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Rutherford, Canine Comic by @JohnMadormo is a Toasty Reads pick #mglit #middlegrade #humor #giveaway
Title: Rutherford, Canine Comic
Author: John V. Madormo
Genre: Middle-Grade Fiction
Some dogs fetch sticks. Others roll over. Some even play dead. But have you ever heard of a dog who tells jokes? Meet Rutherford--a bona fide stand-up comedian. Rutherford, Canine Comic is the first book in a middle-grade novel series told from the perspective of the title character. It features the exploits of a basset hound whose only goal in life is to become a faithful and fearless family watchdog. But when an accident with a pickup truck on a dark dirt road leaves Rutherford with two broken legs, his dreams of protecting the hearth soon fade.
For as long as I can remember, there was only one thing that I ever wanted in life. One thing that would have made me happy and content. All I’ve ever wanted was a chance to be a watchdog. A real watchdog. One who would stand guard and protect his owners from harm. One who would alert them in the event of danger. One who would save his family from a raging fire, from unwanted intruders, or from pesky squirrels and raccoons. That’s been my dream for the longest time. And someday I’ll realize that goal. I just know it. You wait and see.
And so with each day that passes, I wait for the call. Will it be today, I wonder? Or maybe tomorrow? There’s nothing holding me back. I have all of the necessary qualifications—I’m fearless, hard-working, and loyal. I even meet the age requirement. I’ll soon be celebrating my second birthday—in people years, that is. I haven’t quite figured out exactly how old that is in dog years, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s nearly grown up. I like to think that I’m mature enough to handle the job. But sometimes I think that I’m the only one who seems to think so? If people would just give me a chance, I could be a great watchdog. I remember telling my mother the other day about my ultimate goal in life. I could tell her anything. My mother, a proud basset hound known as Iris, was busily cleaning up after the puppies when I found her.
“Mom, you know what I want to be when I grow up?”
“A watchdog,” I said proudly. I’ll never forget her reaction. She chuckled. She actually chuckled.
“Oh, Rutherford, be serious,” she said. “What do you really want to be?”
“I am serious. I want to be a watchdog.”
She pulled me closer and licked my face. I loved it when she did that. It was always so warm and cozy to lie next to her.
“Sweetheart, you’re a basset hound. You’re not a Doberman or a German shepherd. People don’t get basset hounds for protection.”
She smiled weakly. “Well, we’re just not built that way. Look at us—we have long bodies and short legs. We’re not very strong, and we can’t run fast. We just wouldn’t be effective as watchdogs.”
I sighed. I was hoping for a different answer.
“Rutherford, you have to accept the fact that we’re here for a different reason. Mr. Davis breeds us to become the best show dogs in the state. People don’t come here looking for watchdogs. They come here looking for dogs they can enter in competitions who’ll someday become Best in Show.”
“I know all that,” I said. “But it’s not good enough. I want more out of life than beauty pageants. I want to make a difference. And I just figured that becoming a watchdog would do that.”
My mother nuzzled my cheek. “Son, if that’s what you truly want, I’m not going to stand in your way. But it’s going to be difficult to convince others that you’re watchdog material.”
I appreciated her support. She was trying to let me down easy—just like a mother. But I was determined, and nothing would stop me from reaching my ultimate goal. I was well aware that this would be an uphill battle. The people who came to the breeding farm weren’t looking for watchdogs, they were looking for show dogs. For nearly two years, I had been passed over. And I knew exactly why. My mother would never say it to my face but both she and I knew that I’d never be Best in Show—not that I even wanted to. I was born with a little handicap that seemed to scare people away. If someone would only give me a chance, they’d be surprised to see that I could do all the things that other dogs could do. The truth is—I’m not as fast as some of the others. Big deal. How important is speed anyway? When you’re a watchdog, you don’t run away. You hold your ground—and I can do that just fine. So the fact that I have one leg shorter than the other three shouldn’t mean a thing. My right hind leg is about an inch shorter than the others. Why should that bother anybody? I’ve learned to live with it. Why couldn’t they?
Truth be told—I sort of walk with a limp. But why would anybody hold that against me? Heck, I’ve met plenty of three-legged dogs in my time, and they do just fine. I have all four of my legs. That should count for something. But whenever families show up here and see me limp around the yard, I know what they’re thinking. I can see it on their faces. They know that a defect like mine would never allow them to win a dog show. So they want nothing to do with me. And that’s fine. I’ve learned to handle rejection. But the ones that really bug me are the folks who feel sorry for me.
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What makes your featured book a must-read?
If you’ve ever wondered what goes on in the minds of dogs, here’s the answer. Rutherford, Canine Comic is told from the perspective of the title character—a basset hound with a bum leg. When he realizes his dreams of becoming a watchdog have faded, he reinvents himself as a stand-up comedian. He soon discovers, however, that the road to stardom is paved with speed bumps and potholes.
Enter to win an e-book bundle of all 12 books featured in the Toasty Reads Bookish Event:
Open Internationally. Runs February 2 – February 9, 2021. Winner will be drawn on February 10, 2021.
John Madormo, a Chicago area screenwriter, author, and college professor, has created a body of work that has attracted the attention of motion picture producers and publishers. John has sold a family comedy screenplay to a Los Angeles production company, is the author of a mystery series with a major New York publisher, and was recently named the Grand Prize winner of a national writing competition.
Here are just a few of his accomplishments:
- John is the author of a four-book series with Penguin Books for Young Readers. The middle-grade mystery series, "Charlie Collier, Snoop for Hire," is a tale about yours truly, a 12-year-old private detective, who sets up shop in his parents' garage and solves cases for fellow sixth-grade classmates. The debut novel, "The Homemade Stuffing Caper," was released in May, 2012. The sequel, "The Camp Phoenix Caper," was released in February, 2013. Book #3 in the series, "The Copy Cat Caper," hit bookstore shelves in September, 2013. And Book#4 debuted in 2017.
- John sold a family comedy screenplay, "Coach Dracula," to Dog & Rooster Productions, Studio City, CA. (Sheri Bryant will produce; Greg Aronowitz will direct).
- He optioned a family comedy screenplay, "Two-Faced," to Doris Roberts ("Everybody Loves Raymond") Enterprises. Ms. Roberts and her manager-son, Michael Cannata, held the rights for 3 years.
- John Madormo completed a screenplay adaptation of the young adult novel, "The Ghost of Lizard Light" by Elvira Woodruff, for Flatiron Films (producers of the 2000 release, "Pay It Forward," starring Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt).
- John signed a contract with Zumaya Publications (Austin, TX) for a middle-grade series titled, “The Adventures of Rutherford, Canine Comic.” Book 1 debuted in September of 2020.
- He signed a contract with The Wild Rose Press (Adams Basin, NY) for a young adult novel titled, “The Summer of Guinevere.” The book was released in the spring of 2019.
- John also signed a contract with The Wild Rose Press (Adams Basin, NY) for a young adult novel titled, “The Autumn of Andie.” The book will be released in the summer of 2020.
John has placed in the following screenwriting competitions:
- Grand Prize winner in the Reno Film Festival Best Synopsis Contest, and received First Place Award for Best Family Film Synopsis ("Paulie Perkins, P.I.")
- First Place winner for Best Family Film Synopsis at the Reno Film Festival for Best Synopsis Contest ("Dream Machine").
- Top 10 finalist in the BenderSpink Open Door Screenwriting Contest ("Paulie Perkins, P.I.)
- Finalist in the StoryPros Award Screenplay Contest ("Paulie Perkins, P.I.")
- 2nd Place in the Comedy Division of the Chicago Screenwriters Network Midwest Screenwriting Contest ("The Boys' Club")
- Top Ten Finalist in the Movie Script Contest Golden Brad Awards ("The Boys' Club")
- Semi-Finalist in the Scriptapalooza International Screenplay Competition ("The Boys' Club")
- Finalist in the WriteMovies.com International Writing Competition ("Kid Comedy")
John has also entered into option agreements with the following production companies:
Paulette Breen Productions
Bonnie Raskin Productions
Doris Roberts Enterprises
Dog & Rooster Productions
You can read more about John's writing projects at www.johnmadormo.com.
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