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Monday Mentions: Blogs, Pet Food & Summer Colds

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Looking for a new friend

Pets make us feel better just by being there…

I’m sick today, urk. No voice. Stuffy head. Feel exhausted. So that’s my excuse for the brevity. I’ve had folks suggest a number of remedies–eat marshmallows to coat the throat and my personal favorite, sip “Hot Damn” (cinnamon flavored schnapps). Need to snuggle with my Seren-kitty and have the Magical-Dawg deliver some chicken soup (but he’ll want to share…). Colds suck anytime, but summer colds are particularly aggravating. Hope y’all stay healthy and I promise, I’ve sanitized the links and suchlike so germ-icity won’t infect you today on the blog.

Do your cats and dogs know when you’re under the weather? How do they act? Do tell.

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.

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

New Writerly Production? book a year or more? Is acceleration of content a good thing?

Love Is Murder, check out Sandra Brown’s edited anthology of romantic suspense (pre-orders now available)

Blogging Tips for Writers–FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS!

More Blogging Tips–make it EASY to comment plus all about moderation

Author Facebook Pages, why have them?

New Anthology Opps from Margie Yee Webb the co-creator with Dahlynn McKowen for Not Your Mother’s Book . . . On Cats. And Ken McKowen and Kathy Baker are co-creators for Not Your Mother’s Book . . . On Dogs.

Meredith Bernstein Literary Agency has new website with value-added for writers. Meredith was my agent for many years and I can’t recommend her highly enough.

Hyperthymesia and Marilu Henner’s Brain from the awesome Writer’s Forensics Blog of Dr. Lyle

Authors On the Air, a new radio show might be worth a look, suggested by author CJ West

PET SCHTUFF

Cat Food Recalls and Dog Food Recalls expanding. Here’s further info from the FDA.

Small Vet Practices On Way Out? IBISWorld reports veterinarians appear to be gravitating toward working in larger multi-doctor practices. What will this mean for your furry wonder?

Pit Bull Saves Owner, Loses Leg awesome story about a hero dog pulling owner from train tracks

New Hyperthyroid Diet for Cats–miracle or disaster waiting to happen? A veterinarian weighs in.

Dogs Feel Your Pain, fascinating read from ScienceNOW thanks to great pet author Cheryl Smith

Bad Journalism How-To on Cat Declaw from Sally Bahner. Let’s be responsible, folks!

Is Innovative Vet Care Too Expensive? Great post by my colleague Jo Singer. I have to say, the only “hate mail” I ever got about a book took issue with my cutting-edge title and the expense involved. Hmnnn.

SAR Dog Organizations Receive $258,000 In Grants from the AKC Companion Animal Recovery Canine Support & Relief Fund, bow-WOW!

Hogzilla–Feral vs Domestic Pig Brains for those who are really into “this little piggy.” Hmnn, wonder what would happen if people brains took that turn (can you say “weird plot idea?”)

This how-to video is on my new must-do list, since Magical-Dawg loves getting dirty and we have white carpet.

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!

Furry Friday: Mother’s Day for Pets

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Birta og Rjómi

“This is MY purr-son!” Copr. Maria Magnus/Flickr

There’s no doubt we love our pets—but do our cats and dogs love us back? Kitty and doggy shows of affection aren’t always what humans expect. In fact, a pet’s lovey-dovey wishes might instead puzzle, aggravate or even offend some people. To celebrate Mother’s Day here are 14 ways dogs and cats show love.

Cat purrs can mean everything from delight to expressions of concern. A cat that purrs while snuggled in your lap expresses deep trust and love for you.  Return the favor and talk back—say, “I love you!” She’ll understand the emotion, if not the exact words.

Dog howls aren’t nearly as subtle as kitty purrs but can be a canine Valentine. A howl can mean your dog is lonely. Try scheduling extra face time with your special dog, or offer puzzle toys filled with treats to show your love. It’s harder to howl when chewing something yummy.

Kitty rubbing against you leaves the cat’s scent—marking you as “owned” by them. Cats repeatedly head-bump their most favorite people. Bumping your face is the ultimate show of trust since it leaves eyes vulnerable.

small-IMG_2860

“I trust you no matter what…” Copr. Paul Loades/Flickr

Dogs lean against us. Yes, it can be pushy or awkward especially with big dogs, but it’s a way of showing and asking for love and attention. Either sit down so he can lean and love, or teach him to “sit” before you dole out the attention.

Kitties groom other cats—or humans—that they like. Licking your skin or hair, or even nibbling or sucking on your clothing spreads “family” scent and is an expression of feline love. Return the favor—petting your cat is the kitty equivalent of a love-fest of mutual grooming.

Dogs jump up, not to knock you down, but to give a big kiss. A dog kiss isn’t exactly the same as human kisses. Puppies lick the mom-dog’s eyes and face to show deference. Adults give doggy kisses to humans they love and respect and aim at the face. Kneel to let him kiss you (if doggy smooches don’t bother you). Or offer your hand for a sniff-and-smooch instead.

Cats scratch and pee to calm themselves down, and seek out items that smell most like their beloved human. So scratching your favorite chair or “baptizing” your bed with urine actually is a backhanded kitty compliment. Relieving stress and providing legal scratch and potty opportunities encourages kitty to love you in more appropriate ways.

Puppies pee and roll on their back when owners come home—another way to show deference and declare their love and respect. Most pups outgrow the pee-party, but not the rolling over. Baring his tummy invites a friendly rub, so answer his request to show you love him, too.

Cats knead—honestly, we’re not sure why. Kittens do it to prompt mom-cat’s milk to release. We suspect this instinctive behavior hearkens back to that feeling of comfort and joy. So a cat kneading her human certainly can be a kitty Valentine.

Dogs chew to relieve stress and calm upset feelings, and also seek out owner-scented items like shoes or that Gucci handbag. Why not offer him a Valentine’s gift of a legal chew toy—stick it inside your shoe overnight so it has the appropriate “cologne” to really show your love!

Dog crotch sniffs may not seem all that loving but are the equivalent of a human hand shake. Request a “sit” instead, then pay him with attention.

A kitty butt-in-your-face is an invitation to sniff—that’s a very friendly and loving gesture! (Not that you want to indulge). Scratch the base of her tail, instead.

Doggy wags that are low, loose and wide are technically a “distance-decreasing signal” that invites attention and love. Tail-less dogs wag their whole body.

Kitten tails held straight up with the end tipped over use this to greet mom-cat, and the tippy-tail is a kitty Valentine when directed at humans—in effect calling you “mom.”

What have I missed? How do your fur-kids show you love–on Mother’s Day and the rest of the year? You can show your Mother’s Day love by “gifting” the pet lovers in your life with something for their pets–maybe even a book (hint hint!).

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!

Monday Mentions: Stroke-icity, Convict Cats & Dining Dogs

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magic w red roses

Yep, that's Magic when he was a lil' guy. That rose has grown up, too, and still dwarfs him.

This week will be so busy that you may not see much of me–virtually or otherwise. I’ve received back my awesome editor’s revision notes on my thriller LOST AND FOUND and so have cleared my desk to concentrate on that. Never fear, I’ll have blogs for you this week prepared in advance.

Meanwhile for brain food, in the evenings I start rehearsals for the part of Golde in Fiddler On The Roof. For stress relief there’s playtime with the Magical-Dawg and Seren-Kitty…and spending time in the roses.

Did I mention that about 500 antique roses surround our house? It used to be 700+ but the drought, armadillos and grasshopper attrition left a dent. You cannot believe the aroma! Before the weather gets too hot, I plan to spend time with the laptop out on the patio. BRAINSTORM! That’s the perfect place to work on the fiction revisions. I feel better already. 🙂

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the TASTY 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.

WRITING SCHTUFF

Stroke From The Inside Out Dr Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain researcher, experienced a stroke and describes the process. Amazing! For writers, this is a must-see video and will give incredible insight into characterization. Thanks to D.P. Lyle for the link.

How To Write A F…antastic Blog  use the “F”

Line In The Sand, must-read blog by Lisa Hall-Wilson for all fiction writers. Excellent post!

Competing With Amazon? Kill DMR! an interesting discussion by Charlie Stross (thanks to the awesome WriterBeware blog for the link)

Stephen King’s FB Promo

PET SCHTUFF

How Not To Get A Cat, a fun blog any cat lover (or writer) will enjoy!

Dog TV? you betcha, Fido! Thanks to Piper Bayard for the paws-up mention

The Farley Foundation helps owners who can’t afford pet health care

Cats In the Klink  a cats-in-prison program that helps inmates and cats, awesome! Thanks to my friend and awesome cat writer Toni Eames for point out this story.

Stacey Ritz new blog, worth checking out, all about pets and writing

Sergeant’s Introduces New Pheromone Behavior Products to help relieve cat and dog anxiety

Bobcat Fever Affects Pet Cats, Too but cytauxzoonosis not as deadly as once thought

Weird Cat Disease turns cats into robots? Scary-bad stuff! What if it jumped species into people…plot for a thriller.

New Studies In IMHA (immune-mediated hemolytic anemia)

Seeing Eye to Eye: Visionary Care for Service Dogs The 5th Annual ACVO/Merial National Service Dog Eye Exam Event offers free exams in May 2012. Learn more from Dr. Bill Miller, a veterinary ophthalmologist with the program, in this eye-opening Pet Peeves show.

And no, it’s not a fake, and not digitally manipulated. Here’s the outtakes:

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!

Woof Wednesday: Cute Babies, Apple Pie & Hug Your Dog

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I had another post set to go today. But then I took an ethical stand (say it ain’t so!) and wrote what appears to be an incredibly unpopular post on my puppies.About.com site. 

Oh dear heaven, by the comments I received you’d think that I said cute babies are evil, apple pie is poison and advocated BEATING YOUR DOG! Part of that has to do with folks reading only the title and ignoring the content of the message. Oh well. That drives home the importance of titles, I suppose.

You see, I took issue with a big-name pet food company that should know better. The Purina Beneful promotion titled “hug your dog day” encouraged folks to take pictures of themselves hugging their dogs and post them.

Sounds delightful, doesn’t it? The promo really struck a chord with pet lovers. After all, who doesn’t love a hug? Hugs mean love, hugs mean happy happy happy, hugs are tail-wagging expressions of the joy we share with dogs. Right? RIGHT?!

Uh, no.

WHY HUGS CAN BE DANGEROUS

There’s a reason that veterinary behaviorists, dog trainers and savvy owners blanched when they learned about this promotion. Why is that? Because while hugs are a natural HUMAN expression of comfort and love, they can send the opposite signal to your dog.

Children get bitten in the face as a result of inappropriate dog interaction (often hugs). Learn ways to help prevent dog bites here. There are other safer, more appropriate ways to show affection to dogs that the dog actually prefers!

“Oh no, you stupid, clueless person–you’re wrong wrong wrong, because MY DOG loves hugs, and every dog I’ve ever had loves hugs and everyone that I know has dogs that hug them back and loves hugs and…” 

Good. In this case I would LOVE to be wrong! If you have a dog that loves hugs and hugs you back, bravo. But that also begs the question, how do you know your dog “loves hugs?”

DEFINING “HUGS” & WHY DOGS HUG

A hug is an embrace, right? Arms go around the body and squeeze–that’s a hug. When do dogs clasp forelegs around another creature and squeeze? I can think of three scenarios:

  • Mating/Dominance displays
  • Prey capture
  • Fights/play fighting

So when your dog “hugs” you what is he saying? And what do your hugs tell him? As a vet tech years ago I was taught the “hug-restraint” technique to immobilize dogs for treatment, and I suspect the dogs were not fooled into thinking that was an expression of affection.

How do dogs actually show love? Here are 12 common ways.

Thank heavens our dogs for the most part are very flexible and forgive humans our sometimes clueless nature, LOL! I know that I’m grateful Magical-Dawg makes allowances when I don’t understand what he’s trying to tell me. At least with people, you can explain your intentions. That can be a challenge with dogs.

FORCING HUGS–IS IT FAIR?

I don’t have two-legged children. But I’ve witnessed gatherings where babies and toddlers get passed around to strangers who hug, pinch cheeks, bounce up and down, and ooh-and-aw over the cuticity. I think we’ve all seen kids wail in protest or fall silent with fear while a clueless relative or acquaintance –or a pediatrician?–insists on continued “loving but unwanted attention.” When you were a kid, do you remember that certain relative who caused no end of angst because as a kid you had no choice but to put up with the hugs, smooches, and cheek pinches? At least with older children, parents can explain what’s going on and help guide the adult (hopefully) into less scary interactions.

As much as we want to believe they read our minds and understand our words, dogs misunderstand a lot–and we misunderstand an equal portion of what they say. Hugs are supposed to express affection and love. So if a hug causes stress, fear, discomfort to the dog you adore, is it fair to inflict those feelings because it “feels good” to the owner?

BUT–MY DOG LOVES HUGS!

Yes, many dogs can learn to tolerate–or even love hugs from a trusted human. For those who have taken the time to do this, BRAVO! Many dogs also can learn to tolerate or love tooth brushing–so is it responsible for a company with dental products to promote sticking your hands in the dog’s mouth, or is it better to explain how to do so safely?

Magical-dog loves close contact. He often pushes his head and shoulders into my lap or squeezes his face under my arm. Is he asking for a hug? I suspect it’s this type of behavior that confuses many of us–but see, he controls that interaction. My arms haven’t come down around him to capture/hold/prevent movement. So some of the confusion, I suspect, has to do with semantics and how people define a hug.

How do you know your dog “loves” hugs? What does your dog do when s/he receives a hug? Do you know what each of these signals mean? Are you sure? Click on a link or two to see if you’re right!

My post seems to have hissed off a large number of folks who remain convinced their dogs love hugs. That’s great. But my entire purpose with these blogs, my books, pet advocacy and more is to EMPOWER PET OWNERS TO MAKE INFORMED CHOICES.

To stand silent and do nothing hurts my soul. I was an expert witness in a dog bite trial where a child was severely injured by a dog she adored–and the dog adored her as well. Read about that in this blog post.

If hissing off some readers saves one child from the trauma of a bite, or one family from the heartbreak of losing a beloved dog by mis-reading intent–I’m fine with that.

Now then, I’ll don my flame-resistant sparkles and prepare for comments. Do your dogs like hugs? How do you know? For trainers and behavior folks out there, how do you help people understand safe dog handling? 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 with excerpts from the forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND, and pet book give-aways!

Woof Wednesday: How To Talk To Dogs

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Puppy

"Say, what? I don't get it..." Image copr. Lewis Gardner

Once you understand the language of dogs and what your puppy “says” with his barks, wagging tail talk and other body language, you’ll know how to talk to a dog with effective puppy communication. Remember that your puppy is not a mind reader and what’s “normal” behavior for people may be a totally foreign language and offensive to dogs. Instead, you can use “dog talk” to get your message across. Here’s an article with some detailed “do’s and don’ts” about how to talk to your dog.

Are there certain words, phrases or silent signals (hand gesture commands?) that you’ve taught your dog? Did you teach them, or did the dog simply pick them up? Magic understands “car ride” and “Frisbee” and learned on his own, but I taught him hand signals for sit, down and wait. Here’s the first in what I hope will be a series of Ask Amy videos on how to talk to your dog. What else would you like to see?

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 pet book give-aways!

Ask Amy-Why Is My Dog A Licking Maniac?

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Sebastion and Mabel

Sometimes licking goes a wee bit overboard! This is Sebastion and Mabel (thanks to Copr. Esagirl for sharing!)

Dogs lick for all kinds of reasons. We like to think of those slurpy tongue-swipes as canine kisses, and certainly they can be a way for your pet to show affection. In puppies, licking can be a way to show deference to an older dog and even adult dogs may use licks to show respect to their people. It may even be a way for dogs to show their love.

Dogs also use lip licking as an appeasement gesture. These are signals that other dogs  interpret, “I mean no threat.”You may catch your dog lip-licking when he feels stressed in a strange environment at the vet, for example.

Licking also is used to self-groom, but that can get out of hand when a dog lick-lick-licks a sore such as a hot spot. Other times, dogs just lick out of boredom when it becomes a habit or they’re rewarded in some way for the behavior.

Magical-Dawg loves to lick my hands after I’ve used lotion. Or when I’ve eaten (by hand) KFC or something similar. I’ve also heard reports of dogs who lick-lick-licked a particular spot on the owner that–once examined by a human doc–turned out to be cancer! While licking has many potential reasons, from serious to innocuous, it shouldn’t be shrugged off, either.

Today’s Ask Amy describes yet another licking issue. Yes, dogs can have OCD problems. Have you ever had a dog who displayed obsessive-compulsive behaviors? Magical-Dawg is pretty obsessive about his Frisbee (he has a 6-Frisbee-A-Day habit). That’s the way I keep Magic happy–how do you know your dog is happy? How would you deal with a dog that licks everything all the time?

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 & Pet Talk

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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.

Awesome Shirt Folding Tips! from Margaret Miller’s Blog, this is amazing, you gotta see!

Own Your Beauty–It’s Contagious from the awesome blogger Myndi Shafer

Facebook Timeline Tips from Lorie Huston

WRITER SCHTUFF

Kansas Writers Association “Scene 2012” Writer Workshop, and yes, I’m a speaker offering sessions on “kindle-ization” and “media training for authors.” Come say howdy…I’ll be wearing the sparkles (surprise!)

AgentFest, a part of Thrillerfest with some awesome opportunities for writers (yes, I’ll be there)

Branding For Sissies Hey if I can do this so can you. Just sayin’ . . .

Book Club for Authors/Readers a fee-based sign up for authors to get works-in-progress in front of readers for feedback.

RWA®’s Kiss of Death Chapter presents~~ The 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery Suspense

Heightening Suspense from Guest Blogger Jodie Renner

Gorgeous Mousepads! for spiffing up you office decor (yes, I want one of these…)

Writer Beware on Trusting Sources (or Not)

Turning Author Site Into A Store tips from Jen Talty

Tribr How-To from the awesome Jenny Hansen

PINTEREST SCHTUFF

Pinterest for Biz

How Pinterest Engages Better than Twitter Et Al,

How Random House Uses Pinterest

Pinterest Boo-Boos to Beware

Embrace Your Inner Doberman from Sonia Medeiros, good info for anyone including writers

PETS & ANIMAL SCHTUFF

VAFA Shelter Now on PetFinder yeee-haw! This is the FIRST animal shelter in Iran, and dogs fostered in the US now can find their forever-homes via PetFinder connection. Here’s a video you MUST SEE of two rescue GSD-mix pups on grass for the first time.

Pet Industry Estimates $53 Billion Spending

9 Dental Issues You Share With Pets, my latest at Huffington Post

Zero Odor Wins Product of the Year Award! If you haven’t tried this product, check it out

A Beloved Horse Lost–and Found! this is a 3-hanky story you’ll love!

Lost Woman’s Cat Never Leaves Her Side

Australia’s Love-Hate with the Dingo

Greyhound Races Thing of the Past?

Animal Sounds Around the World you say toMAtoe, and I say meow…

NPR Transcript Discusses Animal-Human Bond Benefits

So…what’s the cat saying? And does the toddler understand? Are both “learning” from the communication?

Totally tongue-in-cheek how animals talk (or beak in feathers…)

Westchester Cat Show Interview

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: Cat Fonts, Book Reviews & Animal Stars

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.

For the next three nights we’ll be rehearsing and fine-tuning the premier performances this Thursday, Friday and Saturday of KURVES, THE MUSICAL! Last week our preview performance received raves, and we got a GREAT REVIEW in Sunday’s paper, yee-haw! (see comments on the KURVES page) and ticket sales continue to be enthusiastic. But I know that I’ll be worthless this week, and am grateful to two terrific guest bloggers who will provide your Woof Wednesday and Feline Friday furry fixes while I pursue thespian endeavors.

Meanwhile, I’ve been busy creating more puppy-licious content (some of it listed, below). To start the blog off on the right paw, check out these two new books by awesome colleagues and authors. Whether you have the urge to gift a pet-loving friend with a title, or indulge yourself, you can’t get better.

They say that confession is good for the soul–and Alia Zobel Nolan channels her ‘inner dog’ to get to the bottom of some of your furry miscreant’s antics. This fun gift book with gorgeous photos is great fun and leave you second guessing your own dogs’ motivation. Read my review here. Oh, and for the cat-centric folks, Allia has another great companion book titled I’d Rather Be A Cat: The Official “Better Than Dogs” Cat Book.

Touching, inspirational stories abound in David Frei’s latest book. Angel On A Leash celebrates therapy dogs as well as the therapy dog organization of the same name. Check out my review here.

WRITER-ICITY SCTHUFF

The Publishing Pole Vault, from traditionally to self publishing, interesting blog

Giving Away Books–Huh? Here’s why it’s a good thing

Bob Mayer on Story Ideas & Conflict, a must-do online workshop!

Why Poets Should Avoid Agents

William Bernhardt Writer Workshops

Left Coast Crime Conference 2012 in Sacramento!

Writers League of Texas Agent Conference

2012 Oklahoma Book Awards Finalists Named

WG2E–New Online Bulletin Board for Self-Pub’d Writers

WEIRD BUT FUN SCHTUFF

Prevent Sinning with The Sin Collar from the awesome blogger Jenny Hansen…where does she find this stuff!?

Cats As Fonts This could go under any of the cat-egories today.

PET SCHTUFF

World Spay Day February 28

FixNation is an LA-based nonprofit that works with more than 7,000 volunteers to implement TNR (trap-neuter-return) of feral cats. They loan traps out to the community, teach volunteers how to trap and provide information about colony management and seek funding to maintain this level of outreach. To date, they’ve “fixed” more than 65,000 cats and also offers low-cost services for companion cats.

Cat Hero Saves Owner’s Life Hours After Adoption! You may have heard of diabetic-alert dogs–well here’s a cat doing the same thing, and more!

Ohio Pit Bull Discrimination Ends

Animal Abuser Registry?

Where Do Research Cats & Dogs Come From? You’d be surprised…or maybe not. New rules …

Toxoplasmosis–the Truth! neat info from the Worms and Germs blog

Westminster Benching Moves from the Gardens!

Hybrid Vigor? Baloney! Interesting article from a vet, no less.

Update on Canine Heartworm Disease, in honor of February being American Heart Health Month.You can also help support feline heart health with donations to the Winn Feline Foundation’s Ricky Fund that seeks solutions to feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

February is National Pet Dental Care Month so check out these articles on puppy teething (when does it STOP!), a how-to primer on brushing puppy teeth, and an informative article on canine dental health.

5th annual ACVO/Merial National Service Dog Eye Exam Event More than 200 board certified veterinary ophthalmologists throughout the U.S., as well as Canada and Puerto Rico, are estimated to provide free sight-saving eye exams to thousands of eligible service animals. Registration for service animal owners and handlers begins April 1, 2012 at www.ACVOeyeexam.org

Birdy Movie Star! visits Dr. Rayya, you don’t want to miss this gorgeous parrot

MORE Animal Stars in time for scene stealing awards

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: Writing, Acting & Pets oh my!

Maxine

"Maxine" the owner of the gym in Kurves, Texas.

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.

This past weekend I finished the orchestration for the overture and exit music for KURVES, THE MUSICAL. Tonight we have a photographer coming for cast pictures during the show. That photo above is during a rehearsal–and that’s my co-author–to give you an idea of the flavor of the show. *s* If you’re in the N. Texas region I hope you’ll join us for this fun time. Rehearsals are a blast, we have a wonderful cast and the venue is outstanding. A reviewer will see the show this week, and we’ll have our premier March 1, 2, 3.

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

Just Breathe! stress relief tips from awesome author and blogger Joy Held

Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2011  so do you agree?

The Writing for Children Competition seeks submissions for all ages of young people, from picture books to young adult (YA) stories. The Writers’ Union of Canada is pleased to launch its 16th annual Writing for Children Competition, which invites writers to submit a piece for children up to 1,500 words in the English language that has not previously been published in any format. A $1,500 prize will be awarded to an unpublished Canadian writer, and the entries of the winner and finalists will be submitted for consideration to three publishers of children’s books. The deadline for entries is April 24, 2012.

Pinterest for Authors, good tips from Carla Stewart

Writers–You’ve Been Replaced by a Bot this gives me chills and it’s not sci-fi any longer.

R.L. Stine Posts Horror Story on Twitter  Talk about “short short stories…” is this the wave of the future?

AUTHOR BEWARE discusses the pros and cons (lots of cons!) of  BookTango, an ebook aggregator for self-published authors has been released by  Author Solutions (owner of the iUniverse, Xlibris, AuthorHouse, and Trafford brands, and the power behind the outsourced self-publishing divisions of Harlequin and Thomas Nelson, among others).

Kirkus Launches Editing Service for Self-Pub’d Authors

SAG + AFTRA = ???  Information on the merger of Screen Actors Guild & American Federation of Television and Radio Artists

PET SCHTUFF

Dog Flags for helping signal your dog’s attitude in advance–“I’m Shy” or “I’m Friendly” for the humans who can’t read doggy communication. Neat idea!

Help for Feral Cats from Examiner writer Stacy Ritz

Westminster Steps In It  Those who watched the dog show will be interested in this discussion by savvy dog-centric folks (be sure to read the comments, too, this is a keeper!).

Super-k9.com Presents Cara Shannon – Dallas/Addison 2012. This two day workshop shows professional dog trainers how to set up ongoing admission classes for reactive, aggressive, and shy dogs. Cara’s methods are all science-based and positive and are focused on not only changing behavior in the dogs but also on changing the emotional response of the dog.

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: A Roundup for Valentine’s Day

Cats of Egypt--helping Egypt's animals . . .

Monday Mentions didn’t happen yesterday because I was head-down on final edits for my THRILLER. I sent it to the publisher last evening, whew! And then I hurried off to KURVES rehearsal and didn’t even get to watch the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show when I got home. Yep, these days I meet myself running, but it’s all good.

I’ve got news! I learned that my new Puppies Website won a MAJOR AWARD, the Maxwell Medallion, from the Dog Writers Association of America, woot! The awards were presented Sunday night in New York and since I’m in rehearsals, I couldn’t be there but some seriously talented dog-savvy folks were honored.

Today just for Valentine’s Day I’ve compiled a 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.

PET SCHTUFF

Lorraine Chittock celebrates Cairo’s cats, with glorious photos–and donations to a wonderful Egyptian animal welfare organization. Check out the book Cairo Cats! pictured above.

International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants annual behavior conference, all about cats, dogs, therapy animals, horses and parrots! Early bird registration goes away in 6 days . . .

California Roll-Back on Pet Protection Laws? from terrific blogger BJ Bangs

14 Ways Your Cat Loves You from my good friend and cat behavior expert Sally Bahner

Inking for Dollars–tattoos benefiting shelters!

Dogs Deserve Better sent 19,000 Valentine cards to dog owners who chain their dogs all day long!

WRITING SCHTUFF

Books-A-Million and Indigo Books join B&N in the Amazon boycott  along with Amazon may open brick & mortar store in Seattle

Helpful post about How to “Gift” an Ebook for Reviews

OKC University Creative Writing Festival the art of laughter and thrills in creative writing

Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society Writing Contest

Why HATING FACEBOOK Costs You Book Sales, you really need to read this

Dreamin’ with Jennifer Lawler, how her editing/publishing dream came true and she wants YOUR book, too! from

Keeping Current Without Being Overwhelmed, from Lorie Huston’s blog for Socially Savvy Pet Bloggers

Dirty Fighting, techniques to spice up your fiction, from the awesome Jenny Hansen, plus heart-pounding visceral responses from guest blogger Margie Lawson

How NOT to Get Burned Out from Kristen Lamb, social media maven

Dirty Publishing–DON’T DO IT! Great post on independent author’s ethics from Jeremy Robinson

Updating Your Ebook--how to do it.

Writers Guide to E-Pub now features the awesome Jen Talty from WhoDaresWinsPublishing.com, SQUEEEE!

Score Your Book Title, some great tips for designing a winner (with a very cool “test”) from great blogger Linda Joyce

Overdone Plotlines–yikes! Is yours in there?

Gene Lempp’s Blog Treasures, even more good stuff!

Babe the Sheep Pig has nothin’ on Champis, the bunny–wowsers!

Don’t try this at home–unless you’ve got year’s of experience, trustworthy dogs, and lots of supervision but–wow, ain’t this a fun video?!

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! NOTE a special Valentine’s Day issue will go out later this afternoon.