Miss Missy Empress of the Universe

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Meet the Awesomest Maine Coon! Diesel! And See What He has to Say About Read Humane and Rescue Kitties!

Meow! And Maine Coon chirps to you Diesel!

I’m so purrrrrrrrrrrrrrfectly excited to Diesel from Miranda James Cat in the Stacks series here to talk with me this week about that super project Read Humane!  Diesel, my mom told me that have your own great story about how you started life out as a rescue and Charlie Harris adopted you. Can you tell people new to Miranda James a little how that happened?

D: Nice to chat with you, Missy! Well, my memory of the details is really fuzzy because I was only a kitten at the time. Not more than about six weeks old, I think, or at least that’s what I’ve heard Charlie tell. I remember that it was cold, I was wet and very, very hungry, and I was hiding in some bushes at the library where Charlie and I go on Fridays now. Charlie must have heard me crying because he found me, dried me off, and took me to see the cat doctor. That’s about all I remember.

I also heard that you walk around town with your human on a leash.  I think that’s such a purrrfect way to let us kitties get out and about but not end up in dangerous situations like dodging cars and that. Do you have any advice for readers who have kitty companions how to make that easier?

D: Yes, Charlie does take me with him on a leash. Charlie is my best friend ever, and he likes me to be with him most of the time. From the beginning, after I got used to wearing a collar, he showed me a harness and a leash and explained what they were for. I wasn’t thrilled with them at first, but if I didn’t wear them, I couldn’t go with Charlie. So I got used to them pretty quick, and now I don’t mind them. Besides, I think I look even more handsome in my halter.

Is it true that Maine Coons can be pretty big cats?

D: We sure are! I don’t know any other Maine Coons actually – I think I’m the only one in Athena -- but I’ve heard Charlie and some of the other people, like Laura and Sean and Helen Louise, talk about me and my kind. Evidently I’m much bigger than most Maine Coons. My mama and daddy must have been pretty big too, but I don’t remember them at all. Last time I went to see my cat doctor she said I weighed thirty-seven pounds, whatever that means.

But that doesn’t mean you are any less of a pussy cat and a great pet and companion, right?

D: My whiskers, no! I may be big, but there’s just more of me to cuddle with.

Being how brave you are, were you scared before you were rescued?

D: I sure was. Like I said, I don’t really remember what came before, but I know that, huddling under that bush, I was desperately cold and hungry and wanted someone to help me.

Penguin Books is doing this really great event called Read Humane. What did you think when you were asked to be part of this wonderful endeavor?

D: I thought it was a terrific idea! I was so lucky that a wonderful human found me and took me in and gave me such a loving home. I wish all kitties and doggies could be as lucky as I am. People ought to take better care of us. We’re pretty smart, but we can’t do everything!

What do you think people should know most about rescue animals?

D: They should know that we will be grateful for a safe and loving home. We may need some time to adjust, depending on what we had to go through before we were rescued, but give us a forever home, and you won’t regret it!

What advice in general would you give to someone who is looking to adopt a rescue animal?

D: Think carefully about the consequences of having a pet as a member of the family. It takes money to feed and provide medical care for a pet, and some pets can live a long time. If you have children, you need to make sure that the rescue animal is one who is used to children or that can adapt quickly.  If your children are small, you should realize that we may not be happy with small hands pulling and pinching and trying to carry us and feed us stuff, imaginary or real.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

D: Be nice to us guys with four legs. We’ll repay you the best we can.

Thanks so much coming by and spreading the word about adopting rescue animals and Read Humane!


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Purrrrsss!!!! Hamlet is Back to Talk to Me about Read Humane!

Meow! Meow!!!!!!  And snuggly purrs Hamlet!  It is so good to chat with you again! Especially since we’re going to talk about something very near and dear to my little kitty heart—adopting kitties and other animals so they have wonderful forever homes.  In case my fans don’t remember, Hamlet is the star of Ali Brandon’s Black Cat Mystery series.  His person, Darla Pettistone helps him solve crimes and he has a new book coming out called WORDS WITH FIENDS that has a great story line on rescues!

I think you know my brother, Bogie, came from a feral colony and they have special needs.
Mom picked up some fresh catnip for our chat today so help yourself and check out the new scratch box she got me and my brothers. You know two of my brothers, Mel and Bogie, are feral rescues and my other brother Fred came to live with us a foster kitty and when his human died my mom adopted him.  I think more people need to think about adopting pets like us so I’m hoping this chat with you will help them see how great we can be.

I know from your author’s past books you are very brave but were you scared before you were rescued?

Hello Missy, and thanks for the catnip, and hello to your brothers. It’s very nice to chat with you again. I was born in an alley, so I never knew what it was like to live in a home. My mother was a beautiful Siamese who was tossed away by her human caretakers just before my siblings and I were born. They were not nice humans…hisssss! Mama tried to be brave for us, but she was always scared. All she ever wanted to do was sit in some human’s lap. Luckily, right about the time we were ready to be weaned, someone from what you call Rescue found us. I overheard them say they were going to take us to a place called “Foster” and then find nice inside homes for all of us.

Mama was happy, but I had already decided that I’d rather be on my own. So while the Rescue people went to get a cage to put us in, I gave Mama and my brothers a lick good-bye. Then I ran and hid so they wouldn’t take me, too. Someday, I’ll tell you the rest of the story of how I found my human caretaker on my own, but I am happy to say that Mama and the boys also found good homes with fine humans.

What did you think when you were asked to be part of this wonderful Read Humane project that Penguin books is doing?

            I was very happy to help. All felines (and canines, too) deserve a home—purrr!—and not to have humans be cruel to them…growl!

Can you tell our fans a little bit about it?

            Ali Brandon told me that Penguin Group (USA) Inc., who is our publisher, has reprinted six of their animal-themed novels with a special Read Humane® logo to bring awareness to The Humane Society of the United States® and their work. My book, DOUBLE BOOKED FOR DEATH, is one of those six. Participating authors besides Ali Brandon include our Read Humane spokesperson, Jill Shalvis, as well as Linda O. Johnston, Miranda James, Leann Sweeney, and Judi McCoy.

            The books will be released April 30 and be available for the month of May at participating booksellers. And, even better, Penguin is giving a $25,000 donation to benefit The HSUS’s® Animal Rescue Team® that helps save animals from hurricanes and floods and other bad things. Penguin will give that money no matter how many of the special books are sold. Me-OWWW! You can learn more about The HSUS® here:

Can you give us some advice on what do you think people should know most about rescue animals?

            Rescue animals are very fine felines and canines. Many of them came from homes—some are even purebred animals—and so they may already be trained and know how to act with humans. But most of them are scared, and so the humans must give them time to settle into their new surroundings.

What advice in general would you give to someone who is looking to adopt a rescue animal?  

            I know that most humans find puppies and kittens more appealing, but they should remember that mature canines and felines, like me, make excellent companions. It is very sad that some older canines and felines stay in foster homes for months, and even years!

Is it different for a feral?

            I, of course, am an exception, but it depends upon how the feral feline comes to you. Ali Brandon and her husband adopted Butch and Sundance, two orange tabby brothers, when they were kittens. They had been found by a Rescue human before their eyes weren’t even open, and they were bottle-fed since their mother did not survive. This made them very friendly felines who have always liked humans. Some feral felines will accept the food and drink you provide, but they do not wish to be companions. Of course, some of them do eventually change their minds and become house cats.

What do you think the greatest need for animals?

            It is very sad that some humans do not understand that if they agree to be a caretaker to an animal, that it is a lifetime commitment. You cannot leave us in the street if you get tired of caring for us, as most of us will soon die if no other human takes us in. Humans must learn that they should treat canines and felines as they would themselves. Oh, and they must learn that all pets should be neutered and spayed. If the humans cannot do these things, perhaps they should limit their pets to stuffed animals, instead.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

            Most humans already know that they should not obtain a companion animal, especially a canine, from a store. Those unfortunate animals are most likely the product of what humans call a puppy mill. That is another cause for The Humane Society of the United States®, which works to shut down these terrible places. But to end on a more pleasant note, I will remind humans that a rescue animal will love you no matter who you are. So please consider adopting a canine or feline that needs a home. Perhaps you will adopt two. Me-OWWW!

Thanks so much coming by and spreading the word about adopting rescue animals and Read Humane!

            Thank you, Missy. It is always a pleasure to be interviewed by you.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Zoey from Hounds Abound Talks About Read Humane!

Meow! Meow!!!!!! And snuggly purrs Zoey!
Friends, I have a special guest that I am so excited about this week to kick off Read Humane!  Everyone – meet Zoey!
Zoey is the star of her author, Linda O. Johnston’s book HOUNDS ABOUND. My mom told me that in HOUNDS ABOUND Zoey is the protagonist Lauren Vancouver's own rescue dog.
Zoey, I am so glad you came to talk with me today. 
Zoey, mom bought some dog biscuits for you and they are over there on the table so please help yourself! We kind of have something in common because I was adopted from my local humane society and I heard you are a rescue dog. I think more people need to think about adopting pets like us so I’m hoping this chat with you will help them see how great we can be. 
Hi, Missy. Thanks for inviting me to speak here--and I’m looking forward to those biscuits. Can you see my tail wagging?
Yes, I’m a rescue dog. In fact, I was brought to my best friend Lauren by her good friend Matt Kingston, who works for Los Angeles Animal Services. He made the right decision in introducing us.
And I can’t agree with you more. People do need to think about adopting pets like us. Surely anyone reading this can tell how wonderful we are, and there are others who need homes who are wonderful in their own ways, too.
So my mom said you are a border collie, Australian shepherd mix. I heard dogs especially border collies are really brave and good at keep other animals in line. Is that true?
I like to think so. I’m especially good at keeping Lauren in line, although she’s a human. She brings me to her special shelter, HotRescues, a lot, and I get to meet the other animals she has rescued and is trying to find homes for. I know they’re jealous of me, so I try to be nice to them... most of the time.
Being how brave you are, were you scared before you were rescued?
I’d never admit it to Lauren, but... well, yes, I was a bit scared.
Can you tell me a little bit about what happened?
I was running around the streets of Los Angeles when some guys in a van from Los Angeles Animal Services picked me up. I’d been pretty much living by myself on the streets before that. I’m not sure what happened to my mother or my two siblings, but we were what I’ve heard people call strays. I’m also not sure how old I am, but I wasn’t a puppy when I was caught. I’d been smart about finding food, but sometimes it was hard. There were some nasty people out there who tried to capture me, as well as other dogs who fought me for some of my food. There are even coyotes in Los Angeles, and I had to growl and snap at them now and then to keep them away from me. Fortunately, I’m big enough and fast enough that they didn’t hurt me.
I didn’t like being rounded up with other strays and taken to a shelter, but I was found nearly immediately by Matt, who must have seen how special I was. I know I was lucky. Lauren is a great human to be my friend and food provider.
Penguin Books is doing this really great event called Read Humane. What did you think when you were asked to be part of this wonderful endeavor?
I was really happy that our story HOUNDS ABOUND was chosen. In fact, though, this isn’t the first time Lauren and I have been involved with Read Humane™. We were fortunate enough to have her first Pet Rescue Mystery adventure, BEAGLEMANIA, also chosen for a Read Humane program. That’s the story where I became her friend... although I shouldn’t necessarily mention that since we didn’t know each other through most of the story. I’m proud for myself, and on Lauren’s behalf, to be part of Read Humane. The stories chosen are all great and about animals and their humans, which I, of course, identify with. Plus, Penguin Group (USA), the publisher who started Read Humane, is amazing. They’ve not only published those wonderful books, but they have also donated money to the Humane Society of the United States.
What do you think people should know most about rescue animals?
Rescue animals are proud, sometimes so proud that we don’t let our feelings show. But we’re in hard situations through no fault of our own, and we need to find the best homes possible. The best humans possible. We may each show it differently, but we’re all capable of giving huge amounts of love to our people, especially those who’ve saved us. 
What advice in general would you give to someone who is looking to adopt a rescue animal? 
There are shelters in nearly every area. Go visit some close to you and see about the type of animal who appeals to you. You can even check out their websites first to see if they have some of their residents posted for you to look at in advance. You may just fall in love in an instant, at your computer or in person. 
The person who chronicles our adventures, Linda O. Johnston, volunteers at a great shelter in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles--where Lauren’s shelter HotPets is also located. She is a dog adoption counselor at Pet Orphans of Southern California and is always thrilled to see people and dogs fall for each other fast. Of course, there are also online groups who help to match people and pets by showing pictures and telling people where to find the animals shown, places like Petfinder. You might fall for a pet who’s profiled there, too.
The main thing? Just do it! You’ll not only change your own life by adopting, but you’ll be changing, and maybe even saving, the life of the animal you fall in love with. 
Is there anything specific they should know about border collies and/or Australian Shepherds? 
Heck, we’re the smartest dogs ever, didn’t you know that? Both of my main breeds are the best, and my combination is unbeatable.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
If you’re a human, you should Read Humane, of course. In particular, you should read the books featured in the Read Humane program. And read all the Pet Rescue Mysteries, since they feature me. Well, and Lauren, too, of course. And other animals she rescues.
Thanks so much coming by and spreading the word about adopting rescue animals and Read Humane!

Thank you, Missy.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I have a Haiku Winner!!!!!!

Well, actually Maggie and Larry do!  It's Mike Rogalla!

Claws sharp on my back
But one soft purr to my cheek
Forgives all blood shed.

Congratulations Mike!  I heard you won a copy of Molly MacRae's upcoming book DYEING WISHES!


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Puppies and Kittens! Meet Hoppy and Denver!!!!

Meow, Meow and purrs to Denver and mewuff (is that how you say it?) to Hoppy!   I’m so purrrleased to meet you both.  Thank you for taking time from your sleuthing to come and chat with me. As you can see my mom has prepared some wonderful catnip cookies for you Denver and a gourmet dog biscuit for you, Hoppy.  Hoppy this is so exciting for me because I have never interviewed a puppy before!

My mom just finished reading A DEADLY GRIND by your personal author, Victoria Hamilton and she said it was a real page turner. I think that’s because there are two talented furfaced children commonly called cats and dogs in it. Don’t you agree?

Hoppy: Woof to the woofest!
Denver: rolling his eyes: Missy, don’t mind the dog. He’s not too bright.
Jaymie: Denver, don’t be rude.

Hoppy, sometimes I like to do a kind of public service announcement to let readers know how special we animals are.  We come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes we have a special need.  My mom had a kitty named Baby who, like you, had three legs. In the book you get around really well and are important to solving the crime. Is there anything you want to tell people about how special a three legged puppy can be?

Hoppy:  My job in life is to make mom happy. It doesn’t matter how many legs I have, I can do that! And I can do it better than a lot of grumpy four legged pets. (Glancing over at Denver) Who shall remain nameless.

Denver, like most cats (I won’t discuss my brother Fred who likes EVERYONE) you have discerning taste for who is a good guy and who isn’t. Have you ever been wrong?

Denver: No.

You were pretty friendly with Daniel Collins, did he ever fool you?

Denver: No.

What is the best part about living in a house with vintage kitchen items?

Hoppy: Denver, let me answer! It’s cool living in a house with old stuff because it all comes with smells, some good, some a little nasty, which is even better! I can almost see where it was before, and who owned it, and what it was used for, and if there were any animals in the house and…

Denver: Shut up! Have mercy on me in the presence of a yappy dog.

Jaymie: That wasn’t very nice, Denver, to yowl at Hoppy that way. He was just being chatty.

Denver: Silence.

What about Jaymie’s Hoosier? Are there really fun places for a cat to play and hide in there?

Denver: No. Well, yes, but no one is supposed to know about that. There’s this deep drawer that was made of tin to store flour, so it would keep out the mice. (The irony!) It makes a dandy place to sleep for a cat, as long as it is left open.

While you were helping Jaymie to solve the mystery, were you worried at any point things might not turn out purrrfectly well?

Denver, with a big sigh. Yes. It was when that tall guy (he’s called a defective, I think?) who didn’t like animals came in to Jaymie’s house– I mean, if someone isn’t fond of Hoppy then they just don’t like animals, period; everyone loves that little idiot – that was when I got worried. And Jaymie likes him, I can tell, but he’s not the guy for her. Daniel Collins is so much more ACF… Animal Companion Friendly. As for the dead guy… he was more an inconvenience than anything, because the police came and put powder on everything, which I hate! Gets on my paws.

Will you be helping Jaymie solve any future crimes?

Hoppy: Let me answer, let me!! Yes, yes, please, oh, yes indeed! I want to help any way I can, and I can use my nose, especially. I’m not big, but I can help! 

Denver, rolling over on his back. Lord no! It’s too much trouble.

Hoppy, what do you think of your name? 

Hoppy: My real name is Hopalong, and I was named after Hopalong Cassidy, a famous cowboy figure. He got his name after being shot in the leg. But I like being called ‘Hoppy’ because it sounds like ‘happy’.

Most people envision cats and dogs lives as being really pretty easy. What’s your take on this?

Denver: It is.

Hoppy: It is if you’re with nice people. Sometimes people aren’t nice, and then it’s hard. I lived with people who weren’t nice at first, and that’s how I lost my leg.
Denver, headbutting the Yorkie-Poo and purring, for a brief moment: The Dog’s right, for once. I didn’t have a home until I wandered into Jaymie’s yard. I got chased away from more back doors than I can count. People can be real jerks, but they can also be… nice.
Hoppy: Are you giving a compliment, Denver?
Denver: No. Just the truth.

What is the most glamorous thing you’ve done as the stars of a novel?

Hoppy: I can’t tell you! It’s a secret. But I’ve had adventures, real adventures, some of them I can’t say because another book comes out March 5th, and then another one comes out later this year, but I get to go on REAL adventures, and that’s glamorous, right? Oh, oh wait! I was on the cover of A Deadly Grind… and that’s glamorous too, right?

Denver, with a sniff: I’m a vital investigator in Book One, A Deadly Grind. I found something for Jaymie that helped her solve the crime. THAT is glamorous.

Which great human detective would you both like to meet and solve a crime with?

Hoppy: has a puzzled look.

Denver: Don’t ask the Dog. He knows nothing. Human? None. But I’d like to meet Koko (From ‘The Cat Who…’ series by Lilian Jackson Braun.) Now that cat knows his business! Or Midnight Louie, from Carole Nelson Douglas’s books,  or Diesel from the Cat in the Stacks books by Miranda James. Or especially Joe Grey from Shirley Rousseau Murphy’s Joe Grey Cat Detective series! Cats are the best detectives… male cats, that is. Ever notice that? It’s the boy cats who rule. (giving Missy a sly look.)
Jaymie: Denver, why is Hoppy looking so sad? You’re not being grumpy again, are you?

Denver: I’m never grumpy. I’m crabby. There’s a difference.

Looking over the past year, what has been the best moment for you in your sleuthing careers?

Hoppy: Spending time with Jaymie.
Denver: People adoring me.

Victoria and Jaymie have gotten the big call, a Hollywood producer is going to bring your series to the big screen.  Who do you want to speak your parts for you?  You know, to share your thoughts as you solve each new crime?

Denver, with no hesitation: Nic Cage.
Hoppy, thinking about it: Uh, Jaden Smith? He’s cool. Or Shia LaBeouf? He’s cool.

What are you working on now? Can you tell us a little about it?

Denver: No.
Hoppy: Sure! In Bowled Over I go for lots of walks along the St. Claire River and then (looking sad) well, someone died and I can smell the unhappiness. I think I need a treat. Or a hug. Hugs are better.
Denver: Don’t look at me!

Is there anything you’d like to add?

Denver: No.
Hoppy: Sure! Tell everyone that rescue animals might not show it (looking sideways at Denver) but they are so happy to have a good home. It takes time for some to get comfortable and to stop being scared. People who rescue dogs and cats and parrots and mice and rats and hamsters and..
Denver: Shut up, already!
Hoppy: …are nice. Even Denver is glad he was rescued.
Denver: True.

Thank you for taking some time with us today!

Denver: You’re welcome.
Hoppy: No, thank YOU! I like talking to nice people. I like meeting nice people. Mystery readers are nice people. Not sure about mystery writers.

Denver rolls over and starts licking spots no one needs to see. Hoppy collapses in laughter, which from a Yorkie-Poo sounds like “Yip, yip, yip!”.


Missy, thank you for letting Denver and Hoppy have their say. We all enjoyed being here today!

To read about Hoppy and Denver’s adventures, check out the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries, starting with A Deadly Grind (May 2012) and continuing with Bowled Over (March 5th, 2013) and Freezer I’ll Shoot in November!

Victoria Hamilton.