It’s brand new, and still shiny. We’re still picking up nails, razor-blading paint off windows, and buying that nice hydrangea plant to put beside the door. In other words, not quite done, but done enough to move in, as long as nobody’s too picky about working plumbing. So–welcome, pull up a chair, let me pour you a cup of coffee, and let’s talk about what we’re doing here. First, is your coffee the way you like it? Strong enough? Got enough cream and sugar? We good? Ok, let me call the dog, and let’s get started.
(opens door) “Here boy…come here…somebody wants to see you…good boy!”
I know what your first question will be, so let’s just get it out of the way. What’s with the magic dog? And why does he get to be my own personal mascot, and the mark for everything I do that involves ink and/or bytes, and something to stick it/them to?
It wasn’t my first choice. I wanted something dignified. Something noble, somthing to inspire respect, and if not respect, fear. But when I was a kid we had this dog. This dog was smart, and a little bit sneaky, and a little bit cowardly, but mostly smart, and intensely loyal and protective. And he could smile.
When I started writing children’s books, he started sneaking into them. I wrote about a lady fixing up a broken car. He snuck into the junkyard. You can’t see him, but I knew he was there, bugging the heck out of Rex, the junkyard dog. When I wrote a book about dinosaurs there he was, barking furiously at them– from a safe distance.
I gave him his own book, thinking that would keep him busy while I worked on my first novel. No soap. First thing I knew there he was, trotting through the middle of the action, doing unseemly things with inappropriate people. And he’d developed Magical Powers. The second novel was no better. He’s there–this time as a central character. And he’s achieved something like demigod status.
When I set up my CafePress store he trotted in the door, found a corner, and curled up for a snooze. When the CafeePress store gave birth to a small publishing operation he was right there, crowding through the door before I could even get it all the way open. The Magic Dog is as much a part of things as I am. Everything we do gets his seal of approval–and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So let’s talk about the layout. We have all kinds of art, clothing, and housewares over at CafePress. Here, we have books. Some of them are mine, and I’ll be talking about them. From time to time we’ll get some from other people. We’ll talk about what we like and what we don’t (although we’ll always give your cheek a quick tongue swipe before you go). And we’ll throw around ideas for making the books better. We’re not mean, but we’re old friends, and old friends know that they have to be honest. Kind, but honest.
So–have you finished your coffee? You ready to start? I’ll go first.