By Familiar Means12:00 AM
Finally got the new human to sleep. Honestly. Why do humans have to sleep all at once instead of taking regular naps like rational beings? I mean, if she keeps staying up this late on the phone talking about dead people, how is she ever going to get up in time to fill my food bowl? I’ve got places to be and she needs to respect that. I explained this this through a series of conversational remarks and interpretive song while she was doing that thing where she sticks a brush in her mouth. She made no rational response. Sigh. Humans. Will try again later.

1:00 AM
Nap. Groom. Time to go out. House opens the door. Good House. The night awaits.

2:00 AM
Quality time with Miss Boots.

2:30 AM
Nap. Grooming.

3:00 AM
Check on human. Check on house. All good. No one says thank you at 2:00 am, not even House. Or fills the food bowl. House is useless. House laughs at me. Stupid House.

3:30 AM
Quality time with Col. Kitty.

4:30 AM
Nap. Grooming.

4:00 AM
Check on human. Check on House. Check on food bowl. Empty. Consider waking human, but last time that did not go so well. She is not very sympathetic at four in the morning. Sigh. Well. That’s a basic human character flaw. Poor creatures. They can’t really help it. They’ve got little natural stamina and don’t take enough naps.

5:00 AM
Quality time with Ruby.

5:30 AM
Nap. Serious grooming.

6:00 AM
Garden patrol. Just missed the rabbit. Must keep closer eye on that rabbit. It’s got plans, I can feel it in my whiskers. Inform house. House says I am paranoid. House does not seem to realize I am a cat. We are not paranoid, we are just very, very alert in extra special ways not immediately evident to other beings. Attempt to demonstrate point by running back and forth very fast. House, as usual, fails to understand. Stupid House.

6:30 AM
Human is awake and engaged in the terrible ritual of the running water. This is a superstition sadly common in humans. She could at least fill the food bowl first. It’s been a long night. Pacing and sitting on slippers is doing no good. May have to resort to sitting on damp feet and singing the saddest songs so she knows I am serious.

6:45 AM
The bowl is full! The bowl is full! Human tells me she’s going out for a run to clear her head. I wish her luck. She seems to understand. The bowl is full!

7:00 AM
Nap in sunbeam.

7:30 AM
Shift position to fresh sunbeam, continue nap.

8:00, 8:30, 9:00 AM
Nap. Don’t judge me.

10:00 AM
Quality time with human. She is very good at scratching ears and very responsive to purr-rewards, but she keeps trying to get up. Something about work. Which she does with her hands, usually before I am properly scratched. Sigh. Training her properly is proving an uphill battle.

11:00 AM
Human still at her drawing board. Batting gently at her wrist elicits no useful response. Will have to come up with another tactic. Complain to House. House suggests that I should relax. If all I had to do was stand around and keep the doors shut, maybe I could, but somebody has to keep that rabbit out of the garden.

12:00 PM
Nap. Groom. Nap. Human still working. How much paper is there in the world? And how much of it has to be covered with colored lines?

2:00 PM
House patrol. Garden patrol. Evidence of rabbit’s return. Curse that rabbit. Inform house. House is unresponsive.

5:00 PM
Guide two ferals toward friendly homes. Good luck, brothers, but this one’s mine.

5:05 PM

6:00 PM
Red-headed human is here. So is human partner of Maxamillian and Leopold. Dogs, both of them, but I am broad-minded and do not let that color my opinion of them. They cannot help it if they talk too much and have no respect for boundaries. It’s just who they are. House keeps letting them in. There is much talk of mystery and magic. Many laps to be sat on. Extra patrols required. Exhausted.

8:00 PM

9:00 PM

10:00 PM
Human has remembered to get more tuna, AND put it in the bowl. I give her extra lap time and purring to let her know she is a very good human. I tell House believe she is demonstrating her basic teachability. House laughs at me. Stupid House. I am going out. House opens door. Good House. Night awaits. This time, I will get that rabbit.

By Familiar Means is the second book in the Witch’s Cat mystery series, published by Penguin Random House, September 2016.

In the latest from the author of A Familiar Tail, a witch and her familiar find trouble brewing at a coffee house.

After discovering her mystical heritage—and being adopted by furry feline familiar Alistair—artist Annabelle Britton has decided to make picturesque Portsmouth, New Hampshire, her new home. Now, she can take the time to figure out her new abilities and welcome her grandmother, who is visiting Portsmouth, and her old coven, for the first time in thirty years.

But being a witch doesn’t magically put money in the bank. When she’s hired to paint the murals for a new coffee house, it seems like a wish come true. But then a series of spooky sounds and strange happenings convince the owners that their new shop is haunted. They want Anna and her coven to evict the restless spirit before the grand opening.

Annabelle is certain the haunted happenings at the shop are just hocus pocus. But when her search reveals hidden smugglers’ tunnels beneath the shop—and a dead body—Annabelle, Alastair, and the coven suddenly find themselves in a cat and mouse game with a killer. . .

# # # # # # # # # # #

Meet the author
Delia James has been a writer almost as long as she’s been anything. She started putting stories on paper by drawing stick figures comics based on Maurice Sendak cartoons and never stopped. These days, she writes her magical mysteries from her home near Ann Arbor, Michigan, assisted by her loving husband, Tim, her magnificent son, Alex, and her vocal cat, Buffy the Vermin Slayer. Connect with Delia at, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of By Familiar Means. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end September 25, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!

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