Giving thanks where it’s due.

I’ve been planning my book launch now for the past two weeks and  I think I’m almost done.  It will be held on Thursday, February 16 at the Orange Art Gallery in Hintonburg, from 6 to 8:30 PM (and because it’s considered a private event for LCBO purposes, and space is limited, be sure to contact me for an invitation if you’d like to come).

But I want to thank the people who have stepped up to the plate to offer their help now, long before the launch, because they’ve been amazing and I’m really grateful.

First of all , I want to acknowledge my incredible office.

Royal LePage Team Realty on Carlling is the best workplace I’ve ever been part of. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the people I work with and how much of a family they’ve become.

Darlene Masson has been hugely supportive throughout this adventure, and an enthusiastic fan. She and my ‘roomie’, Angie Zarysky, have gone above and beyond in planning a Cuban menu for the 100 or so people we expect. Other colleagues who will be helping cook up a storm (rice and beans, pork adobo, Opera cake, empanadas, rum cake, bean salad … ) include Sharon Pugliese, Daniele Legault, Margo Lindsay and Margaret Forward .

Meanwhile, John Bennett has been busily tracking down odds and ends for me like a revolving police light, caution tape, and chocolate cigars. George Prazmowski helped me scout out locations. 

Stephanie Briscoe manages our Newsflash page (where she has posted my book trailer, thanks, Steph!) and will make sure we have enough coat racks; John Lindsay will pick them up. And Sarah Pritchard will  lend a hand at the launch itself.

On top of all of that, Royal LePage Team Realty has donated an entire case of wine, courtesy of manager Brian Sukkau and Kent Browne, our broker of record. Thank you all. You’re absolutely wonderful.

Then there are the people outside Royal LePage who are also lending a hand. Shirin Shadman, who works for a different real estate brokerage altogether (ReMax), has offered to bring guacamole, which just goes to show what a collegial bunch we realtors really are.

Sylvia Manning of TD Waterhouse Financial Planning has not only pre-ordered ten books but will be donating  appetizers from the Havana Cafe. (Ten books! I almost fell over.)

York Polk of  (York and I do down-sizing seminars together from time to time) will bartend with his wife. (He loves bartending, apparently. Who knew?) He’s also offered to supply either wine or rum, depending on what’s needed (I’m still hoping to nail down some more donations of those. Anyone?)  And Cathy Macdonald, from the same office,  seems pretty excited at testing out some Cuban recipes.

Among my other friends who will be cooking up a storm, there’s Jackie Doyle, Debbie Hantusch, Paula Wilson-Palumbo, lawyer Michelle Mann (if she’s in town), author Hayden Trenholm (if he’s not travelling) and the very talented Lynn Wallace, a Martha Stewart doppelganger.

Nicholas Wallace and Mike Hutton will assist with running around on the day of the event as will mystery author  Hilary MacLeod. And Neville Bell, a former CTV cameraman, will take photographs throughout the night.

Catherine Lane and Holly Tarrison-Gaskin will help out with logistics, even though Catherine will be out of the country on the day of the actual launch. So will  mystery writer Sue Pike, who has gone so far as to offer to cook and freeze something before she leaves for Mexico. Imagine.

Penguin Canada, of course, has been incredibly supportive by providing a budget for the launch. Barbara Bower, a Senior Publicist and my publicist, has been a huge help as well.

Doug McLarty of McLarty & Co. Accountants and Kitchissippi Councillor, Katherine Hobbs, have made generous donations to help offset the costs. And Denis Perrault, of Domaine Perrault, a Navan vineyard,  is also helping out as is Blue Gypsy Wines and Beau’s Beer . (This makes me very happy not only because their beer is great but because they’re a Vankleek Hill business and the Blairs are from Moose Creek.)

And then there’s the artists.  David Barbour has offered to display his stunning black and white photographs of Havana. Ingrid and Jim Hollander of The Orange Art Gallery, where the event is being held, agreed to bring back their neon palm trees (currently up as Christmas decorations) for the launch; Ingrid will also help me plan the event.

And then of course there is Michael Bien, who worked out the details for the amazing Cuban duet, Caridad Cruz and Cesar Ricardo, who will be performing that night. 

They say it takes a village to raise a child.

Well, I’ve discovered it takes a village to execute a successful book launch. That’s 40 people who are working in one way or another to make this launch a success. A whole 40 of them, for an evening where we expect around 100 people. Incredible.

To all of you, a very Merry Christmas, and profound thanks! You’re the best.


Check out the book trailer for The Beggar’s Opera! Penguin did an amazing job!

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