Joyce Lamb’s kitties are the keepers of her mews, fur sure

Today on Fiction and Fur we have Joyce Lamb, a three-time Rita finalist and author of romantic suspense novels, including True Vision, True Colors and the recently released True Shot. Also the curator of USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog. (www.usatoday.com/blog/happyeverafter/)

Does your pet help or hinder your writing progress?

Joyce: “Me-ah.”

MaddyThat’s the (cranky) sound my kitty Maddy makes when she’s irked to find the laptop occupying her favorite spot. What follows: I try to ruffle her ears, scratch that spot at the base of her tail, rub her belly, all with one hand while also trying to keep typing. This is NEVER enough for her. More “me-ahs,” growing in volume and irritation, assault my ears. And what do I do? Most of the time, I set the laptop aside and give her what she wants: her place on my lap and my undivided attention. She’s not spoiled. Nuh uh. Not at all. And I resent the implication. : )

AllieThe other puddy, Allie, is way more polite. She curls up next to me and purrs – and stares. Strangely, this is just as disruptive as Maddy’s more aggressive approach. I mean, what’s she thinking while staring at me like that? (Other than: “When’s my next meal? Huh? Huh? You’re not going to forget, are you? Because you’d be amazed at how quickly I could waste away.”) She’s also just so darned cute that I can’t resist. Next thing I know, I’ve set the laptop aside and proceeded to love her up exactly the way she wants: a vigorous and thorough belly rub.

So the fiction part of this post goes like this: The kitties are NO help. Their “pay attention to meeeeeee” routines distract me from my work. I could get SO much more done if they’d go sleep in the sun for 18 hours, like most puddies. And isn’t that more acceptable behavior for cats anyway?!?!

But … wait.

Turns out, giving a belly rub to a fluffy, warm, purring kitty who appears to love me above all else (other than food, of course) … well, it relaxes me. And a relaxed me thinks more clearly. And when I’m thinking more clearly, the creativity flows.

So … I guess that means Maddy and Allie are the keepers of my muse. Or, mews. Heh.

Funny kitty story from years ago: I adopted a sweet little kitten from an animal shelter who loved to hang out on my desk with me while I wrote. He was most fascinated by the mouse – funny, right? – and every time I’d scoot that thing across the mouse pad, he’d attack like it was an actual mouse trying to make a break for it. Cracked me up every time. And then one day, the unthinkable happened: Hobbes (aptly named because he pounced on EVERYTHING, just like Hobbes of Calvin and Hobbes fame) plopped his tiny little fur butt on the delete key while I blissfully and ignorantly scratched his ears and tickled under his chin. Next thing I know, two full pages of work have disappeared. UNSAVED work. Ack. Lesson learned: Control S, Joyce, control S!

Tell us a little about your latest release.

Flash HeatJoyce: My most recent release is called Flash Heat, about a newspaper photographer who has in her possession an incriminating photo, except she doesn’t know what the photo is or who’s after her for it. The hero is a grumpalicious reporter who just can’t get enough of giving poor Bailey a hard time (cuz, you know, he likes her!). It was one of the funnest books to write because Bailey and Cole have the most fun banter. Example:

“If you backpedal any faster, you’re going to leave a Cole-shaped hole in the wall.”

He grinned. “Kind of like the Road Runner, huh?”

“If you make that meep-meep sound, I’m going to be creeped out.”

“I try to keep my meep-meeping to a minimum.”

Another example:

“Come on,” Cole said. “You’re not chicken, are you?”

“Don’t even go there.”

“Don’t make me cluck.”

“God, I can’t stand it when grown men cluck.”

If your pet could talk, what secret would it tell us about you?

Joyce: Um, well, let’s see. I suspect both Maddy and Allie would tell you that I watch WAY too much TV. But, then, they benefit from the fact that I spend a good chunk of my Saturdays parked on the sofa with an empty lap.

They would probably also tell you that I snore. Obnoxiously. I’ve awakened in the middle of the night to Maddy stroking my cheek with her paw as if to say, “Hey, lady, could you keep it down? I’m trying to sleep here!”

Of course, if they COULD talk, they wouldn’t waste time or their breath telling you my secrets. They’d immediately launch into a chant: “Treat! Belly rub! Treat! Belly rub!”

So, how do your kitties keep you entertained – or distract you from your work? (One commenter here will win the book of your choice in the format of your choice – print or e-book – from my backlist.)

Thanks for stopping by and letting me share my awesome furry friends with you!

You can find out more about me and my books at joycelamb.blogspot.com.

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About fiction and fur

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Posted on May 3, 2013, in Author/Pet Interview. Bookmark the permalink. 31 Comments.

  1. Great post, Joyce. Isn’t it funny how the kitties just seem to know whenever you want to sit down and work. If I’m not up at an acceptable time for my cat, Odin, he gets on the bed near my pillow and just stares at me about an inch away from my nose and won’t stop until I get up. PIA. 🙂

  2. Joyce, your kitties are as distracting as the one I have. She will walk on top of my laptop while I’m typing. If that doesn’t get her my attention she will rub her chin on the monitor part which irks me to no end. I wish I got inspired to write by her actions! I enjoyed the banter between Cole and Bailey! Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi, Pam! Oh, my, the walking on the keyboard — what’s up with that?!?! They walk on ME whenever they feel like it, too. Yet, if I walk on some part of THEM, like their tail, there’s this big screeching yeow that makes my ears ring. Double standards much?

  3. Love how the kitties help you write, Joyce. Except for that delete key. Or maybe Hobbes was trying to tell you something about those pages… But seriously, I’ve loved all your books and am sure Hobbes was just jealous.

  4. My kitty keeps me company while I’m writing. She lays on top of my desk and flicks her tail in front of my computer screen like a furry windshield wiper. Drives me nuts.

    Joyce, your book sounds like loads of fun! “Grumpalicious” –LOL! what a great word for the best kind of hero. : )

    Diane, I love your new blog–what a purrfect title. Your son did a fantastic job w/ the design. Adding you to my reader. . .

    • Hi, Susan! Ah, yes, the tail flicking. Amazing how much control they have over those things. Maybe she’s just sharing HER “tale” while you’re writing yours. : )

  5. Joyce, your book sounds great.

    My cats like to help me write by walking across the key-board.

    Diane, Love the blog.

    🙂

    • Hi, Emily! Thanks! : ) Wouldn’t it be funny if when they walked across the keyboard, they actually typed something that solved a plot crisis? … Actually, no, it wouldn’t be funny — it’d be awesome!!! : )

  6. Very entertaining blog! Sorry you lost those few pages, though. What a little rascal!

    My recently departed kitty used to crawl on my keyboard but smartened up after the 50th time I removed him. After that, he decided he would position himself between my laptop and me, then sprawl out. Not much of a muse, but he helped to keep my lap warm! 🙂

    • Oh, I’m so sorry your kitty is recently departed, Evie. I bet you really miss him. I still miss my kitties who’ve departed. My puds are pretty great at keeping my lap warm — except when those hormonal surges happen and then I just want a bag of ice on my lap … and the back of my neck … and …

  7. Our girl cat, Mogget, has acquired the interesting (annoying) habit of talking, talking, talking, until you follow her to her food bowl, which is already full by the way, and watching her eat. Don’t know where she picked up this behavior, it’s not like we reinforce it or anything *snort*.

    Our boy, Bruno, simply walks across my keyboard, stepping on various keys that make my screen go whacko, which means I spend the next several minutes figuring out what the blighter did.

    Cute blog, Diane!

    • Hi, Grace! Ah, yes, the “talking.” Funny story about the “talking”: I was doing a phone interview with one of my favorite authors, Lisa Gardner, and I had her on speaker, Maddy apparently LOVED the sound of Lisa’s voice and thought she would be the perfect person to rub her belly or give her a treat, because when Lisa would say something, Maddy would meow. Really loud. And she kept trying to mark the phone, like she was saying, “This woman is MINE.” So, so funny! Maddy hasn’t done that with anyone else, and when I was replaying the interview to transcribe it, Maddy was right there, meowing back at Lisa (and herself) the whole time.

  8. No kitties in the Flynn house (fab Mr Flynn is a cat hater, poor confused boy) but we have two very old dogs who love spending the day napping in the sun – which is better than how it used to be: right behind my office chair. I’d run them over when I pushed back from the desk.

    • Hi, Avery!
      Doh! I’ve stepped on the black puddy a couple of times. She’s always trying to herd me toward the food dish, which she insists is empty, even though it’s not. She’s quite the character!

  9. We’re also currently pet-free, but in the old days, one dog used to drop a tennis ball CONTINUALLY in my lap when I was sitting still. Obviously, if I had time to write, I had time to be playing fetch.

    • LOL, Rowan! Allie will drop a toy at my feet and look at me, like, I know I’m a cat, but I want to play, so I’m acting like a dog right now, k? So cute.

  10. I have four BFFFs (best four-footed friends) who graciously allow me to share their home. I kid a lot about getting ideas while walking my dogs (a 2x/day ritual). Sometimes, I don’t think I’d ever get a book finished if I couldn’t walk my dogs. My cats are exactly like your two, Joyce. Their favorite place is wherever I am. Loved the post!

    • Hi, Cathy! I know, right? And there are people who say cats aren’t capable of loving anyone, but if that were true, why would they start purring when they just look at you? OK, OK, I know that purr can transfer if someone else were to pick up the feeding duties, but still. : ) And, heck, why would they cuddle with me when I go to bed knowing I snore so obnoxiously?!?!? That’s love, people. Love. : )

  11. I spewed my wine when I read that ESPN comment — and it was a lovely pinot grigio, so I’m going to have to find you and make you take me out for a drink! Meanwhile, you should tell the story about Maddie meowing to a song you were recording in the car… 😉

    • Yes, Joyce, that sounds like a story worth telling 🙂
      Diane

    • Oh, yeah, that! Too funny. She wasn’t actually meowing along with the song, though it did sound that way. I was bringing her home from the vet, and she was NOT happy. (I wouldn’t have been, either, if they’d done to me what they did to her!!) But I had the radio on and a song came on that I really liked, so I turned on the voice recorder on my phone to record a minute or so, so I could look the song up later to find out who it was. When I played the sound file later, there’s Maddy bemoaning her vet experience along with a Lifehouse song. Not only did I laugh (bad mom!), but I proceeded to play it for any friend who would listen.
      And, hey, when you’re ready for that drink, Ana, let me know! : )

  12. Joyce I love your wicked sense of humor and your books. Good blog.

  13. What a terrific idea for a blog, Diane! Joyce, I’ve heard about your kitties, but it’s great to see pictures! They’re adorable. In spite of all those keyboard mishaps. 😉 They’re just looking out for you when they interrupt–they don’t want you to work too hired. Because then, of course, you might be too tired to feed them!

    • Hmm, now THAT’S something I hadn’t considered, Kathy. They may be WAY more calculating than I even thought! Little do they seem to realize that if they just sit there and stare at me without blinking, I’ll feed them eventually. : )

  14. Diane and Joyce – so good to see the two of you up to no good again – both with your usual wicked senses of humor.

    Alas – my dearly departed kitty is no longer “bugging” me, although I’m pretty sure Elle’s ghost shows up every now and again. What else could explain all the mishaps on the computer. Not my fault 🙂

    Love your books Joyce – can’t wait to catch up with you again … soon.

    • HI, Deb!! I know, right? Diane has a way of bringing the wickedness out in me. She’ll blame me, of course, but it’s all her. : ) This is the woman, after all, who sent me a pink stuffed monkey holding a condom (inside joke about wild, but safe, monkey sex in our books). i opened that box in front of my visiting mother! Diane, Diane, Diane. Without you, I wouldn’t burn nearly as many calories laughing hysterically.
      I hope to see you again soon, too, Deb!

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