Posted for Toni Sweeney:
I’m going to talk about books, more specifically, my books, much more specifically the first book I ever had published—Spacedog’s Best Friend. (Never heard of it, you say.?) Don’t feel like the Lone Ranger, friend. Spacedog (as I fondly call it) has been out of print for nearly twenty-six years.
This Young Adult story had an unusual beginning. At the time, I had finished my sword-and-sorcery novel Bloodseek and wanted to send it to Blue Jay Books, an upcoming sci-fi/fantasy publisher. Since I had lost their address (as usual), I called a local bookstore and asked them to look it up in their Books & Authors Directory. The clerk told me there was no Blue Jay Books listed but there was a Blue Bird Books.
Okay, give me that one, I said.
I jotted it down, prepared the submission and sent it off. Shortly afterward, I received a rejection but and also an invitation to send them a children’s manuscript if I had one. Crossing my fingers behind my back, I wrote back that—by some lucky coincidence—I had the very thing, and whipped off a quick synopsis. In a little while, I was asked to send the entire manuscript.
You’ve never seen anyone move so fast!
“I’ve got to write a novel!” I yelped to my son.
In two weeks, I had composed and written the entire story and had it in the mail. In two more, I received the contract….and the rest, as someone is so fond of saying, is History.
Spacedog’s Best Friend was written as a satire on those handsome-hunk-and-beautiful-heroine-shipwrecked-together stories, disguised as a children’s tale. (Think Gulliver’s Travels.) In this case, my handsome hunk is Conan the Barkbarian, a miniature poodle who’s the fiercest warrior on the planet Canaris where his beloved papa, Conan the Elder, has recently made peace by marrying the lovely poodle queen, Princess Amber. Conan’s also telepathic as are the other Poos. Jenny Halpin is a spoiled teenager who’s received a luxury space cruise as a graduation present from her indulgent uncle. The last thing she expects is to find herself deposited on an uninhabited planet with a bunch of telepathic canines who expect her to take care of them. Oh, they’re cute and fuzzy, and cuddly and all that, but expecting her to be their chief cook and bottle…er…bone washer? Now, really! Jenny has to use all her ingenuity to keep the little band of pups safe and discovers a hidden maturity within herself which surprises her no less than it does everyone else. From fighting pirate salamanders who want to sell Princess Amber’s pups into the slavery of the dreaded “Pet Shops” to negotiating two warring dog tribes to chew the “Bone of Peace,” young Jenny finds herself in for the adventure of a lifetime as she becomes the “Spacedogs’ Best Friend.”
It’s a cute book. I enjoyed writing it. Spud, Cindy, Conan, Amber, and Crissy—my beloved companions for eighteen years—come laughingly and nostalgically alive in the book’s pages. If you get a chance to read a copy, take it. I think you’ll get a good laugh and enjoy the story, too.
Spacedogs’ Best Friend is available at amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Spacedogs-Best-Friend-Toni-Sweeney/dp/1938703332/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1434135489&sr=8-1&keywords=spacedogs%27+best+friend