Saturday, April 30, 2016

Oscar's Grand Adventure

If grand-cat Oscar's big adventure was moving from our son's house to ours, then his grand adventure was last night.

Oscar is 11 years old and quite the athlete, at least as compared to his "uncle" Tuxedo who is almost 15 and needs help accessing the bed. Oscar makes a running leap and he's there. That said, Oscar is also a house cat and since he has been here has never tried to go outside. Very good.

But he likes the windows and when he turned up missing this morning, I recalled a similar incident with cat Pyewacket, who had pushed against a window screen until it bent, then he had tumbled out, down the metal porch roof and spent a scary night under my car.

Oscar does have a hidey-hole of some sort which I've not been able to find, so when he wasn't present last night as I went to bed and I'd done a cursory search, I thought he was being stubborn and was in it. But this morning, when his food had not been touched, I began a room by room search.

Last evening, we had installed a new dehumidifier in the basement. Tuxedo had had basement adventures before, but as Oscar has shown no interest in the basement, and Tux was asleep in the den, we might have been a bit lax about the door. So, since all the screens were intact, that was the logical place for him to be. Except I'd called to him last night there. And again this morning. And I'd used a flashlight to check out the dark corners of our pier and beam house. No Oscar.

A last ditch attempt, and crying like a fishwife, I went back into the basement. Suddenly there was a meow and out he popped! He'd been in the dark and without food or water for well over 12 hours. I can't say I felt sorry for him. I'd given him his chances and he could always have come to the door and squalled.

He knew I was miffed and for the next hour, he tried to make up to me, twining about my legs and following me around. I've forgiven him and I hope he's learned his lesson about dark places. In the meantime, if we're in the basement, the door will have to be closed.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Weather-ing a book: A Round Robin post

At every writer’s conference, there’s bound to be a workshop on Setting as Character. Gothic house, Bahamian beach, big city, small town… each calls for a different cast of “human” characters and situations. But does the weather influence the book as well?

I think so. I quit reading a popular mystery author when I realized after 5 or 6 books that each of her stories was set in the dreary autumn with a too-hopeless-to-be-helped heroine. It made me consider more closely not only my type of heroine (I need women who can save themselves but aren’t too proud to accept help), but also the weather. And here I had to pull up short, because I was writing nothing but August.

August in Texas usually. Not only is it my birthday month, August in Texas has its own characteristics. With few exceptions, it’s wearyingly hot and dry. Not just a little hot, but over 100 degrees hot. Humid, but no rain. It creates a certain atmosphere of lassitude. Everyone is just waiting for that first gust of autumn air, usually mid-September and then snatched away until October. But the September peek at fall gives us hope. But we don’t have that hope in August.

I had already set a few books in August in Texas. It was time to try a different time of year if not a different place. Spring break in Florida. Autumn in Maine. Fall and spring in Texas. August—but in Hawaii!

To see how other authors handle the weather, please check out the following Round Robin members:

Skye Taylor
Rachael Kosinski
Beverley Bateman
Connie Vines
Anne Stenhouse
Helena Fairfax
Judith Copek
Dr. Bob Rich
Victoria Chatham
Rhobin Courtright

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