#Pets Authors Panel: We Did It, So Can You!

Did you miss the Google Hangout? Wanna learn about WRITING LIKE CATS AND DOGS? Here’s Yvonne DiVita, Doc Halligan, Lisa Erspamer and myself talking about publishing, how we wrote our books, and other writer-icity experiences! Enjoy!

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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!

You Wrote WHAT? Why I Write What I Write

Magic-Seren-BooksSome of y’all know that my *virtual HIDE AND SEEK book tour* ran during June and July, and I had a wonderful time visiting various blogs and sharing about my writer-ly journey. All the links to various blogs can be found on my website here.Fire

But now I’ve been tagged for another virtual tour, a way for my Sweet Peeps to find out about other paw-some writers and their work. My author-friend, Angie Baily, invited me to join The Writing Process Blog Tour. Be sure to check out Angie’s blog and find out all about her works-in-progress. If you love quirky humor and love cats, you’ll find a treasure there!

The Writing Process Blog Tour is a way for bloggers to share their own writing process and current projects with readers, as well as introduce them to a couple of fabulous authors they might not be reading … which they should. I’m supposed to answer these four questions–so hang on tight, and I’ll try to be concise.

*snicker* Yeah, THAT’s gonna happen!

What am I working on?

Wow, probably too many projects to list. Here’s the short list at the top of my to-do’s:

  1. I’m awaiting the return of final edits on my next nonfiction book COMPLETE PUPPY CARPuppyCareCoverE, due to release later this month. This book will be the companion title to mirror my best selling COMPLETE KITTEN CARE book. Hey, I have to give equal time to the fur-kids!
  2. Writing the next book in my suspense/thriller series, titled SHOW AND TELL. The books feature an animal behaviorist, September Day. She lives with a trained Maine Coon cat and suffers from PTSD which is helped by her German Shepherd service dog named Shadow. Shadow is a favorite character because he has his own viewpoint chapters, character arc and storyline (but no, he DOESN’T talk).
  3. Strays Logo2-LoRezPreparing for the debut of STRAYS, THE MUSICAL, a full-length play co-written with Frank Steele. We’ve got a workshop scheduled to teach folks some of the music and introduce to the script, auditions scheduled, and performance taking place November 6-7-8, 2014. This show is very close to my heart, as it incorporates my love of cats and dogs with music and theater (all characters are cats or dogs). You can expect some blog posts in the future detailing this STRAYS journey!
  4. In the planning stages for a writers’ guide “how-I-did-it” short book, hopefully this fall, to provide a one stop place to answer many of the writing and publishing questions I receive. It will be based on the several conference talks and webinars I offer.
  5. SUPER-SECRET-SOON-TO-BE-REVEALED PROJECTS that I can’t yet announce, but will be PAW-some for cats, dogs and pet parents. Yes, it has to do with great health and behavior information, and some opportunities for bloggers to get involved, too. Stay tuned!

How does my work differ from others in my genre?

Some of my work is very similar to my colleague’s, in that I strive to provide great actionable information that helps pet parents and the cats and dogs they love. It differs in that many of the venues or platforms are outside the box, and that I try not to limit myself to one avenue to reach my audience.

For years I wrote very prescriptive nonfiction books and articles–and I still love sharing that information. But now I work to “edu-tain” readers who perhaps aren’t specifically looking for pet care advice or information. Reading a book told through “dog voice” opens a window into how and why dogs behave certain ways. Watching a play in which cats and dogs offer insight into their world and it’s all from their purr-spective may offer some ah-ha moments for pet parents. Using a variety of publishing platforms, from the Internet and blogs to Ebooks, traditional print and even audio books or songs, increases the chance more folks will benefit from the work.

Why do you write what you do?

I was put on this earth to be a voice for the voiceless–I truly believe that. Writing about cats and dogs gives me great pleasure, and it’s fun! How neat to wake up every morning excited to go to work and–basically–play with cats and dogs for a living. I am truly blessed!

How does your writing process work?

Hmnn. Often, I get ideas from readers asking questions, or from news stories that make me go “wow…what if?” Typically I work 6-7 days a week, although I try to take at least half a day off on Sunday. My world would go off the tracks without to-do lists. I love putting together lists, and crossing off each item once completed! My calendars (several, both paper and online) are highlighted and color coded to keep track of various projects, and often look like a peacock exploded.

For book-length projects, I do my best to meet a daily word count, and calendar progress toward the deadline. Otherwise, with so many things to juggle, something’s liable to go SPLAT when it’s dropped. Once a book-length draft is finished, I work on a different project for a time and come back to edits with fresh eyes. Books generally go through several rewrites and drafts before going to beta readers and later to my editor, so it’s an involved process. Shorter work like articles can be turned around much more quickly. Blogs (like this one) often are written in one sitting.

Now it’s time to tag two more wonderful writer friends. Please head on over to their blogs/websites and check out their work. I promise, you’ll be glad you did!

JaneA Kelly is a contributing author to Caster.com and is the webmaster and chief cat slave for Paws and Effect, an award-winning cat advice blog written by her cats, for cats and their people. She is a professional member of the Cat Writers’ Association, and has been a speaker at the BlogPaws and Cat Writers’ Association conferences. In addition to blogging about cats, JaneA writes contemporary urban fantasy, and whatever else strikes her fancy.

Carol Shenold has been a nurse for forty years, and a writer/artist almost as long. She writes the Tali Cates mysteries, as well as urban fantasies with weirdly wonderful characters (“The Monster under the bed…is real!”), and nursing textbooks. She also writes nonfiction in general interest, technical magazines, newspaper columns and more. You can find Carol at her website and her blog–when she’s not busy painting pictures of her cat or dogs or grandkids.

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, 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!

 

 

Monday Mentions: Creative Birds, Thriller Inspiration & Pet-astic Links

FlamingoLast week I got a good start on the new thriller SHOW AND TELL, but then was sidetracked by STRAYS and getting the cast recording finished (you can listen to it here). I find, though, that any kind of artistic endeavor seems to whet my creative appetite. Whether I’m writing music or prose, cutting glass or carving wood, they all seem to make me hungry to make something happen.

My office is filled with whimsy, pieces of art and crappiocca and fun stuff that makes me smile or lights a fuse on my imagination. I’ve got a dragon, Bast statue, rooster who thinks he’s a parrot (with flapping wings and real feathers), carved wooden screen, green frog that thinks he’s a toad, bouquet of cat teases, cat-sculpted vase, and…Pink Floyd the Flamingo (above). Some or all of them may make an appearance in a future book. They’re my inspiration and a bit of a touchstone for me when I know they’re the “real” in my imaginary thrilling and sometimes scary world.

Do you have favorite items in your workplace, maybe that look like nothing special to others but mean the world to you? Is it because of where you got it, or was it a gift, or reminds of you of a time in your life? Do tell!

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. Check out the great video below, too, from Stephen King! For new followers to the blog, welcome! and you can expect more cat and dog specific schtuff later in the week on Wednesday and Friday.

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

2014 Thriller Award Nominees

Writers, Stand Up for Yourself! know when (and how) to say NO

Comprehension: Paper vs Screens yes, they are different–are you a “slow reader” able to savor?

 Ebook Pricing…Again

Ways to Improve KDP

PET-ASTIC SCHTUFF

P&G Selling Pet Food Brands to Mars

Veterinarians & Suicide when empathy becomes too much?

Chimera R Us! it’s not just for pets anymore…writers will like this!

Lawn Chemicals and Cats some good info and cautions

Mudslide Dog Reunited with Family

Dog Performs Heimlich, Saves Human’s Life well…not really a Heimlich but impressive nonetheless!

Doggy “Cleft Palate Gene Mutation” Identified

International Conference on Feline Health this looks PAW-some!

Diamond Pet Food Lawsuit Settlement

Only Natural Pet all-natural pet products sold exclusively at Pet360.com – introductory savings of up to 15%

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? I’m a new Brand Ambassador for The Honest Kitchen and you can get FREE samples here, check it out! (Karma loves this!). Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, 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!

Monday Mentions: Blog Suckisity Angst

Get your e-book signed by Amy Shojai

This is a first. I’m typing from my phone because my server has blocked my computer access to this blog…they don’t know how or why and tell me all is well from their side. Well alrighty then–makes me feel all warm and sparkly.

I just figured out how to do this from my phone. So forgive the delay and any typos and the less than finished look of the post. *s*

Check out the Authorgraph above. That’s a neato way to get EBooks signed. Lots of great links today too. Oh, and just to make me feel better could ya share your bad luck blog/net stories (with happy endings would be nifty ! )

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. Check out the fun video at the bottom, too.  For new followers to the blog, welcome! and you can expect more cat and dog specific schtuff later in the week on Wednesday and Friday. Hopefully I’ll be back up by then.

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

Kindle-ization for Writers my popular online webinar happens again March 15 (use the GO INDIE code for $10 off!)

James Patterson Gives Loans to Bookstores so that literature won’t die….uhm, ‘scuse me?

Clueless Wannabe Agent Jane Dowry? Ya gotta laugh but only if it’s not you taken in

Indie ReCon Free Online Conference TOMORROW!

Salt Cay Writers Retreat Merit Scholarship Contest

The Business Rusch & Social Media Discoverability

Hugh Howey’s AuthorEarnings Project if you haven’t read this, you should

Why Trad-Publishing Should Surrender an answer to the AuthorEarnings discussions *s*

Voicing Nonfiction this is a GREAT entertining how-to for authors wanting to record their books

PET-CENTRIC SCHTUFF

I’m a new Brand Ambassador for The Honest Kitchen! Karma’s delighted because that’s the very first meal he had were free samples of the food when he showed up on the back patio…Purr-haps that’s why he decided to stay! *s* Get your own free dog or cat samples here.

Dogs Listen To Us?! Rumpy Dog tells all…and Karyl shared the science behind it.

Challenges for Kitty Caregivers from my colleague and terrific writer Sally Bahner

Psycho Kitty TV Program with the terrific Pam Johnson-Bennett

Tips for Finding Lost Cats

I'm Going to BlogPaws 2014 - The Pet Blogging and Social Media Conference

Do you want to learn more about blogging and social networking with a furry twist? Check out the BlogPaws conference, coming in May! I’ve got my reservations and…unless something comes up…I’ll be going.

 

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? I’m a new Brand Ambassador for The Honest Kitchen and you can get FREE samples here, check it out! (Karma loves this!). Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, 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!

Monday Mentions: Book DNA, Plagiarism Fix & Badware Blog Hijack

The DNA of a Successful Book

by NowSourcing.
Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

 

The past two weeks or so, this blog has had a bug. Who knew someone would want to HIJACK the Bling, Bitches & Blood Blog off to phish-land. Never fear, those who arrived via one of the direct links or subscription never saw this and I wouldn’t have known except a friend “googled” my name and the blog came up listed as “#1 Financial Answers!…” It seems that some two-legged jerk with too much time on his virtual hands figured a way to re-direct some of my blog posts to a phish-scheme site, to the point the blog got black-listed by Google. YIKES!

What to do? well, after much tooth-gnashing, I did a number of things:

  1. Updated the WordPress software
  2. Deleted unused WordPress themes
  3. Un-installed and then re-installed current theme
  4. Contacted my service provider, and they referred me to http://google.com/webmasters to get the site white-listed again. Further info here: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2008/08/hey-google-i-no-longer-have-badware.html
  5. Searched HTML code on server for code, especially plugins, headers and footers (found nuthin!)
  6. Deleted several plugins and then re-installed. Still nuthin. By now my eyeballs are bleeding…
  7. In my google search for help, ran across Sucuri.com, paid them $89 (good for a year and re-do’s) and within three hours, the blog was CLEAN! Hallelujia!
  8. Followup: installed the free Sucuri Security wordpress plugin that came with the fee
  9. Installed auto-backup
  10. Changed ALL passwords. Within two days, Sucuri caught half a dozen failed attempts at logins from all over the world.

Whew! But wait, there’s more!

Remember that case of plagiarism? It’s been resolved. I sent three notices (comments on the site) with no result, and finally went to my colleagues and ask for help contacting the person. Within ten minutes I had the Facebook account of the offending author, messaged her THANKING for the mention and link back but explaining the situation. She immediately responded, thanked me for the note, and removed the article. And we just “friended” each other.

See? It pays to play nice and be cordial. She noted having received an email from someone with the links/info and I suspect it may be a case of a PR rep not being clear in a message. Hoo boy.

There’s a lot going on here in Shojai-Land, so stay tuned for the rest of the week’s furry-licious content. For those in the Sherman-Denison area, I’ve a book signing scheduled next Saturday at the Sherman Town Center Petco from 1-3:30 (watch for more details on Wednesday). And on Friday, I hope to have some WAY KEWL kitty news to share.

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. Check out the skate-boarding cat, kitty-love and fav Super Bowl videos at the bottom, just for fun. For new followers to the blog, welcome! and you can expect more cat and dog specific schtuff later in the week on Wednesday and Friday. For now…enjoy the YouTube cute-icity at the end!

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

 Author Beware: Agent Artury

Writers League of Texas Manuscript Contest

 Sizing Facebook Images from the terrific Lisa-Hall Wilson

Marketability & Readers from The Business Rusch if you’re a writer, you need to subscribe to this blog!

Facebook Usage Data from Pew Research

The Reality of Hybrid Publishing

Indies Reaching NetGalley Reviewers

Publish American Changes Names to America Star Books good info from Author Beware

Getting That Twitter “Blue Check” from the always enlightening Susie Lindau

 International Markets for Your Books

PET-CENTRIC SCHTUFF

Red Flannel Cat Food Recall!

Hero Cat Summons Help for Stroke Victim

Cat Allergies?  Study Recruiting Participants

Contagious Cancer in Dogs Leaves Prehistoric Paw Prints

Dental Implants in Pets? UC-Davis Vets Say “No!”

The Body Against Itself: Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia a Webinar Feb. 11 from Morris Animal Foundation

 

http://youtu.be/uQB7QRyF4p4

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 FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, 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!