Saturday, January 26, 2019

A Dog Named Kat – J. R. Kruze Fiction – Book Universes

A Dog Named Kat - New Fiction Writing by J. R. KruzeA Dog Named Kat – J. R. Kruze Fiction Writing – Universe Book Notes

Tragedy struck. And I never had a reason to smile after that funeral.

Or talk to anyone other than I had to. I’d rather sit in my room and re-read my Nancy Drew and Box Car Children books.

Until my Dad brought home a puppy from a farmer down the road – last of the litter. Dad got this dog to cheer me up, and give me someone to be with me while he was at work. Because I hadn’t smiled or hardly talked since the funeral

Me and my pup were a lot alike. All alone. Blond hair. So I named her Kat.

Dad thought it was my odd sense of humor. You see, my name is Kathleen, they call me Cathy. And I always wanted a sister. Adults explain it as an “alter-ego”. What do they know – really?

When Kat started talking to me inside my mind, we got to know each other best. And soon I smiled – but just to her. There was still some things unexplained about of how my mother died. And those still made me sad.

Until Kat told me she’d help me solve that mystery…


Dad brought a puppy home today. Of course I fell in love with it right off.

Who couldn’t when it just wants to climb right up and slobber wet kisses all over my face and hands.

But I didn’t smile. I felt better, but not that much.

I just sat on the floor with her and watched her figure-out the house. Dad had brought the leftover playthings from her former home. She was the last of the litter, and her own mom had died soon after giving birth. The rest of that litter were black labs, like their mom. She was golden. The color of my own strawberry blond hair.

When I told my Dad I was going to name her Kat, I said it in my usual flat voice. The one I’d had since the funeral. The one that went along without smiling.

It made sense to me. We were both blond. We’d both lost our mom’s. My whole name was Kathleen. And maybe this cute little dog could keep me company.

“Are you serious?” Dad was smiling at me, but when my reaction didn’t change, he nodded. “OK, ‘Kat’ it is.” He pulled out a bag with water- and food-dishes for her and put them by me. And a bag of puppy food to go along.

Then patted my head. “You can put these wherever you think is best. But I’d suggest the kitchen where we can clean up after her more easily.”

Another big bag had a brand new dog bed. Just her size, plus some she could grow into. When Dad put this on the living room floor, Kat walked right over to it, walked around inside it and sniffed, then laid down. Her head went on her paws. I just watched her from where I was kneeling on the carpet.

“Well, I hope this is temporary.”

I raised my eyebrow at this voice in my head. It was coming from Kat.

“What do you think? I’d prefer to be in your room. Don’t worry, I know enough to do my business outside.”

I just nodded at Kat. My Dad was still looking at me, curious about my reaction. So he hadn’t heard Kat at all.

“Of course not. Adults lose their ability to talk with their minds when they get too old. Unless they practice all the time. But that’s OK.”

Kat sat up and looked directly at me. “Well?”

I thought back, “Well, what?”

“Aren’t you going to show me your room?”

Editor’s Notes:

A Dog Named Kat by J. R. Kruze

A telepathic dog isn’t a new venue for Kruze. This one struck his fancy because of the particular name-twist. And it was suggested by one of his readers.

Kruze just added the telepathic part and the mystery story structure.

Then it all fell together when we found him the right cover.

His earlier “talking animal” books were “Max Says No” and “A Nervous Butt“.

And in the history of our authors, you’d think that C. C. Brower was the first mention of telepathic animals talking to humans.

Actually, R. L. Saunders was published earlier than her Hooman Saga with his “Cats Typing Romance” in that the cats are typing both academic papers and romances, but telepathically dreaming for their human masters to make them think it was all their human hands that did the work.

A little sleuthing of our own found that in the back of “Death by Advertising“, Kruze had a story (later published as the lead title in its own collection) called “A Long Wait for Santa” – and the big guy in red was said to talk to the dog in its own language.

Unless our many readers can show me the story where she did, I think S. H. Marpel is our only author who hasn’t had talking animals in any of her stories (and her winged goddess Harpy is not an exception. The Lazurai Betty did appear as a coyote, but shifted into human form to speak in her “Lazurai Emergence“.)

But go ahead and educate me.

Kruze’s other claim to fame is having the first child main character. That could be argued with the young woman heroine in Brower’s “Mr. Ben’s Rail Road” but then that girl’s age was never really determined. Certainly our own children weren’t reading Jane Austen and Charles Dickens at any early age.

This just says that “A Dog Named Kat” has a lot of firsts in it.

There is an Easter Egg in it about L. Frank Baum writing children as detectives. “The Daring Twins” was supposed to be a series, but only had a single story after this one. Meanwhile, the brick roads of the “Land of Clues” that is mentioned in Kruze’s book seems a reference to Baum’s Oz books, as well as the dark “Emotional Forest” they have to enter.

I asked Kruze what was the meaning behind naming the information building “Just The Facts”, but he only mumbled something about the old NY Times motto, “All the News that’s Fit to Print”.

Personally, I think he’s been reading a few too many of Saunders’ satires.

While I was there, I looked over his shoulder to see how he was coming on his next book. It’s a sequel to “The Girl Who Built Tomorrow” and looks to have a lot more steampunk in it. Kinda racy cover though, but like you I’m going to have to wait until he’s done.

– – – –

Well, that’s all for this episode. Thanks again for finding us. And do share with anyone you feel would appreciate it.

Have fun with your reading – and we’ll talk to you next time here at Book Universes.

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