Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas from my family to yours.
May 2021 be a year of recovery in body, mind and spirit.
Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas from my family to yours.
May 2021 be a year of recovery in body, mind and spirit.
When I first came to America, I was invited to share my first Thanksgiving meal at a friend of my mom and dad. They lived up in the mountains. I remember we had already had our first snow fall for the season. I remember the crisp bite of cold air, and the delicious smells wafting from the kitchen. The table was laden with dishes – stuffing, green beans, mashed potatoes, and gravy. The roasted turkey was huge. I had never seen anything so large.
I think Thanksgiving is a lovely tradition. It is a wonderful time to gather, connect with family and friends and remind ourselves of all the things we are thankful. This year, thanks to COVID-19, Thanksgiving is going to be a quite different experience.
In The Wild Turkeys Caitlin and Rio experience a unique Thanksgiving. Here is a short extract…
"Look Lloyd," Mrs. Brewster gasped. She pointed towards the door.
Caitlin's mom gasped. Podge laughed. Shanaya giggled. Caitlin glared at Podge.
In the doorway, his tail feathers fanned bristled Tully. Behind him, Caitlin could make out two of the other females - Amber and Crystal.
"Oh no!" Caitlin cried. The wild turkeys had gotten out of the garage. Where was Rio? They needed Rio.
Tully clucked. He looked at each of them. Mr. Brewster who was about to put a helping of turkey meat into his mouth put his fork down.
Caitlin felt a rush of cold air.
"Rio?" Caitlin yelled.
Angus, Mr. Brewster's dog who had been lying at Mr. Brewster's feet, sat up and whimpered.
"Well?" Mrs. Brewster demanded. "Megan, aren't you going to do something?"
"Erm?" Caitlin's mom said.
Mrs. Brewster stood up. "Now look here," she said to Tully. "This is a Thanksgiving meal. You know perfectly well that turkey meat is eaten by Americans at Thanksgiving. There is no need to act so shocked. Now, why don't you take," she waved at poor Bert, "him and go back to where you came from."
Caitlin's mom gaped at Mrs. Brewster. Caitlin could not believe that Mrs. Brewster was talking to a wild turkey.
Mrs. Brewster continued. "Now, shoo," she waved her arms at Tully.
Tully stomped a foot. His feathers rustled.
"I wouldn't do that," Podge whispered.
Mrs. Brewster said again, "now shoo!"
Angus dropped to his belly and whined. Under the table, he found the calm presence of Rio. He licked Rio's face, and wagged his tail.
Tully stared at Mrs. Brewster. He puffed himself up, and then with feathers swaying he started to strut towards Mrs. Brewster.
"Sit down, Prudence," Mr. Brewster hissed, "and be quiet."
Mrs. Brewster frowned at her husband. "I will not!" she retorted. "I will not be dictated to by these, these," she seemed at a loss for words.
"Turkeys?" Podge supplied helpfully. He grinned. Caitlin thought it was unfair that he seemed to be enjoying himself.
Tully stopped, and blinked at Mr. Brewster.
Caitlin heard the faint whisper of song.
Angus whined again and rolled onto his back displaying his tummy.
"Come Bert," Caitlin could hear Crystal call. "Come to us, Bert," she heard the song swell.
"Gobble?" Bert replied. He stared down at the diners, and then at Tully and Crystal. He shifted and bobbed.
Caitlin thought that Bert was confused. She didn't think Bert knew quite how to come down from the highest shelf.
Podge followed her gaze. "You don't think?" he asked as Bert ruffled his feathers.
Then Bert launched himself and tried to flap at the same time. Unfortunately, Bert was not a very coordinated turkey.
"Gobble!" Bert cried and fell to the center of the dining room table.
Shanaya gasped as Bert narrowly missed her plate of food. Mrs. Brewster was not so lucky as the poor turkey landed partially on her plate. Bert panicked. He didn't like this. He wanted to get to safety and Tully. He tried to jump, but his claws caught on the dish of macaroni and cheese. He and the macaroni and cheese slid across the table.
Bert leapt and sent the macaroni and cheese crashing to the floor.
"Argghh!" Mrs. Brewster screamed. Bert landed in the middle of her chest. She stumbled, and then fell back.
"Oomph!" Mrs. Brewster said as she landed on the floor.
"Gobble!" a terrified Bert called. He had not meant to land in the middle of the woman's chest. "Gobble?" he cried again calling for Tully.
Bert hopped off Mrs. Brewster's chest "Gobble?" he asked peering up at the large male.
"Gobble!" Tully said.
"Gobble, gobble, cluck, cluck," Crystal and Amber called.
Bert darted around Tully and followed the sounds to Crystal and Amber.
Tully rustled his feathers and clucking quietly followed Bert.
Podge reached over to Caitlin and removed one of Bert's feathers from Caitlin's hair. He handed it to her. "Best Thanksgiving Ever," Podge grinned.”
In Book two, The Missing Cats blue-eyed cats are missing. It is up to Rio and Caitlin to solve the mystery and return the cats to their owners.
It is traumatic when a pet goes missing. Our hearts are filled with worry.
Here are some tips:
The Forgetful Ferret, Book 4 in the Adventure of Caitlin & Rio is now available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle.
In this book we meet Daisy, the time traveling ferret. Daisy can't remember how to get home. Rio, Caitlin and her best friends Molly and Trudie join Daisy as she shows them the favorite parts of the time portal - the beach where Daisy has a collection of sparkles. Caitlin has a plan. She wants Daisy to help them travel back in time to stop MacDougal, the international terrorist and criminal mastermind once and for all. But Trudie and then Molly don't want to. Trudie warns Caitlin that time travel is dangerous. One wrong move and you can destroy the fabric of time. Then MacDougal captures Trudie. Now its up to Caitlin, Rio, and Daisy's to rescue her. Along the way they discover pirate treasure, and learn that family and friends are more important than all the treasure in the world.
When we look around us we see trees which are green. We see sky that is blue. When cats look around, what do they see? Do cat’s see color the way we do? Is the yellow we see, the yellow your cat sees? When you see a rainbow, does your cat see a rainbow?
We use our eyes to see. We use our ears to hear.
The parts of the eyes have certain names. Do you know what they are all called?
The colored part of the eye is called the iris. The black dot in the middle is called the pupil. When it is dark the pupil is large. When it is light, like bright sunlight during the day that pupil shrinks.
If you look in a mirror you can see your eyes. You can see the iris and the pupil. What color are your eyes?
Some people have blue eyes, some brown, some green. Some people have eyes that are called hazel. Hazel colored eyes are a mix of green and brown.
There are parts of the eye that we cannot see when we look at ourselves in the mirror. But these parts are important even if we cannot see them. The other parts of the eye are the cornea, the lens, the retina and the optic nerve.
The cornea is a special layer forming the front of the eye. It is transparent. That means you can see through it. It controls and focuses light as it enters the eye.
The lens is inside your eye. It sits behind the pupil. It changes the focal distance. This means it helps to make objects at various distances in focus.
The retina sits at the back of the eye. It is the inner surface which lines the back of the eyeball. The retina collects the light that passes through the pupil, and the lens. It converts the light into signals. It then sends those signals along the optic nerve to the brain.
When we look at a tree in the park. The backs of our eyeballs are collecting all those signals and sending them to our brains. And that’s how we see.
You might be wondering why this is important. How does this answer the question whether cats see color.
We know the colors that you and I see. We know that we see blues, greens, yellows and reds. One way to figure out whether cats see color like we do is to compare our eyes.
If you look into a mirror, or look at your friend’s eye what do we see?
We have two eyes.
Cats have two eyes.
Our eyes are not the same shape. Our eyes are rounder, and a cat’s eyes are pointy and slanted.
But there are differences. The shape of the pupil. Remember that is the black dot. Our pupil’s are round. Cats have slit pupils. At night, or in the dark, their pupils do open and they look round. But during the day a cat’s pupils are slits.
What other differences can you think of?
The colors of cat’s eyes are different. There are yellow, and green and blue.
I do not think I have ever seen a person with yellow eyes.
Scientists have studied cat’s eyes and compared them to humans.
Remember the parts of our eyes? Iris, pupil, cornea, lens, retina and the optic nerve. Well cats have those parts too. Both the retina in us and in cats have special cells. These cells are called photoreceptors. That is a big word. “Photo” means light. “Receptor” is a receiver. That means that these special cells receive light.
Remember that the retina sits at the back of the eyeball. It is the inner lining of the back of the eyeball. It collects the light and converts the light to signals. It then sends those signals along the optic nerve to the brain.
The special photoreceptor cells are made up of rods and cones. Both humans and cats have special cells – rods and cones.
Rods detect brightness and shades of gray. They are particularly good for night vision. The more rods an animal has in its eyes, the better its night vision. Rods are also responsible for peripheral vision. That means they are used for seeing things out of the corner of your eye.
Cones are responsible for day vision and color perception.
Scientists compared rods and cones photoreceptor cells found in human eyes with cat’s eyes.
Cats also have these special cells. But there are some differences.
Cats have more rods and they have less cones. That means they are better at seeing things at night. They do have cones, so we know that they must see some color, just not the same color that we see.
That is how we know that cats do see color. They just do not see color the same way people do.
In this book we meet Daisy, the time traveling ferret. Daisy can't remember how to get home. Caitlin wants Daisy to help them go back in time and stop MacDougal, the international terrorist and criminal mastermind. But time travel is dangerous. One wrong move, and they could destroy the fabric of time. Join Caitlin, Rio and their best friends as Daisy takes them time traveling. Will Daisy remember how to get home? Will they be able to travel back in time and stop MacDougal? What could go wrong? Join Caitlin, her extraordinary cat, and their best friends Trudie and Molly in another exciting adventure.
How did you begin?
The first book, The Lost Colors was first written about 20 years ago. In 2019 when we lost our 10-month-old kitten, (who is the inspiration of this series) I was devastated. I was cleaning out my study and came across the manuscript and computer disc. I reread the manuscript (it was such a long time since I had written it, I could not remember what happen.) I thought it would make a great story of a girl, Caitlin and her cat Rio (based on my Rio.) We had to scrounge to find a computer old enough to download the files. My husband, Kevin unearthed an old computer from our basement. I was surprised when I found that the disc contained a number story outlines, and character outlines of a couple of other story ideas – including a murder mystery.
I wanted to write the kind of stories that I remember enjoying reading as a child. For this series, I wanted to create a world where anything is possible. I also wanted to create a story with strong female characters. I want the central characters, Caitlin and her best friends, Molly and Trudie to solve mysteries and defeat evil. Of course, they are helped by Caitlin’s extraordinary cat, Rio.
Can I read the books in any order?
I have tried to make each book stand alone. However, for your maximum enjoyment I think reading the books in order is the best way to read the entire series.
Are your books based on real life characters?
These stories are a work of fiction, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is entirely coincidental. However, I do take my inspiration from real life events, experiences and inspirations. For example, the Rio in the series is inspired by my kitten Rio. The Missing Cats was inspired by a walk around the neighborhood and seeing the lost cat notices. Mr. Brewster’s dog, Angus is based on a Jack Russell terrier called Angus that I had growing up.
Who is your audience?
This series is for ages 8 – 12 years.
Why did you decide to write for this age group?
I want to write the kind of stories that I remember loving at that age.
Where do you get your ideas for your stories?
Ordinary suburbia is my inspiration. I like thinking about how I can take something normal and turn into something interesting and different.
How many books are in the Series?
I am not sure. When it feels right, the series will end.
Are your books available in Kindle?
Yes. All the books in the series are and will be available in Kindle.
Are your books available as audio books?
No. Currently the books are not available as audio books.
Why can’t I buy your books at Barnes & Noble?
My books are only available for sale through Amazon.
How can I find out when the next book will be released?
There are several ways – you can follow me on Amazon. Or check this site for announcements. Or email me at sally dot alexander at comcast dot net to be signed up for author announcements.
What does it mean to be an independent publisher?
Thanks to Amazon, independent publishing is easy and accessible. This means I can publish my work, without having to try and find a corporate publisher. The decision of when and what to publish is my decision.
Another name for independent publishers is self-publishing. Before deciding to publish through Amazon, I did investigate several self-publishing companies. I was not prepared to spend the money they were asking to self-publish.
Why are the books only available in American English?
For my readers in Australia, New Zealand, UK and South Africa you will no doubt notice and be quite annoyed that the books are written in American English with American spelling. I am an American now, and I write in the USA, and so I write in American English. I am also an independent writer and publisher. If I had a corporate publishing contract, the publisher would handle the publications of different editions for different markets – that is American English for the USA market, and British English for the other English-speaking markets. Thank you for supporting independent writers and publishers.
I love your stories. I love the Series. Is it available as a computer game?
What a great question. Thank you. Currently I have no plans to release the series as a computer game
If you have other questions?
Email me at sally dot alexander at comcast dot net.
Welcome to my website.
This is where I post about my writing, and the publishing process.
I post announcements about when books in this series are available.