World Animal Day Blog Hop

World Animal Day Blog Hop

Sponsored by Terri Giuliano Long, author of In Leah’s Wake,
and David M. Brown, author of the upcoming Man vs Cat

World Animal Day: 4 October, 2012

 We’re celebrating World Animal Day with a huge blog hop event! Yay!


High up on the road

Swifts soar as blue tits twitter,

Sounds of spring fly in

Hands up who likes animals? Hands up who lurrrrrves animals? All those fluffy, feathery, cuddly, cutesy, intelligent, faithful, funny creatures who share our lives and make our day. Mmm, I can see a big show of hands. Let’s give a big cheers for their day! Grunt, eeeek, mew, voof, grivvet, splish, splosh, baa, moo, oink, neeeiiiigggh!

I love animals, especially cats. My first pet was a dog called Glen. I can’t remember much about him, as I was really little, but we used to take him for walks along the marshes and fields where I lived. Glen was always chucking himself into the water whenever he could and shaking himself all over us, like a big dirty shower. I recently wrote a doggy character in a novel called 3 Heads & A Tail. I gave the dog the best lines, the best love story, brains and adventure, and I named him Glen. Recently, my dad told a story about this dog. My dad used to work on the railway and there was a rail yard where we lived in Slade Green. He’d hang out there with the other drivers and they were very friendly. I can’t remember if this happened there or in a pub, but Glen, accompanying my dad, decided that he wanted to be a bit more human. Up he jumped on to the table and started lapping from some poor guy’s pint! He got himself banned. He was a character!

We had loads of animals when I was a kid. The best time was when I was at Infants School and we had an aviary at the bottom of our garden. It was huge (or at least to me) and my dad built it. He bred a rainbow of budgies, which I thought I could communicate with simply by winking, and little bluish quails that pecked along the ground. The aviary was like a giant house of wonder. It had two doors. You walked in, closed one, and then walked through the next, so the birds were safe. Inside, I’d hold out my hand and the budgies would fly around tweeting and land on my palm, and look up at me. To a kid who loved animals, it didn’t get any better than that.

We then moved to Erith, to a house on the corner of a street. We didn’t have a huge back garden. It was kind of square, but my dad created a pond (as he did wherever we lived) and filled it with fish. During that time our animals included: 2 rabbits (Snowy & Harvey); 2 dogs (Penny & Bianca); at least 4 cats that I can recall (Misty, Mitzi, Buster & Smokey); another cat that someone asked my mum to take in, which turned out to be pregnant; 2 guinea pigs; 2 red-crested black newts; gerbils, which started off as 2, and sprouted; a cockerteil; a canary; some budgies (one was mine, called Pip); numerous fish; a duck that my mum took in from someone who knocked on our door, which vanished around Easter, making me very sad; and a tortoise called Tonic – we knew this because his name was painted on his shell, and he wandered under the garden gate one day, stayed a few weeks, and then wandered off, like a travelling gypsy with a shell. Add to this the numerous birds that my dad rescued from the garden, which would live in a box by the radiator for a while, before being released into the blue yonder. Oh, and a frog that my mum saved from Buster.

As I grew up, our furry family grew fewer, but we still had many pets compared with most people. We almost had a house rabbit. It was sooo cute and black, and tiny. My mum bought it during the week we were due to move to Cornwall. Cue the chaos of moving, particularly chaotic when it’s about 250 miles away to the new home. Somewhere in the middle of the journey, on the motorway, my mum realised that she’d left the bunny in the toilet. Not ‘in’ the toilet (what were you thinking?), but in the room! He’d been put in there for safekeeping while the removal men were taking out our stuff. Panic set in as my mum rung her friend to contact the family who had bought our house. Happily, bunny was rescued and had a new owner. I always wondered what it would have been liked to have a house rabbit.

My first pets as a grown-up were two cats called Amy and Kiwi. Somehow they managed to get pregnant by the same smoky coloured tom (I could tell by the markings of what came later!) when they weren’t even 6 months old (that taught me to get to the vet with a female cat asap!). I saw both cat births. Amy was first and she helped Kiwi with hers. It was fascinating. David Attenborough would have been impressed. Amy had 6 kittens and Kiwi, who was smaller, had 4. For 6 brilliant weeks I was greeted at the door by 10 stampeding balls of fluff and followed everywhere around the house. I’d wake up every morning to them all sleeping on me. Bliss. Of course, I couldn’t keep 10 kittens, but I had an excellent local pet shop, run by a woman and her daughter, so 8 of my kitties went there. My mum wanted the ginger one with golden eyes, whom she named Charlie, and I persuaded her to take the little runt of the litter, who was a tough little fighter, called Lily.

Alas, I lost Kiwi when she was only 6 years old, but I immortalised her in Kiwi in Cat City, and I’m still writing this series set in a world of catizens.

Today, I just have one pet. She’s 13 now and her name is Mogsy. I can’t imagine life without her. She’s one of a kind.

I’ll finish with a poem about two animals:


The fox and the mole


Let’s rob a bank

Said the fox to the mole

I’ve got mouths to feed

And I’m feeling the need


Ok, said the mole

But you know I can’t see

I can burrow real deep

But I might fall asleep


Well, said the fox

I can offer my cunning

I will find a way inside

And to you I’ll confide


Wake me up said the mole

When you discover this

As I’ve got a hunch

We’re in a credit crunch


So the fox went off thinking

How to rob the bank

And came up with a plan

While eating a cherry flan


Well then, asked the mole

What do you suggest we do

To steal all the money

But not do anything funny?


Aha, said the fox grinning

I’ll tell you what to do

Just burrow under the bank

While I drive up in a tank


Oh, said the mole frowning

I never thought of that

I didn’t know foxes could drive

Have you told this to your wife?


No, we have to keep this secret

Said the fox to the mole

As she’ll have my guts for garters

And that’s just for starters


So off went the fox and mole

To begin their bank robber life –

They rivalled Bonny and Clyde

Living it up, the law they defied

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Out now: Kiwi and the Serpent of the Isle



I’m happy to announce that book 4 in the Kiwi Series is out today for the special introductory price of 75p/$0.99 (ebook). It is also available in paperback. The story takes Kiwi & friends to the UnderPaw, a dark crimicat world below Cat City, and to the mystical, watery Isle where they meet their most powerful foe yet – the Serpent. In a side story, the hamsters want equal rights!

Thank you!

Book blurb:

In book four of the Kiwi Series, the wedding of Inspector Furrball and Madame Purrfect approaches. But, catastrophe, the ring is stolen from the Gem Shop! A pawprint identifies Fyre Cracker as the thief, but he lives in the dark world of the UnderPaw beneath Cat City, which is inhabited by crimicats. It’s up to the Kiwi Klub to find the ring. In the human world, the hamsters decide to stand up for their rights to better plastic wheels and an abundance of sunflower seeds. Meanwhile, the dastardly Dev shocks Kiwi with the news that he knows a big secret about her family – that her father, Delphinius, may still be alive! The key is The Sculptor, who will lead Kiwi and friends on their biggest adventure yet – to the strange Isle of the Serpent where they will come face to face with their most dangerous adversary so far.




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Interview on YA Promo Central

Today I was interviewed on YA Promo Central. I’m talking about the Kiwi Series and writing in general, plus some sillier things. Thanks Amanda! 

Here’s a preview… 

YAPC: What’s your current guilty pleasure?
Vickie: Watching Buffy kick some vampire butt while eating Milky Bar chocolate.
YAPC: Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Vickie: Yes, since I was a kid. I always had my nose in a book and when I wasn’t reading, I was daydreaming. My head was always in the clouds and imagining things. I used to think that books could come true. That one day I’d be wandering through the woods and if I was very lucky I’d find the giant tree from The Faraway Tree and meet Moonface in his round house! Sigh! I remember writing a story in Junior School. The class was reading Miss Pepperpot and our homework was to write something similar. I wrote one starring my classmates and the teacher read it out. Maybe the buzz started there.
You can read the rest of the interview, if you like, here…




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Coming soon: Kiwi and the Serpent of the Isle

Kiwi and the Serpent of the Isle (Kiwi Series, 4)
Book blurb… 
In book four of the Kiwi Series, the wedding of Inspector Furrball and Madame Purrfect approaches. But, catastrophe, the ring is stolen from the Gem Shop! A pawprint identifies Fyre Cracker as the thief, but he lives in the dark world of the UnderPaw beneath Cat City, which is inhabited by crimicats. It’s up to the Kiwi Klub to find the ring. In the human world, the hamsters decide to stand up for their rights to better plastic wheels and an abundance of sunflower seeds. Meanwhile, the dastardly Dev shocks Kiwi with the news that he knows a big secret about her family – that her father, Delphinius, may still be alive! The key is The Sculptor, who will lead Kiwi and friends on their biggest adventure yet – to the strange Isle of the Serpent where they will come face to face with their most dangerous adversary so far.

Chapter 7: A singer and some jokers

“He’s staring,” observed Siam.
“I know,” squeaked Kiwi. “Let’s sit over the other side, please, so no tailizens notice us.”
Siam grinned. Kiwi and her strong charisma, he thought. He chose a round table that was shrouded in shadows, away from the candlelight. The little stars seemed to glimmer on the dark walls.
They all sat down on the orange-fabric covered stools around the table. The kittens and Misty lapped their milk. It was really good. James thought it might even be better than the chocolate milk in Cat City, but he didn’t say anything. Inspector Furrball wouldn’t be happy with that!
The Inspector eyed his own drink suspiciously as if something evil was going to jump out of it. Siam and Kiwi pretended to drink theirs, while making sure none passed their lips. Within minutes, the first act of the night began. Miss Claws leapt on to the stage, dressed in a long red dress, high black boots with needle-thin heels, and a long red wig. Her fake eyelashes flapped heavily as she gave the audience her biggest smile.
“Well hellooooooo tomcats!” she whispered huskily, and nearly every male cat in the place started to clap.
“But she hasn’t done anything yet,” said James, confused.
“She doesn’t need to,” laughed Siam.
James frowned. He didn’t understand.
Miss Claws started to sing. It was like a low purr that gradually got louder and then softened, grew louder, and softened again. The tailizens didn’t move. Their heads fell to the side and they stared, as if hypnotised, while Miss Claws sang. James felt his own head nodding, as did Amy. They felt sleepy, carried along on the dreamy song that warbled around the room.
“Wake up,” whispered Kiwi. “Don’t fall asleep just in case there are pickpockets.”
“Oh,” mumbled the kittens, waking from their daydreaming. Misty nearly fell off the chair and then wiggled her head to wake herself.
“Look at us instead,” advised Inspector Furrball.
Siam gazed open-mouthed at Miss Claws. She was possibly the most beautiful cat he’d ever seen in his life and she really knew how to purr.
Kiwi noticed and giggled under her breath. She’d never seen Siam so hypnotised by a female. Miss Claws seemed to glide across the stage. After about half an hour, she stopped singing and there was total silence. You could have heard a feather drop this time, if you had one.
“Well, queens and tomcats, where’s my applause?” she asked, smiling.
The audience didn’t need to be asked twice. The silence was cut and the cheers went up. Tomcats banged their glasses on their tables and clapped loudly.
“Woo-hoo!” mewed Siam, jumping up and clapping.
The kittens laughed, spluttering their Chocky Chocomilk, and Kiwi giggled.
 Inspector Furrball nudged his colleague. “Sit down, Siam. What’s got in to you?”
“But she’s wondercat,” smiled Siam dreamily. “Pure wondercat.” He sat down with the biggest grin on his face.
“And for our next act, we have Slim Kits Three!” shouted the barcat from the other side of the room. The tailizens looked round at him and then back at the stage as three toms stomped on, wearing brown boots and waistcoats, and funny hats. All three were brown with white tails.
“I bet they’re brothers!” said Amy.
“What goes up when I need a cool down?” asked one.
“Your tail,” yelled the second tom.
“Pew!” shouted the third, covering his nose with his paw. “Smelly!”
“They must be a joke act,” said James.
One of the cats turned to the audience: “Did you hear about the tom who drank five bowls of water? He set a new lap record!”
The second one took his turn: “Did you hear about the cat that swallowed a ball of wool? She had mittens!”
And the third took a bow: “What’s a cat’s favourite sweet? Mice cream cones!”
James and Amy giggled. Inspector Furrball looked a bit lost.
Half an hour and much laughter later, the trio of cats trotted off the stage to a ripple of applause.
“I think I need to go to the toilet,” said James. “I drank too much Chocky Chocomilk!”
“Me too,” agreed Amy. “Quickly, before the band comes on. Where are they?”
Kiwi glanced around and pointed. “Just by the bar over there – can you see?”
“Oh yes,” said Amy, “but there are two doors – how will I tell which is for girls?”
“Easy,” said Siam. “There are always signs on the doors in public places like this. You’ll be able to tell easily – the girls’ toilet has a picture of a queen…”
“Female cat,” whispered Kiwi.
“… and the boys’ has a tomcat on it…”
Inspector Furrball interrupted, “I hope they’re clean – I don’t trust tailizen toilets! I bet they don’t change the cat litter very often and I’d be very surprised if they have a scratching post!”
“Okay,” mumbled Amy. “Thanks Siam. We’ll be right back.”
The two kittens scurried across the room towards the two toilets. The doors were shiny black and, sure enough, they had signs on them – one female cat and one tomcat – so that everyone knew where to go… in theory.
“They both look the same!” gasped James.
“I know!” agreed Amy. “Am I missing something? Is there any difference at all?”
“Nope!” James sighed. “None!”
“I guess only real cats can tell them apart!”
“What shall we do? I really want to go now!” mewed James, crossing his paws, which didn’t help at all.
“Oh, hold on, I’ll just have a quick look inside and maybe I’ll be able to tell!”
Amy opened the door on the right and peeked in. Inside was a small room, painted black and lit by an orange lamp. There were three black boxes, full of cat litter, and a scratching post. There was also a mirror and a bowl of water. It looked clean and tidy. Amy closed the door.
Amy pouted. “Not sure. I’ll compare.”
She opened the other door and peeked inside, but it was exactly the same. They had a problem. James was hopping from paw to paw, so Amy feared they didn’t have long. But which was the girls’ toilet? They looked identical. Why couldn’t they have colour-coded them pink and blue to make things easier?
“Amy, I can’t wait any longer,” mewed James, pulling a face. He was looking a bit cross-eyed.
“Excuse me, Miss!”
The two kittens looked up to see a big white cat wearing a black waistcoat, earrings, a nose ring and a black cap. He had blue stripes dyed across his fur.
“Oh, sorry,” mumbled Amy, stepping aside.
The big cat opened the door on the right and walked in, humming a tune.
“I guess that’s our answer,” said Amy.
“Phew!” squeaked James, dashing in. He couldn’t have lasted another minute.

Chapter 8: A band called Hiss

“And so we come to our final act of the night – the band you’ve all been waiting for,” mewed the barcat.
“Yeahhhhhhh!” the crowd mewed and clapped. Some tailizens began to jump around.
The kittens raced across the room from the toilets and sat down on their chairs. Kiwi crossed her paws, hoping to recognise the gem thief.
“A kitty, kitty, kitty good evening to all of you!” came a shout as four cats bounded on to the stage. One jumped behind the drum kit with a howl, two others strummed what resembled mini guitars, and the fourth needed no introduction or microphone – “Toms and kitties, we’re Hiss!” he mewed.
The tailizen was jet black with dark, brooding eyes. Some of his whiskers were missing and his mouth curled up as he snarled. On top of his head, his fur pointed upwards like some kind of cat Mohican and it was bright blue.
The crowd of tailizens were jumping up and down in time to the music, and some were dancing. Amy grinned, part of her wanting to join in. She loved music and dancing so much.
 “Hiss! Hiss! Hiss!” the audience, well, hissed back at the singer.
“Tail-tastic!” screeched Fyre and leapt around the stage, dancing around the two tomcats who were strumming the song on their guitars. It sounded like rock music, but with the same pitch as a meow. When Fyre started singing, it was the highest screech that Amy or James had ever heard. They grimaced and stuck their paws over their ears. Misty hid under the table. No-one could see her anyway so no one would be offended.
Fyre suddenly pointed at the two kittens, “Come on, rock out little kitties!” But then he started screeching again. Amy gritted her teeth. She felt the fur on the back of her neck stand on end. “I don’t know if I can take this much longer,” she muttered. “It’s so high!”
“Come on,” said Kiwi. “Let’s head over to the other room, where we came in. We can get to know Mow, and it won’t be so loud in there. I guess your ears haven’t adjusted!”
“I’ll come too,” said Inspector Furrball, getting up quickly. “Call this music? I just don’t understand it!”
“You should stay here and keep an eye on Fyre, in case anything happens!” said Kiwi.
“Oh, must I? His singing is dreadful,” sighed the inspector.
Siam laughed and patted his paw. “It’s okay, old timer!” he joked.
Inspector Furrball frowned and mumbled something inaudible.
“Come on kittens,” said Kiwi, trying not to giggle.
James and Amy nodded, holding their paws over their ears. The kittens wobbled across the room with their tails between their legs.
Fyre pointed and laughed. The toms at the back of the audience also turned and chuckled.
“I guess they’re too young to rock!” meowed Fyre, before screeching again.
“Phew!” breathed the kittens as they passed the bar and left the room.
“He was hissing so high,” complained Amy. “Is that normal?”
“For that type of singing, I’m afraid so!” said Kiwi.
First review for the book – 
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Children’s Book Week Giveaway Hop

Hi, I’m participating in the Children’s Book Week Giveaway Hop (7-15 May). On my blog you can enter a rafflecopter competition to win Kiwi in Cat City and also hop to 108 other blogs offering giveaways.
Cheers, Vickie


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Interview with me, book excerpt and giveaway of the Kiwi Series

Interview with me, book excerpt and giveaway of the Kiwi Series

Hi cat fans!
Laurie interviewed me on her blog! Yay! There’s an interview, an excerpt from Kiwi and the Living Nightmare (when the catizens ride the bus) and a giveaway of some sets of my ebooks. Stop by for a read if you fancy 🙂 Thanks, Vickie – have a purr-fect day!

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