I Remember You

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Thomas,

I brought you home today. I must say, you look different. (Humor is the best medicine, right?)

But I remember you.

After

I was upstairs editing late when Michael called my name in that voice. You know, the one that makes everything in your chest fall into your gut. You had collapsed and gone into respiratory distress. The vet put you in an oxygen tank and gave you pain meds to make you comfortable. Your heart had broken.

Our hearts broke too. But I remember you.

I remember you as a kitten, born to a pregnant cat we inherited with our first house. Unexpected. A surprise that would lead to so many years of joy.

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I remember you helping us garden. We would have gotten twice as much done without you, but it would have been half as fun.

Gardening

I remember you walking us to the barn and back every time we took care of the horses knowing we couldn’t make it on our own. You were a great hunter. You could protect us from anything.

I remember how upset you were when we made you an indoor only cat because of the coyotes. It took many months and a very large outdoor enclosure to convince you we were old and wise enough to go to the barn on our own.

You had a grand life and you left it quickly. Those are good things for you. This is not for you. This is for those of us who will always remember you.

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Just Don’t

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Don’t ever sell a house you’ve lived in for fourteen years. It is hell on productivity, is extremely stressful, involves endless cleaning…

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and it really upsets the cats.

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OMG!

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If I hide my face it won’t happen.

If anyone has tips for surviving this process, I’m all ears.

All Ears

Now to sneak in some editing before the next showing.

Happy living!

A Little Love and Gratitude

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Happy Valentines all!

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Thanks so much for your feedback here and on Facebook. I am sending pictures one and three to my publisher.

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I hope to get another post up on the blog soon in regards to our cat challenges discussed in my post Dramatic Paws (so clever) and hopefully announce an exact release date and cover art for The Girl and the Clockwork Cat. In the name of shameless self-promotion, you can now add it to your reading list on Goodreads.

Now back to my regularly scheduled editing. I leave you with a little love from my cat.

Neko's love.

Neko’s love.

Happy writing!

Authorial Duties: Picking an Author Photo

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I know I’m behind on my blog and I blame editing, and writing, and holidays, and illness, and all those other things that cause a person to fall behind. As much as I love connecting with people here, some things have to come first. Of late, edits on my novel The Girl and the Clockwork Cat for Entangled Teen have been my biggest priority. Now that the first round is back to them, I am trying to catch up on other things, including smaller work items like getting an author photo together for them. I’m lucky to be married to a fantastic photographer who could do the photos for me, but now I have to pick one.

This is where I am hoping you all come in. I’m posting several options below. My debut novel, The Girl and the Clockwork Cat, is young adult steampunk. I’d love feedback on which photo you like and why (or why not).

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Happy writing!

Dramatic Paws

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I’ve been away from my blog for a while. Several things have contributed to that, including illness, injury, writing and editing books (seems to take up a lot of time), and cats.

Today I’m not going to talk about the writing or editing or even about my upcoming debut The Girl and the Clockwork Cat coming spring 2014 from Entangled Teen. (Yes, I am shameless, but it does have a cat in it, in the title even, so it’s loosely related.) I’m here to talk about cats. More specifically, about introducing a new cat into our home and the ongoing challenges we’ve faced with this particular cross-section of felines. I’m hoping this actually turns out to be helpful for others facing similar drama, but we’re dealing with cats. Anything could happen.

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For this first post, I will introduce the cast of cats and the problems we have to overcome.

Agent Request: Surviving Another EditThomas (the grumpy old man):

Thomas is 15. He’s been with us since day one and is convinced of his own awesomeness to the point that he knows, for certain, every person in the world is just holding their breath in anticipation of the day they will get to meet him and stroke his silken fur. He is very social and very demanding of his adoring fans. He enjoys long naps and watching TV with his people. He is prone to occasional regression to kittenhood in the form of wild sprints around the house and friendly Thunderdome (outdoor cat enclosure) matches with Neko.

Thomas is the dominant male in the household and deals with feline interlopers by preemptively yowling and striking at them whenever they come close to establish the hierarchy quickly.

Interloper Management Tactic = Successful

Shai (the special needs princess):IMG_2527

Shai is Thomas’ blood sister. At a very young age, she got under one of our horses and was stepped on. She has significant neurological issues and, as she gets older, arthritic issues due to injuries sustained in that incident. She has survived many other dramatic injuries throughout her life. I’m not sure if she’s lucky because she survived them or unlucky because they happened in the first place. She enjoys long naps and … well, long naps. Sometimes on heater vents. Not in front. On.

Shai prefers to solitude though she often naps and shares grooming with her brother. When faced with an interloper, she ignores them. If they persist to the point that she feels cornered, she will throw herself on the floor and scream bloody murder. The offending interloper is usually left staring at her with a look of mystified horror.

Interloper Management Tactic = Successful (oddly enough)

IMG_1391Koneko (the gentle giant):

Neko is about 20 pounds of giant feline paranoia. About 5 years old, he joined the family as a kitten and has always been highly anxious. He will cuddle on occasion, but rarely if more than one person is in the room. He has a disturbing fascination with having his butt spanked and enjoys such lovely past times as going out in the rain in the Thunderdome at night then coming in drenched to wake me up so I can towel him off and cuddle.

Neko’s tendency to slink about apprehensively makes him a delightful target for a more aggressive young interloper. He prefers to avoid the new cat unless attacked, at which point he will fight like a crazed demon.

Interloper Management Tactic = Highly Ineffective

IMG_2528BC (the interloper):

BC showed up on our property shortly after the 4th of July and made it abundantly clear he wasn’t going anywhere. We ignored him. We shooed him off. He broke us down with his stubborn affection and we took him in. After having him tested, neutered, and vaccinated, we attempted to re-home him only to discover that he had a severe fear of dogs. Having already grown rather attached by the time this effort failed, we decided to make him part of our family. He enjoys aggressive cuddling, full-force head-butts, knocking glasses over (the fuller the better, especially if it happens to be beer and there is a lap nearby to dump it on), and playing with his favorite toy, Neko.

Some sensible people would suggest simply finding BC a new home or giving him up to a shelter. This is wise. We are not wise. We love our cats and BC has wormed his wicked way into our hearts. So, this is the tale of our efforts to integrate him into our home. This tale involves blood and pain and broken things and lots of expenses and life changes. I can’t promise a happy ending, but that’s what I’m hoping for. Stick around and see. :)

Next time: Bloody battles and broken bones. Is there any hope for this quartet of cats?

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