About Rebecca York

NY Times & USA Today best-seller, Rebecca York, is the author of over 150 books. She has written paranormal romantic thrillers for Berkley and romantic thrillers for Harlequin Intrigue. Her new romantic-suspense series, Decorah Security, is set at a detective agency where agents have paranormal powers or work paranormal cases. She also writes an Off-World series where each story is a science fiction romance taking place on a distant planet in the far future.  View website

The Thief in the Night

It started with the patter of little feet overhead as I lay in bed one night. I first thought it was a squirrel because we’d had squirrels in the attic at our former rental house. The woman living there was terrified that they’d come downstairs, burst through the plasterboard, and attack her. We dealt with the situation by calling “Trapper Bob” who saved her from the monsters in the walls.

Several years later, it was my turn to hear an invader overhead. But these footsteps were pretty heavy. A fifteen-pound squirrel? Not likely. They probably belonged to a raccoon who had graduated from eating the food I put out for stray cats to home invasion.

Confrontation between a cat and a raccoon

The situation went downhill from there. Hearing suspicious sounds from the front hall closet, I opened the door to find a masked bandit staring at me from his perch on a bag of Meow Mix. In a very girlie reaction I jumped back and screamed. Equally alarmed, the raccoon disappeared back upstairs. But now I was onto his clever scheme for free room and board.

Three raccoons chowing down

When I inspected the closet, I figured out how he’d gotten there–-by climbing down the inside of the wall and squeezing through a hole a workman had cut years ago to install a phone line. This time, I called our regular pest control company. They sent their “small animal expert” who told us the invader had accessed the attic through a panel where a fan had been removed. The man was confident that he could solve the problem with a one-way door. The varmint could get out but not back in.

Raccoon absconding with a piece of bread

We looked forward to an easy victory, until it turned out the tally was raccoon one, trapper zero. The guy tried again and scored another defeat. Resorting to emergency measures, he baited a trap on the lower roof near the access panel. This time it worked. My last sight of the defeated thief was in a cage, staring morosely through the wire mesh as he was hauled off to a truck.

I’m still feeding cats, and thus raccoons, outside, but luckily nobody else has mounted a home invasion.

My latest release is Forged in Dreams from Changeling Press. Silversmith Megan Holder thinks she’s an ordinary woman, until she’s kidnapped by demonic creatures and learns she’s a key player in a desperate struggle over the fate of humanity. Her only hope of survival lies with werewolf Daniel Fenton, the man she’s growing to love. But can the two of them survive to fulfill the destiny ordained by the Norse gods?

Secret Life of My Porch

Perhaps it was 25 years ago when I first spotted a big orange tomcat with a squirrel dangling from his mouth. When he saw me he turned and dashed away–taking the squirrel with him. I couldn’t catch the cat, but I figured there was something I could do about his assault on the wildlife population. What if I left food out for him? If he had a reliable source of meals, would that affect his hunting habits?

That was how I started buying bags of Meow Mix for outdoor cats. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of that first customer. I named him Red and said that he was better Red than dead. He was a faithful porch diner for probably fifteen years. (He disappeared perhaps eight years ago when we were having a particularly cold and snowy winter.)

Since that first guy who took me up on the free meal offer, I’ve had a lot of takers. One thing I found out quickly is that if you’re feeding cats outside, you will also be feeding raccoons.

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I’ve seen a mom raccoon bring her kits to eat here. They’re so cute when they’re small. But they do grow up–into eating machines. Above are three regulars.

Raccoons are not the only wildlife that show up. Over the years we’ve had foxes, opossums, and even a coyote. Here’s a handsome fox we’ve seen recently.

It’s a lot easier to spot the visitors now that we installed a camera at porch deck level. (The Ring Doorbell we installed around the same time isn’t low enough to show the porch diners.)

Both my current indoor cats first showed up on the porch. Nelson was a stray who had obviously belonged to someone. I don’t know how she ended up homeless, but she was very skittish at first. We started making friends, and I took her in a few months after she’d first come here.

Holly was brought to my porch by her mom, Hester Prynne, a feral cat I’d been feeding. One evening I looked out and thought I saw Hester with another cat. I looked again and realized it was really her and three kittens. Hester still eats here, but she’s never let me get close to her. On the other hand, Holly was always friendly to me. I got mom and kittens spayed or neutered. But over the course of a few weeks, Holly’s sister and brother disappeared. Because I couldn’t stand the idea of losing her, too, I prepared the spare bedroom for her with a litter box and food and water bowls. I got Norman to distract her with a string toy while I, wearing a heavy coat, grabbed her and brought her in. Socializing her to indoor life took several months of intensive work, but that’s another story.

Here she is–now on one of her favorite carry bags.

What happens when one of the outdoor cats confronts a raccoon? Here’s a picture of Hester staring one down.

And here’s one of my most memorable visitors. I saw him only once a few weeks ago, but he made a big impression. I wish he’d come back to eat some more.

Every morning I scroll through the motion-activated camera feed. Sometimes I get a big surprise. Usually it’s one of my regulars stopping by for a meal.

And here’s one of my recent releases–Trapped–on sale for 99c.

Easier than Pie

After ten months of burrowing in, I’m still searching the Internet for interesting recipes to break up my day-in and day-out cooking routine. Or to be more accurate, I’m evaluating the recipes that various Web sites are sending me. That’s how I came across this strange recipe for cherry cobbler from Cooking Professionally. My first reaction was–would that work? My second was–would I risk a can of cherry pie filling to find out? While thinking about what to make for dessert on Norman’s birthday, I decided to give it a try, since cherries are his favorite fruit.

The yummy results are pictured here. Norman said the best thing about the dessert was that there were enough leftovers for several more meals.

 

The ingredients below are copied from the original recipe, but I’ve altered the directions in several places, because I could see they would not work well as written. The biggest change is in the directions for adding the milk. You must do it a little at a time, whisking, if you want a smooth mixture. A few lumps will probably remain, but they don’t affect the final product.

Easy Cherry Cobbler

1 stick butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
1 21-oz can cherry pie filling

1.Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Place butter in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan and set on a middle oven rack to melt.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
3. Slowly add milk, whisking continually until the mixture is almost smooth.
4. When butter is melted, remove pan from oven and set on a heatproof surface. Spoon the flour mixture in dollops onto the butter, but do not mix together. Then spoon the fruit in dollops into the pan. Do not stir.
5. Raise oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Return pan to oven, and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the edges of the cobbler are golden brown. Serve warm with ice cream or a little cream or half and half.

Tightly cover any leftovers. Cobbler will keep at room temperature for about two days.

My latest book is Christmas Miracle 1935.

Saga of the Front Door–Modern Life

I don’t have to put a key in a lock to get into or turn on my car. This made me think that it would be nice to have the same feature with my front door. Of course, I would have to do SOMETHING, not just walk up to the door with a key in my purse, but I found out that I could have a keypad and just punch in a code to open the door. My lady handyperson brought us a new keypad lock and installed it.

So far so good. But that created two new annoyances. Right now, you have to punch in the code to lock the door from the outside. Not exactly a streamlined process. Hopefully, she can solve that problem; but meanwhile, another became apparent right away. The knob on the new lock stuck out too far for the storm door to close. To even close the front door from the inside, you had to reach out, push the storm door open, and quickly slam the door before the storm door closed as far as it can.

The handyperson ordered a new storm door, but the men who came to install it said it would have the same problem. Fortunately, there was a solution–moving the storm door frame farther out. “If you are going to do that,” I said, “then just fix the frame and I’ll use the old door.”

Would this work out? Yes, at least the two doors now close at the same time. We just have to figure out how to work the lock from outside without using the keypad.

On a less complicated note, my latest story is Out of Time, in the New Year’s Eve Shorts collection to be published on Christmas Eve–now on pre-order.

I had a fun time with my story about a man and woman who meet in a little room and fall in love. But there are serious impediments to their walking out the door together. it turns out that they stepped into the room from different time periods. How do they manage a HEA, or are they doomed to disappointment? Do you like time-travel stories? They’re a personal favorite of mine.

And here’s the beautiful Out of Time Cover that Michele Hauf did for me.