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.

Author Links





Amazon author page:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.

Friday, October 24, 2014 Review: Zuke's Natural Purrz Treats

Hey everybody, it's Truffles! I have to tell you that when we received this month's blogger outreach newsletter it left Mommy and I a bit disgruntled. It was titled "Fall Yummies" and featured some super cute teddy bear shaped organic pumpkin treats...for dogs. When are the pet food companies going to start making more fun options for us kitties? Don't they think that we like to celebrate special times of the year too? I'll step off my soapbox now but do you agree with me, friends?

Moving on to my review: Several months ago I received a package of Zuke's G-Zees Savory Salmon Treats in a MeowBox and I didn't care for them at all. Mommy figured it was because I'm not a big fish fan, so from October's offerings she picked out the Zuke's Natural Purrz Tender Chicken Recipe Cat Treats for me.

Here's a little more about them:

Natural Purrz are the perfect way to keep your cat purring. These soft, delicious treats are packed with USDA chicken or salmon, a whole-food source of omega 3 fish oil. Feed nutritious Natural Purrz and show your cat the love.

Features & Benefits:

* Real meat and fish are 1st ingredients: high-quality, clean and healthy protein sources

* Natural cranberries: support urinary tract health

* Highly palatable: cats love ‘em!

* ‘Z’ shape: cats prefer food and treats with angles and edges. (Mommy thinks the Z-shaped treats are cute. She's silly that way.)

Ingredients: Chicken, Ground Rice, Ground Barley, Malted Barley, Gelatin, Vegetable Glycerin, Tapioca, Brewers Yeast, Natural Flavors, Fish Oil, Lecithin, Salt, Phosphoric Acid, Sorbic Acid, Mixed Tocopherols, Ascorbic Acid.

What did I think? I *liked* them...certainly more than the salmon treats...but I wasn't *crazy* about them. I'll eat a few at a time and then that's enough. (Generally with treats I have no self-control and won't stop eating until Mommy forces me to!) So I sought a second opinion from my neighbor kitty Pumpkin who likes to visit my house daily for a snack. He LOVED them! So I guess I'll say that these treats get two paws up from me, and four paws up from him :) has more than 300 brands to choose from and will ship directly to your door with fast 1-2 day delivery. They have something that every kitty and doggie will find to enjoy.

Disclosure: We received a free package of treats for review; all opinions are our own.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tortie Shorties: Fall Mystery Roundup

Turkeys, Tuxes and Tabbies by Kathi Daley

Blurb: When the cat lady of Ashton Falls is found dead in her home just days before Thanksgiving, Zoe must track down a killer while dealing with a house full of socialites who have come to Ashton Falls to bid on Zak in a high class bachelor auction.

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

This 10th book in the Zoe Donovan Mystery series is set at Thanksgiving with preparations underway for a charity bachelor auction which features Zoe's fiance Zak as the top prize. Zoe's Zoo animal rescue and rehabilitation center is pretty quiet until word comes that local cat lady Lois Washburn is letting her cats get into mischief. Zoe goes to check out the situation and ends up finding Lois dead in her living room. Who could possibly want this well-meaning but misguided lady dead? Zoe doesn't intend to get involved in the investigation until she realizes the pink lipstick found on a mug in Lois's house matches the lipstick worn by her friend Levi's new girlfriend, who turns out to be Lois's estranged niece. Zoe soon discovers that Lois had feared for her cats' safety, even taking shooting lessons and returning tainted cat food. She was also involved in a lawsuit with a neighbor and had plans to turn the local senior center into a cat sanctuary. The ending was somewhat abrupt but satisfying, and the entire book was filled with festive feline fun!

Giveaway: Leave a comment by noon eastern on Monday, October 27th for the chance to win your choice of a signed paperback (US only) or ebook (open Internationally) of Turkeys, Tuxes and Tabbies.

A Haunting is Brewing by Juliet Blackwell

Blurb: In this all-new novella, New York Times bestselling author Juliet Blackwell’s popular characters from her Witchcraft Mysteries and Haunted Home Renovation Mysteries find themselves joining forces to solve a supernatural dilemma…

When Mel Turner is hired to rehab an old Victorian mansion to act as the eerie setting for a Halloween bash, she’s expecting the normal challenges—old wiring, bad plumbing, maybe a ghostly specter or two. But when a young man is killed after spending the night in the house, and the mannequins in the attic start to come to life, it’s clear that this is serious paranormal activity. Maybe this time, a real witch is needed.

Recommended by a mutual friend, vintage clothes expert Lily Ivory arrives to offer her help with the mannequins. Armed with Lily’s spells and Mel’s know-how, the two women must figure out the cause of all of the ghostly commotion—before Mel’s renovation project turns into even more of a deadly haunt…

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

I don't think I've ever read a novella where an author merges characters from two best-selling series into a new original story. What a fun concept...and it works too! 

Preparations for a Halloween fundraiser has Mel (of the Haunted Home Renovation Mysteries) rehabbing an old Victorian and she is totally creeped out by the life-sized dolls of the house's former inhabitants that she finds in the attic. The entire family apparently died of the flu in 1918 (or was it murder?) with the exception of the son, who ended up committing suicide in the house on Halloween night. When a student from the local performing arts college spends the night in the house and is found dead the next morning, Lily Ivory of the popular Witchcraft Mysteries is called in to assist in the investigation. This short Halloween story is atmospheric, creepy, and very exciting.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

One Potion in the Grave by Heather Blake: Guest Author, Review & Giveaway

One Potion in the Grave: A Magic Potion Mystery

A conversation with Roly and Poly, the cats from the Magic Potion mysteries

By Heather Blake

Heather: I hear you two called this meeting because you want more page time. True?

Poly: I’m just here for the snacks.

Roly: It’s true. You have to admit, Ms. AuthorPants, that we didn’t get much face time in the first book, A Potion to Die For. What’s up with that? And did you correct this abomination in One Potion in the Grave?

Poly (looking around): I hear Melissa’s cat Truffles gets snacks sent to her by various companies to sample. How do I sign up for this? Truffles, call me.

Heather: Hush, or I’ll put you on a diet.

Poly (fur raising): You wouldn’t. I’m named Poly after all.

Heather: Dare me.

Poly (staring):

Heather: I can live with the silent treatment.

Roly: Ahem. You didn’t answer me.

Heather: I’m not sure what your issue is. You’re in the books. Lots. Plenty of pages. Most of which you’re sleeping, Roly, as you might recall.

Roly (grooming): I need my beauty sleep.

Poly (still trying to maintain a glare but growing drowsy):

Heather: And, also as you may recall, Roly, in ONE POTION IN THE GRAVE, you spent more time with Aunt Marjie when she moved into Carly’s house than Carly. How am I supposed to explain that kind of defection to readers?

Roly: Marjie makes bacon. Every day.

Poly (giving up on the glare): Mmm. Bacon.

Heather: Okay, okay. It’s hard to argue with that.

Roly: Besides, Carly knows we love her. We wake her up every morning with love taps and kneading. We don’t do that for just anyone.

Heather: Carly puts in a request that you hold off on those morning greetings until the sun comes up.

Roly (blinks innocently): We’ll see. Depends on what you have planned for us for the next book…and if there will be more scenes with me and Dylan.

Heather: Oh, you’ll be seeing a lot more of Sergeant Dylan Jackson.

Roly (purrs): My job here is done.

Heather: Poly, anything else from you?

Poly: Do I smell peanut butter?


Heather is running a month-long ONE POTION IN THE GRAVE Witchtastic giveaway via Rafflecopter (9/23 – 10/23). Win a set of “Cast a Spell” measuring spoons, a set of three Yankee Candle potion bottle tea light holders, a Lego minifigure witch, and a $20.00 gift card to Barnes & Noble -or- Amazon (winner’s choice). To enter: or 

About Heather: Heather Blake (aka Heather Webber) is the author of more than twenty novels and has been twice nominated for an Agatha Award. She's a total homebody who loves to be close to her family, read, watch reality TV (especially cooking competition shows), drink too much coffee, crochet, and bake cookies. Heather grew up in a suburb of Boston, but currently she lives in the Cincinnati area with her family and is hard at work on her next book.


Twitter: @booksbyheather


Giveaway: Leave a comment by noon eastern on Friday, October 24th for your chance to win a copy of One Potion in the Grave. (US entries only, please.)

Blurb: When Katie Sue Perrywinkle walks into the Little Shop of Potions, Carly is surprised and delighted to see her old childhood friend. Katie Sue fled her hometown and a troubled family over a decade ago. But she’s not back for a social visit. She’s come to settle a score with Senator Warren Calhoun, who is in town for his son’s high-profile wedding.

But before Katie Sue has a chance to voice any objections, she’s forced to forever hold her peace. After finding her friend dead, Carly vows to find her murderer. Were the corrupt Calhouns willing to go to any lengths to avoid a scandal? Did Katie Sue’s family take the term “bad blood” to a whole new level? And why did the bride-to-be come to Carly for a love potion? As Carly gets closer to the truth, a killer is planning a very chilly reception.…

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

If you're looking for the most delicious blend of magic, mystery, and romance you will ever read, run, don't walk to your nearest bookstore or e-reader. One Potion in the Grave, the second book in the amazing Heather Blake's Magic Potion Mystery series, stands in a class all it's own among the ever-growing crop of paranormal cozies.

Hitching Post, Alabama, the wedding capital of the South, is in an uproar over the upcoming nuptials of Senator Warren Calhoun's son Landry and Gabi Greenleigh. Then Carly's old friend Katie Sue arrives back in town after distancing herself from her troubled family many years ago with threats to put a stop to the wedding. Somebody puts a (permanent) end to Katie Sue instead, and Carly is determined to sift through the long list of people who had reason to want her friend dead (including Katie Sue's own family) to catch a killer.

One of my favorite characters in this book is Carly's gun-toting Aunt Marjie, who moves in with Carly after getting injured. Of the new characters introduced, I really enjoyed meeting Katie Sue's younger sister Jamie Lynn whose mysterious illness compels Carly to do all she can to help her. Carly's cousin Delia, who specializes in hexes, also figures prominently in this book, and I'm so glad they are repairing their relationship and becoming friends. And it looks like things between Carly and Dylan are really going to be heating up moving forward!

The identity of the killer is a mystery until the very end, and even then there is a twist that I never saw coming. Heather Blake's books are always among my favorites, and this is one of the best.

Check out the back cover too :)

Monday, October 20, 2014

#WholeBodyHealth For Your Cat

This post is sponsored by Natural Balance’s Original Ultra Whole Body Health and the BlogPaws Professional Pet Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Whole Body Health, but Mochas, Mysteries and Meows only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Natural Balance is not responsible for the content of this article.

A couple weeks ago I asked for a few moments of your time to fill out a brief 5 question survey about your opinions on your pets' whole body health. Today I have the results in the form of  a cool infographic to share with you. While some of the results didn't come as a surprise to me at all, I was very surprised by others.

Before I get into my thoughts, here is the infographic:

Whole Body Health
Natural Balance Whole Body Health

The first time I looked at the infographic what jumped out at me was "Your Top Pet Health Concern". With cancer in our pets being at practically epidemic proportions (especially among dogs), I found it interesting that only 29% of pet parents listed it as their top health concern. I have only owned 4 cats prior to Truffles, and 3 of them have developed some form of cancer.

Also, only 10% said heart disease was a top concern. Maybe I'm just hyper-sensitive because of all I went through with Tara's battle with congestive heart failure, but I really thought it would have rated higher.

Tara Graphic Courtesy: Stunning Keisha

What did not surprise me at all was that pet parents place a high value on pet nutrition, and feel that proper nutrition is by far the most important factor in maintaining pet health. But with pet store shelves full of various foods that target one particular health concern or age group, what is the best choice for your pet?

Natural Balance's Original Ultra® Whole Body Health™ is a gluten-free diet with an optimal balance of premium proteins and key nutrients created by their expert nutritionists. Original Ultra® Whole Body Health® nourishes your pet’s complete well-being and supports the needs of your pet through all life stages.

There are 7 areas of health that Whole Body Health supports:

* Optimal levels of DHA and EPA to support an active, healthy brain
* Omega-6 and Omega-3 for healthy skin and a luxurious coat
* A unique fiber layering system to maintain healthy digestion
* Quality proteins to support healthy muscles
* Antioxidant nutrients for a healthy immune system
* Proper levels of calcium and phosphorus for strong bones
* Added taurine for healthy heart and eye fuction

Your pet deserves the very best, and a quality food like Natural Balance Original Ultra Whole Body Health will give you confidence that you're doing your best to keep your pet healthy.

Would you like to try a sample? From (today) Monday, October 20, 2014 beginning at 9am PDT through December 5th at 6pm PDT, or while supplies last, go to - Scroll down the page to the white button.  There is also a button on Natural Balance’s Facebook page to take you to their site to claim your sample. Participants can choose either a dog sample or a cat sample mailed to their home. Only one per household. U.S. only.

A downloadable coupon is also available. (Hurry! It expires 10/31)

Please visit Natural Balance on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google Plus.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Selfies: Chicken Edition

Hey everybody, it's Truffles! Last weekend Mommy left me on Saturday afternoon to attend her aunt and uncle's 50th anniversary party. Since she is always the one taking pictures, she was very happy to have a picture taken with her parents. It's been a long time since she got a family photo, although it's not complete because I'm not in it!

The party was held at Mommy's cousin's house, and she has chickens!!! 7 of them!!! This one was her favorite because she had tortie colors. She was also the feistiest of the group and wouldn't stand still for a good picture.

A couple of them even wanted to take selfies! This is our entry in the Sunday Selfies Blog Hop hosted by The Cat on My Head. I'll bet it's the first time a chicken joined the hop!

We hear they are going to be "harvested" eventually. This made Mommy very sad, but don't they look yummy?

Note from Mommy: Truffles, the chickens do not look yummy. They are adorable alive. This is what was yummy:

If you missed any of our blog posts this week here is our weekly recap:
* Truffles Interviews Boo & Poobah, Canine Stars of Laura Childs' Gossamer Ghost (w/Review & Giveaway)
* Bless Her Dead Little Heart by Miranda James: Guest Author, Review & Giveaway
* Spooktacular Giveaway Hop
* Our Sponsor Kitties Need Homes! #BtC4A
* #ThrowbackThursday: Halloween 2011
* Off Kilter by Hannah Reed: Guest Author, Review & Giveaway
* #FrankenPet Halloween Photo Contest
* A Crafty Christmas by Mollie Cox Bryan: Guest Author, Review & Giveaway
Caturday Art: My Ladies of Autumn

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Caturday Art: My Ladies of Autumn

Have you ever heard torties and calicos called "Ladies of Autumn" because of their resemblance to the fallen leaves of autumn? I created this art by starting with the Autumn Beauties template on, and then adding more seasonal details with Ribbet.

More artistic kitties can be found here.

Friday, October 17, 2014

A Crafty Christmas by Mollie Cox Bryan: Guest Author, Review & Giveaway

A Crafty Christmas

All Aboard—Scrapbooking and Murder on the High Seas

By Mollie Cox Bryan

Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure it’s all real. My fourth book in the Cumberland Creek series is now out—A CRAFTY CHRISTMAS. Count’em: four books, plus an e-novella. Squueee!

Now, you know I love my fictional setting of Cumberland Creek, Va. and know its streets, parks, and mountains like the back of my hand. I populated it with plenty of quirky characters, which was (and is) a great deal of fun. While there’s plenty of my imaginary small town in A CRAFTY CHRISTMAS, some of my croppers go off on a scrapbooking cruise together and leave behind Annie, Beatrice, and DeeAnn. (Yes, there are scrapbooking cruises!) I thought a change of scenery might do my characters good—and it does, well, until the murder, that is.

It turns out that a cruise ship is a fabulous place for a murder.

Like Matthew Kirtley, security chief on the ship says, “One of the interesting things about security on a ship is nobody’s going anywhere. Not even the murderer.”

How would you like to be on a cruise with a murderer? It does tend to damper the festivities. It also makes some people a bit paranoid. But in the case in A CRAFTY CHISTMAS, not everybody on the ship knows that the untimely death of one of the most famous scrapbook designers on board was the result of murder. But, of course, my main characters do because Sheila discovers the body—in a most inopportune and clumsy manner. As only Sheila is wont to do.

Poor Sheila suffers a concussion as the result of her mishap. She tries to get it together because she has several interviews lined up with major national design firms. She is mixing with the movers and shakers in the scrapbooking industry. Opportunity is everywhere, yet, Sheila is quite unwell and has a hard time functioning. Doesn’t it just figure?

As the Cumberland Creek group pulls together, we learn a lot about security on cruises, the scrapbooking industry, and a bit about the tumultuous past of some of their lives. Intrigued? I hope so.

About the author: Mollie Cox Bryan writes the Cumberland Creek Mysteries, published by Kensington. The first book, Scrapbook of Secrets, was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel of 2012 and was selected by B & N as a mystery to watch. The rest of the books in the series are: SCRAPPED, DEATH OF AN IRISH DIVA, SCRAPPY SUMMER (e-novella), CRAFTY CHRISTMAS and SCRAPBOOK OF THE DEAD (forthcoming 2015). She is also the author of the bestselling MRS. ROWE'S LITTLE BOOK OF SOUTHERN PIES (Random House 2009) and MRS. ROWE'S RESTAURANT COOKBOOK: A LIFETIME OF RECIPES FROM THE SHENANDOAH VALLEY (Ten Speed Press, 2006). She has worked for years as a freelance food journalist with articles published in Taste of the South, NPR’s Kitchen Window, and Grit Magazine, among others. She lives in Waynesboro, Va. with her husband and two daughters.

Author Links
Twitter: @molliecoxbryan

Purchase Links
Amazon B&N


Blurb: Christmas is just around the corner, and the ladies of the Cumberland Creek Scrapbook Crop are thrilled when Sheila wins the first place prize in a scrapbooking design contest: a ten-day scrapbook-themed cruise in the Caribbean. Vera and Paige decide to tag along, which should pose the perfect opportunity to learn some new techniques, mingle with fellow croppers, and get in some rest and relaxation before the chaos of Christmas. But when Sheila finds a famous crafter dead, and investigators determine she was poisoned, the luxury cruise veers toward disaster as Sheila becomes the number one suspect - or was she really the intended victim? Just as the croppers begin un-wrapping the truth, a storm strands them at sea, and they'll find it's harder than ever to survive the holidays with a killer on deck...

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

Nothing makes me happier than reading a cozy mystery set during the Christmas season at any time of the year. When I first read the blurb for this book though, I was a bit hesitant: how Christmas-y can a book be when the action takes place on a Caribbean cruise??? My concern was completely unwarranted as I loved every single minute of this action-packed adventure.

Sheila, Vera, and Paige are the scrapbookers on the cruise, and Sheila's incredible opportunity to further her crafting career get sidelined when she (literally) falls over the body of a famous cropper. The method of murder is ingenious, as it involves Sheila's award-winning scrapbook, which also ends up making her the main suspect. But as the ladies do a little detective work of their own (with the help of Annie and Bea back home in Cumberland Creek), they start to wonder if Sheila was actually the intended victim!

With a jaw-dropped final scene which will have you counting down the days until the NEXT book's release, put A Crafty Christmas at the top of your Christmas reading list!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

#FrankenPet Halloween Photo Contest

(Image: PicMonkey)

I adore PicMonkey and use it on a daily basis for my various photo-editing needs. I am also crazy about Halloween and all of the fun associated with this most spooky of holidays. That's why I'm excited to tell you about a cool contest that PicMonkey has put together.

PicMonkey has partnered with Rover to deliver the most adorably ghoulish photo contest of the Halloween season: #FrankenPet! All you need to do is snap a picture of your pet (in or out of costume) and jazz it up with PicMonkey's large selection of Halloween features. Once your masterpiece is complete, share it by 11:59pm on Halloween using the hashtag #FrankenPet.

You can read more about the contest, the rules, and what you can win here:

Truffles is entering! Are you?

Disclosure: I did not receive any monetary compensation for this post. I received a free month of PicMonkey Royale membership and a coupon to redeem for dog sitting services through in exchange for sharing information about the #FrankenPet contest.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Off Kilter by Hannah Reed: Guest Author, Review & Giveaway

Off Kilter

The Call of the Highlands 

By Hannah Reed 

It began as ideas often do, with a small spark out of the blue. Most flashes of insight (also known as moments of insane thinking) sputter and die a quick death. As they should. But sometimes one will ignite and take off, and there’s nothing you can do but go along for the ride. That’s what happened with my new Scottish Highlands mystery series. Once those thoughts came alive and were in motion, I wouldn’t have been able to douse them even if I had an ocean of water. They had to be written.

Mostly, I credit one of my more colorful ancestors, who managed to get thrown out of Scotland in 1685 after his capture and imprisonment in Dunnottar Castle for taking up arms against the king. These days the castle still exists as a ruin, sitting high on a windswept hill beside the sea. This character survived when many didn’t and was shipped to the new world. A real rabble-rouser, that one. Not an uncommon trait in my family line. I believe his adventure was the inspiration for this new series. It fueled my imagination.

And although the weapons have changed in the time that has elapsed between then and now, motives for murder remain the same.

So back to the present and a wee bit about Off Kilter.

Romance writer Eden Elliott arrives in the Highlands only to discover that the local sheep shearer has been clipped with his own shears. She better figure out the motive for his murder and the person behind the deed before she finds herself on the receiving end of more shear terror!

I hope you enjoy your romp through the ‘blades’ of the Highland’s slippery slopes. I know I did.

For more information about the story or about my other tales, visit me at

Praise for Off Kilter:

“Hannah Reed’s new series will please Scotophiles everywhere…” ~ Miranda James, New York Times bestselling author of the Cat in the Stacks Mysteries.

“A brilliant mystery, rich in charming characters set against lush depictions of the Scottish village of Glenkillen.” ~ Jenn McKinlay, New York Times bestselling author of the Cupcake Bakery Mysteries and the Library Lover’s Mystery.

Giveaway: Leave a comment by noon eastern on Monday, October 20th for your chance to win a copy of Off Kilter. (US entries only, please.) 

Blurb: National bestselling author Hannah Reed brings mystery lovers the first in a brand-new series, in which a young writer finds herself swept up in a murder amidst the glens and lochs of the Scottish Highlands….

After the recent death of her mother and the dissolution of her marriage, thirty-something Eden Elliott is seriously in need of a fresh start. At the urging of her best friend, bestselling author Ami Pederson, Eden decides to embark on an open-ended trip to the picturesque village of Glenkillen in the Scottish Highlands, to do some hands-on research for a book of her own. But almost as soon as Eden arrives in the quaint town, she gets caught up in a very real drama….

The town’s sheep shearer is found murdered—clipped with his own shears—and the locals suspect Vicki MacBride, an outsider whose father’s recent death left her the surprise heir to his lucrative sheep farm. Eden refuses to believe the affable heiress is a murderer, but can she prove that someone is out to frame her new friend before she finds herself on the receiving end of more shear terror?

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

You know those extremely popular historical romance novels set in Scotland with sexy men in kilts on the cover? I've never read one. But Eden Elliott, star of the Scottish Highlands Mystery series, is attempting to write one in this delightful debut.

Eden is reeling from her recent divorce and death of her mother. She agrees (thanks to the urging of her best friend, a famous author) to go on an open-ended trip to the village of Glenkillen in the Scottish Highlands to do a little research for her first novel. On the plane she meets Vicki MacBride who is also headed to Glenkillen after inheriting her late father's estate. She's the sole inheritor even though she has two half-siblings. Before they know it the town's sheep shearer and close MacBride family friend is killed with his own sheep shears, and clues point to none other than Vicki! Eden is forced to put her writing on hold in order to clear her new friend of murder.

Eden is a wonderfully fresh character who I enjoyed getting to know. She's much like me with her intense love for animals and independent nature, and her hijinks while learning to drive on the opposite side of the road (in addition to the dreaded standard shift!) had me giggling on more than one occasion.

You don't need a passport to feel like you've visited the majestic Scottish Highlands. Just pick up a copy of Off Kilter and lose yourself in the picturesque village of Glenkillen.

#ThrowbackThursday: Halloween 2011

For Halloween 2011 Tara dressed up as a cowgirl. Unlike Truffles, she didn't mind wearing costumes at all. She probably just humored me knowing that it would be over soon.

Do you see the flag print catnip bag under her back legs? That was her favorite toy, rarely leaving her side. It got pretty grubby, it got thrown up on, and more than once it needed a few stitches to put it back together, but she loved it SO much. I still have it (I still have all of her toys packed up) and will cherish it forever.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Our Sponsor Kitties Need Homes! #BtC4A

Many of my regular readers know that for my birthday last month I decided to sponsor two cats from PAWS of Connecticut. I'd been pretty much obsessed with the idea ever since reading a post about sponsorships from July's Blog the Change for Animals, thinking it would be the perfect way to have a special connection to some shelter cats until they find their forever families. I knew I would fall in love with them, but found myself surprised at how emotionally invested I have become with the hopes of helping to find these little angels their forever homes.

Blog the Change for Animals is such a wonderful event where so many eyes see these posts and they are shared far and wide, that I hope featuring Truffle and Cinnamon here today might help in some small way. They both have quite a story to tell...

Truffle has been living at PAWS for SIX years now. Can you imagine? While she is safe and loved there and could not be in better hands, six years is just too long for this sweet girl to be without a family of her own. She's been there longer than any other cat, and recently became their Facebook profile picture until she is adopted. I'm going to turn things over to Truffle to let her tell you more about herself:

It's me Truffle! After 6 LONG years at PAWS I have finally learned to type! Without further ado, let me tell you a little bit about me. I came to PAWS when my person became homeless and we lived in his car for about a month. That wasn't fun. My person then realized ...that I would be much better off at PAWS and brought me and my brother here. Well, that was 6 YEARS AGO. My brother was adopted, but I am still here. I guess it is because I don't really like other animals and I can be frisky. By frisky I mean watch out when you are playing or petting me, I might grab ya! But, I don't hurt, I just don't know boundaries too well. I need a person who will accept me, but also teach me right from wrong. Ignore me when I am bad. I can learn. A home with adults is ideal for me. I have a condition called stomatitis as well, which means inflammation in my gums that sometimes flares up. But don't worry, I haven't been on medication for a while. I don't have many teeth though and need to be fed only wet food. So, what do ya think? Got room in your pad for a gal like me?

You can apply to adopt Truffle here.

Last month Cat Writers' Association President, blogger, and veterinarian Dr. Lorie Huston, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly, leaving six cats behind. Because of her close association to the cat writing community, the majority of these cats have already found new homes, and without a doubt they will all be safe. How many of us, regardless of age, spend much time thinking about what will become of our beloved pets after we're gone? I like to think I'm perfectly healthy, but I could walk out the door this afternoon, get hit by a truck, and Truffles would be homeless. She's a one-person cat, extremely attached to me, and my elderly parents might find her too much to handle, so she could end up back in the shelter.

That's exactly what happened to 14-year old Cinnamon. She arrived at PAWS in September 2009 after her owner passed away. That's right...FIVE YEARS AGO. She's a total lap cat love muffin whose favorite activities are eating and lounging. She does fine with kids and other cats. She is on a special hypoallergenic diet and pills twice a day for hyperthyroidism (although if you find pills too much to handle compounded transdermal medications are a godsend for this ailment as well!) Winter is right around the corner and nothing would make Cinnamon happier than cuddling up in your lap to help keep you warm!

You can apply to adopt Cinnamon here.

Truffle and Cinnamon have both been at PAWS for so long that they've probably forgotten what it was like to live with a family in a home. To them, life is perfectly normal as it is, but they would be so much happier in a forever home. The holidays are right around the corner and my greatest Christmas wish is for these two special angels to be adopted. Could you please share this post? I know there is someone out there right now just waiting to fall in love with Truffle and Cinnamon.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

Welcome to my stop on the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop!

There will be different books given away at each of the stops. At the bottom of this post are all the sites participating in the book hop. Make sure to visit (and follow) everyone and enter their giveaways! :-)

So, on to my part in the hop!

This is a lot of 8 brand new cozy mystery paperbacks that I'm giving away. A winner will be chosen by To enter simply leave a comment with your email address for your chance to win. (US entries only, please.)

Good luck! And now here’s the list of other participating blogs...

Powered by Linky Tools
Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…