Who Are the Cat Writers’ Association?  AMY SHOJAI, CABC

I’m super excited to introduce my next guest on Who are the Cat Writers’ Association? Not only is Amy Shojai one of the founding members of the CWA, but she has been active in the organization since 1992. Hers was a vision of a place cat people and the general public could find good information about cats. Since then, and with the help of members like Amy, CWA has grown to encompass “a wide variety of (cat-themed) talent, supporting evolving mediums and platforms such as Fine Arts, Journalism, Social Media, Graphic Design, Writing, Radio, Television, Videography, Podcasts, Websites, Blogs, Photography, Illustration, Cartoons, and so much more!”—About CWA, the CWA Website

Amy, tell us a bit about your writing career.

I write prescriptive nonfiction books and blogs. To date, I’ve had about 35+ books published (traditionally and now independent). I also write blogs/articles for several clients, including FearFreePets.com, ReadersDigest.com, and other major pet product companies. 

Switching creative hats, I also write music and am a produced/published playwright. One show, STRAYS, THE MUSICAL, channels your “inner cat and dog” to share how pets perceive their world. Also, I’ve launched a pet-centric thriller series that features a PTSD service dog, and a trained cat that tracks lost kitties. Each of the books in the thriller series includes winners of a NAME THAT CAT/DOG contest, nominated by readers, so the reader’s pet becomes one of the heroes in the story line. Oh, I also have a home recording studio and voice my own audiobooks. Guess I’m a control freak!

Now for four extremely arbitrary questions. ..

  1. How do cats inspire your creativity?

Cats (and dogs) gave me my career. I first worked as a veterinary technician. My first experiences in vet clinics, helping to treat cats (or even assist in surgery), inspired my first published work in the “pet press.” I didn’t have a cat, but loved interacting with cat patients. Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I wrote dozens of personal experience stories about the cats at the clinic. I yearned for a community of colleagues who wrote on similar topics, and didn’t laugh at me for focusing on felines and canines. Cats inspired me to write and gave me my first publishing bylines. Ultimately, cats inspired the idea of forming the CWA. 

I’ve always felt fascinated by animal behavior, wanting not just to recognize what a behavior means but WHY an animal acts/reacts in certain ways. That inspired me to pursue become a certified animal behavior consultant. Now the more I know about them, the more they inspire my work. In fiction and plays, I felt inspired to speak in their “voice” in a way I never thought possible when I first started this journey.

2. Have you taken a cat first aid course?

I worked as a vet tech for several years and learned a lot on the job. One of my best-selling books covers the topic: The First-Aid Companion for Dogs & Cats. A couple of years ago, I also updated my knowledge when I took a course with Arden Moore. I highly recommend her course!

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

I’m standing in front of my desk (I have a desk/treadmill), in my home office. My Karma-Kat has stretched out on the floor at my feet. Cat-themed objects? Ooooh so many, let’s see:

6 cat paintings

Mirror with cats climbing on it (the Fear Free award *s*)

2 big cat statues

Cat-theme ceramic glass

Various glass or wood carved cat figurines (about 9…one for each life?)

Lifelike calico Persian stuffie

And a couple of cat-theme rings (I can’t seem my earrings, but there, too)

4. What’s the craziest thing your cat’s ever done?

My first cat, Seren-Kitty, used to answer my phone. Back in the day of landlines, if left alone in my office, she’d hook a paw under the receiver when the phone rang. I had more than one editor tell me a cat meowed an answer when they called. I also had to shove an empty box over the top of my fax machine, because Seren liked to stand on top and make the buttons beep. She’d take the fax offline, and I missed several important messages before I figured it out.

Tell us a bit about your cats. (I love this picture so much!)

Seren-Kitty(rb) was a petite warrior cat, a Siamese wannabe with blue jean-colored eyes. She lived nearly to age 22. My current kitty muse, Karma-Kat, boasts a chunky man-cat physique. He’s a silver shaded tabby with blue eyes and the sweetest disposition, and just celebrated his ninth birthday. He adores dogs.

Find out more about Amy Shojai:

Blog: https://AmyShojai.com

Website: https://Shojai.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amyshojai.cabc 

Twitter: @amyshojai

Instagram: @amyshojai

Pinterest: @amyshojai

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/amyshojai-cabc

TikTok: @amypetwriter

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

CATTOGRAPHY

Posted in Cats, photography | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Who Are the Cat Writers’ Association? STASIE FISHMAN

My next guest on Who are the Cat Writers’ Association? is Stasie Fishman, author of young adult/young at heart books featuring her cats. Stasie lives with her cat children, Sammie, Bettinna, Freddie and her feral outside cat Lucy and a few more who show up.

About Stasie:

My name is Stasie Fishman, and I am a Long Island New York Author.  I am very excited to launch my third book, Freddie’s Tail, which makes a great set of three books together with Bettinna’s Tail and Sammie’s Tail.   Through these books I hope to inspire and promote kindness to all animals with education about cats and cat rescue from the cat’s perspective and point of view.

The cats tell their story about how they were lost, cold and lonely outside and struggling to find food and warmth.

Children and adults alike will enjoy these books.  Adults have said the enjoyed, laughed and learned something too.

There is education in the back of the books for adults and children.  Ideas about cat rescue and what you can do to help.  Examples about how dynamic Bettinna is and how incredible.  I don’t think she is a cat—she is a little human girl.  She communicates by manipulating objects, sits like a dog, gives kisses, is a yoga cat, she talks, opens doors, closes doors and so on.  There are more examples in the book on how you may be able to bring out the personalities of your own cats.

Stay tuned for more books to follow.

Stasie, tell us a bit about your writing career.

I write from the heart with passion for what I believe in.  I am so inspired to tell the stories that I take what is truth from my own experience and share so others can learn, use and enjoy what I have done.  I want to give back to the animals people have and their families so all can enjoy and enhance their lives.

 How do cats inspire your creativity?

    • In 2012 a friend of mine was feeding cats outside.  I had never had a pet before due to my brother’s allergies as children.  I saw a black cat outside and thought, I can feed this cat. 
    • I started to feed this cat, and she allowed us to touch her and pet her.  We even had her eating in our kitchen, and she would walk back out.
    • I then decided to educate myself about cats and everything I could do for them.
    • I used the local town to have her checked out. Although I could pick her up, I didn’t know a lot so we bought a trap and put her in the trap, as they said if she is feral she needs to be in the trap
    • They said, in or out—inside the house or keep feeding outside, but not both.
    • So we decided on in. They still insisted to clip her ear. I guess they did not believe us.
    • She was a small female we named Sammie, as we thought from my research. I took her in the trap to my local vet for a more thorough exam, as I felt a ball rolling around behind her ear – turns out it was a pellet gun bullet, and they removed it as it was just under the skin.
    • We also found out she may be Burmese, but further research revealed she is a Bombay which comes from the Burmese cat.
    • I felt responsible to make sure she had a great life so I continued to educate myself.
    • Now I had a crusade – how do I tell people not to harm these animals, how it is not their fault they are outside?  I was nicely told you cannot educate the adults (but I do try). You need to educate the children.  My “aha” moment: I’ll write her story and make a book to be a tool to educate.

Now for a few extremely arbitrary questions. Stasie didn’t stop at the usual three, but gives us 10 answers!

 1. What is your favorite cat movie and why?

Well, I just love Lady and the Tramp, especially the cat and her beautiful singing voice and songs.  But before this movie, my all-time favorite is Gay-Puree with Judy Garland and Robert Goulet singing and doing the voices.

  1. Did you grow up with cats?

No, I did not as my brother was allergic. We had a kitten, and it was gone right away. But I did adopt my neighbor’s cats and liked when they walked on me when I slept over at their house as a child.

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

I try to tell them that they can experience joy with them if they are open to it.  But writing children’s books as they are open to learning more than adults.  I do try to get through to adults but it is hard.

  1. Does cat love run in your family?

No way.

  1. What famous cat or cat person have you met?

Jackson Galaxy, love him.  When I rescued my first cat, I educated myself as much as possible.

  1. If you were a cat, what breed would you be?

A Bombay like my first Sammie.

  1. Do your cats get along with each other?

Yes they have to.  I always say love love love.  No fights.  They do.

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

I volunteer, donate, and educate most of all.

  1. What’s the craziest thing your cat’s ever done? 

My cat Bettinna should be a movie star.  She is my movie star.  She is so smart.  She opens doors and closes doors.  She loves her own tablet.  She watches TV.  Sits like a dog and gives kisses—if you come over to her, you can get a kiss.  She loves me, her mother, more than my own mother or anyone else in the world. Unconditional.

  1. What do you wish for?

I would like to see every animal get chipped so the first owner is identified when an animal is missing or found.

Sammie

Freddie

Bettinna

Stasie’s cat’s are: Sammie, Bettinna, Freddie, and Lucy who just came in and is being socialized.

Website:

https://sammiestail.com/

https://www.facebook.com/sammiestail

https://www.instagram.com/sammiestail

Slogan / Mission Statement:

Sammie’s Tail – Tolerance for Animals Inspire Love.

Promoting the rescue, saving & extending lives of cats & their people.

 

 

Posted in Book Talk, Interviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Ladew Cat Sanctuary Makeover (Reblogged from Katzenworld)

I want to live here!

Who says cat shelters have to be drab and boring, or worse yet, cold and scary? Here’s a sanctuary that has gone all the way to make both cats and people feel comfortable.

Posted in Animal Shelters, Cats, OTHER BLOGGERS, Other Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

2-YEAR LOCKDOWN CHALLENGE

One of this year’s most popular trends, is the #10YearChallenge. Everywhere you go on social media, you find people posting side-by-side photographs of themselves ten years apart. The posts are fun and interesting. We can see how much we’ve changed in the ten-year span and be horrified, amused, or acquiescent.

But, yeah, everybody except Dorian Gray changes over a decade. I’ve got a new challenge for you. I call it the #2YearLockdownChallenge.

It was just about two years ago when we first began hearing about “the Corona virus” and then COVID-19. Words like “lockdown” and “shelter in place” accompanied another, scarier word: pandemic! We had faced challenges before, but nothing like this. Another word became commonplace: Unprecedented.

It’s been a long road, but we’re finally coming out the other side. Those of us that are fully vaccinated are finally shedding masks and going out in public again. The World Health Organization has said the acute phase of the pandemic could end this year, if about 70 percent of the world gets vaccinated.

But COVID has taken its toll, not just on those who were sick or died, but on everyone. The stress, the fear, the bizarre circumstances have changed us. We are not, and never will be, the people we were in March of 2020.

So on to the #2YearLockdownChallenge. Show us photos of yourself before COVID and now. Is there a difference? Did you stop dying your hair? Did you quit wearing pants—forever? Are you more feral? Did the hardship age you?

This is mine. The hair is still long but the face is definitely fatter. The smile seems forced, though I was on vacation in Hawaii. That’s what two years of pandemic did to me. Now it’s your turn.

Post to social media: #2YearLockdownChallenge

Posted in Getting Older, Health, Wellness, Lifestyle | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Who Are the Cat Writers’ Association? BRITTANY VANDERBILL

My next guest on Who are the Cat Writers’ Association? is Brittany VanDerBill, a freelance content and copywriter. In her promotional material, Brittany says she can write about anything! From cats, travel, lifestyle, and wine to health, fashion, and skincare to business, finance, emails, or web copy, she works to capture her clients’ brand or publication’s personality. Cat writers don’t have to write exclusively about cats, as Brittany proves with her successful business.

Here’s what Brittany  says about CWA:

I joined CWA to meet others who write about (and love) cats. I’m newer to the association, but so far the Facebook group has been great. My own cat has some weird behavioral issues and group members readily offered up advice on what we should do. I’ve also connected with a member who provided quotes for an article coming out this year in Paw Print magazine.

Brittany, tell us a bit about your writing career.

I love writing about a wide variety of topics, from cats to wine to travel to lifestyle and more. My work has been published online with Travel + Leisure, People, and (soon!) in PawPrint created by Dotdash Meredith. I also intend to venture into writing books.

How do cats inspire your creativity?

My kitten needs lots of attention and playtime, which forces me to take a break from work. Some days, that can really help me reset and come back to my writing with fresh ideas. At the very least, it usually brings a smile to my day!

Copyrighted

Now for three extremely arbitrary questions.

  1. What is your earliest memory of being around cats?

I have always loved cats. As a child, I’d spend hours at my grandma’s house trying to befriend the stray kittens near her home.

2. What’s the craziest thing your cat’s ever done?

It’s hard to pick just one thing! Our cat’s most recent crazy behavior is to jump onto doors. In my office for instance, he leaps from my desk to the very top of the door and balances on it for a while. Then he usually needs me to slowly push the door back toward my desk so he can safely get down on his own.

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

You know, I think it’s okay if someone doesn’t like cats. They’re certainly not for everyone. However, there’s absolutely no reason to be mean to cats (or any animal, for that matter).

Brittany describes her cat Bean as an “Orange and white ball of energy.”

You can connect with Brittany VanDerBill, Content Writer at the following:

website

Instagram

LinkedIn

Digital Portfolio

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

Who Are the Cat Writers’ Association? TRACY AHRENS

For the next instalment of Who are the Cat Writers’ Association, my guest is animal advocate and author Tracy Ahrens from Momence, Illinois. I have yet to meet Tracy face to face, so I was excited to read about all the things she’s done and is doing in the world of cats, dogs, and a few bunnies as well.

Tracy, tell us a bit about your writing career.

I have been a journalist and editor for newspapers, magazines and websites since 1992. Currently, my stories about raising my pets can be seen through websites and print publications, including: dogster.com, catster.com, Simply Pets magazine, wagthedogUK.com, American Pet Magazine, Russell Publications and Momence Progress Reporter.As of 2020, I had earned 66 writing awards statewide, locally and nationally. I’ve earned more since then but haven’t had time to update my website with how many. I am a member of the Illinois Woman’s Press Association, National Federation of Press Women, and the Cat Writers’ Association.

For years I’ve volunteered for animal rescue groups. I am also an artist, creating graphite pet portraits and chalk illustrations. My illustrations have been showcased on note cards for the Kankakee County Animal Foundation in Kankakee, Ill. I have donated portraits for fundraising events at Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago, the University of Illinois Wildlife Veterinary Clinic in Champaign-Urbana, Ill.; Critter Corral guinea pig rescue in Steger, Ill.; Hospice Hearts rescue in Champaign-Urbana, Ill. and Crossroads Shih Tzu rescue based in Joliet, Ill. In the past I offered pet portraits through the University of Illinois Small Animal Veterinary Teaching Hospital to help raise funds for their Humane Connection Fund.

My portrait of a cat titled Jackson Brown is on display at the Cat Fanciers’ Association Foundation cat museum in Alliance, Ohio. My portrait of a rabbit named Bosley is on display in the House Rabbit Society’s Rabbit Center in Richmond, Calif.

I have also written four children’s books: Cloud Jumpers, What if the Moon, Sammy Sparrow’s First Flight and Come with Me. Aside from my children’s books, I have written two non-fiction books titled Giant Hero and Raising My Furry Children. Raising My Furry Children features a guest story by pet expert, Steve Dale. Proceeds from Sammy Sparrow’s First Flight assist several humane organizations within Illinois. Come with Me supports the Kate Amato Foundation for children’s cancer research based in Florida. I have also published two books of poetry through Finishing Line Press titled Nature will heal and I am.

Photos I have taken of my cats and dog have appeared in several calendars by Workman Publishing.

Since I currently have a full-time job outside of the writing profession, I have limited time to write. In my spare time, I have focused solely on writing about raising my pets, writing poetry and writing/illustrating children’s books.

   

 Do cats inspire your creativity?

 My cat, Forest and my dog, Angel will be 16 this spring. Their antics and my observations of them inspire me with story ideas quite often. I jot down notes and save photographs I take of them. I have many files on my computer with future stories about them.

Sadly, I lost two of my cats last year within 30 hours. Jack Sparrow and Joan of Arc were 17 and nearly 21. They too inspired me, and my house is much quieter without them. One day when things settle down in my life a bit more, I do want to adopt another kitty in need.

If anyone visits my little home, they will see pet-themed art, photos and more in every room. My house revolves around my pets. The atmosphere brings me peace. At Christmas I display a tree with pet-themed ornaments on it, many which were given to me by fellow animal lovers.

Now for three extremely arbitrary questions.

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

 If someone tells me they do not like cats, I feel sorry for them. Believe me, being a single woman, when I meet a man and he tells me he “hates” cats, I quickly cut ties. My pets are my inspiration and passion. They are a part of me and need to be loved the same by someone close to me. I have learned to ask people who say that they “hate” cats, why they feel this way. It is interesting to learn that most people have had an experience from years ago that wasn’t the “cat’s fault” for scratching or scaring them. Some trauma along the way usually causes this dislike. I try to tell them this, and explain that it isn’t the cat’s fault, that cats are amazing creatures and are loyal, loving and fun like dogs.

  1. What famous cat or cat person have you met?

One famous cat person I knew was author Ray Bradbury. He wrote a book jacket quote for my book Raising My Furry Children. Ray and I spoke at an event where I graduated from college (Eureka College in Eureka, Ill.). We kept in touch over the years. He loved all creatures, especially cats. I drew a portrait of one of his cats, Tater. He told me that he displayed it in his home office.

  1. Did you grow up with cats?

 My first childhood pet was a long-haired white cat named Fluffy. I grew up with a passion for saving all creatures. My parents and brother also love all creatures. My mom, Linda Ahrens, has nine cats and one stray that may soon stay permanently. My mom has created over 1,600 24-inch-square flannel quilts for cats and dogs since 2005. She has donated all proceeds to local humane rescue organizations and to the University of Illinois Small Animal Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois in an effort to raise money for their Humane Connection Fund. She’s been featured in Catster and Quiltfolk magazine and other online and print news. I help her with the quilt project, and we’ve shipped quilts to cats around the world. See her Facebook page at @quiltsforcats

As a side note, my dog Angel received a stuffed duck toy anonymously from a social media acquaintance shortly after I adopted her. She fell in love with that duck and brought it upstairs to my bed and it has remained there since. Over the past four years I have given these same ducks (they come in multiple colors) to friends and strangers for their dogs. I have sent them around the world. I wrote a story about Angel’s love of the duckies, and I created a Facebook page for her duckie-love at @agirlandherduck

And finally, tell us about your cats (and dog)!

My current pet family consists of my cat Forest Horatio Maxwell Fluffy bottom, 15; and my dog, Angel, 15. Forest was adopted at 4 months of age. Angel was adopted at age 11. I lost two of my cats within 30 hours in 2021. Jack Sparrow and Joan of Arc were 17 and nearly 21. Both were rescues. Jack was found by a friend when he was 3 months old. Joan I found in a street at night when she was just 1 month old.

Links:

Website:  www.tracyahrens.weebly.com

Instagram:   raisingmyfurrychildren

Facebook:   TracyLAhrens

Email:  mylittleforie@yahoo.com

 

Other Facebook pages I run include:

 

@ForestBellyUp – featuring images of my cat Forest and his love of lying “belly up”

@goatangel – featuring my dog Angel and how she looks like a mountain goat

@agirlandherduck – featuring my dog Angel and her love of her stuffed duck toy

@sammyshelterproject – featuring posts about my children’s book Sammy Sparrow’s First Flight

@Come.With.Me.Book – featuring information about my book Come with Me

@RaisingMyFurryChildren – featuring content about my book Raising my Furry Children. This book is currently out of print because the publisher closed. I will be republishing it in the near future.

 

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

Book Review: M.C. BEATON’S HAMISH MACBETH-ANOTHER BONNIE TALE

DEATH OF A GREEN-EYED MONSTERA Hamish Macbeth Murder Mystery by M.C. Beaton with R.W Green

Sergeant Hamish Macbeth—Scotland’s most quick-witted but unambitious policeman—is back and may have finally met the woman of his dreams in this new mystery in M.C. Beaton’s beloved, New York Times bestselling series.

Hamish’s new constable, Dorothy McIver, may be the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. Completely bewitched by her sparkling blue eyes, Hamish spends the summer traveling with her up and down Sutherland until finally, he can take it no longer. He gets down on one knee beside the Land Rover and begs her to marry him—and to his amazement and delight, she says yes.

But just as the town of Lochdubh gets ready to celebrate, Hamish finds himself with a new murder on his hands. If he doesn’t find the killer fast, Hamish’s dream wedding could become a nightmare.

My Review: 

Hamish Macbeth, the most eligible (and slippery) bachelor in Lochdubh, has finally met the girl of his dreams, a fellow copper, and the sparks fly both ways. It looks like nothing can stop this highland wedding, but murder is afoot, and crimes must be solved. Since I don’t prefer reviews that give too much away, I’ll stop there, except to say I was riveted to the story from the first page and never did guess the killer.

M.C. Beaton may be best known for her Agatha Raisin Series which is now a popular television series as well, but I’m a long-time Hamish Macbeth fan. I’ve read nearly all of Beaton’s vast repertory of Hamish Macbeth mysteries and was excited to hear the series was not to be lost after Beaton’s death in 2019. She has passed the baton on to R. W. Green, who worked closely with her for many years.  This first “co-written” story delivers, reading seamlessly as all the others with plenty of descriptive scenery, flowing prose, an intriguing mystery, and all the quirky characters we’ve come to love.

Death of a Green-eyed Monster releases Tuesday, February 15th, 2022.

What others think about Death of a Green-eyed Monster:

“This Hamish Macbeth novel maintains Beaton’s distinctive voice and includes the usual village eccentrics, loads of Scottish lore, and the light humor that Beaton fans have loved through the years. Most important, the book ends with a teaser that seems to promise more and even wilder adventures for Hamish. A definite purchase for all mystery collections.” – Library Journal

About the Author:

M.C. Beaton (1936-2019), hailed as the “Queen of Crime” by the Globe and Mail, was the author of the New York Timesand USA Todaybestselling Agatha Raisin novels—the basis for the hit series on Acorn TV and public television—as well as the Hamish Macbeth series. Born in Scotland, Beaton started her career writing historical romances under several pseudonyms as well as her maiden name, Marion Chesney. Her books have sold more than twenty-two million copies worldwide.

A long-time friend of M.C. Beaton, R.W. Green has written numerous works of fiction and non-fiction. He lives in Surrey with his family and a black Labrador called Flynn.

I received a free copy of Death of a Green-eyed Monster from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Had this opportunity not been offered, I would have bought it anyway and not been disappointed.

Posted in Book Talk, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

KINDLE VELLA, ONE MORE TRY

 

I know this isn’t what I’m supposed to say when promoting a new project, but Kindle Vella, Amazon’s new-last-year episodic format for storytelling did not impress me. When it launched, it was made for cell phone reading, something one could glance at on a coffee break or bus ride. I liked the idea of a serialized story, one with episodes reminiscent of a soap opera or the old fashioned cliffhangers, so I wrote one. Fifteen episodes about a time-traveling dying woman. It instantly got lost among a zillion other stories, and that was that.

But now Vella has expanded to Kindles, themselves, which will open reading up to a whole new audience and I’ve decided to try again. This is a longer project that, at two episodes a week, should span several months. It’s called Catwoman-A Journey, and began as a Nanowrimo project of 50,000+ words. It’s the story of Lorett Glass, a woman who inherits a chunk of money and learns she has terminal brain cancer on the same day. From the moment I was hit with the premise, I loved it. Writing it was a gift and a revelation, and serialization is the perfect way to present what I believe to be a riveting tale.

Catwoman-A Journey,  coming March 1st on Kindle Vella

Lorett Glass finds out she’s inherited a cool fifty-million from a wild-man uncle on the same day she is diagnosed with a terminal brain cancer. Taking what’s left of her life in a fresh direction, she sets about to right wrongs, wreak vengeance, and generally kick ass. With the help of a charmed personal assistant, a teenaged computer geek, an elderly Mr. Fix-it, and a smart car whose super power is the ability to park anywhere, she becomes the person she’s always wanted to be—Catwoman.

 

For those who missed my first Vella story, you can find it here:

TIME BEING, a serialized story by Mollie Hunt

An elderly woman travels through time to significant points in her life, but things are not the same as she remembers them. Joined by a handsome young stranger and her childhood cat, the fate of both past and future lie in her hands. Read my post here.

With Kindle Vella, the first three episodes are free. After that, each episode costs tokens to unlock, which you buy in various increments from Amazon. I’ve been told it comes out to about the same cost as buying a Kindle book. If you try out this new format, let me know how you like it. Don’t forget to leave stars, the only way for a story to float to the top of the pile.

Posted in Book Talk, Sci-fi & Fantasy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Who Are the Cat Writers’ Association? PATRICIA FRY

 

People still look at me like I’m joking when I say I belong to the Cat Writers’ Association. Then I have to go into an explanation that, Yes, Virginia, there really is a Cat Writers’ Association. I also need to explain that it’s not just writers but all forms of creativity centered around cats. In this series, Who are the Cat Writers’ Association? I’ll introduce you to a few of the members so you can see for yourself the uniqueness of the CWA.

My first guest is friend and author Patricia Fry. When I say she is a prolific writer, it seems almost an understatement for someone who is currently working on her sixty-first cozy mystery! But I’ll let her tell you herself.

Patricia, Tell us a bit about your writing.

I’ve been a career writer for almost 50 years. I wrote hundreds—maybe thousands—or articles for about 300 different magazines over the years on a wide variety of topics, cat issues included. I also wrote several books throughout my original career. In 2011, I decided to retire from freelance writing and try my hand at writing fiction. I’m now the author of 60 cozy mysteries in the Klepto Cat Mystery series and the Calico Cat Mystery series. And I’ve never had so much fun writing. In fact, a part-time, retirement activity has become full-time work that I adore. I also write the Catscapades blog which is designed to entertain, educate, inform, enlighten, and tickle the fancy of cat lovers everywhere.

Do cats inspire your creativity?

Cats definitely inspire my creativity. When I was writing articles, I chose topics I wanted to know more about and that I felt were important to my readers. My cats often brought the topic or issue to light. It was through their behavior or because of their health issue that I’d feel compelled to research and write on a particular cat-related topic. When I decided to write fiction, I knew my stories would include cats. The idea of the klepto cat fascinated me and I knew that theme would work well in a mystery, so I came up with the Klepto Cat Mystery series featuring my mother’s confident, larger than life cat and the behavior of one of my cats who constantly brought me her stuffed animals—carrying or dragging them from her toy box to my office almost daily.

We adopted a calico kitten in 2020 named Olivia. She is sweet and sassy, quirky and quite inventive. I couldn’t resist creating a new series featuring Olivia, which I call the Calico Cat Mysteries. Such fun!

 

Now for three extremely arbitrary questions.

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

From where I’m sitting right now I can see 25 cat items and that doesn’t include the 14 four-slot frames filled with photos of my book covers on the walls and various cat photos here and there in my office. It does include a stuffed cat screen duster, a cat-a-day calendar, a poster showing cats in old-timey commercial ads, my day planner, and a small travel bag in cat motif. Fun stuff.

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

Olivia, the calico, would be the one crossing her paws—yes, with a lot of CATtitude!

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

What do I like to do related to cats? Well, I adopt rather than buy—and if it is a rescue, all the better. Most adoptions are. I also make sure my cats are spayed/neutered. And I educate and advocate through my writing. I did so when I wrote magazine articles and I still do this through my fiction work. In fact, at my Klepto Cat Mysteries website I have a list of 100 things you can learn from reading these stories.

My cozy mystery stories are always entertaining—that’s how I attract readers. The cats in my stories are real. They don’t have speaking parts, but they may take their catliness to an extreme at times, which delights my readers. But I also educate readers in the care and understanding of cats. Readers often remark that, after reading one of my stories or more they have a greater appreciation for cats on many levels.

And finally, tell us about your cats!

I currently have two cats, Sophie, a tortie, turns 18 this year. We adopted her after she was rescued from the streets at 10-weeks old and had no place to go. She has always been a sweet cat and has turned into a regal old gal. Olivia came to us after being discovered living under a house with her siblings. She’ll turn 2 soon. It is her beauty and her quirky/sweet and sassy cattitude that inspired the Calico Cat Mysteries.

A note from Patty:

I’d also like to mention my support group—the Cat Writers Association. I joined around ten years ago because I was just starting my cat-fiction career and I thought this affiliation would be good for book sales. But it has become more than that. I’ve made lifelong friends. I’ve grown as a writer and a cat owner and advocate from the high-quality members. I mean we aren’t all simply writers who love cats. Our membership includes cat behaviorists and other cat experts, veterinarians, many dedicated cat rescue people, and folks, this task is not for the meek. Our membership includes well-known and acclaimed authors on serious cat issues and of popular fiction series as well as writers just starting out, and publishers of periodicals as well as books, cat photographers, artists, and many others involved in a creative and/or educational aspect of cats. When we gather for our annual conference, we learn from workshops on everything you can imagine related to cats because our membership and our supporters are so diverse in their specialties, yet approachable—which is how the friendships are made.

I should also mention that we find great resources through our affiliation with CWA as well–such as illustrators, editors, etc. I found Bernadette Kazmarski, artists, for my book covers my sending a request through CWA. She has done all of the covers.

Links:

Learn more about my Klepto Cat Mysteries and Calico Cat Mysteries at amazon.com as well as KleptoCatMysteries.com, CalicoCatMysteries.com. Follow us on facebook and tap into my Catscapades blog: MatilijaPressc.com/Catscapades.

 

 

Posted in Book Talk, Interviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments