First Words….

1 Oct

Well here I go with my first ever blog. Where do I start? What do I say? Although I love writing and have no problem filling pages with words, I find myself kind of stumped as to how to begin. Well maybe as the song goes, ‘let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start…’
….so I think starting at the beginning of what has bloomed into my first publication might be a good idea :).
My high school dream, I remember clearly, was to live in Europe, have two cats and write books. High school seems like a lifetime away now.
However, life got in the way and after high school for years I didn’t write seriously apart from odd bits.
Living in South Africa in the 80s was dangerous and exciting. Dangerous, from the point that the country tittered on the brink of civil war and exciting, knowing you were living the history that was unfolding and would be written about for years to come.
After Nelson Mandela became the first democratically elected President and the following year South Africa won the WRC 1995 we thought nothing was impossible. However, the country settled down to the grind of normal living and getting through the routine of sleep, work eat and sleep and a few social events in between.
I left South Africa in 2002 to work as an English teacher in Prague. Life again had become exciting and challenging living as an expat. It was in February of 2006 that I decided to get a cat. Realizing that I would be staying in Europe for an extended time and missing having a pet. Enter Zvonek. Just by the way Zvonek means ‘little bell’ in Czech. For me it was love at first sight. It took a bit of persuading on his side, however.
We lived in a lovely ground floor flat with window access to a private garden. Zvoni was able to come and go as he wanted. The garden was next to two other gardens. The older women who lived in the other blocks of flats, often walked around their gardens and Zvonek accompanied them, getting treats and pets, his life was idyllic. Unfortunately this wasn’t to last and Zvonek was to learn that freedom had its price.
One Friday night, he went out as usual and didn’t come home. I thought as a tomcat he was just taking time out and would be back in a day or two. A week passed and no Zvonek. I was beside myself. A neighbor, who since has become a really good friend, realizing Zvoni had disappeared, helped me put up posters in Czech around the neighborhood. We received a call to say he had been knocked down by a car and was in the local shelter.
I was overjoyed with relief that we had found him. Dealing with feelings of guilt and over protectiveness a cat net went up immediately and Zvonek and I both learned that freedom was expensive and a luxury.
It was that Christmas I started my writing again in earnest. An idea developed around the accident and Feline Intelligence was born. However, after playing around with the idea and writing the first two stories it was shelved for five years.
In the meantime Zvonek settled down as a house cat taken for walks on his lead. I felt really sorry for him as my teaching often took me away the entire day and Zvonek, being a people’s cat didn’t really like being alone. Enter Metaxa.
I knew exactly what kind of cat I wanted to be my boy’s companion. She had to be a calico kitten. A student of mine told me that her sister’s cat had just had kittens and there was one female matching Metaxa’s criteria. She showed me a picture of her on her phone and yes! She was exactly what I wanted. Metaxa moved in shortly after at two months.
However, Zvonek took a week to come round. Metaxa had taken over the household in two days and still reigns as queen.
It was yet another cold and long Czech winter โ€“ 2010/2011 โ€“ that I decided to turn again to my book and review it. I had chatted to a friend who liked the idea and recommended a publisher I should send it to. Somewhat nervously I sent off the manuscript and received back a reply thanking me for entrusting them with my manuscript and they would get back to me in about a month. Shelving the idea life continued for one short week when an email appeared in my inbox. I half expected a rejection when…hey ho…an offer of a contract for the entire series!!! It actually took awhile to sink in. Even once the process had started I think it only became real to me once the first book actually hit the websites.
So at last many years later I could tick the boxes: living in Europe, two cats and writing books.

22 Responses to “First Words….”

  1. Aubrie October 1, 2011 at 7:17 pm #

    Good luck with your new blog! I enjoyed reading about your writing journey.

  2. Charlotte Holley October 1, 2011 at 7:55 pm #

    The beginning is indeed a great place to start. Congratulations on making your start! And an interesting story to boot. Thanks for sharing your dream with us.

  3. Tracey L Pacelli October 1, 2011 at 8:08 pm #

    Wow, so relieved your cat survived that traumatic incident! Great first blog!!!

    • annepetzer October 1, 2011 at 8:55 pm #

      Dear Aubrie, Charlotte and Tracey, thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on my blog.

  4. Sutton Fox October 1, 2011 at 8:55 pm #

    Wonderful story, Anne. Congrats on your shiny new blog. You’re off to a great start!

    • annepetzer October 1, 2011 at 8:58 pm #

      Thanks Sutton ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Odete Williams October 1, 2011 at 9:04 pm #

    Hi Anne, congratulations on your first blog. Your writing is great, relaxing, easy reading and it comes straight from the heart. Keep up the excellent work.

    • annepetzer October 1, 2011 at 9:13 pm #

      thank you for visiting and making a comment. hugz Anne

  6. Yannick October 1, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

    “A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct.” F. Herbert. Now it’s done, good luck!

    • annepetzer October 2, 2011 at 7:55 am #

      Yannick :), thanks for stopping by. I tried to look at your blog – great pics as always – but my French is worse than my Czech :(. x

  7. Denise Bartlett October 2, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

    Yay! I am so happy you found a lovely way to protect your kitties. We are so glad you joined us at Gypsy Shadow as one of our authors. What fun we will have getting to know each other.
    Thanks for sharing your sweet Zvonek story with us.


    • annepetzer October 2, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

      Yes and thank you Denise for taking a chance on me ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. mapsandraspberries October 2, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

    Wonderful to read your thoughts and hear more about your life. Keep going!

    • annepetzer October 2, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

      Thanks Zan hugs to you. x

  9. Dawn Colclasure October 2, 2011 at 6:50 pm #

    What a wonderful first blog post! I couldn’t stop reading about your journey to making your dream come true. Congratulations on your writing success! And I am glad dear Zvonek escaped tragedy that scary night. Enjoy your writing and cats!

    • annepetzer October 2, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

      Thanks Dawn – me too he is my boy ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. jana October 3, 2011 at 8:57 am #

    Hi Anci:-) Good luck with your blog, great idea! Look forward to new stories about you and your cats.


    • annepetzer October 3, 2011 at 8:56 pm #

      Dik Jana and look forward to your moving back to Europe xx

  11. robert g October 3, 2011 at 8:11 pm #

    Hi Anne, I am glad to hear of your new career. I wish you the best . Robert

    • annepetzer October 3, 2011 at 8:57 pm #

      Thanks for visiting Robert ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Kristen Hall October 4, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

    How well I remember that awful time when Zvoni was missing! Isn’t it funny how life twists its turns – so pleased how things have turned out for you dear Pec! Go go go! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • annepetzer October 4, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

      Thank you Kristen xx

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