Books

Book Review: Wagging Tales by Tim Link

Wagging Tales: Every Animal Has a Tale , subtitled Conversations with Our Animal Friends, is a collection of conversations animal communicator Tim Link held with a series of cats, dogs, and even a praying manthis. 

From the publisher:  Many people have a special bond with animals, but few have the ability to understand the innermost thoughts, feelings, and desires of different creatures. Author Tim Link is one such individual–a man blessed with the ability to communicate with animals telepathically.

In this book, the author details some of his most dramatic and moving encounters with the animal kingdom. From helping a lost cat find her way home to comforting a Catalan sheepdog after back surgery, Link shares stories that are both entertaining and heartfelt. A full-time animal communicator and a Reiki energy healer for animals, Link has never failed to reach an animal, even if that animal has transitioned to the next world. In these dramatic and moving stories, Link describes how he communicates with animals, not only in words, but also through feelings, smells, tastes, emotions, and images. By building powerful intuitive connections with other species, Link has transformed the lives of numerous animals and the people who care for them. His stories will transform the lives of readers as well, as they learn to open their minds and hearts to all creatures great and small.

Whether it’s a story of joy, loneliness, or redemption, every animal has a tale, and Tim Link has brought magically resonant tales to life in this powerful collection of stories.

My own experience with animal communication has been that each communicator develops his or her own unique style of accessing and relaying the information they receive from the animals they communicate with.  The spectrum ranges from those who connect directly with the animal’s spiritual nature and convey profound messages of insight and guidance, to others who relay more practical messages.   This book offers a look at how animal communication works for this particular animal communicator.  The stories are sometimes charming, and sometimes heartbreaking.  The author’s love for animals and delight in his role as interpreter between the species as well as his desire to build stronger relationships between animals and humans comes through in each tale told.  

This is a light-hearted and quick read,filled with lots of practical insights about what animals think and feel about their lives, from human work schedules that they don’t like to why they don’t want to share their toys.  The book offers an entertaining and unique look at animals, along with lovely photos and practical pet care tips. 

Tim Link is President and CEO of Link’s Wagging Tales, Inc.  He has been featured nationally and internationally in numerous articles and television and radio programs.  Tim and his wife live near Atlanta, GA, with their many pets.  For more information about Tim, please visit his website.

FTC full disclosure:  a review copy of this book was sent to me by the author.

About the author

Book Review: Guardians of Being

Guardians of Being combines the words of Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now and A New Earth, with the whimsical illustrations of Patrick McDonnell, the creator of the MUTTS cartoons,  in a heartwarming, inspirational and joyful package.  The Oprah Magazine has called the book “an inspired collaboration between spiritual teacher Echkart Tolle and comic strip artist Patrick McDonnell.  A book to make you wiggle with joy.”

From the publisher:  “More than a collection of witty and charming drawings, the marriage of Patrick McDonnell’s art and Eckhart Tolle’s words conveys a profound love of nature, of animals, of humans, of all life-forms.  Guardians of Being celebrates and reminds us of not only the oneness of all life but also the wonder and joy to be found in the present moment, amid the beauty we sometimes forget to notice all around us.”

This is a book to be treasured.  The wisdom of the words, combined with the charming illustrations, make this a book to be savored, not just to be read.  Browsing through this book is an almost meditative experience, and it will most definitely remind the reader about what really matters in life.

Two of my favorite quotes from the book are:

Everything natural – every flower, tree, and animal – has important lessons to teach us if we would only stop, look, and listen.

Just watching an animal closely can take you out of your mind and bring you into the present moment, which is where the animal lives all the time – surrendered to life.

I have always believed that animals are amazing teachers.  It’s nice to see that I’m in good company.  Treat yourself to this book – and while you’re at it, pick one up for your closest friend.

About the author

Book Review: Unexpected Miracles by Dr. Shawn Messonier, D.V.M.

unexpected-miracles-book-coverUnexpected Miracles – Hope and Holistic Healing for Pets is a must read for anyone interested in integrative medicine, holistic health and natural remedies for pets.  Dr. Shawn Messonier, D.V.M.  is a nationally recognized authority on holistic pet care and integrative medicine.  He is the author of the award winning Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats, the host of the weekly radio show Dr. Shawn, The Natural Vet on Martha Stewart Radio, and his column  The Holistic Pet is featured in newspapers throughout the United States.  He owns Paws and Claws Animal Hospital in Plano, Texas.

From the publisher:  Dr. Shawn Messonnier has been a veterinarian for more than fifteen years. Once a conventional practictioner, he’s embarked on a crusade to help pet owners keep their treasured furry friends healthy and happy, treating each patient not as a disease but as a unique living entity. Dr. Messonnier brings the reader into his waiting room and introduces them to some remarkable animals…and the courageous owners who never gave up on their pets. Using case studies and higlighting diseases that commonly afflict our pets, Dr. Messonnier shows us the integrative methods he has developed to help these creatures not only survive the maladies they were originally diagnosed with but in many cases go on to live long and healthy lives.  Unexpected Miracles will change the way you think about your  pet’s healthcare forever.

The book is a fascinating collection of often heartwarming stories of cats and dogs who were either given a poor prognosis, a death sentence or a completely wrong diagnosis, and whose owners were coming to Dr. Messonier in hopes of finding a cure or at the very least a way to help their pet live a longer life.  It also offers a thorough look at what truly integrative medical, or in this case, veterinary, care really means.  An integrative approach to veterinary care uses both conventional treatments, commonly thought of as Western medicine, and natural, alternative and holistic treatments ranging from supplements to herbs to acupuncture.  By taking a truly holistic approach, Dr. Messonier treats the patient, not the disease, and uses the best of all available treatment options to achieve optimal healing for each individual patient.  This includes looking at the pet’s environment and potential exposure to toxins, reducing vaccinations from the old paradigm of annual “shots” to only those required by law or no vaccinations at all, to eliminating by-products and low quality ingredients from the pet’s diet.

While each story shared in this book is about the individual pet and the condition the pet’s owner sought help with, there are definite commonalities in all the cases, and it’s these commonalities that will give the reader a thorough understanding of what an integrative approach to health is truly all about.

In addition, the book is a testament to how much we love our pets and that most of us will go to great lenghts to find ways to keep these wonderful creatures happy and healthy by giving them the best possible care.

I think this book should be on every pet owner’s book shelf as not only a reference book, but also as a reminder that sometimes, hope is the best medicine.

For more information about Dr. Messonier, visit his website at www.petcarenaturally.com.

About the author

Book Review: Houdini by T. J. Banks

Houdini coverFrom the publisher: 

A Siamese only gives his heart to a human once.  For Houdini, an abandoned, down-on-his luck Siamese kitten, that human is Jill Leonard.  After smuggling him home on an airplane, Jill gives Houdini a good home with her other cats.  It’s not long before Houdini settles into life as a loved pet.  Hidden dangers abound when he inadvertently strays from home.  Will Houdini ever find his way back home?

This description hardly does the book justice.  Houdini is a wonderful story for adults and children, and is sure to melt the heart of any cat lover.   Most of the story is told from Houdini’s perspective, and the author’s deep connection with the feline soul shows in every word.  You’ll fall in love with Houdini from the very first chapter.  Banks masterfully shares Houdini’s story from a cat’s point of view, from his despair at being abandoned to his joy when he meets his special person.  You’ll delight in sharing Houdini’s world.  His interaction with other cats, and with the humans in his life, as told from his perspective, are recounted with the sensitivity and grace you’d expect from a feline.  You’ll appreciate the special relationship he shares with Jill, his person.  You’ll worry for him and with him when he gets lost.   You’ll find your heart in your throat as you live through the dangers he encounters as he’s trying to find his way back home.

This is not the kind of book that you’d expect to be unable to put down, but for me, it was exactly that.  It’s impossible to not fall in love with this sweet cat, and you’ll find yourself nodding your head in recognition as you compare some of Houdini’s observations and personality traits to those of the felines in your life.  The book is a celebration of the unconditional love between cats and their humans, as told by one very special Siamese.  Four  paws up for Houdini!

T.J. Banks is the author of  A Time for Shadows and Catsong.  Her work has appeared in numberous anthologies, including Chicken Soup for the Single Parent’s Soul and A Cup of Comfort for Women in Love.  She lives with her daughter Marissa and their cats and rabbits in a sometimes peaceable, but always interesting kingdom in Connecticut.

I previously reviewed T.J. Bank’s book Catsong right here on The Conscious Cat.  Click here to read the review.

About the author

Book Review: Cat Tales by Dr. Sharon Eisen and Linda Francese

Cat Tales book

Cat Tales is a heartwarming and inspirational collection of stories about cats that will make you smile, laugh and cry, sometimes all at the same time.  The stories will most certainly bring fond memories of all the cats that have graced your life, and they will make you love and appreciate your current feline companions even more.  These cats that come and go from our lives leave indelible pawprints on our hearts, and the authors have captured many of these special cats in the tales they share in their book.

There’s TiVo, the shy orange cat who tended to avoid human contact, and who broke through an autistic boy’s seemingly impenetrable shell of silence and showed him that it’s not so bad to be a little different, and in the process, taught the boy’s mother to be a little more patient and have a little more faith in the future.  There’s Chloe, the cat who saved her human’s life who was going through cancer treatments.  There’s Bentley, an international winning show cat whose beauty and huge spirit touched everyone he came into contact with and who turned his human from a die-hard dog lover into a cat-loving, cat-fancying addict.  There are many more stories like these, and they all touch the heart.

The book is interspersed with fascinating and entertaining facts about cats, and the photos that accompany each story enhance the tales being told.  Cat Tales celebrates cats in all their wonderful variety and glory, and it illustrates how much these wonderful creatures impact their humans’ lives in often unexpected ways.  A must read and a wonderful gift for any cat lover.

Dr. Sharon Eisen has been a practicing veterinarian since 1984.  In 1991, she realized her dream and opened a feline-only practice in Brookfield, CT.  The Complete Cat Clinic was the very first cat only hospital in the state.  In addition to devoting her career to the care and well-being of cats, Dr. Eisen has an abiding interest in the human-animal connection.  She has conducted programs in elementary schools to teach students about pet care.  She has led pet bereavement groups, and has brought cats and dogs to nursing homes to serve as pet therapists.

Linda Francese is a well-known radio personality for over 20 years, fulfilled a lifelong dream in 2004 and began working with cats as the head technician at the Complete Cat Clinic in Brookfield, CT.  A year later, she joined Dr. Eisen as co-owner of the Plaid Plus Cattery, breeding British Shorthair cats.  Mrs. Francese’s serious interest in the healing powers of the human-animal connection inspired her to co-author this book.

About the author

Book Review: Dear Sparkle – Advice from One Cat to Another by Sparkle, the Designer Cat

DearSparkleMedRes300

There are lots of books on the market that give advice on how to care for cats, provide information on cat behavior, and address other aspects of living with a cat.  Dear Sparkle:  Advice from One Cat to Another, authored by Sparkle The Designer Cat and edited by Janiss Garza, is unique in this genre.  It combines solid advice with humor, and gives us an insider’s look into what and how cats think.  Sparkle  is a seven-year-old pedigreed Somali who speaks out on anything from how to address trouble with family members (both human and feline) to hairballs to culinary delights and disappointments.  A significant portion of the book is devoted to addressing questions about human foibles.  Writes Sparkle:  “Humans are complicated beings, and very hard to train.”

Sparkle, the internet’s premier cat-to-cat advice columnist, brings her feline point of view to help her fellow cats figure out human behavior and deal with the day-to-day frustrations that living with humans can bring for a cat.

Some samples of the kinds of questions Sparkle answers are:

My human used to give me treats at dinnertime, but the vet put me on a diet and now I’m starving!  How do I get these treats back?

A tom cat invaded my backyard and now my roommate hates my guts!  What happened, and what do I do about it?

My human brought home a snotty new kitten – how do I show him who’s boss?

This is a thoroughly enjoyable, often laugh out loud funny book filled with practical information presented in a unique style.

And if you can’t get enough of Sparkle’s advice from the book, you can visit her on her website at www.sparklecat.com.

Sparkle is a kind-hearted and generous cat and wants to help kitties who are less fortunate than she is.  For the rest of the year, she will donate $1 for every book sold through her website to Tabby’s Place, a cat sanctuary in Ringoes, NJ.  For more information about Sparkle’s mission to help Tabby’s Place, click here.

About the author

Book Review: Animal Magnetism by Rita Mae Brown

animalmagnetismAnimal Magnetism is the first memoir by Rita Mae Brown since Rita Will – Memoir of a Literary Rabble-RouserIn sometimes funny, always heartwarming stories, Brown introduces us to the animals that have touched her life:  Franklin, a parrot with a wicked sense of humor; Suzie Q, the horse who taught her the meaning of hard work; Baby Jesus, a tough tiger cat from New York City with an attitude to match; and of course, Sneaky Pie, who needs no introduction to the legions of fans of the Sneaky Pie Brown murder mystery series.  Brown shares stories of these animals, and the lessons they taught her.  She makes no secret of the fact that she prefers the company of animals to people.  As Brown explains, “There’s no such thing as a dumb dog, but God knows there are continents filled with dumb humans.”  By observing the animals on her farm and in her life, Brown has gained insights into herself and other human beings that she shares in her inimitable prose. 

As someone who just published a book about the lessons one little cat taught me, this book resonated with me on many levels, but at times, I felt a bit lost in the author’s lengthy descriptions of fox hunting.  However, even though this is not a topic that is close to my heart, I was captivated by the passion with which Brown describes it, and I gained a better understanding of the practice in the process.  You know you’re reading a book by a great writer when they can make you keep reading about a topic you didn’t think you really cared about!

I loved these words from the book, that perfectly summarize what the book is all about: “I hope you are lifted by the love of a cat, dog, horse, even a parrot… More, I hope you recognize it and return it. … We are all in this life together.  We need one another.”

A wonderful book for all animal lovers, as well as fans of Brown’s Sneaky Pie Brown and Sister Jane novels.

Rita Mae Brown is the bestselling author of the Sister Jane novels–Outfoxed, Hotspur, Full Cry, The Hunt Ball, The Hounds and the Fury, The Tell-Tale Horse, and Hounded to Death–as well as the Sneaky Pie Brown mysteries and Rubyfruit Jungle, In Her Day, Six of One, and The Sand Castle, among many others. An Emmy-nominated screenwriter and a poet, Brown lives in Afton, Virginia.

About the author

Training Cats

Guest Post by Elaine Viets

There are people who can train cats to do tricks, to walk with a leash, to use Elaine Vietsthe toilet and flush afterward. Dominique, the Key West cat man, has a whole show using his specially trained “flying house cats.” He gets them to walk on tightropes and jump through hoops.

After hearing about these feline successes, Don and I tried to train our cats. Three cats back, we adopted a young semi-Siamese named Sylvie. We’d heard that Siamese cats liked to walk with a leash and were easy to train. We bought a Chihuahua leash for her. Sylvie flopped down on the sidewalk like a passive resistor and went limp. We wound up dragging the protesting cat half a block, which caused talk in the neighborhood.

“Be patient,” the text books advised us potential cat trainers. We kept trying to use the  leash. Finally clever Sylvie learned to escape its leather confines like a hairy Houdini.

The cats quickly succeeded in training us. They started yowling every morning, and we learned to leap out of bed at seven a.m. and feed them.

It took six cats before Don succeeded in training one. Now my husband regrets his success.

We adopted Harry, a brown-and-black striped tiger, from our local vet. Some idiot had shot Harry’s family. Harry escaped with his life, but he was left with a fear of large, white males, which proved he was a sensible animal. Whenever a big, white guy loomed at our condo door, Harry hid under the couch. If it was a bill collector, I joined Harry.

It took Harry nearly six months and lots of coaxing before he would let Don pet him. After a year, Harry permitted Don to scratch his ears.

Another six months later, we had a breakthrough. At least, we thought so at the time. Harry let Don scratch the base of his tail. Don was thrilled. So was Harry.

The cat would follow Don around and jump up on chairs so Don could scratch his tail. Don thought this was hilarious.

He’d slap a chair seat and say, “Present butt!” Harry would jump up for his tail scratch. He would fold back his ears and look blissfully happy.

Harry started following Don everywhere. If Don took a nap or stretched out on the couch, Harry was there, demanding a scratch. He was polite about it, in a catlike way. He’d give Don a formal forehead bump, which is cat for “hello” or maybe, “wake up, stupid.” We weren’t sure on our cat translations.  Then Harry would turn around and present his rear end for a scratch. The cat looked like a brown-and-black watermelon. A very happy watermelon. Don obliged and scratched him.

Harry has become a scratchaholic. If Don lights anywhere for a moment or two, there’s Harry, demanding a butt scratch.

It’s ceased to be funny. Don can’t read a book or fall asleep until Harry gets his butt scratch. Now the cat has started waking up Don in the middle of the night.

“This is kind of kinky,” Don said, as he scratched the cat’s rear end at three in the morning.

“Couldn’t you train the cat to turn on the coffee maker, or dial 911 in case of an emergency?” I asked. “You did pretty good with all those dogs.”

Don has trained the neighborhood pooches to line up at their fences when he passes by on a walk. He says, “Present ear,” and the dogs get their ears scratched. It’s a much more wholesome pastime.

“Why couldn’t you have trained Harry to get his ears scratched?” I asked.

“That’s for dogs,” Don said.

I guess I should be grateful he doesn’t scratch Clydesdales.

The Fashion Hound MurdersElaine Viets writes two mystery series, The Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper series, set in her hometown of St. Louis, and the Florida-based Dead-End Job series. She has won the Agatha, Anthony and Lefty Awards for her writing.  In Elaine’s lastest release, The Fashion Hound Murders,  Mystery shopper Josie Marcus investigates a chain of doggie boutiques and discovers those fashionable pets come at a killer price.

About the author

Book Review: Catsong by T.J. Banks

catsong-cvr-2Catsong is a charming and delightful collection of stories about special cats and the impact they had on the author’s life.  T.J. Banks shares the stories of the cats that have graced her life, and the immense love, joy and comfort they have brought, each in his or her own individual and special way.  There is Alexander Czar-Cat, the magical cat of the author’s childhood.  There is Jason, a black-and-white stray whose love and affection accompany Banks through her college years and into her marriage.  There are Cricket and Tikvah, and Solstice and Kilah, cats that connect with the author on a soul level.  T.J. Banks clearly knows and understands cats, and her appreciation of and love for each individual cat shines through in her sensitive and beautiful prose.  By sharing her stories about these cats, the author makes us feel that we actually knew them, and she also shows us how truly special all the feline spirits that come and go from our lives are.  For those of us willing to listen with our hearts, cats have so much to teach us.  They enrich our lives through their simple, loving presence, bring us joy and entertainment with their endless antics, and provide quiet love and support during our dark days.  This collection of stories covers all of these aspects, and more.

It’s impossible to pick one story over another – they’re all wonderful and special in their own way.  But for me, the title story, Catsong, touched me  most deeply.  This is the story of Kilah, the seventeen-year-old tortoiseshell cat who helps her human through personal tragedy and countless animal crises – and whose loving spirit continues to bring comfort even after passing into the non-physical dimension.

This book is a treasure for any cat lover and makes a wonderful holiday gift.   The author has a limited number of autographed copies available for sale.   E-mail T.J. Banks at [email protected] for more information and to order. 

T.J. Banks is the author of Souleiado and Houdini, a novel for young adults that Cleveland Amory has enthusiastically branded a “winner.”  Her work has appeared in numberous anthologies, including Chicken Soup for the Single Parent’s Soul and A Cup of Comfort for Women in Love.  She lives with her daughter Marissa and their cats and rabbits in a sometimes peaceable, but always interesting kingdom in Connecticut.

About the author

Book Review: Bookplate Special by Lorna Barrett

Bookplate Special

Bookplate Special is the third in the Booktown mystery series from Berkeley Prime Crime and will be released November 3.  The first book, Murder Is Binding, was published in April 2008. The second book, Bookmarked for Death, was a Feb. 2009 release.  If you love books, cats and food, you will love this series! 

The protagonist of the series, Tricia Miles, owns Haven’t Got a Clue, a mystery book store located in the charming small town of Stoneham, New Hampshire.  It’s the kind of town where everybody knows your name.  In Bookplate Special, Tricia discovers the body of her former college roommate.  Never satisfied with letting the police handle a murder investigation, Tricia launches her own informal investigation to find the killer, and encounters all sorts of trouble.   This is a wonderful story with immensely likeable characters, a cat names Miss Marple, and mouth-watering recipes.  The author also includes a subplot about a topic that is clearly important to her, and she manages to do so in a way that’s thought-provoking rather than preachy.  A thoroughly enjoyable book – be sure to add it to your winter reading list!

You can learn more about Lorna Barrett by visiting her website.  You can also find her at her delightful blog Dazed and Confused.

And look for a guest blog by author Lorna Barrett right here on The Conscious Cat next week!

About the author

An Interview with CJ Lyons, Medical Suspense Author

It is my pleasure to welcome medical suspense author CJ Lyons to The Conscious Cat today.  (And yes, there is a cat connection – read on!)

CJ LyonsCJ Lyons has lived most of her life on the edge. Trained in Pediatric Emergency Medicine, she has assisted police and prosecutors with cases involving child abuse, rape, homicide and Munchausen by Proxy. She has worked in numerous trauma centers, on the
Navajo reservation, as a crisis counselor, victim advocate, as well as a flight physician for Life Flight and Stat Medevac.  A Golden Heart Finalist in Romantic Suspense and winner of the Golden Gateway, CJ is a member of Romance Writers of America, International Thriller Writers,  and Sisters in Crime. Her work has appeared in CrimeSpree, Romantic Times Book Review Magazine, and Spinetingler. She has presented keynote speeches and workshops at numerous national conventions including MWA’s Sleuthfest, Romantic Times, Colorado Gold and RWA.

As a fan of medical drama tv shows and an avid reader, I was thrilled when I discovered Lifelines  last year.  I thought this would be the best of both worlds – a book that read like one of my favorite tv shows.  Actually – it was better.  CJ combines the best of ER and Grey’s Anatomy into a wonderful mix of romance, suspense, friendship and mystery in the form of a compelling medical thriller.  Thankfully, Warning Signs, the second book in the series, was not too far behind.  Meredith and McDreamy, eat your heart out!  Meet the doctors and staff of Angels of Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA.  The third book in the series, Urgent Care , was published October 27, 2009.  I picked up my copy yesterday and I can’t wait to read it!

CJ, you are a trained emergency physician.  What made you decide to stop practicing emergency medicine and write about it instead?

Actually, the writing came first.  I’ve been a story teller all my life—which, given that I had a problem telling truth from fiction as a child, led to lots of hours in time-out, which led to more stories….a vicious cycle.  As soon as I could read, I began devouring books and writing my own stories down.
When published friends convinced me that my work was also good enough to be published, I realized I had a chance at a second career.  So after selling my first book, and realizing that working 60 hours a week was going to burn me out sooner or later, I took a leap of faith and quit medicine to write full-time.  So far (knock on wood!) it’s paying the bills and has been a wonderful adventure!

Do you miss practicing medicine?

I miss my patients a great deal.  There’s just nothing like holding a newborn to remind you what’s really important in this world.

Please tell us about Urgent Care.

urgent_care-185x300Urgent Care is a true book of my heart.  In it, ER charge nurse Nora Halloran must face her greatest fear—that she may have caused a colleague’s death by not reporting a sexual assault two years ago.  The man who attacked Nora back then has returned—only now he’s killing his victims.

As a woman and a medical professional, I was hard pressed to imagine a worse scenario.  And having worked with victims, I know that over 60% never disclose their abuse to anyone—they’re overwhelmed with shame, fear that they’ll be labeled as victims, and a need to move on with their lives.  How awful would it be for a strong woman like Nora to not only face her past but also the consequences of her actions?  What would she do to stop the killer and make things right?  Those questions drive the plot of URGENT CARE—it’s darker and edgier than the first two books, but it has to be.  These are dark, serious, universal questions that there is no right answer to.

How much of the story line in the books is drawn from your own experience as a physician?

I try to keep all the medicine as real as possible, using real life cases from my own career or that are reported in the medical literature.  But all the patients are totally fictional—I change everything except the medical details.

How much of yourself is reflected in your characters? 

A lot!  Lydia is who I aspire to be.  She’s strong, determined, smart, fiercely passionate about her patients, and always knows the right thing to do.  Amanda sometimes feels like a stranger in a strange land, just like I did as a Yankee in the South during medical school.  Gina reflects my insecurities and self-doubts.  And Nora has all the protective, mother-hen skills that I’ve been accused of having.

AnnieI was delighted to discover that you are a cat person.  Meet Annie, CJ’s cat.  Can you tell us a little bit about her?

Like all my pets, Annie (short for Orphan Annie) is a rescue animal.  She’d been tied up into a plastic bag and thrown out of a car when she was young.  I’ve had her for fourteen years now and other than an aversion to riding in cars, she’s the most friendly and sociable cat you’ll ever meet!  I wish people were as resilient!

Lydia, one of the characters in the series, has a very unique cat.  NoName, as she calls the cat, is almost panther like in his appearance and has a very unique personality.  Is he based on Annie, and if not, how does Annie feel about having to share you with a fictional cat?

Good thing Annie’s napping right now (can you hear her snoring?), don’t tell her but No Name is not based on her.  As you can see, Annie is a fat, happy calico.  I needed a cunning, self-sufficient graveyard cat to be the perfect match for my character Lydia who is herself independent and not very trusting.

Both Lydia and No Name have intimacy issues, lol!  But No Name gets overSokoke-Forest-Cat-Poster-I12158544 his first when he adopts Lydia as his human.  And he does get a name. 

He’s actually based on a cat adopted by friends of mine, David and Donna Morrell.  David was telling me about their cat and its different shape, which is found throughout the breed.  I did some research and found a relative of his cat, a species originally from Africa who enjoyed water and were fiercely loyal, known for protecting and herding their people like Border collies.  The breed is called Sokoke Forest Cats.

Will NoName ever get a real name?

LOL!  Of course!  In the second book, Warning Signs, he is christened “Ginger Cat” because of his coloring, shades of brown and tan.

Many writers find that cats are the perfect writing companions.  Does Annie assist you with your writing?

If you call sleeping on my laptop assisting, lol!  No seriously, she’s great company and fairly low maintenance which makes her perfect.  She’ll remind me when it’s mealtime, makes sure I’m out of bed early every morning, and makes sure I get some exercise when I play with her.  And of course, I never have to worry about my legs getting cold as her two favorite perches when I’m writing (I write in a comfy rocking chair with my legs stretched out on an ottoman) are either in my lap or asleep on my legs.

What does a typical day of writing look like for you?

I have no typical day—which is exactly how I like it!  After seventeen years of medicine (and before that all those years of school) when I needed to lead a very structured life, at the beck and call of patients and colleagues 24/7, I now do what I want when I want.  It’s very freeing!

What do you love most about being a writer?

I love the idea that through my books I can reach out to tens of thousands of people and not only entertain them but also inspire and empower them.  One of the main reasons why I’ve written all my life is a desire to try to change the world—one story at a time.  Yes, even after all those years spent in the ER, I’m still a hopeless optimist.  I truly believe that heroes are born everyday and that we all have the potential of becoming a hero.

What do you like least about being a writer?

That so much is out of my control—talk about the ultimate torture for a control-freak ER doc!  I’m slowly learning patience (the publishing world embodies “hurry-up and wait”) as well as the fact that the only things I can control are my attitude and my work.  Good life lessons, but oh-so-hard to learn!

Who or what inspires you?

Most of my inspiration has come from my patients, their families, and the wonderful medical professionals I’ve been privileged to work with.  They’ve taught me the true meaning of courage.

What is one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had at a book signing or event?

Meeting readers, people who have been touched by my books or who love my characters like they’re real people is always exciting.  But the most memorable experience was at a signing where a woman carrying a baby, maybe nine months old or so, waited in line to see me, then plopped the baby down, undid his diaper and asked me check his circumcision!  Said she’d heard there was a doctor in the store signing books and wanted a second opinion on her grandson.  The baby was fine, I assured her, and she left—without even buying a book, lol!

What are you reading at the moment?

I just finished re-reading Toni McGee Causey’s wonderful Bobbie Faye trilogy (Charmed and Dangerous, Girls Just Wanna Have Guns, and When a Man Loves a Weapon)—great reading if you want to laugh out loud and have a fun time with some memorable characters.

Will there be a fourth book in the Angels of Mercy series?

Yes!  Isolation  will pick up where Urgent Care leaves off—it takes place three days later, on Christmas Eve, and will be released next year.  In it Gina faces her darkest fears and decides her own fate—I’ve just started it, so I’m not exactly sure where it will go, but I’m thinking of it as Die Hard in a hospital, so I’m sure there will be tons of mayhem and chaos!  Sounds like a perfect Christmas for the women of Angels of Mercy, doesn’t it?

Thank you so much for visiting The Conscious Cat, CJ, and much success with Urgent Care!

For more information about CJ and her books, please visit her website at www.cjlyons.net.

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