Friday, August 22, 2014

Remembering Sparkle: Our Shining Star



The collective hearts of the cat blogging community are broken as we say goodbye to our beloved Sparkle. Our hero, our mentor, our greatest champion.

We knew she wasn't doing well and was retiring from her blog, but the suddenness of her passing at only 12 years old has left us stunned and shattered. She was larger than life, and it seems impossible that she is gone. It must be true that the brightest stars burn out the fastest.

Sparkle, we will miss your wit, wisdom, and sass. You were a tireless advocate for homeless cats, and your legacy will live on in all the people you inspired to help make the world a better place for cats. You made a difference in so many lives. You've earned your rest.

To Sparkle's wonderful human, Janiss, we send you gentle purrs of love and comfort. Please know how much your special girl was loved; thank you for sharing her with us.

Our world is a darker place without her in it, but the stars in the sky tonight are shining with an extra sparkle.

Fly free, Sparkle.



Truffles Interviews...Abra the Afghan Hound from Nina Wright's Whiskey, Large (w/Review & Giveaway)


Welcome, Abra! Thank you so much for taking the time for a short interview. Could you start by telling us a little about yourself and how you came to live with Whiskey?

Hello, Truffles! Before we get started, let me say that I have no issues at all with felines, and I love to talk about myself, so this conversation is a match made in Heaven.

I came to live with Whiskey (whose real name is Whitney) Mattimoe when her husband, the late great BEST-human-EVER, Leo Mattimoe brought me home to Magnet Springs, Michigan. Your readers can find out all about that in the first book in the series, Whiskey on the Rocks.

I was the pick of the litter, of course. Leo thought I would be the perfect surprise for Whiskey, who didn’t know much about hounds—and, frankly, still doesn’t. Because Leo knew how to train dogs, he wanted to show and breed me for my exceptionally fine looks.

That didn’t work out for two reasons. First, I don’t care to follow directions. Second—and this is the sad part—Leo died when I was still very young.

Now I run this pack. That means I run around as much as I please, shooting out the door whenever somebody opens it and leaping over fences. It’s not surprising that I have a lot of doggie boyfriends.

Mommy thinks Afghan Hounds are beautiful dogs. What is so special about your breed?

My breed is the best! Not only are we elegant and graceful, but we also come in almost every color combination you can imagine for a dog. I’m golden-hued although I think of myself as a natural blonde.

Affies have gorgeous, glossy long hair that swings like a curtain when we run. Our legs effortlessly pump the air, even over long distances. We seem to levitate rather than leap. And we are fast!

Affies are sight hounds. We fix our gaze on something that interests us, and then we fly straight for it. I’m attracted to shiny objects . . . like expensive jewelry and designer handbags. Oh, yeah, I’ll run miles for a pretty bauble.

What is a typical day like for you?
 
On a typical day, I do what I want to do. All day long. That’s a typical day for cats, too, I’ve noticed. But very few dogs get their own way as much as I do.

It works like this: Whiskey Mattimoe is a real estate agent in a coastal tourist town. I like to ride along with her and explore the properties she is listing or managing. You’d be surprised how much fun that is. I meet lots of new four-leggers and two-leggers. The cats and dogs are almost always ready to play. The humans, on the other hand, are sometimes up to no good. So, once in a while, Whiskey gets in trouble. Then it’s up to me to get her out. I don’t mind . . . except when it interrupts my fun. Even then, I come to Whiskey’s aid, sometimes with another dog for back-up.

I hear you live with Sandra Bullock??? Dish, girl!

We are NOT talking about the movie star. My roomie is Sandra Bullock, French bulldog. Know anything about that breed? They are the anti-Afghan hound. While I am tall and sleek, Sandra is short and squat. Plus, she snores, drools, and passes gas. But everybody seems to love her. Go figure.

Sandra is way too eager to please. That little stub of a tail wags constantly. Some people in our household even like to dress Sandra up, complete with accessories. No self-respecting hound should wear more than a simple jewel-encrusted collar. Sandra is trailer trash.
 
Do you like kitties?

Kitties are cool. Truffles, we have a lot in common!

Like cats, Afghan hounds are not inclined to be trained by humans. WE do the training, making sure our humans behave the way WE want them to. Am I right, girlfriend?

After reading your latest book Mommy said that you're a brazen hussy. What does that mean?

That’s just code for “brave and beautiful.” Also, it means I get my own way. And, as I mentioned earlier, I have a LOT of doggie boyfriends.

What kinds of mischief do you and Whiskey get into in Whiskey, Large?

Whiskey hired a pet psychic to help figure out why Sandra Bullock, French bulldog, and I don’t get along. Supposedly, in a previous life, we were squabbling celebrity sisters. Who knew? The pet psychic’s dog, a black standard poodle named Napoleon, has a crush on me, so he tries to follow wherever I lead. Can I help it if I’m irresistible? In Whiskey, Large, somebody keeps shooting at Napoleon and me. Other things go wrong, too. A house that Whiskey lists for sale explodes, and then Whiskey’s husband disappears. I’m talking about her new husband, Jeb, who’s a pretty nice guy . . . even though he rescued Sandra Bullock, French bulldog.

Anyway, I help solve those mysteries. When you think about it, the series should be named after ME instead of the human. Except that dogs don’t read.    

Are you looking forward to having a baby in the house?

Do I have a choice? Seriously, I think having a baby in the house is going to make my life even better than it already is. When Whiskey realizes how much work that baby is, she’s going to have new respect for how easy it is to live with ME! No diapers, no formula, no sleepless nights. Well, maybe some sleepless nights when I slip out and get into my usual mischief. . . . But Whiskey knows I always come home. Eventually.

Any idea what your upcoming adventures will be?

Nope. The author hasn’t told me a thing. Well, maybe she has, but I haven’t been listening. My life is exciting no matter what Nina Wright writes. I expect my future adventures to include lots of our local dogs, like K9 Officer Roscoe, Mooney the Rotthound, Velcro the trembling teacup dog who sticks to your ankles, and my son Prince Harry the Pee Master.

Oh, I forgot to mention I’m a mother! It slips my mind sometimes. Unlike humans, dogs are supposed to let their children go. I had a litter of pups that Whiskey gave away . . . except for one of my sons, who now lives with Chester. Prince Harry was a little hard to housebreak. Not my problem.

Speaking of Chester, he will be in my future adventures. He’s our nine-and-a-half-year-old neighbor and my FAVORITE human. Yes! Chester is wonderrrrrrrrful! You can read all about him in every Whiskey Mattimoe book. He speaks canine—and a little feline. You’d enjoy chatting with him, Truffles. Wait. I see something flashing in the distance. Uh-oh, gotta run. Arrrrrooooo-rooo!

******************** 

Blurb: Nine months pregnant, real estate broker Whiskey Mattimoe is literally living large. She needs a driver now and a nanny very soon. What she doesn’t need is another murder to solve… Magnet Springs is re-branding itself as a pet-friendly vacation destination, but the transition is bumpy. Someone is shooting at unleashed dogs, including Whiskey's own escape artist Abra. The shooter could be a disgruntled resident, a crazed tourist, or someone closer to home. Then two humans die in an explosion, and, even though she’s on maternity leave, Whiskey finds herself in the middle of the investigation. Is it an accident or murder? And who's going to drive Whiskey to the hospital when her water breaks?

Tortie Shorties
Book reviews that are short and sweet...just like Truffles!

Poor Whiskey. She's 9 months pregnant and ginormous. During her 9 year old neighbor/friend Chester's birthday party the local pet psychic and her poodle Napoleon are shot at on Whiskey's front porch. Napoleon's arrival causes Whiskey's oversexed Afghan hound Abra to run off with him for a rendezvous. Then she learns that a house her real estate company just listed has blown up with 2 people and a dog inside. Oh, and all this happens before Chapter 5! Add a rogue tweeter into the mix who is determined to make her life miserable, and Whiskey's life is just about spiraling out of control.

Not normally a fan of kids in cozies, I love Chester. He adores dogs and plans to use part of his trust fund to build an animal rescue center, which fits in perfectly with Magnet Spring's re-branding as the Pet Mecca of the tourist trade. Besides Abra (I think affies are absoutely stunning!), my favorite canine character is Sandra Bullock, Whiskey's husband Jeb's beloved cream-colored Frenchie who has a wardrobe to die for!

My only complaint is Whiskey's attitude towards Abra. She is definitely a difficult dog, but Whiskey just doesn't seem to adore her pet the way I think people, both in real life and fictional, should. Plus she has a pretty snarky attitude towards "animal people" in general. I really enjoyed the mystery but these are a couple things that definitely bothered me.

In closing, this book is a wild ride and loads of fun. It should appeal to long-time fans of the series and newcomers alike.

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Tortie Thursday: Adopt Me Edition & Gotcha Day Wrap-Up

I have an elderly friend and neighbor who lost her husband in March. Now that fall is just around the corner she's thinking about adopting a cat for companionship during the long Vermont winter. She wants an adult cat (not a kitten or elderly kitty). Since she's not online, I've been keeping an eye on Petfinder for any cats that I think might be a good match for her.

I'm not sure how she feels about torties, but these two ladies certainly caught MY attention...and the shelter is just down the road from us. I wonder if she'd like to take a ride over there so we could meet them in purr-son?






Aptly-named Autumn’s beautiful brindled coat is the equivalent of feline foliage - just look at the fireworks in that fur! A younger kitty (2 years old) who’s friendly and curious, this fiesty feline is sure to liven up her new forever home like a refreshing fall breeze! Autumn would be happiest as the only kitty in your home, but will shower you with love and affection so you will never get lonely. Come meet this cute cat today before she is swept away!

(Photo and information: Humane Society of Chittenden County)











Fiona (5 years old) may play coy, but don’t let her modesty fool you! Once she’s made your acquaintance this seemingly timid tortie will warm right up, and you’ll want to have a hankie nearby when she does - Fiona is known to show her contentedness by drooling! A sweet, dribbly gal who’s brimming with love, Fiona can be a little choosy on who she likes, but if you're "Fiona approved," you've made a friend for life!

(Photo and information: Humane Society of Chittenden County)








Note from Truffles: Hey everybody! I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my little kitty heart for the sweet messages you left for me here on our blog and on Facebook yesterday. You helped Mommy make my first Gotcha Day extra purr-fect.

(By the way, we're not done partying yet! Don't tell Mommy, but I have something EXTRA special planned for HER birthday in a couple weeks!)

Here are a couple pictures from my special day:





Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Love Letter to Truffles: One Year Together (w/Giveaway)



Dear Truffles,

Can you believe that we've been together a whole year? In ways it seems like I just brought you home yesterday, but on the other hand I already can't imagine life without you.

A year ago this morning I was so, so excited, but to be completely honest I had some doubts as well. Tara had only been gone for 6 weeks and I hadn't even begun to heal. I was just hoping and praying that you would help me to put the pieces of my shattered heart back together. Still, I had never adopted a cat so soon after the loss of another and I wondered if I was doing the right thing.

I remembered reading a post by one of my favorite cat bloggers, Caren at Cat Chat with Caren and Cody, where she talked about the devastation she experienced after losing her beloved Angel Bobo after 18 years together. A few weeks later Cody came into her life. I went searching for it again and the words she wrote were exactly what I needed to read that day.

My friends used to tell me whenever I felt guilt about having adopted another kitty so soon after Bobo passed, that I loved kitties so much that Bobo would want me to give other kitties that needed a home the same love and devotion that I had given him for 18 years.

He didn't "replace" Bobo, no cat ever could. But as my vet had said, "you aren't replacing Bobo, you are making NEW memories with another cat."


The greatest way I could honor Tara was to rescue another cat. She would have wanted someone else to have the love she left behind. Preferably another tortie. She strutted her tortitude with pride, just like you do!

Truffles, you were an awfully little girl to take on the big job you were given. You stepped up to the plate and performed flawlessly. Not a day goes by that you don't bring a smile to my face and joy to my heart. Nothing makes me happier than being your Mommy. Your love is one of the greatest gifts I have ever received.

Our story is only beginning. I look forward to many happy years together. I love you so, so very much.

Love you forever,
Mommy

**********************

As a thank you to all of the wonderful friends we have met through our blogging, Truffles and I are BOTH having a giveaway. Truffles is giving away a gift pack containing 2 packages of treats, a large ball with a smaller bell ball inside (shhh...she's getting one of these today too!), a container of Kong Naturals catnip, and a package of chocolate truffles for the humans :) I'm giving away a lot of 8 cozy mysteries and another small package of chocolate truffles.

To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below, and make sure in your comments to let me know if you prefer the cat items or the books, since I know that some of my book friends don't own a cat. (GASP!!!) There will be TWO winners, and this giveaway is international :)





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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Haunted Hamlet by Kathi Daley: Review & Giveaway


Blurb: When a ghost hunter is found dead in a haunted house just days before Halloween it looks like the killer may be living impaired. Zoe must juggle the annual Zoe Donovan Spooktacular with zombies on the run, the annual pumpkin carving contest, a haunted hayride, a relationship in crisis, and a little behind the scenes investigation.

Tortie Shorties
Book reviews that are short and sweet...just like Truffles!

When I read the first paragraph in this book I thought the author was writing about me: Halloween is my favorite holiday. I know most people don't really get my obsession with all things spooky, but I love everything about this awesome time of year. I love the decorations, the annual events, horror movies on TV, personalized pumpkins, and finding the scariest costume of all. But it's not just the awesomeness of the holiday that I love, it's the coziness of the season. The romance of that first wood fire, hot cider with good friends, hiding through groves of aspens dressed in fall colors, and the scent of snow just around the corner.

My first introduction to Zoe Donovan was in last year's wonderful Halloween Hijinks, the first book in the Zoe Donovan mystery series. Now with the 9th book in the series, Haunted Hamlet, it's Halloween again in Zoe's world and the action is centered back at the haunted Henderson House in Ashton Falls. While trying to rescue a black cat on the property Zoe stumbles upon yet another dead body in the house, which leads her to also investigate the deaths of 3 summer camp counselors and the disappearance of another 13 years ago. It's an action-packed adventure that left me guessing until the very end.  

The character development in this series continues to be just stellar, with Zoe and her boyfriend Zak now cohabitating and decorating their home for Halloween with Zak's ever-growing collection of electronic gadgets, and Zoe's best friend Ellie facing a personal crisis. Of course there's also a wonderful cast of 4-legged characters as well with Zoe's Zoo, her animal rescue and rehabilitation center, especially black kittens Trick and Treat. 

Halloween is still well over two months away but this book instantly put me in the mood for all of the spooky fun that the holiday holds. The recipes at the end left my mouth watering, so I'll definitely be trying those out while I eagerly await visiting Ashton Falls for Thanksgiving!

Giveaway:

 

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Window Whiffies: A Really Bad Limerick


Hey everybody, Truffles at the keyboard! Today I'm participating in Oz the Terrier's Bad Poetry Day Contest. I'm not a poet at all, but since it's *supposed* to be bad, I figured I'm all set! I apologize in advance to Oz and other other woofies that this limerick may offend.

Don't forget...vote Truffles for "Worst Poem by a Cat". I won't take it personally :)





Window whiffies good and bad
What's the worst I've ever had?
With doggies next door
The rain it did pour
The stench it sure made me sad.


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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Black Cat Appreciation Day

Although Truffles is tortie to the bone, she is predominantly black, and we've read that some shelters include torties when they hold special black cat adoption events.

So how are we celebrating? I collect some of the Lemax Spooky Town village pieces (primarily the ones that are cat-related, of course), and each year at Halloween I display them in various vignettes. This is the latest addition to my collection, purchased just last week. Fitting, don't you think? I particularly love the little cat butt sticking out from underneath the table :)


Here are some of the cutie pies available at one of my local shelters. If you have room in your home and in your heart, please consider adopting a black cat. They are less likely to be adopted than their more colorful counterparts, but they are the purr-fect addition to any home.