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Q

25 Oct

I am very excited to announce that my author Todd MacLean, Editor-in-Chief of Global Chorus, is going to be interviewed by Jian Ghomeshi on Q!

The interview will be done in front of a live hometown audience in PEI on November 7th at Confederation Centre, and aired on Friday, November 8th.

I am thrilled by the fantastic coverage Global Chorus has been receiving, and I can only imagine that Todd’s interview with Jian is going to catapult the project into the limelight on a much grander scale. An important book like this deserves an international spotlight on it. This is a book that has the potential to inspire change and make a real impact on an  environmental and global level, and I am so proud of Todd and all that he has accomplished! It’s been such an honour being involved on such an important project.

But don’t just take my word for it. To learn more about Global Chorus, tune in on the 8th!

http://www.cbc.ca/q/blog/2013/09/12/q-live-in-pei/

http://globalchorus.ca

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Global Chorus finds a home at Rocky Mountain Books!

18 Sep

I am very pleased to announce that Global Chorus has found a home with the West Coast Canadian publisher Rocky Mountain Books http://www.rmbooks.com

Global Chorus contains contributions from some of the world’s most renowned leaders such as David Suzuki, Jane Goodall, Nelson Mandela, and Stephen Hawking, who have come together to give their honest opinion on the fate of the planet and whether or not there is still indeed hope for a healthy and reciprocal relationship with our planet earth. The individual essays are framed as a set of 365 daily meditations, thereby providing a practical means for readers to ingest this diversity of thoughts and ideas. In this way, Global Chorus is sure to be shocking in its truths and predictions, as well as inspirational and motivational in its messages of hope and optimism.

We are at a critical point in our civilization; garnering the appropriate knowledge to shield ourselves is no longer enough: we must apply it. We need to adopt a more minimalistic approach to our lives; strive for that reciprocal relationship with the planet: tread lightly. E.F. Schumacher was absolutely correct when he stated that ‘ the concentration and expansion of needs is the antithesis of wisdom; it is also the antithesis of freedom and peace’, and that ‘Ever bigger machines, entailing ever bigger concentrations of economic power and exerting ever greater violence against the environment, does not represent progress: they are a denial of wisdom.’ This sentiment brings to mind the great Law of the Iroquois that states, “In our every deliberation, we must consider the impacts of our decisions on the next seven generations.”

Global Chorus is not only going to highlight these issues; the individual essays are there to act as a guide for readers on how to build a more sustainable and mutually beneficial relationship between themselves and the planet.

This is our most pivotal hour. What we need most is to spark imaginations, to ignite our passions. We need to raise our voices in a global chorus.

Oh so quiet.

4 Aug

The publishing industry is oh so quiet at the moment. The summer is nearing its end, and vacations are abound. TRF is currently on vacation for the entire month of August, and I am taking advantage of this down period to catch up on some reading and editing. I should really be basking in this quiet time (as September is just around the corner) and even though I am technically on vacation, the work is already piling up to sky high proportions. This month of August is like the calm before the storm…

Even with my work cut out for me, I am very much looking forward to getting back into the swing of things, and tackling some new projects. By September, I hope to have wrapped up a few deals (update to follow), and sussed out my travel itinerary for the fall.

Speaking of reading, I’ve managed to read two titles this summer.

1. The Rules of Inheritance by Claire Bidwell Smith

2. everybody has everything by Katrina Onstad

I currently have my nose stuck in this delightful book:

3. Observatory Mansions by Edward Carey

and I cannot wait to get my hands on All About Love: Anatomy of an Unruly Emotion by Lisa Appignanesi

London Calling.

26 Mar

The city of London is calling. And yet, this time around it’s strictly for business purposes. I am heading overseas for the London Book fair. For anyone who is not familiar with the purpose of the fair, it is a terrific means of connecting with editors and other agents, and is an avenue to promote books within the industry. I have spent the last few weeks preparing the material I will need to present during those three days. Yes, the fair is actually only three days, but three very long days, consisting of editor/agent meetings and forging new business connections. I am overcome with anticipation, as I am thrilled to get out there and promote my clients work. I am going in with a very strong list, and can only hope that my time spent at the fair will be lucrative, and will result in many new and wonderful business partnerships. Another reason why I am keen to attend, is because it’s hard to get a sense of how the international market is faring from over here in Toronto, and I hope to come out of the book fair having a clearer idea of the big picture.

Although the fair itself is a mere three days, my travels are taking me to the UK for three weeks. Outside of the book fair dates, the rest of my time will be spent meeting with more editors, authors, and publishers. Like I mentioned previously, the loveliest part of my job is having that personal contact with my authors. My UK/European client list is expanding, and so it will be nice to touch base with some new and potential clients. I will be spending a few days in Edinburgh, as I have a client there that I wish to visit. I am also very much looking forward to meeting with an editor from Canongate, as it has always been a dream of mine to work with that publishing house. Building and maintaining these relationships plays such a pivotal role in what I do. It’s through these well crafted connections that other connections are born.

I will be MIA for a bit, but my next post(s) will cover my experiences at the fair, and I will do my very best to keep on top of my April book review. Knowing my schedule in advance, I am only packing two books with me for this trip. One for the airplane journey, and the other for the train/tube rides.

 

 

Portable magic

19 Jan

As you are already aware, there is nothing in life that pleases me more than a good book. Well, that and a good cup of tea. I grew up in a house where books, tea, and slippers reigned supreme. There are multiple reasons why I adore books, but one of the loveliest things about books is the fact that they are portable. You can lose yourself to the narrative in any location you so desire. I am a tactile person, and I have always taken pleasure from the feel of the paper between my fingers as I turn the page. And being a collector of books, I have also always been drawn to books for the design of their covers. Let’s not even broach the subject of the interior of the book, and it’s heady scent. I could honestly spend the rest of my life in some musty old bookstore, lovingly tidying the books on their shelves.

So, to my surprise (no one was shocked more than I) I found myself rather curious about e-readers and what they were all about. While undertaking my studies at Ryerson, the topic of e-readers and e-books was all the rage. In every discussion forum, there was the ongoing heated debate of books vs. e-readers. Initially, I was of the stance that books were the superior format (for the reasons listed above) and could never fathom reading a book on a handheld device. Nevertheless, my curiosity won out in the end and I purchased an e-reader in my last term. It arrived hastily to my front door, and unsurprisingly (to me) it sat unopened in its box for nearly a month before I finally brought it out to inspect it. I recall nervously laughing as I plugged the device into the wall for the first time. The reason I had finally taken it out of its box, was that I was embarking on a bus trip to Montreal that weekend and I figured I would test it out on the bus. I must admit, I was rather impressed with how many ‘free’ titles the device held. I quickly found a title I had been meaning to read, and within seconds it was on my e-reader.

As I mentioned earlier, I have always loved books covers, and their uniquely designed covers. I was sorely disappointed at how ugly my e-reader was, and to be honest, this nearly put me off of it entirely. Nevertheless, I embarked on my journey with my e-reader in tow. My initial reaction to reading on the device was not pleasant. It sat awkwardly in my hands, and the feel of it against my skin was cold. With books, I have always been rather rough with them. Not to say that I purposely mishandle them…I just have the tendency of wrapping the front cover around the spine to the back. Never lend me your books. Let’s just say, you can always spot the books on my shelves that are still waiting to be read, as the spines are still intact. So, it only makes sense that my hands would not know what to do with an e-reader. Thankfully, I got over this hurtle, and started to recognize all of the positive features of the e-reader.

I will not bore you by listing all of the pros, but I will touch upon my most favourite features. Firstly, I simply adore that the font size can be changed. I find reading books on trains, airplanes etc. for any length of time results in a nasty headache. Problem solved by upping the font size! I read on the bus for hours, and at the end of the ride, my eyes were not sore and my head was pain free. Another fantastic feature is the fact that you can easily take notes while reading, and the notes do not interfere with the text in any way. I have started to edit manuscripts on my e-reader, and since it’s lighter than my laptop, it’s so easy to bring it along with me to a cafe, or a park or wherever. I also love how easy it is to order an e-book to your e-reader. Sometimes it is impossible to get to a bookstore, and in a scenario like that it is always nice to have the option to just purchase one on your e-reader. Not to mention the fact that it’s environmentally friendly, as there are no trees being cut down to make e-books. Before you label me as a convert, I will say that even though I have grown fond of my e-reader and the fact that it is so portable and light, I am still devoted to the traditional book format. Being a collector of books, I have not cut down on the amount of books that I am purchasing. In my opinion, there are always going to be books that should be read in paper form, and with those particular books, it would never feel right reading them on a screen. But, for those other books and for travel purposes and/or work purposes, having an e-reader certainly comes in handy. When I was abroad over the holidays, it was so nice not to have to pay for the extra weight of my luggage (sadly, I have spent big bucks on this) because I had only packed a few books plus my e-reader.

With that being said, I love books in all formats and although I will always hold a special place in my heart for traditional books, I would never part with my e-reader. Yet, as much as I am grateful for e-books, I would never want to imagine a world without books, as there is something so regal and beautiful to the traditional book…one is not simply drawn to a book because of its contents, but rather the binding of the books is what initially draws in your eye and fingertips. As efficient and portable as the e-reader is, it could never replace the enjoyment and sensation of holding a real book in your hands. But, (and this is a big one) as much as I have romanticized the traditional format of the book, the most important thing is that books are read. Whichever format they take, it is essential that there are readers. Even if these next generations opt to read only e-books, at least they are reading. Being the age that I am, I would think it a shame if a person did not have a collection of books to display. To me, these physical books tell a story beyond the stories that exist within their covers. You can tell a lot about a person by the books that line their shelves, or floors, or desktops. Not to mention the act of gift giving, and lending of books. To me, that will always be a very intimate act and a true sign of friendship…and a homage to the power of words. But I regress. I feel this way because of the time that I grew up in, and due to the influence of the people in my life. These younger generations will find a way to make their own story, and if the spike in YA sales are any sign of what is to come, I have no doubt that they’ll succeed.

No vacation goes unpunished.

16 Dec

In Paris they simply stared when I spoke to them in French; I never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language.

Mark Twain

Like Twain, my capacity for expressing myself in other languages is a sad state of affairs. I am currently abroad for my holidays, and besides being able to fluently converse with a two year old, my francais leaves much to be desired. Which brings me to the theme of this post: One of the main perks of being an agent, is that you can work remotely. Besides the author meetings and book launches, most of my work is done from my laptop. This aspect of the job is wonderful, as I get to combine two of my greatest loves in life: travel and literature. In no other job, would I be able to take six weeks vacation abroad, and still maintain a somewhat active work schedule. Not to imply that working abroad is easy. It requires a fair level of discipline, especially when cities like London and Barcelona are your backdrop. And that is when things run smoothly. But when they do not, it is terribly difficult to juggle vacation mode and work mode. For example, when your electronic devices go on the fritz and decide to behave badly. Within the first few days of arriving in France, my beloved laptop died. Mon portable est morte. Que faire? I was in a tizzy for the first few days, but then I adapted. Part of that adaption involved borrowing other people’s laptops, and slacking a bit on my work load. Somehow I persevered, and have been surprisingly productive considering I am sans portable, and am now in the south of France. Fortunately, we are in mid December. This means I can shed my work hat, and openly embrace this down period in my life. I rejoice for this rest, as I am fully aware that the new year is just around the corner, and with it comes stacks of manuscripts, heavy edits, author meetings and multiple submissions…

Mais pour l’instant, je me repose.

The Giller.

7 Nov

I regret to say, that I have not had the chance to read any of the titles that made the Giller shortlist. Sadly, any reading that I do these days is work related. Nevertheless, I spent some time this afternoon reading the first few pages of each title on the Giller Prize Shortlist website in hopes that I could brush up on my Giller prowess. Scanning the summaries of each title, I was instantly drawn to The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt. The thought of absorbing a literary western with a unique and ferocious spin made me foolishly grin from ear to ear. Without having read a single word, I was sold. Or so I thought. Keep in mind, I was only privy to the first few pages…but still, I must admit the introduction to the narrative left me, well, kind of cold. Perhaps the hype killed any chance of an organic approach to this book? Not to say that I will not give it a go. I will most definitely take another stab at this book. Perhaps I am spoiled when it comes to literary westerns? Two books come to mind: Peter Carey’s True History of the Kelly Gang and Michael Ondaatje’s Collected Works of Billy the Kid. If you have not read either, please make a point of doing so. Whatever my initial impressions are of deWitt’s book, the hype is very real. If I am to go solely on the buzz, I would say that he is a shoe in for the Giller this year. Looking at the other titles on the list, my next bet would be The Antagonist by Lynn Coady. After reading a mere three pages, I was ready to throw caution to the wind and rush out and purchase this book. I wish I had. Instead, I spent the afternoon daydreaming about all the possible outcomes for her protagonist, while I researched American editors for an up and coming submission. Moving on; another strong contender is Ms. Edugyan’s Half-Blood Blues. Just like the reviews claim, her prose reads like jazz. And that is a literary feat in and of itself. I have added her title to my wish list, and I doubt I will be disappointed. After reading snippets from each author, I would be hard pressed to select an obvious winner. Well, that is not entirely true. If Mr. Ondaatje hadn’t already won a Giller (Anil’s Ghost), I would say that the obvious winner would be his beautifully crafted The Cat’s Table. With that being said, I doubt they will award him a second Giller when there are so many other fantastic titles up for the award. The last two titles, The Free World and Better Living through Plastic Explosives were not my cup of tea, but that does not mean that they are not worthy of the award and recognition that follows suit.Each and every title on this list holds merit, but in my biased opinion, I would absolutely love to see Ms. Coady or Ms. Edugyan come out in front. The Giller Light Bash is tomorrow evening, and so we do not have long before the winner will be revealed to us. With the Giller and the Canada Reads contest, this is truly an exciting time in the Canadian lit scene.