Today I’m pleased to welcome pet expert and thriller writer, Amy Shojai, to The Happiness Project! I’ve read Amy’s book, Lost and Found, and LOVED it!
She’s got bite – I mean, a great voice!
So please welcome Amy and her purr-fect Valentine’s tales!
If you really want to please your partner this Valentine’s Day buy catnip and chew toys (and pet-centric books!) instead of chocolate. Love me, love my pet is the new Valentine rule of paw.
Cats and dogs show affection and devotion in very different ways. What some folks might find objectionable actually is the ultimate in a kitty or canine compliment! Here are a few examples:
- Cats hop on our laps—then present their ass-ets for a sniff. (It’s sort of a backwards kitty compliment).
- Dogs jump up and knock us down or ruin outfits. They’re trying to reach/lick your face, a way of saying “you’re the boss, I love you.”
- Cats claw your most favorite chair—marking something that smells like you as their most favorite territory.
- Dogs chew up your favorite purse—again, it smells like you and he wants to be close to his beloved.
I’ve written and lectured and been quoted about dog and cat behavior and care more times than I like to admit—in dog years, I should be dead! Lately, though, I’ve branched into fiction writing to bring the “good news” about pets to a whole new audience. People who have no interest in a how-to pet care/behavior book lap it up like BACON when presented as doggy (or kitty) litter-ature.
My dog viewpoint thrillers feature a German Shepherd service dog, a trained Maine Coon cat, and an animal behaviorist. The newest HIDE AND SEEK was just released, and here’s a teeny BACON-flavored taste to tempt you to learn more:
“HIDE AND SEEK masterfully blends ripped-from-the-headlines urgency with an emotional story of real characters in escalating dangers. Written with authority and deft brilliance that any lover of animals or nerve-jangling thrillers will cherish.” James Rollins, New York Times bestseller of “The Eye of God”
“HIDE AND SEEK is a creepy must read mystery for animal lovers. Animal behaviorist Amy Shojai knows her stuff.” J.T. Ellison, NYT bestselling author of “When Shadows Fall”
“A shocking betrayal, a reality TV show gone horribly wrong, and murders related to an unthinkable cause, HIDE AND SEEK is a mystery/thriller you won’t be able to put down!” Alan Leverone, best-selling thriller author of “Mr. Midnight” and “The Lonely Mile”
“Recommended for anyone who likes a ‘bite-your-nails, hold-your-breath’ kind of thriller.” Dr. Lorie Huston, veterinarian and Cat Writers’ Association president
I adore my main characters in these stories (the first was LOST AND FOUND) because they’re real to me. Shadow the dog and Macy the cat love their human, September Day (a behaviorist) unconditionally just like my “real” pets Magical-Dawg and Seren-Kitty love me. What we’d do for those we love—human and furry—really drives these thriller stories. And in real life, we love our pets back. Some of us wish our human loves were more like the pets.
Don’t believe me? Get a load of this! A few years ago, a joint global poll by Reuters/Ipsos of 24,000 people in 23 countries found 21 percent of adults would rather spend February 14 with their pet than their spouse. And the American Kennel Club (AKC) surveyed dog owners and found even more startling results. Nearly 90 percent of women wish their boyfriend or husband was more like their dog. More than a third of women said, “If my dog was a man, he’d be my boyfriend!”
Men also wish their significant other shared some of the same qualities as their dog, especially the quality of “always being in a good mood.” Only 23 percent of men surveyed agreed with the statement, “If my dog was a woman she’d be my girlfriend.”
Based on the results, men and women should go to the dog for hints on pleasing the special humans in their lives. In fact, people have such strong bonds with their dogs and cats that the human in your life may become jealous. Reasons include dedicating “too much” time to the pet, preferring to cuddle with the dog rather than their mate, or that the dog “likes me better.”
Canine qualities women look for in men include a perennial good mood, willingness to spend time together, eagerness to cuddle on the couch, and being happy to eat her cooking without complaint. The survey also indicated women appreciated how dogs helped motivate them to exercise. Canine qualities that men appreciate in women include being as happy to spend time at home as out on the town, offering enthusiastic greetings when he returns home, and not getting mad when he wants to watch sports. Men also liked it that dogs were “up” for anything he wants to do.
So this Valentine’s Day, let your romantical inclinations take into account the cats and dogs that your two-legged honey adores. That’ll have them wagging their virtual tails in purrfect bliss!
Amy Shojai (www.shojai.com) has been reinventing herself for years. She’s a certified animal behavior consultant, and the award-winning author of 27 best selling pet books that cover furry babies to old-fogies, first aid to natural healing, and behavior/training to Chicken Soup-icity. She is the Puppies Guide at puppies.About.com, the cat behavior expert at cats.About.com, and hosts a weekly half hour Internet Pet Peeves radio show. Amy has been featured as an expert in hundreds of print venues including The New York Times, Reader’s Digest, and Family Circle, as well as national radio and television networks such as CNN, Animal Planet’s DOGS 101 and CATS 101.
HIDE AND SEEK published by Cool Gus Publishing is available in Trade Paperback for $11.99 and all Ebook formats for $4.99 (for Kindle, Nook, iPad, etc.). You may order the book via online stories such as amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. Find out more at Amy’s Bling, Bitches & Blood Blog at http://amyshojai.com
Hello, hello! The holiday season approaches and it’s another blog hop edition of the Life List Club! For those of you already stressing as to how to get everything done, you know the shopping, the cleaning, the cooking, the writing, the errands, the social gatherings, the donation requests, the pounding of your head on your desktop, rest at ease! Pam Hawley from Hawleyville is here to guide us through! So grab some hot cocoa, marshmallows are on the table, and settle in.
Holiday Sanity Survival Kits for Writers
A few weekends ago, Lee and I gave our ferret Vinnie a bath. Every once in a while, he gets a little itchy and … well, smelly. As you can see by the expression on his face, he’s not exactly fond of bath time. I’m pretty sure he thinks we’ve devised some new form of weasel torture. Vin isn’t the first ferret to share my home, and this has been a trait all of them have shared. Wet weasels just aren’t happy.
The thing is, they always feel so much better after bath time. They may not care about being soft, fluffy and good-smelling, but they’re definitely happy not to be itchy anymore. Like it or not, a bath now in then is a good thing.
As we kick off another holiday season, I’m feeling a bit like Vinnie during bath time. I’m a WWDJ (Writer with a Day Job), so the season of adding even more to the to-do list always puts me in a panic. I’m an introvert who needs quiet time to reflect, recharge and write. The thought of adding shopping, decorating, family gatherings and the inevitable round of parties to my already crazy schedule has me feeling like a weasel in a bath – all washed up.
But just like a little ferret shampoo and water is a good thing for Vin, the holiday season that puts me in such a tizzy is also good for me. Time celebrating and being thankful with family and friends is a precious gift, and something worth making room for in our lives.
So, what does an introverted writer who is already pulled in too many directions do when life is about to get even busier? If you’re anything like me, you’re putting together your survival kit. During the Season of Social Fun, it is more important than ever to have those things that help you relax and recharge close at hand. Making a little time each day to spend with my handy-dandy survival kit revitalizes both me and my writing. My kit includes:
My reward at the end of a busy day is to curl up on my couch with my trusty friend, even if it is only for a little while. What I love best about my Kindle is that I can stock it up with plenty of reading choices without having to lug around a small library. I’ve got short stories, favorites to re-read, new authors to try, and plenty of writing advice at my fingertips. Inspiration, lessons and pure guilty pleasure are all there for the taking.
As much fun as the holidays will be, they will hijack some of my creative mojo. For an introvert, being zapped during incredibly social times is just a fact of life. So when I sit down to write and the words won’t come, I grab my camera and head off for a photography session. My subjects are simple – my ferret, my cat, or even the mailbox in my front yard. Sometimes the pictures are awful, and sometimes they come out great. Either way, I’m clearing my head and forcing myself to look at something ordinary in a new light. That simple act reconnects me to my creative spirit.
For those busy days when there just isn’t time to sit and type, I keep a pen and notebook handy. I’m not going to write my novel that way, but I can jot down snippets and random ideas or observations that I may use down the road. Again, it is about not leaving my creativity behind even when running at top speed.
There is nothing more calming and soothing than to sit and pet my cat Sly while he head-butts my Kindle or purrs in my lap. There is nothing more energizing than watching Vin bounce around my bedroom making happy “clucking” noises and doing the “weasel war dance.” Sly’s lazy yawns and stretches are a constant reminder that the world won’t stop turning if I take a few minutes to yawn and stretch myself. Vin’s playful hops are a reminder that life should be lived with joy in every step.
During the holidays, it is even more important to recharge ourselves if we want to stay on track with our goals. These are my tools for dealing with life at top speed. Do you know what belongs in your survival kit? If not, figure it out before you think about buying gifts, cooking turkeys or digging out the decorations.. Your kit might look very different from mine. Maybe it is a favorite video game and your comfiest chair or a stack of funny movies, a bottle of wine and scented candles. It doesn’t matter WHAT you have in your kit, as long as it makes you breathe a huge sigh of relief at the end of a busy day.
What gets you through the busier times in your life? What helps you relax and recharge so that you can enjoy all the fun of the holiday season while still making progress in your goals?
In addition to short fiction, Pam Hawley writes humor pieces and is working on her first novel, which blends the creepy and the funny by bringing a brutally murdered “player” back to life as a naked ghost. Her short story “A Wingding and A Prayer” appeared in the July issue of eFiction Magazine (available at http://www.efictionmag.com). Her short horror fiction, “Peanut Butter and Jelly,” will appear in The Spirit of Poe Anthology available at http://literarylandmarkpress.blogspot.com. When not working, writing or in the gym, Pam can most likely be found curled up on her couch reading, hanging out at her family pub Hawley’s in Baltimore, or cheering the Pittsburgh Steelers. She blogs regularly at http://hawleyville.wordpress.com.