Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Queue of Four Q Words –Five if You Include Queue

Here I am, not large, but
in charge!
Have you ever heard the sound of quiet? I have, or at least I pretend to when Mom calls me. “What? I don’t hear anything,” I say to myself, while looking ahead and keeping my face without expression. As a cat, I am an expert at silently waiting and then at just the right moment, jumping up on laps to surprise humans, except for one thing: that blasted bell Dad left on my new collar. He likes to hear me coming. Why? Because he doesn’t like my sneaking up on him, since I walk with stealth . . . very quietly. Duh! That’s what a cat is supposed to do!

Quagmire is another great q word.  I looked it up and found that it can mean a few different things. For one, a quagmire may refer to a bog or it could refer to a situation that’s difficult from which to free oneself. I suppose that alludes to the bog. Last, but not least, quagmire means soft and flabby. Let me use it in a sentence. When I sit on Mom’s lap, it is a quagmire. Uh oh! She just said I better cut that out, or I’ll really be in a quagmire! Silly Mama, she can’t take the laptop away if I’m sitting on it.

I like to do things quickly. I eat so fast, sometimes it comes back up almost right away. I guess you didn’t need to know that. Sorry. I also love crazy cat time, either late at night or when Mom and Dad both come home. I run back and forth, around the family room, then around the living room, into the dining room for good measure, and just when they think they can catch up with me, I am on top of the refrigerator. Ha ha!

Don Quixote, The Man of La Mancha 
Last but not least, how about Quixotic? (Skip pronouncing the x, folks.) Humans often consider felines rather chivalrous or noble and impractical, as when I saved mine from the bats. Well, okay, I didn’t exactly save Mom and Dad, but I helped. I like to make them think they’re indebted to me. Fanciful is another synonym for Quixotic. I guess you could say a cat with her own column on a blog is rather fanciful.

Now that you have learned this queue of q words you may go back to your normally scheduled activities or watch the video below of Simon’s Cat in his crazy time. No, really, I insist you watch it. Who doesn’t have time for a good chuckle?

Friday, January 23, 2015

PURR-FECT ( A Perfectly Good Word!)

Lilybits, not large, but
in charge!
Attention all human companions/adopted parents of members of the feline species: says that perfect has to do with fitting the "ideal of a type," "exactly fitting a need" or "without flaw," amidst other definitions. But I propose a new derivative of this word: PURR-FECT. Yes, this goes beyond the human idea of perfection to higher feline standards.

When you feed your cat and she gives you a thankful purr, she is purr-fectly happy. This is what you should strive for with every meal or kibble dispensing. If your cat turns up her nose at the food, then it’s not purr-fect and therefore, less than acceptable.

Scratch behind your kitty’s ears or under her chin for a long, deep purring session. If she gives you a love bite or gentle swat, she is done with this extra affection and attention . . . or at least I am! And then the session is less than purr-fect.

Having a purr-fect place to sleep is important. I won’t always purr when I find it, unless it is someplace inconvenient to you, such as on top of your tummy or next to your legs on the bed, which makes it more difficult for you to move. Also, become more aware of our heads butting your hands at four a.m. This tells you it’s the purr-fect time for kitties to have a petting or play time session.

We cats can’t really understand why humans refuse to convert to our schedule. Napping, playing, eating and then repeat are so much healthier for you than running around all day with a cup of coffee in your hand, trying to accomplish unimportant tasks, well, other than cleaning the litter box and feeding your cat. And then you take that one big long nap during all the nighttime hours. Think of what you’re missing!

Purr-fectly happy Minnesota cousins
snuggled together.
I was just having a purr-fectly lovely moment, sitting on Mom’s lap and sniffing her sandwich. The results were less than satisfactory, but we will purr to let you know what we want too. So there you have it—a short guide to keeping your cat purr-fectly happy. Keep trying and your cat will let you know just how purr-fect you are!

Sunday, January 18, 2015


Lilybits - not large, but
in charge!


Ordinary you say? Just an ORDINARY cat? Humph! You can’t judge a cat by it’s mixed lineage, although that is what my adoption papers said. And they had the nerve to call me a plain old domestic shorthair (DSH)! Why look at me, there is nothing plain about the beautiful markings on the light taupe fur of my underside or the dilute tabby stripes on my sides and back. Really! And I have it on good authority that Mom just melts when I look up at her with my huge, gorgeous green eyes.

It’s not every day you find elegance, beauty, intelligence and personality in one package. Yet we domestic shorthairs are referred to as the mutt of the cat world. It’s rumored that our ancestors were first domesticated in the mysterious royal halls of Egypt, where we were put on a pedestal. Somehow we made it to England and got aboard the Mayflower for adventure. Yes, we did have to earn our keep by decreasing the rodent population, but my ancestors felt the wind in their fur and smelled the fish in the open sea on the way to the New World. However, they could have done without the salty spray, which I’m sure was as annoying as a squirt bottle is to modern cats everywhere. (Hint, hint.)

Showing off some of my pretty markings.
According to Animal Planet, there are 80 million DSH cats in the United States alone and we make wonderful, beloved family pets with varieties of personality. As long as you spoil us and do as we ask, there shouldn’t be any problems. Below, you may watch Animal Planet’s video on the DSH cats and decide for yourself if we are simply ordinary cats! I rest my case.

Friday, January 16, 2015

LAUREL by SUSAN F. CRAFT - Book Release & Author Interview!


About Laurel:

Desperate to rescue their kidnapped daughter, Lilyan and Nicholas Xanthakos trek two hundred miles through South Carolina mountains and backcountry wilderness, fighting outlaws, hunger, sleeplessness, and despair. When the trail grows cold, the couple battles guilt and personal shame; Lilyan for letting Laurel out of her sight, and Nicholas for failing to keep his family safe.

They track Laurel to the port of Charleston as post-Revolutionary War passions reach fever pitch.  There, Lilyan, a former patriot spy, is charged for the murder of a British officer. She is thrown into the Exchange Building dungeon and chained alongside prostitutes, thieves, and murderers. Separated from her husband, she digs deep inside to re-ignite the courage and faith that helped her survive the war.  Determined to free his wife at any cost, Nicholas finds himself forced back into a life of violence he thought he’d left behind.

Following a rumor that Laurel may be aboard a freighter bound for Baltimore, Lilyan and Nicholas secure passage on a departing schooner, but two days into the voyage, a storm blows their ship aground on Diamond Shoals. As the ship founders, both are swept overboard.

Will their love for each other and their faith sustain them as they await word of their missing child? Or is Laurel lost to them forever?

About the Author:

Susan F. Craft writes inspirational historical romantic suspense. Her Revolutionary War novel, The Chamomile, won the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Okra Pick. Susan recently retired after a 45-year career as a communications director, editor, and proofreader.  To assist authors to “get it right about horses in their works,” Susan worked with the Long Riders’ Guild Academic Foundation to compile A Writer's Guide to Horses (also known as An Equestrian Writer’s Guide) that can be found at Forty-five years ago, she married her high school sweetheart, and they have two adult children, one granddaughter, and a granddog. An admitted history nerd, she enjoys researching for her novels, painting, singing, listening to music, and sitting on her porch watching the rabbits and geese eat her day lilies.  She has two post-Revolutionary War novels being released in 2015 by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas—Laurel, was released January 15, and its sequel Cassia in September. She is represented by Linda S. Glaz, Hartline Literary Agency.

Welcome, Susan, and congratulations on the release of your novel, Laurel, from Heritage Beacon Fiction, an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. 

Did you have to travel much concerning your books? If so, what’s the most interesting place you traveled?

Since I want my history to be right in my novels, I do extensive research and travel to the locations of my novels to absorb, to breathe in, everything I can: sights, sounds, smells.  Thank goodness my husband drives us, because I have no sense of direction and can get lost in my driveway.

The most fun trip was one we took to the North Carolina Outer Banks to research for my upcoming books, Laurel and its sequel, Cassia. In Laurel, which takes place in 1783, my characters are shipwrecked on an Outer Banks island.  Cassia, which takes place in 1799, has pirates.  Between the two books, I knew I needed to learn more about the ships that sailed at that time, some of the nautical terms, and seafaring jargon. In Beaufort, NC, I stumbled upon a Maritime Museum where I spent hours in the library that still uses a card catalogue system (at my age, I felt right at home). I learned about the wild ponies that have roamed Ocracoke Island for hundreds of years and I became fascinated by the pirate lore of the area. A local restaurant owner pointed out an area for us to visit that still looks the same today as it did in the late 1700s. 

You say you’d rather research than write.

It’s true. Researching for my novels brings me the same excitement Alan Quartermain must have felt hunting for King Solomon’s Mines. I’ve been known to spend an entire day in a library scribbling notes from someone’s diary, spending a wallet of quarters making copies of maps and old newspapers, and trekking from one book or document to the next with a perseverance Lewis and Clark would have applauded.

I enjoy the chase when one clue leads me to the next, to the next…
On my website,, I have over twenty years of research on a wide range of topics. I knew I’d never be able to write enough novels to use all my “historical treasures,” so I decided to share and put them on my website.

Will you share one of your “historical treasures” that we can find in Laurel?

What people in the past did in their daily lives always interests me. One thing that caught my attention was the bathing habits.

American colonists, like their European ancestors, feared that bathing would destroy their natural oils and leave them open to the ravages of diseases, so getting clean meant sponging off. More affluent people had chinaware washbasins. If they desired a full bath, their servants would heat buckets of water in the kitchen and haul them to the bedroom.  There were no towels to dry with, so they used large pieces of cloth or blankets. Full baths were considered a luxury not done more than a couple of times a year.

In Laurel, Lilyan Xanthakos watches her husband bathe using lemon soap their hostess makes. It brings back a sweet memory before their daughter was kidnapped:
The last time she saw him bathe, he had been sitting in the bathtub in front of the fire in their cabin with Laurel balanced on his chest. Laurel slapped her hands against the water and splashed it into his eyes. His comical faces sent their little girl into a fit of giggles.
     How she longed for those special family times. And to look upon her husband again with a desire free from the burden of grief and loss and guilt.

Do you have a life Bible verse?
…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

Tell me about some of your personality traits.

I could be the poster child for persistence (some might call it hard-headedness). I’ve been writing for 35 years, honing my craft at more writing conferences and reading more books about writing than I can remember. I simply refused to give up until I found someone interested in representing and publishing my novels. For all those years I worked fulltime, took care of my family, and made time for writing—sometimes into the early morning hours. I’m sentimental and cry at Hallmark commercials. I love the Lord with all my heart and strive daily to please Him, though I fail miserably at times.

Where can people get a copy of each of your books?
You can purchase The Chamomile and Laurel in hard copy at all the major bookstores, some regional southern independent bookstores, Amazon, and Kindle. Laurel is also available directly
from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

Thank you for joining us today, Susan!

You're invited: Susan is hosting a FaceBook launch party this Saturday the 17th from 2-4 EST. So, come on by and help her celebrate! Leave a comment for a chance to win some pretty great prizes. The event is on her FaceBook author page, Susan F. Craft. Click on the link above to find it!

Please leave a comment to congratulate Susan!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Napping Expert

Napping is one of my favorite activities. You’ve heard of catnaps I’m sure! If you want to learn how to nap, then study a cat. We specialize in creative sleep. First of all, our primal predatory instincts tell us domesticated cats we are supposed to be hunting at night. Day time is the best nap time of all. In fact, cats sleep 15 to 20 hours a day. 

Actually, cats are crepuscular, which really has nothing to do with napping, but it is a cool sounding big word. Crepuscular. It just means that we’re most active during the hours around dawn and dusk. Personally, I think my humans should be up to play with me and feed me before dawn, say around 4:30, even in the winter, and I let them know this is how I feel.
Minnesota cousins, Elliot and Tasha, like to
snuggle when they nap.
Humans today are sleep deprived. (Not that I have anything to do with it in this house.) Some societies have built afternoon naps into their culture, but not Americans. I’m wondering if it’s a coffee company conspiracy. If you don’t get to take a nap occasionally, you’ll need your latte.

Hey, I like to try out different
sleeping positions. What's
wrong with that?
What else can you learn about napping from watching a cat? We sometimes doze with one eye halfway open, ready to pounce at a moment’s notice. Did you know that a short nap of 15 to 20 minutes, a power nap, can recharge your alertness and give you an energy boost? A longer nap, with deep sleep can even improve your memory. We cats are good at long naps too. You know, when we curl up on your lap in that just right position when you’re thinking about getting out of your chair to fix dinner or use the human litter box room? Mom especially thinks I’m cute when I snuggle her hand or turn my head so that it’s almost upside down, like I’m almost asking for a tummy rub.

On a frigid winter day there’s nothing better we could ask for than a warm lap to snuggle in or to find a blanket to rest upon right near a heat register. Ahh! Just thinking about it makes we want to go . . . to . . . sleep . . . .zzzzzz.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Matthew Goes Back to Massachusetts

Lilybits, not large, but in
Matthew is my big brother or big bother as Mom’s brother used to call himself. Yes, I know, he is my adopted human brother. He’s definitely not part of the superior feline species. I don’t hold that against him though. My problem is that he invades my territory occasionally, this time for Christmas.  He sleeps in the room where my sunny spot is and talks to Mom without my permission.

I was busy taking this situation out on Mom. I wouldn’t sit on her lap or by her until Matthew decided to talk to her. Then I possessively cuddled up next to her leg and stared at him. He accused me of giving him the evil eye, but it was just a stern warning. Then he had the nerve to give me a raspberry and tell me he could talk to her too! Well, he apparently forgets that I am in charge here.

Matthew says farewell to Lilybits.
Of course, Mom reminds me that I didn’t mind him being around when he had string cheese to share. I climbed right up on Matt's lap to beg and he was quite obliging. I suppose I could be a little more accommodating. I was kind of glad when he left, so I could have my space back and Mom to myself for the most part.

But now that Matthew went back to Massachusetts, who is going to share their string cheese? I wonder when he’ll be back? Maybe it’s not so great he left after all. I guess I could get used to him being around . . . for the string cheese.

Mom says good-bye to Matthew at the airport.