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

#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!

Monday Mentions: NAME THAT CAT, NAME THAT DOG!

HeroDog2013That’s Elle (pronounced “Ellie”) in the picture and yes–she’s a Pit Bull. She’s also the hero dog of the year! Click the picture to find out about her and the other doggy heroes.

I got NEWS…the next thriller HIDE AND SEEK is done! Well, I’m heavy-duty-head-down in revisions, but I’m very pleased with this book. There’s more dog viewpoint, more cat involvement, more September and her friend Teddy…and some new characters (and villains). Those gnashing their teeth over the first book’s unanswered questions will find out the secrets September must keep.

NAME THAT DOG, NAME THAT CAT!

Oh, and there are a couple of dog and cat characters that need names. Yes, it’s time for NAME THAT CAT and NAME THAT DOG contest! As before, I’d love to include the name YOU choose (and perhaps description, too) in this next book. The winners will have that pet name/description in the book, get an acknowledgement in the book, get an ARC of the book (advance reader’s copy) before  anyone else, AND a paw-tographed print book once it’s released. So what do you have to do? It’s easy…

Post your suggestion in the comments, and whether it’s for a dog or a cat (or both). Tell all your friends. I’ll narrow down the suggestions to the top 5-10 (depending on numbers) and then YOU get to vote on the ones you want. Here’s the furry characters and how they figure in the plot:

DOG CHARACTER is a resident therapy dog in an Alzheimer’s unit.

CAT CHARACTER is a barn kitty, with several half grown kittens, cared for (on the sly) by a nine-year-old girl whose mom won’t let her have cats.

So ready…set…NAME THAT CAT/DOG!

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 THRILLERFEST 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.

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

The Importance of Self Publishing–Top of the Heap?

The Fussy Librarian a new “match making” service (similar to BookBub) for authors and readers launches today! And yep, one of my books is on the schedule. Check it out, sign up, and get your “read” on!

 Robotic Surgery and another blog on the subject could give y’all some fiction-icity ideas!

Prepare for NaNoWriMo! and yes, this year I’M IN!

 Bloomsbury & Author Solutions, urk…

Merchandising for Apple advice from Mark Coker (and if you have to ask who he is well…

PET-CENTRIC SCHTUFF

Dogs Vs Cats, Which Is Better?   Hoooo boy, here we go again…

 ACL & Dogs, Dexter’s Journey See what you can learn from my friend Carol’s experience with her dog

 8 Ways to Get Your Dog Stolen another great post from Carol Bryant

2012 Thrillerfest Panel

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!

Monday Mentions: Thrillerfest & Bunny Slippers with Teeth

Tfest 054I’m just home from Thrillerfest. What an amazing experience! This wasn’t my first attendance but was special and a stand-out in so many ways. That’s me at the Debut Author table on Saturday morning with 26 others in our class who were able to attend the July 13 breakfast. There were 60 in the whole class this year–wow! Here’s a Library Journal article.

Each of us had 60-seconds to say anything we wanted. Many talked briefly about themselves, their book, and their journey to reach that wonderful goal, and I was so honored to be among these talented writers, and inspired by their dedication and effort. And yes, a little teary that I’d managed to climb that thrilling mountain, too. Six years ago, I sat in the audience and felt lost…and truly didn’t believe I’d ever have that opportunity. But I went home, put on my bunny slippers and wrote the thriller I’d always wanted to read. LOST AND FOUND was born at Thrillerfest and because of ITW, today my bunny slippers have TEETH and I write Thrillers With Bite!

Tfest 056And yes, I wore my bunny slippers with pointy teeth to the breakfast–you’ll notice the ears also have bling. Enjoy a few of the pictures from the weekend (below) and then you can click on the Thrillerfest 2013 Set for more pictures. Be sure to scroll down to catch the short video from the banquet–I will have some more fun video from the weekend soon, too!

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My roomies–Carol Shenold and Paula Lanier. Thursday evening dinner outside at a terrific restaurant owned by Paula’s friend David.

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The always classy Steve Berry graciously allows a photo op.

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Lee Child at the Friday evening “Fan Fest” (one of my many fan-girl moments!)

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Again at the FanFest event, that’s me with the gorgeous thriller gals–August McLaughlin, Carol Shenold, Paula Lanier

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More famous authors! August, Doug Lyle, Carol, moi and the gorgeous Twist Phelan. (Can you tell Doug is in heaven?)

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We were guests at FanFest courtesy of the WONDERFUL Diane Capri (far right). We even color coordinated…great minds. *s*

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Me with the WANA-Mama Kristen Lamb!

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Paula, John Land and me…our “annual photo shoot.”

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 Simon’s Cats pet-astic videos 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.

 WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

 Russian Ebook Market Growing

B&N CEO Resigns

Ways to Boost Books After Awards Wins

Reading/Writing Boosts Cognition well…duh!

5 Book Marketing MYTHS

Marketing Maze–A Guide Through the Jungle?

 Kristin Nador’s Blog with some important videos for keeping your writing hands healthy

outsmarting catsPET-CENTRIC SCHTUFF

Outsmarting Cats by my colleague and terrific writer/artist Wendy Christensen, is an update of her 2004 terrific Outwitting Cats. You won’t want to miss her terrific illustrations (and great info!).

Doggy Anxiety Tips

Iran Bans Dogs in Public Places

Planet Dog Foundation Gives $1 Million! I love this company, they donate a portion of every sale to service dog organizations…and they make GREAT products! (Magical-Dawg luvs their schtuff)

Dr. Sophia Yin’s Guide to Low-Stress Handling hey y’all, it’s FREE for a limited time!

TV Channel for Dogs

 

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, 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–IS BANNED?!

No, the book isn’t banned. I’m being facetious. But you just can’t get the book at local stores. Maybe I need to take Magical-Dawg around to woof at them!

I’m having a wonderful time discussing LOST AND FOUND on the DogRead list, and being interviewed for online events. Locally I’ve planned a “Book Launch” party at Grayson College on October 26, and have schedule another book discussion group locally at Trinity Lutheran Church at 6 pm on Saturday, December 8.

NOBODY LOCALLY WILL CARRY THE BOOKS, even though it’s in their systems!

Although the book IS available in print, and IS available for online order, it IS NOT being carried on the shelves of local stores. Now, I can understand that shelf space is at a premium and they couldn’t afford to offer a venue for all million of the “books a million” they claim. But you’d think there would be a mechanism or exception in place for LOCAL authors with guaranteed events and sales.

We have only one brick-and-mortar store locally. I also asked at the local independent bookstore because I want to support indies–but they’ll only do consignment since they’re a used book store, which means the author buys the books, they shelve the books, and sell them for a percentage. I’m sorry but I’m not a book store, either.

The Sherman Texas “Books A Million” refuses to bring LOST AND FOUND into the store. It’s Corporate policy, not them. The powers-that-be won’t stock them in the store because they must FIRST be reviewed in order to be shelved. It’s apparently okay to list them on the website, but not physically in the store. If you’re an author and wanting your book on the Books A Million shelves, the number to call for info is 205-942-3737.

Wrap your head around that one!

Even if I could get the book into the review system, it’s doubtful that they’d be available locally in time for my local events. The automated recording says processing time is 4 weeks from date of submission.

So I’d urge you to order the LOST AND FOUND books (and any other author books) wherever it’s easiest for you to do so. And since you have to order the books anyway, look for the least expensive place because the books are the same no matter where you order them from. Right now, the amazon.com site has the best price for LOST AND FOUND. 🙂

And Magical-Dawg didn’t even have to woof at them.

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!

Cover Reveal (again!) and NAME THAT PET Results!

Nope, you’re not high on puppy Prozac. The cover of the book has changed! In fact, this is version number seven, and it’s by far the most striking and mysterious, while offering a taste of what to expect. Like it? I love it! While many folks (me included) thought the first cover worked extremely well, the powers-that-be decided to go another direction.

Isn’t that a great cover quote from D.P. Lyle? I just received another terrific advance quote from the awesome Dr. Marty Becker. Read about ’em on the LOST AND FOUND page.

NAME THAT PET CONTEST RESULTS

Thank you to everyone for your participation in the “Name That Dog” and “Name That Cat” contests to help me find the perfect choices for some of the furry characters in the book LOST AND FOUND.

More than 85 terrific cat and dog names were suggested. I narrowed the choices to about a dozen each, set up polls for you to vote, and we had over 800 votes result.

I’d say pet people are passionate about pet names! Without further delay, here are the results.

DOG HEROES NAMED

Caren Gittleman suggested the winning dog name Dakota because it means “trusted friend” and is also the name of her lovely Sheltie (who helps her co-write Dakota’s Den Blog).

In the book LOST AND FOUND, the main character September mourns the loss of her heart-dog (we’ve all been there right?) who died trying to save her husband. Therefore, her long lost canine partner DAKOTA is mentioned throughout the book.

Raelyn Barclay offered several dog name suggestions including Bruno, which won the second hero dog spot. Congratulations!

When September’s nephew becomes lost in the blizzard, she enlists the aid of a still active senior citizen tracking dog to find the boy. BRUNO is the star in that chapter, and demonstrates that old dogs still have the stuff of heroes.

CAT HEROES NAMED

Patricia suggested the winning cat name Macy. This name garnered more than a hundred individual votes from readers, wow! Macy is the name of Patricia’s seven-year-old yellow tabby, and named after a character in the Bold and the Beautiful television show.

September’s sable and white Maine coon cat is mentioned throughout the book, including cat-training scenes that demonstrate just how smart cats truly are! Macy literally “nails” the villain at just the right moment to help save the day.

Karyl Cunningham has been one of my most faithful blog followers (~waving at Karyl) so I’m delighted readers chose one of her name selections as the second cat hero character–Simba is the second cat name winner. Simba is the name of Karyl’s slightly chubby, arthritic senior citizen kitty.

As in all good thrillers, tragic victims often kick off the story. The first is a lovely woman in the wrong place at the wrong time, and she leaves behind a beloved rescue kitty–Simba, slightly chubby aging kitty with a bit of arthritis who finds a forever home with the victim’s daughter.

In addition to having their pets’ names spotlighted in the book, and their own contribution noted in the acknowledgements, these four winners  will receive an advance copy of the book.

SPECIAL THANKS

Thank you again to everyone who suggested names and voted. The response demonstrates to me why I love pets–and writing about them so much–because never mind the age or breed or attitude. In our heart of hearts, true pet lovers know that EVERY dog and cat has a hero inside them.

LOST AND FOUND is scheduled for release September 20 in Amazon Kindle (and other Ebook formats), with print versions available about a week later. I will of course post to my blog (here) as well as Facebook, but will also send out an email newsletter notification–if I have your email.

In fact, what the hey. Send me an email to amy @ shojai.com with LOST AND FOUND in the subject line between now and the release date, and I’ll add you to the drawing for a free copy of the book. Don’t be shy, you can share this with other thriller/pet lovers.

Now go pet your hero dogs and cats for me. Oh, and stay tuned–the regular WOOF WEDNESDAY blog will go out later today with more puppy-licious info. 🙂

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!

Woof Wednesday: VOTE for NAME THAT DOG!

Yes, the day has come. I am delighted at the outpouring of interest in naming dogs who appear in my forthcoming thriller LOST AND FOUND. There were 29 total suggestions for canine character names. Some were wonderful names but the same as one of my human characters (now THAT would be confusing!), and others seemed too similar to other suggestions. I ended up choosing four or five of my favorites from your suggestions and then drawing the remainder out of a fish bowl. Two canine characters, both “hero dogs,”  will be named based on your votes. (Watch for Feline Friday for the kitty poll picks!).

The winner’s names and why they chose their selection will also be included in the book, and winners will receive an advance copy of the book.

Just who ARE these canine heroes?

  • A dark sable German shepherd dog, trained for search and rescue, and protection (Schutzhund) was devoted to the main character, September. He died protecting her husband, and she still deeply mourns his loss. He is the “ideal” dog she compares all other canines to.
  • A senior citizen German shepherd comes out of retirement to track down the September’s missing nephew Steven. He ends up defending his trainer as well as giving September a chance to escape.

Does your dog’s name embody the essence of these doggy characters? Love, devotion, fearlessness, great heart? Looks don’t matter, neither does breed or age or even sex–everyone knows that all dogs have the heart and soul and devotion of heroes, so make your choice and follow your heart!

The poll below allows you to choose THREE (3) of your favorites. You can come back and vote again as many times as you’d like–and I hope you’ll encourage family and friends to champion your cause and also vote.

DEADLINE MONDAY AUGUST 30TH!

[polldaddy poll=6379780

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: Packing, Parenting & Problems

On Thursday I depart for THRILLERFEST! Yay, I can’t wait! I have a bunch of postcards printed with information about my debut thriller Lost and Found and plan to hand ’em out to readers interested in an “advance look” with an eye toward reviewing the story. If you’re interested, let me know–I’ll keep a list of emails/contact info from the comments section on the book page.

Just so’s ya know, the month of July also will be head-down busy dealing with some angst-icity challenges. One of the problems with being passionate about causes and organizations is that sometimes folks don’t agree with each others’ opinions. That’s perfectly understandable. But it can cause hurt feelings when intentions and/or responses are misinterpreted and unexpected hurtful reactions come from people you respect, admire, or even believe to be friends. Treat Sweet Tweets Right–er, Write, the Hospice Way from awesome blogger Piper Bayard really helped me with this–and maybe it will help readers if/when you find yourself in similar situations.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter in the scheme of things. And I’m nobody’s parent–except for the fur-kids, of course. But after some public “doing what’s ethically right” stands in three very different recent situations and being misunderstood,  I’m taking a break from angst long enough for the bruises to fade and am reevaluating such things. Meanwhile, I’ll be busy brainstorming next thrillers–make believe thrills appeal to me at the moment!–as well as preparing for the next play production(s) (yes there are TWO in the works!), so stay tuned.

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. Lots of fun videos today, too, including some PARENT stuff! 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. PLEASE add your suggestions to the “Name That Dog/Cat” contest because next week the voting begins!

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

Designing From Bones on cannibalism, awesome post from Gene Lempp

CJ Lyons Indie Success! and you can’t even hate CJ, she’s an awesomely nice person!

WORST Book Covers EVER! a hilarious blog from Colin Falconer

Marketing for Romance Writers with some free online classes, too

Publishing Predictions Score, an interesting evaluation

New Suspense How-To Blog from the awesome Rebecca York, something for all writers!

The Perfect Blog Post template anyone?

Top 25 Free Mysteries & Thrillers from iTunes

Authors Guild & Writers from David Gaughran

Global Book Awards Finalists

Neato writer conference over Labor Day (see video below) and my publisher Bob Mayer (plus many others!) will be there.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nu2jcSFw5kc

PET SCHTUFF

Dog Nurses Orphan Kitten

Pets In Nursing Homes–lower infection risk!

Ape Intellect another great shared link from Jane Miller

Pet Funeral Industry Changes

Dog Memoirs…but where are the cat books?

Kangaroo Paw Preferences–are they right-pawed or left-pawed?

Top 25 CAT Bloggers of 2012!

A couple more videos on ‘parenting’ 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 . Don’t forget to check out the NAME THAT DOG/CAT character 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!

Monday Mentions: Thrillerfest, Pet Whisperers & Veterinary Hospice

After an exhausting but exhilarating opening weekend of the show Fiddler On The Roof, I’m ready to return focus to the writer-icity schtuff. Oh, the show runs every weekend this month so I’ll have that to look forward to.

But meanwhile I only have a bit more to go on the thriller edits before sending back to my editor. AND I got my panel assignments for Thrillerfest where the awesome Allison Brennan will again be panel master. Our topic focuses on HOW DO YOU CREATE A SPELLBINDING SERIES CHARACTER? Other folks on the panel include:

Allison Brennan (Panel Master) is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 18 romantic thrillers and multiple short stories, and the author of the Lucy Kincaid series.

Jan Burke is a critically acclaimed and national bestselling author of fourteen books—twelve of crime fiction, a supernatural thriller, and a collection of short stories.

William Dietrich is the NY Times bestselling author of 15 books, including the Ethan Gage series of Napoleonic adventures that has sold into 28 languages.

Jack Hoban served as a US Marine Corps officer and is a subject matter expert on close combat who “trained” Nick Heller of the Joseph Finder thriller series.

Avalon Books published Victoria M. Johnson’s fiction debut. As a filmmaker, Victoria writes and directs short thriller films. Her upcoming thriller, The Sea of Cortez, introduces Connie and Jeff York.

Sharon Linnéa is the author of the bestselling Eden Thrillers, featuring Army Chaplain Jaime Richards.  These Violent Delights is the first of her new Movie Mystery Series.

Amy Shojai is the award winning author of 24 pet care titles, and channels her “inner bitch”  to write in dog-viewpoint in her debut thriller LOST AND FOUND which introduces series character animal behaviorist September Day and Shadow, the service dog she’s trained.

Debra Webb is a multi-published, best-selling author who writes spine-tingling romantic suspense and has just launched her first thriller series, the Faces of Evil, with the debut novel OBSESSION.

Yes, I’m feeling seriously outclassed and hope to learn a LOT from the other panelists. I’d encourage y’all to post any questions you might have for the panel and I’ll pass them on to Allison, and give a recap after the conference in July. Incidentally, the Craftfest classes and Agentfest (speed dating with agents!) will again be awesome this year.

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

WANA INTERNATIONAL LAUNCHES! the brainchild of Kirsten Lamb, this is a community of and for artists with more than 40 online instructors, a great resource for stay-at-home writers who can’t attend conferences. I’ll be teaching “virtual” classes here in the future.

What Does “Content Abundance” Mean and should you care?

BlogPaws Registration, a social media marketing conference especially for pet writers (do you channel your inner fur-kid?). And don’t miss voting for your Petties (pet blogger awards)

Facebook Counts “Viral” Shares

Pinterest-Friendly Blog Posts from the terrific August McLaughlin

Whispering Prairie Press contest info

How Amazon Saved My Life a great essay from a traditionally pub’d author (and daughter/co-author with mom Susan Conant of the dog lovers mysteries)

Self Pub’ing with Book Baby

KOBO Self Pub’ing Program Launched I understand this is similar to the Kindle program

Interesting Survey of Self Pub’d Authors, who does it, what’s the success rate, and more

10 Facebook Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

PET SCHTUFF

The Dog Whisperer Show Cancelled

Dogs In The City trainer a fraud? hoo boy…is it too much to ask for the “experts” to really be experts???

CATS.About.com Franny Syufy Interview, now here’s a REAL expert!

Feral & TNR Facts interesting schtuff here

Pet Requiem offers house call veterinary service and end-of-life care for pets, what a compassionate and innovative practice!

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 with excerpts from the forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND, and pet book give-aways!

Monday Mentions: Turtles, Snakes & Writer-icty

I hope your Memorial Day is restful, positive, and brings you all that you wish. Those lost and the causes for which they fought for our sake is indeed something to remember.

I also have to share that the Magical-Dawg, roughneck that he is, has managed to injure himself in some way. Oh, he’s clueless. Apparently it doesn’t hurt but the lop-sided swelling on his right jaw turns him into a bizarre hamster-esque creature with a pseudo cheek pouch. Y’all may remember he has  in the past turned into hippopotamus head due to insect stings–but this isn’t itchy, painful, or soft. It’s a goose-egg hard lump under his right jaw/ear. Maybe the Seren-kitty finally nailed him SCORE! I feared it might be a snake bite (we have copperheads and rattlers) which inspired me to share the video, below. It’ll come in handy if any of y’all ever need to dodge cobras!

But since there’s no pain, more likely it’s a simmering abscess or another allergic reaction. I’ll keep you posted. Of course, it happens the first day of a long holiday weekend. Sheesh.

This week I’m channeling my inner turtle–or trying to do so. A hard shell impervious to slings and arrows, a safe retreat in which to hide my head and eyes, soothing water to cleanse myself–ah that is peace! I’ve someone cleared my calendar to work on final edits of LOST & FOUND thriller. Evenings I’ll be at rehearsal — yes, my friends, I’m in another show and we’re closing in on tech week followed by performances every weekend in June. Maybe I’ll have pictures at some point to share.

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.

WRITING SCHTUFF

Buzz Your Book, an awesome how-to from Doug Clegg and MJ Rose (they really know their stuff!)

Bob Mayer Chat on PubIt! I had to miss this in person but thankfully it’s still available, some GREAT info! (he’s my publisher for the fiction, woot!)

Interesting Survey Results from self-published authors (thanks to Jillian Dodd for pointing out the link).

Writers Digest Self Pub Book Contest Deadline Extended to June 15

Houghton Mifflin Publisher Bankruptcy

DON’T Pay for Online Ad…Until You Read This great post from Jane Friedman

SoonerCon in Oklahoma City June 15-17 looks like a great session!

Augmenting Your Twitter Audience posted over at Piper Bayard’s awesome blog.

PET SCTHUFF

Great Video Why ‘Alpha/Beta’ Wolf Terms Ain’t Accurate

Cat Being Vacuumed Oh–my–gosh, my Seren-Kitty would sooooo be out of there! Is kitty on drugs? Learned helplessness? Too pudgy to escape?

Pain Therapy for Dogs from the awesome Morris Animal Foundation

Cat Pain Therapy also from Morris Animal Foundation–they rock!

CatLandia Spoof Video for TNR this will make you smile!

Cesar Milan Feedback (don’t watch if you’re a fan…just saying, the scientist may hiss you off)

Soldier Trades Cigarettes To Save Dog

Poison Ivy & Pets Great info from The Creative Cat blog (thanks Bernadette!) ew, hate this stuff! and while pets aren’t as susceptible they can spread it to YOU

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 with excerpts from the forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND, and pet book give-aways!

Tuesday Trumpet! Music, Cat-astrophe & Thrilling News!

NEWS-ABOUT-KURVES!

First off, I’ve added audio files to the KURVES, THE MUSICAL page (above) so folks can finally hear some of the songs.

NEWS-ABOUT-CAT!

Seren-kitty had her vet visit yesterday. She’s not a youngster any more and I’ve  been worried about her health since she’s drinking/urinating more. I’ll have a full recap on Friday but wanted to thank everyone for the good wishes. It is NOT diabetes (whew!). It may be early kidney issues (her tests are ‘borderline’ and not yet in failure). We’re expecting Texas A & M results tomorrow or Thursday to let us know about thyroid function. Paws crossed that’s negative…

NEWS-ABOUT-FICTION!

Some of y’all know that I’ve long aspired to write thrillers. Last Thursday, just before I headed out for the KWA Scene Conference, I heard from my editor at Who Dares Wins Publishing that they will publish my thriller LOST AND FOUND probably this fall (date tba). SNOOPY-DANCE-O-JOY!

Animal behaviorist September Day has 24 hours to find her autistic nephew and his service dog before he–and hundreds of other children–become victims of a deadly experimental autism treatment. And yes, there is “dog voice” as well as a highly-trained kitty, along with assorted quirky two-legged characters in the book.

To say I’m thrilled is an understatement. But today I also learned that I’ve been accepted as an ITW Debut Author class of 2012/2013. When I got that email I bawled. With happiness, of course. But that really upset the Magical-Dawg. Any tears upset him. And yes, the hero dog in the fiction came about by channeling my inner dog/cat. *s*

Anyway, I had to let y’all know my news. It’s been an “on top of the world” to “worry-icity” to “floating-again” sort of week. Sometimes you reach for, grab, and actually catch the brass ring.

*humming* If I can do it, you can do it too…

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 with pet book give-aways!

Monday Mentions: Writer-icity & Pet Talk

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.

Awesome Shirt Folding Tips! from Margaret Miller’s Blog, this is amazing, you gotta see!

Own Your Beauty–It’s Contagious from the awesome blogger Myndi Shafer

Facebook Timeline Tips from Lorie Huston

WRITER SCHTUFF

Kansas Writers Association “Scene 2012” Writer Workshop, and yes, I’m a speaker offering sessions on “kindle-ization” and “media training for authors.” Come say howdy…I’ll be wearing the sparkles (surprise!)

AgentFest, a part of Thrillerfest with some awesome opportunities for writers (yes, I’ll be there)

Branding For Sissies Hey if I can do this so can you. Just sayin’ . . .

Book Club for Authors/Readers a fee-based sign up for authors to get works-in-progress in front of readers for feedback.

RWA®’s Kiss of Death Chapter presents~~ The 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery Suspense

Heightening Suspense from Guest Blogger Jodie Renner

Gorgeous Mousepads! for spiffing up you office decor (yes, I want one of these…)

Writer Beware on Trusting Sources (or Not)

Turning Author Site Into A Store tips from Jen Talty

Tribr How-To from the awesome Jenny Hansen

PINTEREST SCHTUFF

Pinterest for Biz

How Pinterest Engages Better than Twitter Et Al,

How Random House Uses Pinterest

Pinterest Boo-Boos to Beware

Embrace Your Inner Doberman from Sonia Medeiros, good info for anyone including writers

PETS & ANIMAL SCHTUFF

VAFA Shelter Now on PetFinder yeee-haw! This is the FIRST animal shelter in Iran, and dogs fostered in the US now can find their forever-homes via PetFinder connection. Here’s a video you MUST SEE of two rescue GSD-mix pups on grass for the first time.

Pet Industry Estimates $53 Billion Spending

9 Dental Issues You Share With Pets, my latest at Huffington Post

Zero Odor Wins Product of the Year Award! If you haven’t tried this product, check it out

A Beloved Horse Lost–and Found! this is a 3-hanky story you’ll love!

Lost Woman’s Cat Never Leaves Her Side

Australia’s Love-Hate with the Dingo

Greyhound Races Thing of the Past?

Animal Sounds Around the World you say toMAtoe, and I say meow…

NPR Transcript Discusses Animal-Human Bond Benefits

So…what’s the cat saying? And does the toddler understand? Are both “learning” from the communication?

http://ww.www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpYyTeQhX48

Totally tongue-in-cheek how animals talk (or beak in feathers…)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUyKNMBOh8I

Westchester Cat Show Interview

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly PUPPY CARE must knows, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Thoughty Thursday WARNING!

”WARNING

A colleague of mine recently sent a link to something called the Writers Pitch Book that purports to “Connect Writers With Agents, Editors & Movie Producers.” The idea is that YOU (the author) send them your ‘pitch’ and they publish it in the book which goes out to the “right people” to get you noticed and published/produced.

Oh yeah, did I mention there’s a fee involved?

Shoot-fire, it’d be worth it to spend $50 to get your pitch before those with the golden keys to the kingdom, wouldn’t it? That’s what these folks bank on, people! Let’s take a deeeeeep breath and think for a minute.

TAKING ADVANTAGE, GRRRR!

What’s the benefit here? Well, you will get your pitch published. The “pitch book” certainly may be sent/delivered to all the movers-and-shakers in Nooo Yawk and Hollywood, very likely that will happen.

But why in the wide world of sports (or publishing/movie making) would those editors/agents WANT TO READ THIS FREAKIN’ BOOK? I mean, come on, people–agents and editors receive thousands (yes, that’s several zeros) of pitches a week. Not a year, but in a week. Ask yourself, just who is this publisher/person who has the means to persuade a busy editor or agent or (gasp!) movie producer to open up a book filled with pitches, sift through, and say, YES, I want to make YOU a star!

I apologize if this offends anyone but it makes me jump up and down and gnash teeth and say SIC-‘EM MAGICAL-DAWG! when anyone takes advantage of the hopeful aspirations of writers. There are many online sites that already purport to “connect writers with X” and they’re just as ineffective.

SCAMS, DREAM-KILLERS, SUCKING WRITERS DRY

Is it a scam? Well…some are, some aren’t especially if they do what they promise–publish a pitch and send that pitch to the agent. But the only people benefiting are the ones that take your check.  That sucking sound you hear is your wallet being lightened.

Similar “opportunities” are offered to actors for getting their head shots and resumes in front of casting directors–you submit your teeeeeny tiny picture and info to these ginormous catalogues that end up as a doorstop (at best) or hamster bedding (at worst).

Please, people. It’s never been easy to get work seen by editors, agents or producers. And nobody can do it for you. Instead of spending your hard earned money on one of these “short cuts” that don’t work, save those nickles and dimes and invest in a really good writer conference that allows you a face-to-face with an agent or editor. You’ll also hear success stories–and cautionary tales–from writers in the trenches, just like you.

I wish there was a magic wand–or magic book–that would do the job for you–and for me. If you ever happen to find that sparkly magic spell, please clue me in. Until then, watch out for the dream-killers. Protect your dream, it’s priceless, and don’t let ANYONE devalue your work with such things.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly PUPPY CARE must knows, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

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