Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lucky Cats or Cat’s Meow?

Authors are often asked for writing advice, but so far only a couple people have asked for mine. Good thing, because until this week, I didn’t have any unique advice. But I just returned from a vacation in Disney World, where dreams come true, and here’s my advice for aspiring writers:

Buy a Lucky Cat.

Three years ago I purchased my first Lucky Cat at the Japan Pavilion in Disney World’s EPCOT Center. The Lucky Cat has a history of more than 500 years in Japan, where people love them as mascots of good fortune and happiness. The painted, wooden cats are often placed at the entrance to a home or in store windows, and they come in ten colors, all with different associated good fortune, and are about an inch tall. In 2007 I selected the white cat, which brings good luck and happiness, hoping to find an agent for my debut novel, For Better, For Murder. I brought the cat home and placed it in a window near our front door. My agent called a few months later and subsequently sold my book—and its sequel.

Last week I returned to the Japan Pavilion and purchased the black cat, which protects from illness and evil spirits, and the gold cat, which makes dreams come true and brings good luck in wealth. When I arrived home from vacation, I learned For Better, For Murder was a 2009 Agatha Award Finalist for Best First Novel.

Now, normally I’m not into lucky talismans or magic or any sort of folderol, but I see a connection. What writer doesn’t dream of getting an agent or writing an award worthy book? That’s twice now I’ve visited Disney World, where dreams come true, and purchased Lucky Cats, only to have my dreams come true.

Yes, a trip to Disney was part of the connection too, but my vacation was the reason I missed two phone calls attempting to notify me of the Agatha nomination. And I’ve visited Disney other times. So I’m thinking the cats alone will do the trick. Plus, aren’t cats often associated with traditional or cozy mystery novels? See, another connection! Hey, right or wrong, I believe in my Lucky Cats.

More importantly, many thanks to the people who nominated my book for an Agatha. They made this dream come true, and to me, they will always be the cat’s meow!


Alan Orloff said...

Thanks for the advice, Lisa. I've booked my flight to Orlando and cleared a space on my mantel for my feline., white, or gold?

Congrats again on the Agatha nom! (I'm sure great writing had a little bit to do with it!)

G.M. Malliet said...

I believe in lucky talismans, absolutely. Mine is a paperweight that says "Never Never Never Quit" - Winston Churchill. I bought it at the House of Seven Gables, just before I [finally] sold my first two books.

And that is still the best advice out there.

Huge congratulations on the Agatha nom, but I think it was YOU, not the cats.

Keith Raffel said...

Lisa, do the cats do the writing, too? (Congrats on the nom. Fabulous.)

Darrell James said...

I'm actually "purring" as I read this. Congratulations on the Agatha Nom. I would fly the cats to Malice.

Cricket McRae said...

The cats are very cute -- and you might consider buying a lottery ticket about now. It's your writing that earned you the Agatha nom, though. Congrats!

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

When I get home tonight I'm spray painting my cats - one white, one gold. Actually one is already white and gray and the other brown and orange. Close enough?

We all have our lucky charms, but it still has to be backed up by great writing. CONGRATS!

G.M. Malliet said...

It's a funny thing, but there is a little deli with wifi where I go to work some days. I was there this afternoon and what was on the counter but one of these little cats - a gold one? Of course it had been there all along and I just hadn't ever noticed it or realized it was a good luck piece.

It was more than an inch tall but I'm sure it's all the same thing.

Lisa Bork said...

How funny, Gin. They also sell lucky owls; same fortunes I think.

Thanks for all the congrats, everyone!!

Beth Groundwater said...

Hey, G.M., I have a plaque by my writing desk with the same expression on it!

Sue Ann,
Back away from your cats now, and put down that spray can! ;-)

Congratulations on the Best First Novel Agatha Award nomination. It was well deserved, and that's why I voted for you!

G.M. Malliet said...

OK! Clearly, we need to spraypaint the Churchill slogan onto a cat. Preferably a gold ceramic one but Sue Ann, that's strictly up to you.

Keith Raffel said...

Churchill may not have been quite so dogmatic. Here's the whole quote: "Never give in — never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy."

G.M. Malliet said...

I don't think that would all fit on a cat.

Anonymous said...

Drat. Now I have to head back to Disney to get a cat!

Unknown said...

congratulations! im young but am trying to write a book of my own because i've always wanted to become a bestselling author. I have all the lucky cats and I hope they will bring me as much luck as they brought you.