- by Denise Dietz
My goal in life is to be as good a person as my dog thinks I am.
While waiting tables at Eastside Mario’s in Colorado Springs, I met two Canine Companions ladies and their well-behaved dogs. The ladies said there were too many “cat mysteries” and not enough “dog mysteries,” and I promised to write a dog mystery. And donate a portion of my profits to Canine Companions, an organization that trains dogs to help the handicapped. My lovable Great Dane-Irish Setter-Lab mix, Cherokee, volunteered to be the model for “Hitchcock the Dog.”
Here’s a brief description of Hitchcock the Dog: “In his own mind, Hitchcock is the quintessential well-trained pooch, even though he only knows eight commands and responds best to gooddog, baddog, and getdownoffthecouchyousonofabitch.”
I began writing FOOTPRINTS IN THE BUTTER – an Ingrid Beaumont Mystery co-starring Hitchcock the Dog – a week after meeting the Canine Companion ladies. When it was completed, my rejections ranged from “My list of amateur detectives is full” to [and I swear I'm not making this up] “The heroine is engaging, the mystery works well, and I love the dog, but I didn’t find anything special about the book.” For the record, I’ve hated the word “engaging” ever since. Then I received the following: “Thank you for submitting ‘Footprints in the Butter.’ I like the writing, but it’s not doggy enough.”
In the back of my mind, I heard my promise to the Canine Companions ladies. I simply HAD to get this book published. I sent it to Hard Shell Word Factory. The publisher liked it. It was published as an e-book and I put an excerpt on my website. Which was seen by a print publisher, who published the book in hardcover. A rave Library Journal review contributed to phenomenal library sales. The novel hit a few bestseller lists and was reprinted by Harlequin/Worldwide in mass market paperback. Then it came out in large-print, in both the US and the UK.
Not bad for a book that wasn’t “doggy enough,” and I’ve been able to send several generous checks to Canine Companions.
Many people have asked me if I’m writing a “Hitchcock the Dog” sequel. The answer is yes. It’s working title is The Lollipop Guild. And…
BETTE MIDLER, if you’re reading this blog, I wrote Footprints in the Butter with you in mind. My heroine/sleuth not only composes scores for movies, but she sings! Which reminds me. I’ve been meaning to get in touch with Barry Manilow, ask him to write me a couple of songs that make the whole world sing…for The Lollipop Guild.