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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!

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: The New Baby & Suck It Up, Sweetheart!

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Rialto Max & Celia

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

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

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

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

Rialto view from stage

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

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

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

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

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

Rialto, KURVES set

The Kurves set awaits . . .

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

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

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

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Opening night cake courtesy of the Kurves cast!

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

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Opening night flowers from the cast.

kurves flowers

Closing night flowers from my husband--awwwww!

WRITING SCHTUFF

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

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

Kindle Nation Survey on reader habits, interesting info

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

Audio Books Anyone? Some how-to info

French Seize Digital Rights?! Writer Beware awesome blog!

Twitter Tips for Tweeps from my writing buddy Nita Beshear

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

DK Seeks Online Marketing Manager

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

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

PET SCHTUFF

10 Ways You Know Your Cat Rules You

AKC Names Most Popular Dog Breeds  is yours here?

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

Owners Concerns Re: Euthanasia & Care

Birthday Surprise: Wife gets namesake pet-adoption center

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

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

Why Cats Run the Internet and sell sell sell!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Thoughty Thursday WARNING!

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WARNING Will Robinson, WARNING!

A colleague of mine recently sent a link to something called the Writers Pitch Book that purports to “Connect Writers With Agents, Editors & Movie Producers.” The idea is that YOU (the author) send them your ‘pitch’ and they publish it in the book which goes out to the “right people” to get you noticed and published/produced.

Oh yeah, did I mention there’s a fee involved?

Shoot-fire, it’d be worth it to spend $50 to get your pitch before those with the golden keys to the kingdom, wouldn’t it? That’s what these folks bank on, people! Let’s take a deeeeeep breath and think for a minute.

TAKING ADVANTAGE, GRRRR!

What’s the benefit here? Well, you will get your pitch published. The “pitch book” certainly may be sent/delivered to all the movers-and-shakers in Nooo Yawk and Hollywood, very likely that will happen.

But why in the wide world of sports (or publishing/movie making) would those editors/agents WANT TO READ THIS FREAKIN’ BOOK? I mean, come on, people–agents and editors receive thousands (yes, that’s several zeros) of pitches a week. Not a year, but in a week. Ask yourself, just who is this publisher/person who has the means to persuade a busy editor or agent or (gasp!) movie producer to open up a book filled with pitches, sift through, and say, YES, I want to make YOU a star!

I apologize if this offends anyone but it makes me jump up and down and gnash teeth and say SIC-‘EM MAGICAL-DAWG! when anyone takes advantage of the hopeful aspirations of writers. There are many online sites that already purport to “connect writers with X” and they’re just as ineffective.

SCAMS, DREAM-KILLERS, SUCKING WRITERS DRY

Is it a scam? Well…some are, some aren’t especially if they do what they promise–publish a pitch and send that pitch to the agent. But the only people benefiting are the ones that take your check.  That sucking sound you hear is your wallet being lightened.

Similar “opportunities” are offered to actors for getting their head shots and resumes in front of casting directors–you submit your teeeeeny tiny picture and info to these ginormous catalogues that end up as a doorstop (at best) or hamster bedding (at worst).

Please, people. It’s never been easy to get work seen by editors, agents or producers. And nobody can do it for you. Instead of spending your hard earned money on one of these “short cuts” that don’t work, save those nickles and dimes and invest in a really good writer conference that allows you a face-to-face with an agent or editor. You’ll also hear success stories–and cautionary tales–from writers in the trenches, just like you.

I wish there was a magic wand–or magic book–that would do the job for you–and for me. If you ever happen to find that sparkly magic spell, please clue me in. Until then, watch out for the dream-killers. Protect your dream, it’s priceless, and don’t let ANYONE devalue your work with such things.

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.

Monday Mentions: Better Late Than Never Edition

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. And I’ve got a BOATLOAD of links today, so take your time, bookmark the entry for later if you like, and share with your friends.

Sorry this is a day late, but I’ve been head-down busy with the KURVES orchestration. Today is a catch-up day, and the Tuesday Tips next installment will be posted this afternoon.

WRITING SCHTUFF

Kindle Format 8 Launches in KDP    Kindle Format 8 (KF8), the new format for Kindle, allows you to take advantage of highlighting, colored text, text wrapped around images, bulleted lists, tables, and more! I understand the formatting guide has been simplified, and they also have conversion resources available.

Beware iBooks Author Contract!  Read this to learn what’s in the contract before you sign up (you give ’em the rights before you read the contract, yikes!)

Interview With Mark Coker of SMASHWORDS  Have you considered self publishing? SMASHWORDS allows you to create 9 different formats, from Ebooks to print-on-demand (POD). Here’s an awesome Power Point presentation from the man presented at California State Writers conference. Thanks to cat book author (Cat Mulan’s Mindful Musings) Margie Yee Webb for posting to Facebook!

Thrillers vs Mysteries, what’s the diff?

Writer Beware Blog on Copyright Infringement  Be careful you’ve got your OWN RIGHTS BACK when you self publish–some authors are getting sued. (HarperCollins vs Open Road)

Self-Pub’d Author Beware from the brilliant blog by JA Konrath (you MUST read this!)

“RESCUE” YOUR GOODREADS BOOKS! “At Goodreads, we make it a priority to use book information from the most reliable and open data sources, because it helps us build the best experience for our members. To that end, we’re making a major change. On January 30, Goodreads will no longer display book information that comes from Amazon. This includes data such as titles, author names, page counts…”

Authors, To keep your books I’m told you need to “rescue” your book. Click on the OTHER EDITIONS of your book listing and follow the steps.

Confessions Of A Publisher “We’re In Amazon’s sights and they’re going to kill us. . . ”

DOG SCHTUFF

Is Your Dog A Zen Master? Kewl study…includes why some German Shepherds may have a problem with impulse control (that explains Magical-Dawg’s ADD…)

Art and Science of Animal Training Conference in Denton, Texas has been extended to close February 1st due to technical difficulties with our website.
The schedule of events for the weekend is now available.

Dr. Ian Dunbar (he’s DA MAN!)  celebrates SIRIUS® Puppy Training’s 30th birthday with the launched of a new Puppy Raising Initiative at www.DogStarDaily.com in an attempt to coordinate all dog professionals — breeders, veterinarians, retailers, trainers, and shelters/rescues — to support and promote an educational program for prospective and new puppy owners.

Golden Collar Awards Nominations Announced This is for canine stars who appear in theatrical releases (movies, TV, stage). Fun stuff!

Stop Canine Flu in Shelters from the great folks at Morris Animal Foundation

CAT SCHTUFF

Oxygen Masks for Pets to save a life in case of fire. Do your fire fighters have these? Great blog from Chris Davis’s blog.

Feline-Alinity 101 from the ASPCA helps shelters evaluate kitty personality to provide the purrr-fect adoption match.

Reducing Kitty Colds in Shelter Cats  from the awesome Morris Animal Foundation

The Cat Coach has a shiny new website! Congrats to my writing/consultant colleague Marilyn Krieger (Note: she has an AWESOME book called Naughty No More).

JUST ONE DAY when euthanasia technicians put down their lethal syringes and instead pick up a camera to post pictures–and get those pets adopted! What are YOU doing on June 11, 2012? Spread the word–see who in your community will “take the pledge” for just one day of no-kill.

A friend shared this video and it made me giggle–DON’T TRY THIS WITH YOUR BIRDY FRIENDS without extreme caution.

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: Angry Cupid, Writer-icity & Pet Schtuff

KURVES LOGO, hi rez

Angry cupid says "Suck it up, sweetheart!"

Tonight we begin our third week of rehearsals for KURVES, THE MUSICAL which will premier at the renovated Rialto Theater in Denison, Texas on March 1, 2, and 3. Woot! So besides the regular writing to-do list, I’ve added learning lines, lyrics, and completing the orchestration for this week. If you’re in the neighborhood I hope you’ll check us out, we’re having a ball (and hope all the actors can keep straight faces, cuz there’s some seriously funny SCHTUFF in this show)!

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. And I’ve got a BOATLOAD of links today, so take your time, bookmark the entry for later if you like, and share with your friends. I’ll catch you later–after the orchestration-line-learning-theater-icity!

WRITERICITY SCHTUFF

Highlights for Children Publishing Job Opening and also for Art Director

Writerly Self Doubt SPEAR THE MONSTER from Alison Brennan

JA Konrath’s ‘REALITY CHECK’ on his Indy Pub success, a MUST READ for modern writers!

Bubble-Cow Editing Offers Query Letter Template

Super E-Reads changes name to Super E-Books and the new Twitter handle is @Super_EBooks and here’s the Facebook Page. Just goes to show you that you GOTTA check those pesky Trademarks. All the other links stay the same, and they’ve added a new feature for Super E-Books authors called “Friday Freebies” as a showcase for your free Super E-Books.

Do you write romance–or want to? Check out these online classes from Savvy Authors, Some Like It Hot: – Writing the Erotic Romance – Jan 30 – Feb 26 and The Sensual Novella– Feb 20 – Mar 18

Thoughty Book Review of Stephen Kings “On Writing” from Gene Lempp’s blog.

B&N May Spin Off Nook Business

Clean Reading? Yes, a book has been ‘published’ on a shower curtain.

Footprint Give-Aways from Doug Lyle’s awesome forensics blog, how a footprint might identify a killer

Man-Speak Defined from the seriously wise-ass (and fun!) Jenny Hansen. WARNING: Set your beverage aside before viewing the “brain” video. Oh, and here’s Man-Speak Part Two

10 Mis-Pronounced Words that make you sound like an idiot. NOTE: This is a companion piece to the dog-centric list of misspelled breed names, below.

A side note–this might explain a bit about (ahem) my own sense of humor to share the following from my musician/artist father. No, he didn’t create them but this is the type of “family game” we used to share around the dinner table, each trying to top the previous offering. So without further adieu:

FAMILY TREE OF VINCENT VAN GOGH

His dizzy aunt ———————————————– Verti Gogh
The brother who ate prunes——————————- Gotta Gogh
The brother who worked at a convenience store —— Stop N Gogh
The grandfather from Yugoslavia —————————– U Gogh
His magician uncle ——————————– Where-diddy Gogh
His Mexican cousin —————————————- A Mee Gogh
The Mexican cousin’s American half-brother ———— Gring Gogh
The nephew who drove a stage coach ————— Wells-far Gogh
The constipated uncle ————————————- Can’t Gogh
The ballroom dancing aunt ——————————– Tang Gogh
The bird lover uncle ————————————– Flamin Gogh
An aunt who taught positive thinking —————— Way-to-Gogh
The little bouncy nephew ———————————– Poe Gogh
A sister who loved disco ————————————– Go Gogh
And his niece who travels the country in an RV — Winnie Bay Gogh

3--black cat in garden--2-7-08

Managing Ferals Is A GOOD Thing!

CAT SCHTUFF

Loews Hotel Universal Florida & Feral Cats had a managed feral cat colony but has apparently decided to get rid of the cats–some have been trapped and taken to a local shelter to be killed. Click the link to learn more and sign a petition to urge the company to re-think this step.

Tips for Housing Feral Cats (positive info this time!) from the awesome Dr Deb Eldredge

CFA Foundation & Feline Historical Museum

DOG SCHTUFF

Professional Animal Behavior Associates (Canada) Offers Awesome “A SCIENTIFIC PRESENTATION AND STUDY OF WORKING DOGS 3-day seminar.  These are some of the best of the best in dog behavior and training, if you have interest and get the chance, go! (I’ve a conflict with a writer conference booooooo!)

Lovely article about DOGS IN CHURCH

Dog’s Microchip Returns Lost Child

dog licking nose

"Branding" Breeds? Tasteeeeeeeeeeee!

Everyone wants their pet to be “special” but has branding gone to the dogs? These are ‘real’ breeds of dog, as collected from license applications and want forms at a USA dog shelter:

  • Westminster Terrier
  • Rhode Island Ridgeback
  • Palmeranian
  • Copper Spaniel
  • Cocker Spaniard
  • Black Labrador (from a license app, dog’s color was yellow)
  • Shit Sue
  • Dorky Terrier
  • Lopso Apso
  • El Paso (attempt at Lhasa Apso)
  • Highland Heeler
  • Alaskan Malibu
  • Belgian Manawa
  • Belgium Malenoise
  • Basket Hound
  • Bagle
  • Welch Corgi
  • Wild Haired Terrier
  • Carrion Terrier
  • Wineamimer
  • Rockwelders
  • Rottenwiler
  • Great Pekingese (supposed to be Pyrenees)
  • Great Pyramid
  • Miniature Datsun
  • Irish Settler
  • Jack Daniels Terrier
  • German Police Man
  • Chesapeake A Retriever
  • Borderline Collie
  • Chevy King Charles (Cavalier)
  • Goverment Pinscher

Novartis Temporarily Suspends Production of Interceptor & Sentinel

Serena Dracis Blog has a spot-on entry on communicating with your dog for training

K9 Mobile Grooming has a great post on dog grooming basics (I think they’re in the UK or I’d be tempted to ring ’em up for a home visit!)

ODD SCHTUFF

Colin Falconer explains all about FRIGGATRISKAIDEKAPHOBIA HINT: it happened last Friday.

Climbing Baby Mountain from Jenny Hansen’s Risky Baby Business blog–great info for expectant (or wannabe) parents.

#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: Thriller-icity, Writing & Cat-vertising

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Today I finished my thriller WIP, yeeee-haw!!! Can you see my virtual cartwheels? I hope so, cuz I can’t do real ones. I’ve sent the manuscript (DEADLINES…how appropriate, ey?) off to an editor and 4 writers/readers for first look and feedback. It’s shivery times ahead until I get their responses. But if anything in the manuscript turns out right, that’s all because of the terrific writer-icity how-to blogs often listed here on the Monday Mentions. That’s 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.

WRITER-ICITY

Publishing Poynters, is a newsletter with all the self pub’ing must knows from guru (and a friend of mine!) Dan Poynter. Why not subscribe? He’s got some terrific how-to books, too.

The Chipper Muse kicks off the New Year with a roundup of great blogs and writing resources (including this one *blush*)

Things Writers Should Stop Doing from Chuck Wendig’s awesome PenMonkey brain

The Best of Daily Writing Tips, a round up of the year’s best

Thrilleresque magazine info can be found on Facebook. He does profiles of published thriller authors, and pays for some short stories and features.

Signing Families has information about ASL–maybe you have a hearing-impaired or deaf character in your novel?

Marketing Tips for Writers from my friend Nita Beshear (she has a neat book out on quilting, too!)

Brand-Related Blogs–(not what you think!) Interesting reading from a speaker from last year’s Blog-Paws Conference

PET SCHTUFF

War Horse Movie Wins Highest Marks from American Humane

Does the Nose Nose–or Not? Interesting article on canine sniffers and how they may go wrong–take this with a grain of salt (or fur), not everyone agrees. Make a good plot twist, though. *s*

Purina Partners with Jenny Craig for slimming pudgy pooches AND YOU!

Feeding Raw from Sally Bahner’s Exclusively Cats blog

Say No to Declaw from cat expert Marilyn Krieger

Jackson Galaxy Interviewed–My Cat from Hell (Animal Planet show) by JaneA Kelly

OFF-THE-WALL SCHTUFF

Coffee-Snorting Gift Wrapping from one of my fav bloggers Jenny Hansen. This is too good not to share, even though the holidays have past.

My kewl friend Paula Lanier sent me this link–and I feel all vindicated about my life’s profession. Check it out!

#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!

Tuesday Tips: Carla Buckley, Pacing Ebb & Flow

I’ve spent the last several days head-down-slash-and-burn editing the thriller WIP, and the past several weeks’ worth of Tuesday Tips have been a great help for me. Hey, it’s my blog so I can post what I like! For all you fiction-lovers out there and those who aspire to do this brain-numbing-writer-crappiocca, I hope it’s been helpful to you, too.

Here’s the last installment of tips from Thrillerfest 2011. I’ve shared video tips from Karin Slaughter, a video of Michael & Daniel Palmer’s Thrillerfest Song, as well as a video of the Thrillerfest interview with master author R.L. Stine, and Ken Follett. I shared an interview of John Sanford and pacing and Jeffery Deaver and Andrew Petersen weighed in on pacing. The awesome Joseph Finder offered three words that make all the difference in pacing and last week Jamie Frevelletti spoke about high-octane pacing. Today I’ve got the next installment of that panel. You can check out a boatload of Thrillerfest pictures here.

Where else but Thrillerfest could you get so much bang-for-your-buck with James Rollins interviewing a whole panel of best-selling-authors! This next video features another take on the question of pacing, this time answered by best-selling author Carla Buckley, author of The Things That Keep Us Here.  This is a deceptively quiet book, with an ebb-and-flow to the pacing that tightens the tension like a silent scream.

That’s right, it doesn’t all have to be car chases and machine guns to create pacing. We’ve talked thrillers on the blog–cuz it’s my blog and I happen to love the genre–but ALL fiction needs tension and good pacing. There’s no cookie-cutter recipe that works for every book and author. How do you manage your WIP? Readers, what do you like in your book-o-the-moment choice? Is it character angst, plotting twists, a combination or none of the above? Please share!

This video is only a small taste, of course. You can get the full deal recording (and those of the other panels) of CDs, MP3s and DVDs of Thrillerfest here. And even better, you can come to Thrillerfest 2012 and see the big show in person! Registration info is now available.

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!

Thoughty Thursday: Do-Over…Would You?

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Magic howls when music plays--everyone's a critic!

It’s the back-to-school time of year, and that conjures up a mixed bag of memories. I loved being a student–yeah, I was a school nerd, and classes were pretty easy for me maybe cuz I took the “artsy” classes like writing, singing, and suchlike. I had mixed feelings about my parents being teachers, though. And lots of angst when for a short time I actually became a high school teacher. On Facebook my relationship with school would be “it’s complicated.”

Part of that is disappointment, I think. After study of music and acting I had every intention to take Broadway by storm. Ha! Then life happened. I met someone special, we fell in love, got married, and my “dream life” was no longer practical. That empty spot inside begged to be filled up with some kind of creativity. So I “made do” with writing. *snort*

Seren "Editing"

My in-house editor, Seren, never holds back her opinion.

Yep, I’m an accidental writer who actually made a career out of making do. I wonder how many of us end up with accidental careers?

The dreams we have early in life evolve as we grow and have obstacles and hard choices thrown in the path. Have you ever regretted a choice you made? Would you go back in time for a “do-over” if you had the chance? Are you satisfied with your life today? All those choices along the way–the doors opened or slammed shut, the “mistakes” that lead to other opportunities–for good or ill, they get us to this spot–HERE, NOW, where we are at this moment. A different choice 10 years ago, or even last week surely could lead to a different reality but who’s to say it would be better?

Today I head back over to the Denison High School–where I taught for that brief wonderful-awful-glorious-crazy period of time–for a rehearsal. I’ve been invited to perform in a fund-raiser “talent show” for the theater department this Saturday night. So what better choice than an original song from the new musical dramedy KURVES written with my co-author Frank Steele. Oh, it’s cast and will be presented in full in early February, stay tuned…

Wait a minute, what happened there? Yes, after all these years that drama-dream resurrected with a detour into accidental script/music writing. That’s some scary crappiocca, I gotta say! And guess what? The 8 characters angst over missed opportunities and whether to risk what they have for a do-over new chance at happiness.

Sort of gotz me a theme going, ya think?

A couple of decades ago I could have turned down that marriage proposal, headed to Noo Yawk and who knows what would have happened? I do know what would NOT have happened: 23 books, pet writing and behavior consults, teaching music, Seren-Kitty and Magical-Dawg, moving to Texas, meeting y’all–none of that would have happened.

So what about you? What do-over would you wish for? If you had a chance for a “do-over” would you take it?

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? 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, follow me on Twitter, 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!