CAT STAMPS AND THE CATS ON STAMPS STUDY UNIT

I bet you didn’t know there is a group dedicated to cats on stamps! I only found out recently, though the COSSU (Cats on Stamps Study Unit) celebrated their 40th anniversary not long ago. It’s been a well-kept secret, even for cat people like me who make a point of discovering obscure cat information wherever they can. Now I want to pass this discovery on to you!

COSSU is an international organization with members from about a dozen countries. It was founded in 1979 by Virginia Haywood, an enthusiastic stamp collector. COSSU publishes a newsletter, Cat Mews, four times a year.

I couldn’t wait to get my first issue of Cat Mews and was thrilled with the info it contained. Besides the many color and black-and-white photos of stamps and post marks, there is cat information as well. Cat Mews features breeds of cats and the stamps for those breeds. There are stamp stories about particular stamps, their origin and illustrators (this month featured Penelope Pussycat from Loony Tunes and her philatelic debut in Australia.) They also have cat book and cat art corners where authors and artists can present their creations. I will be in the November/December issue!

We may not have a lot of cat stamps here in the U.S. (though it turns out there are more than I thought), but COSSU shows stamps from all over the world, and they are amazing! Everything from Felix the Cat (Australia) to an American Curl (Grenada) to Spooky Black Cat Silhouette (USA, above, coming this autumn). Wild cats are also included, such as the Sand Cat (Liberia) and “Lion City” illustration by Tsu Soo Tan (Singapore).

Rarely do I read a magazine cover to cover, but Cat Mews just kept me going all the way through. Even if you don’t join, you can get a free PDF, but for $14 I love having the magazine that I can share with friends. I haven’t found anyone who isn’t just a little interested in cats on stamps.

How to join COSSU:

http://www.catstamps.info/

catmews1@yahoo.com

Dues:   $14 U.S.

​             $18/1 year, Canada

​             $20/1 year all others

$10 E-version only, worldwide

Membership includes four (4) issues of Cat Mews.

PayPal is accepted: bobmarci@aol.com

 

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IT’S OFFICIAL! CAT SUMMER LAUNCHES AUGUST 28TH!

 

I’m excited to announce Cat Summer, Book 1 of my Cat Seasons sci-fantasy tetralogy, published by Fire Star Press, will be out at the end of this month! This is the second time I’ve worked with Fire Star, and the first full-length work.  I can’t wait to hold it in my hands, and I hope you feel the same.

Cat Summer is very different from my Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery series. There are some thrills and chills as sentient cats try to save the world. There is a lot of color and a bit of mystery, a look into a possible future and the fate of humankind.

Were cats Earth’s first sentient species?

Are humans blind to the doom that creeps ever closer?

Answering questions like these were what inspired me to write this story.

CAT SUMMER by MOLLIE HUNT

Lise has a special destiny: to help a clowder of sentient cats save the world from an evil older than history itself. It is a terrible battle, but Lise and her feline comrades prevail, putting an end to war, poverty, ignorance and want. The world is a better place.

Or is it?

A century later, it becomes clear that something has been lost. The new civilization produces no artists, no musicians, no scientists, no philosophers. Inertia has taken hold. Lise, now at the end of her life, must join her cat-friends once more to restore the Spark of the Human Spirit, but the goal cannot be reached without sacrifice. Is there enough time left for them to save the world for future generations?

 

CAT SUMMER, coming August 28th!

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CAT RAPPER/ARM & HAMMER SONG COLLABORATION HITS HOME HERE IN PORTLAND

I’m excited that iAmMoshow, the Cat Rapper and ARM & HAMMER are releasing a second video, but I’m even more thrilled that one of the beneficiaries of this collaboration is Cat Adoption Team, right here in our Portland Oregon area! CAT is one of the leading shelters in the Pacific Northwest, and one of the few that help cats only. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting CAT many times. They work closely with the other animal rescue agencies in the area to end cat overpopulation, and have done amazing work in that direction with the aid of the Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland (ASAP).

Just in time for International Cat Day (August 8th), iAmMoshow, The Cat Rapper™ and ARM & HAMMER™ are releasing their second song and YouTube video called “Double Duty” to celebrate cat love and remind pet owners how a chore like cleaning the litter box can actually be easy and empowering. 

Last year their first song “SLIDE” reached 1 million views, and $10K was donated to Mac’s fund.

Read the stories: IAMMOSHOW, THE CAT RAPPER meets ARM & HAMMER SLIDE and UPDATE: CAT RAPPER GOAL REACHED – ARM & HAMMER DONATES $10,000 TO MAC’S FUND

Now, Church & Dwight Co., Inc., the maker of ARM & HAMMER™ brand products, is doubling down and pledging to donate a total of $20,000 to two more cat welfare organizations, ACCT Philly and the Cat Adoption Team in Oregon if the “Double Duty” video receives two million views by October 31, 2019. 

Additionally, throughout the campaign fans are invited to post videos dancing to “Double Duty” with their own cats for a chance to be included in iAmMoshow’s first fan video. Giving more power to cat lovers!

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE: Cat Rapper iAmMoshow and ARM & HAMMER™ release Second Single “Double Duty” and Say If you Love Cats, More Power to You. ARM & HAMMER™ pledges a double donation totaling $20,000 to two cat welfare organizations, if music video receives 2 million views

EWING, N.J. – July 30, 2019 – Today, iAmMoshow, the internet’s favorite cat rapper, and ARM & HAMMER™ released their newest music video collaboration, “Double Duty.” Last October, they debuted their first song  “SLIDE” and thanks to fans, this video was so successful Church & Dwight Co., Inc., the maker of ARM & HAMMER™ brand products, donated $10,000 to Mac’s Fund after the video exceeded the goal of one million views. Now, the company is doubling down and pledging to donate a total of $20,000 to support two more cat welfare organizations, ACCT Philly and the Cat Adoption Team (CAT) if the “Double Duty” video receives two million views by October 31, 2019.

●      Watch the official “Double Duty” YouTube video here.

The “Double Duty” rap is filled with infectious rhymes celebrating cat love and reminds pet owners that ARM & HAMMER™ Double Duty Cat Litter is designed to make a chore like cleaning the litter box easy and empowering.

“I had a blast writing the lyrics to ‘Double Duty’ because it’s about celebrating our love for cats and keeping our fuzzy cuties smelling clean with ARM & HAMMER™ Double Duty cat litter,” said iAmMoshow, The Cat Rapper™. “I’m especially excited about this video since it’s bringing awareness to two catastic causes like ACCT Philly and the Cat Adoption Team. Both organizations help kitties find good homes and run other programs to keep their community cats safe and healthy.”

ACCT Philly is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and manages a number of cat-specific programs for the city, including adoption, facilitating working cats and trap-neuter-return (TNR) initiatives. Cat Adoption Team (CAT) is located in Sherwood, Oregon and offers adoption, foster care, and veterinary services to homeless cats and kittens in the area.

“Our collaboration with iAmMoshow continues to be a natural fit given our shared values around celebrating the unique bond between pet owners and their pets and our commitment to supporting under-funded, lesser known cat welfare organizations,” said Rebecca Blank, Group Brand Manager, ARM & HAMMER™ Cat Litter. “We’re thrilled to share the ‘Double Duty’ music video and whether it makes people feel excited about caring for their pet or inspired to help their local community cats we hope it brings more power to all cat lovers.”

Throughout the campaign, fans are also invited to submit videos dancing to “Double Duty” with their own cats for a chance to be featured in the fan release music video. To learn more about being featured in the fan release music video and for the official rules, visit www.armandhammer.com/DoubleDuty. Follow @armandhammercat and @iammoshow on Instagram for more details or check out www.facebook.com/ArmandHammer and www.facebook.com/iammoshow.

Church & Dwight Co., Inc., the maker of ARM & HAMMER™ brand products will donate $10,000 to two cat welfare organizations, ACCT Philly and the Cat Adoption Team for a total of $20,000, if the official “Double Duty” YouTube video receives two million views by October 31, 2019.

About iAmMoshow, The Cat Rapper™:

iAmMoshow is the internet’s premiere Cat Rapper. Born and raised in inner Baltimore, MD, he combined his passion for rap and cats to defy the odds and build a name for himself. Some of his most popular songs include Cat Bath Rap, Cat Emotions and Cat World and has three albums available on YouTube, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon Music, Deezer, Apple Music and iHeartRadio.

Currently living in Portland, OR, with his 5 cats – Black $avage, Sushi, Tali, MegaMam, and Ravioli – IAmMoshow is on a mission to inspire the world, sharing with others the lessons he has learned, to not give up on yourself and follow your dreams, no matter where they take you. To learn more, check out www.facebook.com/iammoshow and follow @iammoshow on Instagram. Don’t forget to tag #BeautifulCatLadyWednesdays.

About ARM & HAMMER™:

For more than 170 years, ARM & HAMMER™ Baking Soda’s familiar orange box has been a trusted fixture in both the refrigerator and home. The brand was founded in 1846 when Dr. Austin Church and John Dwight began to produce and sell sodium bicarbonate under the ARM & HAMMER™ brand name. Today, Church & Dwight, Co., Inc. manufactures a variety of cleaning, freshening and deodorizing products for the home, family, pets, and body under the iconic ARM & HAMMER™ brand name. For more information visit http://www.clumpandseal.com/.

ARM & HAMMER™ recently launched “More Power to You,” a marketing campaign designed to reflect the particular innovative power of ARM & HAMMER™ products to help families master everyday household tasks, from cooking and cleaning to pet care and personal care. It also functions as a message that ARM & HAMMER™ recognizes the unique power and innovation of its consumers and celebrates their ingenuity to constantly reinvent new uses for ARM & HAMMER™ products while tackling everyday tasks.   

 About Church & Dwight Co., Inc.:

Church & Dwight Co., Inc., headquartered in Ewing, NJ, manufactures and markets a wide range of personal care, household, and specialty products under the ARM & HAMMER™ brand name and other well-known trademarks like OxiClean™.

Posted in Animal Shelters, Cats, Crazy Cat Lady Mysteries & More | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

COSMIC CAT HAS A LAUNCH DATE!

When a superhero cosplayer falls to his death at a comic con, Lynley is left holding the bag— and a cat!

Who killed Captain Cat? His tribe wants to know.

When the Captain is murdered at Bridgetown Comic-con and philanthropist Esmae Westhouse is arrested for the crime, sixty-something cat shelter volunteer Lynley Cannon steps out of her comfort zone and dons her Star Trek uniform to expose the real killer.

A decade-spanning love triangle, a band of vigilante cosplayers, a shady pharmaceutical company, and an ancient black cat named Kitty tie into a puzzling plot that has Lynley running in all directions. The death of Captain Cat is only the beginning, and Lynley must stay one step ahead of a ruthless hit man if she is to make it out alive.

First comes the story, then innumerable edits, then the polish, and voila— a year later we have a book! Thus it was with Cosmic Cat. From the notion that I’d like to set Lynley in a Comic-con environment, to the development of the mystery that surrounds it, to the beautiful cover art by Leslie Cobb, to the proof copy, finally finally comes the published book! I’m not quite there yet, but I will be by the launch date on September 28th.

I’m ecstatic to announce COSMIC CAT, the 6th Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery, will launch at POP CATS PORTLAND Cat, Pop and Art Convention, September 28-29 at the Oregon Convention Center. I will be signing copies of COSMIC CAT, as well as my other Crazy Cat Lady cozy mysteries at Ramona Marek (Cats for the Genius) and my booth. (location TBA)

~POP Cats™ is a fun-packed festival fueled by the spirit of cats, pop, and art! You’ll love the cat playgrounds; artists; music; photo ops; artisans; brands; workshops; influencers; cat adoptions; tattoos; and more! A portion of profits benefits participating cat organizations.

POP CATS PORTLAND promises to be a unique and amazing cat-centric festival of everything feline, featuring special guests Hanna Shaw, the Kitten Lady, iAmMoshow the cat rapper, and more. The Oregon Humane Society, Cat Adoption Team, The Pixie Project, and other shelters will be there, as well as over 90 exhibitors.

~Get access to hard-to-find merchandise for cats and humans from your favorite makers and brands from the cat pop world. You will find: art, apparel, cat toys, accessories, paper goods, food brands… and of course, cat books!

 

But wait! There’s more!

September is months away, you say. What will we do until then?

Well, what better than to catch up on the previous Crazy Cat Lady mysteries, beginning with number 1, CATS’ EYES. And I have a deal for you:

To celebrate the upcoming launch of COSMIC CAT, I’m running a 5-day giveaway of CATS’ EYES, the first book in the series.

~CAT’S EYES, a Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery #1: Look what the cat dragged in! When Lynley’s old kitty Fluffo discovers a stolen uncut diamond, Lynley finds herself accused of murdering the thieves.

Free Kindle Giveaway runs Friday July 26 through Tuesday July 30. Get your free Kindle copy of CATS’ EYES now.

And join us on September 28th at Pop Cats for COSMIC CAT’s introduction to the world.

 

 

Posted in Contests, Crazy Cat Lady Mysteries & More, Giveaways | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

ANXIETY: PANDORA’S BOX UNLEASHED

Put on your softies, your fuzzy slippers. Make a cup of chamomile tea and find your “safe” place. Turn on your go-to zone-out show, and while it loads, listen to my story of anxiety:

I suffer with General Anxiety Disorder.

I’ve had it all my life, though for years, I  just thought that every so often, I went insane. Then I would tear my life apart to root out the culprit: leave boyfriends and husbands and homes; drink to excess, seeking relief. I would try anything and everything to shake myself out of this agonizing feeling that I couldn’t explain, and eventually it would end, leaving me broken and exhausted, faced with building anew. Was it the self-implemented shock therapy that finally quelled the anxiety, or did the episodes just run their course?

I’ve learned from experience my anxiety episodes, which last anywhere from weeks to months, are cyclic. When I’m in anxiety, I can honestly promise myself that eventually it will end. Unfortunately, the same is true about the peaceful times— ultimately I will fall once more into that pit of hell I know as anxiety.

One of the best descriptions of how it feels to experience anxiety was written by mystery writer Nevada Barr. I hope she will forgive me for quoting:

“…an all-encompassing physical fear reaction that came from nowhere. Pain was better— exhaustion, depression, toothache, the dry heaves, herpes, hives (were better than this.)

Breathing slowly through her nose, she rode the horror like a breaking wave.

‘It’ll pass,’ she told herself, and for the first time, understood why those words of wisdom always failed to comfort.”

—“Blind Descent” by Nevada Barr

Anxiety controls my life.

When I’m in anxiety, it controls my life, both physically and mentally. Here are some of the symptoms I undergo:

  • Waking up to an adrenaline rush of worry and fear.
  • Jerking awake with that same fear any time I try to go to sleep.
  • Over-thinking— every action is the sum of a multitude of decisions. Normally it happens subconsciously, but when that chaos becomes conscious, the least little act becomes exhausting.
  • Difficulty handling uncertainty.
  • Chest pains: I’ve been to the ER 3 times, and to the doctor many more. My heart is fine, but anxiety hurts.
  • Lethargy: Days when any movement at all feels like running a marathon after smoking a pack of cigarettes.
  • Alienation: Knowing only those who also suffer anxiety can understand what I’m going through, but not wanting to risk triggering their anxiety with my own.

The first step was admitting I had a problem.

I am now a “functioning” anxiety-sufferer with a good quality of life. I am productive and happy, most of the time. I keep my disorder in check with the help of a care team and medication, yet it still hits me regularly as the ocean tide. When it comes, I have a list of resources.

No, it doesn’t just go away by itself.

People are becoming more accepting of anxiety and its devastating effects on  the mind and body. If you have trouble with anxiety or any other mental anomaly, I encourage you from my heart to seek help from qualified sources, and not to quit until you find it. It took me far too long to assemble the team I have now, and I threw away many years of life in denial.

There is hope. There is hope. There is hope. There is hope!

 

 

Posted in anxiety disorder, Health, Wellness, Lifestyle | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

SUMMER/WINTER SALE, ALL MY BOOKS, ALL JULY!

Art Credit: Claudia Romero, “Reading Buddy”

Announcing the 11th annual

Smashwords July Summer/Winter Sale!

July 1, 2019 – July 31, 2019

For the month of July, my entire catalog of ebooks will be discounted  to 50% off the regular price! This is  a great opportunity to catch up on the first 5 Crazy Cat Lady cozy mysteries before the next in the series, Cosmic Cat, comes out!

Start at the beginning?

Cats’ Eyes, a Crazy Cat Lady Cozy Mystery #1: “Lynley Cannon is the crazy cat lady, but she’s not quite crazy yet, though a bizarre connection to a bumbled heist and a double homicide has got her wondering. The killer will to any lengths to get what he wants. Will Lynley live to clean the litter box another day?”

Get Cats’ Eyes for 50% off the regular price during Smashwords Summer/Winter Promotion the entire month of July.

How about a not-so-cozy mystery?

Placid River Runs Deep: “When Ember Mackay learns she has a life-threatening illness, she flees to the old Placid River cabin, but instead of solace, she finds mystery, murder, and a revenge plot that has taken a generation to unfold.”

Get Placid River Runs Deep for 50% off the regular price during Smashwords Summer/Winter Promotion the entire month of July.

 

Crazy Cat Humans, Unite!

The rest of the Crazy Cat Ladycozy mystery series:Sixty-something cat shelter volunteer finds more trouble than a cat in catnip!”

Get Copy Cats #2, Cat’s Paw #3, Cat Call #4, and Cat Cafe #5 for 50% off the regular price during Smashwords Summer/Winter Promotion the entire month of July.

 

Why do they call it “Summer/Winter”?   Here in the Northern hemisphere, it’s mid-summer.  Readers are loading their e-reading devices for summer beach reading and vacations.  South of the equator, our customers are now in the middle of winter.  They’re ready to curl up in front of the fireplace and enjoy a good read too!

The catalog goes live at 12:01 am Pacific on Monday, July 1 and expires 11:59 pm on Wednesday, July 31. There’s no need to remember coupon codes.  Readers will receive the discount automatically by adding your book to their cart.

Available ebook formats: epub; mobi; pdf; lrf; pdb; txt; html.

These deals are exclusive to the Smashwords Store and will not work anywhere else.

Smashwords Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CatWriter

 

Posted in Crazy Cat Lady Mysteries & More | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

WINNER OF THE CHARACTER CONTEST IS A PRINCESS!

I recently ran a contest for the winner to be mentioned as a character in my upcoming Crazy Cat Lady mystery, Cosmic Cat. We had many enthusiastic entries, but there was a bit of a snag when I went to get Tyler to choose the winner! He was napping and refused to wake up!

I hoped for better from Blaze, but he was busy with his catnip knot.

     

There was only one thing to do- draw the name myself!

Well, I do have opposable thumbs, which is helpful in picking out a single slip of paper from a pile. I did my best, without looking of course…

And the winner is….

a cat!

I really wasn’t expecting the winner of the character contest to be a cat. I’d assumed it would be a human, either someone who would enjoy having their name in the book, or possibly giving a family member’s name in tribute. That would be easy. There are several minor characters, both hero and villain, whose names I could have changed to the winner’s. But a cat character was a whole different story, and since Erin is a real cat princess, keeping her nobility was an added conundrum.

But that’s what writer’s do- they make stuff up. I ended up creating a whole new scene for dear Erin, and she deserves nothing less. Cosmic Cat will be out soon (Launch date still TBA) so be sure to look for Erin the Cat Princess, because you will be in the elite position of knowing the story behind the story.

Cosmic Cat, the 6th Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery

When a superhero cosplayer falls to his death at a comic con, Lynley is left holding the bag— and a cat!

Who killed Captain Cat? His tribe wants to know.

When the Captain is murdered  at Bridgetown Comic-con and philanthropist Esmae Westhouse is arrested for the crime, sixty-something cat shelter volunteer Lynley Cannon steps out of her comfort zone and dons her Star Trek uniform to expose the real killer.

A decade-spanning love triangle, a band of vigilante cosplayers, a shady pharmaceutical company, and an ancient black cat named Kitty tie into a puzzling plot that has Lynley running in all directions. The death of Captain Cat is only the beginning, and Lynley must stay one step ahead of a ruthless hit man if she is to make it out alive.

 

Meet Erin the Cat Princess

Age: Well, like all ladies I am a bit younger than my age of nine—eight would be nice 🙂

Potted History: I was living rough as a stray, age 3, though at some point I did have a family as I had been chipped, though they never bothered to register it.

Whilst I was living rough in the suburbs of Leicester, UK, I fell pregnant. It was a particularly cold and wet and nasty winter, and I was found struggling with my young kittens in someones garden. I was rescued and taken to a local shelter (Woodside Animal Centre) just before Christmas, where my kittens were weened and found homes. I had injuries to both my ears from living rough, necrosis in one from either frost bite or burn, and puncture wounds in the other. Both could have been cruelty related, but they could not tell exactly, but I do have a dislike for many people/strangers.

Anyways, I had to have them chopped off, to varying degrees. Alas, I think my raggedy looking ears and very tired lean figure, from being on the streets, put off the visitors to the shelter, and they all passed me by. I spent Christmas on my own and then found a new home in February the following year.

Likes: That is easy. I love cream, mice, small birds and the jelly from only one kind of pouch food. I like waking Mrs H up early to play with my mice that I bring home, generally at 2am.

Dislikes: All traffic and strangers and loud noises. The palace is a really quiet place, in fact so quiet I can hear a mouse breath!  I dislike all wet cat food meats that I have tried to date. Whilst I like high protein kibble foods, like Orijen, I do not like raw cat food itself; I guess that stuff just doesn’t have the same crunch and furry feather taste, MOL   I also do not like cheese or bacon.

Appearance:  Well, I am a true Tuxedo cat from what is left of my ears to tip of my tail. Typical in colouring in every way: white paws and open tuxedo jacket with white shirt, collar and tie showing.

Goals in life: To have fun and to help others have fun through my stories is a big one; also to get published and feature in my own movie. I also want to sample every type of cream I can. Oh, and I want a really big sheltered and quiet walled garden.

Thanks, Erin! May all your dreams come true, especially the garden.

Check out Erin’s blog at: https://erinthecatprincess.blogspot.com/

Also on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/erinthecatprincess/

 

 

 

Posted in Contests, Crazy Cat Lady Mysteries & More, Interviews, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

PHOTO SHOOT: FUN WITH RAMONA & MOLLIE

I recently did a photo shoot with Ramona Marek for the upcoming Pop Cats cat festival and convention where we will be selling our books. We enlisted the help of another CWA member, Tamara Ann Fowler to take the pictures, and asked a cat-loving friend, Leslie Cobb, if we could use her catio.

Now when I say Leslie is a cat person, it doesn’t begin to do justice to the cat-centricness of her home. Leslie, the cat artist who provides the cover art for my Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery series, has an incredible eye for color, composition, and style. We had such a fun time looking at all her cat stuff that we nearly forgot about taking the pictures!

Leslie also has several cats, some of whom joined in our shoot. Those were the best pictures of all! For example:

Ramona: “Come on, Mollie, leave Herman alone. We’re supposed to be promoting our books in this picture.”

Ramona: “Oh, but wait! Here’s Genevieve!”

Mollie: “See? Isn’t that better than holding a book?”

Ramona: “We can do book pictures later, when Genevieve finishes her nap.”

And we never did get a good photo of us holding our books!

Here is another good one:

Ramona: “Please, can I pet Annabel?” Mollie: “Hum, I don’t know…”

Ramona: “See? She likes it.”

Mollie: “Maybe both of us can pet her at the same time.”

“It’s a win-win for Annabel!”

 

These are my favorites!

Me with Annabel

Ramona shares a moment with Herman

Leslie and Tallulah Jane

And this wasn’t something we’d planned, but what a perfect opportunity to have both my book cover and the original artwork in one photo? (To say nothing of artist and author)

Mollie Hunt with Leslie Cobb, Cat Artist

 

Stay tuned for more about Pop Cats Portland, coming in September!

POP Cats™ is a fun-packed festival fueled by the spirit of cats, pop, and art! You’ll love the cat playgrounds; artists; music; photo ops; artisans; brands; workshops; influencers; cat adoptions; tattoos; and more! A portion of profits benefits participating cat organizations.

It’s going to be a great show!

Posted in Book Talk, Cats, Local Fair, Portland Oregon Writers & Media | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

PRESENTERS – THE HEART OF THE CWA CONFERENCE

 

Though fun and important, there is more to putting on a successful conference than great swag and awards. In my last post, IT TAKES A VILLAGE – THANK YOU, CWA CONFERENCE SPONSORS! I listed the numerous companies who backed our venture with merchandise, donations, and awards. Continuing with my huge thanks to all who made the 25th Anniversary Cat Writers’ Association Conference possible, I’d like to  move now to the presenters. One of CWA’s aims is education, and these workshops, seminars, panels were amazing. I have so much to learn from these people!

Here is a list of all speakers, along with the titles of their presentations. It’s a varied group of experts in all fields, which made every single one a must-see.

 

Creative Cause Marketing for Rescues & More: How to Reach, Retain and Respect Your Audience – Julia Grosz; Anita Aurit; Beth Stultz-Hairston

~As a cat shelter volunteer, I know how important it is to compassionately”market” adoptable cats, as well as the shelter itself. These ladies had good tips for writing pet descriptions that get noticed, keeping yourself and others from “compassion fatigue,”  using content warnings for difficult subjects in your articles, and  much more.

 

How to Write Short Pieces for Publication – Lonnie Hull DuPont

~”Word count matters!” -Lonnie Hull DuPont

 

The Myth Of Busyness: How To Claim Time For Your Business – Robbi Hess

~One of Robbi’s suggestions was not to check email first thing in the morning. Email is a time-suck and I instigated this habit long ago. Since morning is my most creative time of the day, I work on writing first and everything else comes later.

 

Editing and Graphics with PicMonkey and Canva – Paula Gregg

 

The Science of Cats: Feline Nutrition & Hydration – Panel discussion by Dr. Kurt Venator and Dr. Janet Jackson of Purina

~This presentation by the two doctors was enlightening. I plan to do a more in-depth post with them in a month or so.

 

Cross-Marketing & Self-Editing to Broaden Markets and Multiply Sales – Robyn Conley

 

Practical Guide to Social Media for Selling Books – Lisa Miller

~Ask yourself, Why do people come to my site? I figure it’s for the cat pictures. What do you think?

 

Improving the Well-Being of Cats in the Home, Shelters, and Post-Adoption: Keynote Speaker: Dr. Debra Horwitz, DVM

~Dr. Debra Horwitz, DVM is a Partner with Purina and a Veterinary Behavior Consultant. I learned a lot about stressors and response, but my favorite tidbit was that only house cats and lions demonstrate the tail-up stance of happiness.

“When your cat holds her tail high in the air as she moves about her territory, she’s expressing confidence and contentment. A tail that sticks straight up signals happiness and a willingness to be friendly. And watch the tip of an erect tail. A little twitch can mean a particularly happy moment.”

 

How to be Successful at Self-Publishing and Own Your Career! – Kevin Tumlinson

Kevin works with Draft2Digital,  a  digital publishing aggregator offering conversion and distribution services for authors. This seems to be a great platform for independent authors like myself. Here is my D2D Author page.

 

What’s Your Story Now? Own It! Writers and Bloggers Need Their Own Story To Help Communicate & Connect With Today’s Feline Lovers in Social & Traditional Media – Lea-Ann Germinder

 

You’re On the Air – With Arden Moore – Arden Moore

 

Feline Health Q&A with Dr. Kasten – Dr. Jennifer Kasten, Tomlyn

~It seems so obvious, but here’s something to think about: Stress  = grooming = hairballs = stress. Hairballs are not a natural kitty function. It’s important to find out what’s causing your cat to throw up hairballs and treat it accordingly.

 

Bundling for Success – Bonnie Koenig

Bonnie contacted me a few years ago about a bundle she was putting together called Fantastic Feline Heroes.

 

Stand Out from the Crowd: Picture Perfect Photos for Print, Social Media, and Publishing – Larry Johnson (Larry also donated his photography skills and took pictures for the conference.)

~Larry is amazing. He photographs all the beautiful cat show cats, yet he gave us simple, easy to use tips for improving our own cat photographs.

 

Communicating, Capitalizing, and Connecting in a Fictional World – Mollie Hunt; Debbie De Louise; Patricia Fry; Sandy Murphy

 

Understanding and Using Instagram to Build Your Personal Brand and Audience – Janiss Garza; Jessica Spawn

~Still working on this one, guys!

 

Hypnotic Marketing: How to Create Descriptions and Sales Offers That Mesmerize Readers and Sell More Books, Products, and Services – Bob Baker

~An amazing presentation, with many specific pointers on how to sell books, and yes, even the most introverted of authors wants to sell books!

~

I encourage everyone to look up these talented people for more information on their chosen topics. Most can be found online. If you have any trouble, let me know.

Posted in Book Talk, CAT WRITERS, Crazy Cat Lady Mysteries & More, Health, Wellness, Lifestyle, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

IT WAS THE THIRD OF JUNE, ANOTHER SLEEPY, DUSTY DELTA DAY…

 

It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day.

I was out choppin’ cotton and my brother was balin’ hay…

 

Today is June third, and when an online friend posted those lyrics on Facebook, the enigmatic ballad came back to me as if Bobbie Gentry were singing through my phone. It’s been more than 50 years since she produced the haunting song that had a whole generation wondering: What did Billy Joe Macallister really throw off the Tallahatchie Bridge? Half a century later, I figured it was time to find out. With the help of the internet, many of the mysteries of my youth have been solved. I was sure the answer would be there.

But it wasn’t. Though speculation ran from flowers to a baby, no one had ever got Gentry to commit. In 1976, a film was made based on the song, it’s interpretation including a homosexual theme. Herman Raucher, the screenplay’s writer, asked  Bobbie Gentry about the song:

“I said, ‘You don’t know why he jumped off the bridge?’

She said, ‘I have no idea.’”

The web wasn’t a total loss, however. As I surfed on, I discovered something even more intriguing: The meaning of the song itself.

Recently a handwritten page of Gentry’s original lyrics had been found. It began with a verse she never recorded and with the first line crossed out.

Sally Jane Ellison’s been missing since the first week in June.

People don’t see Sally Jane in town any more.

There’s a lot o’ speculatin’, she’s not actin’ like she did before.

Some say she knows more than she’s willin’ to tell.

But she stays quiet and a few think it’s just as well.

No one really knows what went on up on Choctaw Ridge

the day that Billy Jo McAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge.

—University of Mississippi’s Archives and Special Collections

In the published lyrics, Sally Jane became the unnamed female narrator who was only present with Billy Joe throwing something off the bridge. What it means has more to do with the nature of the ballad than the story.

The story itself has so many dramatic elements— Billy Joe’s apparent suicide and the bridge-tossing mystery— that its true meaning was lost on the youth of the mid-sixties, as it has been lost ever since.

Blogger Jon Pennington writes:

“The song is nominally about Billie Joe McAllister’s suicide, but no informative details of the suicide ever emerge.  Instead, we only learn about the suicide indirectly from a narrator who hears bits and pieces emerge in between mundane dinner table —conversation between Mama and Papa.  But the whole point is that Mama and Papa’s dinner table conservation will never help you solve the mystery, because Mama and Papa not only don’t know enough about Billy Joe McAllister to answer that question, they simply don’t care.” — Jon Pennington

So here is the real deal:

It doesn’t matter what they threw off the bridge. More ominous than Billy Joe’s suicide, more menacing than the couple throwing something off the bridge, more heartbreaking than the lonely narrator picking flowers up on Choctaw Ridge is the blatant apathy of the family to the tragedies going on around them. The true theme of the song is indifference.

“The song is a first-person narrative that reveals a Southern Gothic tale in its verses by including the dialog of the narrator’s family at dinnertime on the day that “Billie Joe McAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge.” Throughout the song, the suicide and other tragedies are contrasted against the banality of everyday routine and polite conversation.” —Wikipedia  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ode_to_Billie_Joe

 

Published Lyrics:

It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day

I was out choppin’ cotton and my brother was balin’ hay

And at dinner time we stopped and we walked back to the house to eat

And mama hollered at the back door “y’all remember to wipe your feet”

And then she said she got some news this mornin’ from Choctaw Ridge

Today Billie Joe MacAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge

 

Papa said to mama as he passed around the blackeyed peas

“Well, Billie Joe never had a lick of sense, pass the biscuits, please”

“There’s five more acres in the lower forty I’ve got to plow”

Mama said it was shame about Billie Joe, anyhow

Seems like nothin’ ever comes to no good up on Choctaw Ridge

And now Billie Joe MacAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge

 

And brother said he recollected when he and Tom and Billie Joe

Put a frog down my back at the Carroll County picture show

And wasn’t I talkin’ to him after church last Sunday night?

“I’ll have another piece of apple pie, you know it just don’t seem right”

“I saw him at the sawmill yesterday on Choctaw Ridge”

“And now you tell me Billie Joe’s jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge”

 

Mama said to me “Child, what’s happened to your appetite?”

“I’ve been cookin’ all morning and you haven’t touched a single bite”

“That nice young preacher, Brother Taylor, dropped by today”

“Said he’d be pleased to have dinner on Sunday, oh, by the way”

“He said he saw a girl that looked a lot like you up on Choctaw Ridge”

“And she and Billie Joe was throwing somethin’ off the Tallahatchie Bridge”

 

A year has come ‘n’ gone since we heard the news ’bout Billie Joe

Brother married Becky Thompson, they bought a store in Tupelo

There was a virus going ’round, papa caught it and he died last Spring

And now mama doesn’t seem to wanna do much of anything

And me, I spend a lot of time pickin’ flowers up on Choctaw Ridge

 

And drop them into the muddy water off the Tallahatchie Bridge.

In this photograph from the November 10, 1967 issue of Life magazine, Bobbie Gentry strolls across the Tallahatchie Bridge in Money, Mississippi. The bridge collapsed in June 1972.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Death & Dying, Getting Older, Health, Wellness, Lifestyle, Life Through Amber, mental illness | Tagged , , , , , | 19 Comments