MADLY releases in the USA & Canada!!

Today is the release day for MADLY! Woohoo! Confetti and candy for everyone!


Yesterday, I was on Canada’s The Morning Show to talk about the book with the beautiful Liza Fromer and awesome Jeff McArthur. They were lovely and you can watch the segment here:

On set of Global Canada's national morning show!

On set of Global Canada’s national morning show!

I also have some great reviews to share with you for the book!

“Delightfully refreshing in its unique approach to the damsel-in-distress story, Madly has the heroine that needs no one to save her as she saves the princess. Sam finds the cure and gets the guy. Amazing and strong female-driven storytelling, fueled by a fantastic plot, makes this a must-read.” – VOYA

“Alward (pen name for Amy McCulloch) soon wins readers over with fast-paced adventure, high stakes, and just the right mixture of action, romance, and humor. Princess Evelyn, who has fallen in love with herself through some sloppy potion handling, steals the show with a series of hilariously perverse love scenes. The lighthearted fantasy universe mingles the contemporary and the classic, and teens will gladly suspend disbelief long enough to follow Sam on this journey and the sequels that are sure to come. VERDICT A fun read for fans who like their romance served with a big helping of magic.” – SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

“Inventive, romantic, and downright delightful, Madly cast its spell on me from page one, and is the most fun I’ve had reading in ages! Reminiscent of Howl’s Moving Castle, readers will instantly wish they lived in the magical, modern world of Nova and fall in love (no potion required!) with the down-to-earth, resourceful, and relatable Samantha. Do not miss out on this book–you’re in for a real treat!” – SARAH J MAAS

It’s so cool!” – ZOE SUGG (aka ZOELLA)

You can buy it here: 

Barnes &

And here’s the trailer one more time!!

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: or RSVP-ing to my email:

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!




I can’t quite believe that The Potion Diaries is launching in TWO DAYS time, and the official launch party is tonight, and the blog tour is happening and OH MY it’s all exciting times.

There are *lots* of different places to find me on the inter webs this week, and here are a selection:

I love the juxtaposition with Magic Mike here ;)

I love the juxtaposition with Magic Mike here ;)

There are The Potion Diaries banners running on Sugarscape, and they’re hosting an AMAZING competition to win a ‘Make Your Own Fragrance’ day with Red Letter Days and a signed copy of the book! Enter the Sugarscape Competition here!

I wrote a piece for Foyles on “Generation HP” – the influence of JK Rowling and Harry Potter on today’s authors.

MaximumPop! has a piece about Which of Sam Kemi’s Potions do you need today?

On Bookbrunch I wrote a piece on how an Old English word inspired The Potion Diaries (it’s behind a paywall at the moment so I’ll link to it when it goes public).

There will be even more going live later this week so keep checking in.

I’m also visiting some AMAZING blogs, so check these out as the week goes by:

If you want to buy The Potion Diaries, it’s available already (shh) over on!

The UK (The Potion Diaries) & the US (Madly) covers are out. Which do you prefer?

Thanks to, the US/Canadian cover for MADLY has been revealed. Hooray! (She also has a contest running on her blog to win a copy of the US book – exciting!)

Now that both covers are out in the wild, I’m curious to know – which do you prefer?

duo book covers

Pre-order from  (UK) – called THE POTION DIARIES, out July 2, 2015
Pre-order from (UK) – called THE POTION DIARIES, out July 2, 2015
Pre-order from B&N (US) – called MADLY, out September 29, 2015
Pre-order from Indigo (Canada) – called MADLY, out September 29, 2015

The ceremony itself

White Pine Awards 2015!

On Tuesday I had the IMMENSE pleasure of attending the White Pine Awards at the Festival of Trees at the Harbourfront Centre, Toronto. The Oathbreaker’s Shadow was nominated as one of the ten Canadian YA books on the list. I’d flown over especially for the event, as I’d heard it was one of the most fun book festivals in Canada (if not anywhere!). And I was not disappointed. I loved every second of my day, and it was amazing to meet so many passionate and devoted readers.

A few of the readers I met at the Festival of Trees!

A few of the readers I met at the Festival of Trees!

The White Pine is the oldest age category of books, and I was up against a superstar list of Canadian YA titles. I’d read only two of the books on the list, apart from mine (Teresa Toten’s marvellous and heart-warming story about OCD teens, The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B, and the kick-ass, action-packed RUSH by Eve Silver) but I quickly got to downloading the others onto my Kindle. This was a great year for showcasing new talent on the Canadian YA scene, as a few of the authors were like me: debut authors, on the list for their first books!

The full list of White Pine nominees!

The full list of White Pine nominees!

The awards are voted upon by the students, who have to have read a minimum of 5/10 books to be eligible. That requires a lot of devotion – especially from high schoolers, who have so much on their plate already. So I am endlessly thankful to any student who was dedicated enough to read and vote. You ROCK.

With my high school teacher-turned-librarian friend Mme Charron!

With my high school teacher-turned-librarian friend Mme Charron!

It was also amazing to have some students from my old high school come and visit me! Hello Immaculata students! And accompanying them was their librarian Mme Charron, who also taught me Phys-ed when I was a student there. It was so nice to have some hometown support.

The ceremony itself

The ceremony itself

And that brings me to the very best bit of the day: getting to meet so many readers. I don’t think there has ever been a gathering of so many people who had read The Oathbreaker’s Shadow in one place! And although I didn’t win, I had the absolute best time. For the ceremony itself, I walked in with two students from Sir John A McDonald High, one who introduced me and another who held my sign. RUSH was the overall winner, and I was so pleased for my wonderful friend Eve Silver. If you haven’t read her books yet, GET ON THAT RIGHT NOW.

With Eve Silver, Jan Andrews and Heather Smith after our panel

With Eve Silver, Jan Andrews and Heather Smith after our panel

I then did a WORLDBUILDING 101 panel with Eve, Jan Andrews (THE SILENT SUMMER OF KYLE MCGINLEY) and Heather Smith (BAYGIRL). The feedback I had was that it went really well, especially as we got to showcase so many different styles of world-building, from the truly fantastical (me) to the emotional and the real.

Signing away, in the chilly weather!

Signing away, in the chilly weather!

Doesn't get more 'Toronto' than signing underneath the CN Tower

Doesn’t get more ‘Toronto’ than signing underneath the CN Tower

My last event was a signing. I always get nervous at signings (especially ones that are scheduled to last a whole hour) because come on… it can be embarrassing to sit there while no one comes to visit! But to my surprise, there were a few students there when I arrived, waiting to be first! I signed solidly for almost an hour, which is pretty amazing. I was stunned, but it was the same for all the authors: we just happened to be in the midst of the most engaged audience, who had all read our books. It was pretty fantastic.

Being interviewed by the OLA in the green room

Being interviewed by the OLA in the green room

Thanks so much to the OLA for nominating me, and to the students for voting! I had a blast.

The main event - the Festival of Trees!

The main event – the Festival of Trees!

Meeting Morgan Rhodes (author of the AWESOME Falling Kingdoms) and Eve Silver (White Pine winner, with RUSH!)

Meeting Morgan Rhodes (author of the AWESOME Falling Kingdoms) and Eve Silver (White Pine winner, with RUSH!)

Hidden amongst the Forest of Reading

Hidden amongst the Forest of Reading

And for anyone who loved THE OATHBREAKER’S SHADOW, don’t forget that the sequel (and conclusion of the story) is out now: THE SHADOW’S CURSE!

The biggest banyan tree in Hawaii!

Surfing and Whale Watching on Maui

Even with a little over two weeks in Hawaii, we still didn’t have nearly enough time to do everything that we wanted. Far from it! We didn’t even hit the ‘biggies’ like Pearl Harbor on Oahu or Haleakala volcano on Maui. We didn’t even go to a Luau (save for the awesome Starlit Hui at Aulani) nor did we visit the Polynesian Cultural Centre. Just more excuses to go back!

We did squeeze a couple of awesome activities into our jam-packed itinerary however, and I’d consider these pretty essential too, when visiting Hawaii – surfing and whale watching!

Back in 2005, when I first visited Hawaii, I had the best whale watching experience of my life – likely never to be repeated. We had visited in February, in peak humpback whale season (the season runs from November-May, normally) and essentially a whale had come and sat underneath our boat for a half hour or so while we snapped photo after photo. It was pretty epic. That was also pre-days of Facebook and keeping all our photos online, so I just have to live with the memory. It’s stuck with me for a long time.

This time we went with lower expectations and, while we didn’t get that same up-close-and-personal encounter, we were still really lucky.

Whale watching in Maui

Whale watching in Maui


At first, it’s hard to look out into the vast expanse of blue ocean and believe that there are several-ton giants swimming all around you – let alone that you will be able to see them. We kept our eyes peeled for their ‘blow’ in the air, or for a rounded, dark back peeking out of the waves. We luckily had a very clear, calm day, and you could see for miles.

Despite the nervous anticipation, we eventually spotted our first whales – a mother and calf! After that initial encounter, we saw many groups of whales, including  a ‘competition’ group (where several males follow a female, in hopes she will pick them.) One even gave us a wave!

Hello, humpback whale!

Hello, humpback whale!

We picked the Pacific Whale Foundation boat to take us out, from Ma’alaea Harbour, and the boat had two very informative naturalists on board. The boat was quite busy, but there was plenty of space on board and lots of room for viewing from every angle. It was also blazing hot out on the water – we were glad we had our hats, and the crew kept us supplied with plenty of ice-cold water. PWF guarantee whale sightings or your money back – no money required from us.

Our next activity was surfing! I’ve attempted surfing before (the key being ‘attempted’) – and the last time I went surfing was in the cold, rough waters of North Devon in a full wetsuit. I… don’t remember standing up on a surfboard in Devon at all, so I wasn’t expecting big things of myself in Maui.

Look Ma, I'm surfing!

Look Ma, I’m surfing!

We booked our trip via an Expedia counter in Lahaina (one of the few activities bookers on the street who didn’t also require a trip around a time share), and we got a good discount on an hour’s group lesson with Maui Wave Riders. Like PWF, Maui Wave Riders offer your money back if you don’t stand up or have fun during your lesson.

Once again, they succeeded! Our instructor was a typical bronzed surfer dude, but his simple instructions had us all standing up on our very first waves. Awesome. I definitely felt like a proper surf chick.

My only comment in the Lahaina location would be that the water was very shallow, and quite rocky underfoot. I ended up with more than a few scrapes on my legs by the end. It was also very crowded with beginner surfers – so while it was good for catching waves, it was bad when you couldn’t steer out of someone’s path. Collision central.

Delicious shaved ice - the perfect Hawaii treat

Delicious shaved ice – the perfect Hawaii treat

After surfing was the perfect time for a nice shaved ice, and a walk around the beautiful Lahaina. I also got to take my mum and sister out to fill up on delicious Star Noodle afterwards – but more on that in the next blog!

The biggest banyan tree in Hawaii!

The biggest banyan tree in Hawaii, in Lahaina town centre.