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Delays overcome!


Gleeful reader,

Perhaps you fell in love with our earlier releases, the upside-down world of Jocelyne Allen’s You and the Pirates. Or maybe it was the environmental Scooby-Doo caper in Pitouie by Derek Winkler. And since then you have been dreaming of a new world to fall in love with. Maybe something with emus. You have waited so long, been so patient, and we thank you for this.

But wait no more! Start dancing on your couch with the glee of it all because our latest release Alice Hearts Welsh Zombies, the debut novel by Victoria Dunn, is finally within your reach. And you must reach for it! This delightful tale of zombie rights is too amazing to pass up. We cannot stop reading it! Seriously, check this out:

Formerly a mediocre telephone psychic placating callers with fortune cookie platitudes, Alice Murphy is a Sensitive at Odyssey International—an organization dedicated to stomping out the supernatural wherever it rears its sparkly head—and partner to Enhanced Agent Wellington Wolfe. When rumours of zombies at the World Bog Snorkelling Championships in the small Welsh town of Llanwrtyd Wells begin swirling around, Alice and Wellington join up with Ken, a moustachioed American cowboy gone to seed and fervent zombie rights activist, and Mick, a pantheistic doctor in Hawaiian shirts attempting to find a cure for zombism, and head off to save the townsfolk and the zombies.

An Arrogant Worm even wrote a song about it and author hivemind Victoria Dunn animated the whole thing, just so you could see what you’re missing if you’re not reading this rollercoaster ride! Once you do, you’ll want to go straight to our shop to order your very own copy!

Ordering directly from us means a package full of fun and rainbows will arrive in your mailbox, your real-world mailbox. And if just the thought of a package is not exciting enough for you, that package will include Workhorsery swag! That you can only get from us! Sure, you could buy Alice Hearts Welsh Zombies at a bookstore when it shows up on shelves on July 15, but you would be missing out on fun surprises and treats that you can only get from us. And savvy reader, we do not want you to miss out on any fun ever.

Weekend Plans


Plan-oriented readers,

We realize that we are spending an inordinate amount of time offering up treasures and treats to our Ottawa readers, but don’t worry, otherwise-located readers! We have not forgotten you. Soon, very soon, we will have copies of Alice Hearts Welsh Zombies in your hands. If you want to know exactly when you will be able to order this exquisite volume, sign up for our mailing list. We promise not to tell you anything but sweet nothings and updates about our wonderful books.

But to turn our attention to the region that has given us our fine author Victoria Dunn, if you are free this evening, you may want to consider a reading for the Ottawa Small Press Fair. Not only will the hivemind of Meghan and Victoria be reading from their fantastic creation, but you will also be able to experience the wonder that is Sonia Saikaley, Gillian Wigmore, and Michael Lithgow. For free! You cannot beat free, dear readers. So come to the Carleton Tavern! Listen to great writers, get some great books!

  • Friday, June 29
  • Doors 7pm, readings begin 7:30pm
  • The Carleton Tavern,
  • 223 Armstrong Street (at Parkdale, upstairs)
And if you cannot make the reading, we sincerely, truly, deeply hope that you will be able to come and see our authors at the Ottawa Small Press Book Fair the following day:

  • Jack Purcell Community Centre, Room 203 (on Elgin, at 320 JackPurcell Lane)
  • Noon to five!
Our new authors will be there signing their brand-new book with a variety of zombie treats as well as signed copies of You and the Pirates and Pitouie, in case you haven’t had a chance to pick up our older releases yet. So come, say hello, make them feel welcome in the world of Canadian literature. They are not anything like the undead portrayed in their novel. They are in fact quite charming. So stop by and talk zombies. When was the last time you had the chance to do that?


The Fun Never Stops


Elated reader,

Perhaps you are sad that you were not one of the chosen few in Ottawa who were lucky enough to join us on Saturday night at our favourite indie bookseller Collected Works to celebrate the release of the latest Workhorsery publication, Alice Hearts Welsh Zombies. And to be sure, it is a sadness not to be one of those lucky readers who are now the happy advance owners of Alice. After all, the rest of the country has to wait another whole month to get their hands on this amazing novel of amazingness. But we are givers. We want you all to be happy and fulfilled in your reading lives. So we offer you some tidbits to tide you over until the big day, July 15, when you can finally get a copy of Alice of your very own.

How about some pictures we took? Or rather, pictures that You and the Pirates author and Alice editor Jocelyne Allen took  because she is helpful like that. Behold a limited selection! (You can see many more on our facebook page if these few do not sate your need for all things Workhorsery.)
Publisher Todd hauls books while author hive mind member Meghan Dunn prepares zombie treats. (PS. They were delicious.)

There were many delightful treats (and see all the pics on our facebook page), but the toes were the freakiest for us.

But there was not just food at this wonderful party! No, no! We were treated to a zombie beauty contest, with some very beautiful zombies indeed. We could never have picked a winner with so many talented undead lined up before us, but fortunately, we did not have to. Zombie experts Zombieking and Zombiequeen and horror connoisseur Lydia from Ottawa Horror were on hand to do the honours. And with five different categories–Zombie Couples, Zombie Junior, Mr. Zombie,  Ms. Zombie, and Supreme Zombie–there was a zombie to suit everyone’s tastes. And these zombies were not the standard mindless shamblers. They were undead with discerning taste in literature.

Mr. Zombie winner Ben enjoys the fantastic new Workhorsery release.

Ms. Zombie and Supreme Zombie winner Amy Jane Von Purr can’t keep her hands off Alice.

The author hivemind Victoria Dunn–made up of non-hive types Meghan Dunn and Victoria Higgins–were gracious enough to read from their brand new book, and even sit down and sign books for all their excited readers, differently animated and living alike.

Meghan Dunn reads her part while Victoria Higgins listens attentively.

Zombie Couple walk-in winners thoughtfully refrain from eating the authors’ brains.

But perhaps the most exciting part of the evening (other than the part where everyone got to go home with a copy of Alice Hearts Welsh Zombies a month earlier than anyone else in the country) was the debut of the lovingly crafted stop-motion animated book trailer featuring a specially written song by Trevor Strong of Arrogant Worms fame. Watch it and then dream about the day when you can finally read the book (July 15! Ask your bookstore to get it in for you! We’re distributed through the generally amazing LitDistCo!).

Make Merry


Celebratory readers,

After all the recent gloomy news, we feel the need for a celebration of some sort. Something to reaffirm our love of all things book and remind ourselves that we have lots of allies in bookitude, that it is only the Conservative government that hates the written word. Fortunately, we have a great excuse for a party, a little something known as Alice Hearts Welsh Zombies. You may remember us talking about it before?

Officially, this wonderful collection of words is not available to the reading public until July 15th. But unofficially? And for special readers in author Victoria Dunn’s hometown of Ottawa? A special secret launch party! This Saturday! It is almost too much to believe. Just think, a copy of our latest, breathtaking adventure on paper in your hands an entire month before anyone else in the country! You could even read it twice in that amount of time.

So come! Join us to read our cares away! This Saturday at the incredible Collected Works. There will be food! And readings! And a we-are-one-hundred-percent-not-kidding zombie beauty contest! Not only will you have the chance to pick up a copy of the best book of 2012 (we are convinced this is true) and get that copy signed by the gracious author hivemind, you could even win incredible zombie-themed prizes! It may sound to good to be true, but party-hardy readers, we assure you it is all true.

PS. If you are unfortunate enough to live somewhere other than the nation’s capital, you can sign up for our mailing list and be first in line for pre-orders. Which will probably include some secret extras because we love secret extras. You can also pester your local bookstore/library to order it in for you from our fancy pants distributor, LitDistCo. Those people will get you sorted!

The End of Books?


Grief-stricken reader,

We are distraught. Indulge us for a moment as we wallow. Lovers of books that we are, it pains us to know that the Literary Press Group of Canada, those movers and shakers of the glamourous and exciting world of independent Canadian books, have lost the majority of their funding. We are sad for all the books (from forty-seven amazing independent Canadian publishers) who will no longer have sales agents, we are sad for the amazing sales agents who will no longer be LPG sales agents, and we are sad for ourselves.

Yes, teary-eyed reader, we are selfishly sad. For you see, although we had not yet announced it,  we have in fact just signed an agreement with that very same LPG sales force and its distribution arm LitDistCo to represent The Workhorsery. Which means that you, eagle-eyed reader, will have access to our wonderful offerings all across this great land of ours in a way that is not possible when it’s just us Workhorses putting our books into stores. We are only so many people and have only so much time. So we were delighted to join forces with the wonderful and hard-working people at LPG.

And then, before we could tell the world of our delight, the rug, so to speak, was yanked out from under all of us and now a group of brilliant people are losing their jobs, and a group of brilliant publishers are losing their sales team. The only sales team many of us tiny purveyors of Canadian literature can afford. And we are the ones bringing you the future of Canadian fiction, the future superstars who will have movies made of their books, who will tweet amusing bon mots to their millions of followers. (Not that we judge people on how many Twitter followers they have. We are not that shallow.) (Although we would not say no to more followers.)

“But what can I do to save the Canadian literature I love from total destruction?” you are most certainly asking yourself now, perhaps with a certain feeling of hopelessness. “I’m just one person who likes books very much, especially independent Canadian books,” you might be saying in your head as your eyes take in our mournful words. Crestfallen readers, take hope. You have a voice. You can stand up for the books you love (including Alice Hearts Welsh Zombies due out next month! Order your copy now!). Write to your MP and tell her or him how much you really love Canadian books. Tell your MP that funding the creation of books but not their distribution is ensuring the end of independent Canadian publishing. And then all we’ll have to read is an endless parade of Twilight fanfiction and nobody wants that.

We even wrote a letter ourselves that you can use if you want! And one to send to James Moore, the man in charge of the Department of Canadian Heritage, which is behind the defunding. Tweak them as you like, make them your own, or hey! You could even write your own letter from scratch. We are one hundred percent in support of that.

The key part of the whole thing is to tell your MP that this has happened (they might not even know!), and to tell both your MP and James Moore that you really don’t love that this has happened, and that you would appreciate it if they would also say that they do not like that this has happened. Maybe we can get some funding back if enough of us stand up and say that we care about culture in this country, that we don’t want all our thoughts and entertainments to come from south of the border.

Some key points for writing to your MP:

  1. Be nice! Swearing and threatening to hunt anyone down will lead to unpleasant places.
  2. Mailing a letter the old-fashioned way (on paper!) is the best.
  3. But if you’re not a letter writer, a phone call is the next best thing.
  4. And if you can’t bear the thought of making a phone call, an email is still better than nothing.

If you don’t know who to address your letter to, find your MP here just by entering your postal code. The magic of the Internet! And let us know what response you get by posting in the comments here or on our facebook page.  And while you’re at, tell us what great Canadian books you are reading! We are always looking for new words to make our brains explode with delight, especially now when we are feeling so very sad.


UPDATE: Activist readers, we did it! We are a little late in posting this update because we have been celebrating non-stop. But funding to the LPG has been completely restored! So all those wonderful people will continue to have jobs as sales reps promoting the best Canadian independent presses have to offer. Thanks to all of you who wrote to your MP and to James Moore! Pat yourself on the back and make yourself a fancy cocktail. You deserve it.

Nearly Upon Us


Time for Action


Non-decompositional readers,

We have indeed kept you waiting. Too many long days have passed since you had the hope of more thrilling pages of the non-traumatic literature we have promised you. But no more! We are so very pleased, delighted, excited and generally full of many emotions of the up variety to announce the next tasty treat we are going to put into your eager hands: Alice Hearts Welsh Zombies by Victoria Dunn! If the title alone doesn’t have you wanting to race out and buy it right now, perhaps a quick summary will get your literary salivary glands working.

Formerly a mediocre telephone psychic placating callers with fortune cookie platitudes, Alice Murphy is a Sensitive at Odyssey International—an organization dedicated to stomping out the supernatural wherever it rears its sparkly head—and partner to Enhanced Agent Wellington Wolfe. When rumours of zombies at the World Bog Snorkelling Championships in the small Welsh town of Llanwrtyd Wells begin swirling around, Alice and Wellington join up with Ken, a moustachioed American cowboy gone to seed and fervent zombie rights activist, and Mick, a pantheistic doctor in Hawaiian shirts attempting to find a cure for zombism, and head off to save the townsfolk and the zombies.

These pages are so filled with excitement, action and killer sheep, they threaten to explode before we can tame them into a paperback form for your reading pleasure. And we know you can’t wait for that paperback form. We can’t either, to be honest. But the mundane necessities of the world of making books mean that we will still need some time to wrangle all this fun into some kind of structure that you can buy at a bookstore. So save the approximate time period of early summer so that you can rush right out on the day of release. We’ll be sure to let you know the exact date when we know it ourselves, but if you don’t want the hassle of constantly checking our website or our facebook or our twitter (and honestly, we can understand that. Keeping up is exhausting), just use the form at the bottom there to send us your email address and we will add you to our mailing list, so that you can be the first to hear the news. And maybe get presents. We are not making any promises, but we have been known to give out presents.

But what of this Victoria Dunn, you clamour. Just who is this marvellous author? Let us tell you. She’s the ultimate Bond girl: intelligent, accomplished and stunningly beautiful. She doesn’t just blow smoke off her pistol—she blows smoke rings. In a parallel universe, Victoria Dunn is the evil hive mind of Victoria Higgins, stand-up comic and tree-hating pagan, and Meghan Dunn, Sunday School teacher and reading tutor, who insist, “Zombies are people, too! Zombies enjoy delivering mail, watching TV, and pose absolutely no danger to the public. If they do attempt to eat your brain, don’t panic. They’ll never gnaw through your cranium.”

Now it can be told, dear reader. (Well, summer 2012 it can be told.)