Recipes from a ghost book? Don’t worry- they’re friendly ghosts.

In fact they are family ghosts, those of my great aunt Nellie, my grandmother Ethel, and my mother Mary Elizabeth. These ghosts don’t appear as spirits, but their recipes live on in a 1910 cookbook I found among my mother’s things.

Recipes-My Friends and My Own,” is a blank book with prompts for various foods. As I opened the well-used volume, the first thing that caught my eye was an article pasted on the flyleaf, “Twenty-four Uses for Lemons.” Did you know a cloth soaked in lemon juice and bound around a cut stops severe bleeding?* How about a spoonful of lemon juice in black coffee will cure bilious headache?*

*Try at your own risk. Our grandparents weren’t always right about everything.

On the opposite page is a handwritten recipe for Strawberry Cake and a clip from a newspaper, How to Remove Spots and Stains. But the thing that means the most to me is the declaration at the top:

With best wishes. To Ethel, from Nellie – April 26, 1910

As I thumbed through the book, I not only found recipes from the early 20th century, but later ones as well. It looked like my mother had added some things of her own. In the bottom corner is a handwritten note referring to rationing during WWII: May 4, 1942 – Sugar declared … 2 lbs per person… Oct. ’42, 5 lb per person. On the next page are Cake Frosting recipes cut from a magazine, then entrées on browned newsprint: Tamale Pie, Pilaf, and Italian Spaghetti with Liver (?).

The artwork in this volume is absolutely stunning! Both illustrations and text are thoroughly Art Nouveau. Done in black and red line drawings, they seem so representative of the times- over a century ago! Can you imagine yourself as this lovely young woman in her kitchen whipping up a cake or a loaf of bread for her family? So far removed from the kitchen of today. No microwave, Instant Pot, food processer (or even an electric mixer), no refrigerator, freezer, or dishwasher!

I actually have a few kitchen items from back then. A biscuit press, a nutmeg grater, and an egg slicer spring to mind, but I know there are more. It comes from being the only child of an only child, as well as my inability to get rid of anything. I will dig some of them out and take a few pictures, but that’s for another time.

I’m looking forward to going through this ancient book, reading the many recipes, and even trying some out. Once past the odd little illustration of the serving boy falling on his face, the Table of Contents gives some idea of where we will be going. And since my ancestors didn’t always put things in the correct places, there may be some surprises along the way. (What will we find in “The Chafing Dish” category, I wonder?) This may take a while!

You can still buy an antique copy of “Recipes, My Friends and My Own” on Amazon or Etsy.

Posted in Food | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments


The first day of Spring!

This is the time of year when I rejoice and marvel that I made it through the long gray, and sometimes white, winter. Those dark hours – the sunrise of gloom with sunset coming all too soon – are receding, and from today on, we’re heading into warmer and lighter times!

Let’s celebrate!

Neighbor cat in the wheelbarrow

Would you believe these early daffys are only three inches tall?

Croci in the birch tree root.

Tinkerbelle contemplates spring from inside where it’s warm.

Little wishes you the best season ever!

Posted in photography | Tagged | 4 Comments


Photo by Adarsh Kummur on Unsplash

You may already know how much I love Comic-Cons and conventions. If you’ve never seen your favorite actors in person, answering your questions, talking ad lib, making jokes, and doing skits, you are missing a whole dimension of entertainment. For years, I attended a huge Star Trek convention in Las Vegas, plus many others. I even based one of my Crazy Cat Lady mysteries, Cosmic Cat, on an adventure that begins at a Comic-Con. My health hasn’t been good enough to travel to Vegas these past few years, but when I saw there was to be a local con with many of my favorite actors as guests, I jumped at the opportunity. When I made that choice, I was feeling fine. I couldn’t have foreseen that by the time the date rolled around, I would be deep into an episode of anxiety.

I have what’s called General Anxiety Disorder (GAD). I’ve had it all my life since I was a child. It comes out of nowhere, and blam, I’m deported into a different world, one of monsters and fear, of rapid heartbeats, of exhaustion, and one that makes every other thing on Earth seem not worthwhile. I have medication for it, which works for the most part, but sometimes that sneaky snake of anxiety outwits the meds and curls up in my head and heart. That’s what happened right before the Comic-Con.

For a while, I wasn’t sure I even wanted to go. Nothing is fun when I’m shrouded in anxiety. Still, I would feel bad even if I stayed home. So I went. I enjoyed it, but it was a challenge. This is what I wrote:

Sitting in the audience waiting for the next guest. Life is going on around me-people in costume, laughing and talking about the con. I’m here but not. I wish I were home.

When I first got to the con, I felt normal, like my old self. I walked a long way just to get in the front door, then more to check out the scene. At the guest panel, three stars from Star Trek: The Next Generation, I found myself laughing out loud… Lots! During that hour, as well as the next, a talk with Katee Sackoff who, BTW, is from my hometown Portland I was fine. It was great! I couldn’t remember why I’d felt so badly.

After the presentations, I started cruising the vendors’ area to look at all the cool stuff. That’s when I noticed I was getting tired. Then really tired. I drank some water, then went  back to the auditorium and sat down. I ate a granola bar. It didn’t help.

The feelings continued, getting worse. Hard to breathe, headache, bone-crushing exhaustion. I wanted nothing more than to lie on my couch at home, and I had a hard time convincing myself to stay. I wanted to run but was too tired to run. Probably if I’d had my car, I would have left, but my husband was picking me up after the next panel.

The feelings scared me. I tried all the things I’ve learned- even breathing, focusing on one thing in the room, counting. I made it to showtime-one minute at a time.

This was the panel I’d been waiting for, two actors from Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, whom I’d never seen before. I felt better once it started. Was my medication kicking in, or it the program diverting my self-destructive thoughts?

I enjoyed the rest of the panel, then went home and fell into a dead sleep on the couch. The anxiety was back the next day, but I easier to manage because I was at home. Sometimes I just stop and wonder why it happens. If you know, please tell me.

Posted in anxiety disorder, Health, Wellness, Lifestyle | 6 Comments


Authors love good reviews!

Whether a reader writes a few kind words or an entire synopsis, it makes an author’s day to receive a good review. I wish more people left reviews or star ratings (good ones, I hope), but the percentage is low. Still, every once in a while, someone writes a review that stands out, that goes above and beyond. I recently received such a review for my mystery thriller, Placid River Runs Deep.

Kim Zoby of Readers’ Favorites writes:

Author Mollie Hunt has broken the mold of the typical whodunit…

…suspense-filled writing leaving me breathlessly anticipating the killer’s next move…

Placid River Runs Deep is unlike any book I have read to date and it had me biting my nails till the final spine-tingling last page…

Kitty Little agrees!

Wow! Words to impress!

She gave an amazing review. Here it is in its entirety:

Placid River Runs Deep by Mollie Hunt is a twisted tale about a serial killer’s plight for revenge as he stalks an exclusive cabin community nestled beside a mountainside lake. The story begins in 1973 with an unruly group of teenagers trespassing on Placid River land. Being drunk and looking for a place to hook up, Roy Terry and his date break into a nearby cabin. Roy makes a series of bad choices that result in the death of a young mother. Flash forward to 2010 when, unbeknownst to the residents of Placid River, Roy Terry has been released from prison and is out for revenge. One by one, the members of the tight-knit community of Placid River are dying. With summer at its peak, the lakeside cabins are at full occupancy and Placid River has become the hunting ground for a serial killer.

Author Mollie Hunt has broken the mold of the typical whodunit with a unique writing format that introduces the serial killer and his sinister motives on page one. At that very moment, I knew Placid River Runs Deep would be a one-sit read. Page by page, I was drawn into the story with suspense-filled writing leaving me breathlessly anticipating the killer’s next move. The eeriness of thick forests on a starless night, coupled with the snap of twigs, expertly emits fear and the feeling of being stalked. Dark secrets are revealed, adding an unexpected twist to the elite founding resident’s role in the 1973 murder. Placid River Runs Deep is unlike any book I have read to date and it had me biting my nails till the final spine-tingling last page.

Our cabin on the river, 1958. Photo taken by my dad.

Thank you, Kim!

Thanks to Kim for not only choosing to read my book, but for her kind and thorough review. Her suggestions, some of which were private and not in the above text, gave me insight into how the reader feels about the story, which is so helpful to me. This story is close to my heart because the location is based on a real place, my own grandparents’ summer cabin in southern Washington. I have so many wonderful memories from those childhood summers spent in nature, (Thankfully there were no real murders involved) and enjoyed the nostalgia describing the scenery in my book.

NOTE: I didn’t pay Readers’ Favorite or Kim Zoby to write this honest review.


Posted in Book Talk, Reviews | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments


My friend died last week.

We hadn’t talked for fifteen years. There was a falling out over lifestyle choices. But before that, she was my bestie, all the way back to our college days at PCC.

We met during a low period in my life. My husband had walked out on me, leaving only a red rose and a damning note. I’d just moved to Portland from B.C. and knew no one besides my parents. It was hard—I was devastated. I considered following him back to Canada, but then I met Tery.

I should say, Tery met me. An outgoing extravert with an upbeat personality, she noticed me sitting alone at the lunch table and invited me over. I was shy and shell-shocked but soon found I could relax in her easy aura. We began to meet outside of school, and the friendship blossomed from there.

But this is not going to be a biography, nor is it a memoir. This is about how, after fifteen years of silence, I find myself missing her.

I had no concept until her passing how much of my day-to-day life is still rooted in that long-ago history. Today while working in my studio, I picked up an eraser, the Mars plastic type that we had at school. Is it an original or a newer acquisition? Either way, it made me think of Tery.

Tery. When we first met, she spelled her name the normal way—Terry. But we were artists—at least we were going to be—and one day she decided she needed something more unique. I vividly remember the discussion over cigarettes and beer. “Teri” was too common. “Terri”? Too cute. “Terie”? Too easy to mispronounce. She came upon “Tery” and has been Tery ever since.

The Mars plastic eraser isn’t the only thing I’ve saved all these years. I have a forty-five year old bottle of India ink, a palette knife, and a big, square watercolor brush that cost a small fortune back in the day. And that’s only what is here in my workroom. In the living room are picture albums that date back to the 80’s. In the attic is a stack of black and white prints we took for photography class and printed ourselves. (I haven’t looked either since Tery’s death. Maybe I will do it soon… or maybe never…)

One picture that comes to the forefront of my mind was taken by a friend—Tery and me looking out a window at our favorite bar hangout, Zoe’s in Multnomah. That photo shouts, “We are young. We are artists. We are women. We have our lives ahead of us.”

After we graduated (May of 1980 with Mt. St Helens ash falling on our portfolios), we went into business together across the street from Zoe’s. Despite the stars in our eyes, it took only a year for little Woodrose Art Shop to go under. As I look back, I can see that was the year things began to go downhill.

But I promised not to pontificate on the past. Stuff happened. We turned thirty; we got married (a few times, in my case); we had lots of friends and did crazy things in out-of-the-way places.

Though it took another twenty years for me to get it, that lifestyle wasn’t sustainable. I replaced it with something healthier; she didn’t.

In our last real conversation, Tery berated me for changing, while I preached about my “better life” from a pink cloud of early sobriety. There was no common ground, and we both knew it.

My newfound program asks us to make amends to those people we had hurt, and I knew Tery was among them. Sober, I came to accept my part in the arguments, fights, and misunderstandings we’d had along the way. Looking back to that time in Mazatlán when I was so angry at her flippancy, I see two things. Firstly, she was who she was—my expecting her to change was my problem, not hers. Second, I was as drunk as everyone else, and ornery as well. That was my part too.

But I never went to her with those amends, though I thought about it hundreds, maybe thousands of times. I told myself—and tell myself still—it wouldn’t have made a difference. She was never going to see booze as a bad thing. Her death attests to that. Still, it doesn’t make me right.

Should I have gone to that house she shared with her husband Dennis, where so many parties happened; where I’d run to when my lover and I fought; where we swam in her pool and played pool on her table; where she threw me out once for a misunderstanding;? Where we watched the Super Bowl each year and the very first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation? Should I have sucked up my fears of rejection and more so, of making a bad situation worse, and gone to her (and Dennis as well, because I owe him amends along different lines)? I just couldn’t see it. In my mind, it always ended badly. In my heart, I already knew it was too late.

In the end, I reverted back to being shy and shell-shocked, where Tery remained fierce and fearless.

I hadn’t talked to Tery for fifteen years, and now I think about her all the time.


Posted in Alcoholism & Addiction, Health, Wellness, Lifestyle, Life Through Amber | Tagged , , | 10 Comments


Photo by Simon Haslett on Unsplash

What can I tell you about pitch-writing in two seconds that will pique your…

“Here are 5 steps to a compelling pitch.”

“…5 easy steps.”

“…5 surefire steps.”

“…5 blah blah blah.”

Oops! Lost you already. You’ve heard it all before and are scrolling down to find a funny cat video.

Okay, so I add a cat photo to my pitch text.

…a kitten—even better. Cute, big eyes and fuzzy face, like she’s asking you the question out of her cute kitten mouth.

That might work. At least it got you to stop scrolling and glance at my post. Will you read it? Will it be enough to make you click the link and find out more?

Photo by Amy Baugess on Unsplash


I don’t have the recipe for the perfect hook.

It depends on what you’re trying to sell. Books? Products? Ideas? Advocacy? The subjects are different, but sales are the same.

A good pitch should contain the following elements: a question; a promise; a surprise, a piece of your heart. Refine those elements into one or two sentences that also describe what you’re selling, and you are on your way.

To grab someone’s attention in the minimum amount of time, video comes in as the number one draw, followed by compelling photos and graphics, but there are exceptions to every rule. One of the most wildly shared pitches I’ve seen going around the internet reads: “I suck at marketing. Please buy my book.” Plain white text against a black background. Funny because it’s true. Does it sell books? I bet it does.

Now for the big question…

Did you read this post? The whole thing? For those who made it all the way to the end, I thank you. For the rest of you, I hope you enjoyed the cat pictures.


Posted in Book Talk, Writing | Tagged , , | 4 Comments


Photo by C. SHII on Unsplash

Hire a qualified cat sitter? Yes or yes.

Yes, I’m a writer, but I am also a cat sitter. I go to people’s houses and care for their cats while they are on vacation or away for work. They pay me to play with their cats—what’s not to love about a job like that?

Feeding, special diets, medications including injectables and pills, litter box patrol, cleaning up when kitty misses or messes—these are all part of the service, but there’s more to it. When kitty throws up, is it a routine scarf-and-barf or something more insidious? If kitty falls from the cat tree and limps away, it is amusing or a trip to the vet for an injured bone? If kitty hides, is she being coy or could she be exhibiting a symptom of an illness? A qualified cat sitter needs to know what to do in an emergency. That, not the routine day to day cat chores, is what I’m paid for.

There are many reasons to hire a cat sitter. A cat may need socialization—they miss their human cohabitor and having someone’s lap to curl up on. Or a cat has a strict medical regimen that requires strict adherence, (whether kitty likes it or not). Sure, your neighbor’s kid can pop in and sprinkle a handful of kibble in a dish, but do they know how to pill a cat?

What if the unthinkable happens? Life-threatening emergencies require speedy action, so it’s important to know what to do should something happen to your pet. Before you begin your trip, I come to your house, meet your cats, and go over every possibility, just in case. How else can you feel assured all basses are covered and have a carefree trip?

Do you hire a cat sitter/pet sitter when you leave town? I’d love to know your thoughts.


Posted in Cat Health, Cats | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments


There’s a Cat Hair in My Mask: How Cats Helped Me through Unprecedented Times – Excerpts and Photographs

This is the second instalment of photos that accompany the memoir. I hope you are enjoying these snippets of the book and the pictures that go along with them.

(If you missed Part 1, you can find it here.)

Cats are the best medicine.

Chapter 5. Everything Closed; Everything Canceled

I still wasn’t feeling well. My symptoms were all over the place…  I was so obsessed with my own problems that I didn’t mind when planned events began to cancel—I doubted I could have made them anyway. But after a while in that forced isolation, even I began to feel it. It started with missing things I really enjoyed, such as the Pet Pals for Cats meetings at the Oregon Humane Society where I’d been volunteering since 2006.


Chapter 6. Enter the Fosters

When the Humane Society closed their doors to the volunteers that took on so much of the work, they created a dilemma for themselves—who was going to care for all the animals? Their basic needs would still be met by the staff—food, medication, cleaning—but OHS strove to do so much more for their wards. On any given day pre-COVID, volunteers would be spending uncounted hours making sure each one had the best shelter experience possible. In the cattery, that had been my job: playing with cats.

Play is one way cats relieve frustration and overcome stress and fear. Without such daily action, cats can become depressed, a condition that manifests physically in behaviors such as aggression, timidity, and even catatonia. They quit eating and drinking. They may even give up the will to live.

A call was put out to the shelter’s foster parent brigade to please help. As a grateful foster volunteer, I immediately answered the call…

Chapter 7. 7:00

There were heroes among us, not in capes or uniforms, but in scrubs and masks—the medical staff that was taking care of the most vulnerable. Someone decided we should thank them. We couldn’t do it in person, of course, but it could still be done.

Every evening at 7:00 pm, people all over the country stopped what they were doing and went out on their front porches with pots and pans and drums and horns to honor those on the “front lines.” For a minute or two, they banged and yelped and shouted and cheered, a cacophony of noise. Then they went back inside to isolate for another twenty-four hours.

At Riverview Cemetery

Chapter 8. Keeping Busy

As an introvert used to spending my days in solitude, I wasn’t as much affected by the pandemic stay-at-home order as some others were. I went about my business of writing and cats with much unchanged. For me, the cancellations were a mixed blessing—I would miss the things I took pleasure in, but those other ones, the have-to-dos, not so much. And now I finally had a good excuse for not seeing anyone.

Not that I was a total hermit. When my sisters-in-law organized a trip to the beautiful Riverview Cemetery where both Jim’s and my families were buried, I agreed to go along. We were masked and outside in an environment where it was easy to stay six feet apart. The only sounds were birdsong, the chirp of squirrels, and the whoosh of the huge wings of the eagles who nested in a tall fir tree above the graves. Though it may seem like a strange place for a family stroll, it was perfect.

Easter Eggs

Chapter 9. Easter Eggs

It was Easter, but no one was having parties. Children, already bored and flustered by being taken out of school and forbidden to play with their friends, were destined to have their Easter egg hunts alone. Jim and I have no children in our house anymore, but I still felt sad, remembering those times when kids ran through the spring grass and flowers to discover chocolate and painted Easter eggs on that day.

I’d been sitting with Lydia in the foster room when I heard an idea on the radio that was catching hold throughout the community. People were putting pictures of painted eggs up in their windows for kids to count on a neighborhood walk. I thought to myself, How fun!

Chapter 10. Facing Down the Dragon

All my life I’ve struggled with anxiety. I vividly recall how, even as a child, bouts of obscure terror that seemed to have no basis in reality would come over me at nighttime like a shroud, making my safe little world ugly and frightening. Ghosts would have been easier to bear. Zombies, werewolves, vampires—anything would have been better than that squeezing, choking dragon of fear.

My parents didn’t get it. Being “scared of the dark” was common for small children, and they passed it off as normal. I think my grandmother, in whose house we lived, understood a bit better, or maybe she was just more sympathetic to my very obvious distress. She would let me crawl into her big bed and sleep with her when the dragon got too much for me.

There was a cat then as well. His name was Two…


More Illustrated Posts coming soon! To purchase the book, (without pictures) click here.


Posted in Life Through Amber, memoir | Tagged , , | 2 Comments



Happy Valentine’s Day!

This year I thought I’d do something different than my usual cynical observations about how many people this over-advertised holiday hurts. You know- the singles who wish they had someone, the spouses who have lost their partner, the divorcees, the jilted. I’m just sending happy thoughts, the ones everyone can enjoy. 

Who doesn’t love cats and roses?


I loved these old-fashioned cards when I was a kid!


More cats? Why not?


This post card is probably from the 1890’s.


Okay, some of us still feel a bit cynical on Valentine’s Day. Have a good one, how ever you choose (or not) to celebrate!



Posted in Events, Giveaways, photography | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments


An all-new cover!

I’m so excited to finally have finally published Cat Summer with its new updated cover! This one perfectly matches the beautiful cat-centric cover of Cat Winter, book 2 in the Cat Seasons Tetralogy.

Cat Summer is a tale of cats saving the world- twice! Here’s the blurb:

Lise has a special destiny: to help a clowder of sentient cats save the world from an evil older than history itself. It is a terrible battle, but Lise and her comrades prevail, putting an end to war, poverty, ignorance and want. The world is a better place.

Or is it?

A century later, it comes clear that something has been lost. The new civilization produces no artists, no musicians, no scientists, no philosophers. Inertia has taken hold. Lise, now at the end of her life, must join her cat-friends once more to restore the Spark of the Human Spirit, but the goal cannot be reached without sacrifice.

Cat Summer is the winner of the Muse Medallion for Science Fiction-Fantasy at the Cat Writers’ Association Communications Contest, 2021

The Cat Seasons series is my most extensive work to date, as well as the longest running project, beginning sometime in the late 1990’s. It was a vision more than an idea. A picture in my head of cats and how they live their mysterious, feline lives. The feral, with his tomcat boldness, yet he fears the slightest human touch. The house cat who has never got the chance to roam, but who believes she is the center of her cozy universe. The indoor-outdoor cat, living the best of both worlds, until a car comes too fast or a raccoon invades his territory.

That last one was what started me on this journey. Our then-cat Atilla, who you will meet in the book, could go in and out as he pleased through a cat door. He was not huge and  he was  extremely fluffy, but no one would mistake him for a pushover. Atilla was a tough boy who ruled the neighborhood and was king of our secluded back garden.

Once I caught him napping under a canopy of peony leaves. He must have felt safe because he didn’t move as I approached. As I watched him kick little kitty feet and give kitty sighs, I had to wonder what he was dreaming.

But in my writer’s imagination, I saw a whole scenario— cats, lots of them, taking the world by storm. It was a world that needed guidance-why couldn’t my cats provide that help?

Each of the four Cat Seasons stories involves a different set of characters facing a different challenge. In Cat Summer, they deal with an evil older than history; in Cat Winter, a space anomaly that takes them all the way back to the big bang; in Cat Autumn, the world is menaced by aliens from a concurrent universe; and in Cat Spring, retrocausality threatens to eliminate the feline species, now and forever.

There will be two more instalments to this tetralogy. Cat Autumn should be coming out sometime this year, with Cat Spring following in 2024.

Posted in Sci-fi & Fantasy | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments