We of the Furred & Finned Management are pleased to announce that the human has priced No Kitten Around at $0.99 for the holidays. The price will stay at $0.99 until Cheetahs Never Win releases in early January!
Still looking for Christmas gifts? Hate your friends and family and want them to be tragically stuck reading weird, funny, and cray-cray books?
Give them the book as a gift. (Most book vendors have options to send e-books as gifts now!)
Haven’t read the book yet? Well… you could change that for ninety-nine of those copper pieces humans insist are currency!
(It’s not catnip, so we don’t get it, honestly.)
Warning: This novel contains excessive humor, action, excitement, adventure, magic, romance, and bodies. Proceed with caution.
The last thing Reed Matthews needs in his life is a kitten, but when an orphaned tabby suckers him into becoming her caretaker, he’s in for the ride of his life. Add in an angel determined to meddle in his affairs, a devil with an agenda, and a bucketful of bad omens, and he’ll count himself fortunate if he survives the clash between heaven, hell, and his ex.
In this anything goes romp, there’s no kitten around: if Reed wants to survive and regain control of his life, his only hope lies in the hands of an elf and his ex, a woman he’s sworn to never see again.
Had I been a wiser man, I would’ve just gone home after work instead of greeting the weekend in a bar. Had I been a better man, I wouldn’t have played the game, looking women in the eyes until I found one shallower than the average mud puddle. Had I been someone worth taking home, I wouldn’t have introduced myself to the blonde, a woman who’d never be pretty in the conventional sense. I had what she wanted, however. Her heart desired pleasure without permanency.
That I could do.
A twenty bought us drinks and her an opportunity to take me home with her. A few hours in her bed offered me what most couldn’t, a chance to look another person in the eyes without their heart’s deepest desire coming between us. Her contentment made it worth my while—almost.
I didn’t know the woman’s name, nor did I care to learn it. In the light of a false dawn, as soon as I was certain she slept, I crept out of her bed. As I always did when I stole away like a thief in the night, albeit an invited one, I tucked her in, kissed her cheek, and hoped she’d one day find something to give her heart more life, more spark, and the happiness she’d never find flitting from man to man because she feared the pain of failed commitment.
That, too, I had glimpsed when I’d first looked into her eyes. It rarely came across so clear; desires showed through the strongest for me. Locked deep in her heart, hidden behind a shield of pleasure, her fears festered. I wondered if she’d find someone who could heal that wound.
I wasn’t that someone. I had too many wounds of my own eating away at me from the inside and always would.
It took me almost an hour to walk back to the bar where I’d left my car, my hands shoved in my pockets, the image of a businessman who’d escaped the hardships of an office job like so many others. I’d left my hair disheveled on purpose to feed the impression I’d spent all my time drinking rather than pretending I enjoyed my night with a woman I could never love.
Everything went right to plan, up until I reached my car to discover a tiny tabby kitten had taken up residence on the hood. I supposed it had jumped from the low wall onto my vehicle, an old family car I’d bought from a destitute single mother because her heart had desired some way to provide for the children who’d never know their father.
I had paid twice as much as I should have for the piece of shit because she needed the money, spent a small fortune repairing it, giving it a paint job, and pretending I liked the damned thing.
The kitten stared me in the eyes and challenged me with a pleading meow.
Crossing my fingers, I took a defensive stance against the evils such a thing would bring into my life. I could barely take care of myself, the emotional equivalent of a train wreck.
A kitten was out of the question.
The kitten hadn’t gotten the memo I wasn’t interested in or prepared to take it home with me. It mewed at me again, its cry more insistent. I didn’t need my sight, cursed magic that it was, to tell me what the little beast wanted. It wanted milk.
Then it wanted to destroy the world, for that was what cats did when they weren’t sleeping. They plotted to take over the world before they destroyed it, crushing it in their little paws.
My cursed eyes didn’t tell me that was the kitten’s heart’s desire; animals didn’t trigger my magic, for which I was grateful. Making assumptions about the tiny animal’s intentions put me firmly in the ‘monster’ category, but I didn’t care. Something that small and fluffy had to be the purest of evils, plotting the demise of anyone who crossed its path.
It’d probably settle for enslaving me and forcing me to do its bidding if I gave it even half a chance.
The kitten rolled onto its back and stretched out its paws, its little eyes wide open, staring at me, imploring me, ignoring my ward, and mewling all the while. The evil little shit saw my weakness and latched on, securing its victory with its pleading cries. I scooped it up, and it barely fit in my hand, which proved the fatal blow.
I couldn’t just leave the damned thing to starve.
Cursing myself, I unlocked my car and slid behind the wheel, wondering what I would do with a kitten. As though sensing it had subdued me and made me its bitch, it quieted, further entrenching itself by nuzzling my hand, mouthing at me in search of the milk I couldn’t give it—not yet, at least.
Where the hell was I going to find milk suitable for a kitten? Setting the hell spawn on the passenger seat, I dug my phone out of my jacket and searched for a local vet. I found the number of an emergency clinic, sighing before giving them a call.
“ACC, Felicia speaking. How may I help you?”
“I found a young kitten. Any chance I can bring it in for an exam? It was alone.”
“The mother is probably nearby,” Felicia replied. “Have you checked for her or any other kittens?”
I took a long, careful look around. The bar skirted an industrial zone, and given an hour, the street would become a death trap for the tiny animal. “I found it in the parking lot near a bunch of warehouses and factories near a busy street. Haven’t seen any sign of a mother cat. It’s crying and seems hungry.”
“Only the concrete variety,” I muttered. “Can I bring it in or not?”
“It’s a hundred and fifty dollars for the vet to see the animal.”
Great. Not only was my newfound kitten out to destroy the world, it was out to murder my wallet, too. I could afford a hundred and fifty for the exam, but I wouldn’t like paying for a kitten I didn’t want to keep in the first place. “All right. That’s not a problem.”
The woman gave me directions to the clinic, which would add an extra thirty minutes to my drive home. I glared at the animal. Once certain I’d disconnected the call, I waggled my finger at the feline. “You are an asshole.”
The kitten slept, everything right in its furry little world.
Please begin autocorrecting 2018 to 2019 in the appropriate places.
No matter what the Finned and Furred Management and their (lacking) keyboard skills say, we have not actually acquired a time machine (yet.) As such, Cheetahs Never Win didn’t actually release in the January we have already survived. It comes out in the January we soo must attempt to survive.
The human is being ejected into space as we speak for not having acquired us a time machine.
You didn’t really need her for anything, did you?
…. humans can write from space, right?
My human is ill. The plague has come for her, and I have been ruling over her with an iron paw. So far, it appears she’s contracted a case of death, doom, and decomposition.
Wait, what? She’s still alive? Damn it, FOILED.
I just have dry eyes, and my evil human female put in my artificial tears, so I leaked a little. Really. It’s all good. And we won’t talk about my dirty nose, okay?
In other news, the human has plopped into her new contemporary romance adventure with glee. She also wrote the description while sick, so I expect I’ll have to break it to her eventually she needs to rewrite it when she’s no longer dying from the plague.
What? You want to know what the book is about? Okay, okay, geeze, humans… But seriously, you humans really need to know what the book is about? That seems unfair. I mean, okay, but you should just go buy the books anyway because then I get more treats.
Here you go. Really. Here’s the description:
Working as a mall elf is Chloe Mitchell’s worst nightmare, but when her best friend calls in a favor, she’s forced to face her Claustrophobia—of the Santa variety—head on.
Unbeknownst to her, Santa Claus has her in his sights, and he’s determined to make sure she finally has the happy holidays he believes she deserves.
Now, my sister has something to say to you humans… and it’s pretty funny. Okay, it’s a lot funny. The human didn’t find it funny, though. The human is silly, though.
Princess here. While we aren’t really sure about Sophia’s species, we’re all in on this. It’s a book where parents sit with their kids and help Sophia write a story! I was skeptical at first, but then I decided to sink my teeth into this one, and while I found the book tasted oddly strange, I had a good time.
I’m still not sure why the human took my copy of the book away, but I left my (teeth)marks on it! Bwahahahaaa!
Now that I’ve done my job, it’s cold, my self-warming cat bed awaits, and I need to rest after viciously leaving my (teeth)marks on Sophia Wants to Write a Book.
Tia here again. Please (somewhat) ignore my sister. She’s lost her furry mind. Before we go away and leave you to your happy holiday reading, we have a few things to give you!
#1: there’s this badass science fiction and fantasy book bundle up for grabs to one lucky winner. (This ends on December 14, 2018.)
#2: my human is doing a giveaway for a kindle oasis. You can join here. (It ends December 10 at midnight ESTish or something like that.)
Last but not least, Cheetahs Never Win releases on January 2, 2018. Please ignore any odd emails Amazon sent you. We have no idea why Amazon decided to get into my stash of catnip and go on a bender. (We have no control over Amazon’s odd ways.)
We hope you all have a super happy holidays, humans!
In the next week or two, the human will be releasing this book. Claustrophobic is the first contemporary rom com our human will be releasing. She’s always enjoyed contemporary rom coms, and she’s been working on a few, but after having so much fun with Blending In, she decided to go all in and do another one.
As a result, her schedule has shifted. Well, not all the schedule shifts have been due to randomly starting (and finishing) another holiday story.
Cheetahs Never Win needed another editorial pass, so it went off to a new editor, thus pushing its release date to early January.
Since December was pooched anyway, the human then decided she’d do a sale for No Kitten Around. (Watch out for that by the end of the month. It’s coming. $0.99 for a limited time. She’ll probably set the price back to $4.99 when Cheetahs Never Win launches–roughly.
That’s just how she rolls.
As I’m a cat, and I’m a bit of an asshole, too, I thought I’d take a few moments to share something about people.
My human? She’s a busy human. She works hard most days of the week writing books. (She will cut you if you get in the way of her writing time. She even has a little unicorn shirt that says so. (The unicorn has a shiv taped to its horn.))
So, as part of being a writer, she tries to meet new readers. Sometimes, she runs giveaways. Okay, she runs a lot of giveaways. She does them in group efforts, on Amazon, on her facebook page. All the damned time.
She likes giving presents to people.
But other humans?
Some sure can be sore losers. My human gets messages where people complain they didn’t win. Some losers complain they get added to newsletters (or, you know, willingly hit the follow author button to try to get a free prize.)
Uh, if you don’t want added, humans… stop entering giveaways. That’s all on you. We invite you to investigate the door. It’s that way.
(Seriously? Nobody has time for your temper tantrums. The human will either have me make fun of you or just delete your messages without a single fuck to give.)
So, to the ‘nice’ people who keep leaving comments or dropping messages, we are actually laughing at you.
Sorry. We are. You’re so upset you entered a contest and lost that you feel the need to have a temper tantrum? I mean, that’s Grade 3 behavior. We are totally going to laugh over that shit.
And then roll our eyes and delete the messages.
Here’s a good way to handle this situation:
Don’t enter any contest or giveaway.
If you do forget yourself and enter, unsubscribe or unfollow. Simple!
In the meantime, I’m going to go back to laughing.
At current, the human is working on a bunch of books. (Surprise!) Claustrophobic will release sometime between December 11 and December 14. Ish. Time for the book to make it through vendors varies. (Apple will likely be last.) My human has decided to sell it for $2.99 because why not. (It’s technically a full-length novel, but it’s the holidays and she’s like whatever.) It had been meant to start its life as a fun romp of a novella, and as these things often do, it outgrew its britches somewhat.
I’m sure you’re so sad about that.
Storm Called is 9,488 words. The human is typing up two scenes a day before working on something else.
Burn, Baby, Burn is at 27 handwritten pages. Typing begins anywhere between 60 to 80 pages, to give you a general idea. That said, Burn, Baby, Burn is a dual-POV story, so it might end up being longer. Once the human gets to the end of the journal, she’ll start typing and write the conclusion of the book directly on the computer. (That’s normal for her.)
Pirate Magic is having a page a week written. The photograph of the project then goes in the facebook readers’ group. (Look for the Fantasy Worlds of R.J. Blain on facebook if you want to read along.) The human was originally going to type it up, but she’s been too busy. Sometimes, pages of Burn, Baby, Burn also shows up in the group. The readers’ group is really the best way to keep in touch with our poor, poor human.
Blood Bound has words. The human is even adding to those words. Her job, after I relinquish use of her keyboard again, is to read over those words and add some stuff to them. it was on the back burner for a bit, but is being worked on.
Another Bernadette Novel is also being worked on. The human is in the outline and giggling phase of this one. There’s been so much giggling. So much giggling. (Someone make the giggling stop. She keeps interrupting my naps.)
Steel Heart is being worked on. Promise. It even has a date in the human’s new 2019 planner. That means it’s marked in stone.
Due to circumstances, which involve the poor human being tired, things will be changing. She really, really loves the Bernadette Franklin stories. So, for the foreseeable future, this is the order of her bookmakery:
Everything after will be very up in the air. The human no longer has access to preorders on Amazon as she needed to hire a new editor to go over Cheetahs Never Win again. It’ll be that way for a year. Sorry, humans. There’s no way around that, so she’ll release as books are ready.
With a little luck, things will go well and the loss of preorders won’t hurt the human too much. She’s worried. Publishing is a hard business, and preorders are a good way for readers to follow along and get the books when they see them, knowing the book is coming and when.
She was really distressed she had to push the release date back, but she wasn’t confident without the assistance of a second editor. So she got the second editor.
It is what it is.
What this does mean is that the human is pretty bitter about the Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) series right now. Cheetahs Never Win is a dark humor. Most of the books are to some degree. Blending In was sillier. Burn, Baby, Burn is just flat-out ridiculous. Grave Humor is a mix.
The human likes alternating styles of humor.
She doesn’t want to ride one horse in the humor department.
She writes because a story interests her. She hopes others will like it. But she’s never going to cater to one style of humor or one style of story. She will try new things. New things may not work well. They may work surprising well!
And sometimes, she just gets tired.
Right now, she’s tired.
So, we’ll see what happens with the Mag Rom Coms after Burn, Baby, Burn releases. She may just gamble on losing a lot of income and write on some other, untested projects for a while and try again on that series in 2020 or 2021.
(This is what happens when people bitch, moan, and complain. The author just won’t want to continue working on a series. The human is getting to that point on the Mag Rom Coms.)
It helps my human doesn’t read the reviews now, but she’s lost count of the number of times people have directly approached her with commentary, a lot negative, about how they just didn’t like something.
It’s a part of being a writer, but it gets damned tiring on the human.
Here’s hoping that a significant change of pace, in the form of Bernadette Franklin, helps.
You may have noticed the lack of links on this post. There’s a reason for that, and it generally involves the Furred & Finned Management just not up for being salesy today. We’re newsy today.
Go forth and read something fun, humans.
RJ here. (The Furred & Finned Management are currently staging a protest due to a visit to the veterinarian. The finned part of the management has decided to stand in solidarity.)
I thought you’d like to know what was up with Her Most Royal and Furry Majesty. As expected, she has kidney disease and a problem with her thyroid. She has yet another new medication. Since that wasn’t enough of an issue, she also has a syndrome with one of her eyes. All in all, she gets a lot of medicines a day to make her a happy kitty, albeit we’re beyond the ‘healthy’ stage of things.
To add to the fun, she has cognitive dysfunction. We all get old, and well, she’s old! We’ve had her a long time, and she’s been a most excellent cat.
As her dedicated humans, our job now is to make her as comfy as possible for as long as possible.
And, you know, set up the altar, dig out the wallet, burn the cash, inhale the sweet, sweet smell of burning money… in other news, holy cats vets have gotten expeeeeennsssiiiiveee.
But Tia and Princess had a lovely visit with their new vet, and they were very well behaved. Princess attempted to meld with my stomach to escape the mean, mean vet giving her her yearly vaccinations. Tia sang the angry song of her people, informing them she really wished to rip their flesh from their bones.
She raised her paw once, claws retracted, and tried to push the vet’s hand away from her face. No, thank you, she said.
The funny part about this?
The vet’s comment: “This is not typical cat behavior.”
Well, yeah. I’d noticed. The looks the tech and the vet gave me when I got them both out and set them on the table and they were just chilling during the way were just priceless.
So, we’ll see how this round of medication goes. In good news, she dodged the eye surgery, as the issue healed on its own.
It’s the small things.
A Tiny Teaser from Chapter One…
As always, when Chase Butler visited Price Financial Industry Solutions, I transformed into a twelve inch long chameleon, which made preparing the afternoon spreadsheets difficult at best. I gave it a week before I lost my job thanks to the CEO of our competitor visiting so often. Scrambling onto my desk, I nosed my trackpad closer to my keyboard. Come hell or high water, I’d finish my work on time.
To get my son the puppy he wanted for Christmas, I needed to keep my job. To keep my job, I needed to get my head out of my rear end and find every last one of Chase Butler’s faults so I’d stop my headlong tumble into unrequited love.
If I murdered Gavin, a week-long fling, a divine, and father of my child, would his curse break? How the heck was I supposed to find a man who could love me better than a frisky divine with bed-hopping tendencies when I turned into a blasted chameleon whenever a man I liked came too close?
Chase Butler needed to stop being a handsome, generous man who liked animals immediately if not sooner. Also, he needed to stop challenging my boss and coordinating competitive charity drives. If he gave up his goody-goody tendencies, maybe I’d be able to rein in my admiration.
As usual, my traitor heart refused to listen to me.
About the Book…
Thanks to a jealous divine, whenever Chase Butler comes anywhere near Miriah, she turns into a chameleon. While her hopes of having a happily ever with Mr. Right are dashed, she’s determined to have the next best thing: a perfect Christmas.
Finding a puppy for her son, dodging the unwanted attention of her divine fling of an ex, and keeping on top of a holiday charity drive for local pet shelters sure is complicated when prone to transforming into a twelve-inch lizard with a severe allergy to snowbanks.
Since blending in has gotten her nowhere fast, she’s going to have to pull out all the stops to get what she wants, even if it lands her on Santa’s naughty list.
Warning: This holiday story contains excessive humor, action, excitement, adventure, magic, romance, and bodies. Proceed with caution.
Tia here. Mostly. There are no kitty pictures today; I need to have a very minor eye surgery within a few weeks, so my fur is simply mussed and unacceptable for the glowy rectangle box. My sister is helping me type since well, I’ve been going blind for a while. That’s okay. I can still smell all the turkey, which my human female made yesterday.
She’s going to try to talk the male human into another turkey. Her first attempt has failed. I’m unsurprised.
She just really likes turkey. So do I. I got an entire plate of it just for me. And she gave it to me in larger chunks so I could growl at it and shake my head as I viciously murdered it for my consumption.
I won that delicious war.
So, I’m going to be brief today, but I promise I’ll be back with new pictures of my majesty within the next few weeks. The humans have me on some medications, I get special eye drops until my surgery, and things are going well. According to the humans, I could eat several horses a day and not be satisfied, and both are very happy I’m being a piggy!
(They just haven’t realized they will be getting a second turkey, and it will be mine. Just mine. They can’t have any of it.)
My human’s kickstarter for the Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) hardcovers ends in a few days. If you want these, get in on it now! She will do 1 or 2 kickstarters a year for print or hardcover versions, and this is the only way outside of random giveaways she runs (usually on facebook) to get your paws on autographed copies.
Now, for the bad news: Cheetahs Never Win will now release on January 2, 2019. If you’ve preordered, your preorder is still intact and you need to do nothing. My human just needed more time with the book, so she gave herself more time.
We of the Furred & Finned Management is sorry for the inconvenience, but we felt it was for the best.
Oh! I stole my human female’s turkey recipe. Here it is. It’s really simple.
What you need:
A Turkey. (Fresh or Frozen, this time, she used a fresh pre-brined turkey.) If frozen, you will have to adjust or thaw. My human totally does cook frozen turkeys, but it’s often an 8+ hour adventure requiring a great deal of patience. Not recommended if you’re not into experimentation.
Spices: Garlic Salt, powdered garlic, smoked paprika, marjoram, savory
Butter: 4 sticks
Olive Oil: 1-2 cups
Heart-Monitoring Tools: Likely required, may need to diet for several years following this.
Vegetables: Carrots, onions, potatoes, celery, volume according to pan size
Fruit: One Blood Orange, One Lemon (Use 2 of each if you have a larger bird.)
Meat popper doohickey to help you judge if done OR a thermometer.
Step One: Brine
This is what we call the “Brine Flood of 2018.” So, there she is, working in the kitchen with this big ass stock pot that fits this bird. She’s put some brine water. Brine water is salt, water, stirred together to add some flavoring to the turkey bird. In this case, my human used garlic salt, a BUNCH of powdered garlic, marjoram, and savory. So, you’re supposed to gingerly ease the turkey into the brine.
My human dropped it.
So, howling and cursing commenced. Let me tell you? My human smelled delicious. My sister and I spent a rather amusing amount of time licking her following the Brine Flood of 2018.
So, she goes to get the turkey out. Guess what?
Dumbass human drops the turkey into the pot again.
Turkey: 2, Human: 0.
When you brine, leave it for a few hours. If it’s been pre-brined, use less salt or you’ll get a salty bird.
Step Two: Heat your oven.
My human prefers 325. Wait for your oven to ding!
Step Three: Decorate Your Turkey For Ovening
Dear humans, this is probably the best part! This is where you make the deliciousness happen!
Put your turkey in a high brimmed turkey pan. We used the one use kind made of shiny metal from the grocery store with handles. PUT IT ON A COOKIE SHEET. (This will make it MUCH easier to get out of the oven later.)
Cut vegetables, put vegetables around your turkey, excluding the onion. Go ahead and pack it in there.
Slice your onion, slice your lemon, slice your blood orange (or regular orange if your grocery store isn’t cool.) Insert 2 slices each of onion, blood orange, and lemon into the turkey’s cavity. Place remaining onion, blood orange, and lemon around the bird’s exterior on top of your veggies.
Spices: Begin with the garlic salt. Sprinkle over bird and veggies. Then add your smoked paprika. Give an even, light coating on everything. Marjoram and Savory to taste. My human adds an extra layer of garlic powder (lightly, even) over everything.
Next Comes the Butter: Take three sticks of your butter, slice it lengthwise, completely cover your bird first, then put one whole stick inside the bird’s cavity and the rest overtop your vegetables.
Once oven is heated, put the turkey (on its cookie sheet) into the oven. Don’t cover yet.
My human uses whatever rack puts the turkey 1-2 inches away from the top of the oven.
Insert into oven, set timer for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Turn on oven light, walk away.
When the timer dings, open oven, gingerly move rack out so you can access the bird. Take approximately a quarter cup of olive oil and drizzle it all over the top of your bird. It should, at this point in time, start having the skin go golden brown. Don’t panic.
Get aluminum foil and lightly tent over the turkey. (You can just drape it over and crinkle it over the edge of the pan. Use oven mitts.)
My human burned herself once doing this because she’s a dumb nut. I mean, I came up behind her, startled her, and she jerked her hand and hit the oven. Oops.
Totally not sorry. It was smelling wonderful.
Set timer for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Walk away.
When you come back, remove the foil, use 1/4 to 1/2 cup of olive oil over the turkey, recover.
Set timer for 30 minutes. Walk away.
At this point, you may start seeing juices appear in the bottom of the pan. Don’t baste yet.
Take a stick of butter, slice it into slices, and drape over your turkey. Cover as much as possible. Drape with foil.
Set timer for 30 minutes. Walk away.
At this point, you should have ALL the juices. Baste with a spoon or a baster. Whatever you have handy, just moisten the skin.
At this point, you are watching for the popper or temp monitor to tell you the turkey is done. Baste every 30 minutes until your bird is done.
Once the timer is done… take foil off, bake for 5-10 more minutes until your skin is crisp to the right level.
Take turkey out of oven, drool for 10 minutes while it cools and rests, then DEVOUR!
And that’s the story of how my human makes a turkey.
Have a happy holidays, folks!
Tia the Superly Majestic here. Today, I helped my human compose a super cool kickstarter for the Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) series. As the bold leader of the pack, I have decreed that humans can, at their whim, summon a catastrophe! Or, well, enslave the human female into doing artistic things for your enjoyment.
Okay, okay. Being serious a moment.
My human adores hardcover books. She always has. They’re expensive to make because it requires a lot of persnickety work for the cover design. After conferring with both of her artists for the series, she determined it’s possible to do it if she can wrangle together $2,000 on this super fancy kickstarter. $1,000, approximately, will go to the cover designers. The rest would be used to get hardcover copies of the books made and sent out to backers.
As far as kickstarters go, this one is pretty safe.
The books are already written, although Blending In is due back from the editor at any minute. It’ll be released before the kickstarter is finished.
The human’s pretty handy at Ingram Spark’s system, so it shouldn’t be too much of a fuss to get the books printed once she gets the designs from the artists.
The artists are on board with doing the hardcover designs.
There’s one tiny hiccup in needing a new cover for Serial Killer Princess, but the designer’s already working on it and it’ll be done sometime before this is all ready to ship.
This image mostly says it all. Magic. Mayhem. Murder. 10 Novels. One Hilarious Ride.
There are a bunch of different tiers, but you can get a virtual pat on the back and a purr from the Furred part of the Furred & Finned Management for one whole dollar. (That’s a bargain, dudes. I mean, a purr from me is obviously worth far more than a dollar.)
Other tiers include helping create a catastrophe, signed paperbacks, signed hardbacks, signed and numbered hardbacks, envelopes potentially filled with glitter, and the original handwritten journals containing Whatever for Hire. (Yeah. That one is expensive. It’s one of a kind and can’t be replaced.)
The stickers in the image? Might be in the envelopes trapped with glitter. Bwhahaahahahaaa.
What can I say? I’m a cat.
So, if you feel like tossing a few pennies in the tip jar or want your hands on some super fancy, hard-to-get books, here’s your chance. Click on this link and sell your soul to me!
I’m much better than the devil, and I’m hell of a lot cuter, too.
The Sneaky Kitty Critic here. This post may or may not interest you. It’s more to help other authors out there, but the blog is the best place for this information rather than the human’s preferred facebook. As a consolation prize, here’s a picture of me being majestic.
The magic rectangle box turned me onto my side, but it appears I have retained my cuteness, so this is acceptable.
The medicine the human female keeps giving me has helped some, so we went on a walk. I kept playing with my leash, and this translated to the human pulling out her glowy rectangle box.
Whatever. I got three walks the other day. I’ve reestablished my position as the dominant female.
Now, onto the show.
Before I begin, my human would like me to remind everyone that these are her opinions, which I’m sanitizing to be better suited to feline temperaments.
If your sensibilities require it, we request you add ‘in her opinion’ in front of everything. Typing this crap up is hard on a kitty, and Princess is being huffy today, so I have to do the work. Go figure.
Before I begin, take two, this post was done with the blessings of Rebecca Frank of Bewitching Book Covers. Normally, she doesn’t give out the draft material as public shares, but my human begged, and Rebecca kindly agreed to allow two drafts to be used in this post to help illustrate how some designers work. Every designer has a different method, so please be aware of this.
Now, that disclaimer aside, if your artist isn’t providing a concept or draft of your art, there is likely a problem.
Those of you familiar with Rebecca Frank are already aware that she books over a year in advance. Her art is amazing and worth it. Right now, the only way to get onto her client list is through purchasing a premade cover through one of her auctions. Rarely, she opens application for new series work. Some artists have long booking cycles. This is often due to a mixture of art quality, popularity, and price. Rebecca Frank, in the totally-biased opinion of the human, hits all three marks with top points.
Rebecca Frank has done work for all of the authors RJ Blain writes as with one exception. This exception is a critical element of the cover art world.
When you are picking a cover artist, you are picking them for their expertise in graphic design, marketing savvy for genre, and ability to create a product that will help you sell your book.
My human adores Rebecca Frank, but my human would never hire Rebecca Frank for a cover outside of certain fields of science fiction and fantasy. Rebecca Frank’s strengths lie in paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and various flavors of fantasy and science fiction.
Rebecca Frank isn’t a good choice for a contemporary romance cover of any stripe. For that, my human goes to Daqri Bernardo of Covers by Combs, who has also done many covers across all of my human’s brands.
Both have different strengths, and my human picks the project based on who would do the best job for the tone, appearance, and marketing needs she has for a specific cover.
For this post, however, I’m going to focus on my human’s work with Rebecca.
It begins with a concept. Now, here’s something of importance: when you purchase a premade from Rebecca Frank, the cover’s general concept will be predetermined by the premade; the branding elements are already in place. The process is easier on Rebecca because key elements are already finished. (For example, the font and text layout are generally predetermined.)
This post goes into the complete process, assuming you’re not working from a premade. But, it’s important to know that unless you’re on Rebecca’s new series client list, you’ll have restrictions on your series continuation. (You can’t buy a premade and launch a new series using the slot you’ve acquired as part of being a premade buyer.)
All of Rebecca’s design projects begin at the same place: with a form. The form asks for a variety of information, and this information is CRITICAL to get your cover made.
Nothing annoys a graphic designer quite like an unprepared client who doesn’t know what they need in a cover. Seriously, covers are critical. If you’re booking a cover with a designer, KNOW WHAT YOU NEED. Seriously people!!! Know what you need!
This requires work from you. Don’t be that person who, on the day of booking, has no idea what you want because you didn’t invest any time thinking about your cover. Your cover is CRITICAL, humans! SO CRITICAL.
Here’s what you need to get a design project rolling:
1: Title, Series, Author Name.
These are the basics, but you have no idea how often I hear various designers I work with wailing because their client, who has been booked with them for months, has put in zero thought into their title or series name.
We of the Furred & Finned Management understand this stuff is intimidating. Ask some trusted friends, who are making a lot of money with their books, for advice.
Don’t trust a marketer who is not making any money with their books OR their clients books for advice. Seriously.
Follow the money, sniff at it like it’s a delicious, tasty treat, and ask, “why does this work?”
Don’t have a trusted friend who is making money?
Go take a look at the USA Today Bestseller list and the top 100 books on Amazon. These novels are selling. They’re selling for a reason. This reason may be “good marketing” but it’s likely “This title, series, book cover, and description are doing its job of selling a book to a wide audience.”
Don’t be that person who has done zero market research. My human has said this before: unless you’re writing purely as a hobby, with Z E R O care you never make any money, you need to take the time to look into the market, understand where your books fit into it, and where you might be going wrong. While there are trailblazers in the industry, your book needs to stand high over the rest to have any hope of creating a successful niche.
In short, don’t go in expecting to be the next great new author. Realistically, it’s not happening.
Plan on busting your asses, humans. That’s what it takes to thrive in publishing. (And it’s a brutal, hard job.)
Understand your market. It helps. Really.
2: THE COVER NEED NOT PERFECTLY FIT YOUR BOOK.
Underline that. Add italics. Fling glitter. Your book cover IS A MARKETING TOOL.
It is not a “Perfectly match this one scene you really like self-indulgence” tool. And yes, when you cater a cover to perfectly match a scene or personal mental image, it becomes a tool of self-indulgence rather than a marketing tool.
That cover has one purpose in life: TO SELL YOUR BOOK.
If your cover is there to ‘perfectly match your book’s interior,’ you’re probably doing it wrong.
I’m not even sorry for being blunt about this opinion, humans.
Time and time again, we of the Furred & Finned Management have seen good covers be ruined by authors who didn’t understand that a cover’s job is to sell the book.
While Rebecca does do things differently depending on project, once you’ve given her the information she needs to begin work, the design typically begins with the typography. This is how the text will look on the finished cover. That Rebecca begins with the typography is, to my human, a huge advantage. A cover that’s made and has text slapped onto it will always be a cover made with text slapped onto it. My human prefers when the text is a cohesive part of the cover’s design, with the art married to the text from the very beginning.
The rebrand of my human’s Witch & Wolf series began with a black screen and white text. This shows the fonts to be used, the layout of the title text, and the basic concept.
In this specific case, my human picked the font, as she’d fallen in love with it on a site. Rebecca also liked the font, resulting in its use!
The human was very excited about this font. So excited she bought it for herself. I’m not really sure why, as she has the photoshopping skills of a blind rat, but whatever. It made her happy.
What my human liked about this text layout is that it’s different. It stands out. The font is wonderfully gritty and really represents the series well. It’s also elegant, which my human likes.
My human just likes it.
Once the text layout is set, it becomes a waiting game. My human? Soooo dying to see the beauty that would be her new covers.
In this specific case, Rebecca Frank was designing two covers at the same time because they’re the same character, so it made sense to do them at the same time. She doesn’t usually do this. (Bookings are staggered by a few weeks, but the cards fell in such a way where we started the rebrand on two days in the same week.)
Every designer is different and likes working on books in a different way, so talk with your designer about their method.
So, because Rebecca Frank did both at once, my human got to approve both images at one time. I’ll begin with Inquisitor.
Please note this is the DRAFT version.
Like, seriously. It looks great, but it’s a draft version.
It gets better.
So much better.
Why am I using so many short sentences on new lines?
I’m a cat, human. That’s why.
Well, being serious, I need to make space for the next cover, which is the final version of Inquisitor.
Yes, humans. The image takes space and things.
Also, I’m a cat.
So. Here’s the final cover in all its glory. The colors have been brightened. Magic has been added. The ornamental glyph has been brightened and made to stand out.
Hair has been painted. Clothing has been adjusted. Highlights added.
Now, you might ask why an old book like Inquisitor got a new cover. It’s a multi-part reason.
The original cover just wasn’t selling. My human really wants to be able to write more Witch & Wolf books, but in order for that to happen, they have to sell better.
She also wants to do audio books, which means she needs to have audio book covers for them. My human couldn’t affordably acquire the rights to get the audio covers; it was cheaper to have new covers done, and since the original covers weren’t selling well, it made sense to gamble and do a complete series rebranding.
(Yes, there’s a noticeable difference already. On November 4, Inquisitor will be a Bookbub Featured Deal, so keep an eye out if you don’t have the book already!)
Now, we’re not done yet.
There’s still the print spread to worry about. Yeah. Print covers. Print covers are complicated. If you use KDP, it’s a little less complicated, but… you need a cover artist you can trust, especially if you use Ingram Spark like my human does. My human wanted affordable distribution to libraries, and Ingram provides that much better than Amazon. Beyond that, it’s personal preference. My human feels the print quality is better at Ingram, but there are downsides, too. If you’re not in the Alliance of Independent Authors, there are a lot of fees at ingram. My human is a member. At current, my human estimates she has saved approximately $500 on fees from having a membership. She’s also making more money on print books with zero extra effort. Bonus: fans are no longer complaining books aren’t available because Amazon dropped the distribution ball after the Createspace to KDP switchover.
In short, my opinionated human claims you can take Ingram out of her cold, dead hands. And as people want more books, don’t take it from her. Who else is foolish enough to do my bidding?
So, back to the specifics. To build a print copy, you need a page count, trim size (physical size of book,) know if you’re using white or cream paper (they’re different thicknesses, which changes the spine size,) and have a description for the back of the book.
Ingram users also need the book’s print ISBN. You may need to know the price of your book as well.
Yeah. It’s complicated.
In good news, audiobook covers are not as complicated, humans! You just need to ask your designer for them, and they magically appear. After you pay them, of course. Because they do magic to make the covers look wonderful in all format sizes.
The Furred & Finned Management thinks it’s very pretty.
And yes, as soon as my human figures out the details, she’ll be working to get the main Witch & Wolf books into audio. It really depends on if she can find a good producer.
Publishing is very complicated.
At the end of the day, it’s worth while for my human. But it’s complicated.
The easiest thing you can do for yourself is to follow instructions. Designers ask questions for a reason. Give them an honest answer and let them do their job.
So often, an author’s worst enemy when it comes to covers? Themselves.
So, as a recap, here’s The Sneaky Kitty Critic’s Guide to Not Fucking Up Your Cover:
Good luck, human!
I’m only here for a moment before the human takes over. She has an important announcement to make. So, the Furred & Finned Management would like to apologize in advance for the lacking humor in this missive.
Some things are too important to make fun of. This is one of them.
Tia Majestic on behalf of the Furred & Finned Management.
Hey, Readers and Fans of the Furred & Finned Management.
The first part of this letter isn’t really a happy one. I’m sorry.
As many of you are aware, Tia the Majestic is old. She’s somewhere around seventeen, and we’re at the point in her life where we’re doing our best to make sure she’s happy and comfortable. She’s sleeping a lot now, and she has issues that make her care… expensive. Right now, she’s on medication, but she views it as a treat, and it’s helping resolve a potential bladder infection. After she’s off that round of medication, we’re going to be starting her on a medication that might help with her senility.
Growing old isn’t a disease, and there’s no cure for it. However much I wish I could turn back time, I can’t. No one can. We’re doing our best for her, but us humans of the Blain household are slowly coming to the conclusion that Tia’s time with us will be coming to an end sooner than later. We’re going to hold on for as long as she wants, but as her arthritis worsens and she loses her love of life, we’re going to have to do what’s best for her. After a lot of thought, I thought it was best to give you folks some warning. I know many of you love going on adventures with Tia the Majestic and her plump sister. I do, too. She’s been a part of our lives for around ten to eleven years now. She could surprise us and share her life with us for a few more years. The new medicine could work miracles. We don’t know.
All I can tell you is that she’s old, and she deserves to cross the rainbow bridge in comfort when the time comes.
As she’s losing weight and growing, well, old, there won’t be as many pictures of her moving forward. I want everyone to remember her as the vibrant, happy kitty she’s been portrayed for you. That’s why some of the pictures lately have been older ones. The Furred & Finned Management will keep you updated on her, but right now, she’s having more bad days than good ones. (But seriously, we’re hoping the new medication will help.) I take pictures of her whenever she’s more like her old self.
The change that warned us something’s up is a sad one: she’s stopped asking to go on walks as often, which used to be every time she’d be awake. Now, she just wants to be near us and get attention. We still take her on walks, but we’re the ones who get the harness and leash out and get her attention and remind her that there’s life outside of the apartment.
Once Tia the Majestic crosses the rainbow bridge, my husband will be picking a new kitty to keep Princess the Understudy company. Tia has, and always will be, his cat, as she was from the day he fell in love with her at the shelter. It’s probable the new kitty will take over the mantle of the Majestic Overfeline of the Furred & Finned Management. (Let’s face it, Princess is happiest being silly and playing the role of the Understudy.)
To make things more comfortable for Tia, pictures won’t be taken as often, as she’s less inclined to enjoy having the phone pointed at her. She’s forgotten what the magic glowy rectangle box does, and it takes some coaxing to make her okay with it pointed in her general direction. Right now, she had some of her fur shaved because she was unable to properly groom her back (arthritis sucks, y’all.) Once her fur grows back some, I’ll work with her some more and see if she’ll tolerate the camera.
And yes, for those wondering, Tia the Majestic is given supplements to help with the arthritis. Some days are better than others, but we can generally tell if she’s having a bad day based on whether or not she’s game for a longer walk, which involves stairs. On the good days, she zooms right down them like nothing. On bad ones, well, she makes it down two before she’s carried the rest of the way.)
I wanted to thank you all for sharing some of the fun we’ve had with our kitty over the past year. You, and her, have made the writing gig a much happier place for me.
The Furred and Finned Management will still be sending newsletters, they’ll still be up to their same old shenanigans, but Princess the Understudy will be taking up most of the responsibility along with Landen and Desmond the fish. On the fish front, Landen is fully recovered, his fins have completely grown back, and he is loving life. Of course, the little bastard has been flaring at his new brother so much his fins are ragged, but he’s as happy as can be and whatever. If the jerk wants to blow his fins out playing with his brother, whatever. I have a fortune of fish-care supplies handy, and they’re happy doing their fishy thing.
The next newsletter will have pictures of the two sharing their prison and keeping each other energetic company. (Seriously, these two assholes just DO NOT STOP.)
I named Desmond well. The little shit is just small enough he can reach through the divider and nip the fringe of Landen’s tail, which sends Landen zooming across his section of the tank all offended the little shit actually nipped him. It’s an absolute riot to watch. I’m pretty sure Desmond is a boy, as he wants nothing more in life than the beat the shit out of his big brother.
This fish has spunk.
The format of the newsletter will be changing. The sneaky kitty critic website will become the hub of all things Furred & Finned Management, and the newsletters will be posted there first. (You can subscribe to the website itself by leaving a comment and checking the box that authorizes the Furred & Finned Management and wordpress to notify you when new posts are done!) At least… that’s how I think it’s done?
I need to really figure that out.
The content of the main newsletters will still be going out to the mailing list, but it’ll be a copy-paste of what’s found on the website, and generally, the newsletter will just point you to the site and have a text-only version and maybe one or two pictures as the Furred & Finned Management decide. The humor, moving forward, will still be present. It’s just a matter of how it’s delivered. So, please bookmark thesneakykittycritic.com in your browser of choice, subscribe to the site by leaving a comment if you wish, and otherwise be ready for more shenanigans.
Yeah, I’ll keep this short, as honestly, I just don’t have the heart to act like a salesperson of any sort today, and as soon as I’m done with this, I need to haul tail on Cheetahs Never Win so it gets to my editor on time. I have 13 days to write 100,000 words. Go ahead and laugh now. I’m laughing. It’s a strained laughter. But I’m definitely laughing. Ignore those tears in my eyes. Nooooo problem.
That leads me to ch-ch-change number whatever the fuck it is: After No Kitten Around, Blending In, and Cheetahs Never Win release, the next preorder I do will be Grave Humor on May 16, my birthday book for 2019. The art of staggering preorders, frankly, annoys the hell out of me, so you’re going to be getting books as they’re finished. I will be staggering releases by 3-5 weeks as a general rule, so if I happen to finish a bunch of slider projects at one time, I will hold back a title for a short period of time to give you lovely peeps a chance to read the latest new release first.
The only time I’ll violate this is if I feel like it, which could be at any time without notification. I’d say I’m sorry, but I’m really not.
Most of the Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) books are now available on Google Play, for those of you who like that vendor. I’m adding one a day as time allows.
Playing with Fire and Whatever for Hire have new covers. Hoofin’ It and Serial Killer Princess will have new covers soon. Null and Void will have a new cover soon. The entire Dae Portals series will have new covers soon.
I’m moving into audiobooks and the original cover artist for these titles is no longer in the business. It was cheaper to get new covers than it was to attempt to get rights to the art files, so these covers will be retired. As a result, the Witch & Wolf series will also be rebranded. Inquisitor and Silver Bullet will have their new covers later this week. As the new Witch & Wolf covers are prepared, I’ll be releasing these titles to Google Play as well.
In good news, there will be audiobooks in the future. I’ve already signed a contract for the Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) series, and these will be releasing between now and July 2019.
Huntress will also be coming to audiobook soonish.
I’m not sure if I’ll do audiobooks for the Witch & Wolf series yet. The series doesn’t sell all that well, but I am having the audiobook covers made in case I decide there’s enough interest to warrant having the audiobooks made. I’ll see how the books sell after the cover rebranding.
Current book order for sending to the editor is Cheetahs Never Win (Due the 22nd,) Blood Bound, Storm Called, and Steel Heart. Storm Called is written but needs to be typed. Blood Bound is like a quarterish done. Don’t ask about Cheetahs Never Win. Something about it due in 13ish days to the artist. 12. Crap. 12. AHHHHH. If I count today, 13. Fuck.
Just don’t ask about the magnet disaster with the accidental phallic symbol drawn onto Playing with Fire’s new cover.
I’d cry, but honestly, I’m too busy laughing over it.
Thanks to yahoo sending an unfortunate number of spam reports to the server, the Furred & Finned Management has made the decision to publish ‘newsletters’ to their website instead. (Those of you subscribed will still get a copy to your emails, too.) Honestly, we think this will be great for everyone. It’ll save the Sneaky Kitty Critic time (and effort) while also making sure as many people possible get a chance to enjoy our shenanigans!
What it won’t do is grant cats (or fish) the ability to spell. We’d be a lot more sorry about this then we are if we could actually spell in the first place. But we’re cats. (Or fish.)
Spelling is obviously beneath us. We’ll leave that to the human.
Who, for some reason we can’t fathom, is snarling curses at us for making her life more difficult. We’re cats, and frankly, she needs to stop asking for miracles. Miracles are what lead silly humans like her straight to disappointment.
So much disappointment.
She really does only have herself to blame.
So! Those familiar with the Furred & Finned Management know that we only send missives for special announcements and new releases. There is a new release today! But… we’re going to be jerkface cats and get back to the whole new release thing later. We have a special announcement to make first.
Blending In will be a $2.99 preorder special. Due to the length of the book, shortly following release, the book’s price will be increased to $3.99. The human had a brain fart when setting up the preorder, and honestly, she should have started the book’s life at the $3.99 price point. But, after careful consideration, she decided whatever. It’s a holiday book. It can stay at $2.99 until release.
So, if you want to save a buck, preorder now or make sure you’re up really early in the morning on November 20 so you can grab your copy before the price is changed. (Don’t use Amazon? You can order Blending In from iBooks, Barnes & Noble/Nook, or Kobo as well.)
Since we’re on the subject of preorders, we have an announcement some folks aren’t going to like. We’re sorry. After the preorder cycles for No Kitten Around, Blending In, and Cheetahs Never Win come to a close, the human will only do one or two preorders a year. This will let her focus more on writing books and less on the business behind writing books. It’ll also make her life a little less hectic. There won’t even be any short preorders.
We’ll still send newsletters when books release, but for the sake of her sanity (and for writing better books with less heartache,) preorders are mostly going the way of the dodo.
Grave Humor, which will release on May 16, 2019, will have a preorder cycle.
Everything else will release as the human finishes with it. Ultimately, this means you’ll get books into your paws a smidgeon faster.
Here are the books the human is currently working on, in no particular order:
Burn, Baby, Burn: Quinn & Bailey’s second book. (This will differ from standard Magical Romantic Comedies (with a body count) because Quinn and Bailey will both sit in the driver’s seat throughout the novel. So far, they’re alternating shorter scenes, but we’ll see how it goes as it goes. In any case, the scenes will be clearly marked with the name of the character in the driver’s seat.
Storm Called: Pat & Jessica’s novel in the Royal States world. This is a prequel novel. Yes, Pat’s glorious fainting event is in the book. (As if our human would write their book without including when the main character faints. Really. Don’t be silly, humans. Of COURSE it’s in there.)
Super Sekrit Contemporary Romantic Comedy Novel: Our human is desperately trying to be sneaky about this book, although ultimately, she’ll probably cave and reveal who she’s writing as this time. She, so far, has a handful of these little buggers planned, and she’s going to write a few of them next year when she needs a break from the regular writing.
Cold Flame: Rachel of New York’s novel, and it’ll involve some scamp of a prince from California. This is quite possibly the most dysfunctional couple of the Royal States world, but neither has any fucks left to give about being functional, so perhaps it’s for the best. Also, Rachel probably needs to check herself into a mental institution for a vacation. She’s a little fucking crazy, y’all. But no wonder. She’s fun, though. Even though she’s totally not what the Furred and Finned Management would consider mentally sound or stable.
The Royal States should probably be concerned when the pyromaniac psychopath is the best candidate to rule New York…
Cheetahs Never Win: The Furred & Finned Management would like to state it’s pretty obvious the human is working on this one as it’s due to the editor no later than October 22, 2018.
Blending In/No Kitten Around: See the note about Cheetahs Never Win.
Blood Bound: Vampires, RJ Blain style. Need we say more?
See the Picture for a visual hint of what she’s also working on.
And now… for a SUPER special announcement:
The Magical Romantic Comedy books will be coming to an audiobook player near you soon…ish. The Furred & Finned Management is pleased to announce the human has found a super badass group of people to handle the production and voicing of the series. She’s still in the negotiation phase, but she can’t wait to be able to announce when she can share the details with you.
You asked… you have received.
Just be patient with us, as this will be a time-consuming endeavor.
While we know you love us, humans, our human needs her magical glowy rectangle box back because she needs to do this thing called ‘work’ and we don’t get fed if she doesn’t get the ‘work’ done. We’re sorry this is short and not as funny as usual.
Blame the human, she’s a slacker mcslackass.
About the Book:
Warning: This novella contains humor, romance, magic, puns, bodies, and a short detour from reality. No plots were harmed in the making of this story.
Instead of a quiet dance retreat where she could escape the insanity of being the daughter of an angel, a succubus, and a lycanthrope, Emma Sansaul plummets into the middle of murder, mayhem, and mischief. As becoming the next victim of a crazed serial killer is not on her itinerary, she’s left with no choice but to join forces with Agent Kenneth Bernard to find the murderer, the one man on Earth capable of making her hissing mad one second and in need of a cold shower the next.
From Chapter One:
Normal people worried about delays at the airport, dealing with security, and other travel snarls when heading off on an adventure. Me?
One of my mothers was a succubus, and she’d brought home an incubus for me to enjoy. Like all his demonic kin, he was a dark beauty oozing sin with a dash of temptation, offering everything a girl could want and more. If I didn’t get the hell out of Dodge, I’d miss my flight, lose my virginity, and discover the joys of having an on-call incubus.
Heaven help me.
“No, Mom.” I pointed at the incubus, whose grin promised the immediate disintegration of my panties if I let him get anywhere near me. “What have I told you about bringing random incubi home?”
“You keep telling me not to do it like you actually get a say in the matter. This is my house, young lady. And in my house, I’ll bring home company whenever I want.”
Why, why, why did I have an angel for a mother, a succubus for a mother, and a bloody, feather-brained lycanthrope for a father? I thought a little screaming was warranted, so I started with my father. “Dad!? Mom brought home an incubus again.”
“Talk to your other mother, Emma,” my father yelled back from across the house. “I’m busy with the chicks right now.”
Damned feather-brained, chicken-obsessed idiot of a swan!
“Language!” Ma ordered from up the stairs, proving I had an unwanted snoop poking around in my thoughts again.
“Ma, Mom’s going to make me late for the airport. Can you please deal with this situation?”
“You’re still dressed, he’s not influencing you, and despite your current belief, he won’t actually disintegrate your panties. Stop being such a baby. Maybe if you wouldn’t run every time your mom brought home a guest, she wouldn’t find it so amusing to bring guests home with her.”
“You’re a fallen angel, aren’t you? There’s no other explanation.” I bowed my head, wondered how I’d make the thirty feet to my car without being ambushed, further delayed, or otherwise blocked from going to Boulder, Colorado to practice dancing and escape from the monotony of set performances at the theater.
“No, I’m just fair, and for once in her life, your mom hasn’t done anything wrong.”
“Yet! She hasn’t done anything wrong yet.”
“Louisa, perhaps you should take your pet incubus home. You know how cranky George gets when you bring home an incubus for Emma. Can we go one day without having an incident in this house, please?”
Mom scowled, lashing her tail and clamping her wings close to her back. “Damn it! I went through a lot of effort to catch this one.”
Once my mothers started going at it, nothing short of divine intervention would stop them. Mouthing an apology to the bemused incubus, I snatched my luggage and retreated out the front door.
Some days, living with telepaths and empaths annoyed the hell out of me, but once they started duking it out in the privacy of their thoughts, the world could end without either one noticing.
“Have a safe flight, Miss Emma.” The incubus held the front door open for me. “The combination for the lock on your steering wheel is 4-2-7-1.”
“I don’t have a clue who you are, but you’re now my friend.”
“Call me Rafil.”
“Like Israfil?” Having met the archangel, if he ever found out there was a cheeky incubus edging in on his turf, it’d get ugly. With my luck, it’d happen in my house, as my mothers had no shame and enjoyed their power plays as much as my father enjoyed watching them.
I’d been born into a family of raving lunatics.
The incubus’s grin confirmed my fears. “I live to yank his chain. It keeps him on his toes. If you change your mind and want to play with me, give me a call. I’d be glad to introduce you to the true pleasures of life.”
I bolted for my car like the devil himself was hot on my heels. I contemplated murdering Mom when I saw the chain wrapped around my steering wheel, which ran out the window to loop through my rim, ensuring I wouldn’t be going anywhere without the combination. The number worked. I dumped the mess on the lawn for my mom to clean up, shoved my bags into the backseat, and bailed before my parents could stop me.
We also hope you enjoyed the random pictures of us scattered throughout this text.
What can I say? We’re cats.
Oh, an update on the pesky Finned portion of our management team…
Desmond and Landen are now sharing the divided tank, and they love having company. The baby fish trolls the old fish, and the old fish adores having someone to display for. We’d show you a picture, but the website is so jealous over their awesome it won’t upload the images today. We’re sorry. We’ll try again next newsletter to show how cute they are.
Have a great day, humans!