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Puppy School for Misbehaving Authors

Brenna Clarke Gray

Staff Writer

Part muppet and part college faculty member, Brenna Clarke Gray holds a PhD in Canadian Literature while simultaneously holding two cats named Chaucer and Swift. It's a juggling act. Raised in small-town Ontario, Brenna has since been transported by school to the Atlantic provinces and by work to the Vancouver area, where she now lives with her stylish cyclist/webgeek husband and the aforementioned cats. When not posing by day as a forserious academic, she can be found painting her nails and watching Degrassi (through the critical lens of awesomeness). She posts about graphic narratives at Graphixia, and occasionally she remembers to update her own blog, Not That Kind of Doctor. Blog: Not That Kind of Doctor Twitter: @brennacgray

The lives of literary publicists have gotten so much harder in recent years. Where once the biggest threat to an author’s public persona was a few too many tipples of scotch before a dip into the fanmail pile, now every author has a Twitter account and a Facebook account and a Goodreads account, and they’re all doing near-constant press, and people are asking them their opinions… well, things have started to get out of hand.

But now there’s a solution, and you’ve found it: beleaguered publicists can send their writers to us here at Puppy School for Authors, where we can housebreak even the most outrageous offenders. I’d be happy to take you on a tour of the grounds but — oh, I’m sorry. Can you excuse me for one minute?


I’m sorry, where were we? Oh. That. Yes. Well, we don’t rely on corporal punishment here, but a rolled up newspaper across the nose can do wonders when a certain someone starts to share his opinions on child molestation. (Angela, make sure Mr. Grisham doesn’t get a treat this afternoon.)

Anyway, as I was saying. Authors live here in this residential facility for as long as it takes them to rehabilitate; some treatment plans are as short as two weeks! And they don’t even always notice you’ve dropped them off. Our grounds are quite extensive, which is a good thing because this week has been a particularly busy one and — goodness, this is embarrassing, but could you hang on one second?

ANGELA. Who gave Ms. Hale her keys? No. No no no. Luckily we already syphoned the gasoline from her car but could you go after her, please? I’d like her to not be shocked by the invisible fence. Again. And you know, she still has that poor woman’s address and we really can’t afford another escape after all of Orson Scott Card’s relapses. We just can’t handle the bad press right now.

I am sorry for that. You know, you might be wondering about references. I can honestly say that we’ve had our fair share of successes. Remember Mr. Gilmour? No? Well good, that means our training has stuck. His sexist, racist diatribe was a year ago and he has successfully kept his mouth shut in the intervening months.

In fact, Keeping Your Mouth Shut 101 is one of our most popular outpatient workshops, and it’s a good place to start if you’re worried your author won’t respond well to inpatient treatment, though admission still remains the best chance for success as it enables us to disable their Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads accounts. Ms. Rice, for example, refuses to check in, and every time she finds her Facebook password again… Well. One day at a time.

Now. If you’ll excuse me, when Angela comes back from tackling Ms. Hale and disciplining Mr. Grisham, she can walk you through the admissions process. In the meantime, I have to attend to one of our most difficult, chronic patients. She’s a smart woman, but she just says the worst — Yes, yes, Ms. Oates. Yes. I’m on my way.

Thank you for your interest in our program. I look forward to meeting your author.