Isaiah looks around. The other kittens have vanished. He is alone, dreadfully alone in the darkness. It's clear to him, the other kittens are appalled by his appearance. Weeping, he wonders why, why did he find himself in such a hideous car accident, leaving him with a face so hideous that the other kittens flee when they see it? Why didn't his owner see the truck? Suddenly, a familiar smell stops his weeping. Dill pickles, pastrami sandwiches, whitefish carcasses, the familiar smell of the dumpster behind the kosher delicatessen. The delicatessen across the alley. And as Isaiah takes his first step across that pitch-black alley of hope, he begins a life-changing journey, The Journey of the Ugly Kitten.
Book, the First: The Alley of Darkness
Isaiah begins to cross the alley, the aroma of pastrami becoming greater and greater. Then, he stops. There's something lurking by the dumpster, something eating the very best coleslaw with the least amount of maggots, and that something is... a dog. And Isaiah realizes something that he'd forgotten after that dreaded accident, that his ugly, disgusting, horrible face should not be his greatest concern. No, his greatest concern should be dogs, the horrible creatures that threaten the existence of cats. What Isaiah must do is obliterate the canine menace. But to that, he must become a warrior. How? How can a cat that is so ugly that not one creature will be his friend possibly become a warrior? With discipline and dedication. And with that, Isaiah decides to find Sensei Bobtail, the wisest Oriental in town. Isaiah is on his way to becoming a warrior.
Hi, author Shelby Finks here. I hope you enjoyed my first exciting novel in the wonderfully suspenseful Chronicles of the History of the Journey of the Ugly Kitten series! Book Two is coming out soon so don't forget to add it to your Christmas wish list (or Hanukkah wish list if you're into that sort of thing)! You know, my young fans are always asking me where I get the ideas for my books, and I've gotten many letters from children asking about my previous seven-book trilogy, The Mystery of the Puppy that Nobody Loved. My answer to this common question is that my literature comes directly from my childhood. You see, when I was a young girl like you, I owned so many cats and dogs that everyone called me "Shelby the cat and dog owner," so perhaps that is why I write so much about our animal friends. But how do I come up with such exciting adventures? Well, to find out, you'll just have to wait for the commentary at the end of Book Two!
Book, the Second: The Warrior's Path
Isaiah backs away from the dog, hoping that it doesn't turn around and strike. The tension is building. The dog turns, but Isaiah is gone, running, running towards the Chinese restaurant downtown. The smell of eggrolls, hot and sour soup, and chicken feet hits his nose like a tidal wave hitting his nose. Sensei Bobtail sits by the curb munching on the half-eaten $8.95 Egg Foo Young and Pork Fried Rice Lunch Combo Special with your choice of Wonton or Egg Drop soup. "I see that you have come seeking training," the Sensei says without looking up. "I will teach you, yes, but the way in which you will pay me back you cannot possibly imagine." Isaiah agrees, for how else can he defeat the evil dog overlords who strike fear upon every feline. Thus, the training begins, and finally, after receiving a black belt in karate, a red belt in judo, and a magenta belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, five years have passed. "Isaiah," Sensei Bobtail says, "you are ready." "I know, Sensei." "You must pay me back, Isaiah." "I know, Sensei." "Do you know what I need you to do, Isaiah?" "I don't know, Sensei." "Isaiah," Sensei Bobtail says slowly, "The dogs are attacking."
Hey, Shelby Finks again! I sure hope you're enjoying the Ugly Kitten series and are patiently waiting for my explanation of how I get my ideas. Well, this story comes straight out of my life. Back in '76, when I was about three years old, my brother took kung fu lessons with a man, here represented by Sensei Bobtail. Or maybe that was a dream... Considering that I was born in 1988, I'll take that it was. Anyway, there's more exhilarating adventure coming in Book Three, so make sure that you rush to a bookstore near you for the midnight release February 18th! And if you've ever been to a midnight release for one of my other books such as Otto the Outcast, a ten part series on the absence of friendship, then you'll now how much fun it will be! There will be food (not free food, grant you, but food), games, and you'll even get to discuss with other readers who your favorite character is: Isaiah, Sensei Bobtail, or the coleslaw-eating dog! It'll a one heck of a party so don't forget to mark your calenders! 'Til my next book, tootle-oo.
Book, the Third: The Final Battle
"It can't be true," Isaiah says in disbelief. "It is true. Pitbulls, golden retrievers, poodles, chihuahuas, they're coming. A great war is coming, and you're the only one who can save us." Isaiah realizes that this is his destiny, his goal in life is to defeat the dogs, to become a hero. "I'm up for the challenge," he responds. "Then there's no time to lose," Sensei Bobtail spits back. With that they travel to the pizzeria in the Irish part of town, the whiff of parmesan breadsticks floating in the air. There, on the stoop sits the leader of all the dogs in the city, the great half-chihuahua, half-dachshund, half-rottweiler. The beast is stunned. "How did you find me? Of all the dogs in the city, how did you find me?" Isaiah looks at him without fear. "Cause I'm a warrior, now, that's why," and with that, Isaiah leaps at the creature, paws flying this way and that, landing such a kick on the dog's evil schnoz that it doubles over unconscious. Isaiah turns, waiting for the praise of the other kittens, but they all turn away. "Of course," Isaiah remembers, "I'm different from them," but a new thought pops into his head. Turning to the other kittens, he shouts, "Why? Why should that matter? Why do we hate what we don't understand?" "Because you're ugly," responds one kitten. A smile slowly creeps across Isaiah's face. "You're right," he responds. "Those who are different don't deserve friends!" And with that, Isaiah happily walks off into the sunset, completely alone and friendless.
Wow, wasn't that an epic conclusion? Aren't you so happy that you came to the midnight release? Maybe you even got to stop by at a certified Shelby Finks Coffeehouse® and buy a delicious mocha Shelbichino to go along with your novel. Not to mention that you get to enjoy some more fun bonuses from me, Shelby Finks! Now I'm going to tell you something very important. You see, the story of Isaiah and his journey is not truly over. No, the journey's just begun because you can join Isaiah and all of his imaginary friends in the brand-new series on PBS Kids, Loneliness is No Laughing Matter. That's right, and not only does it contain fantastic characters like Isaiah the Ugly, but it also features some of my other creations, including Pariah Bob and Betty the Untouchable! Not to mention that I've written another suspenseful epic coming out in May (I won't tell you the title yet, it's priceless). And with that, I conclude another one of my fantastic series. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to take a bath.