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Monday Mentions: Reading Monkeys, Chocolate Diet & Musical Cure

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Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo 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.

I’m THIS CLOSE to releasing the next book in the COMPETABILITY series, this one on solving cat-to-cat problems. Also, I’ve written a whole series of pet food articles as we;; as first aid tips for the site and will share the latest links in the Woof Wednesday and Feline Friday blogs so please bookmark and come back. The regular busy-ness will quadruple shortly because I’m due to receive edits on my LOST AND FOUND thriller by tomorrow, yay! Therefore, you may not see me around for a few days as I work hard to regain consciousness and then work through the suggested changes. Hey, that’s a regular part of the book process, don’t let anyone tell you any different.


Research on Reading & Writing Trends

The Chocolate Diet why is this under writer-icity? because it’s a well-known fact that chocolate is BRAIN FOOD that fuels writers. Just sayin’ Returns–Beware! or at least caution. Read the Writer Beware post to learn more info.

Audible for Self-Pub’d Authors, is your book a candidate for an audio book?

Short Story Sales Tips still a good way to promote long fiction? Hmnnnn. Leads right into the next links.

World Of Myth looking for short stories and here’s a Short Story Contest for emerging writers

ITW’s “Love Is Murder” Collection Trailer Go to the Facebook page to “like” it to see this exclusive trailer–writers can learn some tips with this kewl video.

Blog Give-Aways, what to do and what not to do

MAN-DAY with hunks galore at Jillian Dodd’s awesome blog where today author Jen Talty expounds on her books’ hunky heroes (photo examples, squee!)


Do Pets Go to Heaven? on the heels of Easter, three theology experts comment–a fascinating read. And that segues nicely into the next section about ghosts.

“Mag the Ghost wasn’t  any easier to deal with in death than Mag the Terror had been in life. Living in Love, Texas, in her childhood home, wasn’t the end of the world, but Tali Cates can’t see the good things with her eyes clouded by murder and mayhem. Now living at home with her son and her mother and trying to support her family, Tali is faced with a vengeful ghost, intent on ruining her life unless she solves her murder. Now some very human elements are showing violent intent and Tali has to come face to face with the very things she tried to leave behind, her gifts and violence.” Privy to Murder by Carol Shenold

This fun mystery (yes, a ghost appears in an outhouse!) also includes a cat, so I asked my friend–author Carol Shenold–how pets figure in her fiction. I think many writers could learn something from her response:

The Cat Said What? I don’t mean you and your cat will sit down at a computer and write together.  But, what if your cat shows up in your current WIP. How do you handle that? I know many writers who make animals into main characters in the books, complete with dialogue. Not good at that. Animals do sneak in because I live with three, but not as major players, more for comic relief, or just for fun. Besides, life is not complete without them.

I do feel like you have to judge your book, setting and character before putting in a pet, since the main character has to take care of it. It you are writing a thriller, adventure,  horror story, will your character remember to feed and water the animal, take it for a walk, scoop the litter? If not, make sure someone else is around to take care of the cat or dog. Mention it once or twice. Or, make it the neighbor’s irritating pet that shows up at awkward times. The way your main character interacts with animals might give insight into character, or lack of.

Since my animals are part of my life, they do come into the books and have a little fun.  I have to watch them or they might take over. In PRIVY TO MURDER, Tali’s kitten, Chaos, tries to take a bath with Tali whenever she can, preferably with bubbles.  But when Aiden was around, she made herself scarce, not fond of males? Cat’s rule and Aiden has disappeared.”

Monkeys Taught To Read! Well, sorta kinda in a way–they do recognize words, how cool is that? I predict a whole new audience for my work…

National Fire Dog Memorial Statue Planned

New Kitten URI Treatment get ready for kitten season with this new info from UC-Davis

More DON’T HUG YOUR DOG DAY from dog behavior expert Marilyn Wolf, a similar take on the Purina Beneful bad promotion.

Purina Stinko Again? This time they did apologize for comparing a neighborhood to a stinky litterbox in a TidyCats NoMorePU campaign. Are the ad guys playing with catnip? Don’t tell me you didn’t inhale!

Is Cesar Milan Going To Fix Your Dog? an excellent post from veterinarian Dr. Rayya who explains the difference between behavioral problems and problem behaviors.

Some of y’all know that music is a HUGE part of my life. It seems to heal us and make us whole on so many levels. A friend sent me this video and I had to share with everyone. HANKY alert!

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!

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.

12 responses »

  1. Cat to cat stuff, sounds interesting, Amy. What is the release date?

    • Hi Ali, Hoping it’ll be fully Kindle-ized by this weekend. *s* The original book was cat/dog behaviors plus cat-cat and dog-dog so I’ve simply split up the content into three separate books. So this title will be ComPETability: Solving Behavior Problems In Your Multi-Cat Household (and the dog one focuses on dogs). Aggression, litter box woes, clawing, fearful cats, and more…very prescriptive. Let me know if you’d like an early copy for possible review. *s*

  2. What a fantastic collection of links Amy this will keep me going for days. We only have one cat now but our height we had four, I really could have done with your book then! Good luck with it 🙂

    • Thanks Margaret! Tonight I visited the local theater and one of my friends had a basket full of 7 kittens (4 weeks old!) that were orphaned last Friday. Wow…KITTEN FIX!

  3. You are one busy lady, Amy! Good luck with the Lost And Found edits. We’re all waiting!

  4. What fun links! Chocolate diet. Yes! That video is wonderful. Music truly is a language we can all understand. Even my deaf grandmother loves music ~ she feels the vibrations and dances to it.

    You are such a prolific writer! Way to go on the new one.

  5. Chocolate diet sounds good to me. 😉

    And it drives me nuts when people obsess over those “Supernanny for pets” type shows. Like, you and I can see that not all cases are going to use the methods shown there, but the masses seem to want an easy, systematic answer. I hold the same opinion of such people as I do of those in human psychology who only subscribe to the methods and theories of one or two fathers of the field, in spite of all we’ve learned and the fact that some of those popular theories have been refuted, refined, blended together…

    It has gotten to the point where I HATE seeing any website talking about “making sure you are the alpha”, because people use dominance theory on dogs that don’t need it, and I’ve seen dogs wind up TERRIFIED of their owners because of it. Guy I used to work with apparently had a habit of scruffing and “alpha rolling” dogs upon first meeting – witnessed it once myself with a dog who most certainly did NOT have dominance issues. To me, dominance theory is a last resort or reserved as an emergency tactic for something dangerous – much like how you whack your kid’s hand before it touches the hot frying pan because while it’s not the best solution it does have immediate effect and prevents what would have been a much greater harm. Part of what irks me about it, I think, is that it always compares dogs very directly to wolves, and not just any wolves, but the horribly misconstrued version of them from the older studies done on captive packs that, as they have found more recently, do NOT behave as packs do in the wild. The captive packs frequently tend to be a bunch of unrelated individuals thrown together… in addition to which their territory is bordered by a fence instead of urine marks, so rather than dispersing, if they want to get anywhere they have little choice but to fight it out instead. In the wild, however, a pack is primarily made up of a mother, father, and their past litters. There isn’t nearly as much fighting, it’s not the all-out grudge match people seemed to think wolf packs lived in before. There is discipline, but they are still a FAMILY, which is very key. Their instinct is for only the alphas to mate in part because it avoids incest. Alphas eat first in part because if there are pups in the den, they are the ones who take food back to them (predigested puppy chow!).

    You take that dog as a puppy, suddenly YOU are its parent. Parent, not tyrant. Yes, sometimes you have to lay down the law, but when you approach it from a family perspective instead of “dogs need strict military discipline”, it’s not likely to be quite as looming and foreboding to the pup, given our critters tend to sense our emotions, sometimes better than we do, I think. So looking at the different methods of discipline for the correct facts in line and the right perspective will also help. (Then again, it does for psychology too.)

    • Okay, OMG I JUST got through all the videos on the hugging link… have you read the comments on Youtube for the Rottie one? “Oh that’s just how rotties look when they’re happy and if you don’t think so you don’t know anything about rotties!” Uh, no, rottweilers are still DOGS. That noise is NOT happy, that growl is NOT a play growl, and baring his teeth IS a sign he’s upset. He’s only not tearing into you because you are the Giver of Rules and the Bringer of Food and he probably know he’ll be in it DEEP if he acts out. Actually, in that video there was also a bit of a submissive grimace – gee, with somebody’s hands on his throat, I can’t imagine why! Sheesh, folks! Like, I will admit that one other guard breed, dobermans do very often bare their teeth when BARKING, even in greeting, but if you watch the REST of their body language you can tell which it is, and if they bare their teeth at you any other time, ir probably isn’t a good sign. They just happen to have a very open-mouthed bark, I suspect the tightness of the skin on the muzzle relates to that a bit too. But EVERY SINGLE SIGN from that rott was saying “I don’t want this!”


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