Early reviews… (WOW!)

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I’ll just let these speak for themselves…


5 Stars: Fabulous book – a unique reading experience!

It is not often that you come across a novel that so masterfully combines elements of mystery, science fiction, and the complexities of our own humanity. With a blend of humour, intelligence and compassion, Mr. Bourgault makes you fall in love with his characters – so much so that you don’t want to finish the book because you don’t want to let them go.

5 Stars: This book deserves your attention

The Perpetual Now is a book I thoroughly enjoyed reading. The story has so many layers and moves between different genres with ease. There are elements of a whodunnit mixed in with a coming of age topped off with some supernatural à-là-Stephen King vibe. The story is set in Ferguston, a small Northern Ontario city. The author provides a rich description of Ferguston and its residents through the eyes of our storyteller Justin, an exceptional twelve year old biracial boy. The story moves along at a good pace and is filled with unexpected events right up to the end. The Perpetual Now is a very satisfying read and recommend it to anyone. I look forward to reading more stories from this author.

5 Stars

Fantastic book from this Canadian first time author. You don’t realize how much you miss reading books that clearly occupy Canadian space until you have a great one in your hands.

Perfect mix of mystery and fantasy while still feeling rooted in a gritty, realistic small town. The characters felt fleshed out, and I was left guessing and surprised until the very last page. Seriously – what an epilogue!

5 Stars

This book is strikingly creative and intriguing. You are curious through each upcoming event of the book, and keep reading with full attention, and then Oupla complete surprise in its ending … while in afterthrough it is a very logical conclusion. You live between worlds, a new vision of our lived universe. It would make a very good television series (and the author could continue writing the series, Yay!)… or a film. J. Bourgault is a skilled writer, with a wonderful mastery of English and French. To be read for sure. [Goodreads]

5 Stars: A very compelling read!

This was a very compelling read. I especially enjoyed the character development and the intertwining of two story lines. The author makes excellent use of descriptive metaphors and the ending of the story is very well thought out.

4 Stars: Great story!

Enjoyable read.
Well written coming of age story blending nostalgia, mystery, intrigue and fantasy. Perfect escapism from the crazy pandemic world!

Proud, excited, and scared shitless

I have a new WEBSITE, and it’s beautiful!

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It’s the official website for The Perpetual Now, put together by the good folks at Tellwell. It has a dust-jacket synopsis of the novel, an excerpt, a bit about me, a Q & A, and links to purchase the book through Amazon and Barns & Noble. There’s also space for a blog, which I expect will focus specifically on news and events pertaining to the promotion of the book. That doesn’t mean this blog is going anywhere: I figure I’ll continue to use it for new work and my personal ramblings, while the new one will be a lot more official in tone.

And then just a few days ago, this happened!

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A partial delivery of the 100 copies I ordered for promotional purposes. While a number of people have already received their’s over the past week or so, this is the first time I actually get to hold my baby! I’m thrilled to death by how it looks and feels, just like a REAL BOOK! The cover with its matte finish is everything I hoped for, the map is gorgeous, and the interior layout (after so much teeth-gnashing and hair-pulling early on) is perfect. And at 420 pages, the book has a certain heft to it, which I love.


A real book… with pages and everything!

Now comes the scary part, as readers open their Amazon boxes, settle themselves into their favourite comfy chairs, and begin to wade into my little universe. Having once been a theatre actor, I’ve had a whiff of this before, as has anyone who has ever stepped out onstage to sing, dance or tell jokes, or who has publicly exhibited a work of art, or released a piece of music. It’s the exhilarating terror that comes with putting something of yourself out into the world.

At this moment I don’t care if the novel makes a ton of money, or gets picked up by a major publisher, or gets adapted into a screenplay and made into a blockbuster movie (although these would all be nice).

I just really, REALLY hope you enjoy my book!

A good week!

Finally, a bit of good news to share, a rare commodity during the throes of a pandemic.

After weeks of being out of stock at Amazon, only to reappear at a laughably inflated price, The Perpetual Now is available again and, at last check, increasingly affordable. The price for both hardcover and paperback in Canada isn’t quite where I’d like it yet, but the general trend has been encouraging. It doesn’t yet appear at Indigo, but measures were taken this week to redress that. Stay tuned!

Equally encouraging is the news that readers who’ve ordered the book will finally be receiving theirs in the coming days, and in at least two cases, have already received it.


Proof positive that my novel ACTUALLY EXISTS  as a physical object!

But wait: there’s more!

A few days ago The Perpetual Now received its first ever review on Amazon, specifically, for the Kindle Edition on Amazon.com (so, from a reader south of the border).

It received 5 STARS!!!!

And just this evening the novel got an unsolicited shout-out from an editor friend who called it “one of the best books I’ve ever had the privilege of working on… and one of the best books I read in the past year, period.”

Yeah, a good week!

If you haven’t yet done so, you can order your copy (e-book, hardcover, or paperback) through Amazon.ca.


In a classic case of good news/bad news, within days of my announcing the publication of my book, Amazon was out of stock. I’m told it is a mostly just a matter of still being early in the initial distribution window and that these issues normally take a few weeks to work themselves out. Ditto for its absence on Chapters !ndigo (… there’s a non-fiction book by the same title, but don’t be fooled). Also, I’m sure it’s fair to say that Amazon is feeling the upheaval of COVID like everybody else, and their orders are backed up like a heroin addict after a raclette fondue.

My suggestion: ORDER IT ANYWAY!!!!

Granted you may not receive it within the usual week if Amazon was at peak operating capacity, but you won’t have to pay for it until it ships and you certainly wouldn’t get it any sooner if you wait around until it’s back in stock. Nor will it hurt if Amazon is made aware of the growing demand.

And then, of course, there’s the oh-so-affordable e-book. No waiting required!

So hang in there. You should have a copy of the novel in your hands within the next few weeks or so, and I’ll be sure to let everyone know the moment stocks are replenished. In the meantime you can read about the novel and get some useful background on this very blog. Start at the beginning: it’s not like you don’t have time!

And we’re off!

Today I officially announced the publication of the novel and it’s availability on Amazon.

I could in fact have made the announcement last week, but the initial price for both paperback and hardcover was so outrageous it would have scared everyone away. In the past couple of days, to my immense relief, the price has come down substantially. Now I just have to get the word out.

To that end, I’ve created a Facebook page and the response just over the past few hours has been beyond my wildest expectations! But seeing as it would be a bit much to expect my friends and family to make this a bestseller on their own, I will need to branch out in other ways. In the coming days I’ll make my first foray  into the netherworld of Instagram, an altogether strange and decidedly foreign critter for an old fogey like myself.

Also, I received just about the loveliest and unexpected compliment today, when someone close to me who hadn’t yet seen the cover exclaimed: “Wow! It looks like a real book!” What more could a first-time author hope for?

More to come…







The light between the tunnels

Hello again! (Thought you were rid of me, didn’t-cha?)

Sorry for the delay… again. News comes in dribs and drabs, you wait for enough little things to pile up just to have enough to write about, and before you know it everything has happened… almost.

So where were we?

The last time I checked in (*cough-cough*-months ago), I had signed on with self-publishing agency, and I was about to submit my FINAL final manuscript. In fact, I submitted it that very day, along with the book set-up, namely choosing the book’s trim size, colour options, cover finishing for paperback and hard cover, etc. I’d also just been issued an ISBN.

√ Done.

Yes, the proverbial shit was getting real!

One week after that last entry, I got an email saying the manuscript had been reviewed and was ready for the editing process. I’d asked for a simple copy edit, which means correcting spelling, grammar, punctuation, and syntax, and ensuring that everything remains internally consistent. A content edit, meaning an evaluation of the formatting, style and content of the manuscript, was (given the size of my opus) beyond my budget. There was a quick questionnaire to fill out (√ Done) and they’d get right on it. I figured it would take them at least 3 weeks.

Meanwhile there was another questionnaire for the cover design. That was simple enough, seeing as I’d already created the cover myself. I simply entered “Will provide cover art” and attached the final design (front, back, and spine) and all its constituent parts in case, for some reason, they had to rebuild it. It was sent back to me for final approval on January 30th.

√ Done

In early November, I received what I initially thought was the finished copy edit (the timing was about right) until I looked more closely: it was an editorial evaluation from my editor which (although I’d paid for it) I was completely unprepared for. What if, after all this time, they thought it sucked? What if, after 6 six years, they said “These are the over-wrought ramblings of a self-important amateur! It’s pedantic and derivative. Start over!” I couldn’t handle that. It took me three days to muster the courage just to open the email.

When I read the first paragraph, I almost I wept:

This is a very well-written, compelling and satisfying work of fiction. There is a beauty to the language and the themes of love and friendship, transcendence and coming of age that make this book stand out. The characters are very real and sympathetic, and the pacing is good for the most part, never slowing down too much while lingering just long enough to set the tone and atmosphere that make this story so evocative. The plotting is well executed, with equal time allotted to the two main story elements: the murder mystery and the supernatural/sci-fi thread embodied by Billie. There is a very strong sense of setting and a distinctly Canadian flavour to this work that make it familiar and nostalgic—a pure delight to read as a Canadian who can relate to the peculiarities and nuances of small-town French-Canadian culture. Overall, this book is in very good shape to move forward to the copy-editing stage.

The editor then went on to break down the main aspects of the novel (story, plot, characters, dialogue, grammar). Criticisms were constructive and invariably spot-on. She concluded with this:

This is an exceptionally well-written, well-plotted, poignant story with extremely likeable characters and a great degree of style. The sense of setting and tone is strong and consistent throughout. The emotion is real and keenly felt. The constructive criticism provided speaks to minor issues that are only pointed out as the overall quality of the manuscript is so high. A copy edit will clean up the small technical issues and ensure a professional-calibre product.

Thank you very much for the opportunity to offer some assistance. I look forward to reading this again at the copy-editing stage!

She loved my book, but more importantly she GOT my book! I want this person to be my friend for life!!!!

The final copy edit came in early December (√ Done), followed by a layout questionnaire for the interior. On January 23rd, I received the first interior layout draft. For the most part I loved it, but some of my very basic instructions somehow weren’t getting through, and we ended up going back and forth for 3 weeks. I signed off on February 12. (√ Done)

A month-long work hiatus put everything on hold, then about a week I finally got to the tasks related to distribution, that is figuring out the pricing for hard cover, soft cover, and e-book, and the book’s categorization, deciding on key words, audience, and general category.

√ Done and √ Done!

Now, the very last thing will be marketing, something that tightens my insides just a bit: with the possible exception of multi-tasking, there’s nothing I am worse at than self-promotion. There’s yet another questionnaire, asking me how much time and $$$ I’m willing to invest in the promotion of the book (hmmm… yeah, OK), if I’m willing to travel (are we talking Vancouver or Mississauga?), how comfortable I am with public speaking (Oh! I can do that!!!), organizations in my nice market who will declare my book a must-read (uhhhh….) and stuff about media outlets, blogs, podcasts, YouTube channels, that align with my book (HELP!!!!).

Forget a literary agent: I need a teenager in my corner, someone who knows the ins and outs of social media on the interwebz. Eeeesh…

A phone call with a marketing rep from the agency will follow to discuss strategy, but the book as such is ready to go. Everything related production and distribution is complete, so there’s nothing stopping it from appearing on Indigo or Amazon in the very near future.

So this is almost it, or at least the first half of my journey, the easy part. The second half is terra incognita: pitching, reviews, readings, signings, launches, maybe even an interview or two, and generally a whole lot of talking about writing.

It’s really happening, folks!

Look Ma: I’m an Indie Author!

I’m baaaaaaaaack!

Yes, it’s been a while, but now that I’m back I have news.

I mentioned last time that I’ve been looking increasingly at the idea of self-publishing. There are advantages and disadvantages when compared to conventional publishing, so I had to do a bit of homework.

The advantages with signing on with an established publisher are that they do the brunt of the legwork and they know the ins and outs of the industry. Also they don’t cost anything upfront: because they take a chunk out of your royalties it is in their interest to see that your book sells. Great! Trouble for us newbies is getting one to read your manuscript in the first place. You can send out query after query and wait months before you hear from anyone, if you hear at all.

On the other hand, if you’re like me and know about as much about the publishing business as you do about, say, string theory, when you finally decide on forging your own path, the learning curve looks like K2.

This is where assisted self-publishing comes in. There are a number of companies that do this; I signed on with a company called Tellwell. You pay upfront for a package: the extent of the services depends on how much you can afford. The package I agreed to includes editing, design, marketing, distribution, even a web site, as well as a very limited print run (essentially for personal use). Most importantly, the self-published author retains the rights to full royalties and editorial freedom. Ideal for control freaks like yours truly.

Plus, the turn-around time is a matter of a few months, versus many months or even years with a conventional publisher.

Of course I still had a manuscript that was, shall we say, cumbersome. Back when I first started this blog and said (unequivocally, or so I thought) that the manuscript was finally done, I had a work that approached 160,000 words; that’s 644 pages, double-spaced. “Done”? HA! Sounds funny now. Just the editing costs alone for a work that size would have been through the roof. I had to bring it down to something more manageable before entertaining any thoughts of submitting. A word count was agreed upon with Tellwell and I went back to the cutting room: 30,000 words, 87 pages, and god knows how many reviews later, I have a final manuscript.

So now I have my very own project manager at Tellwell who’s asking me to decide on things like trim size, interior colour options, cover finishing, and other things like hardcover options (if I want a dust jacket, f’rinstance). My book also has an ISBN: this shit just got real.

All that’s left is to submit the manuscript. It goes out this week!!!



Cover Art

Now don’t get too excited there, kiddies, but I thought I’d share my cover design concept with you. This doesn’t mean anything is imminent (I’m still tearing my hair out at how I’m going to shorten the damn thing) but I thought I’d have some fun. Nor is this a futile exercise. As I’m likely going to proceed via the assisted self-publishing route, I’ll have a lot more say on the cover design than if I were to go with a traditional publisher (which sits just fine with a control freak like me). And as I happen to be a trained graphic designer who’s done this kind of thing before (namely for theatre and film), this ain’t my first rodeo.

So my question to you, dear reader, is this: if you were browsing through the new releases at your favourite book store, would this design entice you enough to pull it off the shelf and read the dust jacket?


Might add a couple of things: New York Times Bestseller across the top,
Scotiabank Giller Prize Winner stamped on the side, stuff like that…

Dream sequence

There are three dream sequences in The Perpetual Now. There were four, but in a difficult decision made in the interest of economy, I deleted one in favour of a much whittled-down version. This particular passage came into being when a couple of beta readers expressed their interest in knowing more about my narrator Justin’s thoughts and feelings regarding his missing mother. It was a vital insight into the narrator’s mind whose absence was admittedly conspicuous.

There were reasons, of course, why I didn’t include this initially. It poses a problem for Justin. He was only two when his mom disappeared. What he knows of her is almost entirely informed by still photos and video clips taken by his dad and his mom’s family, along with anecdotes he received second-hand. Even his earliest memories, fuzzy images in the deepest reaches of his psyche, could easily be derived, borrowed, or outright manufactured. Justin is a smart kid and he knows this.

He’s also heard all the stories of his mom in which she’s depicted as the perfect mother, the perfect wife, the perfect daughter, sibling, friend, colleague, etc. In Justin’s own words, my mom was a quasi-divine figure who had the benefit of having left behind tangible evidence of her existence. She was better than Jesus. Obviously, what feelings he has of her would be a tad skewed.

Still, it would be nice to know what’s going on that bright complex mind of his, even if Justin, notorious introvert that he is, has trouble expressing or even accessing it. Upon consultation with a child psychologist, the solution came forth in the form of a dream.


The dream always started the same. I was moving through a distorted version of Garrison Park, one without trees or play structures. Only the lake was the same, over to my left. There were a few familiar things like tables (oddly, small round kitchen tables rather than picnic tables), undersized and overflowing waste baskets here and there, and a few statues of military leaders I’d never heard of from long ago wars. I was dimly aware of a few other people around, and dogs that weren’t quite dogs were running about fetching things I couldn’t quite see. And there, just a short distance ahead of me, was my mom.

She looked exactly the way she always did in all the photos and videos I’d seen: beautiful, smiling, full of love and mischief. She was calling to me to join her and I could almost hear her voice, but a wind coming off the lake was drowning it out. I tried to run to her, just so I could hear her voice, but for some reason my feet struggled to gain ground, as if my laces were tied together.

Meanwhile, mom was pointing at the lake, toward something she wanted me to see, but when I turned there was nothing: just waves and the far shore. I kept running toward her, and as I approached I could see she’d become a giant living statue, like one of those long-departed generals but immense, like something from Antiquity, the Colossus of Rhodes, or better yet, the Argonath in Middle Earth. But she was still my mom, and she was more beautiful than ever, and her smile was brighter than a thousand lighthouses, and her form was that of a goddess.

In some versions of the dream she held a huge book, not unlike the Statue of Liberty but in this case it was a real book, lavishly illustrated with enormous pages that turned in the wind; other times it was a scrapbook or a family photo album. All I wanted to do was to climb up, up into the warmth and safety of my mother’s arms, and look into the untold wonders of the book she held, this book she so wanted to share with me.

I started to notice other people, other kids, my classmates, who were standing at my mom’s feet, gazing up in mute astonishment, and I was so proud that this Wonder of the World was my own mom, and that she was so immense and beautiful and full of love for me, just me, a love that was huge beyond understanding, and that in a moment she was going to gather me up in her arms and…

And that’s when I noticed what she wanted me to see, out on the lake. It was a vast fog bank, obliterating everything, moving rapidly toward the shore. I had time to wonder what a fog bank like that was doing on such a small lake, it didn’t make sense, we didn’t live by the ocean, but before I knew it, the fog had enveloped the park, engulfing everything, and I could no longer see my mom, even though I knew she could only be a few feet away.

I wandered around in the fog, suddenly alone. I could hear voices of people nearby, just out of sight in the mist, some I recognized, and some of them were laughing. Not a pleasant laugh either, but a laugh that was mocking and cruel. I called out, called out to my mom, but there was only silence, and laughter moving further away.

At last the fog began to break, and I could see a huge shape looming just ahead, and people standing below it, gazing upward. I rushed over, only to find that it was someone else’s mom, in some dreams it was Tommy Chartrand’s mom, and Tommy was there with her. As I ran around the park looking for my mom in the dissipating mist, there were other figures, almost as huge but none nearly as beautiful as my mom, and kids standing around them. But my mom was nowhere to be found, and despite my frantic terrified search, asking everyone where she was, I never saw her again.

The dream ended as darkness descended, and I was alone, listening to the voices of other people, some kids and some grown ups, saying how sad it all was, how terribly, terribly sad.