Monday, September 29, 2014
My name is Odie, I’m an orange and white boy cat and I live on a small farm with my best friend Bandit, two horses, our girl, and her family.
One cold winter night when I was just a tiny kitten, I lost my family. I was scared and alone and I happened to find a horse barn. I snuck in and fell asleep in a pile of hay. The next morning, my girl and Bandit found me and I knew that I had a forever home. I always thought that my girl saved me from life as a stray, but she tells me that I’m the one who saved her. I inspired her to follow her dream of writing and publishing children’s books. After all, the name Odie means inspiration.
My favorite activities include climbing trees, pouncing on grasshoppers, and hunting in tall grass. I also like to take naps on the porch with Bandit. My girl says that I am always finding trouble, but I’m not really sure what that means. I’m just so happy to have a forever home with my girl and my animal friends.You can read my story in my girl’s first book Odie the Stray Kitten.
Hi, I’m Bandit. I’m sure that Odie already told you a little about me and where I live. Odie is much younger than I am, but we are still best friends. I have lived on this farm for a long time, even before our girl lived here.
I have lived a tough life. I was once a loved house cat but have also suffered through life in an animal shelter and as a stray before finding my forever home here on the farm. My experiences have left me with some scars and made me wise beyond my years, and I know that I will never leave this farm. I have a forever home here with my girl and my best friend Odie.
My favorite activities include eating, hunting for rodents, eating, protecting my barn from intruders, sleeping on the porch, and eating. Odie and I wait on the porch for our girl every morning. We walk down to the barn and she feeds us breakfast. Then we start the day’s adventures. You can read all about my life in my girl’s second book Odie’s Best Friend. That’s the title because that’s exactly what I am.
I’m Kristen Mott, children’s book author, wife, mother, animal caretaker and animal welfare advocate. I believe that children’s books are the only genre that can be enjoyed for multiple lifetimes. You enjoy these books as a child, then inevitably come back to the same stories and read them to your own children years later.
I’m very proud of the work that I have done with the first two books in the Odie the Stray Kitten Series. Odie the Stray Kitten received the 2014 Children’s Literary Classics’ Seal of Approval, it won a 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Award as well as a 2014 Purple Dragonfly Honorable Mention. Odie’s Best Friend was just released this year and has received multiple five star reviews. The third and final book in the series should be available in 2015.
I am the girl in my stories, though I never mention myself by name. I live on the farm where I care for my family, our horses, and of course, Odie and Bandit. The animals inspire me. I feel that they often write the stories for me, I just edit them for children. I strive for my writing to encourage children to read, to write their own stories, and to have compassion for animals.
Odie the Stray Kitten and Odie's Best Friend are both available on Amazon.com and other online retailers. They are also available in all ebook formats. Keep up with my books and events on my author website (www.kristenmott.com), my blog (www.animalstoriesforchildren.blogspot.com) or connect with me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/odiethestraykitten).
Saturday, September 20, 2014
A woman makes a decision. Hands clasped before her, eyes closed, she whispers into the stillness of the night.
Does my husband know what it feels like watching him self-destruct, worshipping the glass god, a bottle?
Does he know what it feels like to have a sinking pit in my stomach, wondering, will this day be different? Is this the day he’ll stop drinking?
Does he know what it feels like worrying about our friends, wondering what they think of him? How he spoke with me that day in front of them? Are they talking behind our backs? Has he said something offensive or hurt them in any way? To know what it feels like making excuses for him?
Does he know what it feels like wondering what I’m doing wrong? Was it something I said that pushed him that day? To hear words pour forth from him like poison, knowing it isn’t really him talking, but the demons in his tortured soul.
Does he know what it feels like to hope this might be the day he stops drinking. He’s promised so many times before. I even watched him pour the whole bottle down the drain. To have hope, but feel it dashed away when he picks up that one drink.
Does he know what it feels like sitting back at events, watching and waiting, not enjoying one moment as I count the drinks he’s having. To worry if this may be the time he goes too far and I have to explain why I’m driving home yet again. To answer his questions, ones he won’t even remember the next day.
Does he know how close I’ve been to leaving, giving up and letting go?
Does he know what it feels like when I cry into my pillow night after night? Shedding a trail of hot tears and clutching the blanket in my fist while I scream silently out to God in the lateness of the hour.
Does he know what it feels like holding these feelings in day after day with nobody to tell, with shame, fear and silence as my constant companions?
She cries out from her very soul. A feeling begins to wash over her.
Dear Lord, does my husband know just how much you’ve given me the strength to believe, hope and trust even when it has felt hopeless and bleak? To empower me with the knowledge that one day he’ll be free, free of this bondage, this glass god he worships. To let you become the true Lord of his life and witness the power of your greatness, your healing, your mercy. To know every day is a miracle, a fresh start, a new beginning and for one more day, we can make it with you on our side.
She feels something break within her. She feels something else. Hope.
A bible verse comes to her and with it, a promise.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
Rising to her feet, the whole armor of God upon her, she knows she can go on.
Monday, September 8, 2014
A pink-nosed kitten barely two months old, reached his paws toward the stately grey-striped tabby trying to bathe him with her sandpaper tongue. He swatted at her tail, trying to catch it between two small, but very furry paws. He wriggled away from her, annoyed at this bath time ritual.
“Stop it, Mom, that tickles,” the kitten said.
The mother cat ignored her babe, continuing to lick every inch of her precious adopted son. The tongue combed through the white fur, and her paw gently held him down.
She fretted over the rescued kitten, not only in keeping him clean, but especially because he was so vulnerable, the smallest one of the litter. Her human had chosen him from the animal shelter for this very reason. He had a soft spot for the underdogs of the world.
“Why do I have to be clean before bed?” The kitten squirmed, catching his mother’s tail this time before she gently pulled it away from him.
The mother cat who’d answered this question many times before stopped for a moment.
“Peanut,” she said. “I have a different kind of “tail” for you. What if I tell you the most wonderful story tonight? It’s a bedtime tale that I think you might enjoy.”
Peanut the kitten stopped fussing; his big green eyes alight with wonder. “A story, Mama, a fun story?”
“Oh yes, but this one is true. It’s about an unlikely friendship, great bravery, heroes and villians. This is the story of the great mouse rescue.”
“A mouse?” Peanut questioned.
The grey-striped tabby cuddled her young one close. She licked his soft, tiny head and then rested her chin upon him. A sigh escaped her, and she looked up into the darkness of the room; her cat night vision excellent. Her human was asleep, snoring away in the next room. She closed her eyes and let the thoughts come to her; thoughts of her dear sister and friends. A meow that sounded oddly like a chuckle echoed in her mind, or had she heard it?
Settling in with her paw across Peanut’s back, Goober the cat began her tale.
A dilapidated, gray-shingled house sat among tidy red brick homes in a quiet neighborhood of Ambridge, Pennsylvania. It stood out for the peeling strips of paint, the sagging front porch, and the tendrils of ivy creeping up the side. A wooden fence badly in need of a paint job surrounded it with a creaking, rusty gate. Behind this gate sat the meanest, toughest, and angriest cat anyone ever laid eyes on: his name was Bolivar. He belonged to no one and nobody belonged to him. Day after day, he’d wait for unsuspecting pretty, seducing them with his snake-like voice, and then grabbing them when they least expected.
The house in which he stood sentry had been deserted for several years. He claimed this property for himself and picked fights with other cats in the neighborhood who dared step foot inside his weedy yard.
Bolivar lifted his ragged orange head and licked at a wound on one paw. The scar on the right side of his face and his partially torn ear pained him today; the results of many battles. His stomach growled; he hadn’t eaten a decent meal in at least four days.
Recently, the neighbors had begun to lock their trashcans up tightly; a few of them included heavy bricks on top to prevent him from tipping them. Not a scrawny bird to eat, not even a tasty little crawling bug; his mood went from bad to worse.
Out of the corner of his eye, through one of the slats in the fence, Bolivar spotted movement. In the next yard, a plump, furry brown mouse frolicked about. With his changing luck, Bolivar perked up. He lay low to the ground, every muscle in his body tense and alert. His tail twitched in anticipation and his hind quarters wiggled as he sprung forward to pounce upon the unsuspecting rodent. . .
Goober paused for a moment with her story. Peanut apparently had forgotten all about sleeping. He stared at his mama, wide-eyed.
“I thought you said this was a mouse rescue? It sounds like this cat was ready for dinner.”
“I did, son, be patient,” Goober said, and resumed licking her kitten. Peanut rolled onto his back, paws in the air, Mama’s tongue made the fur of his belly stick up in all directions.
“Well I don’t like Bolivar,” Peanut shivered. “He sounds mean and scary.”
“Yes, he was,” Goober said, sighing. “But let me go back a little further. I’m going to tell you how another cat, a brave, beautiful cat got the best of him and how she and a mouse became the closest of friends.
You see, we don’t always have to fight or prove ourselves to be big and strong. Sometimes it’s the smallest of creatures who can teach us life’s greatest lessons.”
Peanut began purring while mama resumed her story.
If you enjoyed this preview of the first chapter of the book "Piggy" below are the links to order a copy. Available in paperback and e-book versions.
Some of the proceeds of this book will be donated to My Ferals, a Facebook cat community which helps many stray and feral cats.
Here is a link to a free giveaway of the book to one lucky person!