Posted in Cats, Kittens

Remembering Harry and Hermione’s Adoption on their 3rd Gotcha Day

Since today, October 21, is Harry and Hermione’s Gotcha Days, I thought I’d share the story of my three-year-old cats, who we adopted in 2018 when they were three-month-old kittens. My 14-year-old daughter (who is turning 17 this Sunday) had never had a kitten. We had an older cat who passed away when she was four. Then we adopted our present cat, Stripey. He was almost a year old and full-grown. He didn’t hit it off well with Holly because she was a typical noisy toddler. When Oliver came along, the senior cat I took in after my mother could no longer care for him, Holly began to bond with him, but he attached himself to me. My husband promised Holly that she could have her own cat when Oliver passed away. Five years later, that happened. It was a heartbreak for all of us. We didn’t rush to get another cat, and Stripey seemed content to be an only cat again.

As the one-year mark approached that Oliver took his trip to Rainbow Bridge, a cat cafe opened up on Long Island called The Shabby Tabby Cat Cafe. I thought it would be fun to visit and see the cats. We took a trip there, and Holly fell in love with a kitten named Ringo. Unfortunately, someone else had already laid claim to him. Holly was upset, but her dad assured her that we would get a cat for her eventually, and I explained that Ringo was just not the one meant for her.

We took another trip to the cat cafe on October 21, three days before my daughter’s 14th birthday. There was a fall fair going on in town that day, and I thought we’d just drop into Shabby Tabby and see if they had any new cats. It turned out that they had several new kittens. My daughter spotted a black one right away and began playing with him. Although Ringo had been white and orange, she’d always said she wanted a black cat, but the main thing was one that connected with her.

All the cats at the cafe are named. I found out they come from the Golden Paws Society rescue in Huntington. After playing with Harry for a while, Holly told me she was in love with him. I could see why. He was a playful fellow who seemed affectionate and bright. When I asked if he was available, I was told he was but that he couldn’t be separated from his sister, Hermione, a calico kitten. I knew my husband wouldn’t like the idea of our taking two kittens when we already had another cat, but when I laid eye on Hermione, I was sold. It was like fate because I’d always wanted a calico cat after having so many other types of cats all my life. I also thought it would be great for the two kittens to be together as playmates. Eventually, I could introduce our older cat to them.

I completed the adoption forms that had to be approved by Golden Paws and set a pickup date for that Wednesday night, October 24, which was the best day for us because I had the next two days off to watch the kittens while Holly was in school. It also happened to be her birthday. My husband wasn’t thrilled when we broke the news, but he finally agreed. To prepare for the new arrivals, I picked up some supplies including a similar pet playpen in which the kittens could stay when we weren’t around. We set it up in my daughter’s room because we wanted her to learn the responsibility of caring for her cats. She was able to fit a food and water bowl inside, a few safe toys, and a litter box. She also cleaned her room and made it cat friendly.

On October 24, we picked the kittens up from Golden Paws. When we got them home, they seemed to do fine in Holly’s room. They were accustomed to the playpen from the cat cafe, although my daughter kept them out after school while she was doing her homework. At night, Harry curled up and slept on her chest. We learned Hermione, despite being tinier and lighter than Harry, was a big jumper, so we had to be careful to keep the room closed when we entered and left. Stripey peeked in the “nursery,” and eyed the kittens. When they were old enough to be introduced to him, there was some hissing all around, but eventually they became accustomed to one another.

Harry and Hermione have grown into beautiful and loving cats. I’m convinced that they were meant for us, and we were meant for them.My fur babies have also inspired me to write several books including my latest Meows and Purrs, A Collection of Cat Poems that include “Cat Cafe,” “I know a Calico,” and “Mini Panther” that are based on them as well as other poems about all the cats I’ve known and loved.

I also wrote a book, Pet Posts: The Cat Chats, featuring Harry, Hermione, and three of my other cats who talk about their lives from their points-of-view. This book also gives information about feline diseases and behavior.

I also shared Harry and Hermione’s story in the anthology, Second-Chance Cats: True Stories of the Cats We Rescue and the Cats Who Rescue Us

Posted in Reviews

Review of Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult

*****5 stars

I’ve read a few of Jodi Picoult’s books, and I think this is one of her best. Diana an art dealer turning 30 who has the rest of her life planned, or at least she thinks so until the COVID-19 pandemic strikes, and her boyfriend Finn, a resident at a New York City hospital, is unable to accompany her on their long anticipated trip to the Galapagos islands. Diana believes he was about to pop the question on their vacation, but she agrees to go by herself when he convinces her it would be safer. That decision turns out to be unwise because, once on the island which is locked down, she has no way to return and can’t contact Finn because of weak and unstable WiFi. The hotel she booked is closed, and her bags were lost on her flight. Luckily, she’s befriended by a woman who allows her to stay in part of her house. She later learns the apartment belongs to a man with a teenage daughter in need of help.

After Diana meets the man, Gabriel, a previous tour guide, and his daughter, and spends time with them and the island residents, she attempts to contact Finn and her mother, who suffers from Alzheimers and is in a nursing home. She reaches them, but the connection is short and erratic.

With detailed descriptions of the wildlife and habitats of the Galapagos including an inactive volcano, this absorbing story comes to life. As Diana becomes emotionally attached to Gabriel and the island, her perspective about life begins to change.

About midway in the book, there’s a twist I didn’t see coming. Picoult realistically portrayed several serious themes including mental illness, Alzheimer’s Disease, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Her author notes at the back of the book also gave insight into how she was inspired to write it and her own experience during the pandemic. I highly recommend this read that Picoult’s fans will gobble up and new readers will find totally absorbing.

This review was from the NetGalley ARC. The book will be released on November 30, 2021.

Posted in author news

October News: Sales, New Releases, and More

Just in time for Halloween, my stories “The Last Word” and “Murder in the Mirror” appear in two new anthologies from the Red Penguin Collection published by Red Penguin Books and edited by J.K. Larkin: Treat or Trick: Halloween Horror Stories and Until Dawn: A Supernatural Anthology.

Purchase Link for TREAT OR TRICK: 
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09HJKS99F
Purchase Link for UNTIL DAWN: 
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09FD6PXQB 

Coming October 22-23: The Cat Writers’ Association’s Virtual Conference and Contest Awards Ceremony. See the CWA website (https://catwriters.com) for further details about the speakers and events and to register. Don’t miss this pawsome event!

My new cat poetry book, Meows and Purrs, will be on sale from October 24 to October 28. Keep an eye out on this blog and on Facebook and Twitter for the announcement. 

My Cobble Cove Halloween cozy mystery, No Gravestone Unturned will be on sale for 99 cents from October 29 to November 1. It’s a great book to read on the Halloween weekend featuring Sneaky, the library cat, and his gal pal, KittyKai, the calico inn cat, along with special guest cat, Salem. This book features a “ghost” and a murder in a cemetery. 

Coming soon . . . Barking Up the Wrong Tree: Cobble Cove story #5. A missing boy, a murdered teacher, and the COVID pandemic are featured in this Cobble Cove cozy mystery story. As in the previous stories and books of the series, Alicia’s four-legged friends help her solve the mystery. Keep an eye out for an October release. This book is in final edits as of this blog post.

Coming October 31, Clues and Culprits, an anthology of mystery stories by Indie Authors including my story, “A Piece of the Pie.”

Wishing you all an awesome October and Happy Halloween. 

Posted in Freebies and Special Offers, Sea Scope

SEA SCOPE, A Great Psychological Mystery, on Sale September 30 to October 4

My standalone psychological mystery, Sea Scope, is 99 cents through October 4. Featuring a lighthouse and a twenty-year-old mystery, it makes a great read.

This 5-star rated book has been awarded a silver medal by Readers Favorite, a Best Cover Award by Top Shelf Magazine, and is a Recommended Read of the Indies Helping Indies Review Project.

mybook.to/SeaScope

Sarah Collins needs an escape. Mourning her brother’s death and the impending breakup of her marriage, she returns to her childhood home in South Carolina, where her family operated an inn.

Sarah hasn’t been back to Sea Scope for twenty years; not since she and her brother Glen discovered a body by the nearby lighthouse. She never understood why her parents left Sea Scope so suddenly, or the reasons behind her father’s suicide.

After Sarah returns to the inn, she faces long-buried memories, text messages and strange clues. Something is not right in Sea Scope. Reunited with people from her past, she tries to figure out what’s going on in her childhood home.

When past and present collide, Sarah must face truths about her family, and what happened that summer day by the lighthouse. But will she survive to tell the tale?

Posted in Freebies and Special Offers

My Medical Mystery, MEMORY MAKERS, is on Sale Through September 27

mybook.to/memorymakers

Twenty-five years ago, Lauren Phelps and her sister Patty were kidnapped from their backyard on Long Island. Lauren escaped her captor, but Patty was killed.

Ever since, Lauren has suffered from nightmares of the “Shadow Man.” Trying to recall his face and avenge her sister’s murder, Lauren, now a kidnapping investigator, enrolls in a clinical trial for a new memory drug.

At the offices of Memory Makers in California, she receives the injections of the Memory Makers’ serum, and begins to experience flashbacks of repressed memories. Along with the flashbacks, she receives threats from an anonymous source that point back to her childhood trauma.

Soon, Lauren becomes involved with a fellow trial participant who seeks to recall his own traumatic past. But can Lauren discover the identity of the “Shadow Man” before history repeats itself?

What reviewers are saying:

*****I was enthralled with the way the story unfolded and the past was finally revealed along with the identity of the killer. But who will walk away from the final showdown? I’ll leave you to read that for yourselves, all I’ll say is that it’s a great read from start to finish, and gets 5 stars from me.

*****This book is one I found very difficult to put down. It just kind of enveloped me and then sucked me into the world of Lauren, her family and friends and subsequently her enemies. I found myself totally mesmerized by the crime commited against her and her sister as a child and the way this horrible act had affected so many different peoples lives. 

*****I particularly liked that the idea of aiding dementia victims was the final goal. Loved the characters.

Posted in pets

Celebrating Rescue Pets on Remember Me Thursday

Remember Me Thursday falls on September 23. This is the day we honor rescue pets and encourage pet adoption. Two years ago, I posted the adoption story of my cats, Harry and Hermione, from  the Golden Paw Society Rescue. You can read it here. This year, I recommend Second-Chance Cats: True Stories of the Cats We Rescue and the Cats Who Rescue Us. Harry and Hermione’s story was published in this book along with that of other rescue cats. I also recently published Meows and Purrs: A Collection of Cat Poems, This book features photos and stories about all the cats I’ve had. One special poem, “Two Cats are Better Than One,” explains why adopting more than one pet is best.

Two Cats are Better Than One

Double the trouble,
double the fun.
Two cats are better than one.

When you look to adopt a kitten,
ask for a sibling or two.
It’s the best thing you can do.

You’ll never regret taking another.
They’ll grow up as friends and play together.

Don’t worry about the litter pans.
They’ll share one box of sand.

No cat food will go to waste.
Just pick up a case.

Make room on your bed and under the covers.
You’ll never be lonely with one or the other.

Double the charm,
double the love.
Two cats are better than one.

If you open your heart to two fur babies,
You’ll know it’s the best things you’ve done
because two cats are better than one.

To learn more about all my cats, told from their own points-of-view about their rescues, life with our family, and stories they’ve even “pawed” themselves, along with lots of photos, check out my book, Pet Posts: The Cat Chats. 

There are many ways to get involved this special day.

1. Post on social media using #SeeTheLight and #RememberMeThursday.

On September 23, let’s make sure everyone who opens their social media accounts sees a message about pet adoption! Encourage your fans to post by sharing your personal rescue story or one of our ready-made graphics. Here are a few to get you started! Check out our Blogger Resource page for more shareables, blogger badges, customizable photo frames and more.

2. Enter the #RememberMeThursday Contest.

You and your fans can win big for a favorite pet adoption organization by entering the #RememberMeThursday Contest! There are two ways to enter:

  • Submit your pet’s photo and story to our contest page.
  • Post a picture of your pet on social media using the hashtags #RememberMeThursday and #SeeTheLight.

Harry and Hermione’s story was entered in the contest. You can find it by going to the contest page, clicking “vote,” and scrolling through the pet photos until you find the one featuring them. https://remembermethursday.org/contest/

3. Join the Remember Me Thursday Virtual Global Candle Lighting Ceremony.

This event will unite animal rescue advocates from all over the world.
DATE: Thursday, September 23, 2020
TIME: 9 a.m. Pacific Time
WHERE: Virtually on Zoom

To participate, sign up here: https://remembermethursday.org/remember-me-thursday-events/

Posted in Freebies and Special Offers

My Time-Travel Novel, TIME’S RELATIVE, is on Sale Through September 21

http://mybook.to/timesrelative

It’s the fall of 1998, and librarian Samantha Stewart is looking for a new job. After seeing an ad for a high-paying position at a company called Virtual Software that entails research and travel, Sam investigates the company and learns that its president has gone missing, and that it’s currently being run by the vice-president Greg Parsons.

Before Sam makes it to the interview, she’s visited by a strange woman who introduces herself as Jane Oldsfield: a time traveler whose mission Greg Parsons is trying to prevent.

Sam ignores the woman and goes on the job interview anyway. Soon, she finds herself involved not only with Greg Parsons, but also Philip Montmart, a chain-smoking detective with a vendetta for his wife’s killer, and the time-traveling Oldsfield and her feline accomplice.

Witnessing world events that have yet to happen in her lifetime, including 9/11, Hurricane Sandy, Y2K hysteria and the COVID pandemic, can Samantha figure out Oldsfield’s plans?

Read what reviewers are saying:

*****Prepare yourself for a thrilling roller coaster ride of a story that will make you hold your breath as you flip the pages as fast as you can read them. Loved it!!

*****I loved the characters in this book.

Posted in Reviews

Review: The Lighthouse Witches by C. J. Cook

***** 5-stars

In 1998, Liv, a single mother of three daughters, takes on a project involving the painting of a mural in a lighthouse on an island in Scotland called Lon Haven. She soon learns of a local legend involving the killing of women accused of witchcraft and the wildlings that were rumored to take over the bodies of missing children and destroy their families.

Although Liv doesn’t initially believe these crazy stories, she begins to wonder about them when two of her daughters disappear, and one returns bearing the branded numbers that are said to differentiate a wildling from the real child. The story changes perspective from Liv to her daughter, Luna, twenty years later. Luna, now grown, is still searching for her sisters. When she is contacted with the news that her younger sister, Clover, has been found after all this time and is at a hospital, she rushes there expecting to see a woman close to her own age. Instead, she finds a young girl who seems to be Clover but hasn’t aged. How can this be? The book answers this question as it goes back and forth in time.

I found the explanation an interesting twist. My only criticism of this absorbing book was that it sometimes was difficult to keep the characters and time periods clear. Other than that, I found the writing compelling with realistic characters. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys supernatural novels that take place in different time periods.

This review was from the NetGalley ARC. The book will be released on October 5, 2021.

Posted in author news

September Author News: Bookstore Grand Opening, New Releases, and Poetry Readings

I’m proud to announce that my books will be sold at the new Long Island Author’s Group Bookstore at the Westfield South Shore Mall on Long Island. The Grand Opening, originally scheduled for his Wednesday, September 1st, has been rescheduled for next Wednesday, September 8, starting at 6 p.m. The bookstore is located at the Islip Arts Council Gallery in Westfield South Shore Mall, 1701 Sunrise Highway, Bayshore, NY, next to the Dick’s Sporting Goods Store. I’ll be there with my fellow LIAG members and hope some of you will be able to attend. Refreshments will be served.

On September 3rd, my paranormal short story, “Murder in the Mirror” will be published in the Red Penguin Collection’s supernatural anthology, UNTIL DAWN, that features chilling tales by some great authors. Check out the trailer below.

I’m also happy to announce that several of my poems are being read on Diverse TV and being recorded on YouTube. Some of these poems are from my new poetry anthology, MEOWS AND PURRS: A COLLECTION OF CAT POEMS.

The following poem, “We All Lost Something During the Pandemic” was dedicated to my friend Clare who passed away from COVID.

My last announcement is that my new Cobble Cove cozy mystery, BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE, has been accepted by Solstice Publishing. This story features all the quirky characters in my series with Fido, the golden retriever, in a starring role. Of course, Sneaky, the Siamese, who is the main pet of the series, will have his share of the action.

Posted in mystery, Reviews, Thriller

Review of Last Girl Ghosted by Lisa Unger

*****5 stars

This was my first Lisa Unger book, but it won’t be my last. I couldn’t stop turning the pages (or actually swiping them because I was reading the NetGalley digital ARC copy on my phone). The book, publishing in October but available for pre-order now, is somewhat dark. Although very different, I can compare it to Gone Girl which I also enjoyed and which also featured a missing person. In this case, several missing women. It takes place in New York City, right before the COVID pandemic closed things down and refers to a Chinese virus that was starting to spread.

The main character, Wren Greenwood (not her real name), is the author of the popular Dear Birdie advice column that is also a podcast. Only her friend Jax knows her background, how, at 15, Wren’s world was turned upside down after her family moved to an isolated area because her father, a war veteran, had become what some term a Doomsday Prepper. His actions culminated in a tragedy that caused Wren, born as Robin, to change her name and return to society to build a life to help others facing challenges in their lives.

When Wren hooks up with a man named Adam through Torch, an online dating site, she finds herself opening up to him and revealing her dark past. When Adam unexpectedly disappears and a detective comes to Wren’s door seeking help in finding missing women who used Torch to meet a man he believed was Adam, Wren once again faces horror.

The twists and turns in this book had me on the edge of my seat. Although I liked the ending that featured additional twists, I found the pace a bit slow in the last part of the book after the climax. I thought each character in the book was well depicted and would highly recommend it if you’re a fan of Gillian Flynn and Lisa Diaz Meyer, two dark fiction authors I admire.