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!

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Posted in Book Talk, Cats, Local Fair, Portland Oregon Writers & Media | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 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 , , , , , , | 10 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

MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE CRAZY CAT LADY FACTORY…

 

Yes, there has been lots happening, what with the CWA Conference and all it entails, but life goes on for Lynley Cannon. The sixty-something cat shelter volunteer has been busy  caring for cats, going to cosplay parties, getting chased, and of course witnessing a few murders!

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

It’s Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery #6, Cosmic Cat! Here’s an excerpt:

“Miz C!” came a familiar and welcome voice as a young man with red hair and a huge smile set a cat carrier on the table in front of me.

“Oh, Freddie!” I exclaimed. “I was beginning to think you weren’t coming.”

“There’s a traffic jam all the way down Grant Street. What’s the deal anyway? There must be a million cop cars outside…” The boy stopped dead. I followed his gaze to—‌what else? —‌the body. “Sheesh. Is he…?”

“Yes, looks like there’s been a bit of a murder,” I said unnecessarily. “I’m surprised you made it in.”

A sly smirk played across his lips. “I snuck through the back.”

“Oh?”

“I did a gig here a while back, loading in bands for the Blues Festival. I had lots of time to explore the building. I thought the information might come in handy someday.”

Freddie’s attention was still pinned to Captain Cat. “Why is he in costume?” His green-eyed gaze swiveled to me, and he broke into a grin. “But I see he’s not the only one.”

“It’s a comic-con,” I explained with a blush, realizing how I must look to an outsider: an old woman in cape and cat ears, the Blue Protector persona dwindling into a dress-up wannabe in the stark light of day. But Freddie of all people should understand. He worked in the film industry and must see weirder and wilder all the time.

Except that in the movies, the dead people are only acting, I mourned.

~

When Lynley attends a local comic-con to help her friend sell costumes for cats, she has no idea the dark turn of events to come.

She dresses up in costume to infiltrate a band of activists who may be responsible for the death of their Captain Cat!

But she doesn’t know who to trust.

Meanwhile Lynley gathers two new cats, Kitty and Montero, for her already-overflowing clowder of eight!

And maybe a kitten?

~

Cosmic Cat, coming soon! I don’t have a date yet, but will certainly let you know.

Enter to be a character in Cosmic Cat!*****

*****************THE CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. THANKS FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION. WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED SHORTLY. GOOD LUCK!

 

*****And the winner is…. erinthecatprincess !!!! 

ERin, please email Mollie at MollieHuntCatWriter@gmail.com to get set.

 

Have you always wanted your name in print? Wanted to be a book character? Know someone who would love the surprise of finding their name in a book? You can enter to win just that! All you have to do to be entered is write something in the comment section of this blog. The winner will be announced soon. Please state whether you would like to be a hero or a villain.

Need to catch up of the Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery series?

Here is the link:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Contests, Crazy Cat Lady Mysteries & More, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

IT TAKES A VILLAGE – THANK YOU, CWA CONFERENCE SPONSORS!

I am one among many who had an excellent time at the recent Cat Writers’ Association Conference in St. Louis.  I’ve heard so many compliments about the speakers, the swag, the book-signing and raffle, and the overall spirit of comradery, but none of it could have happened without sponsors who believe in CWA’s importance to the cat universe. By sponsoring us with money, gifts, and awards, they made it possible to put on a first-class event.

Here is the spectacular sponsor list, including the many things they donated. Take a look at all the major cat players who took time and expense to contribute to cat-based creativity:

Alley Cat Rescue – Bronze Sponsor and Swag: Fire Rescue Stickers.  @alleycatrescueinc @alleycatrescue

~I put up the fire rescue sticker first think when I got home. If you don’t have one, I strongly suggest getting one. This, posted on your front door, tells fire and rescue people how many animals they should be looking for in case of emergency.

American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) – Silver Sponsor and Special Award Sponsor: AAFP Cat Friendly Award. @CatVets @CatFriendlyHomes

CATalyst Council – Silver Sponsor and Special Award Sponsor: CATalyst Council Connection Award. @CatalystCouncil

Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) – Gold Sponsor and Swag: Cat Talk Magazine/CFA Cat Show listing sheet, and Special Award Sponsor: CWA President’s Award @CFA.org @CFAOrg @CFACats

 CatLadyBox – Swag Sponsor – Cat Lady License Plate Frame. @catladybox

~I can’t wait to get this on my car!

Catster/Belvoir Media Group – Bronze Sponsor and Special Award Sponsor: Lorie Huston Health Award. @catster @catstermag

Ceva Animal Health, LLC – Gold Sponsor and Swag: Feliway and Catego; $500 donation to HSMO fundraiser. @YouLoveYourCatCeva @Ceva_USA

Clawguard – Swag Sponsor: Beverage Koozie & Coupon. @clawguard

Cornell University Feline Health Center – Silver Sponsor and Special Award Sponsor: Dr. Jim Richards Cornell Feline Health Center Veterinary Issues Award. @CornellFelineHealthCenter   @cornellcats @CornellUniversity

Cuddle Clones – Giveaway Raffle Prize for HSMO fundraiser – Cuddle Clones custom pet. @cuddleclones

~Paula Gregg of Sweet Purrfections had Cuddle Clones made of her cats Truffle & Brulee to bring to the conference!

Door Buddy – Bronze Sponsor. @thedoorbuddy

Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat – Silver Sponsor and Swag: cleanprotein dry kibble and Purrfessor cat swag; HSMO donation: cleanprotein cat food and litter coupons. @PreciousCatLitters @CatAttract @DrElseys

Fear Free Pets – Platinum Sponsor, Swag: Free month Fear Free membership flyer and Special Awards Sponsor: -Fear Free Pets Award (increased to $2500 for anniversary conference) -Fear Free Cat Enrichment Award (increased to $2500 for anniversary conference) @FearFreePets @fearfreehappyhomes @DrMartyBecker

Four Paws – Swag Bag Sponsor – Four Paws® Love Glove Grooming Mitt for Cats. @FourPawsBrand @FourPawsBrand @fourpawsbrand

GoodNewsForPets / Germinder + Associates – Emerald Sponsor and Swag: catnip toys, and Special Award Sponsor: Goodnewsforpets.com Human-Animal Bond Award. @GerminderPR @goodnewsforpets 

~Blaze is so funny! He likes the big toys, but will go after this tiny catnip treat from Germinder & Assoc. with all paws blazing!

Hartz Mountain Corporation – Swag Bag Sponsor: Cattraction with Silver Vine & Catnip kicker cat toys; HSMO fundraiser donation – cat and dog toys, grooming aids, small pet bedding and food, flea shampoo and more for a total of $2500 @HartzPets @hartzpets

~The Hartz Cattraction magic unicorn sea horse is also a big hit with Blaze!

 International Veterinary Sciences (IVS) – Swag Bag Sponsor: Cat Wipes. @ivspet 

Meat Me/Gentle Harvest – Gold Sponsor and Swag: Bookmark and ground treats; $250 for HSMO fundraiser. @meatmepetfood  

Meowijuana – Swag Bag Sponsor: sample Meowijuana baggies; HSMO donation – Meowijuana stickers. @Meowijuana @meowijuanaville @meowijuanallc

 My Lap Pet Bed – (1) MyLap Pet Bed Giveaway Raffle Prize for HSMO fundraiser and (1) for the CWA raffle at the awards banquet. @MyLapPetBed

Petco Foundation – Gold Sponsorship Grant. @PetcoFoundation

PetSafe – Giveaway Raffle Prize for CWA (2) Pagoda drinking fountains; HSMO Raffle (1) Pagoda drinking fountain. @PetSafeBrand @PetSafe @petsafe

 Pet Sitters International (PSI) – Silver Sponsor and Special Award Sponsor: The PSI Professional Pet Care Award. @PetSittersInternational @PetSittersIntl

 Pet Tree Houses LLC – Giveaway Raffle Prize for HSMO fundraiser: Deluxe Kitty Cat Tree Condo. @PetTreeHouses @Pet TreeHouse @pettreehouses 

Pioneer Pet Products – Gold Sponsor and Swag: Nip Nibblers, and Special Award Sponsor: Smartcat All Natural Litter Training Award. @Pioneer-Pet-Products @Pioneer_Pet

Purina – Emerald Sponsor and Swag: Purina water tumblers stuffed with cat toys, a usb drive with information and multi-media content, Fancy Feast coupons. @Purina @purina

Sleepypod® – Silver Sponsor and Special Award Sponsor: Sleepypod Traveler Award; $100 donation to HSMO fundraiser. @sleepypod

Sturdi Products – Commemorative 25th-anniversary neck wallets and LE SturdiBag for HSMO fundraiser raffle and CWA awards banquet raffle.  @SturdiProducts @Sturdi_products @sturdiproducts

The International Cat Association (TICA) – Gold Sponsor and Special Award Sponsor: Kari Winters Rescue and Rehabilitation Award. @TheInternationalCatAssociation @TicaCats

Tomlyn Veterinary Science – Platinum Sponsor and Swag: L-Lysine Gel and the Relax and Calm. @TomlynPets  

The tube of Tomlyn Immune Support gel didn’t come with the swag, but was given to me at their display table when I mentioned I had a cat with chronic conjunctivitis. The L-lysine formula may help with that.

Triple T Studios – Silver Sponsor and Special Award Sponsor: All Cats Big and Small Award. @TheTiniestTiger

Vital Essentials Raw – Swag Sponsor – bags of minnows and rabbit bites, along with an information sheet with special offer. VitalEssentialsRaw

With Arden Moore and Casey. Photo credit: Larry Johnson

World’s Best Cat Litter – Silver Sponsor and donated the bags for swag, donated to HSMO fundraiser: cat litter, litter mats, and t-shirts, and Special Award Sponsor: World’s Best Cat Litter-ary Award. @WorldsBestCatLitter @BestCatLitter

~And by now, we all know who won the World’s Best Cat Litter-ary Award. Thanks, WBCL!

Zen Clipper – Swag Bag sponsor: Zen Clipper- a sizing card and a write up asking for bloggers to partner for reviews. @ZenClipper @PetInnov

Wow! What a line-up! These are businesses who think beyond the buck and care about the welfare of cats and their humans. Thank you, one and all!

And, oh yeah – is anyone else still saving their CWA cookie? I just don’t have the heart to eat it…

 

Posted in CAT WRITERS, Products, Reviews, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

A NIGHT TO SHINE – THE CWA AWARDS BANQUET

It was finally time! Everyone donned their best cat dresses, ears, and bling to meet in the banquet room for the final event of the conference, the dinner and awards ceremony.

There was excitement in the air as we looked out on the St Louis Arch for the last time. People snapped lots of pictures of all the glam, and talked of everything under the sun, but once dinner (and the lovely CWA cake) was out of the way, the anticipation grew. Many were up for awards and hopeful to go home with prestigious Muse Medallions, including myself. Both Cat Café and Cat Poems had made it to this final round, and though the competition was steep. My friends Patty Fry and Debbie De Louise, plus several more had cat mysteries in the running. I was crossing my fingers for the prize.

The event was emcee’d Arden Moore and Pet Safety Cat Casey, which made every minute fun and full of surprises.

I won’t go through the winners of the 42 regular and 18 special categories. You can read about them here, or stream the whole show here  and here.

But about me! I didn’t win a Muse, but I was shocked out of my fur when my name was called for a special award sponsored by World’s Best Cat Litter. It’s called the World’s Best Cat Litter-Ary Award, judged by Cindy Rigoni, DVM. The award is for an “outstanding novel, short story, poem, or radio/television dramatic script which portrays cats and cat ownership in a positive way.” I doubted a full length book would rate, but I sent in Cat Café anyway. And it won! Thank you, Dr. Rigoni and World’s Best!

Another high point for me was the winner of the Shojai Mentor Award,  my nominee Ramona Marek. I got to read my nomination letter and accept the award for her since she was not there. I’m so happy my hard-working, compassionate, intelligent, cat-savvy friend won the recognition she deserves

Next year’s conference will be in New Jersey, in conjunction with the National CFA Cat Show. That’s a long way from home for me, but I’m hoping to make it anyway. Until then, have fun, do good, pet cats. I’ll leave you with some of the unique members of the CWA.

*You too can be a member of the Cat Writers’ Association! If you write, blog, paint, photograph, broadcast, or any other creative outlet featuring cats, you may be eligible.

“CWA IS A WRITERS’ ORGANIZATION FOUNDED TO ENCOURAGE PROFESSIONALISM AMONG CAT WRITERS, PHOTOGRAPHERS, ARTISTS & BROADCASTERS.”

Janiss Garza, Sparkle Cat

Jessica Spawn, Instagram Cat Mom

Paula Gregg,, Sweet Purrfections

Fran Pennock Shaw

Debbie De Louise, the Cobble Cove Mystery Series

~Summer~

 

Posted in CAT WRITERS, Contests, Crazy Cat Lady Mysteries & More, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 16 Comments

CWA CONFERENCE DAY 3 -DAYTIME

Today was the final day of the CWA Conference, another jam-packed schedule beginning with the CWA business meeting. Yes, business is necessary even for cat writers. I won’t bother you with details.

The first presentation of the day was from Tomlyn about their line of pre- and pro-biotics, and immune support products. Up until now, I’ve only used probiotics when kitties have a GI issue, but it has many more uses for maintaining general health. I’m planning on doing a more in-depth post about Tomlyn products later.

Dr Jennifer Kasten, Tomlyn Technical Services Veterinarian.

The second presentation was by Bonnie Koenig, with whom I worked a few years ago when she used my story, The Dream Spinner, in her Fantastic Feline Heroes bundle. Her talk was on bundling, which is a bit like an anthology, but for e-stories. It was suggested CWA puts together a bundle of members’ works!

Loving cat photography as I do, I was very much looking forward to the presentation by award-winning photographer Larry Johnson. I bought his book last night at the book sale. His pictures of cats are astounding!

Larry Johnson, cat photography

After lunch, Patricia Fry, Sandy Murphy, Debbie De Louise, and I presented our fiction panel. It was a lot of fun to answer questions about writing fiction. Interesting how each of us had different yet similar answers to questions like, Where do you get your ideas? and How do you write dialog?

Janiss Garza and Jessica Spawn gave us insights on how to use Instagram for business. I’m Instagram-illiterate, so I can’t wait to try some of their ideas.

I was sorry to miss the last presentation, Bob Barker, Hypnotic Marketing, but I’m exhausted and still have the banquet and awards later tonight…

Posted in CAT WRITERS, Crazy Cat Lady Mysteries & More, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

DAY 2, CWA CONFERENCE, A PACKED 12 HOURS!

Chanel aka Crash.

Oh, boy! Today was a long one, but it went by fast as we listened, learned, networked, and socialized.

The day began with an inspiring talk from our sponsor Purina’s Dr. Janet Jackson and Dr. Kurt Venator. I like Purina products, but had no idea how much research goes into them. They have done life studies with cats! I suppose when one has been in business for 120 years, a 9-year study is expected.

One thing I learned is that they are having success with herpes cats using the probiotic supplement Fortaflora. This will be extremely useful in shelters.

#purinawetcatfood

Drs. Venator and Jackson with CWA president Deb Barnes.

The next two workshops involved marketing and selling our books, a necessary evil for writers. Lisa Miller of Amphora Publishing told us, Know yourself; know your audience.

Our keynote speaker was Dr. Debra Horwitz, DVM, addressing cat behavior and improving Cats’ well-being. I’m always intrigued by cat behavior and learned some new things from this knowledgeable doctor. Did you know only housecats and lions use the tail-up stance expressing happiness? I didn’t.

Kevin Tumilson, author and marketing person for Draft2digital publishers gave a good talk in indie publishing, with the spotlight on D2D, of course. I have just put my books on D2D so it was interesting to see what more they might do for me. Btw Kevin once wrote a 60000 word book in a day!

After dinner, several cat writers participated in a book sale and signing to benefit the Humane Society of Missouri. I love in-person book events where I get to meet people who might like my books. Do you like to meet authors in person? What would it take to attract you to come to a book sale?

Janiss Garza and Summer.

Debbie De Louise, mystery writer.

Patricia Fry, Klepto Cat series.

Cat photographer Larry Johnson.

I’ll leave you with some more cat pictures. Until tomorrow, Kittens.

@catwriters #cwa25 #crazycatladymysteries

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CWA CONFERENCE, DAY 1

Here we go, the 25th Cat Writer’s Association conference is St. Louis. I got into town yesterday, meeting a fellow cat writer at the airport, and we traveled to the hotel together. She brought her therapy cat, who I’m sure was very glad to get out of her Sleepy Pod carrier once we’d arrived.

Our hotel, the Drury, offers free dinner, where I connected with a few more CWAs. We walked across the street to check out the St. Louis Arch and the flooded Mississippi.

Then I went back to my room, worked on Adventure Cat, and felt very far from home.

Casey the Pet Safety Cat.

Summer, cat celebrity.

This morning began with sunshine and old (and new) friends. A big part of the conference is educational, with presentations addressing cat and pet subjects all across the board. First up was “Creating Cause Marketing for Rescues & More.”

Then Lonnie Hull gave thoughts on “How to Write Short Pieces for Publication,” something I’m very bad at.

The Myth of Busy-ness; Claiming Time for your Business” from Robbi Hess, and “Editing and Graphics with PicMonkey and Canva” finished off the sessions.

Four intense subjects and a lot to think about. If that sounds interesting to you, consider attending next year’s conference. You don’t have to be a member to attend.

Sandra Murphy, fiction panel with me Saturday.

Debbie De Louise, another fiction panel friend, and her daughter.

After dinner, we stuffed totes with swag from our sponsors to give to attendants. This year I left room in my suitcase to cart it all back.

I topped off the evening talking cats with friends.

Tomorrow starts early. Goodnight, Kittens.

#cwa25

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CWA CONFERENCE- I’M ON MY WAY!

In a little less than twenty-four hours, I board a plane for St. Louis and the 25th Annual Cat Writers’ Association Conference. This will be the third year I’ve attended, and in spite of my usual introvert anxiety about going places, I’m greatly looking forward to it. Over those years, I have made friends in the association. After all, we have so much in common- cats and books, and did I mention cats?

I hate packing. I’m obsessed with taking the exact right things, to the point where I try on outfits beforehand and stay awake at night worrying. Because I will be bringing my books for the Friday night book sales and signing event, I’m going to need two suitcases. I’ve done it before, but it is clumsy to navigate them by myself. Thankfully this time I won’t be changing planes, as I have a direct flight from Portland to St. Louis.

I just purchased a Square card reader so I can take cards at the signing event. It is sitting in its little box, totally intimidating me. I need to practice, but I’ve been putting it off. If I put it off long enough, it won’t be practice but the real thing, and I better hope it works as easily as the advertisements declare.

I also bought, after many many years, a new laptop. It also sat in its box for several days before I got up the courage to take a look at it. I think it will be great, once I transfer everything and customize it to my liking. Got to get rid of that pesky Windows 10 Cortana, but I manged that on my other computer so she shouldn’t be a problem.

I hadn’t considered taking the new laptop with me on my trip, but I want to make a slide show to run in the background of the fiction panel  in which I will be participating. First off, I don’t know how to make one in the PowerPoint that came with the laptop, but I think I could figure it out. Whether in time for the trip is another story. Laptop or no laptop? Slide show or no slide show? To be continued…

Plane fear, social anxiety, new tech. Yikes! But the negative is well balanced by all I have to gain. I am looking forward to my panel, as well as all the other presentations over the three day conference. I have always learned a lot from the other members of the association. I also anticipate making new connections, and as an indie author, any help is appreciated. I love hotel rooms: the privacy, the big beds, the view, and sometimes even the room service! And yes, there will be a few cats present.

Summer and Janiss Garza at last year’s conference.

Well, there you have it- more than you probably wanted to know about this author’s anticipation of a big event. I will be running a daily mini-blog from my phone throughout the trip, so stay tuned. And for those of you who don’t have to go to a new city and put yourself out there in front of strangers, enjoy hour homes, your families, your gardens, your cats (and dogs). You can live vicariously through me.

#cwa25, #catwriters

Posted in CAT WRITERS, Crazy Cat Lady Mysteries & More, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments