10 Reasons to Read Dog Dish of Doom
- It has a big, shaggy dog in it.
- Fans of musical theater will not be disappointed.
- Kay's parents are a hoot. ("Resilient, warm, funny"--Publishers Weekly)
- Isn't that a nice cover?
- It's funny. ("Laugh-out-loud"--Library Journal, starred review)
- Stuff blows up.
- Small town NJ and big-city Manhattan.
- No dogs were harmed in the creation of this book. (People worry.)
- Kay has two dogs named Steve and Eydie.
- It has a big, shaggy dog in it.
So now it's out there, and it's up to you to see if it's good.
Everyone understands that movies are not filmed a week before they appear in your theater. People get that a theatrical production is written, financed, designed, cast, rehearsed and prepared before being mounted on a stage. Even television, the most hot-off-the-presses form of entertainment, is written and planned long in advance of its airdate.
Books, however, seem to occupy a space in the average consumer's mind that is different, and that's understandable. A writer puts some words on a computer file and those words show up on pages between covers or on an e-reader in pixels, or whatever e-readers use. Right? That's what happens?
No. Not really.
Yes, authors write a bunch of words, in my case usually somewhere around 80,000. Beyond all the rewriting and revising and proofreading I do before sending the manuscript to an editor (things I'm not counting in the timeline here), it generally takes about a year before that tome will appear on a shelf or site near you. And that's not because we're trying to milk the suspense for readers. It's because marketing and production and revision and editing and marketing (yes, I know I listed that twice) have to be done before you can have something as hopefully polished and complete as you deserve to read.
(It always cracks me up when a reader tells me to "write faster." The speed of my typing has nothing to do with when a reader gets to see the work. But perhaps that's a topic for another day.)
So now Dog Dish of Doom, the first Agent to the Paws mystery from Minotaur Books, is available to readers, and it's not because I wrote it last week. Truth be told, the first manuscript sent to my editor (the wonderful Marcia Markland) was completed sometime in 2015 if my records are right. And there's no reason to think they are. Since then, corrections have been made, revisions have been revised, covers (I really like this one) have been created, reviews (ecstatic) have been posted and marketing has been... marketed? (I don't really understand marketing but appreciate that people who do it actually do understand.)
I sincerely hope readers take to the book. It concerns Kay Powell, who grew up in a show business family but escaped the three-person act with her parents for law school and eventually became a theatrical agent for... non-humans. Kay represents dogs, cats, birds, monkeys and various other creatures with entertainment ambitions. And in Dog Dish of Doom she is dealing with a full plate: Her latest client, Bruno (a large furry dog of undetermined breed) is a natural, but his owners Trent and Louise Barclay, are the real beasts here. They're threatening Bruno's role as Sandy in a Broadway revival of Annie by being--especially Trent--difficult stage parents and clashing with the director, Les McMaster.
When Trent is discovered with a knife in his back and his nose in Bruno's water dish, the job gets a little trickier for Kay. And things go decidedly downhill from there.
The cast of characters includes Kay's parents Ellie and Jay (the act was Jay, Kay and El), between gigs and crowding Kay's two-bedroom house in suburban New Jersey, her friend--and maybe more--Sam Gibson, who runs the local coffeehouse, Les, Trent, Louise, Kay's assistant Consuelo and considerably more. You'll see. I hope.
As has been noted here before, pub(lishing) day for an author is relatively quiet and uneventful. So I'll be taking a guitar lesson. More on that next week.