The Ealdspell Cycle: Faerie Magic Special Edition Hardbacks

Wow! Aren’t those beautiful? My friend Jesikah Sundin has someone wonderful news this week that I’m happy to share here on Paws 4 Thought. Her fairytale series, Ealdspell now has beautiful full-color illustrated hardbacks available exclusively through Kickstarter.

What do they include?

The Ealdspell Cycle: Faerie Magic Special Edition Hardbacks

Epic fae fantasy romance twists on familiar fairy tales, blending magic and mythology with historically inspired settings.

  • Printed in full color
  • Custom designed chapter spreads
  • Ink scene sketch illustrations
  • Beautiful hardcase wrap
  • Exclusive dust jacket design
  • “Almost Kiss” art printed in each book
  • So many more amazing features to come!

There are limited number of Early Bird Bonuses too, so hurry, hurry!

Order your copies today! (They make awesome gifts too for the fantasy lover in your family).

Super P.A.W.S. Sale!

Meow! I’ve got a treat for you, for a limited time all NINE books of my P.A.W.S. Saga are just 99 cents each on Kindle (or 99p if you’re in the UK. Now’s a great time to catch up as I’m busy getting book 10 ready for publication in June.

US Kindle – 99 cents!

UK Kindle – 99p!

Plus if you have Kindle Unlimited check out this group promo. Oodles of box sets, all FREE to KU subscribers.

Bonus giveaway – find the typo on the banner above, post in a comment on this blog post and I’ll send you a free audio book!

Fright Bites by Miracle Austin

Hey folks, I’m excited about this one. I had the privilege of not only being the editor of these wonderful stories by the fabulous Miracle Austin but also created a puzzle for the book.

Pick a copy in paperback or ebook and pay attention as you read the scary tales. At the end of a book is a puzzle “Gryselda’s Secret Message” – Be sure to solve it!

“Miracle’s imagination will transport you to different worlds. She’s a maestro of storytelling. I revel in her tales, and admire her devotion to our art.” Ian Sputnik, Editor in Chief, Sanitarium Magazine

“I almost ate you before dawn… Lucky, lucky girl… with the red cape…”

“You never believed in any of my stories–you always laughed… Let’s see if you believe me, now!” Warm saliva cascaded down my neck.

Find yourself a cozy spot, make sure all your doors are locked. Open FRIGHT BITES. Who or what will you encounter? Could it be Old Lady Canes, a shadow twister, or Cordelia? Be careful what lurks in the dark… you never know what’s watching you and waiting. Immerse yourself in twenty-nine creeptastic tales from the author of the Doll Trilogy and Boundless.

Pick up a copy today!

Catstruck Rafflecopter Winners

Thank you everyone who entered the Catstruck Rafflecopter.

The grand prize winner who receives a signed hardback of Catstruck is Mikhail R.

Congrats Mikhail, your book is on the way. I hope you enjoy your purrfect prize!

Seven runners up win ebooks and audio books from the Catstruck authors. They are:

Cindy M. 

Cassandra D.

 Katrina D.



 Christie E.

 Michelle O.

Since its release last November Catstruck has raised over $300 for Tenth Life Cat Rescue in St. Louis.

If you haven’t yet bought your copy please consider picking up one. They are available everywhere in paperback, hardback, ebook and audio book.


Additional donations to TENTH LIFE are also very welcome.

Finally, if you’d like a FREE audio review copy of CATSTRUCK! I have a few available over at Story Origin for US and UK readers.

Stay tuned over the coming weeks for news of a special CATSTRUCK puzzle contest. You’re going to want to be part of this one!

Catstruck! Interview — Indigo Leigh

Wow, it’s amazing to think it’s been almost three months since Catstruck! was released and this is the last of our author interviews. So today I’m happy to introduce Indigo Leigh, author of the Keepers of New Haven urban fantasy series. Indigo’s story in Catstruck features Frisky Blue, a sneezy shifter housecat and would-be detective.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, Indigo.

I manage a farm with my partner, and we have a small flock of peafowl here. Only five, but we’re hoping to grow it next year. Ten screamers (peacocks) would probably be too many if we had any close neighbors, but we live in the middle of nowhere. With guineas, chickens, ducks, turkeys, we have feathers galore around here, and I think this must be why winged creatures appear in so much of my writing (like fallen angels or a gender-fluid peacock shifter in another of my works). That said, I’ve been interested in cat shifters lately, too. So, in Catstruck, you’ll meet Frisky Blue, a sneezy cat shifter.

I actually have a peacock shifter in P.A.W.S. too, Victoria Plume who chooses the male form because as she says they are some much prettier than peahens! DMK. Below, two of Indigo’s peafowl.

2. When did you first start writing?

Like most writers, my first stories were created during elementary school. One of my first longer-form stories was about an emu named Pixley in Australia. Back then, I loved the Man from Snowy River movies, and our local lumber yard was named Pixley. Since I’ve always had a love for birds, it turned into Pixley Down Under, about an emu from hatching to mating. Oh, hell, it was as awful as you might think a twelve-year-old’s novel would be. But it was my first from beginning to end, and all the same, I recall it fondly.

3. Who are your favorite authors?

This list rotates so often. SK Reign is for spicy, why-choose romance. Sharon Hamilton for wounded hero, military-type romances, and R. A. Muth and Molly Fitz for cozy mysteries. I really read so many different genres, and I enjoy reading good stories wherever I find them.

4. What inspires you to write?

People and new places inspire me. All the different characters tickle my brain and I love meeting new characters and exploring the relationships they have.

5. Tell us a little bit about your story in Catstruck, “Frisky Blue”.

Frisky Blue is a house cat shifter who has to sneeze in order to shift. She stumbles into a situation where she’s able to help a kidnapped woman, so she does. If anybody’s ever seen the old movie, That Darn Cat!, it’s a bit like that.

6. Do we meet Frisky Blue in other stories?

Someday! I have a heck of a list of things to write (so many of them include not-your-normal kinds of shifters). I’ve got peacock shifters, whale shifters, and so on. I wouldn’t be surprised if Frisky Blue makes a cameo in other works as time wears on.

As readers of this blog are aware I adore unusual shifter types and have many different kinds in P.A.W.S. including a dolphin shifter and many birds (and cats of course). DMK

7. What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on book four in my Keepers of New Haven series. It’s a long novel and wraps up the story of books 1-3. I have so many threads to tie closed, but I bet Frisky Blue makes a cameo while on her first trip to New Haven.

8. Do you have kitties or other pets? (Feel free to add pictures!)

We have all kinds of creatures here, so I’ll send some pictures along. The kitty above is Meowthra and the black goat is Poker. Plus here are a collection of our other furry and feathered friends.

9. Do you have a favorite literary cat?

Oh, yes! The cats of Molly Fitz: they’re all cats with attitude, and I love them!

10. How can readers connect with you?



Want to read a little of “Frisky Blue”? Sure you do!

So it begins

Frisky Blue had been unaware of her allergy to catnip for most of her human-child life.

So, it was some kind of twisted-gods’ humor that the concoction her witchy grandmother had given her to calm her fifteen-year-old “nervous stomach” was catnip tea…

And that was how Frisky Blue figured out that she could shift into a majestic, incredible… calico house cat.

* * *

Villains never suspected a house cat, and everybody knew fur babies never tattled to detectives on the force. Yet twenty-three-year-old Frisky Blue wasn’t your average fur baby.

She was a shifter… of the sneeziest kind.

Though, since she discovered she could shift, Frisky Blue intended to make helping the cops her career, to follow in the footsteps of her medium mother before her mother’s untimely and unsolved death.

The problem had been getting any of the local police force to take her seriously. As a cat, as a baby-faced human, it didn’t matter in what form she went to them. They ignored her hints, her clues, and her warnings. It was ridiculously frustrating for the wannabe case-breaker.

Nevertheless, during her nightly pre-dawn prowl as a calico housecat, Frisky had once again stumbled across two suspected thugs in the alley behind an abandoned house. One of the men had a long, deep scar on his face, and the other had a limp. They were both smoking smelly cigarettes and discussing what to do with “the woman.”

Frisky paused to nuzzle the edge of next door’s privacy fence, checking out the surroundings. She couldn’t see any woman around, and their conversation piqued her interest. So, she crossed the alley that separated the two yards and loped toward the two. The vial on her collar jangled as she went.

“She won’t shut up,” Mr. Scarface said. He loomed over his partner.

“She’s going to get in the way,” Mr. Limp growled, turning toward his partner and favoring one of his knees. “You know they’re hunting for her, and we’re going to get caught with her. Then what? What happens to the plan then?”

Frisky slowed to chew the tips off grass and smell two empty trash cans. She needed to hear more before she could decide what to do.

What will Frisky do? Pick up a copy of Catstruck! to find out. Also don’t forget to enter our Rafflecopter. Entries will be accepted until the end of January and winners will be announced in the beginning of February along with a special Valentines puzzle contest.

Catstruck! Interview — Jen Ponce

It’s that time again! Today we meet multi-genre author, Jen Ponce, whose story, “The First Time” is the very first in Catstruck!

Tell us a little bit about yourself, Jen.

I am someone who likes to learn a little about a lot of things. That’s one of the best things about reading: learning the cool things someone else thought were interesting enough to write into their story. My vocabulary is great (and sometimes archaic) because of all the ambitious romance writers I read as a teen.

  • When did you first start writing?

I have loved creating stories since books first caught my imagination as a kid. It started out as puppet shows that I would write and act out for my family. Then, my friend Kathy and I would play endless hours of Barbies, plotting out intricate stories that we would then act out with the dolls. When they got too embarrassing to carry around, we started writing those stories down. I’ve been hooked on writing ever since.

  • Who are your favorite authors?

All the romance authors I read as a teen: Johannah Lindsey, Julia Quinn, Rebecca Brandywine, Judith Garland. Stephen King, who I only started reading because of the romance cover copy of Misery I found. Astrid Lindgren, who wrote Pippi Longstocking—one of the first female heroes I absolutely adored and who made me yearn for strong female characters ever since. And of course, the amazing stories from my author friends, a few of whom have stories in Catstruck. Kathy Serna, Debbie Manber Kupfer, Stephanie Barr, Michelle John, Em Ray, Rachel Bostwick, and many more.

  • What inspires you to write?

My brain is never quiet and is constantly making sense of the world by telling stories about it. Boredom often drives these daytime fantasies. What else can you do while driving for miles? Make up stories in your head, of course.

Dreams often inspire my stories too. The first series I published started off as a dream and many of my subsequent books also came, in part, from bits and pieces of dreams I’ve had over the years mixed with the odds and ends I’ve learned over the years.

I highly recommend checking out Jen’s Devany Miller series, one of my personal favorites. DMK

  • Tell us a little bit about your story in Catstruck, “The First Time”.

I really love dystopian fiction. I find a lot of hope in it, which is weird, I know. People endure and people go on, even despite all odds. I like exploring that and asking myself what I would do if I thought I was the last person on earth. Or what would I do if the zombie apocalypse broke out as I’m writing this. What would I do first?

“The First Time” started with a picture in my head of a woman moving through a dusty, broken town. I could tell she was lonely, maybe a bit desperate. That meow is the first living thing she’s heard since who knows when and it saves her, though she has no idea how or why when she first hears it. The hope we have as humans is what lights up all stories of the apocalypse. It’s what brings cities together, and creates art, and stories, and all the amazing things we’ve created to keep ourselves alive.

  • What inspired you to write a dystopian tale for the anthology?

I’ve probably already waxed too-much-poetic about my love for dystopian fiction, so I’ll just say that it made me happy to have a cat save the world and leave it like that.

Two of Jen’s kitties preparing to save the world!

  • What are you currently working on?

Right now I’m having one of my periodic ‘dark nights of the soul’ where everything I want to write feels lame. I do have several projects going, though: the second book of a series with gargoyles and a witch, an urban fantasy about the intricacies of friendship and love, and a future-fantasy with radiation and robots.

Wow, those all sound awesome, DMK.

  • Do you have kitties or other pets? (Feel free to add pictures!)

Oh boy. We have four kitties: Leonidas, Pineapple, Alec, and Oreo. We have three dogs: Harley, Izzy, and Fernardo. We also have a pleco (the fish pictured below) named Maleficent (or Mali for short). Yes, we are covered in hair at all times … I mean love glitter. We are covered in love glitter at all times.

  • Do you have a favorite literary cat?

I always liked Salem, Sabrina the Teenage Witch’s cat. He was sassy.

How can readers connect with you?

They can email me at or visit my Facebook page at

Do you want to read a little of “The First Time”? Of course you do!

Chapter One of the “The First Time” by Jen Ponce

The first time she saw the cat, she thought she was hallucinating. She hadn’t seen anything living in so long. Too long. The world had dried up like a tumbleweed and was just waiting for her to catch a clue. 

She didn’t know why she continued to look for food, for people. The invasion had taken everything, destroyed everything.

Almost everything, she amended. If the cat was real.

With a sigh of relief, she let her overladen backpack drop to her feet, then dug through it for the two cans of cat food she’d found a town back. When food was scarce, food was food, though she hadn’t gotten desperate enough to try it. Yet. 

She opened one of the cans and clicked her tongue, her heart beating entirely too hard for her to deny this was important.

“Kitty? Here, kitty.”

A rumble in the distance drew her eyes. The storm that had been chasing her all morning was catching up. Once it hit, it would soak the area for hours if not days. The weather hadn’t been the same since the last ship disappeared. She’d need to get somewhere safe and soon.

A soft meow made her jump. She hadn’t heard the noise of another living thing for months.

“Hey, kitty. I’m nice. I promise. And I have food,” she said, pushing the open tin toward the sleek black animal that appeared through a hole in a wall. It wasn’t emaciated. Hell, it looked better fed than she was. Were there living things here?

A louder, closer rumble made her skin crawl. One glance at the horizon and she saw the flares of light in the roiling black clouds. It was going to be a really bad one. If she didn’t find a safe place …

“Hey,” she said, distracted by the cat’s soft head bump against her elbow. She reached out slowly, cautiously, and let it sniff her fingers before daring to scratch it under the chin. “Oh, you are adorable.” Her voice was raspy from disuse and it shook a little from the emotion that welled as suddenly as the storm. “Can I pick you up? We need to get inside.” 

When she reached for it, it hopped down and trotted a couple feet away before turning back to meow at her.

Did it want her to follow?

Well, what the hell? 

She scooped up the cat food and shouldered her pack with a groan. “Lead on, McDuff.”

The cat made a disgusted sound, or so she imagined. 

“Pinky?” she asked as she followed the cat. It went around the wall instead of darting under, something she was grateful for. She doubted she could scale the brick wall. Not with her pack. “Panther? Frisky?”

The cat’s tail twitched. Amusement? Annoyance? She vowed not to annoy it. She hadn’t realized how miserably lonely she’d been until she saw the lovely little animal. The thought of it running off made her want to cry and she fought off those ridiculous tears as she trailed the cat. 

There were signs the townspeople had tried to fight off the invaders. Sandbags, furniture, cars were piled up in semi-circles around the outside of a tall, sand-colored building. The windows had been boarded up and reinforced. Shell casings littered the ground.

The cat meowed. It stood in front of a small cat door inexplicably installed in the bigger door.

Seconds later, a lock on the inside of the door rattled.

The cat food tin fell from her nerveless fingers as the door swung open.

Want to read more? Pick up a copy of Catstruck!

Plus don’t forget to enter our Rafflecopter for a chance to win oodles of awesome prizes donated by the Catstruck! authors.

Catstruck! Interview — Mackenzie Flohr

It’s Friday so time for another Catstruck! author interview. Today we talk to Mackenzie Flohr whose story in the anthology portrays her real life rescue of “A Cat Named Rosie”.

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, Mackenzie.

I’m a TV screenwriter and award-winning novelist from Mount Morris, Michigan. I’m known for my young adult fantasy series – The Rite of Wands, which has been an enormous hit amongst fans of Doctor Who.

  • When did you first start writing?

I have been writing for most of my life. My mother introduced me to the creative arts when I was very young. I never looked at writing as a career, but as something to help express myself. It wasn’t until a visit to the state of Indiana in 2002 for The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy — The Exhibition, at the Indiana museum that I was convinced otherwise.

  • Who are your favorite authors?

My biggest influences are J. R. R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings), Michael Ende (The Neverending Story), and Kentaro Miura (Berserk).

  • What inspires you to write?  

Creating character-driven stories with a mission to push through and overcome life’s challenges is my niche so I need to find a story that has a human element to it that I can relate to.

5. Tell us a little bit about your story in Catstruck, “A Cat Named Rosie”.

My story is inspired by a pregnant feral cat that came into my care through PAWS Animal Rescue in Michigan. I share some of my real experiences with this special cat and how I became friends with her for life.

6. The proceeds for this anthology are going to Tenth Life, a shelter that focuses on feral cats. You obviously have a lot of experience in the field. Is there something you’d like readers to particular know about ferals and how they can help?

Feral cats are not household pets, though some may be persuaded to give up their feral status and live with humans. Unlike a domesticated cat, feral cats are homeless and live in the wild. They have had little to no human interaction. Those who prefer to remain in the wild have learned to fear humans and will view them as large predators in their environment. They do not understand some people genuinely want to help them. Instead, feral cats, if they feel you are a threat, will display signs of aggression to defend themselves, like hissing, biting, and scratching.

Mother cats, as an example, teach their offspring by their third week of their young lives to fear humans. That does not mean a feral cat or kitten cannot learn to trust or eventually be domesticated. Just do not expect it to happen overnight. This is because some feral cats take years to fully trust a human. It does not mean you did anything wrong. That is why the phrase, patience is a virtue, is key here, because feral cats will certainly assess both your time and patience.

7. What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on multiple projects. One of those is adapting my fantasy series for streaming. I’ve already written the TV pilot and am currently discussing with producers. I’m also writing a retelling of a dark fantasy fairytale for an anthology whose proceeds will be going to support people in the Ukraine. And lastly, I’m writing the next book in The Binge Watcher’s Guide to Doctor Who, focusing on Jodie Whittaker and her Doctor.

8. Do you have kitties or other pets? (Feel free to add pictures!)

Yes! I have Jeanne, who is one of Rosie’s kittens that I featured in my story, as well as Paws, who Rosie helped raise when her cat momma didn’t have the resources to take care of her own litter. I have John who was born outside and was in a terrible situation before he came to my care through the same rescue. I also have Evie, who I helped rescue from a mobile home community after she was thrown from a car. And lastly, I have Nestle who I recently discovered is related to Evie (they both share the same father!)

Mackenzie’s kitties are dotted around this interview – DMK

9. Do you have a favorite literary cat?

If I HAD to pick a cat, I’d have to go with Garfield.

10. How can readers connect with you?





Do you want to read a little of “A Cat Named Rosie?” Here you go:

Rosie walked through a mix of dirt, old fallen leaves, and pebbles to an opening underneath a home’s siding. She found a dark corner and curled up for the night.

The following day, when Rosie climbed out, she laid a paw on the ground, and felt a cold, wet sensation invade her paw pad. She lifted and shook her paw but failed to shake the freezing sensation away. With her nose close to the ground, she sniffed it.

Snow! A white blanket now covered the landscape. Food scraps had been buried beneath it. For the soon-to-be mother cat, scavenging food was going to be challenging. With about a month left in her pregnancy, she had to find a warm and safe place, away from predators, to give birth to her babies.

Rosie raised her head and sniffed the air taking in the various scents.

A garage door opened on the other side of the street, and an older man scraped a large trashcan down his frozen driveway. Fear gripped her when she saw him.  She turned her ears back, flattening them to the side. Her eyes widened and dilated. Rosie didn’t like this human. He had chased her and thrown sticks at her before when he caught her in his yard.

Rosie licked her lips. If she somehow managed to cross the street and knock over the trashcan without being seen, she might get lucky and find some leftover food still good for consumption. But she had to do it before the very loud vehicle arrived to take the contents of the trashcan to places unknown.

Rosie crouched down low to the ground and waited for the old man to return to his house. The garage remained open, but she did not give it much thought before darting across the street. Once she reached the trashcan, she stopped and briefly stared at it, calculating the best approach to knock it over. She placed her front paws against the trashcan.


Startled, Rosie quickly lowered her paws, and froze like a deer caught in a car’s headlights. The older man had returned. Rosie scrunched up into a small, less exposed shape, ready to flee.

“Get away from there!” he shouted.

Rosie took off, running around the trashcan and up the driveway towards the garage. Her heart pounding, she spotted a hole in the wall that looked large enough to pass through. She turned back, seeing the old man approaching from the corner of her eye. Ignoring her fears, she slunk into the hole.

Read the rest of Rosie’s story in Catstruck! And don’t forget to enter our Rafflecopter for a chance to win oodles of awesome prizes from the Catstruck authors.

And the Winners Are …

The winners of my Chanukah/Rhyfedd puzzle hunt have been announced.

Paws 4 Puzzles

Thank you everyone who puzzled and entered the Chanukah/Rhyfedd puzzle hunt. I hope you had fun. For those who would like the answers they will be up shortly on this blog along with links to all the puzzles so you can solve at the own place. Also feel free to check out the other puzzles on my puzzle tab above which include two previous Chanukah puzzle hunts.

And now on to the winners:

TAMARA B – wins first place and a signed copy of either Paws 4 Logic, P.A.W.S. or Rhyfedd!

Runners up (all those with correct answers)






All 5 runners up win a choice between a PDF copy of Paws 4 Logic or an audio book of their choice from my catalog.

All winners should receive an email from me shortly!

Thank you for playing and happy new year.


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Catstruck – Meet Marlena Frank

It’s Friday, so that means another Catstruck interview. Today we meet the author of the whimsical tale, “Protector of Dreams”, Marlena Frank.

Tell us a little bit about yourself Marlena
I write young adult fantasy and horror books, short stories, and series. I tend to lean into stories with queer characters and write character-driven stories. Sometimes I write stories that are reminiscent of fairy tales like I did with “Protector of Dreams” in Catstruck and in the Stolen series.

When did you first start writing?
I first started writing professionally in 2010, but I was writing for fun long before that. I got started in fanfiction writing, playing with mixing fandoms and throwing known characters into wild situations. I think I first wrote my first original story when I was very little. It was a pulpy action scene written with a green, blotchy gel pen.

Who are your favorite authors?
I have a ton of authors I love, so it’s hard to pin down my favorites. I’m a big fan of Cherie Priest and Stephen King. I grew up on Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles series. On the indie front some of my favorites are Candace Robinson and the late Peter Adam Salomon.

What inspires you to write?
I’ve had a few times in my life where I’ve considered not writing and even stopped for a couple of years. However, shortly after that I threw myself into a big fanfiction story that ended up being around 100k words.

Writing stories is simply a part of who I am. I’ve always loved crafting tales and unique characters, and now that I’m an author, I get to fully embrace that part of myself. I write to get the stories out of my head and to share them with others, but I also write to help people see the world a little differently.

Tell us a little bit about your story in Catstruck, “Protector of Dreams”.
“Protector of Dreams” is a spinoff story from the Stolen series, where a young teen gets kidnapped into a land of faeries, minotaurs, and cruel queens. This story can also be read on its own. For readers of the series, they’re already familiar with the Living Statue Mawr. He was crafted by magicians out of stone and given life. He is very kind despite his size and he lives in the utopian city of Aife. I wanted to explore how the people of Aife reacted to these Living Statues, not just to Mawr, but to others that were created. Especially the newest addition: a strange, quiet cat created out of labradorite.  

I love your story. It’s so whimsical and unusual. What inspired it?
Thank you so much! The Stolen series where Mawr was first introduced was originally inspired by a LiveJournal prompt years ago (I want to say 2013?). It was a picture of Alice from the Disney film Alice in Wonderland lying down in a bed of flowers and staring up at the sky. The prompt merely had to be fantasy. At the time I imagined a hedge maze and a girl being late for her lessons stopping to ask the stone lion to help her find her way through the maze. The Stolen series ended up being a darker tale, but the joy and color of the original story never left me. Aife changed a lot from that short prompt, but Mawr the stone lion became very important. Now he has become one of the most loved characters in the series.

What are you currently working on?
I’m finishing up the fourth book in The Wolves of Kanta series. It follows Mercy, the daughter of a werewolf hunter, as she tries to earn her father’s trust to follow in his footsteps. However, there are more terrors than werewolves that lurk in the woods. This series is dark fantasy with horror and dystopian elements. Perfect for readers who love werewolves, mad scientists, and a spark of romance! Book four comes out in December and the final book in the 5-book series comes out in March 2023.

Do you have kitties or other pets? (Feel free to add pictures!)
Absolutely! We have two kitties, Q and Zoey. Q is short for Quickster. Both of them were taken in from families who could no longer take care of them. They have what I consider a frenemy relationship that started out with fighting, but over time has seen them grow much closer. Q is deaf from birth and doesn’t know how loud she is. We have her wearing a collar with a bell on it so we can keep track of where she is in the house when she sleeps. She’s a short-haired tabby who is tough and a little athlete. Zoey is a skirmisher, always a hit and run who loves people but also loves picking a fight. She’s a long-haired tortoise shell who is a diva and a sprinter. Let’s face it, both of these kitties are divas and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Marlena’s two beautiful kitties are dotted throughout this interview DMK

Do you have a favorite literary cat?
I honestly don’t have a favorite literary cat because I love all cats in literature! Honestly, anytime there is an adorable cat in a story, perks if they can talk, I am entirely there. Even if they’re mean cats, I’m the person rooting for them. One of the cutest ones I’ve started reading about is in Alice Will by Ashley Chappell. She had a talking cat giving orders a few pages in and I’m loving it!

How can readers connect with you?
The best way to keep up with me is to subscribe to my mailing list. I send out emails two times a month plus one extra on release days. I tend to update my subscribers when I’m going to be attending a new event, when I’ll be a panelist or a guest, and when I’ve got a new book or story coming out. I also have a free short story available for subscribers. “The Blade Filled with Stars” is a sword and sorcery fantasy where two sisters work with Death to stop an attack on their village:

You can also find me on Ko-Fi where I sell signed copies of my books:
Finally, I’m on a bunch of social media accounts such as Instagram (@authorlenafrank), Facebook (@MarlenaFrankAuthor), Twitter (@MarlenaFrank), and TikTok(@MarlenaFrank). You can also find me on my website at:

Good night Q – so sweet!

Now do you want to read a little of Marlena’s “Protector of Dreams”?

Here you go:

IN A FARAWAY LAND, nestled in an ancient forest, stood the city of Aife. Unlike most modern cities, this one embraced trees and flowers. The people loved art of all kinds, from music and song to books and paintings. They built beautiful stone fountains because they loved the sound of falling water. They also surrounded their city with giant hedges—but that was to keep them protected from what lurked beyond.

Outside of Aife in the forest they loved, a change was coming. The Pello Pines drew near, ambushing lost travelers who might mistake them for normal trees. The Pello Pines were ravenous, blood-thirsty trees who weren’t satisfied with mere sunlight and water. Every day they lurked closer to the beautiful city and the people who lived there.

However, there were many who were still drawn to the beauty of Aife despite its dangers. Talented magicians came from far and wide for the chance to glimpse the rare tomes of the Great Library and study the vast history it kept within its protected walls. Several even contributed a few books of their own.

A trio of elderly magicians, known as the stone scholars, took such a liking to Aife and its magnificent fountains and copious flowers that they moved there. They built stone columns and pillars to surround the city and carved insignias into the fountains to keep them protected from the elements. Slowly, they gained the respect and trust from the people who lived alongside them.

The stone scholars didn’t stop there. Using their love of stonework, they built grand statues with incredible care and detail, right down to whiskers and long tails. The work alone was a masterpiece, but the stone scholars breathed life into them. This terrified the people of Aife.

The Lady Sphinx was the Living Statue they created first, built from a black slate with great wings and cat eyes. She was built to be the Keeper of Knowledge and knew many things about the world—even about the distant human lands. After coming to life, the Lady Sphinx flew up into the sky with a flurry of laughter, which frightened people in Aife. They thought she would attack them, but the Lady Sphinx was kind, even though she didn’t appear to be. Still, the people were concerned. They grew wary of these statues.

The stone sculptors built another Living Statue, believing this one would be less intimidating. They carved a large stone lion with a kind face who loved books and playing with children. They deemed him the Protector and Keeper of the Great Library of Aife. The people screamed as the lion came awake because he was far larger than a normal lion. The poor lion jumped behind his pedestal and took a good while to emerge again. The lion, named Mawr, loved books, but couldn’t see very well—an oversight by the stone sculptors. The people of Aife were quite tired of all the experimenting and seeing statues come to life when they should merely sit and look pretty. They demanded the stone sculptors make no more Living Statues and reluctantly the trio agreed.

Mawr and the Lady Sphinx remained the only two Living Statues within the guarded walls for years. But not forever.

Decades later, a strange blight struck the land. It didn’t take out crops or vegetation, but rather it slinked into minds as dreams. Children throughout Aife suffered from terrible nightmares. These bad dreams didn’t clear up after a day or two. They lasted for weeks on end.

Some children cried all night, so that parents were forced to hold them throughout the evening, searching for a way to bring them sleep. Some children didn’t sleep for days and began walking beyond the pillars of Aife, staring at the forest beyond the city, as though drawn to the shadows there.

The stone sculptors made one more Living Statue in the middle of the night during the full flower moon. They worked quickly with their tools on the edge of the city, afraid of being stopped if they were discovered.

When it was only a couple of hours until dawn, she was finally complete. They took her size into consideration and made her a fraction the size of Mawr. Carved from a large slab of labradorite, her black coat shined blue, aqua, and emerald in the moonlight. She was a sleek, black cat with green eyes and a long tail. She had a small pedestal to call her own at the edge of Aife, but no plaque to explain her title.

The next day, the people were furious. They demanded to know why she was built, but the magicians said she was for the children. They refused to say anything further.

As for the beautiful Living Statue, she said her name was Glint and asked to be left alone.

Continue her story in Catstruck.

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