Summer sale (before summer’s over)

Black Grass special advertisement

Edit: September 18, 2021: We’ve decided to continue this sale for a little while longer – there’s still time to save!

It seems hard to believe that this summer is almost over. As I type this on the afternoon of August 26th, 2021, in Ottawa (Canada), the thermometer in my home office reads 31.5° C, and the weather app on my phone tells me it feels like 38. (As I prepare to post, on Friday, the heat wave has mercifully broken at last — 23C!)

It seems even harder to believe that we are now pushing two years since rumours of a new infectious disease began to come out of China. That makes it nearly a year-and-a-half since I was laid off from my day job and since I started wearing a mask when I ventured out of doors.

I am vaccinated now, so I don’t always mask up outside, but I am not yet ready to venture into a bar or restaurant, and I am unhappily prepared for yet another lock-down before all this is over.

But all that said, I do believe (as the old saw has it), where there’s life, there’s hope. And what better way to remind ourselves of that adage, then to remember that life has never been easy and has never been simple.

Take Carl Dow’s fantastic historical novel, Black Grass (which is on sale for the low, low, low price of only $1.99 for the ebook edition, or $12.95 for the paperback (signed by the author at no extra charge if you wish!), only at the BumblePuppy Press. Why pay Amazon when you can be sure it all goes straight to the author!)

Set in 1866, on the border of what would be become the western territories of the United States and Canada, we find that life is no simpler, nor any safer, than it is in 2021. There is still conflict and threats of war; men and women still love, and still hate; the future is (literally, in this case) an on-coming train, inevitable in the broader sense, but not yet set on an inevitable track.

Gabriel Dumont and his fellow prairie Métis face threats to their lives, and their way of life, and face them with courage and imagination, just as we must do in the face of our challenges today.

I don’t recommend books because of their message — most of the best novels and stories cannot be broken down to a singular point. Yet we can sometimes take hints from good fiction, about what makes life worth living, and when it is worth risking all to preserve it.

Anyway, with a week and a half to go before Labour Day weekend comes to a close, I offer some small comfort to those of you in search of a good story.

Black Grass for $1.99 if you want it now, or $12.95 is you want it signed (delivery is extra, though if you live in Ottawa, I might be able to get it to you for considerably less than Canada Post will charge — and faster, too). Please visit our online store and make your choice!

Let’s hope next summer is a far sight better than the past two have been!

Geoffrey Dow, Publisher

P.S. And don’t forget to leave a review if you like it (or even if you don’t), here, at an online retailer, or at Goodreads. Small presses especially appreciate every kind word that comes our way!

Black Grass – the first 3 chapters

“I wanted to write a story about a Canadian hero who wasn’t hanged,” Carl Dow told me in conversation some months back.

Gabriel Dumont was the hero, and Black Grass was the resulting novel, a novel which led me down the path to being a publisher. Of course, I am biased – the shared last name is no accident – but I read the book in manuscript form in one sitting, coming up for air with the rising sun.

If my say-so doesn’t convince you, please click here to read the first three chapters and then decide for yourself.

Happy reading!

Geoffrey Dow, Publisher

Like Sir Walter Scott, Louis L’Amour and … Penthouse Forum?!? Clearly, opinions vary!

Setting the Black Grass promo train in motion (again)

Of course it’s tempting to blame the worldwide pandemic for the lack of a real push on promoting Black Grass; cancelled book fairs and television appearances are a real thing.

I can also point to my darling daughter, pictured with me above. Though there are currently two of us at home to take care of her, she still demands a fair amount of attention (which I gladly provide, make no mistake about that!).

“In the spirit of Walter Scott, Black Grass offers humour, horror, passion, satire, and insight.”

And there is my related work as a “daddy blogger” over at PapaZesser.ca, not to mention the time I have spent figuring out how to maintain and remodel this (apparently) rather kludged WordPress site.

Even so, despite the exceptional circumstances of our times and my own complicated situations, I have not done enough in terms of doing what a publisher is supposed to do: sell books!

“The way Susan felt just before she had the first intercourse, is the way you feel about it when you want it. I wondered, how does Carl know how a woman would feel in that moment? He must have been a woman in a prior life.”

After all, the stories in The Old Man’s Last Sauna range from good to bloody exceptional, and Black Grass is a genre novel that transcends genre, a story that will surprise and delight and excite discerning readers. So I want people to buy them!

But there is, as I have been learning (too slowly), more to publishing than editing copy, laying out the interior and (second time smart!) hiring a real artist, Magdalene Carson, to create a cover. No, a publisher has to promote the books they publish — they need to sell the books they publish.

“The poker game was a tour de force, and I say this as an experienced player.”

So, without further ado, if you have been wondering whether Black Grass is worth your time (and money), I have written about how and why Black Grass inspired me to start this company and, perhaps better still, we have finally posted the opinions of 15 advance (or beta) readers of Black Grass here.

Does Black Grass appeal to English Professors and receptionists? Does it resemble the works of Sir Walter Scoot or Louis L’Amour? And is Carl Dow a sexist, or was he a woman in a previous life?

“A delicate balance of sex, violence and history that should take the book far.”

Why not find out for yourself?

Click here to find out what 15 readers of a draft version of the novel thought!

Black Grass on the pod(cast)

BREAKING

Carl interviewed by Peter Anthony Holder

Peter Anthony Holder of The Stuph File, left, Carl Dow holding copy of Black Grass, right.

We at the BumblePuppy Press were delighted when Carl‘s friend and colleague, Randy Ray, told us he wanted to put his skills at as a publicist to work for us.

Last week, Randy got down to it while on vacation in Florida (what a world!) and we are seeing the fruits of his labours already! Carl was interviewed on Peter Anthony Holder’s Montreal-based podcast, The Stuph File Program.

You can read Carl’s thoughts about the interview here, or you can just listen to interview by clicking below.

The full program can be found at The Stuph File. Look for program #0551.

And of course, Black Grass is available in print and e-book editions from your favourite online retailer. And autographed copies can be ordered directly from us.

Why radio is harder than television

Thoughts on my first interview about Black Grass

Carl Dow with copy of Black Grass

Once, when having a few beers with the department head of a Journalism school, he said to me: “I’ve experienced you more than once being interviewed on radio and television in both English and French. On television you’re always relaxed, but on radio you seem nervous, at least for the first few minutes. You’d think the opposite would be true. Why is that?”

I thought for a moment then I said, “We all use body language when we speak. I’m sure that If I sat on my hands I’d be tongue tied. Therefore, on television, I’m most always sure that the camera is at least on my upper body and therefore is transmitting my body language along with my words. On radio that luxury is absent, Therefore it takes me a few minutes to channel all of my body language into my voice.”

Recently I was interviewed Peter Anthony Holder for his Podcast. The Stuph File. I spoke about my newly published novel Black Grass.

I haven’t been interviewed on radio for more than 50 years. I leave it to you to judge if I made the grade. You can listen to the interview below.

(And of course, don’t forget to buy the book! It is available in both paper and e-book editions through most online vendors, and autographed copies can be ordered directly from my publisher here!)

Black Grass is coming

Things move slow when one has to juggle a day-job and a relationship with the responsibility of running a small press.

But things do move, and it is with great pleasure that I can now say (for real!), that our next book — Carl Dow’s Black Grass, a novel that smoothly combines adventure, historical, romance and western genres — is in production and will (yes, for real!) be published next year.

Read more …

The Silence of Sounds

They talked but no one listened

By Carl Dow

Image: Portrait of Carl Dow by Lena Wilson Endicott, 1995.
Portrait of the author, by the late Lena Wilson Endicott, 1995.

It was a private dinner for four. A doctor, an architect, a machinist, and me.

We had worked our way through the appetizer and were into the main course.

The doctor, a specialist in psychiatry, held her end of the table.

“I really shouldn’t be saying this. Confidentiality and all that. But since you don’t know him, and I’m certain, will never meet him, I feel I can speak openly without actually breaking our privacy code. Continue “The Silence of Sounds”