Alligators Overhead Trailer

Monday, September 22, 2014

Part 10, The Pros Give Us Some Advice, Featuring Lisa Colozza Cocca, @WeWrite4U_Lit & How I Found the Right Path




Lisa Colozza Cocca is the last author to be featured in this series. Her book is PROVIDENCE. 

TaglineSometimes you have to run away from home to find it.

Advice: Remember teens are people first with the same range of emotions we all have, but often intensified. Write from your heart if you want to connect to the hearts of your readers.

What Reviewers say

"Becky's sweet-as-honey first-person narrative voice suits the dialogue-driven story well--she is an uncomplicated heroine, resourceful and completely without self-pity." --Kirkus Reviews

"Rosie, Becky, and Georgia Rose create a family built of mutual need, love, and kindness in this gentle tale of life in nostalgic small-town America.... Cocca portrays a community of sympathetic characters...who believe in the promise of life's second chances." --Booklist


You can find Providence on sale here. And now under #kindleunlimited it free to download.


Find Lisa at
www.lisacolozzacocca.com

Thanks so much, Lisa. Writing from the heart is great advice to writers of all genres. 

Here's some others on this very topic. While they don't say it the same way that Lisa does, I interpret their words to mean the key to readers' hearts is within the writers' hearts.

“It ain’t whatcha write, it’s the way atcha write it.”
—Jack Kerouac, WD

“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.”
—Virginia Woolf

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” 
― Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” 
― Ernest Hemingway

So that's a wrap on Advice from the Pros. I've enjoyed hosting ten authors over these months and hope you've enjoyed meeting them or learning more about them and their books.

If you want to be contacted next year during National Literacy Month (September) sign up on the Linky below for WeWrite4U_Lit. I hope to make it bigger and better in 2015.



How I Found The Right Path 



It's here! Download it for Free and read what 60 writers have to share about their writing/publishing experience. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Celebrating the Small Things, @WeWrite4U, New Book by Deirdra Eden


VIKLIT'S HOP



LG KELTNER @writing off the edge
KATIE @TheCyborg Mom 
CAFFEEMAGGIEATO @mscoffeehouse

My small celebration this week is the word, READ. If you've seen my previous posts, you'll know I'm supporting Literacy all month, and hope you'll join me. HERE ARE THE DETAILS. They're simple and I've done the Tweets for you.


1. Let me know you're interested by signing up on the Linky below. If possible grab the code and share it on your blog. If not, then please add the link to The Write Game, so others can sign up. I'll keep the Linky on my blog until the last week in September.



2. Below are some pre-written Tweets and I'm hoping we can TWEET UP A STORM with Tweets and RT's the month of September.

3. I've created a LIST/GROUP for Twitter @WeWrite4U_Lit, so please join and use the group's handle.

4. I've followed and been followed by these literacy groups: 

@supportliteracy 
@LitPartners 
@literature_dp
@literacycoop
@HouLit

You might want to add some of them to spread your tweets.

5. Post about LITERACY on your fb Timeline at least once a week in September, and SHARE/TWEET those posts that others put up.

12 FRESH TWEETS (in parentheses I’ve put the source just in case you need it) Hope you'll create some of your own, too.

Read to your kids.

Volunteer to teach reading. You're needed.

Where parent involvement is low, classroom mean average is 46 points below the nat'l average. @LitPartners @literacycoop @WeWrite4U_Lit (http://www.rif.org/us/about/literacy-facts-and-stats.htm)

Without literacy democracy doesn't stand a chance.


33% 4th grd public school students at or below Basic level on the 2009 Nat'l Assessment of Educational Progress rding tests @WeWrite4U_Lit (www.rif.org/us/about/literacy-facts-and-stats.htm)

44 million adults in U.S. can't read well enough to read a simple story to a child.(http://www.readfaster.com/education_stats.asp) 

90% of U.S. welfare recipients are high school dropouts (http://www.begintoread.com/research/literacystatistics.html)

In U.S. one child in four grows up not knowing how to read. (http://www.begintoread.com/research/literacystatistics.html)

$80 billion or more each year in lost worker productivity (FYI citation: http://www.literacypartners.org/literacy-in-america/impact-of-illiteracy) 

H.S. seniors who read at or above Proficient has been declining since 1992. @WeWrite4U_Lit @Literacy_4_Life @literacycoop (http://www.rif.org/us/about/literacy-facts-and-stats.htm)


Now I have a new book to introduce to you. And what better time to have a book about fairies, demons and witchcraft? October is just around the corner so is All Hallows Eve. Also you'll want to take advantage of the Rafflecopter Giveaway!

The Watchers Book 1: Knight of Light






 In England, 1270 A.D., Auriella (pronounced yurr-ee-ella) flees her village after being accused of witchcraft. Pursued by nightmarish creatures, she struggles to accept the truth about her humanity. Filled with fairies, dwarves, pixies, dragons, demons, and monsters, Knight of Light is an enthralling tale that will capture the imaginations of readers young and old.



The Watchers Series has been described as Braveheart meets Supernatural. The mythology for the series is based on many theological texts from dozens of sects with correlating themes. Ancient writings include The Dead Sea Scrolls, The Traditional Apocrypha, The Pearl of Great Price, and The Kabbalah.

“The Watchers” are supernatural beings in human form whose duty it is to protect and guard mankind from the armies of darkness. Unfortunately, as the Book of Enoch mentions, some of these Watchers go bad. Although the mythology is based on these texts, Deirdra Eden’s The Watcher’s Series is written in a traditional fairytale style with a young girl’s discovery of incredible, but dangerous powers within herself, a cast of humorous side-kicks, a quest for greater self-discovery and purpose, and villains of epic proportions







About the Author



"My goal in writing is to saturate my books with intrigue, mystery, romance, and plot twists that will keep my readers in suspense. I want to see fingerprints on the front and back covers where readers have gripped the novel with white knuckles! Aside from writing, I enjoy jousting in arenas, planning invasions, horseback riding through open meadows, swimming in the ocean, hiking up mountains, camping in cool shady woods, climbing trees barefoot, and going on adventures."

-Deirdra Eden

Find Deirdra Eden and The Watchers Series online on AmazonDeirdra's websiteFacebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Wattpad, and Pinterest.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 15, 2014

Part 9, The Pros Give Us Some Advice, Featuring Valerie Storey & @WeWrite4U_Lit

I stumbled on Valerie Storey's work, and I was so taken with the first book I read of hers, that I had to read another. She is a writer of compelling tales. It's no wonder her last name is what it is. She is a remarkable STOREYteller. Today she's sharing her advice with us.

AVAILABLE ON AMAZON


Short Summary for Better Than Perfect:

When fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Haddon’s mother sends her from England to live with relatives in New Zealand, she is confronted with an unfamiliar world of foreign social values and sibling power struggles. Living with her domineering Auntie Faye and in the company of her beautiful, but enigmatic, cousin, Ravenna, Elizabeth wants nothing more than to be accepted by her new and seemingly perfect family. But perfection comes at a price, and Elizabeth quickly learns that appearances can be deceiving, forcing her to choose between a life of conformity or one of independence.

Advice for Writing YA Fiction:


To me the most important thing about writing for the YA market is to remember and record what it was like to be a young adult: all the pain, the joy, the worry, the confusion and especially the belief that no one, no one in the whole world can possibly understand what you’re going through. When I’m writing YA, I like to keep a journal solely for my young adult memories. I use the Natalie Goldberg prompt of “I remember. . . ” and go back to everything I can, from school to family to even what I wore and read at the time. I don’t hold anything back—just let it all out, exactly as I did at fifteen!




Valerie's advice brings to mind those journals we all kept as teens. I think mine were lost during some move to another state or country, but I do remember scribbling my thoughts and feelings into small leather bound books. Since I no longer have those scribblings, I think I'll take Valerie's suggestions and start pouring out what I remember of that time. It will be interesting what comes onto the page.


******



If you haven't joined us yet in supporting Literacy in the month of Sept. I hope you will sign up today, copy the prepared Tweets to tweet about this issue, and retweet those that are up.  You can make this a special month for readers and writers. 




  • Sign up. 
  • Copy and paste the prepared Tweets, which I will refresh two times for your convenience. 
  • Tweet your heart out. 

12 TWEETS ( in parentheses I’ve put the source just in case you need it. Be sure to delete the citation or the tweet will be too long.) Hope you'll create some of your own, too.

Literacy is learned. Read to your kids. @WeWrite4U_Lit

Volunteer to teach reading. You're needed. @WeWrite4U_Lit

People who read contribute to our society. @WeWrite4U_Lit

Without literacy democracy doesn't stand a chance. @WeWrite4U_Lit

46% of American adults can't understand the label on their prescription medicine@WeWrite4U_Lit(http://www.readfaster.com/education_stats.asp)

44 million adults in U.S. can't read well enough to read a simple story to a child.@WeWrite4U_Lit (http://www.readfaster.com/education_stats.asp)

90% of U.S. welfare recipients are high school dropouts@WeWrite4U_Lit (http://www.begintoread.com/research/literacystatistics.html)

In U.S. one child in four grows up not knowing how to read.@WeWrite4U_Lit (http://www.begintoread.com/research/literacystatistics.html)

$80 billion or more each year in lost worker productivity@WeWrite4U_Lit (FYI citation: http://www.literacypartners.org/literacy-in-america/impact-of-illiteracy)

By end of 4th grade 2/3 of low-literacy students end up in jail or on welfare.@WeWrite4U_Lit (http://www.begintoread.com/research/literacystatistics.html)

******

You don't have to write YA to use this technique. How do you capture the voice of your characters? Do you journal?  Have you joined in @WeWrite4U_Lit. No? And why would that be? 




Friday, September 12, 2014

Celebrating The Small Things and Chrys Fey's New Book and Tree of Lifers

Here's the LINKY

Co-Hosts: 
DIANA WILDER

LG KELTNER @writing off the edge
KATIE @TheCyborg Mom
CAFFEEMAGGIEATO @mscoffeehouse

It was one speeding train of a summer, but I've had the chance to celebrate a lot of small things. 

Wild Blackberries, Grapes, Jam, Tomatoes, Peaches and Apples. All small but fabulously tasty fresh food. 

I also launched a book, read some new stories by friends and some old stories by classic writers. 

I took a few hikes, saw my kids, basked in the sun and ate on the deck at sunset. No sense in waiting for heaven when you can have it right here.


******

Now I'm handing it over to Chrys Fey and her new book. It sounds exciting. 

When a woman finds herself in the middle of a war between a police force and the Mob, 30 SECONDS is a long time.

Title: 30 Seconds
Author: Chrys Fey
Genre: Romantic-Suspense
Heat Rating: Spicy (PG13)
Length: Novella (105 pages)
Format: eBook
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Published: 09/10/2014


BLURB: 

When Officer Blake Herro agreed to go undercover in the Mob, he thought he understood the risks. But he's made mistakes and now an innocent woman has become their target. He's determined to protect her at all costs.

The Mob's death threat turns Dr. Dani Hart's life upside down, but there is one danger she doesn’t anticipate. As she's dodging bullets, she's falling in love with Blake. With danger all around them, will she and Blake survive and have a happy ending, or will the Mob make good on their threat? 


EXCERPT:

       She panted with fear. What if they see the chest? What if we get caught? What if my breath stinks and I’m breathing right into Officer Hottie’s face? She shut her mouth and let oxygen flow through her nose.
Her eyesight slowly adjusted to the darkness and she could see Officer Herro’s silhouette. His head was turned and he was listening to the thuds of heavy boots getting louder; the intruders were coming their way.
Then the thunder of footsteps sounded right next to them. “There’s no one here, Red,” someone announced.
“Look for documents,” a man ordered, who Dani could only assume was Red. “I want the name of the person I’m going to kill.”
A moment later, there was a reply. “All the mail is addressed to a Dr. Hart.”
Hearing her name said aloud by one of the men who had ransacked her place made her want to gasp. Her mouth fell open and her breath was reversing into her lungs, but before she could make a sound, Officer Herro lowered his lips to hers, silencing her. Stunned, she could only lie beneath him with her eyes wide and her body tense. She couldn’t believe he was kissing her. She wanted to push him back, but knew if she did he might hit the inside of the chest, giving away their hiding place. That was when she realized he was kissing her so she wouldn’t gasp.
She let her body relax. After her initial shock faded, she was able to feel his lips. They were comforting and caused a reaction deep inside her. She couldn’t stop her lips from reacting to his. It was an innocent connection, a soft touch of lips. Until his hand slid from her shoulder to her neck and the kiss deepened into something else.

BOOK LINKS:

Chrys Fey is a lover of rock music just like Dani Hart in 30 Seconds. Whenever she's writing at her desk, headphones are always emitting the sounds of her musical muses -especially that of her favorite band, 30 Seconds to Mars, the inspiration behind the title.

30 Seconds is her second eBook with The Wild Rose Press. Her debut, Hurricane Crimes, is also available on Amazon.

Discover her writing tips on her blog, and connect with her on Facebook. She loves to get to know her readers!

AUTHOR LINKS:
Bonus – The 6 Books Dani Stacks on Blake’s Nightstand:

1.    Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill
2.    The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
3.    The Devil Wears Scrubs by Freida McFadden
4.    Beautifully Awake by Riley Mackenzie
5.    Beautifully Done by Riley Mackenzie
6.    The Shining by Stephen King

QUESTION: Do you have books on your nightstand? 

Good question, Chrys. Right now I have a loaded Kindle and one paperback of Ray Bradbury short stories that I've just finished. Dani's selection is much more adventurous than mine.


******


“As a lasting tribute to Tina, I, along with 25 amazing authors, are publishing audiomachine‘s TREE OF LIFE: Branching Out collaborative story in ebook format on Amazon, launching Sept. 12th! Stunning book cover designed by gifted graphic artist and composer, Ryo Ishido. All proceeds of the TREE OF LIFE ebook will benefit the Downey Education Fund set up for Tina’s two boys.” 


 This is so fitting, since Tina contributed to this anthology. 

******
My Quote for the Day: "For some reason, people want to see you fail. That's not  your problem, that is their problem." Sandra Bullock



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Rifters Launch and We Write For You Continues

I'm really excited about having M.Pax here today to celebrate her launch of  THE RIFTERS. Let's see what this new series is all about.  Oh, and THE RIFTERS is FREE on AMAZON. Get your copy now.





The Gold Rush trickles to a fool’s quest and a string of stagecoach heists. In 1888, Earl Blacke decides to make a new start and become a better man. He escapes into the mountains, heading north. In the wilds of Oregon, a rift inside an ancient volcano opens and sends him into the future, into the present day. It also shaves forty years off his age, forty years to live over again and atone for what he’s done.

Starting over is hard to do. In current day New York, Daelin Long’s dream job at a publishing house goes the way of the dinosaurs her sister chases. With no money and nowhere else to go, Daelin accepts the librarian position in her sister’s dinky town in the middle of Oregon. Nestled inside ancient volcanic peaks, the town of Settler holds onto many secrets. Residents roam the streets with weirdly fashioned devices, and odd lights pulse in the night skies. People whisper of a phantom outlaw and start dying, murdered and missing their heads. On top of it all, Daelin’s sister is missing, and Daelin doesn’t know who to trust.

Earl knows more than he’s saying. He shares a notorious history with the phantom, one he’ll see remains buried. Keeping Daelin’s sister’s secrets is his only chance at redemption, and the only way to keep this world safe.


The Rifters is available at an introductory price. The second book in the series, The Initiate, will be available October 20, 2014. It’s up for preorder for a special price at iTunes, Amazon, and B&N. Check HERE for links. Giveaways and events are ongoing through October 31, 2014. Check HERE for details.







M. Pax is author of the space adventure series The Backworlds, plus other novels and short stories. Fantasy, science fiction, and the weird beckons  to her, and she blames Oregon, a source of endless inspiration. She docents at Pine Mountain Observatory in the summers as a star guide, has a cat with a crush on Mr. Spock, and is slightly obsessed with Jane Austen. Learn more at mpaxauthor.com.
There are some great opportunities to win some books. They're just a CLICK away. Be sure to check them out.


******





Have you signed up yet for We Write For You? (TwitterHandle:@WeWrite4U_Lit). If not here's your chance.  

1. Let me know you're interested by signing up on the Linky. If possible grab the code and share it on your blog.

2. Below are some pre-written Tweets and I'm hoping we can TWEET UP A STORM with Tweets and RT's the month of September.

3. I've created a LIST/GROUP for Twitter @WeWrite4U_Lit, so please join and use the group's handle.

4. I've followed and been followed by these literacy groups: 

@supportliteracy 
@LitPartners 
@literature_dp
@literacycoop
@HouLit

You might want to add some of them to spread your tweets.

5. Add the Linky to your blog or put in a link to The Write Game, so others can sign up. I'll keep the Linky on my blog until the last week in September.

12 FRESH TWEETS ( in parentheses I’ve put the source just in case you need it. Be sure to delete the citation or the tweet will be too long.) Hope you'll create some of your own, too.

Literacy is learned. Read to your kids. @WeWrite4U_Lit

Volunteer to teach reading. You're needed. @WeWrite4U_Lit

People who read contribute to our society. @WeWrite4U_Lit

Without literacy democracy doesn't stand a chance. @WeWrite4U_Lit

46% of American adults can't understand the label on their prescription medicine@WeWrite4U_Lit(http://www.readfaster.com/education_stats.asp)

44 million adults in U.S. can't read well enough to read a simple story to a child.@WeWrite4U_Lit (http://www.readfaster.com/education_stats.asp)

90% of U.S. welfare recipients are high school dropouts@WeWrite4U_Lit (http://www.begintoread.com/research/literacystatistics.html)

In U.S. one child in four grows up not knowing how to read.@WeWrite4U_Lit (http://www.begintoread.com/research/literacystatistics.html)

$80 billion or more each year in lost worker productivity@WeWrite4U_Lit (FYI citation: http://www.literacypartners.org/literacy-in-america/impact-of-illiteracy)

By end of 4th grade 2/3 of low-literacy students end up in jail or on welfare.@WeWrite4U_Lit (http://www.begintoread.com/research/literacystatistics.html)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sunflowers for Tina

There have been and will be many tributes to Tina Downey. Here's one more. She was a sunny spot in the world.


The A to Z Team is celebrating the life of Tina Downey with a big splash of yellow. Sunflowers were her favorite flower, so here's as many sunflowers as we can dedicate to her memory. 

I'd only met Tina this year, but I enjoyed our exchanges both in comments and emails. She was a witty, no nonsense, take charge kind of gal I appreciate. I'm sad that I won't have a chance to know her better. 

If you'd like to help her family meet the education needs of Tina's children, here's where you can click and donate.

DONATE WITH PAYPAL




My regular post will be up on Wednesday. 

Thanks to M. Pax for understanding and being flexible.





Friday, September 5, 2014

Kyra Lennon's Cat Anthology It's a HOP! So is Celebrate the Small Things

All proceeds go toTeignbridge and Totnes Cats Protection!


I happen to love cats as well as dogs and hedgehogs, so when KYRA came up this idea, I thought, "Why not?" Here's my contribution to her anthology and to the cats that I hope will benefit from the sales. Hope you don't nod off while reading.




Bouhaki

by

C. Lee McKenzie
Permission to publish this in the Charity Cat Anthology

I should have gotten a flu shot. That’s what the doctor said as he wrote out the prescription for antibiotics. I didn’t argue. I couldn’t. A base drum was lodge behind my eyes. My chest had a gorilla on it, and I still had to drag my body out of the doctor’s office, to my car and home. Oh, yes, and stop by the pharmacy to fill the prescription. Of course, it was raining.
Living alone could be hard. Living alone while sick, really hard. I cursed Nathan Blackstone for the zillioneth time since he moved out, and then I drove to 24 Hour Pharmacy. Pity parties should only last a year. It had been a year, one week, two days and, I glanced at my cell, forty-five minutes. Time to get on with my miserable, flu-ridden life.
I was in luck. Only ten people stood waiting at the pharmacy counter, and they smiled back at me when I hacked and wheezed at the end of the line. Thank God the Christmas spirit was on the loose. I handed in my prescription and plopped into a chair, leaning my head back and closing my eyes. My research project was already behind schedule, and now I’d have to call Peabody and ask for an extension. I had sick leave, so it shouldn’t be a problem, but if I didn’t finish on time, it would back up his work and someone else’s and . . . . I’d be better as soon as I started the antibiotics. I had to be.
“Miss Colridge. Prescription pick up.”
It took a few minutes for the pharmacist to tell me about the side-effects and how to take the pills. I tried to listen, but the buzzing in my ears made it hard to concentrate. Finally, I clutched the white bag filled with the drugs guaranteed to make me well, and dragged myself to the car.
As I opened the driver’s door a cat ducked from under my back tire and sized me up. His left ear was tattered, and his tail bent at the tip. The rest of him was a disorganized calico. His back a sable, his hips black with a touch of orange. His paws would have been white if they didn’t have mud spattered on them.
“Shoo! Go away. You’ll get run over in this parking lot.” I slipped behind the wheel and put the key into the ignition just as the cat leapt onto the front of my car. Ignoring me, it sat, looking a lot like a 1930’s hood ornament facing into the wind. 
I rolled down the window, accidentally hitting the all down button so every window in my car slid open. 
“Hey! Get off.”
The cat turned to eye me, then lifted its paw and, with it’s tongue, untangled something from between its toes.
“I have to go. Scat!” I hissed out the window. Two elderly ladies, their arms filled with Christmas bundles, double timed past my car, glaring at me.
The cat did a deep yoga stretch, walked back toward the windshield, then single-footed it along my window and hopped into the rear seat. 
When I looked back, he stared at me with unblinking gold flecked eyes. Then he circled a couple of times before settling onto the cushion and curling his tail around the top of his head.
“Perfect.” I think I groaned. 
If I took him to where I lived, it would at least be safer. Less traffic. Some open space where he could hunt mice. We had tons of those, especially since Nathan had lugged King Kat with him. So I rolled up the windows, put the car in reverse and maneuvered out of the parking lot onto the street. My one thought was to get home and to bed. 
In the garage, I opened the passenger door. “Last stop,” I said to the cat. “Out you go.”
He stretched up and jumped to the floor, then padded to the where the rain dripped from the garage roof onto the driveway. 
I hit the automatic button, the door came down, and the cat darted inside.  
“No!” But it was too late. He was in the garage, and I was too sick to care. “Fine. The garage is yours for the night.” I unlocked the door to the kitchen and staggered in. At last. Meds, then bed.
The phone rang the moment I poured a glass of water and dumped a pill out. “Hi Mom.” 
“Jeannie. What’s wrong with you? You sound horrible.”
“A touch of flu. I’ve got antibiotics, so I’ll be fine soon.”
“I’m coming up.”
“No. You don’t have to. I’ll be well enough to drive down for Christmas. Promise.”
From the garage, the cat howled.
“Is that King Kat? Is Nathan there?” Her voice billowed with hope.
“No and no. It’s a stray.” I looked at the bottle of pills on the counter. Had I taken the pill? I thought so, but maybe not. This time I made sure to swallow one. 
“I worry about you alone, Jeannie, especially when you’re sick.”
I heard her worry. I just couldn’t do anything about it. I’d done my best to marry Nathan. I just hadn’t. Nathan didn’t understand that a research assistant had deadlines and meetings and hours online. He didn’t understand how important all of that was. 
At the moment I didn’t care about anything except lying down. But Mom was onto her “you must settle down” lecture, and the cat was howling in the garage, and my eyes weren’t focusing anymore.
“Mom? Mom?” I broke in on her momologue.
“What?”
“I have to go. . . take care of my cat problem. I’ll call you tomorrow.”
“Okay, honey. I love you. You know that.”
“I do. I love you, too.”
I opened the kitchen door and peered into the dark garage. The brush of fur against my leg meant the cat was inside. When I did a search, there he was under the table, peering back at me. 
He wasn’t budging, so I opened one of the last cans of Kitty Tuna Delight, dumped it into a bowl, and set in on the floor next to King Kat’s special door. I unlatched that, then I took down another bowl and put water in it. I had to hold onto the sink for a minute because the room suddenly developed tremors, but that passed, and I put the water next to the tuna. 
Had I taken that pill? God I hoped so. But if I hadn’t I’d never stop this flu and finish that project. I’d never be able to drive down south to Mom and Dad’s for Christmas. The cat slunk along the wall and sniffed at the tuna, then he put his head in the bowl and didn’t stop until he’d emptied it.
I took a pill. Now I was sure I’d had the antibiotics. I was sure to be okay by morning. Back to work. Ready for Christmas. All systems go.
The next thing I felt was a tiny rasp against my eyelids. My eyelashes stuck together, so trying to open them was taking a lot of effort. Just when I stopped trying, that rasp dragged across my eyelids again.
I managed to create a small slit between my eyelashes and looked out at a blurred image of gold flecked eyes. It took a minute to figure out that the side of my face was numb and pressed against the kitchen floor. 
The cat pushed his head under my chin, purred and tapped his paw on my cheek. Even that tap hurt, but I pushed onto all fours, then using the cupboard, pulled myself to my feet, and looked out the kitchen window. 
“Morning?” 
I’d been out all night. What had the pharmacist said? Watch the dosage carefully. I had. Hadn’t I? I couldn’t remember. 
Cat meowed, then ducked out King Kat’s door, letting it click closed behind him. Holding onto the counter, I slid down to sit with my back against the cabinet. 
It was the steady kneading on my leg that brought my head up. 
“Back so soon, heh?” But the light had shifted to the other side of the house. It was afternoon. “Work. Should call. . . .” Instead, I crawled to bed and fell across it. 
When I woke it was dark. The cat was curled into my back, but came around to nudge me as soon as I moved. 
“Hey, you. I think you saved my life.”
He blinked, then tapped my head with his paw the way he had when I’d been sprawled on the floor. 
“I know. Food.” 
I sat up, taking my time and hoping the nausea would go away once I got to my feet. Almost. Not quite. I made the bathroom in time to hurl. I think the phone was ringing, but it was hard to tell because I had a full orchestra in my head, cat was meowing, and I was having trouble sucking air into my lungs. They felt swollen and pressed against my chest.
I got it together enough to find the kitchen and another can of cat food. “You deserve a medal, cat. How about a name, instead?” 
He ignored me, and as I wobbled back to bed, the cat door click open and shut.
It was the weak sunlight filtering through the bedroom curtain, that brought me around the next time. I was alive. But the bathroom mirror had other ideas. 
After a shower and testing out if I could keep some juice down, I looked outside for the cat, but he wasn’t there. 
“Hey cat. Come on. I owe you.” Besides, and this I thought to myself, I miss you. I hadn’t admitted how lonely this place had been since Nathan and King Kat moved out, but now I did. Now I admitted I needed something else in my life besides my job. 
“My job!”
I called Peabody. I explained some of what had happened and promised I’d have the research to him by tomorrow afternoon. Then I called home. I listened to Mom’s momologue again, but this time I agreed that, yes, I needed to make some changes. And, yes, old Pete Synder wasn’t a bad guy. And, yes, if she asked him to Christmas dinner, I’d be nice to him for a change.
I sat at the kitchen table with my laptop until I had most of the data entered. King of Hana, 11th dynasty. . .first cat name to appear. . .Bouhaki meaning Devine Healer. 
“Bouhaki,” I whispered. I had the perfect name, but the cat wasn’t here anymore. My life had a pattern. I always seemed to find what I needed after it was gone. 
At dusk, I rummaged in the refrigerator and lucked out when I found the left-overs from the Chinese Take-Out. It smelled okay, even the limp noodles came to life once I heated them. 
I was at the sink, slurping the last of those noodles when the cat door clicked, and there he was—mouse and all. He delivered it at my feet, brushed my leg two times and checked his bowl. 
“Chow Mein with mouse for dessert? Delightful.” I scooped the last can of King Kat’s food into the bowl and promised him I’d shop tomorrow. Then while the cat ate, I transported his present outside by the tail. 
When I came back, he greeted me by leaping onto my chair. “Okay, Cat. I’ve got a name for you. How does Bouhaki sound? Devine Healer. Perfect, right?”
He appeared to give it some thought, then he rubbed against my leg, and I took that for a yes. 
“And I’ll call you Bou for short.”
He was having none of that, I could tell by the way he turned his back on me.
“Fine. Bouhaki. Have it your way.
And he always did.


A Bit About The Author (for inclusion in the Charity Cat Anthology) 

C. Lee McKenzie is a native Californian who grew up in a lot of different places; then landed in the Santa Cruz Mountains where she lives with her family and miscellaneous pets. She writes most of the time, gardens and hikes and does yoga a lot, and then travels whenever she can. 

She takes on modern issues that today's teens face in their daily lives. Her first young adult novel, Sliding on the Edge, which dealt with cutting and suicide was published in 2009. Her second, titled The Princess of Las Pulgas, dealing with a family who loses everything and must rebuild their lives came out in 2010. Her short story, Premeditated Cat, appears in the anthology, The First Time, and her Into the Sea of Dew is part of a collection, Two and Twenty Dark Tales. In 2012, her first middle grade novel, Alligators Overhead, came out. Double Negative is her third young adult novel. Her website is  CLEEMCKENZIEBOOKS.

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Actually these aren't small things. They're quite large because they're thoughtful gifts.

Carol Kilgore bestowed the title of WINNER on me in her blog contest. You might want to see what's she up to.

PK Hrezo sent me a great commemorative set of newspapers from the New York Times  coverage of the sinking of the Titanic. 

Thank you both. It felt like Christmas this week.