The eerie eyes of the black cat on the cover of Frank Say's new book provide insight into the supernatural and occult themes within.
And a portion of the book takes place on Halloween -- in New Orleans -- though Say is quick to say it is not a book about the holiday.
Say's first book, "Nine Lives," delves into a man's exploration of his faith, or lack of it, after a tragic accident rips apart his family.
The former Monroeville resident, who wrote the book under the name F. Say, came up with the idea for "Nine Lives" after an incident with a family cat. A few months later, he began to explore the idea of writing the story that was playing in his mind.
The 1982 Gateway High School graduate had no writing experience and a career background that included sales, telemarketing and working as a courier.
"My resume always looked like somebody was using it for target practice," he says with a smile.
He turned to acquaintances who wrote poetry and fiction, but no one was up to taking on his idea. Undaunted, the University of Pittsburgh graduate, with encouragement from his wife, Maria, started an outline.
"I just started writing the story," he says. "After about a year, I had three notebooks filled. It was rough -- little snippets -- but it was pretty much formed."
Working in the mornings, at night before bed and on days off, he honed the story of the character, Sam, who cheats death yet doesn't deem himself worthy of being saved.
Sam begins to realize that he might have evaded fate as he begins experiencing ominous events that put his soul in jeopardy. Finally, Sam begins putting together the pieces of the puzzle and starts dealing with the strange occurrences that affect him and his young son.
As the book cover indicates, a cat plays a part in the mystery.
"The whole idea of nine lives is two-fold," Say explains. "A cat has nine lives -- and Sam got a new lease on life."
Say based some of Sam's son, Christian, on his son, Stephan, who is now 13.
"Throughout this process, I found out I actually enjoy writing. I kind of get a runner's high after writing."
Although he finished the book in 2002, he didn't get any "bites" on it, so he began working on a second one using a character from "Nine Lives" who embarks on a journey into the supernatural. He also has the idea for a third book.
"Nine Lives," published by Eloquent Books, is available at many local books stores and online.
Say and his wife now live in Sewickley with their cat -- not a black one, but one with long, orange hair.