Autumn in Canada… times (and titles) are a-changin’

Hello blog world!

Sorry I haven’t been around for a while. Times have been a changin’ — so autumn seems like the perfect to start blogging again. One of the biggest changes has been the fact that I am now officially a Canadian resident again. After eight years in the UK, it feels good to be here. The temperatures are surely dropping though… maybe in mid-February I will regret this decision!

But with colours like this, how could I be sad?

soph focus in leaves

Long walks in the forest near our cottage are revitalizing… photo by Evan George

The second news is that Madly has made its title jump to The Potion Diaries in the US and Canada – so now it’s the same all over the world! Royal Tour is also out everywhere now. My plea (as always) is if you read it and loved it, please leave me a review somewhere online ūüôā

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The last big change is that while¬†I’m writing away feverishly on book 3 (Going Viral!), I’m taking some time for self-care. Autumn is the perfect season for that, isn’t it? Summer is great and high-energy and all (and I’ve had eight months of summer – I know that will get no sympathy but trust me, I’m tired of it!) but I’m ready for the Cosy Season. This isn’t the time for the pressure of new beginnings, but¬†a chance to reflect on the year that’s gone by. And it’s been a tough one, hasn’t it? 2016 has been difficult (to put it mildly) for so many of the people closest to me.¬†I want to wrap us all in a warm duvet, hand out mugs of¬†hot chocolate,¬†and tell us to be kind to ourselves.

I’ve been thinking a lot about kindness, and what it looks like for me. I think I’ve figured out what has helped me. First of all, I think most important of all has been…

Establishing a routine

I’m the first one to put my hand up and say I want a different sort of life. A life filled with travel and adventures and experiences that looks nothing like what I’ve been told is ‘normal’. Yet, establishing a routine is part of being kind to myself. I’m balking internally at this realization of mine, but I can’t escape the fact that it’s true. I hadn’t understood¬†how stressful those micro decisions are: what to eat for meals? where to go? how will we get there? Having a routine means taking some of those questions away, giving me more space to breathe and therefore…

Allowing myself the space to be creative

Without a routine, I let my work take the back seat.¬†I also vastly underestimated the stress of an international move.¬†But that’s finished now. It’s time to let writing drive me again, and to remember the joy that creativity brings to my life. And that means that I’m happier when I’m…

Spending time with family

In addition to being closer to my wonderful parents, I’ve been so lucky to have my sister over (she lives in Australia), and getting to see her always restores my soul. Gathering around the people that offer me support – and accepting that support – is all part of being kind to myself. And it also means that I’ve had the courage to start…

Exercising again

I’ve added a 30 minute workout¬†into my routines, whether that’s a run, a Sweat with Kayla workout, an Insanity DVD or a PT session. I’d forgotten how much I valued those 30 minutes of hard work¬†time. Even though it’s a great clich√©, exercise does do as much for my mind as it does for my body. It was good to remind myself of that.

So that’s what I’ve been focused on. How about you? What do you do to be kind to yourself?

Leave me¬†a note in the comments below if you want to share ūüôā

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MADLY book launch – coming to Ottawa 29/09!

Madly launch evite

I’m hugely excited to say that the Canadian book launch for MADLY is happening in Ottawa on September 29th, 6:30pm at Johnny Farina’s restaurant on Elgin Street, hosted by Perfect Books.

There will be drinks, nibbles, a sprinkling of magic and, of course, plenty of books! Books will be available at the bargain price of $15 (retail price is $22.99) so it’s the perfect opportunity to get a signed hardback¬†– maybe as an early Christmas present?

This event is open to all Ottawa book lovers, so if you do think you’ll be able to make it, please let me know by joining the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/415110695349380/ or RSVP-ing to my email: alward.amy@gmail.com

There’s also going to be a blog tour running from launch date. Check out these great blogs to learn more about MADLY from September 29th!

MADLYBLOGTOUR

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Books + Froyo… it’s the Canadian launch party!

On Thursday I had the absolute time of my life at my Ottawa launch party… we had around 80 guests and sold just under that many books! There was beautiful sunshine, lots of great people, champagne and frozen yogurt!

The crowd inside Spoon! Lounge

The crowd inside Spoon! Lounge

But none of that would have happened were it not for my amazing parents, who had to plan this entire thing without having ever attended a book launch before, and with me thousands of miles away across the pond. Needless to say, they did an absolutely stupendous job and I am so thankful to them!

My parents own Canadian Rug Traders in Ottawa’s Byward Market, which has been especially decked out just for The Oathbreaker’s Shadow! In the store window was a large picture of the cover, my author photo, Sophie’s map and several awesome Oathbreaker-themed carpets that Sophie had designed especially for the book and my dad had made in India. The carpets are available for purchase at the store for $59+tax, and include a signed book! They’ve been really popular so far, and I’m not surprised… they’re totally gorgeous on their own.

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The amazing window at Canadian Rug Traders this past week

But the store wouldn’t make a great place for a party because there wasn’t enough floor space. So the brilliant owners of Spoon! Frozen Yogurt Lounge were happy to let us take over their store for a couple of hours to have the launch. It ended up being the perfect venue – plenty of space, a few table and chairs and of course – frozen yogurt! For those who haven’t been to a self-serve froyo place before, you basically get to fill up a coloured cup with delicious flavoured frozen yogurt, then get to load it up with the toppings of your choice. You then have your cup weighed and you pay by weight. For guests of the launch though, we were offering a free yogurt with a signed book purchase. It certainly went down well! As if that wasn’t enough, there were cupcakes and baklava (the ‘honey cakes’ for anyone who might have read the novel already!), and plenty of champagne (not that I got to drink any of it!)

A great spread! Plus Froyo, of course...

A great spread! Plus Froyo, of course…

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Some Canadian Rug Traders staff helping out on launch night!

It was amazing to see all the people who turned out – from my parents’ friends, loads of friends from high school (some who I hadn’t seen in 10 years!) and some awesome Ottawa book bloggers. It was amazing to meet other book lovers from this city, and since I heard that not many book events are held in Ottawa, I was glad to be able to bring a little YA book excitement to Canada’s capital city!

Some of the Ottawa blogettes with me!

Some of the Ottawa blogettes with me!

My dad introduced me to the crowd, and I managed to get through my thank yous and a reading without getting too emotional. It was especially important to me to be able to thank my parents in front of everyone.

My dad giving a speech while I look (embarrassedly) on...

My dad giving a speech while I look (embarrassedly) on…

All in all, a successful (and super fun!) launch. I already can’t wait to come back to do it all again!

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