Friday, December 9, 2011

How A Cat's Life: Dulcy's Story Came to Be

    Many years ago. I went to a dinner party.  About a million people sat around.  I started laughing and joking like I do, and before long everyone had turned and was listening either with amusement or horror, to the things I said.  
    At one point I turned to the women at the table and said, "I think every sane women, whether young or old has thought about being a nun, or at least dreamed about it.  Wouldn't that be an amazing life, devoting yourself to God alone!"
    Two of the prissy women shook their heads.  "Absolutely not.  I've never dreamed of being a nun."
    I'd been daintily sipping my water, with my pinky out and one eyebrow raised.  But when she said that, I nearly spit my water onto the freshly pressed tablecloth.  After all, I'd just said, "Every SANE person has thought about being a nun."  That woman should have stayed quiet; did she really want everyone knowing how peculiar she was?

    Needless to say, when I met Dee from
Coming Home to Myself, and found out she had joined a convent and (like me) dreamed of being a nun, I knew I'd met a kindred spirit.
    Dee is truly amazing--an inspiration.  She's been traditional published twice (once even by Crown, a division of Random House).  I'm so thrilled to have her guest post today. 
    Thanks for joining us, Dee, and for sharing more about Dulcy and your journey to becoming a published author. 

How A Cat's Life: Dulcy's Story Came to Be

    Seventeen and a half years after she selected me, Dulcy died of kidney failure. Without her, the house felt soul-less. I missed her in the marrow of my bones.
   She’d been a constant in my life for almost eighteen years, moving with me many times—from Ohio to Missouri to Minnesota to New Hampshire and then back again to all these places. She’d pawed my face gently when I cried. She’d sprawled on my lap as I hallucinated. She'd loved me through seasons of darkness and moments of giddy gladness.
She’d never deserted me as had my dad and mom when I was five. She’d stayed with me through depression and fear and thoughts of ending my own life. She was dear to me in a way that no one else was.
She died on July 6, 1989. Two days later I woke alert, compelled to go to my computer. As I sat in front of it, my hands automatically began to type. The first words that came were these: “At the end all that matters is love. My love for my human and hers for me. I have planted the memories of our life together in her heart. She will find them there when I am gone and they will comfort her.” I stared at the words, realizing that this was Dulcy speaking.
Each morning for the next two months I spent an hour at the computer before beginning my freelance projects. During that hour, I sat before the computer, hands poised, waiting for Dulcy’s words.
   She never failed me. Each day she shared memories of our life together. I’d forgotten these stories, but from some place deep within me—that place where Dulcy dwells in Oneness with all creation and with me—the remembrances of our life together spilled forth. Even in death, she gifted me. She channeled our story through me.
After completing a first draft, I began to edit. Dulcy tended to be wordy and as her editor I tried to find the essence of what she wanted to meow. Slowly the story glued itself together.
For a year and a half, I sent out query letters about Dulcy’s story to editors. In return, I received only form rejection letters. Then in April, nearly two years after Dulcy died, an editor at Crown responded with a typewritten note. In it, she said that if I’d cut half of the 42,000-word manuscript, she’d be happy to look at it again. She advised me to concentrate only on the relationship between Dulcy and me. She suggested that I cut out any mention of other cats.
    Within three days, I did the cutting. (Truthfully, I couldn’t abandon Bartleby and so one other cat has a large role in Dulcy’s story.)
I sent the manuscript back to her.
    Two months later I had a contract.
    A year later, Crown published A Cat’s Life: Dulcy’s Story. 
    Another gift then came my way: The publishing house decided to hire Judy J. King to illustrate the book. A truly gifted artist, Judy captured Dulcy’s sweetness. Her cover was as lovely as the one that later enhanced the story of Dewey, the library cat. I think Dulcy and Dewey would have been great pals.
    The royalties from Dulcy's hardcover enabled me to do three things
·      Buy a new Mac.
·      Take six months off work to write.
·      Travel to Greece for four weeks to research a novel

    I’d been aching to write since I’d been in the sixth grade and studied World History.
    One of the joys of being published is the letters a writer receives. I’ve read many letters from readers who have somehow gotten hold of a hardcover or a trade paperback copy of Dulcy’s book. They write to tell me how the book has touched their lives and changed their relationship with their pets.I know this pleases Dulcy. It certainly pleases me.

    Both the hardcover and trade paperback editions are now out of print. Only 670 copies of the paperback are still available and I have them all right here in my office! Her story has now also become an e-book. Both the paperback and the e-book are available from my blog: 
Coming Home to Myself

            A Cat’s Life: Dulcy’s Story is a love letter she wrote to me after her death. I will always treasure it. I hope that if you get the chance to read it, you will treasure both the book and Dulcy.

In closing, if you'd like to advertise Dee's book on your blog (like I have), I've included the code below.

Coming Home to Myself

Find this book at Amazon; here's a coupon


  1. Dear Elisa,
    What a wonderful intro to my guest posting today on Dulcy! Your writing so delights me.

    Thank you a bushel and a peck and a barrel and a heap for inviting me to guest post today. I so want people everywhere to meet Dulcy and to know her sweetness.


  2. How wonderful that you were able to honor your cat by sharing her story with such a wide audience. Best of luck with your new works, too.

    Found the post on BookBlogs--so glad to meet both of you!

  3. what a great way to remember a wonderful pet.

  4. What a great post. I found you both on Goodreads as well. I shudder to think of the day my two little terriers are not there to lie on my feet as I type...

  5. A CAT'S LIFE: DULCY'S STORY is one of the most heart warming books I have ever read! I absolutely loved it. (You can read my review at Amazon/Kindle.)

    The internet was down in my area yesterday--did you miss me?

  6. Lovely post. Dulcy sounds so special.

  7. I look forward to reading that book! What a story. Dee is amazing.
    I thought about being a nun after I read "A Nun's Story". something about the peace and love in worshipping God as a vocation really appealed to me.

  8. I love stories that involve real love for a pet. :)

    P.S. I want hear more about her 4 week Greek adventure! lol

  9. I love Dee! She is so stinking sweet! Having read her book already I can truly say it is delightfully sweet.

  10. As much as they scratch and chew and tear crap up, my place wouldn't be the same without my two. Great post!

  11. How lovely and how inspirational!

  12. I have come to really appreciate Dee's blog( & more so, Dee herself), but I never, ever, ever, wanted to be a nun ;o.

    And Cats=Soulmates.~Mary

  13. I am a new (devoted) follower of Dee's blog and recently of yours, too. So nice to see you both together on this post. I plan to spend this Christmas reading what Dulcy has to say. :):)

  14. How wonderful! I think Dee (and now Dulcy) are friends for life. And I follow both of you! Lucky me! I am going to get a copy of the book, it sounds just right for a Christmas treat to myself.