Wednesday, December 22, 2021

 A Cat Named Dihana Prinzess

I have been working on a new novel about a research submarine. Before you start thinking Tom Clancy or someone similar, I have tried to avoid all similarities to a cold war thriller. This is science fiction. A month or so ago, I was digging around in Amazon to see what books might be similar to what I am working on. I only came up with one thing that even came close... Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. So I guess I can say without hesitation, if you enjoyed 20,000 Leagues, you will love mine. When I finish it.


Anyway, I figured since it's a research sub, (despite it originally being a decommissioned
LA class nuclear submarine), I had a bit of leeway. My devious mind decided to give 
Sea Dragon a ship's cat. Normally that wouldn't have been allowed, but when my boat
stopped at a port o'call in the Mediterranean, one of the crew was coerced into taking a
cat. At first he didn't know he was getting a cat. The feline was part of the purchase of a
nice basket a cherubic-faced boy sold him. The boy's parting shot was: "Her name is
Dihana Prinzess."

Being the soft-hearted soul he was, the seaman wasn't going to just dump the cat, so he smuggled her aboard. How fortuitous it was for Dihana that the cook had been complaining about mice. (Figured even subs might have a problem with them occasionally.) Dihana earns her keep before the khakis (officers) figure out they have a stowaway on board. About that time the new cook's assistant has a litter of kittens. 

BTW I'm sure you figured out who the boy named the cat after. 

I hope your holidays are wonderful, and don't forget... Books make the best kind of presents any time of the year!

Pictures courtesy of Pixabay.

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Crossroads to the Stars

 

Monday, October 4, 2021

I Like Cats!

 I guess I could be called a cat person. I have always loved cats. They're soft, can be cuddly (when they choose), and they have an elegance that I have always admired. Most of the animal books I read, growing up were about cats. (Well, except during my horse phase--then I loved horses!) 

Actually I still like horses, too
(Express Clydedale Farm, Yukon, OK)








I grew up with cats. My mother had a purebred Siamese cat in Alaska that absolutely despised me, probably because I was too young to treat her like the goddess she felt she was. Ming Sue Khan became the holy grail as far as I was concerned. I wanted that cat to like me more than anything! As she and I grew older, I learned how to treat royalty properly and she allowed me into her realm. After her death, we didn't have any cats until Dad retired and bought a 'gentleman's' ranch. 

There was Tom, who mainly lived outside, (except when I let him sneak in during the cold nights of winter. Never mind that there was a barn where he could sleep very warm and cozy.) There were others, but I can't remember their names. 

When I was in Wyoming, living on my own, I had a cat I named Chewie (he was large and furry!). He followed me into marriage. Then began a procession of cats who held pieces of our hearts, because my husband is a pet person, too. We always had a dog or two, because he's a dog person, but Dan also shared my love for the aloof felines who wandered into our lives. 

Diego, an all-around phenomenal cat
Our daughter with Melvin. 








Currently, we have two black cats. The first one, Scamp, was (and still is) quite put out with our acquisition of Zorro, but he hasn't figured out how to make Zorro believe he's the alpha cat. I don't think he ever will. BTW black cats are NOT bad luck (except for me when I have to get up in the middle of the night!) The inventor of nightlights must have owned a black cat.

Scamp


Zorro

Just for laughs, I did a little video about being a cat person (not a cat lady!!) I tried to add it to my blog post, but I guess it's too long. Ah, well...    


Saturday, September 4, 2021

Taking a Leap of Faith (Into Tech!)


My latest publication, a children's early chapter book, called Billy Bob Flybottom, a very tall tale, had its debut last Wednesday, Sept. 1st. I had done a Facebook live (reading stories to neighborhood kids last year), but never did anything interactive where my audience could send comments and messages. I sent out invites the week before, got commitments and then prepared for a live event. 
I even had a pair of coveralls to match the theme (as well as a straw hat.) I didn't want to overdo the get up, so kept it at that. I put out my new Billy Bob Flybottom banner Wednesday morning. That was a struggle. My office isn't very big! Later in the day, I worried about too much light in the window for my 6:30 event. I was right. I grabbed an afghan and tacked it up a few minutes ahead of time. That helped some. 
Folks showed up, I told about my new book and how it came to be, then had a drawing for a free book. It took all of fifteen minutes. Chatted a while longer, but I really have to work on my tech skills. (As well as my presentation skills--and to think I worked in libraries for 35 years!)

I am an old dog, but I am going to have to take a leap off the porch and embrace some of these ways of interacting with folks. All in all, it was a learning experience and a good one. Now upward and onward! I am leaving the link so you can see my first efforts. Enjoy! https://www.facebook.com/susan.kite.98/videos/3091795641065261

Friday, May 28, 2021

What Characters did I like When I was Younger?

 I recently wrote a small essay about my characters. I have touched on that a time or two, but this time I was writing a bit of a why and realized it went all the way back to when I was a young reader....


When I was younger, I was a voracious reader. I read fiction and non-fiction. When I read fiction, I gravitated toward speculative fiction, but also read historical, contemporary, classics, kids stories (not as much choice as there is now!), even a little romance.

Recently, I wondered what characters stood out and why. I remember Podkayne of Mars, Starman Jones, Hosteen Storm (the Beastmaster), Menolly (from Pern), Bilbo Baggins, Ramona, Socks, Tarzan, and others. The why? I liked Podkayne because she kept fighting, even during overwhelming odds, Starman Jones? He was at the bottom of the heap and persevered to the top, without stepping on anyone. Hosteen had lost everything except his animal companions, but he carved a new life, made new friends. Menolly, Bilbo, Ramona, even Socks the cat, had various qualities of kindness, loyalty, willingness to learn and change, willingness to sacrifice for their friends. They were brave when they needed to be--all-around great people.

Many times in my growing up years, book characters were more desirable than real-life friends. Since I moved around a lot, that was often even more important.

When I started writing, I gravitated toward those kinds of character traits. Are my characters perfect? No, certainly not. But do they exhibit a desire to overcome cruddy circumstances, or overwhelming odds? Yes! Do I want them to exhibit kindness, understanding, tolerance, as well as smarts and really cool abilities? Yes. My cat character, TB, (Realms of the Cat), includes all kinds of animals in his circle of friends and allies, including dogs and crows, as well as people. Diego (Moon Crusher) learns to live with aliens of all sorts after he is cruelly kidnapped by aliens. Corree (Mendel Experiment), is determined to see both sides of many issues as she tries to save her family and friends. Noki loses so much, but he is still willing to learn, and grow. Sadly he has to adapt to things he'd much rather not adapt to. Even in my upcoming tall-tale, Billy Bob is physically perfect, but he uses his strength to help his neighbors and his kindness to help a bully become a friend.



     

What are your favorite characters and why?   firstbookscape@gmail.com


Friday, May 7, 2021

Cleaning Up After the Party

 I didn't receive any advice, probably because each person's journey is individual. Still, I did receive an answer to my question--is it worth it? A tiny little voice kept telling me all day that it was worth it. The idea of pulling away from what I've been doing for three decades seemed like a betrayal of the talent I had been given by the Master. He is there to overcome my mistakes, my insecurities, and help me along the path. 



It also helped that a couple of friends, one old and one new, saw one of my books at a party last night and were totally excited. The new friend won the book and her look of gratitude was balm to my heart. Okay, so I am not quite ready to grind away at the classes, courses, pundits, and how-to's for a few days. (Going to watch some of my grands for a week.) Still, I am a writer and I am going to keep on working as long as the creativity continues. 

Would still like to hear from anyone with similar experiences....

In the meantime, read! Doesn't matter whose book, or what book, just read and enjoy!