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May 06 , 2011

Cats Triumphant!


Introduction by Carole Nelson Douglas—

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A Circle of Celebrations

Celebrations help us to mark moments in time that are meaningful, some for religious reasons, others cultural and historical. New York Times bestselling author Jody Lynn Nye has written about holidays from many points of view, in this world, in another; in the past, present and future. What holidays—and holiday stories—have in common is that…

          It’s a rare author whose biography lists a “main” career activity as “spoiling cats.”

          But Jody Lynn Nye is a rare author, a fantasist who’s been invited to collaborative play in Anne MacCaffrey’s classic bestselling worlds of Pern and The Ship Who Sang, who is at home in the mystery as well as the science fiction genres. And those spoiled “career cats” make the journey with her. Jody does indeed know and love every twitch of the feline psyche and tail.

          This collection presents eleven short stories in which cats play major roles, ranging from not-quite-so-helpless victim to hero, but they are always clever and inventive, and so is Jody’s writing.

          There is the unfortunate human cat burglar who encounters pampered household residents Pretty Kitty and Sweetie Baby, to his eternal regret.

          And there is the fantasy-world village that shows scant care for its abused, hard-working mousers which must answer to a visiting woman warrior-mercenary turned Pied Piper.

          Writers like Jody, and myself, whose fiction centers on or includes cats, may be seen as frivolous or simply hypnotized by our feline friends. The fact is, as Aesop knew, animals are a perfect storytelling vehicle for addressing the best and worst of humanity. And Mahatma Gandhi remarked, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

          After collaborating for almost thirty years with Midnight Louie, a self-appointed feline PI who thinks (and writes) like Sam Spade, I know how profoundly animal characters can address human foibles and virtues and touch our emotions. His character was based on a real-life stray cat with an incredible gift for conning humans to help him survive. Many writers have a mystical link with cats; it’s no wonder we write about them. They enrich our lives in the real world as much as in the worlds of our imagination.

          It’s only fair we writers give these clever, cuddly, regal, mystical creatures their due.

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