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Dogs & Cats & Bad Guys, Oh My! LOST AND FOUND is FREE

Dogs & Cats & Bad Guys, Oh My! LOST AND FOUND is FREE

Amy Shojai's Lost And Found Thriller

The 1st installment of Shojai’s dark, female-driven domestic thriller series featuring pet-centric plots

LOST AND FOUND is FREE!

James Rollins said, “Riveting, heart-wrenching, and brilliant, here is the debut of a stunning talent.” 

I’m delighted to announce that LOST AND FOUND is now available for FREE for your reading pleasure. You can find the FREE Ebook version at these great sites:

Kobo

A young woman races a Texas blizzard to save her autistic nephew from a deadly secret others will kill to protect–and the service dog she’s trained finds his true purpose, when he disobeys.

Animal behaviorist September Day has lost everything–husband murdered, career in ruins, confidence shot–and returns home with her trained Maine Coon cat Macy to Texas to recover. She’s forced out of hibernation when her nephew Steven and his autism service dog Shadow disappear in a freak blizzard. September and Shadow forge a stormy partnership to rescue the missing … But can they also find the lost parts of themselves?

Again, get your free copy at the links below–Dang, I hope you like it! With 75+ positive reviews, lots of folks have already enjoyed this dog-centric story as well as the following stories, HIDE AND SEEK and SHOW AND TELL. Please SHARE this post with anyone who enjoys a pet-centric roller-coaster suspense!

Kobo

p.s., If you prefer nonfiction, don’t forget to enter the give-away for DOG FACTS and CAT FACTS here.


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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!

Book Thrills, Summer Reads & Pet Safety

Karma-Magic-Funnies

New meaning to “paper trained…” So, what’s on YOUR summer reading list? Image Copr. Amy Shojai, CABC

It’s been a way-busy week and I have a lot to share to catch up with all the “doings.” 🙂 This week there were six stops on the HIDE AND SEEK blog tour.

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF!

The Book Divas Read shared an EXCERPT from the thriller, click here to read.

Dakota’s Den posted a PAW-SOME review of the book. “…For me, Hide and Seek was more than just a book, it was an experience. If I used stars for ratings, it would receive the highest number of stars that I could assign to it.

Meee-WOW! that makes me purr and my virtual tail wag. Read the entire post by clicking here. And if you’re of the cat-purr-suasion, you can also read the review by clicking here at Cat Chat with Caren & Cody.

Hotchpotch also posted a lovely review. “A compelling story with a dog as a hero, written by a specialist in animal behavior, with a dash of intrigue and a splash of suspense, some dead bodies and a lot of hiding and seeking. All ingredients that make for a very enjoyable read!” Be sure to visit the blog to read the book excerpt by clicking here.

CMash Reads interviewed me about writing the HIDE AND SEEK story, my writing schedule, and even asked for a sneak peek about the next book in the series SHOW AND TELL. You can read the whole interview by clicking here.

Thoughts In Progress posted another interview today with me, asking about the pros and cons of including so much “animal” characters and plot in my thrillers. What do you think? Is there such a thing as too much animals? What’s the downside? You can read my take on the issue by clicking here.

Finally, I had a lovely surprise–not scheduled–when I discovered that Ingrid King’s Conscious Cat blog included HIDE AND SEEK in a roundup of recommended summer reads. Wow! You’ll want to check out some of the other paw-some books, too. Click here for the whole post.

Okay, now I’m gonna step outside my comfort zone and ASK you — if you’ve not already done so — to purchase (or recommend to a friend) a copy of HIDE AND SEEK and/or the first book in the series LOST AND FOUND. Both books are available in print and all Ebook versions, and LOST AND FOUND also is available as an audio book.

It may seem silly to ask for reviews–why should anyone care what you think? But other readers DO care, and in addition, the places you buy books (amazon, B&N, iTunes/Apple, Audible and more) pay attention to reviews. Books that have lots of good reviews get shared by these companies, so please help out the authors you know (not just me!) by leaving your comments on the book pages.

Find buy-links to HIDE AND SEEK by clicking here.

And find buy-links to LOST AND FOUND by clicking here.

(DRUM ROLL PLEASE…..)

I’M A PANEL MASTER FOR NYC THRILLERFEST!

“WHAT MAKES AN ENDING UNFORGETTABLE?”

with Panelists Donald Bain, Ward Larsen,

Sean Lynch, J.F. Penn, and Tom Young

BOOK SIGNING TO FOLLOW

If you’re there, please stop and say hello…and if you can’t come, please post YOUR answers to the question and I’ll get ’em included in the discussion. Thrillerfest is always a terrific educational and social networking party. Yes, I’ll again be wearing my #1 Rhinestone B*tch Pin as well as my bunny-slippers-with-fangs. How else would anyone recognize me? *batting eyes all innocent-like*

PET-ASTIC SCHTUFF

Today is TAKE YOUR DOG TO WORK DAY! This is an annual event. You can click here to read more about what’s involved and tips to convince your boss to allow pets at work.

With summer heat upon us, I’ve been updating a lot of hot-weather tips at my puppies.about.com site (you may notice a bunch of SQUEE! new pictures, too!). Here’s some tips and suggestions for keeping your puppies–and adult dogs–happy and safe during the dog days of summer.

Hot Weather Games for Puppies–Click here!

Swimming Safety For Your DOgs (works for cats too) right here

This fall, I’ll be at the CWA conference in Atlanta at MEOWWORLD, speaking about how to put together Ebooks. You’ll get all the must-knows for writers and bloggers. Where else can you get great writer-ly advice while surrounded by all-things-pets? Hope to see you there at the Cat Writers conference! 

And if you write and publish about cats (including blogs) don’t forget to enter the CWA Contest, with thousands of $$$ in prizes and more. Click here for more informationdeadline to enter is July 1.

BarkWorld Expo and MeowWorld Sponsored by CWA

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–post in the comments. 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, check out weekly PUPPY CARE must knows, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Dog Viewpoint HIDE AND SEEK Releases!

It’s here! My dog viewpoint thriller HIDE AND SEEK “officially” releases–and those who subscribe to my PET PEEVES newsletter got this info last week (yes, there’s perks to subscribing *s*) but I couldn’t hold in the SNOOPY-DANCE-‘O-JOY! any longer. This is the SEQUEL to my first thriller, and brings back the characters you love plus some new ones.

There’s still dog-viewpoint (yay, Shadow!) and now more cat-centric stuff too (go, Macy!). I hope you’ll enjoy the book, post reviews, and recommend to your pet-loving, thrill-seeking friends.

My deepest gratitude to those who reviewed ARCs for advance looks and reviews. Y’all make my virtual tail wag and purrs a-rumble. And without further delay, behold the latest thriller.

******

A mysterious contagion will shatter countless lives unless a service dog and his trainer find a missing cat . . . in 24 hours.

FireHIDE AND SEEK on Amazon (Kindle & Trade Paperback)

A STALKER hides in plain sight.
A VICTIM faces her worst fear.
AND A DOG seeks the missing—and finds hope.

Eight years ago, animal behaviorist September Day escaped a sadistic captor who left her ashamed, terrified, and struggling with PTSD. She trusts no one—except her cat Macy and service dog Shadow.

Shadow also struggles with trust. A German Shepherd autism service dog who rescued his child partner only to lose his-boy forever, Shadow’s crippling fear of abandonment shakes his faith in humans.

They are each others’ only chance to survive the stalker’s vicious payback, but have only 24 hours to uncover the truth about Macy’s mysterious illness or pay the deadly consequences. When September learns to trust again, and a good-dog takes a chance on love, together they find hope in the midst of despair–and discover what family really means.

WHAT OTHERS SAY ABOUT HIDE AND SEEK!

HIDE AND SEEK proves Shojai’s masterful skill at blending ripped-from-the-headlines urgency with an emotional story of real characters in escalating dangers. Add in revelatory dose of animal psychology and behavior, and you have a thriller that had me turning pages deep into the night. Here is a novel written with authority and with a deft brilliance that any lover of animals or nerve-jangling thrillers will cherish.” James Rollins, New York Times bestseller of “The Eye of God”

“Recommended for anyone who likes a ‘bite-your-nails hold-your-breath’ kind of  thriller.” Dr. Lorie Huston, Cat Writers’ Association President

“Featuring a young animal behaviorist struggling to regain her bearings after a shocking betrayal, a reality TV show gone horribly wrong, and a series of murders and disappearances seemingly related to an unthinkable cause, HIDE AND SEEK is a mystery/thriller you won’t be able to put down!”
Alan Leverone, best-selling thriller author of “Mr. Midnight” and “The Lonely Mile”

THE STORY BEGAN WITH THE CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED

LOST AND FOUND

An autism cure will kill millions unless a service dog and his trainer

find a missing child . . . in 24 hours.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–post in the comments. 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, check out weekly PUPPY CARE must knows, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Guest Post at Sheila Bonham’s Blog

drop dead indd_final (519x800)Yesterday I was bad. *hanging head* I almost forgot to send my guest post to the amazing talented dog mystery author Sheila Bonham’s WRITING ON WEDNESDAY blog.  It’s been crazy, and I’ve had soooo many guest posts and special blogs scheduled that if she hadn’t sent me a gentle reminder, I’d have missed out altogether. So even though it’s a day late, I like to return the favor by a shout-out of warm wags and suchlike and send you to visit her terrific site.

Sheila writes the new Animals In Focus mystery series, with the first book Drop Dead On Recall just recently released. I’ve known Sheila and admired her dog writing work for many years–we both started out with nonfiction and are members of the Dog Writers Association of America–and now International Thriller Writer debut authors. Anyway, my guest post is all about 7 TIPS FOR ACCIDENTAL WRITER SUCCESS.

Oh, and to top off this thrilling Thursday theme and in time for the holidays, sign up for a book give away (below). Happy to paw-tograph to the winners. And looky, there’s only a few signed up so far so your chances are pretty good.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Lost And Found by Amy Shojai

Lost And Found

by Amy Shojai

Giveaway ends December 25, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

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 PUPPY CARE must knows, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Lost and Found: THE NEXT BIG THING BLOG HOP

Welcome to the NEXT  BIG THING blog hop.

What is a blog hop? Basically, it’s a way that readers can discover new authors, because with bookstores closing and publishers not promoting new authors as much, we need to find a way to introduce readers to authors they may not see in their local bookstore. So I get to give a shout-out to the wonderful author who invited me to this “dance” and then invite (and highlight) five more terrific authors at the end of the blog.

Debut thriller author Donna Galanti invited me to join the “hop” and I’d met her first by email and later in person at Thrillerfest last summer. Her paranormal suspense novel, A Human Element, is a spooky, thrilling read–don’t take my word for it. NY Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry calls her story, “an elegant and haunting first novel. Unrelenting, devious but full of heart.” See the links at the end for to five other authors you really MUST check out. Check out Donna Galanti’s website here, and you can buy A HUMAN ELEMENT at amazon or B&N or even iTunes.

Magic homecoming 3

What’s going on inside that furry head? …my answer is in LOST AND FOUND.

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My dog Magic inspired me to write this book. For years I’ve looked for a book that I wanted to read, one that included thrills and made the hear trace, a story that incorporated medical issues, and above all, one that respected animal characters as ANIMALS and wrote them from that perspective–not as little humans wearing fur. Finally I wrote the book that I wanted to read.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The story is science based. Yes, there really are drugs given to children without having been tested on the children. And yes, dogs CAN learn vocabulary just as quickly as Shadow does in the “name game” scene. And finally yes, cats can be trained–and Macy’s “hero cat” scene where she “nails” the bad guys at the end is also based on something that really happened.

Below you will find authors (in no particular order) who will be joining me by blog, next Wednesday. Do be sure to bookmark and add them to your calendars for updates on WIPs and New Releases! Happy Writing and Reading!

  1. Clea Simon writes awesome cat-centric mysteries and I know her through membership in the Cat Writers Association. Check out her great blog at Cats, Crime & Rock & Roll
  2. Arden Moore, America’s Pet Edu-Tainer, writes terrific cat and dog care books, one of which was ranked #3 of ALL BOOKS on amazon!  In a former life Arden was my editor, and we share a birthday (one month apart). She has some new books in the pipeline and blogs at Four Legged Life
  3. Carol Shenold has been in my writers group for more than 20 years and is one of my dearest friends and a talented tech writer and novelist. She writes paranormal mysteries. Learn about her work and check out her Monster Under The Bed blog.
  4. Check out Michael W. Sherer blog here. He writes terrific mysteries AND thrillers. I met him through Thriller Writers, and he invited me to participate in an AWESOME Kindle Fire give-away (plus some autographed books from famous thriller authors).
  5. Victor DiGenti (writing as Parker Francis) publishes mysteries and has also written award-winning YA cat fantasy. Like Clea, we also met through Cat Writers Association.

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 PUPPY CARE must knows, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Lost And Found Thriller: Cat-Centric Excerpt

12:05 p.m.

September stumbled from the car and plodded through snow drifts. Her feet clomped like dead blocks of ice. If she fell, she might not be able to get up.

Shadow’s hysterical yelps followed her. She worried his noise might give away her location, but wished she could bring him along. He gave her confidence the same way Dakota had kept nightmares at bay.

Screw post-traumatic stress. She’d been lost without Chris or Dakota, but had to do this without them; forget about fear, find Steven, and call the debt paid. She fortified her resolve and trudged on.

At the property edge, September scooted beneath loose strands of barbed wire supported by century-old bois d’arc fence posts. The open fields surrounded her house with a mix of short-cut winter rye and brambles, so she hugged the fence line for extra cover. Cedar elm, burr oak, hackberry and mountain ash carried mounds of white in skeletal arms. In the knee high grass, prickle vines hidden under the snow clutched her ankles and clawed her pants until her thighs and calves cramped before she’d slogged halfway home.

She slipped, grabbing a nearby tree branch for purchase, and spines of the honey locust speared through her glove. September barely noticed. Hurray for Reynaud’s numbness after all. Too many injuries, along with the combination of cold and adrenaline, anesthetized everything, but her brain revved into crystal clear focus. She gripped the enormous thorn with her teeth, yanked, and spat into the snow. September flexed her hand. It still worked well enough. Time to move. Find Steven. Stop the drug. Save the children.

September plowed another dozen steps before she peeked from the cover of the trees. Light spilled from her office windows. In her rush from the house yesterday she’d left on lights, although she had remembered to triple lock the front door. The place looked empty. Not even the police visit had disturbed more than tracks on the drive.

The drive circled the house in a dog-leg turn to reach the garage, and she couldn’t see inside. That created a blind spot where Lizzie’s cohorts could wait. Danger hid in unexpected places, even places you thought were safe, as she knew from experience. Her breathing quickened, and she almost gave in to the temptation to hide in the bushes outside and call the police when Lizzie arrived.

Suck it up, sweetheart. The old fears wouldn’t rule this day, not again. She’d lost herself for eight long years. She couldn’t let the killers get away. The lives of countless children, not just Steven’s, hinged on her decision.

She looked over her shoulder and satisfied herself that Pam’s dark vehicle wouldn’t be visible from the house. September sprinted in an awkward crabshuffle to the side of the house and the kitchen side door, spending several
nerve-wracking seconds unlocking deadbolts until she could hip-bump it open. The door was such a bitch to latch. For the first time in recent memory, she slammed the door closed but left it unlocked.

The floor was wet. Snow had drifted through the laundry room’s transom before someone—the police?—shut the window. The acrid stink from the dryer still clung to the walls. The 78-degree thermostat setting turned the room into a steam chamber.

“Mrrring.” Macy loped from across the room and wound around her ankles.

“Hey kitty, good to see you, too.” September smiled despite herself when he dropped Mickey on her shoe. But she couldn’t have him underfoot. She needed to stash him someplace safe.

September scooped up and tossed the toy onto the counter and gave the “jump-up” hand signal. The cat obliged. She pulled off her gloves, and spent ten precious seconds nuzzling the cat, thinking it might be their last time together. “We get through the next hour, I’ll buy you a plate of shrimp,” she whispered. “But right now you need to stay out of the way.”

His carrier was somewhere in the garage—where possible bad guys lurked—and would take too long to retrieve. The bathroom wouldn’t work. He could open the door. The rest of the unfinished house wouldn’t contain him, not when he could leap eight feet or more from a standing start.

“Macy, come.” He did, but dragged Mickey with him. She collected the toy. “Macy, jump.” She tapped the top of the refrigerator.

Macy merrowed and vaulted to his favorite perch. He watched September fill his bowl, top it off with several smelly salmon treats out of the canister, and set it beside him. His purr rumbled. He patted her head and settled down to crunch kibble. She prayed he’d stay with the food.

September unzipped her jacket, and moved to the stained glass table. The Number One Bitch mug was still half-filled with cold coffee next to the saucer from yesterday’s breakfast muffin. She emptied her pockets, and stuffed Macy’s mouse toy inside out of sight. Otherwise, once Macy ate he’d demand a game of Mickey-fetch.

Her phone needed juice. September pushed aside the treat canister and coffee maker and plugged it into the outlet to charge. The flash drive was bait, but the phone would spring the trap and, if she was lucky, it would save her life. And Steven’s. She switched the phone to speaker mode, dialed, and hid it from view before anyone answered.

“WZPP, you’ve reached ZAP105 FM Radio, giving you the best easy listening
24/7, how may I direct your call?”

Macy mewed. His ears twitched.

“Anita, it’s September. Put me through—”

“He’s expecting you, hon.” Fish’s broadcast came on the line.

“. . . So for the latest on the Blizzard Murders, keep it tuned to ZAP105 FM Radio. I’m Humphrey Fish servin’ it up fresh.” He paused before saying, “Caller, you’re on the air.”

“Fish, it’s time. Can you hear me okay?” She moved away from the counter, testing the range.

The stairwell door squeaked open behind her. Footsteps clumped on the landing. “I hear you just fine.”

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. CLICK the above BOOK TOUR icon to learn about the next blog tour stop and how to enter for your chance to win paw-tographed pet books including LOST AND FOUND. 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 PUPPY CARE must knows, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Lost And Found Thriller: Dog Viewpoint Excerpt

12:21 p.m.

Shadow howled frantic harmony to September’s cries. He didn’t know how he could hear her in the car. She wasn’t here. And she couldn’t hear him, though he barked loud and long.

His fur stood at furious attention. He showed his teeth, snapped and snarled, eager to defend. She was his person. A good-dog protected his people. He had to find her. Shadow keened and paw-punched the cage.

“Stop it.” In the front seat Teddy clapped his hands over his ears. “Shut up. Be a good-dog.”

A good-dog obeyed people. Shadow paused and flattened his ears. He licked the wire of the crate and whimpered. September screamed, and Shadow threw himself against the wire again. The latch jiggled. So he did it again. And again.

“Quiet, no, no, no, no. Bad dog.”

Shadow ignored Teddy’s growls. He didn’t care. He’d be a bad-dog on purpose. How could he ignore September’s screams?

“Shadow, please stop. You’ll hurt yourself.” Teddy turned around in the car seat and his brow wrinkled. His eyes rained wet.

Shadow paused. He whined. Maybe Teddy did understand. His tail wagged the hopeful question, and he tap-danced in place. He willed Teddy to understand.

“I called the police. They’re on the way.” The old man made no move to open the door. He just sat there, and ducked his head each time September screamed. “We just got to wait.”

Yelping in frustration, Shadow bit the wire mesh of the door, growled, and snarled. Tugged—like with Bear-toy. His gums split on the sharp wire. Salt-copper tang raised his arousal. His tail churned the air and battered the cage, a drumbeat counterpoint to the tug-contest.

The old man’s scent chemicals choked the stale air, and cried “uncle” louder than puppy pee. Teddy had given up.

Shadow grabbed the wire and shook it. Bloody drool spattered the floor of the crate.

Teddy covered his ears. He surged forward, fiddled with something, and September was silenced.

Shadow cocked his head. He licked his lips, shuddered at the copper taste, and stared at Teddy. Shadow woofed, yawned and whined, the most persuasive tone he could. He pawed the door. Two claws had torn loose, and added to the blood on the floor. He couldn’t make it any clearer. He needed out.

The old man waggled his head. That meant no. Shadow furrowed his brow, cocked his head. But he was right. He knew it. To protect Steven, he’d learned to think for himself, to make right choices, no matter what. It was a good-dog’s job to know when to disobey. That time was now.

Shadow laced back his ears, lowered his head. He hurled himself against the front of the crate. Backed up and did it again. He’d force the door open. Get out. Go to September. Because he belonged with her. Because they belonged together. Because he must.

His body battered the cage like a furry mallet, and jiggled the clasp open increments at a time. The fastener worked like his kennel at home. He’d get out. He didn’t need Teddy. Shadow wasted no further breath on howls.

“Please stop. I can’t let you out. Be a good-dog, shush, just calm down.”

Shadow knew the man was staring at him, but didn’t pause. Each grunted impact moved the hasp closer to opening.

Teddy swiveled, flung open the door, and lurched out of the car. Shadow redoubled his efforts. He pawed the hasp. It moved in his favor. Another claw caught, and he yanked it free with a yelp. But the latch almost opened. He uttered frustrated whines, and he switched paws to continue the onslaught.

Teddy rushed to the back of the car and opened the tailgate. “Damn dog.” He reached to secure the fastener. “Hell, it’s nearly open.”

Shadow roared.

The old man flinched and yelled, “Back off!”

Teddy’s sudden command stopped Shadow dead. He watched, suspicious but hopeful. The man stared at him.

“You convinced me, dog. It’s your choice. And your grave.” His voice caught. “So okay, you crazy sonofabitch, you want out?” He reached for the crate door.

Out, yes! Shadow didn’t wait for Teddy. A final body-slam rocketed open the latch. The metal grate whipped into the man’s glasses and sliced open his cheek. Teddy toppled backwards into the snow.

Shadow vaulted from the car, and cleared the sprawled figure with one joyous leap. He found September’s scent, and hop-scotched and bulldozed through snow so deep it scraped his belly. But the bloody paw prints left in his wake spelled a message of fear, hope, and determination only good-dogs could read.

Read a new review of this book here!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. CLICK the above BOOK TOUR icon to learn about the next blog tour stop and how to enter for your chance to win paw-tographed pet books including LOST AND FOUND.

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 PUPPY CARE must knows, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

LOST & FOUND Tour & Pet Theme Prizes

Follow the Book Tour & Enter the Give Away

Prize: Dog-centric or Kitty-styled basket

Find Your Lost Cat-Luv Basket:
Includes “paw-tographed” to the recipient, books Lost and Found (authors debut thriller) as well as the nonfiction books Complete Care for Your Aging Cat and a “surprise” cat book from another colleague. It would also include an assortment of cat toys/treats/products. (Believe me, I have a BOATLOAD of toys/books ready to ship! Check out a picture and list here!)

Find Your Lost Dog-Luv Basket:
Includes “paw-tographed” to the recipient, books Lost and Found (authors debut thriller) as well as the nonfiction books Pet Care in the New Century: Cutting-Edge Medicine For Dogs & Cats and a “surprise” dog book from another colleague, assortment of dog toys/treats/products. (You cannot imagine the AMOUNT of toys/books I need to send! Here’s a picture and list of contents!)

Open to: 18+, US

Giveaway period: Starts at 12:01 am on November 5, 2012 and continues until 11:59 pm on November 25, 2012. All times are Eastern.

How to enter: Rafflecopter – Log in with your name and email or Facebook.

  • Click “Do It!” button to read the instructions for each entry option.

*If the rafflecopter form doesn’t appear, please wait a minute for it to load.

CLICK THIS LINK TO REACH THE ENTRY RAFFLECOPTER!

Magic with pile of Lost & Found books

Magical-Dawg is a discerning reader.

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 PUPPY CARE must knows, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Attack Cat!

The Masked Kitty

Is your kitty the Masked Avenger, ready to protect life, limb and property? Image Copr. Karla Spence

Is your pet an attack cat? Does he or she serve as a guard kitty, able and willing to keep bad guys at bay?

Debbie Russell, one of my IAABC behavior consultant colleagues, recently read my debut thriller LOST AND FOUND and posted a lovely and very positive review that said in part, “I also loved Macy’s role at the end of the book.” (Thank you, Debbie! read the rest of the review here.)  For those who haven’t (yet 🙂 read the book, Macy is the trained hero cat who literally “nails” one of the bad guys.

Debbie also emailed me. She said, “You’re probably aware of this, but cats, when they bite, can absolutely savage the target before nerves even have a chance to respond to, “hey, I’m being bitten!”  I once had a cat land three deep bites before my CNS could even begin to yank my arm back.  I cringed on Macy’s attack.”

She also gave me permission to share these two true fascinating tales of cats defending their owners/territory:

We had dinner with a couple, and the husband told us of the following event. He was a teenager, sleeping and awoke due to some noise coming from the living room.  He picked up a bat and went forward towards it. His Dad, whose bedroom was on the other side of the living room, heard it also and came from that side. What did they see?   Their giant Maine Coon had a man on the ground, behind the couch, totally torn up. 

He was screaming “Get it off of me!   Get it off of me!”  

They tried. It wasn’t easy. Apparently said MC hadn’t learned “aus”. (“Aus” is the German release command used with dogs.)  When they approached, he’d just growl. I imagined him thinking, “MY PREY!  I can eat off of this for a month.  Go find your own.”  

Eventually they got him off the guy, police arrived, etc.  However, this cat had even managed to tear through the intruder’s leather jacket.  Impressive, huh?

And a second story . . .

I can’t remember where I heard this, but remember it as true.  A woman awoke to see blood splattered in her stairwell leading to the upstairs bedroom.  She called the police.  Based on the blood splatter, they determined that the Siamese must have launched him/herself at the intruder’s head from the stop of the stairwell.  Yikes.  Can you imagine?  

Yes, I can imagine! My cousin once told the story of their cat that liked to lounge on the top of the refrigerator, next to the back door. A burglar entered the house, and…you guessed it…kitty launched an attack from on high, and drove the intruder from the house. As I recall, they knew because of the blood stains and door left open. Does this sound familiar? Where did you think I got the idea for that Macy scene? 🙂

I’ve also had consults with cat owners to help them diffuse territorial aggression and “guarding” areas of the home, especially when visitors enter. One client’s cat wouldn’t let the pet sitter to enter by the back door (the cat “owned” that area) but was fine if the pet sitter arrived from the front door. Cat-to-cat aggression is much more common (and discussed with tips to solve it in my ComPETability-Cats book). But cat-to-people aggression can be horribly dangerous and terrifying.

If you’re looking for information about dog attacks, go here.

Then there are cats who sleep through strangers coming and going, while others probably would show burglars where you hide the silver. Where do your cats fall in the scheme of things? Do you have stories of cats running to your rescue–if not physically, perhaps sounding a warning? Please share!

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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!

Monday Mentions: Kurves, Swerves & Nerves

Happy Monday! The temperatures are doing jumping-jacks in North Texas this week–up/down/up/down–and I’m doing my best to stay healthy for performances this coming weekend of KURVES, THE MUSICAL. This is the original show Frank Steele and I wrote and produced last March, back by popular demand October 11, 12, and 13 at the Rialto. Yes, in another life I sing and “act sparkly” for fun and profit *s* and I’ve even included a short video of the awesome actors singing a few of the original songs. If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll stop by–you can learn more about the show here.

On the writing front, I’m delighted that my swerves into fiction  LOST AND FOUND has struck a chord with readers and already received lots of flattering reviews. You’ve made this writer’s “furry” dreams come true! I’m still discussing the book for another week over at the DogRead virtual book club so I hope you’ll join the conversation–it’s free, come-and-go, and you can even lurk if you wish (and maybe even find out some super-secret background about the book). There’s also still time to get your name in on the drawing for three free autographed copies.

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo writer links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. I have  bunch more–but the Verizon gremlins are getting on my nerves and won’t let me access my saved email. Color me less-than-impressed and verging on fed-up-entirely! If I can get at the other awesome links later, I’ll update the post as I can.

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

Cat Writers’ Conference November 1, 2, 3 and it’s our 20th anniversary! Yes, I’ll be speaking. *s* and it’s not just furry writing, it applies to all writers

Writing A Bipolar Character? here’s what you need to know.

Gotta Have Java? boy, I do…that’s part of my writer-ly routine. But here are some kewl coffee myths debunked.

FUN PET-ASTIC SCHTUFF

Zombie Bees, Hijacked Minds it’s not sci-fi, it’s real…and would make a great plot!

100 Weird Pet Names

Hero Cat Rescues Family!

Amazon Cares Prosecutes Abuse Case in Peru in a precedent-setting trial

Petties Awards! Friday October 12…check it out!

AVMA Says Pet Ownership Decreasing in US

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 PUPPY CARE must knows, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

LOST AND FOUND & READER-ICITY UNCHAINED!

An autism cure will KILL MILLIONS

unless a service dog and his trainer find a missing child . . .

in 24 hours.

Lost and Found Cover

RELEASE DAY IS HERE!

And I’m doing the SNOOPY-DANCE-‘O-JOY!

Here’s the PRINT VERSION of the book at $11.99

Here’s the NOOK VERSION of the book $4.99

Here’s the KINDLE VERSION of the book $4.99

WANT A FREE BOOK?

I’m giving away THREE autographed copies of the book on GoodReads and you can enter for the drawing here.

POST A COMMENT (or a pet behavior question) on this blog  and I’ll add you to a random drawing for another free copy of the book.

SHARE THIS BLOG and I’ll put your name in another time with each share on Facebook, twitter, Google+ etc.  🙂 Just be sure to tag/include @amyshojai or otherwise flag it so I know.

SUBSCRIBE to my PET PEEVES newsletter to get your name in the drawing yet another time and I’ll add a free cat or dog nonfiction pet book and a fun dog-centric or cat-astic item (promise your pets will love it!). YOU have to sign up, I can’t do it for you…here’s the link again.

By the way, winners of the NAME THAT DOG and NAME THAT CAT contest, as well as the owner of the gorgeous cover dog will receive autographed books as soon as I get my copies in the mail–so no need for you to enter.  🙂

WANT A SNEAK PEEK?  Read THE FIRST TWO-AND-A-HALF CHAPTERS HERE!

MAKING AUTHOR DREAMS COME TRUE

Publishing a novel has been a 20-year dream, and I couldn’t have done it without you! YOUZE GUYZ ROCK!

I’m serious. Many of y’all have been my cheerleaders and friends through this journey. You’re dog and cat lovers, pet writers and book readers, experts I’ve interviewed for articles and books, and savvy writer colleagues with your own terrific books who have shared tips and suggestions along the way. You’ve already helped me so much. And I want to ask y’all to offer yet another PAWS UP to this author’s dream–

And also help some other authors along the way. Yes, I want this blog post to be shared by readers and writers–create a PASS IT FORWARD of READER-ICITY that helps as many authors out there as possible. Because the best way To Kill A New-ish Book . . . is to ignore it.

Please don’t buy it unless you really want to and can afford the book (I know $$ is tight). But there are a few things you can do to help books (including LOST AND FOUND) become a success, even without buying the book.

READER-ICITY RULES FOR GETTING BOOKS NOTICED

  1. “Like” it (just click the “like” button on the amazon page, for instance).
  2. “Like” the author page. Here’s mine on Amazon.
  3. “Tag” it. These are descriptive words or phrases that help others find the book when they search for it. (On the book page type TT to open the tag box, highlight the tags and copy into the box, and save).
  4. Read it. Love it. Hate it. Talk about it. Share with friends. Argue about it. Get hissed-off about it. Wag about it. Say it’s GRREEEAAAT! Say it SSSSSUCKS! And then . . . .
  5. Review it (on Amazon, GoodReads, Barnes & Noble, your blog, etc.) ONLY IF YOU REALLY READ IT!

To make me PURRR with delight and look for more furry ways ways to reward my dear readers, please gift LOST AND FOUND with all the READER-ICITY you can muster. But don’t limit this to LOST AND FOUND. Find other books that you love and spread some READER-ICITY LUV!

CALLING ALL AUTHORS!

Once you have offered READER-ICITY to my thriller LOST AND FOUND you have my express permission to post one title, link and short blurb about YOUR book that needs READER-ICITY PIMPAGE (and then share it everywhere).  And I strongly urge all visitors to the blog to take a moment to share the READER-ICITY for a couple more books in addition to LOST AND FOUND and you may just find a new fav author.

Ya know, as far as I can recall a thriller that features dog viewpoint hasn’t yet made it to the Amazon top 100. Wonder why? Surely people who love dogs (and cats) have some paw-power to make it happen.  Wouldn’t it be kewl to get a “best in show” like that? A few well-placed howls and yowls would get the book enough notice to get the furry ball rolling. It’s in your paws.

Now let the comments begin!

Monday Mentions: Lee Child, Reacher & Speeding To Publish

.The long promised short clips from the 2012 Thrillerfest finally will be posted–and here’s the first, with the awesome Kathleen Antrim interviewing Lee Child about his Jack Reacher novels–and the movie. Honestly, I can’t imagine having written so many novels. It’s waaaaay different than writing nonfiction, and my first thriller has just about done me in.

I’m gasping, filled with Sisyphus-icity as the launch date draws near for my thriller. After screwing up my courage and sending out oh-so-polite requests for well known folks to read and maybe offer a kind word about the book, I’ve been blessed beyond my wildest dreams. But I can’t slow down. This hamster wheel is on a roll and speeding up.

So this past week, Dr. Marty Becker, D.P. Lyle and James Rollins kind words were included with polite invitations to savvy book reviewers to take an advance look. For a book to be successful it must be found, so authors can’t afford to be shy.

In the days and weeks ahead, I’ll post some of my efforts in the hopes it might also help others traveling similar publishing journeys. Fair warning–I may ask for your help because it takes a tribe to get folks to notice a new book. And I know y’all have the power to get schtuff noticed, especially thrillers with bite. 🙂

On to our regularly scheduled Monday Mentions, 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. 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. The second short video of SQUEE! cute cats is sure to relieve stress (it did mine, anyway!).

WRITER-ICTY SCHTUFF

Agent as Publisher–Sorta-Kinda

New Kindleboards Blog this is something to watch, Indies!

Bonfire of the Straw Man an awesome post from David Gaughran that debunks some of the strangest arguments AGAINST indies

5 Keys to Writing Success from social media maven Kristin Lamb

Panic Attacks and help for writers and other creative folks from Kristin Nador

8 Easy Social Media Tips from Jenny Hansen

The Science of Disgust who knew it was a protective mechanism?

How To Self Pub and Ebook some good general info

NetGalley for reviewers finding great books

FAKE Reviews? Say it ain’t so!

50 Shades of Grateful a peek into new (old) realms for writers from Tameri Etherton

PET-ICITY SCHTUFF

Recalled Metal Pet Bowls …can you say RADIOACTIVE?! Sheesh

Call for Winn Feline Foundation Research Grants

Readers Raise Funds to Save Bookstore Cat Awwwwwwwww…

Dog Training Controversy–Or Not? Great blog for those with questions!

TNR Pilot Program Success!

Video of Mugsy-Cat Fighting Gators wow

Keeping Puppy Feet Clean

Scary Coyote Encounter

Pet Population Shrinking?

Kitty Cams what the cats do–but is the evidence skewed? Check out this one that proves not all cats are killers and then decide.

Wonderful fun video below the Lee Child interview, sort of a cat’s eye review of a new cat tree, from Janea Kelly. Enjoy!

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 PUPPY CARE must knows, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay tuned for more news about my forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND!

Monday Mentions: Birdy Dancing, Co Dreaming & PUB DATE!

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Maurice, the dragon wordsmith of all things writerly.

All this inspiration worked. My thriller LOST AND FOUND was conceived, plotted and finished during previous trips and I just found out the pub date:

September 20, 2012!

I will let you know just as soon as pre-orders are available. It will be published in print and all Ebook formats, woot! I just got my copy edits back in time to input the results of the “name” contest–will it feature your cat or dog favorite name? You’ll want to check out the voting for NAME THAT DOG and NAME THAT CAT polls. So far the dog names Dakota and Bruno are nearly neck-and-neck, while cat names Macy and Karma are top contenders. Votes close July 31.

Monday Mentions is 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. 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.

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

Social Media Vs Big-A$$ Book Reviews which sells more books?

Bloomsbury Ebook Sales Up 70%

James Scott Bell Writer Workshop in Nashville Aug 11-12

Top 10 Brain Myths fun stuff!

Facebook “Page” vs “Profile” some good info and tips

Ebooks Now Dominate Fiction Sales

Penguin Buys Author Solutions   will they continue the program or kill the competition? Hmnnn.

Job Opening: Senior Editor Petside.com

Discoverability & Marketing Conference

CRITTER SCHTUFF

Cat Is The Mayor

Behavior Express Tour “Keep LOVE Alive” coming to city near you? Solving pet behavior problems, expert help.

Hero Dog Awards Announced! wow, what amazing canines

Feline Husbandry the book by Neils Pedersen now available in PDF (free!)

The Ecology of Disease scary and true! Bats to pigs to people? Oh my…

White Nose Syndrome in Bats

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 PUPPY CARE must knows, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Don’t forget to vote for your NAME THAT DOG/CAT character choice in the forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND!

Monday Mentions: Thriller Unveil, Chicken Soup-icity & Writer Beware!

COVER UNVEIL! You like? Boy, I do too–and click on the cover to learn more about the book as well as the ongoing NAME THAT DOG and NAME THAT CAT contest. By the way, a special shout out to the Magical-Dawg’s breeder Gillian Salling for sharing her gorgeous cover dog, USCHI VON FERNHEIM, TD. (That “TD” stands for Tracking Dog title this dog acquired at six months of age.)

LOST AND FOUND is about the future. My nonfiction books are the present, of course. But today’s blog also revisits the past.

Several years ago I was fortunate to be a co-author on two books, Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover’s Soul and Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover’s Soul with awesome peeps Dr. Marty Becker and Carol Kline. These books were incredibly popular and sold extremely well–authors LOVE books like that with great royalty payments! Unfortunately for the authors, though, the founders of Chicken Soup decided to sell the brand–the company became Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing (CSSP) in 2008. And when that happened–POOOOOOF!–all the co-author royalties suddenly disappeared. That’s because the first publisher Health Communications Inc (HCI). decided to sue CSSP, and so CSSP returned the favor–to the tune of millions of dollars spent on attorneys.

The kicker? They decided that the co-authors should foot the bill for their lawyerly shenanigans. In other words, instead of continuing to earn substantial income, suddenly our royalty indicated each co-author OWED the new publisher in excess of 5 figures. No, we didn’t have to pay them–this just meant they didn’t have to pay US as long as that column remained in the negative column. Funny how a simple contract can be re-interpreted the way they want. My friends Marty and Carol have many other Chicken Soup books, and there are a number of other authors in the same soup-y situation.

So I was pleased to see that the two companies finally settled their dispute. And I quick-like-a-bunny emailed ’em to find out what this means for the co-authors. I first emailed Kim Weiss, director of communications for HCI and she said they’d been told to have us direct questions to Amy Newmark, the publisher of CSSP, and here is Ms Newmark’s reply:

Hi Amy.
We received no money in the settlement.We will start publishing the backlist books with new ISBNs in July and we hope to generate royalties for the coauthors later this year as a result.
Amy

I’ll give you three guesses (and the first two don’t count) how long I’ll hold my breath to see income on THAT new deal. The settlement means nothing for the co-authors. Nothing. It means NOTHING. It only means CSSP now owns the HCI backlist and gets to publish it and continue to perform creative bookkeeping to keep any/all income made possible by the blood-sweat-teeth-gnashing of co-authors.

Bitter, much? Uh…yeah. So from me to you–WRITER BEWARE OF HCI AND CSSP. They have in the past and most certainly will in the future interpreted contracts any which way that pleases them, to the woe of those who trust them to be ethical.

Monday Mentions is 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. 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.

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

Book Passages Mystery Writers Conference July 19-22, with some awesome speakers including the awesome Doug Lyle, forensic specialist

Types of Social Media Users–what type are you? (“Sparks” here…)

Publishing Syndicate call for submissions

5 Ways to Promo Your Books

Amazon Buys Dorchester Pub Assets

PET SCHTUFF

Our Animal Natures asks (and answers) the question, Why don’t we human doctors routinely cooperate with animal experts?

Pedigree Canned Dog Food Recall little blue plastic pieces in the food could choke your dog, please be careful!

Winn Feline Foundation Announces  2012 Media Award presented to awesome pet writer/author Darlene Arden!

6th Annual Planet Dog Foundation Fundraiser to Benefit Maine Medical Center’s Therapy Dog Program. I love this company! Not only does Magical-dawg love their products, they do good schtuff for dogs…check out the video, below.

How Animals Talk–Vocal “Matching” in Animals and a related article on how goat moms recognize kid bleats even after they grow up!

Responsible Dog Ownership Day turns 10 Celebrate with your dogs on September 22.

Planet Dog Offers $25,000 In Grants. Since 2006, PDF has contributed over $875,000 dollars in cash and in-kind product donations to exemplary canine service programs. $25,000 in grants go to this year’s grant recipients:  Austin Dog Alliance, of Austin, TX; Central Lakes Search and Rescue, of Garfield, MN; Champlain Valley Search and Rescue K-9 Unit, of Keeseville, NY; Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, of Norfolk, VA; Freedom Service Dogs of Englewood, Colorado; New Jersey Search and Rescue, of Mahwah, NJ; Service Dogs of Virginia, of Charlottesville, VA; and Susquehanna Service Dogs, of Harrisburg, PA. Check out the awesome video.

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 PUPPY CARE must knows, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter . Don’t forget to check out the NAME THAT DOG/CAT character in the forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND!

Feline Friday: Name That Cat!

IMG_3752

Does your kitty friend have “star” power? (Copr. Missy/Flickr

How does the kitty do this? Aw c’mon, you have to KNOW that a cat could outwit, out-maneuver, out-do any bad guy on the planet, right? This lovely kitty, though, also has been trained by the animal behaviorist main character. You never know when a kitty “trick” can be turned to your advantage. 🙂

My blog followers, Facebook friends, nonfiction book readers and pet writing colleagues have been so much a part of this fiction journey, I want to include YOU in the book, too. This Maine Coon kitty has a major role in the book but there’s also a second feline mentioned as well as a number of other dog mentions.

I’d like to give y’all the opportunity to name those kitty characters–name them after YOUR furry wonder, for instance, or a beloved pet that has passed on, or a friend’s dog or even a human relative–your choice. Many of y’all already subscribe to my Pet Peeves newsletter, which hasn’t gone out in a while due to other deadlines :) . I’ll post a reminder in the next several blogs about this to subscribe to the newsletter for your chance to NAME THAT CAT in the forthcoming Lost And Found thriller.

Those who win the naming opportunity will also receive a free copy of the book, and a mention in the acknowledgements. Oh, and let me know in the comments–does your cat do tricks? My kitty hero in the book will sit, sit up, wave, walk on leash, leaps to the top of the refrigerator on command, and will “kill it” (a toy…or bad guy!). The cat was clicker trained.

So please suggest names. Tell me why YOUR cat should be the “hero” feline, or describe what makes your kitty name the purrr-fect choice?

UPDATE

Here’s how I’ve decided to choose the winner(s). Depending on the response, I will select (random drawing) 10-15 dog names and 10-15 cat names, and YOU WILL VOTE (get your friends to campaign for you!) to select the final names to appear in the book.

Those who win the naming will not only get furry bragging rights, and an ADVANCE FREE COPY of the book, but also an acknowledgement in the book itself with a tidbit about your pet who shares that name. Sound good? Be sure to post your suggested name asap–I’ll need to send final edits to my editor probably by the end of July!

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 PUPPY CARE must knows, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter for your chance to NAME THAT DOG character in the forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND, and pet book give-aways!

Woof Wednesday: Name That Dog!

Uschi with toy
Some of y’all know that my debut thriller LOST AND FOUND will be published this fall. Last night I sent back edits to my publisher and now we’re working on cover design. It’s a challenge because–well–it has to be right!

Why do I talk about thriller fiction in a Woof Wednesday blog? Because a main character in the book is Shadow, a nine-month-old German shepherd being trained as a service dog for a young boy. Like most authors, I truly KNOW what my characters look like, how they talk and act, and what they feel.

Even Shadow, the dog. Especially Shadow. He is, in fact, one of my viewpoint characters. At a recent writer’s seminar on pitching (a shorthand way of describing the book) I described the book like this:

“In LOST AND FOUND an animal behaviorist and service dog must find an autistic child lost in a blizzard in this adult thriller with the medical tension of Robin Cook and the heart of The Art of Racing In the Rain.”

Hey, I can dream that readers will agree!

Meanwhile, tomorrow I have a photo shoot with a potential cover-dog model for the book. You see, many of the stock photos available of German shepherds either aren’t the right color (black) or the wrong age. And nope, Magical-Dawg is too big/mature for the right look (shhhh, don’t say that out loud or you’ll hurt his doggy feelings!) but one of his relatives might have the right look. Get a load of this gorgeous GSD, already with a tracking dog title at 6 months old, wow!
Chew toy

My blog followers, Facebook friends, nonfiction book readers and pet writing colleagues have been so much a part of this fiction journey, I want to include YOU in the book, too. Shadow is already a main character in the story. But there is a second tracking dog featured, as well several other “relatives” of that canine that are mentioned.

I’d like to give y’all the opportunity to name those dog characters–name them after YOUR furry wonder, for instance, or a beloved pet that has passed on, or a friend’s dog or even a human relative–your choice. Many of y’all already subscribe to my Pet Peeves newsletter, which hasn’t gone out in a while due to other deadlines 🙂 . I’ll post a reminder in the next several blogs about this to subscribe to the newsletter for your chance to NAME THAT DOG in the forthcoming Lost And Found thriller.

Those who win the naming opportunity will also receive a free copy of the book, and a mention in the acknowledgements. Oh, and let me know in the comments–have you ever won a similar “naming” contest? How’d that work out? I know that the Thrillerfest folks auction off naming characters as ways to raise funds for charity but this time around, I want it to be free–and fun for you, too. How should I pick the winner? Please weigh in with your thoughts.

UPDATE

Here’s how I’ve decided to choose the winner(s). Depending on the response, I will select (random drawing) 10-15 dog names and 10-15 cat names, and YOU WILL VOTE (get your friends to campaign for you!) to select the final names to appear in the book.

Those who win the naming will not only get furry bragging rights, and an ADVANCE FREE COPY of the book, but also an acknowledgement in the book itself with a tidbit about your pet who shares that name. Sound good? Be sure to post your suggested name asap–I’ll need to send final edits to my editor probably by the end of July!

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 PUPPY CARE must knows, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter for your chance to NAME THAT DOG character in the forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND, and pet book give-aways!

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