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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Harry Dresden Health Scare Saga

It has been a rough week in Casa Deb. If you haven't been following along on Facebook, Twitter, or my Patreon, you  might not know that I had to take Harry Dresden in to the vet early on Saturday morning after Thanksgiving. (On Small Business Saturday, when I had to be to work at the shop by about 9:15 and work most of the day.)

Harry hadn't been eating well for days. At first I thought it was just a hairball, which he's had before, but by Friday night is was clear something was really wrong. He stopped eating altogether and was very lethargic. SCARY.

Not a happy cat
I was at the vet for their emergency Saturday hours at 8:04, right after they opened. Our regular vet wasn't on duty, but the new vet, Dr. Inman, was just lovely. She examined Harry and he had a fever of almost 105 (cat's can run up to 102.5 and be considered within normal range, but 105 is HIGH). All the blood tests came back normal, including precautionary testing for feline leukemia and feline AIDS (whew). X-rays were inconclusive, but we thought maybe he'd eaten a mouse or something that didn't break down entirely. I had to leave him there for treatment for the weekend, but at least I knew he'd be in good hands.

Saturday night his fever was down (with kitty NSAIDS) and he'd had a big poop, so we thought maybe he was past the worst of it. But Sunday she called and told me his fever was back up. More x-rays, more blood tests. Some discussion of possible scary rare illnesses that we wouldn't be able to send out blood tests for until Monday.

Then on Monday, he was better! Fever had gone down and stayed down, and he was eating again. They wanted to keep him one more day just to be sure, but he seemed recovered. I went in to visit him after work and got lots of kisses and wiggling (he'd been so sick when I brought him in, he just sat in my lap listlessly). My friend Ellen, who works at the vet as a dog groomer, called me that night to tell me he'd complained LOUDLY after I left without him, and made everyone crazy. Oops. But still, a good sign.

Happy to be home
So I picked him up Tuesday afternoon. He was definitely feeling better, and much perkier. (I, on the other hand, was a little less perkier after I paid the bill. Oy.) And very happy to be home, even if Ember and Koshka hissed and growled at him because he smelled like vet. I was mostly just really relieved that it was over, because to be honest, I was terrified I was going to lose him too, and after this year, I didn't know if I could bear it.

Then he didn't eat dinner. And barely touched breakfast. So I called my regular vet, and she told me she thought I should bring him back in. (Along with Angus, who has a huge sore on his neck and was supposed to go on Tuesday, but managed to elude me.) Did I mention it has been snowing all week?

So much for my day off when I was going to get lots done. But kitties come first. So back we went, with both cats complaining loudly about the unfairness of it all. (Which was actually a good sign in Harry's case, because he hadn't made a peep when I took him in on Saturday.)

Still no temp, and he looked otherwise good except some redness in his throat, like a human might get with a bad bug. So Dr. Baker thought he'd probably had a virus, which he was still fighting a bit of, and the antibiotic he'd been put on (which would be useless against a virus, but had been a precautionary measure because we had no idea what was going on) was probably making him nauseous. Poor boy. So that's been discontinued, and he's back home again. He only nibbled at dinner, and a bit more later, but I've got my fingers crossed that he'll feel more like eating in the morning.

Huge appreciation to all my Patreon supporters--the money from that will really help to pay these vet bills. More appreciation to the people who have been buying the new necklaces and signed books I've put up on my Etsy Shop. That helps too.

Plus all the folks who have been sending out prayers, good vibes, and Reiki. You all rock.

Here's hoping that Harry Dresden is back to his usual spunky self soon.

It has been a rough week

Friday, November 16, 2018

Feline Friday: A Kitten Update


I realized I hadn't posted a report on The Wild Bunch in a while, and since I just took them all to the vet on Wednesday for shots and exams, I figured this would be a good time.

They're all doing very well--getting along with each other and Angus. They're technically not kittens anymore, since Harry Dresden is 15 months old and Koshka and Ember are about 17 months. But they still ACT like kittens, ramming around and getting into things and occasionally breaking something. (Sigh.)

 This is Koshka, playing with all the toys at once.

 Harry seemed to enjoy his first Samhain/Halloween. He went dressed as a witch's cat.

 Ember is turning into a bit more of a cuddler than she was in the beginning, although when she comes to bed with me she still insists on sleeping down by my calves.

 Two black cats, but as different from each other as they can be.

 I call Koshka my "Fluffernutter," because he is both fluffy and nuts.

Angus gets along with everyone, thank goodness. He's enjoying being the one in charge for a change.

The vet report was good. Everyone is healthy. Ember is actually the heaviest, at 10.4 lbs--and because she's small, I'm going to have to watch her weight. She's a tiny bit tubby. Harry Dresden weighed 10.3 and is sleek and fast as a demon, and Koshka is 9.7 lbs--all that fur is deceptive, and he looks larger than he is. The other two have probably stopped growing. If Koshka is part Maine Coon, as we think, they can keep growing for 2 or 3 years, so he might get a bit bigger.

I still miss Magic and Mystic terribly, and these guys aren't as consistent about keeping me company in bed, which is rough and makes me threaten to get another cat...but mostly they are wonderful and I feel very lucky to have found them all.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween and a Blessed Samhain

Wishing you all a very happy Halloween, and a blessed Samhain to those who celebrate.

May your day be just the right amount of spooky, with more treats than tricks. And if you're lucky, a black cat to cross your path.

Here's a glimpse at my holiday.

The ritual altar set up from last Saturday

One of these things doesn't belong on the table...

Harry Dresden and his first pumpkin

My remembrance altar
This was a bittersweet holiday for me, with so many losses in the year. I have never had a remembrance altar with so many pictures. Magic the Cat and her brother Mystic. My friend (and my stepdaughter's mom) Jo. My friend Alex's son Charlie. And my friend Bethany earlier this month. It was a tough one. But the year has also been filled with blessings...and all of you are among them.

Thank you for taking this journey with me. I hope your day is magical!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Bad News Good News Giveaway


By now, many of you have probably figured out that there is a problem with my new book from Llewellyn, THE LITTLE BOOK OF CAT MAGIC. You may have preordered, and gotten a message that the book's delivery is delayed. Or gone to buy it and gotten a message that said it was unavailable. All I can do is give you my huge apologies for any inconvenience, and try and explain.

It turned out that when the book came into the Llewellyn warehouse, there was a problem with the cover. The printer is working on fixing it, and they're not sure yet if they are going to have to do an entire new reprint, or if the current copies can be used. It might be resolved right away, or it could take a month or two. I can't tell you when you will get it. (Although a few copies have apparently gone out to small distributors and individuals who ordered directly from Llewellyn, they were concerned that the flaw--although minor--would be enough to get the book rejected by Amazon and B&N.)

What I can tell you is that you WILL get it if you have ordered it already or if you order it now. I hope you won't give up on the book, because I wrote it from the heart and Magic the Cat and I worked REALLY hard on it.

In the meanwhile, here is a giveaway to hold you over while you wait. Llewellyn did send me my author copies (which have the same small flaw--the top cover won't sit quite flat) and I'm going to be giving away a signed copy, along with a bunch of cute cat-themed goodies, like a black cat notebook, a black cat bookmark, a broom pen, a fun little kitty and more. The second prize (yes, there are TWO) is an Amazon Fire 7 tablet, in case you don't want to wait for the print copy, and choose to buy the book in eBook form instead. (Since there is no physical cover, all the eBook orders went out on time.)

*For those of you who did get the book in eBook form, if you have a moment, could you put up a review on Amazon (and/or Goodreads)? Because most people haven't gotten the book, there are no reviews at all!

Win a Fire 7 or a signed book with goodies!
 You know you want all this fun stuff, right?

The book, not behaving as expected. Just like a cat.
As always, to enter you simply fill out the Rafflecopter form. No purchase is necessary and one random winner will be picked for each prize.

Again, big apologies from me and from Llewellyn, and my promise that we're working to fix the problem as fast as we can. Thanks for your patience!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, October 8, 2018

Release Day for The Little Book of Cat Magic!


It's finally here!*

The Little Book of Cat Magic is out in the world. I hope you're all as excited as I am! **

I love this cover!
There are so many things about this book to be excited about. CATS! MAGIC! Plus, it is my first ever hardcover, which is pretty cool. I have to admit, there is something bittersweet for me about this book coming out now, because my beloved Magic the Cat, Queen of the Universe, isn't here to help me promote it (for the first time ever since I started publishing with Llewellyn). But as people have so kindly said, her part of the book is like her last gift to me and my readers, so I am trying to look at it that way.

And goodness knows, the new kittens will undoubtedly try to be helpful.


Here's Harry Dresden, wondering if he can order himself a copy without me knowing...

And here are a few buy links, you know, just in case you feel like ordering yourself one.

Buy Links

Barnes & Noble |Amazon |iBooks |Llewellyn  

Here is the blurb for the book, in case you are wondering what a book of cat magic is all about:

Deepen the bond between you and your cat as you weave magic together. This wonderful and witchy book is filled with a wide variety of spells, charms, and recipes that you can use to improve the lives of both you and your feline friends. From finding and naming a new cat to working with him as a familiar, The Little Book of Cat Magic has something for everyone who loves cats and magic.
Learn about cats throughout history and the myths, folklore, and deities associated with them. Explore spells for living with a cat, improving his health, and grieving and saying goodbye to him when his nine lives have run their course. Enjoy crafts and recipes, divination techniques involving cats, unique ways to channel your inner feline, and much more.

*Llewellyn has them right now. Amazon and other places might be a little late getting them in because there was apparently some delay at the printers. But if you order it now, they'll send it out to you as soon as they get it in, and anyone who preordered them should get them within a few days.

**I would normally have a great giveaway up here today, but as I type this (on Friday night, actually) I am about to head out of town to Baltimore to say goodbye to my beloved friend Bethany, who is dying of cancer. Today is her 34th birthday. And when it came down to a choice between being there for my friend and her husband, or promoting my book, it wasn't much of a choice. So I promise I will put up an even more spectacular giveaway in the next couple of days, hopefully after I have received my own author copies and will have a couple to give away. In the meanwhile, I appreciate your patience.

Happy book day! I hope you'll share a little bit about your cats in the comments.



 

Monday, October 1, 2018

RoberCon 2018

I just spent last weekend making my yearly jaunt to my local SF/fantasy/gaming convention, located at the Roberson Museum in Binghamton, NY, a little over an hour from my house. As usual, RoberCon was a blast. I got to meet Anne Bishop, who was the author guest of honor, and hang out with pal Tamora Pierce and her stalwart assistant Julie. My friend Alethea Kontis, who was visiting the area from her home in Florida, was one of the guest authors this year too.

My friend Ellen went with me (her nickname for this is "The Entourage" since she does the driving, carries the heavy bags, and is generally useful) and we got to meet up with our friend Robin and her kids, my goddess-children Nate and Sophie, who live nearby and come every year. I love it that my friend has raised some serious geeks. (Nate made his own cool steampunk vest, and Sophie wore my favorite shirt, which says, "Trust me, I'm a Doctor."

I was exhausted going in and I'm more tired now, but a great time was had by all. I have the pictures to prove it.

The gang, with the addition of Princess Alethea

Princess Alethea posing on the stairs of the Roberson Mansion

Day One lunch break: Sophie, Robin, me, and Nate. Check out that vest!

That's a lot of adorable. (Sophie got a new dragon. So did I.)

New dragons for everyone!


Crystal Sarakas, Tamora Pierce, Anne Bishop, Alethea Kontis

Anne Bishop, Alethea, me, and a slightly gimpy Tamora Pierce

Dancing authors!
I love that last picture. It really captures the spirit of these amazing authors. As soon as I stepped away from our "serious official picture" they all started dancing, even Tammy with her cane! Now you can see why we always have so much fun.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

3 weeks to The Little Book of Cat Magic Giveaway


*looks at calendar* *does double take* WHAT?

Holy crap! How is it the middle of September? I meant to do a post at the beginning of the month, reminding everyone that The Little Book of Cat Magic was going to be out in a month. Except, well, I went out of town, and things got away from me, and now we're THREE WEEKS AWAY! (Insert Kermit flail here.) October 8th is right around the corner.

So Harry Dresden and I put our heads together and came up with a fun cat-themed giveaway full of goodies.

No, the cat is not included. Why do you keep asking me?
There's a cute stuffed cat (the paws come in various colors), three different bookmarks, a witch's broom pen, a cat rubber ducky (would that make it a rubber catty?) and a cool Siamese cat candle holder.

To make up for missing the one month mark, I'm actually going to give away TWO sets of these--one here, and one on my Deborah Blake Author Page on Facebook. So feel free to enter in either place, or both. I have a few more cool things planned for the weeks ahead, because man, I'm SO excited about this book! I hope you are too. (I know Harry doesn't look excited, but really he is.)


As always, no purchase is necessary (although I'd love it if you'd preorder the book, of course) and all you have to do to enter is fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Yes, you get credit for things you've already done, like signing up for my newsletter, or following me on Twitter. Extra karma points for spreading the word!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Best Mini Vacation Evah


So last weekend I took a couple of days off and went to visit my friend Terry at her new home in Stuart, Florida. (She had to move there because of her job, and her hubby and original two cats are still back in Connecticut. So she REALLY wanted me to come visit.) I was there from Friday through Monday morning, although Monday really doesn't count, since I left her apartment for the airport at 8:30 am and got home at around 6 pm. SIGH. (Although I did get to spend time with my sister Sarah, since she was kind enough to pick me up at the Albany airport and drive me home to Oneonta.)

But reader, I had the best time! If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you might have seen some pictures of the amazing seafood we ate (there are no pictures of the wine we drank, but you can assume there was some). Stuart was a lovely little town, and I actually did a lot of research while I was there, since I'm working on a Women's Fiction novel with a setting based on it. Cute, quirky shops (I still wish I'd taken pictures of the shop fronts, because they had the cleverest names), fabulous restaurants, including our favorite which was right on the water, a boardwalk, and fun places to visit. But the best part--besides being with my friend--was the sky. It was amazing. These pictures are real, I promise.

This was at the beach about 20 minutes from her house.
 We only got to spend about 25 minutes at the beach Saturday and Sunday (Saturday we got there at 8:30 in the morning and it was already 90 degrees out), but it was really beautiful.

The clouds were incredible every day I was there.

High tide, around 9 am. All those outcroppings are actually coral.

On the main drag where all the shops were.

Terry, on the pier we visited Saturday afternoon.

Murphy!
 As you might predict from one of my friends, Terry didn't last long without getting a couple of cats to keep her company in her new place. Above is little Murphy (she's probably a Bengal, and this might be the only time I saw her sit still!) and below is Lily, who actually slept with me one night.

Lily
 This was the small, fairly hidden beach about 20 minutes from Terry's house.


Saturday afternoon, we went to the McKee Botanical Gardens. Fabulous plants and a bunch of cool life-sized metal sculptures. (Also a very nice gift shop, where I did some damage.)


Lion!

Then Sunday morning, back to the beach briefly. There were so many shells there, the "sand" was actually made up of tiny crushed shell.


Then we went to the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center, which was very cool. And educational.

Terry, showing off all the fish.
 They had sea turtles. And small sharks. And I got to feed a manta ray (all the little kids were doing it...)


Then it was back to our favorite restaurant, the Stuart Boathouse. We ate there Saturday, and it was so great, we went back for our last meal together on Sunday night. Of course, not only was the food amazing, but this was the view from our table!

My new happy place
Now I'm back to reality, and catching up on all the stuff that piled up while I was gone. But I really needed the break, and I'm grateful for good friends, good food, and of course, OCEAN.

Monday, August 20, 2018

A Visit to Animal Adventure Park!


Some of you probably remember the fuss about April the giraffe, whose pregnancy was watched by millions of people around the world. April (and her calf Tajiri) live at Animal Adventure Park, which is less than an hour from my house and right down the street from my friends Robin and George, and my beloved goddess children Nate and Sophie.

On Saturday, pal Ellen and I drove through torrential downpours to get to Robin's house. Thankfully, the rain stopped just in time for our visit to the park. We spent three lovely hours hanging out and meeting all the animals, and seeing the many they'd added since our visit last year (including my favorites, the rare white lions, of which there are only 20 left in the wild and 300 in the entire world) and a kangaroo with her baby poking its head our of her pouch.

You get to feed many of the tamer animals, which is fun, and I got to spend the day with some of my favorite people, too. All in all, a wonderful day.

Here are a few pictures. If you can ever get there, you should really go visit.


April

Ellen making new friends

Wolf!

Black bear

One of the white lions

George, Robin, and Nate taking a break

Kanga and Roo

Little goats. Not endangered, but darn cute

Me with my favorite kids (and our booty from the gift shop), with Ellen hiding

Best portapotties ever

The whole gang at the end of the day

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