Tillie’s Tale – Magical Drool Mysteries
by Mindy Mymudes
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Who is the mysterious ghosty haunting puppygirl Tillie? And why? George, the magical basset hound familiar is on the trail.
It’s not often a basset hound puppy is haunted by an unhappy ghost, but George’s packmate, Tillie, manages to attract one. George and Tillie need to find out how to help the ghost before she turns into a poultry-ghost.
I turn to Tillie. That’s a sound I haven’t heard before. She makes it again.
Tillie’s tail is spinning in circles. She’s staring at a filmy thing sitting on the steps of an old, rough-brick building. I know it’s really a large Peeps’ den, but since it’s bad to be in the dog house, I assume it’s bad to be in a house. Why don’t they just call it a den if houses are so bad? From the smelltaste of cooking, Peeps, dust, skin, and the other stuff Peeps like, there are many small dens inside. Tillie “wrrrrrtttles” again and adds a soft “wuff.” Her front goes down into a play bow. The thing she’s trying to get to play is shimmery and clear, with thick and thin spots swimming on the surface.
“Snoof. Snuffle” I lick my lips. There’s a disturbing smelltaste of dustmoldlightningozone.
It’s a ghosty.
Tillie bounces closer and stops. I follow, now that I’ve smelltasted it. It’s not a Badthing, but it could’ve been. Tillie needs to learn that not everything is okay to play with. Plus, it’s not polite to get the Boypup in trouble. At least this thing is just a ghosty, not a Horrible Hodag. That was Joey’s last friend. I shudder. Dragons don’t make good friends.
This ghosty seems safe enough. I’ll have to get closer to make sure. I cross in front of Tillie, careful to not let the Peeps’ leashes get tangled. I hate it when they get wrapped under me and around my legs. It’s sort of fun when it happens to the Peeps, though.
Oh no. “Ah. Ahhhh. Ahchooo!” There are undertones of babypowderbittermums smelltaste. The thing looks like it’s wearing a dress. Its hair is in a tail with a ribbon tied into a bow. I think it’s a ghostygirl. Sometimes it’s hard to tell. One thing I do know, the young ones always need something. They can be almost as naughty as poultry ghosties.
When I was the same size as Tillie, I had one follow me home. It hung around my supper dish. Eating through a ghosty is irritating—they’re all cold and slimy inside. It only stayed a few days. It would’ve been shorter if it’d tried to eat my dinner. I would get very grumpy if a ghosty tries to eat my supper.
No, Tillie, don’t play with the ghosty. “Arrooo,” I bay in frustration. We don’t want to invite a ghosty home. “NoooOooo.”
She ignores me and tries to lean on it. That’s not a good idea. “Rooo!” Leave it!
The puppygirl falls through the ghosty and the ghostygirl cries without sound. Big tears roll over her face and splash on the ground. They don’t leave a trace.
I shake my head, flapping my ears over my eyes. No, this isn’t going to be good.
“What’s Tillie doing?” Joey is kneeling through the ghosty and stroking Tillie. Tillie gets up and tries to push him away. They both fall over. The ghostygirl continues to cry, ignoring the pile of living creatures in front of her.
Karly looks me in the eye, like I’m a mirror. “Um, don’t know.”
Her feather-light touch follows down our link. Ah, that’s what she wants. I didn’t think she was using my eyes to see her reflection. Nope. She wants to use my superior senses. I let her see the ghostygirl sitting in front of us. That’s the advantage of having a familiar. We can share our senses. As if I wanted to use Karly’s. All those colors are very distracting. That’s why she uses my eyes, ears, smelltaste, and touch. Humans are senseless.
Karly shrieks. Her eyes are round and wild. Her hair looks like a dandelion poof. I don’t like dandelion poofs. They go up my nose. She jumps back and yanks on her leash. My head is jerked to the side. Ouch. Didn’t expect that. I give her a basset stare-of-death. Unfortunately, bassets aren’t made for stares-of-death. We are a friendly lot, for the most part.
“What?” Joey asks, looking around.
“Mmm…mmm…maybe we should go home.”
What? I am certainly not done with my walk. I pull toward the park.
“I don’t want to,” Joey whines. For once I’m with him. “Tillie didn’t do her job. Mom’ll be mad if she goes in the house.”
Joey pulls Tillie to the grass strip between the sidewalk and the street. Yucky car path, it smelltastes bittersaltcarfarts. She leans forward in her collar, pulling like a sled dog. Nice. I give her a B for effort. Her style is promising. When she grows up she’ll be at least an A-.
Oh mousefleas, she’s trying to stay with the ghost.
“Aroooo!” Tillie, no! I bounce on my toes. She doesn’t get it. I pull Karly slowly to the ghost. My Girlpup is dragging her heels. I thought she knew enough not to pull. Sigh. Peep training never ends. C’mon, I need to get closer to the puppygirl before she gets in more trouble.
I quickly back up, slide my head out of my collar, and bump Tillie away.
I can’t tell Tillie why it’s a bad idea to make friends with the ghostygirl.
Interview with the author:
1. How long have you been writing?
Mindy: Since I was in first grade, I think. I wrote a poem, If I Were A Raindrop. It went downhill from there. The raindrop, that is.
George: It’s beneath me to physically write. Perfect basset hounds don’t need to scribble to remember anything. Since I want people to know about me and my pack, I hired the lady with the hands. Paws are very difficult to use on keyboards. My first book, George Knows, won a gold medal from Readers’ Choice awards. I wear it around my neck.
2. How long have you been a published author?
Mindy: What kind? I’ve had a lot of non-fiction published. Pieces for Dog Fancy, English Springer Spaniel newsletters, peer reviewed journal articles. As for my fiction, my first piece, “Zombies, A Love Story” came out several years ago in an anthology. It was a Valentine’s gift to my husband. For some reason, he wasn’t impressed.
George: Not sure in dog years.
3. What titles do you have available?
Mindy: The Magical Drool Series. Book One is George Knows. Book Two is Tillie’s Tale. I’m going to run out of body parts soon. There is also the anthology that contains my Zombie story.
George: She is my secret-ary. If dogs could get cred, it would be my name on those books. Except the zombie thing. Everyone knows that zombies don’t exist.
4. What made you choose the subject of this book?
Mindy: The stories in the books are true. I’ve had a dog find human bones (George Knows), climb ladders (Tillie’s Tale), and agility and obedience scenes. I just needed a way to tie the scenes together. Since no one believes the stories were real, fantasy worked well. Bullying is a topic that is finally getting some notice, and too many kids don’t know about things in the past. And ghosts are perfect for teaching history.
George: Shakes head, ears flap over eyes My secret-ary is deluding herself. This is a chronicle of my life. She just puts it on the computer so Peeps can read it.
5. Do you have any new titles coming soon?
Mindy: Tillie’s Tale came out March 24th. I’m working on the third, Phoebe’s Pause, now.
6. What is your favourite genre and why?
Mindy: I’ve loved SciFi and Urban Fantasy since I can remember. The first midgrade books I can remember were by Robert Heinlein. Now, of course, there’s Harry Potter’s first book, before he grew up.
George: The genre that includes dogs. Preferably Basset Hounds.
7. What, to you, is the most exciting part of the writing process?
Mindy: When the story actually comes together. While I have an outline, it’s weak. When I get into the story, it unfolds for me, just the way I hope it unfolds for the reader. Is it bad when I laugh at my own jokes?
http://www.faithhunter.net/wp/#!/2013/12/05/2899/What is wrong with you! These are serious books. I’ve done nothing funny. Do you think fighting off Hodags and Poultry Ghosts is easy? You’re lucky I’m telling you my story and didn’t hire some other secret-ary. Besides, secret-ary means you’re supposed to keep my secrets.
8. If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would you choose and why?
Mindy: My friend, Faith Hunter, writes the NYT Bestselling Jane Yellowrock series. I adore the stories. Jane is a shapeshifting skinwalker has two souls, one is hers; the other is Beast, a cougar. Amazing character development over the last 9 books. She was gracious enough to co-write a blog entry from George and Beast’s point of view. http://www.faithhunter.net/wp/#!/2013/12/05/2899/
George: That whole thing was a fabric-ation. It was made out of rotting cloth. I am not afraid of any cats.
9. Where can readers find you on the web?
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1NjgrgB
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
I’ve worked in a hazardous waste lab, where under the sign for the Right To Know law, was added: if you can figure it out. I’ve been a metals tech, a bakery clerk, a professional gardener, taught human anatomy and ran two university greenhouses. Along the way I picked up my Master’s Degree in Biology, specializing in the population genetics of an endangered plant. I am also a top breeder, handler, trainer of English springer spaniels, with three in the equivalent of the National Club’s (ESSFTA) hall of fame. Every time I think I know dogs, another dog comes along and proves my beliefs are totally wrong.