Shortly after my husband and I became a couple, a stray cat wandered onto our friends’ property and gave birth to a litter of kittens. When Mama Cat subsequently lost her life to a speeding car, we became the proud adoptive parents of two kittens from that litter. We named one Bulldog McNurkle and the other Grayface. For the life of me, I can’t remember the reason behind the names. Stranger still, Grayface somehow morphed into Frog.
Like all babies, no matter the species, kittens are not born with fully developed motor skills. This fact was made clear to me one day while I was taking a bath. Frog nosed open the bathroom door, jumped up onto the tub ledge, and proceeded to lose his footing, falling into the water. Before I could scoop him up, he used my back as a ladder to climb his way out. I think I still have scars from his claws.
While still kittens, one of Bulldog’s and Frog’s favorite pastimes was to race across the living room, take a flying leap, and claw up our drapes. One day my husband and I came home from work to find the drapes in shreds. The cats had grown too heavy for the fabric to support their weight.
Another time we arrived home to find defrosted pork chops sitting on the living room floor. Because we had a galley kitchen open to the living room, I used to put frozen food in the spare bedroom to defrost. On that particular day, I apparently hadn’t made sure the door was securely latched. You’d think I would have learned my lesson after the bathtub incident.
Unfortunately, after several years of progressively worsening allergies that eventually caused me to develop bronchial asthma, we found it necessary to find new parents for our boys. Cats haven’t been part of our family for many years, yet they often play a role – usually a comical one – in my fiction.
In my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, my protagonist’s much-married mother claims to descend from Russian royalty. Her extremely corpulent white Persian cat is named Catherine the Great. And believe me, she’s every inch the reincarnation of her namesake – proud, regal, demanding, and not one to suffer fools – or dogs – lightly. This causes all sorts of mayhem in the Pollack household where Mama is forced to share a bedroom with Anastasia’s communist mother-in-law and her dog, aptly named Manifesto. Catherine the Great and Manifesto get along as well as their two owners. In other words, they fight like...well, like cats and dogs. Or Russian royalty and Bolsheviks.
You’ll find Catherine the Great strutting her stuff in all four of the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries – Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun, Death by Killer Mop Doll, Revenge of the Crafty Corpse, and Decoupage Can Be Deadly.
In Hooking Mr. Right, a romantic comedy I wrote under my Emma Carlyle pen name, you’ll find Cu (short for Cupid,) a punk-rock looking alley cat.
After writing a doctoral thesis that exposed fraud in the pop-psychology genre, thirty-two year old professor Althea Chandler has to sacrifice her professional integrity to save her family from financial disaster. She secretly becomes best-selling romance guru Dr. Trulee Lovejoy, a self-proclaimed expert on how to catch a man, even though Thea’s a miserable failure when it comes to relationships – especially those with the opposite sex.
Burned by a failed marriage, Luke Bennett finds himself pursued by Dr. Lovejoy toting women after a gossip columnist dubs him New York’s most eligible bachelor. When he at first mistakes Thea for one of the women out to snare him, sparks fly, but the two soon find themselves battling sparks of a less hostile nature, thanks in part to the aforementioned alley cat.
Luke believes he’s finally found an honest woman. Unfortunately, Thea is anything but honest. She’s got more secrets than the CIA and a desperate gossip columnist out to expose her. Cupid definitely has his work cut out for him, but like all cats, he’s got a mind of his own. And he’s not about to let human stubbornness stand in the way of a happy ending.
Award-winning author Lois Winston writes the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series featuring magazine crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack. She’s also published in women’s fiction, romance, romantic suspense, and non-fiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Lois is also an award-winning crafts and needlework designer and an agent with the Ashley Grayson Literary Agency. Visit her at http://www.loiswinston.com, visit Emma at http://www.emmacarlyle.com, and visit Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers character blog, www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com.