Beginning January 1, 2013

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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thursday Spotlight: Denyse Bridger

Changing topics today, I thought I’d take this opportunity to ask you about a new project I’m working on. I’ve decided it’s time to go back to a paranormal and fantasy world for a bit, so I’m in the process of creating a new series. That got me wondering about the whole series thing. Do you prefer a set of stories that involve the same or linked characters, or do you like to start fresh each time? I’ve been asked many times for sequels to my books, and only on a couple of occasions have I felt the need to go back and revisit, or tell new chapters with the same people. I rarely read series books now, because I don’t have the time needed to commit to them. Since I began reading The Black Dagger Brotherhood books and been introduced to a couple of other series, it’s got me thinking that perhaps it’s time to reassess my personal stance on “series” books in my own catalogue.

The new hero I will soon be introducing you all to is an angel who is torn from his ascension to heaven, literally in the middle of it. He believes himself to have been cast out, and is not a happy hero, to be sure. I can see many stories already about him, he’s got a strong voice and is currently mad as hell about his situation. So, before I invest in him, I’d really love to know if you wonderful readers will want to invest in his story, too, because without you, there’s not much point. His name is Gabriel, by the way, and he can travel through time. I already know what he’s looking for, and I’d love to tell you about it. Who’s in?? And if you want to see this series, what kinds of things will make it appeal to you most? I would love to give you all a set of books that will make you smile, because that’s what this is all about–entertaining people.

Thanks so much for taking the time out of your days to visit here, and for all your comments. They and you are much appreciated!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday Spotlight: Denyse Bridger

How does an all-consuming passion hold up against a lifetime of expectation? Good question, huh? Since I’ll be writing a prequel and a sequel to HIDE AND SECRET, I won’t go into too much detail that will be written directly into the new stories, but I did think it was an interesting concept to discuss today.

Going back to what we talked about yesterday, the perception of readers of this story. Is Quinn really a bastard because he’s got two women in his life? The one he feels pressured and obligated to marry for the sake of his family and the lifetime of assumptions that have been made on his behalf, and the one he wants more than any other. He diverted to buy a gift for his mother, and he met the love of his life in the process. What followed was an affair that he doesn’t want to end, but he also hasn’t been honest with his family and has allowed himself to be carried along on their life-plan for him, to the point that he is now engaged and on the verge of losing the woman he does love. 

I see him as a man who’s trying hard to make everyone happy, to honour his obligations, and avoid hurting anyone. Ultimately, he’s hurting himself as much as or more than the women involved with him. So, when he’s forced to make his choice, what should he do? In my world, he goes with love. I’m not applauding cheating men, I’m not justifying their behaviour, and yes, I have been accused of both of those things recently. I am saying that life doesn’t always go according to plan, and destiny will take us all where we’re meant to be, and to who it is we’re meant to love. It’s a fact of life that people fall in love with the wrong one from time to time, but it’s always a fact of life that at the end of the day, we all want the passion and love that makes life worthwhile to us. So, Quinn makes his choice, and he goes with his heart. I’m just telling a love story. Are we wrong, Quinn and me??

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesday Spotlight: Denyse Bridger

Today I’ll talk a little more about the book Ellora’s Cave released as my debut with them on March 3rd. HIDE AND SECRET is already getting mixed reviews, it seems to be a story that reviewers are either “getting” or they’re missing the point entirely. The setup is on the surface a love triangle, but in reality it’s not exactly cut and dried at all. I’ve set the stage with a set of characters who are madly in love with each other, but as real life often teaches us, nothing is ever black and white; it’s all layered in shades of grey. 

Quinn Lockharte’s got the burden of responsibility on his young shoulders. He’s carrying a lifetime of family expectations, and in a public family that’s not something many would dismiss casually. The woman he is expected to marry is content to do what’s expected of her, and at one point Quinn states very clearly that he hopes she isn’t in love with him, because Fate has taken him on a different journey when he least expected it.

On his way home from being away at school, Quinn stops at an antique bookstore to get a gift for his mother, and he meets Bella. It’s the stuff of dreams and romance at first contact! Swept into what is expected of him, but determined not to lose what he wants so desperately, Quinn begins an explosive affair with Bella. The story reflects their relationship as she is seeing it, and illustrates the loneliness she is feeling at being his “other woman” but loving him too much to not be in that position. They are at a key moment in their love-because Quinn’s become engaged and Bella is ready to walk away for her own sense of decency.

So, reviewers are either seeing the theme I wanted–love conquers all, or they’re focusing on a cheating man and trying hard to dislike him. What is it about stories like this that make you love or hate them? I’m curious, and really would like to know. Life often forces us to do things we might not have otherwise done, do you believe love can do the same thing, and still leave you “right” and not vilified at the end of the day?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday Spotlight: Denyse Bridger

Today I thought I’d talk about my very first Ellora’s Cave  release, which came about in an odd way, even by my standards! The idea for HIDE AND SECRET began as a stray thought, because in an odd way, through the wonderful entertainment of role-playing that has emerged on Facebook, I was inadvertently cast in the role of the "other woman" without realizing it. 

Friends and acquaintances abound when you're a public person, as authors tend to be in this wonderful cyber world. I've been friended in recent months by a vast array of vampires, demons, lords and werewolves, to name a few. One of them began a flirtation, and me being me, I played along. It ended up being a case of chat and fun via PM, too-and I told him at one point that I felt like his other woman... the idea stayed past the laughter, and I wrote a fictional journal entry and called it "The Secret That He Keeps" and posted a piece of it on FB. I thought that would be an end to it, but Quinn and Bella weren't through talking, so I went back and added more to the piece. At this point, I didn't actually even know their names, or if they’d tell me enough about their story to create something that could be published! 

I showed the piece to a friend, more or less as "mind-candy" and to give her a laugh. She surprised me; she wanted to read more, and felt it was a very sexy and alluring story... as I wrote more, I also started to recognize who I was writing about-a friend who plays the role of Qhuinn Longstrong on Facebook.... (He's from J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood books.) So, I channeled my friend Qhuinn and gave the hero his name. A few more beta reads and my partner on this one suggested that it go to Ellora's Cave... Imagine my surprise when it was contracted! So, who knows? What began as a stray thought has become a five-star rated erotic "Quickie" for one of the most respected publishing houses in the business! Now I've been asked to tell more of Quinn and Bella's story so there will be a sequel and probably a prequel, too!!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Always by Megan Slayer

“I have a challenge for you.”

Elisha licked her lips and swallowed past the lump in her throat. Calen’s voice rumbled through her body and sizzled in her pussy. He offered challenges to her all the time. He loved to push her buttons and show her erotic avenues she’d never dreamed of. His last challenge had been for her to wear revealing clothing and a remote operated vibrator during a party. She spent the whole time in a state of near orgasm and only found release when they returned home and fucked against the door. What did he dream up this time?


She worried her bottom lip for another moment. He only used her pet name when he wanted something. Oh what the hell? “I accept.”

“Good girl. The instructions are in your emailItalic.”

The click on his end of the line vibrated in her brain. No goodbyes. No words of sentiment, other than good girl. She flicked the screen on her phone to access her email.

Wait. Nude. Breasts and hands against the glass.
Watch for me.
Do not come.

A shiver of excitement and anticipation sliced through her. They hadn’t tried voyeurism. Memorizing the command, she placed the phone on the coffee table and glanced at the clock. 7:48 Calen would be home in what....half an hour? She could handle the challenge. Easy.

Fifteen minutes later and completely bare, she stood before the wall of glass looking out over Ninth Street. Their loft sat six stories up on one of the busiest streets of downtown Cleveland. The smoothness of the glass, combined with the aching cold pebbled her nipples.

He would pick one of the coldest days of the year for this challenge.

Streetlights and the blurred headlights of the moving traffic glittered behind her. She shifted her hips. The chill from the window kept her body on edge, but it was nothing like the anticipation. Could Calen see her from the street? Her pussy twitched.

Could he? Hell, anyone could see her naked body.

The more she thought about it, the more she didn’t care if someone watched. A tiny moan escaped her throat. Yes, she wanted anyone who looked up to see her patiently awaiting her lover. This is what I offer to him.

Despite the need running rampant through her system, a moment of their conversation from the morning came to mind. She’d decided to confess her deepest feelings to him. Instead of replying he loved her, too, he merely said, “ok.”

She rolled her eyes. He’d never actually said he loved anything. Not coffee, not racing, not parts of her anatomy. Was he capable of loving her? Or was she just an object of sex to him?

The chime of the mantel clock split the tension in the air. She counted the notes. Nine. Couldn’t be. Nine o’clock. He’d made her wait for over an hour! Still, it didn’t bother her nearly as much as she thought it might. He praised her obedience in the past.

Let him be wowed.

Footsteps thumped behind her on the hardwood floors. Shimmers of want coursed to her core. Cream coated her pussy. He’d come home. She opened her mouth to speak, but remained quiet. The message said nothing about talking. Just waiting. Nude. Vulnerable.

“Good girl.”

His voice, scratchy and deep, threaded around her brain. Her cunt throbbed for him. Damn her sex drive. Damn him for using it against her. Manipulating her. And every time she came back for more.

Her gaze switched from the action on the street below to the reflection in the glass. Her cheeks flushed with crimson. As if she conjured him, Calen appeared behind her. His azure eyes sparkled in the lamplight. His lips curved into a smirk. Using his index finger, he brushed her ebony hair aside and nuzzled her neck. The contrast of his tanned skin against her pale shoulder always thrilled her. When he spoke, her control splintered.

“You please me.” Calen kissed her neck, the action so whispery soft against her pulse. “They can see you. They want you.” He shifted his hips, rubbing the silk of his suit jacket lapels along her spine and ass. His hands roamed her stomach and the swell of her hips, not quite finding the apex between her thighs.

She bit back the moan building in her chest. If he touched a little lower...just a little farther down.

“Bad girl.” Calen smoothed his palms along her ribcage and grasped her nipples between his thumbs and forefingers. “They want to see you come. You aren’t here for them. Are you?” His hands stilled at her waist. “Are you?”

“For you, Sir.”

“Yes,” he hissed. Plunging two fingers into her pussy, he held her close to his body and wrenched the breath from her chest. His thumb grazed her clit, sending a shimmer of sparks through her veins. Cream slickened her inner thighs. The waves of orgasm slammed into her brain and quaked in her belly. So close and too damn fast.

“Do you want to come?” His question tickled her nape.

“Yes,” she groaned and wiggled her bottom. “Take me.”


Fuck. She’d forgotten the dance. She met his gaze in the reflection on the glass. “Please take me, Sir.”

He released her breasts and slapped her ass. The tingling reverberated in her pussy and clenched around her heart. She held her breath awaiting his next move. Calen strode to the St. Anne’s chair and sat down heavily. He braced his forehead on his hand and wriggled the fingers of his right hand.

She sucked in a ragged breath and folded her hands at the small of her back.

“Come here.”

Elisha summoned her inner strength and made her way to him. A thought hung in her mind. Did he love her or was this yet another game? And why did it matter? Because she wanted to belong. Wanted his security. Craved his love.

“You’re thinking.” Calen patted his thigh. “Unzip me and sit.”

Making quick work of his command, she did as told and perched astride his lap. She focused her attention on his tie tack. Two diamonds set in a gold bar.

“Look at me.”

Shifting her gaze, she stared into his eyes.

“I love you, Elisha.”

Her lips parted. Did he just say? With her name?

“Sheath me.”

Oh. Her spirits fell, but she didn’t look away from the chocolate depths of his eyes. She positioned his cock between her nether lips and sank onto him, inch by delicious inch. The sensation of fullness got to her every time. She shifted her hips and eased him deeper into her channel. God, she needed to come and relieve the ache in her chest.


She froze. Too far?

Calen cupped her face in both hands. The hardness in his eyes softened. “Did you think I would forget today?” He scooted forward in his seat and brushed his nose along hers. “I love you.”

Tipping her chin, he captured her mouth in a kiss. Calen released his grasp on her face and gripped her hips, driving into her with hard thrusts. She wouldn’t last. She pulled away from his kiss to gain her breath. Her nails bit into her thighs as the orgasm ripped through her being. Calen groaned and held her tight on his lap, his hot seed coating her womb.


Slumping in his arms, she rested her head on his shoulder. When her breathing reached a normal level, she found her voice. “What is today?”

“The day you agree to be my bride.” Calen smoothed his thumb over her cheek. His hand trembled. “Over the past year I’ve learned I can love—you. Marry me?”

For the first time in her life, she witnessed him nervous. And in love.


About the author: When she's not writing the stories in her head, Megan Slayer can be found luxuriating in her hot tub with her two vampire Cabana boys, Luke and Jeremy. She has the tendency to run a tad too far with her muse, so she has to hide in the head of her alter ego, but the boys don't seem to mind. When she's not obsessing over her whip collection, she can be found picking up her kidlet from school. You can visit her by going to her blog or her group blog

Author Interview: Kayden McLeod

Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Kayden McLeod, author of the Cornwall Coven series, the Jericho Coven series, and the soon-to-be-released Foxworth Covenseries, all paranormal erotic romance set in a world where things aren't quite the way they seem.

I asked Kayden how she distinguished between erotica, erotic romance, and pornography.

"To me, it’s a matter of the percentage-- detailed sex to plot/character development that remains separate from the sexual relationship.

Pornography is a narrative where the plot is completely dependent on sex. It would be the epitome of in-the-moment fantasy without strings, straight to the heart of the matter, and saturated with constant need. There is little to no emotional development.

"However, erotica, to me, can have the same amount of sexual intercourse as pornography, but it still has a story to back it up that isn’t entirely reliant on the physical relationship. This type of flavour can possess romantic elements, or even more of a tale to add depth to the pure animal magnetism from pornography.

"While I have written a bit of everything, I find that erotic romance is set apart from both pornography and erotica. It is a romance novel with a fluid, in-depth relationship of two people who care about each other. The loves scenes are hotter, more described than the more mainstream romance. And unlike the first two, you watch their relationship grow in more ways than just the physical. It follows the 'romance formula' of boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, conflict and resolution, that pornography and erotica don’t typically follow (but sometimes they do)."

If Kayden can go through the last draft of her work and feel what she wrote, she considers the book a good one.

"I tend to write 'by feel' a lot," she explained. "If something seems to be missing, even though everything I’d planned is there, I keep working at it until all of the aspects in the sex, tension, conflict, can be read through fluidly."

A lot of people seem to think that writing erotica is easy to do, Kayden told me, but it's definitely not.

"I have little to no problems with horror, science fiction or fight scenes. It’s all a matter of thinking it through, visualizing it happening around me, to convey it the best I can," she said. "But with sex, there is so much happening, all of the time. There has to be a balance between details and getting your point across without dragging it on. And that’s not the same as a long sex scene. It’s a matter of keeping track of what’s where and making sure the reader is flowing along with it. You don’t all of sudden have a hand somewhere it wasn’t possible to be, without explanation of how it got from one movement to the next. Keeping it fresh and original is a challenge, especially after writing a few books. Trying to come up with new ideas I haven’t used or read somewhere can take time."

Kayden always starts out knowing very little about a book she's going to write and she doesn't see any reason to change.

"Even if I attempt to plot out a book, all it accomplishes is me doing a 180 as the story and characters all develop and change, even into the fourth or fifth draft," she told me.

What works before for her is, after knowing her main character and what his/her requirements are, starting with her ideal key factor: the type of environment she wants for her characters—whether the Rocky Mountains, a tropical island, or the middle of downtown Vancouver.

Once she has the basics for the scenes and the setting, she looks up everything she can. She reads about the surroundings: the plant life, tourism websites, the history. When something interests her, she focuses on it—no matter how small the detail. This, in turn, leads her to avenues she'd never before considered which enables the characters to grow as they, as well, get to know their habitat.

She will also create certain conflicts or situations just so she can use a specific area, myth, or historical fact that intrigued her.

"The internet is my main source of information," she shared. "Whether I use real-estate sites to figure out exactly what type of houses are in any particular area, their value (which can reflect my character’s realistic livelihood compared to his land wealth), or contacting tourism sites in countries I’ve never been to, who mail me large packages of local information the moment I say I’m writing a book about the area. Google Maps with satellite view is a godsend for me. I can pull up anywhere I want to research and actually see it. I can zoom until it’s like I’m standing there with a 360 view."

She also locates a city's stats when she is able to—information like the percentage of rain they got in year X, or how much crime, the size of their police force, etc.

"You’d be amazed what you can find when you Google a city’s name. When I am researching history for small things (I don’t normally write much historically focused novels, as I just want the layout)," she said, "I typically start with wiki to come up with more avenues of research; times and events to research more on other sites. I want to know what they eat, the furniture they used, the clothes and materials they wore and used during whatever era or country they were born/lived in."

When Kayden started writing, her genre was paranormal romance with mild, infrequent sex because she was uncomfortable writing sex scenes.

"The ideas were there, but putting it to paper, while knowing other people would read what I wrote, prevented me from attempting it," she confessed.

After a while, she found herself creating more profoundly comprehensive sex scenes.

"Actually, what made me take the final leap into erotic romance was knowing sex sells," she told me frankly. "I knew I was capable of achieving this; it was only a matter of working at it. In the beginning, I never thought I would be as at ease as I am now, but then again, I am not where I want to be yet. There are things that I haven’t gotten cozy enough with. Anal sex, for one, seems to still give me pause. I’ve written about it at a bare minimum, to the point that I’ve had editors request to clarify it more, so the reader knows beyond doubt that is what’s happening. There is no reason for my discomfort, I’m just not used to it, yet."

I asked Kayden, "If you had to pierce a body part, what would you pierce and why? What about body piercing is sexy?"

"Another tongue ring. I had one a few years back, and loved it. Unfortunately, I’d grind my teeth when I’m sleeping and when I was working, I absently played with it. I wore one with plastic ball-bearings, so I didn’t damage my teeth. One night when I was half asleep, I bit one of the bearings in half, and it was the only one I had. By the time I got to buy another, the piercing had already closed enough that I couldn’t put it back in. I’d always wanted another one. As for piercings, for me, it’s the same as tattoos. For reasons I can’t really explain, short of the blatant show of individuality, I find it attractive and alluring. Though I am not terribly big on a great deal with facial piercings—one or two is fine, but any more than that bothers me."

From a very recent experience, she told me she learned that assortment is truly key when it comes to eating food off another person.

"Chocolate body paint, a variety of cheesecake and Cool Whip give you a bit of…everything, no matter where you decide to eat it off of," she assured me with a smile.

However, she can't bring herself to eat meat with fat or gristle in or on it.

"The thought turns my stomach," she said. "I am a borderline vegetarian, who eats meat most of the time for nutritional purposes. It’s too easy to turn me off of it if prepared the wrong way. When I’m cooking, I will slice every bit of it I can find."

Finally, I asked Kayden what advice she would give to writers who want to write erotica.

"Always 'experience' what you’re writing. If I don’t visualize/fantasize every scene, placing myself in the lead’s shoes, it wouldn’t have the same impact. Think about the five senses. What does he/she feel like, what do things taste like, look like? How does the scene/atmosphere/situation impact your lead(s)? Does their past reflect who they are today, how?

"Other things to consider is write what you know, and then build on it. What turns you on about your ideal sexual partner? When starting out, what experiences have you had that you enjoyed the most? The whole term 'write what you love' can play into this a lot.

"Close your eyes and visualize it, think of every little detail imaginable. If it doesn’t make you hot while you’re writing, go back over it when you’re done and see what you can add to it. If you don’t flow with the scene, chances are, the reader won’t either."

You can keep up with Kayden on her blog,

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Spotlight: AC Katt

When the muse got the blues…
If erotic romance can claim a muse she would be Erato.  According to Wikipedia, Erato is the Muse of lyric poetry, especially love and erotic poetry. In the Orphic hymn to the Muses, it is Erato who charms the sight. Since the Renaissance she is often shown with a wreath of myrtle and roses, holding a lyre, or a small kithara, a musical instrument that Apollo or she herself invented. In Simon Vouet's representations, two turtle-doves are eating seeds at her feet. Other representations may show her holding a golden arrow, reminding one of the "eros", the feeling that she inspires in everybody, and at times she is accompanied by the god Eros, holding a torch. 

If  Erato is the Romance Writer’s Muse, she must be a very busy lady because every writer is desperate for inspiration. Unfortunately, writing fiction is not like a regular job where you are assigned a task, you draw on your knowledge of the subject, assemble your tools and proceed to complete the assignment. 

Writing requires a dash of inspiration, a scintilla of creativity and intense concentration in addition to knowledge of the subject and the tools of the craft - - i.e. computer, paper, pencil, typewriter etc.  In other words, you need the creative muse to provide the inspiration to produce a brilliant paragraph, chapter or book.  Unfortunately, sometimes, the muse has left the building.

The muse disappears for a day or two and you get behind in your work, however, the worst case scenario occurs when your muse is AWOL for weeks on end.  The result of her absence is writer’s block.

Basically, there are two types of writers, those who can write every day and those who must wait for the writing muse to sit on top of the computer screen.  Unfortunately, I fall into the latter category.  When my muse is not with me, I can’t seem to write a sentence.  I’ve tried writing exercises; cheat sheets with scenarios, stream of consciousness, everything I can think of to jump start the creative process.  Then, all of a sudden, she appears like a genie out of the lamp! I write for days, with little interruption for food or sleep, until she leaves again.  

Although I know others do, I can’t seem to force my prose.  It’s either there or it’s not.  As a result, I may write one book rather quickly and not be able to produce another for six months.  Writing is a process, but no one said it was easy.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thursday Spotlight: AC Katt

In my first novel, The Sarran Plague, being re-released from Captiva Press, two very special cats help to save the universe. Cats are expert at ridding their domain of pests, see how Dr. Forrester’s stalwart Tigger, and Syn Sinclair’s very regal Duchess put their noses, ears and paws where they don’t belong and thus help the Sarran WarriorPairs and their beloved BondMates outwit the evil Zyptz.  In the novel the cats are endowed with psychic powers. 

Watermelon Ranch and the Intelligence of Cats

Near our home in Rio Rancho, New Mexico is a very special place, Watermelon Ranch. Watermelon Ranch is a no-kill animal shelter that does not keep abandoned animal companions behind bars or caged as if they had committed a crime. Their population runs the gamut of the animal world.  They have pigs, horses, birds, dogs and cat plus other animals I did not get to see. As you may have guessed, my destination was the cat center. I read their literature before my visit and knew that they espoused a special philosophy of shelter care based on the Utah model.

From what I observed, the technique was all about inclusion, for the animals, for the shelter personnel and for the visiting and adopting public. The cats at the shelter were either abandoned by their previous owners or placed in the shelter when their owners could no longer care for them.
One of the first things I noticed about the cat area was the people furniture that decorated the rooms.  Cats lounged on sofas and chairs as well as in cat beds and baskets.  All of the cats were very laid back, some were a bit shy but most were extremely friendly. 

Every one of the adult cats I encountered was beautifully socialized. There were no cats that hid from the human visitors whether the visitor was an adult or a child. Tigger has been known to head for the hills when toddlers arrive. These cats were perfectly comfortable with the small children and the adults.

At the Ranch, the occupants are treated more like children and less like dumb beasts. There are open rooms with toys, perches and tunnels to hide explore. There are exits from the rooms to an outdoor playground where the residents can sit on a perch and catch a few rays. Most of all the visitors were encouraged to interact with the cats in the habitat.

I have in the past adopted shelter cats that were frightened, and unfriendly. It would take a long time to get them to trust me. In the end, even when they trusted me, they would not extend that trust to other humans they encountered. This group of cats easily trusted the strange humans not to harm. I hope they never lose that trust.

I believe that animals, especially cats, are sentient in their own way. Tigger, my big male, can tell time, knows when I am upset and knows when I’m happy. He shows obvious disappointment when I’m on the computer and he can’t play or cuddle on my lap and he has been known to pitch a fit or two to get his way. If you listened to the description and remained unaware I spoke of my animal companion, I could just as easily described a recalcitrant child.

In real life how smart are cats? The brain size of the average cat is 5 centimeters in length and 30 grams. Since the average cat is 60 cm long and 3.3 kg, the brain makes up 1/12 of its length and 1/110 of its mass. Thus, the average cat's brain accounts for 0.9 percent of its total body mass, compared to 2 percent of total body mass in the average human. The surface area of a cat's cerebral cortex is approximately 83 cm². The modern human cerebral cortex is about 2500 cm². Interestingly, cat brains have been shown to be more similar to human brains than other domesticated animals, According to researchers at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, the physical structure of human brains and that of cats are very similar; they have the same lobes in the cerebral cortex (the "seat" of intelligence) as humans do. Human brains also function the same way, conveying data via identical neurotransmitters.[1]

Cats are also known to learn by trial and error, much the same way humans do.  I have personal experience of Tigger learning to open doors (the bedroom door when we tried to lock him out).  Tigger has also learn to use a tool.  Before our older cat Minnie, passed away, Tigger learned how to ensure Minnie never took his spot in the bed.  

My daughter Lori, gave a life sized stuffed cat when I complained I missed the cats while in the hospital. Tigger found the cat on top of a cedar chest while he was a kitten.  Although it was twice his size, he dragged it up onto the bed while we were sleeping, deceiving Minnie into thinking he was in the bed.  Minnie was not a friendly cat, one look at the cat in the bed and she went to sleep elsewhere, thereby giving Tigger leave to waltz in and out of the bedroom at his leisure and never having to give up his place at the head of the bed, right above my pillow.

Minnie eventually passed on before we made our move to New Mexico.  However, the stuffed cat, now dubbed Fat Cat remains and is still carried around the house by Tigger.  Tigger is the best feline companion we have ever had.  He provides constant love, amusement and exasperation in equal quantities.  Do I think he is intelligent –Hell yes! Tigger came from a shelter.  I have had pure-bred cats that I loved, but were over bred and not too bright.  I have had shelter cats that were frightened and aloof.  Tigger came from a shelter very much like Watermelon Ranch.  Our animal companions are just like children, who they are when they grow up depends on how they were raised and that fact, if nothing else, denotes intelligence.

AC Katt

[1] Wikipedia: Cat Intelligence