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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

(TD/DR:)

  • 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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-ucYRKvaQM;
  • 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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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? Www.bppress.ca/shop.

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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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News: Cascade audio book coming soon

And a warm welcome to narrator Paul Adamson

Image shows hard-cover copy of Cascade with earphones draped atop it, one earphone covering part of the front cover.

March 17, 2023 — It is with great pleasure that I welcome Paul Adamson to the BumblePuppy Press.

Paul has signed on to launch our — and his — very first foray into audio books, narrating Rachel A. Rosen’s Cascade.

This being our first time working with audio, I’m not ready to provide a precise launch date, but our intention is to publish it in the fall of 2023 (why yes, in time for Christmas). We will also be launching a crowd-sourcing campaign to support it — details to follow soon.

Paul has already made a name for himself as a voice actor in video games and e-learning videos, but Cascade will be his first time working with long-form fiction. I for one have no doubt that this book will be the first of many — I hope, for the BumblePuppy Press, and elsewhere.

Cropped black and white image of Paul Adamson.
Paul Adamson (image provided by Paul)

Below is a very brief excerpt from his audition recording, already very nearly ready for prime time.

Of course, if you prefer to read your fiction with your eyes (or you just can’t wait until the fall), Cascade is now on special at our store, in hard-cover, soft-cover, and all major ebook formats (DRM-free, of course). And if you’re voting in the upcoming Aurora Awards, there is still time to vote for Cascade as this year’s best novel.

Thanks as always for your support,

That's me!

Geoffrey Dow, publisher

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Vote early, vote late! But vote!

Rachel A. Rosen’s Cascade eligible for Aurora Award

Vote early, vote often!
Image courtesy of Rachel A. Rosen

As is only right and proper, Rachel A. Rosen’s debut novel, Cascade, is eligible in the Best Novel category for Canada’s premiere English-language science fiction and fantasy awards, the Auroras (https://www.csffa.ca/members-home/nomination/).

To have a chance to be added to the final Aurora Awards ballot, a work must get at least five nominations, and only members of the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association (CSFFA) are eligible to vote. The price of that franchise is a pretty affordable $10.00 for an annual membership, and you must be a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant in order to join.

If you loved Cascade, or even if you’re just a fan of Canadian SF&F, that seems a small price to pay to support the work creators you like. Membership information is here: https://www.csffa.ca/become-a-member/. CSFFA membership allows you to:

  • nominate your favourite works in any or all of the categories;
  • download e-versions of almost all of the finalist works for free with our voter package; and
  • vote for the for the awards themselves.

To celebrate (and yes, to improve Rachel’s chances, I won’t lie), we’ve reduced the price on all versions of Cascade. DRM-free ebooks in all formats are now only $2.00, the paperback is marked down to $15.00, and the hardcover is only $26.00. A little self-serving, maybe, but a great deal for you if you have not yet had the pleasure of reading what I really do think was the best Canadian SF novel of 2022. You can buy all of our books here.

Cascade has blurbs!

Besides the upcoming Aurora Awards, the BumblePuppy Press will have more news about Cascade (audiobook!), the upcoming novel Reprise, and a new version of A.A. Milne’s classic children’s book, which we will be calling The Inclusive Woke Winnie-the-Pooh. So please come back soon or, better yet, subscribe to our newsletter!

That's me!

Geoff

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The joy of (sending) cash

Rachel A. Rosen’s Cascade earns out advance

Photo of publisher Geoffrey Dow posing with hardcover copy of Rachel A. Rosen's novel Cascade.
Why yes, that is a hard-cover version of Cascade. Available exclusively in our shop for only $25.00!

It’s not often one grins while pressing Send on an e-transfer, but this was one of those times. (Not often?!? Come to think of it, I can’t remember ever feeling delighted about paying money for anything.)

But it was with genuine pleasure that I found myself sending Rachel A. Rosen her first royalty payment for her debut novel, Cascade, amounting to more than 60% of her advance! (There was also a second, much smaller cheque, for sales of her related chapbook, So Human As I Am.)

Yes, I think the exclamation point is warranted. While not quite a bestseller, for the publisher behind a very small press, I consider this a real victory. And I’m confident it won’t be the last.* * *

Not only do we have four really good books currently available for sale now, but this year we have plans for at least another four books, two of them slated for the spring.

Next week we will formally launch a Kickstarter campaign for, and reveal the cover of, Zilla Novikov’s first novel, the very twisted, and very funny, science fiction romance, Reprise, and shortly after that, our Inclusive version of A.A. Milne’s children’s classic, Winnie-the-Pooh.

If you want to avoid the mysterious algorithms of social media, please join our mailing list (link below). We won’t sell your info to anyone else, and you’ll then be the first to know when we have actual news.

Photo of small child reclining in a bouncy chair while holding hard-cover copy of Rachel A. Rosen's novel, Cascade.
Our Director of Promotions and Publicity is as happy about the new year as I am.

I think that’s it for the moment. I hope the new year is starting off as well for you as it is for us!

Signature file of publisher Geoffrey Dow.

Geoff

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Cascade: The end of the beginning …

Backers and blurbs and videos – oh my!

Finally, something to make the hope-punks shut the fuck up.

Peter Watts, author of Blindsight

Cascade has blurbs!

Well, our Cascade Kickstarter ended really successfully. 101 backers pledged 263% towards our modest $2,000 goal. If you are among those, please accept my thanks for your support one more time!

I am working hard to get the rewards out as soon as possible, which also means I am working hard to make Rachel A. Rosen‘s book available to everyone else, as well, so that those of you who prefer to buy their books in more traditional ways can do so soon.

* * *

Beyond the support of readers, we’ve also had some advance praise from other writers. For the record (and for my own pleasure, if I’m being fully honest — as why shouldn’t I be?), here are what they’ve had to say to date.

Finally, something to make the hope-punks shut the fuck up.

A near-perfect blend of implacable horror, gallows humor, and ecological apocalypse. It seems almost absurd that a novel about chaos magic and bureaucrat magicians (even if they are embedded in the sociopathic morass of Canadian politics) can somehow feel more viscerally relevant than all the earnest mainstream novels and Suzuki-Foundation bulletins you could stuff into a ballot box. Pay attention, people: all magic aside, we’re far closer to this future than any of our rulers will ever admit. 

Rachel A. Rosen is some kind of twisted genius. I wish I had even half her moves.

Peter Watts, author of Blindsight

Finally, an urban fantasy that kills the cop—and the rest of the  government—in your head. Relentlessly radical and often hilarious, Cascade will change the way you look at magic, and the state, forever.

Nick Mamatas, author of The Second Shooter.

Cascade is an excellent introduction to the imaginative prose of Rachel A. Rosen. Her debut novel takes us to a futuristic North America filled with vividly realized characters surrounded by magic and the possible end of the world. One of the few novels I’ve read recently in a single weekend. Sharp and thought-provoking, with thrilling moments and crackling with compelling ideas, I wouldn’t miss this one. I’m looking forward to her next instalment!

Bryan Thao Worra, author of Before We Remember We Dream

Rachel A. Rosen’s Cascade is one of the best books I’ve read this year. She brings a unique blend of magic environmentalism, Canadian politcking, and indigenous and queer rights to the table. I never thought I would be  so interested in the near-futuristic Canadian political process!

Marsha Altman, author of The Darcys and the Bingleys

Full of magic and social commentary, Cascade is never so witty that it hides its anger or so angry that it sacrifices wit. This is a brilliant exciting debut by an author that will have a long and fruitful career if there’s any justice in the world.

Tim Lieder, author of Sugarplum Zombie Motherfuckers

And if all of those very perceptive comments don’t convince you that Cascade is a novel worth your time and money, the redoutable Rachel A. has created something else for you!

If you prefer to read electronically, Kindle-users can pre-order Cascade here. For the rest of you, you’ll be able to place pre-orders through our site soon, and through your usual online vendors soon after that.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our mailing list in order to stay informed about this book, and those we have waiting in the proverbial pipeline!

Thanks and looking forward,

That's me!

Geoffrey Dow, Publisher

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Another month, another signing!

Reprise by Zilla Novikov

Reprise

I feel as if someone needs to force-feed me a thesaurus, but there it is: I am once again thrilled to formally announce that The BumblePuppy Press has purchased the rights to another debut novel.

Reprise, by the remarkable Zilla Novikov, is a story the author has been shopping around for some time and I can only be grateful that no one else has been smart enough to say “Yes! Yes, I want this!” before I did.

Granted, Reprise is not an easy book to sum up — and I’m not going to do it now. A relatively short novel by word-count, Zilla manages to pack a lot into it: inter-dimensional travel, a very funny Dungeons and Dragons adventure, romance, and a hearty kick in academia’s shins, all woven into an extraordinarily tightly-woven plot. Zilla herself described it as a “… toxic romance, slow-burn plot, #darkacademia #specfic …” which is incomplete, but certainly not wrong.

Needless to say, you’ll be hearing a great deal more about Reprise in the weeks and months ahead, as we aim to publish it in the fall of 2022.

You can follow Zilla Novikov on Twitter (@zillanovikov), and don’t forget to subscribe to the BumblePuppy’s newsletter using the form below to keep abreast of what’s happening here. (There is more good news coming this year!)

And don’t forget, our Kickstarter campaign for Rachel A. Rosen’s forthcoming novel, Cascade has been a great success; with 20 days to go, it is already nearly 250% funded!

If you want to support a brilliant new writer (and get in on some fantastic extras) please click here. Alternately, the ebook is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

That’s it for now.

Thanks and looking forward,

That's me!

Geoffrey Dow, Publisher