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Book Tour Re-Cap – The Toronto Book Launch – Ben McNally Bookstore


FULL DISCLOSURE (for those who may be weak about certain bodily functions): This blog post is rated PG (pretty gross) at times. 

I took a VIA train to Toronto on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 for the Toronto launch of Look At Her. I knew I would be receiving a grant (RIPP) so I splurged a bit and paid for a Business Class ticket. I was told by a friend that Business Class was the way to travel.

Got my bags all packed…
Indeed, there was quite a bit more space for sitting…
…but the best perk for me were the REAL mugs for the coffee!

One of the parts of this book tour that I’m really enjoying is the actual travel part – like the flights to Ottawa and home, and, in this case, the trains to Toronto and back. I can’t tell you how much work I’m getting done…and also how relaxing it has been to not have to worry about driving or not knowing where I’m going! I’ve been able to read and write with nothing stopping me but my own exhaustion and/or the swerving curls of the train track.

I will admit that I was the most nervous for this particular trip. I’d dreamt about a Toronto book launch, and I wanted to make it happen with Look At Her. Although the action of making this happen was as simple as putting the words ‘Toronto Book Launch’ on the poster, the feeling of it hung tightly in my guts. *Bodily function alert* – My guts were quick to hold my anxiety and I needed to be near a bathroom. #ulcerativecolitiesstrikesagain

I’m grateful for my girl Alice who played Agent/Publicist/Photographer for me! She took me around so I didn’t have to worry about where I was going or how to get there. And she showed me some wonderful places to each and hang, thus reminding me why I love Toronto.

Boxcar Social had delicious coffee, and best dog-gone desserts ever.
We stopped at the bookstore to drop off books, look around and meet Mr. McNally. Oh, and snap a pic!

Mr. Ben McNally welcomed us, showed me where the reading would be. I fell in love with the books and the space. Ben McNally Bookstore is the real deal. I mean, the wood alone is breathtaking. It feels and smells like a classic, gorgeous, we-care-about-books-and-the-reading-experience bookstore should. I wanted to stay there and read and write. [Next time!] We headed to a pub across the way for some food before the reading. I’ll admit I was a bit weary about eating, but I ordered a poutine to weigh down in my belly. It worked. I felt filled up and satisfied. Alas, by 6pm, when we arrived the chairs were set up, some family and friends were milling around, and my guts were a jumble. By ‘we’, I mean the lovely Liz Worth and Jess Popeski.

Jessica Popeski, moi, Liz Worth.

I met Liz at a Battle of the Bards (International Festival of Authors) event a few years earlier, and Jess and I connected via email whilst I was working for Black Moss Press. You know what? It was the first time that Jess and I met in the flesh at this reading! What a gift! Liz and I have been connected over the years through poetry (she wrote a blurb for Look At Her that’s on the book!! #thankyou), and recently, she’s shifted her focus to the world of Tarot. I’ve hired her to do a reading for me (she does them specifically for writers – it’s incredible!), and I purchased her new book  ‘Going Beyond the Little White Book: A Contemporary Guide to Tarot’ (beautifully self-published on Lulu). Liz graciously offered to host, and so come 6:45pm, we were ready to read. There was a small but fantastic crowd – including students from Jess’ class, my brother and his wife (yay!), my girl Alice, and a rep from my publisher’s distributor at Fitzhenry & Whiteside.

We each read poetry, new and old, and captivated our audience, if I do say so myself! I felt a connection, and after our reading we had a short but fun question and answer bit, and then it was all hugs and thank-yous, and let’s-to-this-agains! I didn’t sell any books, but that’s okay. I get that folks aren’t always able to purchase books on the spot. Sales are going extremely well over all! In fact, we’re already in our second print-run! Shazam!

Mama reads poetry at Ben McNally!
How many poets does it take to have an incredible conversation?!

After the reading at the bookstore, we stopped for a drink and fancy food at a fancy restaurant (can’t remember the name -gah!). I know it had little rooms instead of stalls for the toilets/sinks. Made my imagination run a little wild about all the things that could go on in them…! We had to be at the Hart House for my 10pm interview with Valentino Assenza and the HOWL team at CIUT 89.5FM, so we didn’t spend too much time at said fancy restaurant. I had my first Uber experience!

Come 11:30pm, my fake publicist Alice and I were pooped. We jumped into bed with sugary snacks (I ate a whole carton of Haagen Dazs peanut butter brownie ice cream. Oh. Yes. I. Did.) and watched Gilmore Girls. A perfect ending to a sensational day! Thank you Ben McNally! Thank you Liz, Jess, Alice, and all of our fans! Thank you Toronto. I’ll be back!

Toronto book launch – check!!!


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