Thriller Thursday! Marla Cooper & Terror In Taffeta #ITWBlog

Chills, thrills and spills with Thriller Thursday by Amy Shojai

Chills, thrills and spills with Thriller Thursday by Amy Shojai

THRILLER THURSDAY is a new occasional feature of Bling, Bitches & Blood. As a member of International Thriller Writers and alumni of the ITW Debut Author Program, it is my honor to showcase select ITW authors and books participating in the ITW Bloggers Program. If you love reading great books as much as I do, check out my Spotlight Guest Marla Cooper! 

Hey there, Sweet Peeps! I know it’s not Thursday….but I didn’t want to wait to share about this debut from a great new writer. This fun mystery published March 22, 2016 by Minotaur Books is definitely on my summer TO-BE-READ pile. Heck, Marla’s originally from Texas and she lives with a polydactyl tuxedo kitty. ‘Nuff said.

AUTHOR BIO

Marla Cooper author headshot

Marla Cooper, Author

MARLA COOPER was astonished when she realized people could actually get paid to write things. So she switched her major from business to advertising—much to the relief of her accounting professor—and began her career as an advertising copywriter. After moving to San Francisco, she became a freelancer so she could take advantage of perks like working in her pajamas, and it was while ghostwriting a book on destination weddings that she found inspiration for her first novel, Terror in Taffeta. Originally hailing from Texas, Marla lives in Oakland, California, with her husband and her polydactyl tuxedo cat. Visit her at www.marla-cooper.com.

FIND & FOLLOW MARLA & THE BOOK HERE:

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WHAT READERS SAY…

“This mystery novel is a real roller coaster with twists, turns and dips at every corner. Just when readers feel like they know who the bad guys are, their world is rocked by more information and more suspects. The end is unpredictable but believable and readers will be all too delighted to go on this ride that the author has masterfully crafted.” – RT Book Reviews

“Feisty and funny, Marla Cooper’s debut novel shines as she encapsulates the best the genre has to offer, with a quick-witted heroine, a puzzling page turner of a plot, and a cast of quirky characters like no other. I highly recommend this terrific first in a series!” – Jenn McKinlay, New York Times bestselling author

READ A SAMPLE: TERROR IN TAFFETA-EXCERPT

Marla Cooper book

Synopsis:   Wedding planner Kelsey McKenna is just a few hours away from wrapping up her latest job: a destination wedding in the charming, colonial Mexican town of San Miguel de Allende. The reception is all set up, the tequila donkey is waiting outside, and the bride and groom are standing on the altar, pledging their eternal love. But just as the priest is about to pronounce them husband and wife, one of the bridesmaids upstages the couple by collapsing into a floral arrangement (a definite wedding “don’t”).

Kelsey soon discovers that the girl hasn’t just fainted—she’s dead.

 Losing a bridesmaid is bad enough, but when the bride’s sister is arrested for murder, the demanding mother of the bride insists that Kelsey fix the matter at once. And although Kelsey is pretty sure investigating a murder isn’t in her contract, crossing the well-connected Mrs. Abernathy could be a career-killer. Before she can leave Mexico and get back to planning weddings, Kelsey must deal with stubborn detectives, a rekindled romance, and guests who didn’t even RSVP.


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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, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Hot Weather Safety for Pets

Dog sticking his head out of a car window

Hot cars kill dogs.

UPDATED: This post first appeared in early May 2016, but now it’s late June and temps today already are 95 degrees and climbing. Next week, I head to Arizona for the Cat Writers’ Association Writers Conference (in conjunction with BlogPaws conference). The temps there are likely to reach 115 or more. I love this conference because…well, WRITING and PETS! And the pets come, too.

Yes, there’ll be dogs and cats and bunnies and pigs and ferrets and who knows what else with their blogging partners. The thing is, humans at least know to come in from the heat. Pets need our help. So whether you’re hitting the road with your pet friends, or staying close to home, please keep these hot weather tips in mind.

THE STARS AT NIGHT…STAY HOT AND BRIGHT…

I live in N. Texas where it’s not unusual for weather to have everyone hot under the collar. Hot weather safety for pets around here is a matter of life and death for cats and dogs. Just imagine how pets feel with a fur coat.

Cats and dogs risk sunburn, pad burns and life-threatening heatstroke without proper precautions. Never leave your pet unattended in a hot car. These tips can help you prevent problems, or even save your pet’s life.

Dog paw

Paws are not as tough as you’d think.

PAD BURNS

Dogs don’t get pad burns very often because they flinch away from heat. But cats love heat and often lounge on surfaces up to 126 degrees. They won’t feel themselves getting burned.

Cat Facts: The Pet Parent's A-to-Z Home Care Encyclopedia

Learn more about heat-loving cats in CAT FACTS.

Both dogs and cats can suffer pad burns from walking on hot pavement, especially when not offered the option for cooler pathways.

Do the barefoot test. If pavement feels too hot for you, it’s also a problem for pets. Prevent pad burns by making shaded and/or grassy pathways an option. For pad burns, apply an aloe vera ointment three to five times a day to help shorten healing time. It’s safe for pets to lick off in small amounts, too.

Dogs attending the upcoming conference outside Phoenix are encouraged to wear protective booties. Otherwise, they can become blistered just by walking across the dirt. OUCH!

SUNBURN

Fur protects most dogs and cats from sunburn, but thinly furred ear tips, bridge of the nose, and the tummy can get burned. White pets are at highest risk. Dogs who sleep on their back and sun-worshiping cats seem affected most often.

Sunburn isn’t a medical emergency, but it can be painful. The skin turns red, can blister, become crusty, and peel. Kitty ears curl and literally turn crispy.

Cold water spray from a plant mister every half hour or so works great to soothe sunburned dogs, but cats hate getting sprayed. Witch hazel helps cool inflamed skin by evaporation and doesn’t sting like alcohol. Dab some on affected areas with a cotton ball three or four times a day to soothe the burn.

Sunburn dries out the skin. Aloe vera creams not only moisturize but also help heal burns faster. These products often contain vitamin E that speeds healing and soothes burns.

A funny image of a thirsty Boxer crossbreed with a very long tongue sticking out

Heat stroke is no laughing matter–and panting won’t help.

HEATSTROKE

Pets don’t sweat. To cool off, dogs pant so the moisture evaporates off the tongue. Cats lick fur and evaporation keeps body temperatures at a safe level. But for grooming or panting to work, the outside air must be a lower temperature than the pet’s normal body temperature (101-102.5 degrees). When self-cooling fails, heatstroke kills in less than 15 minutes.

DogFacts

Get the FACTS about all your dog health concerns!

Cars become deathtraps. When the temperature reaches 78 degrees, cars sitting in the shade reach 90 degrees in no time. But if parked in the sun on a 78-degree day, car temp soars to 168 degrees within minutes. That cooks the brain, leaving irreversible damage.

Signs of heatstroke include rapid panting, a bright red tongue and gums, sticky saliva, and body temperatures of 104-106 degrees. Severe cases of heatstroke may prompt body temperatures of 110 degrees or higher.

Unless you live only five minutes away, give first aid before heading to the emergency room. To save your pet’s life, reduce body temperature to 104 degrees and then get follow-up medical care.

For mild heatstroke, offer water or Gatorade cooler than the outside temperature. Wrap the pet in cold wet towels. Bring him into an air-conditioned space and turn on a fan so the air he breathes is cooler than his body to reduce internal temperature naturally.

first-aid

First aid saves lives–from hangnails to gunshots to animal bites, know what to do!

For severe heatstroke (body temperatures over 106 degrees), douse the pet with cool water from the hose, or dunk him in the bathtub or sink. Ice packs placed in the “armpits” or groin (near major blood vessels) help chill the blood so it cools the pet during circulation.

WATER INTOXICATION

Yes, there IS such a thing as too much water. Magical-Dawg loves to play “hose tag” and bite the water as it streams out the hose. He drinks a LOT of water during such games. When dogs become overheated, offering them too much water can result in water intoxication (hyponatremia). Here’s what happens.

Drinking too much dilutes the sodium in the blood. This lack of salt prompts water to flow into the cells, including brain cells. Excess water in cells creates swelling, and results in serious problems and even death.

Signs of water intoxication incude drooling, drunking behavior, lethargy, bloating, vomiting, dilated pupils and glazed eyes, and pale gums, alone or in combination. The worst cases may also have problems breathing, collapse, suffer seizures or fall into a coma before they die.

This condition progresses VERY quickly, so as soon as you suspect a problem, get your dog to the vet. Treatment requires intravenous treatment to replace electrolytes, diuretics to get rid of excess water, and medications to reduce brain swelling. Dr. Karen Becker has an excellent article on the condition here.

During water games, be sure to give dogs a break from the fun every 15 minutes or so, and monitor the amount they drink. Dogs diving underwater, or playing with the hose or sprinkler may gulp large amounts that you don’t notice. Supervision is key to keeping your dog’s water play safe.

COOL PET TIPS

Prevent heat stroke by providing shade for outside pets, along with plenty of cool water. Specialized attachments turn outside faucets into 24/7 pet drinking fountains so you won’t have to worry about spilled bowls. Misting fans and aerosols lower the temperature and keep pet fur damp to cool fur through evaporation. Misters can be placed on the porch, deck or near your dog’s pen.

Invest in cooling bandannas and collars, body wraps, and pet mats from pet products outlets. Or just provide a child’s wading pool, fill it daily with cool water and let the water-puppies splash to their heart’s content.

dog in water

A safe place to cool off is great for dogs during hot weather.

Prevent problems altogether by keeping cats and dogs in air-conditioned spaces when the temperatures become dangerous. The most dangerous times of day for sunburn are 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. so schedule cooler times for outdoor excursions.

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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Please note that I earn a small percentage from affiliate links to books or other products which are mentioned from time to time in my posts. 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, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

BORN TO LOVE: A #LeiCrimeKW Novella

Lei Crime Kindle World

I am  DELIGHTED to introduce you to Keiki and her trainer Lia, my very first novella in Toby Neal’s Lei Crime Kindle Worlds. I told you about this opportunity last year, and have been hard a work along with a host of other fantastic authors.

GO TO THE AMAZON BOOK PAGE HERE!

LeiCrimeKW-Facebook

In fact, we’re holding a FACEBOOK PARTY on Monday, June 27, from 6-8:00 pm EDT with a whole bunch of fantastic give-aways, everything from free books and Amazon gift cards to….BLING! Yes, in addition to a paw-tographed book AND the chancrhinestonejewelry_2271_50200166e to have YOUR pet star in a future novella, I’ll be giving away this:

So who is this Rottweiler? Keiki is a police dog in Toby Neil’s wonderful Lei Crime series that’s set in Hawaii. When she first appears in the first in the series, Keiki is already two years old. What, I wondered, happened in the two years before Keiki joined Lei?

And so my novella BORN TO LOVE tells Keiki’s backstory. Or should I say, KEIKI tells her own story! *s* Y’all know how much I enjoy writing in canine viewpoint and I had a ball writing in puppy-viewpoint. Here’s a taste.

Can the past unlock the future

and love preserve a life?

A puppy’s job is to learn. Keiki relishes the sights, sounds and smells of her world, but people frustrate and confuse her. Why do humans control all the good stuff?

Lia Corazon channels her energy and emotions into the dogs she trains in her North Texas kennel. She especially enjoys four-month-old Keiki’s enthusiasm, but the pup’s owner makes her uneasy. There’s something very…wrong about him.

When a vicious storm, violent flood, and scary creatures menace Keiki, her Rottweiler bravery comes through. But what can a good-dog do when a human enemy threatens? Keiki must use all she’s learned if she’s to save Lia from a killer.

You can “adopt” the new puppy-book here, and I can’t wait to read your reviews! And…don’t forget to join the Facebook Party, win some prizes, find out about some great books–and maybe get YOUR pet featured in a future story!


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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Please note that I earn a small percentage from affiliate links to books or other products which are mentioned from time to time in my posts. 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, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Adopt A Cat Month & Complete Kitten Care On Sale for 99-cents!

NEW-KITTEN-COVER-kindle

It’s ADOPT A CAT MONTH in June, and because it’s kitten season…again…and in an effort to help out all the kitten lovers out there, I’m running a sale on one of my best-selling Ebooks ever! COMPLETE KITTEN CARE was the winner of THREE CWA Muse Medallions and a Special Award the year it came out, and since that time, the book has been continuously updated.

For those who prefer the print version, well, I plan to have a couple of copies available for paw-tographs at the upcoming Cat Writers’ Associaton & BlogPaws conference, so track me down there.

COMPLETE KITTEN CARE usually sells for $5.99 (compared to the print version’s $14.99), and my publisher has slashed the Ebook price to…

ON SALE FOR 99-CENTS!

This will only last for a very short time so be sure to get your copy asap (and tell your kitten-loving friends). Here are all the links:

KINDLE

BARNES & NOBLE NOOK

iBOOKSTORE

KittenAudioOh, and usually the Audible version of COMPLETE KITTEN CARE runs $24.95, but you can get that at a discount of $1.99 after you download the Kindle version (wow, a Kindle book and Audio book for just $2.98!). And you can here ME read the book. *s*

Here’s an extra bit of catnip from the PAW-some folks at AAFP, an infographic with 5 considerations when adopting a cat. CLICK the image, below, for more info.

AAFP-AdoptACat


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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Please note that I earn a small percentage from affiliate links to books or other products which are mentioned from time to time in my posts. 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, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Amy Shojai Releases Cat Facts & Dog Facts Series!

Cat-Dog Facts-Series

As promised last week in this post, the first installments in the CAT FACTS, THE SERIES #1 and DOG FACTS, THE SERIES #1 are now available! They are only $2.99 and are also FREE to those with a Amazon Prime membership.

CAT FACTS and DOG FACTS, THE SERIES offer economical treat-size sections to make it easy to choose only the specific information you need. Each of these CHAPTER A (#1) installments provides these detailed topic entries covering what to do, home care, vet care and more.

In addition to the gorgeous full color pictures and illustrations alongside the alphabetical “A” list of various conditions and cat or dog specific topics, you’ll find:

  • Charts that list symptoms for a particular condition, the corresponding home care or first aid, the comparative veterinarian and holistic treatments, and preventive advice
  • A symptoms/conditions table that helps you identify what ailments might be bothering your cat
  • Breed-At-A-Glance chart to compare personality, looks, care challenges and other issues when choosing your pedigreed cat
  • Contact information for dozens of cat organizations and veterinary resources

I hope the launch of each of these series brings the information in a more economical and accessible way to more cat and dog “pet parents” and helps y’all celebrate the wonderful companions that share our lives! (Please SHARE this with anyone who might benefit…)

These two series consist of each individual excerpted chapter & the appendices from the complete books CAT FACTS: The Pet Parent’s A-to-Z Home Care Encyclopedia and DOG FACTS: The Pet Parent’s A-to-Z Home Care Encyclopedia.


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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Please note that I earn a small percentage from affiliate links to books or other products which are mentioned from time to time in my posts. 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, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!