Many people might relate to Michael Parnell’s tale of a lovable bulldog who finds her home amid thousands of adoring fans.
Though similar, the dog in Parnell’s story is not Uga – the University of Georgia’s prized mascot – and her home is not Sanford Stadium.
Parnell, a 2001 Evans High School graduate, had to make sure of it.
“It took me months to go through all the rerd tape that was involved as far as dealing with UGA,” Parnell said.
With the help of attorney Sonny Seiler, Uga’s owner, Parnell went to extra measures to ensure his recently published book, Suga, did not violate any of the university’s trademark rights.
Parnell wrote the first version of his children’s book during a course required for his early childhood education degree from Augusta State University.
“Instead of having a final exam, we had to write a children’s book,” he said.
Parnell, who received an 87 on the project, said his professor told him that with a little more work, the book could be a commercial success.
As a result, Parnell spent last summer researching how to publish a book and found a company in Atlanta to print it.
The book’s main character, Suga, is a lonely bulldog in the pound and leaves in search of a family to adopt her, Parnell said.
Along the way, Suga comes across various animals, such as a gamecock, an alligator and a Bluetick Coonhound, that just so happen to be mascots of other schools in the Southeastern Conference.
Suga finally wanders into her new home, surrounded by green grass and hedges.
“She has 93,000 family members at the end of the story,” Parnell said.
The story is that of determination and hard work, he added.
Parnell’s uncle, a medical illustrator in Atlanta, drew illustrations for the book that replaced clip art Parnell used in the original version.
After graduating from Augusta State in December, Parnell is currently working as a substitute teacher for a class at Warren Road Elementary School, where he realized the wide appeal of Suga.
“I just read it to my kindergarten class, and they loved it,” he said.
Parnell’s goal is to write different versions of the book, choosing a different animal as the main character, that will interest fans of other college football teams.
He hopes to soon publish special edition copies of the book with a foreword provided by UGA head football coach Mark Richt.
The book can be purchased for $15.95 by contacting Parnell at email@example.com.
Suga is also available at Saintly Gifts in La Petite Plaza and Mish Mash Interiors & Gifts at 4090 Washington Road in Evans.
Greenbrier High School senior Frederick Reese also stuck his foot in the literary pool by writing Crescent Moon.
The book follows a 17-year-old, who is bullied by his peers and finds answers about his life in an unexpected place.
Reese, 18, comes from a military background and wants to pursue a college degree in audio production.
His book can be pre-ordered for $16.97 at http://sbpra.com/frederickreese.
Another children’s book written by a Columbia County author is Bella Blue and a Dratted Blah Blah Day.
Evans resident Margaret Williams, who writes under the pen name Sissie Dale, wrote the book for girls ages 8 to 12.
In the story, readers follow Bella Blue as she tries to turn her horrible day into a better one.
For information, visit www.bellabluesbabblings.com.