Bling, Bitches & Blood!

I've not posted here in literally years--but have received a couple of "spam" notices and realized I better do some house keeping. I started to delete posts, and then figured it would work best just to post a new notice.

Oh, I'm still blogging, but not here.

You'll find me over at AMY SHOJAI'S BLOG, BLING-BITCHES & BLOOD where I blog about pet-centric topics, thriller-icity, writing schtuff, and all things sparkly. Yes, I'm not writing THRILLERS WITH BITE, and have also co-written/produced a theater production KURVES THE MUSICAL. You can find out all about this at the new blog home.

I typically blog three times (or more) a week and you can subscribe to the posts. There also are lots of SQUEEEE! awesome cute pet pictures and some fun videos including ASK AMY videos. I hope to see you there!

Amy Shojai, CABC
Bling, Bitches & Blood Blog

Amy's Website with 26 Pet Care Titles (print & Ebooks)

Amy's Facebook

Amy's Twitter



Home again, home again, jiggidy-jig...

Last week raced by in a blur. The Cat Writers' Association, Inc. annual conference in Atlanta, in conjunction with the CFA International Cat Show, was a blast--as always. I'm disappointed to not have gotten as many pictures as usual, but I did shoot this scrumptious short video of a gorgeous little Chartreux girl in the show hall, playing with a kitty tease:

I gave a seminar on "Transitioning from Nonfiction to Fiction" -- hey, I can tap-dance with the best of 'em! Actually, I know the nonfiction ropes up-down-and-sideways, and the audience and I were on the same footing (mostly) with the fiction. Incidentally, having sent off the first chapter of my WIP for review/crit to a few writing buddies, I'm quite encouraged and even energized by the feedback. So that's a very good thing.

In addition to the nonfiction/fiction seminar, I was a panelist on the CATalyst topic session with some of the major movers-and-shakers of the movement. Later I served as moderator on a cat/dog behavior panel. This year the sessions were very good, as always. At the contest awards banquet, I was honored to receive THREE of the prestigious Muse Medallion (first place) awards, for my radio program at Pet Peeves: A Win-Winn Situation; for my online article It's All About the Cat on the CATalyst initiative, published at; and for my weekly newspaper column PETiQuette. The contest is judged by professional members of the CWA, and it means a great deal to be recognized by my peers.

Having been elected president of the CWA, next year I'll be quite involved in planning the program and inviting speakers. That should be a blast--especially since we're moving and for the first time holding the annual conference with a different partner. We'll be in White Plains, New York at the Westchester Cat Show (a TICA event) on the weekend before Thanksgiving. That's about a half hour by train from NYC. I hope more writers in general will attend this great conference--you don't have to write about critters to benefit. Since we'll be so close to NYC, I hope to bring in more editors and agents...and everyone will have the chance to also shop and schmooze at the cat show!

I'm also honored to learn that another of my radio shows is nominated for a major award with the Dog Writers Association of America ( Winners will be announced the night before the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in NYC, in February. I would LOVE to be able to attend once again...but have been forced to take a hard look at finances this year. *sigh*

I've spent the past week writing thank yous to our fantastic donors and sponsors of the CWA, catching up on columns and blogs, and eating way too much turkey. Hoping that all who read this blog have had an equally wonderful Thanksgiving celebration.




Today Seren visited the vet for her annual exam and rabies--no other vaccines, cuz she's an "only" cat and indoor exclusive. She was NOT a happy kitty. But the doc was able to get his hands on her (sorta-kinda) and listened to her heart, checked ears and teeth. For an almost 12-year-old, she's doing very well. Input and output are fine, no change in appetite, and I simply can't BELIEVE she'll be 12 soon. Wow.

Magic goes on Thursday for his annual and vaccines. He's not due until mid-December, but my hubby has to work long hours that day, and I'm leaving for Atlanta. So it works out best to drop the boy off the night before, and have everything done at once. Trying reeeeeeel hard these days to multi-task.

I spent the day writing three week's worth of Purina columns--again, I'm gone this week, and next week is Thanksgiving. So trying to work ahead as much as I can. Hoping to have time to put together a few blogs before I go, too--but will have material for those when I return. No time for fictioning this week, but have gotten some very encouraging feedback on early chapters. So I'm pumped to keep on keeping on.

The CWA conference is this weekend. I'm sitting on a panel, moderating a second panel, and leading a seminar--which I must put together tomorrow. Wednesday, I pack. I have a slew of *stuff* to take along, and likely will be charged by the airlines for either extra bags or overweight ones. There's nothing else to do, I gotta schlep this stuff there. In fact, somebody contacted me about bringing 12 of my "aging cat" book so she can purchase for the folks who adopt her older foster-kitties. How cool is that?! I'm looking forward to attending the big cat show at the same time as the conference.

And...the election will make me the next CWA president. Again. So next year's con will be up to me--(hint: all you writers out there, I'll be looking for speakers, so don't be surprised if I tap on your virtual shoulders!).

I'm also thrilled to have some of my work nominated for awards in the contest, results to be announced on Saturday night. Will post results here when I can.

For those who have not subscribed to my E-newsletter...there's still time before the next installment goes out the day before Thanksgiving! So run over to the site and click on the Newsletter page.

Back to the to-do list!


B-day wishes!

Livejournal sent a note that your b-day is Nov 5...mine's the next day! So happy happy happy, and hope I'll see you at the cat show in Jan, too. Have you decided?


Making Fiction Progress and Economical Suck-isity

I will finish the first draft of the novel this month. No excuses. I've taken steps to streamline existing deadlines, and plan to say "no" to any extras this month. So weekends will be devoted to the columns and blogs, once a month I'll do the Pet Peeves newsletter and radio gigs, and devote weekdays and most evenings to fictioning. 

I'm at page 200 on the first draft of DEADLINES, a thriller, featuring an animal behaviorist protag who happens to have a radio show called Pet Peeves. Go figure. *s* More later...I'm superstitious about jinxing things by telling too much. 

I'm also a bit superstitious about saying much about the acting biz. How many writers do you know who kept it a secret before proclaiming their status to the world-at-large, "Yes, I am a writer!" Well...I am a writer. I am also an actor. I've been acting longer than I've been a writer. So now have an NYC agent for my writing and a Dallas agent for my acting endeavors. If you know the current state of the publishing industry--the acting industry is a mirror image. Boy, do I know how to pick 'em or what?!

That said, on the writing front I received some nice checks in October for past work, payment for some kewl online article assignments and blogs, and a nice-size royalty check on the First-Aid book. Good economics. I have some contracts pending for '09, and have several book ideas percolating with my NYC agent. Promising economics. Also had some promised '09 jobs evaporate--and the Chicken Soup stuff remains up in the air. Sucky economics. Now I'm trying to decide whether to fund expensive flight/hotel cost for some major research trips, which might lead to some assignments...or not. Questionable economics.

The Cat Writers Association annual writers' conference is this month (see and I've been nominated to serve as president. I look forward to the challenge, but am also concerned about the time necessary for the job. The current and incoming directors and past committee chairs are dedicated and insightful pros and that's a major comfort.

On the plus side, my new Pet Peeves newsletter receives kudos, and the radio show of the same name garnered several award nominations. I'm also having a ball watching myself (and other experts) on the DOGS 101 show on Animal Planet. In addition to this LiveJournal blog, you can find me at MySpace, RedRoom, YouTube and FaceBook--a good thing for marketing and networking, but also a major time drain. So from now on, I'll likely just write one blog, and copy to all these places.

If you want original musings, subscribe to the Pet Peeves E-newsletter. *eg*

All we can do is the best we can do during these challenging times. I'm grateful for the work I have, pray it will continue and that new interesting work comes with 2009.

Some extra hours in the day would be nice.




Music-ality, Fictioning, & Broadcast-icity, oh my

Ah, but those are great words, doncha think? I'm a writer, I can make up stuff as needed, right? er...write? Anyway--

First, I'm thrilled with the Dogs 101 Animal Planet show. As a writer, when interviewing someone I always end up killing my darlings, so many great quotes get cut due to space. With TV, edits must be just as ruthless to fill the time. So I'm pleased (at least so far) with the content and my featured contributions. Of course, the canines get all the really good stuff! Hope y'all will take a look--you can actually view some of the aired segments online here:  Oh, for the cat lovers, the Cats 101 segments will be the final two shows and I'll likely be in both of those, too.

Back to the subject title (how's that for a smooth transition, NOT!). Last weekend I filled in on piano at church, giving the organist her first day off in nearly a year. Playing in front of God and everyone can be more nerve-wracking than nearly any other kind of public performance. Almost. Today, I played cello in a quartet for an outdoor wedding. Much prefer singing--the instrument's easier to carry than a baby grand, and 80-degree direct sunlight doesn't make the voice go flat. Yep, by the end of the wedding, my cello dropped at least a quarter tone, making it quite a challenge to stay toooooooonful with the other three fiddlers. Ouch. At least everyone had their eyes on the bride. I was disappointed they didn't include the Bichon from the rehearsal to serve as ring bearer. Some folks just ain't got no 'maginashun.

This past week I actually made some headway on the fiction. And I've also sent a couple of nonfiction ideas (pronounced "idees") to my NY agent, so paws crossed that'll work out. I also received copies of the UK version of Chicken Soup/Cat Lover's Soul and the Taiwan version of Chicken Soup/Dog Lover's Soul. I wanted to see my name spelled in Taiwanese but they used English for that on the cover. Fun stuff! But no royalty payments yet, so apparently the litigation continues. *sigh* I'll post copies of the covers later, when I get the chance.

More new Pet Peeves radio shows have been posted over at and some more topics that hiss-me-off in the coming weeks. I know I promised to post here more religiously but--well, I played piano last week in church. So I'm about religioused out for the moment. *eg*





Amy's on YouTube! (and more...)

I finally found some dummy-proof software so I could convert my TV segments into downloadable files, yee-haw! So, you can now find me at YouTube (, and I'll add segments about twice a month.

The links also can be found at my website on the updated page. You'll find a link there for the Animal Planet show, too--I'm s'pozed to appear in an upcoming episode or two of Dogs 101 and Cats 101.

Hope you'll also visit the Newsletter page at my site--the next issue goes out tomorrow (October 17) so if you're sleepless tonight, there's still time to subscribe, and qualify for a free autographed book.


Catching up--Work, Play, Family

I just posted a long blog at MySpace here, all about work, play and family stuff:

But I neglected to include an update about my radio shows PET PEEVES. This month you can learn about:
"Canine Houligans" and a new book for teaching dogs to be polite in public
"Deadly Beauty" covering the purebred dog fancy
"National Feral Cat Day" and ways to help these furry waifs
"Animal Actors" and how movies REALLY treat animals

I also just learned that my work has received nine Certificate of Excellence awards from the Cat Writers Association which means they're also in the running for the ultimate "Muse Medallion" in each category. Three of the radio shows (Win-Winn Situation, Claws & Effect, and Cost of Love), as well as a couple of articles and my Purina column and newspaper column received notice. I'm very pleased, since the contest is judged by my peers.

A reminder, too, that my new E-newsletter Pet Peeves goes out this coming Friday, complete with Halloween tips for pets, and more. I give away a signed book each month to subscribers, so spread the word to your cat and dog-loving friends. As a special note to my colleagues reading this--the software I used for the newsletter comes from It's dummy proof (good for me!).


Family Reunion, Email Woes, & Newsletter News

Last week sucked. Actually, the first of the week was okay, the weekend was fantastic, but the middle (last Wednesday to be exact) still haunts me.

My Outlook Express email software went flooey last Wednesday. Suddenly it asked me to "rename" the personal folders--didn't give me an option--and then saved the files to some restricted no-man's land. I can see it, but can't open, copy or move the file. My address book disappeared, along with all saved emails from the past several years. Suckisity squared!

Thank goodness, some of the most important recent ones remained on the online server. I'm in the midst of final revisions on the latest articles, and would have cried big sloppy puddles had my editor's notes been lost. And yes, before I'm scolded by all-and-sundry, I know that I shoulda backed things up. I do back up other stuff, but hadn't ever thought to do it with emails. Guess the computer gremlins yuck it up at my expense these days, wringing their grubby little digitized fingers and thumbing noses at my angst. Scroom.

The weekend, though, redeemed my mood. Mahmoud and I packed up for a trip to a cottage on Lake Huron, Michigan where we joined my two brothers and their wives, and my parents. Three days of reconnecting, laughing, eating too much and drinking tasty beverages (plus eating Mom's homemade pies). It's so hard for all of us to get together, and was a huge treat. My younger brother brought his Labradoodle, Jack, so we all got our pet fix whilst there. The only downside--the dregs of Hurricane Ike rained on us all weekend, and nearly made me wet myself during the plane trip home. I HATE ROUGH FLIGHTS!

This coming Friday marks the release of the first issue of my newsletter PET PEEVES. It'll be emailed on or about the 20th of each month, and a subscriber's name will be chosen the last day of each month to receive an autographed book. If you've not yet signed up, visit my website and click on the Newsletter page.



OWFI Board Meeting

Busy day--I traveled to Norman, OK for the OWFI board meeting today. Only a 2 hour drive instead of 3 hours like last year's venue.  Last year as prez, I had all the fun (and angst!) of making decisions with a terrific team. The 40th anniversary conference last May was fantastic, if I do say so myself *s* but I am incredibly relieved not to be in charge of anything vital this year. My "yee-haw" news was that the con actually ended up in the black by about $1500, the first time since 2004 I'm told. Not bad, considering plane fares doubled and sometimes tripled between the time we planned the budget and speakers actually booked flights.

Oh, for those interested, the conference is always the first weekend of May and this year will be at, and brand-new hotel that's gorgeous, has free breakfast, free happy hour, and suites that include microwave, frig, two double beds plus a sofa-bed that also can sleep two. For us midwesterners, the price seems shocking--$130/night for up to 4 people (last year it was $99 for two people). But this is a LUXURY hotel that usually charges $260/night. Details should go up soon on the site.

Heck, the Thrillerwriters just sent there info out for early registration, and that hotel last year was $239/night. So this still seems a deal to me. *s*

Gotta save my nickles and dimes.