Monthly Archives: May 2009

Happy Friday

Since it’s Friday and everyone is already out enjoying the weather, I thought I would jot down a few little things that make me happy. What’s yours?

  • Finding you have just enough bread to make a really good sandwich
  • Getting money back that you loaned to someone and had forgotten about
  • Signing up a really good client that wants to work with you- without you having to call them a billion times
  • Realizing that you have just enough scotch to tide you over until the weekend
  • Extra bacon at Sophie’s- she is too nice
  • Not feeling guilty about taking the day off and seeing a movie
  • Receiving brown paper packages tied up with a blue bow that made them smile on the long drive home
  • Enjoying mini addictions while still maintaining New Year’s Resolutions
  • Knowing that someday all your hard work will pay off
  • Knowing that people out there care about you, no matter what your level of tennis might be
  • Having a cuddle

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Good friends, Good times

Ah, good friends equals good times. When an old friend comes into town, even at my age I like to indulge in a little scotch and recollection over a few cigars. What is it about reminiscing with someone you’ve know for dozens of years that makes you feel that all is right in the world? Is it the excuses it provides? ” No, I’m not working today, I’m going out with my old friend from school” or is it the shared memories of spending endless nights in pubs. Well no it couldn’t be that because I don’t remember the nights in the pubs- too much scotch. But that’s what these old friends are for- not recalling the good old times back in the day.

This week I have the pleasure of catching up with a good friend of mine and skipping out on as much work as possible. We’ve gone out to fine restaurants (not the Persian one- I won’t name names but I will NEVER go there again. Not only was the food mediocre but the service was appalling. Post a comment if you want the name of the place to avoid a food catastrophe), we’ve played golf, gone for walks, watched sports on television and may even watch a few movies. But throughout his visit I very rarely felt like saying “Okay, I’ve seen you -now get the hell out of my apartment”. This could happen if you are a new friend, but with old ones all is forgiven.

As Walter Winchell said, ” A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.”

I have to agree. And it’s going to suck not having an excuse to avoid work when he leaves.

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Perfection- is there such a thing?

Yes! When it comes to manuscripts the answer is simply yes. As Voltaire once said ” Perfection is attained by slow degrees;it requires the hand of time.” And so I ask you as a humble agent to please take your time when you submit a sample of your work to be considered by an agent.

I know perfection is tough to achieve but the very mention of the word “typo” sends chills up my spine.
I’ve been told that I’m a bit of a taskmaster when it comes to the written language, and indeed although you may find a few errors in this post ( if you do you can enter to win a great prize package- of what I don’t know but I’ll think of something), but I can’t overstate the importance of taking care to prepare your work BEFORE you submit it to an agent or publisher.

Now occasionally a person gets lucky. Take one of my esteemed colleagues for example. I have the utmost respect for this person and she is a perfect example of everything you need in an agent even though when she first started out she made some errors. ( She won’t admit to them so don’t even TRY to go that route) She didn’t see them as huge errors, but a misplaced comma or semicolon can make the difference between publication or the garbage bin.
Of course in her case she succeeded in selling the manuscript but I think that’s because she is a force to be reckoned with and no one ever wants to say no to her without a very good reason.

For everyone else in the world the rule is SEEK PERFECTION or don’t even think of sending out a manuscript or query letter or book proposal to an agent or publisher. Send it to as many friends, professional editors, or family members you can to catch all of your errors and then read it again.

So my tip today is TAKE THE TIME and go over your manuscript with a fine tooth comb. Or the typo man will be on your case.

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Living the vida loca in Edmonton

Well, I never thought I would say this, but going to Edmonton wasn’t all that bad. It was a quick trip- landed Friday night and back on Sunday but the glimpse was enough to make me consider visiting again. When there are leaves on the trees- strange weather there. I mean it’s May and you just got rid of the snow. And what is up with the WIND? Where does that come from?

I tried to play a game of tennis today and the wind ending up moving the ball four feet every time I tried to serve. It was pathetic. I felt pathetic, and I certainly didn’t give my opponent a very fair game. Half of my serves didn’t go over the net, so she really wasn’t able to play that well. Hopefully the next time I grace the city, the wind won’t cause such a problem and she’ll get a better chance to really play tennis.

So in my short trip to the Capital City I ate at Deewhat restaurant, an east Indian establishment with seats that were comfy, but a little short to lean back on. It certainly improved my posture. The only thing I didn’t like was the music, but the service was friendly and even when the saffron rice was being flicked at me by a person that shall go nameless, I enjoyed the evening. Of course the rice incident was in retaliation for some of my straw throwing earlier- so I suppose I deserved it. I walked down Whyte avenue at night and marveled at the amount of bars located on such a short street. Of course there is a church on every corner so there are plenty of places to repent after imbibing each night. One complaint I do have is Edmonton’s strange aversion to serving Johnnie Walker’s Red Label. They have black and gold, but no red. In 3 places I asked for it- no such luck. I’d love to know the reason for that, but then again at least they had scotch.

I also ate at OPM a kind of Asian fusion restaurant which serves seven flavoured beef and a decent wor wonton soup. The service was a bit slow, but we were in the lounge so that may explain it. Also the music kept going up and down in volume which was annoying but that was a small inconvenience in light of the good food. I had a snack at Hudson’s and a breakfast at Denny’s ( pricey and mediocre food), and then a small brunch at Moxie’s, only because I didn’t have time to wait in the line at Barb and Ernie’s breakfast place-maybe next time.

I also got to walk in the lovely Buena Vista off leash park with three very cool dogs, watching them swim in the river and roll in a seagull carcass. Then we all stopped at the snack shack and they had treats. I would love to see what it looks like in the summer. The weather was spectacular until the wind kicked up.

So why was I in Edmonton you ask? Well I was a guest at the MacEwan Get Publishing Conference. They had asked me to participate in the Foot in the Door Queries and Pitch Camp as a literary agent- which luckily for them I am, so that worked out well.

I was please by all the interest the writers had in speaking with me and it was an excellent networking opportunity. I hope I was able to enlighten them somewhat about the job I do, and why it is so important to support traditional publishers. I look forward to attending another conference in the future.
While in Edmonton, I got a chance to meet some of my clients face to face, speak with some potential clients, and connect with someone whom I’ve always been intrigued by but have up until this point, only spoken to on the phone. It was great to meet the person behind the sultry voice and see that she really was everything I expected. And I’m sure I impressed her with my suavity and sense of humour.

Now that I’m back home in Vancouver it’s back to reality. I was happy to have a short break and reclaim my weekend, because as an agent I tend to have to work every weekend so getting away from it all is certainly welcome. So I would like to thank the folks in Edmonton for having me, and especially to the exceptional woman who drove me to and from the airport. ( What on god’s green earth possessed Edmonton to have one so far out of the city? That’s insane!)

So until I visit Edmonton again, thank you and I raise my glass of Red Label to you all.

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