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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.

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Paintbrush
antique rose
antique rose
Anitique roses

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

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.

PET SCHTUFF

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 www.knowheartworms.org, 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 www.petsandparasites.org.

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!

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!

Monday Mentions: Severed Heads, Writing Fines & Star Trek Cats

What every kitty wants in her Catmas stocking...

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo links and blogs and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. My little cat Seren(dipity) slipped this picture under my pillow as a heavy handed…I mean, pawed, hint. I’m sure all the fur-kids have their own personal wish list. I think the Magical-Dawg has something stinky in mind.

As for me, I’m climbing aboard a plane and traveling to visit my parents and siblings in Northern Indiana, yay! It’s been way too long since I’ve seen everyone. That means, though, that I must meet my deadlines earlier rather than later. The blogs–well, I have plans to get them done in advance but who knows if that’ll happen? Santa’s Elves may have their own plans.

PET SCHTUFF

Help With Vet Bills Yes, there are organizations that help fund pet care. They rely on donations–wouldn’t it be a great holiday gift to be a Good Samaritan and fund helping someone’s needy pet? *s*

Dog People vs Cat People some interesting differences revealed in this survey.

Vegan Cat Food? Oh no! Check out this post from my colleague JaneA Kelley.

Demon Dawg–I wouldn’t want to be a vet on THIS critter! Gene Lempp once more offers great plot idea starters in his Designing From the Bones blog post.

3-D Doggy Anatomy, this is wild and awesome technology! For those writing about canine issues, not to be missed. And fun for anyone.

WRITING SCHTUFF

Conflict In Novels an awesome post from Bob Mayer

Using Track Changes from Jenny Hansen, priceless tips for editing

Jan Morrill’s Blog with some great writerly links in her mashup

Do’s & Don’ts About Email Marketing from the always awesome Lorie Huston

SEO Mistakes are you committing any of these?

Bloggers Get No Respect–or Protection! This blogger was fined $2.5 MILLION, don’t let it happen to you.

10 Rules of Writing–Best Checklist EVER for novelists posted by Heather Webb with kind permission from Janis Hubschman

KDP Select Program–read the fine print, from Writer Beware, and more about it from Kait Nolan and yet another from David Gaughran.

Left Coast Crime Convention  Left Coast Crime mystery convention will be in Sacramento, CA March 2013. Prices go up at the end of this year, so register before the deadline for the best deal. Author John Lescroart is our Guest of Honor, and James Rollins will also be in attendance, along
with some other great authors.

WEIRD-ASS-TERICK SCHTUFF

Myths About Introverts Are you an extrovert, an introvert or–well, how is YOUR brain wired?

Olympic Pole Dancing ain’t for sissies or introverts…wait, maybe it is! Hilarious post and videos from Piper Bayard

#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: Pets, Writer-icity & Bo Does Christmas

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo links and blogs and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. Although I didn’t participate in the NaNo-nanny-boo-boo November fictioning project, I’m impressed by several friends and colleagues who have made great progress on their novels. I hope to have news on my own thriller-icity WIP in the coming weeks.

To get my brain back in nonfiction book gear, tomorrow the Tuesday Tips begins the next series–this time on putting together book proposals. Stay tuned–and please check in to offer your own tips and suggestions.

Also please send your Ask Amy suggestions for future videos. Next weekend I’m putting on the sparkle-icity for more Q & A. Hey, if I don’t know the answer I’ll find out (or make something up!).

PET SCHTUFF

Pepsi Refresh Project! My friend and colleague Mary Ann Miller was just notified that her project idea for saving older stray cats has been approved to participate in the Pepsi Refresh project. You can help to get the word out and vote for this project three times a day with this link. You can go directly to the link and vote, you can vote via FB or you can text in a vote. In the 2 field you need to put 73774 and in the body of the message 110725 then send it. Spread the news–cats will thank you for it!

Cat Lady Land, great kitty photos with funny captions (how does she read those feline minds?)

Fidose of Reality gets dogs ready for winter–with a contest for safe ice melting product from Morton’s Salt

Cats Around the World by BJ Bangs. We love cats here in America but kitties don’t have it so lucky elsewhere.

Dog Food Company Tour, behind the scenes at Hill’s Pet Foods

Pet Store Picketed, article by my colleague Sally Bahner

Animals Predicting Earthquakes–fascinating!

Holiday Pet Portraits, a very kewl article on the subject from Sandra Murphy

Morris Animal Foundation funds studies that help companion animals as well as wildlife. Check these articles on keeping pets free of pain, and novel canine cancer treatments as well as help for feline oral cancer. You’ll also find information about what they’re doing to help aging horses. 

WRITING SCHTUFF

What Editors Think of Writers, hoooo boy

Inglish Spocken Here a hilarious blog from Colin Falconer on translations (sorta-kinda-in-a-way)

Publishing Options analysis helpful to judge pros and cons for authors

Ode to Traditinally Pub’d Authors, a great blog post by Libby Fischer Hellmann

NaNoWriMo Now What? from Alexandra Sokoloff, great advice as always

SEO for Bloggers, great tips and information for bloggers of all furry stripes from Karen Nichols

Bo does Christmas–Merry Ho-Ho-Ho! A fun video from the Whitehouse.

#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!

Lights! Camera! Action! Promote or Die (sorta-kinda-in-a-way)

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Increase your audience! It'll be a feather in your writerly cap...

Today’s Tuesday Tips blog launches the next series and I’m talking about (GASP!) media training for authors. Heck, ANY writer (any NONPROFIT!)  benefits from learning the basics because let’s face it, your publisher ain’t gonna do this for you.

Okay, I’ll take that back. If you’re the sparkle-tacular Sandra Brown (she’s a Texan, ya know! just “met” her on Twitter, FAN GIRL MOMENT!) or the furry-fantastic James Rollins you’ll get folks rolling out the red carpet-diem for quotes and promo ops. The rest of us schlubs need quite a bit of hand-waving creativity to get a notice about current projects, books and causes.

I gave this talk last year at the Oklahoma Writers Federation annual conference, and thought I’d share the high points with readers. Just so’s ya know, I’ve used all of these tips and appeared on hundreds of TV and radio shows, been quoted as an expert in (mumble-mumble) LOTS of print and online media, and made numerous public appearances. So I know a wee bit about the process, what works and what might be better relegated to the “who cares, don’t waste your time” circular file.

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Maurice, do-ing his doody Dragon.

By the way, you CAN hire this done if you’ve got deep pockets and plan to win the lottery to fund such things. But if you’re able to fund hiring it done–I hate you and will send Maurice to do dragon do-do on your inbox. Or something.

Most writers ain’t got the funds and need to do media on the cheap. Ahem.

DEFINING MEDIA

Most folks think of “media” as television and radio. Today there are hybrids and new, better, more creative ways to use technology to communicate. Ten years ago, who ever thought I’d be shooting my own ASK AMY online series? Or have a PET PEEVES radio show via the Internet that never-ever-goes-away (can you say perPETual promo?).

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?

When you’re a writer, author, volunteer for a cause, or other fill-in-the-blank, there are three major benefits of using media. You are, after all, looking for an audience. Well, some of us want more than Mom and Weird Cousin Al to appreciate our creative efforts. There’s nothing wrong with writing for yourself and keeping a personal diary (when you die who cares if the whole family is embarrassed when it’s discovered and pub’d, right?). My own work seeks to empower readers to help their cats and dogs–and since cats and dogs have trouble reading (there’s that whole glasses thing gets in the way), part of my job as an author is to entice pet parents aka “readers” to pick up the dang book and read. I suspect most of y’all out there share that desire.  So the top reason you should care is media savvy allows you to reach a wider audience.

Travis needs home

Be creative--get the word out! Can you say "photo op?"

How many of y’all have made a TV or radio appearance after which your family and friends look at you in a different way? (Dang, shouldn’t have worn polka dots…) Wait, no, I mean your appearance on media–and making a GOOD impression (more about that later) increases your credibility and raises your status. Don’t argue with me, it does. Just having been published gives you an air of coolness but getting MEDIA ATTENTION means that the high-and-mighty MEDIA GAWDS recognize you and that (drum roll….) establishes you as an EXPERT.

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YELL about it--sorta-kinda-in-a-way...

Why do you want to be considered an expert? Because it gets you MORE media attention, which gets your name out there, which sells your book/cause/personal brand (more about BRAND later). See how the circle-of-life makes wondrous things happen? That’s the third major benefit. Media helps build buzz for book sales/appearances.

So have you leaped from behind the safe anonymity of your writerly desk into the shark-icty of the media circus? How’d that work for you? Are you a new or aspiring author? A writer interested in expanding your blogging readership? A volunteer looking for ways to help your pet cause? What are some ways you’ve used media to work for you? Or (rubbing hands together with glee…) any HORROR STORIES you’d care to share? Don’t worry, I’ll share some of mine, too. We are coming up onto Halloween, of course!

Stay tuned and next Tuesday I’ll post the next part of this series, including what’s available today and how you might use it.

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!

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!

Monday Mentions: PUBSlush, Dolphin Tale & Birdbrain Video

Greta

Greta, a lovely girl--image copr. Ryan Chronister Photography/Flickr

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo links and blogs and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. Get a load of that GORGEOUS dog in the photo! Today we’re celebrating lots of doggy AND kitty content, plus some interesting writer tips and links. As a treat, there’s even a clever parrot video, enjoy!

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.

WRITER SCHTUFF

Copyright Violation Protection information in this detailed article about what to do and how to do it. An additional tip that can help is to BLOG about your article as soon as it’s posted and include a link to that article. Apparently Google registers blogs quicker than articles so this can help the author get “first dibs” on the content you create.

PUBSlush PRESS is an interesting alternative pub opportunity but there are still questions–as the fine folks at Writer Beware point out.

FUN PET LINKS, BLOGS & INFO

JACQUIE LAWSON Animated E-cards are simply a treat to view and to send. They often feature animals (especially dogs and cats) and are appropriate for any age or occasion from funny, celebratory or poignant. You can subscribe for a nominal fee. Here’s one of the newest–featuring Fluff the kitten.

The Hero Dog Awards Celebrity Auction is live! The auction will run from September 19, 2011 to October 7, 2011, with proceeds supporting American Humane Association’s mission to create a more humane and compassionate world by ending abuse and neglect of children and animals.

Cat Therapy Helps Jail Birds from Petside.com Blogger Jo Singer.

NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED Review Blog from American Humane (check out Winter the dolphin’s story here!)

Shakespeare’s Cats, a whimsical blog-look at the Bard’s roles played by felines. If you liked that, you’ll also enjoy the pictures of Yoga Kittens as well as Yoga Puppies, aroooooooo!

Snakes Are Snacking and wreaking havok on dogs and cats–know the signs and get them help! Great info from Raya-the-Vet’s blog.

Adoption Pictures MATTER!  Improved pet photos increase adoptions–a Texas photographer shows you how, very kewl!

Partnership Launches Cat Health Initiative, with some movers-and-shakers in the world of vet medicine research.

Musings of Natasha Finkel, the Fashionista Felina–fun blog your cats will want to read.

CAT HERO–DIABETIC ALERT FELINE, you’ve heard about the dogs–well kitties care, too. Lovely touching story from blogger Angela Wallace.

Houses Designed for Cats! Warning…don’t let YOUR pets get a look.

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!