself and her brother to safety make up the thrilling and fascinating first volume of The Dust Chronicles.


A deliciously dark, harrowing world, brightened by dazzling characters and sparkling prose." -- #1 NYT bestselling author, Kelley Armstrong

"A tense thriller with a strong, beating heart at its center. Glory and her impossible choices will keep you glued to the page. I'm still trying to catch my breath!" Diana Peterfreund, author of For Darkness Shows the Stars

“Exciting... McGowan keeps the suspense throbbing...” Kirkus Reviews
"McGowan launches the Dust Chronicles with a bang, painting her post-apocalyptic world with a dark brush and featuring a strong-willed and determined protagonist. Readers will be immediately transported to this world where businessmen rule the job-based class system." -- RT Book Reviews, 4 stars


Donnell:  Congratulations, friend, Deviants is getting rave reviews.  And is that the most amazing cover?  The characterization comes through even in your blurb.  Shredders.  Are these zombie-like people?

Maureen:  Thanks, Donnell! The Shredders are like a cross between zombies and the reavers from the short-lived TV show Firefly. They have bulging eyes and skin that looks scab-covered—mostly because they like to coat their bodies with the blood of their victims. They are pretty terrifying, and they definitely add an element of horror to Deviants, but there’s more to them than meets the eye.
 
Donnell:  I see a pattern here.  Glory your main character is tempted to turn on her boyfriend who spies for the authorities.  Glory’s father killed her mother.  Am I reading something into this that isn’t there, or have you got some kind of major plotting going on in this series.

Maureen: Betrayal and its effect on the heroine’s ability to trust is a major theme in Deviants. There are also layers of deceptions in these stories—even more in the series’ second book Compliance, which releases May 21, 2013. Not everything is as it seems.

Donnell:  Love the concept of this post-apocalyptic series.  Tell us about the dome that protects the survivors of the asteroid that buried the human race.  And what’s on the outside that makes them want to stay put.

Maureen:  Deviants is set three generations after several asteroids hit the earth. The asteroids caused major destruction, and also triggered multiple earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. None of the asteroids struck near where the story is set, but huge clouds of dust moved through the world’s atmosphere and fell to cover everything. The dust is lethal to most humans and has changed the DNA of others. It gave some affected humans special abilities or powers, and turned others into sadistic Shredders.

The story begins inside a domed city called Haven. It was built, soon after the asteroids struck, by a consortium of corporations, to protect its inhabitants from the dust. The executives who led the charge to build Haven wanted to save themselves from the dust. They took what they wanted and tossed aside anything they didn’t need—including people.

Three generations later, buildings are in disrepair, there’s massive overcrowding, and a clear separation between the haves “Management” and the have-nots—everyone else.

Donnell:  Glory has the ability to kill with her emotions.  That’s an intriguing and scary power.  She’s 16 years old.  I can’t even imagine the struggle she must face.  Can you share a bit of where you got the idea of this series?  Then tell us what we can expect from The Dust Chronicles in future work!

 Maureen:  I’d originally been working on a developing a story idea for a sexy urban fantasy series with a strong female heroine who never showed her emotions. When I was brainstorming with my critique partners and told them why my heroine was so closed off emotionally, they immediately thought I should write about her backstory and write it as a YA, rather than the adult story I was planning. I can’t explain more without giving up major spoilers. J  But yes, it would be terrifying to know that your emotions can kill, especially at a time in your life when emotions run high! Imagine falling in love for the first time and not being able to look into the boy’s eyes for fear you’d hurt or kill him?

The next book in The Dust Chronicles is called Compliance and it will be out on May 21, 2013. I don’t want to say too much more, except that it will continue Glory’s story and she’ll be put in even more danger than she was in Deviants and face even bigger challenges.

Donnell:  Quite different from your kick-ass fairy tale young adults wouldn’t you say?  How fun/different was it to transition into young adult dystopian. 

Maureen: Deviants is similar to the Twisted Tales books in that they all have a lot of action, a lot of worldbuilding and strong heroines. But because the publisher for the Twisted Tales books wanted them to appeal to younger readers as well as a YA audience, I couldn’t make them as dark as I would have liked to. My editor kept giving me notes like—remember the nine-year-olds! (I had some great ideas for Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer that were too dark for younger teen readers.)

Deviants was written for more of a true YA audience—which these days doesn’t just mean teens. More than half of YA readers are actually adults.

It was great to let loose and tell the story I wanted to tell. Today’s YA reader is sophisticated and the books are anything but juvenile. I actually think there’s more freedom in YA for authors to tell bolder, more “out there” stories than in the adult market. Plus, it’s easier to blend genres.

Deviants has elements of sci-fi, thriller, horror and romance. I call it a post-apocalyptic thriller, with a dystopian setting, and dollops of horror and romance.


Donnell: Congratulations, Maureen!

Maureen: Thank you Donnell!




MAUREEN ASKS READERS

According to a recent study, 55% of all YA books were purchased by adults intending to read the books themselves. If you’re an adult, do you read YA? If not, why not?

GIVEAWAY

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FIND MAUREEN ONLINE:


BUY DEVIANTS

Where can I buy DEVIANTS, you ask?

Why, right here or at your favorite bookseller:






Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Maureen interviews Maureen

It’s finally here: the release day for DEVIANTS!

**cue the fireworks**

It’s hard to describe how much this day means to me. Yes, I do have two previous books out, but to risk delving into boring publishing business jargon, my first two books were done on a write-for-hire basis and had a rather difficult route to publication, so I wasn’t really that invested in them by the time they came out. Certainly nowhere near as invested as I am in DEVIANTS. In fact, I was completely wrapped up in DEVIANTS by the time the Twisted Tales books hit the shelves.

That’s a long way of saying that, to me, DEVIANTS is my debut.

I’ve enjoyed being part of this blog and reading our guests’ answers to our questionnaire—even seeing which questions each author chooses to answer—so today, I’ve decided that I want to take my own crack at our author interview. So, today my guest is... ME!

So..... Welcome, Maureen!

Thanks, Maureen.

ABOUT MAUREEN MCGOWAN

You can read my official bio on my page on this blog. But for the inside scoop, suffice it to say that I’ve been working a long time for this day. It’s no secret that publishing is a difficult business and that every writer’s journey toward publication is different, but my road, at times, has seemed excessively rocky. I had so many times when my fingers brushed the brass ring, only to have it snatched out of reach. I know I’m not unique in this, but it does add to the sweetness of today!






ABOUT DEVIANTS

In a post-apocalyptic world, where the earth is buried by asteroid dust that’s mutated the DNA of some humans, orphaned, sixteen-year-old Glory must hide and protect her younger brother. If their Deviant abilities are discovered, they’ll be expunged—kicked out of the dome to be tortured and killed by the Shredders. 

Glory would give anything to get rid of her unique ability to kill with her emotions, especially when Cal, the boy she’s always liked, becomes a spy for the authorities. But when her brother is discovered, and she learns their father, who was expunged for killing their mother, is still alive, she must escape the domed city that’s been her entire world. 

Outside in the ruins, they’re pursued by the authorities and by sadistic, scab-covered Shredders who are addicted to the lethal-to-humans dust now covering the planet. Glory’s quests to transport herself and her brother to safety make up the thrilling and fascinating first volume of The Dust Chronicles.

A deliciously dark, harrowing world, brightened by dazzling characters and sparkling prose." -- #1 NYT bestselling author, Kelley Armstrong

"A tense thriller with a strong, beating heart at its center. Glory and her impossible choices will keep you glued to the page. I'm still trying to catch my breath!" Diana Peterfreund, author of For Darkness Shows the Stars

“Exciting... McGowan keeps the suspense throbbing...” Kirkus Reviews 

"McGowan launches the Dust Chronicles with a bang, painting her post-apocalyptic world with a dark brush and featuring a strong-willed and determined protagonist. Readers will be immediately transported to this world where businessmen rule the job-based class system." -- RT Book Reviews, 4 stars

GET TO KNOW MAUREEN MCGOWAN

MAUREEN:  Where do you most like to read and how often?

MAUREEN:  Traditionally, I’ve most often read in bed. But since I bought my kindle, I actually now read a lot on subways and streetcars, also waiting in lines, and in movie theatres before the movie starts. Basically any second of down time. I’m too disorganized to pack my “bed” book with me every day, and if I don’t get a seat on the subway it’s hard to hold a book anyway, but it’s easy to always carry and hold my kindle and so now I usually have at least two books going: a bed book and a purse book.

MAUREEN:  What’s your favorite kind of story to get lost in?

MAUREEN:  These last couple of years, it’s been young adult fiction. When I was a teen, most YA fiction was decidedly juvenile. Either heavy-handed “message” books or genre fiction minus the elements that makes readers love genre fiction—thrillers with no violence or thrills, mysteries with no murders, romances with no sexual tension, horror with nothing gory or scary. Boring.

But today’s YA is not like that at all and most are decidedly un-juvenile. The books are fast-paced, tackle big subjects, and are highly entertaining for readers of all ages. I also love how YA novels blur genre lines.

MAUREEN:  Cats or dogs?

MAUREEN:  Dogs.

MAUREEN:  What hidden talents do you have?

MAUREEN:  I’m actually a good knitter. I love doing complicated patterns where the color changes with nearly every stitch. I haven’t knit as much since I started writing, though. Partly due to time availability, but it’s probably more because I’ve got an outlet for my creative side now that had been sorely lacking in my previous career.

MAUREEN:  What turns you off like nothing else?

MAUREEN:  Arrogance. I have zero patience for arrogance and this got me into trouble more than once in the corporate world which has more than it’s fair share of men (in particular) with this flaw.

MAUREEN:  Would you rather sky dive or scuba dive?

MAUREEN:  Ha! I’ve done both. (This a question I added to our questionnaire.)

I did a tandem sky dive and it was amazing. I like to joke that I jumped out of a plane at 13,500 feet without a parachute. And that’s true. Technically. But the burly dude who was strapped to my back had a parachute strapped to his back.

The cool thing about tandem dives is that you can experience a free-fall on your first jump—and with very little instruction
.
The hardest part was standing up and walking forward in the plane while strapped, very tightly, to the instructor. Once we jumped (fell), it took about a minute to go the first 10,000 feet, and then about ten minutes to go the final 3,000 or so, once the chute was open.

I did scuba in a slightly “cheater” way too. I did a “resort” dive when I was at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. For resort dives, you don’t need much training and you can’t go below 10 feet (or so) which was plenty deep enough for me! And plenty deep on the reef. I think we had three of us to an instructor and he constantly monitored our equipment so that we didn’t need to know that much about the gauges or how anything worked. I always thought I’d find scuba diving claustrophobic, but I loved it. Some day, I’d love to get certified and try it again.

MAUREEN:  What sound or noise do you love?

MAUREEN:  Toddlers giggling. When my niece was little we used to spend hours doing very silly things that made us both giggle. I wish I’d had a tape recorder running the entire time.

MAUREEN:  What’s your favorite kind of cheese?

MAUREEN:  I could eat goat cheese at every meal. On special occasions I love yummy cheeses from France or Québec. The stinkier the better.

MAUREEN:  Vanilla or chocolate?

MAUREEN:  I’m in camp vanilla. Heresy, I know.

MAUREEN:  What’s the first thing you do when you finish writing a book?

MAUREEN: Collapse. Sometimes cry. If she’s around, I go for a drink with my critique partner, the fabulously talented Molly O’Keefe.

MAUREEN:  What’s your favorite dessert?

MAUREEN: Lemon meringue pie.

MAUREEN:  Strawberry daiquiri or a beer?

MAUREEN: Beer. No question. If I want a cocktail, I’ll usually choose a dry gin martini, with a twist. Or a margarita or mojito in the summer--if--it’s a place that uses real lime juice.

MAUREEN:  Do you remember your grade one teacher’s name?

MAUREEN: Miss Chevalier.

MAUREEN:  Who was your first best friend? Are you still in touch?

MAUREEN: My family moved—a lot—when I was a little kid. I’m sure I had BFFs before this, but the first name that popped into my mind was Shelley Martin, who was my best friend from kindergarten through grade two. Sadly, we’re not in touch anymore. Shelley, if you see this, e-mail me.

MAUREEN:  Did you belong to a clique in high school? Which one of the standard high school stereotypes did you best fit in to?

MAUREEN: I feel like I kind of defied the stereotypes. I’d be interested in asking some people I went to high school with this question to see how I was perceived. 

I was a “brain”, but I was also an athlete and was also in the musicals and the “folk club” and several nerdy and/or artsy things like that.
Believe it or not, I played Oliver in my high school musical when I was in grade 12. Yes, a seventeen-year-old girl playing a nine-year-old boy... Elastic bandages were involved.

MAUREEN:  Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?

MAUREEN: I do read them... Although I try not to. The ones on Goodreads and Amazon can be harsh! But one good thing about having two books already out there, and taking part in the Amazon Breakout Novel competition a few years before that, is that I became used to seeing reviews and accepting that no book is ever going to please every reader. But for DEVIANTS it’s going to be harder. I’m really proud of this book and it’ll be hard to hear when people don’t like it.

MAUREEN:  Tea or Coffee? And how do you take it?

MAUREEN: Coffee. Black. And keep it coming.

MAUREEN ASKS READERS

According to a recent study, 55% of all YA books were purchased by adults intending to read the books themselves. If you’re an adult, do you read YA? If not, why not?

GIVEAWAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

FIND MAUREEN ONLINE:


 BUY DEVIANTS

Where can I buy DEVIANTS, you ask? 
 
Why, right here or at your favorite bookseller:
IndieBound      B&N     Chapters Indigo

Monday, October 29, 2012

DEVIANTS Halloween Costumes

In honor of Halloween, I thought I’d give you some Deviants-inspired costume ideas for parties or trick-or-treating. Just in case you're a last minute person--like me.

Background and context:  Deviants is set in a post-apocalyptic world, where much of the earth has been destroyed by asteroids and is covered by a strange coarse dust that’s lethal to most humans and has changed the DNA of others—giving some “Deviant” abilities, and turning others into sadistic monsters called Shredders.

My heroine, Glory, and her friends live in a domed city called Haven, which protects them from the dust and Shredders, and is run as a tightly controlled corporation. Generations have passed since the asteroids struck and life inside Haven is bleak. No one even remembers holidays like Halloween existed, and even if they did, there certainly wouldn’t be any candy to hand out. More likely they'd be handing out scraps of rat meat. But even rat meat is rationed.

Glory Costume Ideas

Glory is the sixteen-year-old heroine of Deviants. She always wears practical, simple clothes that let her climb ropes, navigate narrow ledges, and jump between run-down buildings inside Haven—not to mention run from the Compliance Officers (Comps) who would kill her if they learned she has Deviant abilities. Glory’s dark hair is usually tied up in a ponytail. As an added bonus, carrying a few dead rats and a wind-up flashlight would add to your Glory costume.

But the key if you were to dress up as Glory would be the eyes. Glory can kill with her eyes, so I’m thinking freaky contact lenses would get the point across. Check out the artist’s interpretation on my cover.

On the cover, she looks a lot like Oliva Wilde, but in my imagination, Glory’s got more of a Hispanic vibe.

Burn Costume Ideas

Burn is one of Glory’s romantic interests in Deviants. He’s tall and broad and hunky, with dark chin-length hair. Think of a cross between younger versions of Joe Manganiello and Taylor Kitsch. Burn is dangerous and mysterious and almost always wears a long heavy coat that’s big—even on his large frame—and perfect for hiding a plethora of handmade weapons.



And if you can go out for Halloween as Burn without a costume--call me.

Shredder Costume Ideas

Dressing up as a Shredder would be an awesome costume choice. Shredders are scab covered, with bulging eyes and often have places where their bones protrude from beneath torn off skin. (So pretty!) Their patchy hair is most often matted and might have human bones or teeth woven in. For a visual, think of a cross between a zombie and the reavers from the short-lived TV show Firefly.



Comp Costume Ideas

The Compliance Officers are the defacto police force and army inside and outside Haven. They wear heavy armor not unlike a storm trooper, and if they are assigned outside the dome, they’d definitely be sporting a serious gas mask. Another inspiration for your Comp costume might be the poster for the recent movie Dredd 3D.





Mr. Belando Costume Ideas

Mr. Belando is the Vice President of Compliance. If you want to go out for Halloween as Mr. Belando, I’d suggest a sharp looking man’s suit, preferably with some sheen, and a silver tie. Your hair should be well groomed and slicked down, so not a hair can move out of place. The more plastic and perfect you can look, the better. Maybe go for something like a wax statue of Alec Baldwin, circa 1990.

Photo from Esquire.com
I hope that gives you some great costume ideas! Happy Halloween!

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In case you've been trying to figure out how to cyber-stalk me, here are some ideas:

Website: www.maureenmcgowan.com
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/MaureenMcGowanBooks
Twitter: @MaureenMcGowan


QUESTION FOR COMMENTS:

Are you dressing up for Halloween this year? As what? If not, when is the last time you dressed up for Halloween?

Me? I don't think I'm dressing up this year, but if I were, I'd be covering myself in grey paint chips and going as fifty shades of grey. I have to give credit to the fabulous Eileen Cook for this idea!


 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

DEVIANTS LAUNCH PARTY BEGINS

The release date for DEVIANTS is almost here, so it's time to party!!

Over the next four days I'll be posting fresh content daily. There will be prizes, so come back often to increase your chances of winning! (And to help me celebrate, of course.)

Speaking of celebrating, help yourself to a cupcake!



ABOUT DEVIANTS

In a nutshell... DEVIANTS is a post-apocalyptic supernatural thriller, set in a dystopian future, with dollops of horror and romance.

Scab-covered monsters! Hot hunky guys! Special powers! Kissing!

(I love how you can blend genres in YA!)

Here's the official blurb:

In a post-apocalyptic world, where the earth is buried by asteroid dust that’s mutated the DNA of some humans, orphaned, sixteen-year-old Glory must hide and protect her younger brother. If their Deviant abilities are discovered, they’ll be expunged—kicked out of the dome to be tortured and killed by the Shredders. Glory would give anything to get rid of her unique ability to kill with her emotions, especially when Cal, the boy she’s always liked, becomes a spy for the authorities. But when her brother is discovered, and she learns their father, who was expunged for killing their mother, is still alive, she must escape the domed city that’s been her entire world.

Outside in the ruins, they’re pursued by the authorities and by sadistic, scab-covered Shredders who are addicted to the lethal-to-humans dust now covering the planet. Glory’s quests to transport herself and her brother to safety make up the thrilling and fascinating first volume of The Dust Chronicles.

"A deliciously dark, harrowing world, brightened by dazzling characters and sparkling prose." --Kelley Armstrong

"A tense thriller with a strong, beating heart at its center. Glory and her impossible choices will keep you glued to the page. I'm still trying to catch my breath!" --Diana Peterfreund

"McGowan launches The Dust Chronicles with a bang, painting her post-apocalyptic world with a dark brush and featuring a strong-willed and determined protagonist. Readers will be immediately transported to this world where businessmen rule the job-based class system." --RT Book Reviews

"Exciting... McGowan keeps the suspense throbbing..." -- Kirkus Reviews

Read the first chapter!

Deviants by Maureen McGowan - Chapter One


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QUESTION FOR COMMENTS

In my post-apocalyptic world, characters who are "Deviant" have genetic anomalies, some of which give them special powers. For example, Glory, the heroine of Deviants, can kill with her eyes, and the skin on her brother's torso and arms turns armor-hard when he's in danger. 
If you had a Deviance, what would you want yours to be? 

BUY DEVIANTS 

Where can I buy DEVIANTS, you ask? 
Why, right here at your favorite bookseller:

IndieBound      B&N     Chapters Indigo

 


Friday, October 26, 2012

The Scariest Time of Year - Part 2

Continuing on yesterday's post about my love of all things Halloween, here is a little background.



Halloween is commonly thought to originate with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, which dates back to the 10th century. Samhain, which was celebrated November 1, featured feasts, bonfires, and visits from the spirits of the dead. Not all spirits were malicious - many were family members, and food and drink would be left out in their honor.

But Halloween also originates from the Christian holy days All Saints' Day (November 1) and All Souls' Day (November 2), which date back to the eighth century. These holy days honored the souls in purgatory who had not yet got into Heaven, and were doomed to wander. Again, these were family members - except for the few who took one last chance to get revenge before going to the next world.

So this time of year has been noted by more than one culture as a time when the wall between this world and the next gets a little thin. Death was closer to everyday life in ancient times; wise people put charms and wards over their doors so the spirits could not follow you in.

When I wrote AN INQUIRY INTO LOVE AND DEATH, I set it at the end of October, just before Halloween. The story is set in a tiny, remote English town where a legendary ghost named Walking John haunts the surrounding woods and the bay. At this time of year, Walking John gets a little... restless. And it's really best not to go out of doors. My working title for the book, by the way, was "All Souls".

So, I want to know. What's your favorite scary book? The book that gives you chills? The book you read to your kids this time of year?

The book you read when you were a kid yourself, scaring yourself as you read it late into the night?

Me - I read Stephen King FAR too early (thanks to my older brother's bookshelf), and I found a copy of Poe stories at age thirteen that I read to tatters.

What about you?

In honor of All Hallow's Read, I'm giving away my own creepy, scary books - THE HAUNTING OF MADDY CLARE and three special ADVANCE copies of AN INQUIRY INTO LOVE AND DEATH, which does not release until March 2013. Both of them are ghostly reads that I fervently hope will both entertain and chill you, and (perhaps) scare your socks off if you read them at night. The giveaway ends on Halloween day and you can enter on my Facebook page.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pre-Halloween Post - The Scariest Time of Year

Simone St. James here. With Maureen's exciting debut of DEVIANTS on the schedule next week (watch for it, guys - there will be giveaways), I have taken the wheel at GLIAS both today and tomorrow to celebrate my favorite holiday of all - Halloween.

What is it about Halloween?

Whenever I mention how much I love Halloween, I get a chorus of those who agree with me. What is it about Halloween?

The beauty of fall?

The chill in the air?

The smell of pumpkin spice?

The fun of dressing up the children in your life?

All of those things are great, but there is something else about Halloween - and that something else is just a hint of darkness.

The sun goes down sooner.

The nights are cold.... maybe even frosty where you are.

The trees start to look stark and a little creepy.

The nights get so very dark, and all we want to do is huddle indoors. (And possibly bake. And eat candy. That part is fun.)

I think it's that juxtaposition of darkness that gives Halloween its edge. It isn't a warm and fuzzy holiday like Christmas, and it isn't a hopeful holiday like Easter. Halloween is the time of year when we give a little credit to the dark.

In fact, the tradition of dressing up derives directly from the belief that the dead - as well as other paranormal things that don't belong here - come through the door from the Otherworld and walk with us for one night of the year. Creepy?? This tradition goes back even further than you think, which is what I'll talk about tomorrow.




In the meantime I want to know some things from you readers.

How do you celebrate Halloween, if at all?

Do you love it like I do?

In honor of All Hallow's Read, I'm giving away my own creepy, scary books - THE HAUNTING OF MADDY CLARE and three special ADVANCE copies of AN INQUIRY INTO LOVE AND DEATH, which does not release until March 2013. Both of them are ghostly reads that I fervently hope will both entertain and chill you, and (perhaps) scare your socks off if you read them at night. The giveaway ends on Halloween day and you can enter on my Facebook page.

More tomorrow....

Simone

(Photo credits: The bottom photo is licensed; the top one was taken by my mom :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Welcome Debut Author Eliza Daly

ABOUT ELIZA DALY

My first attempt at creative writing was in fourth grade. My friends and I were huge Charlie’s Angels fans and I would sit in my bedroom at night writing scripts for us to act out at recess the following day. I was Kelly Garrett. Fast forward to the present, I’m still writing stories about beautiful women who always get their men. The journey from fourth grade script writer, to published author, wasn’t an easy one, but it was always an adventure and the final destination was well worth it.

When I’m not traveling for my job as an event planner, or tracing my ancestry roots through  Ireland, I’m at home in Milwaukee working on my next novel, bouncing ideas off my husband Mark, and my cats Quigley and Frankie.

ABOUT UNDER HER SPELL

When a series of failed relationships and business ventures have Monica Jackson doubting her self-worth, she turns to spell casting to attract positive energy and the opportunities needed to achieve her goals.  But can Monica’s belief in spells restore her belief in herself? 

Under Her Spell. Crimson Romance October 15, 2012.
Monica creates a spell to find her soul mate, and one to ensure the success of her new romantic event planning company, Enhance Your Romance.  Monica is confident she has found her niche until divorce lawyer Reed Walker opens a practice next door to her office.  The anti-marriage slogan plastered on his office window, and his down-on-love clients, quickly prove detrimental to Monica’s business.  When his arrival appears to trigger a string of bad luck, Monica fears one of her spells sent negative energy into the universe and it has returned to her threefold.  Although Reed is beyond sexy, and she admires his self-confidence, she’ll do whatever it takes to get the universe back on her side, and Reed out of her life. No way is she losing another business.

Reed finds himself attracted to Monica’s beauty and her optimism. His job and his parents’ divorce have made him a pessimist, especially when it comes to love. However, he soon finds that Monica’s pro-love attitude is rubbing off on him, causing him to lose his edge.  If Reed doesn’t distance himself from Monica, he’ll likely destroy his reputation as a pit bull divorce lawyer.

Can Monica and Reed look past what they might be losing, to realize the love they have found?

Under Her Spell is available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

GET TO KNOW ELIZA DALY

ELIZA: I’d like to thank Maureen and the Get Lost in a Story gang for helping me celebrate the release of my debut novel, Under Her Spell, a lighthearted contemporary romance. This is a very exciting time for me and I’m so glad to be sharing my news here today!

MAUREEN: You’re very welcome, Eliza! Congratulations on your debut and we’re thrilled to have you. What’s your favorite holiday?

ELIZA: I’m obsessed with Christmas. I have 32 Rubbermaid tubs filled with Christmas decorations for my small ranch house. I decorate the weekend before Thanksgiving, and I don’t take them down until January. The only thing I don’t get into is baking Christmas cookies. A few years ago, I bought gingerbread cookie dough, so all I had to do was cut out the dough and bake the cookies. I got home and realized I didn’t own a rolling pin or cookie cutters. That should have been a sign to forget it, because it went downhill from there. The cherry on the whole experience was finding my cat Cujo on the counter licking the frosting off my gingerbread masterpieces, so I had to toss them all out. 

MAUREEN: What’s the most romantic thing anyone ever did for you?

ELIZA: I travel a lot for my job. One time I came home from a trip and opened the door to find rose petals trailing up the front hallway to the bathroom. Lit candles lined the top of the bathtub filled with bubbles. A glass of wine sat next to a Victoria’s Secret box. This was followed by a candlelit dinner with my hubby and a wonderful evening. I hope I can use this in a book someday.

MAUREEN: What’s your favorite kind of story to get lost in?

ELIZA: I tend to read humorous books. I’ve read the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich like a dozen times. It has humor, romance, and a flawed heroine I’d love to be.


MAUREEN: Tea or Coffee? And how do you take it?

ELIZA: Tea, straight up. Maybe with a bit of honey if I’m feeling really adventurous.  I started a teacup collection a few years ago when my grandma passed away and I received several of her cups.

MAUREEN: What’s your favorite movie of all time?

ELIZA: That would be a tie between Overboard and My Cousin Vinny. I’ve seen both movies 20+ times and I still laugh just as hard every time. I find myself often quoting both movies. “Oh yeah, you blend.” “Eat your checkers.”

MAUREEN: Where do you most like to read and how often?

ELIZA: I do most my reading on a plane. Not my favorite spot, but the most convenient. When I’m home I try to focus on my writing and do very little reading. One of my New Year’s goals this year was to read more. (Another was to hit platinum status on my Pier1 card, which I’ve almost accomplished.)

MAUREEN: Which era would you most like to have lived in and why? Least?

ELIZA: The big band era. The Singers and Swing station is actually playing on my TV right now. My grandma would tell me stories about living in Milwaukee in the 1930s and how they would go out dancing until their feet hurt too bad to wear shoes. I love old movies from that era, His Girl Friday, The Philadelphia Story and Bringing up Baby. I would not have fared well during medieval times. I’m not a roughing it kind of gal. Although I’d have done better in the very late middle ages. I love attending the Renaissance Faire every summer.

MAUREEN: What’s the first thing you do when you finish writing a book?

ELIZA: I celebrate with a Big Mac and fries, something I only allow myself on special occasions, or if I’m having a total meltdown.

MAUREEN: Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?

ELIZA: I wish I had reviews to read. This being my first book, I’m not sure what to expect. However, I’ve been preparing for reviews over the past twelve years. I’ve had my share of not-so-kind contest judges and agent rejections. I’ve never let their feedback influence my overall writing. I would never quit writing because an agent didn’t like my voice or get my humor. If I agreed with a comment about a specific aspect of the story, I would take that under consideration. I really don’t think a bad review will cause me to do anything but pop a cork on a bottle of wine. I tend to reach for a glass of wine, rather than chocolate, for comfort.

MAUREEN: What’s next for you as an author?

ELIZA: My next book from Crimson Romance, Identity Crisis, comes out in March 2013. It’s a romantic suspense and completely different than my quirky lighthearted romances. I have always been intrigued by the witness protection program and art forgery. One day a story idea popped into my head, so I started writing it.

I’m currently working on a women’s fiction book set in Ireland. It’s in the initial stages, but I hope to have it done by next summer. My hobby is tracing my Irish roots and I’ve been to Ireland three times in the past five years to visit my newfound rellies. I’m thinking maybe I need to rent a writing cottage in Ireland for a month to feed my muse.

GOTTA ASK -- GOTTA ANSWER 

MAUREEN: What was your favorite book when you were twelve?

ELIZA: I was around twelve when I read The Shining. It scared the bejeezus out of me, but I loved it. I’d never been so sucked into a book. I remember reading the book while being home alone, sitting in my wicker peacock chair in my bedroom during a thunderstorm.

A QUESTION FOR READERS

ELIZA ASKS: Just before Halloween is the perfect time for Under Her Spell to be released, with the book’s spell casting elements. If you’re dressing up for Halloween, what costume are you wearing? If you’re not dressing up this year, what’s your favorite costume you’ve ever worn?

GIVEAWAY

Eliza will be giving away a copy of her e-book Under Her Spell and a $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift certificate.

Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only unless specifically mentioned in the post. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants. Winners of drawings are responsible for checking this site in a timely manner. If prizes are not claimed in a timely manner, the author may not have a prize available. Get Lost In A Story cannot be responsible for an author's failure to mail the listed prize. GLIAS does not automatically pass email addresses to guest authors unless the commenter publicly posts their email address.

FIND ELIZA DALY ONLINE:


A Note from Eliza:

Thanks for stopping by today. Please check out the upcoming stops on my blog tour, October 22-November 21. I’ll be giving away a variety of gifts, such as e-books, writing journals, Amazon and B & N gift certificates, and Godiva chocolate on Halloween. If you comment on 5 or more of my 20 blog stops, and are a Facebook fan, you’ll be entered in a drawing to win one of two $25 Amazon or B & N gift certificates at the end of my blog tour. Winners will be announced on my website’s news page the end of November.


A Note from Maureen:
Thanks everyone for stopping by to wish Eliza well. Please, check out her book!

And don’t forget to come back to GLIAS for our pre-Halloween event starting tomorrow and.... next week... the RELEASE OF DEVIANTS!!! 
Can you tell I’m just a little excited about this book coming out?
To tide you over until October 30th, you can read Chapter One of Deviants here.
And/or you can enter to win a copy on Goodreads.



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Deviants by Maureen McGowan

Deviants

by Maureen McGowan

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

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Denise Grover Swank Gets Lost in a Story

Hi everyone, Susan here. Today I'm thrilled to host Denise Grover Swank on Get Lost in a Story.


Denise Grover Swank lives in Lee's Summit, Missouri. She writes urban fantasies without vampires and werewolves. She also writes romantic comedy mysteries set in the south. Denise has six children, three dogs, and an overactive imagination. She can be found dancing in her kitchen with her children, reading, or writing her next book. You will rarely find her cleaning.
 
 
 The book...
Redemption is the fourth and final book in The Chosen series.

The first book, Chosen, starts the series off: Emma will do anything to protect her precognitive son Jake, even accept help from Will, a stranger with a dark past. But Will's been hired to deliver Emma to a powerful group. Even though the job screams trouble, nothing prepares Will for Jake's declaration: Will is The Chosen One, prophesied protector of Emma.
 
 
 

What They’re Saying...

 

It is the final book in Swank's The Chosen series and let me tell you, it takes you on the most emotional ride of all of them. You will laugh, you will cry, the pages will seem to fly by, and you WILL be left wanting the series to go on and on. --Gothic Mom’s Book Reviews
As with the three previous books, the action, plotline and ingenious premise dragged me into Redemption before I could even take a breath… This was a brilliant conclusion to a phenomenal series. --Just My Opinion Book Reviews
 
  

Get your copy...

 
 
 
 
                             Amazon          B&N          Kobo
 
 
  

Let's chat with Denise...

 


Susan: Denise, thank you so much for joining us today here at Get Lost in a Story. I have to ask you straightaway—I’ve never been good with math—how many hours do you get in your day? I’ve only ever gotten 24. But you’re a single mom to six children, and you’re writing three—no, wait—four different series, plus a few shorts here and there. Do you simply not sleep, or have you figured out some mathematical formula for extending your day?
Denise: Sleep? Sleep is for the weak. LOL Okay, I sleep, but not a lot. I get a lot of my writing done from 9 pm to 1-2 am. But I’ve been trying to write more in the afternoon, which usually means trying to turn off my internet. I never say I’m bored. I’m always doing something. I juggle the business side of writing with the actual writing—throw in my kids and their activities—and there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

Susan: How many hours a day do you write? Do you have a schedule?
Denise: When I’m writing a book it usually takes me a week or so to get into it. I know some authors can easily switch from series to series, but I’m not one of them. It usually takes me several chapters to get back into the character’s head(s) but once I’m there, it’s like a sprint to the finish. I’m pretty consumed by the story and I spend the last couple of weeks writing five to eight hours (or more) a day. I wrote the last 65,000 works of Redemption in three weeks. But it took me over a month to get the first 30,000.


 

Susan: Do you reward yourself with a treat when you reach a writing goal? What kinds of treats?
Denise: Ha! Yes. My writing reward is whatever my current TV series obsession is and I watch it on Netflix. With Redemption it was “The Big Bang Theory” and the Korean soap opera “Boys Over Flowers.” I give myself a word goal (on big writing days it might be 2000 words) and then I get to watch an episode (or two it’s shorter) when I meet my goal.

 
Susan: You are very reader-focused. I’ve noticed on your blog, you actually have a poll asking what your readers want. Very cool! Have you been surprised with the results?
Denise: I love my readers! They are loyal and they love to share their love of my books with their friends. The reality is that I’ll never please everyone. I have plenty of one and two star reviews on all of my books to prove that. I appreciate and valuable the trust my readers have put in me and I’m interested in what they want to read. This summer I wrote three prequel short stories in The Chosen series. I knew what two of the stories would be and I had several ideas for the third. So I ran a poll on my blog asking my readers what story they most wanted to read. I wasn’t surprised with the results of that poll. The majority picked the story I thought they would. 
But some things do surprise me. One of the most frequent comments I get it is to “write faster.” I’m releasing four novels plus multiple short stories a year. I don’t know how I can write any faster. So I posed the question on Facebook: Would you rather I write full length novels less frequently or would you rather have shorter books published more often? Every single person who answered said they wanted full length novels. That surprised me. 

Susan: Have you given any thought as to how many Chosen books there will be?
Denise: There are four novels in the series and three short stories. I want to write two or three more prequel short stories. I also want to write a prequel novella. But I might continue the series in another year or so with different characters. I asked my readers if they were interested in this idea and the overwhelming answer was yes. It’s not easy to accept new characters in a series so I love that they trust me.

 
Susan: Do you travel much? What is your favorite place you’ve visited so far?
Denise: I love to travel. I’ve been to China, Vietnam, Croatia, and then multiple places in the United States. My favorite? That’s hard. I love New York City although I’d never want to live there. I also love any place that is next to an ocean. 

Susan: What’s your favorite kind of story to get lost in?
Denise: Stories about relationships, whether they are romantic or between friends or a mother and her children. Relationships are never black and white so I love to read about complicated ones. I also like a story with some kind of mystery.

Susan: What are the next five books on your ‘to be read’ pile?
Denise: This pile grows larger and larger every day.
Girl Under Glass, science fiction, by Monica Enderle Pierce
Bloodfever: The Fever Series, urban fantasy, Karen Marie Moning
Rage Within (Dark Inside #2) a YA apocalyptic thriller by Jeyn Roberts
Shadow and Bone, a YA fantasy by Leigh Bardugo
The Marriage Pact, contemporary romance, by MJ Pullen



Susan: What was the first story you remember writing?
Denise: My first novel, still unfinished. I wrote it in fourth grade and filled up seventy pages in a wide ruled spiral notebook. It was based on a dream I had. LOL That was when I realized that I wanted to be an author when I grew up. 
Susan: What is your biggest vice?
Denise: I can only pick one? Probably my Diet Coke addiction. Or my Starbucks addiction. No, wait. I think it’s my love of Chipotle.
 

Susan: What do you do to unwind and relax?
Denise: By getting lost in a TV show or movie. On Friday nights I hang out with my friend and critique partner, Trisha Leigh, and we eat Chipotle, drink wine and watch Fringe. Totally girls gone wild. *snort*


Susan: What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
Denise: People are reading my books and not only like them but want more. THAT is a dream come true for me. 
Susan: What is something that not a lot of people know about you but you WISH more people COULD know?
Denise: I’m just a normal, albeit overly caffeinated, person. I’m always amazed when people get a little “star struck” when meeting me in person or if I talk to them on Facebook or Twitter. I’m just a regular person living my dream. I don’t consider myself any better than anyone else.

Susan: What will always make you smile, even on a bad day?
Denise: My kids. They can drive me crazy some days, but most of the time they are pretty awesome. I love when my older boys are around with the younger ones and they all get goofy.

 
Susan: What turns you off like nothing else?
Denise: People who are disingenuous. If you don’t like me, don’t pretend you do. I can live with that.
Susan: What would you say is your most interesting quirk?
Denise: Quirk? Maybe that it’s that I like to laugh a lot. Every day. Life’s too short not to laugh.

 

Susan’s GOTTA ASK: What is your favorite scene in Redemption? Denise’s GOTTA ANSWER: This may surprise people who know the series, but it’s probably the scenes with Jake and his nanny Antonia. Especially the scene when they are on the hill looking at the vineyards. It’s a quiet scene, but very tender, and shows the reader a deeper level to Jake’s emotional state as well as Antonia’s affection for Jake.

 

Susan: What's next for you?
Denise: THERE, the final book of my young adult science fiction/romance series, ON THE OTHERSIDE is my next book and will have a late December release.


You can find Denise at...

Her website: www.denisegroversank.com

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DeniseGroverSwank and https://www.facebook.com/deniseswank

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/dms052564/

And Twitter: www.Twitter.com/DeniseMSwank

Denise has a question for you…

If I could only write one more book, which series would you want that book to be in? The Chosen, Rose Gardner Mysteries, On The Otherside or my new upcoming series, The Curse Keepers? OR if you’ve never read my books, do you prefer darker stories or light and funny?