My Statement on the TPL TERF Room Rental Controversy.

So, I *was* scheduled to attend the open mic night at the Annette Street Library this Tuesday as a guest of honour to read from, "The Night Girl". However, I have been following the controversy with the TPL leadership's decision to rent space to a TERF activist with concern.

After reading and agreeing with the statement issued by the Toronto Public Library Workers Union (see here: http://local4948.org), I have decided that I cannot, in good conscience, attend this event at this time.

Among other things, my novel is about groups of individuals, marginalized to the point of erasure, standing up for themselves against the forces keeping them down. It would be hypocritical of me not to see the irony of speaking at the TPL while this controversy is occurring.

I regret any inconvenience this causes to the staff of the TPL, who work tirelessly and are, as the TPLWU notes, having their efforts undercut by the decision of the TPL leadership. I regret any inconvenience to people who were showing up at this event to see me.

But, in the end, I've got to do what I've got to do. I will not cross a picket line without permission, and while there was no physical picket line to cross, the virtual one is very clear to me.

Hopefully, if this matter is resolved well, I can come back at some other time.

The Final Stages of Night Girl Promotion

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Well, it has been quite a month, and that’s putting it mildly.

First things first, you should know that I’m typing this on the Via Rail train heading to Ottawa. This weekend, I’ll be attending Can-Con, Ottawa’s premiere science fiction convention, mostly just schmoozing, attending the Prix Aurora Awards ceremonies, and seeing some old friends. My books should be available at Perfect Books’ booth in the dealers’ room, and I’ll be available to sign copies. If you’re attending Can-Con, I hope to see you there.

It’s been a very busy time at the Bow household, both for books promotions, book community events, and family stuff. Last weekend, I was in Montreal attending Scintillation 2019, a literary science fiction convention, and I had my books on display at the Argo Bookshop table. I even sold and signed a couple. It was a great event full of fascinating panels organized by a very dedicated group of grassroots science fiction fans. It’s a very different experience than the hectic crowds of Portland’s Rose City Comic Con, but it’s no less valid. We really do need to show our support for these grassroots conventions like Scintillation and Can*Con. They benefit us as a community, and they really help recharge the juices.

Erin and I also went down to the Canadian KidsLit Gala at Lula’s on Dundas Street West in Toronto, celebrating the winners of the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s TD Literary Awards (Congratulations, Heather!!). There was jazz, dancing, conversation, and a chance for Erin and I to enjoy a decent hotel for the night.

And on top of all this, we are renovating our bathrooms. This has been long overdue, but that doesn’t make this change any less stressful. Still, we’re making good progress, and we managed to Kijiji our way to great savings on bathroom furniture and fixtures. Really, the largest cost of this renovation is going to be the labour, which is going well.

And, of course, there is the fact that Erin’s book, Stand on the Sky has been nominated for the Governor General’s Award for children’s literature. This is a big deal and everybody is so proud of her. It is truly an honour to be nominated for such an award and between this and Plain Kate back in 2010, it’s a great way to bookend this decade.

Erin’s nomination has garnered a lot of press, as have I. I know many of you already know about the e-mail sent to me by Canada Lands regarding the use of the CN Tower on the cover of The Night Girl. I won’t say much more than what we’ve already said in our lawyer’s letter in response, but standing up for myself would not have been possible without the staunch support of my editors and publisher, of Erin, and of the people at the SF Canada mailing list, particularly Cory Doctorow who gave me invaluable advice and put me in touch with good people. I have no idea where things are going to go from here, but I am pleased to have stood my ground, and to have achieved my (blogging) lifelong ambition of being featured on BoingBoing, and I heartily thank everyone who has supported me and has offered kind words.

My trip to Can-Con will be my last event around The Night Girl this year, barring surprises. I’m pleased that I’ve given this book that was 16 years in the making the best possible send-off it could hope to have. I still hope for positive reviews to come online, but starting Wednesday, I’ll be working at my first full-time job in years.

I signed on to be the writer at the Canadian Water Network. I will be helping this agency with its message and social media presence, and anything else that needs doing including editing white papers and other documents. I am pleased to have landed a job that allows me to write, but also allows me to call back to the urban planning education I received when I was a university student. I’m excited, as I feel it’s a good fit. I’ll still be writing fiction, but my bread-and-butter freelance time will now be taken up by the CWN.

This blog came off of hiatus to help launch The Night Girl. It had been on hiatus because other things needed attention. Life’s like that. And I expect that, pretty soon, this blog will be on hiatus again. I’ll put the final message back up when it is. I might come back, but only time will tell.

Thank you to everybody who has been reading this blog over the years. I’ve greatly appreciated the chance to write for you, and for the friendships we’ve made along the way.

The Night Girl Book Trailer

My friend and fellow transit enthusiast Damian Baranowski has been working on this project for momnths, now, and here it is: a full book trailer for The Night Girl. He spent a lot of otime scoping out the locations, finding the gargoyles and statues to shoot, as well as locations in the Underground City, and he put it all together in glorious 4K video. I think it looks fabulous, and I hope it catches everybody’s attention and makes them buy the book (obviously).

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The Toronto launch event this past Saturday went extremely well. Unfortunatley, Mari Ramsawakh couldn’t attend and was missed, but I asked their questions, among others, of the remaining panelists: Phoebe Barton, K.T. Bryski, J.M. Frey, Ben Berman Ghan, and Shawn Micallef, and we had a great time discussing Toronto as a science fiction and fantasy setting. There was a great turnout and great energy in the room.

I’d like to thank all of the author panelists, the people at the Merril Collection as well as Bakka-Phoenix Books for helping to put this event together, and everybody who came out. I hope you all had a good time, because I did.

Next up is Waterloo, this Saturday at the main branch of the Waterloo Public Library from 2 to 4 p.m. There, we will be talking about Canada as a Science Fiction and Fantasy setting, and I’ll be joined by Leah Bobet, Erin Bow, James Alan Gardner, James Nicoll, and Sarah Raughley. I hope you will join us.

What's Next for The Night Girl (Toronto and Waterloo Events)

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Now that I've made it through Portland, my attention turns up to the next step in The Night Girl's promotional tour. We are, as I write this, eight days away from an author panel and book launch in Toronto, hosted by the Merrill Collection at the Lillian H. Smith branch of the Toronto Public Library, organized with the help of Bakka-Phoenix Books.

So, on Saturday, September 28, 2019, at 2:00 p.m., come to the Lillian H. Smith branch of the Toronto Public Library (at the southwest corner of College and Huron, one block west of Spadina Avenue). In the basement, I will moderate a panel with six other authors on Toronto as a Science Fiction and Fantasy Setting. I will be joined by Phoebe Barton, K.T. Bryski, J.M. Frey, Ben Berman Ghan, Shawn Micalleff, and Mari Ramsawakh to talk about what Toronto has to offer science fiction and fantasy writers. Why should New York, Los Angeles, or London enjoy all the attention? We will discuss what Toronto brings to the table in genre literature, and what genre literature has to say about the city we know and (hopefully) love.

The panel discussion will be followed by questions from the audience. I'll then read an excerpt from The Night Girl, and there'll be a chance to buy books (from Bakka-Phoenix) and get them signed. I'm looking forward to this event, in what used to be my home library, and organized by my favourite childhood bookstore.

The following Saturday, we're taking the show to Waterloo, Ontario, at the main branch of the Waterloo Public Library. There, on Saturday, October 5, 2019, at 2 p.m., I'll be joined by Erin Bow, James Nicoll, Leah Bobet, James Alan Gardner, and Sarah Raughley to talk about Canada as a Science Fiction and Fantasy Setting. Why should Toronto have all the fun? There will be lots ot discuss, a chance for audience questions and answers, and a reading of The Night Girl and booksignings, with books sold by the good folks at Words Worth Books. So, come and join us!

All in all, it promises to be a busy but exciting two weeks!

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Portland Report

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Thanks to the Canada Council for helping to pay for my trip to Portland, and my promotion of my work to an audience that would not have been accessible otherwise.

This weekend in Portland was exhuasting, stressful, and ultimately invigorating. I had an early morning plane to catch on Friday, so I went into Toronto the day before (met up with Cameron), and stayed overnight at the airport hotel. It's a nice place, but it's hard to appreciate it when you have to get up at 4:45 in the morning.

Friday the 13th lived up to its name, in spite of the best efforts of the workers at Toronto and Calgary International Airports. Thanks to the hardworking security staff, I managed to get through both airports quickly, and made a connection in Calgary within 90 minutes, even while going through US Customs. However, I was almost tripped up when I was notified that my connecting flight to Portland had switched gates and I spotted Air Canada and WestJet flights to Portland -- both leaving at the same time -- on the board. I was flying WestJet. Guess which gate I accidentally came to?

Fortunately, I realized my mistake with enough time to hoof it across the concourse (Calgary's International concourse is big), reaching the WestJet gate just as they were boarding. Phew, I thought, nothing else could go wrong.

And then I got to Portland, after a 90 minute cramped flight (but with nice staff), and I grabbed my carry-on bag and hoofed it off the plane and out through security to grab my LRT to the hotel. It was literally minutes after I went through the automatic doors that said, prominently, "NO RE-ENTRY AFTER THIS POINT" when I realized that I'd left my computer bag behind on the plane. Worse, such were the security protocols that there was no way I could get WestJet to get the bag off the plane and to me somewhere in the airport. I resigned myself to filling out a lost baggage report (even though it wasn't technically lost -- I knew exactly where it was), and I headed into town while my computer went back to Calgary.

It could have been much worse. I had nothing critical in that bag, and nothing irreplaceable either. I still had my passport, my NEXUS card, my cellphone, my sleep apnea machine, and my change of clothes. And all of my computer files are in the cloud. I was mostly upset with myself at my stupidity, and the fact that I was out about $500 if my computer never showed up. Fortunately, there was a happy ending. The WestJet crew called me the next day to tell me the bag was found, and I could pick it up at the WestJet check-in counter on Sunday. It's back in my possession, now (I'm typing on it now), and I don't intend to let it out of my sight.

Well, that's my travel. What about what I travelled to Portland for?

Portland's Rose City Comic Con is as startling and energetic as any of the other major Comic Cons across the continent. Last year, over 40,000 were in attendance, and I'm pretty sure they matched that number. And as is the case with Comic Cons, cosplayers ruled the roost. I saw so many fantastic creations, got permission to snap a photo or two, spotted Daleks, and generally enjoyed watching the people have a good time.

Kisa greeted me at the REUTS Publications Booth on Friday, and I set out to search for the panel room I'd be using the next day. This prep work was vital, because the Oregon Convention Centre is huge, and with it bustling, I doubt I would have found the room in time for my panel if it had been my first go. JetLag haunted me a bit. At 4:00, I was surprised to find myself weak with hunger and wondering why the heck that should be, before realizing my body still thought it was 7:00 p.m. and, moreover, breakfast had been at 5:15 a.m.

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I met up wth fellow panelists Benjamin Gorman and Drew Hayes on Saturday. Fellow panelist Sarina Dorie could not make it, unfortumately. I was most impressed by the turnout for our one-hour discussion, and there was great energy in the room. I moderated things, and Drew and Benjamin offered great insights into all aspects of urban fantasy. We also had great questions from the audience, and a few people who came out to the REUTS booth afterward to received signed copies of our books.

Ah, yes, the book. I was most pleased to clap eyes on the first copies of The Night Girl at the event, to hold it, flip through the pages, and smell it. It looks great, and I'm looking forward to put it on the shelf next to Icarus Down. It was well received.

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Sunday, I helped out at the REUTS booth again, and talked with Kisa, her husband, and Benjamin about writing and books, before retiring at 4 p.m. as the Comic Con was winding down.

In addition to all this, I went on some Portland pilgrimages, heading back to Voodoo Donuts, and visiting Powells City of Books, leaving behind some Night Girl bookmarks for some guerrila marketing. I rode the LRT and Portland's streetcar, and ate some good food. And, with my computer back in my hands, I did some writing as well.

All in all, a successful qeekend, and thanks again to the Canada Council for making it possible.

I've uploaded more photos of my trip to my Facebook timeline here...

Now I'm heading back. Let's hope that the journey home is less eventful than the journey here.

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