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Monday Mentions: Pet Resolutions & Lotsa Links

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Seren & Magic

Happy New Year--Hissssssssss, waggggggity-wag!

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo links and videos and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. But since I took last week off (BAD Amy!), today’s offers a bumper crop of linky-luv. Scroll down toward the bottom of the blog for some of what y’all missed while indulging in holiday-blog-truant-behavior.

It wasn’t all beverages & bons-bons, either because one Christmas present was a winter cold. Ewww. But the past several day I managed to get through another pass on my thriller-icity WIP, yay!

Tuesday Tips continues the how-to nonfiction book proposal series. And the Ask Amy videos gear up in the next weeks (Yes, I’ve got some kewl sparkles to share!). Send your Ask Amy suggestions  or I’ll just come up with my own ideas, and you know how dangerous THAT could be.

New children's book from Franny Syufy!

Have you “resolved” to finally publish that book? My friend Franny has a new kids book out. Franny Syufy is the Cats Guide over at cats.About.com and a terrific writer. I don’t have kids that can read but if you do, check it out. Lucy, the Loch Ness Llama looks delightful.

It’s 2012, wow. A new year is a time for reflection on the past, and resolutions for the future. My furry crew tells me it’s a good time to take stock of the past year from a pets’-eye-view, and the year to come.

The Magical-dawg romped through the year and had no missteps for once. Could it be he’s mellowing? He’s only five—and still keeps me on my toes. Seren-kitty has reached the grand age of 14 and noticeably slowed down. She sleeps more, I see sprinkles of white in her black mask, her claws click when she walks (arthritis makes it hard to keep them hidden) but pestering the dog keeps her engaged in life. I pray that the years will touch me as lightly as they have my little Siamese wannabe.

So here are New Year’s Resolutions from Magic and Seren, with commentary by Amy. (Scroll down to the bottom for lots of

Magic:  “I will train my humans to toss balls with better aim.”

Amy: He insists on fetch both inside the house and out. So I resolve to keep breakables out of tossed-ball-range.

Seren:  “I will train my humans to offer more treats, more often—away from the (spit) dawg.”

Amy: She insists on “guarding” me during meals, and will even chase Magic away. So I resolve to keep the furry wonders away with the pet-gate closed during meals and only “treat” in the appropriate pet bowl. (Same one as last year—didn’t last long then either!)

Magic: “I will kill all squeakers and chew sticky-out wrong parts on toys.”

Amy: He amputates teddy-bear ears, steals cat toys, and ends up with sparkly poop. I resolve to find a Magic-proof squeaky stuffed toy—been looking for years now—and retire Seren’s catnip mice and sparkle balls since she no longer plays with them anyway.

Seren: “I will run midnight races up and down the stairs to get the (spit) dawg in trouble.”

Amy: She particularly enjoys late night gallops from my office down the stairs and back again. Amazing how quickly an old-lady cat can move. I resolve to keep Magic corralled so that Seren can enjoy her rock-around-the-clock antics for as long as she continues to want to race.

Magic: “I will grab all the water from the hose, and dig out water from the pool every day.”

Amy: To keep Magic from drinking tainted tank water we introduced hose tag to keep him cool, and found a wading pool for the hottest days. I resolve to find a bigger wading pool that holds more water to cool off my hot dog.

Seren: “I will drink my fountain dry.”

Amy: Seren loves sipping from running water, and she got a new “cat fountain” this year. She loves it so much I’ve had trouble keeping it full—or perhaps her kidneys are showing wear and tear. I resolve to keep the cat fountain full and get her kidneys checked—whether she likes it or not.

Magic: “I will train Amy to play with the Frisbees—all 12 of them—ALL THE TIME!”

Amy: Magic obsessed over the Frisbees. He’s learned to catch and retrieve them, if Amy can throw them correctly. And yes, he’ll stack and carry as many as I throw. I resolve to keep a supply of fresh Frisbees handy for the times Magic loses them (or they’re stolen by coyotes).

Seren: “I will train Amy the right way to play with the fishing-pole ALL THE TIME!”

Amy: Seren enjoys fishing pole lures and other toys. But Magic gets frustrated he can’t play, too, and barks—which takes the joy out of her game. I resolve to keep the bedroom door closed during chase-the-bug tag games with Seren.

Magic: “I will steal Frisbees back from thieving coyotes.”

Amy: Magic lost half a dozen somewhere on the 13-acre property. Several we’ve found far from where they fell, carried away by varmints—and often peed on. I resolve to improve my Frisbee aim.

Seren: “I will sleep more, hiss less. Except around the dog.”

Amy: Seren’s blue bed rests on the dining room table under a stained glass lamp shade.  It’s out of reach of her nemesis, and a favorite spot especially on chilly winter days. I resolve to invest in light bulbs to keep the kitty “heat lamp” on at all times.

Magic: “I will go for a ride forever!”

Amy: Magic continues his love affair with the Magic-Mobile. Last year we invested in a safety barrier to keep him in the back seat since he wants to drive. I resolve to give Magic a car ride at least every other day, pending good weather.

Seren: “I will torment the dawg (hiss) at every opportunity! And pretend I don’t like him.”

Amy: Seren’s favorite game is to get Magic in trouble. But lately I’ve noticed when she “calls” him and he arrives, she allows a few mutual sniffs with cordial mews before her head spins around and she morphs into evil-kitty. I resolve to “pretend” that I don’t notice Seren actually sorta-kinda-in-a-way likes the (hiss) dog.

Seren: “I will train Amy there’s more to nine lives than paw-tapping and staring at a boxy computer-thing. Like catnip. And whisker-kisses.”

Magic: “I will train Amy that naps together are a good thing. So are tummy rubs.”

Amy: I resolve to listen to my furry wonders. What about you?

WRITING SCHTUFF

Write-It-Forward workshop schedule, includes classes with the awesome Bob Mayer, Kristen Lamb and Natalie C. Markey

Super E-Reads for all your E-book needs! Awesome site–yes, I got my books listed, and it includes my Ask Amy videos, very kewl!

Will You Finish STRONG? awesome blog and video from Colin Falconer–just what we need to start the New Year.

Reasons NOT to Self-Publish a guest post from Gary Gauthier on the awesome Jenny Hansen’s blog. Jenny the techno-genius also offers these awesome tips for how-to format your fiction.

Fiction Editing Tips from Alexandra Sokoloff’s blog

5 Common Writing Hazards from Kristen Lamb

Writing A Killer Thriller Part 3 from Jodie Renner’s guest blog over at Doug Lyle’s

KDP Select introduced, a way of “loaning” your Kindle books for a share of the pot. Hmnnnn. Oh, and the Amazon Kindle books are now also sold in Spain and Italy.

ANIMAL SCHTUFF

National Train Your Dog Month from Association of Pet Dog Trainers (you can find terrific help at this site). For new puppies, of course I recommend my own puppy-licious site. *s*

Top 5 Heart-Warming Humans from JaneA Kelly’s Catster Blog

Dogs In Canada, an awesome magazine, has stopped publication.

PetHub with scan-able pet tags partners with American Humane to keep pets safe and reunite lost pets with owners. Awesome technology, check it out.

How Cats Communicate with Owners and in this video, how a cat soothes a crying baby SWEET!

UC-Davis Center for Companion Animal Health publishes an awesome newsletter and covers studies addressing diseases of cats, dogs and other small pets. Check out this article about a 13-year-old pet Nigerian Dwarf, named Gabby with pneumonia saved by a ventilator.

#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.  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!

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!

Tuesday Tips: Dragons, Mountains & Publishing

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Cuchara 2011 110

I miss my mountains!

Last week I was in the mountains of Colorado–BLISS!–communed with nature, beverage, bling, friends, and fictioning (not necessarily in that order). The past several week’s Tuesday Tips have been a great help for me sharing insight from best-selling thriller authors. And I harvested a bumper crop of all-things-writerly and meant to include them in yesterday’s Monday Mentions but there were just too dang many. So you’ll find ’em here. But first a little introspection.

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Meet Maurice, my dragon muse who keeps my fictioning ass-ets on target.

Like many bookworm rabid readers I thought that I could write a novel. And I tried, oooh how I tried! My first agent told me my work was wonderful, awesome, spectacular and that when the movie-of-the-week came out, I should play the lead. Wow! Of course, that was long ago in a galaxy far away when I’d only just fallen off the writerly turnip truck and PAID said agent for those glowing reviews. (See WRITER BEWARE blog listed below). Four novels later that agent got dumped–hey I was a slow learner!–and I’d begun selling articles while I searched for another agent for the fiction.

Low and behold, the articles garnered my first book contracts when an editor from Nooo Yawk contacted ME to write The Cat Companion followed by several other pet books–all without an agent. The search for an agent continued, and one in particular turned down the fiction but wanted to see nonfiction efforts–together we sold probably 15 pet care titles. I guess you could say the fiction gave me my book career, yet that success shoved novels and article writing aside.

Fast forward to the present–Nooo Yawk no longer calls or even picks up the phone or opens the email for pet books unless the author also has a network TV show or has slept with the wrong famous person. Print magazines that launched my own and others’ careers are gone or fading fast. Online writing for pennies a page or for the “glory” of a byline has begun the new paradigm. Agents can’t sell books because editors are afraid to buy.

Ebooks are the (current) king! Scary crappiocca but exciting, too. Never before have writers and authors had so much control–IF they take that leap. Once I’d finished pounding my head bloody against the wall and gnashing teeth over the changes, my books took that Ebook plunge and Internet articles became my bread and virtual butter. So how are you managing the changes in your writing life? Still angsting over schtuff that you can’t change or taking the bull-hocky by the ballz and making a difference in your career?

Oh, it’s still scary. Y’all know that now I’m the Puppies Guide at About.com, and they’ve just announced ABOUT.COM LAYOFFS, YIKES!  The “contributing writers” program at About.com (a New York Times company) was summarily dumped last week with little more than a week’s notice to the freelancers providing 12 or more pieces of “content” per month to various guide sites. In addition, 15 “channel editors” were laid off as well (see the link). After working for nearly a year as a contributing writer (CW) to the cats.About.com Guidesite before creating the spanking-new puppies.About.com Guidesite this comes as a shock to me and others working for the company. CWs are encouraged to apply for open Guide positions or the new “Topic Guide” program.  And any other writer with the credentials may also apply and find it a rewarding venue.

I’ll be releasing new nonfiction pet books in the months ahead but there’s never been a better time to return to fiction. I’m taking a fun Email course from Lawson Writer’s Academy from Tiffany Lawson Inman on the Triple Threat Behind Staging A Scene. I won the course (YAY!) from my blogging buddy Jenny Hansen. See? you can find all kinds of kewl schtuff reading, sharing and commenting on other folks’ blogs! Speaking of blogs and other writer-icity tips, take a look at the following for some great insight, tips and inspiration.

BLOG DESIGN 101, some helpful tips on color, font and more

8 TIPS FOR WRITING THE PERFECT BLOG from Lorie Huston, great writer and animal lover (she’s a vet, too!), all about keywords and tags and more.

PLEASE SIGN MY KINDLE!  here’s how...

PERFECT STORM LOOMS IN PUBLISHING from Bob Mayer’s Write-It-Forward

AWESOME NOVEL DIAGNOSIS TIPS, a peek inside the head (wowie!) of Kristen Lamb

REVISING & POLISHING YOUR NOVEL, guest blogger Jodie Renner at DP Lyle’s blog.

AMAZON’S KINDLE FIRE (TABLET), blog discussion from David Gaughran, and another great post on the topic from Jason Pinter

WRITER BEWARE! Aspen Mountain Press and also a great post on BAD CONTRACT CLAUSES

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: Dogs, Cats, Babies and Treats

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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 lots of dogs, cats, babies and sweet treats. Some of the PEOPLE SCHTUFF at the bottom may appeal to writers for plot twists and the like. ALERT–I had so much writer-icty info that it’s been bumped to tomorrow’s Tuesday Tips blog so stay tuned, you won’t want to miss that.

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.

Defending the Defenseless: A Guide to Protecting and Advocating for Pets a new book by my colleague Allie Phillips, outlines how you can do more to help companion animals. I’ve not yet had the pleasure of reading this book but it sounds wonderful, as it covers the people and organizations who are taking extraordinary steps to help animals. The book can show you how to get involved, from the simplest of tasks to more extensive involvement. Allie writes, “If we all just take one small step to help pets, we will launch the tipping point to end cruelty and homelessness.” Amen to that!

BABY SCHTUFF

Many of y’all know Pam Johnson Bennett as a cat behavior expert and author–the QUEEN of cat wisdom! But did you know she’s also mom to two-legged kid? She conspired with another screamingly funny mom to create COOKIES FOR DINNER because they say mothers don’t need another “how to” book on parenting. What they need is to know that they’re not the only ones who stand on the supermarket checkout line and share potty training horror stories with total strangers. (Lordy, sounds like me talking about the puppy poop-athon keep-away game, urk!). Amazon share this about the authors and book:

“Pam and Kae are two mothers who bravely (or insanely) fess up about the roller-coaster ride of motherhood. Kae went into labor four months after her husband left to move in with his girlfriend and also the precise day her house was tented for ticks… yes, ticks! Pam is a worrying germophobe who, at the ripe old age of 47 entered into the world of diapers and all things poop… You’ll also discover when it’s appropriate to have a conversation with Guatemalan insects and what it’s like going to bed with normal-sized breasts the night before giving birth and then waking up with the equivalent of a dairy farm on your chest.”

RISKY BABY BUSINESS from Jenny Hansen is a new blog (Saturdays) for anyone who has ever had a less-than-routine pregnancy–offered with compassion and not a little humor. I love all of Jenny’s blogs but this one is particularly helpful for parents-to-be.

SWEET DOGGY & KITTY SCHTUFF

Kawai Cat Sweets


KITTY TREATS FOR PEOPLE, YUM!  And no, I’m not talking about munching kitty toes–these are feline theme only.

MORE KITTY TREATS–BLING!--helping ACR cats via Wendy Christensen cat jewelry, and that’s MY kind of treat! Here’s the necklace that I have…and no you can’t have it!

DOGTOPIA PRIMPS PETS IN THE PINK for breast cancer awareness. Dogs across the country will get primped and pampered in October, all in the name of breast cancer awareness and research. Dogtopia, a full-service dog day care, spa and boutique with locations throughout the U.S. is ‘fighting for the cure’ in their second annual “Paws for Pink” campaign.

DOGS HELP FIGHT BULLYING  It makes sense. Having a dog nearby cools a kid’s stress, which more than likely fans the flames of bully behavior. So if a bully breed can chill the chillun, I’m all for it. Great program! And you don’t even need a REAL dog to make it work (although hands-on-petting certainly is more fun for everyone involved).

HARRY POTTER’S DOG NEEDS NEW HOME, say it ain’t so!

FERAL CAT COLONY SUCCESS by feline-fantastic blogger Sally Bahner, and another neato torpedo story about FERALS WIN BIG AT CAT SHOW.

STAINED GLASS ANIMAL ART CONTEST, ooooooooooooooh, shiny! Submit any animal design in art glass, ceramics, mosaics or jewelry (Wendy, are you listening?). Some of y’all know in my spare time I make stained glass windows and lampshades (yes, I bleed for my art). This contest is way tempting.

KITTY CAME BACK after a flood–whew! Rough experience but happy ending from Darlene Jone’s blog

HOME EUTHANASIA FOR PETS, a kinder, gentler final gift of love?

PEOPLE SCHTUFF

BIRTH CONTROL PILLS ALTER MEMORY….for what? Read the article.

WORLD RABIES DAY in BALI by Sophia Yin, DVM

DEPRESSED? GET CAFFEINATED! Coffee may keep depression at bay (yee-haw, vindication!)

DEPRESSION PREDICTS DEMENTIA?   So I’m increasing the caffeination quotient, how about you?

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!

Monday Mentions: Muses, BlogPaws, Monsters & More Crappiocca

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This Chinese Crested puppy knows how to keep cool! Must be talking to the Magical-Dawg.

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo links and blogs and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. So I had to share these lovely pictures taken by photographer  Robbie Goodall when he posted them in my Puppy Publishing group on Flicker and there’s a Flickr Kitty Publishing group too. A number of these great pictures will also get posted over at the Puppies site but of course you can post ’em directly there with details about your baby dog’s gotcha day and more. Check out the links, below, and please don’t be shy about sending me your own links or suggestions for others to highlight.

Just back from the chiropractor and after several weeks of  therapy, I’m feeling–well–stretchy. I can bend, I can pick up stuff (with care), I can walk the Magical-Dawg without flinching, and I just regained an extra hour a week to work. That’s because I’ve graduated from twice weekly sessions to once a week.

I needed the adjustment to my attitude and work schedule as much as rehab, though. Sometimes it takes a wallop upside the head–or a pain in the back while weeding now-crunchy roses–to wake up and realize nothing should be taken for granted. Pay attention to the little things so the big stuff won’t fall off the truck and leave you stranded. Anyway, that’s the plan.

The accompanist at church fell and broke her shoulder this past weekend when her daughter’s 100+ pound Labrador took off during a walk and jerked her off her feet. That means I’ll be at the keyboard in her place until she heals–or the dog learns to heel, I suppose. That reminds me of the time I broke my wrist while bathing my dog–hurt sooooo bad, and the back injury rivaled that pain.

Now taking care of my back and my health has become part of the daily schedule, alongside checking email, writing the blog, meeting and beating writerly deadlines. When I spend quiet time with the stretches or ice pack or treadmill, it forces me to slow down and think–really think–about what’s important, and focus on the goals of the moment, the day, the week. I just wrote and posted 9 new articles over at the Puppies site–and plan to work on fictioning this week. What are your plans?

Writer-icity Info You Want To Know

Writers, didja know about the wealth of cell phone info available? From Dr. Lyle’s wonderfully useful blog, great stuff to include in your fiction!

The Printed Book is Doomed–And Here’s Why

Another fantastic chock-full-‘o-info blog from Jenny Hansen–do writers need presentation skills? You betcha!

If you’re a writer, you MUST subscribe to the Writer Beware Blog from Victoria Strauss to stay ahead of the scams. These days, there’s new ones with “editors” and “agents” approaching self-pub’d Ebook authors and others. Know the score.

Google+ Monster? Clash of the Social Media Titans

Pet-Centric Stuff for Animal Lovers

Do you write about pets? Blog about ’em? Then check out BlogPaws and their upcoming paws-itively great conference that’s right around the corner.

My latest puppies.About.com article covers proper puppy identification–how do you keep your cats and dogs safe from going AWOL?

Last week’s Monday Mentions dealt with doggy poop pick up. My colleague read that and suggested equal time for the kitties.  Franny Syufy has some fanTAStic poop about cat poop–the radioactive kind–and what to do about it. And after all, isn’t all pet waste sort of (ahem) glow-in-the-dark-EWW?

Winn Feline Health Foundation Blog–stay up to the minute on cat-tastic health info.

China and dogs–NOT a happy story here when the government bans folks from owning dogs. What would YOU do? Sounds like a horror novel plot to me.

Paws Down on Latest Animal Planet Cat Show from my colleague Sally Bahner. What do YOU think?

AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day, coming to a city near you!

Marvelous elephant reunion–caught on tape! This pair hadn’t seen each other for 20 years. Totally moving and worth watching.

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!

Monday Mentions: Writer-icity, Dog Surfing & PeePee Dance

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Those who read the last Thoughty Thursday blog know I’ve been struggling with my back. I’m not supposed to sit for long periods of time and over the weekend had to focus on creating more puppy-licious behavior content. So I plan to keep the blogs pretty short-and-sweet this week. That doesn’t mean they won’t be chock-full of content, though!

I’ve collected some of my fav blog, article and video posts for today’s shout out. Enjoy! And please post your own suggestions for future Monday Mentions in the comments section.

WRITING SCHTUFF

Horror author Thom Reese on Growing Pains in Publishing

Author and terrific blogger Jenny Hansen asks Are Writers Now A Company of One?

David Gaughran’s outstanding blog covers writing and self publishing, and today asks Have Publishers Lost the Backlist Battle?

Kristen Lamb’s latest killer blog on Mastering Plot by Getting Primal

Ellie Ann Soderstrom puts writing, life and humanity in perspective in her PeePee Dance Blog

PET SCHTUFF

Dog Walker 8 has an excellent blog post on Pet Poisoning Dangers, check it out!

Curfew for Cats in Australia–say WHAT?

It’s not just dogs and cats that need rescue. Get your tissues ready–happy ending and AMAZING photos in this horse cruelty case detailed in Sarah K. Andrew’s Zodiac Blog

Let’s end on a happy furry–and WET note with these fun videos, enjoy! Do your cats or dogs love or hate the water?


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! By the way, I just updated the sidebar (on the right) with direct links to all the pet books–check ‘em out!

Monday Mentions: The Devil Made Me Do It!

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I’ve been a fan of Jim’s even before I met him at Thrillerfest a few year’s back, and then got to interview him for this Pet Peeves radio show about his Altar of Eden thriller featuring a veterinarian. So I can’t wait to read his latest Sigma Force novel.

Tomorrow, June 21st, is an all-day virtual launch party of James Rollins’ new book, The Devil Colony. If you’re a thriller lover, then you already know the name–and if you don’t, WOWZER you’re in for a treat!

Yep, that’s right, he’s a VETERINARIAN! A thriller guy who likes puppy dogs and kitty cats, yay! He even has some very cool swag available, with all proceeds benefiting the Humane Society of America (check it out!).

Oh, and did I mention, a thoroughly nice guy willing to talk to unknown wannabe thriller writers–like me. He may not even remember cuz I know he does this so often. But Jim is the reason my pet first aid book qualified me for full Thriller Writers membership when he was co-president with Steve Berry.

Did I already say–WOW!? Oh you devil, you! Just what were you thinking?

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"Devil Colony? Aha! A veterinarian finally wrote a tell-all about your family!"

And nope, he wasn’t under the influence of catnip–I can only think the Devil Made Him Do It. I know from devils. I live with a feline demon who answered to “Devil” long before her real name, because she got called that so often. And in turn, I make that sweet innocent kitty live with a “devil dawg” that’s an affront to feline-icity just by breathing the same air. As a behavior consultant, I deal with furry and human devilish behavior on a regular basis–and then there’s those devilish writing deadlines. Guess you could say the devil makes ME do it, too.

In fact, later today I’m giving a live Webinar on Senior Moments: Quality of Life Issues for Aging Pets (both cats and dogs). Sometimes I wonder if Magical-Dawg will survive to senior citizen canine status, while Seren-kitty is already well into her 9th life.

Let’s turn this devil-may-care c’attitude around and make dancing-with-the-devil a fun nose-thumbing event. Are you up for it? Join the virtual launch party tomorrow and give the Devil his due! Hang out with thriller authors, wear costumes, win prizes. My colleague Kristen Lamb (another Jim-Fan-Girl and a social media genius) came up with the idea so read all about Kristen’s devilish party plans here. You can learn more about James Rollins–the man, the author, the veterinarian–in the video below. Check out his books – here’s the full list.  And for those on Twitter, come party on Twitter at #DevilColony.

A slew of devilishly talented bloggers have already started the party ball rolling, so check ’em out:

Jenny Hansen’s Blog – Friday Devil’s Playground

Danielle Meitiv’s Blog – Digging Taters & Devilish Book Party

Piper Bayard’s Blog – On Life, Belly Dancing and Apocalyptic Annihilation

Tiffany White’s Friday FabOoolous Post on James Rollins

Writers in the Storm – Devilish Fun…A Worldwide Book Launch Party

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!