Animal Cracker, a comic novel set in a pet shelter
Animal Cracker, a comic novel set in a pet shelter
If Bridget Jones & The Office had a baby it might look something like Animal Cracker. A bunch of sassy women get back at the boss.
If Bridget Jones & The Office had a baby it might look something like Animal Cracker. A bunch of sassy women get back at the boss. Read more
In Animal Cracker, a completed workplace romp, a bunch of smart, sassy women plot to get the goods on their boss at Boston’s venerable Animal Protection Agency. Hal Mason is Brad-Pitt handsome, with a Harvard professor wife and an adorable but shiftless son who wins the heart of Diane Salvi, the organization’s new communications director and the book’s narrator.
Diane’s journey is one of a young woman’s drive to create a fulfilling life as she navigates the vagaries of the workplace and tries to find love, all while holding on to her principles. Animal Cracker is also a cri de coeur for animal welfare.
Here's what Animal Cracker readers have said: "What animal lover wouldn't want to keep turning the pages of your fun crime-caper?" “Animal Cracker doesn't just tick the boxes, it fills them up like loaded jack-in-the-boxes - delve in and your super-sharp prose explodes in a blaze of blazing blazey stuff. ” “Laugh out loud funny. What I loved most was that Diane was an intelligent and capable woman surrounded by other intelligent and capable women.”
Now I need your help getting the book from my computer into the hands of animal-loving readers who want to dig in to a page-turner that's both funny and poignant, with a side of snark. Here's an excerpt:
My debut – my first board meeting - had arrived, and I was in the midst
of an anxiety attack. Act like the senior management you are, I urged
myself. Not only was I no longer the vassal I’d been at the ad agency, I
owned my own fiefdom. So why didn’t I feel like the lady of the manor?
Dressing to impress might help. I requested Genie’s assistance with outfit selection. We were standing before a closet designed for a leprechaun. This was in fact okay since I possess a leprechaun-sized wardrobe. All my clothes have a story, and by the same author – her name is ebay.
Genie bit her lower lip, worrying her eyebrows as if pondering the secrets of black holes instead of which outfit in my wardrobe would be most likely to make our board of trustees - my boss’s bosses - think they had the next Hilary Clinton on their team. Genie had a theory. Actually, Genie has many theories, but that day’s had to do with the psychology of clothes.
“Dress for the job you want, not the one you have. Who will you be in the future? I pick Senior VP for Marketing at Microsoft.”
“You sound like my dad. I want the job I have now. With more money.”
“Then dress like money.”
She thought she was Stephen Hawking at the moment. I gave myself over to her completely.
“Here, try this.”
She was holding one of my fashion mistakes. It had looked great in the picture, but the rust-colored suit I’d viewed online had materialized with a two-sizes-too-small jacket and tiny skirt in an unspeakable tan shade that made me look like a hooker with hepatitis.
“This is a joke, right?” I said.
"I thought it fit you like a glove.”
“Unless you want my money to come from guys yelling ‘how much, baby’ on a street corner, I think I’ll pass. In fact, give me that.”
I threw it in my bag of clothes designated for the battered women’s shelter, where my ebay mistakes became someone else’s help in getting a fresh start.
Of course. My other suit. A striped number with huge buttons on the cuffs, and a knee-length skirt. Classy with a bit of pizzazz.
About half an hour before the board meeting, I was chatting with Betty, whose office lay just outside Hal’s, when I spied a plaid apparition, an eighty-ish dowager in head-to-toe Burberry – and I mean literally, from hat, to jacket, to boots - accompanied by a rat-sized yapping Yorkie in matching sweater, tethered to his owner by a leash of the same signature design. I thought even the Burberry people would’ve yelled “Stop!” at the umbrella.
As dowager and dog drew closer, I became nearly blinded by the woman’s left bosom, upon which perched a gigantic, in fact nearly life-sized replica of the clamorous canine, wrought in enamel with precious stones for eyes, mouth and nostrils.
Hal hastened to the door, ushered her in.
“Hi there, Sis,” he said, as she extended her hand for a wobbly shake. “You’re looking wonderful today. And how is my favorite Yorkie? Hey there, Puddinface.”
He stooped down for a cuddle and a lick.
“It’s lovely to see you, Mr. Mason, as always,” Sis replied.
As Hal rose from his crouch, he said “Diane, I’d like you to meet one of APA’s most outstanding board members, Sis Reade. Sis, Diane Salvi is our new Communications Director.”
Sis smiled, and we shook hands.
“May I…” I asked, gesturing at Puddinface.
“Of course, dear,” replied Sis.
There’s nothing sweeter than the feel of a dog’s tongue on my hand.
I've been working with an editor from Boston's venerable Grub Street and the book's in good shape, but I want it to be New York Times review-worthy, so the first expense is a final editorial review. Others:
- Web site design. While I'm active on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Goodreads, I need an online home base.
- Blurbs by writers and other notables are an important marketing tool. I plan to send hard copies of the book to to various well-known individuals requesting back-cover blurbs. Costs include printing, packaging and mailing books.
- Paid reviews by companies such as Kirkus, which will help legitimize and promote the book.
- Book cover design. I need a great one to "brand" the book. That costs money.
- Press service for sending press releases to media, including book reviewers.
- With bricks-and-mortar bookstores dwindling, authors need to reach readers where they live. Many of mine live in vets' offices and pet supply stores,. I intend to place free trial copies of the book in a few sites as a pilot, with the ultimate objective of going national in pet-related businesses.
All of this comes to around $7,200. I've been writing for twenty years, and am finally about to realize my dream of becoming a published author - and maybe even a best-selling one. I've already garnered considerable interest on Twitter (nearly 30,000 followers and growing by leaps and bounds), where my fans are eagerly awaiting publication of Animal Cracker.
Thanks for your consideration.
Risks and challenges
1) If celebrities turn down my request to blurb the book, I'll just make up quotes. I am a fiction writer, after all. (Kidding. Maybe.)
2) Vets' offices and pet suppliers might think I've lost my mind when I ask them to consider selling - huh? - BOOKS. But I'll convince them they're retailing pioneers. I'm a professional fundraiser, and I'm nothing if not persuasive - and persistent.
- (30 days)