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I know some of you were hoping that my new book, the novel  LOVE SAVES THE DAY, would be in stores in time for the holidays.  Unfortunately, it won't be published until January 2013.  But now five lucky people will receive a free, early, autographed copy of LOVE SAVES THE DAY by December 22nd!  Want to be one of them?  Keep reading to find out how!

Welcome to the new and improved!  I'm still in the process of updating the new site with plenty more photos and videos of all five cats (Scarlett, Vashti, Homer, Clayton, and Fanny!)  to come over the next few weeks.  (Yes!  There will be new videos of Homer and the kittens!)

Those of you who remember my detailed and exhaustive preparations for Irene last year--or who've just come to get a sense of my general personality ;-) --know that when I say I like to prepare for a major storm, what I really mean is I like to over-prepare.  Well, I lived through Andrew back in '92 and September 11th back in 2001, so I've learned to appreciate what the Boy Scouts have been saying all along.


Fanny helping me clean out my closets

I have to start out by thanking you all for the overwhelming support I received after posting about my recent struggles with asthma.  I received so much great advice and insight from you--much of which I have already put into practice (more on that in a moment)--but most valuable of all was hearing how many of you have gone (successfully!) through similar struggles and what you've done to get the best of them.  Talk about inspirational!  Please know that I do read every single comment on this blog, even if I don't get to respond to them individually.  I don't know that I deserve all the unconditional support I get here, but I do strive to be worthy of it.  :-)

This Saturday I will be making a very special appearance at Felix & Oscar--an organic pet-food store in Springfield, VA--to speak at a campaign fundraiser on behalf of Hank, the cat who's running for Virginia's open Senate seat. Hank has Homer's and my unqualified support, and I actually really do encourage those of you who aren't already familiar with Hank to follow the link above and familiarize yourself with all the amazing work he and his humans are doing to improve the lives of shelter animals--as well as the political process.  ;-)

As essential as breathing...

The first week in August I quit smoking after twenty years.  I quit without any pills, patches, gum, hypnosis, self-help/"motivational" tapes, or gradual cutting-down.  One day I was a smoker, and the next day I wasn't.  It was as simple as that.

Homer inspects a can of tuna as big as he is!

And so I'm back online, after the longest hiatus I've ever taken (or will ever take).  My apologies for having been silent for so long!  As you may remember--when last we left off--I was scrambling to finish writing my next book before leaving the country for a couple of weeks. 

So, three weeks before the production deadline for my next book, LOVE SAVES THE DAY, I decided that I hated the whole thing and wanted to start again.  From scratch.  Three weeks before it has to go the printer.  Because I AM AN ENTIRELY SANE PERSON!   ;-)  That's why I've been out of touch and so spare on the updates.

Naoto Matsumura lives in Tomioka, Japan.  He is the only person living in Tomioka, Japan.  Once home to over 16,000 people, the city has been closed down by the government due to radiation dangers from the TEPCO Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in the wake of last year's tsunami.

Actually, two new furiends! ;-)

As I mentioned about a month ago, I've been considering the possibility of a kitten or two to add to our family.  My hope was that a kitten wouldn't be as put off by Homer's unusual face as an adult cat might be, and that two kittens together would give Homer some outlet for all that playfulness he still has at 15 (!!!) while also having each other for those times when Homer's energy level isn't quite as high as a kitten's.  I also hoped I would be able to find a "special needs" kitten who might not be considered as adoptable as other kittens, and who would benefit from the devoted level of cat worship we're prepared to shower on pretty much any feline that crosses our doorstep.

A spot in a no-kill shelter has been found for them and adoption offers have been received.  Thank you to everybody for sharing their story!!!  :-D

Marmalade and Shadow are a gorgeous one-year-old Maine Coon and ten-year-old long-haired silver tabby in Fairfield, CT.  Their mom committed suicide last week, and her only surviving family is a brother who doesn't like cats and wants to see these two babies put down.

Life is hard for cats in countries like Oman, where there's very little animal-welfare infrastructure and where temperatures can climb to over 100 degrees every day and fall below freezing every night.  Most kittens in Oman never survive into adulthood, and the ones who do rarely make it past age five.  Which is why it's so miraculous that Peri--not just a kitten, but a blind kitten--today is a happy, healthy nine-month-old living in the U.S.

Oskar, the blind kitty of YouTube fame, curls up with a good read! ;-)
I give you Exhibit A:

Join me on Tuesday, January 17th for free wine, brownies, and a reading from my new novel Love Saves The Day (yes, it's about a cat! ;-) )  Info below:

RSVP here!

And a paw-sitively happy New Year!   :-)

Today Laurence and I are going up to Fort Tryon Park to scatter Scarlett's ashes.  Those of you familiar with Manhattan geography may know it as the spot far uptown that is also home to The Cloisters.  It's a beautiful spot--maybe the most beautiful in Manhattan, at least in my opinion--and also where we scattered Vashti's ashes last year.  Laurence and I like the idea of them being together again, and think it's the right place for our two beautiful girls.

This morning Laurence and I made the incredibly difficult decision to bring Scarlett to the vet and put her to sleep.  The cancer moved into her lungs over the past few days, making it very difficult for her to breathe.  I stayed with her the whole time, and she went peacefully.  She was sixteen-and-a-half years old.

I always say that the greatest thing about writing Homer's Odyssey is having gotten to meet so many of the utterly amazing humans who love animals.  Thank you--from the bottom of my heart--to all those who've taken the time to comment, email, send cards and letters, and generally offer their moral support.  A great deal of your practical advice and suggestions have been useful, but the most useful thing of all is knowing how many sympathetic ears I have right now.  As we all know, not everybody in your life--even people who genuinely care about you--really "get" how difficult a pet's illness can be for you.  This is true even when you've written a bestselling memoir about your pets.  ;-)