For the millions…okay, thousands…okay, hundreds…okay, dozen or so people who have asked me what Hitchcock the Dog looks like, here’s a photo.
QUIBBLES & BITS
Once upon a long time ago, I was waiting tables at Eastside Mario’s, a Canadian restaurant chain that has franchises in the US. "My" restaurant was located on Academy Blvd. in Colorado Springs.
On a night very much like tonight, maybe not as many stars, I served two very nice women who worked for Canine Companions, an organization that trains dogs to help the handicapped. The two women had two very well-behaved dogs with them. After I told them [the women, not the dogs] that I was a mystery author, they wanted to know why so many mysteries boasted—hell, practically lionized—cats. Why not dogs?
I told the nice ladies [and nice dogs] that I’d try and write a mystery with a dog it it.
Upon arriving home, I recapped the evening for my husband-at-the-time. He yawned and went to bed. As soon as he left the room, my 3 dogs clustered around my feet: Cherokee, a Great Dane-Setter-Lab, and Sydney, an Australian Shepherd, and Pandora, a mostly-Norwegian Elkhound. Pandora, not quite a year old, was just learning human-speak.
Cherokee, the spokesdog, said, "Your diet club mysteries, Throw Darts at a Cheesecake and Beat Up a Cookie, have a cat, Jackie Robinson, and your short story, Spilt Milk, has a cat, Sinead O’Connor. What are we, chopped liver?"
Cherokee and the other two dogs had obviously heard my tale about the Canine Companion ladies, so I said, "I’ve been thinking about writing a dog mystery all evening, but I want to name the dog ‘Hitchcock.’ Any takers?"
Sydney didn’t mind if I put her in a book, but she preferred that I use her real name, not a pseudonym, thank you very much.
Pandora thought a book might be fun to chew.
Cherokee said I could use him for Hitchcock, if I promised to donate a portion of my profits to Canine Companions. "Deal," I said.
All I had to do was expand my [unsold] short story, Spilt Milk — which didn’t have a dog in it — by, oh, say 70,000 words, and call it FOOTPRINTS IN THE BUTTER: An Ingrid Beaumont Mystery co-starring Hitchcock the Dog.
My friend Lynn Whitacre, who at the time was reading Beat Up a Cookie, said, "I think I know who the M*A*S*Her is, Deni. But he would be too obvious. But then it would be just like you to make the killer too obvious."
So I decided I’d make my "Footprints" killer too obvious.
End of Part One.
Next Tuesday I’ll talk about the trials and tribulations of finding a publisher for a novel that wasn’t "doggy enough." Stay tuned…
Quote of the week:
"When I was first starting and sent Lethal Practice blind to Penguin, the editor who reviewed the manuscript gave me her ‘one piece of advice.’ And that was: ‘Never work for an agent, an editor or a publisher who doesn’t totally believe in your work or it will break your heart.’" Peter Clement, bestselling author of Mortal Remains.
EYE OF NEWT’s Sydney St. Charles offers you this week’s spell: LOVE OIL
On a Friday evening when the moon is waxing, gather a little ground orris root, an earthen bowl, and a quantity of pure olive oil. If you are a woman, also have a vial of essential Jasmine oil; patchouly will do for men. Lay a pink cloth on the altar. Light pink candles. Pour the orris root into the earthen bowl, then add half a cup of olive oil. Stir with the forefinger of your strong hand 7 times clockwise. Add the essential oil: no less than 3 drops, no more than 7. Place the bowl on the altar. Gaze into it. Enchant it by saying, "Love, love, love, love, love, love, love." Pour the oil into a jar and cork it tightly. Leave it in a dark space, surrounded by the pink altar cloth, for 7 days. Upon the next Friday night, uncork the bottle, strain and store in the same bottle until needed. Love Oil should only be worn by its creator.
Over and Out,