Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book

I’m pleased to present my first published work, truly a labor of love from creating the portraits within it to collecting the stories and  designing, printing and publishing it.

cat peeking out from under bed

Waiting for Mom, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

Great Rescues is a 16-month desk calendar and gift book featuring 15 portraits of rescued cats I’ve been commissioned to paint in the 20 years I’ve been an animal portrait artist, plus the portrait of my own which I consider my first.

While the portraits are lovely and I’m proud of my body of work, the stories of these cats, and the people who rescued them, is what compels me to share them with you. Each of the stories tells of cats from shelters and cats abandoned and saved, cats found inside car engines and cats reluctantly surrendered by people who could no longer care for them, but each one has a happy ending as a cherished companion in a loving home.

sample page from book

Christie, October 2012 Cat

And while each cat has an individual story, each rescuer has a story as well of reaching out to an animal in need to bring it in from the streets. In many cases they helped heal physical and emotional wounds and gave that cat a lifetime of love, in return receiving love and devotion; often those humans received some healing in return they weren’t aware they needed.

Great Rescues is spiral-bound and measures 8″ x 8″ to easily fit on your desk or in a purse, briefcase or backpack. It has a die-cut cover with the title stamped in gold foil and each spread features a portrait  and the stories of the rescue and calendar pages including every pet day, week, and month currently celebrated listed in each month of the calendar.

collage of cats on notepaper

"22 Cats" Notepaper

Following the calendar section is a section of stories of the rescuers and their feline families today, notes on the design and rendering of each of the portraits, a mini cat-care book illustrated with my drawings and “22 Cats” decorative notepaper with a collage of all the portraits.

Visit the Great Rescues Calendar website to learn more and to purchase.
www.greatrescuescalendar.com

If the calendar is a gift to someone, or you have a particular cat or cats in mind, I would be glad to add an inscription in the front of your calendar.

Here are images of the other portraits in the book—perhaps you’ll recognize a kitty you know!


Life Lessons My Cat Taught Me

Sure, we start out with a kitten or puppy or bird or other animal companion juvenile or adult, and we think we need to teach them how to live with humans. In some important ways, we do teach them a few household manners, but in the end we who love animals know that our animal companions teach us more than we could ever hope to teach them. That is, if we are willing to listen…and admit that we needed to learn the lesson.

photo of allia zobel nolan

Allia Zobel Nolan with Angela and just a few of her recent titles.

Author Allia Zobel Nolan, friend and fellow member of the Cat Writer’s Association, was published on Beliefnet.com, completely unashamed to admit that living with her three angel cats had taught her seven important lessons that she was compelled to share with others. Silly human that she is, Allia had a little “prodding” from Angela , Sinead and McDuff (can you tell there’s a nationality thing going on here?) who apparently “kneaded” her until she was convinced to share the story.

Not that Allia needs a whole lot of prodding to write something. She’s the author of over 170 books for children and adults, was a Senior Editor for Reader’s Digest Children’s Books for almost ten years and just three years ago went freelance as an author and writer. Her illustrated books about cats (actually, I think her cats used her as a medium) include Purr More, Hiss Less, Heavenly Lessons I Learned from My Cat, Why Cats Make Great Kids, and the series expounding the virtues of living with cats beginning with 101 Reasons Why a Cat is Better Than a Man, and that’s the short list. To see all of Allia’s feline-inspired volumes, visit the Cat Books page on her website.

Energetic and overflowing with a non-stop sense of humor, she’s been busy working on what sounds like five books at once and she managed to work a few of my kids into one that will be published this year, Cat Confessions. We’ll write more when that book is released. Seeing all this experience, I’m glad to have her generously coaching me as I write up my first book proposals and look for publishers.

So here’s a link for you—see for yourself what kind of teachers her three wonderful puddies are: http://www.beliefnet.com/Love-Family/Pets/2010/01/Cat-Life-Lessons.aspx

To see more about Allia, her cats and her books, visit her website at www.alliawrites.com, and her blog at kittyliterate.blogspot.com.


Turning Loss into Creativity with Ingrid King and Buckley’s Story

Fifth in a series of “pet loss and grief told from personal experience”

The loss of a pet brings a profound change to our life and our self, no matter what we do or who we are, but sometimes the loss and how we deal with it opens a door inspires us to make a change in our lifestyle or job, or to follow through with a life dream.

The change may not be something related to the pet who was lost or to animals in general, it may just be that the need to change our surroundings in response to grief spurs us to keep going with that change and before we know it we’ve come up with an entirely new way of thinking or living.

And then the change may be all about the pet who was lost, and we may also have the product of an immense creative effort inspired by that pet.

image of book cover

Buckley's Story

So it was for Ingrid King, author of Buckley’s Story: Lessons of a Feline Master Teacher. From her loss of Buckley, a joyful and affectionate tortoiseshell cat who was diagnosed with heart disease after only two years, came an entire book, written immediately after Buckley’s passing.

I met Ingrid King at the Cat Writer’s Association annual conference in November 2009 and heard her speak about her book. Since then it has received glowing reviews in the pet and pet loss industries.

Most of us have had more than one pet, and while we love them all we could probably each say that one of them was special in some way, an angel come to teach us a lesson, leaving us enriched in a way no other relationship ever could.

For Ingrid, Buckley was that angel who taught Ingrid how to live a joyful life even as Buckley slowly yielded to her heart disease. That relationship was powerful enough for Ingrid to write the book she had always intended to write, with Buckley as its subject.

Here, Ingrid tells how her career wandered around, forming into a helping, healing profession until Buckley joined, then left her life. She began writing in the midst of her grief, with a goal of having the book available to others by the first anniversary of Buckley’s passing, like a promise kept.

My Journey to Being a Published Author – Making a Dream Come True

By: Ingrid King

Ingrid King and Buckley

Ingrid and Buckley

I have been an avid reader all my life.  My parents encouraged me to read at an early age.  I remember weekly trips to the library with my mother – I would be allowed to pick out three or four books each week, and they never seemed to last for the entire week.  Even back then, I remember thinking how cool it would be to write my own book.  As a teenager, I kept journals, and there was even an attempt at fiction, or rather, romantic fiction, about a soccer player I had a crush on.  Thankfully, that creation disappeared somewhere along the way during one of my moves either from my parents’ house to college, or to my first home – I can only imagine how reading it now would make me cringe in embarrassment.

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