Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween from Truffles #FrankenPet

BOO!!! Did I scare you? I know, it's pretty hard to be scared by a kitty as cute as me. Remember how a couple weeks ago we told you about the fun #FrankenPet Halloween photo contest from PicMonkey? We thought you might like to see our entries.

The first picture we submitted in the Scaredy Cats category. Mommy was inspired by The Walking Dead craze and the zombie hunter costume that I received from Petco and looked totally adorbs in.

We also decided to enter the Other Beasts category using a picture Mommy took of one of her cousin's chickens.

If you haven't had the chance to read our short story "Truffles' Halloween Tail" (part one and part two), today would be the purr-fect day to do it!

Happy Halloween!!!

Link up your Halloween post with the Halloween Day Blog Hop, co-hosted Barking from the Bayou, Oz the Terrier, and us!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Truffles' Halloween Tail: Part 2

Hey everybody, it's Truffles! As promised, today we're excited to present part 2 of our Halloween story. I really hope you're liking it so far. This is the first fictional story of any length that Mommy has ever written and she had a lot of fun with it. If you missed part 1, you can read it here. When you finish the story please let us know what you think!


The boys told me that Mrs. Witchfield lived on the street that ran parallel to my own, and the quickest way to get there would be through the woods that ran between our homes. I took off running, and as my fear turned more and more to anger, I was completely oblivious to the fact that tree branches were slapping me on my face, arms and legs. As I finally came to a clearing I saw the house: a large Victorian much like mine, but it was clearly crumbling away and the large yard was overgrown with weeds and brush. I also saw several cats looking out the window.

I ran up the decaying steps and started pounding on the door and screaming, "Hello?? Hello? Is anybody in there???" After what seemed like several minutes the door finally started to open.

The door had a chain lock on it and only opened a few inches, but it was enough to see an old woman of at least 90. I yanked my iPhone out of my pocket and thrust it through the door. "I live on the other side of the woods and my cat is missing. Have you seen her?"

The old lady looked at the picture on the screen and said, "Well kitty, looks like we found your Mommy!" As she undid the chain she said, "We haven't met before. I'm Henrietta Witchfield. Please come in, dear."

She stepped back so I could enter and as I looked into the front hall THERE WAS TRUFFLES!!!

"Truffles, baby, I was worried sick about you!" I squatted down as she came running to me and climbed right up into my arms. She started licking my face and purring up a storm. Mrs. Witchfield stood there watching us and smiling. "How did you find her?" I asked.

"I was out in my garden when she came out of the woods. She came right to me, so sweet and friendly and delicate. She looked so well-cared for that I knew she was somebody's beloved pet so I brought her right in before something happened to her."

I took a moment to glance around and said, "You have a lot of cats here."

"Oh, not that many. They're my friends. I can't tell you how happy I am to see the bond and love that you two have for each other. All of the cats you see around here found me after being dumped in the woods when their owners didn't want them anymore. This time of year seems to be the worst, just as the cold is settling in. It hurts my heart the way people treat these precious creatures."

My feelings started to soften towards the old woman. I could tell she would never do these cats any harm. "I volunteer for the local animal shelter. We can take some of these cats off your hands if you would like."

"No thank you, dear. We're doing just fine. Truth is, I don't know what I'd do without them. I'm pretty much housebound nowadays and these cats are all I have. I could never give any of them up."

Truffles started to get restless in my arms and with no way to restrain her, I knew we had to get home quickly. I thanked Mrs. Witchfield for rescuing my wayward kitty and promised to come back some afternoon for tea.

I hurried back through the woods more careful this time than before. I was holding precious cargo. When I finally got back home I put Truffles down and realized my phone was ringing. Still out of breath I grabbed the receiver.

"Where the heck have you been? You haven't answered your home or cell phone for the last 2 hours." It was my friend and fellow shelter volunteer Fiona.

"You wouldn't believe what I've been through tonight. I got home to find that Truffles had escaped from a broken window. A couple of boys suggested that Mrs. Witchfield had stolen her. Turns out she had found Truffles in her yard and brought her in to safety. She's pretty overwhelmed with cats but seems like a really nice old lady. I wish she would let us help her."

Fiona didn't say anything for a few moments, but then said, "You spoke to Mrs. Witchfield?"


"You saw Mrs. Henrietta Witchfield?"

"Yes, what's the big deal?"

"Sweetie, that story the boys told you was just to scare you because they know you're new around here. Mrs. Witchfield died at least 10 years ago!"

Don't forget, tomorrow we're co-hosting a Halloween Day Blog Hop with Barking from the Bayou and Oz the Terrier! Link your Halloween post with us if you dare!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

National Cat Day 2014

National Cat Day was founded in 2005 by Pet Lifestyle Expert & Animal Advocate Colleen Paige to help galvanize the public to recognize the number of cats that need to be rescued each year and also to encourage cat lovers to celebrate the cat(s) in their life for the unconditional love and companionship they bestow upon us.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Truffles' Halloween Tail: Part 1

Hey everybody, it's Truffles! This year I challenged Mommy to write a Halloween story starring ME, and she accepted! It's a little bit scary, but don't worry, it's pure fiction. (Although the window incident did happen to Tara.) I really hope you like the story, and be sure to come back on Thursday for Part 2!


Truffles, you'd better be ready to be a couch potato with me tonight was all I could think as I stumbled up my front steps. I'd recently moved into my dream home; a rambling old Victorian complete with a widows peak that made me think of a witch's hat whenever I looked it. I bought it for a steal because it needed so much work but I figured if I tackled a project at a time it will get done eventually. In addition to various plumbing issues that were popping up, a leaky roof combined with a very wet fall has so far been my most immediate problem, and I didn't even want to think about what condition the antique furnace was probably in.

Since moving to Stonyvale I'd been fortunate to find a full-time job as a reporter at the local weekly paper, and just started volunteering at the animal shelter as well. So this night before Halloween I was looking forward to nothing more than cuddling on the couch with my beloved tortoiseshell cat Truffles, a microwave burrito and a creepy old movie.

"Mommy's home, sweetie!" I called as I walked through the door.


That's weird...she always runs to me chattering her tortie chatter when I come home.

"Truffles! It's Mommy! Where are you?" I called a little louder.

Still nothing.

Getting a little worried I dropped my tote bag in the hall and starting searching each room. In the kitchen I saw that her dishes were empty; in the bathroom her litter pan had been used. I went into our bedroom and the first thing I noticed was a cold breeze blowing through. I ran to the screened-in window she loved to sunbathe in. It was broken. The screen was lying in the backyard and the window was left completely open.

She's gotten out. It's Halloween, she's practically a black cat, and she's all alone out there in a strange town.

Resisting the urge to start crying my eyes out and calling 911 for help, I realized I was going to have to deal with this myself. She'll be ok. She'll be ok. You're going to find her. I kept repeating to myself.

I ran back outside and started frantically calling again. While checking under the bushes in front of the house two middle-school aged boys stopped.

"What are you looking for, lady?"

"My cat, could you help me find her?"

"What does she look like?"

"She's small, mostly black, very talkative. Chances are good that you'll hear her before you see her..." I stopped because I noticed a strange look pass between the boys. "What's wrong?"

"You said she's mostly black. Black cats go missing every year at Halloween in this neighborhood. Everybody thinks old Henrietta Witchfield is snitching them but she's such a scary old witch that people are afraid to confront her. Nobody's even seen her in years but there are always cats looking out her windows."

Furious, I said, "Well I'm not afraid of her! I'll put a stop to this!"

To be continued...

Monday, October 27, 2014

Dust Bunnies & Dead Bodies by Janis Thornton: Guest Author & Giveaway

Dust Bunnies and Dead Bodies

A Writers Group Is an Author’s Best Friend

I can’t deny how much I’ve learned from the many writing classes, workshops and conferences I’ve attended, as well as the scores of writing books and magazines I’ve read. However, all of those resources pale when placed alongside my wonderful, indispensable writing group! Over the years, Aubrey Writers has become my writing wellspring, my school, my stage, my cheering section, my rock, and so much more.

As a writer, I wouldn’t have an ounce of confidence or courage without their constant honesty, support, and encouragement. … Like when I worried that my opening scene lacked energy, the group gently confirmed I was correct, but quickly offered up workable suggestions for ramping up the action. … Or when I was having trouble choreographing a fight scene, they helped me work it out, blow by blow. And … when I introduced a key piece of the plot too soon in the storyline, they showed me how to maximize its impact by moving it to a later chapter. And this is how it is for everyone in the group. Individually, we are pretty good writers, but collectively … we’re dynamite!

The founding of Aubrey Writers dates back to 2001, when I took a fiction-writing class at Indiana University, Indianapolis, and became fast friends with two of my classmates—Chip Mann and Mary Marlow. When the course ended, we couldn’t … wouldn’t say goodbye. So we formed a writers group, which we later named after Chip’s daughter, who was born while the semester-long class was in progress.

Since the group’s founding, we’ve welcomed and said goodbye to a number of writers. Today, Aubrey Writers has a membership of eight — Bob Beilouny, Tim Byers, Margie Porter, Kathy Smith, Larry Sells and, of course, Mary, Chip and me. Everyone brings fascinating life experience and a unique perspective to the group. We meet monthly at a suburban Indianapolis bookstore, and between meetings, we stay in touch, as friends tend to do. Indeed, we are very good friends, bound by our fondness for one another, as well as our love for writing and desire to improve and succeed.

The Aubrey Writers group has stayed together and met once each month for 13 years, and it’s not by some fluke. We decided early on to make it work by taking the group and our writing seriously, and by making them a priority. That’s the best advice I can offer anyone who is part of a writers’ group or thinking about starting one—make it a priority.

If you don’t have a group already, I urge you to either start one or seek one out by contacting any of the following community resources: 

            > Local library

            > Area bookstores

            > YMCA

            > Schools (high schools, tech schools, colleges) that offer
               noncredit creative writing classes

            > Writers organizations

            > Senior centers

            > Chamber of Commerce

Critiquing and analyzing other people’s writing—what works, what doesn’t—is the best way to improve your own writing. There is no better place to do that than with a small circle of like-minded friends who welcome and embrace you, while they provide a safe place to bare your soul and share your writing.

My group, the Aubrey Writers, has been meeting once a month for 13 years. Our members are, from left, Bob Beilouny, Chip Mann, Larry Sells, me, Tim Byers, Margie Porter, and Mary Marlow. Absent from the picture is Kathy Smith. Individually, we’re pretty good writers; but collectively, we’re dynamite!

* * *

Crystal Cropper, the protagonist for Dust Bunnies and Dead Bodies (due out October 15 from Cup of Tea Books) is the Baby Boomer-age newspaper editor for the Elmwood Gazette. She has a nose for news and a penchant for sticking it into places that smell like the leftovers in the back of her fridge. Fortunately for her, what her nose doesn’t sniff out, her best confidential informant — 80-year-old cleaning lady Gertie Tyroo — sweeps her way. Too bad Gertie’s latest hot tip has landed her in a coma, courtesy of an unknown assailant. Now Crystal must follow the trail of dirt and gossip right to the doorsteps of several prominent local families to solve a decades-old murder and the disappearance of a young boy . . .

About This Author

Janis Thornton is a freelance writer, personal historian, and award-winning journalist. She is the author of two local history books, Images of America: Tipton County and Images of America: Frankfort. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, the Indiana Writers Center, Association of Personal Historians, and the Midwest Writers Workshop Planning Committee. She lives in a small, Indiana town not unlike Elmwood. Dust Bunnies and Dead Bodies is her debut novel.

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Selfies: Venus

BREAKING NEWS: Enny, the very first FCHS kitty that we profiled, was adopted this week!

Hey everybody, Truffles at the keyboard! I'm using the Sunday Selfies Blog Hop (hosted by The Cat on My Head) as a way to showcase some of the kitties waiting for their forever homes at my Alma Mater, Franklin County Humane Society in St. Albans, Vermont, and then sharing it with the Tuesday's Tails Blog Hop as well. Today's feature is quite special, because I actually know Venus. We were at FCHS together. The good news is we got to chat and catch up. The bad news is that I've been out of the shelter for 14 months now, and she's still waiting for her forever home. 

Truffles: Long time no see, Venus! I'm so happy to be spotlighting you today on my blog!

Venus: Hey Snickers, how's life treating you in the outside world?

Truffles: Actually, my name isn't Snickers anymore. When my Mommy adopted me she changed my name to Truffles. Life is absolutely wonderful. I couldn't be happier in my forever home, and I'm really happy to be featuring some of my friends at FCHS to try and help them get adopted as well.

Venus: You're really lucky you were adopted so quickly, Truffles. I've been waiting for almost two years now.

Truffles: I know. I was only there for about a month. Why don't you tell us a little about yourself?

Venus: Well, I came here to the shelter as a stray. I had been on my own for quite awhile and was pretty rough looking. Because of really bad flea allergies I had lost most of my fur! Luckily it has grown back but it's a bit thin on my back near my tail. I have also been declawed.

Truffles: Ouch! Don't people know how much that hurts?

Venus: Tell me about it. They should try cutting their fingers off at the knuckle and see how it feels. I don't know how I survived on the streets for as long as I did. Anyways, I'm a black domestic short-hair & Siamese mix. I'm cute and sassy and when one of the staff members here at the shelter brought me home a few times she said I was really friendly. My Petfinder profile can be found here for anyone who might like to sponsor or adopt me!

Truffles: Well I can attest that you are one cool kitty and I just know there is somebody out there waiting to snap you up. Hopefully they'll read this and come down to the shelter to meet you.

Venus: I have one more favor to ask if I may. When I arrived at the shelter the nice people here took a video of me. I don't look my best but it shows how fun and playful I am. Would you mind posting it?

Truffles: Of course we will! Here it is:

If you missed any of our posts this week, here's our weekly recap:
* #WholeBodyHealth For Your Cat
* One Potion in the Grave by Heather Blake: Guest Author, Review & Giveaway
* Wordless Wednesday: Sunbathing Beauty
* Tortie Shorties: Fall Mystery Roundup
* Review: Zuke's Natural Purrz Treats
Caturday Art: Happy Birthday Allie!!!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Caturday Art: Happy Birthday Allie!!!

Hey everybody, Truffles at the keyboard! Today for Athena's Caturday Art blog hop I created a birthday card for my pretty in pink fashionista girlfriend, Allie from A Tonk's Tail. That girl rocks her hot pink mani/pedi like nobody's business!

Today is Allie's 7th birthday (she doesn't look a day over 4), and she's hosting a Kansas City style barbecue with a commentathon open all weekend over at her blog, so please stop by to wish her a happy birthday. In lieu of gifts she's donating some Merrick Purrfect Bistro cat food to the cats at Great Plains SPCA. Sounds like a purr-fect way to celebrate her special day :)

Check out more artsy kitties here.