BOOK GIVEAWAY and Promotional Hoopla for CAT CALL

To celebrate the launch of CAT CALL, the 4th Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery on October 26, I’m giving away 2 beautiful paperback copies of CAT CALL!

When a friend suffers a bizarre accident on the set of a television pilot, sixty-something cat shelter volunteer Lynley Cannon takes over as cat handler, only to find the show is “hexed” and murder is waiting in the wings.

To enter, just comment in the comment section of this blogpost.
Winners will be randomly chosen and contacted via message reply on Wednesday, October 25th. Good luck!

You can preorder Cat Call here and receive it on your Kindle October 26th.

Catch up on the first of the Crazy Cat Lady series.

Kindle editions on sale until November 1st.

 

 

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Lynley Cannon’s FRIDAY FELINE FACTS & FANCIES, the Literate Cat

 

Lynley Cannon, star of the Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery series, is often referred to as a crazy cat lady herself, but when it comes to the feline species, this sixty-something cat shelter volunteer knows her stuff. Check here each Friday for instructive and intriguing information on our favorite subject: cats!

“For he will do
As he do do
And there’s no doing anything about it!”
― T.S. Eliot, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats

~Cat’s Paw, chapter 9

 

Check out more of Lynley’s kitty tips, tricks, and facts preceding each chapter in Cats’ Eyes, Copy Cats, and Cat’s Paw.

 

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Lynley Cannon’s FRIDAY FELINE FACTS & FANCIES, Slight of Hand

 

Lynley Cannon, star of the Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery series, is often referred to as a crazy cat lady herself, but when it comes to the feline species, this sixty-something cat shelter volunteer knows her stuff. Check here each Friday for instructive and intriguing information on our favorite subject: cats!

Watercolor by Lorraine Lewitzka

It is important to teach your cat that the hand is not a toy. As cute as it may be having that kitten wrapped around your fist like a fuzzy glove, once kitty is old enough to draw blood, the cuteness factor fades. When kitty begins the attack, swap out your hand for a catnip body pillow; that way, both of you can enjoy nonviolent fun.  ~Cat’s Paw, chapter 12

 

Check out more of Lynley’s kitty tips, tricks, and facts preceding each chapter in Cats’ Eyes, Copy Cats, and Cat’s Paw.

 

 

 

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REMEMBER ME THURSDAY, TODAY’S THE DAY!

“Shine a light on orphan pets waiting for forever homes.”

Unwanted.
Stray.
Abused.
Neglected.
In line for euthanasia.

Can we replace those words with:

Forever home.
Soulmate.
Best friend.
Loved.
Protected.

I am so privileged to live in a community that embraces the practice of saving all homeless pets, where none are euthanized for lack of space, where a brilliant program of low-cost (and free) spay & neuter has reduced the unwanted pet population to where our shelters can take animals from shelters in other, less fortunate areas. It’s all because of the ASAP.

“ASAP stands for the Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland, greater metro area. This acronym was chosen because the mission of ASAP is, indeed, one of urgency.
ASAP Vision: We envision a community that values, protects and cares for animals and provides a safety net for homeless and at-risk cats and dogs.
ASAP Mission: Working together, we develop and sustain metro-wide programs and services that reduce the number of homeless cats and dogs, and save the lives of all shelter pets that can be humanely and responsibly rehomed.”

And it’s working. Between the six ASAP shelters, over 12,000 cats and 9,000 dogs were adopted into loving families in 2016 alone. These include seniors and special needs animals as well as the more popular kittens and puppies.

I’ve done my part, adopting many cats from shelters over the years. My newest is 18-year-old Tyler who came to the Oregon Humane Society without a past. He wasn’t a stray, someone brought him, but they had declined to fill out paperwork about themselves or their experience with Tyler, making him an adventure into the unknown.

Things had happened to the big tiger-striped boy. Maybe Tyler was just a shy cat or maybe he had learned not to trust, but when approached, he would cower and hiss. He’s a big cat and a little scary, so for a while cattery put him under limited interaction. It didn’t last long though. We soon we learned that though hissing was his first response, loving was his second. He craved to be petted, and if I scratched his head and sideburns, he would come out with a rumbling purr and a love blink every time.

Initially I adopted Tyler because no 18-year-old cat should have to linger in a shelter, but I soon came to know it was far more than that. He is such a love, so affectionate and caring.

My home was missing him before he came.

I just didn’t know it.

Volunteer – Adopt – Love

 

Remember Me Thursday® is a global awareness campaign uniting individuals and pet adoption organizations around the world as an unstoppable, integrated voice for orphan pets to live in forever homes, not die waiting for them.

On September 28, 2017, the entire world will share the importance of pet adoption and shine a light on all orphan pets waiting in shelters and rescues. In 2016, people using #RememberTheRescue and #RememberMeThursday reached nearly 340 million people on social media. Can we get even more people sharing the importance of pet adoption in 2017?

 

Posted in Animal Shelters, Cats, Save the World | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

30 DAYS UNTIL CAT CALL

30 days from today I’ll be nervous. I’ll be practicing reading, testing out different chapters to see which has the most appeal. I’ll be choosing which dress to wear and hoping it doesn’t rain. I’ll be worrying about finding a parking place in the busy Mississippi neighborhood.

I’ll be lugging a suitcase full of shiny new books up a long flight of wooden stairs and spreading them out on a table, admiring their colorful Leslie Cobb covers. I’ll help Elisa set out the champagne and sparkling cider, cat-print cupcakes on a plate. (Hopefully) People will come and I’ll greet them. And finally, I’ll introduce my new book, Cat Call, into the reading world.

“When a friend suffers a bizarre accident on the set of a television pilot, Lynley takes over as cat handler, only to find out the show is “hexed” and murder is waiting in the wings.”

If you are in the Portland area on October 26th, I hope you can stop by. If not, Cat Call will be available from Amazon both for Kindle and in print on that day. In the meantime,  this is how it begins:

 

CAT CALL, Chapter 1

 

The message contained only three intelligible words: Call… Cat… Help! Interspersed was a garbled squawking that I recognized as the voice of my friend, Rhonda Kane. She sounded drunk, terrified, or both, blithering away like the Simpson’s crazy cat lady, which was ironic because usually I’m the lady considered crazy for cats. I have eight cats; Rhonda has only two, though hers happen to be movie stars.

My name is Lynley Cannon, and I’ll be the first to admit, eight is a lot of cats, but they are all well cared for and healthy. I have to take out a second mortgage on my Old Portland home when it’s time for their dentals, but that’s part of the deal. I love them dearly and they love me, each in his or her own catly way.

It began innocently enough with Dirty Harry. After life as a street stray, Harry was territorial, and I just assumed he wouldn’t tolerate a second cat encroaching on his space. As a shelter volunteer, I’d often heard statements like Missy won’t stand for another cat in the house, or Tom doesn’t get along with other kitties, or I’d love to have a kitten but Spot would throw a hissy-fit—he needs to be the only one, you know. I believed it for the longest time; then I got my little sweetheart, Little.

Granted, it took a while for Harry to get off his high horse and accept he could still be king, but I’ll never forget the first moment I saw them playing together. There was such joy in their antics. It took time but they became friends and now that Harry has hit his senior years, Little warms and grooms him like a sister. I don’t know what he would do without her.

The adoption of Little opened the gate to multiple cats. Next came Big Red, the orange tabby male who moved in on my side porch, then Solo, ghost-white, deaf, and totally reclusive, from a needy friend. Violet arrived sometime later, all twenty-two pounds of her, and then sweet Tinkerbelle. I rescued Mab, the Siamese kitten, from a disreputable breeder, and picked up Emilio when I was on an art retreat at the famous—and infamous—Cloverleaf Animal Sanctuary. So far, all good.

As a retiree in my sixtieth year, I have time for the cats. I have time for anything I please and manage to fill the hours with love and good works, volunteering, family, and friends. I was born for retirement and thank God every day I didn’t wait until I was sixty five—or seventy!—to take it.

But back to the voicemail message. I hadn’t seen Rhonda Kane for quite some time. We’d met at a feline behavior lecture series, and though she was nearly a decade younger than me, we immediately bonded. Ours was one of those friendships that just picks up where it left off, whether it’s been a week or a year. This time it was closer to the year.

Rhonda had continued the behavior training and become one of Portland’s only working cat handlers. With the Northwest’s budding film and television industry, it was turning out to be a rewarding if not lucrative pursuit. Her highly trained pair of actor-cats had starred in a few commercials, held a small but reoccurring role in the IFC production, Portlandia, and had even hit the big time once in an episode of Grimm. Since Clark Gable and Cary Grant were identical neutered males, they often played one part interchangeably.

Cat handling was meticulous work and Rhonda was the best, which was why the crazy communication was such a surprise and, yes, a shock. I recognize the sound of panic when I hear it. Something was very wrong with Rhonda Kane.

I’d just finished a shift at Friends of Felines cat shelter where I spent a big chunk of my time playing with cats and helping to keep them happy during their scary interim between homes. Without thought, I sank down on the bench in the volunteer locker room and hit redial. I held my breath as I waited for her to answer. One ring, three, seven. Just when I was sure it was going to cut off and give me the generic computer-generated click-Rhonda-click is not available at this time, she picked up.

“Lynley!” she gasped. “Thank goodness you called back.”

“Rhonda, what’s the matter? What’s happened?”

“Oh, Lynley!” She was crying now. “It’s so awful! You’ve got to help. You’ve got to… I don’t know. Come, quick as you can…” The voice wavered and threatened to devolve into crazy-cat-lady-speak again.

“Rhonda, hold on,” I commanded. “Just take your time and tell me what’s going on. Of course I’ll help, but first I have to know what’s up. Are you hurt? Are you in some kind of trouble?”

“Worse!” she hissed in a harsh whisper. “It’s Cary Grant!” Through the phone I heard her gulp. “He’s gone!”

 

 

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ECLIPSE

 

I watched the eclipse.

In Portland, Oregon and thereabouts, everyone did. On August 21, 2017, every local soul was outside with their eclipse glasses on, staring at the sun. It was cool, amazing, wonderful, surprising, and phenomenal, all rolled into one. We gathered in fields and parks, in small or huge groups. There were viewing parties and rock fests. There were traffic jams trying to get to the perfect spot. There was nothing else on the news for long enough to make us sick of hearing. But then it came and we stopped what we were doing. We watched, wrote poems, took pictures, talked to strangers and friends. When it was over, we went back about our business, but a little changed from the magnitude of the experience.

Everyone did that, right?

Wrong.

I forget that my scope of friends is far wider than my town or state. Now, partially thanks to social media, I have friends from all over the world. They have asked me what it was like? How did I feel? The eclipse!

I chose to remain in my Portland home, about thirty miles from the path of totality. I figured staying put in my personal serenity was worth getting only 99% of the view, that the slight variance wouldn’t be that great, and I was mostly right.

I am blessed with a fenced private jungle of a back yard, so that was my basecamp. Early that morning, I arranged a lawn chair on the old deck, put my eclipse glasses and camera on the plastic table beside it, set my alarm and was ready to roll. I’d read about several occurrences that accompany an eclipse such as the eerie quality of the light, the flicker of shadow bands, the drop in temperature, so I was prepared to see— and feel— it all.

The spectacle began about two hours before totality. I donned my eclipse glasses and sure enough, swimming in the darkest black I’d ever seen was the orange ball of the sun, a tiny bite out of one side. Incredible, and it was only the start.

Over the next hour, I looked several times more. The eating of the sun progressed, bringing to mind ancient stories, symbolism, and religions. It was quiet, hushed, as if the city were waiting with me. As if the world was on pause. When the time got close, I quit my inside work, put my cat, Little, in her harness, and we came out for the duration. I was excited, yet at peace. I didn’t mind that, aside from Little, I was alone.

     

I took a few pictures of the changing light, an odd almost-ominous shading, unlike anything I’d imagined. I tried to capture the shadow bands, striations, and the way the rays moved in stripes across the deck and grass. I caught a bit of the crescent-shaped refractions on the walls, but I didn’t spend too much time at it, having been forewarned not to waste these short important moments staring at a camera. Professional photographers would be doing that, much better than I ever could, so I sat back to let it unfold.

My picture

NASA.gov

The temperature plumetted. My summer dress was suddenly not enough, but I wasn’t going back into the house for a sweater. It was happening. It was happening now!

The birds chirped weird half-songs and then were quiet. The bees in my husband’s hives quit busying and settled as if it were night. Little didn’t seem to notice, or maybe she just didn’t care. The neighbors lit off firecrackers (the human response to anything celebratory) Then it was over; the sun grew stronger, the light normalized, the summer heat returned.

Since I was off the path of totality, I never got to see the sun haloing the moon. For that I was sorry. By staying home, I had missed the heart of the display. (I will know better next time.) Still I was content; after all, the last time there was an eclipse in my area, it was overcast.

   

I didn’t write a poem or draw a picture but found great value in the experience. The human mental process of trying to grasp such a grand phenomenon was a revelation in itself.

Watching the eclipse made me feel small, yet not unimportant.

Is that why some people chase eclipses all over the world? To remind themselves of their place in the universe?

The news media has gone off to other things; the eclipse glasses are thrown in a drawer, but those few moments of cold, powerful beauty with stay with me for the rest of my life.

In memory of my father, who would have loved this.

 

 

Posted in Life Through Amber, Local Fair, memoir, Portland | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Lynley Cannon’s FRIDAY FELINE FACTS & FANCIES, Inside the box

 

Lynley Cannon, star of the Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery series, is often referred to as a crazy cat lady herself, but when it comes to the feline species, this sixty-something cat shelter volunteer knows her stuff. Check here each Friday for instructive and intriguing information on our favorite subject: cats!

Rule of thumb for litter boxes: one per cat in your household, plus one. If you have three cats, there should be four litter boxes placed throughout the house. Of course if you have eleven cats, twelve boxes are probably overkill. Then again, if you have eleven cats….?  ~Cats’ Eyes, chapter 9

 

Check out more of Lynley’s kitty tips, tricks, and facts preceding each chapter in Cats’ Eyes, Copy Cats, and Cat’s Paw.

 

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September.

 

 

First it comes,

a little sooner every day:

The darkness.

Loom of gloom

eclipsing summer,

eating it, bite by bite

as we scramble in denial,

pretending not to notice

that again

the seasons are changing.

 

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TINKERBELLE REMEMBERS: Before

My saga, “Tinkerbelle Remembers: The Finding of a Therapy Cat, a series about Tinkerbelle, Registered Pet Partner Therapy Cat (retired) and our journey together” is being published on the Katzenworld blog! Follow this popular cat-centric blogsite to read more about Tinkerbelle and everything else cat.

Source: TINKERBELLE REMEMBERS: Before

 

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THE CRAZY CAT LADY SAGA CONTINUES

I’m excited! Cat Call launches in 40 days! I’m reading over the second proof now, ordering postcards, making up the back cover blurb.

“When a friend suffers a bizarre accident on the set of a television pilot, Lynley takes over as cat handler, only to find out the show is “hexed” and murder is waiting in the wings.”

I’ve really enjoyed writing this story which borrows from my real life experience both as an extra for television and as an assistant cat handler for the cult classic, Zombie Cats From Mars. (PS: Mollie Hunt the actress listed in IMDb is not me; I am the cat wrangler.) I’ve loved theater from my first gig in a grade school production of Pirates of Penzance to the Star Trek conventions where I hear actors tell the stories of how they made the big time. It’s only natural Lynley Cannon would share some of the “Show Business” enthusiasm.

In Cat Call, Lynley finds herself in trouble again, this time on the set of a TV mystery pilot. Cat handler Rhonda Kane is injured in a fall when the steps of her trailer are vandalized, and she pleads with Lynley to take her place on the show. The identical red tabbies Clark Gable and Cary Grant know their stuff, but just as Lynley begins to think she’s got the new job down, weirder challenges loom. Rumors fly that a mysterious “hex” is causing accidents like Rhonda’s. Hex or a hoax, Lynley knows that something’s very wrong. When the mishaps give way to murder, only actor Ray Anderson and her own granddaughter Seleia can save her from becoming a casualty herself.

I’ll be posting more about Cat Call in the weeks to come. Got questions? Just ask.

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To celebrate the new book coming out, I’ve lowered the Kindle price of my other Crazy Cat Lady mysteries, Cats’ Eyes, Copy Cats, and Cat’s Paw.

 

 

 

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