First: There are a whole bunch of brand new Sheridan Starswimmer books on hand in a lovely little plastic box that protects them from collecting (as much) cat hair. This means you should fearlessly order a copy or two. Christmas is coming and this book is going to look exquisite nestled into a Christmas stocking. If you don't celebrate Christmas, no worries. It will provide imagination kindling snuggle time as a bedtime story over the holiday break.
Next: I thought you might be interested to know what I do with the money generated by sales. Ignoring the fact that I am a bit in debt from past publishing expenses and the habit of donating books to worthy causes, all of my funds go toward spaying and neutering the wide variety of cats that show up on our porch. I know, I'm a "Crazy Cat Lady" but hear me out before you just decide that this is my personal problem and run off before that problem can become contagious.
My family and I live in an area that is very vacation home oriented. The state, national, and privately owned forests in our area attract many outdoorsy people who want to get away from their more urban lives and jobs. Many of these people purchase cabins or lots for campers. Most of the year these places sit empty. All of these empty dwellings make the rodent population very happy. Mice can find plenty of good nesting material and cozy spots to raise untold generations of little pink babies. Squirrels don't have to work so hard to build secure nests because they can just break in and build under roof. Nobody is there to notice or kick them out. Sure, every once in a while those pesky people show up and then panic ensues for a few days. Maybe some poison is put down or some traps set. This doesn't actually decrease the numbers by a huge amount though. Plus, occasionally one of those humans gets the bright idea to spread grass seed and cover it with straw. Did you know that Norwegian rats like to make nests in straw bales? I do but only because the owner of the rental house over the hill spread straw to get a good yard before he tried to rent the place. As the place was empty for a while, the family of long tailed rodents found their way up and made a home in the eaves beside our chimney. I know that many of you currently have the heebies. I actually thought they were sort of pretty. The problem is that they are also very smart, very destructive and not at all nice. We had dogs at the time and fed them on the porch. The dogs were afraid of the rats and allowed them to eat at will from the dog food holder. Dog food contains vitamin K which counteracts most rodent poisons. We ended up having to call and exterminator to help run them out of their home in our home so we could seal up the opening and keep them from getting back in. It was involved, problematic, and expensive. Rodents also attract snakes. Snakes give me the heebies. Cats help keep down the rodent population and the snake population. You can see why I don't mind having them around.
Unfortunately, cat populations can get out of control very quickly as well. During an extended job lay-off over a decade ago, my husband made the "mistake" of feeding a stray cat that showed up. I had two cats inside. Both were female and too young to have spayed at the time. At about the same time a stray showed up at my mom's. Of course both were pregnant. By the time our job situation was stable and I could spare the money to begin handling the ever growing cat colonies at my house and my mom's, I had 22 cats "fixed. Yes, you read that number right. Three of those were at my mom's.
All was well in the world for years. Our colony decreased in size because they are outdoor cats in a location with predators. Losing them was sad, but that is the way of nature. We had agreed as a family to feed the colony and give them affection but not to make any extraordinary efforts to keep them here. Chance brought one of the outside cats in to become his own. Scott brought a little 6 toed kitten home that had been abandoned in a parking lot - that brought my count to 23 total. We were starting to look a little less like cat hoarders and more like we just had a regular crazy cat lady problem. There was hope...
Then the neighbor cats starting moving up here. Then the first one had a kitten. Then the next one had kittens. She abandoned hers and we could only save one of the four. Now I'm back to trying to catch all the new comers before they can procreate. So far I've managed 2. Only somewhere between 7 and 10 to go.
At this point I feel it is necessary to say that getting a cat "fixed" also requires getting their rabies shot. This makes sense and I am glad for it. However, it does add to the cost. For a female cat, I pay $118. It costs $89 for a male. That makes it roughly $100 per cat...
... I try to keep my book prices in line with Amazon prices. Unfortunately I have to include shipping but that is just to cover the expense. In all, I make well under $1.00/per book that I sell. I am not telling you this so that you feel sorry for me. This is actually how book sales go. I'm pretty sure that even the big guys end up with less than a dollar for each book they sell once you take all of their expenses out. They just sell a whole bunch more books than those of us who haven't made it to the upper rungs of the ladder yet.
So, each sale I get goes toward keeping a cat population in check so that population can keep a rodent and snake population in check while not becoming a (huge) nuisance, constantly fighting for breeding rights, or spreading feline diseases (some of which can spread to other species). In other words, your purchase allows me to be a good deed doer.
The following slide show is just a few of the furry faces involved. Some are already happily kitten proofed. Some are waiting their turn. This is just a sampling. I just thought you should know.
Thanks for your support!
Being a homeschooling parent for 13 years and an independent author/illustrator makes a person learn quite a bit about a lot of things. Now it's time to pass it on!