Tag Archives: cats

More Sad News.

My Kitty died last Thursday, November 19, at 11:18 am.

Oliver “Kittypoo” in his prime.

When I adopted him from the animal shelter fifteen years ago, they estimated his age to be about three, so he was approximately eighteen years old. His health had been steadily deteriorating since the first of this year, so my son and I knew what to expect, but it’s never easy when the inevitable finally happens.

He had a brief cameo role in my first novel, Irish Firebrands, as Dillon Carroll’s childhood pet.

Oliver was “Mr. Personality,” liked all humans, and enjoyed talking to people.

He took his responsibility as a companion seriously, and was loyal to his last breath, having chosen to be with me when he collapsed, and died within five minutes.

Because my son was out of town, my daughter came to help. She laid him to rest in the cozy kind of cardboard box in which he loved to play, with his crinkle sack for a cushion, and one of my son’s old T-shirts for a coverlet. His favorite crocheted toys, a bootlace, a handful of kibbles, and a kitty treat accompanied him as “grave goods.”

He rests now in my back garden, not far from my window.

Oliver “Kittypoo” set the bar at its highest, having lived as the perfect example of unconditional love. May we meet again, my most faithful friend!


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The Joys of Parody.

A forgotten form of Written Art?

Parody, like punning and cliché, resounds with readers because of aspects such as unique turns of phrase, irony and to be honest, being just too clever by half (characteristics of only the very best of the old stand-up comedians, too). The result is a very satisfying form of lexical humor. Check out this old book for some choice examples of parody:

Have you ever written a parody?

Tell us about it (or link to it), in the comment box.

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Are There Birds in Your Book?

One of the many varieties of plover.

Perhaps there’s a setting or a scene that you want to help your reader to hear: instead of just listing the names of birds that may be present, why not describe and/or phoneticize the bird songs or calls?

An adventure story which takes place outdoors is a natural setting for evoking environmental sound effects, but even a contemporary story in a small town setting can include a description of bird vocalizations. In this simple but alliterative description in the beginning scene of a chapter, the noise made by the birds is contrasted with the mindset of the character:

STRIDENT sparrows quarrelled on the windowsill, but as Dillon listened, serenity suffused his soul.
~ Irish Firebrands, Chapter 19

Phoneticized bird vocalizations (also called mnemonics) just means using onomatopoeia to represent sounds as words. These websites provide good examples:



The explanation below includes a list of descriptive words that can be applied to bird sounds (click on the image to download the document):

If you want to develop your own lexicon of birdsong mnemonics (or if you just want to become better acquainted with your feathered neighbors), click on the screen shots to access two databases of bird calls and songs:

BTW, when I play these recordings, it messes with my cat’s mind: he thinks there are birds hiding beneath my computer desk, and is puzzled when he can’t find them! 😀


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