Wild (and Sometimes Crazy) Wednesday – Life in the Day of a Cat Star

Most of you know that my mother’s cat, Smokey, is the model for Rags in my stories. While he isn’t a klepto cat (that aspect of Rags came from my precious patooty tabby, Lily), he is the poster cat for confidence, and that’s what I was after in creating my star cat.

Smokey is a adventurer. He MUST have outdoor time. He adores roaming the neighborhood and his timing is excellent. I mean, he’s had some harrowing experiences of his own. When he was a kitten, he learned to never try outrunning a bunny. One small rabbit managed to find his way into Smokey’s yard and he chased that little thing around until he (yes the cat) ran out of steam and collapsed in a heap. The bunny finally figured out how to climb out of the sunken backyard and he lived to encounter another wily cat.

Smokey  bring my mother heartfelt gifts: lizards, mostly. We drove an injured hummingbird to a local bird sanctuary once, hoping he could be saved. There have been many bird incidents and surprisingly most of the birds survived. Smokey is a catch and release kind of guy—only problem is he releases his prey in the house.

Smokey has a way of being in the right place at the right time. One afternoon a neighbor woman visited Mama. She started the conversation by saying, “I need to talk to you about your cat.”

At that moment, Smokey scooted past the neighbor from outside and ran inside the house. The neighbor said, “Well, that’s not your cat!”

Mama assured her that he was. Well, it seems that another cat in the neighborhood—one that Mama had been feeding, as a matter of fact, but who wore a collar and had a family around the corner—had bitten the neighbor and she ended up in the hospital. Mama was about to be presented with a law suit except for Smokey’s purrfect timing.

Smokey is comical—he often entertains guests. He’s super friendly—he loves being petted as much as he likes roaming free. And at the end of the day, and on rainy days (or when the gardeners are there), he enjoys nothing more than a warm lap to curl up in. Did I say “curl up?” Well, that’s not quite accurate. As you can see, Smokey is a sprawling sort of cat. I guess that’s the Ragdoll influence from his mother cat. We can only speculate who’s on the other side of his genealogical makeup.

 

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Newsday Tuesday – What’s So Sweet About the Klepto Cat?

You hear (read) me talking about the Klepto Cat Mysteries. Most of you have read some of them or all of them. But do you ever wonder what others are saying about these books? Oh yes, we get reviews and some of them are over-the-top lovely. It’s your appreciation of the stories and your attachment to the cat, Rags, that keeps me enthused about writing one book right after another. As you may know, I’m averaging 6 books per year. Now that’s an accomplishment!

And does Rags have fans? Yes he does. Here are a few of the over 1,500 comments the books have acquired at Amazon.

Merriment, Mayhem, and Meows

“I have read and enjoyed this series since the first book was made available. The main characters and their personalities are so well written they seem like old friends. Each story plot involves solving a mystery but each also has twists and surprises that keep the stories fresh and interesting.” (Yes! She gets Rags!)

“Intrigue, Laughs, Heart—this book has it all!”

CATalyst for Clues

“The twists and turns in this story were unexpected and heartfelt.”

“As with all of Patricia Fry’s books, this did not disappoint.”

“An extremely entertaining and riveting addition to this wonderful series.”

“Exceptional 5-star-plus read.”

Cats Don’t Squeal

“Extremely entertaining.”

“A wonderful reading experience.”

Many readers say with each new book, “This is the best one yet!”

Do authors read their reviewer and reader reviews? Absolutely. The positive ones spur me on, and I learn from the few negative remarks we get. But my heart goes out to one reader in particular who wrote recently, “Don’t ever let Rags die.”

Yeah, he comes close sometimes, but no, I imagine that as long as I live and can write, Rags will continue creating chaos and resolving human issues in his most cat-like way.

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Mindful Monday – A Sweet New Offering for Valentine’s Day

In case you missed the announcement, Book 33 of the Klepto Cat Mystery series has been published. You can order the print copy of The Secret Claws here: https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Claws-Klepto-Mystery-Mysteries/dp/0998036722/ref=sr_1_40?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1549110980&sr=1-40&keywords=klepto+cat+mysteries Or just type in the title or my name at the Amazon prompt.

The kindle version is still under construction. When will it be ready? As soon as the busy formatting person can complete it. Watch for the announcement here and at my Klepto Cat Mysteries facebook page.

Rags is large and in charge in this story. He invites himself on a family getaway, and while he causes enough trouble to keep his humans on their toes, he also (nearly) single-pawedly prevents a disaster and makes sure the show goes on.

You’ll chuckle and you might nibble on your fingernails while following this story to its surprising climax.

This book and any of the other Klepto Cat Mysteries would make a great Valentine’s Day gift for a special friend, a shut-in, your children’s teacher, your hairdresser, your veterinarian, or anyone who appreciates the world of the cat.

Which of the Klepto Cat Mysteries is most suitable as a Valentine’s Day gift? Let’s see, I love the sweet romance blossoming in Books 1 and 2, Catnapped and Cat-Eye Witness.  Meowmoirs of a Klepto Cat is always a great book to start someone off with as it is sort of a collage of the series.

Let me know if you give a Klepto Cat Mystery this month and the response of the recipient.

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Frivolous Friday – How to Show Your Kitty Love

This is the first day of the sweetest month of the year. Don’t we all look forward to Valentine’s Day? Thinking back upon my childhood, Valentine’s Day was among my most memorable of holidays. Oh there are sweet memories of family Thanksgiving, May day (when we danced around the maypole—do they do that anymore?), and of course Christmas. But there was nothing like being given a whole package of cute Valentine cards and spending hours choosing the right one for each of my classmates and friends.

I adored receiving cards of any kind and still do. I remember the wonderful, ornate, old-fashioned cards Grandma used to send for all occasions. I still love sending and receiving cards.

Well, last week a neighbor left a box of the sweetest, old-fashioned-looking Valentine cards on our doorstep and I can’t wait to send them to special family and friends this year. If I can let them go. I look at them every evening—each one different and oh, so beautiful—several with cats on them. Heck, maybe I’ll end up keeping them and creating a heart-shaped collage so I can enjoy them every day of the year. Hmmm. A dilemma—to share or to keep. To share or to keep. I’ll let you know what I decide.

In the meantime, I want to share a site that came to my attention this week. It gives you ideas for showing kitty love to your own cats as well as those in your community that need a human touch and compassion.

Here are a few of the things you can do to show kitty love. Click on the link for others that might resonate with you. Save your change for a local cat shelter. They can always use donations. Speaking of which, if you have used cat items that you no longer need—blankets, beds, cat food that hasn’t expired, toys, etc., pass them along to a shelter. Treat your own cat to a water fountain or a catio. Create a cardboard box obstacle course for your kitties. Oooooh, I can’t wait to do that one. You might foster kittens. And especially in times of disaster or a major hoarding situation the local shelters are dealing with, how about delivering food and refreshment for the tireless workers in the trenches. Here are many more ideas for showing kitty love in your home or your community.

https://www.cathealth.com/behavior/how-and-why/2560-thirty-days-of-kitty-love?goal=0_3e73124b70-9c9dd40ef3-587741849&mc_cid=9c9dd40ef3&mc_eid=ad8616dba2

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Thoughts for Thursday – What’s Happening in the Klepto Cat Mystery Factory

We’ve been scrambling to bring you Book 33 in the Klepto Cat Mystery series, The Secret Claws. This will be my first book of 2019 and my 75th published book!

After two months of work—encompassing approximately 500 hours of creating, writing and massaging the story and another 50 hours preparing it for publication, it should be ready for your reading pleasure within the next few days.

As you may recall, the print version arrives ahead of the Kindle version. Watch for my announcements.

In this story, Rags knows no bounds. The Ivey and Pettit families look forward to spending their last vacation days together relaxing at a mountain cabin, but Rags has other ideas. It doesn’t take him long to change the flow of events and everyone’s plans. Rags unveils a secret and immediately involves his humans in a whirlwind of intrigue. While everyone looks forward to an exciting program at the church among the pines where certain mysteries will be explained, the unruly cat goes missing. He puts Savannah and Detective Craig in danger, he causes a near forest fire, but it’s because of Rags that the show goes on and the mischievous cat becomes the star. However, before he can be celebrated, he is taken and held for ransom. What happens next stuns the entire community. Will Rags live to appear in another Klepto Cat Mystery?

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Wild (and Sometimes Crazy) Wednesday – Cats Five—Photographer Zero

Okay, I’ve spent the last few nights trying to photograph our two kitty-girls, Lily and Sophie. Oh, I snap a lot of pictures of them, as you know. I share many of them here. But we usually do photography on their terms. They pose and I snap a picture.

This week I wanted certain, specific shots and do you think they would cooperate? No! All I wanted was a shot of one of the cats behind the camera. Is that asking too much?

I got photos of them under the camera, in front of the camera, walking away from the camera, hiding behind the camera…

I tried some of the techniques I’ve read about with only minor success. I’m sure they knew what I wanted and that’s why they were doing the opposite. That’s my experience photographing cats.

Finally—finally, I got my shot—well sorta. I hope you’ve enjoyed the cat photography topic we’ve focused on this week. As you can tell by the nature of this blog and the pictures I use that cats are among my favorite subjects. They just don’t always cooperate.

Do you have any photo success tips?

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Newsday Tuesday – More Cat Photographers

I couldn’t leave yesterday’s topic, so I’m back again with more amazing cat photographers. You MUST spend time with these sites. Scroll through the amazing photographs of Andrew Marttila—STUNNING! http://www.iamthecatphotographer.com/

Here’s a collection of cat photographers and some of their work. Who knew there were so many photographers specializing in cats? http://www.hauspanther.com/category/for-people/cat-photography/

And for those of you who would like to step up your photography skills so you can capture your cat’s purrsonality, check out this site: http://simbathebengal.com/cat-photography-tips/

 

 

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Mindful Monday – One Amazing Cat Photographer

I speak often of cat photography and I share many of my cat photos here in this blog. But I have to admit, I find it rather difficult to get a good picture of a cat. Here’s a man who knew how to do it. In fact, his photos were so spectacular and he was so enamored by his cat subjects that he developed a career as a cat photographer.

Way before the Internet this man, Walter Chandaha, was creating beautiful images of cats. In fact his career started in 1949 when he happened to photograph an ordinary gray stray kitten. He died this month at the age of 98 having left an incredible legacy as a cat photographer. See some of his photos here:

https://news.artnet.com/art-world/cat-photographer-walter-chandoha-died-1444993

Throughout his career as a freelance photographer, he snapped over 90,000 photos of cats—all sizes, shapes, and colors of cats and he did so professionally and beautifully. And no wonder he chose cats as his subject. He once said, “Of All domestic animals, the cat is the most expressive.” And he said, “A cat has a sense of humor.” Isn’t that the truth!!!

https://www.viportal.co/walter-chandoha-photographer-whose-specialty-was-cats-dies-at-98/

Here’s his own website with several beautiful shots of cats. Enjoy. http://chandohaphotography.com/cats_color.html

(Note: This is not one of Chandaha’s photos, but you’ll see many of his great photos when you follow the links.)

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Frivolous Friday – Cat Oopsies!

Wednesday we talked about smart cats. Just like humans and members of every species, cats will sometimes do something dumb. In fact it’s the clumsy accidents and oopsies that has made the cat so famous throughout the Internet. You’ve all seen videos of cats falling, missing their footing when leaping from one spot to another, being frightened by a small lizard or mouse, and so forth. And you’ve probably busted up laughing at your cat when she does something that’s less than becoming of her. Cats are dignified creatures, which is why it’s so hilarious when they take a tumble or get caught up in a precarious situation.

Years ago, while on a long tether, my shaded silver Persian, Crystal, fell into the pool. I saw the whole thing happen. She slipped, hit the water, and somehow amazingly flipped her body into the air and landed back on the cement. She was, as you can imagine, dripping wet and very embarrassed.

I’ve watched kittens fall asleep soundly on the back of a sofa or on my desk and roll off onto the floor. One of my cats landed in the waste basket in my office once. Why they choose to sleep on the edge with half of their body hanging over, I’ll never know. I’m always scooting a cat over so she won’t tumble off the edge of my desk.

Lily once rolled herself up so tightly in the newspaper that she couldn’t move to get herself free. I must say I laughed while unwrapping her, but I didn’t have the foresight to take a picture. Suffice it to say she made an awfully cute little kitten burrito.

Our cat Dinah loved a lap, even when the lap didn’t belong to a human. This was another laughable moment, walking into the house and seeing the calico curled up in a dummy’s lap. Why did we have a life-size dummy in our house? We were involved in theater for a while and one of our stints was making costumes. In this case, they needed a dead guy for a scene in a play, so we created one. I think Dinah actually missed that guy when he left our house to become an actor.

 

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Thoughts for Thursday – What’s Happening in the Klepto Cat Mystery Factory

Good news for those of you who can’t wait for the next book in the series. We should have Book 33 of the Klepto Cat Mysteries in your hands by the first of next month. Yes, within the next ten days. It will take a little longer to complete the formatting for the Kindle version. Hey, you can consider this one your Valentine’s read from me.

Of course, we’re always working to bring you an interesting, and sometimes exciting and amusing and touching story. I trust this one won’t disappoint. I have to say that Rags certainly steps into his role as a creative, sometimes incorrigibly naughty and exasperating cat in this story, causing his human family and friends as well as some bad guys a peck of trouble. Yeah, just the way you like Rags, right? He’s the kind of feline character you love to follow. Maybe

Smokey

you can tell that I get a kick out of nudging his character off the beaten path in order to generate a tad of discord and trauma here and there, as well as sweet and tender moments. You’ll see what I mean when you dive into Book 33, The Secret Claws.

But isn’t he quite the character? And, as with these photos of Rags’s muse, Smokey, he has many moods and cattitudes.

Shine your reading glasses, make sure you have plenty of hot toddy and time around Valentine’s Day, and get ready for another fun read.

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