Mamma Mia…Take A Chance cuz Here We Go Again!

I am over-the-moon delighted to once again perform with Sherman Community Players in the family-friendly musical MAMMA MIA. The stellar cast has all the dance moves, party songs you know from ABBA, and funny-poignant-laugh-out-loud moments we’ve ALL yearned for this past year.

Mamma MiaThis production, a community-wide effort, will perform at Austin College’s newly renovated Sally and Jim Nation Theatre June 4 – 27. Featuring more than twenty outstanding performers, I’m particularly fond of my Dynamo “sisters.” We do what best friends do–offer support (and laughs) for Donna as she prepares for her daughter’s wedding…and then three possible dads show up.

Mamma Mia Dynamos

L-R: Carissa Thompson as TANYA, Pam Sanza as DONNA, and Amy Shojai as ROSIE.

After casting the show last year, the rehearsals and performance were delayed due to COVID-19. The cast resumed rehearsals in late April 2021, practicing social distancing and wearing masks. Now that so many of us (and YOU) have been vaccinated, our cast can perform safely with each other (and for YOU!), and we can’t wait to share this fun experience.

Mamma Mia Reservations

Starting today, everyone may reserve tickets by calling 903-892-8818 or online at this link.

For those who can’t wait for opening night (or if you’re on a budget), plan to attend our “preview show” discounted performance ($10) on Thursday, June 3rd. I have no doubt many audience members will want to return and see this fun show more than once.

PARKING – Please do not park in Nation Theatre (Ida Green Center) Circle Drive. You may park in the Sid Rich parking lot, located to the southwest of Sally & Jim Nation Theatre (Ida Green) or the
Bryan Apartment parking lot. Or parking in front of the Adams Center. See the yellow highlighted area, on the map, above.

FOOD – Food and/or drink is not permitted in the Building (this includes the theatre, entire lobby and learning commons on the first floor).

ACCESSIBLE SEATING – For anyone needing seating accommodations please contact our box office at your earliest convenience. Accessible access to the theater can be found by following the sidewalk to the north side of the Sally & Jim Nation. For more information call 903-892-8818 or go online here.

Y’all come! And share this post with all the theatre lovers out there yearning for a live performance once again.

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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? 

NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I do not recommend anything unless I feel it would benefit readers. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

2021 New Year Goals–from the Pets

Each year, rather than making New Year resolutions, I plan for goals—and hope that the journey along the way proves equally rewarding. Rather than say, “lose weight” I instead want to strive for good health. All plans for 2020 sort of went out the window, though—but our family came out the other side a bit bruised, but far better off than many others. We have high hopes for 2021—and the hope shines strong in part because of the special pets of our past, our present, and sometimes the surprise pets that show up when you need them most.

New Year GoalsIt’s also become a tradition to take stock of the past year from a pets’-eye-view, and the year to come. Our 2020 began with fear over the virus, and then heartbreak with Bravo’s cancer diagnosis. But hope and joy returned as he not only survived his amputation and chemo but continued to thrive despite his challenges. He and Karma-Kat keep us laughing even through tears. And the Shadow-Pup, a surprise blessing, brings nonstop energy and wags that banish the sadness. So here are New Year Pet Goals from Karma, Bravo, Shadow, and a couple from the spirit of Magic and Seren, with commentary by Amy.

2021 New Year Goals–from Magic

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

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

 

2021 New Year Goals–from Seren

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

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

2021 New Year Goals–from Bravo

bravo hope for 2021Bravo-Dawg: “I will finally catch the RED-DOT-DEMON and make sure Amy releases it from the drawer more often. And I will carry Big-Ball (that smells like the spirit of a German Shepherd Boy), all over the place and wrestle it into submission. I will play squash-the-Karma-Kat, and I will play bitey-face tooth-fencing with Shadow-Pup. And only stop for the TREATS word. Because that’s what I do.”

Amy: Bravo began the year at the 121-pound mark, and remains a gentle, goofy sweetheart despite losing 21 pounds (and his right front leg) due to cancer–he beat it! Now he’s full of boundless energy, still moves as fast with three legs as four, and never let anything stand in the way of a good time—especially lap-cuddling, chasing cats, or wresting the pup. He loves spending time outside, so my new year pet goals include more time outside with him helping me garden, more cuddling sessions—and just enjoying Bravo for as much time as we have left together. Paws crossed his next X-rays in January show continued good news!

2021 New Year Goals–from Karma

Karma-Kat: “I will stalk and tease and pounce on Amy’s feet, play “gravity experiments” on tabletops, take towel-surfing rides across the carpet, rattle window blinds, paw-dig at the TV screen, and constantly tease my dawg-brothers, what fun!”

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

2021 New Year Goals–from Shadow

Shadow-Pup: “I will play-play-play, shove toys in Bravo’s face to tease him, chase Karma up the cat tree, and run-run-run out the fence to zooooooooom around the grassy fields! And then I’ll do it again. And again. And …”

Amy: Shadow appeared, a dumped puppy, at our front gate on May 31st ten days after we found out about Bravo’s cancer. During a time of unrelenting fear and anxiety, this joyful puppy brought boundless joy into Bravo’s pain-filled world. And gave us all hope. Like most pups, he has no off-switch and his “escapes” have brought us some scary moments. So a long-procrastinated new year pet goal has already begun with refurbishing the back yard fence to create a safe play area for both dogs.

2021 New Year Goals–from Spirit-Pets

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

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

PAST NEW YEAR POSTS:

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

New Year 2020

New Year 2019

New Year 2018

New Year 2016

New Year 2015

New Year 2014

New Year 2011

New Year 2010

 

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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I do not recommend anything unless I feel it would benefit readers. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Merry Christmas Wishes!

MERRY CHRISTMAS

This Merry Christmas video was made in 2014 and is bittersweet since we no longer have Magical-Dawg and Seren-Kitty with us. But the sentiment remains —

May your dreams come true, your troubles be few, and all your Christmases be bright!

 

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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I do not recommend anything unless I feel it would benefit readers. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Cat Writers Virtual Awards Banquet Free To Attend: From Glammies to Jammies

This year, the COVID-19 virus derailed all of my writers’ conference plans including the Cat Writers Association Awards. So far, I’ve had to cancel attending and/or speaking at Sisters In Crime meeting, a library talk (I love libraries!), the OWFI conference, Thrillerfest, and one of my all-time favorites, the Cat Writers’ Association Annual Conference and Awards Banquet.

I’ve never missed one of the CWA events, not since it began way back in 1992. Here’s a recap of our CWA 2018 event, with some promo advice, to give you a taste. So that makes missing this year particularly angst-worthy. Le sigh…

Cat Writers’ Association Virtual Awards Banquet–Y’all Come!

But just like our feline friends, the CWA has landed on her feet. No, we won’t gather in New Jersey for seminars and workshops as in the past. But our annual contest that honors the best-of-the-best published cat work each year had already been judged, and winners selected. So our President Deb Barnes and her team of cat-tastic planners, has put together a VIRTUAL AWARDS BANQUET.

Want more details? Maybe even interested in writing about your cat(s) and joining CWA? Here are all the must-knows.

From Glammies to Jammies

We typically “glam up” for our awards banquet. But if y’all are like me, you may not have worn makeup or fancy clothes for months–not counting rhinestone-studded masks and yoga pants. So the organizers decided to make this easy for everyone. Wear what makes you happy!

IT’S FREE! Did You Hear…EVERYONE COME!

What makes it even more fun is that — there’s no cost to attend, no plane to board, no hotel room to finagle, or cat-sitters to arrange. Nope, it’s OPEN TO THE PUBLIC (that’s YOU, too!), and everyone can watch in the comfort of their own home, with cats (and dogs, or even significant others) nearby. We’ll have special speaker presenters and sponsors, and the event also will be recorded so folks can watch later — or see a re-run for what’s sure to be some great moments.

Invite anyone you think would enjoy the paw-ty. I’ll be presenting awards (so much fun to surprise outstanding colleagues!). And there also will be original music from the SHOJAI & STEELE show STRAYS, THE MUSICAL (where all the characters are cats and dogs). I even won a Certificate of Excellence on two books, and in the running for other awards (below).

How To Watch–Details Here

There are also several ways the ceremony can be viewed. The event will be streamed live on our CWA Public Facebook page where viewers can interact in the comments, or via Zoom, where they can interact in the chat room with other viewers. CWA also has an event page set up on Facebook if you care to join: bit.ly/cwaglammiestojammies

If you want to watch via Zoom, these are the options:

To join the Zoom webinar, click the link below:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82330842216?pwd=dFVFY2MveUMvdGtVUFRsMzh5a2lsdz09
Passcode: 324979
Or iPhone one-tap :
US: +12532158782,,82330842216#,,,,,,0#,,324979# or +13462487799,,82330842216#,,,,,,0#,,324979#
Or Telephone:
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
US: +1 253 215 8782 or +1 346 248 7799 or +1 669 900 9128 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 558 8656
Webinar ID: 823 3084 2216
Passcode: 324979
International numbers available: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kh7bf3vp0

If you run into any problems, CWA member, Bonnie Koenig will be monitoring our Facebook public page, our events page, our Facebook private page, and our Zoom chat room at least a half-hour before the event begins, so please don’t fret. She’s also answering any questions you might have, right now as we speak, so if you’ve got a question, please feel free to ask now.

Tabby’s Place Fundraising Event

We are also hosting a fundraising event for Tabby’s Place Cat Sanctuary during our event and we welcome everyone to donate. Each donation is automatically enrolled to win one of our many sponsor-supported raffle prizes and here is the link with details for the fundraiser, the prizes available, and the donation button: https://catwriters.com/wp_meow/tabbys-place-fundraiser-2020/

All we ask is that you have fun – we encourage you to wear your favorite glammie or jammie look and post a selfie on Facebook. Engage with your fellow viewers before and during the ceremony. Cheer the contest winners on, share fun stories, recipes, toast a virtual drink, and more! We’re all just so stressed out and we want this event to be a nice break from everything.

Can’t wait to see you all! I’ll be the one in rhinestone cat ears…and probably blue-purple-pink hair and lots of jewelry. (I don’t get out much these days.)

So…are you coming? Karma-Kat, Shadow-Pup, and Bravo-Dawg will be there, how about you? You KNOW you want to!

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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I do not recommend anything unless I feel it would benefit readers. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Auditions for STRAYS the Musical January 12 & 13, 2020

Those who regularly read this blog know that I not only write about pets but also give talks about pet behavior. You may be surprised to learn that sometimes I write music about pet behavior, too and even SING about cats and dogs. Bravo-Dawg howls and Karma-Kat yawns…everyone’s a critic! Now you have a chance to sing along!

AUDITIONS FOR STRAYS: Sing A Song & Read From Script

I’m proud to partner with my playwriting partner, local actor/writer/musician Frank Steele to co-direct our original musical STRAYS, THE MUSICAL. This Sunday, January 12 from 4:30-6:30 and Monday, January 13 from 6:30-8:30 come to open auditions at HOPE ON HOUSTON (901 E Houston, Sherman, Texas).

STRAYS, THE MUSICAL explores furry foibles from the PETS’ point of view. The actors give voice to a variety of cat and dog characters in this hilarious–and often moving–musical review “drama-dy” that seeks to edu-tain audiences about normal pet behavior while honoring the bond we share with them.

I’ve written lots of pet-centric schtuff, and Frank and I have written other scripts and performed on stage a great deal. But STRAYS combines all our loves—writing, music, acting and pets. Now we want to share STRAYS with area actors and audiences. Love theater? Love pets? You’ll love STRAYS! The audition consists of reading from the script and singing a song of your choice. A piano accompanist and Bluetooth audio speaker (for YouTube tracks) will be available.

STRAYS CHARACTERS & BREAKDOWNS

Eleven original songs from blues and gospel to Celtic and calypso showcase 20+ individual pet stories as they search for a forever-home. Meet wide-eyed hopeful PUPPY, feisty scrappy KITTEN, opinionated QUEEN CAT, laugh out loud at the comical HOUND DOG, and loveable clueless BLUESY DOG. Enjoy show dog SWAGGER explain his winning streak and hear LUCKY CAT’s story of survival. Hear GOSPEL CAT testify how pets inspire and delight their chosen humans. Root for all the strays, including the haunted lonely PARIAH CAT, to be finally accepted and find love on adoption day.

We’re looking for 12 featured performers plus chorus and production folks to bring STRAYS to life. We anticipate most actors will play multiple roles. A few humans appear in the show, but most performers portray cats or dogs—but without any special makeup or costumes. That’s right! You get to create your own character using your skill as a performer—are you a Great Dane? Chihuahua or Siamese? Mutt or tabby? Come show your skills!

Most parts can be cast as any age, either male or female, but age 14 to adult preferred. STRAYS includes solos, ensembles, rap, featured dancers, non-singing actors, and fun company numbers.

STRAYS–VIDEO TRAILER & LISTENING LINKS

STRAYS premiered six years ago at the Honey McGee Playhouse to sold-out audiences. The new production is at the Rialto Theater in Denison, Texas February 27-29, 2020. Rehearsals at Hope On Houston are Monday-Thursday from 6:30-8:30 (some Sundays, pending actor availability).

You can see a video trailer from the original cast performance below, and listen to the cast recording AT THIS LINK. Now is your chance—come to the STRAYS audition, channel your inner cat or dog, and honor a pet you love!

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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? 

NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I do not recommend anything unless I feel it would benefit readers. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!