Some hashtags aren’t true.

By now, most of us know what a # (hashtag) is for, and I would hazard a guess that a good percentage of us have used a # (hashtag) or two.

There’s one # (hashtag) that I’ve seen, and I have to admit I’ve even used it. But I just can’t wrap my head around its use, because it certainly isn’t true, at least for me.

That hashtag is #WritingWithCats.

Now, I don’t know about you but writing with cats is impossible. You either write around a cat, in spite of a cat or trick a cat. But in my opinion, there is no way that you can compose a complete sentence with a cat around. And anyone who has tried knows what I mean.
Writing with a dog is a lot easier. They obey you, they don’t blatantly move things around, and a dog would hardly ever sit on your keyboard. The old saying of “give a dog a bone” works perfectly here. A couple pats on the head, a treat, and a kind word and your dog is perfectly content to curl up at your feet and let you do your work.


But not the cat. At least not my cats. I sit down to my desk and it’s like a signal goes out. They could be sound asleep in a closet with the door closed, but somehow they know I’m getting ready to sit down and try and do some work. The next thing I know they’re crawling all over my desk. Miss Marble sits on my hands if I ignore her for too long, waiting for attention. Fletch isn’t so subtle, if I ignore her for too long, she will start knocking things off my desk. Then it becomes a game, and the harder you try to work the more persistent they become.

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Finally, just when you’re ready to give up and walk away, my kitties will settle down in a nice sunny spot, stretch out, and take up as much of the desk area as they possibly can. Even if it means sitting on your paperwork, you’re outline or your research. They’ll be content for ten or fifteen minutes, but if you move the wrong way or do something that’s not in sync with what they have been listening to, then look-out. They’re wide awake again, ready to inspect and put their stamp of approval on what you’re doing. Then the process begins all over.

But I’m persistent, and I don’t give up easily. I’ve even found a “babysitter” to keep them occupied while I work. I put Alexa on the job, asking her to find cat videos to play on a small screen that sits on my desk. My girls will sit there, entranced, watching the birds occasionally growling at the chattering birds. And if a squirrel happens come in on the screen, their haunches are up, their ears are back and they’re ready for action. Occasionally one of them will tap at the screen, then look at me, confused as to why they can’t grab hold of that pesky squirrel. I know it’s a little devious, but you gotta do what you gotta do when work needs to be done.

And when you and when you finally finished your goal for this writing session, you reach for the cat, pet and scratch her behind her ears while picking her up for a cuddle. And that’s when she jumps down, no longer interested in what’s going on on the desk, or you for that matter. Now Miss Marple and Fletch will find a quiet place to curl up and take a nap. I sit in my chair with empty arms and watch my two cats walk away, their tails swishing. They know perfectly well what they’ve done and I can only shake my head. There’s no sense getting upset with them because I love them. Besides, a cat is a cat, and they live by their own rules!

Victoria LK Williams

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Cozy Mysteries with a Tropical Twist!

For the Love of Pets

The modern cozy mystery has something that the old traditional ones doesn’t seem to have… 

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Pets!
Now, by all means, correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t seem to remember any of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot characters having cat or dog as the main character, but today’s cozy mysteries sure do. Mine included.
Maybe it’s because in the day of Agatha Christie pets did not play as significant a role in our lives as they do now. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that people didn’t love their pets in Dame Agatha’s day. But did they catered to them? Did they dress Fido up in Halloween costumes? Were their pet served gourmet pet food? And I bet they sure as heck didn’t have pet, insurance!
But today’s pets are part of our lives, treated as good (or sometimes slightly better) as our children, and pampered like royalty.
So, it only seems reasonable, if pets are that important in our everyday life that they would also be important in our characters daily life?
Personally, I love adding pets to my stories. They can give comic relief and help the reader relate to the main character. A pet can sniff out clues the main character may not have seen, and they have a sense of awareness that humans don’t.

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For instance, in my Citrus Beach Mysteries, my main character has a beagle named Barney and Barney is excellent at sniffing out clues. In book number two, Scent of a Mystery, Barney is the one that finds the first clue, setting the book in motion.
In Storm Voices, Mac is given a little gray kitten. This kitten seems to have mystic abilities, and she definitely knows that there’s something unusual living in the garden of Mac’s home.
If you look at the covers of many cozy mysteries, you’ll find a cat or dog on it; after all was a witch without a cat. Two of my favorite series are Lauren Carr’s Mac Faraday Mystery books and The Cat Who series by Lilian Jackson Braun.
Having a cat, dog, or some other animal in your mystery draws in the animal lover as well as the mystery lover. And let’s face it, an animal can get away with so much more than a human. Nobody is going to yell at the dog or point a gun at him for snooping in the den. And if the cat happens to knock over a valuable clue, it will only seem like her curiosity is coming into play. But if your main character is doing either of those things while searching for clues, then the chances are if they get caught, they will be held at gunpoint by the villain or arrested by the cops.

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Go ahead and include an animal in your story.
Use Fido or FeeFee to your advantage. Let them be the ones to ferret out the clues and warm the cockles of your reader’s hearts.
But be careful-they can easily take over your story, because everyone loves a pet.

Victoria LK Williams