Today We Discuss the Menagerie…

action cold dark dawn

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Today’s Book Tour stop is an interview at As the Page Turns.

We’ve been discussing jobs that the men and women of The Conn-Mann Chronicles. There are other characters in the books that have the important job of providing comfort to the people and impetus to the plots. These are the cats and canines scattered through the series.

First and foremost, of course, is Jo’s feline companion and confidante, Miss Priss.


You may have seen this picture before since it is my favorite photo of Elf, my real-life inspiration for Miss Priss. She’s my baby as much as Priss is Jo’s. From the moment I saw her, I’ve been in love, just like Jo.


She is often my most vocal critic…


…but she is always there to remind me to stop and smell the roses.


She’s been with me for about fourteen years now. She works hard, being the queen of the house, and sometimes it wears her out.


Beginning in Book Two, we have the introduction of Priss’s kittens:

Most of these are bit players who go to other characters and only get occasional mentions, but Jo decides to keep the ginger beauty on the end, Butterscotch, (played by my baby Marvin), and he joins the team at the boarding house.

He’s all grown up by Book Five:


but still such a beautiful boy!

It seemed only fair, when writing Fred’s book, to give her a companion of her own.

Enter Trouble.


This is Gandalf, and he lives up to Fred’s name for him. She’s going to have her hands full with this one.


When Jo goes to Ireland, she can’t take Priss with her. So she decides to take the little automaton, Bastet, first introduced in The Fiercely Formidable Fugitive, with her instead.


Designed by Jo’s cousin, Seamus–who you can meet in The Incredibly Irritating Irishmanshe does a lot more that it looks like from her photo. 😉

Being more of a cat person, there aren’t many dogs compared to the cats, but we do have three representatives in the universe.

First, is the mechanical body that Alistair gives to his mother’s resident ghost, Abigail, in “Restless Spirit” (which you can find in Mocha Memoirs’ anthology Ghosts, Gears, and Grimoires.) I picture this little critter looking a lot like K9 from Doctor Who:


Its shape is basically the same, and it has the same problems with mobility. No climbing stairs!

In Ireland, Jo meets another cousin who presents her with a large, wire-furred mastiff named Cerebus for protection in The Elderly Earl’s Estate. (Jo hasn’t the heart to tell him that Cerebus should have three heads…)

He is rather the size and shape of a Himalayan Mastiff, but his fur is literally copper wire.


And, finally, in Fred’s book…which I am seriously considering re-naming, though it won’t be easy to pull off…she and Kevin have trouble with a large black dog who appears to be more than he seems, but has not had all his secrets revealed, so that’s all you get. I think she may wind up calling him Stalker. This breed, the Cane Corso, seems like a good fit for him.



This, of course, doesn’t mention various other creatures that pop in and out of the series, but these are definitely the main animal characters in the books. Go read them! 😉



About RieSheridanRose

Rie Sheridan Rose multitasks. A lot. Her short stories appear in numerous anthologies, including Nightmare Stalkers and Dream Walkers Vols. 1 and 2,  and Killing It Softly. She has authored twelve novels, six poetry chapbooks, and lyrics for dozens of songs. She tweets as @RieSheridanRose.
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