Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pets are the Best!

They are our constant companions, love us when we’re bitchy and in our sloppy PJs with no hair combed and when we have the flu. And they train us really well.
And here I thought we were supposed to train them! Ha!

Pet joke:  What side of the door does the cat like to be on? The other side. That’s why I jump up and down the whole blasted night while trying to watch TV to let my cat in and out of the porch. Am I a well trained owner or what!

And then there’s the food issue. Every three days I bake my cat chicken thighs. Not breasts or legs or wings...but thighs. Then cut into small pieces and served room temp. Not cold and not hot.

And then we have the water glass issue. Know that snotty white cat on TV who eats his kibble out of a crystal glass...that’s my cat’s water bowl. Good grief.

I have two cats at the moment, Pixel and Spooky. Pixel was supposed to be for my son, a gift from my daughter. Yeah, right. We all know how the pet for the kid thing works...parents get the pet! And I got Spooky out of the grocery store parking lot. He was living in the cart area. I herd this pitiful meow and suddenly had a new cat in my life.

If I didn’t have cats I’d have a dog. I know they are more work but they are always happy. Something about a wagging tail will cure any depression. A gift from the pet gods.

In the Consignment Shop Mysteries we have Bruce Willis and in Demise in Denim out in April he and Reagan have an anniversary. Here’s an excerpt to give you a feel of how they feel about each other.

“I have a prezzie for you,” I sing-songed to BW now wagging his tail as we crossed KiKi’s front yard that butted up to mine. I opened the backdoor of Cherry House, went to the fridge and pulled out a little white box and headed for the front porch, BW’s nail tapping across the hardwood floor as he followed me. We sat together on the top step and I opened the box.
“Do you remember what today is?” I took a chicken McNugget from the box and split it in two. I popped half in my mouth and fed the other to BW.
“One year ago you and I became BFFs. I was in a bad way and you weren’t any better. We’d both been abandoned. You were hiding under this very porch though then there wasn’t a hole the roof. I shared my McNuggets with you.” I broke another one in half. “I’d just opened the Prissy Fox. I needed money to keep Cherry House going and I had a closet full of designer clothes I didn’t need since Hollis the now ex kicked me to the curb for Cupcake the now dead.”
BW only seemed marginally interested in my sentimental walk down memory lane. I kissed him on the snout and he gobbled a McNugget right from the box. “So here we are, just the two of us, one year later. Any chance you’ll start doing the laundry any time soon?”
I got an eye roll I swear I really did.
BW chomped two nuggets right out of the box.
“Are you happy?”
This time I got a burp and doggy head in my lap. I took that as a yes.

In Geared for the Grave there are two cats, Bambino and Cleveland. Next week you’ll hear from them.
Tell me about your pet and I’ll give away two Geared for the Grave totes from the answers.

Have a barking-good Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Planes, Trains, and Lots of Sheep

by Maggie Sefton

Last weekend I had a whirlwind trip into another world, one filled with fuzzy creatures and all the luscious things that are made from their fuzzy soft fibers.  Of course, all of you must have figured out I spent last  weekend at that festival I mentioned earlier in one of my blog posts---New York State Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, New York.

It was a “multi-layered” trip over and back.  By multi-layered, I mean I used an airport shuttle to Denver Intl Airport, flight to LaGuardia, NY airport, Shuttle from airport to Pennsylvania Station (Penn Station) in New York City, then took an Amtrak train to Poughkeepsie, New York.  That’s where one of the friendly Merritt Bookstore personnel picked me up and took me to my lodging.

The New York State Sheep and Wool Festival truly lived up to its reputation as the largest festival of its kind in the U.S.  It’s located 80 miles due north of Manhattan, so it’s in the midst of the huge population area of New York and New England.  Merritt Bookstore had invited about fifteen authors to sign in their vendor area, where they had set up two rows of long tables and chairs for the authors and their books.  There was a wide space in between for the Festival goers to stroll to their hearts’ content, chat with the authors, and hopefully buy books.    

Boy. . .did they.  Buy books, I mean.  Thank goodness Merritt Bookstore had ordered a LOT of the Kelly Flynn Mysteries.  Saturday was the busiest day with a non-stop flow of people talking about “Kelly World” and buying books.  Oftentimes I had a group gathered around while some of the attendees discussed the characters in the Kelly Flynn Mysteries.  We laughed out loud a lot.  It was GREAT fun.  J

It was a splendid Autumn Weekend with brisk temperatures and only a slight breeze.  Most of the brilliantly-colored leaves were still on the trees.  The picture above is one of them I found particularly beautiful. 

Have any of you ever attended a sheep or wool festival?  Another festival?  Autumn Harvest? 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Which Is Smarter -- Dog or Cat?

By Kate Collins

Nothing like starting a heated debate. Sorry. I couldn’t resist, especially because we're celebrating National Cat Month at the Cozy Chicks and because I read a fascinating article* on cat vs. dog intelligence. I’m betting that you feel one way or the other based on whether you’re a dog person or cat person. If you have both types of pet, you still may favor one over the other. We'll just see about that.

To be honest, because dogs and cats are two different species, it’s not really fair to compare them. According to Psychology Today: “Dogs are designed to be more efficient runners while cats have better ability at manipulating things with their paws. Thus a test that involved pulling strings or operating levers would tend to favor a cat, while a test involving moving from place to place, where speed is a measure of performance, would favor a dog.

If you judge by number of neurons in the brain, then cats win. They have 300 million neurons in their cerebral cortex, the area responsible for processing, problem solving and perception, while dogs have 160 million.

However, if you judge by  the “Encephalization Quotient” (EQ) a tool to compare intelligence and brain weight in relation to an animal’s body size, then dogs win because social animals (dogs) tend to have higher EQs than solitary animals (cats.) Because dogs have had to learn over time to interact with humans, they have had to develop more problem solving and communication skills.

The fact that dogs can sort objects into categories (demonstrating abstract thought) and can tell what people are thinking are indicators of their intelligence. Yet researchers have shown that cats can be trained to do similarly impressive feats, like distinguish between different quantities of objects and follow pointing gestures (like dogs).

Oxford University researchers believe that dogs are becoming progressively more intelligent because of the demands of humans, while cats have stayed mostly the same. “At the risk of starting another argument, these data may explain why we never hear about such things as a ‘seeing eye cat,’ ‘police cat’ or ‘search and rescue cat.’”

To be fair, however, they admit that it wasn’t easy to get the cats to display their talents. In the case of distinguishing between different quantities… this is an ability that fish also possess, and the researchers said it was far “easier to work with fish than cats.”  That made me laugh because it’s so true. Maybe cats have the same abilities but just aren’t in the right mood to display them. Ever.

Another interesting item: “The research also showed cats and dogs can solve simple puzzles to get food, but when the puzzle is unsolvable, dogs will look to humans for help, whereas cats will keep trying,” Isn’t that the truth?

Charles Darwin wraps up this discussion nicely:  ‘Intelligence is based on how efficient a species became at doing the things they need to survive.’  Basically then, all species that stay healthy, remain numerous and avoid extinction are equally intelligent.

Does that end the debate?

*Dr. Becker’s Oct 17, 2014 newsletter (

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Forget Much?

by Leann

It's been one of those weeks and I am blaming it on the deadline stress. A book near completion but not quite there yet is about the worst thing for me. It messes with my brain. The plot's on my mind constantly as I try to bring all the mystery threads together to finish.

So what happens? I forget things.I lose things. I went to the doctor and had one thing I wanted to ask her about in particular. Never mentioned it. Didn't even realize I hadn't mentioned it until the next day. I have to travel quite a distance to get there and the drive takes a toll. I get fatigued and that only triples the non-thinking thing. And, I realized I'd lost my credit card--I assumed at the gas station--when I went to pay. Oy, what a pain! Called my husband, he cancelled it and then I got a call after I left the doctor's office that they found it in the bathroom. Great. Too late.

Then I got lost trying to find Whole Foods--I'd figure I would go there since it seemed fairly close to the doc's office. Then got lost again trying to find my way back to
the road that would take me home. GPS and Suri were NO help whatsoever. When I queried Suri with "Where is Whole Foods?" from the Trader Joes parking lot where GPS took me twice, she said, "You are very close." Thanks. I knew that. As I said, I found the store, but I drove around various parking lots before, bingo--I asked another human being. Next time I think I'll try that approach first.

Then, I hadn't taken my thyroid medicine because the doctor wanted to see what my lab values were without taking the med right before the test. Did I remember to take it when I got home? That would be no. And boy did THAT screw me up even more. I fell asleep on the couch sitting up at 8 o'clock. One of those drooling, neck crinking naps that doesn't do a body good. And then I couldn't sleep that night.

The following day was no better. I still couldn't think straight and though I remembered my medicine, I forgot Marlowe's seizure med until it was 4 hours late. That's not good but thank goodness he didn't seem bothered at all. He was fine, but I worried and watched him like a hawk all day.

I am recovering from being an idiot for several days but still not finished with The Book That Will Not End. But I'm close. Very close. As long as I don't have any more no good, very bad days. But just in case, I'm keeping the following list on my computer. I believe I need it.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

My Favorite Fall Supper--Soup and Pizza!

by Mary Kennedy                      
Yes, I know the usual combo is soup and a sandwich, or soup and a salad, but this is an easy dinner that really hits the spot on chilly nights. Both the tomato soup and pizza are home-made (of course!) and this is the kind of thing you might find on the menu at Oldies But Goodies. (the candy store-café in my Dream Club Mysteries.)
Let's start with the soup. This isn't the time to be counting calories, by the way. As a famous TV chef says, "Where's the butter?" This a great recipe for creamy tomato soup and everyone I know loves it. Here goes.
Dice an onion and cook till transparent in 6 tablespoons of butter. Next add two 14 oz cans diced tomatoes,
One 46 oz bottle of tomato juice.
Now add 3 tablespoons of sugar. You need the sugar because tomatoes tend to be acidic. You can even use a little more than 3 tablespoons of sugar if you wish.
Next, add one or two tablespoons of chicken base (I use Better Than Bouillon Low Sodium Chicken base. You can find it in the soup aisle, it comes in a small jar).  
Add some pepper. Bring almost to a boil. Add 12 oz heavy cream. I have substituted Half and Half for the heavy cream and it was very good. Some people add half a cup of white wine or sherry at this point but you don't have to.
Now add chopped parsley and basil to taste. I use a lot of fresh parsley and basil because I like the taste. And voila! You have delicious home-made tomato soup that will serve 4-6 people.
And now my favorite one-serving (yes, you can eat the whole thing!) pizza.
Start with a Pita Bread. I use "Joseph's Flax, Oat Bran and Whole Wheat Pita Bread," but there are several other brands.  Choose something high-fiber if you can.                                                       
Here's what I use for the topping. I start by spreading 1/4 cup of sauce on the pita--it can be spaghetti sauce, it can be tomato sauce, either home-made or from a jar, whatever strikes your fancy.
Now the toppings: I chop up one piece of light string cheese and one wedge of Laughing Cow Light Swiss cheese.  I sprinkle this on top of the sauce. Obviously, if you have some other types of cheeses sitting in the fridge (like mozzarella) and you want to use them up, go with them.
Then you can get creative. I usually add two tablespoons of chopped tomato and I often add sautéed red or green peppers and mushrooms. The toppings are up to you, add what you like. One of my friends adds "vegan pepperoni" and it's delish.  If you have some roasted veggies left over from last night's dinner, add those. Next sprinkle a tiny amount of parmesan cheese on top.                                              
I always add fresh basil at this point because I love basil. (and I grow it indoors and outdoors, all year round).
Pop the pita in the pre-heated oven on a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick coating. It will cook in 10-12 minutes. (see, I told you it would be easy!) It's delicious and best of all, it makes just ONE serving and you can eat the whole thing ("mine, all mine!")
I hope you've enjoyed this look at my favorite Fall supper and will give the recipes a try. Happy cooking!
Mary Kennedy

Friday, October 17, 2014

Gotta love those audiobooks!

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett 

Yesterday I got the good word that A Fatal Chapter will appear as an audiobook the same day as the print and ebook editions.  A Fatal Chapter will be the 9th Booktown Mystery, and will be published on June 2, 2015.  (The Good News:  I've seen the cover and it's gorgeous.  The Bad News: I haven't been given permission to show it off yet.)

Everyone keeps saying that AUDIO IS THE NEXT BIG THING.  I'd like to believe it.  Why?  Because I currently have 11 books out in audio. (And another one in production.)  The entire Booktown Mystery series is available in audio as are the first three Jeff Resnick Mysteries.  (Even as I type this, the next book in the series, Cheated By Death, is being recorded for audio.)

Why do I love audiobooks?  Because they make boring tasks easier to handle.  Things like ...




But I'm not the only Chick with audio books.  Leann's Yellow Rose and Cats In Trouble series are on Audio.  Mary's Talk Radio series is on audio.  Mary Jane's/Victoria Abbott's Book Collectors series is on audio, too!  And Ellery's Book Resort Mysteries have just been sold to audio, too.

So if you're an audiophile, there are a lot of cozy mysteries out there on audio you can listen to.

Where do you listen to audiobooks?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The gift of a golden day

We are in mid-October.  The weather is one degree off an all-time high for this date in our part of the world. There is still some brilliant red and orange foliage in our vicinity. Golden leaves are drifting from our black walnut trees to the ground, but the air is warm enough for a lunch outside and a pleasant walk. The last morning glory has vanished, but there’s a stubborn rose to make us smile.

The squirrels are in a joyous frenzy. The dogs are caught up in that too.  Someday, they’ll learn to climb trees too. They are convinced of it. In the meantime, they are enjoying a walk through crunchy leaves in the neighborhood.

Our summer clothing has all been backed away, but this afternoon, there’s no hint of cold winds, naked trees to come, or snow.  It’s a wonderful gift and one of those surprising moments that makes me realize how lucky I am to be a writer working in my own home. In the days before I was able to work at home bumping off the unwary for fun and occasional profit, I had quite interesting jobs in libraries, government departments and associations. I was always glad to go to work, except on these rare golden days in the fall.  It was the only time I ached to be free to simply mouse around outside, free of schedules, meetings and indoor traps. 

Spotted on our walk - too neat to be ours!

Now I have deadlines, commitments, much to keep me busy, but on this golden day, I can take some ‘required reading’ for the book I’m working on and peruse it outside. A stroll around the block with three little dogs will be just the ticket to free up my mind to get over a sticky plot situation.  

Today is the best sort of day to be a writer. I’ve been feeling flashes of happiness.  And if I have to work at nine o’clock tonight, well, that will be a small price to pay.  We know we'll be raking leaves again this week, but for today, it's time to relax. 

What about you? What kind of day brings you happiness?  Are there some when you simply have to step outside to experience what the world has to offer?   Let’s hear it!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The October 2014 Report

* * * * * * * * * *
Welcome to Dru's Cozy Report: October 2014. This month we have two recently released new series for your reading pleasure and three mentions that are getting rave reviews. Enjoy!
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Lost Under a Ladder by Linda O. Johnson
Series: Superstition #1
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Is it Luck? Or is it Destiny?

Rory Chasen never thought superstitions were real—until her beloved fiancé is killed after walking under a ladder. To find closure and the truth about superstitions, Rory takes her dog Pluckie to a town called Destiny, where superstitious beliefs are a way of life.

Rory’s visit to Destiny takes an unexpected turn when Pluckie saves Martha, the owner of the Lucky Dog Boutique. While Martha recovers, Rory reluctantly agrees to manage the pet shop for her. But when Martha becomes the prime suspect in the local bookshop owner’s murder, Rory can’t believe that the sweet old woman would do it. Convinced the real killer is still roaming Destiny’s streets, Rory resolves to crack the case before Martha’s luck runs out.
Do you believe in superstitions? In this new series by Linda O Johnston, she takes us to Destiny, California to see if the rumors are true. What we find is a charming and delightful tale featuring Rory and her furry friend Pluckie who plays a pivotal role in this light and fresh whodunit. The author did a great job in setting up the scenes where a murderer hides in plain sight and I enjoyed watching it all come together. With a likable cast and the idiosyncrasies and uniqueness of this small town is a perfect fit to this entertaining series.

Visit Linda at

Finding Sky by Susan O’Brien
Series: Nicki Valentine #1
Publisher: Henery Press
She’s a parent. She’s (almost) a P.I. No one gets on your case like mom. Suburban widow and P.I. in training Nicki Valentine can barely keep track of her two kids, never mind anyone else. But when her best friend’s adoption plan is jeopardized by the young birth mother’s disappearance, Nicki is persuaded to help. Nearly everyone else believes the teenager ran away, but Nicki trusts her BFF’s judgment, and the feeling is mutual.

The case leads where few moms go (teen parties, gang shootings) and places they can’t avoid (preschool parties, OB-GYNs’ offices). Nicki has everything to lose and much to gain — including the attention of her unnervingly hot P.I. instructor. Thankfully, Nicki is armed with her pesky conscience, occasional babysitters, a fully stocked minivan, and nature’s best defense system: women’s intuition.
From the start, Susan O’Brien fresh new drama pulled me in immediately and quickly became a page-turner, as I had to know it was going to end and boy was it worth the wait in this pleasantly appealing debut novel. This was a good mystery that kept me busy sifting through the clues as I followed the twists and turns that the author presented to deter my own sleuthing. Surrounded by a diverse cast of characters and engaging dialogue, this was a very enjoyable read and I can’t wait to see what new exciting cases await Nicki Valentine.

Visit Susan at

The Question of the Missing Head by E. J. Copperman/Jeff Cohen
Series: Asperger #1
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Samuel Hoenig answers questions for a living. And as a man with Asperger’s Syndrome, his unique personality helps him ferret out almost any answer there is. But his latest question is a rather odd one—who stole a preserved head from the Garden State Cryonics Institute?

Arriving at the scene of the crime accompanied by his new colleague, Ms. Washburn, Samuel finds that what started out as a theft has escalated to murder. With suspects and motives emerging at a rapid rate, one final question remains—can Samuel’s powers of deduction uncover a killer in the face of overwhelming odds?
Visit Jeff at and E.J. at

Bless Her Dead Little Heart by Miranda James
Series: Southern Sisters #1
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
New York Times bestselling author Miranda James returns to Athena, Mississippi, with an all-new mystery featuring Miss An’gel and Miss Dickce Ducote, two snoopy sisters who are always ready to lend a helping hand. But when a stressed socialite brings murder right to their doorstep, even they have trouble maintaining their Southern hospitality.

With the Mississippi sun beating down, An’gel and Dickce are taking a break to cool off and pet sit their friend Charlie Harris’s cat, Diesel, when their former sorority sister, Rosabelle Sultan, shows up at their door unexpectedly, with her ne’er-do-well adult children not far behind.

Rosabelle’s selfish offspring are desperate to discover what’s in her will, and it soon becomes clear that one of them would kill to get their hands on the inheritance. Suddenly caught up in a deadly tangle of duplicitous suspects and deep-fried motives, it will take all of the sisters’ Southern charm to catch a decidedly ill-mannered killer.
Visit Miranda (Dean) James at

Off Kilter by Hannah Reed
Series: Scottish Highlands #1
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
National bestselling author Hannah Reed brings mystery lovers the first in a brand-new series, in which a young writer finds herself swept up in a murder amidst the glens and lochs of the Scottish Highlands.

After the recent death of her mother and the dissolution of her marriage, thirty-something Eden Elliott is seriously in need of a fresh start. At the urging of her best friend, bestselling author Ami Pederson, Eden decides to embark on an open-ended trip to the picturesque village of Glenkillen in the Scottish Highlands, to do some hands-on research for a book of her own. But almost as soon as Eden arrives in the quaint town, she gets caught up in a very real drama.

The town’s sheep shearer is found murdered—clipped with his own shears—and the locals suspect Vicki MacBride, an outsider whose father’s recent death left her the surprise heir to his lucrative sheep farm. Eden refuses to believe the affable heiress is a murderer, but can she prove that someone is out to frame her new friend before she finds herself on the receiving end of more shear terror?
Visit Hannah at

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Who Are You People?

by Maggie Sefton

WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE?  Characters from the NYTimes Bestselling Kelly Flynn Knitting Mysteries:  A Closer Look.

That's the title of the new "E-Short" Ebook selection I just put up on Amazon,, and other major Ebook retailers.  Since the 12th book in the Kelly Flynn mysteries was released last June---YARN OVER MURDER---I decided it was a good time to provide a guide to the cast of  characters in the mysteries, which has grown considerably since the very first mystery--KNIT ONE, KILL TWO--when Kelly Flynn returned to her childhood home of Fort Connor, Colorado.  I thought readers who are new to the series would appreciate some "deep background."  

Over the years that I've been writing about Kelly and her world, I've been fascinated at how some characters appeared in an early book, played their role, and then matter-of-factly announced that they had no intention of leaving the scene.  Instead, they planned to become part of the regular cast and crew.  Curt Stackhouse was the first to announce he wasn't about to "ride off into the sunset" at the end of KNIT ONE, KILL TWO.  No, no.  He was staying.  Jayleen Swinson did the very same thing in the second book, NEEDLED TO DEATH.

By the way-----in case you're wondering----characters don't ask.  They demand.  Period.   Yeah, yeah.  I know.  We novelists are terminally weird.  All sorts of characters live inside our heads, and then they demand to be on the page.   What can I say?   It comes with the territory.

And that's why I wrote the guide to the characters.  Then----followed that up by writing a Short Short Story featuring the cast and crew of the Kelly Flynn Knitting Mysteries.  HALLOWEEN SCARE will be released online on Ebooks at the start of Halloween week near the end of October.  This E-Short developed from a scene that appeared one day and wouldn't go away.  I thought for a moment that perhaps it was meant to be part of a regular Kelly Flynn mystery.  But then, I realized that it wouldn't really fit.  Instead, it was a simple self-contained scene in the lives of the folks that show up at the House of Lambspun.  You can find out more when I post about that story on October 28th on the Cozy Chicks Blog.

Meanwhile, if anyone you know is curious about "Kelly World," they can find out more by reading WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE?   I really searched for a cover photo that would work, but most photos were of real people.  And then, I saw the photo above with the "vector people."  I love it.  But then, I am terminally weird, you know.  :)  I was reminded to include links:   and  

Monday, October 13, 2014


by Kate Collins

For your entertainment and in honor of Columbus Day, which the US has celebrated since 1937, I did a little research  -- and came away scratching my head. Because in fact there's not much of a reason to honor Señor Columbus.

First of all, he was not the first to believe his ship wouldn't fall off the end of the ocean. Most educated Europeans of his time already knew the world was round.

Second, a number of other explorers landed on the continent before Chris did. He actually bumped into it while trying to reach the East Indies, which is why it is believed he called the native Americans "Indians." He didn't even know this great big continent existed. A geography scholar he was not.

Third, he wanted to enslave the natives and actually took some back to Spain with him, where they were displayed on the streets of Barcelona and Seville.

So whose idea was this holiday anyway? And why do we keep celebrating it? Or do we? Bankers no longer get it off. Do you?

Here are what some famous people had to say about the man, courtesy of Maria Vultaggio,

“Perhaps, after all, America never has been discovered.  I myself would say that it had merely been detected.” -- Oscar Wilde

“Christopher Columbus, as everyone knows, is honored by posterity because he was the last to discover America.” -- James Joyce

“If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans.” -- Stephen Hawking

“When asked by an anthropologist what the Indians called America before the white man came, an Indian said simply, ‘Ours.’” -- Vine Deloria Jr.

“If Columbus had an advisory committee, he would probably still be at the dock.” -- Arthur Goldberg

AND MY FAVORITE: “America had often been discovered before Columbus, but it had always been hushed up.” -- Oscar Wilde

My question to you is, should we keep honoring this explorer or should we give the distinction to a true American hero? And who would you pick for that?

Enjoy your holiday!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

It's National Cat Month and Mine Won't Let Me Forget

by Leann

October is National Cat Month and I have two cats who won't let me forget--and of course the fictional ones are meowing in my head, too. But of course, every second of every minute of every hour of every day is Caturday, but I believe the cats got together to make sure they had a celebration worthy of them.

So, I thought I'd share with you pics of the cats who have owned me for the last twenty years. Three of them have crossed the Rainbow Bridge and I miss them so, but they all lived a good long time.

Starting with the youngest and still with us, we have Marlowe named after Philip Marlowe. He's an epileptic kitty with other neurological issues but we love him no matter what. He does have those eyes in his favor. Love his sweet face and the way he fights every day to stay with us. What a little tough guy!

Next is Wexford, who is three and named after Inspector Wexford in Ruth Rendell's  long-running British mystery series. Wexford is a scaredy cat but he loves his new home. A lot of bird watching is going on this cat month. He's also very affectionate and definitely a momma's boy.

Simone is my grandkitty, so he doesn't live with me but a friend and I rescued him. He was trying to survive outside after having been declawed. Not a good thing for him, but so lucky for my daughter and son-in-law who adore him. He's Persian and has had heart and kidney issues but manages to pull through every crisis, We don't know how old he is, but I'd say older than 10 by now since he's having dental problems, too.

Archie Goodwin was a baby I rescued him from a grocery store parking lot on a roasting hot day in Texas 16 years ago. He was already FIV positive, but lived to be 14. When that Christmas tree skirt came out every year, he was the first to claim it. Such a handsome boy!

Agatha Christie was a tiny exotic shorthair who I felt was being abused by a person who showed cats. She had ear mites that took two years for me to clear up and was covered in fleas. What kind of a breeder allows that to happen? I called her Aggie the toy hog. She was diabetic and developed an untreatable abscess on a kidney and died when she was 16. The diabetes was hard to deal with because she was so small, only 5 pounds full grown. She loved to sit next to me every day while I was writing.

Last but not least, my beloved Indigo. How I adored that mischievous smarty pants. She was struck by an aggressive cancer when she was 17 and so, a kitty who had never been sick a day in her life, was gone within two weeks. I kept her home and was with her when she took her last breath. She and all the rest of these babies will live in my heart forever, so National Cat Month at my house is for all of them.

Feel free to tell me about your fur friends and share pictures. After all, National Cat Month only comes around every day!