The Kitty-Kitty book project is a collaboration between me and my friend Vicki Wynne. I met Vicki at the Venice Florida Friendship Center during one of their special events. I often attend Friendship Center celebrations to meet new people and celebrate holidays. It’s a great place to go where I don’t have to make special plans — I can just show up. On that particular day, I was feeling a bit shy, as odd as that may sound. As I entered and signed in at the front desk, I looked around for a seat and began to case the room like Goldilocks — that seat is too hard, this one too soft, this one too close to the music, that one too far. That’s when Vicki and her friend called me over. “Come sit with us!”
Those words sung in the friendliest tune are just what I needed that day. The banter among we “golden girls” was priceless and we laughed until we were overcome with the giggles. I don’t know what it was or how that happens, but sometimes people “just click,” and that’s what we did that day.
Turns out, these two women are also widows. As we said our goodbyes when the event was over, we shared phone numbers and they invited me to attend their monthly Grief Support Group meeting in Venice, hosted by Tidewell Hospice. At the time, I was still attending a support group at my own Church, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Osprey, but I decided to join these women in their group primarily to get to know them better. As a result, I think this group helped me move through my grief in a special way, by adding a new best friend to my life.
Naturally, as we spent more time together enjoying shopping trips, lunches, dinners and afternoons at the movies, I shared my passion for writing with Vicki and kept her informed of the evolution of my website www.LifetimeWriter.com, and my latest ghostwriting and publishing projects. During one of our weekly visits, the conversation veered toward writing and publishing and then we transitioned into talking at length about how much we loved our cats!
Vicki is “mom” to a beautiful and gentle calico rescue named “Snickers.” It was a bit of a coincidence to learn that Vicki called her cat “kitty kitty” just as I call my cat, “Caily,” when I’m searching for her in the house. It seems to be a universal name for felines because all of my past cats responded to that call too. It probably has a lot to do with the tone of voice we use rather than the exact words, but all the same, I thought it was quite interesting that we had this in common.
It was Vicki who suggested that we write and publish a photographic book about our kitties. I thought it was a great idea and immediately imagined a “Table of Contents” based on the idiosyncrasies, habits, and expressions of our little Snickers and Caily.
It was quite natural for us to name our collaborative book, “Kitty-Kitty,” because of our common call for them and because the book was about both Kitties, of course! The project began earlier this summer and we have just completed the first printing. Now we await our proof copy for review. With luck and some diligence, we should be able to publish next month, so stay tuned for the announcement.
Vicki and I have no expectations of commercial success for the book and we didn’t start the project with any marketing effort in mind. We intent to gift the book to relatives and friends this holiday season, to share the love we have for our kitties and spread some smiles around.
For you ghostwriters and authors who would like to take on a book project about your pets, fair warning that although the writing and formatting can be a giant creative challenge in and of itself, truly the most time-consuming and difficult part of the project for us was the photography. Because it is a “hobby” or “vanity” book, we did not set aside any budget for hiring professional designers, artists or a photographer so we took on all these task ourselves with measured results. During our photographic sessions, we realized how quickly cats move, and so hours and hours of staging and posing resulted in mostly blurred images. I purchased an advanced digital camera as a partial solution, but I didn’t figure in the time to learn how to use the camera. Photography is mastered over years not months. Duh.
But as with most of my projects, I’m willing to publish them as a learning experience. Hopefully my stops, starts, skips, jumps and stumbles will be fuel for your own creative fire. Try it; especially if this is a hobby for you, there’s not much to lose in experimenting. If you read Kitty-Kitty, I hope it will make you smile.
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