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Not Enforcing Sameness

Rachael Higgins Author Interview

Rachael Higgins Author Interview

The Silver Tabby is a wonderfully illustrated children’s book about a kitten that struggles to fit in with the other cats. What was your inspiration behind this kids book?

The Silver Tabby was initially written as a high school English assignment. At the time, the class was studying the topic of myths and fairytales, and how the stories portrayed a message or lesson to pass on to the next generation. The assignment task was to write and illustrate a story that embedded a lesson relevant to our societal paradigm. In completing the assignment, I wanted to pass on the message that differences can be beneficial, and that no-one should be judged based on their appearance of being different. I was inspired by authors such as Beatrix Potter and A. A. Milne, with their use of animal characters to portray their stories. Having a love of animals myself, I wanted to use animals in my story to spread a message of hope, kindness, and reconciliation. I also followed the commonly heard writer’s advice of “write what you know” and incorporated some of my own experiences of being considered different, spending time alone; as a result, then receiving acceptance.

Over the years, since the original high school assignment, The Silver Tabby has been redrafted and revamped, but the inspiration and passion in telling the story have remained the same. I believe that passing on the message of accepting others for who they truly are, and not enforcing sameness, is an essential lesson to teach our future generations.

Are you a cat person or a dog person (I’m guessing a cat person)? Do you have any pets that this story was based on?

I would say that I am an animal person in general, not specific to being a cat person or a dog person. However, I have had both animals as pets in the past as well as guinea pigs, and most recently, rats. I’m the type of person who will go for a walk and rescue a lost or injured animal or will visit an animal shelter and want to adopt all the animals to make sure they have a happy, loving, and safe home.

When I originally started writing The Silver Tabby, I had a short-hair silver tabby cat named Silver who the main character of the book is based on. The real Silver was born from my families’ then neighbour’s cat, who had chosen the enclosed area where our hot water tank was stored, below our Queenslander-style home, as a warm, safe place to birth her litter of kittens. The kittens were a mix of tortoiseshells, ginger tabbies, and black furred kittens; Silver was the only silver tabby. Our neighbours called Silver’s mother, Mama Cat. Mama Cat would lead the kittens between our house and the neighbour’s; Silver would venture away from the litter and come inside our house and make herself comfortable while I read. I think Silver really ended up adopting me rather than the other way round.

I loved the illustrations in this book. What was the collaboration like between you and the illustrator Grace Elliott?

Grace is fantastic to work with; I would recommend any author seeking an illustrator for their children’s book to look Grace up on Instagram. Initially, I showed Grace a draft of the text and concept of illustrations that I had drawn years ago for the high school assignment; and later digitally remastered for a later draft. Then Grace worked her magic on the artwork for The Silver Tabby. I feel I made the right decision collaborating with Grace, rather than illustrating the story myself. Grace’s artwork compliments the text and sets the scenes of the story, bringing the characters to life, in a way that I couldn’t have done myself.

As an artist, Grace was willing to accept feedback and advice from other artists, as we amended drafts, and she shared my vision as the author for how the book might look as a finished product. Most of our collaboration was done online, as I spent a lot of the last year moving intercity and overseas, Grace was very patient and understanding throughout every pause and readjustment that was made during the production of The Silver Tabby. I am very grateful to have had Grace onboard for the project, and would gladly work with Grace again.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I have a couple of concepts that I am working on at the moment. Another illustrated book that poetically portrays the epic clash between Heaven and Hell. I expect this book will be available within the next year or two. The other concept is a romantic story of undetermined length, and availability, at this stage; although I anticipate the story to evolve into a novella if not a novel.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Instagram

The Silver Tabby by [Higgins, Rachael]

The Silver Tabby is about a kitten named Silver who struggles with being different from the other kittens in her litter.

Then one day, Silver manages to become the same as the other kittens. Excited to meet a new friend, all the kittens play happily together. But, Silver’s disguise does not last long.

When the other kittens discover their new friend is Silver, will she still be accepted?

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The Silver Tabby

The Silver Tabby by Rachael Higgins is a children’s short story about a family of four kittens. There are three boys with black fur just like their Mama, and the fourth kitten is a gray stripe named Silver. She is smaller than her brothers (Shadow, Sooty, and Smoky) and she tries hard to keep up, but the boys don’t let her play with them. Then Silver is playing by herself one day, chasing a butterfly, and she falls into a deep pit filled with black rocks. She meows for help, but no one comes. After she saves herself, she catches a glimpse of her reflection in a pond. Silver’s coat has been turned black by the rocks from the pit. Will the black kittens want to play with her now that she looks just like them?

This is a fantastic story that I simply enjoyed. I love cats and I enjoyed reading about Silver and her family. My favorite part of the book were the pictures which were watercolor illustrations by Grace Elliott. They depicted scenes from the story beautifully and elegantly. A couple of the drawings at the beginning of the book were humorous, showing only the black cats’ rear ends as they left poor little Silver behind.

This book provides a message of hope and encouragement to children who are feeling lonely and isolated. The moral of The Silver Tabby is that it is alright to be different from other people. I didn’t like that the boys only welcomed Silver when she looked like them, but such is life. This is a tough lessons for many children to learn today. The boys excluded her when she was different, but in the end the boys still wanted to play with her even after finding out that she was actually Silver.

This story contains life lessons told through beautiful illustrations that is perfect for a parent to read to a child so that they can discuss the difficulties that Silver faces.

Pages: 26 | ISBN: 1797694057

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Literary Titan Book Awards May 2019

The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.

Literary Titan Gold Book Award

Gold Award Winners

The Winter of Swords: A Grimdark Epic (Overthrown Book 1) by [Bunce, Aaron]Shadow Resistance by [Cyprian, B.J.]Lessons from the Frogs I've Kissed: I have made all the mistakes in the book so you wont have to by [Kolnik, Krystal]

Soul Dark: Chosen by [Reedy, E. L., Wade, A. M.]Forgotten By the Sun by [Eismann, Celeste]Osteoporosis & Osteopenia: Vitamin Therapy for Stronger Bones by [Lusk, Bryant]

Journey To Osm: The Blue Unicorn's Tale by [Durant, Sybrina]Unconventional by [Hebert, J. J.]

Image may contain: textCallie’S Ghost by [Christian, James]

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

Chasing the Red Queen by [Glista, Karen]The Scopas Factor by [Panettiere, Vincent]Boomerang Will Not Return: A Novel of Time Travel by [Crane, David]

Shipwreck Island by [McPike, James B.]The Land of Ick and Eck: Harlot's Encounters by [Genest, Micah]RISKING FOREVER: Vol 1 (The Forever Series): New adult college romance by [GALLINA, TARA]

Gazelle in the Shadows by [Peach, Michelle]Weepy the Dragon by [Hebert, J. J.]The Backwards K by [Hebert, J. J.]Moments in Time: Poems of Life Love Faith by [Reinheardt, Larry]

The Red Grouse Tales: The Little Dog and other stories. by [Garland, Leslie W P]Prodigal Avenger: A Story of the Secret War in Afghanistan by [Moynihan, Tim]The Final Wars Begin (Final Wars Trilogy Book 1) by [Asthana, S. A.]

Ameher's No More Crumbs Chronicle of a 4-D Woman Rising from Hate to Hope: Beloved I Wish Above All That You Prosper and Be in Health Even as Your Soul Prospers by [Ameher]The Fantastic Inner Life of An American TeenagerThe King of Halloween & Miss Firecracker Queen: A Daughter's Tale of Family and Football by [Leachman, Lori]

 

Visit the Literary Titan Book Awards page to see award information and see all award winners.

 

The Tattooed Cat

Image may contain: text

It all begins innocently enough: a woman finds an animal that has been the victim of inexplicable torture. However, neither the cat nor the woman are average in Natrelle Long’s The Tattooed Cat. This short novella grips readers from the get-go as it plunges directly into the meat of the story. Charley, our bad-assed protagonist is elegant and rough all at the same time. She is determined and passionate. She will find who exactly has hurt the cat she saved. The journey will lead her face-to-face with the darkness of humanity as the man-hunt reveals much more is going on than animal abuse. What begins with a cat ends with a corpse.

This is the perfect kind of book to tuck into during a quiet afternoon. The short length of the book lends itself to easy reading and the story is perfectly contained within the minimal pages. There is no room for filler or other such garbage in this tale. Every sentence has purpose and each character has meaning. The characters Long creates are true to modern interpretations of humanity. The characters speak like real people, especially Charley, and it all drives the point home.

It’s a quirky book in that there is enough content to write something even twice as long, but yet the ending is neatly wrapped and perfectly delivered that the need to drag the story out disappears. By being able to devote attention and detail to this short book Long still succeeds in creating a whole world with minimal building. Many novellas have the issue of limited time to grab a readers attention and explain the world to them at the same time.

Maybe it’s the cat, maybe it’s the fact that Charley is so determined to unravel the mystery she finds herself knee-deep in that makes The Tattooed Cat by Natrelle Long so interesting. Once your attention is grabbed there is no escaping the desire to read every single word and find out once and for all how the cat and the nefarious deeds of a single man are interconnected. We are reminded of humanity’s darkness and weaknesses and that the world is not a beautiful place. But we also get to see the beauty of a single person working towards polishing this ugliness. This is a book you won’t regret picking up.

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Peeks Their Curiosity

Rolynda Tassan Author Interview

Rolynda Tassan Author Interview

Lucy’s First Christmas is the heartwarming tale of Lucy the rescue cat’s first Christmas with her adoptive family. There is so many directions to take a holiday story, how did you settle on this story line?

Having a new pet during the holiday season can be stressful for them, the established pets, and the family. The family dynamic changes with the additional family member. I wanted to show that there is plenty of room and love to go around.

I felt like there was a lot of love and truth in this story. Did you take anything from your own life and put it in this story?

Oh yes! Lucy’s antics all happened. From playing with the Christmas tree decorations, to “helping” me wrap Christmas presents, to playing in the snow. She did it all! But in the end her favorite place to be is curled up on our laps or snuggling with one of our other pets 🙂

Do you find that pets are usually extra curious around the holidays when humans are decorating?

Absolutely, the sights, scents, and sounds that go along with the holiday season are very enticing to pets. The constant activity peeks their curiosity even more. That’s why it’s so important to take extra safety precautions for your pets during the holiday season.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

The fourth book in the Lucy’s Tale series, Lucy goes to the Vet, will be available spring 2018.

Author Links: Website | Facebook

Tomorrow is Lucy’s first Christmas. Everyone is busy getting ready for the big day. Lucy wants to help. But when she tries to help Mom wrap presents, she makes a mess. When she tries to help Dad decorate the tree, she tangles the lights. When she tries to help Ben build a snowman, she gets stuck in a snowdrift. Surely there must be a way for an eager kitten to help!

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Lucy’s First Christmas

Lucy's First Christmas (Lucy's Tale #3)

Lucy’s First Christmas, written by Rolynda Tassan and illustrated by Ruby Wheeler, is the heartwarming tale of Lucy the rescue cat’s first Christmas with her adoptive family. Like any other cat, her curiosity wins out, and she becomes entangled, literally, in the preparations for the coming holiday. From present-wrapping to light-stringing, Lucy is allowed to be a part of it all. Lucy is even afforded her first trip into the snowy outdoors and is a part of the family’s Christmas read-aloud. This particular book is the third in a series of stories written about Lucy and her adventures.

Tassan has written a much-needed tale with Lucy’s First Christmas. As a mother, teacher, and adoptive parent of three rescue pets, I don’t see enough of these books on the shelves. There is a joy like no other in watching a shelter pet bloom in a loving home. The author captures this feeling quite well with Lucy’s Christmas experiences. She describes each family member’s patience with the curious cat and demonstrates the various ways in which the family involves the pets in their routines. The love between the family and Lucy is mutual and communicated well throughout the book.

Any parent or teacher choosing this book to read with children will find it touching and true-to-life. The author has included a fair amount of “awwww” moments and lots of snuggling and loving. The pets themselves are no strangers to snuggling. This is an all-around sweet story to share with children who have pets, are wanting pets of their own, or who are in a family who has adopted a pet from a shelter.

Generally a realistic fiction piece, Tassan has managed to work in a bit of fantasy with the pets talking to one another. For the most part, these sections serve to explain some of the things that drive Lucy’s curiosity and, in the conclusion, add to the dearness of the overall plot.

Lucy’s First Christmas is a touching story that hits home for readers of all ages and features delicate illustrations of the pets and their family. Tassan and Wheeler’s precious Christmas story is a must-read for any family with rescue pets. Lucy’s first Christmas with her family will bring a smile to the reader’s face and touch the soul of any animal lover.

ISBN: 0998331848

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Titch the Itch

Titch the Itch

Titch the Itch, written by B.C.R. Fegan and illustrated by Lenny Wen, is the tale of an animated little itch who wants nothing more than to make friends the only way he knows how–by doing his job. When his wayward, “no-reason-at-all” itching isn’t appreciated in the home of one large family, Titch the Itch seeks to make friends outside the home. Trying his luck with a cat, a neighbor, a police officer, and a park full of children, Titch learns that life is hard for an itch of his sort. His journey leads him to the hospital where he soon learns that he has had a bigger impact than he realized.

B.C.R. Fegan has constructed a touching story centered around the personification of a lowly itch. The author has managed to take a difficult concept and design a precious plot surrounding the poor little itch’s desire to be needed and to have lasting friendships. Titch is a memorable character with whom young readers will empathize. As he moves from one character to the next, he experiences rejection and disappointment. Fegan has included some important lessons in this wonderful picture book. In addition to friendship, the author teaches the benefits of being determined and the results of perseverance.

As with any children’s book, it is essential to include those moments of humor. Fegan does not lack in this area. The unforeseen circumstances surrounding the conclusion of the book are whimsical and encourage children to reread the book to find things they may have missed–a wonderful aspect to include to inspire young readers to delve further into the intricacies of text. As a teacher and parent, I more than appreciate those small amounts of mystery which energize readers. Kudos to the author!

The illustrations for Titch the Itch are fantastic. Lenny Wen’s vision of Titch is a cross between a ghost and a friendly dust bunny–exactly how one might visualize an itch. The facial expressions of Titch absolutely make the story. His woeful looks tug at the reader’s heartstrings. The color schemes chosen to brighten the pages make this a beautiful story to read aloud.

B.C.R. Fegan’s story of the needy little itch just looking for friendship is a sweet tale perfect for teaching young readers about the value of friends and loyalty.

Pages: 33 | ASIN: B076342B9D

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Lucy’s First Christmas Book Trailer

Tomorrow is Lucy’s first Christmas. Everyone is busy getting ready for the big day. Lucy wants to help. But when she tries to help Mom wrap presents, she makes a mess. When she tries to help Dad decorate the tree, she tangles the lights. When she tries to help Ben build a snowman, she gets stuck in a snowdrift. Surely there must be a way for an eager kitten to help!

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She Made a Huge Mess!

Rolynda Tassan Author Interview

Rolynda Tassan Author Interview

In Lucy Meets the Family a kitten is brought home to meet her new family and has a hard time adjusting. What was your inspiration for this second book in the Lucy’s Tale series?

The reaction our existing pets had to Lucy’s antics when we introduced her to our family, helped bring Lucy Meets the Family to life. The first time Lucy encountered the litter box, she jumped in it and started digging until all the litter was on the floor. She made a huge mess! This appalled our older cat, who watched her with a disgusted look on his face. Later, Lucy jumped up on the kitchen counter, which prompted our Jack Russell to bark until Lucy got down. And then there was the time Lucy decided to take a nap on the dog’s bed. Our Greyhound whined until Lucy finally moved. All our pets play together and even sleep together occasionally now. But there was a period of adjustment for everyone.

What do you think is one of the hardest things to adjust to when bringing home a new pet?

Trying to make the new pet comfortable and feel welcomed in their new home, while remembering to be patient with the established pets. The established pets may exhibit bad behavior and/or need extra attention until all the animals find their place in the family.

I loved the image where Lucy drops drops a doughnut on the floor. What was your favorite image from the book?

That is one of my favorite images too! Another one of my favorite images is towards the end of the book, when all the animals are playing together.

What will book three in the Lucy’s Tales series be about?

Lucy will, once again, finds herself getting into mischief as she tries to help the family prepare for Christmas day. Lucy’s First Christmas will be released later this year.

Author Links: GoodreadsFacebook | Website

Lucy is a small kitten who recently found her forever home. But when she is introduced to the family she discovers not everybody is excited to meet her. Lucy finds herself getting into mischief as she tries to figure out her place in her new family.

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New Release This Week: A First or Final Mischief (Fayborn #3) by J. Aleksandr Wootton

If you’re new to the Fayborn series, grab yourself a copy of Her Unwelcome Inheritance to get started – and DON’T read on until you do, because the Sneak Preview below contains ***Spoilers***

Sneak Preview: A First or Final Mischief

Her aunt’s been abducted.

            Her mother is missing.

                        Her enemy is waiting.

 And the person she counted on for help is dead.

 Too late to free the Faerie Queen, Petra Godfellow and her allies face a terrible choice: Either Petra surrenders and swears to serve James Oberon, or he will torture her Aunt Penny.

 If she agrees to James’s demands, the Faerie kingdom will be restored… with James on its throne, and Petra condemned to eternal servitude. Any alternative abandons Penny to torture and her mother to an unknown fate.

 Unless, of course, the Cat chooses to intervene…

 A First or Final Mischief is available from Amazon here.

About the Author

Aleksandr Wootton is a self-confessed bookworm (“hoards books in shelves and spare rooms; likes to sleep surrounded by them”), fairytale enthusiast, and poet. He pretends to chair the Folklore department at Lightfoot College, but much prefers writing, gardening, & long conversations accompanied by a well-brewed pint.

You can contact him at www.jackwootton.com or connect with him at Goodreads.

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