Monday, July 19, 2010

Interview with Jax Mundo, proud owner of Frank Mundo

Say hello to Jax. Jax Mundo (cool name or what?). Jax is a one year-old half shihtzu/half poodle and the proud owner for Frank Mundo, author of a very unique book called The Brubury Tales, a modern version of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales in Los Angeles. The entire book is written in poetry, 8,300+ lines of poetry fun--yeah, I'm NOT kidding! Thanks God Jax is here to explain how this situation came about. I mean, come on, people--if you write a book with 8,300+ lines of poetry you must be either crazy or a genius (I'm not trying to be mean, I swear! Let's just say I'm not good at poetry...)

Oh, before I forget: Frank is the LA Books Examiner, so be sure to check out his column!

No more delays! Here's the interview...

Hey, Jax Mundo. Cool name. Who gave it to you?

My humans think that it's important that my name reflects my unique qualities as a member of the Mundo family -- at least that's the official story. The truth is, my full name is Jacqueline, which is nice and all, but I don't like it very much,and I never answer to that name. I'm much morethan an LA canine and I feel I have a lot to offer the world. Not only do I have a degree in Obedience from California State University at Northridge (8 weeks of master classes), I protect our home from outside and other forces that might upset the harmony of our existence. I inspire my humans and encourage them always to be at their most creative -- not to mention my company is topnotch and I'm also an excellent singer -- as long as it's not late at night; my humans get very upset by my late-night singing, for some reason. So Jacqueline became Jackie and Jackie became just Jax, which I really liked and finally accepted as my name.

I hear you live with human writer Frank Mundo. How’s that like? (No sugar coating allowed, buddy!)

Unlike my other human, Nancy, Frank works from home. All day long he sits at the computer writing. In the morning it's tough for me. He starts his day at 5 a.m. and most days I have to lick his face a lot to get him up and working. Throughout the day he tries to pay me some attention, but I can forget all about that if he has a deadline!!! But I understand. He has to pay the mortgage and those deadlines are important. Plus he also writes about books and authors and shares with the reading community all of the cool books events occuring around town at his website -- and that's good, too. Humans should read more. Besides, I have a lot to do, too, during the day. Sometimes I wish I could go with him to his readings, but my job at the home is more important than these events.

What’s this about Frank’s book, The Brubury Tales, a modern version of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales? My mom hated those tales in college—not your human’s, but Chaucer’s!

Well, perhaps your mom hated the tales because they are 700 years old and written in an older form of English called Middle English. As bilingual dogs, we're masters of the nuances of language, and it's difficult for us to go backwards. The cool thing about Frank's Brubury Tales is, although it's an homage to Chaucer's older work, it's a modern version of the story set in Los Angeles just after the riots. All of the characters speak the modern American Englishwe're used to. And it's funny. There are seven security guards working at the Holiday Inn in Downton LA on the graveyard, and they each want the exact same vacation days (probably to spend with their dogs) that only one of them can take. So, to make things fair, they decide to have a story-telling competition for this prize, and that's where the fun begins. They each share their stories throughout the night, battling it out as they fight and get closer and we learn all about their personalities. The best part, you don't have to know anything about Chaucer or the tales to read the book -- although Frank hopes that the book might encourage readers to read the classics and share them with their dogs.

Is there a dog in the book? Then I like it!

There are 13 tales and, even though there's only one tale about a dog, I still like it and I think you will, too. It's funny, modern and the poetry makes me want to sing...Woof woof!

According to bestselling author Carolyn See of The Washington Post and LA Times, "The Brubury Tales is a landmark book, in what is going to be -- and already is -- an exceptional, distinguished literary career." Wow! I bet that went straight to your human’s head!

Yes, it's all we heard about for days -- my goodness. He went on and on and on like a cat or something! But, I guess I understand. After all, it took Frank nine years to write to this book. He worked really hard to make it modern and funny while still honoring the original works. And while he bragged about those comments from Carolyn See, a true literary legend in California writing, Frank knows that he doesn't compare to Chaucer or any of the great writers discussed in the book. No one can compete with these writers. I try to remind him of that whenever he gets a little big-headed.

Why are you essential to Frank’s success?

It's true that I didn't come along until after much of the work on this book was completed. But Frank, like a lot of writers, is a passionate (think moody) person and I know that my love and loyalty calms his nerves and betters his life. Before I came along, he was actually a cat person -- can you believe that?

But I think I've turned him and he's much wiser because of it. I think you'll see it in his newer work. He gives a lot of credit to Nancy, my other human, but really it's me.

Okay, so give us Frank’s blog and website, so we can check it out!

The Brubury Tales is available for purchase online here where you can read a bit of it first to see if you like it. It's also available on Amazon and soon will be available as an eBook, whatever that is. Frank's books website is where you can read his book reviews and author interviews.

Leave us with some words of canine wisdom.

This is a message for humans. Rescue a dog and he or she will save your life. I promise you, no other friendship will be as rewarding. Can I get a woof woof for that!!

Woof! Woof! Well said!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Meet Ziggy, proud owner of Lauren Carr

Woof! Please welcome my special guest Ziggy! Ziggy is the proud owner of award-winning mystery author Lauren Carr. Lauren's novels include A Small Case of Murder, A Reunion to Die For, and the just released It's Murder, My Son, her first book in her Mac Faraday series. Be sure to check out her website and blog, people.

Hey, Ziggy. How you became part of the Carr household is quite a story. Would you share it with my readers?

Yep, it is some story. Too good not to tell.

One bright Saturday morning, when I was just a little pup, my previous human put me and my five brothers and sisters into a box and took us to the park. There were a bunch of kids out on the field playing football. At half-time, my human picked me up and took me over to this little boy and asked him if he would like to hold me. To me, that question was a no-brainer. After all, how could anyone not want to hold a cute cuddly ball of fur like me? But the kid didn’t say yes right away. He looked over at this woman and asked her if he could. That was when I put on my cutest face. You know the face. I made my brown eyes as big and soulful as they could be. I may have only been five weeks old, but I already had that look down. It’s the look that lets me get away with almost anything and it did that morning. She said sure, why not? What harm can come from holding a puppy. So the kid took me into his arms and it was love at first hug for the both of us. Then, the human, my first human, told this kid, “You can keep him. He’s free.” Suddenly, my first human was gone. I mean, she was out of there! Turns out she had found homes for all of my brothers and sisters that same way.

But, hey, it worked out good for me. The kid ended up being Tristan and his mom, now mine, turned out to be Lauren Carr. She writes murder mysteries. I think that is so cool.

That's quite a story, Ziggy--and with a happy ending. My favorite kind! But let's get down to some technical details. What is your breed?

It depends on who you ask. When Mom first took me to the vet for a checkup the vet told her that I was a dachshund. Can you believe that? Look at me. Do I look like a wiener dog to you?

No, you don’t.

When I was a pup Mom told people that I was a mutant dachshund. But then as I got bigger, she started telling people that I was an Australian shepherd mix. That makes me sound more dignified. I definitely have shepherd in me because I sometimes have an uncontrollable urge to herd Beagle Bailey around. He really hates that but I can’t help it.

Who is Beagle Bailey? Your brother?

Yep. He’s a beagle. Good thing since his name is Beagle Bailey. He’s my older brother. He’s seven years old. I’m four. Bailey’s great. We love to wrestle, but we didn’t always get along so well. When Mom first brought me home, he was really mad.

Mom and Dad had promised Beagle Bailey that he would get to be an only dog. For the first couple of weeks after I moved in, Bailey kept threatening to sue our folks over breach of contract. But his lawyer said that he didn’t have any case on account that he had nothing in writing promising that he would be an only pet. Eventually, I grew on him. Tristan is his human. Beagle Bailey sleeps in his bed. Me, I keep my den under Mom and Dad’s bed. Bailey tells me I’m weird because of that. Hey, aren’t dogs supposed to like dens? My den is perfect. It’s dark, warm, and private. I think he’s jealous because he has to share his bed with Tristan.

Have you ever heard of a dog that saved his dog biscuits? Before I got here Bailey would save the dog biscuits that Mom gave him under Tristan’s mattress and eat them later at his leisure. He would actually save them! Like some day Mom would stop handing them out. Of course, when I got here I ate them all. That was when he called his lawyer. If you ask me, and you are, he’s the weird one.

Let's chat about your mom, author Lauren Carr. What is it like living with her? Is she one of those egotistical authors (like my mom)?

Lauren claims to be, but I know the truth. Would you believe that Mom is the only female in our family? She’s always taking care of everyone. Cooking and doing laundry. When she first brought me home, she was taking care of Grandpa, Tristan’s grandfather. He was great. Every evening, during his cocktail hour, he would let me climb up into his wheelchair and lick his face. Then, he would spill his brandy all over me and I’d go running and he’d cuss. Then Mom would clean it up. That’s why my coat is so soft and shiny. It was the brandy rinse. Grandpa passed away a little over a year ago.

I'm sorry to hear that, Ziggy.

Mom gets up real early in the morning to write. I like to sit at her feet on those quiet times and inspire her.

Tell us about Lauren's book. I hear one of her characters is a dog name Gnarly.

Gnarly is a German shepherd. She based him on me. His name means extreme and Mom says that’s what I am. I’m either very bad or very good, but always loveable. Gnarly is the only dog to be dishonorably discharged from the United States Army. The army refuses to talk about him. I was never in the army. So she didn’t base that part on me. But she did steal Gnarly making his den under Mac Faraday’s bed from me.

In It’s Murder, My Son, homicide detective Mac Faraday was on the brink of bankruptcy when he inherits his birth mother’s estate. It ends up she was Robin Spencer, the American version of Agatha Christie. In addition to her swanky estate in a small resort town on Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, he inherits Gnarly, her German shepherd. The very first time the reader meets me—I mean Gnarly—he’s standing on Mac’s chest when he first arrives at Spencer Manor. He finds out that Robin had saved Gnarly from being put down after he almost died trying to save his mistress, the next door neighbor, from being murdered.

Sounds like a great read! So Gnarly is a witness to his mistress’s murder?

Yes, and he leads Mac Faraday to the killer. Gnarly becomes Mac Faraday’s sidekick.

You have to read it! It just came out and will be available on Mom’s website, Amazon, and anywhere you can get books.

Cool! Does Lauren have a website?

Sure does. It’s at She also blogs. Her blog is called Lauren’s World of Mystery Writing. You can catch that at

What do you do while Lauren writes and ignores you?

I often sleep at her feet and inspire her. I really like it when she puts a fire in the fireplace and I can curl up in front of the fire.

I do that when I’m not patrolling the perimeter. It’s a big responsibility keeping the squirrels out and there are a lot of squirrels here. We live on a mountain in West Virginia, which is mostly mountains. There are trees all around the place and those stupid squirrels are always trying to invade. When it’s not the squirrels, it’s the hawks and other birds invading my airspace. They come right in at eye level and mock me!

I can sympahize, brother. Only here it is the rabbits that drive me crazy!

Every now and then to break things up Bailey and I will wrestle and play around. Our favorite thing is to go tearing around the house. We have all hardwood floors here so when we get running really fast it can be like skating. I love to get going really fast and run into the living room, hit the Oriental rug at top speed and slide it all the way across the room and Wham! end with a body slam against the French doors! Then Dad comes in and finds the rug up against the doors and Bailey acts so innocent. He’s such a brown nose.

What do you love most about Lauren?

She’s a softie. If she wasn’t I wouldn’t be here. Not only that, but she has great taste in dogs.

Leave us with some canine words of wisdom.

Here’s a piece of advice that every dog should always remember. Never forget—Gotta go! Squirrels incoming off the east deck! They’ve captured the bird feeder! Grrr!

Hey, Ziggy, don't leave us guessing like that, man! That's mean! Woof!--Oops, gotta go! Rabbit alert! Rabbit alert!