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Christmas is only days away. I hope you
have finished your running around and
pre-Christmas chores and can find time
to relax and spend time with friends and
loved ones. When you read this, I will be
By now you’ve heard a little about the Richmond mail out, which is pretty intense each
season. There are stories of paper cuts, sweat, and tears. The Richmond reps even change
their office shoes to running shoes for the occasion, running shoes. I don’t really know
what goes on over there but I do know that they have about three times more mail to
send out than the Toronto office. Having said that, I’d like to share the pleasant wee mail
out experience the Torontonians just had:
We wore stilettos ;-)
Our Christmas tree is up, but a work in progress. This year’s Noble Fir is
a departure from the more traditional bushy tree shape and is causing some
consternation in the family as well as comments such as “what happened to the top half?”
and “ maybe we should even it out a bit.” In chatting with friends I have heard numerous
stories about modifying the Christmas tree by fastening extra branches in bare spots.
But I subscribe to the old adage , “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” And I know
our Christmas tree will grow more beautiful with time – and a few ornaments -
and perhaps an eggnog. Cheers!
So you know how all the Ampersanders have spent the last few weeks
learning about new titles? Now it’s time to tell our accounts about them!
The main tool we use is the catalogue, and that means we have to get
them out to everyone. This week is the mailout, and here’s a picture of a
small portion of the madness!
During our Spring Sales Conference last month,
we were presented an upcoming book by a local BC author,
BBQ Brian Misko, who has recently won the World Food
Championship in the Barbeque catagory. He had just
returned from the contest in Las Vegas and had the
medal around his neck as proof. He came to Sales
Conference to tell us a bit about himself and his book.
Brian is a self-taught chef who worked as a software
salesman but decided to follow his passion to be a
barbeque chef; he quit his job and took a leap of
faith. He has done quite well for himself:
he’s been on CBC, CTV and Global Television and was a
guest chef at the Vancouver Olympics. He has sauces and
rubs in over 300 stores across Canada, mostly Mom and
As I was flipping through the advance materials I saw
a recipe I had to try – right away – no waiting for
barbeque season. I tried it on the weekend, using the oven
in place of the barbeque and it turned out wonderfully and
should only be better on the barbeque when the weather
The title of the recipe is Thai-Style Shrimp-Stuffed
Chicken Breasts. Brian says in the book that he was inspired
by lemon grass skewers wrapped in shrimp. He wanted to
add chicken to the taste mixture and I think his recipe is a
winner. You only have to wait until May for the book to come
out so you can try it yourself.
Grilling With House of Q
Figure 1 (Raincoast)
9781927958100 $24.95 Pb
Have a great weekend!
The Quill and Quire had five designers pick their five favourite covers of the year and guess who made two
out of the five? Goose Lane Editions was chosen for Sharps by Stevie Howell, cover design by Julie Scriver.
Designer Kate Hargreaves says she, “instantly fell for the striking minimalism of the design.”
Another one of our wonderful publishers, McGill-Queen’s University Press was chosen for the striking
cover of their Spring 2015 catalogue, designed by David Drummond. Designer David A. Gee gets
pretty excited commenting on how difficult it is to design an original catalogue cover and his reaction
to this one, “Then you see this sly yet completely fucking obvious solution to the same brief you’ve read year
after year and yell, “Drum-mond!” while pumping your fist in the air and feeling like a complete hack. (Or is
it just me that does this?) That’s a great feeling, and this is a great cover.”
Check out the article here.
Last Saturday I attended one of my favourite Christmas events -
the annual Victoria Truck Parade. A fund raising event for local food banks,
the truck parade is sponsored by the Island Equipment Owners Association.
Truck owners and companies put a lot of time and effort into producing
dazzlingly displays. Cement trucks, dump trucks, slingers, crane trucks,
fire trucks, grocery trucks and buses form a convoy to the delight of thousands of spectators.
The convoy takes two and a half hours to complete the route around Victoria.
That’s a lot of honking and waving! And a great start to the festive season.
So I’m finally home from sales conference! My head is abuzz with new titles,
and I keep interrupting people to excitedly tell them about a new book coming
that they definitely HAVE to read (this is very annoying to my friends, because
the books are never published yet).
I took a day off last week to recover from jetlag, and to decorate my apartment
for Christmas. I’ve been using this advent calendar for the last few years, so
it’s out, and I decorated my little potted Christmas tree, so I’m all set. I also
started plotting recipes for my annual Christmas party, which always includes a
big vat of mulled wine. I love December!
It dawned on me last night that I still think of December as a magical time filled with carols,
family, and beautiful fairy lights. This is good news considering my head was filled with such
a blur of data, catalogues, and pdf’s that it led me straight home and to that bottle of vodka that
had been calling my name since lunch. No, I don’t have a drinking problem, (I say to myself
at this time every season) but I will say that a cup of hot water just doesn’t do the trick, (thanks
for the suggestion below, Mark).
Everything feels slightly chaotic and everyone is in a state of exhaustion from conference and preparation
for appointments. Here are a few live quotes from the staff that I’m hearing from my office:
“This is how I feel every season: ‘What? I don’t remember you. What are these, books?’”
“Is anyone on-the-line?”
“She means online.”
“Is anyone mad that I’ve been playing 90′s music for the past 24 hours?”
“Should I be updating?”
We’ve all got to get through it together and at the end of the tunnel there will be spiked eggnog…I mean
books. There will be books.