Celebrity Poodle Insulted

Ella the poodle's unhappy reaction to her portrayal in new novel: "Call my lawyer at once!"

Invasion of privacy. Unauthorized biography. Poodle protocol violation.

Shocking accusation: Poopsie the Poodle, the sometimes star of the novel OVER MY HEAD, may be modeled after real-life apricot poodle Ella Lamba.

“We are not amused,” barks Ella’s lawyer, who points to allegedly insulting comments such as the following from Marie Lamba’s new young adult novel:

I pick her up and rub her pom-pom ears. “No more surprises, okay?” She licks me in the nostril. We’re the best of friends. “Okay, I’ll see you later.” I set her down.

Poopsie does her head tilt thing again like she’s trying to understand. It must be tough having a brain the size of a walnut. I wave bye and she tilts her head the other way, suddenly seeming sad and lonely. I leave and lock the door, feeling sad myself. Poor Poopsie.

“This is an outrage,” says the attorney for real poodle Ella.  “Brain like the size of a walnut? It’ll be poor author once this is dragged through the courts.”

Lamba the author went on record saying, “It’s fiction. And it’s supposed to be funny.”

“Funny?” the attorney said. “In this novel Poopsie, who is obviously modeled after my client, is insulted, dressed in American Girl clothes, even misplaced.”

“But no dogs were harmed in the writing of this novel,” Lamba said in a weak voice. “I love my dog. Sang, the character in the novel, loves Poopsie and does her best to take care of her. It’s not Sang’s fault the dog is a little loopy. I mean, wait. Not loopy. Can you strike that? What I’m saying is off the record, right? Right?”

Later, after this blatantly anti-poodle comment, TMZ caught up to Ella the poodle at her favorite posh doggie spa, and asked for her reaction to this latest insult.

But Ella, ever the classy one, just rolled her eyes and would only reply, “Grrr.”

Book Review: The Dust of 100 Dogs, by A.S. King

Pirates — scurvy foul creatures with a greed for gold and a thirst for blood.  An innocent girl born into war-torn Ireland, who views the world with caution, who finally finds love, and who then has everything violently ripped away.  A teen in Pennsylvania, biding her time, and hiding her secret.  And a curse.  Oh, and some dog care tips.  If this all sounds like an unusual combination, you are dead on, and this is what makes the young adult novel The Dust of 100 Dogs (Flux) by A.S. King a fresh and original hit.

King’s main character Saffron, is a brilliant teen born into a needy family that see’s Saffron’s brilliance as the ticket to a bright future.  But what they don’t know is that Saffron is actually the soul of Emer, an Irish girl who had turned to pirating many centuries ago, and who was cursed to embody the souls of 100 dogs before she finally found herself human again.  Along with teen angst, Saffron must tamp down the savage instincts of her pirating past, and wait just a bit longer until she is 18 and has the money and the freedom to pursue the treasure buried on a Caribbean isle long ago.

The author does an amazing job of grabbing the reader by the throat, and pulling you through this epic adventure.  As we travel with Emer’s soul through her past lives, there is heartbreak and triumph, blood and gore, history and humor.  Because of some disturbing scenes, I would restrict this read to older teens and adults.  It’s a fantastic novel, but there is a rape and one seriously disturbed villain, so be advised.

That said, I now say grab this book and read it.  Share it with others. Channel your inner pirate. Yo-ho!

Clinton Book Shop is one Cool Independent

We lie for a living...

We lie for a living...

I’m lucky enough to be a member of  the Philly Liar’s Club, a group of 13 professional writers who basically lie for a living. And together we are on a “Truth Tour,” which means we throw parties for independent bookstores, spreading the word about what makes each store so important to our communities.

The really great part about this is that I get to interview bookstore staff and hear all this cool stuff about the shops and what they’re doing. For example, our next stop is at Clinton Book Shop in Clinton, NJ, June 20th from 1-3 p.m.  The store is located at 33 Main Street in Clinton, NJ, and it is way cool. For starters, it is the only dog-friendly bookstore in the state! So anyone can bring in their pooch and browse. They even have dog treats at the counter. My evil poodle would love that. Too bad she gets car sick…

At our free event, “Liars Tell the Truth about Clinton Book Shop,” anyone (including dogs) can come in, nibble on free goodies (there will be stuff for humans, I promise), hang out with the authors, and play Truth or Lie trivia games for tons of prizes including book bags and signed books. There will even be a story time for kids, featuring an original picture book manuscript read by author Keith Strunk.

So who will you get to meet? There’s me, (signing my young adult novel What I Meant…, Random House), Bram Stoker award-winner Jonathan Maberry (Patient Zero, St. Martin’s),  debut crime novelist Dennis Tafoya (Dope Thief, St. Martin’s), mystery author Jon McGoran who writes as D.H. Dublin (Freezer Burn, Berkley), historical authorKeith Strunk (Prallsville Mills and Stockton, Arcadia Publishing Images of America Series),  and social media guru Donald Lafferty.

One thing I learned about Clinton Book Shop is that even though it is small and cozy, purchases there aren’t limited to its excellent collection on its shelves. You can get any book from them by stopping in, calling the store or going to www.clintonbookshop.com.  Special orders usually arrive within two days. Best of all, by ordering through them you are benefiting a local business, one that offers a unique shopping experience, and that showcases titles you won’t find in any of those megastores.

Clinton Book Shop manager Rob Dougherty agrees. “We understand that we’re a part of a small town and community. We understand the people that come here and we work hard to meet their needs.” That translates into carrying titles of special interest to patrons. Also, the staff prides itself on knowing its stock inside and out, and that’s why they are especially skilled at recommending books to customers looking for their next read. “I’ve never seen a single customer come back to complain that they didn’t enjoy a book that our staff had hand sold them,” Dougherty says. “That is saying something.” 

Other ways the staff caters to its customers includes a loyalty shopper’s discount card, hosting book clubs including “The Politically Incorrect Book Club,” and an array of exciting literary events, including the upcoming nationwide book launch of author Maryann McFadden’s newest novel So Happy Together (Hyperion) on July 7th.

The bookstore is so connected to the community because for owner Harvey Finkel, Clinton is home.  Finkel, a long-time area resident, has served as a board member of Habitat for Humanity, and, through the store, he has supported local and private schools and contributed to regional non-profits. He is also a founding member of “Hunterdon First,” a newly formed non-profit supporting independently owned and operated businesses throughout the county.  His own store’s entire philosophy is focused on benefiting his community. “That’s why it is so important to buy books from a local independent bookstore,” says Donald Lafferty, a social media guru who specializes in networking. “It’s like one big network. You spend your dollars at the Clinton Book Shop, and your money stays in this community. It’s all connected, and it truly makes a difference right where you live.”

Clinton Book Shop customers are understandably loyal – something that Dougherty especially appreciates. “It’s so cool when customers know what kind of coffee you drink and they bring it for you. And support from our customers during these tough economic times has been great. It means a lot.”

“This town’s unique architecture and independently owned stores are what give Clinton its authentic small-town charm,” says historic author Keith Strunk. “I can’t imagine a place like this filled with chain stores. We hope everyone feels the same and comes to our Liar’s Club party to show the Clinton Book Shop how strongly they support this local gem. It’s going to be a really fun celebration – honest!”

For more information, or to reserve a copy of an author’s book before the June 20th event, call the Clinton Book Shop at 908-735-8811.  I hope to see you there.  And if you don’t live in the area, you can still show your support by buying your next book from your local independent bookstore. Go ahead. Do it now!