Win Or Lose by Amy Shojai Releases January 2

I’m excited to announce the release of my 6th thriller WIN OR LOSE in my September and Shadow THRILLERS WITH BITE series. It’s available on all Ebook platforms and in trade paperback.

WIN OR LOSE: A September & Shadow Thriller #6

“Colorful characters, including the unusual perspective of Shadow the dog, make this series an enjoyable read for any animal lover.” ~Toby Neal, USA TODAY Bestselling Author of the Paradise Crime Mysteries & Thrillers

ADVANCE PRAISE FOR AMY SHOJAI’S WIN OR LOSE!

  • “If I could give this book more than five stars, I would. I loved this book! For everyone that loves dogs, cats and a fast moving mystery, this is a book for you.” ~Wanda S.
  • “This story has so many twists and turns it made me dizzy and the suspense was intense. I could not put it down!” ~Julie Y.
  • “A fast-paced thriller with the endearing pet roles. This page turner will keep you glued to the book…it’s riveting.” ~Petra H.
  • “This is not a cozy, though it does show great relationships between animals and their humans. I read the first two books in this series a few years ago and enjoyed the thriller action as well as the viewpoint of the “good dog” Shadow.” ~Jacque S.

 A kidnapped girl. A merciless killer. Can this stressed-out dog trainer stop a callous murderer claiming innocent lives?

September Day can’t shake her mounting wedding-planning angst. Too overwhelmed to pick up a dropped-off shelter dog she once trained, she finally leaves the house to check in on a missing vet clinic employee. But when she gets there, she’s terrified to find the girl’s brother hanging on the edge of death and the poor young woman abducted.

Discovering the hound got dumped by the same vicious criminal, September and Shadow race out of town on a dangerous rescue mission. But when a body surfaces and the kidnapper seizes more victims, September fears she may be too late to prevent further bloodshed.

With the clock ticking against them, can September and Shadow deliver justice?

Win or Lose is the riveting sixth book in The September Day thriller series. If you like engaging heroes, fearless animal companions, and non-stop action, then you’ll love Amy Shojai’s page-turning tale.

Read more about the writing of WIN OR LOSE in this interview on TheBigThrill.

Buy Win or Lose to play a deadly game today!

Read about the NAME THAT PET winners who appear in the WIN OR LOSE book. Each of the four winners will receive a print copy of the book once it releases (Paws crossed for good mailing karma!).

DOG WINNER! Nothing slows down Lefty, the Great Pyrenees, nominated by Linda.

Cat Winner! Tigger, nominated by Crystal. A second “Tigger” (huge black and white tuxedo) was nominated by Rose. STORMAGEDON (not pictured) was the Cat Runner-up in the contest!

DOG WINNER RUNNER-UP! Kami, the German Shorthair Pointer helped her injured person Nancy get home, and recover during healing.

 

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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!

2022 New Year Goals–from the Pets

Each year, rather than making New Year resolutions, I plan for goals—and hope that the journey along the way proves equally rewarding. Rather than say, “lose weight” I instead want to strive for good health. All plans for the past two years flew out the window, though.

Our family came out the other side quite bruised, after first losing Bravo-Dawg in March and then my 93-year-old Mom in October. Still, we’re better off than many others. I treasure my resilient family–my husband, y’all know as “M,” my brothers and their families, including a delightful great nephew and great niece, and my young-at-heart 94-year-old artist father.

We have high hopes for 2022—and the hope shines strong in part because of the special pets of our past, our present, and sometimes the surprise pets that show up when you need them most.

It’s also become a tradition to take stock of the past year from a pets’-eye-view, and the year to come. Throughout the challenges, our pets keep us laughing even through tears. Look for the surprise blessings that bring joy despite the heartache. So here are New Year Pet Goals from Karma-Kat, Shadow-Pup, and a couple from the spirits of Bravo-Dawg, Magical-Dawg, and Seren-Kitty, with commentary by Amy.

2022 New Year Goals–from Magic

New Year goalsMagical-Spirit: “I will remind my humans daily to cherish each joy, and remember me with smiles.”

Amy: He loved fetch clear up to his last day with us, and found joy in every sniff, sound, treat, touch or game. I take it as a message to us to lighten up…and even wrote a song about him (someday I’ll get it recorded). So my new year pet goals include being more like Magic and to pay attention to everyday miracles of the touch of soft fur, smell of rain in the wind in my face, to find music in every brash or quiet sound, relish each taste whether tears or treats, and open my eyes to every glorious sunrise, storm cloud and rainbow in my life.

2022 New Year Goals–from Seren

Seren-Spirit: “I will remind my humans to ignore pesky aggravations like cat-brothers, stare down intimidating challenges (even if they’re 15 times your size like Magic), and find a sunny place to doze in every situation.”

New year resolutionsAmy: Seren remained in charge, the Queen of the house, to her last breath. A bit of a curmudgeon despite her tiny size, Seren ran our house and hearts with a benevolent paw. Read about her Christmas gift here… She never let arthritis stand in the way of a smidge of chicken, constantly reminded Karma who held the sharpest claws, and taught Magic—and her humans—what aging gracefully means. My new year pet goals include living like Seren, focusing on goals rather than roadblocks, to stop complaining about age (not everyone gets the blessing of a long life), and give myself permission to turn off work and take a sun-puddle nap.

2022 New Year Goals–from Bravo

bravo hope for 2021Bravo-Spirit: “I will visit Amy in dreams to remind her that now I always catch the RED-DOT-DEMON. And I get to play bity-face tooth-fencing with the spirit of a special German Shepherd Boy who sometimes lets me win. And I miss treats, but don’t need them anymore, but I always cherish and live on because of the memory of our love.”

Amy: Bravo began the year after successfully completing all his chemo, and remained a gentle, goofy sweetheart despite losing 21 pounds (and his right front leg) due to cancer–we thought he beat it. During his months of treatment, he kept his boundless energy. Bravo moved as fast with three legs as four, and let nothing stand in the way of a good time—especially lap-cuddling, chasing cats, or wresting the Shadow-Pup. The day after he passed, Bravo returned to me with a slurp across my face, and stayed long enough for me to see him whole, healthy, and happy. So my new year pet goals include letting nothing get in the way of enjoying life–spending time in the garden, creating and enjoying music and stained glass, sharing laughter with family and friends, and treasuring even the sad memories that leave tear-tracks of past joy on our hearts.

2022 New Year Goals–from Karma

Karma-Kat: “I will stalk and tease and pounce on Amy’s feet, play “gravity experiments” on tabletops, take towel-surfing rides across the carpet, rattle window blinds, paw-dig at the TV screen, and wrestle and tooth-fence with Shadow-Pup, what fun! Oh, and eat treetz, lotsa treetz.”

Amy: Karma always loved his dog brothers–and was rescued by Magic. When Bravo got sick, Karma worried over him, snuggled down next to the big dawg’s painful shoulder. He stopped his teasing while Bravo recovered from his amputation. Karma didn’t appreciate Shadow-Pup at first. He finally decided if Bravo liked the pup, he must be okay. He now teases and wrestles Shadow to get him in trouble. Having a pair of rowdy pets zooming around the furniture offers treat entertainment for them. Shadow and Karma sleep together each evening. But Karma needs more one-on-one games, too, where he doesn’t need to compete with the cat-food-stealing pup. More new year pet goals are to play interactive chase games with Karma each day, and add more bird feeders and baths by the windows for better cat-TV fun he craves and deserves.

2022 New Year Goals–from Shadow

Shadow-Pup: “I will play-play-play, chase Karma up the cat tree, catch him and play squish-the-cat. And I will slurp away Amy’s tears when she’s sad, and do head-stands in her lap, and zooooooooom around the fenced yard! Then I’ll do it again. And again. And …”

Amy: Shadow appeared, a dumped puppy, at our front gate on May 31st ten days after we found out about Bravo’s cancer. During a time of unrelenting fear and anxiety, this joyful puppy brought boundless fun into Bravo’s pain-filled world. And gave us all hope. Like most pups, he has no off-switch and his “escapes” have brought us some scary moments. Last year’s goal included a secure fence for a safe play area. And this year’s new year pet goal continues the project, updating the landscaping and including a memory garden for past pets. He’s also as smart as Magical-Dawg. We also intend to invest in the “talking” buttons to see what Shadow-Pup has to say (I think Karma-Kat may also throw in a few words).

Some Final 2022 New Year Goals–from Spirit-Pets

Magic-Spirit, Seren-Spirit, Bravo-Spirit: “We will train Amy that there’s more to nine lives than paw-tapping and staring at a boxy computer-thing. Like catnip, and whisker-kisses, lap snuggles and ball-tug games. And we will train Amy that playing with pets is more fun than anything else. AND we will train Amy that there’s no such thing as too many treats–or of love that ever ends. But time together—however long or short the time—is the best thing of all.”

Amy: My ultimate New Year pet goals are to listen to my furry muses. What about you?

PAST NEW YEAR POSTS:

I started to delete these, and then decided to save them here. After all, some of my furry muses commented on these posts.

New Year 2021

New Year 2020

New Year 2019

New Year 2018

New Year 2016

New Year 2015

New Year 2014

New Year 2011

New Year 2010

 

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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? NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I do not recommend anything unless I feel it would benefit readers. 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!

How To Give Pets As Gifts

Giving pets as gifts prompts discussions every time the subject comes up. Most recently, we got our “gift puppy” and “gift kitten” when they adopted us, and we’re so glad Karma-Kat and Shadow-Pup are part of our holidays. But for many folks, this year means a new puppy or new kitten for Christmas. Learn how to gift pets–and please share your experiences in the comments!

puppy with ribbon

Pictures courtesy of Deposit Photos

The professionals used to say that the holidays were a TERRIBLE time to get a new pet–that impulse adoptions could leave the cat or dog without a home after the cute-holiday-thrills wore off. More recently, though, the ASPCA conducted some surveys and discovered that when done properly, these adoptions can be lasting, loving adoptions. So I had to re-think my advice.

Holidays tend to be hectic times when normal routines go out the window. Whether a baby, adult or senior rescue cat or dog, new animals need the stability of knowing what to expect. In fact, some holiday schedules may allow you to be home more during this time to help the new kitty or pooch adjust.

Holiday pets take more work, true. But just think: you’re not only giving the pet to a person—you’re giving a special human to a waiting cat or dog, a fur-kid hungry for a loving, permanent home. Happy holidays, indeed!

Everyone who adores puppies and kittens wants to share the furry love affair but not everyone is ready to receive puppies as gifts. Maybe the recipient will appreciate your thoughtfulness. But don’t gamble with a pet’s life.

Sure, Grandma is lonely and needs a wagging lap-warmer to keep her company. But she may have other plans, such as visits to the grandkids. Will the new kitten climb the Christmas tree and land in kitty jail? A puppy that eats Aunt Ethel’s hat collection will cost you favorite nephew status. A busy new parent may want a pup or kitten for their kids, but have other demands that take priority.

small cute kittenGiving Puppies and Kittens As Gifts

Before you put a bow around his neck, ask yourself these questions. Will the new owner have the time, ability, and funds to care for the dog or cat over the next 10 to 20 years? Is their space better suited for a Chihuahua, Persian or Great Dane? Do they already have a fenced yard? Will Uncle Jim’s knees keep up when hunting with that Pointer pup? Does your mom really want to chase Junior Cat off the mantel every day?

Children delight in pets as gifts but living things can’t be shoved under the bed and forgotten when the latest must-have-kid-gadget has more appeal. Remember—even if Fluffy is for the kids, the ADULT ultimately holds responsibility for the well-being of the pet. Will the child’s parents have the time to spend on one-on-one attention a new pet needs, and deserves? Be sure that the recipient truly wants and is ready for a puppy or kitten.

pet proof holidays to keep pets safe

Be sure to PET PROOF your decorations for the new baby!

I Want A Puppy/Kitten!

What if the kids, your spouse, Aunt Ethel, or a best friend have made it clear they want a furry wonder, are prepared for the responsibility and feel ready RIGHT NOW for a furry loved one in their life? You’re sure, and so are they. What can you do?

The time, the place, the person, and the pet must be right for love to bloom into a lifetime commitment. The selection should be made by the person who will live with, care for, and hopefully fall in love with the baby for the next decade or more. You still want the recipient to make this important choice, so give them that gift. Here’s 6 tips for giving pets as gifts.

6 Steps for Giving Pets As Gifts

  • Plot With Professionals. Contact the professional breeder, shelter, and/or rescue organization and explain the situation. Ask them to conspire with you—arrange to pay a deposit, or fund the purchase FOR the recipient, with the puppy or kitten to be chosen later. Perhaps also pre-pay puppy clicker training classes for the new family member, or fund the cost of the kitten’s first veterinary visit.
  • Avoid Puppy Mills. Those cute babies sold in some retail environments are born and raised in horrendous conditions. The ASPCA urges you to know what you’re getting, and pledge to avoid supporting that awful system.
  • Go Shopping. Create a “puppy or kitty care package” for the big day. Fill a puppy bed with treats, food, training and grooming equipmenthow to give pets as gifts and lots—lots!—of appropriate toys. Don’t forget to include a book or two about the pet’s breed, training or behavior tips, or other fun information.
  • Get Creative. Why not make a “gift certificate” that details this special surprise, and have that ready to present on the big day. Perhaps it could be packaged inside a pet carrier, or in an envelope attached to the collar of a stuffed St. Bernard or Siamese Cat toy.
  • dog life coverTake Your Time. Holidays can be hectic when normal routines go out the window. New puppies and kittens–even newbie adult pets–need the stability of knowing what to expect. But you can “gift” with the certificate on the special day, and the recipient can choose the best time to bring the pet home. Hopefully you also have the fun of accompanying the person later, when they choose their own furry wonder.
  • Keep Them Safe. Be sure to “pet proof” your holidays.

When you do it right, gifting with a pet can be magic. You’re not only giving the pet to a person—you’re giving a special human to a waiting fur-kid.

Have you ever given–or received–a pet as a gift? How did you prepare? What was the result? Please share! I’d love to hear your experiences.

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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!

Why Tabby Wears An M–A Christmas #Cats Story

It’s become a tradition on the blog (and in my PETiQuette newspaper column) to share my favorite Christmas cat story this time of the year. This touching legend, included in Complete Kitten Care book, tells the story of a simple Tabby cat, and her gift on the very first Christmas day to a special mother and child. My own special tabby boy honors this page–notice the “M” on Karma’s brow…Enjoy!

Please be safe if you’re traveling. And help keep your cat calm during the holidays with these tips. May your holidays be blessed.

KarmaFace-M-Tabby

Why Tabby Wears An M: A Christmas Cat Story

There was no snow that night in Bethlehem. Instead, the small cat watched a star-spangled sky from her perch in the window of a stable. She liked the stable, for it was a warm safe place to raise her furry babies, and the innkeeper sometimes left scraps out for her to nibble. Tabby wasn’t particularly distinctive, and most humans didn’t look at her twice. After all, her short gray/black fur was quite common. But Tabby’s striped coat hid a heart bigger than cats twice her size.

This night, though, Tabby was out of sorts, for she’d not been able to hunt and catch dinner. Travelers had poured into town for days, so noisy they disturbed decent cat-folks’ rest. Why, they’d even invaded Tabby‟s quiet stable, a place she had before shared only with other furry creatures. Tabby hadn’t minded the human couple—they were calmer than most. She’d left that morning for her usual rounds, but when she returned, the stable was packed with people.

From her perch on the window, Tabby watched the last of the strangers leave. She slipped from the window, and padded silently inside—and froze!

“Meewwww, meewww, meewww,” cried a tiny voice.

A kitten? Tabby’s ears turn this way and that to find the sound of the kitten’s voice. It came from the manger, the very place Tabby often made her own bed. A woman knelt beside the manger, intent on the small mewling that arose from within. Tabby was drawn by the kittenish sound, though she knew her own furry babies were grown to cat-hood. She tiptoed forward very slowly, and passed by a wooly burro, a warm cow, and all the other animals.

The woman looked up, and saw the striped cat. “Oh, little cat,” she murmured, “my baby cannot sleep, and nothing calms him this night.” She sighed, and turned back to the manger. “How grateful would I be to anyone able to bring him sweet dreams.”

And, as Tabby watched, each stable animal stepped forward in turn and tried to soothe the woman’s baby. But the kittenish sounds continued, and finally Tabby could contain herself no longer.

Quickly, she washed herself—paws, face, behind the ears, to the very tip of her tail (so as not to offend the child’s mother)—and then shyly stepped forward. She leaped gracefully to the manger, and stared into the face of the most beautiful baby (human or kitten!) she’d ever seen. He cooed and smiled, waving his tiny hands at Tabby, and she very carefully drew in her claws and settled beside him. Forgotten was her empty tummy; she could only hear her heart calling out to this sweet human-kitten.

And Tabby began to purr.

The wondrous cat-song filled the stable with overwhelming emotion. The animals listened with awe, and the child’s mother smiled as her baby quietly went to sleep.

The child’s mother placed her hand gently on the purring Tabby’s forehead. “Blessings upon you, Tabby-cat, for this sweet gift given to me and my child,” she said. And where she’d touched Tabby’s brow, there appeared an M—the sign of the Madonna’s benediction.

From that day forward, all proper tabby cats are honored with an M on their brow for the great service they performed that first Christmas night. And Christmas nights often find Tabby cats staring into the night, purring as they recall a very special child their ancestor once sang to sleep.

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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? NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I do not recommend anything unless I feel it would benefit readers. 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 giveaways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

6 Holiday Tips to Keep Kitty Calm

Do your cats enjoy the holidays, or does it add stress to their world? With the holidays fast approaching, it’s a good time to offer some tips for keeping your cats (and guests!) happy. Read on for 6 holiday tips to keep cats calm (say that fast five times, LOL!)

You’ll also like how to pet-proof your holiday in this post.

SerenYawn

6 Holiday Tips to Keep Cats Calm

Schedules goes out the window during the holidays. School breaks mean kids come home, holiday shopping and parties take hours away, and family visits mean absences or STRANGER DANGER in the house.

Less worry about your cats being stressed, and your guests being offended by cat-centric issues (WHEW, what’s that bad cat litter SMELL???!) means less stress for you and more time to enjoy the holidays. Here are ways to make a cat safe Christmas tree, and use these tips to help keep your cats cool, calm, and collected.

Change Schedules Slowly

Cats love the status quo. They dislike abrupt change. Anything that throws their routine out the window may prompt them to “spread some spray” around to self-calm. Yes, I mean they may urinate outside the box, because the smell of their own signature odor comforts and helps to keep cats calm. So if you KNOW the schedule will change, introduce changes slowly to keep cats calm.

Give the Sniff Test

A clean kitty potty helps ensure your cats will maintain litter box allegiance. Remember that a cat’s sense of smell is many times more sensitive than our human noses. So by all means, keep the box clean but also avoid spritzing strong holiday scents that may offend your cat. Baking aromas and roast turkey smells as well as a pine-tinted tinge on the air are fine.

Maintain Routine

As much as possible, maintain the status quo. Feed at the same time even if you must move the food bar away from the guest bedroom, for example. As long as MOST of the routine stays the same, most cats will be flexible.

baby gates

Baby gates offer security for those on both sides of the barrier.

Use Baby Gates

I love using baby gates to control temporary access to portions of the house. Baby gates can keep the cats (or young kids) away from each others’ territory. You don’t want the toddler in the cat’s litter box! And neither does the cat. When a youngster will visit over the holidays, invest in some baby gates and set them up early so your cats become used to the notion. Kitty can still see through them, too–and may be able to vault over some. That works well to keep obnoxious visiting dogs away, while allowing the cat continued run of the house. Or, if you don’t want cats to get through, you can stack two shorter baby gates to keep climbing cats at bay.

Train Your Guests

Many of our friends and family also love cats, and the people who don’t…well, maybe they aren’t great friends, LOL! Just be sure to set down some rules of the house. Too many treats can upset kitty tummies. And even the most affectionate cat may get fed up with being passed around like a stuffed toy.

Give Cats Privacy

We want our cats to be part of the celebration. Some kitties, though, become fearful or over-excited by strangers in the house. In these cases, it is not cruel to shut the cat in a room by herself. She’ll consider it a vacation from stress, and you won’t have to worry about her hissing at a guest or leaving a hairball in someone’s shoe.

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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? NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I recommend nothing unless I feel it would benefit readers. 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 giveaways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!