Friday, October 26, 2012

Black cats, Halloween, & a ghost story #giveaway


I love black cats.  I adopted two from a shelter 15 years ago, when they were about 6 months old.  Sadly, Shadow passed away last year, but the other is still going strong, even in his advanced years.  Spazzy has some white on his face and paws, and earned his name as a crazy kitten.  He is constantly on the prowl for a lap to snuggle in, so the minute you sit down in my house, be prepared to stay put a while.

Shadow’s name fit him as well.  He was skittish and wary, but also sweet and loving.  He was scared of most people, yet I saw him chase neighborhood dogs off our property more than once.  Shadow was completely black—dark and sleek and beautiful.  I would never think of him as a symbol of bad luck, but I can see how people might view black cats as mysterious and otherworldly.


I miss my Shadow kitty dearly

The ancient Egyptians believed cats had magical powers, and regarded them as sacred.  In fact, they worshipped a feline goddess known as Bastet.  On the other hand, Druids feared cats.  All cats are nocturnal and appear dark as they creep through the night, sure-footed and stealthy even with no light to see by.  This gave all cats a mystical aura, but the color black has often been associated with sinister forces.



Black cats, along with bats and spiders, have long been considered by some to be bad omens.  Some cultures believed witches could turn into cats in order to avoid capture.  Black cats were also thought to be familiars—low ranking demons tasked with serving and protecting a witch.

Even with a limited understanding of diseases, societies throughout history were also able to see the connection between cats and outbreaks of plague.  Cats control rodent populations, and rats are carriers of many diseases deadly to humans.  This added to the idea that cats had powers beyond human comprehension.
 
Thus, an association with witchcraft and the occult, superstition, fear, and awe combined to make black cats a symbol of Halloween, the night when the barrier between the paranormal and physical worlds grows thin.  Silver Lake, my debut paranormal romance, revolves around a restless spirit—the ghost, Brandy, is desperate to communicate with her living friends.  In order to help, Rain and Jason must reunite, and together they’ll face not only a haunted lake house, but their own painful past. 
My Spazzy kitty
loves boxes
            And while not central to the story, our heroine, Rain, owns a black cat named Minx.  I hope you’ll take a moment to read Silver Lake's excerpt and blurb below!  If you'd like to enter the giveaway for a free e-copy, please leave a comment with contact info.  Happy almost - Halloween J


Blurb:
 
Rain Anderson can't decide which is more unsettling—encountering the ghost of her missing friend, or reuniting with the man whose love she foolishly rejected. But one thing is certain: the past has come back to haunt her, quite literally.
 
Five years ago, Rain's tight-knit group of high school friends unraveled when one vanished during their senior year. Now, a parent's deathbed request has reunited the friends at Silver Lake, including Jason Lansing, the man Rain discarded. Rain and Jason discover the powerful attraction between them has survived, but though Jason is willing to forgive, he can't let himself forget. The possibility of falling for Rain again is too risky.
 
Slamming doors, crashing objects, flaring fires—clearly the ghost has a message to share. As Rain and Jason struggle to unravel the truth, they must face a desperate spirit in need of help…and a burning passion that refuses to die.


Excerpt:
            “I saw...a figure.  A figure with dark hair, and I think it was Brandy.”  She shuddered and put her forehead back on his chest. 
Reluctantly, he moved their bodies apart a bit and scanned her face.  He held on to her shoulders and asked calmly, “You saw Brandy?  Brandy is here?”
            She shook her head.  “No, I saw… like… an image of Brandy.  I woke up, because it was cold, and I saw something moving.  It was Brandy, I’m sure of it, although I didn’t see her face clearly.  And then she, um, disappeared.”
            “An image of Brandy?  Are you saying you saw a ghost, Rain?”  He was pretty sure she’d had another nightmare, but the way she had flown out of her room gave him the impression it had been an extremely vivid one.
            “I know, it sounds ridiculous.  But that’s what I saw.  And she sort of, well, went through the wall.  I’m sure you don’t believe me,” she added miserably, lifting her stormy eyes to his.
            He pulled her back into a hug before he could stop himself.  “I absolutely believe you.  Whether you were awake or asleep, you saw Brandy and that’s scary.  I don’t think we can deny that weird things are happening here.”
            Jason smoothed her hair and waited patiently for her trembling to subside.  If a ghost really was lurking in her bedroom, there wasn’t a whole heck of a lot he could do about that.  A rare sense of powerlessness caused his jaw to clench in frustration.
He stopped watching the door and instead focused on the gorgeous woman in his arms.  She clung to him, and his body responded to hers with a familiar ache.  He knew he was losing the battle to keep his feelings platonic.
 
 


34 comments:

  1. Happy Halloween. Thanks for sharing the excerpt/blurb
    (interesting book, on my TBR list)

    BeckeyWhiteATgmailDOTcom

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    1. Thanks for coming by Beckey - Happy Halloween to you too! You're entered in the drawing - good luck!

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  2. Kathryn, I like the picture you posted of the cat on the tree branch in the blue moonlight - beautiful.
    I've always loved cats and years ago we had a gorgeous long-haired, red kitty named Rufus who is remembered fondly. Cats are amazing, clever, funny, loving and superbly entertaining companions. Big hug to all the cats out there.
    Happy Halloween.

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    1. Happy Halloween to you too Christine, thanks for coming by! Isn't that pic beautiful?

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  3. That excerpt sounds great, and I love your spazzy kitty. I had a black and white named Schmoozer because she was such a talker. : )

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    1. Thanks Robena! Aww Schmoozer is a great name :)

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  4. Your kitties are beautiful, Kathryn. Love the excerpt! Count me in to win. :)

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    1. Thanks Calisa! You are entered...Happy Halloween!

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  5. I love kitties. I have 3 of my own. No black cats though. Love the pics!!

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    1. Thanks Karen! I love cats as well (obviously) - thinking about adopting a few more soon.

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  6. Beautiful kitties! My husband rescued 2 kittens that a stray mama cat gave birth to under our back deck last year. A gray striped one and a calico. Then a few months ago while he was at work, my husband found another stray kitten, this one all black. He gave it to a co-worker to take home, but I would have loved to add it to our family. Black cats are so pretty!

    tricia (at) triciaschneider (dot) com

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  7. I agree, Tricia, and what a wonderful thing for your husband to do! I firmly believe animals "find" people who will help them :) Thanks for coming by and you are entered in the contest - Happy Halloween!

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  8. I have nothing against black cats. But my two seem to have found them a new home - being males. I have a fat cat - we call her that because she is 30 lbs. I have a crazy cat and a bossy cat. These three are inside. I have 10 to 12 more outside.
    Enter me please unless it is an ebook.
    jrs362 at hotmail dot com

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    1. thanks for coming by! It is actually an e-book, I should put that up to be clear, thanks.

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  9. Enjoyed the excerpt, book sounds really good. I have always been fond of black cats, they are so good looking.
    skpetal at hotmail dot com

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    1. Thanks Jean! I agree, they are beautiful animals. You are entered :)

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  10. Great excerpt, Kathryn. Love the kitties as I'm a cat person who has been owned by two black cats over the years. Sadie and Sassy were both skittish and shy, but loved their perch on my lap.

    maccrowne@gmail.com

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    1. Hi Mac, thanks for coming by! Lol at owned by two black cats, that is certainly the way it is with cats. You are entered in giveaway!

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  11. What an interesting article, Kathryn, black cats are so beautiful and there are so many myths surrounding them.

    Loved the excerpt too! Happy Halloween

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    1. Thanks Hywela Lyn! Yes, they are beautiful and mysterious!

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  12. I had a black cat named Bear.

    Bear was a hunter...of plastic grocery bags. Every Friday my parents would bring home groceries and Bear would lie in wait under the kitchen table...patiently watching the herd of unsuspecting bags on the floor. He'd find the one that was young, or weak, or simply standing apart from the rest of the pack...

    And then BAM! The mighty hunter would pounce, taking the bag down in a yowl of triumph. He'd spend the next hour laying on his kill, licking the bag until he went cross eyed.

    True story. :D

    Cheers, Ash
    Ashkrafton@Gmail.com

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    1. Lol I love that story! Those bags never saw Bear coming :)

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  13. Truly beautiful cats, Kathryn! I've only ever been owned by tabbies or tortoiseshell cats, lovely and my darlings, but they're not black. One day... :) Thanks for the giveaway!
    clarksnelson at clear.net.nz

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    1. Thanks LaVerne you are entered! Happy Halloween!

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  14. Reminds me of my Kitty!! Thanks for sharing. I hope everyone has a safe holiday!!

    megmerrai@yahoo.com

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    1. Thanks for coming by, Meg - you are entered! Happy Halloween!

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  15. We have a black cat named Princess, and she acts like one too LOL.

    vampiremistress2010(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. awww perfect name! Happy Halloween, you are entered!

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  16. I love cats (have two) and almost all my friends do too (some also "rescued" their kitties)---guess that makes us cat people! My sister dresses up her kitties in their own Halloween costumes ...although they manage to get them off 15 minutes later :)
    ivegotmail8889@yahoo.com

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    1. Hi pc, thanks for coming by! Yes I am definitely a cat person. Awww kitties in costumes, I can imagine how much they like it but I bet it's adorable lol
      you are entered!

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  17. I love the idea of old friends reuniting with a secret tradegy in their past. I enjoy a good spooky read with a mystery, and Silver Lake is defnitely one that interests me. This is already on my TBR list. Wonderful excerpt.

    BTW, I had a black cat which I adopted from a shelter. Onyx was 13 when we lost him last January because of cancer. He was gorgeous just like Shadow and Spazzy.

    Thanks for the opportunity to win

    maeclair (at) maeclair (dot) com

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  18. Hi Mae, so glad to see you here! And glad Silver Lake sounds like a book you'd enjoy - it's exactly the kind of book I like to read which is how I came up with the idea. Oh, I'm sorry you lost Onyx, what a beautiful name and he was a lucky kitty to get adopted! you are entered :)

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  19. Hi Debbi. Fellow Blog Hopper stopping by to say 'Hi and Happy Halloween. I enjoyed reading about your black cats. I was once adopted by a little black cat who I named Katinka. She was always wild but used to come to me for a feed and a fuss. I think it's a shame black cats have such a bad reputation in many countries.

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  20. Thanks for being a hop Stop.

    There is something magically charming about cats.

    Adila
    (from Azerbaijan)

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