#RememberMeThursday! LIGHT UP THE WORLD FOR ORPHAN PETS

Today is #RememberMeThursday, the day we light up the world for orphan pets.

It’s Thursday, September 22, 2022, so let’s get the entire world talking about pet adoption. Tweet, tag, post and share the beauty and life-saving significance of pet adoption on social media. Let’s honor the 1+ million orphan pets who ran out of time and help #SeeTheLight for the rescues that we can still help.

Changing just one mind can save a life.

Share this post to help others #SeeTheLight about pet adoption on #RememberMeThursday. Unite with pet-lovers around the world to shine a light on orphan pets waiting in shelters and rescues for forever homes. Let’s take social media by storm for orphan pets!

My Story.

As a volunteer for the Oregon Humane Society and House of Dreams Free-roam Cat Shelter, I’ve seen thousands of orphaned pets. They all have a story: their person has fallen ill and can no longer care for them; their person has died; their person has become homeless or taken an apartment that doesn’t allow pets; and so on. Though adoption is supposed to be forever, there are reasons why that doesn’t always work out. At the shelters where I volunteer, those surrendered are the lucky ones, because here in Portland Oregon, animals are cared for and stay as long as they need to find a new home. But that’s not the case everywhere. Help your local shelters become no-kill with your volunteer efforts.

Shelters need your help. Here is part of what I do.

~Shadwell~

Foster cat Shadwell was a young female from a hording situation who didn’t know how to “cat.” She liked being petted but would strike with claws bared whenever a hand got near. Her socialization improved with play and touch, and finally she was adopted by someone who could understand her moods.

~Popeye~

Foster cat Popeye, a 2-year-old boy, came to me from OHS with a broken leg, a herniated neuter site, and URI. In spite of all that had been dealt him, he was the sweetest cat. Transferred from another shelter, he had a long road to wellness, but in the end, he was adopted quickly

~Melinko~

Melinko is my granddaughter’s cat who came to stay with me while we figured out why he was losing hair and peeing blood. Sometimes there is no easy fix, and a month later after dealing with his flea allergy and ruling out other causes for the blood, the doctor determined he was stressed. Now that we know, his issues can be delt with head on. Melinko is back with his family.

~Frankie & Mia~

Foster cats Mia and Frankie are a bonded pair of very large cats who have only lived with one person for their whole lives. It took a bit of time to get them happy after suddenly being taken from their only home, but now they are doing fine. You’ll be able to adopt them soon!

#RememberMeThursday

GET INVOLVED IN THREE EASY STEPS

 

Posted in Animal Shelters, Cat Health, Cats | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Who are the Cat Writers’ Association? ANITA AURIT

Our guest today on Who are the Cat Writers’ Association? is award-winning blogger Anita Aurit of FelineOpines, the World from a Feline Point of View.

Anita, tell us a bit about your writing/blogging career.

I had been published in several genres, but when I was published in Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover’s Soul, my cat writing career took off. The Chicken Soup PR people told me that I needed a blog. I did some research and didn’t want to be another cat advice blog; then I thought, “I’m a fiction writer. I love creating characters. My cats are characters.” This was the birth of FelineOpines, the world from a feline point of view. I have won awards for the blog and the blog inspired the Felines Opine book series. So far there are three books with the fourth in the works.  My cats inspired me to write my first cozy mystery which will be published in 2023 and features two of my felines, Alberto and Oliver.


How do cats inspire your creativity?

 Each of my three cats inspire me. Their personalities are so different, and their antics delight me every day. Since I began on this cat writing journey, I’ve received diplomas in Feline Behavior & Anxiety as well as certification as a pet bereavement counselor. Even my beloved felines who recently crossed the Rainbow Bridge inspired me to write a book about grief at the loss of a cat (Are There Head Bonks in Heaven?).

What do you enjoy about belonging to CWA?

As a CWA member I am connected with a professional group of content creators (authors, photographers, videographers, etc.) who inspire me. Many of the CWA members that I’ve met over the years have become friends. And the CWA Communications Contest is a way to have my work critiqued and recognized by a group of my peers. The CWA Certificates of Excellence and Muse Medallions I have been awarded are the highest praise I could receive for my cat writing/blogging/video work.

Now for a few arbitrary questions:

  1. Did you grow up with cats?
    Yes, my mother liked cats. My dad, hard boiled Army Green Beret, loved cats. We have a photo in our family album of one of our cats named Smokey. My dad noted below the photo, “Smokey, went AWOL” and he noted the date.
  1. Is your cat an unofficial (or official) emotional support animal?
    I went through one of the worst emotional traumas of my life 3 years ago. My cats sensed it, and they applied purr therapy every night and helped me through days that I thought I’d never get through. There were days I didn’t want to get out of bed, but I needed to feed my fur kids, clean their litter boxes, and make sure they were properly cared for. Was it not for them, I would have wallowed in my situation far too long. When I come home from work, they always come to greet me. They make my house a home.
  1. “Adopt, Foster, Volunteer, Donate, Educate” is a common slogan for animal rescue. What do you like to do?
    I promote TNR, rescue, adoption, and fostering on my blog and in my community. I (or rather my felines) participate in Remember Me Thursday, and I have fostered and am a happy foster failure. I donate to my shelter monthly.
  1. What’s the craziest thing your cat’s ever done?
    Alberto once went through a period when he would knock things off the counter or drop things into my purse for me to discover later in the day. The only item that disturbed me a bit was the knife I found at the bottom of my bag.

 

Please give us the names and short descriptions of your cats.

Alberto – one of my foster failures. He demands that I turn the bathroom faucet on in the morning, then he sticks his head under the wet stream. It’s his version of a shower. He looks like a Siamese but comes from a multi-species background. He is 22 pounds but is long so doesn’t show his weight. He can reach my waist when he stretches from the floor.

Oliver – Oliver was part of the foster failure as I fostered him and his brother Alberto. His name is Oliver because he was the runt of the litter and always hungry. (Oliver Twist, “more porridge please”) He has since blossomed into 22 pounds of feline but, unlike his brother who looks sleek and muscular, Ollie is rotund and has a bit of a waddle to his walk. He is a cat that lives to eat, and his diet is going not so well.

Lily – Lily is an 8 pound bundle of sass. Her nickname is Princess Stabby Toes. She is also a shelter kitty, and although I’ve had her all 8 years of her life, there is still a bit of feral in her when I pick her up to put her in the carrier or try to clip her claws. She is a love bug and sleeps next to me every night in the crook of my arm. She brooks no nonsense from her big brothers (who sometimes chase her around the house or try to steal her treats) and will give each one a random “whacky paw” when she walks by them, just for good measure.

Find out more about Anita Aurit at these fun sites:

https://felineopines.net/

https://www.facebook.com/Felineopines

https://www.instagram.com/aauritwrites/

https://studio.youtube.com/channel/UCLUf0qSnDbis6q8_OmLhd4Q/videos/upload?filter=%5B%5D&sort=%7B%22columnType%22%3A%22date%22%2C%22sortOrder%22%3A%22DESCENDING%22%7D

https://www.pinterest.com/felineopines

Posted in Blogging, Book Talk, CAT WRITERS, Interviews, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

NIGHT PASSAGES-A CAT POEM

 

NIGHT PASSAGES

Cat’s up.

Visits the commode,

then makes his rounds.

Meow, me-row, row-o-ooow

into the darkness,

skirting predator shadows,

seeking kibble prey.

He returns to bed,

jumping on my feet.

All purrs and purrumphs,

he settles in a circle.

A sigh

and back to sleep

while I stare into the darkness and

savor his kitty scent.

 

Collage Photos by Alexander Andrews and Altınay Dinç on Unsplash
Posted in Poetry, Secret Soul | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Who are the Cat Writers’ Association? SANDRA TONEY

Hello cat people! Let me introduce today’s guest on Who are the Cat Writers’ Association? Sandra Toney, a freelance writer with a formidable body of work.

Tell us a bit about your writing.

I’ve been writing for over 25 years. I have a B.A. in Political Science, but when I took elective classes, I always went for the writing classes and excelled. One of my professors said I should look into becoming a writer as a career. And here I am.

I first wrote about everything, but cats were such a huge part of my life that I started writing simple cat stories for a small newsletter. Eventually, I saw an ad in Writer’s Digest (old print magazine) in the 1990’s from Amy Shojai asking people to join Cat Writers’ Association if they liked writing about cats. That’s when I solely started writing cat articles and never looked back. I’ve always been a freelancer. I’ve written probably close to 1,000 articles and eight books about cats over my career.

How do cats inspire your creativity?

Whenever I have a question about something my cat Angel does or doesn’t do that I don’t know the answer to, it usually becomes an article. I research it and think that if I don’t know the answer to something, I’m guessing some others don’t either. I worked at a no-kill animal shelter for ten years in the cat department. That’s where so many of my articles came from during those years. I witnessed many illnesses, behavior problems, and fun things to do with the cats at the cage-free shelter. I wrote about them and learned right along with my readers.

What do you enjoy about belonging to CWA?

CWA has been a lifesaver for me. Meeting Amy Shojai through old-fashioned pen-to-paper letters is what started my journey with CWA. She told me how to become a member, and I won a Special Award my first year. At the Awards Ceremony, I remember looking out at the crowd and seeing so many “famous” faces. I was giddy. It was MY Oscar night. The other members have become good friends, and I don’t know what I would do without them.

Ray and Angel before his kidney transplant

I quit writing for almost ten years because my husband was very ill. He died in 2020 and the CWA members rallied around me when I tried my hand at cat writing again. I was scared they had forgotten me. (I did keep up my membership dues even when I wasn’t actively writing). I had almost zero confidence that I even COULD still write. But my CWA family encouraged me, and it’s such a blessing to know all of them. And I guess I can still write because I’m getting published again after such a long absence.

Please answer any 3 (or more if you’re inspired) of the following questions. You may be as brief, wordy, serious, humorous, or creative as you wish.

  1. What is your favorite cat movie and why?

“Homeward Bound.” I cried a lot when the cat Sassy, a beautiful Himalayan, got separated from the dogs, but it was a happy ending.

Sandra and Buttons 1981

  1. Did you grow up with cats?

Yes, I grew up on a farm in northern Indiana. I mainly had barn cats, and some were semi-feral. I loved working with those cats, even as a young girl, to get them to gain my trust and tame them. Sometimes I was the only person who could touch them, but they always trusted me.

  1. Do you sing to cats? If so, what songs do you sing?

I sing a song called “Mommy and Me.” I think it’s made up. At least my version is. Ha. I think my cat Angel cringes a bit when I sing it.

  1. Where are you sitting right now? From where you are, how many cat-themed objects can you see?

I’m in my office at my computer. I only see 28 cat-themed objects including a cat mouse pad and a cat coaster. I thought there were more.

  1. How would you identify your cat in a lineup?

Angel would be the one meowing the loudest for no apparent reason.

Please tell us more about Angel.

Angel is a 12-year old calico. My husband and I adopted her from the no-kill shelter where I used to work. She loved him dearly, but now it’s just the two of us.

Thank so much for being with us today, Sandra, and for bringing Angel along with you!

You can read one of Sandra’s articles, “Can’t Have a Cat? Sponsor One,” here.

 

Posted in Book Talk, Interviews | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

GHOST CAT LAUNCH PARTY!

Today is the day!    

If you preordered your copy of Ghost Cat on the Midway, you will have it by now. I hope this post doesn’t interrupt your reading, but I have something really special to announce.

A contest giveaway!

But not like anything I’ve done before. See what you think…

I’m not sure where the idea came from—most likely another author—but apparently readers are interested in proof copies of books containing the author’s hand-written notes. And when I say interested, I mean excited. I understand the draw, being an autograph collector myself. I find it fascinating to know the person has touched that page, written those words.

 So…

I am giving away to one lucky winner the proof copy of Ghost Cat on the Midway that I used to hammer out the final finished work.

Thrills and chills! when you see how many times I used the words, suddenly and apparently.

Mystery! deciphering my unreadable handwriting.

Insight! into the writer’s journey.

But wait! There’s more! The winner will also receive a paperback copy of the finished book, signed and personalized by the author. Good luck, Ghost Cat Fans!

 

 

Enter to win: Win the one and only proof copy of Ghost Cat on the Midway, plus a paperback copy of the finished book. Just email me at molliehuntcatwriter@gmail.com with Proof Contest in the subject line. The winner will be chosen by Tyler the cat in about a week. Winner will be announced on social media and personally notified by email. Sorry, US mailing addresses only.

If you haven’t got your copy of Ghost Cat in the Midway, book 2 of the Tenth Life Cozy Mystery Series, you can buy it here.

 

Posted in Contests, Contests, Giveaways, My Cat Cozies, The Tenth Life Cozy Mysteries | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

WHERE DO IDEAS COME FROM?

I’m a cat sitter.

I go to clients’ houses and stay with their cat while they are on vacation or away for business. This practice affords me a lot of time to myself, time spent, aside from the cats, in writing.

This week I’m staying with a beautiful brindled tabby diva. I’ve sat with her before, and in fact, appropriately enough, this is where I typed the first words of Ghost Cat on the Midway last summer. It’s fitting I should be here now, with the finished book set to publish in a just few days.

People ask where ideas come from.

Where do I get my stories? God and experience, is the short answer. Since basically I’m a visual person, ideas come to me in pictures as I write. I do my best to describe what I see, then take it as a jumping-off point to decide where the story is going from there. When I sat down with my laptop in that ivory-upholstered chair last summer—the one right over there with a cat on it now—I had nothing more than a picture in my mind. I saw an old fashioned county fair, the kind I went to as a child at the turn of the fifties. I’d already “seen” that my ghost cat hero Soji was destined to save a tiger. That could work with a fair.

Now that Ghost Cat on the Midway is finished, it’s time for me to sit down somewhere, maybe while cat sitting, and envision a new story. I already have the title: Ghost Cat Christmas. I see lots of red and green. A party. A murder. Maybe not in that order. And the question I always ask myself:

What will Soji do next?

 

 

Posted in My Cat Cozies, The Tenth Life Cozy Mysteries, Writing | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Who are the Cat Writers’ Association? NANCY PETERSON

Today on Who are the Cat Writers’ Association? we have Nancy Peterson, a pet magazine, newspaper, and blogpost writer.

I am the senior writer for the National Kitten Coalition (NKC) and enjoy writing and editing its blog articles. In addition to writing for the NKC, I’ve written articles for my local newspaper, The Sopris Sun, on topics such as the importance of native plants, the power of pet companionship for older adults, and the protection of pet cats and wild birds. I’ve also written blog articles for Fear Free, Out There With the Birds, Wellbeing International, Tucson Audubon Society and Audubon Rockies.

Colorado Animal Rescue, aka CARE

Tell us a bit about your writing.

In 1984, my first article, “The Rex Breeds,” was published in Veterinary Technician magazine. But it wasn’t until 1998, when I moved to Maryland to work for The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the nation’s largest animal protection organization, that I started writing professionally. I could write, but I wouldn’t have described myself as a writer. My first HSUS writing assignments came back with lots of edits, and that’s how my writing improved. I wrote for The HSUS’s website and Animal Sheltering magazine and created information sheets, pamphlets and publications on a variety of topics. One of the pieces I’m most proud of was entitled “Indoor Cats, Scratching, and the Debate over Declawing: When Normal Pet Behavior Becomes a Problem”; it was a chapter I co-authored in The State of the Animals III: 2005, published by Humane Society Press. I also freelanced and wrote for Catnip, CatWatch, Catster, Veterinary Technician and others.

I am the senior writer for the National Kitten Coalition (NKC) and enjoy writing and editing its blog articles. In addition to writing for the NKC, I’ve written articles for my local newspaper, The Sopris Sun, on topics such as the importance of native plants, the power of pet companionship for older adults, and the protection of pet cats and wild birds. I’ve also written blog articles for Fear Free, Out There With the Birds, Wellbeing International, Tucson Audubon Society and Audubon Rockies.

How do cats inspire your creativity?

Cats are the reason I write. I’m a huge ailurophile, and I write to inform, inspire, and celebrate anyone who cares about and cares for cats, including fosters, pet parents, animal shelters, rescue organizations, Trap-Neuter-Return groups, and the veterinary community. I’ve loved animals, especially cats, for as long as I can remember.

What do you enjoy about of belonging to CWA?

I believe I was first introduced to CWA  in the early 2000s because The HSUS provided a special award, The Pets for Life award, for the annual writing conference. I was so smitten with the wonderful folks I met at the conference that I became a member. I went from being a member to being the Special Awards Coordinator and Swag Bag Coordinator for several years to being the president from 2006-2008. Writing was never my career, like it was for so many CWA members, but we sure had fun at our annual conferences and banquets. When I retired in 2015 and was no longer writing, I let my membership lapse. However, I stayed in touch with several CWA members. It wasn’t until 2022 that I renewed my membership because writing once again became a big part of my life. I look forward to virtually attending the 2022 awards banquet.

Now for a few arbitrary questions:

  1. Did you grow up with cats?

I grew up in New York City and brought home many strays. But my parents both worked, and I always had to find homes for the cats. I finally got a cat, Shasta, in my mid-20s. Over the years I’ve shared my home and heart with 11 cats; the most at one time were Buddy, Daisy, Stu and Monty. I returned to college in San Diego in 1978 to become a registered veterinary technician and worked in 2 small animal hospitals for more than 12 years.

I retired as the Community Cats Program Manager from The HSUS in 2015 and moved in 2016 from metro DC to Carbondale, Colorado (population 6,900). I volunteered for Colorado Animal Rescue (CARE) as a cat cuddler and switched to fostering kittens during COVID. I LOVE fostering kittens. I’ve served on the board of Neighborhood Cats since retiring and joined the board of The National Kitten Coalition (NKC) in 2021. I’m also a member of the Human Animal Support Services’ Focus on Felines Workgroup.

  1. What crosses your mind when someone tells you they don’t like cats?

It’s worse than they don’t like cats; some people even say they hate cats. It’s interesting, you rarely hear people say they hate dogs; they either like/love them or don’t. When people say they don’t like cats, they usually add that they’re not affectionate. I respond that they haven’t met the “right” cat and, that like people, all cats have unique personalities. Animal shelters and rescue organizations try really hard to match an adopter’s desires with the “right” cat. Like all relationships, none are perfect; there will be challenges. These same groups work hard to help resolve issues that threaten the bond between people and their pets.

When I traveled, I loved to visit shelters, especially those that had been through The HSUS’s Pets for Life program I coordinated from 2000-2005. More than 500 staff and volunteers attended the 10-day program taught by the Dumb Friends League in Denver, Colorado to learn about implementing behavior programs that improved the animals’ time in the shelter and decreased returns due to unwanted behaviors.

Before I left on any work trip, my sister would always remind me not to bring home any cats. Well, in almost 18 years with The HSUS, I only brought home one. I adopted Toby from a shelter in Florida. I was there for a veterinary conference and decided to visit colleagues who were making a video about caring for adopted cats. They took me to the shelter to choose some friendly cats for a taping. When I sat down in the multi-cat room, a cat immediately headed my way. He had to pass another cat who I just knew was going to slap him as he passed. Nevertheless, he was in my lap in no time, kneading, purring and licking me. I brought him and 2 other cats to the home studio. It just so happened that he was in the first cardboard cat box that I opened. He seemed very comfortable from the moment he jumped out. When I opened the bathroom door, he strolled out confidently and said hello to everyone. We never did film any of the other cats because he was so engaging.

The cats were returned to the shelter, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the special cat I’d met. I called the shelter as soon as it opened the next day and said I wanted to adopt Tobias. When I arrived at the shelter, I learned that he was at least 10 years old and had been rescued from a hoarder’s home. Well, Toby was the most affectionate cat ever and loved everyone he met, including my friends, the plumber, and my fosters. I always wondered if he was so affectionate because he didn’t get any attention in the hoarder’s home or if being so affectionate was the way he got attention. We had 8 wonderful years together.

  1. Tell us a true cat story.

I was inspired to write about Student Cat. Here’s his story in abbreviated form. I’ve written a children’s book about Stu but haven’t pursued its publication.

Students found his lifeless body on the side of the road and brought him to the clinic where I worked as a registered veterinary technician. He was in shock and had congestion in his chest, several wounds and a broken jaw. We stabilized him and performed surgery the next day.

Despite all the medications I gave Student Cat, now dubbed Stu, he was always purred and rubbed his nose on mine.

Stu’s one visitor was one of the students who had gotten permission to adopt Stu. I sent Stu home with lots of instructions for his care and in big letters I wrote, “IF YOU CANNOT KEEP STU FOR ANY REASON, PLEASE BRING HIM BACK TO US.”

Four days later, Stu returned because the mother was allergic. His freedom had been short-lived, and so I took him home for the weekend. It was then I realized he was limping. We x-rayed his leg again and saw a small break. While I was giving him anesthesia, his heart stopped. Dr. Zanders injected his heart with a stimulant, and I gave Stu mouth-to-mouth.

Throughout the day, I returned to Stu’s cage to monitor his recovery. Whenever I put my head inside his cage, his nose met mine.

That evening, I took Stu home for good. The bond that united Stu and me for 17 years was very special. He was very lucky and so was I.

  1. How would you identify your cat in a lineup?

Jenny has white eye lashes and appears cross-eyed because her nictitating membrane is adhered to her cornea. She has a black circle on the left side of her chin, a black circle on near right paw pads, and her microchip has migrated to her left flank. She loves to have her tummy rubbed and is missing her right upper canine tooth. I’ve clicker trained her to sit, come, turn around, stand and lie down.

Jenny

I live with my sister with our 12-year-old cat Jenny, I always called her a Tuxedo, but Vickie Fisher, EveryCat Health Foundation’s president, told me that Jenny is a solid black cat subjected to the white spotting factor to the extent of about 50% and would be called a black and white bi-color! She’s actually a tabby cat but the black gene has hidden all her pattern. Wow, who knew? Jenny looks kind of cross-eyed because her third eyelid is permanently adhered to her cornea. It may be related to the double, upper eyelashes that were surgically removed when she was a kitten. She was part of a litter of 5 feral kittens that I fostered from the age of 4-1/2 weeks of age.

Nancy and Toby

Check out Nancy’s suggested sites:

Here is a link to Research Gate where some of my attributed publications appear.

https://kittencoalition.org

https://www.facebook.com/kittencoalition/

https://www.neighborhoodcats.org

https://www.facebook.com/neighborhoodcats/

Posted in Book Talk, CAT WRITERS, Interviews, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

HAPPY NATIONAL BLACK CAT APPRECIATION DAY from Soji!

Today, August 17, is National Black Cat Appreciation Day!

Now, I know everyone who reads this post loves and appreciates black cats every day of the year, but unfortunately there are those humans who don’t. Black cats tend to linger in shelters, and some humans even think of them as bad luck. (We know differently, don’t we?)

Actually, in many cultures, black cats are seen in a positive light. According to National Today, “in Scottish lore, good tidings would follow if a black cat came to your house. Fishermen often kept black cats on their boats, believing them to bring good luck.”

But let’s ask a black cat what she thinks about the superstitions surrounding cats of the color black.

Let me introduce Soji, the Ghost Cat of Ocean Cove.

Soji currently haunts the beachfront property of septuagenarian Camelia Collins and the pages of the Tenth Life Cozy Mystery Series, written by me.

“Soji was special. Not only did she live to be thirty-two years old—she was the seventh black kitten of a seventh black kitten, which supposedly makes her immortal. She’s said to come back to right great wrongs. A sort of Joan of Arc of cats.

Many claim to have seen her, and they all agree she is black, though some say she is big and long furred like a Norwegian Forest cat, and others say slim and shorthaired. She also appears misty white, as you might expect from a phantom.”

 

Hello, Soji. Thank you for appearing to us this National Black Cat Appreciation Day. What do you think? Do black cats enjoy their special day?

Soji: Of courrrse! Black is the perrrfect color for felines. It helps us hide from predators and conceal ourselves when we stalk prrrey. Our fur doesn’t show up on dark clothing and furniture like our lighter cousins. And just for fun, we can turn brown in the sun. But some humans are ignorant of our many advantages. Hopefully, with enough positive posts for this Black Cat Apprrreciation Day, others will be enlightened.

Are you doing anything special to celebrate today?

Soji: Aside frrrom reading about all my onyx-colored family? Not really. But I am looking forward to August 29th when my author’s latest book will be out, and everybody can read about my newest adventure. It’s called Ghost Cat on the Midway. Ghost cat—that’s me.

Thank you Soji. Tell us about this new story.

Soji: I am hero, of courrrse. I save the day.

I’m sure that’s true, but it looks like there’s a bit more to it. Maybe I’d better give the blurb from the back cover:

Camelia Collins is ready to enjoy Ocean Cove’s small county fair when the keeper of an aging tiger is murdered, and the tiger goes missing.

Who did it—a rogue faction of violent animal activists or something more arcane?

Only the ghost cat Soji knows the truth, but will the capricious spirit come forward before someone else dies?

Thanks so much, Soji, for joining us here today…

Soji?

Hey, Soji?

Well, it looks like our little ghost cat has disappeared for the moment. I hope everyone has a great National Black Cat Appreciation Day! Go pet a black cat, or better yet, adopt one!

Posted in My Cat Cozies, The Tenth Life Cozy Mysteries | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

GHOST CAT – EXCERPT AND A PRE-ORDER DATE!

What is the most exciting part about launching a new book? The Cover Reveal and its colorful conclusion? The buzz of anticipation among my fanbase? The contest? (Coming soon) The reviews? The sales?

Those are all lovely and exhilarating, but for me, my favorite part is receiving the books themselves. The big order from Amazon; the arrival; the unboxing; that first glance at the pile of shiny new covers which, by now, have become so familiar to me. Taking the book in my hand, feeling the weight of it. Opening to the title page and envisioning in-person book events where I’ll be signing my name right there. Looking through the chapters, enjoying the text font and cat images my savvy editor picked out for me. It’s that finally done, complete, and ready to go out into the world moment that I love best.

That, and readings.

I can’t do a reading for you just yet, unless you happen to be a cat at the shelter where I volunteer, but I can give an excerpt. Here, for your enjoyment, is Chapter One of Ghost Cat on the Midway.

Chapter 1 – The Cove County Fair

Camelia Collins stood on the little patio, breathing in the smell of fried onions, cotton candy, and horse. Though the fair didn’t officially open until the next day, the grounds were already buzzing with activity. Carnival workers were setting up the side stalls, concessions, games, and big rides. Volunteers from the community were arranging the exhibit halls. Judges were mulling over last-minute entries in the various categories: art, photography, crafts, floral design, and foods. Youngsters from the 4-H led goats, lambs, ponies, and pigs from their stalls to the judging arena, hopeful for the big win.

Camelia hadn’t been to a county fair for ages. Her mother had taken her when she was a child, but as the city of Portland grew and the farms and ranches dwindled, so did the fairs nearby. Last time she’d attended, it wasn’t much more than a venue for concessions and sales—hot tubs, aluminum siding, vegetable slicers, cell phone plans. Camelia had not been tempted to go again.

How different this was! The Cove County Fair, set by the sea on the outskirts little Ocean Cove, Oregon, felt just like the ones back in the day, the ones where chickens and livestock, amateur paintings, cakes, pies, and canned pickles were the stars.

Tomorrow the place would be amok with bustling crowds, shouts, screams, and laughter; calliope music from the midway clashing against the zippy tunes from the stage show; and over it all, the droning loudspeaker announcing the day’s events. Even at Camelia’s age, she couldn’t help feeling a shiver of anticipation.

Once again, Camelia thanked the Powers That Be she had left the big city and made Ocean Cove her home. Camelia wasn’t the first person to pick up stakes and move to the coast, nor would she be the last, but she was among a unique demographic—those over seventy years of age. She may have been older than some, but she figured she still had plenty of good years ahead to enjoy her newfound lifestyle.

Volunteering to help out at the Kitty City Cat Rescue booth fit right in with Camelia’s plans. Kitty City, Ocean Cove’s answer to a humane society for cats, offered both shelter for strays and adoption opportunities to the local public. The little rescue ran with no paid staff, if you didn’t count the tax accountant. It was a labor of love, and the booth at the county fair where they sold homemade pie by the whole or slice, as well as an array of home-crafted cat toys, was their year’s biggest fundraiser.

Camelia loved cats. She’d felt an affinity with the feline species for as far back as she could remember. She’d cared for many over the years, but now there was only the one, her dear tuxedo boy Blaze.

That’s not quite true, Camelia reminded herself, a chill icing down her back. There was another cat who traveled within her sphere. She couldn’t say lived, because the black cat with the emerald green eyes was no longer alive and hadn’t been for over a century. Soji was a ghost.

One of the first things Camelia had noticed when she moved to her new home was a huge river stone in the back yard engraved with the words, “Now Gone to her Tenth Life, Beloved Soji.” She was surprised but not shocked. A fitting tribute to a family cat, she’d assumed at the time. It was when Beloved Soji suddenly appeared in Camelia’s living room that she realized her property came with something more than she had bargained for.

At first Camelia was understandably frightened, but Soji had quickly convinced her with love blinks and paranormal purrs that, although not of this world, she was benign. Camelia, who had seen her share of unexplainable phenomena throughout her lifetime, enthusiastically accepted Soji’s appearances and even took a bit of private pride in the fact her house was haunted by the fabled Ghost Cat of Ocean Cove.

But Camelia hadn’t seen Soji for quite some time, not since a thief had violated the gravestone and a cold-case murderer had been apprehended nearby. All the way through the investigation, Soji was paws-on, but once the killer was caught, her visits abruptly ceased. Had Soji fulfilled her mission and gone to her final resting place on over the Rainbow Bridge? Though Camelia hoped Soji was at peace, she missed the odd little cat from beyond the veil.

“Camelia!” someone called from across the patio, bringing the woman out of her reverie.

She turned to see a scrawny woman in a Hawaiian print house dress rolling up in a red mobility scooter—Camelia’s friend and next door neighbor, Vera Whitcomb.

Vera came to an abrupt stop, grinning like a cat. “I’m going to have to get me one of these things!” She patted the scooter’s red enamel frame and gave Camelia a wink. “Way better than that old walker. This is the most fun I’ve had in ages.”

Camelia smiled, noting the twinkle in Vera’s dark eyes. The crinkly gray hair was disordered but in a carefree way that made the old lady seem more devil-may-care than disheveled. “It looks good on you,” Camelia admitted. “Maybe I should rent one too. I had no idea a little country fair could be big!”

“Ha-ha! Wouldn’t that be a hoot?” Vera giggled. “I can see us drag racing down the midway.”

Camelia laughed. Yes, she could picture it too.

“I’m going to take a run over to the horse barns.” Vera shot a look toward a row of low wooden buildings at the edge of the fairgrounds. “See if I can find Yui Smith. She’s got a pony in the competition, you know.”

“Oh?” Camelia knew her teenage neighbor was all about animals, especially the equine kind, so it came as no surprise she’d entered her horse in the contest. Spitfire? Lightning? She couldn’t remember its name. “When is she showing?”

“They haven’t told her yet. I’ll let you know. You going to be here all day?” She nodded at the colorful cat rescue booth where a girl in a blue apron was pinning pictures of available kitties to the back drape. Another sifted through plastic totes, pulling out baskets of hand-sewn cat toys. It was hard to believe that mess of bags and boxes would be transformed into an attractive and efficient shopping place anytime soon.

“For a while. Then I need to go home and bake some pies for the sale tomorrow. That’s the big draw, so they tell me.”

“Yum! Put me down for half an apricot.”

“I sure will.”

Vera made a sweeping circle and gunned away in the direction of the barns. “See ya!” she waved behind her.

Camelia smiled as she watched the woman zip down the lane, the skirts of her house dress flapping in the wind. What a character, Camelia thought to herself, not for the first time.

Ocean Cove was full of characters. From the very first day Camelia arrived at Love Cottage, her new home, she began meeting them. The rich folks on the hill, husband from old money and wife from across the tracks; the young techie who’d recently taken over her mother’s antique shop as a second job; the couple who ran the general store in the center of town but lived on one of the bleakest bluffs Camelia had ever visited. Then there was Ellery, the artist. Of a similar age to Camelia, the two had hit it off at first sight.

Everybody knew everybody in the small, close-knit community, and for the most part, that was a good thing. Occasionally, however, that camaraderie became cloying, when someone ventured a bit too close into someone else’s business. Camelia frowned, remembering a recent run-in with one of the staff at the library who liked to point out people’s shortcomings, publicly and not at all in a librarian’s softened tone. Then there was that new boy Tycho Bane who worked at Al’s Garage. Pale skin, tattoos, and a sullen manner, she seemed to see him everywhere she went. And she couldn’t forget the people staying in the rental across the street from her—the landlord was usually so careful about choosing his guests, yet this newest group gave her the willies.

“Well, I really should be getting home,” Camelia said to no one in particular. “Those pies aren’t going to bake themselves.”

But still she lingered. There was something about the prelude to a big event that fascinated her. As with rehearsals for a play, she found the behind-the-scenes activity to be as interesting than the show itself.

I’ll just take a little look around before I go, Camelia determined. Without overthinking it, she began to meander.

Camelia headed in no particular direction, following the whim of the paths that wove around the booths and little wooden structures. She strolled through a long building open at both ends where a pair of women were hanging big paintings of varying quality, then breezed by the barn that held poultry and rabbits.

“Phew!” she muttered as she passed.

“Wait ’til the end of the show,” chuckled the middle-aged man in khaki coveralls who was mucking out the cages.

“Miles,” Camelia said, realizing she knew the man. “I didn’t know you were the… what should I call it?” Camelia considered. “Chicken concierge?”

Miles pulled off a long brown glove and shut the gate on a very fat, very fluffy Rhode Island Red. Leaning his arms across the top of the cage, he smiled. “That’s me, Ms. Collins. Miles-of-all-trades.”

Camelia could believe that. When she first moved into Love Cottage, she’d needed a gardener who could tame her wilderness of a yard. She picked Miles’s card off the bulletin board at the grocery store, arranged an interview, and hired the lanky man with wayward black hair on the spot. He’d struck her as honest and trustworthy, though he could do with a bit of more attention in the appearance department. His clothes were clean but old and always wrinkled. His face sported the stubble of a few days without a shave, though it never progressed to a true beard. Still, many men who relied on physical labor for an income shared the same traits. A pair of dark, brooding eyes were overpowered by a quick, bright smile and easy manner. Camelia had liked him from the start.

Camelia left the handyman to his labors and continued through the grounds, enjoying the air of pre-show excitement—¬around a grassy spot hung with fuchsia baskets and ringed by box bushes that smelled faintly of cat pee, past the ornate edifice that fronted the floral building, and finally toward the midway. Ahead were the spires of the brightly colored tents and the golden peak of the merry-go-round. Above them, like a sideways crown, loomed the ring of the Ferris wheel.

“Oof,” Camelia exclaimed as her foot smashed into something hard and unforgiving. Peering down, she saw the culprit, a small set of metal steps jutting from a caravan right out into the pathway. Bending to rub her bruised toe, she felt a burst of annoyance at the obstacle, so rudely placed in the lane, but as she straightened again, she realized the blame was on her.

Somehow she had strayed between a row of trailers and the backsides of the display booths that ringed the causeway. This was a personal area, reserved for the folks who would be tending their wares. Coolers, camp stoves, and even a string of laundry flapping from a line marked it as private property.

Her gaze turned back to the caravan, elaborately painted in gold, purple, and black. Curlicues framed a large image of a tiger. Unlike the rampant, seething beasts usually depicted for circuses and fairs, this tiger was sitting quietly—regal, wise, and watchful. Camelia was instantly drawn to the kind and solemn expression in the cat’s amber eyes.

“Lovely,” she exclaimed out loud.

Camelia’s habit of talking to herself was so ingrained in her persona, she didn’t even notice until she heard a sound from behind her. The sound came again, a sort of snuffle and grunt. She turned to see what might be making such a noise, and froze.

There she was, just as her portrait had depicted her. Tall, statuesque, regal, gorgeous, and absolutely terrifying—the tiger!

Camelia stared at the commodious cage with its dangerous inhabitant. Her blood ran cold. She couldn’t get her voice to call for help. Her breath came in gasps, then it didn’t come at all.

The cat peered at Camelia, round pupils dilating. She took a step toward the fearful woman on paws the size of cantaloupes. Camelia knew what those soft-looking paws concealed—giant, razor-sharp talons that could rip open prey with a single swipe.

The tiger chuffed again, then gave a wide yawn, showing teeth as lethal as the claws. Camelia might have been enthralled by the beautiful beast if not for one thing—only a bare few feet lay between herself and the deadly predator, and the cage door stood open.

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Posted in My Cat Cozies, The Tenth Life Cozy Mysteries | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Who are the Cat Writers’ Association? RACHEL LOEHNER

My guest today on Who are the Cat Writers’ Association? is award-winning blogger Rachel Loehner. Here’s a bit about Rachel:

I’m proud to have won Best Cause Blog in 2017 from BlogPaws. I’ve also won Certificate of Excellence awards from the Cat Writers’ Association for blogging, social media and photography. Three Chatty Cats is also a two-time winner of the CWA Muse Medallion for Best Humor/Entertainment blog.

I’m currently serving as a board council member for the Cat Writers’ Association.

 Tell us  more about your blogging.

In December 2015, I was browsing a now-defunct social media app for cat lovers. Everyone was sharing their cat photos but also stories about their cats (including me). Something clicked and I decided to start a blog called Three Chatty Cats. My blog and related social media accounts are the perfect blend of my love for everything cats, writing and photography.

When I started the blog in 2016, many of my posts featured cat rescue groups – and I was known as a “Cause Blog”. Over time, the blog morphed into chats with my cats, which only seemed natural with a blog called Three Chatty Cats (we’ve grown to a household of five cats now).

How do cats inspire your creativity?

My cats all have distinct personalities. Sometimes, I can look at one and know exactly what they’re thinking or about to do. But other times, they can be a mystery. So, why not imagine what they’re saying or thinking? And that’s exactly what I do with our daily chats. Short and simple, it’s my way of sharing both the individual personalities of my cats and their beauty through photos.

Now for a few arbitrary questions:

  1. Did you grow up with cats?

Yes, I grew up with cats and lived with at least one cat in our house my entire childhood and teen years. Oddly, I became allergic to cats later and didn’t think I could have one as an adult. When my husband and I found a stray kitten 12 years ago, we took him home and my allergies seemed to have disappeared.

 2. What crosses your mind when someone tells you they don’t like cats?

What’s wrong with you?!? Just kidding (kind of). I usually think that they probably haven’t been around cats. Because once you’ve been around cats, how could you not like them? My husband grew up with a family dog and never had cats. But here we are, living the dream with five cats! He loves them just as much as I do.

3. What cat-themed item is sitting on your desk right now?

A calendar with vintage cat art, a cat mousepad, a cat ruler and multiple cat notepads.

4. “Adopt, Foster, Volunteer, Donate, Educate” is a common slogan for animal rescue. What do you like to do?

I try to do all of them. While not currently fostering, we did end up adopting two of our foster cats. I’ve also volunteered with rescues at events, and I’ve volunteered with an organization that supports cat shelters nationally (writing and editing for them). I donate as well, and I’ve used my blog to educate.

 

How about the names and brief descriptions of your cats?

Dexter

Dexter was our first cat. We found him as a tiny stray kitten on Father’s Day in 2010. He was outside in 100+ degree weather in a California desert town where we were visiting family. Dexter is a very cautious cat, and he looks like a grump half the time. But he loves his two cat sisters and is very curious, investigating anything new in the house. On the blog, we call him the Timid Dreamer.

Olive

Olive is our tortie who we also found as a stray kitten about one year after finding Dexter. She loves her big brother, but she’d be perfectly fine being a single kitty. Olive is our smallest cat, but she is also our fiercest and truly embraces the tortitude stereotype. She is not a lap cat, but she will come up and tap you if she wants pets. It’s quite adorable. Olive is our Rebel Starlet.

Sophie

Sophie was our third stray kitten that we found two days after Thanksgiving in 2014 outside a movie theater. She’s a clumsy, sassy lovebug and a fan favorite on the blog. If Sophie could only live with one human, she would choose her cat dad in a heartbeat. She is the most likely to get into trouble (i.e. go through the trashcan, counter surf, eat someone else’s food, etc.). Sophie is our Mischievous Goofball.

Woodrow

Woodrow was our first foster fail win. We had him for several months before deciding to adopt him in 2017. Woodrow is our biggest cat, weighing in at around 14 pounds. He comes off as a bit dense sometimes, and his main focus in life is food. Woodrow is our one true lap cat – any lap will do, even a stranger’s lap. Woodrow is affectionately referred to as the Lovable Dum Dum.

Harley

Harley is our most recent cat, another foster win, who we adopted in 2018. We estimate him to be no less than 16 years old now, and he’s our grumpy old man. Harley has chronic kidney disease but handles his meds and sub-q fluids like a champ. He bosses the other cats around and will demand they move if they’re in a spot he wants – and they immediately vacate the area. Harley is the boss, and he is known as our Hangry Curmudgeon.

Check out Rachel’s fun blogsite http://www.threechattycats.com, or connect via the following Links:

http://www.facebook.com/threechattycats

http://www.instagram.com/threechattycats

Posted in Book Talk, Interviews, OTHER BLOGGERS | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments