“Marica? Do you have a minute?” Missy asked as she closed the lid to her laptop.
“Of course, Missy! What’s on your mind?” Marica replied.
“I’m just curious. Have you read the Harry Potter books?”
“No, Missy, can’t say as I have. There’re not really my cup of tea,” Marica said.
“Dear Friend,” Missy turned to Rocky, “I don’t suppose you have, either?”
“R.U.F.F.,” Rocky emphatically denied such a ridiculous question. Good grief. If he wanted to read about sorcerers and magic wands and evil wizards he would help himself to the classics, thank you very much.
“Why do you ask, Missy?” Marica wondered.
“Well, Marica, as you know, my Epic Novel is completely completed and… .”
“Ruff?” Rocky interrupted.
“With a title and everything?” Marica asked.
“Yes, yes. Title, illustrations, front matter, table of illustrations, epigrams from the ancients for each chapter… .”
“You mean, ‘epigraphs’?” Marica corrected.
“Gosh, Marica, that’s what I said, ‘epigraphs.’ You really must consider getting your hearing checked,” Missy counseled, and then continued, “epigraphs, frontpiece, dedication, glossary, and index to key concepts.”
“That’s great, Missy, but what did you title your Epic Novel? We’ve been waiting weeks to find out!”
“Ruff?” Rocky asked again. He could see that the end of the Epic Novel project was in clear sight and he just wanted to reach this destination as soon as possible so they could get on with their normal routines.
“Vitiosus Canes, Virtutum Actus,” Missy replied quite proudly.
“Oh my! That’s so lyrical, Missy. In fact, it’s Epic! Well done!” Marica complimented.
“Ruff?!?” Seriously? As a well-educated dog, Rocky’s appreciation for Latin was just as steady as the next well-educated dog’s. But seriously? As a proud American who could trace his British ancestry all the way back to the days of Francis Bacon and beyond, he wondered what in the world was wrong with plain spoken English? Vitiosus Canes, Virtutum Actus. How about Vicious Dogs, Virtuous Acts? What was wrong with that? Sounded lyrical to him. “Ruff, ruff,” he grumbled as he retreated into his box with an Agatha Christy novel.
“Why, thank you, Marica,” Missy said and ignored Rocky’s grumblings. “I thought the play on ‘vitiosus’ was quite cleaver on my part!”
“But, getting back to Harry Potter, why do you ask? What does Harry Potter have to do with your Epic Novel?”
“Well, Marica,” Missy slid down onto the floor at Marica’s feet and began, “I have been cogitating and considering the all too obvious truths about the Epic Novel Writing Business. Consider that my goal is for my Epic Novel, Vitiosus Canes, Virtutum Actus, to reach as many young children, pups, and kits as it can in order that these poor poor dears be swept away by the greatness of an Epic tale of the vices and virtues– in ages’ old struggle– so that they may be encouraged to practice virtuous behavior and to come to love to read. Consider that in order to achieve this goal, I must publish and market my Epic Novel. Consider that despite its clear loft and worth, most publishers are– when you come right down to it, Marica– speciesists. Rocky determined that the probability of my Epic Novel being published by a top notch publisher was, hummm… how did he report it?… ‘next to zero.’ Consider that it must be published!”
“True enough, Missy, but, ummm, Harry Potter?” Much as Marica enjoyed chatting with Missy… .
“I’m getting to that, Marica, be patient!” Missy drew a deep breath and continued, “Consider— and let me tell you I have done considerable internet research on this, Marica– consider that there is such a thing as self-publishing! There are dozens of self-publishing web sites and and they are quite personalized, no matter one’s species. Several ask the potential self-publisher to characterize herself by seeking to discover what published author she most resembles. And so I took a quiz… .”
“And you’re J.K. Rowling?” Marica asked knowingly. “Oh, Missy, you know those internet quizzes are hockum! Please don’t… .”
“No. No! This one was quite accurate. It described me as a ‘high achiever’ in line with Rowling. Perfectly competent to not only write an Epic Novel– which, obviously I have– but to publish my Epic Novel as well! I don’t think you or my Dear Friend will quibble with the idea that I am a high achiever, will you?”
“Ruff,” Rocky agreed from somewhere deep in his box.
“I agree, Missy. I’m just asking you to be skeptical.”
“Marica, I have spent years studying the Ancients. Skepticism is my middle name!” Missy reassured her. “And now, since neither of you is familiar with Harry Potter, I will set that aside– the results of the quiz suggested I not get sidetracked by the perfoliate matters of life — and return to the task at hand which is designing an arresting website through which to introduce my Epic Novel, Vitiosus Canes, Virtutum Actus, to the world!”
“Let me know if I can help,” Marica offered.
“Ruff,” Rocky grumbled shaking his big bulbous head. Will it never end?