Organizing a second book launch!

Planning for this book launch has been a LOT easier than planning the first. The second in the Inspector Ramirez series, The Poisoned Pawn, is set mostly in Cuba, so I wanted to keep to the Cuban theme. The venue we used last year was perfect, and thanks to the generosity of my publisher, Penguin Canada, I’ve been able to rent it again. The Orange Art Gallery is going to bring  its neon palm trees out of storage just for our event. Thanks, Jim and Ingrid!

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I’m compiling a list of the people who will be bringing Cuban food to make sure we have lots of variety. So far we have empanadas, corn fritters, pork Adobo, Cuban salad, appetizers from Havana Cafe (to be brought by real estate lawyer Leslie Kirk) and a variety of desserts. Sylvia Manning from TD is contributing this cigar box cake by Kate Green Cakes which is really very generous of her — thanks! (Everything except the back is edible — amazing!)

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We’ll have quite the buffet by the time we’re done, if it’s anything like last year. Holy crow, that food was incredible! Below are pics of the little Cuban mini-sandwiches and the fried plantains with cream cheese and hot red pepper jelly we had. Yum!

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Because it will be busy, I don’t think we can pull off mojitos this year (hard for the bartender to manage) but I’m thinking we may do wine, beer, and maybe pina coladas with those little tiny coloured parasols for a beach-y feel.

And of course, we’ll have Caridad Cruz and Cesar Ricardo perform live Cuban music again: they are fantastic!

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I’m waiting to hear as to whether one of the micro-breweries in town will donate beer; if not one of my office pals,  John Bennett, has offered to supply it; he’ll also take care of getting  coat racks which  you really need when you’re holding a big party in the middle of winter.  Another colleague from TD Canada Trust, Matt Nesbit (he was a guest on my first TV show, Ottawa Experts: Real Estate) has offered to donate rum. My office will throw in a case of wine. (See why I love my office so much? They are really a wonderful support.)

Blue Gypsy Wines did a fruit wine-tasting last year beside the dessert bar, and owner Louis Gaal has generously offered to do it again. And Colour by Design, the Royal LePage printer, is designing (and donating)  invitations, which I’ll get out as soon as they’re ready.

And my old ADR pal, Deborah Sword, sent me a very unexpected cheque to help defray some of the costs — allowing me to order a chalk outline cookie cutter from the US (which another friend, Nicholas, will pick up when he’s in New York) so we can have “dead body” cookies. The balance will cover the costs of plates, napkins, utensils  and glasses for the 150 or so people I’m expecting. Thanks so much, Deborah: that was really kind of you!

And so we’re almost ready to go! Can’t wait — over 60 people confirmed so far and I have yet to send out the invitations!

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