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Monday Mentions: Awards, Mentoring, Pets & Writing

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo links and blogs and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. Thanksgiving weekend was a time of catch-up, too much food, and playing with the fur-kids so there aren’t quite as many links as usual. There ARE some fun videos at the end, and don’t forget to comment to get in on the book give-away (only three more days!).

I have to take a moment to  thank everyone who made the recent Cat Writers Association event such a stunning success, and all who have worked publicly and behind the scenes for the past 19 years. One of those CWA heroes was Michael Brim, a cat lover and feline advocate, brilliant communicator and tireless cheerleader for cats, and for the CWA. When he died way too early, the organization created a memorial award in his name and he was the first recipient last year of the Michael Brim Distinguished Service Award. This award goes to those who have made a positive difference in the lives of cats through their work.

In past year’s I’ve been very fortunate to have my work recognized by my peers. As writers and communicators everyone relishes–in fact thrives–on receiving an “atta-boy/girl” now and then. But I don’t think I’ve ever been so moved as when I received Michael’s namesake award. He had some very large paw-steps to fill and I’m humbled to be considered for this honor. That’s the plaque on the right–but my name will also be added to the wall plaque at the Cat Fanciers Association headquarters, along with Michael’s. Wow.

A big part of the original CWA vision of the founders was to create a place for experienced and beginning writers to gather and share their love of cats while supporting each other’s writing success. If you come from the world of either “cats” or “dogs” or “animal welfare” or any of the other labels used today, you’ll realize how divisive it sometimes can be. Heck, put three dog trainers in one room and you’ll get 5 opinions on the RIGHT way to train. Place three cat lovers in a room and you’ll get that many and more opinions about breeds, animal welfare, showing, ferals and on and on and on. So the CWA from the beginning was designed to be ALL-INCLUSIVE’ and to foster an atmosphere of mentoring. And to recognize how important that concept is to me personally, each year  the SHOJAI MENTORING AWARD recognizes the CWA member that by word, action and/or deed has made a positive difference in another’s professional cat writing life. The plaque features a pair of hands giving a kitty a boost up to reach that star hanging from the moon. This year’s winner is Dr. Debra Eldredge–she was nominated by three different individuals, all who purrred her praises as a helper, guide and mentor on their cat-writing journey.

Do you have a mentor? Who has helped you succeed and reach your writing (or other) dreams? Maybe it was someone’s quiet comment of praise on your WIP or another’s suggestion about improving a query, or just a friend who took the time to listen. Please share!

PET SCHTUFF

Remember the PetNet promotion a couple weeks ago? I received word just before Thanksgiving from Petside.com that this year’s Pet ‘Net event has resulted in the donation of 41,450 bowls of food from Iams to local pet shelters. Bravo!

Kristl and Lee Franklin have just opened a new boarding and doggy daycare facility Camp Bow Wow in The Woodlands, Texas (outside of Houston). I met Kristl at a writers conference–hey, pets and writing just seems to go together. *s* Unfortunately that’s a bit of a commute for me but from what I’ve seen at the website, my Magical-Dawg would be in canine heaven. I wish them all the best on the new business.

Airline traveling with your pet over the holidays? Stacy Mantle has some great tips here. You can find some tips for car travel with puppies here.

Great Dog of the White Man, a blog from Judy Ridgley all about horses–for writers who write about riding. Terrific history and info, check it out.

Have you seen the new Animal Planet show SAVED? From these excerpts, looks like a winner.

Cat-mas Cards for the Holidays from Jane, creater of “The Pride” cartoon. I hear-tell there’s a new series of the 12 Cats of Christmas, what feline fun.

More holiday cards from MORRIS ANIMAL FOUNDATION, and an opportunity to donate to worthy animal causes.

Can't be destroyed--or is that a challenge YOUR dog wants to take?

Chelsey’s Toys (above) for the dog who destroys everything. Go over to Chelsey’s facebook page and tell Chelsey you heard about her toy here. *s*

WRITING & PUBLISHING SCHTUFF

Jodie Renner: Essential Elements of a Bestselling Thriller from D.P. Lyle’s “The Writer’s Forensics Blog–bookmark this site, you won’t be sorry.

Kristen Lamb’s  Novel Structure Series–Balancing Scenes, the yin & yang (or in pet-speak, the Push-Me, Pull-Me of scene structure). Awesome info.

Learn More about SEO –search engine optimization and all that hoo-haw important stuff, from the cat-tastic folks over at MouseBreath (cat bloggers unite!)

Using Internet Images–the low-down on the copyright, fair use and more on online images (you’ll be surprised–and not in a GOOD way).

Messages from the Beyond–really? from the Boomers & Books Blog–you have got to see this video, with ways to thumb your nose (or send your love) from beyond the grave.

The perfect gift for your dog–well, maybe. Are they kidding? Actually they’re not kidding. And I have to give a shout out to Piper Bayard who finds some of the kewlest videos around.

And below that first one, two more videos that are the REAL present your pet wants this holiday season.

THREE MORE DAYS UNTIL FREE BOOK DRAWING!

This month as a special “thank you” to all my furry-fantastic-followers, I’ll give away a paw-tographed copy of Complete Care for Your Aging Cat and Complete Care for Your Aging Dog. To get in the running, simply post a comment in the blog about your special pet (old fogey or not) and I’ll draw two names at the end of the month. You can use these award-winning updated books as a resource for yourself or wrap up for a pet-friendly holiday gift to a fur-loving friend. And as an EXTRA-special incentive–and to encourage all of y’all to mentor each other and spread the blogging/twitter/Facebook love–the two winners get to name one purr-son who gives them wags of support and deserves a book, too!

#AskAmy Sweet Tweets

Folks who “follow” me on Twitter @amyshojai and @About_Puppies are the most awesome Sweet Tweets around–they love #cats and #dogs and #pets, many #amwriting. We’ve become a great community including those in the #MyWANA social network twibe hosted by the awesome @KristenLambTX.  So I’m stealing borrowing Kristen’s methods and creating my own hashtag. Just follow and include the #AskAmy in your tweets if’n you’re interested in pithy links to articles, books, blogs, experts, fictioning and sparkle-icity!

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!

Monday Mentions: Cats, Dogs, Writing & CWA

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo links and blogs and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. This past weekend I’ve been at the Cat Writers’ Association 18th Annual Conference–woot!

In fact, you can check out the video at the end of today’s blog that has lots of photos and video clips from both the conference and the cat show. I’m writing this blog from the hotel lobby and won’t be home until late tonight (Sunday actually), so later in the week I’ll post a text recap of the experience.

PET SCHTUFF

Wonderful World of Cats Poster--4th Edition

The Fourth Edition of “The Wonderful World of Cats” poster came off the press July 2011 with a very limited edition of 3,000 posters offered to all cat lovers! This comes from my friend and colleague, CWA and DWAA member Patie Ventrie, and is considered a work of art by many feline fanciers–me, too! It has been produced in full color with 47 vibrant cat illustrations on an intentionally subdued blue/grey color background that enhances the beauty of the cat drawings.  Stunning, fascinating, and informatinve! Patie sent complimentary copies to attendees at this year’s CWA Conference and I can attest to the lovely work. She also donates a percentage of sales to Cat Fanciers Association, where you can order one or multiple posters.

Cat Heroes of War — Last week’s Monday Mentions included a link to war dog heroes so it’s only fair that this week we honor CATS!

Another friend and colleague you’ll recognize if you’ve ever seen the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, or the National Dog Show Presented by Purina (this coming Thanksgiving day broadcast, watch for it!). David Frei has been “in dogs” for likely more years that he wants to count. I had the distinct pleasure to interview him a couple of years ago for my very first Pet Peeves Radio Show about dog shows. At that time he was very active with the Angel On A Leash dog visitation programs into hospitals and more–and now he’s written a book on the subject. Full disclosure–I received a copy of the book literally as I prepared to board a plane, so I’ve not yet read it. So a review will come later–but I wanted to give David a shout-out AND point you to the National Dog Show this Thursday. Watch for more info on Woof Wednesday. And check out what promises to be a touching, moving and educational look at therapy dogs with Angel On a Leash.

Help A Pet, Give A Gift–Symbolically! Do you have a pet-loving friend who has everything? The ASPCA offers a brilliant solution for those hard-to-decide gifts. It’s a way to give a donation in a friend’s name to the cause of your choice–from “symbolic grooming” to “disaster transport.” Check it out!

Winners of ASPCA’s Humane Awards Seven outstanding animals and people—including a badly burned cat who refused to abandon her kittens and a six-year-old boy who raised more than $28,000 for his local animal shelter—were honored at this year’s ASPCA Humane Awards Luncheon. The link includes an awesome video of some of the recipients.

UC Davis Alumni Achievement Award, you can vote for your fav veterinary grad from this school.

WRITER-ICITY

What NOT to Blog About from agent Rachelle Gardner

Thriller Thursday Guest Blogger Allison Brennan, another great post from Stacy Green–and I have to second Stacy’s note about what a terrific and approachable and thoroughly NICE (plus great writer) Allison is. My first year attending Thrillerfest we met and … guess what? She’s got a kitty AND a doggy, too. *s*

Gene Lempp’s Blog Treasures Mash Up has an incredible array this week of writing and other fun schtuff (even a couple of my kitty-flavored offerings!)

Self Pub-ing Lessons from David Gaughran’s terrific blog with guest Mainak Dhar

Taking Your Novel from Good to Great from Kristen Lamb’s guest poster Danielle Poiesz, the Book Country Editorial Coordinator.

KEWL “WHO KNEW?” SCHTUFF

Pole Dancing Dolly–Huh??? from Manic Monday blogger Stacy Green, about all the lively educational toys your daughters can enjoy (NOT!)

Packing for Baby Disasters  at Jenny Hansen’s Risky Business blog, for that delivery-day preparation. Hey, I never had a two-legged so this is fascinating to me! (and great info for those expectant parents)

Tiffany A White’s OOOO Factor, all about Thanksgiving faves and great yummy recipes.

I was not able to capture every moment with my camera. Frankly, when you attend the CWA conference folks get caught up in the fun and camaraderie and forget to get it on film. Several photographers shot images, though, especially of the awards and (I understand) of Susan Logan and I doing our singin’ gig on Friday night, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, here’s a small taste of what happened. One of the “kittens” (first time attendee) has already posted that she landed an agent while here!

Plan for next year–start saving nickels and dimes now. The 19th Annual Conference also will be CWA’s 20th Birthday Celebration, in LA and some very special events will take place! Until next year, be good to yourself, feed your furry muses, and celebrate your own and colleague’s successes. Oh, and pet your pets and thank ’em for trusting us to be their voice.

THANKS!

This month as a special “thank you” to all my furry-fantastic-followers, I’ll give away a paw-tographed copy of Complete Care for Your Aging Cat and Complete Care for Your Aging Dog. To get in the running, simply post a comment in the blog about your special pet (old fogey or not) and I’ll draw two names at the end of the month. You can use these award-winning updated books as a resource for yourself or wrap up for a pet-friendly holiday gift to a fur-loving friend. And as an EXTRA-special incentive–and to encourage all of y’all to mentor each other and spread the blogging/twitter/Facebook love–the two winners get to name one purr-son who gives them wags of support and deserves a book, too!

#AskAmy Sweet Tweets

Folks who “follow” me on Twitter are the most awesome Sweet Tweets around–they love #cats and #dogs and #pets, many #amwriting. We’ve become a great community including those in the #MyWANA social network twibe hosted by the awesome @KristenLambTX.  So I’m stealing borrowing Kristen’s methods and creating my own hashtag. Just follow and include the #AskAmy in your tweets if’n you’re interested in pithy links to articles, books, blogs, experts, fictioning and sparkle-icity!

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!

Feline Friday: Cat Baths–Are you INSANE?!

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Persian show cats get bathed a LOT!

Tomorrow I get to attend the Westchester Annual Cat Show and schmooze with AMAZING pedigree kitties plus rescue felines needing homes. SQUEEE! The intro of kittens playing in the Ask Amy (below) comes from video taken at last year’s event. And the question for today’s Ask Amy seems quite relevant–cat baths–since show cats get dunked on a routine basis.

Why Bathe Cats?

Lick-and-a-promise Mom-cats who allow themselves to get dingy offer a poor role model and their kittens also will be less fastidious. Illness, poor grooming habits, parasite infestation, or simply getting themselves dingy may require more help than a brush can handle–as with the poor rescue kitty in the video. A bath stimulates the skin and removes excess oil, dander, and shed hair. But bathing too often can dry the skin. As a good rule of “paw” bathe shorthaired cats no oftener than every six weeks; two to three times a year during shedding season should suffice unless Kitty gets really grubby, or is a show cat. Longhaired cats benefit from more frequent baths, and felines appearing in shows learn as kittens to accept baths.

Should you decide to take the plunge–pun intended–your cat should be thoroughly brushed and/or combed ahead of time. All mats must be removed before bathing, because water will just cement mats in place. Be sure to clip claws as well or risk having your clothes and skin shredded as Sheba tries to escape. In fact, to keep your reluctant kitty from figuring out the score and disappearing, perform the brushing routine and claw clipping the day before.

The bath area should be warm and draft free. The bathtub will do, but your knees will thank you for using a waist-high sink. Move all breakables out of reach, and push drapes or shower curtains out of the way or they may spook your cat and end up shredded. For routine cleaning, you only need a simple grooming shampoo labeled specifically for cats. Human baby shampoo or dog products can be too harsh and dry the skin or in some cases prove toxic.

Assemble your shampoo, several towels, and washcloth near the sink or tub, and run warm water (about 102 degrees, or cat body temperature) before you bring in the cat. Some cats like the Turkish Van actually enjoy water, but no cat wants to be forced to do something. Don’t torture Sheba and make her watch your preparations. Instead, save bath time as a (hopefully) pleasant surprise.

Dunking is less stressful than the sprayer.

Cats hate the insecure footing of the slippery surfaces so place a towel or rubber mat in the bottom of your tub or sink. That does wonders for cat confidence and often reduces yowls and struggles by half. Or, try standing the cat on a plastic milk crate, which gives him something to clutch with his paws, while allowing you to rinse him on top and underneath without turning him upside down.

Wear old clothes. Expect to get wet. Seren clutches my shirt, pressing her face to me as I wet and soap the rest of her. She makes sure I get as wet as she does. Also, close the door to the bathing area, or you risk having a soapy cat escape and leave suds and a wet cat print trail throughout your spanking-clean house.

For small cats or kittens, the bucket method of bathing often works best. Use the double sink in the kitchen, two or more large roasting pans, or a couple of buckets or wastebaskets set in the bathtub. Fill each with warm water, then gently lower your cat (one hand supporting her bottom, the other beneath the chest) into the first container to get her wet.

Cruel and unusual punishment?

Don’t dunk Sheba’s face or splash water on her; that’s what gets cats upset. Let your kitty stand on her hind legs and clutch the edge of the container as you thoroughly wet the fur. Then lift her out onto one of your towels, and apply the shampoo, using the washcloth to clean her face. After lathering, dip the cat back into the first container to rinse. Get as much soap off as possible before removing and sluice off excess water before rinsing in subsequent containers of clean water.

Adult cats may object to being dunked, and running water can be scary. Instead, you can use a ladle to dip water. If you have a spray nozzle from the sink, use a low force, with the nozzle close to the fur so kitty doesn’t see the spray. Use the washrag to wet, soap and rinse the face area. Keep one hand on the cat at all times to prevent escapes. Rinse beginning at the neck and down Sheba’s back; don’t neglect beneath the tail or tummy. When the water finally runs clear and you know she’s clean, rinse once more just to be sure. Don’t forget to remove the cotton from the cat’s ears.

Don't let the cat catch a chill!

Wrap the squeaky-clean cat in a dry towel. Shorthaired cats dry quickly, but longhaired felines may need two or more towels to blot away most of the water. If your cat tolerates or enjoys the blow dryer, use only the lowest setting to avoid burning the cat. Combing long fur as you blow dry will give “oomph” to the longhaired coat.

Do you bathe your cats? What does he think of it? What are some tips for keeping the blood-letting to a minimum (yours, not the cats!).

SPECIAL THANKS

This month as a special “thank you” to all my furry-fantastic-followers, I’ll give away a paw-tographed copy of Complete Care for Your Aging Cat and Complete Care for Your Aging Dog. To get in the running, simply post a comment in the blog about your special pet (old fogey or not) and I’ll draw two names at the end of the month. You can use these award-winning updated books as a resource for yourself or wrap up for a pet-friendly holiday gift to a fur-loving friend. And as an EXTRA-special incentive–and to encourage all of y’all to mentor each other and spread the blogging/twitter/Facebook love–the two winners get to name one purr-son who gives them wags of support and deserves a book, too!

#AskAmy Sweet Tweets

Folks who “follow” me on Twitter @amyshojai and @About_Puppies are the most awesome Sweet Tweets around–they love #cats and #dogs and #pets, many #amwriting. We’ve become a great community including those in the #MyWANA social network twibe hosted by the awesome @KristenLambTX.  So I’m stealing borrowing Kristen’s methods and creating my own hashtag. Just follow and include the #AskAmy in your tweets if’n you’re interested in pithy links to articles, books, blogs, experts, fictioning and sparkle-icity!

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!

Monday Mentions: Cats, Dogs, Writing & Cute Kitten Videos

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo links and blogs and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. This past weekend I’ve managed to finish two new puppy articles on hypothermia and frostbite first aid, edit/upload a new video (see below, SQUEEEE!), and edit several more fiction chapters. Oh, and I’ve written (in advance) all the blogs for this week. Whew!

That’s because I leave for the Cat Writers’ Association annual conference this Thursday and will present the Shojai Mentor Award at the banquet. Friday evening I partner with Susan Logan, editor of Cat Fancy Magazine, as the entertainment for the event. We’ve had some challenges putting together the musical accompaniment, but I think finally the orchestration (on CD) is ready. I hope to see y’all there!

CAT SCHTUFF

Kitty Ball Bed–buy a raffle ticket, win a fashionable snooze spot for your feline, AND benefit Floppy Cats. Oh, a “floppy cat” is a Ragdoll kitty, a stunning breed, and this raffle item from The Refined Feline benefits Ragdoll Cat Rescue.

Darlene Arden’s PerPETually Speaking Blog offers a lovely post on Adopting Older Pets

Lisa Mac’s shares tender remembrances of a brown spotted tabby in Across the Rainbow Bridge

Last winter Christine Davis lost two very special fur-kids. This always leaves a hole in a pet parent’s life. But when your livelihood also is intrinsically linked to the furry loves in your life, every waking moment (and even when you sleep at night) you are reminded of that absence.  But Christine did something about her pain and the result is FOREVER PAWS, a gentle and tender fable that comforts those who hurt while celebrating our cherished relationship.

I don’t have children, don’t understand ’em, can’t write for ’em (they scare me!) and almost NEVER review kid books. Although this small gift book is appropriate for children (I think–what do I know?),  it strikes a chord with this adult. I was already a fan of Christine’s other books–but this one is extreeee spashul. I hope you won’t lose the furry love of your life for a long, long time. But when it happens, Christine’s book FOREVER PAWS will help.

WRITING SCHTUFF

Cat Writers Association Annual Conference in White Plains, New York, November 17-19. Yes, folks that’s THIS COMING WEEKEND! Currently there are 11 editors/agents scheduled for one-on-one appointments, over a dozen seminars, sparkle-icity during the awards and receptions, and–oh yes–a nearby cat show. Lots of dog-centric folks and just dang fine writers of all stripes will be there.

When Can A Young Child Testify? from Dr. Doug Lyle’s forensics blog and guest blogger Leslie Budewitz

Bloody Good-And She BITES! another from Doug’s awesome blog about a woman who truly believes she’s a vampire (and sets out to prove it, ew!)

Build Tension With Physical Intimacy–In your novel, of course! Great info in time for the Na-No…aka Nonny-Nonny-BooBoo novel writing month. But seriously, Jenny Hansen nails it again.

A Sure Thing–Not! from Dystel & Goderich Literary Agency (prepare to gnash dentures)

10 Absolutely Fantastic Intensifiers You Should Really Avoid–awesome, dude!

In early November I received a delightful note from Darlene Jones, thanking me for the Tuesday Tips series on Kindle-ization. She says the tips helped her through the process publishing her novel EMBATTLED which has already garnered a positive review. Congrats, Darlene! May your book be read and enjoyed by many, and your royalty statements have commas!

KOBO (an Ebook Platform) sold to Japan’s Rakuten for $315 million. And they say there’s no money in Ebooks. Pshfffft.

Beware The Social Media Snuggie from Kristen Lamb–she knows this schtuff! And she’s funny, too. *s*

Gene Lempp has an incredible blog and each Saturday his mashup of awesomeness lists some of the best blog-icity on the planet, including priceless info for writers. Here’s the most recent blog treasures post–you’ll want to bookmark this.

DOG SCHTUFF

Dog Seminars Directory A site that lists a variety of dog-centric seminars scheduled around the world.

Awesome dog writer Caroline Coile has launched a new blog–yay!–and you MUST read this very kewl post about 11 Famous Canine War Veterans.  The second on the list, Sgt Stubby, probably wouldn’t be welcome in many circles today. *huge sigh*

Nominate A Dog Hero  for the 2012 Dog Hero Awards through The American Humane. Categories include police, military, service, therapy, guide, and search and rescue dogs.

Susan McCullough, another talented dog writer/author, blogs over at the Northern Virginia Dog Blog about her “Nine, Going On Two” senior dog. Lovely post.

November is National Pet Diabetes Awareness Month with some great info from the experts at VCA Animal Hospitals, check it out! Since diabetes is often a disease of aging pets, it’s appropriate to learn about this the same month we’re encouraging “aging pet” adoptions. Learn about doggy diabetes here, and for the kitties you can learn about feline diabetes here. 

Jake the Dog Daily Blog, the life and times of a yellow lab.

I-DO-THIS-FOR-A-LIVING SCHTUFF

How’d I get so lucky, eh? This past week a bunch of us behavior consultant types gathered together for a very tough assignment. Seems my colleague Dr. Amanda Florsheim took in a feral kitty who was “too preggers” to fix. The resulting four babies currently are about 6-7 weeks old by the time you read this. Our fantastic fun evening arduous task was to help socialize them. You can tell from the video it was a harrowing experience.

Prime kitten socialization period is 2-7 weeks so Amanda has exposed the babies to friendly dogs, kids, many adults, different locations–and scary-R-us behavior consultants. Once the pizza arrived the kits turned into cheese-heads. I still have my fingers so the bite inhibition training has worked very well.

Please contact me if you fall in furry love with one of these babies and I can arrange an intro–although I hope you’ll consider adopting a senior kitty, doggy or other fur-love in your own locale.

THANKS!

This month as a special “thank you” to all my furry-fantastic-followers, I’ll give away a paw-tographed copy of Complete Care for Your Aging Cat and Complete Care for Your Aging Dog. To get in the running, simply post a comment in the blog about your special pet (old fogey or not) and I’ll draw two names at the end of the month. You can use these award-winning updated books as a resource for yourself or wrap up for a pet-friendly holiday gift to a fur-loving friend. And as an EXTRA-special incentive–and to encourage all of y’all to mentor each other and spread the blogging/twitter/Facebook love–the two winners get to name one purr-son who gives them wags of support and deserves a book, too!

#AskAmy Sweet Tweets

Folks who “follow” me on Twitter are the most awesome Sweet Tweets around–they love #cats and #dogs and #pets, many #amwriting. We’ve become a great community including those in the #MyWANA social network twibe hosted by the awesome @KristenLambTX.  So I’m stealing borrowing Kristen’s methods and creating my own hashtag. Just follow and include the #AskAmy in your tweets if’n you’re interested in pithy links to articles, books, blogs, experts, fictioning and sparkle-icity!

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!

Monday Mentions: Frog Mouth Links & More!

Feeeeeeeeeed Meeeeeeee! (Tawny Frog Mouth courtesy of Rayya-the-Vet)

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo links and blogs and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. This past weekend I’ve managed to finish four new puppy articles, edit/upload six new Ask Amy videos for future blogs, and edit several more fiction chapters. Whew!

I’m trying to get a weeeeee bit caught up or even ahead of the game. November will be busy, as I’m sure it is for many folks, with Thanksgiving around the corner. I’m also prepping for the Cat Writers’ Association annual conference week after next, and will present the Shojai Mentor Award at the banquet. The night before, though, I partner with Susan Logan, editor of Cat Fancy Magazine, as the entertainment for the event. Yes, we’ll be caterwauling, yodeling, or otherwise meowing our way through a few kitty tunes. I understand there will be video (yikes!) so I’ll do my best not to embarrass the fur-kids.

Lots of fun links today, in no particular order. Except that photo (above) I just had to swipe share from a very kewl blog. Tawny Frog Mouth from Rayya the Vet’s wonderful blog, you must check out the VIDEO of this hungry baby–priceless!

Justice for Feral Cats? Zoo employee convicted of trying to poison stray kitties, yikes!

Lisa-Maria Padilla kitty Halloween pictures–FANTASTIC! You will smile, and your cats will say, “Whew–thank the cat-gods that’s not me!”

Jessica O’Neal “The Sexy Little Nerd” blog demonstrates the spirit of the best of blog-icity with her Paying It Forward post. Love the design, too–oh, and she’s got a JRT! Well worth checking out her blog!

Lessons My Cats Taught Me is a lovely tribute from one of the bloggers at Writers In the Storm–tissue alert!

Planet Dog, one of my fav sources for doggy toys, is celebrating 10 years of giving–and they’ve got a WRITING CONTEST, check it out! Your pooch is sure to provide inspiration.

Holiday E-Cards from the Awesome Morris Animal Foundation

Gene Lempp’s Zoo Arcane blog on Evil Little People, sure to give writers inspiration for fantastical plotting and bad guys. The pictures alone are worth the peek.

Rules for FaceBook–to avoid HISSING off your so-called friends. Read it. I mean now. I’ll wait.

Writer Loses $$ with Self-Pub’ing–but honestly, you gotta read the contracts, folks. Sure it’s a shame but it appears this author sorta-kinda-in-a-way invited the angst.

Dan Poynter’s ParaPromotion, from the ultimate self-pub’ing guru.

Vocabulary Quiz–all you writers out there, what’s YOUR score? (mine was 3420)

My friend and colleague, brilliant writer Dr. Deb Eldredge, recently had some heartbreaking challenges in her doggy family–but the new kid–named Babe–is sure to put smiles on faces. She gave me permission to share the new pup’s first encounter with that (gasp!) other puppy in the mirror. Enjoy!

THANKS!

This month as a special “thank you” to all my furry-fantastic-followers, I’ll give away a paw-tographed copy of Complete Care for Your Aging Cat and Complete Care for Your Aging Dog. To get in the running, simply post a comment in the blog about your special pet (old fogey or not) and I’ll draw two names at the end of the month. You can use these award-winning updated books as a resource for yourself or wrap up for a pet-friendly holiday gift to a fur-loving friend. And as an EXTRA-special incentive–and to encourage all of y’all to mentor each other and spread the blogging/twitter/Facebook love–the two winners get to name one purr-son who gives them wags of support and deserves a book, too!

#AskAmy Sweet Tweets

Folks who “follow” me on Twitter are the most awesome Sweet Tweets around–they love #cats and #dogs and #pets, many #amwriting. We’ve become a great community including those in the #MyWANA social network twibe hosted by the awesome @KristenLambTX.  So I’m stealing borrowing Kristen’s methods and creating my own hashtag. Just follow and include the #AskAmy in your tweets if’n you’re interested in pithy links to articles, books, blogs, experts, fictioning and sparkle-icity!

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!

Monday Mentions Mashup: Writing, Pets & Fun

The Guido Gazette offers delightful Halloween cat costumes!

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo links and blogs and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. Since tomorrow begins NaNoWriteMo month (and no, I’m not doing that!), some links today focus on fiction help and there’s great info collected from pub’d authors and teachers. Enjoy!

This week I’m doing my dogged best FICTION–I’m in late stage edits–so the blogs may be a bit brief and the Twitter and Facebook postings will get drive-by quick hits. My phone once again works, though (yay!) and will use the hey-honey’s printer until a new one can be purchased.

Alexandra Sokoloff series on NanoWriteMo story elements breakdown, awesome posts!

Style Blunders in Fiction from DP Lyle’s blog and guest blogger Jodie Renner

Chocolate Lowers Stroke Risk--YAY! just in time for Halloween–not for pets, of course. *s* But may help writers get over that writer’s block…ya think?

Awesome thriller writer JT Ellison has a HALLOWEEN GIVE AWAY of Surreal South (edited by my friend Laura Benedict and her hubby)

PET SCHTUFF

In honor of Halloween, the Mentions start off on the right “paw” with the kitty in the photo (above).  Guideo Basolo is the kitty STAR of the Guido Gazette (see picture above) and it seems purr-fectly appropriate to offer a shout-out on Halloween to this kitty’s extraordinary fashion sense.

Need A Cat Fix? Remote Kitty Play! with this virtually-controlled interactive cat play. You’ll need to get in line, it’s hugely popular

Jack the Cat Found!  Jack escaped August 25 during a cross country flight and was lost 2 months in the American Airlines terminal.

Acupuncture Offered at UC-Davis Vet School

Something Good Photo Friday from Deborah Taylor-French at DogLeaderMysteries

Dallas Appoints “No Kill” Task Force to End Shelter Pet Euthanasia, this could be very-good-news!

A Revised History of Doggy Evolution, very kewl information and speculation

Susan Clothier’s Shock Collars–NOT! a well-respected trainer’s thoughts on the notion.

INTERESTING/FUN SCHTUFF

The Undie Chronicles from hilarious blogger Jenny Hansen–learn what constitutes “Christian” panties (or horrific Halloween ones)

Cataract Surgery Aids Alzheimer’s Patients

End of PSA Screening? Hmnnnn

Please don’t be shy about sending me your own links or suggestions for others to highlight. I love doing a SNOOPY-DANCE-’O-JOY! in celebration of all the savvy writers and animal advocates doing the work of the angels–and to a few angels as well. Speaking of doing the work of the angels, if you want to help YOUR rescue organization while shopping for the holidays, check out the video below.

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!

Monday Mentions: Writer-icity, Canine Awards & Glowing Cats

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo links and blogs and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. Today we’re celebrating a debut book, some amazing canines, glowing cats and fantastic writer conference/contest ops among other things.

It rained–and hailed–here last night. The rain is welcome after all the fires we’ve had and continuing drought conditions. But it drove at least two crickets inside–and they proceeded to drive me crazy! I sent Seren-kitty after them so eventually little cricket drumsticks will be all that’s left of ’em, but meanwhile the ventriloquist act drives me buggy. At least crickets aren’t dangerous to dogs and cats like bug bites and stings. Here in Texas we even get to deal with tarantulas an scorpions–hey, that’s sort of like dealing with publishers. *eg* Exactly the same, only different.

Please don’t be shy about sending me your own links or suggestions for others to highlight. I love doing a SNOOPY-DANCE-’O-JOY! in celebration of all the savvy writers and animal advocates doing the work of the angels–and to a few angels as well.

CAT CALLS New Book by Cat Experts Extraordinaire! Calling All Cat-Lovers! New York cat expert and cat sitter Jeanne Adlon, with purr-fessional writer Susan Logan, bring readers a tasty smorgasbord of fun kitty anecdotes seasoned with sound advice, and lots of furry inspiration. Cat Calls is Paws-itively delightful! For those who may not be aware, Jeanne is a contributor to CatChannel.com while Susan is editor of Cat Fancy magazine–as a friend of mine likes to say, “It don’t get no better none!”

Hey, I’m a writer, cain’t ya tell?

CAT & DOG SCHTUFF

GREEN GLOWING CATS and nope, it’s reality and not out of some thriller novel. But come to think of it, that might make a neat plot twist.

5 CANINES WIN AKC “ACE” AWARDS The recipient in each category (Exemplary Companion, Law Enforcement, Search and Rescue, Service, and Therapy) will receive an engraved silver collar medallion and a check for $1,000 at a presentation ceremony at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship in Orlando, Florida, on December 17, 2011. Each Honorable Mention recipient will be mailed a bronze collar medallion.

White House Pets Pictures came to me in an email out of the blue–some neat new photos I hadn’t seen before.

BLOGS TO CHECK OUT

Writer Beware Blog has a terrific mix of publishing news on lawsuits and new trends, and writer tips written by Victoria Strauss and A.C. Crispin.

HOW TO BUILD A WRITING TEAM from Jenny Hansen’s excellent blog. Seriously, y’all need to bookmark this one!

Piper Bayard’s “On Life, Belly Dancing and Apocalyptic Annihilation has some of the coolest writer insights–and just plain LOL moments. You’ve gotta check out the Ben & Jerry’s latest ice cream flavor Schweddy Balls.

WRITER-ICITY

LIVESCRIBE, Never Miss A Word: My colleague Dusty Rainbolt some time ago mentioned a “magic pen” recommended some years ago by a speaker at the Cat Writers Association Conference. She raves about the LiveScribe, able to record a seminar, conversation or phone call. It apparently has some sort of smart memory so that you can “write” down a note about a topic on the special paper, later tap the text on your note and the recording plays back from there. As with many digital devices you can save the recording to the computer. I don’t have one but plan to look into this nifty writer’s tool. For thriller writers, it sounds like something the well-outfitted spy character might carry!

WORSE THAN CONTENT MILLS?   For those of us struggling to provide top-notch original content, this is scary. Computers generating word-spin and you don’t even have to buy lunch. Say it ain’t so! What do you think?

Ebook FOREIGN RIGHTS OPS article from thriller writer Karen Dionne.

AWESOME WRITER CONFERENCES & CONTESTS

Cat Writers Association 18th Annual Conference takes place this November 17-19 in White Plains, New York with many sessions specific to publishing and writing about pets–or really any subject. Oh, and I’ll be there with Susan Logan of Cat Fancy offering some “caterwauls” as entertainment. *s*

International Thriller Writers “Thrillerfest” and “Craftfest” Conference “early bird” registration is now open! But to get the best rate you’ll need to register by September 30. Of course you can still register later for the July 12, 2012 conference.

Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. hosts a massive contest for unpublished work each year, often judged by professionals who happen to be editors, agents and published authors. It’s cheap-cheap-cheap for invaluable feedback, only $20 for entering all of the 29 unpublished and 4 published book categories. The whole point of the contest is to help writers improve the work on the journey to publication. Check it out!

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!

Tuesday Tips: Pix, Tricks & Writers Fighting Dirty

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Nose to Nose cats

"Be my mentor?"

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo links and blogs and writer-icity crappiocca. But I collected so much great stuff over the past week, yesterday’s blog concentrated on furry content and today’s Tuesday Tips catches the writer-icity spillover.

What are some of your favorite writer tips? Do you have a blog you love to visit? Or maybe there’s a book on craft that you can’t live without and made all the difference in your success. Add ’em in the comment section. Heck, if it’s your own tip, blog or book that rocks the world, you have MY PERMISSION for today to shout-about-it here in the comments. Spread the word, and we’ll make today’s Tuesday Tips a lasting resource.

CAN I USE THAT PHOTO?
My colleague Andrea Dorn always shares great writer and grammar tips with Cat Writers Association members (see her blog here). She shared that if you’re planning to use photos as news (that is, for the purpose of reporting on what happened at your event in newspapers, magazines or websites), permission isn’t necessary. However, if you intend to use photos in promotional or commercial materials, you need written permission from all individuals who can be identified in the photos. Publishing the art of a living artist on a web page, newsletter or brochure requires the artist’s permission. These and other questions related to “Can I use that photo?” are answered by Iowa State University experts.

INDIE WRITERS BEWARE

Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware recently posted that she’s received questions about a new awards program: the IndieReader Discovery Awards for self-published authors. Is it legit? What questions should you ask about Indie opportunities? The blog has some tips and insights you won’t want to miss.

INCREASE BLOG SUBSCRIBERS

. . . or subscriptions to newsletters or whatever else you want to share with your readers. I’ve done some of this but may add to my list. Derek Halpern offers tips for seven places on your blog where you can place sign-up forms to increase your chances that people will actually sign up and thus build your email list. I wouldn’t go with the pop-up box, though–that really hisses me off.

HOW TO FIGHT DIRTY FOR FICTION SUCCESS

I love Jenny Hansen’s “More Cowbell” blog and today’s Techie Tuesday offers GOLD for fiction writers wanting to escalate tension between characters. Learn how to use dirty fighting to your advantage!

KINDLE-GRAPH! WOOT!

Did you know that you can get autographed E-books on Kindle?  You need to have a Twitter account, but I am SO going to look into this!

WANT YOUR INDIE BOOK REVIEWED?

Full disclosure–I’ve not submitted my books for review to any of these sources, but they have received favorable comments from other authors on KindleBoards. I know that some are authors themselves, others simply avid readers and book lovers. They also review “traditionally” pub’d books. Check ’em out and read some of their reviews before submitting your own book. Report back about how it worked for you. And hey, you just may discover a new fav Indie author!

Red Adept Reviews:   Because Red has a team of reviewers, her site covers a variety of genres, including nonfiction.

Grace Krispy  reviews mysteries/cozies/thrillers, some fantasy, some urban fantasy and women’s fiction.

Books and Pals mostly reviews Indies.

E-Bookworms appears to review mostly Science Fiction and Fantasy.

www.DailyCheapReads.com mostly offers “bargain books” but sometimes also reviews them.

So what are your fav review spots for books? How do you judge if a new book is worth opening your pocketbook? Do you have a terrific writerly tip or resource to share? Add your comments and share the blog today with others and let’s get lots of stuff posted–I’ll do a recap later on all the goodies (and YES, include a shout-out to the submitters as well).

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? I’m nearly ready to record a bunch of new ones, so be sure to get your requests in the comments. 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!

Furry Friday: Channeling Your Inner Fur-Kid

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What are you TELLING me?

How the hell does she swing from the drapes and seek out the highest spot in the house? Why in doGs name did he roll in dead fish—and then share by rubbing clean against my socks? Does shedding itch? Is that cute innocent look for real, or just an act?

Are you passionate about pets, too? Do you ever stop thinking about them? For more than twenty years, I’ve puzzled over their actions, behaviors, motivations and care, nearly 24/7. Pets rule.

Okay, so according to the pet-less, I have no life. Some folks write to change the world. They do so with passion, dedication, and great skill, and I admire them greatly. But I’m not the only writer obsessed with fluffy subject matter.

Amy Shojai with Golden

Westminster Kennel Club dog show after the DWAA events, where you can meet the most glorious dogs and dedicated pet people!

Pet writers also write to make a difference, and sometimes manage to save lives. After reading several cat-egories to judge a recent CWA contest of outstanding work, this hits home with me in a big way. Cat Writers Association members as well as Dog Writers Association of America folks rarely know what impact the work has, because those who most benefit from pet writing never read it. In fact, some of ‘em probably baptize it.

Please don’t leave my Petiquette newspaper columns on the floor. It’s disheartening. And if you use them to line the bottom of the parrot cage, let that be your little secret. I don’t need to know. Really, I don’t.

FAN? Really, a FAN?!

Last week I received a letter–yes, a real hand-written-and-printed-in-pencil letter–from a fan. It seems that an eleven-year-old wannabe kitten owner had been told by her Mom she needed to learn about taking care of kittens FIRST before adopting a furry baby. So the little girl decided to write to me after reading my kitten book. WOW-WOW-WOW! and hurray for Mom!

It’s worth it. Every bit of the sleepless nights. Pet writers get paid with more than $$. What made your day/week/month worth the angst?

kitten with typewriter

Cat writers channel their inner kitten...

Of course pet writers wish their audience had pocketbooks. In this economy that would help more of the furry-inclined to spend more time doing what makes writerly hearts go pitty-pat. But if pets could read and had wallets, they’d spend hard-earned kibble on Kitty Kaviar, Puppy Crunchies or fuzzy squeaker toys to disembowel (or hump) at the most inappropriate time. At least, that’s what Magic and Seren would do. What would your fur-kids buy with their spare change?

My illiterate furry audience “reads” in very different ways–puppies communicate one way and cats talk another. My true readership will never ask for a pawtograph, or care if I have initials after my name. But they will do back-flips for the right treat, and wag and purr with delight should a human finally understand that tail-talk.

What about you? are you different? What’s your obsession? Writing? Sparkly objects? Gerbils? Cheetos and M&Ms? (that’s writerly brain-food, ya know!).

As for me, until my audience comes out from under the bed, or tires from dog-earing one of my books and actually SPEAKS in language most owners understand–and puts me gloriously, wonderfully out of business–I’ll keep typing, blogging, fiction-ing and radio-ing away.

Wait, I’m channeling a message now. It’s coming clear, yes, it’s…I see it all now! what I absolutely, without a doubt, know to be the meaning behind all the howls, hisses, yowls, and wags. The fur-kids of the world sit up and beg and howl their message loud and clear:

BUY AMY’S BOOKS!

Trust me. I’m a professional. And pets never lie.

What do YOUR pets tell you to do? I’ll give you a moment to channel the fur kids. Go ahead, I’ll wait . . . . everybody here? So ask ’em. What does the cat say? Is her fondest desire to doze in front of the fan? or eat mouse morsels off a crystal plate?  or have you give up your job to scritch her itchy spots all of the time? If your fur kids could have their most favorite wish come true, what would it be?

One of my wishes would be for all the pets of the world to get along with each other and their people. I think the critters in the video, below, are on their way to making that happen. What do YOU think?

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? I’m nearly ready to record a bunch of new ones, so be sure to get your requests in the comments. 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!

Feline Friday: Got Herb? Kitty Catnip Delights

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Honest, I didn't inhale...well maybe a little..."

I have no doubt that catnip prompted the Cheshire Cat’s grin. My cat Seren wears the same expression when she indulges. But why do cats find this nondescript herb so attractive? Is it a kitty aphrodisiac, a harmless pleasure or something more sinister?

Nepeta cataria, or catnip, is a strong-scented mint that contains a volatile oil that’s easily released into the air. Biting or rolling on the plant crushes the leaves and releases the oil so cats can get a good sniff. It doesn’t take much. Cats can detect catnip oil in the air at saturations as low as one part per billion. Seren-kitty (in the picture above) can ferret out fresh herb through several layers of shopping bags. I never knew she liked the stuff until some really potent catnip came home with me from the Cat Writers Conference and she went wild.

Do your cats react to catnip? What about other substances? I’ve known some cats that show the same reaction to honeysuckle slices–pieces of the wood–or to other mints, and even a few who rolled and yowled for olives! Here’s more about how catnip works like LSD detailed in my latest Paw Nation article about catnip. And here’s a repeat of an Ask Amy that fits right in with the them.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!