The talented and generous Susanna Leonard Hill is hosting yet another contest! For the First Annual Valentiny Contest, entries should be 214 words or less and feature someone who is grumpy. You can see all the details on Susanna’s blog.


The Bookstore Cat’s Valentine (214 words)

Living in a bookstore might not be every feline’s dream, but for me, it’s the cat’s meow…

until business goes south.

Ms. Darling grumps, grumbles, and grouses.

To help, I perch on the windowsill and stare at passersby with sad kitty eyes.

No one stops.

I create captivating window displays.

No luck.

I sing.


“Theadora Snugbottom, stop that infernal racket!” says Ms. Darling. She closes shop early.

I take a nap – and dream a scheme.

That night, I transform the bookstore.

Ms. Darling arrives at 9:00 AM. She beams. “A Valentine’s wonderland!”

I leap in excitement.

Ms. Darling posts a sign: “Valentine’s Day Lonely Hearts Party. Get matched with the book – and the cat – of your dreams.”

Is Ms. Darling giving me away?!

I scowl, scratch, and skulk.

The day of the party, crates arrive.


Cats cannot resist crepe paper.

When the caterwauling stops, Ms. Darling laments, “Oh, Theadora, your decorations!”

But people are finding books and cats to love.

Ms. Darling tells me, “They’ll be very lucky to find cats half as delightful as you.”

Be still my beating heart. She does love me.

When the party ends, I sigh.




“What do you think, Theadora?” Ms. Darling asks. “Can you tend three kittens?”

Anything for you, Ms. Darling.