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Amy Shojai’s New Blog!

Amy & Magic & Seren

THANK YOU for supporting the BLING, BITCHES & BLOOD BLOG — this is the last (I hope…) post going out via the “old” wordpress.com platform. Most of y’all know that I’ve now migrated the blog to a new server, and the URL hasn’t changed but some of the subscribers haven’t transferred over if they subscribed through their WordPress account.

That’s why I’m sending this last note–in case you’ve not yet re-upped over at the new location.  I don’t want you to miss out on all the fun writer-icity and pet-centric schtuff! Here’s what you can do.

Head over to the NEW BLOG SITE and check out the “subscribe by email” box on the top right-hand side.

Or you can manage your subscription options from your profile.

See y’all over at the new blog!

Woofs & Purrs,

amy

Halloween Cat Costumes? Hissss-terical!

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orange cat in tiara princess dress

“Ready for my close-up!” (Image Copr. Karla Spence/Flickr)

Halloween cat costumes–I can hear the cats snickering (or screaming in horror). Do your cats “do dress up?” With Halloween just around the corner, thoughts of goblins, ghosts and get-ups begin to tease at the back of pet lover’s minds. Princess Molly in the picture seems quite happy with the frills but I suspect my Seren-Kitty wouldn’t be quite so accommodating. If you want your cats to willingly wear costumes, TODAY is not too early to introduce the notion.

In fact, knowing how to get cats to accept wear-ables may be important to kitty health. (How’s that for a teaser? :)) Read on to learn more.

cat in costume

“Snoopy’s got nuthin’ on me!” (Image Copr. Karla Spence/Flickr)

The images in today’s blog were taken by the amazing photographer Karla Spence who obviously has the cat costume thing down pat! Probably the most kitty acceptable accoutrement (especially if your cat already wears a collar) is some neck adornment like the red sash on the Sky Pilot picture, above. Whole body costumes, as below, take a bit more getting used to. Also remember that the photos here–and in advertisements–are POSED shots! Sure the cat wore the costume and looked great at the moment the shutter clicked, but thereafter may have been throwing a hissy fit. The Number One consideration for cats and costumes must be IS IT SAFE, and a close second is–how does it affect your cat emotionally?

cat in motorcycle jacket costume

“Just call me Fonzie.” (Image Copr. Karla Spence/Flickr)

Safety issues include making sure the costume fits correctly. Too tight can cut off circulation or block vision. Too loose can tangle kitty feet, slide off partially and get caught on “schtuff” that again can cause injury or even strangulation.

Check for any chew-able parts of the costume. I caught Seren gnawing the cellophane wrapper on packaging yesterday, so if the costume has “danglies” that entice paws or nibbles, remove them. Remember to SUPERVISE your costumed cat. Even laid back cats that seem to take costumes in stride shouldn’t be left unattended.

Emotional issues also can be problematic. Cats hate change so anything new tends to hiss them off. Slow and gradual introductions to the costume are vital. I have a step by step 7 tips for Halloween costumes written for puppies–but it applies to adult dogs and cats just as well. Please share with anyone you know who plans to dress up their pets for the coming season.

You might want to share it with ANY pet parent. Because as I said earlier, there are times when therapeutic wear can be very beneficial. There’s an awesome product called the Pet Therapy Jacket that has some wonderful functions. It can hold a hot or cold pack in a particular spot (over achy arthritic hips), or help keep a bandage in place on a paw. It comes in several sizes, including jumbo for the largest cats and dogs. Here’s a review of the Pet Therapy Jacket.

cat wearing pet therapy jacket

Seren accepted the Therapy Jacket immediately.

I talked about the Thundershirt in the blog before, and how much it helped Seren deal more calmly with veterinary visits. Well, a Thundershirt is a cat costume! Here’s a review of the Thundershirt, and check out Seren wearing hers below.

Does your cat dress up for the howl-idays? How does that work for you? Do you do full costumes, fancy bows and collars, or does your cat say GET THE !@#$%^! AWAY FROM ME WITH THAT THING! Do tell…

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Name Game–What Dogs Call You?

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Magic11wks, closeup crate&toys

Magic at 11 weeks stock-piling toss-able toys.

It’s Woof Wednesday and I’m busier than a three-legged doggy in a flea circus, wow. Yesterday afternoon I finally got my copies of the thriller and have been discussing the story, writing process and more on the DogRead list (you’re still invited!). Something fun that’s developed has been folks “channeling their inner dog” to guess what their pet is thinking.

You see, in my book LOST AND FOUND, the service dog Shadow calls his trainer the “treat-lady.” So other list members began to speculate what their dogs actually think and how they refer to us. One person said her dog probably thought of her as “Mom,” while somebody else said their dog thought of them as, “that person who SHOULD be in the kitchen getting me food.”

From his behavior, I suspect Magic doesn’t think of me as Mom, or Amy or even Treat Lady. He thinks of me as, “she who tosses toys.”

Even as a baby dog, Magic was head-over-furry-heels in love with fetching. He will fetch ANYTHING. Socks, stuffed toys, balls, Frisbee. And I’ve never known him to be the one to call quits on the game. If he could throw the toy himself, he would–but since he can’t, he relies on his human housemates (the ones with opposing thumbs) to do the honor. He’ll bring ANYTHING to me, drop on my foot/lap/side of the chair, and then STARE…as if to say, “Make it GO, get with the program, do your JOB already!” And if I decline, he gets disgusted and eventually picks up the motionless toy and dumps it in my husband’s lap and repeats the process.

Okay, your turn. How does your pet think of you? She who fills the bowl? He who scratches tummies? Please share and don’t forget to say WHY your pet thinks this way!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Monday Mentions: Rabbit Holes, Sandra Brown & Cats Rule

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Sometimes we ‘go down the rabbit hole’ without knowing it . . .

Happy Monday. This week has got to be an improvement over last week’s virus, Internet kerfluffle and AC outage. In my world it seems “crappiocca” comes in threes–so hopefully my crap quota has been filled and I’ve tunneled out of the rabbit hole. For now.

There was some terrific stuff, too. I met an awesome blogger (new to me) at Healing Rescue Dogs Blog and she interviewed me about LOST AND FOUND. Want to know more? October 1-7 (that starts today!) I’m discussing myths about writing thrillers as part of THE BIG THRILL ROUNDTABLE PANEL.

Want more? (gulp!) I’ll be over at DogRead as the guest author starting today (Oct. 1) through Oct. 15. This is a yahoogroups email list dedicated to discussion dog books–and the many of list members are savvy dog trainers, exhibitors and more, I can’t wait to talk “dawg” and writing! You can subscribe and lurk, post questions, come and go as you like–it’s free. Here’s the link to find out more.

I will be sending out the copies of the LOST AND FOUND book to the winners–as soon as I get my copies! Arggg! There must be something up with the mail these days, because several of my online orders recently have been delayed or gone astray. Doncha HATE when that happens? I even have the padded envelopes addressed and ready to mail. Thanks for your patience–me, I’m biting nails!

I promise to get some more ASK AMY videos made. Several folks have asked terrific questions either on my Facebook pages or in blog comments. It’s been too long…but yep, been a weee bit busy.🙂 I’m saving the questions, though, so stay tuned.

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo writer links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. Some of this “schtuff” can be hard to categorize and may fit more than one topic so I urge you to at least scan them all. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for an awesome Thrillerfest interview with some legends–Sandra Brown, RL Stein and David Morrell!

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

Poison Pen Press Launches YA Mystery Imprint, “Poisoned Pencil” with Ellen Larson, editor, now open to submissions!

PublishAmerica Lawsuit Dismissed

How To Host A Free EBook Day (Without Amazon)

Espresso Book Machine puts POD in your coffee shop. Really.

Before You Self Publish, Questions to Ask

Getting GoodReads Reviews on KoboBooks

A Million Books Sold, What Next? from the incredible CJ Lyons

Webinar on Selling Film & TV Scripts

Rudeness Compounded By Internet  ya don’t say?!

Fake Facebook ‘Likes’ Disappear first it was fake book reviews, now fake “likes” Gimme a break! Oh, and the FanPages may not be worthwhile anymore.

Nightmare Sperm Donation from the creepy files of DP Lyle’s awesome blog

PET SCHTUFF

DOG PEANUT BUTTER RECALLED!

Cats Rule the Internet & Here’s Proof!

FUNNY Lost Pet Signs that said, it’s NOT funny to lose a pet so get ’em microchipped and keep ’em safe!

Pets Share Environmental Risks interesting article with what researchers are looking at

Are Animals Conscious? well, yes…so how should they be treated? Fascinating discussion.

Of Feral Cats, Conservation & Birds…Again.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Happy Cat Month

black and white cat sleeping

“Happiness is dozing in sunshine…” Image copr. “Olive Eyes” via Flickr

As September draws to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on how YOU celebrated National Happy Cat Month. Oh, you didn’t know? Well here at the Shojai household, every month–nay, every HOUR is designed with cat happiness in mind.

Seren On Stairs

“They built the stairs for me…now if they’d train the sun to stay there!”

Just ask Seren. She’ll tell you.🙂

I’ve spent the last month blogging on cat happiness over at Chewy.com on such things as How Cats Show Happiness (in some pretty interesting and unexpected ways!), as well as Weird Ways Cats Show Love. You’ll find some other fun topics at my Kitty’s Korner blog, too.

What makes your cat happy? Is it food that starts that purr-rumble? Or a particular game or toy? Seren is partial to sparkle-balls (yes, go figure MY cat would love bling). She’s always been a play-kitty and a reluctant lap-sitter, but over the past 6 months or so she’s demanded lap time.

I think that’s a symptom of her increasing age (along with the more piercing me-wows late at night). I’ve been referring to my own tips in the aging cat book these days.

Today we had a rousing game of chase-the-sheets as together we made the bed. It was as if Seren reverted to kittenhood! I know she’s happy as long as she engages in these games. Play therapy also builds confidence in shy cats and so can help keep them healthier (and slim and trim!).

I am Only Borrowing it..

“I am only borrowing it,” says Bella, “It makes me happy because it smells soooo good–like YOU.” Image copr. “KrazyBoutCats” via Flickr

Does your feline friend have any unique fun foibles that tell you s/he’s happy? Please share! They may end up in a future ASK AMY video or on the Kitty Korner blog . . . or even in the next thriller. Macy (the Maine Coon in LOST AND FOUND) loves his stuffed Mickey Mouse toy and plays fetch, for example. It’s always more fun to include REAL cat and dog experience but of course it’s legal for fiction authors to make schtuff up, too.

Fair warning. You know a writer’s brain fully caffeinated can be a scary, dangerous thing!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Hot, Blocked & Hacked! Oh rats…

5 week old rat

Nothing cute like this little guy. Nope, my virus protection software EXPIRED late last night apparently, with no warning. They’re supposed to send email reminders and that didn’t happen. So this morning I awoke to over 100 blocked message notices and nearly an equal number from concerned folks who received emails from my verizon.net account with mysterious URLs. Even a couple of phone calls.

THANK YOU for letting me know (and yes, I do know about it so no need to send further messages).

If you got one DON’T OPEN IT! I haven’t a clue what they were but suspect if you click on ’em you’ll also get infected.

Luckily my laptop virus protection remained in effect and I quick-like-a-bunny renewed subscription on all my computers, with upgrade. And the software did find and remove malware crud so I should be find. However, I think the virus software (webroot) also did something that’s now blocking my wireless Internet on the PC. Dang, it’s always something!

Meanwhile, this last burst of summer heat has my roses blooming again, and me wilting–because the AC just went out. They say that crappiocca happens in threes. Hacked, hot and blocked–I got my quota!

Have you ever been hacked? What about virus attacks? I’ve lost important info before and have (I think!) done a good job at backing up material. Oh, and for any computer geniuses out there, can you tell me how to get rid of the “broadband connection dial-up” popup on my desktop computer–I have wireless, so what’s the deal???

If I can get my virtual ducks in a row–and rats evicted–I’ll post a Woof Wednesday blog later today. That sound you here is my teeth gnashing . . .

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Furry Friday: Spay & Neuter

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It has been quite a week–and I’ve gotten snowed under with a number of challenging issues both professional and personal. So today’s post is a bit late because (confession time!) I took the day off and went for a LONG walk with the Magical-Dawg and then took a nap with Seren-Kitty.

June is Adopt-A-Cat Month and all the kittens “littering” shelters need your love and care. But don’t neglect the adults and older felines–or the dogs, either. Today’s “Ask Amy” offer some basics you already know about spaying and neutering pets and here’s more details for fixing puppies.

Are you in the market for a new furry friend? Will you adopt this month? How did you find your special cat friend? How do you feel about adopting “older” pets?

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with excerpts from the forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND, and pet book give-aways!

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