Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Write Pet: Babette James || SUMMERTIME DREAM

The Write Pet by Babette James

My husband and I are owned by two very spoiled cats. Gracie will be thirteen and specializes in sleeping, keeping the sofa warm, and mimicking a fur-covered football. My husband is her person. Pookie, the baby and my writing companion, is ten and extra special to me because I hand-raised him from when he was one-day old orphan.

Pookie came into our life on a hot September Sunday in 2003 when my mother-in-law found two abandoned newborn kittens in her garden. She hoped their mother would retrieve them, but the mother cat never returned and the kittens were being attacked by flies. She called my husband and me for help. The two kittens were very weak, dehydrated, and covered in fly eggs. Since the vet was closed, we took them home. My mom and I had raised orphan kittens when I was a kid, so I thought I could try to save them. Pookie and his brother Blackie weighed about 3 ounces each. The first task was a bath to get rid of all the fly eggs. Trying to give a kitten that small a thorough bath isn’t easy, and Pookie and Blackie were very vocal. 

Kittens that young must be kept warm, need to be fed kitten formula every one to two hours round the clock, and can’t go to the bathroom on their own. Sadly, despite the vet’s and our efforts, we lost Blackie after three days, but very happily, Pookie thrived. A hot water bottle and towels worked to keep him snug and warm in the carrier, but to give him the body contact he was missing from his mother, whenever I was home, I would wear my bathrobe and tuck him inside. For the first few years of his life, every time I wore that one bathrobe, he’d try to nestle back in.

The round-the-clock feeding and potty duty meant Pookie had to come to school with me every day for the first month of his life. But that turned into a fun and wonderful learning experience for my first grade students and they loved the feeding and bathroom breaks. There’s nothing like a bunch of six-year olds giggling, oohing, and ahhing over seeing you make a kitten go potty. (He was originally called Joey, but ended up with his name Pookie after the number of times we all said, “Come on, poo kitty.”) Some of my students said the experience made them want a pet all the more and several said they wanted to wait because pets were a lot of work. Those students are in high school now, but they still ask after Pookie when they visit. Pookie also had to come with me when my mom and I traveled to Connecticut to visit my brother at the Coast Guard Academy and Mystic Seaport.

Pookie is big on routines. He has decided it is his duty to wake me promptly at 5:00 a.m. every day so I won’t forget to feed him or make my coffee. Once the coffee is poured, he waits for me in my office for me to give him his cuddles. (He still likes it best when I wear my winter bathrobe, but no longer tries to fit inside. He will sleep on the bathrobe if he finds I’ve left it on the bed. J) After supper, he can always be found just at the kitchen doorway waiting for my husband to toss him cat treats in the little game of catch they do together. And if I stay up too late at night writing, he makes little chirruping meows and worms his way into my lap for attention as if to say “Enough already.”

He has his favorite chair for curling up and keeping me company while I write in my office, but he also likes to hang out in my lap and sprawl out on my desk. He’s not so much help with writing the words, and sometimes even keeps me from writing, but he’s a wonderful companion and makes me smile every day.

My heroine Margie in my new release Summertime Dream has her dog Penny who keeps her company while writing, but I do have a current wip that just might be perfect for Pookie to make a guest appearance as a character.

Title: Summertime Dream

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Date Published: Released on Kindle December 27, 2013. Releasing worldwide on April 4, 2014

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Word Count: 86,710

The Fourth of July is over, but for these summer lovers the fireworks have just begun.

An unexpected inheritance brings business consultant Christopher Gordon from Los Angeles to quaint Falk’s Bend. He’s carved a week from his demanding schedule to list his great-grandparents’ house for sale and explore his roots. However, disturbing family secrets and the sweet temptation of writer Margie Olsson derail his plans, challenging him to seize the elusive dream missing from his hectic life — love.

A recent brush with death shook Margie’s life, but not her dreams and she’s ready to move forward. Only, standing up to her loving, over-protective family isn’t easy. Helping Christopher explore the derelict mansion and unravel his grandmother’s mysterious past should be a harmless fun taste of independence. But when her experimental summer fling ignites into unexpected love, how can her small town dreams work with his big city life?


“You’re looking very thoughtful.” She nodded at his computer and cell phone. “Problems?”
He shrugged. “No. Just came to a good spot to pause. And your dog is very persistent.”
“She’s not being a pest? She’s an expert at stealth ear-scratching demands.”
A chuckle escaped him. He was still petting her dog. “No, we’re having a good time here. Well, she’s having the better time. She just got me petting her.”
“You’re her new favorite man, I think.” She set aside her tablet. “Want a refill on your tea?” Rising before he could answer, she scooped up his glass.
“Sure, thanks.”
Penny glanced after her departing mistress, and then turned begging eyes back on Christopher.
“Think you’ve got me wrapped around your paw, huh?” He closed the laptop.
Penny’s tail thumped the porch boards.
Margie returned with refilled glasses. Before she could hand off his, Christopher carefully tugged her into his lap, enjoying her startled laugh. Penny whimpered, wiggling with clear intentions to leap and join them in the fun.
“Go lie down, Penny,” Christopher said firmly.
Penny sighed in doggish resignation and stretched out in a patch of sun.
“See, I told you. She even behaves better for you than for Joe.”
Their eyes caught. She had to know what holding her did to him. He wanted more, couldn’t take more, couldn’t promise what a woman like Margie needed. If he had any sense at all, he’d let her go back to her own chair until he came up with a plan. Instead, he took both drinks and set them aside on the table.
She leaned forward and kissed him, teasing a bite to his lower lip, and then a tiny kitten lick.
Time to stop thinking. He sank into her playful and easy kiss. If he only had this short time with her, he better make the most of every moment instead of bemoaning the lack of time. Carefully.
He could dream and this was an excellent dream.

Summertime Dream is FREE on February 11-15, 2014:   Amazon Kindle.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Babette James writes sweetly scorching contemporary romance and loves reading nail-biting tales with a satisfying happily ever after. When not dreaming up stories, she enjoys playing with new bread recipes and dabbling with paints. A teacher, she loves encouraging new readers and writers as they discover their growing abilities. Her class cheers when it’s time for their spelling test! Born in New Jersey and raised in Southern California, she’s had a life-long love of the desert and going down the shore. Babette now lives in New Jersey with her wonderfully patient husband and extremely spoiled cats.


  1. Babette, I loved your story of Pookie. We adopted Sebastian, our large tuxedo cat, seven years ago when he was a couple of weeks old. He had to have kitten formula from a bottle, but thank goodness he knew how to use the bathroom. We were happy when he graduated to pablum. When we rescued him, he was a runt and fit in my husband's hand. Not he's long and lean and can look up on the kitchen cabinet when he stands on his hind legs. He loves my winter bathrobe, too, and I leave it across the foot of the bed for him. Don't we spoil our fur babies?

  2. Hi, Caroline! I love tuxedo cats. I had one years back and he had a smudge of black just below his nose like a little mustache, so his name, of course, was Charlie.

  3. Hi Babette,
    Your kitty is beautiful. He looks like a tough task master. (Thank god cats sleep so much. *G*)

    Thank you for participating in my blog series on author's pets. I'm loving seeing everyone's pets and learning about new stories. :-)

  4. Thanks, Melissa. lol He's definitely strong-minded and pushy.

  5. Love the picture of Pookie. What a cute cat.

  6. Hi, Kelley! Thanks. He's definitely my furbaby :)

  7. Love your story, Babette! What a precious "baby." I love animals and can remember all their names within my neighborhood, but don't ask me the names of their owners, lol! Thanks for sharing and all the best with "Summertime Dream." :)

  8. We have three furry babies, Babette. The oldest is 16 and still hanging in there. But we had much the same experience with our Zach as you had with Pookie. He was all of 16 oz when we found him. I spent the best part of two months playing with him, feeding him kitten kibble, et al, on the guest bathroom floor (he was so tiny we didn't dare leave him alone with the adult cats who had their noses put out of joint at the young upstart, and we didn't want to leave him 24hrs in the big cage we bought for him). He's now a 19 lb monster who still thinks I'm mommy.
    I don't read much contemporary romance, but Summertime Dream sounds right up my ally. I'll check it out.
    Good luck on sales, girl!