In memory of Barbara "Babs" Hightower.
Please welcome Rena Leith to the blog today:
Of Cats, Princesses, and Dimwitted Seagulls
What is it about cats? They look as though they’re sound asleep, but when you tiptoe by them, one eye opens and watches you. Not two eyes, just one. Great small muscle control. Nothing else moves, yet somehow you feel guilty for disturbing them.
Cats have been worshipped throughout the generations. Mine think they still should be. I live with two Maine Coons: Sierra and Ginger Snap. Their names suit them. Sierra is a bit of a mountain at 24 pounds, and Ginger Snap is orange and has a tendency to nip. Oh, she doesn’t mean anything by it; it’s an expression of her love. A bit sadomasochistic if you ask me, but hey, she’s a cat.
I love cats of all sizes, shapes, and breeds, but Coon Cats are really something special. I used to live in a town house with two flights of stairs. After my arthroscopic surgery, getting up and down the stairs on crutches was a real bear. Jeri, a brown tabby, would pace me, going step by step up the stairs, vocalizing as we went as if giving me encouragement.
Before I got my first Maine Coon, I had a long-haired, black half-Persian/half-alley cat. Klaus was cantankerous and loving all at once. He adored my son and followed him around like a dog. The cat in my Murder Beach mysteries is based on a combination of Sierra and Klaus. Like Klaus, Thor belonged first to a male and then to a female, has long black fur, and is obstreperous. Like Sierra, Thor is huge, loves tuna juice, and lies around on his back, feet in the air. Thor is a character in the novels like any of the humans. He’s very real to me. Thor the cat in combination with Doris the ghost becomes Thoris, an homage to Dejah Thoris, Princess of Mars. As a child, I was addicted to the Burne Hogarth Tarzan comic strip in the Sunday newspaper. Later, I read all the Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan books, then his standalones like The Mad King, and finally his Mars books.
Just as characteristics of people I know become the foundations of characters in my novels, so, too, do the animals that appear. So far, Thor is the main animal characters in the Murder Beach series; however, I have made mention of another cat in the vicinity, local birds, and other small creatures, such as squirrels. When my son was young, a backyard squirrel became quite friendly. We named him Nutty. Who knows? Maybe one of Nutty’s relatives was one of the small creatures Doris used to inhabit before Thor came to live in Doris’ old house with Cass and provide Doris with a more intelligent body to inhabit. Intelligence in an animal is important to Doris’ ability to get back to the bungalow. I mention a rather dim seagull in Coastal Corpse because Doris had difficulty diverting him from fishing long enough to get back to the house!
A Cass Peake Cozy Mystery, Book 2
by Rena Leith
About the Book:
Happily settled in her cozy cottage with its resident ghost, Cass Peake looks forward to Halloween. Then another corpse is found on her beachfront. With the support of family and her ghostly roommate, Cass investigates. To her dismay, she finds the murder victim handled her goofy neighbor's trust fund and he was in dire need of money. The suspect list grows with a former husband, another needy relative, and a maybe shady accountant who suddenly disappears. To top it all off, rumors circulate about treasure hidden in Cass's cottage.
Detective George Ho doesn't like his ex-girlfriend snooping around. Despite that, sparks still fly between him and Cass. But superstitious George has no idea Cass's home is haunted. Can Cass solve the mystery and renew the romance with her ghost-adverse ex?
About Rena Leith:
I currently live in Cape May County in New Jersey after spending years in the San Francisco Bay Area with my Maine Coon cats Sierra and Ginger. I attended Clarion Writers Workshop for Science Fiction and Fantasy at Michigan State University and sold a story I wrote there to Damon Knight for The Clarion Awards anthology. I wrote technical manuals in Silicon Valley and also published several poems and science articles as well as a couple of chapters in Research & Professional Resources in Children’s Literature: “Piecing a Patchwork Quilt.” I’ve also taught English in high school and community colleges.
Website - https://www.renaleith.com/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/renaleith
Instgram - https://www.instagram.com/renaleith/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/authorrenaleith/
Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16666182.Rena_Leith
LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/renaleith/
Purchase Link - Amazon
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