Friday, July 22, 2016

Meet Hercules ~ by Leah St. James

As many of my fellow Roses have written on these pages, one of the toughest parts of this writing job is grabbing readers’ attention. When I was first published in 2010, I was clueless (seriously, painfully clueless), but I figured that like anything, marketing can be taught. And even though I’m far from a natural at it, I can learn best practices. Right? 

So I set out to learn everything I could. I studied the blogs and social media accounts of successful authors. I created my own accounts and tried to replicate their behavior. I’ve taken classes and spent hours experimenting on what “engages” readers.

Here’s what I’ve learned:  Readers like personal tidbits they can relate to. Women especially like anecdotes and photos of young children or grandchildren, and young animals. Or animals of any age, actually. And pictures of hunky, bare-chested men. Some hobbies or expertise/interest in a particular subject matter can work as well.

So for these past six years or so, I’ve been bemoaning the fact that I don’t have  young children, I don’t have grandchildren, and I don’t have pets. I love my "day job," but it's not unusual (and there's only so much I could share), and I don't have any fascinating hobbies. And as much as I personally love photos of hunky, bare-chested men, I can’t help seeing them as someone’s son and wondering what their mothers think seeing their sons plastered like that all over the web! (I know, I’s a curse.) 

But, hallelujah, today I have exciting news to share. 

My older son (whom I refer to as on No. 1, because I’ve promised to never name or tag him online) has come home to live with hubby and me while he works on his Ph.D. dissertation. He had one request (other than living here):  “So, yeah....uh...Mom, can I get a cat?”

“Cat?” My ears perked up, and I’m sure my face brightened. “Of course!” I said without even thinking of consulting hubby. We’ve had cats before. I love cats...hubby (a dog person) accepts cats. AND (let’s be real here) I NEEDED SOMETHING TO WRITE ABOUT ON MY FACEBOOK PAGE! My only condition was that Son No. 1 would be responsible for cleaning the litter, which he gladly agreed to. 

I had mentioned this to a friend who’s a vet, and two days ago she emailed me. “I have a kitten,” she said. “He needs a good home. Take him.” The kitten was being “fostered” with a local groomer and was “ready to go.”

That night we hit up the local pet supply store and armed ourselves with food, dishes, a litter box and litter...and a cat carrier that will hopefully last for cost enough. By the middle of the next day, we were proud kitten owners. Or, uh...Son No. 1 is a proud kitten owner. :-)

I know I’m just a tad biased, but if this isn’t the most adorable kitten ever born...I don’t know what. He’s a black tabby – looks all black from a distance, but up close you can see definite stripes. He has one tiny patch of white fur on his chest. He’s playful and fun and curious about every inch of our house. He purrs all the time and is really affectionate. (He’s sleeping at my feet as I write this..purring.) Even hubby has fallen in love with this kitten. 

My son named him Hercules,  a name I’m sure he’ll grow into, in a good way...I hope.

Hecules barely stops moving, but that hasn't stopped me from using up most of my phone's storage taking photos of him. My son said he spent about 30 minutes the first day shadow-boxing himself in a mirror. (But did he get video that I could share??? NO. Argh!)

Anyway, I’ve “talked” enough. Meet the cutest kitten ever born. Am I right?

Hercules LOVES playing with pens. Who knew?
(On a side note, I included this as proof of my ability to grow at least two houseplants.These are African Violets which are NOT toxic to cats...althoughI'm not sure how wise it is for their health to leave them in Hercules' path right now!)

Sleeping behind my laptop. (Please disregard any dust you see.)

Peering out the window from my desk.

Another from my desk.

Sleeping behind my laptop...
Can't have too many "at my desk/laptop" photos, right!?

The eyes are the camera's and photographer's (my) fault, not Hercules'.

Now...I'm off to post on Facebook! :-)

Leah writes stories of mystery and romance, good and evil, and the power of love. If you'd like to keep up with stories about Hercules, here's her Facebook page. She loves visitors!


RE Mullins said...

Looks like he'll make a great companion and I expect to get updates on pictures and how he's doing.

Jannine Gallant said...

Hercules is adorable! So, I should start posting pictures of Ginger (no longer a puppy but still very photogenic) every day? My girls are 17 & 19, probably don't qualify as little and cute... Who the heck has time for hobbies when they're an author? I barely have time for laundry!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Aw, lucky you...I mean lucky Son No. 1. See? Already I'm captivated! Kids and pets, huh? I have plenty of the former, sadly no longer any of the latter. Unless you count the two squirrels that were born in our yard and still live here now that they're grown. They can be cute at times. I wonder.... Oh, I did not notice any dust BTW.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Well, Leah, you win the 'meet-cute' prize on Roses of Prose. You've got us purring, baby. Thanks for making me smile this morning.

Andrea Downing said...

OK, cute. And what have I got to write about? Lost luggage coming back from London... Hand me the pet food!

Christine DePetrillo said...

Oh, the little lovey! Black cats are THE best! Have fun with him!

Vonnie Davis said...

How adorable is he??? He could be our mascot. "Hercules, Master of The Roses" Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? He'll add lots of love, warmth, and excitement to your home.

MJ Schiller said...

This is kind of ironic because at the moment I am kinda, sorta obsessed with my daughter's new puppy! Ginny is a miniature chihuahua and is absolutely adorable and so sweet and loving. She just wants to curl up in your lap, nuzzle you, and be loved--which clearly I have no problem with. My kitty sleeps right beside my computer when I work, too. Pets can be such a blessing! My husband wasn't a cat person either, but he loves our Serena, too. Enjoy her, Leah! :)

Alison Henderson said...

You're preaching to the choir here. I'm in a similar situation (no small children, no grandchildren, no pets, no fascinating day job or hobbies). I have OG and the wildlife. LOL.

As a recovering cat lady, I'm thrilled about the new addition to your household. Kittens are entertaining little maniacs,and Hercules is adorable. I'm sure he'll provide plenty of fodder for your posts. I look forward to seeing a lot more of him!

Brenda Whiteside said...

He is adorable! He'll be great fun. I had to laugh at the thoughts of hunky bare chested guys. Once when watching my son at a hockey camp with a friend, we were oohing and awing over a couple of young hunk coaches. Suddenly, we stopped and looked at each other. Eeegads, they're only a few years older than our sons. Ewwww! (more than a few years younger than we were)

Leah St. James said...

Thanks, RE. Yes, he's a lot of fun, and it's only been a couple days. I expect I'll become quite nauseating with the amount I share. :-)

Leah St. James said...

Jannine -- I think photos of Ginger would be loved. Photos of your girls, too! The "problem" with older children is that they often don't want to be shared, at least in my experience. (I'm wondering what conversations Alicia had with her daughter before, or after, her home-sharing post the other day!) :-)

Leah St. James said...

Thank you for not noticing the dust, Margo. (I think I successfully cropped it out of most of the shots.) :-) I'll bet the squirrels would be a hit, by the way!

Diane Garner said...

He's precious! Lots of fun ahead.

Alicia Dean said...

I must confess, not a cat person. I'm not a pet person at all, which I know is unheard of for an author. But, I will admit, Hercules is a cutie. And I love that he's black because it makes me think of dastardly evil and wickedness, and you know I'm into that. :) Uh, no convo with my daughter. She has NO idea I wrote about her. Guess she should be more supportive of Mom's blog posts, huh? ;)

Ashantay said...

What a cutie!

H.A. Fowler said...

Congrats, kitty grandma! He's stunning!

I never stop talking about my cat. She even has her own Facebook! LOL

Have fun!
Heather Fowler

Barbara Edwards said...

Great photos. enjoy. They're like children, cuter when they are young.

Maureen said...

How cute!

Diane Burton said...

Even though I'm not a cat lover, I have to admit he is cute. I'm a dog person, plus Hubs is allergic to cats. Hubs' cousin fosters kittens when they're too small to be left alone at the vet's. She gets 4 at a time and I think has fostered close to a hundred kittens. Pets are great company.

Elizabeth Alsobrooks said...

Woohoo! Readers are sure to love you now! LOL! Cute grand kittie!

Leah St. James said...

Thank you, Rolynn and Christine! I'm glad Hercules brought a few smiles.

Andrea - Your lost-luggage post was great! As I read it, I ALMOST wished I had something similar to share. :-)

Vonnie - I'm sure Hercules would be proud to serve as our mascot should the need arise.

M.J. - So where are the puppy photos?! You must share!

Alison - You and I do share similar OG experiences, but there too you have to be careful how much, and what, you share!

Brenda - I had that eegads moment myself! And "ewwwww" is the perfect description of my reaction!

Leah St. James said...

Alicia and Diane B. - I do appreciate your acknowledgment of his cuteness, despite the fact that you're not cat people. :-) My son wanted a black cat because (he says) they're less likely to be adopted due to superstitions. Crazy, huh?

Thanks for stopping by Diane G., Ashantay, Maureen and Elizabeth! I guess I am a "kitty grandma" now! :-)

Barbara - I thought about the aging factor and told myself to enjoy him while he's so young and playful. Plus I presume Son No. 1 will eventually finish his dissertation and make his way to new horizons at some point!

Heather -- YOu must share your kitty's page! I'm tempted to do the same but I suppose that would be my son's prerogative. Sigh.

Susan Coryell said...

I have a theory about cats. ALL kittens are adorable. The problem is they grow up--to be either wonderful or terrible pets. We have had both. Hoping Hercules lives up to his name!

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Such a great thing for your son!

Wonderful post and cute, cute pics.

Good luck and God's blessings.

Leah St. James said...

Susan - I have had both good and bad as well. I think all animals have distinct personalities...just like people! We had one cat who was so nasty, the only one who could tolerate her was my son (the same one). I hope this little guy's personality sticks. He's a lot of fun.

Leah St. James said...

Thanks, Pam, for stopping by! I gratefully take God's blessings every chance I can. :-)