Life is life…

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My neighbor, Heike, and I had planned the night before to leave at noon for Costco about 60 miles away. The morning had been fraught with frustrations including spending over an hour on hold with Yahoo customer service. Two minutes before the appointed hour I hung up, hoping the issue was sufficiently solved as I grabbed my purse and headed across the street. I didn’t even want to think about what my blood pressure probably was.

Before we got to the main highway we were startled by what appeared to be a very large black cat crossing our country road about an hundred yards up ahead. This was not a domestic cat, it was substantially bigger. There are cougars in our area but they’re not black. It had disappeared into the brush by the time we got closer so didn’t get a chance to identify it but definitely wondered what it could be. We’ll probably never know.

We arrived without incident at our destination a little over an hour later where we each grabbed one of Costco’s massive shopping carts and proceeded inside. I think those carts are designed to make your purchase look relatively small, at least until you get to the checkout and see what that buggy full of goodies costs. Undoubtedly the store’s name derived from “cost cooperative” but “cost coercement” seems more appropriate. The store itself can best be described as humongous, Wal-Mart on steroids.

So after about an hour and a half of shopping, we arrived outside with our bounty, wallets substantially lighter, and headed past the huge ocean of shopping carts toward Heike’s car. When I say “ocean” I’m talking about approximately ten rows, each fifty feet or so long, of stacked king-sized shopping carts, bordered on the side by several flat pallet-sized ones like you see at Home Depot. You know, the ones designed to carry case lots or huge purchases like wide screen TVs.

As we walked past this metallic jungle what do we see but a kitten, standing by the outside row of carts and gazing out into the parking lot as if it intended to head in that direction. Those of you who know me are aware that I’m a cat lover. I have four ferals I care for, two Bengals I keep in the house plus my “grandkitty” who belongs to my daughter who’s staying here for a while. Heike has a total of eight, most of which are her own plus a neighbor’s cat who hangs out at her place and a recent new arrival. And a Chihuahua named Chica, who was waiting for us in the car.

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Needless to say, our hearts stopped when we saw this furry tragedy about to happen. Calling to the little fur ball at least temporarily deterred her foray into the parking lot, but then she hunkered down beneath the first row of flat carts. At least at this point we got a fairly good look at her, innocent green eyes peering up at us through a maze of metal.

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She was a beautiful little thing, mostly white long hair with a few random brown spots of various hues. Not surprisingly, we had 75 pounds of dry cat food between us, so it didn’t take long to put some of that out in a box one of the employees provided, informing us the kitten had arrived the day before. Obviously hungry, the kitten cautiously approached the box and started eating. I grabbed a new bath towel I’d just purchased, hoping to throw it over kitty and the box to catch her. After a few unsuccessful attempts, Heike took our purchases to her car and loaded them up, undoubtedly risking a hernia in the process, and while she was there allowed Chica to have a potty break.

animalhellNumerous shoppers saw the drama in progress, some trying to help (but didn’t), others voicing our own thoughts of what kind of a horrible person would drop off a kitten in such a hazardous place. There are numerous no-kill shelters in the area making this strategy for getting rid of an unwanted animal entirely unacceptable.

By the time I’d spent about an hour unsuccessfully trying to lure the little fur ball close enough to grab, Heike and I exchanged a forlorn look. At what point should we give up and abandon this precious little creature to what would undoubtedly be a horrific fate?

About that time a beautiful young woman arrived on the scene. Tall, athletic, nicely dressed in a white blouse and black slacks, a single heavy blond braid snaking down her back.

“What’s going on?” she asked, so we told her. “Oh,” she replied matter-of-factly. “I’ll get it.”

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Heike and I exchanged another look, part hope, part skepticism, as the girl threw her carkeys and wallet on the ground, got down on her belly and inched toward the kitten’s shopping cart sanctuary. The kitten moved back, deeper into the buggy maze, by now about three rows in. The girl got up and shoved them out of her way, row by row. Clearly nothing was going to stop her. Again she was down on the ground, reaching toward the elusive feline.

I snuck a peek at her driver’s license, her name obstructed but I could see she was 19 years old and a Leo based on her August birth date. As an astrologer, I smiled. Taking charge with total confidence and her graceful, athletic movements were true to her sign. The fact that Leo the Lion is also a feline, albeit a massive one, chimed in as well.

kittyhatIt didn’t take long before our young heroine stood up triumphantly, kitten in hand. She cuddled it to her bosom and joined us, allowing us finally to pet the little kitty who had caused such a stir. She looked like she was probably about three months old. It was November. The kitten was probably also a Leo. Coincidence? Of course not. There’s no such thing.

animalscharacterHeike asked her if she would keep it and she assured us she would, that their cat had recently disappeared and her mother would know what to do to take care of it. With heartfelt gratitude we praised her efforts and compassion then at long last headed home, knowing one discarded kitten would have a warm bed that night.

As we left the parking lot and turned onto the access road to the highway I saw the heart-wrenching remains of what was probably one of her siblings who would not be so lucky. I closed my eyes and didn’t mention it to Heike whose heart is more tender than mine. Yet I’ll be forever unable to forget it myself.

The question still lingers: How can people be so cruel? Is it any wonder the world is in the state it is?

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Another Purr-fect Romp with Xander de Hunter

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If you’re a fan of Xander de Hunter, the awesome feline 007 you met (or should have) in “The Red Claw” you’ll thoroughly enjoy his latest adventure. This one takes place in Haiti where he’s investigating some mighty weird goings-on that hint at voodoo and the paranormal. Don’t worry, it’s not scary and perfectly suitable to read to your kids or simply enjoy yourself, even before going to sleep at night.

Nonetheless, it has vivid descriptions that take you to a fascinating Third World country where you can learn more about its geography, plant life, culture and even the occult as you enjoy the story. Xander picks up a delightful sidekick named Mischief, a 7-week old kitten whom he will undoubtedly mentor into a future “Purr-tector.” The kitty mannerisms were hilarious and totally familiar to anyone who is owned by a cat from the mandatory grooming after eating, catnaps and tail dynamics. I particularly enjoyed Xander’s efforts to keep his eyes crossed, something so many Siamese cats display genetically, as he attempts to convince those he’s investigating that he’s a low-life “nip-head” looking for work. The purr-fect ending draws it all to a great conclusion and, as always, leaves you looking forward to the next episode.

This is another wonderfully light read with enough plot, character and description to keep you entertained. If you need a break from all the books out there these days that drag you through some dystopian nightmare or other dark scenario infested with zombies and vampires that bears just too much resemblance to today’s world, pick up a copy and take a break today. You won’t be sorry.

You can find it at Amazon, Smashwords, and various other retail outlets.

Connect with Author, Jeanne Foguth:

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Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Jeanne-Foguth/e/B00JDW7TC8/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PurrtectorFiles

Blog: https://foguth.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jeannefoguth

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1452089.Jeanne_Foguth

Jeanne on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=%22Jeanne+Foguth%22

Jeanne on Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/-Jeanne-Foguth-?store=allproducts&keyword=%22Jeanne+Foguth%22

Meet Multi-talented, Multi-genre Author, Jeanne Foguth

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Jeanne Foguth’s story of Xander de Hunter as chronicled in “The Red Claw” was an absolutely purr-fect light read which you can learn more about in my review of that title. As a cat lover I am hooked. To my great delight, she has just released Xander’s latest tale (or perhaps I should say “tail”?) entitled “Purr-a-noia” with another “Sea Purrtector Files” episode promised for next year.

Yet these charming cat adventure stories are but a small part of Jeanne’s repertoire. If you’re a romantic suspense, fantasy or science fiction fan you’ll want to get a hold of her other novels as well. Her vast travel experience coupled with her attention to detail create engaging characters in the midst of exotic settings which will pull you in and leave you wanting more. So without further ado, let’s learn more about this fascinating author and creator of my favorite cat hero.

MF: Clearly you’re an avid cat lover, which seems to be the case with numerous writers. What besides a strong affection for felines inspired you to write The Red Claw and its upcoming sequels starring Xander de Hunter?

JF: Yes, I love cats. In fact, I like most types of animals and over the years, we have had a wide assortment of furry and feathered friends. In 1981, we were adopted by Rom a.k.a. The Ramakazi, who became my good friend, fellow gardener and writing partner. We shared an L-shaped desk where he lounged on his keyboard while he looking out the window and tweeting to the birds. This allowed me to write freelance projects without him feeling the need to edit my work.

Rom was a major part of our lives until he died at 16.5. For years, I thought of various ways to write a memorial to him and when we were living aboard EvenStar, our Gemini 105MC, I imagined how Rom would have enjoyed the adventure…. by the time we got to Jamaica, where The Red Claw is set, I began putting notes in a file. Initially, I thought that I would only write one book, however I had so much fun that The Sea Purrtector Files is turning into a series. Purr-a-Noia (#2) is newly released and The Vi-Purrs (#3) will be out in early 2016.

MF: Do you have a favorite real-life cat that demonstrates Xander’s traits?

JF: Rom, who Xander is based on, loved technology and seemed very adept at turning things on and opening things – not so good at turning them off or closing drawers and doors. His technical expertise is the main reason we realized we could not share a keyboard and mouse. He was also “Mr. Cool’ when startled, so even when he decided that retreat was the wise choice, he never tucked tail and ran – he exited with dignity. In your review of The Red Claw, you suggested that Xander was sort of a feline 007 and that captures Rom’s character quite well.

BTW, the Siamese cat on The Red Claw‘s cover is Rom. We don’t have many photos of him, so my cover artist, Kiara Graham, adapted the same photo for Purr-a-Noia‘s cover.

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MF: He was certainly beautiful and it’s like he’s looking through you with those blue eyes. I can’t think of a better way to immortalize a beloved pet than in a series of novels. What other animals have you had for pets besides cats?

JF: Hmmm, that is a long list. When I was a child, we lived on a dairy farm, which was at least a half mile from the next neighbor. Aside from cows, we had horses, a dog, sheep (rams are NOT good pets, but lambs are adorable), pigs and chickens.

Over the years, we have usually had a cat and sometimes a dog, but we’ve also had a variety of outdoor pets, which included birds, bunnies and even a few goats (I called them my gardening crew and used them in my war on kudzu ;-).

MF: Your biographical sketch mentions that you have a background in technical writing. Which industry was it applied to?

JF: Initially, I helped write J.C.H.A.(hospital procedure manuals) and preventive maintenance guidelines. Later, I wrote computer-user manuals as well as several free-lance projects that included policy and procedure manuals for some small companies.

MF: How do feel your technical writing experience influenced your fiction writing?

JF: I am a stickler for accuracy. It was drilled into me that J.C.H.A. manuals were used by hospital staff as a guide to treat life-threatening conditions.

MF: I can relate. Accuracy was drummed into my head when I was a techwriter at NASA. Speaking of accuracy, clearly you have traveled extensively which enriches your writing’s sense of place with a strong sense of authenticity. Your descriptions of Jamaica made me feel as if I was there such that I would recognize it if I ever was.  Which location is your favorite and why?

JF: My favorite is wherever our next destination is 😉

I also like where I am and where I have been. Each place has had good and bad points. For example: in Alaska, the Northern Lights were amazing, but the mosquitoes were horrid (BTW, catnip is ten times better than DEET as an insect repellent and if you use it, you might make a new feline friend).

MF: LOL! I have a hard time growing catnip because it always gets ravaged long before harvest. I have one plant surrounded by a hardware cloth cage which so far has survived.

As you’ve gone to these fascinating locations do you find that you’re always thinking like a writer in that new experiences automatically evolve into a new story idea? Or does the story come first with travel and research following?

JF: Yes to both. For instance, the initial idea for Star Bridge (#1 of the Chatterre Trilogy) came to me on a sweltering day, as I was sitting in traffic, waiting to make a left turn. I had the thought that there wouldn’t be traffic jams and pollution on a world where humanity chose to live in harmony with nature. Of course, when I actually began writing the book, I needed to research a variety of things. For instance, Nimri, a main character, is an herbal healer, so I needed to verify what each herb that I used in the book was good for and also to confirm that if people decided to use something, it should not have an adverse reaction to something I mentioned in a scene.

MF: I’m a real fan of accuracy myself. You never know who might be reading your book and if they’re familiar with the subject and you get it wrong then you lose all credibility. Such details in fiction should be trustworthy as well as contribute to the substance and reality of the story. Speaking of accuracy, I assume that you’ve spent some time living on a boat based on the terminology the average non-mariner wouldn’t know in “The Red Claw.” What’s your favorite part about that life? What would you recommend to someone considering such a lifestyle?

JF: We lived aboard EvenStar for a few years. My favorite part was that I didn’t need to pack a suitcase when we moved to the next country – we only needed to pull up the anchor.

If anyone was considering the lifestyle, I would recommend:

1) that they be a good jack-of-all-trades because once you get off shore, you and your shipmates need to be capable of dealing with a wide variety of problems.

2) that they be competent sailors and good at plotting an accurate course.

3) that they be adventurous and open-minded, yet realize there are dangers out there, so avoid inviting problems aboard and stay away from trouble spots.

4) that they expect to learn new languages and understand cultural sub-text and not expect people in a new country to adapt to them.

MF: Makes sense! Have you had any frightening experiences living on a boat?

JF: Of course, but I’ve had worse and more life-threatening experiences on land.

MF: I can believe that. So which of your many books and/or characters are your personal favorites?

JF: That is a difficult choice, but I think Kazza and Xander are my favorites. Interestingly enough, both are cats, so I guess that brings us full circle to your initial observation that I am an avid cat lover.

Be sure to connect with Jeanne via her social media sites listed below and pick up one or more of her books today!  Also note that both Xander and Kazza have their own blogs which have links on Jeanne’s blog site.

CONNECT WITH JEANNE:

Website: www.jeannefoguth.com

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Jeanne-Foguth/e/B00JDW7TC8

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PurrtectorFiles

Blog: https://foguth.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jeannefoguth

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1452089.Jeanne_Foguth

Jeanne’s Books on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=%22Jeanne+Foguth%22

Jeanne’s Books on Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/-Jeanne-Foguth-?store=allproducts&keyword=%22Jeanne+Foguth%22

AMAZON BOOK LINKS

The Red Claw: http://www.amazon.com/Red-Claw-Purrtector-Files-Book-ebook/dp/B00OYAXK6I/

Purr-a-noia: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ZFUKBAO

Star Bridge (Chatterre Trilogy Book 1): http://www.amazon.com/Star-Bridge-Book-Chaterre-Trilogy/dp/099133387X/

Thunder Moon (Chatterre Trilogy Book 2): http://www.amazon.com/Thunder-Moon-Chatterre-Trilogy-Triology-ebook/dp/B00S2WGH82/

Deadly Rumors: http://www.amazon.com/Deadly-Rumors-Jeanne-Foguth/dp/0991333810/

Fatal Attractions: http://www.amazon.com/Fatal-Attractions-Jeanne-Foguth-ebook/dp/B00JDNBS7O/

Passion’s Fire: http://www.amazon.com/Passions-Fire-Jeanne-Foguth/dp/0991333845/

The Peacekeepers: http://www.amazon.com/Peacekeepers-Jeanne-Foguth/dp/193092870X/

“The Red Claw” by Jeanne Foguth is the Purrfect Summer Read

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As a cat lover I absolutely adored this book. Xander de Hunter’s adopted humans have decided to live onboard a boat which has resulted in him being assigned the responsibility of being the Sea Purrtector. As they arrive in Jamaica, he receives an urgent email marked with an ominous red claw signifying its urgent. The message directs him to solve the catnapping of Dame Esmeralda which recently occurred on that tropical island. Xander not only uses his humans’ computer but also has a collar with all sorts of high tech abilities, making him a feline version of James Bond.

As a feline, he has a natural dislike and suspicion of canines, especially the boxer named Valentine on the boat moored next door. Fortunately, he’s leaving to pursue the mystery regarding the missing Dame Esmeralde and hopefully find her unharmed. Along the way he hooks up with Sharky, a black and white cat with a somewhat mysterious and possibly suspicious past. He’s not sure whether or not he can trust her, but she knows her way around and can show him how to get to the location where an important meeting will take place with the cat in charge of the island. Among other things, Sharky excels at quoting numerous bits of wisdom from a large variety of Native American tribes.

I’m a real stickler for detail and this book absolutely rocks. The author’s experience and travels bring the story to life, whether it’s the description of the boat, Jamaican culture, tropical terrain and weather, mention of the Egyptian cat god, Bastet, or any number of other delightful bits of trivia such as the American presidents who owned cats, it was a highly entertaining as well as an intelligent read. The imagery of Jamaica was like being there and the mannerisms and dare I say thought processes of the feline characters were totally credible to anyone who has ever been owned by a cat.

The story takes a variety of twists and turns which keep you guessing all the way to its surprising conclusion. There are numerous places that had me laughing out loud, yet the story possesses an allegorical flavor as you view humans and their foolishness through the wisdom of feline eyes. This is one book I must say I was sorry to see end because I enjoyed it so much. If you’re looking for a well-written light read that takes you on a vicarious adventure through the wilds of Jamaica as seen through the eyes of a highly intelligent Siamese cat, then this is definitely the book for you. I am definitely looking forward to reading more about Xander’s adventures as well as other books by this author who knows how to make a story come alive.

Buy Link:

http://www.amazon.com/Red-Claw-Purrtector-Files-Book-ebook/dp/B00OYAXK6I/

Connect with Jeanne Foguth:

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Jeanne-Foguth/e/B00JDW7TC8/

Blog: https://foguth.wordpress.com/

Website: www.jeannefoguth.com