Channeling the Cat
It's almost a joke – the common association between authors and cats. I haven't done a systematic survey, but I would estimate that at least 75% of the authors I hosts as blog guests mention feline companions in their bios. I'm no exception. I currently have two cats who traveled with us from the United States to southeast Asia ten years ago, and who have settled in quite comfortably.
Of course, many famous writers were renowned for their close relationships with their felines. Colette, Papa Hemingway, Jean-Paul Satre, Ray Bradbury... the list goes on and on. The inspiration for my erotic writing career, Portia da Costa, is a huge cat lover – that's one of the things that forged a bond between us.
Many explanations have been offered for the feline-author affinity. A cat doesn't need to be walked, so we can spend our time at our desks as opposed to trucking around on the street scooping up their business. Cats are mysterious creatures with many layers of personality – rather like effective characters. Cats have an elegance and precision of movement we writers might use as a model for our prose. Many authors have cited their felines as sources of inspiration. Noted Canadian writer Robertson Davies once said “Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reason.”
The other day, I was suddenly struck by a new theory. I was thinking about the fact that so many authors report hearing “voices”. “I just listen to my characters, and write down what they say,” one of my guests commented. Writing sometimes feels like something driven from outside, beyond our conscious control. Well, what if that's true?
What if it's not our characters who are dictating the story? What if it's our cats?
Ridiculous, right? But Mr. Toes sits behind my monitor most days I'm writing. He pretends to be asleep, but if I should get up for a bathroom break or a drink of water, he stirs and gives me a look, as it to say, “Where are you going? The story's not done yet!”
I grew up with cats. I grew up writing fiction. When I went off to college and then grad school, I left the felines behind, and although I wrote lots of poetry during that period, I didn't pen a single story. Then I met my husband, a confirmed ailurophile, and filled my life with felines once more. Next thing you know, I was a published author.
Ever tried to write when your cat was sick? Tough to concentrate on the tale, isn't it?
And wouldn't this explain why our characters are larger than life? Why they have so much vitality, such powerful passions, such intense adventures? How could a mere human imagine such creatures? Cats, though – they have superhuman abilities. Just ask them.
Of course to really test this, we'd all have to get rid of our felines and then see if we could still write.
That might be informative. It might restore our self-respect. But it's simply too painful to contemplate.
If I'm channeling my cats, I'm okay with that. As long as they don't want their names on the cover.
Meanwhile, I've finally written a story in which a cat has center stage. The Eyes of Bast is a shifter tale with a difference. Read on to learn more.
The Eyes of Bast by Lisabet Sarai
Paranormal/shapeshifter erotic romance
Approximately 54 pages
Published by Books We Love, Ltd.
Trust your heart. Follow your dreams.
Shaina Williams' grandmother bequeathed her that wisdom, along with a old pendant from the Islands, carved from an ocelot's tooth. When instinct tells Shaina to visit the feral cat trap she'd set in Central Park, she listens to that inner voice. She discovers she's caged a magnificent black tom, but the cat inexplicably vanishes after she tends to his wounds. Seeking the errant feline, Shaina encounters instead a handsome stranger whose slightest touch sets her body on fire. As the day dawns after a night of ferocious passion, her mysterious lover is forced back into his true shape - the tomcat she'd rescued.
Born a cat, Tom was transformed into an unwilling shape shifter by a sorceress who craved a human plaything to satisfy her perverse lusts. Centuries old and irresistibly powerful, Delphine Montserrat will stop at nothing to find her runaway familiar. Shaina vows to do whatever is necessary to defeat the vicious but seductive witch and save the man she believes is her soul mate – even though it might mean losing him forever.
Go check the old elm. I swear, the voice was clear as crystal in my mind. Lack of sleep, I told myself. Or stress. The cage is still in my apartment. There won’t be anything there. But the urge to go back to the park just wouldn’t let go.
Trust your instincts. With a sigh, I turned and headed for the park, pulling my mace out of my purse as I walked.
The sky was still light enough for me to see shapes and shadows, even under the trees. As I’d expected, area beneath the elm was empty, the grass trampled from my previous visit. Of course no cats revealed themselves. If there were ferals around, they’d be hiding in the underbrush, wary of my scent and the sounds I made, despite my attempts to move quietly.
Tom wasn’t afraid of you. The thought made me ache. He’d been such a gorgeous, affectionate cat. I hoped he was okay.
“Hello.” The voice was male, low and throaty. I jumped and whirled around.
A man stood behind me, a fairly young man with sleek, dark skin and a wide, shy smile. Although his body appeared to be fit and muscular, he held himself in an awkward manner, as if he had some subtle handicap. His arms hung at his sides, his hands clenching and unclenching as though he didn’t quite know what to do with them.
I gripped my mace more tightly, although he didn’t appear at all threatening.
“Um – what are you doing here?”
“Nothing, nothing...” He shrugged and scratched the curly black locks that covered his head. “I heard your voice. I wanted to make sure you were all right.”
Had I spoken aloud? I returned his smile, still uncertain whether I should trust him. “I’m fine. Just taking a walk.”
“It’s not safe here after dark, you know.”
His earnest tone made me chuckle. I held up the can of mace. “I can take care of myself.”
Worry furrowed his high forehead. “That won’t help against some of the things that come out at night.”
A chill shot through me. I shook it away. “I was just headed home anyway.”
“Good. You should be careful.” His smile returned, melting my last vestiges of suspicion. He pronounced his English with a precision that made me wonder if he spoke something else as his native language. It wasn’t exactly an accent, but I could tell he wasn’t a native New Yorker.
“What about you?”
“Oh – I know my way around here,” he answered. He ran his fingers through his curls and arched his back a bit, as though stretching. Despite that odd awkwardness, he was lithe and graceful. A brief pang of desire shot through me. “And I have excellent night vision. Exceptionally sharp hearing, too.”
I couldn’t figure out why, but something about him felt familiar. “Have we met before?” I asked, then cringed, realizing it sounded like a pick up line. “I mean – um – I don’t mean…” Hot blood climbed into my cheeks, though the shadows were probably too dense for him detect my discomfort.
His bold laugh rang out in the growing darkness. “Maybe we have met,” he said. “I live in the neighborhood. Do you?”
“Pretty close,” I answered, alarm bells sounding in my head. No matter how handsome and charming he was, I wasn’t about to give him my address.
“Well, then, you never know. You said you were heading home. May I walk with you?” He took my arm without waiting for my permission.
“Um – actually—” His touch stopped me cold. It drove out rational thought. As if someone had turned on a faucet, hormones poured into my blood. My nipples tensed and my lower lips grew plump and slick. His fingers on my bare forearm were tipped with fire. I gasped, staring up in wonder at his strong, even features, overcome by his imminent maleness.
I wanted stretch out in the grass and pull him down on top of me. I was dying to feel his weight on my chest, his hardness probing between my thighs. Skin on skin was what I craved, with an urgency I’d never experienced in my all my twenty-eight years.
His nostrils flared and I knew he’d caught the ocean scent rising from my sex. I could smell it myself. My saturated panties and jeans were no barrier. He grinned, revealing teeth so white they gleamed in the twilight gloom. I shuddered with need, imagining those teeth tearing my flesh, and stumbled on the gravel path.
About the Author
When I was a little girl, my dad would make up stories for my siblings and me, fabulous sagas about ghosts and monsters, magical races with mysterious powers, heroes on impossible quests, hidden treasures awaiting only the most courageous seeker. I blame him for my lifelong fascination with the magical and miraculous.
Now that I'm grown up, I create my own tales of wonder, weaving in generous portions of human desire with its potent enchantments. In my paranormal tales, love works the most powerful magick.
Find out more about me and my books at my website, Lisabet's Fantasy Factory (http://www.lisabetsarai.com) and my blog Beyond Romance (http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com). I also hang out on Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/83387.Lisabet_Sarai) and Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/author/lisabetsarai). I also have a VIP readers email list where I share release and contest information and run exclusive monthly giveaways. To join, just email me: lisabet [at] lisabetsarai [dot] com.