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A Great TIFF Day

So, I’m a little too bagged to blog properly… I will get caught up and talk about this year’s films properly, but I did have a really great day today. It was a five ticket day. I can’t say five film day, because one of them was a “Maverick” talk, not a film, but we did see a film clip as part of it…

My day started with Rampart, starring Woody Harrelson. I will post more about this film… Overall: great performances, interesting, too long. At least that’s what I think was “wrong” with it for me.

Then I went to a talk between Indian-born, Canadian filmmaker, Deepa Mehta and Salman Rushdie. She is currently making a movie of his book Midnight’s Children that will be out in October 2012. It was a pretty cool talk. I haven’t read the book, but the talk made me really want to see the movie and tackle the book, too. Sounds like my cup of tea… No pun intended. Seriously. I did not intend that almost pun.

Then I saw a screening of Anonymous. Very good. I think I’ll see this movie again when it comes out (soon). I was distracted by very annoying people sitting next to me who when they weren’t talking to each other, one or the other of them had their phone out. That kind of behaviour is rare at TIFF and I wanted to kill them. But LOVED the film’s theory on Shakespeare. Loved it.

Then came Pariah, which I understand was one of the darlings of Sundance last winter. And often those films don’t do as well with a “real” audience vs. the industry audience at Sundance, but I loved it. I’ll talk about this one later, too… But I was riveted. Touching coming of age story at its core. Stunning performance by the lead.

Then my last film of the day was Martha Marcy May Marlene. VERY interesting and tense. Loved it. Again, a stunning performance by the young lead (who happens to have very famous older twin sisters… named Olsen…) A non-hollywood ending that will make some people crazy (a few people swore aloud) and had me sitting stunned through the credits while the theatre cleared out. I have a new theory about the ending… Now can’t wait for someone else to see it so I can discuss. :)

Sorry for the very vague references and incomplete reviews. I promise I will talk more about these films and post some pictures as soon as I get some sleep!

Blog Tour

I’m on tour! Well, a virtual one. One where there are fewer hotel rooms and plane rides. :)

Stop by and say hi if you have a chance. I’ll make it worth your while. Many of the stops feature giveaways. :)

It continues through the end of the month, but here are this week’s stops.

May 10

Tasha A Trillion Books  Interview

Katie A Book Obsession  Giveaway

Jazz About Books Blog   Review  (Love this review. :)

May 11

Irena This Miss Loves To Read  Interview & Giveaway

May 12

Kristen Seeing Night Book Reviews  Interview & Giveaway

Jenny Dreaming of Books  Interview & Giveaway

May 13

Debbie Debs Book Bag   Giveaway & Guest Post

Stella Book Lovers  Interview & Giveaway

Thanks so much to the fabulous Ginger and Mana at Silver Dolphin Books and to Premier Virtual Author Book Tours for setting this up for me. Thanks to to all the book bloggers. I <3 book bloggers.

Another Giveaway!

Today, I’m being interviewed on The Qwillery and giving away another book. Stop by there, if you’d like a chance to win.

And here are photos of a couple more book sightings.

In other news, once a month I meet up with a lovely group of Toronto-(and environs)-based middle grade and young adult writers. We’ve dubbed ourselves #torkidlit. You can follow us on Twitter or check out our Facebook page.

Torkidlit was started by the lovely and fabulous Claudia Osmond, author of SMUDGE’S MARK, but much of our energy/organization is owed to the equally fabulous author/illustrator Debbie Ohi, also known as Inkygirl.

Debbie made a video this week to show our support for the people of Japan. (Coincidentally, the past several months we’ve been meeting in a fabulous Japanese restaurant…)

Release — The Aftermath

So, the books are actually out in the world. For realsies.

You want proof? I’ll give you proof.

This is at a local indie bookseller.

Irony is I’d been trying to get up the courage to go into said bookstore and tell them about my books, hoping that they wouldn’t just scoff. I never expected to discover they actually had ordered the books and had them on display. On a table!!!

Thanks to SIL Kate for making the discovery and taking the pictures for me. :)

If you’re still hoping for a chance to win a book, stop on by the fabulous Claudia Osmond’s blog today: Where the (not-so) Wild Things Are. She’s having a Maureen McGowan Monday. How awesome is that?

And the winners are…

The winners of books are:

Marilyn Brant and Lexie@BookBug

The first one to contact me gets first pick on whether she prefers to receive Cinderella: Ninja Warrior or Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer!

Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by to visit this week. You made my release week very special.

And I know I promised some more info about Sleeping Beauty… It’s still coming, I promise.

Also, this week I’m going to be visiting some other awesome blogs.

Monday I’ll be at: Claudia Osmond’s blog

Tuesday I’ll be at: Marilyn Brant’s Blog (Total coincidence she won a book. I used a random.org. Honest.)
And at:                  Linda Gerber’s Blog

Further info about my adventures in blog land will be updated on my Keep in Touch page on this blog and my Page at Get Lost in a Story.

If you didn’t win a book this time, there will be more chances!

Inside Scoop on Cinderella: Ninja Warrior

Yesterday, one of my fabulous fellow bloggers at Get Lost in a Story, debut author Donnell Ann Bell, interviewed me. Below is an excerpt from the interview with some insider information on how CINDERELLA: NINJA WARRIOR came about.

Donnell: Maureen, I just have to say I love fairy tales. You’re talking to a person who has watched The Little Mermaid at least 15 times. When you described to me the story adaptation that brought about CINDERELLA: NINJA WARRIOR, I made the decision right then and there to pick up this book.

You take the tried and true Cinderella fairy tale, in which the message to little girls is, let the prince save you. You, however, turn it into a kick-butt heroine who can darn well save herself. Love your message. What inspired you to create this version?

Maureen:  Thanks, Donnell. When I was asked by the editor to take a shot at writing a proposal for a Cinderella story with a choose-your-own-adventure element, I jumped at the chance. But because the idea had come from the editor, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to tell the stories the way I wanted. The editor assured me I’d have complete creative freedom. To test her assertion, I asked, “Can there be ninjas?” She said sure, and the rest is history.
I also liked the idea of “fixing” some of the elements of the traditional stories that bothered me. For example, the original Cinderella character was too much of a victim for my taste, waiting around for a handsome prince to save her. I wanted to create a strong heroine who was doing all she could to save herself. I also never liked the idea that the prince needed a shoe to recognize her the day after supposedly falling in love, or that he fell in love with her because of her beauty—beauty which he doesn’t recognize the next day when she’s out of her fancy dress. What kind of message does that send to modern young readers about love or their self-worth?
Donnell: Not much of an esteem builder at all. I so agree. Would you say the theme is still good vs. evil, or do you see something else in the storytelling?
Maureen: The traditional fairy tale themes of finding true love and good vs. evil are definitely in CINDERELLA: NINJA WARRIOR, but other themes in the story include: believing in yourself and seeing through the superficial to what really matters—the person inside.
Donnell: You have a prince in disguise and a fairy godfather. Will you tell us about those switches and what inspired those roles?
Maureen: I made the decision about the godfather right from the start. One of the first things that popped into my mind as I started working on this book, (after ninjas), was the line, “Hi, I’m Fred, your fairy godfather.” It just struck me as funny. 
That line, minus the word “fairy”, ended up in the book. (He’s actually her real godfather, not a fairy.) But he has a magical secret, too… and that element is something I discovered organically while writing the opening pages.
The prince in disguise was a happy accident while writing—when he showed up at the door, I realized the messenger bringing the invitations to the ball wasn’t who he said he was—but in hindsight that element was essential to the story. I wanted Cinderella and the Prince to fall in love, so I needed to get him into the story well ahead of the ball—especially since, depending on the readers’ choices, Cinderella doesn’t necessarily go to the ball. The prince-in-disguise element also nicely ties together with the theme of seeing the true person inside.
Tune in Friday for the scoop on SLEEPING BEAUTY: VAMPIRE SLAYER.

Release Week Party and Giveaway!

My, how time flies!

This time last year, I was still working on my two debut novels, Cinderella: Ninja Warrior and Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer, and now they are both being released–on the same day!–to launch the Twisted Tales series!

The official release date is April 1, 2011, but they are already shipping from some online retailers. I can’t wait to actually see/hold one myself and/or hear that someone has spotted one in the wild! If you see a copy in a store, please let me know! Even better, take a picture and send it to me. :)

In spite of the long and twisty road I took to this point (worthy of any challenging fairy tale fraught with evil witches) I’m not letting the April Fool’s Day release date temper my excitement. Tune back on Friday to find out whether the joke’s on me. LOL.  I might tell some of the twisty tale that day.  :)

In the meantime, here’s what the publisher and some fabulous bloggers/reviewers have said about the first two books in the Twisted Tales series.

SLEEPING BEAUTY: VAMPIRE SLAYER

In this thrilling story full of adventure and romance, Sleeping Beauty is more than just a lonely princess waiting for her prince—she’s a brave, tenacious girl who never backs down from a challenge. With vampire-slaying talents that she practices in secret, Sleeping Beauty puts her courage to the test in the dark of night, fighting evil as she searches for a way to break the spell that has cut her off from her family. In a special twist, readers have the opportunity to make key decisions for Sleeping Beauty and decide where she goes next—but no matter the choice; the result is a story unlike any fairy tale you’ve ever read!
Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer is an entirely new type of fairy tale–one that will keep today’s kids guessing and offer them hours of magical fun.

“If you’re just a fan of retold fairytales, then Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer is exactly what you’ve been looking for.” Maianka Verstraete of I <3 Reading

“It’s a fairytale full of teen angst, comedy, romance, mystery and adventure! The ‘choose a path’ option was brilliant and made the book a lot of fun. I will be looking at other works by this Author and look forward to any other writing she has coming out.” – Kristi Stern of The Book Faery

“Once upon a time a story comes along that makes your heart soar and transports you to a world filled with royalty, magical beings and immortal creatures. Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer is one such story.”  -Aobibliophile of Aobiblioshpere


“This was a wonderful new twist on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. … Lucette was one butt-kicking vampire-slaying princess.”  –ReaderGirl of NightOwl Reviews

CINDERELLA: NINJA WARRIOR

In this fast-paced story full of adventure and romance, Cinderella is more than just a servant girl waiting for her prince—she’s a tough, fearless girl who is capable of taking charge of a dangerous situation. Seeking to escape the clutches of her evil stepmother, Cinderella perfects her ninja skills and magic talents in secret, waiting for the day when she can break free and live happily ever after. In a special twist, readers have the opportunity to make key decisions for Cinderella and decide where she goes next—but no matter the choice; the result is a story unlike any fairy tale you’ve ever read!

“An extremely funny, enjoyable and entertaining read that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and brings a fabulous twist to a well-known fairytale.”  Majanka Verstraete of I <3 Reading

“My favourite princess made even stronger, it couldn’t be better!  A world filled with magic with love being the strongest magic of all.  A wonderful concoction of Maureen McGowan: a retelling of Cinderella mixed in with wizardry, martial arts, and choose-your-own-adventure!”  Tien of Tien’s Blurb

“I was never fan of Cinderella to tell you the truth. But this book…oh my…! I wish the original stories were like that! Forget the sweet cliché love story and the poor girl. Here we have witches, championships, warriors, villains and even dragons! How awesome is it?” Yiota of Splash of Our Worlds

PARTY PLANS

All week at Get Lost in a Story we’ll be celebrating the books’ release. 

Stop by there, every day this week, for up to FIVE chances to win one of four books — 2 of each.

SPECIAL SECRET GIVEAWAY!



In addition to the drawing on Get Lost in a Story, I’ll give away two additional copies to commenters on this blog. That’s right. If you comment here, and every day on Get Lost in a Story, you’ll have even more chances to win. :)

Thanks for stopping by to help me celebrate!

Giveaway Over

Well, that was fun!

My first foray into Goodreads Giveaways and it was kind of exciting. Just the thought of over 1600 people, most of whom I don’t know, entering a contest to win a copy of my ARC was thrilling.

Goodreads picked the winners last night and it got even better!

Two of the winners are people I know. Kwana Jackson and Christine D’Abo!

Like I said… 1602 entries. Maybe 20 of them I knew, (scanning through the entries), Goodreads picks randomly and I know 2!

How fun is that?

Congrats to all the winners! I’ll be sending your ARCs out very soon.

Got ARC?

Look at what came in the mail today!!

A lovely box of ARCs for Cinderella: Ninja Warrior!

Will have to dream up some great giveaway ideas…. Hmmmm…