Catstruck! — Diana Dawn

It’s Friday, so time for another Catstruck! interview. Today we meet cat lover, Diana Dawn who tells a little about her writing and her kitties! You can read a little of her Catstruck! story, “Cat Fancy That” after the interview.

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

I am a wife and mother of three… two boys 15 & 12, and one girl, 10. I currently live in Texas in the USA. I write clean romance. For example, I have a fantasy romance series called Whispering Willows. I also enjoy performing in musical community theater. I even got to play Miss Hannigan in “Annie” and Ursula in “The Little Mermaid”!

  • When did you first start writing?

I wrote several stories as a young girl and teenager. But it really started about 25 years ago. I was part of a small online writing club. It was a “shared world”. We all would write a chapter a week or so. I love all things Snow White, so I decided to write my story around what would happen to Snow White if she “fell” into another world. I wrote in the group for several years, but the writing club finally shut down in 2009. I didn’t do anything with my work for the next 10 years. Then 2019, I decided to not let all of that time and dedication go to waste, so I made the leap to self-publish my chapters into a book series. I have books one through eleven published so far and plan to wrap up the series in book twelve next year. However, I have a lot of other projects in the pipeline as well, so I hope I can get book twelve done next year! I am part of many multi-author boxed sets from this year on through 2025!

  • Who are your favorite authors?

That’s a tough one. I have always loved the comedic writing of Ellen Conford. And I also enjoy the writings of J. R. R. Tolkien.

  • What inspires you to write? 

I have a lot of stories in my head that I feel passionate about. I think it’s the emotion that inspires me the most. It really helps me to have some kind of emotional attachment to my characters.

  • Tell us a little bit about your story in Catstruck, “Cat Fancy That”.

Duchess is a beautiful pure breed Himalayan cat in a comfortable home. She is an “only” cat and content to be such. So when her owners bring home a cute stray kitten, Duchess’ home life is threatened. Can she get past her resentment of the new feline and make friends with the little guy? Her position in the household may depend on it!

  • Are the cats in the story based on your own?

Yes, absolutely. I have been raised with Himalayan cats most of my life. They are beautiful cats… a cross between a Persian and a Siamese… and very sweet. I also rescued a stray kitten from a kill shelter several years ago. When I married my husband, he also had a couple of rescued cats. We had a house full of cats! Just call me the “crazy cat lady”! I have owned a mix of pure breeds as well as rescued felines. So the “shenanigans” of both of the kitties in my story were definitely based on my own “fur babies”!

  • What are you currently working on?

I have two stand-alone books coming out next year that are part of a multi-author series of similar themed books (in addition to the 12th and final book in my series!). One is a YA book about teens with special abilities, and the other is a clean romance aboard a cruise ship.

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

Yes! I have two Himalayans, one white short hair kitty, and a turtle!

  • Do you have a favorite literary cat?

I’ve always enjoyed reading Garfield!

  1. How can readers connect with you?

I have an author website that talks all about my current projects and my series. And here, you can also join my newsletter where I always have great deals and giveaways!
Diana Dawn Books

You can find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/diana.dawn.965/

And please join my Facebook “Dawning Books Reader’s Group”! https://www.facebook.com/groups/3109388419321551

Want to read a snippet of “Cat Fancy That?” Of course you do!

Chapter One

‘New Kid on the Block’

Duchess yawned and stretched as she curled up in Sophie’s lap in the large chair near the fireplace. This was her favorite time. Sophie would read her book while Duchess slept peacefully. Soon, Sophie would grow tired and head to bed, and Duchess would follow and curl up next to her pillow. It was mornings that Duchess didn’t like. Sophie would grab her backpack and leave and be gone all day. Where does she go that takes so long? Her mom and dad would leave, too. And they would be gone even longer than Sophie. So, after some “crunchy munchies” and some fresh water from her kitty fountain, Duchess would bathe her long fur coat for most of the morning, and then sleep for the rest of the afternoon.

‘Ah, finally!’ Duchess thought as she heard the sound of a key in the door. Sophie came in and threw her backpack on the kitchen table. Duchess jumped up onto the table to demand her afternoon petting. 

She sat as Sophie pulled several items from her backpack. “Got lots of homework today, Duchess.”

Duchess continued to rub Sophie’s hand as she tried to write.

“Duchess, I love you, but I can’t get my work done when you do that.” She picked Duchess up and set her on the floor.

Duchess gave her a confused look and proceeded to jump back up on the table and rub Sophie’s hand some more.

“Duchess! Ugh!” Sophie stood up, grabbed her books, and headed for her room. Just as Duchess reached the door, it closed, shutting her out.

“What? Wait! She never shuts me out of her room. What’s going on?” 

Duchess started meowing at the door, but it didn’t open. So she lay on the floor in front of the door and waited, sadly.

After a while, Sophie’s mom and dad came into the house together. Strange, because usually Sophie’s mom gets home first from wherever it is they go every day, except for a couple of days a week.

“Sophie?” her mom called. “We have a surprise for you!”

Sophie’s dad was carrying a box with a lid. Duchess suddenly sensed a strange smell coming from the direction of the box. The family would often bring in outside food with different smells. This was not food.

“Yeah, Mom?” Sophie emerged from her room. Duchess sighed in relief. She was about to head to the bedroom, but curiosity got the best of her, and she decided to sit and see what all was going on with that box.

Sophie gasped as she lifted the lid. “OH! Mom, Dad, he’s so cute!” To Duchess’ horror, Sophie lifted a small, orange kitten from the box.

Her dad offered, “He was a stray that was hanging around my office building. So we had him bathed, fixed and checked out by a vet. Otherwise, we were afraid they would send him to the pound and… well, anyway. Do you like him?”

“I LOVE him!” Sophie snuggled the kitten to her cheek.

Duchess was dumbfounded, as she stared wide-eyed at her Sophie messing with some stray mutt of a cat! She even had the nerve to tell it she loved it! Indeed!

Her mom offered, “We need to see how Duchess is going to react to the new kitten.”

All eyes were on Duchess. She was appalled as she saw Sophie putting the kitten down close to her. Yuck! That smell! She hissed at the filthy animal and then ran into Sophie’s bedroom.

“Duchess!” Sophie scolded.

“Don’t worry. She’ll come around.” Her mom picked up the kitten and held it. “Any name ideas?”

Sophie noted the orange tabby cat’s color. “You know, I bet when he grows up, he’ll look like the orange cat on the cat food cans. What’s his name again?”

“Morris,” her mom replied.

“Morris it is, then!” Sophie took the kitten. “Morris, that’s a good name for you. Morris and Duchess. Hey, that has a cool ring to it! And don’t you worry about her. She’ll chill out and come around. Just give her some time. You hungry?”

Sophie went to the kitchen, opened a can of cat food, and offered a bowl to Morris. He accepted it hungrily.

“I thought you might be. And there’s the crunchy dry food over there, too.”

Duchess wandered out of the bedroom and jumped up on the counter to be away from the new brat. She scowled as she watched this punk kid eat her precious, meaty food. As she looked over at the can, she noticed that the picture on it looked very much like a grown-up version of this small cat. ‘Great. It’s like his picture is all over MY food!’ she thought.

“Duchess, you have to be nice to Morris. You two are going to have to get along. You’ll be together from now on… forever.”

Duchess wasn’t sure what all Sophie had just said, but whatever it was, it made her shiver.

So will Duchess and Morris finally become friends? Pick up a copy of Catstruck! to find out.

And don’t forget to enter our Rafflecopter for a chance to win oodles of prizes including a set of ELEVEN books, the almost complete series, of Diana Dawn.

Catstruck! — Holly Hook

Today on Paws 4 Thought we continue our Catstruck! interview series with YA fantasy author, Holly Hook.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, Holly. I’m a YA fantasy author who’s been writing all my life but I recently began branching out into other genres as well. I started publishing on Kindle in 2010, and after seven years of work, I reached the point where I can write full time. I like anything fantasy and paranormal, but also do some post-apocalyptic stuff.

2. When did you first start writing? I started writing when I was pretty young—first grade, I think. Before that, I would speak stories into a tape recorder.

3. Who are your favorite authors? I’ve read so many books that I don’t have a clear favorite, though Christopher Pike comes to mind for influencing me when I was younger.

4. What inspires you to write? Honestly, I’m not sure, but I can’t hold back from telling stories. Once in a while, I get a dream or something, but otherwise, it just comes to me.

5. Tell us a little bit about your story in Catstruck, “Walls”. “Walls” is a companion story to the Flamestone Trilogy, which I wrote several years ago. The cat in the story was inspired by a big, gray, intelligent cat that we still have in the family.

6. Do you plan to continue Jenna’s story? The Flamestone Trilogy is currently done, which this story ties to, but this is the only story with Jenna at this time. Maybe in the future, I’ll revisit this world.

7. What are you currently working on? The sequel to War and Kittens, a YA UF that also features a cat. The first book is doing a bit better than I anticipated, so I’ve got to hurry on Book Two. I’m also working on an adult paranormal/urban fantasy series that’s not yet out.

For a chance to win an ebook of War and Kittens and a host of other awesome prizes be sure to enter our Catstruck Rafflecopter!

8. Do you have kitties or other pets? (Feel free to add pictures!) I have two cats of my own but live with six in total. I also keep tarantulas and have a tank full of jerks cichlids, which are a type of fish.

Here’s a picture of Niko, the inspiration behind Mowgli in my story, “Walls”.

9. Do you have a favorite literary cat? There are so many cats out there that I can’t find just one. I love all the kitties.

10. How can readers connect with you? See links below:

Subscribe to my newsletter: www.subscribepage.com/e3w3s2 

And visit my Amazon page

Would you like to read an excerpt from Holly’s story, “Walls”?

Sure you do!

“Mowgli, what are you hissing at?”

Jenna sat up on the edge of her bed, tossing down her copy of Alice in Wonderland. It was her latest escape from a world that failed her. 

Her cat stood on the floor, staring at that hole in the bottom of her wall again. There were a lot of holes in her new foster home, especially in her bedroom. Such was the story of her life. 

“Come on. Really?” It was the third time this week he’d done that, and it was getting annoying. Every time she got away from her mother and earned some time to herself, he did this, breaking her from her focus.

Maybe she’d have to find some other place in this house to do her reading.

Mowgli ignored her and puffed up larger, looking like a steel gray panther who needed to lose weight. His tail morphed into a giant pipe cleaner, and he growled at the hole.

“Are you really that scared of mice?” Jenna stood up, wiggling her freezing toes in her socks, and she hoped it wasn’t a rat living in that hole instead. The house was old… way older than the creepy guy her foster mom had rented it from. It had lots of dips in the floor and plenty of drafts, some of which seemed to come from some damp place underground. She wondered how many other kids went through here as they got shuffled around the system. 

Mowgli hissed again, backing so far away from the wall that he rammed his rear end into the side of Jenna’s bed. 

She sat up, because something wasn’t right here, and her heart thudded in response. Her cat was smart enough to turn on the washing machine by himself so he could sit on top of it and enjoy the free massage.

Jenna had read a story once where a cat warned a woman about a fire in the wall and saved her life. 

She scrambled down onto the floor and sat next to Mowgli. “All right, Genius. Is this dump finally burning down?” She smelled no smoke, so she pulled Mowgli to her side. He was so warm she could keep him there all night.

Mowgli twisted in her grip and howled, letting out a low, mournful sound. He broke free and darted down the hall, his enormous feet thundering down the stairs.

“Hey!” Jenna sat there, staring at the doorway her cat had just bolted through. She rubbed the line of pain on her leg, as he’d nailed her with his back claws by mistake. 

Maggie, her foster mom, yelled something at him that Jenna could never repeat in class. It figured. Maggie had hated Mowgli since Jenna found him starving next to a trash can up in town.

That happened a few months ago, right after she came to stay with Maggie, and now she fed him with lawn mowing money. There wasn’t much else for a fifteen-year-old to do when it came to making money.

At least Maggie hadn’t tried to hurt him. Maybe she feared Jenna going to the social worker, although Chris insisted Jenna stay with Maggie for her own good. The system was beyond broken. 

Ignoring the pain of her scratch, Jenna leaned closer to the opening and sniffed, but no smoke stung her nostrils. The air coming from the hole smelled damp with a trace of dirt and dust, as it always did. 

She turned around in her room, staring at all the old, empty moving boxes, some left over from other kids. She had a flashlight somewhere. It was a cheap one that came in one of those dollar store surprise bags meant for little kids, but it would work. Maggie got her the bag for Christmas.

Jenna pulled her clothing box off another that was the permanent home for her books, then moved that aside to reach the junk box. The green handle of the flashlight stuck out from under the torn flap.

Jenna clicked it on. It gave off a weak glow, like the dull light bulb overhead, but it would have to work. 

She flopped down to her side on the floor and aimed the weak beam at the hole. The yellowing wall turned bright, but the hole looked darker. The damp smell grew stronger, and Jenna thought of the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland. 

This one looked more jagged and sinister, and yes, it was big enough to let a rat into her room. She’d never dared to peek in before for precisely that reason. 

Jenna expected insulation, chewed wood, mouse turds, and other debris to fill the space beyond the wall’s surface. 

Instead, she found only darkness, and could make out nothing past where the hole started. 

The floor past the entrance seemed to drop off into nothingness, and it was as if the crack in the wall opened into a void. 

A breeze shot out, whistling around Jenna’s ears.

Then a faint, bizarre squeak, along with an odd skittering, emerged from the depths.

She scrambled back and held back a cry. The flashlight slid across the floor and hit one of her boxes. Jenna hit the back of her bed. She kept her gaze locked on the hole.

The hole stayed as dark as ever and the earthy smell faded. She sucked in a breath to make sure it had gone.

Maybe she should get Maggie to come up and look at this, because a hole into nothingness wasn’t normal, especially on the second floor. 

Um, not a good idea. You’re better off dealing with this yourself.

Maggie would come up here, roll her eyes, and head back downstairs if she was lucky. If not, Jenna would get more chores to do, like washing the dishes and mowing the house’s overgrown lawn.

Jenna pushed the junk box over to where the hole in the wall waited like an open mouth. She’d cover it up for now, because there was no way she could sleep in this room otherwise.

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

And be sure to enter our Catstruck rafflecopter for a chance to win a copy of Holly Hook’s War and Kittens and a whole host of other goodies from our Catstruck authors.

Check out oodles of anthologies from a host of indie authors!

Second Chance – Because every animal deserves a second chance at a furrever home

51j12uq5jpl-_sy346_

Every year seven million companion animals enter animal shelters and are later euthanized. Here at Rock and Roll Saved My Soul, we want to help decrease that number. We believe every pet deserves a second chance. This anthology is a collection of stories about rescue animals, strays, and the animals that have saved us. All proceeds benefit Pet Partners. Together we can save lives and help animals everywhere get a second chance.

MiriBag

I have two stories in this anthology that releases today. One about my current kitty, Miri Billie Joe and one about my old companion who sadly crossed over the Rainbow Bridge a few years back, Cecilia (or Cici as we liked to call her).

cici1

Please pick up a copy to read their stories and the other wonderful stories of rescue animals and come by to FB later today for a special event with the authors of the anthology. I will be hosting from 7-8pm Central time and will be giving away some audio book copies of Cecilia’s Tale.

SECOND CHANCE on Amazon

Second Chance release event on Facebook.

 

 

Stories for Change

Every year authors of all genres get together and donate their writing to fantastic causes. I myself have been part of several wonderful charity anthologies. All have been awesome experiences and I highly encourage my author friends on here who have yet to be part of a charity anthology to get involved. The rewards for you and the charity are immense.

Here are some recently published charity anthologies available for purchase. Each contains some amazing stories and you’re sure to be something for everyone in this list.

autismanthoboxset

Let’s start with this beautiful box set anthology in aid of autism awareness. Isn’t that cover amazing? I can’t wait to read these thirteen fantasy tales.

Ever in the After: Lift4Autism Charity Anthology
100% of the proceeds will be donated to Lift4Autism
99 cents for a limited time!

In Ever in the After, 13 authors come together to explore fantastical realms full of supernatural creatures, dark intrigue, and spells that may or may not be curses.

A must-have fantasy collection full of surprises, secrets, and strong teenagers who know what they need to do to succeed in these mystical realities.

Preorder your copy today!

autismanthopromo

In 2016 I had stories in four charity anthologies. Here’s a run down:

The idea for Stardust, Always was conceived after the deaths of David Bowie and Alan Rickman from cancer. A group us from Facebook’s NaNoWriMo group wanted to do something in honor of the two stars who had a profound effect on so many people’s lives. As a cancer survivor myself I was drawn to this group and was honored to donate a story to this collection.

51rydvnlwel

All proceeds from Stardust Always go to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

We’ve All Been There is a collection of memoirs from eight authors who talk about their personal struggles in the hopes of empowering others going through tough times.

51de0dkhz2l

All proceeds from We’ve All Been There go to Project Semicolon.

Proceeds for the two Longest Night Watch anthologies go to Alzheimers’ research. The books were created in honor of the late and great Terry Pratchett and I have a short story in volume 2.

519i14zthwl 61u-cpccjll

The final charity anthology to which I contributed in 2016 was Rescue Me: Purrfect Companions in aid of the Cat Network. My story in this one is Cecilia’s Tale, which I hope to expand into a picture book coming out later in 2017.

41fkb0j12zl-_sx322_bo1204203200_

So there we have it. Six wonderful charity anthologies, all filled with compelling tales from awesome authors and all for important causes. Please pick up your copies today and share this post.

Thank you!

 

Rescue Me: Purrfect Companions

rescueme

 

It’s Release Day for Rescue Me – Purrfect Companions. A charity anthology in which I’m privileged to have a story.

My story “Cecilia’s Tale” talks about how my kitty found me in Israel. Cecilia then shared the next 16 years of my life with me and eventually came to America. She passed over the Rainbow Bridge a few years ago, but is still very much in my thoughts.

Pick up a copy of Rescue Me: Purrfect Companions today!

On Kindle or Paperback.

cici1

Murder, Mayhem, and Magic Cover Reveal

Mayhem

Release date: September 1st
Party date: September 5th and 6th
Published with: Rock & Roll Saved My Soul
https://www.facebook.com/rockandrollsavedmysoul

Murder, Mayhem, and Magic
By Mel Skubich & Stevie Conradi
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMelSkubich
https://www.facebook.com/StevieConradi

Synopsis: “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” – Sherlock Holmes.

But what if the truth is not only improbable, but otherworldly? Meet Alistair Gordon and Jerome Garibaldi, two Victorian gentlemen and part-time sleuths. Not only do they follow in the footsteps of the greatest detective who never lived, they meet more than they bargained for when a case of magic goes horribly wrong.

Accompany them on a journey through several Victorian murder mysteries, from a marriage that was not meant to be to a match celebrated with rose-petals. Join Alistair as his investigations lead him to opium dens and follow Jerome turn his life around as he stops being a blackmailing lay-about and becomes lover, lodger and layman detective.

Walk with us through foggy alleyways where hansom cabs and Ladies that are not paint a picture of Victorian London in six illustrated stories of murder, mayhem and magic.

All proceeds to be donated to:
BipolarUK
www.bipolaruk.org.uk/

MayhemJacket