Returning guest blogger Sunny Frazier, whose first novel in the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries, Fools Rush In, received the Best Novel Award from Public Safety Writers Association, confesses that she reads something besides mysteries.
So, I got these two kittens a few months back. I know I can write about them here because my earlier post, “In Defense of Crazy Cat Ladies,” received more hits than any other blog I’ve written. Ragamuffin is a torty; Rusty is orange and fluffy. They were rescued from a stray cat’s litter.
I’m trying hard not to be an over-protective mother. When Rusty, the clueless male, climbed up to the top of the tree, I had the crazy idea to send his much more sensible sister to fetch him down. She obeyed and went to the rescue like a St. Bernard.
Which left me to wonder: when did I acquire cat-logic? Was it after the fifth feline over the years or the fifteenth? It’s not any sort of maternal instinct on my part; these little furballs are the ones born with instincts. I’m just trying to keep up.
However, when you’re around cats for an extensive amount of time (as many writers and crazy cat lovers are), they tend to brainwash us. Why else would I find myself typing between Gemini’s legs as she languidly paces the desktop? Or turn on the desk lamp when I don’t need it just to keep her warm? Lord knows SHE’S not paying the electric bill.
I’m glad I live alone with these felines. I’m not prepared for unbrainwashed visitors to question my behavior when Rusty and Ragamuffin climb me like a jungle gym. I pluck off this living lint without even thinking about my actions. I’m sure it would appear strange to outsiders.
This morning, I watched the two race around the house, stopping only to judo/wrestle each other. I quietly sipped my tea and listened to objects crash in other rooms. This is our normal routine. I am the one with the catastrophes going on around me.
I’ve already accepted the quirks of these kittens and I suppose they are accepting mine. Or, perhaps I’m being trained. The three older cats have already helped me establish nighttime habits as sleeping is their priority. Gemini won’t come to bed until after I have tea and before lights out. Kitler knows it’s time to settle down to sleep when she hears the white noise machine. Petey Pie jumps off the foot of the bed in disgust when I suffer from insomnia. He finds my restlessness irritating.
(Here comes the segue to the serious side of this blog. You knew it was coming, right?)
I’m talking about a learning curve here. The craft of writing, like raising kittens, takes time to understand. Focusing and comprehending what people say in classrooms and critique groups can take years. There will be missteps and crashes as we blunder our way through the process. Writers must wrestle with their thoughts and emotions, then reproduce them in a tangible form on paper. We are not born with the instinct to write, but we do have an instinct to communicate.
Just as I study my cats for clues to their behavior, writers need to study the industry and pay attention to how publishers operate. It does no good to yowl and complain. Publishing isn’t going to adapt to you or your needs anytime soon. Like the aloof feline, it’s their way or go away.
When it comes to marketing, be like a kitten with a ball of yarn. Get playful, have fun with it. Strew it all through the Internet. Let people follow the string back to your novels.
And, like all cats—every now and then you gotta take a nap.