Elvis Rain, the beagle on our logo, is an imaginary guy, though I occasionally give him a fantasy life as complex as Snoopy's. He hates rain. He refuses to wear a raincoat and his people have to hold an umbrella over him if they expect him to go for a walk when it's wet out. However, they have to open the umbrella away from Elvis because he also hates umbrellas.
Rain was not a problem for Elvis in his previous life as part of the Beagle Brigade in the Dallas/Fort Worth airport. He sniffed out contraband, mostly apples and mangoes, though once he found a bag of cow brains in a Samsonite suitcase. He's retired now, living in Portland and thinking about writing about his days in the Brigade. Give him a dog biscuit and he'll talk for hours about the work he did with Wendell (his handler) and Troy -- his brother, who was also in the Brigade. Give him a couple more dog treats (he likes freeze-dried liver the best) and he'll talk about his life before the Beagle Brigade, how he and his brother ended up in a shelter and were rescued by Wendell, who trained them... (more adventrues to follow)
I miss working directly with authors and I miss seeing public reaction to a new book. One of my favorite jobs when I worked with the Als was to accompany authors to book signings; they were usually in small independent bookstores that had enthusiastic and well-spoken patrons. We'd do a reading, books were signed; I would return a couple of weeks later to chat with the store owner and see how the book was moving, we'd discuss books -- all very civilized and I got a real sense of what books were selling in what markets.
But now we're in an online world -- being able to talk face-to-face about Barking Rain at Wordstock was fun.
One person stopped by our booth and asked if we published literary fiction -- we could come up with several examples of literary fiction: “To Kill a Mockingbird”, “Catcher in the Rye” -- but had to Google the term for a definition.
Wikipedia said that "To be considered literary, a work usually must be "critically acclaimed" and "serious". In practice, works of literary fiction often are "complex, literate, multilayered novels that wrestle with universal dilemmas."