Notes from a Growing Cat


Okay, so I have to let you know how things have been going around here.

Image result for cartoon of bad cat

Right now, I’m Kitty Non Grata, as my two legged calls me, or else Peck’s Bad Boy. I have no idea why she would call me that, and I don’t know what these names mean. I don’t mind Fluffy Butt and Silly, but at least those sound nice.

And I’m certainly quite nice – I talk to her all the time, eat my food (although there’s never enough of the good stuff), keep her company while she writes, and make her and Hubs laugh. I do demand to be petted while she’s writing, but she doesn’t seem to mind giving me cuddles from time to time.

I do love two legged’s food. Something called chicken, another something called steak, cheese (my favorite) and cereal milk, although she usually takes it away before I can get my nose into it. I need my sustenance, because I’m a growing cat.

I even let her brush me, although I don’t tolerate that wiry thing for long. She says I have incipient mats – do you know what incipient mats are? Anyway, she makes me all fluffy a couple of times a week.

Since I’ve discovered the upstairs, I have all sorts of room to run: up and down the hallway, up and down the stairs. The only problem is, she can hear me coming. And upstairs is where I apparently got into trouble. There are these things called quilts she had hanging over the bannister and wall. They are lots of fun to play under and occasionally they fall on the floor. I don’t know what the big deal is.

Upstairs is also a nice big bathroom. I like the place where the water comes from the ceiling. It’s fun to listen to it drip down the hole in the center of the floor, and I like to sleep in there. There’s also something called a washcloth – sometimes they end up on the floor, where I do battle with them. I killed at least two of them last week.

Well, I think that’s all the fun I have to report. But if you figure out what Peck’s Bad Boy is, do tell.


PS From Garfield’s two legged:

Henry “Hennery” Peck, popularly known as Peck’s Bad Boy, is a fictional character created by George Wilbur Peck (1840–1916). The Bad Boy appeared in numerous print, stage, and film adaptations, some as recently as the 1940s. The character is portrayed as a mischievous prankster, and the phrase “Peck’s bad boy” has entered the language to refer to anyone whose mischievous or bad behavior leads to annoyance or embarrassment.

I’ll have to clue him in.


And The Winner Is…


TBD!  No firm decision on the cover yet, but all y’all (along with family and other readers of my series) helped me narrow it down to two possibilities.

 I’m working with the artists now to tweak each of them, and then a final decision will be made. Stay tuned for the reveal. Or maybe I’ll let you look at the final two….

Help Me Choose the Cover for Death in a Mudflat

My fourth book, Death in a Mudflat, is in its (hopefully) final edit. The story begins with the marriage of Marsh Adams (Medical Examiner) to Belladonna Zundic (a member of the Maine Major Crimes unit) on a pavilion on the beach in Pequod. The guests are drawn to the noise of Jeep, whose owner is trying to extricate it from a mudflat. With all of the spinning and mud flying, an arm is revealed in the mud.
Here are my final selections for the cover. Would you left me know which one you prefer? Just put a number into your comments.



Book Review – Ryan Kaine: On the Defensive by Kerry J. Donovan @JKerryJDonovan #RBRT #thriller #suspense

Ryan Kaine: On the Defensive: Book Three in the Ryan Kaine Action Thriller Series by [Donovan, Kerry J]

This is the third in the Ryan Kaine series by Kerry Donovan, and it’s been interesting to see how the main character and his story evolve through the books. This one is quite a change from the first, which left me out of breath by the end with its fast and furious pace, and the second, where the pace had slowed marginally but gathered steam as it went along.

On the Defensive opens in a small Greek bistro in London, where the owners, Justina Constantine and her husband Orestes, struggle to keep the business open. Justina’s father-in-law, Papa Onassis, had been killed when the flight he was on to Europe was brought down by a missile – one fired by Ryan Kaine, who didn’t know at the time he was set up. They owe thousands of pounds to the bank and business is way off because a developer has bought the block where the bistro is located and is systematically forcing the tenants to leave. This day Justina is visited by two men, who smash up the restaurant, rough her up and threaten to harm her daughters if her husband won’t sign papers selling their place to the developer. A terrifying opening and a great hook.

What bothered me about the book is what came next: a long, long digression to a villa in France. There Ryan Kaine lives the veterinarian Lara, who is introduced in the first book when she rescues him from the people sent to kill him and who must now remain with him for her safety. Filled with their bandinage, the story drags while Kaine, who has promised to make restitution to the families affected by the death of their loved ones on the plane, is informed of the situation with the Constantine family. His plan to help them, his interactions with Lara, and the arrangement for a backup for him in London occupy the next seven chapters and to me, the story dragged.

Admittedly, the author needs to fill in information about Kaine, Lara, and the mechanism by which Kaine is told when and where he might be needed. There is also Kaine’s internal struggle not to fall in love with Lara – a struggle he is losing – because of the mortal danger their relationship brings. However, this long a digression from what I’ve come to expect – a fast-paced story – detracted from my enjoyment.

One the story returns to London, the pace picks up and the reader becomes engrossed in how Kaine inserts himself into the Constantines’ lives, identifies and finds their tormentors, manages to wreak justice on the man at the top, and rescue the bistro and the Constantine family. This is pure Donovan.

As usual, the author’s descriptions of places are succinct but well-wrought and the villains are loathsomely three dimensional. All the characters are clear and identifiable, with quirks and foibles. There are the usual twists and turns along the way, leading to a satisfying ending, with more foreshadowed to come.

All in all, a good, fun read, but maybe not up to the level of the first and second books. Nevertheless, for Ryan Kaine fans, this latest adventure will please.

About the author:

Kerry J Donovan was born in Dublin. Kerry earned a first class honours degree in Human Biology, and has a PhD in Sport and Exercise Sciences. A former scientific advisor to The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, he helped UK emergency first-responders prepare for chemical attacks in the wake of 9/11. This background adds a scientific edge to his writing. He is also a former furniture designer/maker. He is the author of a sci-fi/thriller, The Transition of Johnny Swift, which reached #1 on the Amazon Bestsellers List in December 2014.

 A citizen of the world, he now lives in the heart of rural Brittany with his wonderful and patient wife, Jan. They have three children and four grandchildren (so far), all of whom live in England. An absentee granddad, Kerry is hugely grateful for the development of video calling.

You can find Kerry Donovan on

Facebook at

His blog at:

And on Twitter at:

His books are on Amazon at:

Jupiter: Poisonous but Beautiful


Jupiter, fifth planet from the sun and named for the king of the Roman Gods, is in the news. It is a gas giant, primarily composed of hydrogen, with a quarter of its mass being helium. It may also have a rocky core, but lacks a well-defined solid surface. The outer atmosphere is visibly segregated into several bands, resulting in turbulence and storms along their interacting boundaries.

Jupiter was recognized in ancient times, and a giant storm known as the Great Red Spot has existed at least since the 17th century when it was first seen through a telescope. This planet has more than 60 moons, the largest among them are Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.

The one billion dollar Juno probe program launched a probe on August 5, 2011. Its trajectory used a gravity speed boost from Earth, accomplished by an Earth flyby in October of 2013, to reach Jupiter, and arrived in Jupiter orbit on July 5, 2016, where it performed an orbital insertion burn slow enough to allow it to be captured by the planet. The spacecraft traveled a total distance of roughly 2.8 billion kilometers (1.74 billion miles). On board the probe are instruments that allow it to map Jupiter’s gravity fields, investigate the composition of its atmosphere and monitor the planet’s auroras, among other tasks.

The probe fully orbits Jupiter once every 53 days and ventures as close as 2,600 miles to the planet’s surface. Its current mission is slated to continue through July, but scientists may propose to extend it at that time.

“Juno is providing spectacular results, and we are rewriting our ideas of how giant planets work,” Scott Bolton, a principal investigator on the Juno program, said in a statement last February.

Two citizen scientists, Gerald Eichstadt and Sean Doran, have enhanced the images from the probe by manipulation the color and contrast. This is something encouraged by NASA’s JunoCam project  because even though Juno’s abilities are literally out of this world, the images transmitted by the craft still don’t do the planet justice.

As a result the pictures of Jupiter are spectacular. Here are a few:

Artist’s conception of the probe against a background of Jupiter

The Great Red Spot





Swirls seen at Jupiter’s poles, which had not been seen before, but now be revealed as the probe circles the planet.

After its final trip around Jupiter, the probe will enter what NASA euphemistically calls its “deorbit phase,” in which Juno will spend the last five plus days of its existence hurling itself into Jupiter. The planet’s atmosphere is so harsh, the spacecraft will burn up. This is being done because NASA and its Office of Planetary Protection have strict rules about contaminating space, especially if it involves places where we would look for life.

One of Jupiter’s moons, Europa, is thought to be one of the best sites for finding living organisms beyond Earth, because there may be an ocean beneath its frozen surface. NASA is currently working on how to send a lander to Europa. Two other Jovian moons, Ganymede and Callisto, are also on the list of contenders.

Our thanks are due to the patient team who set this project on its way!

Introducing Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age and an interview with its author, Charles Yallowitz


Charles Yallowitz has been one of my blogging buddies for several years. He’s quite an interesting fellow, and you can learn a lot about him from his blog. He has the writing energy of ten people, and this has resulted in fifteen (yes, fifteen) books in the Legends of Windemere series. His prodigious determination in writing has been in inspiration when I’m flagging.

His biography tells us this about him:

Charles was born, raised and educated in New York. He then spent a few years in Florida, but his fear of alligators moved him back to the Empire State.

He has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

When he isn’t writing, he loves to cook or go on on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. Legends of Windemere is his first series, but it certainly won’t be his last.

Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age is the final book of in this fantasy adventure series, which comes after 15 volumes and 19 years.  Needless to day, they’ve been a big part of his life!

I had some questions for him.

What else have you  devoted time to over the years?

This is actually a tougher question than it seems because when I’m an author and a stay-at-home parent.  If I’m not working on my stories, I’m either with my son or doing stuff around the house.  The latter is rather tedious, but I do enjoy cooking.  Not enough that I would take classes and make a backup career of it.  It’s very much like writing where you take all of these parts to make a whole.  Being the house cook also means I don’t have to worry about what’s for dinner and keep asking until it ends up being whatever can be defrosted quickly.  My best dishes are Penn with homemade vodka sauce, bourbon chicken, and kielbasa marinated in beer and horseradish for two days.  I should probably put grilled cheese and Mac & Cheese on there because my son won’t stray very far from those dishes.  At least I can get him to eat vegetables with his dinner and we’re having trouble keeping enough bananas in the house to keep the monkey happy.

Honestly, this might be a cop out for the subject, but my favorite thing of all is to spend time with my son.  Most of the other things I enjoy end up getting tied into what I do with him.  He’s into superheroes now, so we’ve watched the Justice League animated series from the 2000’s and we play with superhero Legos.  My son has taken to the more obscure characters too like Black Canary, Firestorm, and Martian Manhunter.  Only one of those comes in Lego form, so the others have to be acted out.  As long as I’m not told to rest on the couch until I’m needed to be a sidekick or villain.  The bulk of my Lego fun comes from putting the sets together in the first place since I’m not really allowed to touch them afterwards.  His rules and I’d rather not get blamed for breaking one and unleashing a dramatic ‘everything is ruined’ speech while I hunt for the instruction manual.

Aside from superheroes, my son and I both love animals.  He watches a lot of Wild Kratts and Planet Earth II when he eats his meals.  I’m a member at the Bronx Zoo, so I get him a free shirt every year when I renew and this is always a moment of excited because he wants to know what animal he will get.  We’ve had red panda, komodo dragon, and the recent one is a snow leopard silhouette.  Unfortunately, we can’t always get out to the zoo because it’s a trip and the bridge is expensive.  The smaller one is tough too because parking runs out really fast, so we have to leave early.  Thankfully, we live on Long Island and there are plenty of preserves that we can go to.  Some have animals in the central building, but most are just walking around a forest or the shoreline.  My son won’t get upset if we see nothing special since he could be excited to see a squirrel or a gull.  Really hope he maintains that mentality for as long as possible because cynicism can be quite crushing.

What else fills your time?

Everything else I’m into is rather tame like action movies, manga, and anime.  I’ve gravitated a lot more to the Japanese comics and cartoons as I got older because I find them to be better stories.  Compared to most American stuff, they usually aim for an ending, so it won’t be the same hero and villain fighting for the hundredth time over another bank robbery.  Don’t get me wrong because I do enjoy the American stuff.  I’ve just hit a point in my life where I like working on things that have endings.  To not see a light at the end of the tunnel makes me think that I’ll be reading it forever and eventually get bored.  This is another reason why I make sure have an ending in mind for all of my stories.  Legends of Windemere took a lot of influence from manga and anime in regard to having a finale in sight and focusing on one group of characters that will be there to the end.  Although, the other reason is because my free time is limited and a short series of books or episodes is easier to fit in than something that requires years of dedication.  Yeah, my favorite stuff tends to be simplistic and relaxing because I work so hard on my writing.

Please feel free to check out Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age or help spread the word to those who love fantasy adventures.  Enjoy the adventure.


Charles can be found

On his website:

On his blog:

On twitter: @cyallowitz

And on Facebook:

You can find Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age  and the rest of the Legends on Amazon:

I also love the cover artwork by Jason Pederson – amazing!


The First of New Followers in 2018


These are new followers from the last month or so. Check them out – there might be someone in there whose blog attracts you. Strike up a new relationship!  On this blog are short, snappy book reviews. The theme seems to be mainly romance but there was a paranormal vampire in there, too.

Urvashi at writes about things that pique her interest, not subscribing to a single theme. She thinks life is more beautiful when it is full of surprises and serendipity. You will find poetry, short stories, quotes etc. The author of this blog has been close to death many times and is alive because of body parts from other people. He wants his life to be a daring adventure, to live it to the very fullest. Consequently, the posts are quotes, reflections, and wonderful photographs. A blog after my own heart!  Bryan Fagan is a divorce lawyer in Texas, and posts about the practical aspects of divorce. Not sure how he found me, but I’ve been married 50 years so I doubt I have need of him.  Maybe someone out there does?  is written by Sarah and Louis, a nurse and teacher from Wimbledon, London. They’ve travelled around some amazing countries while sticking to a strict budget and after many of their friends have asked for advice on where to go and what to see in preparation for their own adventures, they decided to make this website for people planning their own fun on a limited budget. The photography is fantastic and the places they’ve been are GREAT! Do check this blog out before your next trip! Ellen Jacobson who lives with her husband on a 34-foot sailboat. They to travel on water and on land in search of adventure. The interesting people we meet along the way, the amazing places we get to visit, and the things we’ve experience inspire this blog. Ellen is currently working on a cozy mystery series, The Mollie McGhie Sailing Mysteries, about a reluctant sailor turned amateur sleuth. If you want to know more about our travel adventures and what it’s like to live on a sailboat, this blog is for you! is a blog by Scarlett Brodie, a mystery writer herself. She loves to post about scenes from some of her favorite books, reviews of mysteries, and other observations. Her posts are fun – check her out! The author of this blog has a degree in Journalism but works in the areas of finance and later on, public safety. Her blog is all about roaming the Bicol Region of the Philippines on a budget – great hotel deals, good food and where to go on your vacation. One of her latest posts was about a food stall making crepes. I am still salivating from the pictures and the descriptions. How do they find me? They advertise really buff young men serving women at parties, while wearing nothing but an apron and a bow tie. Woo hoo! But they are in Melbourne, Australia. Too bad.  Robbo is a red wine and pizza connoisseur, corporate prisoner and perpetual traveler who lives restlessly with my wife and travel partner McGee and his dog Winston, impatiently awaiting his next adventure. His blog tells stories of escape and a relentless desire to be lost to the perfect moment and he hopes it inspires you to do the same. Really good writing about his travels with perfect photographs. is written by a young man named Festenstein and has very eclectic posts – one recent was on the World Wrestling Federation, with others about human phobias, imagination and inspirational people!

Jonny blogs at He is an ex-teacher living on Kent’s South coast, who’s spent most of his life worrying about one thing or another. Nevetheless, he’s busy, loves learning, reading and drinking coffee. His blog is partly a diary and partly an attempt to force himself to make a few important lifestyle changes. He posts amazing free wheeling poetry with acute observations. This company can plan your trip for you. If you are thinking about seeing Nepal, you might start here!

Paul at says he is writing about writing for writers. Despite the overuse of one word, his blog does contain some interesting thoughts as well as free, practical advice – such as free giveaways of books is killing the indie market, all about marketing, must read books from 2017, and insights and publishing trends for 2018. Check him out! A really good site if you are looking for kitchen cookware. This site compares all the pros and cons of the various cookware and appliances. How they found me, I don’t know, but the information is useful. You can tuck this one away.

John Eidswick blogs at He I lives with his wife and spirited 9-year-old progeny in Japan, where he teaches English. His short fiction has appeared in several journals and he has written two novels. Check out his books: The Language of Bears and The Rabbit Skinners (a mystery).

Suman D. blogs at He is a freelancer who works as a business advisor.  Right now I am drooling over two recipes (plus accompanying pictures) he posted. You might want to check them out.

A Solomon – all I got was a gravatar, but it could be Andrew Solomon, whose site is  Andrew Solomon is a writer and lecturer on psychology, politics, and the arts; winner of the National Book Award; and an activist in LGBT rights, mental health, and the arts. I would be honored if he were following me.

Phoenix ❤ who blogs at Known by her nickname “Ami,” Miss Phoenix Desertsong has written for many online publications, often under pen names. She has work published in several areas under her “Christian” name of Amelia Lockhart. I particularly liked a post entitled “How Your Anxiety Disorder Can turn you into Darth Vader”! and another on how to deal wit toxic people.

Sharon blogs at  She is an entrepreneur and started her blog because of her love for having a creative outlet for writing, style, beauty and healthy living. Her goal is to inspire and encourage individuals to live more productively, purposefully and positively. One of her recent posts was about why followers will ‘like’ and post but not bother to comment!

Cheche Winnie at writes an inspiration blog. She is the daughter of an alcoholic and faced terrible barriers growing up. TO read her poetry and writing, it is clear she has come through her experiences with a good heart and positive outlook. Her mantra: “We only have one life so we better live it at our very best. Learn new skills, exploit our talents and live BIG. Let’s stop making excuses for under achieving and give it our all. Be yourself coz sadly everyone else is taken. Enjoy small things that make life sweet.”

Kogwuonye Patrick Onyeka is the author of and hopes it will be an inspiring and informative entertainment portal! The topics are eclectic and interesting: In Honor of Women, Spoken Words Can’t be Retrieved, Patrick Quotes, Power of Smile. Check it out!

Barry and Kelly blog at They are a young couple that moved to Northern Cali from Canada to pursue careers in chiropractic. In this blog, they share health related tips to maximize the quality of life. Their mission is to create a community of physical and mental health in all aspects of life. A great blog for the new year!

Any of my crafty followers will love The authors aim is to publish DIY ideas of hers learned from doing simple and easy crafts. Recent posts include how to make a pop-up card, how to create a tiny nail polish flower, and how to make a beads doll.

Thanks to all my new followers!

Book Review: Fred’s Funeral by Sandy Day (@sandeetweets) #RBRT # historical fiction


Fred’s Funeral is a novella by Sandy Day, inspired by hundreds of letters written by the author’s Great Uncle Fred, but a wonderful concoction of her imagination.

Fred Sadler has just died in his room in a hospital for the mentally ill. He sees his cousin and his brother and a whole family of those who died before him, congregating on the other side of an ethereal divide. The problem is, he can’t cross the divide. He finds himself – or at least his consciousness – watching from the ceiling of his room, as his priggish sister-in-law, Viola, and her brother, Thomas, open his one possession, an old battered suitcase. It is Viola who gives her interpretation of Fred’s life based on old memories and the contents of the suitcase.

As they paw through his belongings, Fred is shocked to find Viola’s version of the events of his life is not as he remembers it. Why had he spent so many years locked up in Whitby Hospital for the Insane?

As Fred moves through his funeral and the gathering of the family afterward, and between his memories and the pronouncements of Viola and others, we learn that the young Fred went off to fight in World War I and came back damaged: addicted to binge drinking, constantly angry and full of anxieties. At that time, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome was not recognized, and the remainder of his life was consumed by his trying to govern his emotions and fit in, his family’s attempts to provide and adjust for him, and finally, his placement in the hospital. We are reminded of the barbarity of the so-called modern treatments for patients at that time in such institutions.

What I particularly liked about this story are the ways different people look at the same events, and the ability to see how his confusion, frustration, and mental breakdown – now so understandable – were met with misunderstanding by his family. Fred desperately wants to gain control of his life, to spend his life in the home and with the family he so values, but can’t help pushing them away.  The reader can feel his angst and understand his actions, but at the same time see themselves in the family’s shoes. The author does a wonderful job of describing family relationships and deep-seated feelings.

This is a short, but very profound read.

About the author:

Sandy Day is the author of Chatterbox, Poems. She graduated from Glendon College, York University, with a degree in English Literature and spends her summers in Jackson’s Point, Ontario on the shore of Lake Simcoe. She winters nearby in Sutton by the Black River. Sandy took 20 years off from writing to run a gift store and raise a family, but is now a trained facilitator for the Toronto Writers Collective’s creative writing workshops. She is a developmental editor and book coach.

You can find her at


And Fred’s Funeral on Amazon at

Happy New Year from Me, Garfield


 Well, I survived whatever the last two weeks are called – Christmas and New Year’s? My two legged was so busy every day, I hardly got any pets. So I had to do something to get her attention. Like walking around on the table, which was set with nice plates and napkins, and knocking stuff on the floor – or ripping the ribbon off the tree – or racing around the house as fast as I could go, skidding on the wood floor. I got swatted with a newspaper a couple of times, but then she petted me.

I got some pretty nice snacks, too – some beef at Christmas and ham for New Year’s. And quite a bit of cheese. I love cheese.

Sleeping in my favorite place – her lap!

So two days ago, I decided not to be afraid of the stairs. They’d blocked them off with a gate, which had fallen on me the first time I tried to get around it. It scared the fur off me. Since then, they’ve put little treats on the stairs to convince me not to be afraid. So when they weren’t looking, I slunk upstairs. The problem was, I got confused and when they called me, I had to chirp to let them know where I was so they could put on a light or two. Were they surprised!

Then I climbed up to surprise my two legged while she was writing. I was just going to breeze by her legs and maybe scare her, but I chirped accidentally, and she saw me.

Last night I discovered this big, flat, soft thing where my two legged spends her nights. When she turned the light off, I jumped up and walked all over her – just to let her know I was there and needed petting. After petting me a little, she stopped. I think she fell asleep. So I stayed with her all night. It was soft and warm and a great place to flake out.

Anyway, to all my four-legged friends out there, and their two leggeds, Happy New Year! I’m a lucky cat and I know you all are lucky, too!