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Monday Mentions: Thrillers, Pets & Writing

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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.


Why Small Presses Fail–and what to watch out for, from Writers Beware

Congrats to fellow ITW Debut Author Donna Galanti. Her thriller A Human Element released this month. This story, like its characters, is a hybrid that combines science fiction, suspense and romance. As a twin myself, I found that aspect of the story both chilling and fascinating. Read more here–and aspiring authors may wish to take a closer look at this publisher, too!

For more thrilling romance from well known authors, check out the upcoming collection. That’s a must-read, to be sure, cain’t wait! PW Starred Review says, in part: “If a person is known by the company she keeps, then the company of the 30 romance and suspense writers in this stellar all-original anthology speaks volumes about bestseller Brown. From Lori Armstrong’s sexy “Holding Mercy” to Vicki Hinze’s sweet “Wed to Death,” there’s romance aplenty. But there’s also loads of suspense, including Lee Child’s “I Heard a Romantic Story” and Cindy Gerard’s “Dying to Score.” Hankering for a flight of romantic fantasy? Take a trip to a bizarre Savannah neighborhood in Dianna Love’s “Deadly Fixation” or to the Chicago of Patricia Rosemoor’s “Hot Note.” The action spans the globe, imparting a real feel for locales as diverse as the Mexican jungle; Halifax, Nova Scotia; London, England; and south Texas. There are familiar characters such as Allison Brennan’s Lucy Kincaid (“Vacation Interrupted”) and new ones readers are sure to want to see more of, like William Simon’s Nicholas White (“Spider’s Tango”). Chockablock with nifty plot twists, these stories aren’t to be missed. (June)”

More from ITW--some of your fav thriller authors, check it out!


You Type, She Says in any language, fun to play.

Middle Eastern Poetry Meets Bollywood & More from my friend Carol Shenold’s blog

Google to End Ebook ReSeller Program

Amazon Ebooks in Spanish


10 New Cat Health Studies Funded by Winn Feline Foundation

Ally Cat Allies Petition Re: Loews Hotels Killing Cats Animal friendly? really…

Cat World Records–most toes, longest whiskers, loudest purrs, oldest (38 years!) and more

ALLEY CAT RESCUE Hosts International Free Feral Cat Spay Day April 27, 2012

Scottie the Flower Shop Kitty

Lost German Cat Returns Home After 15 Years

High Cost of Cutting Edge Vet Care–would you do it?

I covered a lot of this cutting-edge care in my book. And I got my first hate mail as a result from somebody deeply offended that so much $$ might be spent on mere pets. What do you think? Have we gone too far? Or would you go into dept to fund health care for YOUR dogs and cats? Do tell!

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

Tuesday Trumpet! Music, Cat-astrophe & Thrilling News!

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First off, I’ve added audio files to the KURVES, THE MUSICAL page (above) so folks can finally hear some of the songs.


Seren-kitty had her vet visit yesterday. She’s not a youngster any more and I’ve  been worried about her health since she’s drinking/urinating more. I’ll have a full recap on Friday but wanted to thank everyone for the good wishes. It is NOT diabetes (whew!). It may be early kidney issues (her tests are ‘borderline’ and not yet in failure). We’re expecting Texas A & M results tomorrow or Thursday to let us know about thyroid function. Paws crossed that’s negative…


Some of y’all know that I’ve long aspired to write thrillers. Last Thursday, just before I headed out for the KWA Scene Conference, I heard from my editor at Who Dares Wins Publishing that they will publish my thriller LOST AND FOUND probably this fall (date tba). SNOOPY-DANCE-O-JOY!

Animal behaviorist September Day has 24 hours to find her autistic nephew and his service dog before he–and hundreds of other children–become victims of a deadly experimental autism treatment. And yes, there is “dog voice” as well as a highly-trained kitty, along with assorted quirky two-legged characters in the book.

To say I’m thrilled is an understatement. But today I also learned that I’ve been accepted as an ITW Debut Author class of 2012/2013. When I got that email I bawled. With happiness, of course. But that really upset the Magical-Dawg. Any tears upset him. And yes, the hero dog in the fiction came about by channeling my inner dog/cat. *s*

Anyway, I had to let y’all know my news. It’s been an “on top of the world” to “worry-icity” to “floating-again” sort of week. Sometimes you reach for, grab, and actually catch the brass ring.

*humming* If I can do it, you can do it too…

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

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.


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


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


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: Racing Pacing with Jamie Frevelletti

Here’s yet another installment of tips from Thrillerfest. 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 two weeks ago Jeffery Deaver and Andrew Petersen weighed in on pacing. Last week the awesome Joseph Finder offered three words that make all the difference in 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 Jamie Frevelletti.

Her book Running From the Devil starts with a plane crash and never stops.

How do you pace your novel? Conventional wisdom says “cut to the chase” but that really means cut out the backstory. Don’t bore your reader with background, but begin with something interesting–usually that’s the “normal world” before everything goes haywire for the hero. But how soon do you drop the hero/heroine off a cliff? Do you start in the middle of the firestorm? When planning the story, do you consciously include spots to breathe?

For the past several weeks I’ve been the substitute accompanist for my church when the organist broke her shoulder. As a singer, I always include phrasing for a singer’s breaths–because as a singer I get nuts AND PASS OUT! when the phrase never ends. The same thing should happen in fiction. But that ebb and flow can come fast or slow, become a torrent racing for a cliff or a meandering stream that picks up steam over the rapids.

Do you think readers feel that same urge for an eye-in-the-storm quiet moment? How long/how often should it happen? Or can you ramp up the tension without pause? Do tell!

Meanwhile, here’s what best-selling authors say. 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.

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 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?


"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!

Monday Mentions: Kindle-ization, Book Tours & Opposable Thumbs

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Sometimes evolution is a bitch. Has publishing suddenly grown opposable thumbs?

It seems a lifetime ago that I wrote two books with my good friend Dr. Marty Becker of Good Morning America. He invited me to the party to be a co-editor with him and Carol Kline on Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover’s Soul, and Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover’s Soul. That was in the days when my killer-diller agent always wangled a hefty book advance–no go with these titles, and no negotiating contracts, either. Marty and Carol had already written several Chicken Soup books and convinced me royalties would be worth it at the back end (the “new” way of  writing books), and darned if they weren’t right! The titles went on to sell hundreds of thousands of copies, I got a crash course in writing Chicken Soup-style nonfiction–it’s a LOT like fiction!–and had the great fun of working with two stellar writers.

Marty now is the resident vet on The Dr. Oz Show, and partners with co-writer Gina Spadafori, the founder of Pet Connection. They’re already NY-Times bestselling pet book authors, and their latest book, Your Dog, The Owner’s Manual launches April 15–I’ve already pre-ordered my Kindle copy. Marty is brilliant at marketing and although the book is debuting in both print and Ebook format, I’m a bit surprised that the promotion efforts look quite traditional. With the Chicken Soup books, we put together special websites and conducted radio media blitzes — but after 23 books I have never yet gone on a “book tour.” It’s expensive, publishers hardly ever fund them, and with book stores closing, the venues are hard to find.

But Marty and Gina have planned a two-month 30-city tour in a specially wrapped 45-foot bus, leaving on April 25 from Houston–appearing in pet products stores along the way (brilliant!). Follow the tour from Gina will report along the way via Facebook and blog updates, Tweets and YouTube videos/Flickr photos. I can’t wait to get my paws on the book–and also see how the promotion works out.

Barry Eisler turned down $500,000 to self-publish!

Compare that to the latest from indy-publishing’s hero, JA Konrath–a best-selling writer because, he says, he went Indy. He’s the fellow that made an offer he couldn’t refuse so he turned down NY publishing and–dare I say?–went rogue. His terrific blog A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing currently features a virtual conversation with his buddy Barry Eisler, best selling thriller author. You’d think since traditional publishing has been so good to Eisler, he’d stick with it but–news flash! Barry Eisler just turned down a $500,000 advance and instead will self publish. Check out the blog for the full story! BREAKING NEWS: Self-publishing break out author Amanda Hocking appears to be poised for a traditional publishing contract worth $1 million.

So on the one paw, my nonfiction colleagues use a traditional tour and incorporate social media along the way; while fiction authors like JA Konrath and Barry Eisler choose the “new way of writing books.” Is it because nonfiction is so different than fiction, both in writing and marketing? For all you writers out there, please share your experiences. Have you done book tours–virtual or otherwise–and how’d that work for you? Are you sticking with traditional publishing, or are you self publishing? Readers, how often have you attended a book tour appearance? Will you turn out for Dr. Marty and Gina when they roll into town? (Hint: They’re bringing along a dog!)

“He stuck in his thumb, and pulled out a plum . . .”

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

Kindle-izing, Pet Peeves & Sad News

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Complete Care for Your Aging Cat has been Kindle-ized!

The Kindle-ized kitten book met with great success, and I expect no less from the “mature” version. This updated, revised version of the award-winning Complete Care for Your Aging Book (NAL) provides all the must-knows of caring for your mature feline. The print version won the Merial Human-Animal Bond Award, and the Hartz Senior Cat Award, and the latest edition expands on this theme with updated health and behavior information. Step-by-step home care advice, insurance options, and help explaining to children the end-of-life issues are offered. The most common “old cat” issues cover details about diagnosis, drug/nutritional/natural treatment options, and specialists to help owners are provided.

Unique to the Kindle edition, though, is an incredible value-added in the form of click-able “hot links” to online sources of cat care products, information, and the experts who were interviewed for the book (in the Kindle-for-PC version). Me-wow! My cat edited this book and gives it five paws up! You can check out samples from the book with these excerpts on “how old is old” and “how to give fluid therapy” at my new Pet Peeves website. If you’re inclined to get a copy, please-please-please post a review to share what you think with other readers. Thanks in advance!

Pet Peeves Website Launch! You’ll find free dog and cat care, behavior, training, first aid, and how-to information in articles and videos on a variety of fun-to-serious subjects. I’ll include links to appropriate Pet Peeves radio shows, too. And the Pet Peeves E-newsletter (going out later today–yes, I know it’s late) will also spotlight various dog-centric and cat-egorical topics from the Pet Peeves and sites. For instance:Fireworks Phobias? Here’s how to fix Fido’s fear.Dog Chasing the cat? Learn how to cut the chase.Do your pets follow you to the potty? Learn why.Is your rescued cat scared? This reader asked how to help her feral cat.

As for the “thrilling” news, Thrillerfest is less than a week away. I’m on a panel hosted by best-selling author (wow can she write!) Allison Brennon and several other movers-and-shakers in the world of books. Check out the Murder She Writes blog and comment on the survey. We’ll discuss all the good, bad, & ugly about social media—and the audience is in for some surprises! This ain’t gonna be a dry industry naval-gazing exercise. I like to call it “The Great S&M Debate” and I’ll be wearing my rhinestone #1-Bitch pin. *eg* Hope to see y’all there.

FLASH–late breaking news. My friend and colleague Kari Winters died unexpectedly a year ago, and it’s been a struggle to re-home her pets but all are safe. I’ve blogged about that situation before–she died under shady circumstances. However, one kitty (Lucy) desperately needs a final forever home. Her current foster-mom is willing to send Lucy anywhere in the country and says she’s mainly sweet with people–it’s the other pets that she irritates. Kari’s dear friend Darlene Arden headed the push to rehome these kitties and writes, “I think stress levels are running much too high, plus my friend broke her ankle this weekend so things aren’t great. Bottom line: we find her a home or she will be put down. She has been given chance after chance with experienced cat people but she really does need to be an “only” pet.”

So please cross-post the notice about Lucy, let me know your interest and I’ll put you in touch with Darlene. *s* Until next time, pet your critters for me, read a great book, listen to some “peevish” radio, and enjoy your July 4th weekend. And maybe welcome Lucy into your home.

Woofs & purrs,