Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Opt to Adopt: Spice & Enny

Last week while watching the news my attention was drawn to a story about Tara and Truffles' Alma Mater, Franklin County Humane Society in Saint Albans, Vermont. The small shelter is currently over capacity with over 100 cats residing there in crates, in the lobby, and in the office. In the shelter's 50 year history they have never taken in as many abandoned, stray, and surrendered cats during a summer.

With the shelter an hour's drive away from me, going there to volunteer on a regular basis just isn't an option, but through our blog we can get these adorable faces out to the masses and hopefully find some kitties their forever homes. Each week we're planning to spotlight a cat or two, starting today with Spice and Enny. I'll let them tell you a little more about themselves :)

"Are you looking to add a little "Spice" to your life? Then I'm your girl! I'm a cute little calico that arrived at FCHS with my 3 kittens and now I'm ready to move on to a home of my own. My name purr-fectly describes my purr-sonality...I'm sleek, sassy and spicy. I'm a wee bit choosy about my friends, so why not stop by the shelter to meet me and we can see if you're the one I've been waiting for?" ---Spice


"Fall in Vermont is the most beautiful time of year, and did you know that if you bring a tortie into your life you could have autumnal colors in your home all year long? I'm Enny, and you can see by my pictures that I have the most amazing markings on my thick, plush-like fur coat. I'm a people-friendly, compact kitty, and I really don't like being in the shelter. Maybe you could come and adopt me before the cold winter sets in? I would love to curl up in your lap and keep you warm!"---Enny

Spice and Enny are available for adoption at Franklin County Humane Society.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Truffles Interviews...Pluckie from Lost Under a Ladder by Linda O. Johnston (w/Review & Giveaway)

Hey everybody, it's Truffles! Today I'm interviewing Pluckie, the cute canine star of Lost Under a Ladder, the first Superstition Mystery by Linda O. Johnston. The publisher is generously giving away SIX copies of the book, so make sure you enter for your chance to win!

I hope you enjoy the interview...

Welcome, Pluckie! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you came to live with Rory?
We were originally from Los Angeles. Rory used to work there for a chain pet store, and she always loved animals, especially dogs, but she enjoys cats, too. She rescued me from a shelter, and the rest was history! Now, she won't go anywhere without me, and it's not just because she considers me good luck. We're family.

Does your name have any special meaning?
Well, even though the word "plucky" is spelled differently from my name, Rory tells me that I'm the pluckiest dog she ever met.

What is a typical day like for you?
We live in Destiny, California now, a town all about superstitions. We've been staying at the Rainbow Bed and Breakfast, so we get up early in the morning and go for a walk along Fate Street. Then we return for breakfast. Rory gets hers in the dining room and gives me good dog stuff--as well as an occasional human snack. After that, we walk to the Lucky Dog Boutique on Destiny Boulevard, which isn't far. Rory runs the place. She has some nice assistants, but mostly we stay there and she sells lots of good superstition-related pet products to the many tourists who visit us. Sometimes she gets coffee at the Beware of Bubbles Coffee Shop, or picks up lunch at the Wishbones to Go Cafe. There are several places we sometimes go for dinner, with or without friends, including the Shamrock Steakhouse. We walk some more, and then it's time for bed.

It must be so cool having a Mommy that owns her own pet boutique. Do you get to try out lots of new fun stuff?
Rory doesn't actually own it. She runs it for its real owner, Martha Jallopia, who lives upstairs. Martha's a senior lady and has some health issues. In fact, the reason we've stayed in Destiny is that I happened to catch Martha's scent when we first arrived. She'd collapsed in the back room of the Lucky Dog Boutique, and I insisted that Rory come take a look at what I sensed was a problem. Martha was sure she'd be fine when she first saw me, since I'm a black and white dog and we're good luck. Martha is okay now but she begged Rory to stay and run the shop for her.

Yes, I do get to try new fun stuff, especially since everything in the Lucky Dog Boutique is related to superstitions, which is the whole theme of Destiny. The good luck I provide seems to be increased by the good luck collars, leashes and clothes I wear, food I eat, and toys I get to play with.

How do you feel about kitties?
I pretty much like cats, even though I bark at them and chase them sometimes. I have to say that I do worry about the black cats I sense and see a lot around Destiny. Rory says that having one cross your path is supposedly bad luck, so people around Destiny try to stay away from them.

What kinds of trouble do you and Rory get into in Lost Under a Ladder?
As I mentioned, our adventures started out after I found ill Martha in the Lucky Dog Boutique. We're in Destiny because Rory's fiancé Warren walked under a ladder and was struck by a car and killed a little while afterward, and Rory's trying to figure out if that means superstitions are real. They seem to be real in Destiny. The owner of the Broken Mirror Bookstore next door, who also wrote the famous book The Destiny of Superstitions, first trips on spilled milk and later is murdered, and I have to help Rory figure out who killed him since Martha winds up being the main suspect.

Your town revolves around superstitions. Do doggies have any superstitions or is that just a silly human thing?
Well, I'm not about to tell anyone they're wrong and that black and white dogs aren't lucky after all. Of course we are! And even if black cats aren't unlucky to us, they're definitely fun to chase. I can't really cross my toes but I sometimes consider knocking my head gently against wood to try to protect Rory.

Can you tell us anything about your upcoming adventures?
I'm not allowed to talk much about it since that could be bad luck, but my Rory gets involved in solving another murder of an important citizen of Destiny. Of course I'm there to help her and provide good luck.

Blurb: Is it luck or is it . . . Destiny?

Are superstitions real? Rory Chasen doesn't think so—until her beloved fiancé walks under a ladder and is killed by a car five minutes later. Needing closure, Rory takes her dog Pluckie to a town called Destiny, where superstitions are a way of life.

Rory's visit to Destiny takes an unexpected turn when Pluckie saves the life of Martha, the owner of the Lucky Dog Boutique. To show her gratitude, Martha offers Rory a job at the pet store. But when Martha becomes the prime suspect in the murder of the local bookshop owner, Rory refuses to believe that she would do it. Rory is convinced the real killer still roams Destiny's streets, and she must uncover the truth before Martha is hauled off to jail.

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

A little back story: I was extremely fortunate to get the chance to read an early copy of this book from NetGalley. I was right in the middle of it in early July when my Mom had a heart attack. Those precious moments stealing a few moments to read here and there during those terribly stress-filled days saved my sanity, so this mystery really means a lot to me.

Rory is such a fantastic character; I feel as though she could easily be my best friend if she were a real person. As the assistant manager of the store MegaPets, she is obsessed with pet stores and intends to own one someday. I would love to work in a pet shop, especially a fun little pet boutique. She is completely devoted to her spaniel-terrier mix Pluckie, and is a voracious reader, especially books that involve animals. 

I am also crazy about the setting. The town of Destiny has stores styled in the ornate styles of the California Gold Rush Days. How I would love to visit such a place, especially the Lucky Dog Boutique. Destiny's obsession with superstitions is a lot of fun too. Some I had heard of, many I had not. Did you know that to meet a spotted or black and white dog on your way to a business appointment is lucky?

A precious pup, great characters, and a delightful cozy setting...we give this debut 4 paws up!

About This Author
Linda O. Johnston’s first published fiction appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and won the Robert L. Fish Memorial Award for Best First Mystery Short Story of the year.   Since then, Linda, a former lawyer who is now a full-time writer, has published more short stories, novellas, and 37 romance and mystery novels, including the Pet Rescue Mystery Series, a spinoff from her Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime, plus Harlequin Romantic Suspense as well as the Alpha Force paranormal romance miniseries for Harlequin Nocturne.

Her latest cozy mystery series, the Superstition Mysteries from Midnight Ink, kicks off in October 2014 with LOST UNDER A LADDER.  Linda believes that reading the Superstition Mysteries will bring good luck!

Author Links
Webpage:  www.LindaOJohnston.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LindaOJohnston

Purchase Links

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday Smorgasbord #2

Since Sunday features a multitude of blog hops, instead of doing a single post for each one, Truffles and I have decided to merge them all into a Sunday Smorgasbord. Each week we will start with whichever hop Truffles is participating in (Sunday Selfies, Easy Sunday, B&W Sunday) followed by my customary weekly blog recap and what showed up in our mailbox this week.

Hey everybody, Truffles at the keyboard! Today I'm taking a "sleepy selfie" (for the Sunday Selfie Blog Hop hosted by The Cat on My Head) as I pose with a bookmark that we received this week for Ali Brandon's upcoming Black Cat Bookshop Mystery, Literally Murder. Look at the bookmark closely...do you notice anything? A quote from our blog is on it!!! Mommy gasped with excitement when she pulled it out of the envelope. She had no idea it was going to be on there and will treasure it forever.

By the way...did I mention that I'm going to be spending this easy Sunday ALONE while Mommy is off galavanting at the movies with my grandma? They're going to see the 75th anniversary screening of Gone with the Wind, so they are going to be gone for HOURS. They said it's a once in a lifetime event. Mommy is even giving up her NASCAR race, so it must be a pretty big deal!

I'll just nap until they come home...

Last week on Mochas, Mysteries and Meows:
* The Corpse Who Walked in the Door by Jackie King: Guest Author & Giveaway
* 3 Little Extras That Make Truffles Purr #GetHealthyHappy
* DIY Projects for Shelter Animals #PetBloggerMonth
* #LIGHTFORPETS Remember Me Thursday & Less-Adoptable Pet Week
* Solving the Mystery of Cat Agility by Sheila Webster Boneham (w/Catwalk Review & Giveaway)
Caturday Art: Coffee Truffles

These Haunts Are Made For Walking Nothing Bundt Murder: A Culinary Cozy Mystery (A Rosie Kale Culinary Cozy, # 1) Writing the Cozy Mystery
Our Favorite Recipes for 1 or 2

For Review Consideration:
Celebrity Cat Caper Scorched Eggs


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Caturday Art: Coffee Truffles

Did you know that Monday, September 29, is International Coffee Day? I am a total coffee junkie; I with there was a way to pipe it through my veins intravenously. I also love looking at latte art. I wonder if a barista could create this, though? (I made this with Photofunia.)

I did a little investigating and discovered that many coffee chains are planning special freebies and deals on Monday. If you've heard of any others, please let us know! Remember that all of these offers are valid at participating locations.

Dunkin’ Donuts: free medium cup of Dunkin’ Donuts hot Dark Roast Coffee, with a limit of one per guest. Then, beginning September 30 through October 5, guests can enjoy a medium cup of Dunkin’ Donuts hot Dark Roast Coffee for the special price of only 99 cents.

Krispy Kreme: free 12oz cup of Krispy Kreme House, Decaf or Dark Roast coffee, or treat yourself to a 12oz Mocha, Latte or iced coffee for $1 at participating Krispy Kreme US locations.

McDonald’s second national Free Coffee Event kicked off on September 16 and will end on National Coffee Day, September 29th. Guests can get a free small McCafé coffee during breakfast hours at participating McDonald’s restaurants across the country.

Peet’s Coffee & Tea: purchase one beverage and receive a second beverage of equal or lesser value free.

Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop is celebrating National Coffee Week with the launch of any size coffee in Regular or Dark Roast for just $1.

Caribou Coffee: Free samples of their newly released Amy's Blend coffee on Monday, 9/19.

We're participating in Athena's Caturday Art Blog Hop. Check out more artsy kitties here.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Solving the Mystery of Cat Agility by Sheila Webster Boneham (w/Catwalk Review & Giveaway)

Over, Under, Around, and Through—Solving the Mystery of Cat Agility!

By Sheila Webster Boneham

When I announce that Leo, the lead cat in my Animals in Focus mystery series, goes to his first competitive agility trial in my new book Catwalk, people respond with everything from disbelief to uproarious laughter. A few even show interest in learning more!

Most people know about canine agility by now, since it’s become popular enough over the past twenty years to be televised regularly. Although the most spectactular runs tend to be by lightning-limbed Border Collies and other speedy mid-sized animals, dogs of all sizes, breeds, and mixtures compete successfully. Check out these videos:

* Yes, that’s a Chihuahua!

* All kinds of dogs, and people, too!

It looks fun, doesn't it? Well, it's not just limited to dogs--cats compete in agility, too!

In cat agility, the handler directs or—more often--lures the cat through tunnels, up and down ramps, over jumps, and through weave poles and other obstacles. Although it's a fairly new sport, it's growing in popularity in The U.S. and Europe. Here’s a dose of cuteness—a kitten beginning to learn about agility on a kitten-sized course.

My lead mystery dog, Jay, and his Labrador buddy Drake get to indulge in lots of sports in the series—obedience in Drop Dead on Recall, retriever training in The Money Bird. In the interest of interspecies fairness, Leo insisted that it’s his turn in Catwalk. So Janet MacPhail, animal photographer cum amateur sleuth, has entered him in their first feline trial just a week after a doggy trial with Jay. She’s running her socks (if not those extra twenty pounds) off! The trial takes place at a cat show, and the mystery in Catwalk involves the politics of feral cat colonies and trap-neuter-release programs, so it all fits together. Oh, and Leo’s furbrother Jay is a hero when some newborn kittens are lost. Good dog!

Too many people still believe that cats can’t be trained. Not true! Cats are smart, athletic, and fun-loving animals, so the trick for would-be trainers is to find something that the individual cat finds motivating. Clicker training (operant consitioning) is a very effective way to teach new behaviors in a positive, reward-based way. Here are some more happily trained cats:

 * Spectacular clicker-trained agility cats

* Getting started

* Beginners in competition

Like all good training, feline agility provides a wonderful way to strengthen the bond between cats and their owners. It also gives participating cats a fun way to keep their bodies and minds in shape.

To be successful in agility, your cat must

* have an outgoing, confident personality;

* be in excellent health and physical condition;

* love to play.

The sport is open to all kinds of cats, so it might be just the thing for you and your feline athlete. Even if you aren't ready to participate, why not visit a trial when the leaping, tunneling cats come to town and see what it’s all about. You can learn more at http://agility.cfa.org/index.shtml

Want to help name a new puppy and two kittens who are coming to the Animals in Focus series? Pre-order Catwalk by September 30, and then go to this site -- http://writersandotheranimals.blogspot.com/2014/09/help-name-mystery-kitten-and-puppy.html -- and follow the directions. Sheila's intern will select her favorite 5 names for each of the two kittens and the puppy, and Sheila will make the final choice. So put on your thinking cap!

Author Bio:
Sheila Webster Boneham writes the Animals in Focus mystery series. Drop Dead on Recall, the first book in the series, won the 2013 Maxwell Award for Fiction from the Dog Writers Association of America and was an NBC Petside Best Ten Dog Book of 2012. Sheila is also the author of 17 nonfiction books, six of which have won major awards from the Dog Writers Association of America and the Cat Writers Association. For the past two decades Boneham has been showing her Australian Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers in various canine sports. She has bred top-winning Aussies, and founded rescue groups for Aussies and Labs. Boneham holds a doctorate in folklore from Indiana University, an MFA Stonecoast/University of Southern Maine, and resides in Wilmington, N.C. Sheila writes literary nonfiction and poetry as well, and teaches writing. You can keep up with Sheila’s latest news at  www.sheilaboneham.com and www.facebook.com/sheilawrites , learn more about animal-oriented writing—with some of your favorite authors!—at her Writers & Other Animals blog at www.writersandotheranimals.blogspot.com .

Blurb: When animal photographer Janet MacPhail gets a frantic call from champion dog owner Alberta Shofelter about a "cat-napping," she and her Australian Shepherd Jay jump in to assist. Fur flies when the search turns into a nasty run-in with local big shot Charles Rasmussen, a bully who enjoys throwing his weight around. As Rasmussen makes good on his promise to cause trouble, Janet tries to keep up with her mom's romantic travails, figure out her own relationship with Tom, and train her animals for the upcoming agility trials. But when a body is discovered at the Dog Dayz event, it stops the participants dead in their tracks—and sets Janet on the trail of a killer.

"Animal photographer Janet MacPhail's latest adventure will delight dog lovers, cat lovers, and mystery lovers. Janet is excellent company, and although Leo the cat plays a starring role, I'm happy to report that Leo does not eclipse Jay the Aussie, who has become one of my favorite fictional dogs. Indeed, if Jay ever needs to move out of the pages of Sheila Boneham's mysteries and into a nonfiction house, he'll be more than welcome in mine. Five stars for CATWALK!" ~ Susan Conant, Author of BRUTE STRENGTH and other novels in the Holly Winter series of Dog Lover's Mysteries http://www.sheilaboneham.blogspot.com/p/mysteries.html

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

Already one of my favorite cozy series on the shelves, this third book in Sheila Webster Boneham's Animal in Focus series is the BEST ONE YET. Janet finds herself knee-deep in trouble once again trying to solve the murder of a local big shot, a real scumbag who deserved his fate more than just about any other fictional character I've come across.

What Made Us Purr:

* Feline Agility: I've always been interested in reading about dog agility trials, and have always said that if there is ever a dog in my life it's something I would love to participate in. In this book Janet's cat Leo performs at the Tri-State Cat Show & Feline Agility Trial. I never even knew this was a sport and now that I've read about it I think it would be so much fun! I think Truffles may be a bit concerned...

* Feral cats: A wonderful new character introduced in this book, Alberta Shofelter, has recently adopted a little calico from the feral cat colony in her neighborhood. She is very active in caring for the ferals and the TNR (trap, neuter, release) program, and a lot of valuable information is provided on the topic.

* Scene of the crime: The worthy victim is found dead in the middle of a 20' agility tunnel.

* Family, romance, and new friends: A good part of this book revolves around Janet's relationship with her beau Tom, and also with her elderly mother, who has found herself madly in love with another resident of her assisted living facility. New four-legged family members for both Janet and Tom are also introduced.

* The killer: The final reveal of how the victim died is the BEST TWIST EVER! I never saw it coming, but it is oh so fitting.

Final Catcall: This isn't a dog mystery series, it's an animal mystery series, but the fact that this one is more cat-centric makes it even more special to me. It has earned a spot on my Favorite Books of 2014 list.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

#LIGHTFORPETS Remember Me Thursday & Less-Adoptable Pet Week

Hey everybody, Truffles at the keyboard. I realize everyday what a lucky little girl I am. I was rescued from the streets and brought to the shelter last July and I found my forever home in August. I have yummy food and treats, warm beds and blankies, and a Mommy who loves me to pieces. I know that millions of kitties just like me aren't so lucky; they live without food, warmth, and love, and then either die on the streets or in a shelter because no one ever shows up to adopt them.

Did you know:

Each year in the United States 3.4 million orphan pets lose their lives without finding a home.

Yet only 30% of pets in US households come from rescue facilities.

That's why animal-lovers and animal welfare organizations across the globe will unite today, Thursday, September 25, 2014 (the fourth Thursday of September, annually) with a Remember Me Thursday pet candle-lighting ceremony. The candles, which will be lit on the exact same day across the world, will honor the millions of pets who lost their lives without the benefit of a loving home and shine a light on the millions of healthy pets who are still awaiting adoption. The Remember Me Thursday global awareness campaign encourages individuals to light a candle this day (literally or virtually) and to opt to adopt, reducing the millions of orphan pets euthanized each year.

Orphaned pets can't speak for themselves. We are their only voice. Spread the word about Remember Me Thursday on Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels. Don’t forget to use #LIGHTFORPETS to share your thoughts and feelings about the importance of pet adoption.

Did you also know that Petfinder has designated Sept. 21-27, 2014 as Adopt A Less-Adoptable Pet Week? "Less-adoptable” pets (such as pit bulls, black cats and dogs, seniors, special needs animals) wait for a home nearly four times longer than the average adoptable pet does … sometimes more than two years!

The two lady cats that came before me, Sashi and Tara, were both less-adoptable because they were mature ladies of over 8 years old. I was only in the shelter for a month but may have been considered less-adoptable because even though I'm a tortie, I'm primarily black!

Every animal out there deserves a safe, loving home, so please encourage anyone you know who is thinking about adopting a new family member to take a second look at the animals who might be having a harder time finding their forever home.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

DIY Projects for Shelter Animals #PetBloggerMonth

Last week I participated in a BlogPaws campaign where I was challenged to create a project or craft for my local shelter that would have an impact on the health or well-being of the animals in the shelter, their ability to get adopted, the communities' desire to adopt from the shelter, or the shelter staff’s ability to care for the animals, using supplies purchased with a $25 gift card from Tractor Supply. This was done in association with the store's annual Pet Appreciation Week celebration.

On Saturday I attended the #Paw2014 event at my local store and picked up some fun freebies, including the bandana Truffles is modeling above and a sample package of TSC's exclusive 4Health brand pet food (which gets four paws up!)

I haven't been asked to post this wrap-up, and am not being compensated for it, but I have been so inspired by the creativity of my fellow bloggers that I decided to collect the links to each DIY project in the hopes that all of you might be inspired to create something fun for your local shelter as well.

Kitty Condo by Oh My Dog!

Foraging Toy, Wand Toy, & Cat Kicker by Tails from the Foster Kittens

Rope Welcome Mat by Two Little Cavaliers

Tug of War Toys by Bichonpawz

Treat Dispenser by Daily Dog Tag

TeePee for Pets by Pets Weekly

Dog Leash Holder & Cat Scratch Post by My Rotten Dogs

Puzzle Feeder Scratcher Combo by The Tiniest Tiger

Shelter Cat Toys by Pawsitively Pets

Interactive Feeder or Toy by Dog Tipper

Treat Container by Barking from the Bayou

Kitten Korner by Mochas, Mysteries and Meows

Beware of Dog Kisses Signs by At the Fire Hydrant

Gourmet Pet Gift Basket by Miss Molly Says

Rope Tug Toy by To Dog with Love

Tripawd Recovery Survival Kit by Tripawds