Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Tyrabbisaurus Rex: Coming Alive

A lot has happened this month, in terms of my quest for an illustrator. Almost immediately after my last blog, I pitched Tyrabbisaurus Rex to the artist, Jeanine Henning, and she was as excited about the project as me.

We've been communicating back and forth ever since, discussing Rex's character and today she sent me a rough concept that has literally brought him to life. I am so excited about this process and have never been more convinced that I'm on the right track in terms of my writing career.

And so here he is, Tyrabbisaurus Rex, in rough form by the amazing Jeanine Henning:

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Willow and Giles Update; Skittles too!

Kitty successes everywhere!

As I mentioned in my blog yesterday, I released Willow and Giles, but was worried they'd just disappear, especially Willow, who was really annoyed at her incarceration. But then I saw Willow later yesterday afternoon and again this morning, when I went outside to feed the cats. And bonus! Giles was with her this morning. No disappearing for a week like Buffy did! That's a huge success, right there.

And since we're updating on kitties, I should also mention that Skittles just hit another huge milestone in her road toward socialization. In addition to the bathroom, my front porch has become another spot where Skittles allows me to pet her. For months, we've followed a very specific set of rituals. The one in the bathroom and the one in the mornings, when I wake with Skittles on my bed, I've already detailed in previous posts. This latest ritual involves me arriving home from work and walking from the kitchen into the living room.

Skittles always meets me in the doorway between the kitchen and the dining room. She circles in front of me, darts a couple steps away, circles back, meows at me, then darts a few more steps away. She continues this ritual of back-and-forth as I slowly follow her toward the front door. Once she's assured I'm definitely following, she darts through the pet door onto the enclosed front porch. When I open the door and follow her, she meows at me from under the chair. I then have to move the chair out of the way, to reveal her beneath it so that I can pick her up. Some days, she will allow me to pick her up immediately. And some days, she makes me work for it, moving from under the chair to under the table, then once I've moved the table, darting behind a cat tree. Once I've moved the cat tree, though, she usually lets me pick her up.

We sometimes repeat this ritual in the mornings. Some days, I'll wake and discover that Skittles isn't on the bed with me, which usually means she's on the front porch. Typically, on these days, when I open the front door, I'll find Skittles relaxing on a cat tree, but only for a split second. The moment the door starts to open, she's down and under the chair, and thus our ritual begins again.

And so these rituals have continued, day after day, month after month, providing me several opportunities each day to further bond with Skittles. Which brings me to our latest milestone: when I went onto the front porch this morning, instead of jumping down to hide under the chair, Skittles stayed in her spot on the cat tree. She just let me go up to her and pet her a bunch, then walk away. No hiding under a chair this time around.

It's funny because I keep thinking that I've probably gotten as far as I'll get with her, in terms of trust. We'll go months without any change in behaviors and then suddenly, she'll make another huge leap forward. Today was that day. And I'm just overjoyed.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Another Feral Family

Just when I think I've finally managed to get the feral population, at least in my own backyard (and on the abandoned property next to me), under control, I am proven wrong. Again.

It's my own fault. Life got away from me. I managed to trap and spay Buffy, but never did catch Willow. And the next thing I know, there she is with two kittens. And one of those kittens, a tiny blonde who looked a lot like Buffy and Crookshanks, disappeared after only two sightings, before I could manage to trap her.

And so I had Willow and a little gray kitten to worry about. I started feeding the cats in one of my larger cat carriers. And shockingly, managed to trap, first Willow, and then the gray kitten, without any trouble at all. Willow wanted nothing to do with me. Hissing and growling and generally acting like the feral cat she is, it was a challenge to give her fresh food and water over the long, holiday weekend.

The kitten on the other hand, was a bit subdued and allowed me to pet him/her on a couple occasions.

I took the two into the Humane Society first thing Tues. morning and paid for TNR packages on both. This is where I always have my dilemma. Do I beg for space for the kitten, who is definitely young enough to be socialized?

This kitten is so young, in fact, I don't believe he's even hit that magic age the Humane Society and other rescue organizations put such stock in. The reality is that kittens can be tamed well past that supposed 8-10 week magic cut-off date - as seen with both Skittles and Buffy. It simply takes time and patience, something most rescue organizations simply cannot afford to offer. They need to be able to move their incoming pets out as quickly as possible, to make room for the other homeless animals coming in.

I've seen too many kittens become cats in cages, waiting for that forever home. It's so difficult to know what to do. The kitten is happy with his mama in my backyard, roaming free. His life will undoubtedly be harder and shorter because he's not an indoor cat, but can I claim that his life in a cage in a shelter would be any better? The dilemma is one I hate having to even contemplate.

The Humane Society makes it easy for me, telling me they have no room to take in this kitten, whom they've determined is a male. And so I bring Willow and her kitten, whom I've named Giles, home with me. I keep them in their cat carriers, feeding them, bonding with the kitten, while the mother ignores me, hisses at me, growls and swats at me, watches me in fear.

And finally today, desperate to give Willow her freedom, to end her torture at being locked up, and knowing I've done the best I can to give her time to recover from her surgery, I carry both carriers out and set both cat and kitten free.

Now to wait and see if Willow will ever trust me again. If Giles will continue to let me pet him, now that he is free to roam the neighborhood once more.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Sehmah's Truth: COVER REVEAL

It's a brand new year, a year I intend to claim as the first in my journey as a published Indie author.

And so, as a sort of symbolic gesture of my commitment, today I signed up to have a table at this year's Utopia conference. Which of course, means that I will need to have actual, physical books at the conference, which takes place toward the end of June.

Thus, I have six months to get my act together.

It shouldn't be so terrifying. Sehmah's Truth is completely ready for launch. I even have a cover. I'm simply hesitating to pull the trigger. Partly because of the dilemma I think all would-be Indie authors face - launch a single title into the void or wait to launch several titles together?

I actually have several other books I could focus on getting ready to launch with Sehmah's Truth. In particular, Tyrabbisaurus Rex is ready, though I still need a cover and an illustrator (someone with a lot more talent than me). I also have a number of picture books languishing around my laptop that I could recover from the depths... if only I had an illustrator more talented than me.

I'm sensing a theme.

I think this will be my next step: illustrator search, here I come.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with this amazing cover, created by Laura Gordon of The Book Cover Machine: