An Agent’s Adventure in the East

Recently I took a vacation. My first real one in two years. Yes, you heard correctly. The life of an agent is truly glamorous, jet setting around once every two years. And it’s so wonderful that my vacation ended up being a working one. 

I left for the east on September 17th for Ottawa and enjoyed a visit with my family and some friends. One of the reasons I don’t venture East more often is that I have so many good friends who lavish me with food and presents, there usually isn’t enough time to see them all. And if i miss one the consequences can be long lasting. Not that I have threatening friends or anything but let’s just say i want them to remain friends. So I usually just stay in Vancouver to make sure I don’t hurt anyone’s feelings. 

On the 18th of September I took a trip to Montreal with my friend Meredith to eat about 5 pounds of smoked brisket from Schwartz’s Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen. And I’m not kidding. I really think it was closer to ten pounds. You can check them out here:
I can never get enough to their World Famous Original Smoked Meat. I think I had to walk 80 blocks just to work off my dinner.  But it was worth it. The smell alone is worth the visit. If you are ever in Montreal you have to stop in and have a meal! 
September 22nd was a great day. I met with my client Brian Kilrea, the GM of the Ottawa 67’s. We delighted in smoking Montecristo #5 cigars and chatted about his upcoming projects. On the way out of his office he handed me a Romeo y Julieta cigar. Did I mention I love cigars? Well I do. A great deal. I was very grateful for the kindness bestowed upon me by Brian. I look forward to seeing him again. 

Press anyone? September 25th found me with my friend Phil Legault at the Ottawa Senators- Boston Bruins pre-season game in the press box. I can’t tell you what a thrill it was watching  the game from there. I also met up with Bob McKenzie who signed a copy of my book Hockey Dad
( I sold that one), and Gord Miller, Pierre McGuire also TSN, and Wayne Scanlon ( from the Ottawa Citizen). Thanks to all of them for a fantastic night.
After a few more visits with friends I was off to Toronto where my real work began. I met with editors at Key Porter, John Wiley, McClelland & Stewart, Doubleday, and HarperCollins. I also met with buyers at Indigo and two great agents Sam Hiyate, and Hilary McMahon. Hilary is the fiction agent who secured a $200,000 dollar advance for Thomas Trofimuk and his book Waiting for Columbus. I received some good tips from the both of them. 

The final trek of my trip was to Edmonton on October 1st. On the way there I was fortunate to meet Craig McTavish on the flight and we exchanged information. I mentioned the other sports celebrities that I work with, and he was very interested in chatting. Sometimes it pays to get up and stretch your legs while flying!

Once in Edmonton I met up with my associate Rachel Sentes and we headed out for dinner. Since Rachel is also a client of mine we held a business meeting about deadlines for her new book (she has some editors interested in her book), and then we stopped by Thomas Trofimuk’s book launch at Greenwood’s bookstore. I met a few of Rachel’s writing friends including author Mark Kozub, and it was a nice evening. Unfortunately, the hectic nature of my trip started rearing its ugly head and jet lag began creeping in on me. I was exhausted. We ended the night early to get some rest. 
Friday began early with meetings booked with several clients. Rachel and I met with the author of Money Assassins, Chad Viminitz, to go over some distribution and publicity plans for his book. Rachel sold the book to Insomniac Press and I negotiated the contract. 
Next up was journalist Jane Marshall. She was off to Tibet to finish research for her book that has already garnered interest from editors in Toronto. She gave me a lovely gift of a scarf blessed by the Dali Lama. 

Rachel and I parted ways for a few hours while I met my other client Holger Petersen for lunch at Sorrentinos. In this world of technology my business can flourish, but it’s so important to connect face to face when the opportunity arises. 
The weekend visit to Edmonton wrapped up with a small gathering of Rachel’s friends at a karaoke bar. I must admit that I hate karaoke. I hate everything about it. But, Rachel swore that it was the first and last time she would ask me to go to one, so I reluctantly agreed to attend. It was worth it to meet up with her friends. They are great people. I hope I get to see them again. My visit to Edmonton was brief but rewarding. I had some great meetings, some that I hope to follow up on soon, and I met some really nice people. 
All and all I think it was a very good vacation. I think I’ll make it a point not to wait so long before planning another one. In fact I’m thinking next March would be a good time to go. Of course it all depends on how well my books sell. Speaking of which, click on the links below to get your copies today so I can plan my next vacation- I need some more brisket!!
These books will make great Christmas gifts:

Money Assassins- Chad Viminitz-
Hockey Dad: True Confessions of a (Crazy) Hockey Parent- Bob McKenzie

Why the Leafs Suck and How They Can be Fixed- Al Strachan
Motormouth: The Complete Canadian Car-Buying Guide 2010 Edition- Zack Spencer


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