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Friday, July 23, 2010

Writing Tips for the Practical-minded #28: Get a cat.

A few days ago, I told you about my brief conversation with Corbin Bernsen, and I mentioned that on the day he and I were on the same television show (!), three of the other guests were representative from the humane society--a human and two dogs.  Or, you know, maybe it was her two cats, because the humane society was promoting their two-for-one cat promotion special.

I think I saved a few kitty lives that evening when I spoke to the local Sisters in Crime chapter about how to start a career as a mystery writer.  I told them that I had pursued publication for many years.  (Many, many, many years.  So many years that I'm pretty sure my sanity should be in question.) 

Mystery readers and writers, I reminded them, are notorious for loving cats, yet I had always been a dog person.  (Do you know how to distinguish a woman who loves her cats from a crazy cat lady?  Crazy cat ladies kiss their cats on the mouth.  Or so I'm told...I limit myself to nuzzling my kitty on the top of his adorable head and behind his sweet little ears.)  When my daughter turned seven, I finally caved to her badgering for a pet.  We went to the pet rescue place and brought home a gray tabby cat who had been born on the street and who now, many years later, still retains some of that bad-boy, streetwise attitude.

One month later--just one short month after I acquired the mystery writer's archetypal companion--I sold Artifacts to the wonderful folks at Poisoned Pen Press.  Coincidence?  I think not.  I told the lovely folks at the Sisters in Crime meeting who were hoping to sell their books to run, not walk, to the Humane Society and get a cat.  Or even to get two, because the second one was free!  I hope there are kitties living in lovely homes even now as a result.

My kitty loves it when we start a nice writing day.  I feed him, stopping to pet him frequently because he's more interested in the petting than in the food and water.  Then I get in the recliner where I always work, put my computer in my lap, then wait for the 14-pound cat who I know will launch himself into my lap and stand there, purring and blocking my access to the keyboard.  I pet him for awhile, then he remembers that he's a cat and he's supposed to be aloof, so he jumps onto the floor and stalks away to do whatever it is cats do.

So let me take this opportunity to save a few more kitty lives.  If you want to get published, go adopt a cat.  Preferably two.

Mary Anna

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