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  • This keeps happening

    Meet Rorschach.*

    I actually do have book type things to tell you, but first: cat.

    Sterling, my sweet summer child, ended up being very, very sick. He would sneeze in fits, the end of his nose was torn up, and his lymph nodes were swollen. Just about every 30 days we were giving him the FIV/FeLV combo test, and the third one came back positive for FeLV. Unlike FIV, where infected cats can live normal, happy and healthy lives, feline leukemia virus is a bitch of a disease. Unfortunately, Sterling’s infection progressed rapidly into lymphoma and his quality of life tanked.

    I am so grateful to have given him a home for four months where he was loved and lavished with affection. He certainly gave me years worth of love in return.

    Out of that sadness came more love! Though I have had tuxedos, Rorschach is my first all black cat. Along with Agent Floofy Buttkins, I can say I have Halloween cats. 🙂 I brought him home yesterday and as you can see, he’s settling in quite nicely.

    If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, prepare to be inundated with (more) pictures of all three animal writing assistants.

    And now the book stuff!

    If you haven’t grabbed a 99c copy of Brimstone Born or Born of Ashes yet, be sure to get one before the weekend is over! Monday morning they will go back to their regular price ($2.99).

    You’ll also want to get signed up for my newsletter (handy box is on the upper right ➹) so you can gain access to the new secrets page. All sorts of fun stuff is going there, like free short stories, world maps, character lists, behind the scenes pictures and info… basically it’s your all-access pass to insider goodies.

    Hermann Rorschach c.1910

    * I totally had to look up how to spell Hermann Rorschach’s name correctly and in so doing, saw a picture of him. I’d always pictured some stodgy old dude with a creepy mustache (totally looking at you Nietzsche), but as befits my handsome boy, he is actually a historical hottie.

  • And then this happened…

    Meet Agent Floofy Buttkins.

    agent 1

    After buckets of tears I did what was right for Dr. Krieger and placed him back into the loving care of the Furkids FIV+ suite. I loved him dearly, but it became obvious that he wasn’t happy with us. He was definitely a throw back Siamese. Way back to the guarding temples era. My husband said he’d made the entire house his temple, I was his monk, and every other person in the house was a ninja trying to sneak in. He would get frustrated with me because I was doing absolutely nothing to help him protect me.

    The incredibly kind Furkids volunteers and their dedication to finding him the perfect home (one where he can be the only four legged resident) is the only reason I was able to leave him. He is amazing and will make someone incredibly happy.

    As luck would have it one of the volunteers contacted me within a week. She was fostering a big orange kitty who just so happened to be on my initial short list. She asked if I wanted to come meet him so of course I said yes. He is a giant floofball of love. His fur is softer than a chinchilla. I never thought we’d find a cat more laid back than Sterling, but we have.

    20190227_173534

    He has toe floofs. TOE FLOOFS. I am so incredibly honored that his foster mom chose us for his forever family. I now have two, perfect house panthers to trap me in my chair and make me write, and one goofy dog to make sure I take breaks.

    When I was younger, mom and I had a Manx named Hika. At the very end of her nose, right where the fur stopped, she had a darker bit. I can’t tell you how long mom and I scrubbed at that poor cat’s nose with washcloths before we realized it was part of her fur.

    I caught myself doing the same thing with those two dots at the corner of his left eye. They look like dried wet food, or eye boogers, but I suspect they are darker fur or maybe freckles. I’m not entirely convinced in either direction, but seeing as how he’s had the same two dots in the same place since I first saw him back in December, I’m leaning toward it being part of him. In any case, I’m certain he’ll be relieved when I stop trying to scrub them off.

    Pictures of Agent will join those of Sterling and Mouse in their domination of my Twitter and Instagram.

  • This also happened.

    Turns out I can’t go very long without a purring fluffball lap warmer.

    Mr. Sterling

    Dr. Krieger

    I was going into purr withdrawl so I told my husband I was getting a cat. He’s not a cat person and wasn’t thrilled, but he knows who he married. LOL I searched high and low for another Manx, but the few I found weren’t lap cats and that’s one trait I wasn’t willing to compromise on. I actually looked at breeders of American Bobtails and Desert Lynx at one point but the reputable ones want $600+ for a kitten. I have nothing against responsible breeders, but no.

    I added big cats, like Maine Coons, to my search. Two rescues kept coming up in my Petfinder over and over, so I decided to just go and spend some time with the kits and see if anyone adopted me. I filled out applications and got pre-approved with both before going. Both are “cage free” so the cats roam their space.

    I got to the first one before they officially opened (after coordinating with them to do so). I walked through all of the different rooms, discussed possible fits with the volunteers and spent a good deal of time with a huge ginger they’d rescued from Qatar. When I got ready to go none of the kits had really laid a claim, so I told them I’d take some time and maybe come back that weekend when fostered kits would be there.

    They spent the next 10 minutes pressuring me to make a decision. “Which one are you taking home today?” “Who’s she adopting?” “Let’s get this paperwork filled out.” Etc. It killed any desire I had to adopt from them.

    I moved on to the next rescue, FurKids, where I met Adoption Counselor* Erika. She is personable, no pressure, and most importantly, she listened to what I wanted. She walked me around the facility to the different rooms. When I said I was fairly open, but would prefer a big male, she asked if I would consider adopting a FIV+ cat.

    I had done research on the virus earlier when a Manx I was considering had tested positive. I knew that I have the time, wherewithal, and space to care for a positive kitty. So I said sure. When we entered the room Krieger poked his head out from his hiding place behind a couch and I was instantly smitten. I had no idea such a thing as a Lynx Point Siamese existed, and the sheer beauty of this creature took my breath away. Then he came out, head bumped me, and then promptly went back into hiding. He became mine at that moment.

    Then it became a question of who else I’d take. I narrowed it to three, and then decided to come back the next day hoping to talk to the volunteer who worked that room. He had left earlier, but his wife was still there and she called him. They conflabbed and of my choices they said Sterling had the least chance of being adopted. He was super sweet and chill, but didn’t have the big personality and drive to put himself out there that the rest of my short list had.

    I adopted them both the same night and scheduled to pick them up the next Monday.

    Behavior in a shelter – even an excellent one – is not an indicator of how they’ll be when they get home. Sterling is only a year old but in the shelter I would have sworn he was an old man. After just a few hours at home he was out and asking for pets. Krieger soon followed and has turned out to be pretty bold. Not at all like the shy, hiding scaredy cat seen in the shelter. Neither of them are enthused about the dog, but I’m not too worried. They are big, full grown cats and Mouse is respectful of the teeth and claws even though he still gets too excited to play and snort them.

    TL;DR We got two new cats. Expect lots of pictures of the new writing assistants.

    *Not sure why, but this title cracks me up.

  • 4 Reviews!

    Brimstone Born has received four reviews – three on Amazon and one on Goodreads.

    I promised writing assistant Mouse a new toy for every review. Toy #1 was chosen by the young’un. Toys 2-4 will arrive Friday, and updates will be posted then.

    If you’d be interested in Mouse’s review of each toy, let me know! This is Ollie the octopus by BARK.

  • my heart is gutted

    December 16, 2005 I was on my way from Atlanta to Birmingham when a small form caught my eye. Zooming down I-20, I told myself not to stop. Not to turn around. But by the time I got to the next exit, several miles away, I couldn’t shake the vision. I turned around. What I scooped up off the side of the road that night was my heart cat, Pilsbury.

    Originally named HalfLife because I figured that’s all he had left of the 9 he started with, he was redubbed Pilsbury due to his penchant for making biscuits. The emergency vet who checked him out that first night estimated him to be 8 years old. For the next 12 years, 9 months, 2 weeks and 2 days, he charmed everyone he met. Any and all love was good love according to him. He never accepted that there were some who didn’t want his affection, and that persistence taught two dogs they had no hope of escaping his love. Present a lap in his vicinity and he would occupy it.

    By the time he was middle aged, his hunting skill was impressive. Bunnies and chipmunks were his favorite prey (much to my chagrin) but he took down a full grown squirrel at least once that I know of. He talked to us constantly, telling us he was hungry, wanted love, was bringing us something to eat. His purr wasn’t necessarily loud, but constant. When the vet was trying to listen to his lungs, she couldn’t because he wouldn’t stop purring. He purred until he had no breath left.

    August 16th, I noticed he was having trouble breathing. I took him in and they drained 200ml of pleural fluid from his left side. He had cancer. Our vet gave him two weeks. He wasn’t quite ready to give up that last half a life, and he stuck around until today. For a minute, the doc and I both thought we might get another one and a half months. The x-ray showed a good mass of fluid which could be drained. It took less than a minute for Dr. Fish to come back to the room, and sadly shake her head. The fluid was blood. There was nothing left to do.

    Not a month before that fateful day in December 2005, I had asked Jason for a cat. Specifically, a lap cat. One who would keep me company and sit with me. Fate brought me Pilsbury, perfectly qualified and more than willing to fill that role. I am so grateful for that, and the 12+ years I was granted with this stump-tailed wonder cat.

  • Current mood:

    On Friday I set a goal of having this website completed (or at least ready for public consumption) by the end of the weekend. Despite wanting to laze the days away, I’ve been slogging away at it.

    My desk faces away from the bed but every time I’ve turned around I’ve been met with some version of this:

    crazy napping dog

    So glad one of us is having a relaxing Labor Day weekend.