Tag Archives: Valentines

Valentines For Pets – And People!

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 SeekHIDE 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&Magic&SerenloresAmy 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

10 Links To Inspire Love and a Larger Wordcount

There have been some great blog posts lately, all of which are motivating me to stay focused on my goals. I hope to be 3/4 of the way done with edits by my April writers conference. I’m also working on author branding and hope to create new business cards as well as start up a pinterest page. Any advice from you all is greatly appreciated.

I know many of you are hard at work on your own goal list: figuring out which conferences to attend, starting new novels, finishing drafts, or maybe just planning a romantic night out with your honey.

If so, I’ve got you covered! Pull up a chair, wrap your fingers around a mug of your fave beverage, and happy reading!

In Preparation for Valentine’s Day:

I made a Valentine's picture, but the rings are so big they look like handcuffs. Haha!

I made a Valentine’s picture, but the rings are so big they look like handcuffs. Haha!

  • Emma Meade interviewed erotica author Kitt Crescendo on her latest release (of the literature sort) in Blogger Pal and Author of Steamy Fiction. *Bring a glass of water to cool down after you read Kitt’s book excerpt!
  • Shannon Donnelly guests at Writers in the Storm to answer What Makes a Romance? with seven tips for helping anyone on the fence about whether their book fits.
  • Liz from Be.Love.Live. is celebrating February by Learning to Love Yourself Through a Photo a Day. She’s hosting a photo a day challenge to take 28 selfies that share something beautiful about you! Aww.
  • Shameless plug: Stay tuned for a Valentine’s Day guest post from pet behavioralist and thriller writer, Amy Shojai, right here on the Happiness Project!

Writer’s Hub:

  • Adam from Roof Beam Reader gives his take on the J.K. Rowling interview in J.K. Rowling Can Say What She Wants. Have you heard about this?! Rowling was interviewed (by Emma Watson, the actress who played Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films) and commented that intended for Hermione and Harry to end up together in the end, NOT Hermione and Ron. It’s a fascinating conversation and I would LOVE to hear your opinions on it.
  • Speaking of Harry Potter, author Ginger Calem’s daughter snapped the cutest picture of a Harry Potter fan ever. Check this adorbs out! And follow Ginger on Instagram!

Is this cute or the cutest?

  • Piper Bayard and co-blogger/author, Holmes, kidnapped invited bestselling author Ellie Ann to their blog to discuss the Steampunk trend as well as Enhanced Books. Fab interview on these new medias. Steampunk and Books That Sing
  • Julie Glover discusses the power of book’s first line with great examples from both classics and her own works. I love that she includes Daphne du Maurier’s wicked character Mrs. Danvers to illustrate! Kickin’ It Off Right: A Novel’s First Line
  • Bradley Somer posted in Wordbitches What We Talk About When We Talk About Our Writing, which is filled with great tips for anyone who has, or wants to have, speaking engagements like book readings or presentations.
  • Kristen Lamb shares Why All Writers Should Attend a Writers Conference which is full of useful networking advice, tools and updates on the publishing industry, as well as information about an upcoming online conference!

What goals are you working on? What are your Valentine’s plans? And what blog posts inspired you this past week? Feel free to share links!

What is Love? A Guest Post by Jenny Hansen

Welcome to Life List Friday here at Jess’ Happiness Project. She’s hanging out over at David Walker’s place while we chat it up here.

Every commercial I’ve seen today is about romance. It’s almost Valentine’s Day and love is in the air. And on TV…in magazines…and spreading like wildfire across the internet.

(source: fucsia.hubpages.com)

The yearning for love and connection seems to be built into our DNA. And humans, particularly those in the Western world, place an incredible amount of focus on the subject.

We dream of love. We write songs and novels about it. We chase love. We build shrines to it. We sacrifice for love, work for love, and cry about love, in all its various embodiments.

It’s stunning to see such a wealth of attention paid to a topic with very few clear answers. Is it just me, or have you noticed how difficult love is to define?

  • There’s love between friends
  • The deep connection between parent and child
  • The close community of family
  • Romantic love typically seen during dating
  • The deeply shared life-bond of romance and friendship in long-term couples.

Certainly, there’s more but these are the first five that came to my mind. Here’s how Psychology Today answers the question.

What is love?

Three different people will give you three different answers. Heck, I might give different answers on different days. As a psychology major at the University of Missouri, I participated in an experiment where we walked around campus, asking this question.

Here are the five answers to “What is love” that I never forgot:

  1. Love is finding joy in the other person’s happiness.
  2. Love is wanting what’s best for one another, even when it’s not what’s best for you.
  3. Love is not being able to imagine your life without that person in it.
  4. Love is a completeness of being. Where the other person not only fits with you, but becomes a part of you.
  5. Love makes you braver than you ever knew you could be.

Complete strangers gave me food for thought that affected me for the rest of my adult life. So, now I’m asking you: “What is love?”

I can’t wait to hear your answers down in the comments section!

Jenny fills her nights with humor: writing memoir, women’s fiction, chick lit, short stories (and chasing after the newly walking Baby Girl). By day, she provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. After 15 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s digging this sit down and write thing.

When she’s not at her blog, More Cowbell, Jenny can be found on Twitter at jhansenwrites and at her group blog, Writers In The Storm. Every Saturday, she writes the Risky Baby Business posts at More Cowbell, a series that focuses on babies, new parents and high-risk pregnancy.

The Silent Articulation of a Face

It’s Valentines Day.  Whether you love or hate the celebration, I thought a little Rumi was appropriate.  If you’re unfamiliar with him, he was a Sufi mystic and poet, most noted for his extreme love and devotion towards his mentor Shams of TabrizNPR host, Jean Feraca, from Here on Earth had a whole discussion with Coleman Barks, one of the lead translators of Rumi’s poetry and a Sufi studier for over three decades.  I absolutely encourage you to check out Jean’s site and listen to some podcasts of her programs; they are always very moving.  While driving in the car today, I listened to caller after caller read their favorite Rumi poem, share how they knew Rumi, and why his work makes him the most beloved and best selling poet in America.

I first discovered Rumi through my sister.  She learned about him in college and brought one of his books home for me to read knowing how much I liked poetry.  I immediately devoured his words and watched a documentary about his life which interviews prominent Rumi translators and the differences these authors have on his works.  It’s really interesting how one poet has inspired many others to interpret his work.  Some is very proper and written in an older english style, while Coleman Barks brings about more of Rumi’s spirit in his translations, rather than a literal translation.  I’ve returned to Rumi poems throughout my life at different times.  Sitting by my parent’s garden, I read his love of the land poems.  And when I was too young to know any better I read his love poems and yearned for the intense emotions he wrote of.  Now, for Valentines Day, I share with you two different Rumi poems that I think are beautiful.  Enjoy!

Do you have a story to share about Jalaluddin Rumi?  Do you have a favorite Rumi poem?  I’d love to hear it!

The Silent Articulation of a Face

Love comes with a knife, not some

shy question, and not with fears

for its reputation! I say

these things disinterestedly. Accept them

in kind. Love is a madman,

working his wild schemes, tearing off his clothes,

running through the mountains, drinking poison,

and now quietly choosing annihilation.

A tiny spider tries to wrap an enormous wasp.

Think of the spiderweb woven across the cave

where Muhammad slept! There are love stories,

and there is obliteration into love.

You’ve been walking the ocean’s edge,

holding up your robes to keep them dry.

You must dive naked under and deeper under,

a thousand times deeper! Love flows down.

The ground submits to the sky and suffers

what comes. Tell me, is the earth worse

for giving in like that?

Don’t put blankets over the drum!

Open completely. Let your spirit-ear

listen to the green dome’s passionate murmur.

Let the cords of your robe be untied.

Shiver in this new love beyond all

above and below. The sun rises, but which way

does night go? I have no more words.

Let soul speak with the silent

articulation of a face.

Some Kiss We Want

There is some kiss we want

with our whole lives, the touch

of spirit on the body. Seawater

begs the pearl to break its shell.

And the lily, how passionately

it needs some wild darling!

At night, I open the window and ask

the moon to come and press its

face against mine.

Breathe into me. Close

the language-door and open the love-window.

The moon won’t use the door,

only the window.

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