Makin’ News! Makin’ Biscuits Receives Three Prestigious Writing Awards from the Cat Writers Association!

No mistaking whose suitcase this is…

It started off a rather harried and frustrating day, considering I was getting ready to leave for a decidedly fun and hyped-up event – my annual trip to the BlogPaws/Cat Writers’ Association (CWA) conference being held in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I went to zip up my leopard print suitcase before weighing it to see if I could meet the ridiculously low-weight standard mandated by Spirit Airlines of 40 pounds for a checked bag (40 pounds? My assorted shoes and cat ears alone would probably weigh more than that) when I got that unmistakable whiff anyone who has cats would recognize. Cat pee.

Like a well-trained cat-pee detective, I wiggled my nose, sniffing around the bedroom to decipher where the offensive odor was coming from. My cats are typically well-behaved when it comes to litter box etiquette, but sometimes when they feel stressed out – like when their human is packing to abandon them – stuff, or shall I say pee, can happen.

Not finding anything, I continued zipping up my suitcase when the pungent smell hit me full in the face! One of them, probably Peanut, had graced the portion of my bag where I had my shoes with a small puddle of pee. Thankfully the shoes were wrapped in a plastic bag, and thankfully the suitcase had a waterproof liner I was able to easily clean.

Sigh. After a nail-biting drive with Dan to the airport – the traffic was exceptionally horrendous – I made it with minutes to spare to catch my flight! Once I arrived, all was well with the exception my Uber driver was looking for me in the wrong location…like hours away wrong location, and I had to reschedule a new driver. I finally got to the hotel around 11:00 p.m., completely wiped out with a migraine to boot!

It was already hot and humid before the day even began, but it was nice taking a quiet walk along the beach.

It’s the little things with me – I was thrilled to spot a squirrel on my walk from the beach back to the hotel!

Oh well. I was sharing a room with Lynn Marie Thompson of Old Maid Cat Lady and she graciously had a chocolate brownie waiting for me. Chocolate is my friend and tomorrow would be another day. I got up bright and early to walk to the beach – I knew it would clear my head and help get me prepared for the day’s events, like catching up with friends, networking with sponsors, and hanging out at Cat Lounge sponsored by my dear friend, Kate Benjamin of Hauspanther.

I started the day at the Cat Lounge meeting one of my favorite cat-men on the planet – Jonny Payne of the book, Mighty Little Man.

Some of the fabulous cat-inspired furniture in the Cat Lounge. The leopard bag is mine and not part of the display…

I was so happy to run into Emily Hall of Kitty Cat Chronicles. She has a story featured in Makin’ Biscuits and this is me holding her precious baby, Sophie. I fell head-over-heels in love with this kitty!

There was a full display of t-shirts in the Cat Lounge from my favorite cat-tee person EVER – Toni Nicholson of Rctees!

This picture was the only way I could explain to TSA what was really in my suitcase!

This was Joanne McGonagle of the Tiniest Tiger and I before we did the unthinkable…

Yeah…that’s right…we got cattoos!! They’re supposed to be temporary but I still have mine! Apologies for the very poorly taken selfie!

It’s not all cats for me when it comes to BlogPaws! This is Leroy – a giant Newfoundland the size of my living room couch!

The day was a hectic blur and by the time I got to my room in the evening to get ready for the CWA Communications Contest awards banquet, I was in no way anticipating what would transpire. The banquet is where winners are announced from the culmination of entries of work submitted for the contest. There are numerous categories like books, magazines, newsletters, blogs, websites, photography, illustrations, and more. There were over 240 entries and I had several pieces in contention for the MUSE category, which is like the Oscars in that you know ahead of time who you are competing against, along with a couple entries I submitted for the Special Awards categories, which are based on criteria set by sponsors in which you have no idea who is in the running.

Having a little light-hearted fun with Kate Benjamin before the awards banquet! Kate is rockin’ the heck out of those stockings!

Hanging out before the awards ceremony begins!

The ceremony began with the Special Awards and I was happily cheering the victory of my talented peers who were winning. And then Lea-Ann Germinder stepped up to the podium to present the Human-Animal Bond Award, sponsored by her PR firm, Goodnewsforpets.com. Looking for the entry that best reflected and promoted the strengthening of the human-animal bond between a cat and owner, as well as their relationship with their veterinarian, when I heard Lea-Ann read this comment from category judge, Lisa Lippman, DVM, a house call veterinarian in New York City, my heart skipped a beat.

“First of all, I just love this title. It tickles me and anyone who has ever watched a cat do this action. This book reveals multiple types of animal-human bonds where they make you laugh, cry or laugh until you cry. I love this entry!”

I don’t know everything, but I do know people love the title of my most recent book. Was it possible? Sure enough, Lea-Ann went on to say “Makin’ Biscuits” and the rest was a delightful blur! Makin’ Biscuits was the result of many hours of hard work and passion for me. I wanted an entertaining book that would help cat-welfare in the largest sense – from dispelling certain negative stereotypes about cats; to helping enhance the feline-human bond; to enlightening readers on certain subjects, such as the need for spay/neuter to help reduce the staggering numbers of cats in shelters, as well as to provide resources, tips, and advice to correct common behavioral problems that can land a cat into a shelter, such as litter box issues.

Wow. My heart filled with joy. And then it happened again – this time a MUSE for the article “Kitten Introductions” I wrote for the publication, Kittens 101. And again – a MUSE for the BlogPaws article I wrote,“Break Out of Your Blogging Niche to Make Strides in Cat Welfare.” Clearly I was dreaming. I’d never won a MUSE before, let alone two. And then Makin’ Biscuits was called out for the MUSE in the Books/Other category. Complete insanity. I heard Stephanie Piro’s name called for the MUSE, Single Illustration for the drawing she did of Jazmine for the cover of Makin’ Biscuits. And then, wonder of wonders, the last award was presented – the President’s Award which represents the best of the best from the contest winners. When CWA president, Marci Kladnik called my name for Makin’ Biscuits, I thought I would faint.

That crazy, wonderful moment when CWA President, Marci Kladnik, presented me with the President’s Award for Makin’ Biscuits.

All I can say is to believe. Believe in yourself and pursue what is important to you. Each one of us has the ability to make a difference and it is my hope Makin’ Biscuits will be in the paws of veterinary offices, rescues, and cat-guardians worldwide. For the many of you who contributed to Makin’ Biscuits, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Thank you to everyone who helped Makin’ Biscuits come to be!

I spent Saturday in a happy fog, enjoying the day. Saturday night was the BlogPaws Nose-to-Nose awards and I was thrilled to see so many talented people win. It was also wonderful to witness so many great cat moments, including guest speaker, Dor Dotson, discussing the making of the documentary The Cat Rescuers to help educate people on the need for TNR efforts (Trap, Neuter, Return) to humanely reduce cat overpopulation and give these cats a chance at a safe and respected life.

Not only was it a BlogPaws/CWA event, it was also Bike Week in Myrtle Beach. Being someone who loves to ride, it was thrilling to hear the loud purr of motorcycles all weekend long!

One of the highlights of the event was creating an honor flag in the memory of my beloved angels, Harley and Jazz. Wanda Kruse hosted the event and the tradition is based on Tibetan Prayer Flags which are hung high in the mountains where the winds pick up the flags’ good wishes and spread those wishes as far as the wind can take them.

Yes, I’m a cat lover. But this photo captured the pure joy and happiness I felt when holding this precious miniature Yorkie named Teddy. I came inches away from kidnapping him and bringing him home!

It was an absolute honor meeting Dor Dotson of the Cat Rescuers Documentary.

It truly was a wonderful conference, albeit one that started in cat pee. But that’s my life and I wouldn’t want it any other way…

With the look of pure bliss on my cats’ faces after opening all the cat swag I brought home, you’d never even know I was gone for a few days. Clearly all was forgiven that I left them!

hearts

Today is also Memorial Day. Thank you to all the men, women, and animals who have served our great country. Thank you also to their friends, family, co-workers and more who supported them while they supported us. Thank you for those who are serving now, and thank you to those who will be serving in the future.

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  1. Ingrid King says:

    Congrats again on your awards, and thank you for this wonderful BlogPaws recap! I wish I could have been there!

  2. Great article!!! Well deserved on all the awards! Congratulations! =^..^=

  3. Congratulations, Deb, on your accomplishments. You’re definitely an inspiration to all of us. It was so good to see you again.

  4. Chirpy Cats says:

    Congrats on your awards! It was fantastic finally meeting you and I was super chuffed when they mentioned your name so many times to collect your awards! Making Biscuits is a delight to read and puts a smile on my face.

  5. jmuhj says:

    So glad for you to have received those accolades and rewards, spent time with some of the nicest cats and most favorite stars in the cat world, and come home to such a sweet family! Wonderful post and great pix.

  6. Concatulations ! You rock ! Purrs

  7. Glad you had a good time. And congratulations!

  8. The mom says it was great to see you again at BlogPaws and CWA. Congrats on your many awards! We are so proud to be a small part of your book.

  9. Ellen Pilch says:

    Congratulations!!!

  10. da tabbies o trout towne says:

    Deb; 984 paws UP and congrats to you on the well deserved awards for Makin Biscuits !!! this is way
    awesome and I’m VERY happy for you !!!!!!! YAY !!!!!!! and HOORAY !!!!!!!!! ♥♥♥ and thanx for sharing
    the blogpaws re cap ☺☺♥♥ I know everyone had a blast ☺☺♥♥

  11. meowmeowmans says:

    What a wonderful post, Deb! We are so happy that you’re receiving the recognition and accolades you so deserve!