Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Saving the Cat

Normally saving the cat is a literary device where a character, early on in the novel, saves the cat so that we bond with that character.

But, how can saving a cat play havoc with novel editing?
Ozzy, our cat

I've been on a real push to finish editing my novel Prophesy (book 1 of the Antigone series -- yes, I finally decided on a name). A few weeks ago, I even had some time to myself when my husband took the kids to go visit their grandparents for a few days.

However, the cat (an older male cat named Ozzy, short for Osiris) had different ideas. One morning, I heard him meowing loudly from the back yard, so I went to investigate. I saw him balancing precariously on the branch of a tree, with one of his back legs stuck between two fence boards. Without thinking, I ran up to him, wrapped one arm around him, then tried to ease his leg out from the fence.

This did not go well.

Ozzy proceeded to scratch my arm to ribbons. I didn't want to drop him, so I stood there and took it, trying to talk soothingly to him through my pain and calm him down. When he stopped, I decided to grit my teeth and try a little more force to get his leg out. His leg didn't seem to be broken and he didn't look like he was in too much pain and I had to get him out of the fence.

This did not work. At all. Ozzy actually bit me several times on both hands. At one point, I had to pry his teeth out from my hand. There was blood everywhere. I was stuck. He was stuck.

I tried to perch the cat back in the tree so I could get a towel to wrap him in and something to pry the fence apart. Nope. Ozzy was not cooperating.

With nothing else left to do, I screamed for help at the top of my lungs. Surely someone nearby had to be home or walking by or something. Before long, one of my neighbours from across the ally came running into the yard and quickly took in the situation. She asked if she could go into my house to get a towel and a crowbar and I said absolutely and told her where they were.

We wrapped the cat up in the towel and my neighbour pried off the fence board. Ozzy jumped away, like nothing had ever happened, not even limping.

My neighbour and I looked at each other. I was covered in blood and my hands and arms were already starting to swell up. "You'd better go get a tetanus shot," she said, then disappeared. I wanted to thank her, but I'm not even sure which house she was from.

I went in to get cleaned up when a delivery guy knocked at the door. I answered, looking like hell, covered in blood. He dropped the parcels, said I didn't have to sign for them after all, then ran off.

Next I called the doctor. Yes, she could squeeze me in that day.

After giving me the tetanus shot, she also gave me antibiotics as my wrists were swelling up so badly I could barely drive. Then she advised me to make sure the cat's vaccinations were up to date. All I could think of was Why, it's not like I bit the cat back.

Then, I went home and collapsed.

By the time my husband and kids got home later that day, my hands looked kind of like latex gloves that had been blown up. I could lift nothing. Typing was out the question. I decided to watch movies.

All in all, it took about two weeks for my hands to heal (oh, and my arms turned green from bruising up, so I even looked like the hulk).

So, this is a long story to say that I am behind in my editing, blogging, etc. However, I am back in full swing now, working to catch up. Not being able to use the computer also gave me time to think about what I want to do about some issues in my novel that were nagging at me.

I also used this time to read more about self publishing. Wow, I am excited about this!!! It makes my heart race even to read about the process of self publishing. Has anyone else gone this route? Or can recommend some good indie authors to read? I would love recommendations of books, blogs, or forums to read. (If you are looking for a good indie middle grade/young adult read, check out my review for Double Cross in my previous post).

Thanks for bearing with me through this long story, but I couldn't resist telling it as one of the adventures on the road to writing my novel.

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Monday, 18 August 2014

Short Story Review: Double Cross

Double Cross: An Eye of Odin Prequel #1Double Cross: An Eye of Odin Prequel #1 by Dennis Staginnus

In the first of The Eye of Odin short prequels, the fifteen-year-old witch-for-hire finds herself atop the Athenian Acropolis, exchanging money for an ancient Spartan helmet said to contain extraordinary powers.

But when the exchange ends in a double-cross, it exposes a conspiracy that could reignite a two thousand-year-old war between Athens and Sparta. Keeping the peace will rest upon the shoulders of the scrappy, young witch.

Double Cross is the exciting first prequel the the upcoming middle grade Eye of Odin series by Dennis Staginnus. I have to say right off that I love myth, especially Greek myth, and Double Cross delivers a good dose.

The story starts fast and tense, grabbing the reader right away, only getting more intense at the story continues.

I am also a sucker for strong female heroines. Sarah is spirited, quick thinking, willing to fight to the end in order to do what she thinks is right, and she's magical. All in all, a great combination. Her background is subtly developed, making me want to know more about her.

The setting of this story is modern day Greece, but the world in which it is set includes Folklore, a world that is only seen by a select few and which includes myth and history from different cultures. Staginnus has obviously done his research on the mythology and has created an interesting world with great potential.

Overall, I think this is a book that will appeal to both boys and girls who like older middle grade books, and has a grittiness that will even appeal to teen audience (which, I think, makes this book stand out in the middle grade genre, assuming the rest of the series lives up to the standard set here). Some of the language, violence, and intensity might be a bit much for sensitive audiences.
Double Cross is the first in a series of three short story prequels to Eye of Odin and is free. You can go to Dennis Staginnus' web site (click here) to find out how to download it.