Friday, November 29, 2013

Ebook Bundles & Stocking Stuffers for the Bookish Cat Lover

Hey everybody, Christmas Truffles here to wish you a happy Black Friday Morning! You're not going shopping today, are you? We're sure not! As a matter of fact as you're reading this Mommy and I are most likely still lounging in our bed nursing a turkey hangover!

Since online shopping is the only way to go on a day like today when people that hit the malls go completely insane, we've been hard at work putting together a list of a few goodies for the Bookish Cat Lover. You can pretty much go through our blog and find plenty of ideas for the cat and book lover in your life, so we decided to spotlight a few books that are perfect for holiday gift-giving: (with commentary by Mommy)

E-book Bundles:

Both of these bundles are fantastic values at under $10 (each book can also be purchased separately; a full list of Amy's books can be found here). I have had Complete Care for Your Aging Cat in my collection for years and have turned to it countless times during my years with Sashi and Tara. I have found it to be an invaluable resource. This bundle covers every stage of your cat's life.

Purchase here

Three Award-Winning Cat Care Books! from pet book author Amy Shojai cover all the veterinary care and behavior must-knows from kittens to aging cats--and everything in between including match-making cat and kitten adoption advice--with cat training and care advice for all your special cat's needs. Learn about:

*Choosing, training and communicating with your kitten
*Cat legends, myths, fun facts--and kitten care and products online resources
*Behavior, food and grooming considerations
*Recognize and diffuse cat-to-cat aggression
*Settle disputes over territory, potty problems and mealtime woes
*solve common pet peeves: meowing, clawing, countertop cruising, door dashing
*Understand weird cat behaviors: phone attraction, mirror fear, "elevator butt" and toilet pests
*Learn to keep your aging cat living longer and happier
*Find out what changes to expect--what's normal, and what are warning signs
*Know home nursing care tips that save you money--and kitty angst

Winner: Cat Writers' Association Purina Kitten Chow Award
Winner: Cat Writers' Association Muse Medallion--Best Book and Best Kitten Photos
Winner: Cat Writers' Association Muse Medallion--Best Cat Behavior Book
Winner: Cat Writer's Association Hartz Award for Best Entry on Aging Cats
Winner: Cat Writer's Association Merial Human-Animal Bond Award

Purchase here

Four pet care books from one of America's best known and award-winning authors provide home care and advice at your furry fingertips. Learn all the must-knows about dog behavior and puppy training, WOW-medicine advances like kidney transplants and cancer therapies, and aging dog nursing care tips in this collection:

*Deal with doggy aggression
*Soothe separation anxiety and fearful dog/cat problems
*Learn about proper pet nutrition
*Understand how to "talk dog" and learn "cat communication" with easy training tips
*Find insight from 100+ veterinary specialists on cutting edge medical care
*Understand how to provide home care to save $$ and doggy angst
*Enjoy chicken soup -icity stories of successful WOW medicine and aging dogs

Amy Shojai is a certified animal behavior consultant (dogs and cats) and the award winning author of two-dozen pet care books. She also writes "dog viewpoint" THRILLERS with Bite!


This mystery certainly isn't the cozy I usually read, but I found it to be a gripping, chilling thriller. A little birdie told me that the sequel, Hide and Seek, should be released before Christmas and I can't wait!

Purchase here
Read my review here

Stocking Stuffers:

I always find stocking stuffers to be such fun to shop for. These two gift books were recently sent to me for review and they fit the bill just perfectly. Full reviews are to come, but these books are beautifully illustrated, adorable little morsels certain to make any cat lover purr.

I'd Rather Be a Cat: The Official 'Better Than Dogs' Cat Book

Purchase here

Cat-lover and humorist Allia Zobel Nolan has the inside scoop--the purr-fect answer--to the question, "Which are better, cats or dogs?"

After scampering around the world and pattering through neighborhood sandlots, Allia has captured those expressive felines in crazy photos and paired each one with a hilarious one-liner. Cat lovers near and far unite to applaud the proof of the truth...

Cat Confessions Little Gift Book

Purchase here

Felines have many secrets they want to reveal, if only someone would ask them. Well, Allia Zobel Nolan has, and this clever kitty tell-all is filled with their hilarious confessions paired with photographs of cats caught in acts of mischief.

Written as though the cats are speaking, each admission presents a comical revelation. As the cats come clean, they admit to everything from playing tricks on the family dog to secretly hating milk. The result is a fun, great gift for cat lovers...and dog lovers who want the inside scoop on life among the litter crowd.

On My Wish List:

Purchase here

What's on YOUR wish list this year?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

We Give Thanks

TRUFFLES: ♫ Turkey, turkey, turkey. Turkey, turkey, turkey. ♫

MELISSA: Truffles! Come here, sweetie. What's all the commotion for?

TRUFFLES: Mommy! Grandpa's in the kitchen getting the turkey ready for Thanksgiving dinner. It's gonna be soooo good. I can hardly wait!

MELISSA: Come sit on my lap for a minute. I want to talk to you.

TRUFFLES: (bounces up) What's up, Mommy?

MELISSA: Turkey sure is a special part of Thanksgiving, I agree. But the real meaning of the holiday is to think about our blessings and all the things we're thankful for.

TRUFFLES: What are you thankful for, Mommy?

MELISSA: Oh, so many things. A wonderful home and family, especially the best parents a girl could ask for. My health, a job I enjoy, our blogging family. I'm thankful for the years I had with Tara even though it wasn't nearly long enough. Oh, and a certain little tortie that's in my life now that puts a smile on my face every single day. (kisses Truffles)

TRUFFLES: Oh Mommy, I love you too. (Purr...) A few months ago I was homeless and now I have so much - yummy food and treats, warm beds, toys, and most of all a Mommy who loves me so, so much.

MELISSA: I guess we're pretty lucky we found each other, aren't we?

TRUFFLES: You know what I'd like to do after dinner, Mommy?

MELISSA: Take an extra long catnap?

TRUFFLES: No, I'd like to take a big bowl of extra turkey to all the kitties and doggies in the shelter that are still waiting for their forever home.

MELISSA: I think that's the best idea I've heard in a long time. Why don't we go out to the kitchen and see what we can do to help out?

TRUFFLES: ♫ Turkey, turkey, turkey. Turkey, turkey, turkey.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Truffles & Her Prize Packages

It's official...Truffles is now getting more mail than I do. Here's an update on her most recent hauls:

Back in September we were the winner of the BlogPaws International Pet Blogger Month Photo Contest. (Coincidentally, at the same time, I won a $25 gift card from them for my 3 Social Media Tips for Animal Shelters post. You guessed it, that money went towards loot for Truffles!!!) Here she is with her Cat Bloggers' Delight prize pack:

We recently signed up with a website called Klout, which measures social media influence, and they give out perks to "influencers". We were offered a perk to receive a Halloween treat package from Hill's Science Diet including Grain free treats and dry food, a $2 coupon and more fun surprises. In addition to the food we received a cute pumpkin backdrop for taking fall photos and cool kitty stencils. It came too late for this year's pumpkin carving but we'll definitely be using them next year!

Last but certainly not least, we won a Hill's Ideal Balance gift basket from Hound Girl. On Monday I arrived home to find a gigantic box on my back step. It contained a 2 pound bag of Grain-Free natural Chicken & Potato Recipe Adult (which Truffles loves, and she's not a big fan of kibble), a wet food variety pack, Crunchy Naturals with Real Tuna treats, and most amazingly, a Drinkwell Pet Fountain!!! (Thank you, thank you, thank you for such an amazing prize!)

Truffles was so eager to get into the box as I was opening it that she jumped on top and when I pulled the fountain out, she fell in! It was totally hilarious and I wish I had caught it on video :) Here she is posing with her haul...

Truffles is by the front door eagerly awaiting her next mail or UPS delivery!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Q&A with Catherine Lloyd, author of DEATH COMES TO THE VILLAGE

Death Comes to the Village
Welcome, Catherine! Thank you so much for joining me. Could you tell us about your new Regency-set mystery, Death Comes to the Village?
Thank you for having me! Death Comes to the Village is set just after the Napoleonic wars, and involves the unlikely pairing of a bed-ridden high handed war hero and a spinsterish rector's daughter who come together to solve a mystery in their small quiet village. It's rather like a young Miss Marple meets “Rear Window”.

You also write erotic historicals as Kate Pearce. Did you find it difficult or a nice change of pace to write a genteel historical mystery?
They are very different beasts. The erotic historicals are character driven and based around a strong romantic arc and sexual conflict whereas the mysteries are more factual and are like putting the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle together. The mysteries also take a lot more plotting up front or they don't make sense. :)

What are some of your favorite authors, books, genres to read?
I read everything. My favorite authors include Dorothy Dunnett, Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, Rosemary Sutcliffe, Diane Gabaldon and Linda Howard. I will have a go at reading anything apart from horrors and thrillers because my imagination is too vivid to stop the nightmares.

Do you have any pets for writing companions?
I'm in transit from California to Hawaii so my dear old dog, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel was too old to make the trip and stayed with my son. My Maine coon cat, George, is currently in quarantine, and we've adopted a new cat in Hawaii called Jennifer who is technically my daughter's cat. She's asleep under my desk at the moment and I keep inadvertently poking her with my toes.

What is a typical writing day like for you?
I take my daughter to school and by 8 I'm either exercising, or sitting at my desk doing email. I spend a couple of hours every day doing all the social media stuff, and then I write for about 4 hours. I pick my daughter up around 3, and after that it's all homework, nagging and getting dinner. If I'm behind with my writing I'll go back and do some more work after dinner, but I try not to.

What are you working on now?
I'm writing the second of the Kurland St. Mary mystery series, tentatively titled Death Comes to Almacks, which mainly takes place in London but features the same hero and heroine as book one.

I'm also writing a few shorter pieces for my Kate Pearce brand including digital books and self-published books. I like to be busy.

In closing, what is one thing your loyal readers might be surprised to learn about you?
How very deeply boring I am in real life. :) Oh and that despite the fact that my 4 kids sound American, 3 of them were born in the UK and used to have the same English accent as I still have.

Please visit Catherine Lloyd online:

DEATH COMES TO THE VILLAGE is an Indie Next Selection!

 “Lloyd’s delightful debut…Readers will hope that death returns soon to Kurland St. Mary.” – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

 "A skillfully crafted mystery that combines a wounded war hero, an inquisitive rector’s daughter and a quaint peaceful village with some sinister secrets. The details of village life lend authenticity to the story and the evolving relationship between amateur sleuth Lucy and Major Kurland provides great entertainment. Lucy’s internal struggles with family duties and wishes for her future create a compelling picture of a young woman trying to find the courage to stand up for herself." – RT Book Reviews, 4.5 Stars, TOP PICK!

About the Book: A wounded soldier and a rector's daughter discover strange goings-on in the sleepy village of Kurland St. Mary in Catherine Lloyd's charming Regency-set mystery debut.
Major Robert Kurland has returned to the quiet vistas of his village home to recuperate from the horrors of Waterloo. However injured his body may be, his mind is as active as ever. Too active, perhaps. When he glimpses a shadowy figure from his bedroom window struggling with a heavy load, the tranquil facade of the village begins to loom sinister…
Unable to forget the incident, Robert confides in his childhood friend, Miss Lucy Harrington. As the dutiful daughter of the widowed rector, following up on the major's suspicions offers a welcome diversion—but soon presents real danger. Someone is intent on stopping their investigation. And in a place where no one locks their doors, a series of thefts and the disappearance of two young serving girls demands explanation…
As Robert grapples with his difficult recovery, he and Lucy try to unearth the dark truth lurking within the village shadows, and stop a killer waiting to strike again…

Adopt a Truffle of Your Very Own!

No, not my Truffles!!! This Truffle is up for adoption via PAWS in Norwalk, CT. She was recently featured on Animal Shelter Volunteer Life, one of my favorite blogs, and given the fact that she shares a name with my special fur baby, I felt compelled to share her here as well.

Truffle is 10 years old and has lived at the shelter for FIVE LONG YEARS!!! She's receiving wonderful care at PAWS, but don't you agree that it's about time she find a forever home of her own???

Just look at her...

Here's a little more about her via ASVL:

Truffle isn't exactly a lapcat, but she IS affectionate. All of the volunteers and staff have to be careful not to trip as she weaves happily in and out of our legs. She also enjoys being pet on the head and behind her ears, but will let you know when she's had enough. Her coloring and markings are strikingly unique, and her fur is extra downy soft. And she enjoys sunpuddles and playing!

We'd be remiss if we didn't mention that Truffle does have a condition called stomatitis - inflammation in her gums that flares up every so often. But she hasn't been on medication for a while, and is doing very well. She is also on a wet food only diet (but that's a good thing, as it helps her maintain her girlish figure ... MOL). Truffle is 10 years old, up to date on vaccinations, and has tested negative for FIV and FeLV. She's also microchipped.

I can't think of anything more wonderful than getting Truffle into her forever home for Christmas. Please share her story on Facebook, Twitter, and all of your other social media. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

2013 Santa Paws Drive

I don't know where Truffles was last Christmas. She may have been on the streets, or she may have been with a family that let her run free and didn't care when she went missing. All I know is that she was brought to the shelter in July as a stray, and is now getting ready to celebrate her first Christmas in her forever home, where she will be absolutely spoiled rotten.

The sad fact is, most shelter animals won't wake up to toys and treats on Christmas morning like our beloved pets do. That's why I am so happy to support the Santa Paws Drive. Now in it's fifth year, Santa Paws Drive is the first-ever online Christmas toy drive dedicated to pets. Each year, six shelters are selected from different places all over the world to support. This year they received over 550 shelter nominations, and faced the extremely tough choice of narrowing it down to six. Here are the 2013 Santa Paws Drive shelters:

Rikki’s Refuge in Orange County, Virginia, is a 367 acre, no-kill, all species peaceful sanctuary supported solely by donations. The refuge is home to over 1,200 animals of over 20 different species, including but not limited to cats, dogs, sheep, goats and more. Rikki’s Refuge provides homeless, abandoned and abused animals with a safe and loving place to stay.

Good Mews is a no-kill, cage-free haven for homeless, abused, or abandoned cats while they are waiting for permanent, loving forever homes. Located in Marietta, Georgia, Good Mews has helped find homes for more than 6,800 cats since 1988. Many of their cats arrive abused, neglected, and terribly afraid. They get the care and love they need, and have a home for life.

Union County Animal Control is a small, rural facility with a caring staff that goes above and beyond. Located in Cobden, Illinois, they champion bully breeds and work tirelessly to get animals into rescues, arrange transports and find them homes. While not officially no-kill, they do not kill for space, and we applaud them for all they've been able to do for their lucky, loved animals. All donations go to a fund dedicated only to their animals.

Nowzad Dogs operates the only official animal shelter in Afghanistan. The aim of the charity is to improve the welfare of the animals of Afghanistan, and help reunite soldiers with the pets they came to love while they were there. They also assist the local people by providing vaccinations for their cats and dogs and educating on how to care for their pets.

Contra Costa Humane Society is located in Pleasant Hill, California and is the only no-kill shelter in the area. They never hesitate to pull special needs or less adoptable pets from other local shelters, including pit bulls, senior cats and more. They recently rescued a one-year-old pit bull who was severely beaten with many of the bones in his face broken. He is now healed and happy and loves to give kisses!

Ruff Start Rescue is dedicated to saving all animals whose lives are at risk. Located in Princeton, Minnesota, they rescue animals from high kill facilities, rehabilitate the sick, love the unsocialized pets and maintain a 100% spay/neuter program. They take in more than 600 animals a year, and work with a dedicated team of fosters to care for all of them.

You can donate cash or toys, the choice is yours. All the info can be found here. Let's help put a smile on as many furry faces as possible and shower them with love and gifts at a time when they might otherwise be forgotten. Let's help them to have the special Christmas they deserve.           

Look at this fantastic pile of donated cat toys from last year's drive from the Santa Paws Facebook page!


I can't let Truffles see this pile of donated Temptations treats...she might pass out! (They are her favorites!)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Book Review: The Trouble with Turkeys by Kathi Daley

Blurb: Zoe becomes entangled in a complex murder case involving a dead miser, tipsy turkeys, and an eclectic cast of edacious heirs, when she agrees to help Jeremy in his temporary job at a nearby turkey farm two weeks before Thanksgiving.

My Review: This second book in the Zoe Donovan Mystery series takes place in the aftermath of Halloween Hijinks as now unemployed Zoe and her friend Jeremy get a job offer to take care of the turkeys at a local farm for a couple weeks before Thanksgiving following the owner's untimely death. Zoe hesitates; caring for a bunch of turkeys on borrowed time is against everything she stands for, yet she feels responsible for Jeremy being out of work, plus she learns he's about to become a single father. Upon arrival at the farm they learn that the death was no accident, it was murder, so Zoe decides to solve the crime in order to distract herself from the heartbreak of caring for a bunch of animals that will soon be sacrificed in the name of Thanksgiving dinner. A cast of suspicious relatives descend upon the farm leading Zoe to discover that catching a killer will be no easy task, and the ever-changing number of turkeys on the farm make Zoe begin to question her sanity!

Kathi Daley is quickly becoming one of my favorite new authors. The ending of this book presents Zoe with a life-changing opportunity and I am so, so excited for her! Christmas Crazy, book #3, is already at the top of my Christmas reading list.

Cat's Meow Mailbox #11

Cat's Meow Mailbox is inspired by the great weekly recap book memes (Mailbox Monday, Waiting On Wednesday, It’s Monday! What are you reading? and Sunday Post)

My week was filled up with the exciting news of being accepted as a member of the Cat Writers' Association and connecting with 3 new pet brands for future Truffles reviews!

Can you believe this week is Thanksgiving? The holiday season goes by way too fast. I hope you all have a wonderful one!!!

Last week on Mochas, Mysteries and More:
See You at Daytona, Boys!
Truffles Celebrates Movember
Excerpt: Hijack in Abstract by Larissa Reinhart
Whiskers Behind the Words: Author Julie Seedorf's Boris & Natasha
Pet Diabetes Awareness Month: Tara's Story
Spotlight/Giveaway: In Love with a Wicked Man by Liz Carlyle
Dreams Do Come True: The Cat Writers' Association
Caturday Cinema: A Kitty Thanksgiving

M. C. Moya: THE MYSTERIOUS CAT: Quotes for Cat Lovers (Quotes from around the world) A Kitten for Christmas The Trouble with Turkeys (Zoe Donovan Mystery Book 2) Santa Claws 11/22/63

For Review:
The Vanishing Thief Death of an Irish Diva



Friday, November 22, 2013

Dreams Do Come True: The Cat Writers' Association

Logo courtesy of the CWA/Debbie Glovatsky 

I've enjoyed writing since I was a little girl. It took me into adulthood before I found my niche, which is why the blog you are reading today evolved from solely a book review blog to a celebration of all things feline and fiction (and feline fiction/nonfiction!).

I have a file folder in my desk filled with articles I printed out from the Cat Writers' Association website dated 2006. I studied the membership requirements and made a vow to myself that one day I would become a member of this exclusive group of cat writers. It took me another 5 years to start blogging, and even more time after that before I realized I had a passion for blogging about cats just as much as blogging about books. (And as I always say, cats and books just go together, don't they?)

I finally realized that as a blogger, I am a writer. Thanks to the encouragement of the lovely Layla Morgan Wilde of Cat Wisdom 101, with butterflies in my stomach I filled out my CWA application and went to work putting together my work samples. Half of my submissions were sponsored posts that I have received compensation for, and the other half were pieces I wrote about Tara. She inspired this whole journey.

Wednesday night I received an email from CWA Secretary Wendy Christensen titled Welcome to the Cat Writers' Association, followed by a welcome from CWA President Lorie Huston, DVM. This is really happening. I'm a Professional Member of the Cat Writers' Association. I'm part of a group of writers whose work I have admired for years.

I am so honored and excited for the future of this blog and any other opportunities yet to come.

Dreams do come true, and for me, it's all for the love of cats.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Spotlight/Giveaway: In Love with a Wicked Man by Liz Carlyle


New York Times bestselling author Liz Carlyle has created a breathtaking new romance about a man without scruples and the lady who brings him to his knees.

What does it matter if Kate, Lady d’Allenay, has absolutely no marriage prospects?

She has a castle to tend, an estate to run, and a sister to watch over, which means she is never, ever reckless. Until an accident brings a handsome, virile stranger to Bellecombe Castle, and Kate finds herself tempted to surrender to her houseguest’s wicked kisses.

Disowned by his aristocratic family, Lord Edward Quartermaine has turned his gifted mind to ruthless survival. Feared and vilified as proprietor of London’s most notorious gaming salon, he now struggles to regain his memory, certain of only one thing: he wants all Kate is offering—and more.

But when Edward’s memory returns, he and Kate realize how much they have wagered on a scandalous passion that could be her ruin, but perhaps his salvation.

About the Author: 
A lifelong Anglophile, Liz Carlyle started reading Gothic novels under the bed covers by flashlight. She is the author of sixteen historical romances, including several New York Times bestsellers. Liz travels incessantly, ever in search of the perfect setting for her next book. Along with her genuine romance-hero husband and four very fine felines, she makes her home in North Carolina.

Twitter: @lizcarlyle
Giveaway: The publisher is offering a print copy of In Love with a Wicked Man to one of my readers. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. US entries only; ends 11/27/13.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Pet Diabetes Awareness Month: Tara's Story

There are days in everyone's life that you remember as though it were yesterday; days when it seemed like from that moment everything changed. For me, one of those days was July 9, 2011.

My beloved Tara was at the emergency vet for the second time in 10 days with a urinary tract infection. For the first incident she had been put on a course of antibiotics, but the symptoms came back even worse as soon as she went off the meds. It was a Saturday afternoon and I remember that the vet's office was so, so busy that day. A litter of puppies came in that had overheated, a dog came in that had been hit by a car. I felt so helpless waiting for what seemed like hours while my poor baby was peeing blood all over the room they had freed up for us. She was so sick I had demanded a place I could take her to try to clean her up a little and make her more comfortable.

The vet on duty decided to do some blood work to try to figure out why the antibiotics hadn't cleared up the infection. My nerves were shattered while I waited for the results, and then they came...Tara was diabetic. Her blood sugar was close to 500. The vet said it was possible the high blood sugar level was due to the UTI, but she had never seem numbers that high due to an infection alone.

"Do you think you can start giving her insulin shots?"

I thought that was an odd question. I mean, what choice did I have? That's what Tara needed, that's what she would get. I looked at my father...he could do it! He used to give shots to cows on the farm all the time! (This was my frazzled mind at work at that moment.)

He just looked at me and said, "You're going to have to learn how to do it."

Tara had to spend the rest of the weekend at the emergency clinic on fluids, antibiotics, and to start an insulin regimen. I had those hours alone to let the whole situation sink in. When I picked her up Sunday night I was shown how to test her blood sugar, give insulin shots, and we discussed diet changes. She was the best little patient ever and received her testing and shots like a trooper.

You know what I discovered? It wasn't the end of the world. Managing Tara's diabetes wasn't "easy", but it was certainly do-able. My research-oriented mind immediately kicked into gear and I started reading everything I could get my hands on about feline diabetes. (Ironically, my father received the same diagnosis a year later, and I was very well-versed in helping him learn to manage the disease.) I found the Feline Diabetes Message Board and the ebook Sugarbabies: A Holistic Guide to Caring for Your Diabetic Pet to be invaluable sources of information.

Some cats are lucky and through diet change alone are able to go off insulin; Tara was never so fortunate. We never got her blood sugar to an ideal level, but an acceptable one. She went to the Rainbow Bridge just 2 days short of her 2 year anniversary of the diabetes diagnosis from congestive heart failure.

One of the most important things I learned through this whole experience (besides the fact that I learned I could do things I never thought possible!) was the importance of noticing the signs of diabetes. Deep down the diagnosis didn't surprise me; I had noticed Tara was drinking and peeing more, I was just trying to live in denial and I still feel guilty about that. Her horribly painful UTI's was her little body screaming at me to WAKE UP!

Life with Beagle created a wonderful infographic detailing the rise of diabetes in our pets, and the warning signs to be on the look out for. Please share and monitor your pets. Diabetes is NOT a death sentence, it is completely manageable.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Whiskers Behind the Words: Author Julie Seedorf's Boris & Natasha

Boris and Natasha are characters from The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. In my life, Boris and Natasha are characters in my home in the form of my two cats.

When people ask how we acquired Boris I respond that I think it was a God thing. My daughter, who is a Pastor, had a congregation member that had acquired Boris, not his name at the time, when the kitten had ridden home in the wheel well of their car when they had been at a doctor’s appointment. Because this woman had an illness she couldn’t keep the kitten and she had fallen in love with him. She didn’t want to see him go to a shelter because she could not be sure of his fate. My daughter thought we needed a little life in our home and thought we should at least take him until we could find him another home.
The husband in my household didn’t want a cat but because it was his baby daughter, he grudgingly agreed.  When I went to meet the kitten before taking her home I learned my friend had the same type of cancer as this woman, and my friend had survived with it for many years. On the day I picked up the kitten, my friend came along so she could have an encouraging conversation with this woman that shared the same cancer. They shared stories. That is why I call acquiring Boris a God moment. He brought encouragement into someone’s life.

My husband took one look at this kitten and named him Boris. I wasn’t thrilled with the name but I coped. Boris adapted to our household well. He was mellow when he was mellow, but he was also attack cat on my arms when I would least expect it. I had to put a folding door on my office as he was always trying to spy on me and help me  with my writing by sitting on my lap and distracting my mouse, putting his own words into my story by the flick of his paw on my keyboard.
One day as I was in a pet store buying food to feed this growing kitten I noticed a pet adoption going on at the store by a humane society. They called me over and tried to talk me into a kitten. I told them I had one kitten and that was enough, but this cute part Siamese, part alley cat, big eared  kitten caught my eye. She came up to me, purring and snuggling. I went home without her but couldn’t forget about her. Boris needed a mate and so Natasha joined our family.

Boris and Natasha fell in love. They were sidekicks. They snuggled and where you found one, you found the other, but Natasha was aptly named. She was sneaky. She was cunning and she was a thief. She had hidden this secretive personality under the cuteness and the cuddliness of my first visit. Natasha and Boris lived up to their names.
Natasha wasn’t in our household longer than two hours when she had my office accordion door open.   She would knock the latch open and she and Boris would come on in to help me with my writing. We had to put a hook on the door so she couldn’t get it open. That didn’t stop Natasha. She showed Boris how to hop on the sink and go through the open window into my office. We had to put lattice work over the opening between my office and my kitchen.

I was missing the flash drives from my desk one day. I found Natasha and Boris stash under my bed of all my flash drives. I walked into the kitchen one day to find my garbage bags, which had been stored under my sink, all over the floor. They had found the kitty treats too. Natasha can open cupboard doors.  I put a wooden spoon through the handles. One day I heard someone knocking. I checked the doors. The knocking seemed to be coming from the kitchen. Boris had removed the wooden handle and Natasha was in the cupboard trying to open the door to get back out. We now have child proof locks on the door.
I no longer need an alarm clock. Boris thinks I need to get up at 6:00 a.m. to feed him. Natasha takes care of Boris. She jumps up and with both paws tries to move the door knob on my room. Boris watches her. She keeps this up until I wake up and get up, at which time she goes back to sleep and Boris goes to his dish and waits for me to feed him.

They have me trained and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I met a friend recently that I haven’t seen for a couple of years. They have acquired a cat in the last few years too. Our cell phones are full of our cat pictures. I have grandchildren whom I love dearly but I find myself always snapping pictures of my cats. Our husbands, who didn’t like cats, now treat them like their children and their conversations are about the antics of their cats.
Our lives are richer because of the blessing of our pets. They teach us compassion, patience, how to rest (cat nap anyone)and how to love.  They love us when we are happy, sad, crabby and discouraged. They teach us how to play.

And …… Boris and Natasha give me lots of material for my books. They are aptly named. Did I mention they like Yogurt and Soy Milk? Natasha is currently working on learning how to open the refrigerator door. Boris is supporting her decision.


Granny Hooks A Crook (Fuchsia, Minnesota)
Book Details
File Size: 294 KB
Print Length: 200 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1939816122
Publisher: Cozy Cat Press (July 10, 2013)
Cozy Mystery

Granny leads a secret life in the small, unique community of Fuschia, Minnesota. It’s not just her all junk food diet, multiplying pets, or her shocking bedtime attire that makes Granny one in a million. No, Granny is an undercover cop, charged by “the Big Guy” (the town’s police chief) of preventing theft in local stores. Granny takes her job seriously and daily foils many shoplifters using her trusty spiked umbrella and amazing acting skills. When some startlingly brazen burglaries begin to occur that Granny can’t solve, along with mysteriously appearing bad guys, disappearing clerks, and misplaced Corvettes, Granny begins to wonder if she isn’t ready for the wrinkle farm. Maybe, it’s fortuitous when she accidentally-on-purpose falls in the lap of an attractive older gentleman who is soon roped into her wild adventures, as they try to figure out what’s happening in their little town.

About The Author
Julie Seedorf owns her own computer repair business, but her secret undercover job is writing. Her column “Something About Nothing” for a Minnesota newspaper is about nothing, which is what we talk about most of the time, always with something underneath the conversation. Julie has been a wife, mother, grandmother, housewife, barmaid, salesperson, activity director, full time volunteer and more. Her motto is, “If you dream it, you can do it.” Her Fuchsia Minnesota, published by Cozy Cat Press is her first journey in her undercover career. Having lived in small communities in Minnesota all her life, she knows the richness and uniqueness that only a small town can bring and with a little humor and imagination, she transforms those experiences into her imaginary Fuchsia community.

Goodreads: Julie Seedorf,

Monday, November 18, 2013

Excerpt: Hijack in Abstract by Larissa Reinhart

As I stepped through the kitchen door of my ninety-year-old bungalow, my brother leapt into view and snatched the bag of donuts from my hand, nearly giving me a heart attack. Like a retriever with his prize dead duck, Cody carried the donut bag to the kitchen table looking very pleased. I set my empty coffee cup on the Formica counter and leaned against the door, eyeing him. My twenty-one- year-old brother wore loose sweat pants, a wife beater, and bare feet. If that wasn’t enough of a hint he’d slept in my house, his shaggy, dishwater blonde hair still bore a similar bed-head cowlick to mine. I reached behind my head to tug mine down.
“Don’t tell me you’re moving in, too,” I said. “This house can not take another occupant.”
“I remember Grandma Jo saying five kids were raised in this house. One more visitor ain’t gonna shake the foundation,” Cody yanked a sour cream donut from the bag and tore off a hunk with his teeth. “Pearl said either me or the vehicles had to leave the farm. I can’t sell those cars until I fix them up proper.”
“I guess Grandpa’s letting Pearl do his dirty work. He’s been wanting you to clear out those vehicles for years.” I could hear the shower running in the back of the house, which blew my next plan of action. “When did you get here?”
“In time to see you tearing out of the drive in Casey’s Firebird. I thought it was Casey until I poked into the guest room and found her. Where have you been? Booty call?”
I rolled my eyes, threw my satchel on the table, and plopped into a chair. “Sheriff’s office. They needed someone to draw a desscription for a Forks County Most Wanted poster.”
“At two in the morning?”
“Luke Harper picked up a witness to a truck hijacking. They wanted the composite sketch while it was still fresh in his mind.”
“Deputy Harper,” Cody snickered. “Sure it wasn’t a booty call?”
“Booty call?” Todd’s country baritone drawled from the hallway.
I surreptitiously eyed Todd’s stroll into the kitchen. He wore a towel slung low across his lean hips, and his longish blonde hair was slick from the shower. The rising sun streaming through my kitchen window caressed his dewy post-shower skin. Skin stretched over a body riddled with taut muscles and sweet dimples. I needed to remind Todd that roommates wore robes. Which was hard to do, seeing as how I no longer spoke to my sort-of-ex-husband.
“Dude,” said Cody, “put some britches on. You walk around my sister’s house like that?”
Todd grinned and hitched his towel higher, making me slap a hand across my eyes. Todd didn’t care a stitch about modesty. Literally.
"By the way, sister,” said Cody. “Word has gotten out about your nekkid paintings. Better expect some Come-To-Jesus- Meetings.”
“What’s so bad about painting an Ancient Greek styled figure?” I pushed past Todd and tromped down the hall to the single bathroom. “Someone needs to teach the folks in this town about classical art.”
“Someone is. Shawna Branson. And she’s the one showing Red’s customers snapshots of your nekkid Todd pictures.”
“What?” I stopped and spun around. “How does she have photos of those paintings? They went to a gallery in Athens. I don’t even know who bought them.”
“Dunno,” Cody licked powdered sugar from his fingers and grabbed another donut. “Maybe she checked out that gallery when she was up in Athens for a Bulldogs game. She is an artist, you know. Told me so herself.”
“Calling Shawna Branson an artist is like calling Ronald McDonald the King of Steaks.” Shawna Branson and I hated each other since the days when we all hung out at the Tasty Dip. When I found out she was sharing her sprinkles with my boyfriend, I wrote her number on the men’s room wall. Accompanied by an explicit drawing of Shawna’s talents. Pretty good rendering for a cement block wall and a Sharpie. Instead of throwing a hissy, she should have thanked me for making her so popular.
“Shawna’s got a gallery in Line Creek now,” Todd said. “She fancied up her art shop.”
“What new gallery?” I said, forgetting my silence rule. “Something about art,” said Todd.
"Who cares?” said Cody. Powdered sugar dotted his beard. “I tell you what you should care about. Todd, ain’t you embarrassed for people to see you in those paintings?”
Todd shrugged, slipped onto a kitchen chair, and reached for the donut bag.
“Why should he feel ashamed?” I said. “The good Lord’s seen fit to give him the perfect body structure for a work of the High Renaissance. Anyone who thinks differently needs to get their mind out of the gutter.”
“We don’t live in High Renaissance,” said Cody. “We live in Halo, Georgia, and if you see a picture of a naked dude, your mind’s going to be in the gutter.”

Hijack in Abstract by Larissa Reinhart

Cherry Tucker’s love life has shifted into neutral. And her siblings, Grandpa, and sort-of-ex-husband have flipped her personal life to greasy side up. But life in Halo, Georgia, isn’t all bad for the sassy, Southern artist. Her career has pushed into full throttle. A classical series sold. A portrait commissioned. Then Uncle Will, Forks County Sheriff, calls in a favor to have Cherry draw a composite sketch of a hijacker. Suddenly, life takes a hairpin when the composite leads to a related murder, her local card sharking buddy Max Avtaikin becomes bear bait, and her Amazonian nemesis labels the classical series “pervert art,” causing Cherry to be shunned by the town. 
Cherry’s jamming gears between trailer parks, Atlanta mansions, and trucker bars searching for the hijacker who left a widow and orphan destitute and Max Avtaikin in legal jeopardy. While she seeks to help the misfortunate and save her local reputation, Cherry’s hammer down attitude has her facing the headlights of an oncoming killer, ready to grind her gears for good.
Author Bio:

Growing up in a small town, Larissa Reinhart couldn’t wait to move to an exotic city far from corn fields. After moving around the US and Japan, now she loves to write about rough hewn characters that live near corn fields, particularly sassy women with a penchant for trouble. HIJACK IN ABSTRACT is the third in the Cherry Tucker Mystery Series from Henery Press, following STILL LIFE IN BRUNSWICK STEW (May 2013) and PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY, a 2012 Daphne du Maurier finalist. QUICK SKETCH, a Cherry Tucker prequel to PORTRAIT, is in the mystery anthology THE HEARTACHE MOTEL (December 2013). She lives near Atlanta with her minions and Cairn Terrier, Biscuit. Visit her website or find her chatting with the Little Read Hens on Facebook.

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