Mario & Captain Thunderpants

We weren’t intending to get a cat as soon as we did. In fact, Josh and I were still working on painting the spare room at his dad’s house, where we lived at the time, and getting it ready for all the bookshelves that would soon end up in there and turning it into an actual spare bedroom. We’d decided once that was done, we’d get a cat. But then one day I went to Petco, and there was this shy little tuxedo kitten named Mario. And he was just so adorable.

The next day, I went back again. And the next day and the next for six days straight. On the seventh day, I dragged Josh along and made a comment about how I’d be so sad when Mario was gone. With a knowing “Oookayyy,” Josh went to get an adoption form. Though we had to wait a few days to pick him up once we were approved, because he was a bit sick, we ended up with the sweetest seven-month-old angel kitten (light of my life, my reason for being – as Josh says) in all the land.

He was pretty terrified for a while after we got him, hiding under the bed and such. He was even afraid of the TV for the first couple days. And even after he got used to us, anytime a new person came around, he was nowhere to be seen. In the six years since we got him, he’s become much braver, going so far as to walk up to new people and let them pet him.

I felt bad leaving the sweetest angel kitten alone while we were at work and thought he needed a friend. We’d been letting Josh’s brother’s cat, Simba, come upstairs on occasion and Mario always tried to play with him, but Simba wasn’t really about it. So a few months later, after going to the local animal shelter, Josh picked out a scraggly-looking former stray that the shelter had dubbed Scootsy-Toots after telling him, “You’re kind of funny looking.” Which, he was. He was skinny with a massive head. Also, can we just talk about that name? Scootsy-Toots? What? Nope. He was immediately dubbed Captain Thunderpants.

For the first few days, he was a bit sickly and sniffly and wanted nothing to do with Mario, but eventually he accepted Mario’s attempts to play. He’s grown from not really being super affectionate and spending a lot of time meowing loudly in the hallway to ensure Simba knew he was the boss to coming to lay on my pillow before bed and demanding attention by coming to sit in front of my computer. Though he’s still not a lap cat, and most definitely not when there’s blankets involved. Captain weirdly hates blankets.

While they did at first, they’re no longer the kind of cats that cuddle or groom each other (much to my dismay), but they coexist happily. Multiple times a day they chase each other around – you can always hear them scrabbling along the wood floor – and have Wrestle-Mania sessions where they body slam each other into the ground, but otherwise they generally ignore one another.

Mario is the sweetest, cuddliest, most demanding cat who will make it known he needs attention with aggressive headbutts, and when he wants treats, he’ll make sure to let me know. And Captain is the biggest whiner I’ve possibly ever seen, but he’s so loving and adorable I’m not really mad about it (most of the time). They have both made it clear to me that any future cats I own will be boys, because they’ve been nothing but the sweetest, least aggressive cats I’ve ever had. And I love them so much that I actually can’t even.


What I wrote over the last week

Enorians Book 2 – Draft 2 Chapters twenty-seven through thirty-four

What I read this week

A Phoneix First Must Burn by Patricia Caldwell

Traces by Sophie Johannis

The Artful Edit by Susan P. Bell

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

World Fantasy Convention

I’m participating in my first writing (virtual) convention this week! It started yesterday, and it has been absolutely phenomenal so far! I learned so much already between the editing, world building, and query letter writing workshops. I can already see why people participate in these kinds of things on a regular basis. The next four days will be jam packed with just so many fantasy and writing panels and readings by authors and digital art shows. Many of which I’m sure will help make my writing better! I’m so excited to see what the rest of the week brings. I’m going to be mentally drained by Sunday night, but it’ll be so worth it.

Here’s a picture of Captain helping me learn about world building. Ever the faithful assistant (and demander of pets).

I didn’t do a whole lot of writing this week what with preparing for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), which starts Sunday, and also getting ready for the convention, but I did finish up a “short” (I say because it’s 27 pages) story I started a few months ago. I thought it might be fun to give a little excerpt from that, so here’s the first page and a half.


Excerpt from “Spirits of the Sea”

The wind moaned as it swept through Senrese in the early hours of the first day of spring. The villagers had long believed the moaning was caused by the spirits of the sea, and the fact that the sound seemed to originate from the water only helped fuel those beliefs. The wind rattled the shutters of steep-roofed houses, rustling well-kempt bushes and causing dimly lit lampposts to sway as it blew along the red bricked streets. The air smelled of an oncoming storm, the dark, swollen clouds covering the moon.

Newly sixteen-year-old Veerlie Smalbrok lay awake in her bed, staring up at the glow-in-the-dark stars. They were the same stickers she’d placed there with the help of her best friend, Marysa, when they were in first grade. She’d sat on her mom’s shoulders, sticking the little plastic pieces to the ceiling. Then they’d run next door to do Marysa’s room, too. She wondered, listening to the wailing wind make the rusting windmill atop the barn creak and groan, if Marysa was also lying awake with her stomach in nervous knots so bad it hurt. In only a few hours they’d both be riding, for the first time, in the four hundredth annual sea ride. Anyone with a horse would ride through town and down to the beach to wash their horse’s legs in the salt water to banish the evil winter spirits.

She almost grabbed her phone to text Marysa, but she didn’t want to wake her friend if she was asleep. The clock on her nightstand read 4:06. Only three hours until she had to be up.

Next door, Marysa Kenser slept deeply beneath her glow-in-the-dark stars. Her dreams were full of nightmares where her mare, Mellie, shrank to so small Marysa could touch the ground from her back. In one she rode through the streets naked. In another she felt herself pulled beneath the waves. She rolled over in her sleep, bunching the handmade quilt in her fists.

A few miles down the road, the moaning wind whipped through an open barn door, sending the hanging lightbulb swinging back and forth. Twenty-two-year-old Joren Holka stroked Wybren’s thick, bay neck. The gelding stiffened at the sound, snorting nervously. Joren couldn’t sleep, so he’d come to check on the horse for the sixth time since dinner. He ran his hands down Wybren’s legs, down across the feathers around his hooves, making sure the horse was in top shape for the ride that afternoon.

It was his and Wybren’s fifth year parading through the streets. His sister, Amalia, had just turned sixteen and would be riding their other horse alongside him. Their parents weren’t exactly thrilled at the idea of Amalia riding so soon, but it was tradition, and she’d insisted. Joren promised to keep her safe.

He did one last check of Wybren’s body, gave the gelding a pat, and went to inspect their other gelding, Soleil, before heading back inside to hopefully get a few hours of sleep before the long day ahead of him. A spattering of rain lashed against his back as he ran to the dark house across the yard…


What I wrote in the last week:

“The Soulbond Mark” – An enorian myth explaining markings

The last seven pages of “Spirits of the Sea” – Every spring the people of Senrese ride their horses down to the sea to wash their legs in the salt water. It’s said to get rid of bad winter spirits. But danger lurks beneath the waves, for the sea spirits require a sacrifice to keep the island flourishing.

What I’m reading this week:

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (Yes, still reading Mistborn haha)

Writing Unforgettable Characters by James Scott Bell