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Hitting the Genre Right

Writing books isn’t the only thing a writer has to keep track of, especially not when she’s indie. I am pretty stoked to share that I have updated, or my cover artist Candice Gilmer has updated, the look and feel of the covers for my science fiction “during apocalypse” romance trilogy, the Maelstrom Trilogy. These covers should be hitting the genre right, not a swing and a whiff! I also renamed the first book from Angeli to DEFENDER because, well, there are no actual angels in that book (only fake ones) and it wouldn’t be fair to fans of actual angel romances to drag them into the scifi nonsense, would it?

Without further ado…

Three book covers of manchesty man for Traitor, Defender, and Prodigal. These are new science fiction romance covers

Hopefully these new covers that look more like SF and less than PNR will help readers find the delicious during apocalypse hijinks with fake angels, emo warriors, angry refugee women, resourceful computers, and lots of settings across the American West. Oh, and a brief appearance of a cat in #3 to appease Meankitty!


The cover for blue guard by jody wallace on a fancy blended blue background

Jody Wallace’s 30+ titles in sf/f and contemporary romance feature diverse protagonists, action, adventure, and plenty of cats. Visit her at www.jodywallace.com and the cats at www.meankitty.com

Cat Finds Secret Room!

cat finds secret room! A writer prompt with a cute grey kitty on it that says 'your cat finds a hole in the basement of your new home that leads to a secret room'

Cat finds secret room….what???

What would you do if this happened to you? What kind of room would it be? How would you discover that the cat had discovered it? How much havoc would it create in your life? Let’s see what you’ve got in that brainbox! Write me something. You can post it here, on Twitter, on FB, on your own, or just email me!

Have you got an idea of what kind of secret room it is…but want me to write it? Tell me that, too!


The cover for blue guard by jody wallace on a fancy blended blue background

Jody Wallace’s 30+ titles in sf/f and contemporary romance feature diverse protagonists, action, adventure, and plenty of cats. Visit her at www.jodywallace.com and the cats at www.meankitty.com

Meankitty Wants to Know: Lea Kirk

A cover for the paranormal romance made for her by author lea kirk

THIS INTERVIEW OF AUTHOR LEA KIRK IS AN OLDIE BUT GOODIE!

Posting a bit late today because the human is irresponsible. Today’s interview subject is author Lea Kirk. Lea has written a book called MADE FOR HER (and probably some other books) and has already warned me, very sassily, that they are a no-cat household. So we’ll start out with a score of negative one.

Meankitty Wants To Know…

1) So you’ve written a book set in SE Smith’s wacky world of Magic, New Mexico. How many cats are in it?

Two. And they were lucky the heroine’s boss wasn’t hungry or they wouldn’t have made it out of the alley.

MK: OH MY DOG what kind of horrible book is this! I mean, there are cats, which is better than average, but…

2) If there are no cats in it, please explain how cats would probably have made the book better (hint: they definitely would have made the book better). If there are cats how would MORE cats have made the book EVEN BETTER?

I like cats just fine, and so does my antagonist–for completely different reasons. He says that one cat for each meal he consumed during the course of the story ought to be enough. I think the heroine’s two cats that she had to leave with her mother when she moved away are the perfect amount. They are good cats and don’t deserve to be eaten. (stares down Meankitty but blinks first.) Damn.

MK: If your heroine’s a cat person, she deserves SOOOOOOOOO much better than this. How dare you, madam! Let’s see. Two cats in an alley plus negative one plus two cats at the heroine’s mom’s house plus a hero who eats cats equals NEGATIVE HAIRBALL.

Revised for 2021! Well, it’s not the hero who eats cats, it’s the villain. I think you should give me a hairball for that. Besides, I’m not sure cats would like the hero as he’s a vampire.

3) Are there cats in any of your other books?

No, but there are horses, chickens, and a very good dog in various books from my Prophecy series.

Revised for 2021! Yes! In my novella, Skylar’s Gift (part of my Prophecy series), the heroine has a horse, two dogs, and a cat who owns them all. The cat’s name is Tiki, named after my cat when I was a little girl.

4) How about books by other authors with cats? Got any favorites?

Greta van der Rol has a book called For the Greater Good: Puss in Space. That sounds good, even though I haven’t read it yet.

5) If you personally could shift into a cat, please tell us how you would utilize this power?

I’d climb a tree and meow until someone called the firemen to rescue me.

MK: I would give you a few positive points for this if you climbed down just as the harried firemen were taking out their ladders and went and twined around their legs while purring.

I don’t know if I’m brave enough to interview more authors after this kind of disappointment. WHO AM I KIDDING?? Bring it on, writer humans. You know how to find me.

Sincerely,

Meankitty

Why Did You Write… That Story?

Do you ever read one of my books, or any author’s book, and think, WHY IN THE WORLD DID YOU WRITE THAT??? Heh. Hopefully in a more flattering way, of course, but you know what I mean. One Thousand Kisses is a paranormal romance you might like to learn more about.

I was interviewed about the second of my Fey Realm books by fellow author Eilis Flynn last week and wanted to share. http://eilisflynn.blogspot.com/2021/03/story-behind-story-1000-kisses-by-jody.html

A very pretty graphic for the book one thousand kisses, a paranormal romance by Jody Wallace, which is the book itself inside what appears to be an ebook reader next to a beautifully blossoming and magical looking white flower
https://www.jodywallace.com/books/1000-kisses/

Will I ever write the next book in the series? It’s half-done but has been half-done for some time. It’s fully plotted and has been fully plotted for some time. I need encouragement and hugs or something. Look, I changed my footer to match!


The cover for 1000 kisses, a paranormal romance in which a cat plays a significant role (though not as one of the people in the romance)

Jody Wallace’s 30+ titles in sf/f and contemporary romance feature diverse protagonists, action, adventure, and plenty of cats. Visit her at www.jodywallace.com and the cats at www.meankitty.com


Writer Prompts, Feline Style

I don’t know about your brain, but my brain is constantly whirring. Even when I sleep, I apparently dream eight things at a time and often remember them. As much, I frequently come up with “great” ideas for my career, for my crafting, for my family, for friends, that I often have to stamp down because 1: there’s only so much time in the world, and 2: they are not all great ideas.

However, my latest brain fart IS a great idea, and I will duel anyone (with words) who thinks otherwise! You know how on Twitter and in other places there are a slew of writer prompts that get the brain churning and stories flowing? Well, I have had the grand notion to stimulate my writerly and not so writerly friends with my own version of writer prompts — naturally, catty writer prompts.

Catty Writer Prompt #1. In the town where you live, everyone's cat has started giving birth to polydactyl kittens...even cats kept inside the house!

I’m On Week 3!

I have had some responses on Twitter and a few on Meankitty’s Facebook page (go see!), although Facebook appears to be locking my views down since I can’t afford to buy ads. So I believe I’ll also post them here, on mah blog, as a repository for anyone who is interested in being inspired to write GOOD fiction, ha ha. Obvs fiction is at is best when it’s about cats….right??

Catty Writer Prompt #2. Your cat's DNA has been found at several crime scenes.

Next week I’ll share this week’s and next week’s prompts and we’ll be caught up with our catty writer prompts. You can find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram under the #cattywriterprompts hashtag. Got any cat stories inside you? This should bring them right out. Comments are open 🙂

Here’s one of my cat stories (free) if you want to read one that started with a catty writer prompt of sorts…


The cover for 1000 kisses, a paranormal romance in which a cat plays a significant role (though not as one of the people in the romance)

Jody Wallace’s 30+ titles in sf/f and contemporary romance feature diverse protagonists, action, adventure, and plenty of cats. Visit her at www.jodywallace.com and the cats at www.meankitty.com

Dragons for Me, Cats for Evelyn

This week our dragon romance box sets of Dragons of Tarakona paranormal stories released, along with another fantastical book from the worlds of Magic, New Mexico. Alongside me and my cowriter DB Sieders, Evelyn Lederman released a romance called Wild Enchantment with a CAT on the cover!

an ad for 3 new books in the magic, new mexico world. there are dragon romance box sets and a paranormal romance that includes a cat

I also released a newsletter today wherein Meankitty interviewed the cats who own Evelyn, and we got some really good dirt on the human, as always. If you aren’t subscribed, you should be! Check at the top of the page to get yourself hooked up. Here’s the kitties’ introduction of themselves:

Precious, Rudie, and Stefano

Precious: I love sitting next to Evelyn while we watch TV. During the day, I’ll sleep with Rudie, but I don’t like Stefano, he’s a brat! I start the day with my treats, which I share with the other cats. I wasn’t happy when Evelyn adopted the kitties, but Rudie has grown on me.

Rudie: Every morning I wait for Evelyn to give me my treats. I don’t understand why she has to shower first. Stefano always has his nose up my butt, but I growl at him and he leaves me alone for a time. I like playing with my brother, but I don’t like it when he bites my neck trying to show his dominance over me. I sometimes get the best of him, that makes my day.

Stefano: My favorite part of the day is when Evelyn plays with me. I love the laser pointer. She’ll stop when she’s doing laundry or writing so we can play. Rudie used to play with me more, but she’s gotten so lazy. Precious just growls when I approach, she doesn’t have a sense of humor. There’s a bobcat who prowls outside my lanai at 2am and I howl at him. I don’t understand how everyone can sleep when there is so much to do in the wee hours of the morning.

If you are interested in finding out how much $$ you can save with our dragon romance box sets, the answer is at least 30% off the individual book prices. You can check out which box sets include which books: box set 1 and box set 2.

I also encourage you to hop over and check out Evelyn’s new release.


The cover for blue guard by jody wallace on a fancy blended blue background

Jody Wallace’s 30+ titles in sf/f and contemporary romance feature diverse protagonists, action, adventure, and plenty of cats. Visit her at www.jodywallace.com and the cats at www.meankitty.com

Meankitty Wants to Know: DB Sieders

(– This interview of DB Sieders was conducted with my writing partner several years ago and has been updated with her latest book cover!)

the cover for enchanted pearl by db sieders is a loving loving both with dark hair and purples and pinks in the background

When my human wrote her book about dragon shifters, which is stupid because it wasn’t about CAT shifters, she paired up with another human who is owned by cats, and that human also wrote about dragon shifters. I decided we should probably hear what this other disgraceful author has to say. Will author DB Sieders earn any points on my worthiness scale? Let’s find out.

1) So you’ve written a book set in SE Smith’s wacky world of Magic, New Mexico. How many cats are in it?

Sadly there are no cats in this one, but my dragon hero Aiden is pretty standoffish at first. He could pass for an aloof but secretly lovable kitty if he had the skills to shift into one!

Heroine Gillian does NOT have cat-like reflexes, but she’s super smart, just like a cat (shameless pandering to superior species). She uses her wits as much as her magic to get out of sticky situations.

2) If there are no cats in it, please explain how cats would probably have made the book better (hint: they definitely would have made the book better). If there are cats how would MORE cats have made the book EVEN BETTER?

LOL, I’m sure there are cat shifters in Magic, New Mexico, and there definitely should be more. Probably indoor, though, since it gets wickedly hot during the day. Kitties must be kept safe, cool, and hydrated.

3) Are there cats in any of your other books?

Ooh, the heroine in my current work in progress will be adopting a cat-like creature from the hell realm. She’s a fierce, demon-hunting machine on the outside, but on the inside she’s a big softie. Naturally a demon kitten in peril would tug at her heartstrings. I mean, come on! Who wouldn’t want a paranormal kitty? Or a regular kitty?

MK: YOU GET ONE POINT.

I totally need another cat. Any advice on how to get hubby on board?

MK: Get the cat. He won’t even notice. I hear he’s gone a lot.

4) How about books by other authors with cats? Got any favorites?

Of course! Jody Wallace! I also love Jody’s dragons in Silver Bound. This collaboration was so much fun, and I’m sure Barnabas will get a cat for Nadia as a token of his affection.

MK: Since “Jody Wallace” the human whom I own did not put cats in THIS book, it doesn’t matter how many she put in other books. SHE GETS ZERO POINTS.

5) If you personally could shift into a cat, please tell us how you would utilize this power?

I would shift into a cat to nap and to hide from my kiddos!

Pic 1: Poffertje (Dutch for “tiny pancake”), my 17 year old lady kitty who doesn’t care if I shame her for planting her hairy butt on my clean clothes.

Pic 2 = Captain Jack Sparrow, my 3 year old ginger boy who loves to keep my company in the bathroom and get “potty pets.”

So, DB Sieders gets one point. I’d give her another for the nice pets and cuddles, but she always pays more attention to the other cats in this house than she does me. I do like the look of Sassy Captain Jack, though…

Sincerely,

Meankitty

Boxes Up, Deals Up!

We had originally planned to release another Dragons of Tarakona novel in February, but instead we have decided to save our readers some money! The series is up to nine books, and it almost perfectly fits into something I’ve never done before…

Box sets! In specific, Dragons of Tarakona Box Sets!

So my co-author DB Sieders and I created two box sets that are a 30% or so savings off the prices of the individual Dragons of Tarakona books, and they will be on sale February 9. Each box set has 4 whole books, chock full of cussing, kissing, gnomes, sand, adventures, pixies, battles, desperate acts of sacrifice, cactuses, and magic.


The cover for blue guard by jody wallace on a fancy blended blue background

Jody Wallace’s 30+ titles in sf/f and contemporary romance feature diverse protagonists, action, adventure, and plenty of cats. Visit her at www.jodywallace.com and the cats at www.meankitty.com

Crochet Lace Collars Rocking Some Ruth!

Recently the combined might of Romancelandia auctioned off many coveted books, editing packages, handicrafts, gift cards, and more in Romancing the Runoff. This was to support voter organizations in the state of Georgia during the 2020 elections. The romance authors, readers, editors, fans and newcomers raised over $470,000 by bidding, buying, and participating.

Romancing the Runoff Logo

Many of the auctions were hotly contested, like for the copies of novels by romance and everything superstar Stacey Abrams. While participants could donate directly, the coordinators felt that it might be nice to have some “buy it now” items on offer at slightly smaller prices. Not everyone enjoys tense bidding wars!

But who would even bid on crochet lace collars?

Thinking that hardly anyone would notice anything I did but wanting to help, I offered to crochet 15 Ruth Bader Ginsburg style collars that could be added to Buy It Now for more timid folks like myself. I do know how to make crochet lace collars, even if I don’t know how to sell anything.

a white crochet lace collar like ruth bader ginsburg favored

Imagine my surprise when they sold out almost immediately! I was so thrilled and pleased that I was really going to be able to help, and now I am crocheting 15 collars to send to my new best friends across the United States.

Little and big Ruth Bader Ginsburg collars because my niece wanted one for her American Girl doll
Human collar, doll collar! CERTAINLY NOT A CAT COLLAR, I value my life.

Just what I needed — a craft project IN DECEMBER! No, seriously, I have enjoyed making the collars and talking to all the bidders. We got to select whether they want buttons or ties, that sort of thing. My children no longer really appreciate all that my crocheting genius has to offer. Obviously it behooves me to branch out like this, and not just at the Etsy Store for inappropriate items. Let’s just say there are no crochet lace collars on THAT page.

Have you ever offered to help, thinking you wouldn’t actually BE any help, and then been so thrilled that, well, you got to help??


The cover for blue guard by jody wallace on a fancy blended blue background

Jody Wallace’s 30+ titles in sf/f and contemporary romance feature diverse protagonists, action, adventure, and plenty of cats. Visit her at www.jodywallace.com and the cats at www.meankitty.com

Does That Bug You?

I need to tell you a long but worthwhile (I promise) story about how Dubia roaches escape their confines, and if you are squeamish, this tale may displease you. I am going to warn you right before the part that might make you want to smack me and in order to be polite and not run you off. You can choose to read the creepy part or not!

But we need to talk about bugs. Specifically, bugs that bearded dragons like to eat.

a perky bearded dragon who likes it if dubia roaches escape
Did someone say BUGS??? Also, guess what? I’m a spokesdragon.

Exotic Pets

Becoming ‘exotic pet’ owners has been quite the experience. We’ve only ever had cats and once a betta fish. Growing up, we rehabbed a few chipmunks and squirrels but never a pet that would fall under the ‘exotic’ category. So caring for our bearded dragon, Kevin, has included some hurdles.

The first hurdle was overcoming our squicky feelings about bugs. When Kevin was young, we learned to feed him crickets. Young beardies need a LOT of protein and crickets are the cheapest. We would order 500+ through the mail in a BOX and then empty them into a 20 gallon tub with a screen lid to hop around and smell like the devil until it was time to go see the big dragon in the sky. Crickets smell AWFUL after a few days, even when you keep their habitat as clean as possible, and we all hated them.

But we did get used to them, and grabbing a stupid cricket became an everyday, flinch-free occurrence. Kevin would eat 25-30 crickets at a go, at least once a day. We even researched how to breed crickets because ordering those boxes is fraught with peril for various reasons, like mail delays, cold weather, hot weather, and escapee situations. I will be linking to another person’s cricket situation at the end of the email, but for now I want you to stick with me :).

Crickets Are Terrible

However, beardies get better nutrition from other bugs, such as Dubia roaches, black soldier fly larvae, and certain types of worms (mealworms, superworms, not earthworms). Beardies are also supposed to grow up and become 70% vegetarian, too, so the amount of bugs they eat eventually slacks off. And the other bugs? They don’t smell like crickets of death. OMG that smell. In the winter we had to move the cricket farm inside, in the basement utility closet under the stairs, so anytime you were going up and down the stairs, you would be huffing cricket dooky smell whether you wanted to or not. I started taking those stairs REALLY fast, and I’m too old to be running up and down some stairs that often.

Thus we redirected our interest, and Kevin’s, toward Dubia roaches. These tropical critters don’t smell bad like crickets and don’t hop and aren’t great at climbing and aren’t particularly fast. While they do need to be kept warm, you can just stick them in a tub with some egg crate material for them to hide in and feed them fruit or veggies every day. A lot of people would have trouble deciding what was worse — crickets or roaches, but these are, well, they grow up to be sizeable. They remind me of pill bugs (roly polies, doodle bugs), except bigger. They don’t really remind me of the roaches I’m used to seeing, which are gross. They’re pretty delicate, and Kevin is a huge fan. We get ours here.

But it isn’t as if the roaches NEVER manage to get free. And did I mention we have cats? Probably not — in this essay — but we have cats. The cats are hugely fond of escaped bugs and sometimes the bugs escape. Including the 2 inch long yes 2 inch long Dubia roaches.

This is a baby Dubia roach and sometimes dubia roaches escape
This is a baby Dubia roach because our Dubia roaches got super friendly and, well, you know. Adult Dubia roaches are…bigger.

The First Incident…and Stop Reading Here If You’re Squeamish!

The first Dubia incident was me on the couch in the basement (like Clue, except I’m clueless). The cats had been scrabbling at the back of the couch all day. I ignored them, because the cats in question are 2 young dudes who scrabble at everything all the time. But then, a while later, in the cool silence of my basement, I hear the noise. Scrittle, scrittle, tick tick tick.

I glance to my left and there, sprinting along the back of the couch headed straight for my face, is a GIANT ROACH! COMING RIGHT AT ME! OMG Dubia roaches escape!

Luckily I recognized this roach as one of our friendly neighborhood Dubia roaches and only kind of flung my laptop into the floor as I bolted off the couch, hollered, and then accidentally flipped the roach into the garbage can before I could trap it in my empty coffee cup. I did apprehend the escapee in a timely fashion and take it back to its Rubbermaid home which is 2 rooms away from where I work.

The Second Incident

The second Dubia incident was less invasive. One of the cats was just going to TOWN on a cardboard box of DVDs. Closer inspection of said box revealed, you guessed it, a roach in the box. How did the roach meander across 2 room and hide in that box? Nobody knows. This roach was also rescued and sent back to her home.

The Third Incident

The third Dubia incident takes a little more telling. We have two old lady cats and two young man cats. The young men were rescued from a feral colony when they were kittens together and about 6 months ago, at age 18 months or so, both started playing fetch. Out of nowhere. I had never known a cat to play fetch and it was a delight!

But one day Magnus, the flame point Siamese looking idiot, came running to my husband and me when we were cuddled happily on the same couch watching TV with our teenage daughter, who owns the bearded dragon. Magnus leapt into our lap — how sweet! — but then he presented us with his prize because he wanted to play fetch.

I am not a dummy!

It was a living 2 inch long Dubia roach. The hubs, NOT being as accustomed to the bugs as me and the teenager, flinched himself off the couch, but I calmly picked up the roach, looked him in the eye, and said, “How did you get out?” The roach would not tell me, so I put him back and discussed with the teen that maybe, just maybe, we might want to think about a more secure top for the roach tub than an upside down oversized lid that she wasn’t bothering to fasten because it was, as mentioned, oversized.

Fourth and Final…I Hope

And the fourth Dubia incident, well, you need to be sitting down for this. Peeking at what I’m about to tell you between your fingers. And every word I’m about to say is true.

I was asleep. This blessed state is sometimes interrupted by harrowing cat vs toes battles or the hurk hurk hurk of the 4 am hairball. But this night the blessed state was interrupted by the feel of a cat’s moist nose on my cheek and something…biggish…crawling….ON MY FACE.

“Magnus!” I yelled, batting at the assumed culprit and fumbling for the bedside lamp. I also vaulted mostly out of bed since that one time I found a bug in bed, it was a brown recluse, but that’s another story for another time.

The light went on. Magnus was on the floor, staring at me with very dilated pupils and a whippy tail. I turned, slowly, to inspect my pillow.

Yep.

Magnus had carefully placed a huge Dubia roach ON MY FACE in the middle of the night, and the roach was now nestled into my pillow and ready for a nice nap.

The husband did roll over to get further away from the roach as I protested the situation at the top of my lungs. Then I picked up the roach (they really aren’t very fast…they’re like the turtles of the roach world) and escorted him back to his roach tub with prejudice.

This is a not quite adult Dubia roach, a sexy lady. They get a little big bigger than this.

Now that you’ve read about my roaches, here’s another buggy tale:

Man’s mail order crickets escape — SFW!

Also if you want to know more about the roaches, email me and I’ll send you more pics and tell you alllllllllllllllll about them! It’s been…interesting.


Jody Wallace’s 30+ titles in sf/f and contemporary romance feature diverse protagonists, action, adventure, and plenty of cats. Visit her at www.jodywallace.com and the cats at www.meankitty.com