Welcome to WeeklyWilson.com, where author/film critic Connie (Corcoran) Wilson avoids totally losing her marbles in semi-retirement by writing about film (see the Chicago Film Festival reviews and SXSW), politics and books----her own books and those of other people. You'll also find her diverging frequently to share humorous (or not-so-humorous) anecdotes and concerns. Try it! You'll like it!

Tag: The Christmas Cats in Silly Hats series

Reminder: Today is December 2nd and the XmasCats Deer Book is ON SALE!!!

The Christmas Cats Fear for the Deer

This is a reminder that the 99 cent price for “The Christmas Cats Fear for the Deer” is on TODAY, and it will be on for 3 days. This is a good one, and you may want to pick it up in paperback for a Christmas gift, because there are puzzles and coloring book pages in the back.

This is the first of the XmasCats.com books that had a hard cover book, but I did not go through Ingram Spark and that, my friends, has led to it being a “limited edition.” The small Indiana company that did the hard cover did a phenomenal job. The colors in the deer illustrations are gorgeous! I love the drawings that Gary did for this one, and I love the story, which we “story-boarded” at the Bettendorf Public Library, when people who had come to hear about the first 3 books in the series suggested plot twists (the “Cat Copter,” for one).

Unfortunately, having the small Indiana publisher do the book made it costly. It is $25, from me, if you want a hard cover version, and you will have to contact me here to get one. They are definitely a “limited edition.”

After this book comes “The Christmas Cats Care for the Bear,” an anti-bullying book that has one of the most germane and relevant messages for today’s youth.

And—last but not least—the Donald-Trump-look-alike bee of “The Christmas Cats Flee the Bee.”

Look for specials on the remaining books in the series in the remaining weeks before Christmas, but “get them while they’re on sale and hot.”

Merry Christmas!

Writers Digest Weighs in on This Year’s Xmas Cats

The Christmas Cats Fear for the Deer (Book #4 in The Christmas Cats series, www.TheXmasCats.com)

The Christmas Cats Fear for the Deer (Book #4 in The Christmas Cats series, www.TheXmasCats.com)

3rd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published eBook Awards

Entry Title: The Christmas Cats Fear for the Deer

Author: Constance Corcoran Wilson

Judge Number: 100

Entry Category: Children’s Picture books

Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”. This scale is strictly to provide a point of reference, it is not a cumulative score and does not reflect ranking. Our system only recognizes numerals during this portion of logging evaluations. As a result, a “0” is used in place of “N/A” when the particular portion of the evaluation simply does not apply to the particular entry, based on the entry genre. For example, a book of poetry or a how to manual, would not necessarily have a “Plot and Story Appeal and may therefore receive a “0”.

*If you wish to reference this review on your website, we ask that you cite it as such: “Judge, 3rd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published eBook Awards.” You may cite portions of your review, if you wish, but please make sure that the passage you select is appropriate, and reflective of the review as a whole.

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 4

Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 4

Production Quality and Cover Design: 5

Plot and Story Appeal: 5

Character Appeal and Development: 3

Voice and Writing Style: 5

Judge’s Commentary*:

Our judges all have professional experience in their background, whether it’s as a teacher, editor, publisher, agent, published author, etc.

Judges are asked to write a short commentary, which you will find below. Some judges use this as an opportunity to critique, others as an opportunity to review, and others yet may choose to combine the two. Some judges choose to speak largely, or in general terms, about a work so that they can cover as much as possible. Others choose to hone in on a few key points, leaving out larger portions but hopefully giving examples on a smaller scale that can apply to a larger one.

The Christmas Cats Fear for the Deer presents with a classically illustrated cover that reminds me stylistically of old cartoons. I really loved this presentation.

And really, who wouldn’t love cats in hats? Great concept and a clever way to both entertain and inform children by using the things that they love to keep their attention. Children will adore the cats and their adventure as the screech in to save the deer from mean old hunters. I really loved this book from cover to cover. Great job!

In fact, my only concern was on some of the word choices. Will kids know words like “vandalism”? Just keep these choices in mind as you market this to your target audience.

Otherwise, the illustrations were lovely. The author’s voice was perfect for this genre and I was happy to find that the author has written other books. I hope this series is continued and I plan to share this one with my own children. It will be the perfect addition to any child’s library.

Interactive pages was a delightful touch! I commend you on an entry well done. Hope to see more from this author in the near future. Best of luck!”

“The Christmas Cats Chase Christmas Rats” Will Be At Book World on November 2, 2013

In 2011, the first book in “The Christmas Cats” series of stories for young readers (ages 3 to 10) was released. It contained artwork by Andrew Weinert and Emily Marquez and conveyed the message, through the antics of “The Christmas Cats in Silly Hats” that children should learn to get along in life.

The journey of the first book was rocky. It was begun when young Andy Weinert was in high school. I promised him that, if he drew me some cats in silly hats, this book WOULD see the light of day. And then AuthorHouse lost his original drawings. I was so upset that I tracked the President of AuthorHouse down and received the promise of a “free” make good book. But, really, who wants more of a bad deal? I put the book in a drawer and there it moldered for 7 or 8 years.

While working on my movie book (“It Came from the 70s: From The Godfather to Apocalypse Now”) I mentioned the cat book project to layout man Donnie Light. Donnie thought he might be able to make the pixels in the scans of the cats suitable, as computers had progressed quite a bit since Andy drew the originals. However, I also wanted to turn the book into a Christmas present, so I needed an artist to make that happen, and Andy was not available.

The girls’ nanny, Emily Marquez of Venezuela stepped in and helped out. Emily is not a professional artist, but she loves to draw and she did a credible job of both finishing the drawings and helping promote the book.

I did not publish a book in 2012, as Andy was unavailable to help with illustrations, but, as the twins for whom I wrote the first book are now 4, I looked long and hard for just the right artist to assist me with this project and found Gary McCluskey of Rhode Island.

Four-year-old twin granddaughters Elise (left) and Ava (right) Wilson, to whom the book is dedicated. (They'll be helping me write them, from now on.)

Four-year-old twin granddaughters Elise (left) and Ava (right) Wilson, to whom the book is dedicated. (They’ll be helping me write them, from now on.)

Gary’s drawings were (and are) so good and clever and colorful that Donnie said, “This guy ought to be working for Disney!” I suggested drawings for the short rhyming tale of the Christmas Cats in Silly Hats, who are called in by scientists and asked to help round up escaped white lab rats. The drawings were (and are) darling, and the books are on their way to me now (expedited shipping) so that I can have them by November 2nd at the book signing at SouthPark Mall’s Book World. (At least, they are supposed to be here.)

The basic message of this book is that we should not be prejudiced, but should learn to judge individuals on their own merits. The Christmas Cats are still in evidence (and wearing their characteristic silly hats) but, this time, there are little white rats involved and the short book (32 pages) is a fun, colorful, creative read for anybody’s child or grandchild.

I will be signing copies of Book #2, “The Christmas Cats Chase Christmas Rats” at SouthPark Mall from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, November 2nd. While supplies last, if you purchase Book #2 in paperback, you can receive a free copy of Book #1. Don’t miss this opportunity to receive 2 books for the price of one!

The book is also available in Kindle format and in paperback at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords outlets, but, if you want a signed copy, come visit me at Book World in South Park this coming Saturday, from 1 to 4 p.m.

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