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Monday Mentions: Fabulous Flowers, Furry Pet Care & Fantastic Writing Tips

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Magic in flowers

Last week I mentioned the 500 antique roses around our house? It used to be 700+ but the drought, armadillos and grasshopper attrition left a dent. You cannot believe the aroma! With all the recent rain, we’re fighting with the weeds but it appears the roses are holding their own or even winning. And so are the wildflowers. As promised, some of my favs are shared here today.

This next weekend I’ll be at the Oklahoma Writers Federation Conference. This is an organization very close to my heart, as I have met some of the most extraordinary writers and friends there, as well as connected with editors and agents. As a result of attending, I ended up writing a Woman’s World pet column for a couple of years, found my agent (we sold 15+ award winning books together!), and also served as contest chair and president. I’m now a life member, wow! This weekend I’ll be moderating a panel on social media. You don’t have to be there, either, to benefit–if you have questions please post in the comments section and I’ll pose them to the panelist and share in a future blog.

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. But first…some N. Texas spectacular-arity because when you’re feeling angst, there’s nothing like a dose of Mom-Nature to set you right.

antique rose
antique rose
Anitique roses


Amazon Rewards Content Creators a great post from LJ Sellers

2012 Agents Conference, Writers League of Texas the registration price GOES UP tomorrow (May 1st)

Winners of the 2-12 Edgars Announced

The London Book Fair from an author’s perspective

Writer Beware! avoid this German literary agent and VERY IMPORTANT info on Reversion Clauses in contracts (trust me, authors, you must read this!)

William Bernhardt Writing Programs Best selling legal thriller author’s seminars, workshops and more come HIGHLY recommended (yes, they’re that good). Bill’s also a thoroughly nice guy.


Big Head Saves Staffie an awesome come-back story about a dog named Diesel hit by car TWICE–from the awesome Dr. Rayya’s Online Vet Journal

Cats Are Con Artists, Dogs Are Sycophants says a new scientific study. Huh? Say it ain’t so, Fluffy…what’s that? Let me fill up your bowl…

39 Pound Cat?! OMG let me NOT fill up your bowl! And here’s more about MEOW the heavyweight kitty and how he came to be where he is today (thanks JaneA Kelley!)

Singer Chris Brown Sells Pit Bull Puppies Online — there are so many things WRONG with this, I don’t know where to start

Protect Cats from Heartworms! According to the website, in a North Carolina study 28 percent of the cats diagnosed with heartworm disease were indoor-only cats. It’s been a mild winter–mosquitoes are already out and about. And yes, Seren-kitty takes her preventive like a treat. (So does the Magical-Dawg).

Parasite Prevention from expert Dr. Blagburn from Good News For Pets

American Humane Association’s Second Chance Fund helps animals in disaster situations

Cat owners are urged to speak with their veterinarians about preventive medications for their cats so that they can protect their feline friends from potentially deadly heartworm infestations. For more information on CAPC, visit their website at

2012 Petties DogTime’s Pet Bloggers Awards with awards going to help fund animal shelters of the winner’s choice. Nominations open June 4 and broadcast in November.

34th Annual Winn Feline Foundation Feline Health Symposium.  Learn all about feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy June 28, 2012 at the Boston Marriott Quincy, in Quincy, MA from researchers Leslie Lyons, PhD, University of California, Davis (speaking on genetics), and John Rush, DVM, DACVIM, DACVECC, Tufts University (causes, diagnosis, treatment). 

Hemingway Cats Case Awaits Federal Appeal The approximately 40 felines descended from the famous author’s “breeding” program continue to live on the grounds of the Hemingway Museum–should they be caged?

Fact Or Fiction: 10 Diet Myths Debunked, a fantastic post from the excellent blogger August McLaughlin

This terrific video “This Too Will Pass” was pointed out to me from terrific blogger Piper Bayard.

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!

Feline Friday: Ask Amy, Countertop Cruisers & Choosing Battles

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where sleeping is not allowed

Forbidden territory . . .

Cats become pests with their determination to stay above it all. They cruise kitchen countertops, lounge atop doors and leap to refrigerator tops to ambush treats. The urge to be the top cat seems a universal cat vice. By understanding why cats scale the heights, cat owners can provide legal outlets that keep both their cats happy and out of the butter dish. Here’s the straight kitty-truth on the latest Paw Nation article.

The Ask Amy video, below, has LOTS of bling–and more info about cats and countertops. What else have I missed? Any great tips y’all can share with readers? What has worked with you and what hasn’t? And…have any of y’all “given up” the battle like one reader, and simply wipe down all counters and tables before you prepare food and eat?

12-26 seren & red on tree 2

Too much to do? Take a nap!

Choosing battles strikes close to home these days for me. Life pulls in so many directions that the clock ticks away the hours before half of my to-do list gets finished. Or even started. The furry writing projects howl out to me–, Paw Nation, PETiQuette newspaper column and Pet Peeves Newsletter (I really need to get that sent this weekend!) and now Huffington Post; social networking stuff like this blog, Twitter and Facebook; then there’s the KXII TV spots, Pet Peeves radio and the Ask Amy videos–I’m getting lots of questions and topic requests (FUN!); and my performance stuff–cello, piano, singing–is brain candy for my emotional health.

The thriller fiction WIP looks like a lost, neglected puppy that wags hopefully from the bottom of the stack. *whimper*

cat on railing

Balancing to-do stuff can be a challenge.

Don’t get me started on the overgrown roses outside, cobwebs and dust bunnies in the corners of my house, and stack-‘o-filing in the office. That’s the one good thing about aging eyes–everything takes on a soft focus. I toss dog treats under the bed now and then and send Magical-Dawg squirming under to “pseudo-dust” the hard to reach places, and Seren hits the high spots.

Which brings me back to countertop cruising kitties. See, there ARE advantages to choosing your battles! How do you manage your to-do list? Please reassure me I’m not an awful purr-son for letting some things slide! With the long weekend, my get-er-done garden and home-care stuff moves to the front of the list. Right after I post this blog. Oh, and write my newspaper column. And … oh, it’s hopeless!

What are your Memorial Day plans?

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!

Thoughty Thursday: Roses, Armadillos & Publishing

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If THEY can get along...? (copr. Tonya Jensen)


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about being a chameleon writer. I’m a speaker at the OWFI Annual Writer’s Conference in a couple of weeks, and making notes to share about my Kindle-ization journey. Not just the way I did it (and YOU, boys and girls, can DIY too!), but why—and how I got from <—there to —>here. Those who follow this blog know I tend to just make crappiocca up share thoughty prose once a week. So hold onto your swivel chairs, it may be a thorny ride.

Each of us comes to writing in different ways. For some, the urge to write has always been there, comfortable and familiar as the lap-sitting cat. Other times, the muse plans a gleeful ambush, dashes from a hidden place to trip us up, smack us upside the head with happy tail wags, or leaps to hug our neck. And sometimes leaves us squishy presents to step on barefoot when we least expect it.

Feed your hungry muse wisely! (Copr.Tonya Jensen)

A muse doesn’t care if we scribble on napkins, type with a keyboard, twitter or fritter our litter-ary time with print or Ebooks. She wakes us at 3 a.m. and demands to be fed, she sinks dagger claws into our heart and soul.

She won’t relent until we give in to the urge. The urge to write. To create.

Some of y’all know that we have had as many as 700 rose bushes surrounding our home. Over the years, the roses have been attacked by grasshoppers, leaving nothing but Adams Family stems; bulldozed by armadillos so tender roots fried in Texas sun; and over-pruned, which killed or crippled the plant. We lost roses that had spectacular flowers and amazing pedigrees. Mostly we lost the hybrids, high maintenance specimens that were less able to tolerate the insults, and demanded more attention and care to produce blooms.

But the grasshopper-eaten roses with viable roots produced fresh, healthier growth. Even ‘dillo-dozed roses survived—with scars, to be sure, but still produced stellar blooms. Stay with me, folks, there’s a sharp point to be made . . .

As an over-zealous pruner, I’ve learned to restrain my instincts and appreciate the thorny, hardened portions of established bushes. This was a hard lesson to learn. See, if they’re cut out completely, there’s no scaffolding to support fresh growth, and the blooms fall in the dirt and are trampled–and the whole bush becomes mulch.

After more than two decades of writing, I’m a prickly, hardened bitch-of-a-pet writer. I do not flinch at the “B” word, it’s a badge of honor in my world. I know when to show my teeth, and choose my battles wisely. So I have less patience for high-maintenance writers or circle-the-wagons “that’s the way we’ve always done it!” attitudes than in my youth. WARNING: Those grasshoppers are voracious and if your roots ain’t healthy, you’re toast.

Don’t let that fact scare you. I can say that now–you can’t seen the head-shaped dent in my office wall from having the pee scared outta me mild concern. Writing is writing, and readers are readers. Publishing has a healthy root system, and will survive armadillos, grasshoppers–and Ebooks. It just needs to cut back on the fertilizer and prune judiciously.

Meanwhile, writers—and readers—support each other. Love a book or a writer—say so far and wide! Know a writer struggling with the effort of chameleon-icity? Shine a little color in that corner. That’s what sustains us through the dry spells, the never-ending deadlines, and rejections that nibble us raw. Mentoring each other keeps us sane–that’s the thorny protection that allows us to create our visions and bloom in our proper season.

Now then, listen–shhhhhh! Listen! Can you hear that?–put your hand over your heart, and you can almost feel the rumble!? No, it’s not the HP printer whirring…well, maybe it is. But listen closer—and you’ll hear symphony of blissful purrs–the sound of confident, tenacious, and oh-so-proud garden full of Muses.

Or maybe that’s tummies growling…go feed your muse!

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!