Since Mischief is a talkative cat, I decided to publish his long monologue here:
Thanks, Mischief! You make a very interesting blog guest!
Gives us the inside scoop, Ted. Are you the boss of Carol?
Are you joking? I had her from minute one.. See, when I was younger, I was a "guest" of the Madison County, Ohio, Animal Shelter. Well, one Saturday, they caged me and some others up (a humiliating experience I hope never to repeat) and transported us to a pet store in Hilliard, Ohio. My future mommy and a tall dude, who I later learned was her son who was just visiting, came in that afternoon to "view" us for possible "adoption." I could tell at first glance she'd be an easy mark. She had that hungry look in her eye. She needed a companion. She came to my cage (awful word) first and lifted me out. Of course I put on a good show--I purred, I nuzzled, I did the slow blink with my big green eyes, and I licked her hand. Then, to my horror, she put me back in that awful contraption and started to walk away...to look at other, less worthy felines. No way! I pulled out all the stops and went for my sure-fire ploy. I stuck one of my front legs out of the cage opening and tapped her on the shoulder with my sweet little paw (claws retracted, of course) and gave her my most pitiful meow. She turned, took one more look at me and I could see that I'd scored a direct hit. I went home with her and the tall dude that day. Mission accomplished!
That's quite impressive, Ted! Good work! Tell us a bit about your mom as an author. What type of books does Carol write?
My human mommy writes what are called Paranormal Mystery/Romances. She's also written cozy mysteries and a true crime book. The paranormal is called Spirit Lake, Books 1&2 and was just released by Devine Destinies. I heard mommy say it has gotten good reviews. It's about ghosts and murder.That sounds a little scary to me. I think it has a wolf-dog in it, too. Unfortunately there's no cat. I punish her for this oversight by constantly knocking her pens from her desk onto the floor and scooting them underneath peices of furniture so she can't find them. Sometimes I drop them down the grates in the floor where the warm air comes out in the winter. I've also collected various pieces of her jewelry that she's carelessly left lying about, and relocated them to more obscure places. She'll learn.
Ghosts and murder, huh? If I were you, I wouldn't trust her one bit--even though she looks quite harmless. So, what do you do for amusement while Carol pounds at the computer all day and ignores you?
Well, you see, a couple of years ago we moved from Hilliard, Ohio to Dayton, Ohio and now live with my mommy's daughter, Sarah, and her offspring, Paul (he's five). This move, unfortunately, gave me "siblings" since Sarah and Paul have two felines and a.....canine. So, this opened up an opportunity for me to have "playmates." Yeah. We play all right. The older feline, named, Oliver, is a little cranky bites sometimes. He's always trying to sneak out of the house (I do too, but that's because he set a bad example.) The other feline, Tiger, spends a lot of time outside. For some reason, no one seems to mind if he goes out. They're no fun. But the canine....oh yeah. There's the one I can get running in circles anytime I want. Her name is Maddie. And she's soooo easy to torment. I especially like to get her barking, then wander away so she gets yelled at. She likes to follow me around, so when she does that, I squeal like I'm hurt and everyone comes running and there she stands with a guilty look on her face. I just lie there looking pitiful and she gets yealled at again. Of course, mommy gets extra mad when these things happen because it "breaks her concentration" while she writing and boy does she hate that! Maddie then gets put outside and I have peace and quiet, at last!
Shame on you for tormenting Maddie! (I'll have to get in touch with her and give her some self-defense tips) Does Carol let you sit on her lap while working at the computer?
Sometimes she'll take me up on her lap when she's taking a break. You see, I LOVE her padded, swivel desk chair. So whenever she gets up to do something else, I hurry in the office and curl up on the seat. If she's out of the office long enough, I fall asleep, but mostly she's not gone that long, so I just pretend to be snoozing when she returns, in hopes she'll let me stay. Most of the time she doesn't though, because she has what she calles a "writing schedule." But, I can always tell when she's finished writing for the day, and then the coast is clear and I make a beeline in there and take a real nap in her chair.I'd love to sit on my mom's lap, but I'd probably squash her (soffocate her is more like it). What is the best part of having an author as a mom? The worse part?
The best part of having an author for a mommy is that she's home all day. So, she was around the other day when I got outside and got on the roof and then on top of the chimney and almost had a "bad incident." It wasn't my fault. It was all Oliver's doing. He got up on the roof first by jumping on the ouside garage window sill, then onto this lean-to that's attached to the side of the house. He coaxed me to follow. Then I saw a bird flying from the chimney top to the big tree next to the house and....well, I just had to follow so I made my way up the sloping roof of the house. Everyone was upset. Especially mommy. But, she got hold of herself and talked me down, so I wasn't scared at all. Well maybe just a little. It was awfully high.... When I finally jumped into her arms she was so glad I was all right that she just made over me like crazy. Oliver, who was still on the lean-to roof got ignored. Ha .Ha.
The worst part of having an author for a mommy is all the time she spends NOT paying attention to me. That's just not right. So, I'll just have to think of other things to do that will bring her attention back to where it belongs.... me!Why did you have to wander on the roof? (Cats are always sticking their noses where they don't belong! I bet Maddie has more sense! But of course, she's a canine, isn't she????) Well, Ted, what can I say? Thanks for being my guest, though I didn't appreciate all your anti-canine innuendos.
Meet the Terrible Two:
Rocko & Spunky are black, American shorthair cats. They were abandoned as kittens by their first owner, but managed to sucker their new parents into adopting them. Spunky is the dominant male at fourteen pounds and is known as “The Love Bug” or “Buoy.” Rocko is almost six pounds lighter, but what she lacks in size, she makes up for in mischief. Indoor-only kitties, they crave attention and love to play!
Welcome to my blog, Rocko and Spunky! What type of books does your mom Diane write?
Spunky: She writes YA fiction and some non-fiction. She says it’s all designed to inspire and help people. We’re just hoping someday she’ll write a book that helps cats! One that inspires people to serve… I mean, love us more.
How long does Diane work each day on a book and ignores you?
Spunky: She only writes an hour or so, but she’s always in front of the computer. At least I think so, because I tend to sleep most of the day…
Rocko: Oh, she is always in front of the computer!! I know, because I NEVER sleep!
I like to stare at my mom while she writes to make her aware that she’s ignoring me and make her feel guilty. What do you do to annoy Diane while she writes?
Rocko: I’ve got a whole list of things! Mom gave me a list when I first came into the house and said these were the things I should not do. So I start at the top and work my way to the bottom. First I chew on some plants. Then I try climbing to the top of the window, beating on the blinds as much as possible. Occasionally I’ll grab a stuffed toy and run off with it…
Spunky: Sometimes I’ll help. Rocko and I fight in the bathtub, shredding the shower curtain and making a lot of racket. Mom calls it drunken kitty tub wrestling…
Good work, guys. What does Diane do besides writing? Is she a hermit or does she actually set her foot outdoors? My mom has to be dragged outside.
Rocko: She’s gone a lot doing seminars & promoting. But sometimes she and Dad go to the movies or out to dinner. They watch movies at home, too. We prefer it when they play with us, though. Bouncing rubber balls sounds so much more fun than staring at that computer!
Is your mom crazy about book promotion? What does she do to promote her books? Does she ask your advice at times?
Spunky: Is she crazy? Wait, no, Rocko's crazy. Yes, Mom loves to promote her books! She’s very involved online and always out doing a seminar or speaking engagement or a signing. We tell her to slow down, but she never listens to us.
Rocko: She listens when we scream at her because our food bowl is empty! Which reminds me…
Bio: Maris, known to her mom and dad as Mish-Mash, or 'Little Pink Princess,' on account of those gorgeous big pink ears, is a striped Roan dumbo fancy rat. As a baby she had a strong grey stripe down her back, but she lost that early on and turned into a silvery-white fluff ball. She is two years and two months old, which is about sixty-three years old in human terms, and has been blind in one eye since she was a tiny baby. She is an emissary for all ratkind, spreading rat-love all over the world, can sneeze whilst holding three chocolate stars in her mouth without blowing them across the room, talks to herself frequently, and has groomed her sisters bald around the ears... that's how much she loves them. She cannot be trusted to guard your Rice Crispies.
Tell us Maris, how is Gina as a writer and as a pet owner. Don't sugar coat it! Give us the real deal. This blog is only read by pets, so don’t worry, Gina won’t find out what you say. In the event that you find yourself into trouble, I can always offer protection. As yo well know, I have a good connection at the CIA.
I've known mom since I was six weeks old, and she's come on in leaps and bounds with all the training I've given her. She still doesn't clean behind her ears as often as I'd like, but she's quite good at bruxing (that's the teeth-grinding we rats do when we're happy)... although she does it in her sleep, which is a bit unconventional. She loves me more than bananas - she told me so - and only ever gives me the best nibbles. She gives me lots of cuddles and rolls me on my back to tickle my tummy. She laughs at my bald tummy since my fur dropped out there, but I don't mind because she's bald all over (even on her face!) and I laugh about that all the time. I have to have noxious poison (mom calls it 'medicine', pah!) twice a day, and mom always gives me a chocolate star for being a brave girl afterwards.
When she does that writing stuff, she likes it if I run across the keyboard on her laptop and stamp on the space bar. I do this a lot because I like to make her happy. She gets all her best ideas from me, and tells me that when she writes a book about rats she will dedicate it to me (and my sisters, but I am working on getting them smaller text somewhere at the bottom of the page). So far she's written two books (she doesn't work hard enough if you ask me - I could have written eleventy-four by now). One of them is a book about Japanese art, filled with beautiful things (but strangely no pictures of me... must remember to ask why that is). The other one is a funny book about mean neighbours. The silly man in that throws vegetables! Imagine that... using food for throwing. Food is for eating and hiding in slippers, not throwing!
The only thing I don't like about mom's writing is how she has to go outside the den and do talks and signings. When she gets back she cuddles me extra and laughs at my tummy twice as much, but I miss her so much when she's gone that I don't eat my nibbles. I don't know why she has to go out to talk and sign things... hasn't she heard of the telephone and post?
What’s with your name? Did Gina choose it? What has that done to your self esteem and what does that say about her?
I liked my name more before I found out how I got it. Mom and dad were having a think and mom, thinking she is the creative genius around here (I let her go on dreaming), said they should call me Maris and call my sister Piper... Maris Piper... she named us after a type of potato! I think she must have a thing about food because she named my sisters Mince Pie, Pickles, Mung Bean, Mrs Pea, Sprout, and Spud (there's that obsession with potatoes again). It could have been worse though, she named my other sister, Queequeg, after a cannibal! Mom has a whacky sense of humour and is always laughing at things (okay, me), so I guess we couldn't have sensible names like Mavis or Ethel. My self esteem is fine because everyone calls me their little princess... I am royalty you know.
Does your author mom plot like a madwoman or just write ‘down the bones’?
Madwoman... yes my mom is one of them all the time, but she says that when she's writing funny things she has to go with the flow and get all of the ideas out of her head before it explodes. I think that sounds like a good thing... exploding heads are messy. She stays up until four or five in the morning, and comes to talk to me when she gets stuck. I give her the benefit of my wisdom, she eats the left-over pizza that dad was saving for himself for tomorrow, and then goes back to work happy. When she's writing the serious stuff about art, she has to plan things and has lots and lots of notes. Sometimes she lets me chew them, as long as I only nibble the edges and don't pinch the words. Piper pinches the words... and the pictures... and the pens and pencils. She pinches my nibbles too, but I give her a swift kick and she gives them back.
What does your mom do besides writing? Is she a hermit or does she actually set her foot outdoors? My mom has to be dragged outside.
As a rat, outdoors is a dangerous place, and I like it best when mom stays home and give me cuddles. The best bit about having a writer for a mommy is that she stays home a lot. She likes to go to museums, but some of them are far away (at least two miles!), and I hide the door keys so she can't go. She likes to go to France a lot, but that's ok because we all go together. Mostly she likes to be home, reading and painting and tickling my tummy.
Is your mom crazy about book promotion? What does she do to promote her books? Does she ask your advice at times?
She is obsessed with this book promoting. She goes out to sign things (I hang on to her leg, but I'm only a tiny rat... what's a girl to do?). She does these talk things where people spend good money (not the play stuff mom lets me chew) to listen. I've told her, I don't care how much she talks, I'm not paying for it! She has two laptops and uses both at the same time. I have to jump back and forth to hit keys on both... that's my work-out for the day. She asks my advice but doesn't follow it. I told her to rub noses and sniff bottoms more, but she says she'd get arrested. I also told her to give out nibbles, but she gives out bookmarks instead. They don't taste very good at all.
Mom spends a lot of time doing blogging and fiddling with her web site... almost as much time as I spend cleaning my ears. The web site is http://www.ginacolliasuzuki.
The last blog is my favourite because mom wrote a blog post about me and put my picture there, and everyone said I was cute and pretty (which I know, but it doesn't hurt to hear it twenty-ten times a day).
I have to admit it, Maris. You're one of the cutest rodents I've ever met! Not at all like those rabbits who have infiltrated my garden and are intent on driving me mad!
Hello, Pets and Humans,
Today I have the woof pleasure of introducing you to a very special goldfish...
Barry Goldfish is the pet of Raul Ramos y Sanchez, author of the novel AMERICA LIBRE coming from Grand Central Publishing in July 2009, and winner of the International Latino Book Award for Best Novel 2008.
Barry’s residence in the author’s household is a by-product of a dander allergy by Raul’s wife Kathy. Unable to live with any kind of furry companion, the couple adopted Barry after Kathy’s father found him at a garage sale. Barry’s bowl was on sale for a dollar. Barry was a free option.
OK, Barry. Pet to pet, give us the inside scoop on Raul. What’s it like to live with an author who writes novels about scary stuff like ethnic insurrections?
Just between us pets, Amigo, I’m going to let you in on a secret. I know I can trust you. After all, you have connections with the CIA. You see, I work for a secret government organization called F.I.S.H. -- Furtive Investigations of Subversive Hispanics. We’re keeping Raul under surveillance because he’s got all these humanitarian-one-world-type ideas. You know the kind. The guy actually believes everything in John Lennon’s song “Imagine.” You gotta keep an eye on people like that.
Now you’re probably wondering how I report to the humans at F.I.S.H, right? Well, the Department of Defense spent billions developing a fish-to-human speech interface that lets us communicate via fin wiggles. The DOD was working on a similar technology for dogs, but gave up after they found dogs are too darned loyal. No offense, Amigo, but you guys make lousy spies. Oh yeah, they tried cats, too. But forget about it. They’re way too headstrong to follow orders.
Well, I hate to break it to you, Barry, but you're not the only one with special powers. Among other things, I happen to have a microchip in my brain that allows me to read and write. How do you think I can blog? The other stuff, I'm afraid I can't tell you about, me being with the CIA and all. It's TOP SECRET. There's something I'm wondering about, though: How did F.I.S.H. manage to get Raul to adopt you?
F.I.S.H. had Raul and his family under surveillance for a while and we knew his father-in-law could not pass up a garage sale bargain. So when they put me and my bowl on sale for a buck near his house and offered to throw in a box of fish food, it was a cinch. To be on the safe side, though, our team did have a rescue plan in place in case they decided to flush me down the toilet and keep the bowl for flowers.
So what’s life like with Raul?
He’s supposed to be this great humanitarian, but heck, if it wasn’t for Kathy, I’d starve to death. Kathy is constantly telling him, “Raul, you need to feed Barry.” But does he listen? Man, I splash around and practically jump out of my bowl trying to get his attention. But the guy does not have a clue. He’s there at that laptop clicking away in some kind of trance.
He works really weird hours, too. I’ll be catching some shuteye, dreaming about being in a big
sunny pond, splashing around with lots of lady goldfish, and he wakes me up hours before dawn, tapping away at his laptop. I tell you, I’m on duty practically 24/7.
Have you read Raul’s books? I understand AMERICA LIBRE is pretty controversial.
Yeah, I have to read his books. It’s part of my job. Raul started the first book of a trilogy in 2004 with a novel called AMERICA LIBRE. I brought along a picture of the cover so can see what it looks like. Book two of the trilogy, EL NUEVO ALAMO, will be released by GCP in 2010. He’s developing the third book now, PANCHO LAND. So I have to work hard to keep up with him.
My biggest problem is staying alert for any subversive content. Oh, he’s clever, that one. He wraps his seditious messages in romantic triangles, lots of action and suspense. Before I know it, I’m turning pages to find out what happens next and I forget to look for the subversive material.
Anything else we should know about Raul?
He’s the also the host and editor of a website called MyImmigrationStory.com that allegedly lets immigrants to the U.S. from all over the world tell their stories in their own words. We’re keeping an eye on that, too. It may be a forum for encouraging immigration reform and a lot of us at F.I.S.H. don’t want to see that happen.
Well, thanks very much Barry. Your interview was certainly revealing.
Sure, Amigo. Anytime. And, hey, if you run into any potentially subversive Hispanics in your neck of the woods, now you know who to call.
I sure do! Woof!