Tag Archives: cats

The Calico Avengers Strike Back

It’s almost time for another adventure on the high seas! Captain Calico Patrick, his first mate and brother Natty, and their loyal German shepherd-collie cross friend Rifky will soon return in an all new Calico Avengers sequel. The book will be released on May 1st on all major ebook platforms and in hard copy from Createspace and Amazon. My awesome editor is Alexis Arendt of Word Vagabond, and here’s my fabulous cover, done by artist Leo DeBruyn:

Calico_Treasure_Web

When a mysterious thief attacks in the night, Captain Calico Patrick discovers there’s a treasure map hidden on his ship. Under the guidance of a wolf named Silver, the Avengers head off to Dog Bone Island to find the treasure. But a crew of scurvy pirates under the command of the evil Captain Halibut-guts are determined to stop them and take the treasure for themselves.

Take a peek and read chapter one.

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As we get closer to the release date, I’ll be posting more information. Also, if anyone wants to do a review, I can send you and advance e-copy but it won’t have the inside art in it yet, but let me know if you’re interested. I’m thrilled this is almost ready! I have a third book in the works as well but haven’t yet nailed down a title. Hopefully I will get the plot kinks worked out and gear up for another release this fall to round out the series.

Calico Avengers have arrived!

Calico Avengers (blog)I’m excited to announce that Captain Bull and the Calico Avengers is finally out in the world!

Captain Pit Bull is the terror of the seven seas, plundering ships traveling to Catland with his team of scurvy sea dogs. Two young kittens, Patrick and Nathaniel, are galley slaves, chained to the oars below deck. With the help of the brave cabin pup Rifky, the kittens escape. Patrick swears to return and defeat Captain Bull, but can he do it before the pirate captain realizes Rifky’s mutiny?

This is a shorter chapter book, for ages 8 to 10 in reading level.  The cover is illustrated by Leo DeBruyn but the inside art is my own. I’m a bit nervous about that… while I’ve had one piece of my cat and dog art in a traveling art show in college, this is the first time it’s been published in a book. I don’t generally consider myself an illustrator, but at various points in my life people have insisted my cat and dog drawings out to be out there. When my family heard I was publishing this story, every single one of them insisted I should illustrate it. So, there you have it.

Calico Avengers is actually one of my earliest novel ideas. I remember coming up with it clearly, lying under on the floor listening to my father play music. The original idea was a Redwall fanfiction, involving mice heroes and rat villains. Eventually the heroes discovered their father was the warrior of Redwall and Salamandastrom featured somewhere along the line with all the usually suspects. Despite rationally knowing fanfiction couldn’t go anywhere (there were pretty much no outlets for that in the 1990s, really) the story took a hold of me with a fierceness that got me through writing down about half of it.

It wasn’t long afterwards that I started writing more seriously, on reason I think fanfiction is great, it often helps young writers gain the confidence to write their own stories. Realizing the idea could never be published though in its current form, I tried to find a new way to use the characters and the story. Naturally my thoughts went to my favorite game that I used to play with my best friend in grade school.

We used to play complex stories involving cats and dogs. We found humans frankly rather dull, so with all our stuffed animals as the kittens and puppies, we became the adult animals and made up an elaborate alternate world with Catland and Dogland, two nations that vacillated constantly between peace and war. The Cat and Dog war kept being revived, much to the inconvenience of those cats or dogs who had in peacetime moved to the opposite nation for business or other reasons. Most of our stories were set around a parallel time to World War II where cats were taken into internment camps when the Cat and Dog war started again, while other kindly dogs kid their neighbors in the basement. We spent hours in the basement playing versions of this and escaping the dog version of the Gestapo.

It wasn’t a far stretch from there to reworking the story as an earlier period of the Cat and Dog war… in a Victorian Era. However, after rewriting the first couple of chapters, I got distracted with ideas involving humans. As a teenager, I was finding humans more and more interesting and reading more complex literature, and my interest didn’t carry through. It wasn’t until a few years ago, when I was sharing older Redwall themed writing with one of my writing partners for fun, that I dug it out and showed her the first couple chapters. She found them hilarious and drew the cutest set of dog and cat art. That got me thinking that perhaps there was a place for the story after all. I rewrote it from scratch to better fit a younger audience and turned it into this current short chapter book.

I have currently live Amazon world wide (UK link), Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. It ought to be up on Kobo and Apple shortly, but hasn’t quite gone through. I had an art glitch on my print proof, so I had to send for a second proof… and it hasn’t arrived, but I expect it any day, and so will post as soon as the print copies are available.

A Thousand Words… or could be

I’ve been sorting through papers to prepare for the move (can I just say I hate moving?) with hopes of recycling what I can rather than hauling it around.  Today I discovered a box of pictures and cards I’d saved.  In the days before google plus and flicker, I’d use cards either people had sent me or ones I’d bought like writing prompts or to inspire my imagination. I still like to collage them on the wall, but over the years I’ve end up with a lot of them and the ones I found were ones I’d not seen in a long time.  I hope I’ll have somewhere to hang them soon.

Until then, since a picture is about a thousand words, according to the usual cliche, I’ve taken a photo of several of them and perhaps I’ll try to sneak in some writing exercises using them in between all the sorting and packing.  I sort of like the idea of trying to write a thousand words for each one, it’d certainly keep me in shape for the next Nanowrimo, or when I have the focus to get back to the villain sequel.

Here’s an assortment: