MaureenMcGowan

You’ve got to see: Room

One of the best films I saw at TIFF this year was also one of the best books I’ve read over the past several years. ROOM. And it won the coveted People’s Choice Award.

 

roomThe past few years’ winners of the People’s Choice Award include:
The Imitation Game, 12 Years a Slave, Silver Linings Playbook, The King’s SpeechSlumdog Millionaire etc. etc. 
And going back a few more years, winners include: Hotel Rwanda, American Beauty, The Princess Bride, The Big Chill, and Chariots of Fire.

All this to say that the People’s Choice prize at TIFF is typically a “this is a great film” stamp of approval (voted on by actual movie goers, not critics) and often the winners go on to be nominated for multiple Oscars.
So, back to Room.

This film covers difficult topics–abduction and rape–but because the film (and the book) are anchored in the point of view of a five-year-old boy, the film is also surprisingly upbeat and sweet. Look at the poster for the film. Sweet, right?
The performance from Brie Larson (who was amazing in Short Term 12 — find it, if you haven’t seen that one yet — and as Amy Schumer’s sister in Trainwreck was astounding. She is definitely one of the most unaffected and talented actors in Hollywood these days.
And the boy, Jacob Tremblay, who plays her son! Wow. The kid was actually eight when it filmed, but you totally believe that he’s five and he’ll steal and break your heart–then ultimately warm it.
I’ve spoken to a few people who are afraid to see this film, thinking that the subject matter is too difficult, but I say don’t worry. Just go. You won’t be sorry. Especially if you’re a mom, or have one. 😉
And for me, personally, it was fun to see so many shots of Toronto and to see a Canadian film (well Canadian/Irish co-production) doing so well. (Even if it’s supposed to be somewhere in the US.)
If you go see it, let me know what you think! I hope you love it as much as I did.

Win Lots of Books!

YA_ScavengerHunt_WebBannerIt’s time for YASH, Fall 2015!

Gee, it seems like just yesterday that it was the Spring YASH. Time really does fly… (oh, the cliché!)

This time around, I’m TEAM GOLD and happy to be hosting author, BETH FANTASKEY!, (how great is that name!), who will be adding her book BUZZ KILL to the stash of signed books you can win from TEAM GOLD! If you’re the lucky winner for TEAM GOLD you’ll get a signed copy of ALL OF OUR BOOKS.

ed40192e-175a-4a37-82ed-22cfd77af225That’s TWENTY books! And it gets better, because there are actually eight teams of authors involved in the YASH, with a total of 160 signed books up for grabs.

Plus, to add to the fun and excitement, many authors (including me) are doing BONUS GIVEAWAYS! See mine below.

ABOUT YASH

This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!

If this is your first stop, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are eight contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the GOLD TEAM–but there are seven other teams, with each team giving away a different set of signed books!

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

And don’t forget to enter my BONUS GIVEAWAY! below.

SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE

Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number (in as close an approximation to gold as I can get with WordPress.) Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the gold team, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by October 4th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

 INTRODUCING BETH FANTASKEY!

Beth Fantaskey is the author of Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, Jessica Rules the Dark Side, Jekel Loves Hyde, Buzz Kill and Isabel Feeney – Star Reporter (spring 2016). She lives in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, with her husband, three daughters, a dog, a cat, a goldfish and an attack cardinal named Robert.

ABOUT BUZZ KILL

Slacker Millie Ostermeyer is looking forward to coasting through her senior year, until she stumbles upon the body of her high school’s despised football coach, and Millie’s dad is accused of the murder. Soon, Millie finds herself fighting to clear her father’s name – and falling, reluctantly, for a very charismatic and secretive football hero. Is Chase Albright just a snob – or a cold-blooded killer?

You can get more information or buy BUZZ KILL by clicking here.
And SHHHHHH!!! Here is Beth’s secret content!
SORRY! The secret content is gone now!!! Come back for the next YASH!
_____________________________________
———————–

NOTE FROM MAUREEN

I can think of at least 17 reasons why I want to read BUZZ KILL! How about you?

To continue the hunt for TEAM GOLD, continue on to author SEAN WILLIAMS

And please enter my BONUS GIVEAWAY!!!

I’m giving away a signed copy of the paperback version of DEVIANTS. (If you already have it, we can talk alternates.)

Mcgowan-Deviants-500

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Favorite TIFF Memories — Crash

It’s time for the Toronto International Film Festival again!

I swore I wasn’t going to go this year (for the first time since 2002) but when a friend offered to go online to buy me some tickets I couldn’t resist. I’m seeing 7 movies. A record low for me, but I have other things going on at the moment….

That said, I hereby promise to share my thoughts on all the films I see. :)

In the meantime, I decided to revisit some of my favorite memories from TIFF over the years.

One of the first TIFF moments that came to mind was the world premiere of the movie CRASH.

crashWhile Crash won the Oscar for Best Film in 2005, I actually saw it on September 10, 2004. And was one of the very first people, ever, to see the film. Writer and Director Paul Haggis, during his introduction, told us that he didn’t have any industry or press screenings prior to the public premiere at TIFF–he cheekily told distributors who might want to bid on the film, to show up to the public screening–and that in itself was exciting. (Distribution rights sold at auction later that same night, or very early the next morning.)

The feeling in the beautiful Elgin theatre that evening was electric. And I was buzzing. I’d selected the film knowing almost nothing about it, and it was during one of my years where I’d purchased a Festival Pass, good for 50 films, so was on a serious movie overload.

But while waiting to get in, I was lucky to be admitted to the lobby ahead of time (thanks VISA Canada) and Sandra Bullock (in a beautiful pink satin gown if I’m remembering correctly) literally tapped me on the shoulder to get by to the elevator, saying, “Gotta pee. Excuse me. Gotta pee.” In real life, she was just as amazing as you want her to be.

And the film… It simply blew me away. I gasped, I cried, I marveled at the connections and the riveting performances from actors (including Bullock) who I’d underestimated before.

And I became a lifelong fan of Paul Haggis. Remember, I saw Crash several months before Million Dollar Baby came out, and as of that night he was mostly known for being a writer on The Facts of Life.

Few other TIFF nights have lived up to that one… but over the next week or so I plan to share a few more that did.

Where is Maureen?

Where am I reading?

Me Reading Crash cropped

ATTENTION READERS, WRITERS, TEACHERS, LIBRARIANS! #ReadOrWriteAnywhere

My friends over at YA Chicks are running a great contest where you can win books, critiques, Skype visits from authors! To participate, you just have to guess where I’m reading in this photo.

If you’re new here… Let me wave hello and introduce myself! I’m Maureen McGowan, the author of The Dust Chronicles, DEVIANTS, COMPLIANCE and GLORY. The entire trilogy is on sale right now at Amazon.com!!! The paperback editions are only $7.50 each, and the kindle versions are $3.99.

For more info click here: Amazon.com

 

I take any chance I get to read or write, and never go anywhere without a book or my kindle (often both–a girl needs choices!). Also, I rarely go out without my laptop or a notebook, so I can steal any opportunity to write.

The photo above was taken by the fabulous Morgan Rhodes (NYT Bestselling author of the Falling Kingdoms series) and it’s a shot of me reading an Advance Reader Copy of CRASH by Eve Silver.

Morgan and I had just seen Eve receive an award for the first book in her series, RUSH and since Morgan showed me her ARC of CRASH I had to take advantage and do a little reading!

Where am I reading?

Your Clues:

  1. I’m in the largest city in Canada.
  2. I’m only a few feet away from the shore of one of the Great Lakes–okay, Lake Ontario.
  3. At 1,815 ft, 5 inches the tower in the background held the record as the tallest building, tower, and freestanding structure for over three decades. It remains the tallest in the Western Hemisphere.
  4. The tower behind me is named for a railroad company.
  5. I’m standing on the grounds of Harbourfront Centre, but the correct answer is the name of the tower in the background.

Think you have the answer? Head over to http://www.yachicks.blogspot.com/ to enter answer into the Rafflecopter for a chance to win!

Bonus Giveaway!

As a bonus I’m giving away a signed paperback edition copy of the first book in my series: DEVIANTS.

Enter in the rafflecopter below for a chance to win!
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#ReadOrWrite

On May 22nd I’ll be taking part in a fun contest to promote reading and writing.

Readers will have the chance to win one of these books.

group pics

 

 

Writers will have a chance to win a critique from a published author and teachers will have the chance to win a Skype visit from an author!!!

Of course, if you happen to be all three, you can enter to win all three types of prizes!

Here’s a link to the main site for more information.

Spring 2015 YASH on NOW!

Hello! I’m Maureen McGowan and I’ll be your host for this stop on the YA Scavenger Hunt, aka YASH!

Who am I, you ask? (I’m sure I heard you asking.)

72 dpi

72 dpi

I live in Toronto, Canada, and I’m the author of two YA series, the most recent being The Dust Chronicles (Deviants (2012), Compliance (2013), Glory (2014)). I also wrote Cinderella, Ninja Warrior and Sleeping Beauty, Vampire Slayer and various short stories. I love reading and writing YA fiction and, even more, I love readers who love it. :) Make sure you check out my bonus giveaway below!

HOW TO HUNT OVERVIEW

I am a part of the GOLD TEAM! There are 8 teams in total this hunt, each with 20 signed books up for grabs as the major prize. You can enter to win just one team’s books, or enter as many of the contests as you’d like. In total, there are at least 160 signed books up for grabs as major prizes! (8 people will each win at least 20 books!)

TeamBut that’s not all!

Along the way, you’re going to get tons of exclusive content from the authors, and chances to enter bonus giveaways, too.

To find my exclusive content… keep searching through all the Team Gold posts. Each post links to the next stop so you can find your way around the hunt. When you’re done with one team, go to the YASH main page to find a link for the next one. And the next.

As you work your way through the hunt for each team, you’ll find secret numbers. Hint: the secret number on this post is highlighted in GOLD (or as close to gold as I can get…) Add up the numbers for each team, and enter the total for a chance to win at least one signed book from each author on my hunt team!

NB. This contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online until noon PST on Sunday, April 6th!

Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally. Anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by April 6th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

Now that all the technical stuff is out of the way, I’ll introduce the author I’m hosting this hunt.

Cue drumroll…..

On this year’s YASH, I’m happy to be hosting fellow author, Kelly Hashway and talking about her book, THE DARKNESS WITHIN.

 

Kelly Hashway

Kelly Hashway grew up reading R.L. Stein’s Fear Street novels and writing stories of her own, so it was no surprise to her family when she majored in English and later obtained a masters degree in English Secondary Education from East Stroudsburg University. After teaching middle school language arts for seven years, Hashway went back to school and focused specifically on writing. She is now the author of three young adult series, one middle grade series, and several picture books. She also writes contemporary romance under the pen name Ashelyn Drake. When she isn’t writing, Hashway works as a freelance editor for small presses as well as for her own list of clients. In her spare time, she enjoys running, traveling, and volunteering with the PTO. Hashway currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter, and two pets. Hashway is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency.

EXCLUSIVE CONTENT!

An exclusive excerpt from The Darkness Within to give you a sneak peek at Ethan’s magic going dark:

A tree was directly in front of us. I pushed my feet and right hand against Dylan’s seat. This was the point in Driver’s Ed where the instructor stomps on his brake from the passenger seat. I didn’t have a brake, but my foot didn’t seem to understand that. I chanted louder, as if that was going to make the spell work any faster. I felt my magic growing in strength and threw all of that force behind my words. The car swerved slightly and came to rest only inches from the tree.

“Oh my God. Oh my God.” Shannon was panting, and her knuckles were white from her death grip on the steering wheel.

“Is everyone okay?” I asked, knowing we weren’t. Dylan was bleeding and out cold in the front seat. Shannon was a wreck who apparently could only mutter one phrase, and Ethan… His eyes were locked in front of us. “Ethan?” A chill went through me, starting at my hand, which was still in Ethan’s. No. He wasn’t using his dark magic. I was imagining things. He was shocked and relieved that we hadn’t hit the tree. That was all. It had to be.

Shannon stopped saying “Oh my God” and turned toward us. Her eyes fell on Ethan. “Sam.” Her face lost the little color it had left. “Get out of the car. Now!”

“Shannon, relax. It’s okay. He’s stunned. That’s all.”

“Don’t be an idiot. He tapped into it again. Look at him.”

I stared at Ethan’s face, which was emotionless. “Ethan, look at me. Please. Focus. Fight this.” I touched his cheek. He felt clammy. I was about to say his name again when something moved across the back of my hand. A greenish glow wound around Ethan’s and my hands, tying us together.

“What is he doing to you?” Shannon’s eyes were huge, and she had her seat belt off, ready to bolt. I knew she was thinking about the green snake that had attacked her in the clearing.

“I don’t know. I’m okay, though. It doesn’t hurt.”

“Get your hand out of his before that thing attacks you.” Shannon’s voice squeaked.

I didn’t want to let go of Ethan. I felt so disconnected from him already. I summoned my own magic instead. I focused on sending calming waves of energy at Ethan. I had to calm him down, get him to block the darkness within him.

“Sam.” Shannon’s squeak was worse, but I ignored her, continuing to concentrate on helping Ethan. This had to work. I wasn’t losing him to this magic. “Damn it, Sam!”

What was her problem? Couldn’t she see I was in the middle of a spell to save Ethan?

Creaking and the sound of wood splitting made me jerk my eyes open. The enormous tree in front of us was shaking. Literally shaking, despite its monstrous size. “What’s happening?”

“Ask your boyfriend. I have a feeling he’s behind this. Look at him.” Shannon unclicked her seat belt and started her own spell.

She was right about Ethan. He was focused on the tree. His stone- cold face was nearly unrecognizable. How was this happening? He was going to bring the tree down right on us!

“Ethan!”

“That’s not going to work.” Shannon reached across Dylan and pushed his door open. He sat up in his seat.

“Dylan, are you okay?”

“He’s under a zombie spell. He can’t answer you. I ordered him to get out of the freakin’ car. Now, you do the same.”

“What about Ethan? I’m not leaving him to get crushed.”

Shannon was out the door already, but she paused and looked at me. “I’ll try a zombie spell on him, but there’s no guarantee it will work. He’s doing a hell of a spell of his own right now. I may not be able to break through.”

“Try it.” I pried my hand from his. His grip was so strong, but Shannon’s spell was weakening him slightly. The tree continued to creak and sway. Some of the limbs came crashing down around us. I jumped with each thump and shake of the ground.

“It’s not working,” Shannon said, her face twisted in pain. “I’m giving this every ounce of strength I have.”

“Go. Get out of here.” I couldn’t let her die. Ethan was my esponsibility. I grabbed him and tugged him toward the door. He barely moved and stayed focused on the tree. My thoughts swirled with stupid idea after stupid idea. Nothing was going to move him. He was determined to crush this car with him inside. It made no sense. “This isn’t happening!” I pulled myself onto his lap, putting my face in his and blocking his view of the tree. “Ethan! Look at me! Look at me!”

“Sam, get out! The tree is coming down!” Shannon ran, but her eyes stayed locked on me.

I turned in time to see the tree falling on the car and hear the crunch of metal.

THE DARKNESS WITHIN

Samantha Thompson thinks she’s finally gotten past all the tragedy in her life. Now she’s part of a coven of good witches who are helping her and her boyfriend, Ethan Anderson, learn to use the powers they received from other witches. Aside from the fact that Sam and Ethan are still in hiding from their old lives, things couldn’t be better. What could go wrong? The more Ethan uses his magic, the stranger he starts acting. The magic inside him is changing who he is. Can Sam find out what’s wrong with him before she loses him to dark magic forever?

Isn’t that a gorgeous cover!!!!

For some reason I can’t think of a clever way to embed the secret number, so I’m just going to spit it right out: 38!

Please enter my Bonus Giveaway!

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The next stop on the TEAM GOLD YASH is the fabulous MEGAN SHEPHERD

Happy Hunting and tell all your friends about #YASH

 

Spring YASH is coming up!!!!

The Spring YA Scavenger Hunt starts on April 2nd!

I’m on Team Gold again, and just look at all the books you can win in our group alone! Winner takes all (one winner for each “Team”), but there will be lots of bonus giveaways, too. Tons of chances to win.

Team Gold (2)

There are 8 teams of 20 authors, so a total of 160 books up for grabs!!!!! Just in the main contest!

WOW!!!

If you’ve never participated in the YASH, it’s easy, fun and full of exclusive bonus content and bonus giveaways!

The Scavenger Hunt runs April 2-5, 2015.

You can start your hunt here, or go to: YAScavengerHunt.blogspot.com for more information.

YASH INFO

 

 

Meet Glory

Get to know the heroine of The Dust Chronicles

I was tagged by my good friend, the fabulous author, Barrie Summy, in this fun “Get to Know Your Character” blog meme.

Here goes…

Meet, Glory, the protagonist of The Dust Chronicles!

3-covers-vertical

1.) What is the name of your character?

 Glory.

2.) Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

She’s completely fictional. (If you know a 16-year-old girl who can kill with her eyes, please e-mail me.)

3.) When and where is the story set?

The story is set three generations (80-100 years) after the earth was partially destroyed by a series of asteroid strikes, which also triggered volcanos and earthquakes and left the earth covered by dust that killed most humans and altered the DNA of others.

I don’t specify exactly when this disaster struck, (in the stories, they talk about time before and after the dust), but let’s say I imagined the apocalyptic event to be within the next couple of decades. Soon. :)

4.) What should we know about him/her?

Glory was orphaned when she was 13, before she knew that she had special powers. Her powers make her a “Deviant” inside the domed city she grew up inside. If her powers are discovered, she’ll be tossed outside the dome (expunged) to either die from the dust, or be tortured by these horrible monsters called Shredders.

She’s very conflicted about her power, because father was a Deviant and was expunged after he killed her mother. As if that weren’t enough, Glory also has to protect and hide her younger brother, who’s not only a Deviant, but paraplegic.

Because she’s must keep so many things secret, and because of what her father did, at the beginning of the story, Glory doesn’t trust–anyone. Which leads her to make some bad decisions early on. But over the course of the trilogy, as she grows and learns, she becomes stronger and wiser and a very powerful young woman.

5.) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?

Her brother is discovered by the Comps (the defacto police in their corporate-run city) and risks being expunged. Glory believes that her boyfriend Cal turned them in. To escape, she has to trust a terrifying boy, Burn, whose Deviance is dangerous, and who claims that her father is still alive.

6.) What is the personal goal of the character?

Glory’s main goal in the first book, Deviants, is to keep her brother safe. In later books, her goal changes, but it would be spoilerific for me to say here. :)

7.) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

The three novels in the series are: Deviants, Compliance, and Glory.

There are also prequel short stories, published under the title, The Dust Chronicles Origins 

8.) When can we expect the book to be published or when was it published?

The novels were published in hardcover, audio and kindle formats in 2012, 2013 and 2014. The first two books were released in paperback in 2014. (With the gorgeous redesigned covers you can see above.)

You can order the novels and/or short stories from Amazon, your favorite online retailer, or ask your local bookstore or library to order them in!

Amazon.com  Amazon.ca  Amazon.co.uk  Amazon.com.au

Fall 2014 YASH

THE FALL 2014 YASH IS OVER!!!

The exclusive content is down, but my bonus giveaway is still on for a few more days!

 

Welcome to this stop on the TEAM GOLD portion of the fall 2014 YA Scavenger Hunt. This year, there are six teams with a total of 125 books up for grabs!!!!

The winner for each team grouping, gets all the books by the authors in that team! There is exclusive bonus content from each author to enjoy while you’re hunting, plus tons of bonus prizes up for grabs, including my giveaway below.

 

Team

If you’ve just stumbled upon this and have never participated in a YA Scavenger Hunt, aka #YASH, read how to hunt here, and then come back to get started!

Or here are the fast and dirty directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the gold team, and then add them up. Hint: the secret number is highlighted in GOLD.

Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by October 5th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

Now that all the technical stuff is out of the way, I’ll introduce the author I am hosting.

At this stop on #YASH, I’m thrilled to be hosting author, Sherry Thomas. I might go a little fan girl all over her right now. *runs around the room jumping*

Thomas_greenSHERRY THOMAS

Sherry Thomas loves nothing more than the mix of explosive action and combustible romance. In her career so far, she has written more romance than action, but she is making up for it with a YA fantasy trilogy and a wuxia-inspired duology. Her books regularly receive starred reviews and best-of-the-year honors from trade publications, including such outlets as the New York Times and National Public Radio. She is also a two-time winner of Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® Award.

 

And by the way, English is her second language.

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

TheHiddenBlade_1600x2400In the waning days of the last dynasty, in a quiet, beautiful corner of imperial Peking, a young girl’s blissful ignorance is shattered when she learns that she is the illegitimate daughter of an English adventurer and a Chinese courtesan. What future is there for such a girl? But a mysterious figure steps forward and offers to instruct her in the highest forms of martial arts–a path to a life of strength and independence.

Half a world away in England, a young boy’s idyllic summer on the Sussex downs implodes with the firing of a single bullet. Torn from his family, he becomes the hostage of a urbanely sadistic uncle. He dreams of escaping to find his beloved friend–but the friend is in China, ten thousand miles away.

The girl trains to be deadly. The boy flees across continents. They do not know it yet, but their lives are already inextricably bound together, and will collide one fateful night when they least expect it.

 

SHERRY’S SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Website: www.SherryThomas.com

Twitter: @sherrythomas

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/266470.Sherry_Thomas

Buy THE HIDDEN BLADE

Amazon: http://bit.ly/amzhidden

iBooks: http://bit.ly/applehidden

Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.com/Hidden-Blade-Sherry-Thomas/9781631280085

SHERRY’S EXCLUSIVE CONTENT

A bonus scene written especially for #YASH.

 Sorry… the YASH deadline has passed! Exclusive content… GONE! Sorry if you missed out. To make sure you get updates about the next YASH, sign up here:  http://yascavengerhunt.blogspot.ca/ 

PS. Sherry Thomas also writes fabulous adult books! Her debut historical romance, Private Arrangements, is one of my all-time favorites. I think I’ve read it at least 17 times.

But today we’re talking about Young Adults Books! And to continue on the YASH please visit Victoria Scott.

Bonus Giveaway!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and happy hunting!!!