Cory's Pride will soon be published at Goodreads. It's a contemporary M/M Romance that draws on my experiences as a zookeeper, and my days taking care of the big cats. It's part of the Love is Always Write event at the Goodreads M/M Romance Group. 150 authors agreed to tell stories based on photos and a prompts requested by the readers. This is the photo I chose, and the prompt for my story was about a zookeeper. How could I resist? So I wrote about a lion keeper named Cory and the new, sexy vet who just moved to town. You can read an excerpt from it here. Also, go check out my new author profile on Goodreads. Being accepted into their official author program has made me very happy.
And speaking of free reads, particularly if you like science fiction and fantasy, you might want to head on over to The Ravens Crossing today and check out Morgan & Holly's story. 1000 word flash fiction additions to the story post every Tuesday. I also write about Sharon & Alex which posts every Friday, and you can find two other authors writing stories set in the same universe as well. So new stories post there six days a week. We are all about diversity. There is something there for everyone.
Anyway, getting back to the big cats, I mentioned here before that I've been searching through my files trying to find my old pictures of Nasty the lion, who I adored. I still can't seem to put my hands on those darn photos, and I am starting to get a little bit upset about it, frankly. However, I did find some more images from my zookeeper days. So, I thought I'd share some of the memories of my days with the big cats.
The image above is from a couple years back. It was taken at the NCZoo of the male lion with his cubs. It appears courtesy of the NC Zoo. The rest of the images below are mine.
Here I am many moons ago, in the blue plaid shirt, helping to anesthetize and do an annual physical on one of my Caracals. His name was Tut. He was not a nice kitty.
This is Grady. I have an image of him tattooed on my ankle as a reminder of our years together. He remains one of my all-time favorite animals I ever cared for. His favorite game was to put his tail out through the mesh grating of his holding cage and pretend not to notice, while he flicked the end of it in your face. Then, if you grabbed it, he would turn around and mock attack you. Then he'd put his tail right back out again and wait for the next round. Yep. I miss Grady.
This is little Ollie when he was just a tyke. I got to help give him his bottles and take him out in the yard to play, so we could try and burn off some of the serious loads of excess energy a Cougar cub has to burn. He was a big fan of hiding behind doors and jumping out at your boots.
This is Ollie as a full grown Cougar. He still likes to hide and jump out at visitors while on exhibit sometimes. Particularly if they are small and riding in strollers. He's a big fan of strollers. It's a good thing he's behind glass these days.
And lastly, here I am with Tigger. She was a sweet tiger who was confiscated as a cub from people who purchased her illegally. The zoo built her a special off-exhibit holding area because there were no zoos with any room to house a tiger at the time that she was rescued. So, we were the lucky ones who got to keep her. I used to love going to visit her to help the vet staff, who were in charge of her holding area, to take care of her whenever possible. I think this photo pretty much explains why. And because people can be nutty, let me just say as a disclaimer, I don't recommend anyone EVER try this with a tiger. No indeed.
Anyway, I often write from experience when it comes to animals. It's what I know. All of my current WIPS involve animals in some way. At The Ravens Crossing, Morgan has a raven familiar. My soon-to-be-released "Down Deep" novel is about two deep sea divers who lead dive tours. I'm working on a story about an elephant keeper, and Cory's Pride, of course, features the lions. So, I guess you could say I'm going with a theme, here. If you like animals, don't miss out on my other blog, The Keeper of the Zoo. I blog about animals over there all the time. The lastest post is all about my Cinco dog's day as a fire fighter.