Feature Friday Film: Story of Cats

For this week’s Feature Friday cat film, I’m proud to present the PBS Film “The Story of Cats” that aired this week. For those who missed it or would like to see it again, just click your fingers or paws on the link below. I’m also including another video that had me ROCL (rolling on catnip laughing). Enjoy them and have a pawsome weekend.

http://player.pbs.org/viralplayer/2365872770/

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Sneaky’s Interview of Oliver, the Cat Who Saved Christmas

Hello, Sneaky, my best meows to you. My name’s Oliver, and my translator from Cat language is called Sheila Norton. She’s not too bad at Cat, so hopefully the story will read OK in Human.
Hi, Oliver. You have the same name as my author’s real life Siamese cat. It’s a pleasure to meet you and your translator who I’m sure will do as pawsome a job as Debbie.
What book(s) have you appeared in? Please list them and their genre.
oliver-cover-image
My own story is called ‘Oliver, the Cat Who Saved Christmas’. I also appear as a minor character in my little friend and protege’s story ‘Charlie the Kitten Who Saved a Life’. I taught him all he knows.
Very mice. I know Debbie is currently reading your Christmas book and is really enjoying it.
Are you in a series? If so, please give information about it.  
No, at present there are just the two books in my cat-alogue, although I keep meowing new story ideas in Sheila’s ear.
Keep that up. I know it works because, after doing the same, Debbie is starting to take more advantage of my acting talents in her upcoming books.
Are you based on a real cat such as your author’s? If so, please give further details.
Apparently Sheila has had three cats of her own, but she says I’m nothing like any of them. (I hope she means that in a good way!). But she also says she’s used some of their ‘antics’ in the story. Apparently this makes me appear more loveable, so I’m happy with that!
I don’t think I’m much like Oliver, either, except for being the same breed of cat. My famous, “cats don’t get mad; they get even” scene is more based on Debbie’s other cat, Stripey – MOL (meow out loud).
Can you share an excerpt from one of your books that features you in an important scene? If so, please include it.
Yes, of course – here’s the very start of my story. I should warn you, it starts with a cat-astrophe, so it’s a bit scary. I was very aware of that, as I was meowing the story to my friend Charlie when he was only a little kitten. Here goes:
 
The worst night of my entire nine lives started with some leftover fish. You might think that was a bit strange, little kitten. After all, we cats all love fish, don’t we, and I often used to get leftovers, living in a pub where they made something called bar meals for the people who came in. It wasn’t actually the fish I had that night that was the problem. It was what came afterwards, when I’d gone back to my favourite chair by the fireplace and fallen asleep.
Now, stop jumping around trying to catch that fly, if you want me to tell you the story. It’s a long story for a little kitten like you, and a bit frightening in places, but you might learn something from it if you settle down and pay attention. That’s better.
Where was I? Oh yes. Asleep on my chair. Well, I woke up very suddenly when it was dark outside – and there was a horrible smell in the pub, and something tickling my nose and throat. I knew straight away it was smoke, because sometimes when my human, George, lit the fire in the bar to make it nice and cosy on a cold evening, it gave off the same kind of smell. But when he did that, the smoke went up the chimney, not into room like this. I blinked for a few minutes, trying to see what was going on. Of course, my night vision is normally excellent, but the smoke was making my eyes sore. Within a few minutes I was starting to cough and choke because it had started going down my throat too, when I did the normal stretching and yawning thing we have to do when we wake up. And then I saw them – big orange flames leaping up the curtains, and sparks flying onto the nearby chairs.
I yowled in fright. At least, I tried to, but all that came out was a pathetic squeaky noise and another bout of coughing. I jumped out of my chair, heading for the staircase to the upstairs rooms, where I knew George would be asleep in the big bedroom overlooking the garden. Luckily he always left his door open, in case I woke up in the night and decided he might appreciate my company on the bed. So I darted straight in and jumped on him, pawing at his face to wake him up. I was trying my best to meow loudly in his ear at the same time, and despite all the coughs and splutters, it seemed to do the trick because he sat up in bed, gasping in surprise.
‘Oliver!’ he said, sounding a bit annoyed. He usually only called me by my full name when I’d been naughty. ‘What on earth …?’
And then he must have smelt the smoke, because he leapt out of bed, shouting, ‘Oh my God! Fire! Fire!’
There were only the two of us in the building so I couldn’t understand who he was shouting to, but I was very relieved he’d woken up. He grabbed his mobile phone off the bedside table and his dressing gown off the hook behind the door, and I ran ahead of him along the landing and back down the stairs. I was frightened to see that the flames had spread and were now working their way up the wooden banisters, spitting sparks and billowing more black smoke. I bounded down those stairs as if there were a couple of Dobermans after me.
‘Outside, Ollie, quick!’ George shouted, beginning to cough like me.
As he unlocked the main door to the bar the cold outside air rushed in and it was as if the whole place suddenly erupted. The crash, as the staircase collapsed, was so terrible, I shot out of that door and kept running, right across the car park and under a bush at the other side, next to the road. I could see George, in his stripy pyjamas, running out with his dressing gown still in his hand, dropping it while he stabbed at the mobile phone and shouted into it: ‘Fire! The Forester’s Arms! The pub’s on fire!’
I stayed under the bush, shaking with fear, watching the fire work its way up to the roof of the pub, watching as the wood store next to the kitchen went up with a ‘whoosh!’. Then the flames spread to the fence, and then they were licking around some kind of big drums lined up behind the village hall next door. And then there was a sudden loud ‘boom’ that made me jump out of my skin, and the fire seemed to roll itself into a ball of orange that lit up the whole sky.
For a minute I was frozen with terror. I thought it was the end of at least one of my lives, for sure. There were people running out of their houses, shouting, looking for George, putting his dressing-gown and blankets round him, as if it wasn’t hot enough with all those flames. And just to add to the horror of it all, at that moment two massive fire engines came tearing down the road towards us, sirens screaming, and turned into the car park right next to the bush where I was cowering. Well, I knew I should have stayed to make sure George was all right, but my cat instinct told me I needed to get out of there as fast as I could. It wasn’t my proudest moment, deserting my human and my home. But I’m afraid I scarpered.
That was so pawsome, Oliver. You are quite the dramatic actor.
Thank you, Sneaky.
What do you like most about your role in your authors’ books? 
Well, obviously, it’s an important role, as it’s my own life story and I’m extremely important to a whole village in this story. But what I like best is how I helped a little girl who needed a friend so much. 
Awww. That reminds me of poor little Angelina in our new book who suffers from a bad disease known as leukemia. She was very fond of me, even though she had her own cat named Muffin to comfort her. Pets can be so soothing to sad or ill humans.
 Are you a talking cat in your books or just a silent one like I am who just meows occasionally?
I talk to my cat friends (in Cat, of course), but humans can’t understand us. (Sheila obviously has unusual powers in that direction). However, as we all know, Sneaky – we cats are perfectly capable of understanding Human, even though we can’t speak it. And why would we want to speak it? It’s a very poor language in my opinion.
ROCL (Rolling on catnip laughing). I totally agree, Ollie. Humans can be quite dense when it comes to understanding both real and character cats.
What advice would you give other cat characters?
Just be yourself. Don’t let your Human transcriber try to write you into scenes you wouldn’t dream of taking part in, in real life. On the other hand, don’t be shy – if (like me) you’re the only cat in your town or village who becomes the hero of a book, make sure you meow to all the other cats in the neighbourhood about it! 
Great advice. If you don’t strut your stuff, who will?
Do you have any new books coming out? Please give dates and details.
The UK edition of my little friend Charlie’s story ‘Charlie the Kitten Who Saved a Life’ is now published so I hope there will eventually be a US edition too, as you’ll meet me again in that! I might live fur, fur away in England but I want to make friends all over the world if I can.
The wonderful thing about the Internet is that connecting with readers everywhere is now possible for us cat characters.
Are you and/or your author on social media? If so, please list your links.
Yes, Sheila spends far too much time meowing to her friends on Facebook. Her author page is https://www.facebook.com/SheilaNortonAuthor.  Apparently Twitter is nothing to do with birds, which is a bit disappointing for a hunter like me, but Sheila’s on that too, at https://twitter.com/NortonSheilaann.  You can also find out more about me on her website –www.sheilanorton.com .
Purr-fect. I will follow you and Sheila to keep updated on your latest adventures.
p1030662sheila-norton-15-oliver-l-copySheila says she’s sending you a picture of my book cover and a picture of herself (I don’t know why she thinks she’s so important). And also a picture of the Oliver toy she knitted. I think she’s going to give it to her grandchildren to play with – how about that, Sneaky? Not sure it looks much like me, though, to be honest! Thanks for letting me meow to you and your friends. 
You’re very welcome, Oliver. Best whiskers to you and Sheila on your upcoming books.

Sneaky’s Interview of Hamlet, from Ali Brandon’s Black Cat Bookshop Mysteries

hamlet-headshotMy guest today is Hamlet, the feline sleuth extraordinaire of author Ali Brandon, who also known as Diane A.S. Stuckart.

Meow and good day to you, Hamlet. Please tell us what book(s) you have appeared in.

twice-told-tail-coverI am the star of the Black Cat Bookshop Mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime. The 6th in this cozy mystery series is TWICE TOLD TAIL, which is on the shelves today, November 1. This is a very exciting series set in an independent bookstore, Pettistone’s Fine Books, in Brooklyn. I oversee things there, although my caretaker, Darla Pettistone, actually owns the bookstore. I was content being the store mascot and keeping an eye on customers until Darla showed up. For some reason, ever since she arrived from Texas, people have been strangely murdered in our neighborhood. If I did not solve all these murders and know who was responsible, I would have my suspicions about her!

Concats on your new release, Hamlet. I love mysteries set in bookstores and libraries. My own series, the Cobble Cove mysteries, is set in a library where I am the library cat.

Are you based on a real cat such as your author’s? If so, please give further details.

Ali Brandon tells me that I am an homage to her original editor’s feline, also called Hamlet. I am not quite sure what that means.

I think it means that you are based on a cat who is now on Rainbow Bridge. I am based on Debbie’s siamese, Oliver, who has also appeared on this blog and who even interviewed me-ow about our new book.

Can you share an excerpt from one of your books that features you in an important scene? If so, please include it.

Leaving Hamlet and James to shut down the computer, Darla did her usual pre-closing walk through the store to check for wayward books and stray customers. She found none of the latter, but picked up a couple of the former—a French cuisine cookbook and a sports bio—that had been left behind on one of the chairs scattered about the shop for browsers. Which, while something of an annoyance, was preferable for inventory purposes to being shelved back in the wrong spot.

She halted, however, at the sight of an oversized paperback book lying smack in the middle of the self-help aisle.

She retrieved it and looked at its cover. “The Fool’s Guide to Wills and Estates,” she read aloud. And then, feeling suddenly unsettled, she glanced around for Hamlet.

For the cagey feline had developed a habit of communicating with her by means of book titles from volumes he’d would surreptitiously pull from the shelves when she wasn’t looking. Of course, said communication only happened after some sort of disaster or another . . . such as an unexplained death. Darla frowned. Fortunately, nothing like that had happened in months. So why the book snagging?

Hamlet chose that moment to stroll up the aisle to join her, tail waving gently as if to show he just happened to be walking past. Nothing to see here, nothing to do with the book, he seemed to be saying. She was just about to agree and chalk the incident up to coincidence, when it hit her.

“Aha! Sorry, Hammy,” she told him with a smile as she waggled the book at him. “Your whiskers are crossed on this one. Connie thought she saw a dead body at the bridal shop this afternoon, but it turned out it was just a woman who’d fainted. So, no one’s going to be reading wills and settling estates around here. So, no sleuthing necessary on your part.”

By way of answer, Hamlet flopped on the floor, green eyes narrowing into slits. Then, he flung one hind leg over his shoulder and began licking the base of his tail—his classic “kiss off” gesture when offended.

Darla’s smile broadened.

“Back atcha, Hammy,” she said without rancor as she reshelved the book and started back toward the register.

But when the cat remained stubbornly in place, so that she had to step around him, she coaxed said, “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have made fun of you. Every great detective blows it one time or another, and today was just your turn. Now, come along. It’s time to close shop and head upstairs for some supper.”

Very mice. Did I say I love cats who deal with books in their mysteries? Cats and books tend to go together, methinks.

What do you like most about your role in your authors’ books?

I always enjoy outsmarting humans…and, of course, I am the star of these stories. What is not to like?

You lucky, kitty. I have had some mice scenes in Debbie’s books, but I share the pet co-star thing with Fido, a golden retriever.

Are you a talking cat in your books or just a silent one like I am who just meows occasionally?

I understand human but I speak only feline—and a bit of canine, when necessary.

Same here.

What advice would you give other cat characters?

Remember that you are cleverer than most humans (and canines!), but it sometimes is useful to make humans think they are almost as smart as you!

Out of the mouth of kittens.

Are you and/or your author on social media? If so, please list your links.

diane-author-photo-2016-bw-headshot-cropYou may find us at www.alibrandon.com, www.dianestuckart.com, and www.facebook.com/blackcatbookshopmysteries

Purr-fect. I enjoyed having you here, Hamlet.  Best whiskers on your new release, The 6th Black Cat Bookshop Mystery, TWICE TOLD TAIL, and you and your author’s upcoming Black Cat Bookshop mysteries.

November Mew Book Spotlight: Makin Biscuits by Deborah Barnes

I am proud to announce the first book in my Mew Book Spotlight. If you are a cat author or write about cats and have a new book coming out, send me the info, blurb, release date, and cover photo before the 1st of the month in which it is publishing at sneakylibrarycat@gmail.com. I will select one book a month to be in the Mew Book Spotlight.

makinbiscuits-webres-for-reviewReleasing November 15:

Makin’ Biscuits – Weird Cat Habits and the Even Weirder Habits of the Humans Who Love Them by Deb Barnes

 $16.95 · 280 pages · paperback · 6” x 9” · black and white with photos

Description:  Makin’ Biscuits is a compilation of candid, personal anecdotes from cat lovers across the globe that delves in the feline psyche to unlock some of the greatest cat behavior mysteries of all time, such as why do cats zoom from one room to another for no apparent reason? With story submissions from well-known celebrities, musicians, cat behaviorists, authors, everyday people and more, some stories will have you laughing out loud, some will tug at your heart, and some will leave you scratching your head in puzzlement.

Along with the entertaining peek into the feline mind, Makin’ Biscuits is also a serious book with an important message on proper pet responsibility and is filled with well-researched advice, tips, and solutions to help guardians ensure their cat lives an optimally happy and healthy life befitting his feline nature.  With a special Foreword from bestselling author, Gwen Cooper of Homer’s Odyssey, the ultimate goal of Makin’ Biscuits is to help make the world a better place for cats by busting outdated misconceptions, such as that they’re too aloof to make good pets, and to enlighten the reader with easy to understand information to help enhance the feline-human relationship and correct certain common behavioral problems that often land a cat into a shelter—such as litter box issues or scratching furniture.

makinbiscuits2

Deborah Barnes

Author and Blogger

Makin’ Biscuits – Weird Cat Habits and the Even Weirder Habits of the Humans Who Love Them

Purr Prints of the Heart – A Cat’s Tale of Life, Death, and Beyond

The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey – A Journey of the Extraordinarily Ordinary

Vice-President of the Cat Writers’ Association

2013 “Friskies Cat Writer of the Year”

Secretary – Pawsitively Humane, Inc.

dbarnes@zeezoey.com

http://www.zeezoey.com (Website)

http://zeezoey.com/blog/ (Blog)

http://amzn.to/1naY6eC (The Chronicles on Amazon)

http://amzn.to/1HUwEe1 (Purr Prints on Amazon)

http://www.zazzle.com/zeezoeyboutique (Zazzle)

http://www.facebook.com/zeezoey

http://www.facebook.com/purrprintsoftheheart