Notes from a parish cat and his author Julie Mackenzie

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I am Father Tom Fish, esteemed member of the religious team at Temptation of Christ Parish in the novels by author Julie Mackenzie. As to my background, I was invited into the rectory as a stray, laid on the charm, and was invited to stay, even honorarily ordained and no less spiritual than my sidekick Father Will. He dotes on me to high heaven and forgives all of my street cat proclivities, whatever the hell that means.

Friday, December 29, 2023

Get Ready, Set..Wait, Where Are We Going Again?

Hi folks and fans,

I'm exhausted.

I can't get enough naptime, it seems. Too much hustle, bustle and baking. Today, the housekeeper touched up the baseboard heat registers with fresh paint even though we don't use the oil from our tank except for heating water. We have a mini-split heat pump and it's been keeping Bridgie and me toasty warm.

Hope you all had a nice Christmas. I know there were those who wish it could have been better, but I  was thinking: We have the holidays every 350 days or so and sometimes, our hearts just aren't ready. We were ok this year, but can't help but think of family members gone and others who've lost those close to them through unexpected tragedy. It's crazy. You ever see a cat with an Uzi? Or, an AK 47 assault rifle? We don't gang together and start wars, either. We grow into feral colonies, but like peaceful Indians, we don't make trouble and we don't want it. 

Sigh. Please excuse my ramblings. 

Anyway, this time of year, we're always trying to look to a future that is positive and at the least, makes sense. We're supposed to have a new president or keep our old one. I am not politically inclined, so I don't know. I just watch. Nod when appropriate and shake my head when not. 

We're keeping our tree up until the Wise Men get here. They texted and said they would be late..
Hahaha...our old wise men with today's technology. Anyway, they'll be welcomed with open arms.
Penny's never seen a wise man, maybe a wise cat (like me), but she won't ever because she's lost
her sight, but is amazingly tuned in.

We all love you, pretty girl!

Friends, once again, for another year, we extend our hopes and our best wishes for all of you. If the road gets rough, you know where to find us. We're always ready to give a hug.

Lots of love and Happy New Year!

~Tom, Bridget, Penny and our very own author Julie Mackenzie who makes up all kinds of stuff.
  And, our angels, Tinker, Anastasia, Frasier (Tom #1), Fishie (Tom #2), Vinny, and Trapper, our Golden.

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

You Always Hope the Brakes Work

Hi everybody, Julie Mackenzie here....

First, let me say a big thank you to Tom for letting me take over his blog for a recap of my publishing experience so far.

"Take all the time you like, my dear."

It has all been most challenging and I don't mean the writing part. That was easy in comparison. It was going over the manuscript countless times to make sure I made sense, the characters made sense and Tom was at his best. I had a good editor, mostly for content, reading the books purely for enjoyment, but with the keen eye of the critic. I didn't worry and won't about the grammar, spelling or punctuation.


Because I'm a perfectionist and fastidious to a fault, and... I had such an amazing foundation with the head-pounding repetition and high standards expected in parochial school. Who can forget the daily recitation of prepositions after recess while in the fifth grade? (That was the year I sneaked into the rectory's back yard) We diagramed sentences, too. When I'm in doubt as to the right verb or some rule of grammar, I mentally reach for the sentence diagrams and I get my answer. So, hats (or wimples) off to those ladies in fluttering robes and beads who made me the writer I am today, at times flamboyant in my occasional word creations and sentences that might have begged a big red question mark from them.

I didn't want to pursue what many other writers go after, and that is the agent who, if interested, will present your work to a publisher and so on. All it took was one writer's conference at which I heard an agent confess that he had a writer whose work he was still shopping around after two years. I think the entire traditional publishing route is very serendipitous, chancy, time consuming and I decided to just go it on my own. Also, I have started so darn late in life. I won't have the crop of 50 plus books of Stephen
King and other authors like David Baldacci, Brad Thor,  Lee Child, and Fannie Flagg  who have amassed an amazing number published.

And, finally, a big challenge for me was having those I depended on for covers and formatting get back to me with the finished product. The interior layout is now being done by a fellow writer from Great Britain who goes above and beyond, with a designer creating attractive covers. I read over 50 novels a year and I see how they are laid out, the stunning touches, and I've enjoyed spreading my wings a little, introducing poetry, for instance. 

C.J. Box, an outstanding writer of western mysteries, shares the great outdoors, and you feel like he's inviting you there, setting the scene with introductory drawings and quotes. Writers are creators, transferring what is in their imagination to receptive readers who are always ready to cross that threshold prompted by an irresistible invitation.

I'm taking a break from writing for just a little while. 

Everyone, take care. 

All the best,


Author ~ Cross & Claw series of novels featuring Fr. Tom Fish & Will 



Saturday, October 1, 2022

I have finally given in.

After cajoling me with treats, ear scritches, back scratches, and coos, I have finally given in to a certain Julie Mackenzie. She has created a series of novels featuring me in a church setting. (I know, highly unlikely in real life) However, the description of Fr. Tom Fish (me) is right on the money. I am understood by the younger priest only and I'm best described as a former street cat, now parish cat of Temptation of Christ Church. I've been sanctified and it didn't hurt one bit.

Here are the books: FINE FEATHER is already out in both paperback and ebook on Amazon. It introduces all the characters and the predicaments they find themselves in. The church is headed for the tank, a man mysteriously kicks the bucket and an elderly woman, a janitor, a love interest, and a building manager are all under suspicion. So, hold onto your hat, buckle up, and make sure your funny bone is in good working order!


The second book is still under construction.

A totally different novel in that it involves a parishioner and his childhood friend, all grown up and after serving in the Army, they come home only to face each other's new challenges. I'm in this, too, ready with my wit and common sense. Other characters in the book previous are brought up again, so it's kinda nice to read the FEATHER book first, but it's not a have-to.

This book won't be available until probably the end of November, around Thanksgiving. We'll let you know. Meanwhile, here's the cover:

So, my friends, sorry for the long absence, but this is what we've been up to.

We'll keep you posted. Me? I'm doing fine. I just get the occasional headache after editing. 
What would the author do without me?

Monday, June 27, 2022

How the Fur Flies

Hi, furriends..

I know...we hear about it all the time. The housekeeper says the vacuum canister is filled to the gills after one run through in living room, dining room and kitchen, and it's all FUR!!! 👀

Now, she combs me every few days or so, but I notice I'm leaving clumps around anyway and the curtains...!! Who knew?

She took care of this right quick, I'll tell you!

Me? I don't even notice my furs saying bye-bye. I do feel a tad lighter, though! 😂

~~Tom xx

Monday, June 20, 2022

 Hi, furriends!

Sorry we've been awol for a week. There's so much going on, we just needed a breather.

To bring you up to date: Bridget is back in her mouse-chasing groove. I don't know what the poor mouse wants in our house when there's plenty of food outside, but one did make it in and lived to regret it.

Here she is, determined to get at him. The paw of death!

Did she eventually get him? Afraid so. His poor little carcass sat on the kitchen floor the following day. 

I think Bridget was especially energized since there was not one single mouse all winter for her to terrorize. All that pent-up energy she had was out to get the poor mouse who found himself inside and never made it back out. 

No, I don't go after mice. I'm too old for such sport and I don't see the need. We have plenty of food and don't need a mouse to supplement our diet. I think Bridget does it more for thrills than anything else.

All for now. I'm getting ready to haunt visit all of you. Look for my mug in the comments section. I hope it shows. I've heard tell some comments are not being posted which is a shame. They're always fun to read.


Monday, June 6, 2022

Shelter Cats

Hello furriends!

June is Adopt a Shelter Cat month and I can't say it enough times: We former shelter cats are so grateful that someone did that for us! I don't think the housekeeper ever contemplated doing anything different. Just think, if humans adopted a shelter cat, they could never be accused of looking for love in all the wrong places. There's nothing wrong about saving a furry one!

But, not all cats come from shelters. I did, but Bridget came from a dump and Penny wound up in our yard and try as we might, no owner was ever found. So, we can't forget those kitties who come into our lives from places out of the ordinary.

Bridget: Did I come from a dump? Really?

Me: Yep. And, don't you forget it.

Bridget: How do you figure?

Me: The housekeeper found out that a mother cat had kittens where she took an old desk to throw away and you were one of them.

Bridget: You just never know where you're going to wind up on this Earth, do you?

Me: Nope. You're one lucky cat to be with hunky, irresistible me!

Bridget: Don't push it, buster!

Go out and rescue an irresistible cat today!


Monday, May 30, 2022

Early Morning Vigil

 Hello, furriends

This post is going to be quick because I have to get back to my post. There's been a lot of outside activity around here lately and even though we're inside kitties, there are still enough windows for us to keep tabs on who comes around.

This is where we're stationed in the living room this morning. The housekeeper said the deer have returned and are sleeping right by one of our big bushes. I haven't seen them, but a neighbor said last year a mother and her fawn were seen crossing our yard after sleeping here overnight.

We have three big windows facing east where I'm sitting and Bridget seems to always take charge of the south side. Sometimes we'll hear something and try to figure out which window will tell us what or who it is! 

If Bridget stays downstairs, it's probably another cat or animal. If she rushes up the stairs to the attic, then a human has come to the door. It's kinda funny..!

Have a restful day furriends. We're hoping there won't be too much foot or paw traffic today.