Yes, this is filled with whisky

Yes, this is filled with whisky

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

This blog is going to the dogs, Day 24

"Mom! There's a shark on the lawn!"


Your torture continues. I struggled mightily to narrow down my vast cache of favorite feline photos, finally reducing it to seven. I've attached one, but would need only the slightest crook of your royal finger to send you the other six! I'm captioning the attached photo as thus: Mom! I think there's a shark on our lawn...

I have four cats. Ol' man Otis is often called "Pappy Otis" as he cheerfully adopted the tiny kittens we rescued two years ago. We'd hoped Lady, the Queen of the Kingdom, would become a surrogate mama, but she wanted nothing to do with such base creatures. The Wonder Twins, Luna and Lily, are identical beyond a minuscule variance in the white stripe down each grey nose. We have no children, so my cats are truly my fur babies.

Thank you again for running the 100-word contests on your blog. I truly feel they've helped me refine my prose. I already write in a tight fashion - both my thrillers capped at 73,000 words - but your contests require exquisite attention to form and word choice, which is particularly vital for short stories. I was notified last week that a 750-word crime story I wrote for the WOW blog (WomenonWriting.com) is in the finals for their quarterly contest. If I win, it will be my first contest win, my first short story published, and my first monies ($350.00.) Small potatoes, I know, but one has to start somewhere! Since I would retain all rights, I plan to expand it to 1500 words and try submitting it to Ellery Queen Magazine. (hardly small potatoes! VERY nice potatoes!!!)

34 comments:

french sojourn said...


The menagerie looking out the glass.

Wonderful lil' creatures. Congrats on your writing.

Cheers Hank

Colin Smith said...

Awww!!! Those are adorable kitties!!! (Am I saying that about all the cats? Well, they ARE adorable!)

All the best with the contest, Opie. Congrats for getting as far as you have. I'm still pursuing that elusive first publication, so I'm right there with you, rooting for you! :) And Ms. Shark is right, $350 is nothing to sneeze at. Keep us posted on how you get on.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Egads, a shark on the lawn ?

The kitties will save you. God bless the kitties.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

What a great picture! Four cats must really keep you on your toes ;)

And I agree with the queen, mais oui, that isn't small potatoes at all, Opie! Fingers crossed for you, that's amazing.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Good thing you have all those cats. They will turn that shark on the lawn to tuna fish in short measure. What a great picture. I would love to see the other 6.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Awww. What a great picture. Love the focused attentiveness of the two looking out the window. And that one looking at the camera/Mom/Dad, must be Lady, Queen of the Kingdom?

And congrats Opie on being a finalist. Have you found out yet? Let us know...

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

HUGE congratulations on being a WOW finalist... YAY! And what beautiful kitties. But why is your floor so clean? I don't know what that's like, clean floors. I have too many four-leggeds who follow behind the broom or vacuum shedding more hair and dripping more drool.

DLM said...

Hooray for potatoes and Pappy, whose name and attitude I adore.

Melanie Sue Bowles, I have SUCH a thing about floors. As mine are in need of refinishing but that is roughly Project #6734 out of 57866 (hooray for homeownership too!), I live in envy of other people's floors. I am, by the way, on about Project #23 out of 57893 (oops, the number - she climbed!).

abnormalalien (Jamie A. Elias) said...

Aww cute kitties and story about Pappy. Is Pappy is the majestic boy in the middle? If so, his expression seems to emanate wisdom.

Congrats on the finalist story as well. We're all rooting for you.

RachelErin said...

Opie,
Thanks for sharing how the flash fiction contests helped you - I need a push to get back into them. When I first started they helped my articles a lot (in a 500 word science story, you get about 100-150 words for narrative, and the rest for facts/quotes, although there is some overlap. Writing the 'story' first made mine more interesting.

I've slacked off on them though, because I don't do much writing on the weekends (I write during my commute, lunch break, and an extra half hour before I go home). And because I feel guilty when not editing my WIP every second I am writing.

How do the rest of you handle that - balancing writing contests and/or blog posts while working on longer projects?

And I love the picture. My youngest just turned two, so I don't have a baby around the house right now, and I've been craving pets (those two facts are connected in my mind, somehow).

Stephen G Parks said...

Way to go OP! Four cats and potatoes... um yeah, you know what I mean. Good luck with the contest entry!

Susan said...

Love this picture! The one in the back certainly sees something s/he likes, and the one in the front looks mighty guilty! Congrats and best wishes, Opie. The reef is rooting for you!

Melanie and Diane: I hear that about the floors. My house is 90% wood floors, which are gorgeous and I love it, but it collects hair and dust like crazy. And my dogs have scratched them up quite a bit in the years we've been here. But, as they say, I'd rather have my furfaces than a perfect house--it's these guys that make it home to me, anyway.

Theresa said...

The cats are as stunning as the beautifully clean floor. Mine is littered with the dust bunnies that the basset leaves behind. I have an efficient vacuum cleaner, but that would involve, you know, work.

Barbara Etlin said...

Wow on your WOW finalizing and good luck! (Also thanks for the reminder to check out WOW's contests.) I had to cut a 400-word newspaper article to 150 words. My experience with writing poetry helped with that feat! Writing flash fiction can also help you write sparely.

Cute kitties, too. Who needs clean floors when you have the best house accessory of all--cat (or dog) hair?

Claire Bobrow said...

These 3 are beauties, Opie. And your caption is hilarious! Is that the rare Squirrel Shark out there on the lawn?

It looks like you've provided a basket of yarn for the kitties as an alternative to pouncing on sharks. Awww :-)

Good luck with the contests - we're all rooting for you!!

julieweathers said...

I love this picture. It is so homey. I can imagine the feline friends are great company. Congratulations to the OP on the contest and I wish you the very best of luck.

It's certainly not small potatoes. My former editor used to make very good money writing stories for magazines, changing them up a bit and reselling them to other magazines. She packed into the mountains in Idaho and Montana one year following a wild horse herd and wrote stories about them. People in Europe ate them up. It was a wild departure for a woman who had been editing architectural magazine in Palm Springs, but something she felt driven to do.

Anyway, don't discount what a person can do with freelance writing.

Donnaeve said...

PO (pet owner), a big congratulations on placing as a finalist in the WoW contest! That is no small tater in of itself, and the $'s? That ain't small taters either. Like others said, keep us posted and Good luck!

I must do captions b/c...such expressive kitty faces!

Cat #1 (paws on sill) "Sh*t to shineola, you see that?"
Cat #2 (black cat) "Chill, idget. You're much too eager for a cat. Maintain your cool. Like this."
Cat #3 (looking at human) "Is it for real? Or did you put one of them stupid plastic ones out there again?"

Peggy Rothschild said...

What great cats! I love their bright, engaged expressions. My cats don't usually tune in that way for birds, but if a lizard strolls by the slider, they get that same intense 'ready for business' look on their faces.

Peggy Rothschild said...

P.S. - And a big congrats on the contest and going pro!

Karen McCoy said...

Very nice potatoes indeed! All the kitties are adorable, but I especially love the cat looking at the human, as if to say, "Are you making fun of us?"

Joseph Snoe said...

Great picture. (and I like the boxes in the back corner, too)

Until Claire mentioned three cats, I only saw two.

I agree with O.P. Winning the contest and getting published are the public rewards. The benefit of the $350 is the realization others value her writing’s merit and desirability enough to pay for it. It’s one more step up on the writing career ladder. Making the finals was a big step, too. The 350 would be nice but it would be spent soon.

BJ Muntain said...

Beautiful cats! I so understand the problem of finding one picture among many. So are the greys the Wonder Twins and the black Pappy Otis?

$350 is pretty darn good potatoes for your first sale. Best of luck in the contest!

Craig F said...

It has to be a shark in the yard. I have a busy bird feeder eight feet in front of our picture window and I could not get three cats lined up for it. They don't even do it when a mallard shows up trying to find its way to the seed.

By busy I mean 20 pounds of quality(WBU) feed. The suet feeder lasts like three hours per cake. At times when I drive in it looks like the fire scene from Bambi but the cats will not line up like that.

Of course the young one, Troubled, has a tendency to pounce on the other two whenever he sees them.

Is the center cat one of those almost mythical solid black cats?

Congratulations on you writing career so far. Hope it grows in leaps and bounds.

Beth said...

Landshark! What a great picture. Your kitties almost glow with health. I had a solid black cat with yellow eyes as a kid. Are they rare?

Congratulations on the finalist slot. So exciting. Please let us know when you win.

Kitty said...

With a name like Kitty, how could I not love pictures of cats! I particularly love the black cat. It looks like our Ichabod, who was with us for nearly 20 years.

Btw, OP, thanks for the contest info. I spent the morning and part of this afternoon editing a 991-wd. story down to 747 and submitted. That means that as of 1:59 this afternoon, WOW had not reached their quota of 300 entries.

Catherine Vignolini said...

Dear 4-Catwoman,
Concatulations to your pack on finding you!
And hearty congratulations to you for your contest success!

CynthiaMc said...

Cute kitties!

Becky Mushko said...

Poor kitties! They have to stand up to see the shark?! Best get them a bench! With nice cushions. Possibly smelling of catnip. Kitties expect such things. At least mine do.

AJ Blythe said...

What gorgeous cats. Makes me pine for one of my own. Sadly, cats don't love me and Jeckle very much so since the passing of our precious Ducati (a hypoallergenic Devon Rex we owned in the hope of fooling the allergies *fail*) we've been cat-less.

Lennon Faris said...

Love the faces here. They are watching that shark intently!

And, congrats on the contest! That's very impressive!

Panda in Chief said...

What lovely kitties. I have never mastered the art of choosing cats that will get along with each other. Yours are lovely!

And congratulations for the story success! That is wonderful!

kdjames.com said...

Wow, I can't imagine having four cats. What a ruckus they must make. Do you ever sleep? But they sure are beautiful. Love their intent expressions.

And congrats on being a finalist in the contest! That's the best kind of news. Fingers crossed for a win.

MA Hudson said...

I read somewhere that if you only have one cat you're a dog person. With four cats there's no questioning which category you fall in!
That is a grand and gorgeous kitty family. They look so cute and curious.

RachelErin - My version of balancing work on contests with my WIP involves ditching the contests. I know they're good for my writing but I barely have time to work on my WIP as it is. I feel I need to focus my energy and passion on my book until it's finished. Maybe then I'll do some contests before starting a new novel. Good on you for doing both. I'm sure it's hugely beneficial.

RachelErin said...

MA Hudson
- I've been doing the same as you, but wondering if it's like skipping sprints when you're training for a 5K - of course you need to do the 10K conditioning runs, but the sprints matter, too. Comforting to hear about others knowing in their gut that it's not possible to do everything, all the time.