Friday, July 6, 2012

Canadian Spotlight Month: Guest Post by Melanie-Cusick Jones + a Giveaway

Today I'm very excited to have my friend, author Melanie Cusick-Jones here at Ramblings of a Daydreamer. When Mel offered to do a guest post for the Canadian Spotlight Month, I was thrilled, because I was hoping we'd get to hear from some non-Canadians this month. Melanie has written a wonderful post on why she - a Brit - loves Canada, plus she's giving away copies of her books! Enjoy!

Why Canada is Brilliant (by a Brit) 
by Melanie Cusick-Jones

What is it that makes a country feel special to you? People you meet there, perhaps, or the great things that you see – maybe it’s a little bit of everything…When it comes down to it, I believe Canada has everything. 

So, why am I blogging today – in an event all about Canada? Well, I LOVE Canada – more than anywhere else I’ve ever travelled to and that’s why I’ve been back again and again and again! :-)

I first travelled to Canada – on my own, like a grown-up – when I was 19, to meet up with one of my best friends and former college roommate. Alison lived in Montreal at the time and we had a brilliant three weeks travelling around Ontario and Quebec doing lots of things I’d only read about or seen in movies: we went to a Dairy Queen (from my childhood Sweet Valley High reading), ate Tim Bits on a road trip to Niagara Falls, went to ‘camp’ (Alison was a counsellor) and swam in the lake…all of these things don’t exist in the UK in the same way and so it was like stepping into a different, but happily familiar world.

Some of my favourite places were Ottawa: the parliament building, which no other building in the city is allowed to be taller than (or so they said on the tour!) and the Mountie Training School; Toronto University (where friends were studying) had a fantastic vibe and nightlife and of course Niagara Falls – such a fun place – almost like the seaside, but with a boat ride to scare the pants off you. :-)

On my subsequent visits I’ve been dog-sled racing and seen glaciers (neither of which I could do in the UK); partied on grand prix weekend; visited an exclusive yacht club and drunk myself silly on amazing ice wine, in the Ontario wine country. I came in winter and learned to ski, saw ‘proper’ snowfalls that last months not days and visited underground cities! In the autumn I came to see the beautiful fall – and yep, you guessed it, I’m coming back again: currently planning my road trip from New York to visit my family in Toronto.

Even just driving around the place I love Canada: the road signs with the little crown (except when you’re in Quebec); the number plate ‘mottos’; proper road side diners and rest stops – yes I know it sounds odd, but they’re certainly different from a motorway services. And the scenery, which is e-n-d-l-e-s-s in scale and distance: we drove for around six hours to get from Montreal to Toronto – if I drove for six hours from home in pretty much any direction I’d have dropped off the land into the sea! And how proud are people to be Canadian? Everywhere we drove there were houses with huge flags, proudly displaying the red and white. In Britain this year we’ve had the Queen’s Jubilee and so flown lots of flags, but that’s the exception not the rule over here. 

Canada is a home away from home to me: everything I love about where I live, but doing it in its own special way. Familiar and unique at the same time, Canada is wonderfully welcoming and home to some of my very favourite people and places in the world.

Enjoy your special month guys, Canada rocks! :-)

About Melanie: After graduating from The University of Sheffield with an English Literature Masters in 2003, Melanie has been writing fiction - time permitting - ever since.

The Ambrosia Sequence (started in 2008) and The Elementals (begun in 2004) are both ongoing, extended projects each containing several novels, aimed primarily at young adults and hover somewhere in the middle of sci-fi, futuristic and fantasy genres. Hope's Daughter, released in January 2012, is her debut novel and the first of The Ambrosia Sequence, with the sequel - Outlanders - due mid-2012.

When she's not writing Melanie enjoys the wet weather of the north of England with her dogs or disappearing into a book for a few hours (no surprise there then). Unfortunately, all too often the 'day job' gets in the way of the nicer things in life!

Find Melanie online:

Buy Hope's Daughter
Add Hope's Daughter to GoodReads
Add The Rainbow Maker's Tale to GoodReads 

Read my review of Hope’s Daughter
Melanie wrote another guest post for me back in March - read about her writing journey.

I can't tell you guys how much I love this post - it always makes me so happy when people love this beautiful country as much as I do. 

Thank you so much for being here today, Melanie, and for sharing your love of Canada with us!

Melanie has very generously donated two e-copies of her book Hope's Daughter, as well as an e-copy of her soon-to-be-released book The Rainbow Maker's Tale. One winner will get both books (The Rainbow Maker's Tale will be sent to the winner in August or September, upon release), and a second winner will receive Hope's Daughter

Giveaway details:
*To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below. There's one free entry where all you have to do is hit enter, and the rest of the entries are for those who like extra chances to win.
*This giveaway will remain open until July 31st at 11:59pm EST. Two winners will be chosen at random, contacted, and will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen.
*Open internationally, as long as you can accept e-books.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post has been part of the Canadian Spotlight Month. Click the graphic below to check out the schedule and all things Canadian here at Ramblings of a Daydreamer. 


  1. It's interesting. I've got a few family members very excited about planning a trip to NY then want to cross to Canada and visit for a spell. I've heard wonderful things about Canada, usually from those who've visited so it's great reading about the country's accolades and learning so much more about the land.

  2. I loved reading your piece Melanie! I have very nice things to say about England myself. The tricky bit is attractions closing at 6:00PM, everywhere. We constantly had to miss something or go again in the morning. We became later and later on the road, which we drove ourselves!

    So much to see, we must go back and finish YOUR country. :) Carolyn M. Riedel.

  3. I love all of the Canadian posts you have been posting lately. I am not familiar with many of them and am finding some very interesting reads and learning more about the country itself. Thank you for the great post.

  4. I've really enjoyed reading about these Canadian authors and posts about books set in Canada. Reading so much about it has left me wanting to go visit since ots been such a long time.

  5. I hope I can win this one! Thanks for the giveaway


  6. Thanks for having me back on the blog - and accepting my ramblings ;) I had lots of fun writing this post, remembering my travels in your fantastic country.

    Enjoying all the event posts - even if I'm struggling to get my reading for the event many great books and so little time.


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