Publish AND Perish: The Academic’s Dilemma. Plus musings on Ukraine, and this week’s selection of giveaways

Hello everyone! I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend. If you’re in Florida: Stay safe! If you’re in my part of the world, I hope you can enjoy the beautiful weather we’re currently having.

I spent a while wondering what to write about today. Should I talk about the start of the new semester? (For those of you just joining us, I was on medical leave last semester due to a crippling case of late-stage Lyme disease, toxic mold poisoning, and other fun things). I just finished my first week of being back teaching, which has made it clear that, surprise surprise, I am in no way recovered. Sorry everyone who keeps asking in saccharine tones if I’m “All better.” Recovery is going to be very slow, inasmuch as it happens at all.

I am walking better than I was this time last year, so that’s encouraging, but I’ve been having a lot of problems with losing my voice. This is a bit of an issue for a teacher. The good news is that I have finished re-recording (long story) the audiobook for Permanent Position, Book #2 in the Doctor Rowena Halley series, and am almost done editing it. Deciding to do an audiobook version has put a big delay on the release, but soon, soon it will be ready. Maybe even in September! Stay tuned for more updates.

Going back to my quandary of what to write today, I then thought of talking about the recent elections in Ukraine. If you haven’t been following along with that story, Volodymyr/Vladimir Zelensky, an actor who played the president of Ukraine in a popular sitcom was, in fact, elected president of the country in a landslide victory this May. You cannot make this stuff up. His party, “Servant of the People” (named after the tv show) just won a resounding majority in the parliamentary elections, taking control of the Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian parliament. Major reforms are promised. Of course, major reforms are always being promised in Ukraine. As with my health, improvement, if it happens at all, has been a slow and painful process. Everyone wants the miracle, the quick path to heaven. Unfortunately, that’s not normally how things work.

But at the moment everyone’s all full of rosy hopes for Ukraine. Will it finally manage to crack down on corruption? Will there be peace in the Donbass?

I’ve been keeping an eye on the situation in Ukraine for a few years now (full disclosure: as I write this I’m live-streaming Казачье Радио/Cossack Radio, a separatist radio station in Luhansk/Lugansk), and have woven a number of elements of the current conflict there into my novels. Dima, my heroine’s ex-fiance, is a journalist covering the war in Eastern Ukraine. In Permanent Position (click to get your free ARC if you haven’t already) I place him in the 2014/2015 battle for the Donetsk Airport, while in the follow-up novella Summer Session (click to get your free ARC if you haven’t already) he observes one of the many battles around Avdiivka/Avdeyevka during 2015 (names are in both Ukrainian and Russian, if you’re wondering about the doubling).

This is part of my general strategy in the series of hewing as close to real life as possible. My heroine Rowena and her friends aren’t real people, but their experiences are closely based on reality.

A major part of that reality is Rowena’s precarious financial situation, along with the tremendous pressure academics are under to publish. Like a lot of contingent faculty members, Rowena hopes that publishing a few articles, or better yet, a book, will help vault her into the ranks of the financially secure. This means that she is in no position to publish intellectually meaningful scholarship, since intellectually meaningful scholarship tends to have a hard time getting through peer review, something she meditates on in Book 1 of the series, Campus Confidential (click to get it on Amazon, where it’s free on KU).

Rowena’s financial and professional struggles are taken from real life, including the amounts she’s paid for teaching; the $3,200/course she’s paid in Permanent Position is the average rate per course for adjuncts in North Carolina. All her jokes about taking up bagging groceries, stripping, or streetwalking are taken from contingent academics’ real-life attempts to fund their teaching hobby with real work.

On the other hand, publishing and getting a “good” job is no guarantee of wealth and riches, as shown in Kathryn Rudy’s breakdown of what it costs her to publish her research, and why she, a full professor at a reasonably elite Western institution of higher education, is broke. In brief: she has to pay for all the travel costs, all the licensing of images and so on, and foot the bill for the actual publishing. As she points out, this isn’t “vanity” publishing. These are respectable academic presses that put out peer-reviewed scholarly works. If you want to get tenure and keep tenure, or even a halfway decent temporary position, you will probably need to publish a book, maybe several books, in this way. So even if you jump off the adjunct treadmill that Rowena finds herself in, you might not find yourself living the comfortable upper-class lifestyle of the senior academics in Lucky Jim.

The two things–post-Soviet politics and publishing–came together for me this week, when I was invited by an academic press to submit a proposal for my scholarly monograph about Chechen war literature. This entailed a fair amount of agonizing and hand-wringing on my part. Did I want to put in all that time, money, and effort, especially when my health is still so poor, into publishing a book that probably won’t make any money or even get read very much (scholarly works tend to sell a few dozen or hundred copies at best)?

On the other hand, I feel a moral obligation to spread the word about the topic of Chechnya and Chechen war literature, especially after the authors I profile have so graciously granted me interviews and expressed a strong desire to share their stories with the West. One of the reasons I include so much about Chechnya and Ukraine in the Doctor Rowena Halley series is because it’s the topic of my “day job” scholarly research. Not only am I interested in it, but I want other people to be interested in it as well.

And then there’s the fact that going through the process of attempting to publish a scholarly monograph with an academic press will no doubt provide much fodder for my fiction! When you look at it from that angle, it’s a win-win.

So if I do through with this other publishing endeavor, I’ll be sure to keep you posted, and let you know how it will inform my next novel! Expect hearty laughs–I hope.

Meanwhile, here’s this week’s selection of giveaways:

Back to School Special

Celebrate the start of the school year with the Back to School Special Giveaway! All the books are school-themed.

Summer Shorts

Enjoy the last few days of summer and pick up some mystery short stories in the Summer Shorts Giveaway!

Damsels who cause distress

Check out these butt-kicking heroines in the Damsels Who Cause Distress Giveaway on StoryOrigin!

 

What Are You Reading? Plus Meditations on Cliffhangers, and This Week’s Selection of Giveaways

“But Krymov was now in the grip of new impressions; he was walking on the earth of Stalingrad.”

Stalingrad

So ends Vasily Grossman’s magnificent Stalingrad, the “prequel,” as it were, to his even more magnificent Life and Fate. He originally intended them as a two-part work that would tell a complete story; due to the vagaries of publication, Stalingrad was published in the Soviet Union (under the title For a Just Cause) in the 1950s, while Life and Fate was published in the West in the 1980s. Stalingrad finally appeared in English translation for the first time this summer, in what was the Russian translation event of the year. So naturally I had to read it.

I could go on and on about how good it is, but I recommend reading it for yourself instead of taking my word for it. It’s a war novel, and a production novel, and a family drama, and a picture of Soviet life during the first part of WWII, when things were looking truly bleak for the USSR. Stalingrad ends, as you can see from the quote above, just as one of the main characters, finally sets foot in the city after retreating all the way from Kiev and receiving the “Not One Step Back” order to stop the Soviet retreat and hold the line at Stalingrad.

I’ve always loved this kind of ending, especially as, in this case, it concludes an early installment in a series. It’s very Romantic-with-a-Capital-R, as we see in the delightfully fragmented works of Pushkin, Lermontov, or “Odysseus’s Fate,” my favorite poem by Konstantin Batyushkov. I love the sudden opening of the narrative, the feeling that, just as you think the journey is over, a hidden vista has suddenly appeared on the horizon. They give so much space for the reader to create their own meaning, just when it seems that the author is about to collapse the storyline into one interpretation.

In other words, I’m an unashamed fan of what are commonly called cliffhangersadore encountering them in the novels that I read, and I love to incorporate them in my own books.

That being said, they have to be used with care. In the above example, it works so well in Stalingrad because 1) Krymov has been striving the entire book to get to Stalingrad, so his arrival is the resolution of that storyline as well as the beginning of a new storyline, about the actual Battle of Stalingrad, and 2) there’s a sequel.

Since I write stories that combine elements of mystery/thriller/suspense and romance, cliffhangers have to be approached with especial care. Both of those genres require a very specific kind of plot resolution. Mysteries have to end with the protagonist solving the main mystery, otherwise they’re not mystery stories, and romance novels have to end with the two main protagonists ending up together. No exceptions! Romance readers are very strict about this, as they should be. I mean, you can write a story about a failed romance, but it’s not a romance novel.

Of course, if you’re writing a series, the rules can be a bit looser, in that the resolution can happen at the end of the series rather than the end of each book. So in Robert Galbraith’s Cormoran Strike books, each book ends with a specific mystery being solved, but the ongoing romantic tension between the two characters only grows from book to book, without (yet) being resolved. In fact, the third book, Career of Evil, ends on a devilishly suspenseful moment.

In case you haven’t guessed, I’m a huge fan of the series. Have you read it? How do you think it compares with Harry Potter? I may actually prefer it to HP, although Harry will always hold a special place in my heart…

So in my own writing, I specifically sought to borrow techniques that I particularly enjoy from authors I particularly admire. Which means I resolve the main suspense/thriller/mystery conflict at the end of each of my Doctor Rowena Halley books, but then leave a little transitional moment at the very end that provides both resolution of the romantic subplot, and a cliffhanger-ish moment leading into the next book.

So in Campus Confidential,

(you see what I did there?)

Campus Confidential Front Cover Small

Speaking of Campus Confidential, KU subscribers should check out the Mysteries & Thrillers on Kindle Unlimited book event. Dozens of mysteries & thrillers, all free on KU, have been gathered together in one place for your perusing pleasure!

the main mystery and action scene are resolved, but I end with the hint that my protagonist Rowena *may* be starting a new romance.

In Permanent Position, the second book in the series, I up the cliffhanger stakes, ending with the following words (SPOILER ALERT!):

Permanent Position Front Cover

And if you haven’t yet picked up a free Advance Review Copy of Permanent Position, you can find it and dozens of other mysteries and thrillers in the Page Turning Mystery/Thriller Giveaway.

“But there, in amongst all the junk mail, was an email from Dima. Both the subject line and the body had the same, two-word message:

Forgive me.”

Like Krymov’s arrival in Stalingrad I quoted at the beginning of this post, this ending serves both as an end point and a beginning. A theme that runs through the entire novel is forgiveness and redemption. Dima’s request for forgiveness thus acts as the culmination of that thread of the story, while simultaneously opening up possibilities that until that moment had seemed closed. It’s literally a pivotal moment, causing the overall storyline of the series to pivot in a new direction at the “hinge” between two books.

Summer Session, the novella that comes right after Permanent Position, has a slightly less cliffhanger-y ending, but also has a kind of “hinge” moment in its final scene.

Summer Session Cover Small

If you haven’t yet gotten a free Advance Review Copy of Summer Session, you can get it and loads of other mystery shorts in the Summer Shorts! Giveaway.

Summer Session ends with the following conversation:

“Is that a promise?” I asked.

He grinned. “You bet.”

Again, it’s a resolution, but it’s a resolution that leaves a lot open. The juxtaposition of the words “promise” and “bet” suggest both certainty and uncertainty. The future, as Tom Petty would tell us, is actually wide open, even as the characters appear to be closing it down.

Wow! What a lot of writing! It’s fun to apply my carefully honed skills in close reading to my own works–until this moment I had never even *thought* about the “promise” and “bet” thing 🙂

But enough about that–what do you like to read? What are some books/series you’ve read recently that have really knocked your socks off?

And now for this week’s selection of giveaways:

Summer Thrills and Chills

The Summer Thrills & Chills Giveaway is still going strong!

Damsels who cause distress

Want to find a whole host of kickass heroines? Check out the Damsels Who Cause Distress Giveaway on StoryOrigin!

Back to School Special

School doesn’t have to be boring! Swing by the Back to School Special Giveaway to stock up on all your school-related reading.

 

Musings on the Alternative South: The Latest Installment in the Doctor Rowena Halley Series

Hello All!

Welcome to June, and what a damp June it is so far! At least here.

So, I have been a very busy girl recently. As a result, I am pleased to announce that, ready or not, here come free ARCs of “Summer Session,” the next installment in the Doctor Rowena Halley series. It’s a 30,000-word novella that takes place over the course of the first weekend in June, so now seems like the perfect time to start distributing it to advance readers.

Summer Session Cover Small

You can a free ARC of “Summer Session,” Book 2.5 in the series, here.

If the breathless pace of my releases is leaving you gasping, never fear: it will probably be many months before Trigger Warning, Book 3 in the series, is ready to come out. I think I currently have about 4,000 words of the first draft, which is better than no words, but a long way from done.

“Summer Session” was something I’d had in mind for a long time, and was a ton of fun to write. It’s set in Bloomington, Indiana, at the Summer Language Workshop, where I, like Rowena, used to teach. So as with all of the works in the series, it’s full of real-life experiences. The housing that the characters live in is mashups of places I have lived, and all the restaurants and cafes are places I used to go out to eat. And while the actual mystery in the story is fictional, the other cases of disappearing or murdered students that are mentioned in the story are real.

Another piece of personal backstory is the connection to what Rowena calls “the alternative South” in the story. I, like her, grew up in this other South, the one populated by both liberal hippies (like my and Rowena’s family), Mennonites and the Amish, and hardcore evangelicals. It’s a side of the South that a lot of people don’t seem to know about, or don’t really know or understand. Or at least, the part they perhaps don’t understand about it is how it’s a very heterogenous group, composed of people with wildly varying political and religious beliefs, who are united only by their desire to step out of the mainstream. Which means that the hardcore liberals (like me) are coexisting cheek-by-jowl with the hardcore conservative Christians, like many of my childhood friends.

While there’s not a lot we can agree on in many spheres, and I have never come over to their way of thinking, this does mean that we’ve had to learn to see each other as people. Furthermore, since we were all outside of the mainstream, we all saw alternatives to the regular American culture that most Americans take for granted. We were in a certain way foreigners in our native land.

Maybe that doesn’t sound attractive to many people, but the benefits of seeing things from the outside, of being a foreigner, are tremendous. Once you do that, you will appreciate the good things of your own culture all the more–and be all the more committed to improving the bad.

 

Sid Stark Podcast Image

In other news, I’m still going strong with my podcast! I’m recording audio versions of my stories as free podcast episodes, and I’ve done “Foreign Exchange” and am most of the way through Campus Confidential. You can take a listen on SoundCloud, iTunes, Stitcher, and TuneIn.

And here is this week’s selection of giveaways!

Psychological Thrillers

Get shivers up your spine with the Psychological Thriller Summer Book Bonanza!

June Crime Fighters

Fight the bad guys with the June Crime Fighters Promo!

Grab a free ARC of “Permanent Position”!

Hi Everyone!

Well, first of all, I have to thank everyone who participated by downloading, reading, reviewing, and everything else you did for the launch of Campus Confidential. It hit #21 in the overall Kindle Free Store, which is incredibly exciting!

Campus Confidential 21

Campus Confidential’s success is particularly gratifying given that Facebook banned my ad account over it. Apparently they think I’m a Russian troll. Other Russian friends have been having similar problems. Which, since we’re all oppositionists, just goes to show how much Facebook knows…

Second of all, I’m thrilled to announce that very early ARCs are available of Permanent Position, the next book in the series. The plot thickens with Rowena’s relationships with both Dima and Alex, and her brother John comes home and causes trouble. Plus a student wants her help getting his son back from Minsk–or maybe he just wants to stalk Rowena. And then there’s the job search. As usual, there’s a fair amount of real life mixed in with the fiction, including good times with high-stakes interviews. And what’s up with Fevronia the cat’s bad attitude?

Permanent Position Front Cover

You can grab a free Advance Review Copy of Permanent Position here.

I probably better stop here, since I’m in a state of near-collapse after walking 2 (TWO!) whole blocks this morning! For the first time in nearly three years! Take that, late-stage Lyme disease and toxic mold poisoning! But then I had to crawl up the stairs on my hands and knees when I got home. Hopefully I won’t crash too badly, but you never know. Good thing I’m stocked up on reading material.

Speaking of reading material, here’s this week’s selection of giveaways:

Mystery Shorts Banner

Dip into some mystery & suspense with this giveaway for short reads.

Mysteries & Thrillers in Exotic Locales

Last chance to check out the Mysteries & Thrillers in Exotic Locales Giveaway!

“Brilliantly-written and highly entertaining”: What the reviewers are saying about “Campus Confidential” (Plus back story and giveaways)

Hi All! It’s only a month away from the official release date of “Campus Confidential,” and the excitement is starting to build! At least I’m very excited about it. And it looks like other people are starting to get excited too.

As well as giving out Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) to regular readers (e.g., you guys), I’ve also been sending it out for professional reviews–you know, the kind of thing you see in the “Editorial Review” section on a book’s Amazon page. The reviews have started coming in and they’ve been quite positive! So to whet your appetite if you haven’t read the book yet, I thought I’d share them with you today.

campus confidential front cover with baskerville

And if you don’t have the book yet, you can get a free ARC in the Thrillers & Mystery Giveaway going on now.

Here’s the review from The Prairies Book Review:

Brilliantly-written and highly entertaining, a must read…

Campus Confidential introduces the gutsy Doctor Rowena Halley, a new PhD professor who gets a temporary teaching job at poverty wages in New Jersey. While the job doesn’t help her with her quickly dwindling finances, it puts her in the path of some very dangerous people. Stark writes with the self-assurance of a veteran author: her writing is witty with a healthy dose of dark humor, her characterization shines, and the dialogues are unusually clever. The narration flows effortlessly, and readers will find it hard to put the book down once they start reading it. With her easy-flowing narrative and the intelligent prose laced with a tinge of wry humor, Stark proves herself as a superb storyteller. A series to watch for.

And here’s the review from Readers’ Favorite:

Campus Confidential is a suspenseful work of dramatic fiction penned by author Sid Stark. Pairing wry humor with gritty realism and small-stuff drama, our heroine is Rowena Halley, recent recipient of a Ph.D. and a keen teacher of Russian. She accepts a terrible job with the knowledge that any kind of job is difficult to get. In connecting with her new students in New Jersey, life goes from bad to worse pretty swiftly. As if her family dramas weren’t causing trouble enough, Rowena’s own life may actually be in danger, insignificant as it is. The very idealism that helps her get out of bed in the morning could be the cause, and small stakes might be about to turn high in this rollicking college drama.

This was an unusual book in all senses, but it really worked and entertained well as it progressed. Dr. Rowena Halley is an idealistic woman living in a far from perfect world, and that in itself makes her a relatable heroine for readers far and wide who have aspirations beyond the actual reality of living in today’s world. Author Sid Stark plays on these ideals like a master at the keys, painting every moment with wry humor as Rowena’s life goes from low to new low. I found the actual suspense elements to be a tad far-fetched, but it kept the humor going and the farcical nature of the novel is sure to please audiences. Overall, I’d recommend Campus Confidential to readers seeking a quirky new twist on everyday drama.

***

I’m particularly glad that both reviewers picked up on the humor, which is a key feature of the story, even though it deals with “dark” or “serious” themes. One of the things I’ve been going for from the moment I first came up with the idea of the series is a kind of chiaroscuro style, where genuine difficulty and tragedy is juxtaposed with farce. Part of the inspiration was a set of events at my campus last year, in which students died in separate tragic incidents and it was basically hushed up, while the university made a huge fuss, including having counselors from the Wellness Center on standby in case students felt threatened or upset, about an anonymous blog post that criticized it for perpetrating systemic inequality.

To be clear, systemic inequality *is* a big problem there, but that was not the issue: it was the inflammatory nature of the blog post’s speech and the concern that it might make students feel bad. The hushing up of murder (yes, there was a horrifying murder on my campus last year, along with various other student deaths) and the over-the-top response to a slightly inflammatory blog post exemplified a certain strain of ridiculousness in modern academic culture for me. My long-held desire to write a tell-all book about higher education from a faculty member’s perspective crystallized, and soon “Campus Confidential” came pouring out…

I’ll probably write more about that in the future, but in the meantime, I’ll leave you with this week’s selection of giveaways:

Thrillers, Mystery & Suspense

The Thrillers, Mystery & Suspense Giveaway is running this week only. Over 100 free novels, short stories, and previews

Cold War, Hot Books Banner

The Cold War, Hot Books Giveaway has sixteen super-hot spy and suspense stories about the former USSR!

April Fools' Banner

Speaking of humor, check out the April Fools’ Humor Giveaway!

Page Turning Mystery:Thriller

The Page Turning Mystery/Thriller Giveaway has dozens of free full-length books, all free!

Karma Not-So-Chameleon: The Moral Arc Underpinning “Campus Confidential” (And New Giveaways!)

Hi All! It’s a lovely spring day and I’m feeling a tiny bit better (for those who don’t know, I have a serious long-term illness) than I have been, so it seems like a great time to play some cheery music. Namely, this insidious earworm:

 

You can thank me later for filling your head with this song all day

Fun fact: I moved to Russia in the early 90s, where I got to experience Western decadence such as MTV for the first time! Yes! Clearly I will have to share that little story at some point. “Karma Chameleon” was one of the songs that MTV Europe’s 80s hour played on heavy rotation. I’ve had a fondness for it ever since.

Anyway, enough with the musical interludes. Since I, like my heroine Rowena, am a professor with a doctorate in literature, it should come as no surprise that my books are full of structure, themes, motifs, wordplay, allusions, and everything else you might think of in the way of literary flourishes. So today I thought I’d show you, my special readers, a little of the chassis and undercarriage of “Campus Confidential.”

campus confidential front cover with baskerville

Only a little over a month till the release date!

For those of you who haven’t read it yet, “Campus Confidential” is about a newly-minted PhD and contingent faculty member who gets caught up in both the usual sorts of bad things faculty deal with–bullying, poverty, self-doubt, lack of job security–and some special bad stuff involving crime and violence. Although crime and violence are certainly plenty prevalent on college campuses. A large percentage of Rowena’s experiences are taken more or less directly from real life.

That being said, while a lot of the details of “Campus Confidential” are based on some pretty gritty realities, the overall structure of the story is that of a fairy tale. Rowena is the fairy tale heroine taken away from her home and thrown into a bad situation. Like many fairy tale heroines, her heroism is not in her strength of arms but in her strength of moral character. Repeatedly throughout the story she encounters people who are in some way her social inferiors, who show no immediate ability to help her on her quest, and who may be actively annoying–e.g., rude students, street harassers, difficult bosses, and so on. Every time, she wrestles with how to treat these people, and every time she decides to give in to her better nature and treat them with kindness and understanding.

Rowena thus moves through the narrative generating more and more good karma (here’s that video again, in case you missed it the first time around): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmcA9LIIXWw

In the final denouement, her good karma comes back to save her, just as it does a fairy tale heroine. “Campus Confidential” is a heroic narrative, albeit of a particular sort. It’s a modern-day fairy tale, in which the heroine is living in the “real world” and embedded in real-life current events, and yet also has a toehold in a magical, spiritual realm where dreams sometimes come true and karma is very, definitely, real.

And now, as promised, brand-new giveaways for April!

Cold War, Hot Books Banner

Come join the collective, comrades! Sixteen super-hot spy, suspense, and sexy romance books, all connected to the former USSR! Check it out here.

April Fools' Banner

Laugh it up with the April Fools’ Giveaway!

First in Series Banner

And it’s the last week for the First in Series Giveaway! 115 free series starters!

 

Mysteries and Cats: What’s not to love? Plus this week’s selection of book giveaways

Hello everyone! Spring is officially here, so it seemed like a great time to write about something warm and fluffy–namely, my heroine’s cat. Because every mystery/suspense book should involve a cat, right? Therefore, without further ado, allow me to introduce you to Fevronia the Cat.

Fevronia may be feline rather than human, but she’s the most consistent presence in Rowena’s life throughout the series. Rowena adopts her in Spring 2014 after her fiance Dima breaks up with her, and hauls her along on all her adventures.

Fevronia has long tan/golden hair, yellow eyes, and a difficult personality. She is named after St. Fevronia of Murom, but she is far from saintly. Here’s a typical episode involving her, from the second book in the series, Permanent Position (forthcoming):

John trudged into the bathroom. A moment later there was a hoarse shout that, if he ever asked me, was definitely not a feminine shriek.

“God DAMN it!” The bathroom door banged open and John came tripping out, trying to shake Fevronia off of his calf.

“Your fucking cat attacked me! She jumped out from behind the toilet and fucking chomped down on me like a motherfucker!”

Laughing would be very, very wrong. “It’s a game she likes to play,” I said, keeping my face as still as possible. “Here, let me get her off you.” I knelt down on the floor and got Fevronia to transfer her grip from John’s calf to my forearm, which she promptly latched onto like a furry fanged limpet.

“She likes to hide and then jump out and get you,” I explained. “And she likes to grab you and hang on, but she doesn’t normally draw blood. Well, not a lot. It’s just a game. Well, sort of a game.”

***

Fevronia is a compilation of various cats who have graced my life. She’s a golden tan like Maya, who started off life on the mean streets of Milan and then moved with us to the US:

Maya on gloves

And like Maya, she’s fairly shy but enjoys hiding in or under things and then surprising you. In Campus Confidential Fevronia hides under the bed and taps Rowena with a soft paw, which was Maya’s big thing; by Permanent Position she’s upgraded to leaping out from cabinets and attacking people (Maya never did anything like that).

PA Yawning

Fevronia develops more and more attitude, and, let’s face it, more and more aggression, becoming rather like sweet Prince Andrei, pictured above, who was delightfully affectionate–when he wasn’t chomping down on you with all his force. And then there was the peeing and vomiting…PA earned his nickname of “The Prince of Darkness” quite honestly. He also came through when I really needed a mouser, though; will Fevronia come through in the same way for Rowena?

Zelda and Ella

And finally, Fevronia is long-haired, like Zelda (pictured above). She also likes to come up and meow and demand to be petted, only to turn on you, like Ella (pictured below). So she’s basically a cat’s cat. Rowena’s family thinks that Rowena needs more friends than just a cat, but when you have a cat like Fevronia, what else do you really need?

And now, as promised, this week’s selection of book giveaways!

Eye Spy share 1

The Eye Spy Giveaway includes a chance to win a gift card to the ebook retailer of your choice!

Page Turning Mystery:Thriller

The Page Turning Mystery/Thriller Giveaway has dozens of free thrillers!

First in Series Banner

The First in Series Giveaway has over a hundred free books, all the first in a series!