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From the BumblePuppy’s nest #003

Some writers do have ’em (birthdays, that is)!

Happy 91st birthday Carl Dow!

(May your 92nd be both happy and productive)

Photo shows Carl Dow (left), with Geoffrey Dow (right).
One young man with another …

July 15, 2024, Ottawa — Last night I, along with my wife and daughter, spent the evening with Carl Dow to celebrate his 91st birthday one day early.

Carl — author of the story collection The Old Man’s Last Sauna and the novel, Black Grass — is, of course, also my father, and the reason the BumblePuppy Press exists at all.

As I have said more than once (and probably, have written about as well), more than 10 years ago, Carl asked if I would be interested in reading a novel he had written.

I didn’t say yes right away. He had not let me read any of his non-journalistic work since I had been a teenager, when he asked for my thoughts on a radio play he had written, and I’d told him it was, well, not very good.

But after some thought I did agree to read it, and he sent me a copy of the manuscript by Canada Post. When I sat down with it one evening a few days later, I began to read with more than a little trepidation; I had no wish to tell him he had written something bad again.

Covers to Black Grass and The Old Man's Last Sauna
The first two, with more to come …

But instead, I finished what would eventually be published as Black Grass in one sitting, literally putting aside the final page just as the sun was (literally) literally rising.

I had laughed, shed a tear or three, and eagerly rushed through the climax because I needed to find out what happened next. Carl (I call him “dad” but refer to him as Carl — don’t ask why, it’s just worked out that way) was — yes — a real novelist.

I told him as much, and he told me that he hadn’t been able to interest a publisher in it. Westerns are out of fashion was one rejection; Americans don’t want to read about another country was another; too much action; too much romance; the list of ostensible reasons why it couldn’t sell went on and on.

I found it hard to believe. The Black Grass I had just read was a compelling adventure, featured an unusual but believable romantic subplot, complex characters and was leavened with wit and humour.

Granted, it had a Canadian setting; granted it bore considerable resemblance to a western … but was the traditional publishing industry so hidebound, so constrained by genre, so unimaginative, that it couldn’t see the potential in a great romance (in the tradition of Sir Walter Scott, as one university English prof put it)?

Well, my reader’s outrage percolated for a while, then I eventually decided that if no one else would publish Black Grass, I would just have to do it myself. That was the genesis of the BumblePuppy Press. (Yes, The Old Man’s Last Sauna, Carl’s collection of short and not-so short stories was published first, but Black Grass was the spark.

And so, on the 91st anniversary of his birth, we are for a brief time offering The Old Man’s Last Sauna, and Black Grass together, for the low (low!) price of only $25.00, $13.00 less than it would cost to purchase them individually. Click here to buy them now!

Image shows and ad for Black Grass (left), and The Old Man's Last Sauna (right), with author Carl Dow's photo between the two book covers.

One more thing: Though he is now 91, Carl says that his next novel, Wildflowers: The Women Who Made McCord Chronicle, is very nearly finished. And after that? He has a sequel to Black Grass already percolating.

Happy birthday, old man — and keep on writing!

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From the BumblePuppy’s nest #002

Of pride and poetry


  • Our most recent release, Skipping Stones, was published on May 27th, 2024, and is now available through most of your favourite online vendors in both paper and electronic editions, as well as the behemoth, Amazon. Of course, you can also order it, and all our books, directly from our store;
  • The Bumble Puppy Press is proud of our queer-related novels, Cascade and Reprise, both of which are now on sale at a 25% discount in all formats;
  • I discuss my own longstanding relationships (or lack thereof?) with Pride and some of the LGBTQ communities;
  • For Ottawa folks, we have a table at the upcoming Ottawa Small Press Book Fair on Saturday, June 22, 2024, at the Tom Brown Arena between noon and 5:00 PM;
  • Marie-Andrée and Adrienne were interviewed on the Meter&Mayhem videolog on the 15th of June. You can see it at;
  • And a reminder about the Skipping Stones virtual book launch on June 26!

Proud of our queer books!

Image shows pride flag, with the cover of Cascade (left), The BumblePuppy Press Logo (centre), and Reprise (right) superimposed upon it.

But only some way. Other reasons include the fact that BPPress is a small operation, and that I am juggling a lot of plates (while riding a metaphorical unicycle). And also (full disclosure, as the kids put it these days): I am a cis, white, almost completely straight, male who is approaching 60 with alarming rapidity (February 2025 is in — what? — less that eight months, isn’t it? Dear god …) — but I digress.

As said old(ish), cis, straight, white guy, what does Pride mean to me anyway? After all, I’ve hated parades at least as far back as the early 1970s, when my parents took me to the Santa Claus Parade in Montreal and I was bored silly.

Could it be that I am just cynically using Pride to try to sell a few books, with no more genuine concern for the problems facing “the gayz” than, say, Scotiabank or Loblaws has for any of the “social justice” causes they put their publicity machines behind?

Well, no.

In fact I do have some skin in the proverbial game, even though I am not, myself, a member of the queer community.

(I realize (and realized) that “the gayz” don’t actually have a formal system of handing out such accolades; I still took it seriously.)

The most important reason, of course, is that human rights are (or damned well should be!) human rights. The sex or gender of the people we are attracted to are nobody’s business but our own (provided, of course, that we act on those attractions only with people able to consent; pedophiles remain beyond the proverbial pale).

The Ottawa Small Press Book Fair

Image shows covers of BumblePuppy Press books in two tiers.

Of course, it won’t just be The BumblePuppy Press holding court, but the cream of Ottawa’s small press crop. If you love books and zines, you owe it to yourself to come out and browse (and buy).

Reminder: Online book-launch for Skipping Stones

Image shows copy of Skipping Stones, with text reading 'Chapbook Launch - Skipping Stones' superimposed at the bottom left.

If you missed the announcement the first time, our most recent (chap)book, Skipping Stones is getting a virtual launch, even as I work at getting its authors out into the three dimensional world as well.

Image shows The BumblePuppy Press' mascot, half-puppy and a half-bumblebee, wearing a jacket and smoking a pipe.
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From the BumblePuppy’s nest #001

Image shows The BumblePuppy Press' mascot, half-puppy and a half-bumblebee, wearing a jacket and smoking a pipe.

Monday, June 11, 2024 — Not to complain, but being a one-man operation (while also being a full-time papa) isn’t easy. Priorities clash with priorities and all too often they cancel one another out.

One thing I have been intending to do for a long time, is to write a regular (weekly? monthly? Time will tell) update about what is going on at The BumblePuppy Press. And this, at last, is my first (published) attempt.

What is going on, you ask? Quite a lot, actually. So I think it’s best to work from the future into the (recent) past for this opening effort.

June 26: Save the date! Online book-launch for Skipping Stones

Image shows copy of Skipping Stones, with text reading 'Chapbook Launch - Skipping Stones' superimposed at the bottom left.

• • •

Zilla Novikov talks Cascade

Image of Beyond Cataclysm podcast announcing Zilla Novikov discussion Rachel A. Rosen's Cascade, with cover photo.

• • •

Image shows Wizards & Spaceships podcast hosts David Clink and Rachel A. Rosen.
Wizards and Spaceships podcast hosts David Clink and Rachel A. Rosen.

• • •

That's me!

Geoffrey Dow, publisher

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Now available for pre-order: Skipping Stones!

Poetry comes to the BumblePuppy Press

Cover of Skipping Stones, by Adrienne Stevenson and Marie-Andrée Auclair.
Image above shows front cover of Skipping Stones.

May 19, 2024 — Most of us have experienced imposter syndrome at one time or another. For some of us, it is a never-ending story.

My own experience with it is that it very much depends on context. And publishing a book (or, as the authors prefer, a chapbook) of poetry is definitely one of them.

It’s not that I have no experience with verse — beyond song lyrics, and poems for children (Bob Dylan, Emma-Lee Moss, Lewis Carroll and A.A. Milne, please take a bow!), I have taken pleasure in Dylan Thomas and T.S. Elliot, but after that the list is a short one.

I take no pride in that — but no shame, either; some forms speak to us and some don’t, or don’t very often — but I do take pride in having had the good sense to recognize the qualities of the poetic dialogue contained within the covers of Skipping Stones, by Marie-Andrée Auclair and Adrienne Stevenson.

Written over a period of years as the authors shared their work with each other, they eventually came to realize they were, in a sense, dancing together with words.

The result is The BumblePuppy Press’ first collection of poetry, which I am thrilled to say will be published on May 28, 2024! And it is available now for pre-order, both here and at Amazon, with more to come soon.

Skipping Stones is a remarkable collaboration: sometimes funny, sometimes moving, always compelling and insightful. It will resonate with anyone who remembers what it was like to be young, or who has experienced the changes that come with living.

* * *

A final note: if you are a book reviewer or blogger, please contact me (geoffdow (at) for a review copy. I hope it will soon be listed on BookSirens as well.

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The new year promises wonders

Image is a photo of Marie-Andrée Auclair, Geoffrey Dow, and Adrienne Stevenson, each signing a contract with the Rideau Canal appearing in the background.
Marie-Andrée Auclair, Geoffrey Dow, and Adrienne Stevenson sign on the proverbial dotted line, November 30, 2023. Thanks to our server at the Canal Ritz for taking the photograph.

December 1, 2023 — Well, yesterday was fun. I had the great pleasure of sitting down to sign a contract old-school — pen on paper! — with Adrienne Stevenson (who is also a first-time novelist with this year’s release of Mirrors & Smoke) and Marie-Andrée Auclair, two Ottawa-based writers whose collaborative book of poems (or “chapbook”, if you prefer), Skipping Stones, will be published by The BumblePuppy Press in the spring of 2024.

I never thought we would branch out into poetry, but Skipping Stones is a book — chapbook! — whose sometimes meditative, sometimes funny, sometimes moving, poems demanded that we grow a new artistic limb.

There will be more information about this in the days and weeks to come.

•     •     •

Speaking of branching out, stay tuned for announcements about a memoir, Life Is Good, written by Jules Paivio, who was the last living member of the famed Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion, and a children’s book, The Inclusive Winnie-the-Pooh, by A.A. Milne, edited and with an introduction by yours truly.

Also, though there have been some unexpected delays, Paul Adamson is hard at work on our first audiobook, Rachel Rosen’s Cascade.

All in all, I am pretty excited about the year to come for the BumblePuppy Press.

And meanwhile, all of our books currently in print are available on our website at 20% off! Click here to visit our store and save! After all, what better holiday gift can there be than a good book?

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Celebrating Carl’s first 90 years (with a sale of course)

Photo of Randy Ray and Carl Dow, seated at a table, with a painting of a teenage boy on the wall between them.
Randy Ray (left) and Carl Dow (right) talk while waiting for the birthday food to arrive on July 15, 2023. Photo by Judy Kwasnica.

July 17, 2023 — A few months shy of the 10th anniversary of the publication of Carl Dow’s first book (the eclectic collection of short fiction, The Old Man’s Last Sauna) came another anniversary: Carl’s 90th birthday, which we celebrated in quiet style at his home on the northern edge of Ottawa’s Centretown this past Saturday.

In attendance were Randy Ray, his longtime friend and sometime publicist, Randy’s partner Judy Kwasnica, Carl’s oldest friend (who he has been trying to catch for about 70 years, but who somehow remains four months older) Nick Aplin, his friend Faduma (who asked not to be pictured nor last-named), and of course, my darling wife (who also chooses to keep her face and name off the internet), and my daughter, “Baobao”, whose face I have decided to keep private, now that she is nearly four.

Photo shows young girl giving Carl Dow a hand-made 90th birthday card.
Carl receives a hand-made card from his grand-daughter, Baobao.

As I said, it was a small celebration of Carl’s first 90 years, but a joyful one.

Though largely confined to the wheelchair you can see in some of the accompanying photos, Carl (who is, yes, my father; the shared last name is no coincidence. His writer’s home at The BumblePuppy Press, on the other hand, has nothing to do with nepotism and everything to do with the fact that, when I read his first novel, Black Grass, in manuscript, I started it in the evening and finished it as the sun was rising the next morning. I founded the company because I really wanted that book to see print) promises to deliver his next novel, Wildflowers: The Women Who Made McCord Chronicle to his publisher, well, any day now.

After that, he says he has a sequel to Black Grass percolating — one that will feature Louis Riel himself, along with the protagonist of Black Grass, Gabriel Dumont. He says he might start work on his memoirs once those two novels are in the proverbial can, but I suspect more fiction will get in the way of that.

While I wait for the new book (and to really bury the lede), to celebrate Carl’s birthday, we are offering both of his existing books — Black Grass and The Old Man’s Last Sauna for a combined price of only $25.00. Click here to buy them now!

Please offer your congratulations to my dad in the best way possible — buy his books! If you need evidence before laying down your hard-earned money, click here to read an excerpt from Black Grass, and here to read the powerful novelette, “O! Ernie … What Have They Done To You?” in its entirety.

Image shows Geoffrey Dow, standing behind Carl Dow, who is holding copies of his books, Black Grass, and The Old Man's Last Sauna, while seated in his wheelchair. Photo by Judy Kwasnica.
Why yes, there is a bit of a family resemblance! Photo by Judy Kwasnica.
Click here to buy Black Grass and The Old Man’s Last Sauna for only $25!

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No picture, because it happened

A father’s love, a publisher’s distaster

Image shows copies of Reprise paperback against a white background.
Well, there is a picture — a repeat, no less — but no un-boxing photo or video.

Monday, June 26, 2023 — Friday saw two things of note happen to your obedient servant.

First, I took my nearly four-year old daughter to a nearby wading pool, where she for the first time ventured into the deep end (nearly neck-high on her) for the first time. I of course, stayed close, while the water lapped at my thighs. Such was my enthusiasm for her pleasure in exploring the waters, that at one point I decided to give her a lesson in basic kicking techniques.

I brought her back to the steps and stretched out, placing my hands on the top steps and kicking up a storm with my legs and feet. And yes, completely forgetting that I was still wearing my phone in that o! so sexy belt holster at my side.

By the time I realized my mistake, the damage was done, and when I returned home to find a box of paper copies of Zilla Novikov’s Reprise on my doorstep, there could be no unboxing video or photo.

Do we now really have paper copies available for sale? You bet we do! But for the moment, you’ll need to order one to see it. Our store is right here:, and if you’re within cycling distance of downtown Ottawa, contact me first to arrange delivery for only $5.00 (or nothing at all, if you can come to me.

And so, the continue the adventures of a (very) small press. (I can only thank all the gods in which I do not believe that my old phone was already past the point of its planned obsolescence, though that is still small comfort.)

That's me!


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Reprise is published!

Image shows copies of Reprise paperback against a white background.
Reprise is now available from your favourite online vendor, or right here at the BPPress store!

June 19, 2023 — It has been, as the song says, a long and winding road, but Zilla Novikov‘s remarkable, and remarkably funny, debut novel, Reprise has been published.

Called “a breakneck journey, a loveletter to being a nerd, and a good time” by the Independent Book Review, Novikov’s post-modern gothic is the novel that might have resulted had Jane Austen and Douglas Adams managed to transcend time and space and produce a child.

To quote Cascade‘s Rachel A. Rosen, “If you like your pop culture nerdy, your queers messy, and your time travel criminally clever, this book is for you.”

Electronic versions of Reprise are available from The BumblePuppy Press Store now, and we expect paperback copies to arrive within the week. If you can’t wait, click here to buy from the online vendor of your choice!

Happy reading, and please remember: if you like this, or any of our books, leave a review! Especially for a small press, reviews are the best way convince a writer you like they should create another book!

That's me!
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One year for Cascade? (Actually, more than one … mea culpa)

Cover of Rachel A. Rosen's Cascade with 1st birthday graphic superimposed on back cover (
Birthday graphic from First Birthday PNG Image Transparent Background.

June 16, 2023 — It’s hard for me to believe, but it has been more than a year since we published Rachel Rosen’s brilliant debut novel, Cascade.

I am embarrassed to admit that I missed the actual anniversary (June 7, 2022), and while I’ll lean a little on my duties as a father, and of getting Zilla Novikov’s equally-brilliant Reprise ready for publication, neither explanation/excuse really lets me off the hook.

But here we are, with a belated celebratory offering.

First, Rachel’s book is on sale, 25% off each version, ebook or print. Please visit our store, if you have somehow not yet bought her book!

Second, if you haven’t read the book and still need convincing, I have collected a lot of reviews here — if these raves don’t convince you, I don’t know what will.

That's me!
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Reprise Kickstarter is off

June 19, 2023: UPDATE — Sadly, this Kickstarter was not a success. No one who backed it will be charged. However, Reprise has now been published, and is available from the usual online vendors as well as in our own store (we expect to have paper copies available by Sunday, June 25th, but ebooks can be had now).

Just launched Kickstarter banner

She’s got a doctorate and nothing to lose
He’s got a time machine and a hot wife
Which is deadlier, love or science?

May 21, 2023 — It’s been a long time coming, but the Kickstarter campaign for Zilla Novikov’s singular debut novel, Reprise: A Post-Modern Comedy of Manners, is here at last!

A caustically funny time-travel romance that blends dark academia with with timey-wimey complexity, D&D with S&M, and leaves the reader wondering if the protagonist is a murderer or victim — or both — Reprise is the novel that would have been written by the love-child of Jane Austen and the Marquis de Sade, had she been raised by Douglas Adams.

Reprise will make you laugh, gasp, and maybe, cheer.

Back and front cover of Zilla Novikov's Reprise

Most people play ‘F**k, Marry, Kill’ as a game of hypotheticals, but Eddy Courant’s life takes an unconventional path when Dr. François Gagnon offers Eddy a postdoc position studying time loops. This unexpected chance to revive her career pulls Eddy from a deep depression. She loses herself to the thrill of science, and to the simpler pleasures in life – like flirting with her boss, seducing his wife, and playing Dungeons and Dragons with their son.

That is, until the men funding the research demand ever-more ground-breaking data to justify keeping her on board – after all, they have a war to start.

Eddy is plunged into ever darker and more violent acts to appease the funders. So long as she’s employed, she doesn’t have to face the consequences of replaying countless deaths – including her own. But keeping track of shifting timelines while her own mental state deteriorates means losing the ability to tell real life from its shadow.

If you like your pop culture nerdy, your queers messy, and your time travel criminally clever, this book is for you.

Please click here to support the campaign, and feel free to share the link with anyone you know who loves time-travel, romance, or any kinky combination of the two:!

That's me!

Geoffrey Dow, publisher