Our #Feline #Sweethearts--#Cats This Week by Karen Rose Smith





Valentine's Day is for sweethearts. But just what is a sweetheart? Someone you enjoy being with...someone you love to snuggle with...someone you trust and who trusts you...someone who touches your heart in a way no one else can?

Paddy decorates her scratching
house for Valentine's Day.
Humans can be all these things to each other and it is a truly special bond that should be celebrated all year...not just on one appointed day. Our furry friends also fit the definition of "sweetheart" and we should also appreciate our special bonds with them everyday. 

Zoie, Halo, Paddy and London are our constant house buddies.  Nothing makes them happier than being with us...whether we are cooking in the kitchen, working in my office, or settled for an evening of TV.  They love to snuggle against us and relish the petting and stroking while they nap. They show their appreciation for the closeness by reaching out a paw to touch us or using our leg for a pillow.

Zoie and Paddy work together
to decorate the scratching house.
Trust is difficult to foster among humans and just as precarious to foster among our pets. Weeks, months and sometimes even years are needed to develop a trusting relationship. Setbacks along the way (like a visit to the vet, or an accidental trip when walking through the house) often take us back a few steps and we have to re-establish our trust. But in the process we are building a loving bond that is as strong as any human bond.  
Paddy poses for her Valentine's photo.

Regardless of their unique personalities, each one of our felines has etched an indelible mark in our hearts. It is the stuff that memories are made of...the little things that make us laugh...the unassuming things like a peaceful napping pose that bring a tear to our eye.  
Halo's Valentine's photo session. 

So this Valentine's Day, as you reach out in your own special way to tell your human sweethearts how special they are to you, take a moment to appreciate the love you and your pets share because their sweet hearts beat just for you! 



Even London, who can sometimes be our
"grumpy cat" has her sweet moments and
loves to cuddle for an afternoon nap.

Halo and all the Smith felines with you a
Happy Valentine's Day filled with warm cuddly
moments and sweet dreams.


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USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith is an only child who delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances. Her 95th novel will be released in 2016.

Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flowers and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks rather than gardens.  And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn't all about work, awards and bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.

Karen looks forward to interacting with readers. They can find her at the links below. 


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A #Valentine Tradition--The Seven Days Before Valentine's Day by Karen Rose Smith



Many couples have Valentine's Day traditions and we're no exception. My husband and I have been married for 44 years.  We've followed our tradition for 42 of those years.  We leave each other little mementos the seven days before Valentine's Day.  It started like this. 

After our baby was born, I had post partum depression, though no one was diagnosing it or treating it all those years ago.  I was 22 when our baby was born and had never been around infants.  At the hospital, the nurse put the baby in my arms and left.  Young mothers were just supposed to know what to do.  My husband was a great support and totally involved with the care of our child.  He was way ahead of his time!  But the life-changing event that motherhood was along with hormones that took a while to settle down caused "the baby blues" to take hold. 

That year my husband started our tradition.  The seven days before Valentine's Day, he left me card, a candy bar with a love note, a poem or a trinket he felt would bring me a smile.  Those little caring mementos surrounded me with love.  No, they didn't fix the post partum depression.  But they gave me his loving support to hold onto while I waded through it.  

The following year, I left him mementos too, tucked a note into his wallet to find at work, cooked a favorite supper, found something to give him that would make him smile.  We do this every year.  It brings back memories and makes new ones. 



Do you have a Valentine's Day tradition?  Feel free to share in the Comments. 

To celebrate Valentine's Day with my readers, I'm offering you a Smashwords code to download Nathan's Vow, Book 1 in my SEARCH FOR LOVE series for free. Just go to this link--NATHAN'S VOW on SmashwordsUse the code at the check out process.

Hoping you have a warm and loving Valentine's Day. 

Karen



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USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith is an only child who delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances. Her 95th novel will be released in 2016.

Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flowers and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks rather than gardens.  And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn't all about work, awards and bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.

Karen looks forward to interacting with readers. They can find her at the links below. 


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Reading #Feline Thoughts--#Cats This Weeks by Karen Rose Smith





Every once in a while, I look at one of our cats and feel like her expression is trying to convey a message. Sometimes it's an "I'm about to get into trouble" expression and other times an "I need some loving" message. It's at times like these that I'm sure our furry friends have feelings much like humans and can express them in just a look or perhaps through body language. Pet owners need to be intuitive to interpret these subtle nuances that help us communicate with our pets, just as I believe that they are intuitive to our emotional needs. I found a few examples in this week's photos that I would like to share with my readers.

Halo still occasionally sleeps with one
eye open, a throwback to her days as a
stray when she had to constantly be on
alert for lurking danger.
Now awake and alert more often since
she is feeling better, Halo has a pensive
moment, perhaps trying to absorb to the
comforts of her forever home.
 


Zoie Joy's expression and body language
both convey that she is patiently
waiting to be fed.
Paddy teeters between staying awake and falling
asleep, and her expression has an annoyed edge to
it, probably because she would prefer that the
camera be put away. 
Paddington seems shocked (or annoyed)
that her hiding place under the towel rack
was discovered.




London is just waiting
for that goodnight hug. 

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USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith is an only child who delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances. Her 95th novel will be released in 2016.

Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flowers and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks rather than gardens.  And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn't all about work, awards and bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.

Karen looks forward to interacting with readers. They can find her at the links below. 


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Karen Rose Smith's Path to Her 95th Novel in 2016




After spending 6 years writing 13 manuscripts, I sold two books in one week back in 1991.  My first two novels were published in 1992.  I've been fortunate to have 2 to 4 books published each year since.  Writing is a profession, a job I attend to every day.  It's never about a muse sitting kindly on my shoulder.  It's about outlining, plotting, connecting with my characters and their emotions on a daily basis.  

I began writing because I had back surgery and was flat on my back for about 4 years. In those early days, I would write longhand on a legal pad, then lie on the floor with a keyboard on my lap.  I typed from pages clothespinned to a waste paper can beside me.  After attending a month long, in-house rehab, I got back on my feet but not without pain.  Diagnosed with osteoarthritis, arachniditis, and fibromyalgia, I spent my days writing to raise me to a realm above the pain.  Writing novels has always been a creative and emotional outlet and keeps me feeling productive when my physical activity is limited.  

I've never liked or adapted to writing books on the computer.  When the fibromyalgia began affecting my eyes about 20 years ago, I started dictating my books into a tape recorder.  I still do.  I send the tapes to my typist and she transcribes them for me. (Soon I'll have to switch to a digital recorder and transcriber, but that's another blog story!)  During the editing process, I read hard copy over and over again until I'm satisfied with it.  My husband, my virtual assistant before virtual assistants were popular, puts my editing changes into the computer.  It's a system I've developed over the years that works for me. 

The truth is that at this point in my career I thought I'd be cutting back.  But I've always felt I have to grab an opportunity or a contract whenever I can...whenever the project is one my heart wants to tackle.  Because my writing is all about relationships, families and friends whether I'm writing cozy mysteries or romance. My heart has to be in it.

This year I will definitely have four new releases--2 Caprice De Luca Home Staging mysteries for Kensington and 2 romances for Harlequin Special Edition.  In addition I hope to complete Book 8 in my indie SEARCH FOR LOVE series--THE WEDDING PROMISE. It's the sequel to HER SISTER. 

2016 will be an exciting release year.  I hope you will enjoy all my books, visit me on my Facebook pages and Twitter feed, sign up for my newsletter and chat with me.  



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USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith is an only child who delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances. Her 95th novel will be released in 2016.

Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flowers and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks rather than gardens.  And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn't all about work, awards and bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.

Karen looks forward to interacting with readers. They can find her at the links below. 


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#Feline Patio Adventures With Sunnybud And A Trail #Camera--#Cats This Week by Karen Rose Smith





The east coast blizzard of 2016 was one for the record books--snow amounts in excess of 30 inches. And we were right in the storm's path! It would have been wonderful to sit in a comfy chair and marvel at the beauty of  the falling snow and reminisce in our childhood when we anticipated the storm's end so we could play in the drifts and sled down snow covered paths.  All this with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate would have been a perfect scenario.

But...
As adults we only anticipated the snow removal after the storm and the aching bones that would linger for days. Mainly for me, there was the concern for the outside felines that have been regular visitors to our outside shelters and feeders. How would they ever survive the brutal weather? The feeders and shelters were covered with several feet of snow and there was no way a cat could navigate through that.

After several days of worry about Sunnybud and his feline stray and feral buddies, constantly shoveling to make paths to the shelters and feeders, watching the food bowls that were not touched, I saw an unfamiliar stray dart from one of the shelters as I was sweeping snow. That was my first ray of hope that survival was possible. Then three days after the snow stopped, on my afternoon check of the sun room, there was Sunnybud! He looked tired and was hungry, but otherwise he was uninjured. Hugs and cuddling were very much in order and he invited both, as if he was glad to see me too. He snuggled on the heat packs I provided. 



In last week's blog, I mentioned that my husband had given me a trail camera for Christmas so I could monitor the comings and goings on the patio day and night. The camera was buried in the snow after the blizzard until hubby shoveled and reactivated the camera. It captured Sunnybud's return those few days later and his activity since. We know for certain that two other visitors have returned to the patio as well since the storm--a tortie we have dubbed Spice and a fluffy gray and white cat.  


Of course, paw prints in the snow and empty food dishes are also a reliable indicator that there have visitors to the igloo in the tomato garden and the other shelters and feeders. The camera, off course, shows us exactly who the visitors are (even the neighborhood raccoon!)



If I have learned one lesson this week, it is that I need to trust in the natural instincts of our feral friends. I can provide shelter, warmth and food, but ultimately I have to trust that their instincts also work to keep them safe. It truly makes each one of Sunnybud's visits a special part of my day. And while I hate leaving him after each visit, I feel blessed that he has etched a place in his heart for my affections despite his apparent need to remain free and a part of the outside world we sometimes fear. I guess he believes he has the best of both worlds!




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GILT BY ASSOCIATION, the third book in my Caprice De Luca Home Staging Mystery series, is set in February. Although there are no snow storms in the book that match the blizzard of 2016, you can get a taste of Pennsylvania winters as Caprice works to solve a murder while dealing with the wintry weather.







USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith is an only child who delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances. Her 91st novel will be released in 2016.

Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flowers and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks rather than gardens.  And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn't all about work, awards and bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.

Karen looks forward to interacting with readers. They can find her at the links below. 


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