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April 27th 2015 was, in the words of SpongeBob, the best day ever. But it was also a very surreal day. It was the day McNally Robinson Bookstore in Saskatoon hosted my book launch for Button Hill.  I first suspected I may be crossing into the borderlands between Dayside and Nightside when I saw an 8 foot tall picture of my head on the electronic billboard:

My 8 foot tall digital head on the McNally Robinson billboard

As someone who had never contemplated life as a public person before, this was a bit of a shock.

When we got into the room that had been so thoughtfully set up by Marcy and the McNally Robinson event staff, Superwife and Superdaughter scoped the room and set up the guestbook in a high traffic area.

Superdaughter and friend charm visitors into signing the guest book and coming to the reading – free Button Hill pins for all!

Supermom taught me everything she knows – thanks Mom!

Superdaughter (with megawatt smile):  “Hi! Are you here for the Button Hill reading by my Dad?”

Random Stranger: “Uh, are you talking to me?”

Superdaughter: “Sign this guestbook then sit down over there cuz’ we’re starting in 5 minutes.”

The house was packed – standing room only by the time I started the reading.  People from all parts of my life took time out of their incredibly busy lives to come celebrate the launching of this book with me.  Friend friends, writer friends, my family, even my Mom and Dad and Aunt who drove 7 hours to be here. My sweet brother-in-law and his son booked it right after school and drove  over an hour for the reading, then back home again to make it for bedtime.  Teachers, students, and Saskatoon Public School leaders came too.  For me, seeing all the worlds I belong to come together in one room, on this night, was the most humbling thing.

And I did what I do – I told stories.  I read them Dekker and Riley meeting Cobb for the first time. I read them Narcissa at Torchlight Auction House, bidding for the heart. And I read them the final character to enter the story, and maybe my favorite – Herald, the talking bone-raven of Charnel House:

I introduce Dekker, Riley, Cobb, and Herald the talking bone-raven to readers

I introduce Dekker, Riley, Cobb, Narcissa, and Herald the talking bone-raven to readers

Afterwards it was like a little party. I got to meet some of my readers:


Book signing for new readers

I hope he doesn’t starting reading this too late at night!

Grandpas need signed copies too!

Grandpas need a good scare too sometimes

Superson and Superdaughter held court:

Superson and Grandma

Superdaughter gets all fancy with cookies and punch courtesy Orca Books

After the reading, readers from Calgary and Beijing discuss the importance of keeping one's heart inside one's body

After the reading, readers from Calgary and Beijing discuss the importance of keeping one’s heart inside one’s body.

McNally Robinson Marcy was working so hard filling punch glasses and Superwife was thanking friends for coming, and I didn’t get a picture of either of them in action.  Couldn’t have made it through a magic night like this without them though. But that’s okay because I’m turning them both into really great undead monsters in the sequel. Right, ladies? Hello?

One week later, a gift from the Saskatoon Star Phoenix:

Take that, book about house tidying magic! Button Hill’s #1!

Button Hill’s on top, thanks to you Saskatoon!  At least for one week – I’ll take it.  Thanks to everyone at McNally Robinson and Orca Books for making this night possible. And thank you, all my writer friends and school friends and family for celebrating it with me.

And thanks to me for putting my butt in the chair and writing it, over and over until we got here together today.


  1. Jana Scott Lindsay

    I am bursting over here at my laptop with pride and excitement for you. I know how much this journey has meant… I remember all those years ago when it was a ‘spark’ of an idea, something that you talked about & allowed to live within you. I also know that you had so many things that were pressing on your plate… but it felt good to dream then. And it feels even better to watch this amazing adventure come alive and take root!

    As a librarian (and a bit of a newbie at that) I am more than a little awestruck by your celebrity my friend. I will display your book excitedly & encourage everyone who crosses my path to sign it out. Actually? It is already in the hands of someone very dear to me in grade six as she needed a book talk recommendation. It seemed like the perfect way to make your debut in our school.

    I thank you friend… for your tenacity, your willingness to make something you only dreamed of a reality. My only regret is that I couldn’t make it last minute to your amazing celebration and book launch. The good news is I know the author and I am hoping to have him come to the school (either in person or via Skype) and share this amazing tale of intrigue with my friends.

    Tonight as I write… I celebrate you. Your passion for storytelling, your amazing talent as a writer, and your perfection as one pretty smashing human being.

    Cheers to you… and the beginning of a journey that takes you wherever you decide to go.


    • Michael Bradford

      Hi Jana,
      Thanks so much for your lovely message – and I would love to come out to your school or skype my way in! We’re running out of days though so better pick a day that works for you and let me know!
      Happy reading-

      • Jana Scott Lindsay

        You know I will hold you to it:)

        Do you think it is easier to sneak away in May or June… although I think the reality it will be best fit in the coming weeks.

        What grade level?

        I will email you tomorrow!

  2. Stacey Zbeetnoff

    Congratulations Michael! It’s an honor to work along side such a talented educator and writer. Can’t wait for the French version so I can share your work with my students!

    • Michael Bradford

      Si tu le veux en francais, demande a Orca de commencer la traduction! (Sorry I don’t know how to get WordPress to make the accents). Thanks Stacey!


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