One of a writer’s tricks, I’ve learnt, is to defy expectations. You think Rover’s a dog? Aha! Rover is the name of the cat in Waifs and Strays, Louise G. Cole’s story in story in Cat Tales, the anthology drawn from last year’s Book a Break short story competition.
Rover, thought Toby, as he warmed the pot. What a stupid name for a cat; he’d been almost too embarrassed to say it at the vet’s. But the receptionist cheerfully revealed equally absurd names. ‘We have one woman who calls all her pets after vegetables,’ she said. ‘A cat called Cabbage and a dog called Potato…’
You can see from this tiny extract how charming the story is. But there’s depth to it too. Rover has just come back from the vet’s, where mites were removed from his ears, and Liz, Toby’s girlfriend, is crying.
‘Well, he looks fully recovered,’ Toby said brightly, putting Liz’s cup on the table in front of her. Rover, his head energetically bobbing, was licking his paws as if preparing them to pounce on his next prey. Liz, on the other hand, was more distraught than ever. ‘I just… They must have been so snug in there…’ She glanced up at him, her puffy eyes ever so slightly contradicted by the smirk at the corners of her mouth. She shifted on the sofa, making room. ‘The poor mites,’ she added, her voice rising to a wail as, still looking at Toby, she patted the cushion beside her.
Liz cares, you see. About Rover, of course, but also about the mites. In fact, such is her empathy with every living beast, from walruses to wasps, that she’d do anything she could to prevent them suffering, an attitude which in the end gets up Toby’s nose like the mites in Rover’s ear. Why does he stay with her, then? Well, she has a lisp, you see, and also, when it comes to sex… Well, as I mentioned, there’s more than just charm to this story. Check it out!
In her own words: Originally from Worcestershire in England, cat lover Louise G. Cole now lives in the west of Ireland, where she writes poetry and short stories, and (mostly) talks about writing novels. Her words have been included in a number of anthologies and journals, and have won prizes and awards in both Ireland and the UK. She blogs about reading, writing and other stuff (including her three cats and a dog) at: https://louisegcolewriter.wordpress.com/. The blog is where you can find out why she insists on the ‘G’ in her moniker.
The proceeds from Cat Tales go to two charities, Cats Protection and the Against Malaria Foundation. So please don’t hesitate to spread the word and help us raise all we can. And of course, if you click on the button, you can read Louise’s story and find out about Liz and Toby’s strange approach to sex.
In a special promotion deal, the price of Cat Tales is just $1.99 for the whole month of April. Available as a PDF (or epub / mobi) complete with colour illustrations directly from this site* by clicking the button below. Also available in print (black & white, $9.50).
*Buying from this site results in $1.61 after the PayPal commission, as opposed to just $0.70 when buying from Amazon. An insecticide treated mosquito net, which protects on average 2 people for 3 to 4 years, costs $2.50. PLUS, if you buy from this site, you’ll get a personal message of thanks from Curtis along with a short story of his own (in which Nibbles the cat, I’m sorry to say, comes to a rather unfortunate end).