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Monday Mentions: The New Baby & Suck It Up, Sweetheart!

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Rialto Max & Celia

Frank Steele and Amy Shojai prior to the closing night performance of KURVES premier run.

A new “baby” was born this past weekend. That’s me with my writing partner Frank Steele outside the theater, just before curtain time on KURVES, THE MUSICAL. I’ll have more pictures and even video very soon to share, but for now, wanted to offer a brief recap of one of the most awesome experiences of my professional life.

Many of you who read this blog are writers–published or someday-published–and I’m hear to tell you that DREAMS DO COME TRUE! But first, you have to dare to dream. And then you gotz-ta reach out for that brass ring. When you fall off the merry-go-round, it’s tempting to lay there in the dust and watch all the pretty horsies keep racing round and round, just out of reach.

Nobody becomes successful without eating a few dirt sandwiches along the way. You don’t have to like the taste, but you do need to get used to it, and remind yourself where that dirt belongs–in the litter box (or litter-ary toilet!). So grit your teeth, swallow and it’ll all come out in the end where it belongs, but only if you GET UP and keep reaching for those shiny objects. You can’t catch anything unless you open your hand.

Rialto view from stage

View from the stage--waiting for the house to open.

My best advice? Try. Ask. Risk. Surround yourself with those who share–or at least support–your dream. Not yes-bots, but reality-peeps with gentle sage advice willing to give you a butt-kick when needed along with that shoulder to cry on, and support your toddler steps.

What’s the worst that could happen–you fail. So what? Here’s a lesson learned from dog and cat behavior–the only way pets learn on their own is to make mistakes, so failure is value-added. Each setback stings but also adds wisdom that comes with a callous on your nether regions for future protection. Thing is, dogs and cats learn REAL FAST compared to humans. People are just wired to be stupid sometimes, and it takes head-banging angst before I learn there’s an open doorway just waiting for me to walk through.

I have a confession to make. For years, I wanted to write a play and compose music but never got around to it. I was like all those wannabe writers (not YOU of course!) who like to say, “I’ve always wanted to write a novel…” and have every excuse in the book to postpone the dream.

Ya know what it took to get me to actually get off the “wannabe” pot? An insult from someone that really didn’t matter in the scheme of things. Yet I let those hurtful comments undermine my confidence and drive me away from something I desperately loved. To fill that hole in my heart my good friend Frank and I decided to create our own show, and KURVES (and the wonderful cast and crew!) put those careless comments right where they belonged–the litter box.

Rialto, KURVES set

The Kurves set awaits . . .

The older I get, the more I realize that life’s too short to let others rule your day or take the shine out of the sparkles. We give others the power to take away our joy sometimes–it’s easy to do but I’m getting better about recognizing that in myself. And, as one of the songs in KURVES says, instead of giving in to the urge, SUCK IT UP, SWEETHEART!

Do you have someone or something–comments, an event, a disappointment–that colors your future expectations? Does it hold you back, or spur you to by-damn prove ’em wrong? How do you manage the nay-sayers in your life? They say that success is the best revenge, so is it true?

I don’t know where KURVES will take us but this toddler seems to have strapped on roller blades and it may be we’re in for an exciting ride. So stay tuned! Oh, and you can scroll down a bit for the usual Monday Mentions mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week.


Opening night cake courtesy of the Kurves cast!


In honor of the "new baby" the playwrights were presented with flowers, candy cigars and monogrammed "onesies." Jury is still out whether it's a boy...or a girl.


Opening night flowers from the cast.

kurves flowers

Closing night flowers from my husband--awwwww!


Time Waster or Time Investment? Social Media for Writers from Laurie Huston

Ebook Pricing for Writers from Dean Wesley Smith, he’s actually done some research, an interesting read

Kindle Nation Survey on reader habits, interesting info

PayPay vs Naughty Pink Bits oh no you DIDN’T?! from Susan Brassfield Cogan’s Blog

Audio Books Anyone? Some how-to info

French Seize Digital Rights?! Writer Beware awesome blog!

Twitter Tips for Tweeps from my writing buddy Nita Beshear

2012 International Digital Awards contest sponsored by the Oklahoma Romance Writers of America.

DK Seeks Online Marketing Manager

Christina Katz: Author of The Writer’s Workout from Jenn Nips blog

Firearms For Writers a conference speaker April 14 in Ohio from an RWA chapter, looks good!


10 Ways You Know Your Cat Rules You

AKC Names Most Popular Dog Breeds  is yours here?

Learn the Benefits of Play from Kitty from awesome blogger Angie Bailey

Owners Concerns Re: Euthanasia & Care

Birthday Surprise: Wife gets namesake pet-adoption center

Tough Job…NOT! Perfect for writers–get paid to stay home with the dog!

Trendy Pet Names from VetStreet as well as Least Trendy Pet Names

Why Cats Run the Internet and sell sell sell!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? 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 pet book give-aways!

About amyshojai

Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified animal behavior consultant (dogs/cats), award winning author of 30+ pet care titles and thrillers, and spokesperson to the pet industry.

19 responses »

  1. Amy! You are showering us with inspiration, motivation and encouragement today … WOW! The message flies out of this post and lands with an ENORMOUS impact! Your words hit the mark in every way and should be shared with everyone. I’m off to tweet this post as far as I can possibly reach – it’s my mission for today because there isn’t anyone to whom this does not apply.
    I’m so thrilled for the success of Kurves and can’t wait to see some video! Onward!

  2. Amy, thanks so much for inclusion in your awesome list. And a huge congrats and good luck wishes with your new musical. You really are an inspiration!

  3. Break a leg Amy! Thanks a bunch for the extra inspiring links.

  4. I’ve commented verbally, but will post it here: The work that went into “Kurves” and the performance was wonderful. The cast fit their rolls to a tee! Yes, many of us stuggle with someone putting a blight on our dreams. My bane these days is age, but I fight to allow it! We’re never too old to dream! Keep going Amy. You and Frank make a great team. Think of the song, “High Hopes.”

  5. Great advice, great post, and congratulations!!!

  6. Wow, congratulations! Yes, we let others dictate, sometimes, on what we think we can achieve. I love, love your motto – Suck It Up, Sweetheart

    Best to you and to Frank on your play.

    • Thanks so much Zequeatta! I think the “Suck It Up” song was the crowd-pleaser of the show, just so “in your face” that everyone enjoyed the sermon-izing. *s*

  7. Wow. I love that you did this! If you happen to have short video of the play, I hope you’ll share it with us. Did you co-write the play and the musical score?

    Like everyone else, I’ve had my share of naysayers, or those people who were too afraid to take the leap and didn’t want anyone else to either. But as I’ve gotten older (and more mature, of couse (heh), I realize that I’m the one who holds myself back the most.

    • Hi Jennifer, thanks so much for visiting and commenting! Yes, Frank and I co-wrote the show, book and score. At this point it’s hard for us to remember who came up with what, and we think so much alike (scary!) it really is seamless. We recorded the last performance and will have excerpts posted when they become available, probably in the next couple of weeks.

  8. Congrats Amy! Go get ’em! Love your fire and enthusiasm!

  9. You and Frank are an inspiration and example for making a dream into reality. I find myself leaning on that age card as an excuse or blame it on Lori but in reality, lots of people with families at home, and over the age of 70, have done great things. I am my own worst enemy. So Carol, follow the example of your best friends. “Suck it up.” and get on with it already. Love you guys. Carol

  10. I hope “Kurves” has a long and happy life, Amy. Among your many talents you combine a kick in the butt with a kind word to make people get moving in a direction they already want to go. Doubt clouds? They don’t stand a chance against Amy’s bling-shine!

  11. #9 on the list of ways to know your cat rules you sound more like common sense to me. 😉 If cat was there first, or if significant other failed to give his say when you were obtaining said cat and finally pipes up after you’re already attached saying you need to get rid of Fluffy or get rid of him, I usually find it’s wiser to keep the furkid. If you’re bringing someone into your life as more than just a casual fling, they have GOT to at least show respect for the things you hold most dear, even if they’re not as attached as you are and have to call a mere truce. I mean, nobody’s going to like EVERYTHING that matters to you, but if it’s something that important, and the other person tries to tell you that you have to throw that aside just to be with them, it’s time to reevaluate. The other half and I were nervous as hell moving the cats in together, but we both knew full well that trying to tell the other to get rid of their cat as a solution would NOT get pleasant results – but then, we also would never do that to each other. When he moved in here, we both agreed that the fuzzy ones came first, and whatever happened had to be what was best for THEM. Boy were we relieved when it all worked out fine.

    As for #8 on that list, yes, there IS a super-king size. We call it a California King and it’s what we plan on getting so our cats can curl up with us. LOL

    As for #7, methinks they overestimate how much of that money most vets actually get to see themselves. I’ve heard so many times how you don’t go into vet med for the money – you go into it because you love it, because compared to the schooling required it’s not actually a whole lot of money. Though if you can afford a European vacation anyway I would think you could afford vet bills alright either way… pretty sure those don’t come cheap, so you’d have to be at least a bit above average which in theory means you have some wiggle room. But I’ve never been on that side of the fence, always kinda had to scrape ever since I got out on my own (more so lately than those first couple of years, but the economy is what it is and you get by) so any larger amount of money looks huge to me. Besides, what’s so weird about giving up an expensive vacation to pay your pet’s bills? I call that good parenting. 😉 Heck, my parents almost didn’t go on a vacation once because one of their older cats wasn’t doing so well, even though I was near enough to check in and make sure everything was going OK – just because they didn’t want to leave her alone.

    I don’t quite hit ALL of #6 but we HAVE now decided we are probably going to forego the 3-story townhouse we have been ogling in favor of something without stairs for the sake of my vision-impaired kitty. We figure we’ll make the final decision on that after we’ve seen it in person, but at this point I’d prefer any stairs have a closed door at the top so we don’t have any accidents.

    My favorite dog breed is #2 on the list. 🙂

    As for why the internet loves cats… I have a couple of theories of my own. 1) Kittens are the cutest things on the face of the planet. 2) Most of the people setting internet trends are not the same people you see being the “social butterflies” in real life… most of the people I know that are REALLY into memes and internet cats are artists, computer programmers, things like that – in other words, introverts. From my own observations at least, I have noticed that most introverts tend to be cat people to some degree – while they may not prefer cats over dogs, they still like cats. I suspect because they simply fit in better with the lifestyle your average introvert prefers to lead. Though having a dog does give one advantage in that when we DO want to socialize it makes a nice icebreaker for the more socially awkward among us. 😉 But when you’re doing the work you REALLY get into, usually it’s the cat who will be right there sitting by you.

  12. Amy! You’re going to be in Wichita next weekend??! I won’t be at the conference, SO BUMMED to not get to meet one of my WANA-sistahs when she’s this close! Have fun – I’ll be thinking boutchya!


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