Lucy A. Snyder’s Purrbuddy, Monte

Fun Fact: Lucy says, “People often assume that because I’m a woman author I write romances, but the only romance story I’ve written so far was for a level of an online game called Fish Wrangler.”

My husband Gary and I have four cats — all of whom try to “assist” my writing at some point during the day — but my main assistant is Monte. We’ve had him since 2002 when we still lived in an apartment. He showed up on our back patio on the first bitterly cold night of the year right around Thanksgiving. Monte was a little kitten, just a few months old, and he was completely feral and afraid of people. He was so small that we were worried he’d freeze out there. He ran from us whenever we went out there, but he kept coming back to the glass patio door because he was curious about my roommate’s cat Simon.

Monte

So, we sort of hid around the corner, opened the patio door a few inches, and used Simon to lure the kitten into the apartment. He came in, and we shut the door … and then spent the next half-hour trying to chase the little guy down so we could get him into a cat carrier. We expected him to fight us furiously, but when we got our hands on him he just went limp, purring.

EldritchDelightsHe’s a pretty old boy at this point and suffers from hyperthyroidism. This means that when his “stomach alarm” goes off, it goes off loudly. It also means that he needs to take a pill twice a day, which we hide in a bit of food that he loves. So he’s become very demanding of his meal/treat times. I’ll be at my desk working, and suddenly he’ll be up on my lap, yelling in my face. If he had a cane, I’m pretty sure he’d bang it on the floor.

But he’s a good boy, and a real sweetheart. He’s a beside-the-lap cat. When we’re watching movies on the couch, he likes to squeeze down between us and lie there purring loudly.

But most of the time, he’s just hanging out in my office, keeping me company while I write.

 

Check out our interview with Lucy A. Snyder here.

 

LucyASnyderLucy A. Snyder is the five-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author of over 100 published short stories. Her most recent books are the collection Garden of Eldritch Delights and the forthcoming novel The Girl With the Star-Stained Soul. She also wrote the novels Spellbent, Shotgun Sorceress, and Switchblade Goddess, and the collections While the Black Stars Burn, Soft Apocalypses, Chimeric Machines, and Installing Linux on a Dead Badger. Her writing has appeared in publications such as Asimov’s Science Fiction, Apex Magazine, Nightmare Magazine, Pseudopod, Strange Horizons, and Best Horror of the Year. She’s faculty in Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction MFA program. You can learn more about her at www.lucysnyder.com.

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Author Assistants: How Iris and Salem Inspire Hunter Shea

Hunter Shea Headshot 2016Fun Fact: Hunter says, “I yearn to be a long haul trucker because I love motoring down the highway so much.”

When you have two cats, nothing in your house is untouchable or sacred. It’s virtually impossible to keep them off of anything. Thankfully, my cats are very different from one another, each with their own specialty. How do they help me with writing? Hmmmm, let’s explore.

IrisFirst there’s Iris. She’s a 12 year old Calico (at least we think she’s 12. She was a shelter cat, so we can never be sure). She’s very small and quite agile. I’ve watched her leap onto my top shelf from a sitting position with no problem. She’s also a home wrecker, as in she delights in destroying our stuff. I try to keep her out of my writing room, but she always finds her way in. And when she does, she spends all her time knocking all of my horror memorabilia off the shelves, scattering them everywhere. Sometimes, the anger I feel towards Iris is channeled into my writing, so in that sense, she’s quite helpful. She also likes to attack people, especially in the dark and when you’re asleep. She’s the real monster in our house. Walking down our pitch-black hallway at night, tense because you’re waiting to see if your ankles will be scratched, is real fear. You have to experience fear to convey it with your writing. Thanks Iris!

SalemOn the flip side is Salem, a black cat as big as a cougar who thinks he’s a dog. He plays fetch, rolls over to be pet on his tummy and is the most gentle, yet clumsy, cat you’ll ever find. After a rough writing session, he’s right there, purring, waiting to be pet. There’s no better stress relief than petting a beloved cat or dog or even hamster. He’s also great comic relief. Being such a big cat, it’s amusing to watch him try to leap up to the window. He has about a fifty percent success rate. Salem is my bud, so much so that I wrote him into my book, The Jersey Devil. And yes, no harm befell my fictional Salem. I couldn’t do that to the big guy. One very good thing about him – he can’t get onto my shelves and wreak havoc. He’s more floor bound, and that suits us both just fine.

So yes, my two ‘writing assistants’ are quite different and inspire me in their own way. I’ve written articles and blog posts about them in the past, and for that they are exceedingly helpful. Just watching the things they do can give me inspiration or a break from the insanity of ‘people life’. They both have it pretty good in the Shea lair, and we’re happy they’re members of our family. Even when Iris bites our toes while we’re sleeping.

 

Hunter Shea talks about his latest novel, Creature, here.

 

Creature cover

Hunter Shea is the author of over 20 books, with a specialization in cryptozoological horror that includes The Jersey Devil, The Dover Demon, Loch Ness Revenge and many others. His novel, The Montauk Monster, was named one of the best reads of the summer by Publishers Weekly. A trip to the International Cryptozoology Museum will find several of his cryptid books among the fascinating displays.