What Was the Inspiration for Harry You Ask?

Monkeyface

 

When I decided to create the character for Harry the Wonder Cat, I had to look no further than my Monkeyface, the first cat I ever had.  Twenty years ago, Monkey and I met and it was love at first sight. The big Maine Coon was the gentlest creature that I’ve ever known.  He was fiercely loyal to me and protected me from the people that he considered bad. (Cats are like that…they can smell trouble a mile off.) I, in turn, protected him from everything from the rustling of a paper bag (he hated paper bags) to the loud claps of thunder in the mountain sky.

Now, I know you’ll think that Harry doesn’t sound at all like Monkeyface, and you would be right when it comes down to fears.  After all, Harry isn’t afraid of anything. You must remember, however, Monkeyface didn’t have the powers that Harry has.

Other than being fiercely protective of their person, Maine Coons are the largest domestic cat, (the biggest was a cat named Stewie,  who grew to be a whopping 48.5 inches. Harry’s 38 inches seem small next to Stewie.

While Harry grew to weigh over 30 pounds, Monkeyface weighed a mere 25 pounds. Maine Coon are known as the Gentle Giants of the cat world, but sometimes Harry uses his size to intimidate enemies.

I chose the Maine Coon breed for Harry the Wonder Cat in memory of my lovable Monkeyface who, in my mind, will always be my Wonder Cat.

 

Next week I will share with you my experiences at my first writer’s convention.  Until then, have a purrfect week, from Harry and the Gang!

Ghostly Paws (Mystic Notch Cozy Mystery Book 1) by Leighann Dobbs

Ghostly Paws by Leighann Dobbs is the first of the Mystic Notch Series and was published in 2014. This is one of my favorite Leighann Dobbs series. A reporter turned bookshop owner by the name of Willa is the main character.  She has an amazing cat, Pandora, who along with her gang of feline friends, help Willa get out of the trouble that she invariably gets into.

Willa and Pandora are visited in the shop quite frequently by ghosts of authors from centuries ago. Customers will come into the store and a ghost or two will choose that moment to cause mischief. A book may fall off a shelf or a puff of smoke materializes in the  corner of the room, signifying that ghosts are coming right in front of the customer. Pandora, being the ever-curious cat that she is, plays with the smoke until it becomes Robert Frost or someone else from days gone by.

In the first book of the series, Ghostly Paws, Willa finds the town’s librarian, Livinia dead at the bottom of the library’s basement stairs. Augusta who, besides being Willa’s sister, is the town’s sheriff that warns the curious Willa to stay away from the case. Willa would be happy to stay away, but the ghost of Livinia comes to visit her and pleads with Willa to find her killer. Mystic Notch isn’t that big so you’d think that it would be easy to find a killer, wouldn’t you? Not so.
Ghostly Paws is a fast read and thoroughly enjoyable. I give it five stars and would suggest it to anyone who likes cozy mysteries and cats.

The Afterglow: What Happens After the Editing Process Is Finished?

Last time I talked about my experiences up to and including the editing of my first book. My best advise is:

1) Don’t be too quick to send your first draft in to your editor. I did and drove my editor nuts.  It ends up being more frustrating and a lot more work than if you went over the first couple of drafts yourself then send it in.

2) Get an editor that you can work with.  It makes for an easier process.

Now, after the editing process…

Woo hoo! You have your edited manuscript in your hands (well maybe not in your hands, but on your computer). What’s the next step? You need a launch team.  A launch team is a team of individuals who read the Advance Readers Copy, or the ARC and give feedback on the story. After that, it’s all the publisher’s baby.  He gets his team to work on the layout, etc.

At the same time, you gear up on marketing.  I went online and asked  blogs to review Harry on their blogs…first, the cat blogs that I already knew from doing a cat blog for years.  Then I hit the fiction and mystery blogs.  We mustn’t forget the podcasts (although I haven’t had much luck with those). You notice that I use the present tense because it is a never ending process.

Sometime during this process, you will get the hardcopies in your hot little hands.  Congratulations!

Then the cold calls come.  I am starting to call bookstores, etc. to do book signings.  Now I’m finding that not all stores are open to them, especially the small, local ones.

Yesterday I put 10 signed copies of Harry up for a giveaway on Goodreads.  In 18 hours I had almost 500 entrants.

Finally, I am booked to go to Washington DC for my first conference. Hopefully, it will be the first of many.

So, now you are up to speed with all that I’ve been through.  It has been a nail-biting, rollercoaster ride that, at times has made me ecstatic and at times has made me want to pull my hair out.  It’s never dull and I love it!

BTW, I’m working on the next book in Harry the Wonder Cat Series. In this one, Harry goes to Jamaica and falls in love with a beautiful beach cat named Luna. Follow along Harry’s trip with Nikki, Heather and the gang.

If you missed the first book, Harry the Wonder Cat: The Legend of the Pink Diamond, you can still get it here.

What to Expect When Publishing Your First Novel

I’m Denise, the creator of Harry the Wonder Cat, and the author of The Legend of the Pink Diamond.  For the next couple of weeks I thought I’d just talk about the steps leading up to that all important publication date and what it feels like when you actually hold that first book in your hand.

One thing that not a lot of my readers know is that all of the cats, with the exception of Harry, are based on the real cats that take care of some of the readers of my Facebook page. As soon as I realized that Harry needed a gang, I opened up auditions on Kitty Tales and a slew of cats came running for the curtain call.  I, being the ultimate cat lady, gave the parts to all of the cats that applied.  So each cat will be named or featured in at least one of the books in the series.

Casting taken care of, you need to write the story.  You should write at least two drafts before sending the manuscript to your editor. I sent the first draft and was sorry I did as, by the time we got to the final draft, the book had changed into a totally different story, which drove my publisher crazy.

I believe you need to have a bond, call it chemestry, with your editor because, after all, you are going to be joined at the hip (figuratively speaking of course, otherwise you wouldn’t get much writing done) for the next few months. I was lucky in that my publisher made sure to “fit” me with another cat lady.  Suze loves Harry almost as much as I did, therefore she handled him with kit gloves.  The result was a book that showcased Harry’s purrsonality, quirks and all.

During the editing phase, which involves a lot of time sending the manuscript back and forth for rewrites, etc., my publisher’s design team was working on that all important cover, again a lot of changing until we all agreed that it was purrfect.  You can judge a book by it’s cover, and Harry’s cover is great!

Meanwhile, I looked for a professional photographer for the picture on the back of the book.  I ended up using it on my profiles for my social media.  Get your face out there!!

Next time I’ll be going over what happens after the editing.  No…the process isn’t not over yet.  It’s only just begun!