No, it's not Mary Jo the cat Wench, but Jo the Cabbage Patch one, but talking about cats. I like cats, but for various reasons I've never owned one. Or been owned by one. That hasn't stopped me using them in books, most notably in Dangerous Joy, where I created a furore by killing a cat! Well, the villain did, but all the same, the horror rippled around the web.
Minor spoiler, but the cat comes back. :)
That was a magical Irish kitten called Gardeen, and I was touched the other day when a friend pointed me to a blog where someone had named their new kitten Gardeen after mine. You can read it here.
This picture is by Linda Bucklin. Check out the many gorgeous cat fractal pictures she has up on her website.
I've been a bit worried recently by lack of an animal intruder in the third book in the rakish trilogy, The Secret Duke. The structure I came up for myself for no particular reason was to start with strangers meeting at an inn and to have an odd animal. Coquette pranced into A Lady's Secret, and then Tabby turned up in The Secret Wedding. But where was the animal for Thorn's book?
The other day I realized that it had been there all the time, because The Secret Duke has a prologue set in 1760. Yes, the meeting at an inn -- the Black Rat in Dover. Not, you'll guess, the most salubrious establishment in town. And yes, the snippet I put into the contest was the beginning of that. The story picks up overlapping the time at the end of The Secret Wedding. You'll even revisit the Olympian Revels from the point of view of Bella Barstowe, attending for her own nefarious purposes.
If you've read The Secret Wedding you'll remember that at the end Thorn has temporary custody of Tabby and her two kittens. From the look of things, one is a Manx cat and the other is ordinary.
So clearly, the animal is one or both kittens. Because I'm not a cat person, I'm collecting information about kittens from a few weeks old to a few months. Share some, please, especially stories of cute or extraordinary antics. As inducement, I'm going to award naming rights to two commenters. One will go to the person with the best story -- best being completely subjective, of course. The other will be a random pick. I'll also send each a copy of Dangerous Joy if you don't already have it.
Now, I reserve the right to reject name suggestions until we find one that works. After all, it has to work in the 18th century and be vaguely plausible for the situation, but I'd be delighted if I could name a kitten after someone's beloved pet, living or dead.
Go to it!
To the right is the cover of the repub of my second book, The Stanforth Secrets, which is set in my home area on the Lancashire coast. It will be out next year. Lord Wraybourne's Betrothed, the first, will be out in October.