Wordless Wednesday

Feline Good! A New Concept in Reading With Gwen Cooper’s “Curl Up With a Cat Tale” Series

I love cats. I love to read. A book about cats, I’m just about in Heaven. Unfortunately, finding time to read is challenging, so I rarely have the opportunity to enjoy a good cat story. That is until now. A dear friend of mine and New York Times bestselling author, Gwen Cooper of Homer’s Odyssey, has come up with an ingenious concept for those of us wanting a quick kitty fix of quality, entertaining, and compelling writing with her “Curl Up With a Cat Tale” series.

Featuring 10 short stories about her much-beloved fur family – from her early days when she was a novice cat lady in training to her current status in which she and her cats are household names – each story is independent of one another. They are available monthly for $3.99 apiece on Kindle, Nook, iTunes, or Kobo or you can pay a one-time subscription fee of $14.99 and receive all 10 stories in the series at 60% off. Subscribers will automatically receive their new story the first week of each month and stories are delivered in PDF, ePub, and Mobi formats so they may be read on any desktop or laptop computer, e-reader, mobile phone, tablet, and/or printed out on paper for a hard copy.

Short story cover photo courtesy of Gwen Cooper.

I was privy to an advanced sneak peek at the first story “I Choo-Choo-Choose You!” about Scarlett – a pint-sized white mitted and bibbed tabby rescue kitten with a strong mind of her own. For Gwen, it was love at first sight. For Scarlett, not so much. The story itself was only about 30 pages, but even though it was short, it was still written with Gwen’s trademark wit, honesty, and heart, and best of all, I was able to fit the time into my busy schedule to read it. Gwen has an easy-going nature to her writing and she is quick to make fun of the irony of it all. Scarlett was Gwen’s first official adopted cat and in her mind, she and Scarlett would become instant best friends. She rescued Scarlett. She would be a hero!

Gwen armed herself, as only a cat lover can, with every bit of cat paraphernalia she could find to amuse and impress her newly adopted furry roommate. Never mind Gwen lived in a tiny apartment, and never mind that a kitten can actually amuse themselves with little more than a wadded up piece of paper, but Gwen insisted in her heart she knew what her little Scarlett would want. Which in essence, amounted to a kitten-sized army of indifference to Gwen’s carefully chosen efforts.  

Scarlett back in 2008 – she was a pretty little kitty with a mega-sized personality! Photo courtesy of Gwen Cooper.

I loved this so much because so many of us as cat lovers can relate. We love cats, but there’s always that one cat you can’t pet, or the cat that hides from you, or the cat that completely ignores you. We pretend we don’t mind, but deep down it hurts. A cat that doesn’t like me? How can that be? As someone who has been studying cat behavior for the past several years, I now realize (as Gwen has also learned) that it’s not necessarily personal. All cats are wired differently and it’s how we respect their inner boundaries that make the difference to the feline-human relationship.

By the end of the story, that point is proven. All the unused toys. All the indifference. All the misdirected aggressive behavior (including a very odd hair-biting habit). Gwen’s relationship with Scarlett might not have been the one she first imagined, but that didn’t mean Scarlett didn’t love her or appreciate her companionship. Once that understanding is reached, the human-feline bond takes on a different perspective. Cats show affection in ways that aren’t always associated with physical attention and Scarlett taught Gwen that some relationships with our feline friends require patience and understanding.

I really enjoyed the story – my only complaint is a very simple one – I wanted more! Gwen is a fantastic writer. She’s colorful, humorous, self-deprecatingly honest, compelling, and more. It’s a brief read, but it’s still an engaging page-turner, each and every one of them! If you’d like to read about Gwen’s up and down adventures with Scarlett or to read all the sure-to-be-great upcoming stories in the series, please click here for purchasing details.

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Full disclosure: I was not compensated for this review. Gwen and I are both members of the Cat Writers’ Association and have become friends over the years. Gwen provided the foreword for my 3-time award-winning book, Makin’ Biscuits – Weird Cat Habits and the Even Weirder Habits of the Humans Who Love Them and my decision to do this review is because I love Gwen’s writing style. I also fell in love with the unique concept of the series and felt it relevant to my readers. 

Christine Michaels of Riverfront Cats and me hanging out with Gwen back in 2013 when she was in Miami for a book signing event.

My Treasured Everyday Moments of Cat Love for Valentine’s Day

I was sitting at my computer one day and grabbed my iPhone next to me to take this picture of Zee. Something about the simple beauty of the moment touched my heart and I knew I needed to capture the moment in time.

While I don’t begrudge anyone who celebrates Valentine’s Day, after all, any day that promotes love can’t be all that bad, I’m not really a Valentine’s Day kind of girl. Unless it comes to my cats – then every day is Valentine’s Day because my love for them is celebrated 24/7/365. In that spirit, I thought I’d share some of my favorite pictures of them that express that love. Many of them aren’t the best pictures in the technical sense – some are blurry, some are taken in bad lighting, and some are simply awkward because they were taken from my iPhone at a weird angle. Some are from years ago, and some are more recent. All of them are just everyday, normal snippets of my life, making them all the more cherished and special.

This picture will always represent a milestone moment in my life, and as always, my cats were by my side. This was in October of 2010, back when I first started blogging and writing. I never knew back then just how significantly my life was going to change…

Every night when I sit on the couch to relax for the night, Kizmet comes and lays his head on mine, hugging me with his paws. I couldn’t possibly feel more loved or cherished.

I’ve been under the weather since January, recovering from both retina laser surgery and the flu. Never once have I not had an assortment of my gang taking care of me.

If I’m in my office, chances are high Jazmine will be keeping me company on the shelf above my computer.

Cats on the kitchen counter? If I’m there, then yes, absolutely! In this rare picture, all seven are present!

I took this lap selfie of Peanut – when she wants attention, you won’t get anything done until you give it to her and I love that about her!

I was cleaning up my iPhone and found this rare picture of Harley and Jazz with Peanut and Zoey. Harley and Jazz are both angels now but are forever Valentine’s in my heart.

This picture was taken during a rough patch in my life – Mia, Peanut, and Rolz were about 5 months here and it was because of their love, companionship, and inspiration I found the strength to write my first book, The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey – A Journey of the Extraordinarily Ordinary.

Nothing is more soothing or comforting than reading a good book with the shared company of cats (Mia and Rolz in this case).

One of my all-time favorite pictures – an extremely rare photo of the whole gang, in focus, on the couch with me!

It all began in 2009 – Zoey would come snuggle on my legs while she was pregnant to keep her belly warm. The habit has remained over the years (this was us in 2011) and it’s been a wonderful gift ever since to share her company.

Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone! What are some of your favorite ways you share love with your cat(s)?

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Zee & Zoey’s Custom Cat Ears and More for POP Cats Miami on October 28!

I’m a crafty person by nature, so it was bound to happen one of these days… Yup, I’ve designed my own line of custom-created cat ears, so that you too, can unleash your inner feline!

It’s no secret I’m known as the “leopard lady.” It’s also no secret that I love to wear cat ears, to the point if I didn’t wear them (along with my leopard garb) at cat-related events, I’m not sure if people would know who I was! I decided to take my cat ear loving passion to task and have been a busy little kitty creating custom cat ears of my own to sell at POP Cats Miami, a venue I will be attending this October 28 from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. From black cats, white cats, spotted, striped, and everything in between, there’s sure to be a style to tickle your feline fancy!

If you’re in the South Florida area I really hope you’ll think about attending. It’s a cat lovers dream come true under one convenient roof where you’ll be able to shop and find unique, fun, and creative merchandise for cats and humans from your favorite brands from the pop-culture world.

Unfortunately Zee and Zoey won’t be joining me at POP Cats, but there will be lots of great cats up for adoption at the event!

Need gifts for birthday’s, Christmas, and the like? Want something for yourself? This is the place to be! There will also be a cat-riffic lounge that will feature adoptable cats you can interact with and a portion of ticket proceeds will benefit one of my favorite 501c organizations, The Cat Network, Inc.

I’ll be there, unveiling my handmade cat ears, along with a new t-shirt I designed (with coffee mugs and magnets to match) as well as with all of my books at a special discounted event rate (The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey – A Journey of the Extraordinarily Ordinary; Purr Prints of the Heart – A Cat’s Tale of Life, Death, and Beyond; and Makin’ Biscuits – Weird Cat Habits and the Even Weirder Habits of the Humans Who Love Them) for those who would like autographs.

Please excuse the dreadful picture – it was raining outside and I didn’t want to get the camera wet! This is my newest creation – the “Cat Lover from MEOW to eternity” T-shirt!

Author of 3 books and contributing author to another…I would have never dreamed it possible years ago when I started blogging in 2010!

And even better, I’ll be donating $5.00 from each sale of the book, Rescued Volume 2: The Healing Stories of 12 Cats, Through Their Eyes, to Riverfront Cats, a Miami rescue organization that promotes cat rescue, focusing on black cats which are often overlooked for adoptions. Our rescue Jazmine is one of the featured stories in the book and I’m so honored to be able to help Riverfront Cats out.

Jazmine is doing a double-take at the cover of Rescued, Volume 2 because yes, she’s one of the kitties on the cover!

Speaking of Riverfront Cats, Christine Michaels, founder of the organization and my dear friend will also be with me at POP Cats. That alone is reason enough to attend! And she’ll be bringing two of her black cat fosters who are up for adoption – Rocky and Ray Ray! We’ll also be featuring several raffles to raise funds for her 501c organization, Pawsitivley Humane, and, of course, we’ll be educating the public on all sorts of cat topics like spay/neuter, TNR, and more.

This is Rocky and Ray Ray. Ray Ray is sporting the cool shades and is a special needs cat, as he is blind. Christine promises they’ll both steal your heart and we hope to find them loving furever homes at POP Cats! Photo courtesy of Riverfront Cats.

If you’d like to go, click the link for ticket details – plug in the special code ZZPC at checkout and you’ll receive a 10% discount off your order! Hope to see you there!

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Touching Base and Preparing for Hurricane Matthew

zoey-rolz-get-dinner

Don’t worry guys – your needs are at the top of our list!

I normally don’t post mid-week anymore, but Hurricane Matthew is heading our way and I just wanted to touch base in case I can’t communicate for awhile. Dan and I have been busy preparing the house to make sure we have a safe area to stay while we ride things out. It looks like we’ll be hit some time on Thursday and I pray everything will be okay.

Our prayers also go out to those already affected in areas of Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and the Bahamas. I also pray as the storm moves up the eastern coast that everyone will be okay.

Blessings to you all and I’ll post updates on Facebook if and when I can.

catsonbigred

We’ll be creating a safe haven in our bedroom to ride out the storm…looks like the cats have approved the arrangements!

When April Showers Don’t Really Bring May Flowers… Send in the Cat!

Just because you don't get rain doesn't mean you can't have pretty flowers

When April showers don’t bring May flowers, the best thing to do is improvise… especially when it involves a sweet kitty!

They say “April showers bring May flowers.” I’m not sure who “they” is. Here in South Florida, April was a really dry month and as a result, some of our outdoor flowers have been suffering. But to keep in spirit with the saying, I thought I’d share some May flowers – just the kind that don’t require any rain!

That’s our sweet Jazmine from 2014 – doesn’t she just melt your heart? She looks like such a baby there! She’s all grown up now, with a full and fluffy coat to boot! Have a great Wednesday everyone – and what’s the weather been like where you are?

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Cats can be silly, funny, weird, strange, kooky and more - they all have different personalities!

Jazmine… you embrace all the wonderfulness there is in weird and we love you all the more for it!

On another note, I want to thank everyone thus far who has contributed snippets on the weird, strange, or crazy habits their cat has for my upcoming book project. I’ve gotten some really great responses and I’m so happy to see the stories.

If you haven’t sent anything yet, you still have plenty of time – the submission deadline is Sunday, May 22, so put on your thinking-cats and give it a whirl. And don’t forget, it doesn’t necessarily have to be weird cat habits or behaviors – it could be the weird habits YOU have as a result of loving cats so much!!

For further information on submission details and examples of what I am looking for, please visit the following post, Got Cat Weird? Open Submissions for Upcoming Zee/Zoey Publication!

I also want to thank Katie, Waffles, and Debbie Glovatsy of Glogirly. They put together a fantastic post, debating which crazy thing Waffles did was the craziest. Please be sure to stop by and offer your insight – you can even vote on which scenario you think would make the better submission!!

Thank you again – I will share more details about what the book will be about in the months to come, but for now, I’m keeping the cat in the bag. But the bottom line is this – far too many people think cats are solitary creatures – too standoffish and aloof to make great pets. All of us know that’s just nuts! Sure, some cats can be quiet, or aloof, or independent, but that’s fine.

They can also be funny, silly, quirky, charming, and so much more. Just like people, they come in a variety of colors, shapes, sizes, and personalities and we should love them for their uniqueness! They make incredible, loving companions and we want more of them to be adopted in forever homes!!