Unique Blogs At Each Stop




I appreciate blog tours because I have the chance to chat with readers.  On this blog tour for ABIGAIL AND MISTLETOE I have written unique posts for each stop from thanking my loyal readers to how I started writing to the pleasure of creating holiday romances to developing a heroine. 

Developing a Heroine blog on Bookworm2Bookworm

Loyal Readers Blog on RomCon

Writing Holiday Romances blog on SOSAloha

When Writing Began blog at Fresh Fiction

I hope you enjoy each one and share your thoughts at the blogs.


©2012 Karen Rose Smith

Book Trailer For ABIGAIL AND MISTLETOE 

ABIGAIL AND MISTLETOE available at Amazon 

ABIGAIL AND MISTLETOE available at Samhain Publishing 

Karen Rose Smith's romance website

Karen Rose Smith's mystery website
 
IN TOUCH WITH KAREN ROSE SMITH e-zine






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RESCUING A KITTEN CONTINUED, Part 8 -- TRAINING A KITTEN?




TRAINING A KITTEN

Some people claim cats are not trainable.  They claim that cats are independent with wills of their own and humans can't understand them.  Cat owners who love and know their cats say "hogwash" to that!  Training cats requires patience, just like training other animals.  Learning their behaviors takes time, observation and a willingness to listen to their unspoken signals as well as their vocal ones.

The first kitty behavior we wanted to change with Zoie was biting and scratching, even in play.  One of the most common actions a human does with a kitten is to offer their hand in play.  Not a good idea if you don't want your kitten to scratch and bite.  Kittens are teething and want to chew.  They like grabbing their litter mates and scratching and tumbling with them.  When you adopt a young kitten, you'll either be a momma substitute or a sibling substitute...or both.

I could tell Zoie had been weaned from her mom because she easily ate solid food.  She also did not do a lot of suckling on blankets or towels...or even a lot of kneading.  But she did like to grab on, gnaw and scratch.  So the first thing we did was immediately give her a toy to do that with whenever she started.  The main element of good training is consistency.  This means every time she does it, I had to substitute a toy.  Not just sometimes.  Not just when I felt like it.  So I kept a couple of small stuffed toys handy in the places she liked to hang out most.

ZOIE AND HER FAVORITE CAT TOY

 Sometimes when her stuffed bear or cat weren't handy, I had to separate from her with a firm "no" or give her a time out.  I would put her on a chair and leave the room.  The important fact to remember is to not engage when the behavior is one you don't want to continue.  

By observing the times Zoie most often hung on to scratch and bite, I realized those times occurred more often when she was getting sleepy.  She still wrestles and chews on her bear and cat before she goes to sleep.  At over five months, she's doing it less.  But she hasn't given up those two toys yet.  (Make sure the toys don't have plastic noses or eyes that will crack or break because kitties can really bite!)

Now when we play with Zoie, she doesn't bite us and her claws are in.  Most of the time.  Once in a while she forgets and then I give her her toy.  But time outs for that are rare now.

"No is a word a kitten can learn, but use it effectively and in a certain tone of voice.  Moms know what I mean.  It doesn't have to be loud or scary but it does have to be resolute and firm.  Zoie started to jump up my jeans to get my attention.  London did that when she was a kitten and she wouldn't take "no" for an answer.  So I got some of those sticky strips that you're supposed to put on furniture so cats don't scratch.  (London used to peel those right off the sofa!)  On my slacks' legs, however, they stopped her and we broke the habit.  With Zoie, all it took was a sharp "no."  Now she might playfully jump up at me if she's hungry or just wanting to be playful.. But it's not a "claw up my legs" jump...more like a teasing "remember I'm here" jump.

ZOIE AND LONDON COMPETE FOR RIGHTS TO THE SCRATCHING POST
Next week--Zoie's relationship with Ebbie, flower essences, water spray bottles and what we're still trying to teach a kitten with hunter instincts who's growing up fast!


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ABIGAIL AND MISTLETOE: The Book With Several Lives




ABIGAIL AND MISTLETOE, a book originally bought by Meteor/Kismet, was meant to be published.  It was one of those books that turned me inside out when I was writing it.  But Meteor never had the chance to publish it.  The company folded.  When I learned what was happening, I bought the rights back.  I believed in this book that much.  A few months later, Silhouette bought it to publish as a Special Edition.  Years after it was published, readers would comment on or remember that book.  So when I had the opportunity to get my rights back from Harlequin, I jumped on it.  I indie-published all the other books with rights that reverted to me.  But Abigail was special so I decided to do something different with it.  I sent it to Samhain to see if it would be accepted for their Retro Romance program.  They liked the book and contracted for it.

ABIGAIL AND MISTLETOE, originally published in 1994, has been released today (October 16, 2012) in e-book form by Samhain.  I am as excited to see it published again as I was the first time.  I wanted to share its story with you because many of my readers might remember it.  I wanted to share its story with you because this is one of those books that just keeps on giving...to me and to my readers.
 

©2012 Karen Rose Smith

Book Trailer For ABIGAIL AND MISTLETOE 

ABIGAIL AND MISTLETOE available at Amazon 

ABIGAIL AND MISTLETOE available at Samhain Publishing 

Karen Rose Smith's romance website


Karen Rose Smith's mystery website
 
IN TOUCH WITH KAREN ROSE SMITH e-zine
Continue >>>

Rescuing a Kitten, Part 8




TRAINING A KITTEN

Some people claim cats are not trainable.  They claim that cats are independent with wills of their own and humans can't understand them.  Cat owners who love and know their cats say "hogwash" to that!  Training cats requires patience, just like training other animals.  Learning their behaviors takes time, observation and a willingness to listen to their unspoken signals as well as their vocal ones.

The first kitty behavior we wanted to change with Zoie was biting and scratching, even in play.  One of the most common actions a human does with a kitten is to offer their hand in play.  Not a good idea if you don't want your kitten to scratch and bite.  Kittens are teething and want to chew.  They like grabbing their litter mates and scratching and tumbling with them.  When you adopt a young kitten, you'll either be a momma substitute or a sibling substitute...or both.

I could tell Zoie had been weaned from her mom because she easily ate solid food.  She also did not do a lot of suckling on blankets or towels...or even a lot of kneading.  But she did like to grab on, gnaw and scratch.  So the first thing we did was immediately give her a toy to do that with whenever she started.  The main element of good training is consistency.  This means every time she does it, I had to substitute a toy.  Not just sometimes.  Not just when I felt like it.  So I kept a couple of small stuffed toys handy in the places she liked to hang out most.

ZOIE AND HER FAVORITE CAT TOY

 Sometimes when her stuffed bear or cat weren't handy, I had to separate from her with a firm "no" or give her a time out.  I would put her on a chair and leave the room.  The important fact to remember is to not engage when the behavior is one you don't want to continue.  

By observing the times Zoie most often hung on to scratch and bite, I realized those times occurred more often when she was getting sleepy.  She still wrestles and chews on her bear and cat before she goes to sleep.  At over five months, she's doing it less.  But she hasn't given up those two toys yet.  (Make sure the toys don't have plastic noses or eyes that will crack or break because kitties can really bite!)

Now when we play with Zoie, she doesn't bite us and her claws are in.  Most of the time.  Once in a while she forgets and then I give her her toy.  But time outs for that are rare now.

"No is a word a kitten can learn, but use it effectively and in a certain tone of voice.  Moms know what I mean.  It doesn't have to be loud or scary but it does have to be resolute and firm.  Zoie started to jump up my jeans to get my attention.  London did that when she was a kitten and she wouldn't take "no" for an answer.  So I got some of those sticky strips that you're supposed to put on furniture so cats don't scratch.  (London used to peel those right off the sofa!)  On my slacks' legs, however, they stopped her and we broke the habit.  With Zoie, all it took was a sharp "no."  Now she might playfully jump up at me if she's hungry or just wanting to be playful.. But it's not a "claw up my legs" jump...more like a teasing "remember I'm here" jump.

ZOIE AND LONDON COMPETE FOR RIGHTS TO THE SCRATCHING POST
 
Next week--Zoie's relationship with Ebbie, flower essences, water spray bottles and what we're still trying to teach a kitten with hunter instincts who's growing up fast!
 


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RESCUING A KITTEN, Part 7



So...I changed the name of the blog back to the original name because I wanted to keep readers recognizing the posts.  Ebbie, London and Zoie getting along is part of the whole process of rescue. 

To sum up for new readers, we rescued a kitten from our backyard.  We live in a semi-rural area and she was crying, curled up in a small twisted redbud bush.  We took her in but, since we have two cats who are eleven, we had to keep them separate.  Finally Zoie Joy's digestive condition had cleared, round worms were gone and the L-lysine was helping her eyes and Ebbie's.  So it was time for some safe interaction.  After the first experience with Zoie in her carrier in the kitchen, London taking a look and often hissing, Ebbie not coming out of her room, we did something different.  We put a wide screen between rooms and an old peg board from long-ago Home Interiors demonstrations in the foyer to block the circle leading to the foyer and living room.

We began to have hope when London started approaching the screen.  Zoie would do the same and, at times, they'd even touch noses!  Zoie seemed more eager for the contact than London.  Eventually London would hiss again and scamper off with Zoie wondering where she went.  Ebbie still wouldn't come join the the fun giving more for her mamma (me) to worry about.

I realized Ebbie was totally fearful of what she couldn't see and understand.  After about a week of the above, we decided to make a new change.  We took the screen from the kitchen and put it between the living room and the first floor bedroom where Ebbie spent all of her time now.  Our reasoning was that we had to bring Zoie to her in a non-threatening way.  So I would go into the bedroom with Ebbie and my husband would stay in the other part of the house with Zoioe and London.  Zoie could see me through the screen and didn't like that.  But she was extremely interested in Ebbie.  After all, they looked like each other.


We did this every day for a few hours.  But Ebbie didn't want to come down from her steps at the window and would often turn her back to the screen.  I understood that nothing was going to make her face reality except letting her see Zoie up close and personal.  Keep in mind, we were still worried about Ebbie's hip and back which she'd injured a few months ago.  But she wasn't happy the way she was now.


After more consideration, we took the screen and pegboard away altogether.  For a while each morning and afternoon, we let everyone interact.  Almost immediately London and Zoie found a fascinating connection.  Zoie danced around London and London reacted.  London would lay on one step watching warily while Zoie ran to the top and played along the rungs of the bannister.  She'd run down.  They'd engage each other in running play.  If Zoie got too close, London would hiss or swat.  But Zoie seemed to accept that as part of the play and her respect for London grew.  They began to learn boundaries.



Then Zoie decided she wanted to connect with Ebbie.

What can an older scared cat do when a kitten won't be ignored?  She can protect herself as best as she can by running, but she has to stand her ground somehow and decide how to handle it in her cat way.  Ebbie would not come down off of the top step of her carpeted steps.  If she was wandering and Zoie caught her unawares, Zoie would chase her and she would run back up the steps.  That was where she would stand her ground.  She would not let Zoie chase her from that top step.



The problem soon became that even though Ebbie would growl, she wouldn't swat Zoie.  Zoie wanted to play with Ebbie's tail and Ebbie would growl more.  This soon developed into the fact that Zoie would not let Ebbie settle anywhere but on those steps.  If Ebbie climbed on the bed when Zoie was elsewhere with London, when Zoie returned she would chase Ebbie from the bed or anywhere else she had settled.

Soon Zoie was out and about all day.  And although Ebbie slept on her steps, washed on her steps and ate on her steps, she actually seemed much happier.  She was more alert and playful, and at night when we put Zoie in my office for bedtime, Ebbie would play with toys we'd brought out from her and London's kitten days.  She was moving around more.  I watched when Zoie chased her to see if she was hurting, but the exercise seemed good for her.  The main problem I was concerned about was Zoie jumping on Ebbie.  We couldn't keep her from doing it.  I consulted the vet and our pet sitter who handles so many pets, and they felt Ebbie and Zoie had to settle it themselves.  But a few weeks later, it wasn't resolving.  We needed a new strategy.

We also had to feed Zoie in my office and pick up Ebbie and London's dry food whenever she was around because she'd gobble it all up!  We had to change a lot of dynamics.

Can Ebbie find freedom while Zoie's around?  Will Zoie stop jumping on her?

More about that next week and whether or not our three cats will really ever be "sisters."


© 2012 Karen Rose Smith

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RESCUING A KITTEN, Part 6


I decided to change the title of my blog today from RESCUING A KITTEN to KITTY MEETS CATS because we're entering a new phase of the kitty adoption.  Zoie Joy has known she is loved from the moment I held her the day we found her.  She's had a month of becoming more secure with my husband and I, knowing she'll have food often, water always, and petting whenever she wants it.  With her confident in all that, it was time for her to meet Ebbie and London who are both eleven.

The first meeting wasn't a love fest.  We brought Zoie to the kitchen in her carrier because it was a central place in the house.  She meowed.  London took a peek and hissed.  Ebbie wouldn't leave the room she feels safest in or her perch on steps at the window.  (She'd hurt her back months ago, so the steps help her climb.)

 RESTLESS ZOIE
 
They all just had to get used to each other, right?  Hmmm.  For a few days, we would bring Zoie in her carrier to the kitchen.  She was beginning to get restless in my office and wanted to expand her boundaries.  She was meowing at the door to go into the rest of the house more often.  Ebbie still wouldn't come to the kitchen to look when Zoie did visit the kitchen and London was still hissing when she saw the carrier and heard Zoie, though she didn't run as far away.  Progress?

New strategy.  I abide by the adage that keeping on doing the same thing over and over again with the same result is the definition of insanity.  (Einstein)  We came up with a plan.  They all needed to be freer to see each other.  After thinking about our options, we took a window screen from my office and put it at one doorway to the kitchen.  We barricaded the entrance from the dining room to the foyer with an old pegboard I had once used for home decorating demonstrations.  With this set-up, Zoie would be free to roam from office to kitchen to dining room.  Ebbie and London had the rest of the house.

LONDON ENJOYING A FEW MOMENTS OF PEACE AND QUIET


Zoie is social.  She wanted to be with us.  She wanted to be with the cats.  If she'd hear my voice outside the kitchen, she cried.  But she and London began a little dance at the screen from the start of the new arrangement.  London would lay about four feet away from the screen, watching.  Zoie would dance up to the screen, dance away, then go play with a toy.  Every once in a while, London would mosey up to it then turn her back on it.  Ebbie, on the other hand, still wanted nothing to do with the newcomer.  She was afraid of what she couldn't see.

 EBBIE FEELING SAFE ON ONE OF HER SETS OF STEPS

The interaction, the denial, the learning to accept change and a different family...  Are cats so different from us?  I'm learning much by watching, being patieint and figuring out what comes next.

Next week--  How the house dynamics change with three cats, all with different needs.


Karen Rose Smith's Website

Karen Rose Smith's Mystery Website 

IN TOUCH WITH KAREN ROSE SMITH e-zine



©2012 Karen Rose Smith



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