Sunday, June 22, 2014

A New Blog Hop via Grace Yee

Hello. Allow me to introduce myself. I'm Karen Malena and a funny thing happened on this journey called life. Okay, I realize that's a bit cliche. But life has been a journey and yes, some funny things certainly happened! I've worked in the dental field for over thirty years, and only recently became a published author. Not bad for someone who had their mom laugh hysterically at the first story she ever wrote as a young girl; a story which was meant to be tragic and sad.

I've been invited by author Grace Yee to join in a blog hop and there are a few questions I must answer. Links to her author page and blog site follow at the end of the questions.

Here goes:

1. What are you working on?
I'm at the end of finalizing a funny fantasy cat story about Piggy, my son's cat and her make-believe adventures. Also I'm writing a poignant love story about two people who meet in the twilight years in an assisted living facility. These stories are as different as night and day, that's what makes it so fun.

2.  How does your work differ from others in the genre?
With my cat story, I've noticed that other cat authors have "true" stories which they've written about some really brave and different cats they've owned. I chose to write a make-believe story about my son's cat Piggy since a popular Facebook page of hers has really taken off. I'd like to continue to convey her very sassy side, coupled with some great adventures, heroes and villains and tell a "tail" for people of all ages.

3. Why do you write what you do?
I've loved pretending and made up stories since I was a young girl. When I'm writing a serious story such as Shadow of My Father's Secret, I dig deep within myself to how the characters feel. I find stories from my own life and intermingle them into my books.

When I'm writing fantasy like Piggy's story, my fun, inner child comes to the surface and I can be more free to express a sillier side of myself.

4. How does your writing process work?
I have a full time job, full time husband, full time elderly parents and assorted loved ones who I enjoy spending time with. It isn't easy to actually make the time to write. I grab what I call little valuable pockets of time. If I actually have a full day to myself, I write like crazy. I must have complete quiet surrounding me to "get in the zone" so to speak.

Also, I write in my head almost all the time. During a long drive, a good outdoor walk, my characters tell me what they want me to do next.

As part of this blog hop, I'd like to introduce the writer who invited me and then the two other writers who are joining in the fun:

Grace Yee who invited me:

Joe Potts:

B. Chantel:

This is Piggy the cat's Facebook page as well:

A special thank you to Grace Yee for inviting me, and for the other bloggers who joined in!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Curiosity and cats

You've all seen them. The Elizabethan collars so famous for cat and dog operations. That hideous torture device meant to keep your pet away from surgery sites and stitches.

Never have I seen a cat actually "want" to wear one of these. That is, until my own cat Rocco tried one on for size one day.

My husband and I were fortunate to adopt brother and sister cats Rocco and Bella as little kittens. The tiny ragamuffins were found near a motel in the town I work. A kindly veterinarian's office took them in and nursed the flea bitten kitties to health.

Soon after we brought them home, we decided to have them spayed and neutered. Well, Rocco had it pretty easy, after all, he's the male. The surgery for the boy cat is a little easier. Not so for Miss Bella. Stitches ran down her shaved belly and one of the plastic torture devices, the Elizabethan collar was put around her little neck.

My husband and I felt terrible watching the poor kitten trying to eat and drink with the hated collar. One day, my husband decided to give Bella a little break and he loosened and removed the collar so she could enjoy her food. Unfortunately, we placed it back on as soon as her meal was done.

Each day when I returned home from work, I was greeted by the two gray fluffballs at the door. I swear cats come to know the sound of our vehicles even when they're about a mile away. So on this particular day when I walked in, I was a bit puzzled to see only one cat: Rocco, the male. I called for Bella and heard the sound of mewing from far away. I called again....mew. I walked further into the house calling "Bella!" More meowing, but from where?

As I walked into the living room and looked up the stairs, poor Bella cat was limping down the stairs, half in half out of the stupid collar. Since we'd loosened it, her body was wedged part way, as if she'd tried to climb out of it.

My husband heard this story when he came home from his own job that night. Feeling sorry for the poor kitty, and realizing she'd had enough of wearing the awful device, he removed it from Bella once and for all, throwing it onto the floor of our bedroom into a corner.

The next day I returned home from work and as I opened the door, the sight of two kitties again greeted me. But, what's this?? The Elizabethan collar was back! How?? Why?? Had hubby returned from work feeling a bit guilty and placed it back on little Bella?

Nope. Upon examining the cats, I saw that it was Rocco, not Bella who had the collar on. Apparently the phrase having something to do with curiosity and cats had special meaning for him. The silly boy must have gone over the collar on my bedroom floor and plopped his own head into it. Sorry, Rocco, but you were the butt of jokes for quite a while in our house.