Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Guest Pet Blogger Jack, proud owner of award-winning Oregonian artist K.C. Snider

My co-owner, illustrator K.C. Snider, doesn't have a clue. I can pull the wool over her eyes anytime I want to. I love to chew up her eyeglasses (they were only $700) and her favorite paint brushes, especially the ones that cost at least $65 each. I can snag those things off her table or desk faster than white lightening and she'll never know if someone doesn't rat on me. I guess she's a pretty good illustrator, at least that's what Lynda Burch says.

I definitely rule the roost around here. I get a treat for just about everything I do. If I go outside and bark at the donkey named Jack, as long as I come back inside when K.C. yells at me, I get a treat. Of course, I know how to pester K.C. until she gives in. My favorite treats are dried chicken and duck dog jerky, Boy, is that stuff expensive. I eat better than my other co-owner, Fred.

My name is Jack. But Fred decided when I was little that all I did was poop. My dad says that all I do is eat and un-eat. So he called me, "Little Pooper." And that sort of stuck, so now my mom calls me "Poop" and my mom's publicist calls me "Poop". I'll answer to anything as long as I get a treat.

K.C. is a really dedicated illustrator and she works at her easel until the wee small hours of the morning. Usually, I bug her as often as I can so she'll give me a treat. I'll jump up on her and make sure my claws dig in. I talk to her incessantly (just like right now). I nudge her with my cold nose. But once in a while she gets a little tired of me and puts me in my dog carrier. That's my 'doghouse'.

My mom doesn't snack while she works, unfortunately because I like to get the leftovers. In fact, sometimes she gets so absorbed, she forgets to eat. Dad has to come into the studio and complain loudly that he's hungry. Then things start to happen and pretty soon I'm licking a juicy plate. Dad says,"Well, we don't have to wash that one."

I love having visitors. I'm always a great hit with a crowd. I was definitely the life of the GAP West Coast Get-together party. Those folks (especially Lynda Burch and Susanne Batson) really made a great deal of me. Susanne even sends me gifts now. Mom won't let me have the red beanie baby dog because she says I'll rip it to shreds (I'm starring at it right now up on the window sill and everyone is very amused about that.)

My mom hopes some day that someone will write a book about me and she'll get to illustrate it. She'll really do a great job with that since she'll have me to model for her anytime she wants.

Well Amigo, I've got to go check on the dumb donkey and the rest of my territory.

Check out K.C. Snider's links!


Friday, May 14, 2010

Interview with Molly, one of the characters in Mary Cunningham's The Magician's Castle

Say Woof! to my special guest today: Molly! Molly is a fictional doggy in one of Mary Cunningham's fantasy/mystery middle-grade novels, The Magician's Castle. But she's not just a fictional character. She's based on a real Molly who was very close to Mary's heart. Now she lives forever in her books!

If you've never heard of Mary Cunningham, she's a super cool author who writes exciting stories for tweens ages 9-12. My mom has read all of her books and she loves them! So be sure to check out Mary's website at http://marycunningham.wordpress.com.

Molly, I understand you're one of the characters in Mary's new book, The Magician's Castle. What type of character are you and what role do you play in the story?

Molly: Woof! My first interview! This is as exciting as taking a walk or getting a new chew toy!

In my author's book, "The Magician's Castle," I start out as a pretty unassuming little brown mutt, but do I ever change. Thanks to some pretty cool magic, I transform into the size of a Kentucky thoroughbred and save the day for Cynthia and Gus when they're threatened by a huge rock monster. I also do what doggies do best; dig up clues. When the two time-traveling best friends get stuck, I save the day with my clue-sniffing nose.

Mary told me your character is based on her beloved dog, who passed away not long ago. How does it feel to immortalize a real pet in such a way?

Molly: When I found out about how I was honoring the first Molly, I just wanted to chase my tail with joy. To be such an interesting and valuable character in a book is great, but to be able to immortalize a fellow canine that meant the world to her mom and dad, is more than I ever imagined. I knew from the start that the love and care Mary put into writing my character was not only her devotion to the series, but mainly her devotion to Molly.

What was the real Molly like? Are you any different than the real Molly?

Molly: The real Molly adopted her family when she was three years-old. Her first mom died and a neighbor took her to the Miami Animal Shelter. It was mutual love when her new dad spotted the solid brown, twenty-pound pooch with the inquisitive eyes, sitting in a pen behind two barking, obnoxious German Shepherds. She loved to run, until her knee got hurt, but even then she loved being outside helping her family with yard work and chasing squirrels. When they were inside watching TV, she had a whole loveseat all to herself. She loved to please and never made a mistake. She could sense moods and was always available for a loving pat or a tender hug. She had 13 wonderful years with her family, and I know they still miss her.

The only difference I can see between me and Molly is that, as far as I know, she never grew to horse size! But, had she been confronted with some big monster trying to hurt Cynthia and Gus, or her real family, I'm sure she would've been just as brave, even at her small size.

What is it like inside Mary's imaginative brain? Things must be pretty turbulent in there. I mean, this lady writes middle-grade fantasy, right?

Molly: Whoa! Are you sure you want to go there? Sometimes, her fingers are a blur on the keyboard. Then, other times, she grumbles about not being able to get over writers block, whatever that is. She also complains about all the stuff she has to do that has no connection with writing, but I guess that goes along with being an author. I've also heard her talk about the weird dreams she has and that she started writing "Cynthia's Attic" because of a recurring dream she had for more than 20 years.

When I dream, it's usually about chasing rabbits or squirrels. Maybe I'll write a book about that, someday!

Who is your favorite character in the story?

Molly: You mean, besides me? I like all the nice characters (there are some mean ones, too!) but the little fairy, Elly Elloway, is pretty special. She dresses in purple and is pretty cool, but talks funny! She introduced herself by saying, "Eloise Elloway, I am. But call me Elly, ye can." She helps find clues when it comes to finding a missing page in The Book of Spells. She also helps me grow to horse size so I can protect all of us from the Rock Monster.

What is your favorite part in the book?

Molly: My favorite part of the book is when Gus and Cynthia travel forward into the future and meet a very familiar pair of best friends. That's also when I first appear! The girls think I'm pretty cute, but don't consider me anything more than a nice, little pet...until later.

You must be feel pretty special, being in Mary's novel...

Molly: Arf! I sure do! Especially since my character was created because of a very special member of my author's family. I just hope Molly would like how I play her in the book. I'm identical to her in looks, and also have her independent personality, so I'm sure she'd approve.

Tell us where we can find The Magician's Castle!

Molly: Here are some links where you can buy all four "Cynthia's Attic" books. Thanks, Amigo, for inviting me to your blog!

Mary Cunningham Books
Quake/Echelon Press

Thank you, Molly! Woof!