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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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


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!!! The paperback editions are only $7.50 each, and the kindle versions are $3.99.

For more info click here:


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 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!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


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.