FIRST CHAPTERS: Cat Noel

Even though Cat Noel is a novella, I thought it a good choice for my First Chapters blogpost series since it is that time of year!

When I set out to write Cat Noel, I wasn’t sure what it should be about. All I knew was I wanted to write a Christmas-themed Crazy Cat Lady book, just to see if I could. Like much of my writing, the story quickly established itself, turning out to be something quite different from the usual, romantic fairytale.

I’m afraid some of my own holiday hesitancy shines through in my character Lynley’s attitude toward the coming festivities. But in the end, she learns something new, and so did I.

Cat Noel, a Crazy Cat Lady Cozy Christmas Novella

Lynley Cannon is dreading the Holidays. The sixty-something cat shelter volunteer would rather hang out with cats than brave her daughter’s soulless Christmas gala, so when a witch’s beloved kitty is catnapped, Lynley grabs the excuse to skip out on her social obligations.

Though Lynley knows little about the white witchcraft, Wicca, she does know cats and can’t decline a plea for help when one goes missing. Then the witch disappears as well. Lynley, compelled by her cat-like curiosity, sets out to search for the pair, but the task is daunting.

A freak snowstorm and a crazed captor take things in a dangerous direction. As Lynley endures the cold dark of confinement, the Christmas spirit brings a strength she never knew she possessed.

Praise for Cat Noel:

The little mystery was as cozy as having one my cats on my lap and a hot cup of tea close by.  It’s the purr-fect time of year to enjoy the Christmas theme. —Marci Jarvis, editor, Cat Mews

A delightfully cozy all-cats-all-the-time mystery! —Haunted Reader

 

CHRISTMAS. THE HAPPIEST TIME OF THE YEAR.

The time when we come together with friends and family in one big giving, loving celebration.

The time we put our differences aside to enjoy the season.

The time we are extra specially good to one another. Peace on Earth and all that.

So why, this Christmas, was I feeling like a cat in a thunder storm?

In spite of all outward appearances, I couldn’t help but sense something was amiss. The holiday lights flickered like horror show fluorescents just before the monster comes; the Christmas trees were crooked; the scent of gingerbread carried a trace of decay. It’s a Wonderful Life was full of commercials. Someone stabbed the snowman with a candy cane. The world was running amok.

Was it just me?

Turns out it wasn’t.

If you’re looking for a happy, feel-good Christmas story, this isn’t it. Not to say it doesn’t have its merry moments—‌it does. And at least no one gets murdered. That’s a relief, right?

It was a learning experience, and in the end… well, you’ll just have to read it for yourself.

It began one week before Christmas…

 

Chapter 1

“…Sleigh bells ring. Are you listening?

“On the street, snow is glistening.

“La da-de-da-da, da-de-da-da…”

Rats, I thought to myself, now I’ll have that song stuck in my head all day long.

It’s not that I have anything against Christmas, not really. Aside from the commercialism, stress, expense, the social pressure… but I digress. It’s just a song. A good old song. Maybe if I changed the words to something more cat-centric, I might be better able to relate:

Time to eat… Are you listening?

In the bowl, food is glistening.

Pet me pet me, pet me pet me,

Now I’m going to bite your hand…

My name is Lynley Cannon, and as you may have guessed, I am a cat person. From an early age, I was captivated by their mystical eyes, their soft fur, and their indomitable feline presence. I believe cats have a lot to add to human society; they have things to teach us if we would just curl up and listen. Now in my sixties, I happily devote much of my time to cats, volunteering at the local shelter, fostering the sick ones, and catering to the whims of my own clowder. Some think it’s an obsession, but I find it more of a calling.

Today was to be dedicated to cats. I’d signed up for a morning shift at Friends of Felines, and in the afternoon, I planned to do some Christmas shopping for my kitties. With only seven days until Christmas, I’d better get on it before it was too late.

Arriving at the shelter, I came through the big main doors to admire the pandemonium of decorations in the lobby. The large, spacious room had been transformed into a feline fairyland with twinkling lights and sparkly red and green streamers cascading from the mezzanine. A huge living fir tree stood tall beside the admittance desk, its fragrant limbs decked with photos of the shelter cats, their Cat-mas wish lists printed on the back. Under the tree lay cases of cans, bags of kibble, boxes of litter, beds, and toys galore. It made me smile to see how big-hearted people could be during the holidays. Hopefully they would remember to carry their generosity into the year ahead.

Front and center was a poster advertising the upcoming holiday fundraiser gala, the Starry Nights Fête. The artist had done a superb job of conveying the enchantment of the season with a pair of stylized kitties ballroom dancing across a field of silver-speckled indigo. As head of the fête committee, I had commissioned the poster myself and was more than happy with the results.

I spent a few minutes enjoying the friendly ambiance, then headed for the cattery. The fresh, airy space was quiet, with only a single volunteer helping an adopter choose a cat and a staff member munching a white-iced cookie at her desk in the office. After a brief hello, I set to work cleaning litter boxes for the forty-some feline residents. The rhythm of scoop, dump, scoop was almost hypnotic as I went from kennel to kennel. I even began humming a little tune.

“…Sleigh bells ring…”

Rats! I was doing it again. I sang a few bars of Monty Python’s “Always look on the bright side of life, Da dum ba-dum ba-dum ba-dum…” to offset the Christmas jingle.

Just as I’d disposed of the last bit of refuse and was about to take the dirty pans to be sanitized, I heard a commotion behind me. I turned to see Special Agent Connie Lee blast into the room, a frantic look on her face. She stared around, then raced to one of the unused computer stations and began to type like a squirrel.

Special Agent Lee was one of three humane investigators who worked out of Northwest Humane Society. Known to the community as animal cops, they educated the public on proper pet care and handled cases of abuse and neglect—‌over a thousand call-ins a year! Thankfully many of the calls came to nothing—‌an overly-concerned neighbor of a barking dog or a lady with what someone considered to be too many cats. But when it was the real thing, the special agents could, ‌and did, ‌enforce Oregon’s animal cruelty laws to their fullest extent.

I’d brushed elbows with the substantial woman on several occasions, but aside from being vegan, Wiccan, and kind-natured, she was mostly an unknown to me. She had always struck me as someone who held her feelings close to the vest, yet here she was, gasping and swearing under her breath. This wasn’t like her at all.

“What’s up?” I asked but she ignored me, her attention riveted to the screen.

I gravitated to the counter across from her. I was hesitant to bother her yet equally as reluctant to go away and leave her in such a state. Besides, I was curious. You’d think, after all the trouble my cat-like curiosity had brought me, I’d know better. But I didn’t.

Finally Connie ceased her frenzied typing and ran a hand through her short-cropped hair. She looked up, gray eyes focusing on me as if she had just then realized I was there.

“Well, this is a sad state of affairs,” she announced gloomily.

“Is everything okay?”

“Not okay,” she declared, her voice low and gravely. “Definitely not okay. My friend’s cat is missing.”

“Oh, no! Is it microchipped?”

“Yeah. I was just looking through the lost and found database, but she hasn’t been recovered. Her name is Isis—‌like the goddess, not the terrorist group.”

“How long has she been gone?” I asked, trying to call up all the helpful information one was supposed to offer on such a dreadful occasion.

“I’m not sure. A while now. I just found out about it,” Connie grumbled, adding sarcastically, “My friend thought it best not to tell me, a trained humane investigator.” She gave a big sigh and hung her head. “Maybe she was right. For all my training, I’m coming up with an absolute zero. Isis is still missing and I’m panicking like a newbie.” Resigned, she sat back in the office chair. “I don’t know what to do.”

I came around and put a hand on her broad shoulder. “I’m sure you’re doing everything you can, Connie. It isn’t easy. Isis is probably frightened to death and hiding. When cats don’t want to be found, it’s really hard to find them.”

“I know. I’m just scared for her. It’s been raining, and now they say it’s going to freeze. Isis is an indoor cat. The city’s so dangerous. And besides…”

I waited for Connie to finish, but instead, she bent forward and began another rampage on the keyboard. Adjusting my glasses, I watched as screen after screen of stray cats popped up. Finally the photo of a chocolate-point Siamese filled the monitor. The banner across the bottom read: Isis, Siamese 13 yr. 9#, Dominant color: tan, Other color: brown, Distinctive markings: face mask shaped like a heart, Lost December 10, Owner: Catherine Bremerton-Black.

“She’s beautiful,” I remarked. I said the same of all cats and truly meant it, but this one was really unique. The picture had been taken in a relaxed atmosphere. The blue eyes were soft and trust-filled; the ears were straight. She had tilted her face lovingly for the camera and curved her lips in a smile. Something about Isis called to my heart, the thought of her out on her own, breaking it.

“Poor sweetie” I whispered. “But this says she’s been missing for three days.”

“Yeah,” Connie snorted. “As I was saying, my friend neglected to tell me until today.”

“Do you think something’s happened to her? I mean, beyond the usual got-out-got-lost scenario?”

Connie wavered, then a look cold as steel fell across her face. “Yeah, I do.”

“She is gorgeous. If someone saw her and thought she was valuable…”

“She’s pretty, for sure, but there’s more.” Connie eyed me, as if assessing whether she could trust me with a secret. I guess she decided she could, because the next words out of her mouth were nothing I expected to hear.

“Lynley,” she said carefully, lowering her voice to a whisper. “Isis is special. She’s a familiar.”

I knew Connie Lee was Wiccan but only because she’d mentioned it once or twice. I assumed she practiced some sort of get-‌together-‌with-‌the-‌goddess white magic thing, planting seeds and singing to the moon. Really I knew nothing about it except that Connie herself was one of the kindest, most compassionate, most intensely moral people I knew. Whatever her witchery might be, I never doubted it was securely on the side of the light.

I’d heard stories of witches keeping animals or birds—‌after all, who hasn’t read Harry Potter?—‌but as far as real life Wiccans… “A what? You mean like magic?”

“Something like that.” Connie gave a laugh but her face quickly sobered. “It’s a thing, Lynley. Wiccans bond with their familiars in a very profound way. If my friend doesn’t get Isis back before Winter Solstice Eve, the consequences will be dire.”

“Dire? I don’t understand. What happens on the solstice besides it being the longest night…?”

An explosion of static burst from Connie’s radio, drowning out my question. In a microsecond, she had the instrument off her duty belt and up to her ear. “Lee here.”

I couldn’t make out the chatter on the other end, but in another few seconds, Connie clipped, “Copy that. On my way.”

Jumping to her feet, she replaced the radio and hooked her thumbs in her belt. “Sorry, Lynley, gotta go. Hey, could you ask your cat people network to keep an eye out for Isis? Every little bit helps.”

“Sure Connie, but…”

Special Agent Lee was already on her way out the door. I never got to learn about the bond between a Wiccan and her familiar, nor did I find out what part Isis was to play in the coming solstice. And as to the dire consequences that would occur if Isis wasn’t returned in time, I was left to wander my own dark imagination.

First Chapter

 

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BOOKS FOR THE HOLIDAYS – YES PLEASE!

Books make great gifts!

If you’re anything like me, when someone asks what you want for Christmas, you fall into a black hole swirling with images of all the things you already have. Is there really anything that, added to that current clutter, would make your life better? The answer is, probably not.

But books are a whole other deal. Books are small and don’t take up much space. (EBooks don’t take up any.) Books don’t spoil. They don’t require assembly. Whether in your usual go-to genres or something completely different, a book is the prefect gift for all occasions.

Photo by Daniel on Unsplash

Photo by Daniel on Unsplash

Oh, so many!!

But where to start? Do you choose by the genre? The star-rating and reviews? The price? The popularity? The cover?  I hope I can help you there.

I read mostly cozy mysteries or sci-fantasy fiction, but here are a few books I’ve read lately and loved:

The Joe Grey Series, by Shirley Rousseau Murphy. “When Joe Grey finds through some strange, inexplicable phenomenon, he now has the ability to speak and understand human language, what choice does he have but become a feline detective?”

The English Cottage Garden Mysteries, by H.Y. Hanna. “She never expected to inherit an English cottage garden, complete with romantic climbing roses, scented herbs, a bossy, talkative ginger cat… and a dead body!” Hanna’s other series are fun too!

The Charlie MacCready Mysteries, by James M. McCracken. This YA series about a boy who was left at his grandparents’ home in the middle of the night when he was two, then ten years later, sent to Saint Michael’s Abbey & Home for Boys by his uncle is sweet, intriguing, and a friendly, clean read.

Sea Scope, by Debbie De Louise. “When past and present collide, Sarah must face truths about her family, and what happened that summer day by the lighthouse. But will she survive to tell the tale?” De Louise has many other titles to choose from including cozies, mysteries, romance, and cat poetry!

The Calico Cat Mysteries and the Klepto Cat Series, by Patricia Fry

If you haven’t read it yet, Dune, by Frank Herbert, and even if you have…

 

Self-promo starts here…

Then there are my books. I’ve listed them here with a brief tag line. Happy browsing!

For cozy mystery fans, the Crazy Cat Lady series, 8 books featuring Lynley Cannon, a sixty-something cat shelter volunteer who finds more trouble than a cat in catnip. Pick your favorite. Each has a different theme, and books need not be read in order.

Cats’ Eyes:  Look what the cat dragged in! When Lynley’s old kitty Fluffo discovers a stolen uncut diamond, Lynley finds herself accused of murdering the thieves.

Copy Cats:  Lynley exposes a breed cat counterfeiting ring and becomes the target of a serial killer who murders with a grisly, cat-like claw.

Cat’s Paw:  Two suspicious deaths at an elite art retreat send Lynley running back to Portland, but murder follows in her wake.

Cat Call:  Lynley takes over as cat handler for a TV pilot only to find the show is hexed and murder is waiting in the wings.

Cat Café:  A body is discovered on the floor of the cat café, and all the black cats are missing!

Cosmic Cat:  When a superhero cosplayer falls to his death at a comic con, Lynley is left holding the bag— and a cat!

Cat Conundrum: A locked room. A dead man. The cat is the only witness, and he isn’t talking.

Adventure Cat: A stolen artifact, an elfin recluse, a handsome feline archaeologist, and one very special cat…

For something with a bit of Christmas spiritCat Noel, a Crazy Cat Lady Christmas novella. Lynley finds a new meaning of Christmas when a Wiccan’s familiar is catnapped, and Lynley becomes her only hope.

Like some paranormal with your cozy? A ghost cat and a cold case murder turn a septuagenarian’s beach house dream into a nightmare in Ghost Cat of Ocean Cove.

For the not-so-cozy mystery fan, Placid River Runs Deep, a stand-alone mystery: When Ember MacKay learns she has a life-threatening illness, she flees to the old Placid River cabin, but instead of solace, she finds mayhem, murder and a revenge plot that has waited a generation to unfold.

For your favorite fantasy fanCat Summer, a cat sci-fantasy novel where Sentient cats save the world from an evil older than history—twice! Or try Cat Winter, where the fate of the universe rests in Slayter’s black, feline paws.

For poetry loversCat Poems: For the Love of Cats, celebrating love, loss, and life shared with the feline species. For a special gift, see Cat Poems, the Expanded Hardcover Edition, with pictures!

For fans of shorter fictionCat’s Cradle, a Crazy Cat Lady short mystery and prequel to Adventure Cat is a winner. The Dream Spinner, a short fantasy about a nursing home cat who guides the residents through their dreams and nightmares, will tickle your imagination.

All my books come in paperback and eBook format. Cats’ Eyes, Cat Café, and Cat Poems Expanded Edition also come in new Hardcover. Cats’ Eyes comes in large print as well.

Want one of my books signed and/or personalized?

You can buy directly from me by emailing molliehuntcatwriter@gmail.com with Signed Books in the subject line. $16.00 a book, which includes shipping USPS media mail. (Paperbacks only, US addresses please.)

Did you know you can gift eBooks? You can give most Kindle books available in the Kindle Store as a gift to anyone with an email address. You can send or receive Kindle books as gifts even if you do not own an Amazon device. Recipients can read a Kindle book gift on a supported Amazon device or by downloading the free Kindle reading app.

Meanwhile, whether you celebrate holiday giving or merely celebrate life, enjoy your time here on Earth. Be kind, pet cats, and take care of yourself.

 

 

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WHEN IS NATIONAL BLACK CAT DAY??

My new Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery, Adventure Cat, is launching on National Black Cat Day! Or is it? When I was looking for a launch date, I checked several cat holiday websites. One listed National Black Cat Day as November 17th, a date that fit perfectly with my plans.

But wasn’t I shocked when October 27th rolled around, and my news feed was filled with furry black faces! All my knowledgeable cat fellows were celebrating National Black Cat Day in October!

I ran back to the website and looked it up again, and this is what it says:

“There is some debate among fans of felines in the United States as to the correct date of National Black Cat Day. Some of us choose to recognize August 17th as the official day to show our appreciation for our purring pals with dark fur. Feline-loving Anglophiles may opt for October 27th, the day when the UK marks its affection for black moggies, while others have declared November 17th as the date to celebrate our love for noir beauties.”  ~CatTipper

Those of us who have lived with black kitties know that every day is black cat day. So whether you celebrate in August, October, November, or all year long, keep sending positive vibes to the lovely black felines that are so often overlooked in our shelters.

And look for Adventure Cat on November 17th!

 

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THE CATS OF LYNLEY CANNON

Dirty Harry

With a new Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery coming out this week, it’s got people wondering how many cats Lynley has in her clowder. When we first began this Crazy Cat journey with Cats’ Eyes in 2013, Lynley cohabited with six: Dirty Harry, Little, Big Red, Violet, Solo, and the foster cat Fraulein Fluffs.

~Little~

~Big Red~

~Violet~

~Solo~

~Fraulein Fluffs~

Tinkerbelle the registered therapy cat came on the scene in Copy Cats, then Lynley rescued the Siamese kitten Mab, bringing the number to eight.

~Tinkerbelle~

~Mab~

Tragedy struck offset when Fraulein Fluffs crossed between Copy Cats and Cat’s Paw. Lynley adopted Emilio form the Cloverleaf Animal Sanctuary.

~Emilio~

Lynley made it through Cat Call without any additions to the clowder but got busy again during Cat Café when she adopted a cat with Feline Cerebellar Hypoplasia, Elizabeth. Meanwhile Solo had been displaying signs of stress from all the other cats in the house and was rehomed to Lynley’s granddaughter Seleia, where Solo thrived.

~Elizabeth~

Adventure Cat brings yet another cat onboard, the kitten Spot that Lynley had rescued five years earlier in her short story Cat’s Cradle. Spot was part of a crime investigation case, so when Lynley relinquished her to Friends of Felines, she didn’t think she would ever see the paisley cat again. Turns out she was wrong. Spot, all grown up and renamed Hermione, is about to leap back into Lynley’s life in a big way.

An elfin recluse, a handsome feline archaeologist, a stolen artifact, and one very special cat…

Adventure Cat, coming November 17th.

 

 

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CALM BEFORE STORMS

I’m at the beach. My only internet connection is my phone. Jaimz is purring on my lap. Jim is cooking clams he dug himself. There is a fire in the fireplace. We’re going to eat dinner, watch a movie, and go to bed to be lulled to sleep by the rain and the incoming tide

This is a good thing because once I get home in a few days, my calendar is packed.

Tuesday begins the Pretty Kitty Online Auction to benefit my local little cat shelter, House of Dreams. I’m on the committee that makes the auction happen. It’s been a good year for donations. Come look! https://facebook.com/events/s/pretty-kitty-online-silent-auc/1502659530121146/

Friday I’m doing a shift for my writer’s group NIWA at Orycon. I’ve never attended before and have no idea what to expect except it will be my first time around people for a year and a half.

During my final hour at Orycon, I’ll be joining authors who are participating in this year’s Jolabokaflod PDX on Stream Yard.

November 17th, I’m launching Adventure Cat at Gifty Kitty. Another in person event that my introverted self slightly dreads. https://fb.me/e/1a9Dapnax

It’s going to be a busy time, getting all the things together that go with those events. I’m taking total advantage of today’s peace and quiet while it lasts.

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PRESS RELEASE – ADVENTURE CAT, a Crazy Cat Lady Cozy Mystery #8

Here comes Adventure Cat!

It’s that time of year again, and I’m proud to announce the launch of the next instalment in the award-winning Crazy Cat Lady Cozy Mystery Series, Adventure Cat. What’s more, after 688 days of various forms of isolation, Adventure Cat will see it’s launching in-person! That’s right. Real people gathered in one place to celebrate this new book. Needless to say we will be practicing all safety protocols, but the time has come for us to begin venturing out again. If you’re in the Portland Area on November 17th, drop by!

The launch, which will consist of a reading; some riveting history of this story;  a brilliant Q&A; and a book-signing, will take place at GiftyKitty , Portland’s newest cat-themed gift shop. Gifty Kitty is so new, in fact, that my reading is scheduled for its first opening day. Portland cat people are excited to welcome this eco-friendly & fair-trade cat themed gift shop for human cat lovers. Opening on November 17, 2021, this whimsical store will feature cat-themed hand-made items, books, artwork, ceramics, clothing and fabrics, as well as items for the cats.

The Launch, Where and When:

Where: Gifty Kitty gift shop, 3719 N Mississippi Ave. Portland OR 97227.

When: National Black Cat Day, Wednesday November 17th, 2021

About Adventure Cat, from the back cover: 

Five years ago, cat shelter volunteer Lynley Cannon discovered a gym bag in a warehouse. Inside the bag were a kitten, a cat toy, and ten thousand dollars. Then shots began to fly. Now, half a decade later, Lynley is thrown back with the very people from whom she’d been running.

Adventure cats, those fantastic felines who go boating, hiking, and traveling into the wilds! When Friends of Felines cat shelter starts their own adventure cat group, taking cats for strolls in the quiet parks of Portland, Lynley can’t wait to join up.

Then disaster happens! Dirty Harry slips out of his harness and runs up the Mt. Tabor hillside, leading Lynley on a merry chase. Finally she finds him resting in the arms of an enigmatic stranger named Carry.

Carry lives a solitary life in a bungalow at the top of the hill, surrounded by an amazing red-foliaged garden. Carry has a cat of her own, the very kitten Lynley rescued five years previous and been shot at for the effort! Suddenly Lynley finds herself embroiled in the caper that precipitated that long-ago encounter. She survived the first round, but can her luck continue to hold?

An elfin recluse, a handsome feline archaeologist, a stolen artifact, and one very special cat…

Adventure Cat is available from Amazon in ebook and paperback form beginning November 17, 2021.. Preorders available for the ebook.

But wait, there’s more!

Adventure Cat is actually a sequel to the short Crazy Cat Lady story, Cat’s Cradle. I’ll be reading from both, as well as hosting a raffle for a signed copy of the pair.

About Cat’s Cradle:

Shots fly when Lynley attempts to rescue a kitten from a vacant warehouse.

Cat shelter volunteer Lynley Cannon knows when a cat is in trouble, so when she hears plaintive mews coming from a gym bag in a vacant warehouse, she runs to the rescue. Lynley isn’t the only one after that bag, however. As shots fly, Lynley and Kitten run for their lives in this Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery short story.

So get vaccinated, get boosters, wash your hands, grab your cat-print face mask, and join me for National Black Cat Day (US) at the new Gifty Kitty for an evening to remember.

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A HEARTFELT THANK YOU TO THE CAT WRITERS’ ASSOCIATION

THE CAT WRITERS CONFERENCE: WINS, LOSSES, AND LESSONS LEARNED

Last night, I wore my mother’s red satin blouse for luck. Well, for luck and because of the fact it was the only thing with bling that still fit. Even without the pandemic, my dress-up days are years behind me, but pajamas just wouldn’t do for the Cat Writers Association Awards Ceremony.

Little did I know when I dragged myself out of bed at 6:30 a.m. yesterday that this one day would have more ups and downs, thrills and spills, sadness and joy than any other of recent memory. It was the final day of the Cat Writers’ Association Conference. The first day had been packed with an amazing set of presenters speaking on the subjects of cat and cat creativity, and this one promised to be the same. But, as with any virtual conference, there turned out to be a few fleas in the fur. I quickly fed the cats, made a cup of coffee, sat down to watch the opening comments, and… nothing!

We could see our pretty past president giving her talk, but no sound! The chat at the side was filled with people like me, frustrated with not being able to hear what she was saying. Then when it seemed the problem wasn’t going to be fixed any time soon, we started posting pictures of our cats. Yes, that’s what cat people do.

I was excitedly looking forward to the first session of the day, a presentation by Sterling “Trapking” Davis, when I noticed I had an email. I opened it, and my heart fell. It was news of the death of one of our most celebrated cat writers, Carole Nelson Douglas. I’d recently met Carole when we were doing some Zoom author panels together. She was vibrant, enthusiastic, and still working hard on a new set of her famous Midnight Louie books. She was due for a major surgery though. She died of a complication from that surgery.

Carole’s passing was a tragic shock, and not just a personal loss, but a loss to CWA. How was the conference going to acknowledge this sad event in the middle of their happy celebration? Thankfully I had my CWA sisters to “talk” to, and we emailed back and forth, sharing our sorrow and loss.

Meanwhile the conference was continuing. The Trapking was up and… still no sound!!

After a while, they managed to get the sound back on, but now, no picture! Just a black screen. Sterling didn’t miss a beat, however. He gave his presentation, answered questions from the chat bar, and put his slideshow in the handouts area where we could download it for later viewing. His talk was absolutely inspirational, and I encourage every cat person, especially those interested in TNR, to look him up. If you have children or enjoy children’s books yourself as I do, check out Sterling’s book, Marvin: Trap King for a Day, where a young boy has the adventure of his life when he rescues a baby kitten from the creek at a neighborhood park and is crowned Trap King for a Day. (No, I’m not getting paid for the shout-out. I just like the book.)

After the Trapking, the next presenters came on with no technical problems, and the conference continued as planned.  Keynote Speaker Kate Benjamin of Hauspanther was gracious and inspiring with her “Renew, Reclaim and Reinvent: Staying Relevant & Staying Alive in Changing Times” address. Steve Dale,  pet expert, Certified Animal Behavior Consultant, and well-known public speaker, gave two presentations, a very informative talk on how cats hide their pain (I loved the title: “For Me to Know and For You Never to Find Out.” Doesn’t that just describe cats in pain?), as well as a piece on the EveryCat Health Foundation, formerly the Winn Feline Foundation, who have, for over 50 years, worked tirelessly on cat health research and advanced feline medicine. Did you know this foundation discovered the link between heart problems and taurine deficiency in cats? Established that kittens benefitted from early spay/neutering as opposed to the previously accepted 6 months? Put forth a more efficient treatment for diabetic cats? Have made amazing strides in the treatment of FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis), formerly a death sentence to cats? Thank you, Steve Dale and the EveryCat Health Foundation!

The day went quickly. Other sessions on making phone videos, publishing a print book, and jumpstarting creativity culminated with closing statements from our president Paula Gregg.  Then, when it was all over, the time had come to get dressed up and ready for the CWA Awards Ceremony.

I was to give a special tribute award to CWA founding member Shirley Rousseau Murphy, something I had spearheaded from the beginning, and I’d also volunteered to help present some of the Muse Medallion awards, which meant I would be on screen twice. I was nervous, tossing around possible items to wear that would look good from the shoulders up. A low neckline would make me look naked, something no one wants to see from a seventy-year-old woman. Patterned fabric would be too busy. My glittery cat ears, a must for the CWA event, were pink, so I needed something that didn’t clash. That’s when I decided upon the red blouse.

It must have been half a century since my mother had worn it, yet she had kept it to the end, and when I inherited her things, I kept it too. I think I remember her wearing it, or maybe it was a photo. Yes, that was the perfect thing for tonight’s exciting yet nerve-wracking event.

I was to present Shirley Murphy with her achievement award at approximately the middle of the ceremony. I had a little speech, on which I’d toiled for the past month. (I can write a 300-page book, but a 3-paragraph announcement baffles me!) The CWA had also purchased a beautiful, engraved crystal vase that I would be displaying. I’d been in communication with Shirley, making sure she had the link to watch the awards, and it looked like everything was set. Then right before the event, she emailed me to say she’d fallen and been taken to hospital—she wouldn’t be able to view the show after all! Thankfully the ceremony was presented on Youtube, so she would be able to view it at another time, but after the heartbreak of Carole’s passing, the thought of this older woman having a debilitating fall was frightening.

Still, the show must go on.

The CWA Awards Ceremony is the culmination of a rigorous contest where the entries that won a Certificate of Excellence in the first round of judging now compete with others for the ultimate prize in each category, the Muse Medallion. There are 92 categories that cover a wide range of cat-themed creativity. I had entered the contest myself, and one of my entries, Cat Winter, my sci-fantasy novel, had received a COE. so now, not only was I going to be on stage presenting awards and hoping I pronounced people’s names right, I was up for a prize of my own!

Long story short, I didn’t win. The award went to another author whom the judges deemed deserved it more. As a judge myself, (not in categories I’ve entered, of course) I respected their judgement, but like all losses, I was disappointed. I still had a chance, however. I’d also entered in some of the special award categories sponsored by various people and businesses. Maybe one of them will have been moved by my work.

After the Muses had been awarded, I gave my tribute to Shirley, not nearly as smoothly as I would have liked in spite of numerous practice runs. I hoped I hadn’t sounded too much like a tomcat howling at the night, but there was no taking it back, and the ceremony moved on to the next event.

Though I had no more part in the remainder of the evening’s show, I was still watching from backstage. I could see myself in a little box in the corner. Did I really look as old and disheveled as it seemed? I was tired. It had been long hours for days and even months to help get this conference happening. I had other obligations as well: the House of Dreams online auction to benefit a little local shelter, a book launch in November with all the promo that comes with it. This was on top of continuing my three ongoing series. Yup, I was tired and planned to rest heartily once the conference was over. I contemplated putting my feet up and taking off my cat ears right there and then—after all, I wasn’t to appear again, but something stayed my hand.

Many of the special awards focus on a single aspect of cats and cat care, such as kitten care, cat safety, relationship with a veterinarian, and rescue. These subjects attract mostly non-fiction entries, but there is one category open to fiction in all forms—the World’s Best Cat Litter-ary Award, offered by World’s Best Cat Litter. I had entered Cat Winter in this category. I was competing with several other entries, and I had no idea what they were—other books? Stories? Articles? Poems? But I held my breath as the winner was announced, the agonizing, “And the winner is…

It was me! It was my book! As the presenter read the judge’s comments, I was taken aback at how well she’d understood the underlying meaning of this sci-fantasy story where cats save the world.

Since I was backstage, they popped me onscreen. Now I was glad I’d left those cat ears on!

After that, I did put my feet up, proud my book was, if not a Muse winner, still a winner after all. That’s not why I write, but after investing endless hours of work in isolation, the acknowledgement can’t help but be gratifying.

We were nearing the end of the program—only the three special-special awards to go. The Shojai Mentorship award, the David Brim Distinguished Service award, and the CWA President’s Award, an overall top award presented to the best entry among all Muse Medallion winners in the regular contest categories. The two namesake awards are picked from nominations sent in by CWA members. Since I hadn’t mentored anyone, done anything I considered distinguishing, or won a Muse, I expected only to be celebrating the achievements of others.

As one of the Council of Directors, I had voted on the recipient of the Shojai award, so it didn’t come as a surprise when that person won. I hadn’t been asked to vote on the David Brim award, however…

Here is the description from the CWA website: This award is presented in honor of CWA co-founder Michael Brim. It goes to the person who, by word, deed, public communication, and professional excellence, best promotes the ideals, mission, and best interest of the Cat Writers’ Association. The award honors extraordinary achievement and communications excellence. The winner receives his or her name engraved on a permanent commemorative plaque at the offices of the Cat Fanciers’ Association Foundation. It is judged by the CWA Council of Directors.

“And the winner is…”

Suddenly a headshot of me with my cat Tinkerbelle went up on the screen. My first response was disbelief, followed closely by the thought that it must be a mistake. I didn’t deserve it. I hadn’t done anything to earn such a prestigious award.

I’d been nominated by fellow member Leah Alford whose wonderful book, Catwoods, won a Muse Medallion the year before. She had written eloquently of the reasons why I should be given this recognition, citing my cat work with volunteering, fostering, and having a therapy cat, as well as my writing about cats. As I listened to her list of praises, I felt like an imposter. Though everything she said was true, I’d done it, as cat people do, not for applause or acclaim, but for the cats. Even as I write this now, it’s hard for me to imagine anyone would see those works as exceptional.

Again they flashed me on the screen. I tried my best to look like a grateful and surprised recipient. I was a grateful and surprised recipient, but I was in shock. In real life, I’m not very expressive. I’ve often thought if I were arrested for a crime (this is how mystery writers think, BTW) that the police would automatically suspect my guilt because of my default deadpan expression. But I managed a little bow and a smile for the audience. In my mind, I was saying, “I love you all!”

Since I’m on the West Coast, it was still early when the awards ceremony ended, but to me, it felt like midnight. For a little while, a few of us lingered backstage, wishing we could go out for that celebratory drink as we had back in the old days when events were in-person. Then, one by one, we clicked off and went our separate ways in our separate parts of the country.

Suddenly I found myself alone in my office, staring at the screen. I turned off my computer, so done with the internet for the day! As I looked at my reflection in that blank, black square, I saw a tired by happy woman in pink cat ears and a lucky red blouse from my mother.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in CAT WRITERS, Life Through Amber, memoir, Sci-fi & Fantasy, Writing | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

WHY EVERY WRITER SHOULD DO NaNoWriMo—AND WHY THEY SHOULDN’T

It’s nearly November,

…also known to writers and would-be writers as NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. While others will be frolicking in the golden leaves and readying for the holidays, a few of us will be hiding at our workstations, in our offices, or at the kitchen table frantically typing our requisite 50,000 words.

What the *bleep* is NaNoWriMo?

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is best known for its annual creative writing event in which participants attempt to write a 50,000-word manuscript in just one month. Writing so much so fast does not come naturally to many of us, but it can be a useful experience. It forces the writer to get their head out of editing mode and focus on the story progression. No, you won’t end up in December with a fully-fledged and salable novel, but then even the most meticulous self-editors don’t a first draft.

NaNoWriMo taught me…

I’ve only done NaNoWriMo once, a fantasy novel/memoir I called CatWoman: A Journey. I was working full-time as a medical scanner at the time and have no idea how I succeeded to write CatWoman on top of that, but I did. I was driven by the story, which is a normal process for me, but because I only had one month to get everything down from beginning to end, I had to write at warp speed. This method had the side effect of producing an almost ethereal consciousness of plot. I was constantly barraged by inspiration, thoughts from far outside the box. Unquestioning, I wrote them, and CatWoman turned into a thing of terrible beauty.

Still, there was a point at the beginning where I nearly gave up. The pace was grueling, and I was certain that when I finished and read it over, it would be no good. Would I ever recover from writing a novel of shit? Could I trust myself to start a new story after doing such a bad job with this one?

I could have listened to that inner voice and saved myself a lot of time and trouble, but then CatWoman would never have matured. To have written it any other way, it would not have been the same. Though I have yet, some years later, to revise CatWoman: A Journey into a real book, I was happy with my result. To note, I’ve not been tempted to do NaNo again.

So if you are ready to test yourself in a new way, to dive into the unknown, to take a chance on failure as well as success, get ready to roll November 1st.

If you feel at all fragile or like your writing self can’t gamble on something absurd, you might want to wait. There will be another chance—after all, November, and NaNoWriMo, comes around every year.

From the NaNoWriMo Website:

“Every story matters. Let’s start writing yours.

Writing a novel alone can be difficult, even for seasoned writers. NaNoWriMo helps you track your progress, set milestones, connect with other writers in a vast community, and participate in events that are designed to make sure you finish your novel. Oh, and best of all, it’s free!”

Resources:

NaNoWriMo Website: https://nanowrimo.org/

NaNoWriMo Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/nanowrimo/

NaNoWriMo on Twitter: @NaNoWriMo

From Wikipedia:

“National Novel Writing Month (often shortened to NaNoWriMo, is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization that promotes creative writing around the world. Its flagship program is an annual, international creative writing event in which participants attempt to write a 50,000-word manuscript during the month of November. Well-known authors write “pep-talks” in order to motivate participants during the month. The website provides participants, called “Wrimos”, with tips for writer’s block, information on where local participants are meeting, and an online community of support. Focusing on the length of a work rather than the quality, writers are encouraged to finish their first draft quickly so that it can later be edited at the author’s discretion. The project started in July 1999 with 21 participants. In 2019, 455,080 participated in the organization’s programs.”

 

 

 

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FIRST CHAPTERS: Copy Cats

Copy Cats is the second Crazy Cat Lady Cozy Mystery, which I began to write soon after my publishing success with Cats’ Eyes. By this time, I had a few four-and five-star reviews under my belt, and was enthused about seeing what Lynley could get up to next. The idea of a cat shelter volunteer character created so many possibilities! It was hard to narrow things down to one subject alone.

I had recently attended a class in pet communication, and though, like Lynley, it didn’t instantly turn me into a cat psychic, I saw its place among the mysteries that are cat. When a cat comes into the shelter with obvious story to tell, but they’re stray so there’s nothing to go on, we all wish there was a magical portal to see into their brains. There are a few special people can can.

Add a cat counterfeiting ring and a serial killer who murders with a cat-like claw, and you have Copy Cats, book 2 of the Crazy Cat Lady Cozy Mystery Series.

Copy Cats, , the 2nd Crazy Cat Lady Cozy Mystery

If your cat told you there was murder afoot, would you believe him? When cat-lady Lynley Cannon attends a workshop on animal communication– the psychic kind– she never guesses it could lead to a scheme both conniving and deadly. Someone in Portland is counterfeiting show cats, but that’s not the worst of it. Their techniques are savage and abusive, and Lynley must find the culprits before they do more harm. To compound matters, there’s a serial killer on the loose, mangling his victims with a gruesome cat-like claw. The crimes are connected, taking crazy to a whole new level.

Praise for Copy Cats:

Great cat crime story! Mollie Hunt is a true cat lover who understands cats and writes about them beautifully. Her stories are captivating, with both suspense but also humour. I discovered Mollie Hunt’s books only recently and I am so glad I did! I read a lot of cat crime novels and I can say Mollie Hunt is one of the best authors.  — Reader, UK

I love that in the beginning of every chapter Hunt gives the reader some cat knowledge, whether it is something regarding Siamese cats and their purebred status to the finicky way a tortoise cat acts……it is always interesting information. — Cozy Mystery Book Reviews

THE ROOM WAS SILENT. Not a breath, not a sneeze, not a cell phone ping sounded throughout the crowd. Attention focused on the woman on the dais as though she were the only star in the sky.

In a high-backed antique wing chair, its gold brocade at odds with the austerity of the convention room, she sat like a rock star queen. A single spot shone down on her generous proportions.

Her eyes were closed.

In her hand, she held a photograph.

 

Chapter 1

I am the crazy cat lady, but I’m not quite crazy yet.

Basically I’m just a lady who likes cats.

And has several cats.

And volunteers at a cat shelter.

And fosters sick cats.

Well, you get the picture, but I don’t see how any of that makes me certifiable and certainly not nuts enough to believe one session with a pet psychic could break open a plot of abuse, perversion and brutal murder. Ask my friends, though I’ll admit they may be a bit biased, being mostly cat people, too. They’ll tell you I went into this with only the best intentions. I had no idea at the time where it would lead or I would never have gotten involved. But I did and once in I had to see it through. As with cats, curiosity trumps my better judgment every time.

I don’t know what I expected when I signed up for the Animal Communications Conference and Advanced Workshop given by the preeminent icon of pet whisperers, la Zoe. A little fun, some light entertainment. Not that I don’t believe humans can commune with their animal companions—I do. I talk to cats all the time, and usually they talk back, but it’s all pretty basic. I guess I just wanted to know if there were more to it than feed me, pet me, and whatever do you think you’re doing? if I didn’t perform the previous in a timely manner. An insight into feline philosophy, for instance? Or a catly consensus on world events? Maybe they could tell me the secrets of the universe, or even why they prefer one litter over another—that would be convenient.

Yes, animal communication would be a handy trick, though at the time I didn’t hold out much hope of ever mastering it. And it certainly never crossed my mind that if I did, I might learn things I’d rather not know.

My name is Lynley Cannon, daughter of Carol Mackey, grandmother of Seleia Voxx, “mom” of Dirty Harry, Big Red, Solo, Little, Violet, Fraulein Fluffs, and my new and wonderful family member, Tinkerbelle. Those last seven are cats. I have a human daughter too, but when it comes to Lisa, I get along better with the cats.

I’m a busy person in spite of the fact that I’m nearing sixty. Sixty! It sounds so old! Except for the aches, pains, and intermittent memory loss, I don’t feel like a senior citizen in the throes of my golden years. The autumn of my life—what crap! Of course my father said the same thing when he turned eighty. Eighty—now that’s old!

Cats don’t care how old you are. They don’t look at your time-ravaged body, your wrinkling face, drying skin, gnarled knuckles, or veined hands. In fact, I believe they prefer older people. Less drama, less fear. It’s true that cats can smell fear and it irritates them. They would much rather smell nice calm happy emotions, the ones they can take a nap on.

I spend a lot of time with cats. Some might think that’s a bad thing, but my friends take it for granted. Besides caring for my own little clowder, I volunteer at Friends of Felines in my spare time, and since I’m retired, that means nearly every day. FOF, as we affectionately call it, is a small not-for-profit no-kill state-of-the-art cat haven. Built with love, sweat, tears, and many generous donation dollars, I am proud to say it’s become a model for shelters all over the United States.

I find peace helping those homeless sweethearts transition to their new lives in caring homes. Why people give up their pets I will never understand. Oh, yes, I’ve heard all the reasons, and some are certainly valid. Death, for instance. And illness. Homelessness is a new one that we’re seeing more and more these days. But excuses such as it got too old or it isn’t cute anymore just make my hackles rise. To me, a pet is a life-long commitment, like a child, only pets don’t grow up and go off to college; they stay and you love them. That’s all there is to it.

And that brings up another reason I’d been looking forward to the Animal Communication Seminar. A good percentage of FOF’s guests were strays with secret stories of the streets; many a time I’d wished they could tell me what happened out there to make them skittish or fearful or mad. Maybe with la Zoe’s professional instruction, I might finally be able to find out. My motives were innocent, I swear. There was no sense of doom, no inner alarms going off. I didn’t hear angels or see fairies or feel as if I were in the Time Tunnel. How could I have known that those few hours were going to change my life?

* * *

I may be a crazy cat lady, but I wasn’t the only one there by a long shot. Cat daddies, dog dopes, bird buddies, gerbil guys—they all were drawn, just like me, to see the queen of pet communications. Most had come for the show, but an elite few would go on to a special session with la Zoe, herself. Frannie and I were to be among those few.

Frannie also volunteered at Friends of Felines where we had met several years back. We had developed an instant rapport, though to this day I don’t know what she does when she’s not socializing stray cats, cleaning out litter boxes, and performing the many ordinary tasks that make a shelter run. We often got together for drinks after our shifts, her place or mine, but our chit-chat rarely veered far from the day’s work which both of us found to be infinitely interesting.

Frannie DeSoto is an amazing person. Though roughly my age, she has the air of a twenty-year-old. She is meticulous with hair and make-up, and whether she is volunteering at the shelter or attending a formal dinner, the platinum curls are always perfect, the bright pink lipstick never smudged or faded, and the nail gloss which invariably matches her whimsical eye shadow, sans chip or crack. I don’t have a clue how she does it. My look tends toward the opposite: hair springing into a mess of gray-red snarls the minute I walk out the salon door, and aside from a little lip color of a nondescript plum, I don’t wear make-up so that’s that.

After la Zoe’s introduction to Mindfulness and a short autobiographical narrative, the seer was scheduled to do actual readings from the audience. Everyone had brought a photograph or two in hopes of being chosen, and Frannie was one of the lucky ones. She was as excited as a kitten, which was cute to see on someone of retirement age. I was happy for her. She hadn’t had a cat for as long as I’d known her because her apartment building didn’t allow them, so the photo of the smiling tabby had to go back a ways. La Zoe claimed she could speak to the dead so it wouldn’t be a problem.

Frannie nudged me. “Teasel’s up next,” she whispered rapturously. “Finally la Zoe will be able to tell me how my baby’s doing up in Kitty Heaven.”

I nodded, examining the woman on stage into whom Frannie was pouring her utter faith. She was large, manly even, reminding me vaguely of Darcelle, the famous Portland female impersonator. The long, concealing robes were classic gold; the unnaturally red hair was piled on top her head like a raspberry ice cream cone. I quashed a surge of skepticism; after all, if I had wanted to be cynical about the presentation, I could have stayed home and saved myself a hundred bucks.

We waited patiently for the spiritualist to finish up her current reading, a heart-wrenching attempt to locate a lost dog. Though la Zoe had found the pup’s energy and could attest to the fact that he was alive, his thoughts told her little that would help with the rescue since the dog himself had no concept of where he was. Even la Zoe was helpless in this situation; the best she could do was to send calming thoughts and assurance that his family would never stop searching.

“I am sorry,” la Zoe said in a sonorous voice that could have belonged to James Earl Jones. “Your Max is out there. He is healthy but afraid. Do not give up hope.” She smiled broadly, a grin worthy of a Denobulan.

The couple who occupied the chairs next to the dais stood. Zoe handed the photograph to the man, then he and his wife shuffled somberly back to their seats among the audience.

The communicator took another picture from a neat pile on the little table next to her. “And now,” she drawled, “Teasel.”

She held the glossy page to her forehead for a moment—again I fought down the urge to scoff—then studied it intensely. “Ah. This one has crossed Beyond. Some time ago?” Her eyes grazed the room until they lit on Frannie. “Come up, my dear. Contacting those on the other side is always a bit bewildering for them. Teasel will need you close.”

Frannie rose and scooched down our row. Though no one would guess from her confident demeanor, I knew she was scared. We had talked in depth before the program about animal communication, specifically communication with the dead. At the time I hadn’t known she planned to submit her own passed puss for the reading. Now all those metaphysical debates, those half-formed thoughts, those dreams and nightmares we discussed made sense. Like myself, Frannie wasn’t sure people could actually commune with their dead pets, but I guess she figured it couldn’t hurt to try.

Frannie nodded a courtly hello to la Zoe, then sat down in the hot seat.

“I must have complete silence for this reading,” the seer announced. “This is the most difficult of all contact. The thread to the Beyond is tenuous. So much as a sigh and it can be broken, just like that!” She snapped her pudgy fingers.

The room hushed; everyone held their breath.

“Teasel,” the physic crooned.

The silence reverberated.

It dragged out into a void of forever.

Then, finally and with great satisfaction, la Zoe smiled.

“She is here!”

* * *

“Wow! That was amazing,” I said to Frannie as we sat in the lounge having a much-needed cup of coffee.

Frannie was silent.

“Are you okay?”

She nodded slowly. “I think about her all the time, you know. It’s been nine years since Teasel—what did la Zoe call it? Crossed Beyond?”

I took a sip of my coffee. It was strong and lip-burning, just the way I liked it. “What did you think of the reading?” I said carefully.

Frannie’s big eyes gleamed. “Everything she told us was right on. About the way Teasel meows when she yawns. And how she follows wherever I go. Followed,” she revised somberly. “I still miss her. Teasel was the reason I started volunteering at the shelter, you know.”

“She must be very proud of you.”

Frannie gave me a quizzical look. “You don’t think la Zoe was making it all up, do you?”

I paused. That was a tough one. Actually I still had my doubts, but Frannie was so happy to hear from her long-dead kit, I didn’t want to step on her high. I was saved from my dilemma by the clear ping of a prayer bell. It pinged two more times—the summons to la Zoe’s private session.

“Maybe we’re about to find out.”

* * *

We picked our way into a small conference room. A dozen chairs were arranged in a horseshoe with what had to be the queen’s throne, a particularly large office chair, occupying the gap. Frannie and I took seats, and I looked around for somewhere to put my stuff. Finally for lack of a better idea, I shoved my laptop and purse under the chair. I saw others coming to the same conclusion, stowing books and carryalls underneath, then awkwardly balancing computers, notebooks, or in some cases, old-fashioned pen and paper on their laps. I wondered at the lack of desks but had a feeling it was all part of the show.

A door opened on the far side of the room and in swept la Zoe. Her heavy robes rustled as she smiled and nodded to her much-diminished audience. Then without ado, she unzipped the front of her drape and shrugged out of the voluminous sleeves. Underneath she wore jeans and a Humane Society of the United States tee shirt, well worn, fading, with a few tiny holes at the hem. She undid the pins that held her red bird’s nest of hair and shook it out as if shaking of the regal persona.

“That is better,” she said, her deep, formal voice unchanged. “Now, are you ready to learn the secrets of life?”

There were titters and a cough.

“No, I am serious. Psychic communication is innate in all beings; it is merely locked away from our outward sight.” She paused and looked around the class expectantly.

“I don’t understand,” said a young woman.

“That is alright, you will. Put away your writing gear, you are not going to need it.”

There was the murmur of confusion, but eventually most everyone complied.

“Put away your pen, sir,” she told a young man who was holding on to the implement for dear life.

“But, ma’am,” he stuttered. “How am I supposed to take notes?”

“You will not be needing notes. Your heart will remember.”

“But… what if it doesn’t?” he persevered.

“Then it was not meant to be,” she flipped. “What I am about to tell you comes from inside. No amount of notation can help you if you cannot accept that.”

She bent down to reach into a banker’s box beside her chair and pulled out an oversized paperback book packaged in plastic. “But if you are still unclear at the end of the session, you may purchase my book for a nominal fee. I will autograph it for you.” Again she laughed. “Trust me, all will become clear once you begin to listen.”

As with her first session, she began with a meditation, then moved on to a deep breathing exercise and a game of toss where we worked with a partner—to clear our chakras, she told us. After we’d had a few laughs chasing neon Nerf balls around the conference room, we got down to business.

I can’t tell you the rest of what happened because, like the magician’s assistant, we were sworn to secrecy. I wondered about the analogy at the time. La Zoe was right about one thing though: we didn’t need to take notes. Everything that went on in that room that day is seared into my memory for life. I will never forget it, no matter how much I wish I could.

 

Posted in Crazy Cat Lady cozy mysteries, My Cat Cozies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

8 of the Most Common Mistakes Cat Owners Make (And How to Solve Them) KATZENWORLD

I am reblogging an article from the Katzenworld Blogsite that I found most informative. In 8 of the Most Common Mistakes Cat Owners Make (And How to Solve Them), cat aficionado Marc-Andre gets right to the heart of issues common to cat owners/companions, both newbies and pros. I, myself, was reminded as I read that it’s time for my cat’s dental. Dental hygiene is important for my cats’ wellbeing. It’s expensive and invasive, but can save a cat’s life.

Read this over, especially if you are planning on adopting a new cat. Send it to your friends who may not be as cat-savvy as you. Too many people are seduced by kitten eyes without having a clue as to the care and commitment involved in the full life of that cat. An article like this one can save those people a lot of time and stress.

Source: 8 of the Most Common Mistakes Cat Owners Make (And How to Solve Them)

Posted in Cat Health, Cats, OTHER BLOGGERS, Other Stories | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments