Wednesday, January 30, 2013

#WWoW: Authors Helping Authors


Welcome to this week's post for Writer's Words of Wisdom. I'm sure many of you have run across several posts on the web about authors behaving badly. Whether they were complaining about a review/reviewer they didn't like, or blatantly trashing another authors work just to make their own look better, these sort of stories bring everyone down. As a relatively "new" author, I've been really taken aback by some of the actions of other writers. I've had a few days where I was seriously considering not publishing anything else for fear the "mean" girls and boys would then turn their attention on me. I wrote a bit about how to get "even" with those mean authors a couple weeks ago. Here is the LINK if you'd like to check that one out.  Go ahead. We'll wait for you. ;)

There is another way that you can balance out the ill will from those few party poopers. Be an author who helps other authors. That's right. There are so many ways for you to help out fellow writers. Take this weekly post for example. Writer's Words of Wisdom was put together by erotic romance author Paloma Beck. She invited a group of us to join her in sharing what we've all learned along the way to become published authors. This week, Paloma and I share more of our journey to get where we are today. We write about anything from finding time to write, juggling multiple jobs, promoting, editing, blogging, and sharing through social media. There is so much to learn for someone looking to get their work published. It's not enough to submit your book to a publisher and wait for "the magic" to happen. You have to get your name out there in front of potential new readers, editors, publishers and other writers.

Connect with other authors through social media


Don't have a Twitter or Facebook account yet? Get them! You can start following some authors who write in your genre. Retweet their posts. Visit the blogs they recommend. Comment on those blogs. Friend them on Facebook and interact them.  Not only will you develop wonderful friendships with authors around the world, you will build up your fan base. Remember writers are readers too. 

Don't be one of those people who send direct or private messages to new followers to like and tag your pages and books. Let your new connections decide to do that for themselves, just like you did when you connected with them in the first place. Don't post your links on their blogs or Facebook pages without an invitation to do so. Trust me. When you have a bond with another author, they will be very happy to help promote you and your work but not so much if you force it upon them. The fastest way to get yourself unfriended and blocked is to be pushy.

Participate in Blog Hops


One hop I participated in
Even before you have anything published, blog hops can be an invaluable tool for you to help other authors. By visiting the participating blogs, you can find new authors and genres that you might not have run across before.  You can then follow them on Twitter and Facebook, building even more connections. 

You just may find several new books to add to your Kindle or Nook and by entering the contests on each blog, you could win copies of these books or even other fantastic prizes. You can in turn post about these hops on your own blogs and in social media bringing in even more traffic. 

As more people notice your posts, they will start interacting more with you by sharing your posts and tweets with their followers. Can you see where I'm going with this? The more you share, the more other authors will be willing to do the same for you when it's your turn.

Rate and Review 


All writer's start out as readers and fans of other authors and their works. Instead of just reading one book after the other, why not take the time to leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads or any other site where you purchased the book? How about putting a review up on you own blog and then promote it on Twitter and Facebook? Writing reviews can be a great way to tell the author what you liked...and didn't like...about their book. You can help boost their confidence in their work and help them to become better writers by telling them what you thought didn't quite work for you. 

I've found some wonderful new friendships because someone took the time to review my books and connect with me over them. I've recently had the honor and privilege to be a beta reader for one of my favorite authors. She wanted my honest opinion and boy did I give it to her on a scene that seemed to fall flat compared to the rest of the book. She thanked me for noticing that point. There was something wrong with it and she couldn't quite put her finger on it, but with my help, she was able to figure out another way to work the scene and it ended up FABULOUS! 

Guest Spots on Blogs


Not ready to open your blog up for guests yet? Not a problem. By stopping in to visit your author friends when they do guest spots or blog tours, you help to bring traffic in to the spot and more exposure for your friends. Just about all blogs have buttons where you can share the post with your own social media sites. DO IT! Each time you visit a guest spot, make sure you tell your other connections about it. 

Once you are ready to have guests on your blog, tell your author friends you are open. If you see they have a new release coming up, invite them to talk about it with you and your followers. Don't have a lot of followers yet? That's fine. Keep having guests and posting your own spots and you will have more and more views and then the followers will come to you. 

Where will the followers come from? The authors you followed and supported all along. They will remember your support and gladly return it to you. Will there be some that never return the favor? Yep. But have faith! More will reciprocate than not and outshine the authors that behave badly. 

Summing it all up


Make sure you are in the group of authors supporting authors and not those who behave badly. Use social media to connect and build up the friendships so you can visit blogs, comment and share.  Use your own blog to promote the work of others, participate in blog hops, have guest authors, and review the books you read. Get out there and chat with fellow writers and readers through Twitter and Facebook and don't just "friend" to get them to like and tag your pages or your books. 

Above all, have fun!



Make sure you visit Paloma's blog Romance Beckons for her WWoW post. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Donna Michaels Book Tour for Captive Hero


Welcome to Not Enough Time in the Day and the sixth stop in Donna Michael’s Book Tour for Captive Hero. She has two great prizes she’s offering up on this blog tour. After you read about her book, stop by the bottom of this tour stop to find out how you can win a free download of any of Donna’s back-list  plus a $15 Amazon Gift Card!



Test flying an invisible plane—unreal
Time-shifting to WWII—unbelievable
Capturing a hero—unavoidable.

When Marine Corps test pilot, Captain Samantha Sheppard accidentally flies back in time and inadvertently saves the life of a WWII VMF Black Sheep pilot, she changes history and makes a crack decision to abduct him back to the present. With the timeline in jeopardy, she hides the handsome pilot at her secluded cabin in the Colorado wilderness. 

But convincing her sexy, stubborn captive that he is now in another century proves harder than she anticipated—and soon it becomes difficult to tell who is captor and who is captive when the more he learns about the future, the more Sam discovers about the past, and the soul-deep connection between them.

As their flames of desire burn into overdrive, her flying Ace makes a historical discovery that threatens her family’s very existence. Sam’s fears are taken to new heights when she realizes the only way to fix the time-line is to sacrifice her captive hero...or is it? 

Can love truly survive the test of time?

PG-13 Excerpt:


The door suddenly jerked in and to the right with such force Sam stumbled forward into the cabin.

Son-of-a…
Before she could regain her equilibrium, something big hit the back of her calves and knocked her to the floor—hard.

Intruder? So help me, if he hurt the captain… 

Instinct kicked in. Knee thrust upward, she made contact with a solid object and heard a muffled oath before she rolled in the opposite direction. Large hands gripped her waist, and despite her clumsy attempt to hold on to the threshold, he yanked her back. 

Yeah, coming here without a weapon had been a real good idea.

Fast and precise, she drove her elbow into the vicinity of her assailant’s jaw and sent a sharp jolt up her arm. She swallowed a cry of pain and rejoiced in his second muffled oath. Two for me. With a quick roll, she scrambled to her knees and began to rise when a heavy weight hit from behind, dropped down and pinned her face-first to the cold, wooden floor.

“Not so fast. Sam is it?” 

That familiar, deep voice split the silence, while hot, panting breathes stirred more than the hair on her neck. Uncontrollable shivers covered her skin as recognition stole the fight out of her. This wasn’t an intruder. It was Captain Mitchell. Thank God. He was safe. 

But she wasn’t.

The instant she stopped struggling, her body became deliciously aware of every hard, solid inch of the six-foot-two-inch frame completely covering her from head to toe. 

Holy Black Sheep.

The urge to wiggle just so he’d press tantalizingly closer was almost more than she could bear. If only I was on my back… The errant thought sent a wicked quiver straight to her core.

You’re a Marine. You don’t give in.

Sam tamped down her burgeoning desire and willed her voice to convey calm. “Let me up, Captain. I can explain.”

“No, and damn right you can.” He lifted up slightly, easing some of his weight. 

Thank goodness…I think.

Instead of knocking him off balance and regaining the upper hand, she drew in a few breaths and refrained from retaliating. She’d abducted the man. He was out of his element.  She needed to keep things civil. 

Mistake number one.

A swift motion had her arms yanked behind her back, while he wrapped her crossed wrists with something strong and thin. Fishing line? Oh, hell no!

“What in the world do you think you’re doing?”

No answer.

“Damn it, Captain. You let me go, now.” She thrashed from side to side, trying her best to free her legs from his shifting weight.

“No,” he said, and granting her earlier wish, pressed closer. 

Funny, she wasn’t as happy about the pinning as she’d originally imagined. 

Unable to move, and barely able to breath, she stilled. Best to see what he wanted, and bide her time until he let his guard down. And he would let it down, of that she had no doubt. Men always did.

Cold from the floorboards cooled her heated skin as she twisted her face to the side. What little breath his weight would allow funneled into her lungs. “You can get off me now.”

No answer.

“Captain.” She tried to draw in another breath but only coughed. “I c-c-can’t brea…”

He lifted a mere fraction, but the extra space was enough to fill her lungs with a proper amount of air. “Thanks.” She coughed again. 

In the next instant, he hauled her up off the floor and pulled her to the center of the sprawling living room. Alarm raced down her spine. He’d moved the furniture to the side. Damn man must’ve had this planned for days. Could she blame him? Of course not. He was a Marine. She would’ve done the same. 

Plopped onto a wooden chair, arms hooked around the back, she clenched her teeth against the pain ripping her muscles. Dammit. If he wasn’t a Black Sheep, she’d kick his ass. Turning the tables on him would not be a problem. But she refrained. Barely.

He doesn’t understand, her mind reminded. You plucked him from the middle of war and dropped him in the middle of nowhere. Therefore, you will not give him a permanent limp. 

Discipline once again kicking in, she relaxed her shoulders and the stiffness from her arms, and soon the sting of her restraints lessened. 

“Now, Captain,” she said as calm as possible. “Kindly tell me what the hell you think you’re doing?”

“Why, I should think that was obvious…Sam.” 

The Marine’s unfriendly tone sent shivers of the wrong kind down her spine. Her blood froze. This can’t be good. She lifted her chin, refusing to be intimidated. She also refused to look him in the eye. The last time had completely disoriented; not at all what she needed right now. 

With her gaze fixed on his regulation tan shirt, she stared at the uniform, hoping to find the view safer. 

Wrong. 

Broad shoulders forced the material to hug his lean frame. Damn. He sure had wonderful muscle definition for someone born before the fitness craze. Her mouth dried. And the waxing craze. Ah hell. He had hair, too. A light sprinkling peaked out from his collar, teasing her with thoughts of what else his uniform concealed. She gave herself a mental shake and concentrated on the situation at hand.  

“What’s obvious, Captain, is that you’re being a jerk. So you’d better spell it out for me. What are you doing?”

He stepped closer without a reply. 

More intimidation tactics. Instinct cried out he wasn’t going to speak until she looked up. Damn, stubborn…  

“I’m not interested in playing ‘who’s the baddest Marine’ with you. It’s been one hell of a long week. I’m tired, hungry, and thanks to you, I’m sore, so let’s call our tussle a draw.” Composed, her voice belayed the turmoil swirling in her gut. Fine, he wanted her to look up, she’d look up.

With fingernails biting into her palms, she tipped her head and stared into a pair of unmerciful, cold, blue-green eyes. Beset with an overwhelming urge to swallow—okay, gulp; his unfriendly gaze demanded she gulp—Sam’s cowardly side did an about-face and her chin lifted higher. 

“Well? Do you always treat women this way? Does man-handling make you feel big and strapping?”

Frosting further, eyes now more blue than green narrowed as his clenching jaw cracked out an ‘I’m losing my control’ tune.

Way to go, Sam. She pushed him into pouncing tiger mode and was the only flesh around. At least she possessed the good sense to back down. Usually. Too bad she left good with common back on the base. 

“Okay.” Keep your mouth shut. Zip it. “Can I take your silence to mean there’s a reason you attacked me and tied me up?”

Muscled arms folded across a broad chest, while a humorless grin crossed his face. “Oh, there’s a reason all right, Sam. A very good one.” 

“And your reason is?”

His grin disappeared, along with her breathing.

“To capture the captor.”


Captive Hero is the first book in Donna's Time Shift Hero series is available now from AMAZON. The second book Future Hero will be released this summer.

Ms. Michaels currently has a novella out through The Wild Rose Press. Cowboy-Sexy is part of their Honky Tonk Hearts Series, and is now available in several eBook formats including for the KINDLE.

A bit more about Donna...from Donna herself


Multi-published in eBook and print, I write from short to epic, sweet to hot across several romance genres through The Wild Rose Press, Whimsical Publications, and this book--Captive Hero marks my first foray into self publishing.

I’m married to a military man for over twenty-six years. We have four children, several rescued cats, and live in Northeastern Pennsylvania, where we enjoy all four seasons…although, I’d love to enjoy summer a bit longer and winter a bit less.


NOW ONTO THE PRIZES…
HOW CAN YOU WIN?
READ BELOW AND FIND OUT!

To be eligible for a free download of any of my back-list plus a $15 Amazon Gift Card, simply sign up for my newsletter at the bottom of my Home page www.donnamichaelsauthor.com then email me with the address you used to sign up so I can verify and then add your name to the ‘pot’. At the end of the tour, one name will be randomly drawn and I will email the winner.

Thank you, and good luck!
~Donna

Where to find Donna and her work


Friday, January 25, 2013

#FurbabyFridays with Dr. Tammy Sharing VeterinaryPartner.com


Instead of choosing one topic to discuss this week, I thought I would share a very valuable resource with the pet owners out there. How many of you have left your veterinary office after a visit with your fur baby only to think of many more questions once you got home? Sure, you can call your veterinarian back and hope they are available to talk to you in between patients, but what if there was a REPUTABLE website out there that could not only help answer some of your questions, but maybe give you a better handle on what to expect with the treatment your pet has to undergo?

I'm not talking about "Dr. Google." Anyone can post anything online. That doesn't make the information complete or correct. I've run across many such sites and forums giving out advice to pet owners and the majority of them are filled with half truths and yes some complete falsehoods. When those sites start advising  that you don't need a veterinarian to treat your pet, you should leave that site immediately. Too many owners and pets have suffered because of the false advice given out by these so called animal lovers.  My office isn't the only one seeing these issues. It's across the country in urban and rural practices. More and more people would rather have a "relationship" with an website than with a living, breathing medical professional who can work with you to figure out the best way to treat your pet. Does that mean you have to do every single test known to man or use every veterinary product out there? NO! But the discussions you have with your veterinarian can help you work together as a team to find the best treatment options available.

One site that I use often to print off handouts about different diseases and medications is VeterinaryPartner.com. They have everything in a user friendly format and all in language that is easy to understand. Their articles are very helpful in creating dialogue between myself and my clients and are easy references for them to turn to later when I"m not available for them.  Many of my clients are like me. As soon as they get home,they think of more questions or other members of their family start grilling them with questions that they can't answer. I do my best to return their calls, but I may not be able to break free at the moment they call. These articles and this website has helped tremendously.  The site is affiliated with VIN: Veterinary Information Network which is another tool available to veterinarians around the world. Whereas VIN is strictly for veterinarians and veterinary staff, VeterinaryPartner is for the client/pet owner.

A few more websites that you will find helpful are listed below. These sites are meant to give you more tools to be able to work with your veterinarian to keep your fur babies around for a very long time.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

WWoW: How to Use Your Blog and Guest Spots to Gain More Fans

If it's your first time visiting me here at Not Enough Time in the Day, you may be wondering what WWoW is all about. Each Wednesday, a "smart and savvy group of authors" use their blogs to share what they've "learned about writing, editing, getting published, book (and self) promotion, and more along the way."  I"m a part of this amazing group of authors and we call our weekly feature "Writer's Words of Wisdom."

Welcome to my post about using blog hops, guest spots and giveaways to gain more followers and fans of your work. Do you have to always giveaway a free copy of your book to achieve this? NOPE.

I bet you didn't expect to see that answer, but it's true. Yes, we all love to get free books, but think about it. How many of those free books on Amazon and Smashwords have you actually sat down and read from start to finish? I'm not saying you will never read them, but if you're anything like me, you grab the freebie first and think about reading it later. As a newly published author, it feels great to see your book rise up the ranks of the freebies, but will those numbers translate to sales later when your next book comes out? Did all the people who picked up your free book decide you were a writer they wanted to learn more about and enough so that they PURCHASE your next book? Will these people who own your free book read it and then write an honest review of it?

Here's where those giveaways for blog hops, book tours, conventions and other celebrations comes into play. Go with a theme for your giveaways. Put together prize packages that go with that theme. Include some swag items such as ink pens, bookmarks, trading cards, coffee mugs, t-shirts, stickers, mouse pads. Use Rafflecopter to help you set up the contests. Make it a requirement that they have to leave a comment in order to get an entry in the contest, but also include other ways to get more entries. These would include becoming a fan of your Facebook Page, following you on Twitter, and following you on your blog.

Change it up so that you don't always offer a copy of your book or books in the prize package, but do so here and there. The most fun I have with giveaways are the naughty blog hops. For example, I participated with two pen names (and two blogs) for the Candy Cane Kink Blog Hop last month. Here are pictures of the prize packages I put together for that.


This one was on Lia's blog called The House of Taboo












And this one was the package I put together for Sassy Vixen Publishing






There were all sorts of naughty prizes there that one person could enjoy with their partner...adult fun. I didn't give my book out at all, just these prizes that I found at Spencer's Gifts. That store sure has changed over the years! LOL I did similar prizes for the virtual release party for the second book in my Now and Forever series. Let me tell you, those whip ticklers are a very popular prize. People FIGHT over them during my blog hop giveaways.  I also gave away items that had my Sassy Vixen Publishing logo on it and my author logo. Like this




The same thing goes for author meet and greets. If your books are only available in ebook format and you want to give something away with your signature, print up calenders and bookmarks with your covers on them. No matter what it is, make it memorable so readers and fans will keep coming back for more. They will recognize your name in all the titles they have on their "to be read" lists and start reading your books. Once they read one and you have them hooked, your sales will grow. The people who stop in to read your posts on your blog will tell more people about you and your followers will increase. More followers means more fans and ultimately more sales. This in turn makes you happy happy happy and you crank out more stories!

It's that what it's all about?

Keep writing. Keep pouring your heart and soul into your characters and their stories. Share bits and pieces of that with all of us on your blogs and social media, have fun with some blog hops and giveaways. Trust me,  when you receive your first fan email or positive review from someone you never knew read your book...all of it will be worth it!

A few more of our group are sharing their words of wisdom today. Won't you stop in and say hello and see what they have to say?

Friday, January 18, 2013

#FurbabyFriday with Dr. Tammy, Sirius, and Gandalf


This week, I thought I would revisit a post I originally shared October 2011. In it our "boyos" were growing fast and taking over every single minute of our house. From the moment we brought both of them home, they've made sure my husband and I knew they were in charge. LOL 

Sirius was the first addition to our home having been abandoned at my veterinary hospital when he was barely two weeks old. Since he was so young, he needed to be bottle fed every couple hours. He was a bit of a demanding little thing even then, but he took over my husband's heart right from the moment I walked in the door with him. The first person he purred for was my hubs. The stinker knew right from that moment he was the King of the house! Even then, he was a biter so I told my husband we were going to get a second kitten so they could beat up on each other and not us. That's what I tell my client's who have kittens who are bottle fed. Usually they turn into little biters and having another kitten to grow up with usually curbs that biting...well, that was before anyone met Sirius Black!

Two weeks after Sirius took over our lives, little Gandalf the Gray was abandoned in a shopping cart near out clinic with four other kittens. He was six weeks old and the largest kitten of the litter. I took to him right from the start and thought he would be the perfect addition to the family and one who could give Sirius a run for his money.  I was definitely right about that part. As soon as Gandalf arrived, Sirius was fascinated by his older brother. Sirius was still in the awkward phase and very wobbly on his feet. Gandalf on the other hand could run and jump up on the bed all on his own. 



These two fun loving brothers are merely watched over by myself and my Muse.  I can't say we own them. On the contrary, it's more like these two fur balls own us lock, stock and barrel.  And you know, we wouldn't have it any other way.  As you can see by the above picture, anything we bring home, they immediately claim as theirs and won't give it up until they feel like it. Period. 

Does that sound familiar?  I'm sure it does. Anyone who's a guardian to a cat or several, knows full well what I'm talking about.  Being a veterinarian doesn't make me exempt from any of it.  In fact, I think the demands of these two rugrats have escalated beyond what non-veterinary folks have to endure.  The fact the I know better doesn't stop them from using their kitten secret powers on me and their "Poppy" at every turn.  When those powers wear off, they resort to the ever popular ankle biting.  Believe me, these two can tag team with the bites and kitten sad eyes and will have you putty in their paws in no time.  That telltale snarky purr will let you know that they got the best of you, but you won't care.  They're just too damn cute to resist.

There's no sleeping in for these two. At 3am every single day, rain or shine, they start crawling all over us in bed.  It's really subtle at first. Slowly they move up our bodies to settle on our chest or stomach. Any movement at all, will set off the slow rumbling purrs from both of them. With each passing minute, the purring gets louder and louder until it nearly echos off the walls.  Well, it seems that way since by this time they have made it up to settle on the pillows on top of my head and close to my ear.  Now the nibbling of the cheeks begins.  A few licks of those rough tongues are thrown in for good measure before they bite harder my chin. Notice that I said MY chin.  Those buggers won't bother their "Poppy" like this in the morning.  Oh no!  It's "Mommy" who will get up and feed them if they keep up the pleas.

Pushing them off of the pillows doesn't work.  They just go for phase two.  Gandalf will pounce on my feet, biting through the covers while his little brother Sirius nuzzles back up around my head and bites my ear.  I already have them pierced, but Sirius seems to think I want a few more holes.  Gandalf gets tired of chasing my toes and lands full pounce on my stomach.  Not a good thing this early in the morning as my bladder is near bursting.  I break free of the monsters long enough to make a break for the loo, and then they turn their attention to "Poppy" still snoring in the bed. 

Gandalf launches into his "happy feet" dance on "Poppy's" abs.  When he doesn't get the response he's looking for, he goes lower...THAT gets my Muse's attention.  He rolls over, strategically covering up vulnerable body parts and says "It's too early, boyos.  Five more minutes."  And in less time than that, he is fast asleep, snoring once again.  Do these boys give up?  Not a chance!

Both furballs streak to the bathroom to cut me off before I can get to the sink to wash my hands.  Zipping in and out between my bare ankles, nipping as they go, I get herded toward their empty food bowls.  At this point, I wave the white flag.  My skin is already bruised from those teeth and claws. I am too tired to fight back. I shuffle out to the kitchen with both boyos thudding down the hallway.  For animals who are supposed to be stealth hunters, they sure can make a hell of a lot of noise running down the hall!

Once the dishes are filled to their satisfaction, we make it back down the hallway to the bedroom.  The dishes are placed in the appropriate areas on their mats and then...nothing.  Two pairs of glowing eyes stare up at me, unblinking.  "Now what?"  I am too sleepy to figure it out at first, so Sirius walks over to their water fountain bowl and flips his foot in it.  "Forgive me, your highness.  Let me top that off for you."  I grab the water jug from the bathroom and fill up the chamber of water bowl and then climb back into bed, snuggle up to my Muse and try to get a few more hours of sleep. 

No such luck.

Sirius is not hungry after all.  He climbs up on top of my head again and starts purring Beethoven's Fifth in my ear.  One paw sneaks across my face and settles on my mouth, in essence telling me to "Shush, it's time to sleep."  Hmm, I think it's time to toss one black kitten out of the bed, but he thinks otherwise.  He slides off of my head and settles between me and his Poppy and is out cold in thirty seconds flat.  I'm beginning to feel ganged up on here!

Alarms go off about thirty minutes later and it's time for Poppy's shower.  Now the boys fly into the bathroom and watch him get ready, from shower, to shave, to brushing teeth. Sirius is up close and personal watching every single movement so that he can perform it himself "when he grows up."  I kid you not.  This cat studies everything we do in the bathroom. It's unnerving at times.  Gandalf on the other hand loves to watch from a distance, but will help you get dressed.  Pulling your socks away from you as you reach for them, sitting on your pants, giving them one last fluff before he lets you put them on, you know, the usual. 

Both kittens will then bolt down the hallway as Poppy makes his way to the kitchen to get a bottle of water and his keys.  Sirius grabs for the bottle, as Gandalf grabs for the keys.  Tag teaming at it's best once again.  Oh and don't go leaving money lying around either.  They will pocket every single dollar bill they can find.  One afternoon, Gandalf had a twenty dollar bill in his mouth as he came running out of the master bedroom.  With the cash and the keys, I think those two were going to go cruising in the Mustang looking for babes!



Since the Mustang was off to work with their Poppy, they came back to the bedroom to get me up again.  Seems that it was time to scoop the litter boxes, all four of them.  Yes we have four covered litter boxes for two cats.  The rule of thumb is actually one box per cat, plus one.  We were wise to use four.  These two fill up at LEAST two boxes daily.  They are lean mean pooping machines!  I just wish Sirius would leave the litter IN the boxes and not track it all over the house.  I can dream can't I?

Litter box clean up is a major production in our household. No sooner one of us gets a box scooped out, Gandalf will hop in and dump another load.  This happens with all four boxes.  Where the hell does he keep it all?  Oh and we can't leave the lid off of the litter bucket.  Sirius will try to pee in that when we are dealing with Gandalf.  Once again, they work together to make our lives just a little bit harder.

Nothing is sacred in our house. As soon as you sit anything down, they are all over it investigating what the new "thing" is and exactly what they will be able to do with it later. I swear, both of them nearly have seizures from the excitement when we bring in the groceries. Each and every single bag and box must be investigated by both cats thoroughly before we can put anything away.

Even with their antics, and they do new stuff every single day that surprise the hell out of us, we wouldn't have it any other way. They have grown up so fast and have taken over our hearts and our lives.  I know we can't imagine our lives without them now.  When I look into those two pairs of eyes, I know they feel the same.  They chose us just as much as we chose them.





Thursday, January 17, 2013

Introducing Another Alter Ego: Stephanie Ryan

Many of you know that I love to read anything and everything I can get my hands on. That includes the Young Adult categories, sweet romances, sensual romances, erotica, erotic romances, horror, paranormal, fantasy...you get the picture.  Because of those tastes, I have several manuscripts that can fit into all of those different genres. I didn't think it was a good idea to write with one pen name for all of it. I just don't want to have to deal with an angry parent of a 13 year old who got a hold of my explicit erotic romances.  Enter the different pen names.

As Tammy Dennings Maggy I write poetry, erotica and erotic romance. As Lia Michaels I get to tackle a bit more on the wild and taboo side with menage, GLBT erotic romances and heavier BDSM stories. Today, I finally launched the blog and social media for Stephanie Ryan. Through her I get to share my YA stories, mainstream fiction, sweet and sensual romances and any other open age category NOT considered erotica and erotic romance. Whew!

If you're confused by all of this, don't be. Even though at times it is more work for me to maintain, it's the best way for me to keep all of my projects separate and be able to explore all the different genres that appeal to me. Another bonus is that I have another all aged blog to be able to host fellow authors. It's a win win as far as I'm concerned.

If you have a few moments, could you stop in to Stephanie's blog and be one of the first people to follow her? If you're an author looking for a spot to do a guest appearance in February or March, check out her guidelines and see if it's something you'd like to do. And please, feel free to share her link or any of my links with authors looking for ways to showcase their work. If they like what they see, we can set up some dates!

Thank you all for following me here, Behind Closed Doors, at Sassy Vixen Publishing and at Four Seduced Muses. Thank you for following Lia at The House of Taboo and now Stephanie at Through Stephanie's Eyes. Without you all "we" wouldn't be here today!

Big Tackle Hugs and Kisses!

Tammy

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

#WWoW: How to Get Even With The Mean Girls (and Boys)


Now that I have your attention...hehehe

Welcome back to Not Enough Time in the Day and this week's Writer's Words of Wisdom. It's been a while since I've posted for our group of fabulous writers because of the holidays and some other personal issues. Some of those issues are why I chose this particular topic.  I've written about not forgetting "me" time, about not quitting your day job to become a full time writer without a plan in place, and how to use reviews and other criticisms as a way to improve your craft but not get you down.  I've had to deal with all three of these topics over the last two months for myself and with a few friends, and let me tell you, it's not been easy. Some of it has been downright overwhelming and has led me away from what I really want to do. WRITE.

I've had to defend my choice to write erotic romance more times than I ever thought possible...to other AUTHORS. Sure I expected a bit of ribbing from family and friends for writing "smut," but to have fellow writer's slam me and my friends for our chosen genres was disheartening to put it mildly.  Just yesterday an author who claims to write "classy erotica" decided that she didn't want to do a guest spot on another blog because it was currently featuring a particular author who along with the rest of her "group" write "blatant smut."  When told that she obviously wasn't a good fit for the blog, this self absorbed author kept stating that she had published over 17 books and basically implied that we all should feel special that she "chose" to share her work with us on the blog.

Another author friend is giving up writing short stories all together. Why? First of all, they are not that easy to do. You need to come up with a hook, plot, and conclusion in a limited number of words. So far every short she's written, there has been one person who complains that the story wasn't long enough. In fact, there were a group of these reviewers tearing down many short stories on Amazon and Goodreads simply because the stories were too short. Huh? Isn't the whole point of a short story is that it's short?

On another of my blogs, we've opened it up for guest spots with specific days for guests and four days for those of us who own the blog. Unfortunately, there is usually at least one or two folks who don't read the guidelines and request dates that aren't up for guests, or start making demands for how and when they will agree to be a guest. Agree to be our guest? Hmmmm...I don't recall soliciting specific people to be on the blog. We just opened it up and told people if they were interested give us a shout. Once again we were privy to the "you should be grateful that I want to grace your blog with my presence" rant. Oy!

Two more of my author friends were attacked maliciously by women's church groups. They were accused of  being the cause of everything from the loose morals of this country to the reason there are so many teenage pregnancies. Yes you read that right.  Writing about two consenting adults...okay one or more of them could be vampires...having consensual sex was the cause of the downfall of this country. Writing about sex outside of marriage was a sin and all of the books that glamorized this immoral act needed to be destroyed. Yeah, these very same comments from women lined up around the block for the Fifty Shades books. :)

How do you get through all of this without exploding?


That's where I had trouble. I'm not one to sit back and keep quiet when someone I care about is being treated poorly. I want to lash out and make the offending person or thing hurt as much as they hurt my friend.  Is that the right thing to do? Of course not, but it didn't stop me from thinking up ways to get even...some way. Some how I would get even.  Bwahahahaha!

That's right. I wrote about it. The really angry stuff stayed in my journals, but I did take some of my concerns to my Facebook pages and found I wasn't the only one dealing with this stuff. There were so many more people frustrated with all the mean spirited people out there. Another of my author friends shared a link with me that gave the best advice on how to handle these things.  Click HERE and take a few minutes to see the secret.  Go on. I'll wait for you.

Got it? Read on!

How DO you get even with with the Mean Girls?


Keep writing. That's right. Just like the blog article from The Write Practice laid out for you in black and white. Write until you can't write any more and then write even more. As fellow WWoW member Lacey Wolfe wrote last week, with this day and age of social media it can be quite easy to let the tirades fly. I'm just as guilty of that as anyone...maybe more so. I do have separate accounts for that reason, but with that being said, I am who I am. I am lucky enough that I don't have to hide myself or my views from the people I work with or my employer. The best thing for any of us to do is to turn it all into plot points of our books! 

An author, editor, reviewer or reader just making your life miserable? Make them a character in a new book idea or your current work in progress. That person who was "holier than thou" and said your last cover was just selling pornography because to him it looked like the couple could actually have sex while dressed? Go ahead and  make him the owner of a new restaurant that was panned by food critics on it's opening night. That reader on Goodreads who rated your first book 2 stars simply because it wasn't about man love? Make her the villain in your next book who finally gets caught with her fingers in the till and is carted off by the Feds for insider trading.

See what I mean?  Now have I ever written about people who've done me wrong? You better believe it honey! Will I continue to do so? hehehehe  You'll just have to read my books to see if you can figure out who's who. ;)

Final Words


Go ahead and do the exercise outlined in The Write Practice blog post. Take fifteen minutes and just write about the person who criticized your writing or attacked you personally. Make them get their "just desserts." It's really a freeing experience and just maybe you will have the basis for yet another short story or longer novel. 

Above all else, you are a writer. WRITE! Show the world you are not just that flash in the pan. Take the constructive criticism to heart to make your writing even better. Don't let real life get in the way of that. That's what I had to deal with the last few months. Between my own health issues and that of my husband, I've had very little time to write...check that. I've given myself very little time to write. 

I forgot to give myself permission to have "me" time. I got all caught up in the whirlwind of the holidays, promoting my books, those of my friends and the stress of my evil day job that I put my passion on hold. No more. It's a new year and time to make the one and only resolution that means a damn.

Come on. We can do this. It's a big step and the most important one we can take. Ready? 



Would you like more pearls of wisdom this fine Wednesday? Here are the other fabulous participating authors from WWoW. You can also join us on Facebook. See you there!





A Smart & Savvy Group of Authors who write a weekly feature for their blog -Writer's Words of Wisdom- each Wednesday. The goal is to impart what we've learned about writing, editing, getting published, book promotion, and more along the way.

Friday, January 11, 2013

#FurbabyFridays Presents Raccoons: Cute and Cuddly or Typhoid Marys?


Welcome to Not Enough Time in the Day. It's Friday so that means it's time for my weekly segment covering a variety of topics that come up in my day to day workings as a veterinarian. That's right. Not only am I an author, newlywed, publisher and editor for Sassy Vixen Publishing, I'm a doctor of veterinary medicine. I started my career in 1993 in Michigan just one week after graduating from the Michigan State College of Veterinary Medicine and haven't looked back. I had wanted to be a veterinarian since I was 6 years old and here I am forty years later looking at retirement. Life is good!

I decided to add this weekly feature to this blog because I wanted to share the information I've gathered over the years with more than just my personal clients. Each day there are people who come to our clinic without even the basic knowledge of what goes into owning a pet. Usually they end up researching online any symptoms they see in their pets before taking them where they should be in the first place...to a VETERINARIAN! 

Sure, the Internet can be a vast wealth of information. Unfortunately, there's just enough misinformation (if not more) posted than sound factual advice. I could write an entire SERIES of posts on that subject alone, but instead, I'll choose my battles one at a time. This battle was brought to the top of the list today because of one of my clients. Just recently they had to euthanize their beloved dog of 8 years because she was dying of liver failure. It was too advanced and she wasn't responding to therapy. In her case, it appeared she had a mass in her liver, but her blood work raised additional flags. Was it all due to the cancer, or were there other factors here?

You see, this client and his little dog lived next to a vermin infested house owned by a former member of the local city council. No one lived in this house other than these pests, but they not only destroyed and weakened the structural support of parts of the house, their urine and feces literally flowed into my client's yard, contaminating it with parasites and potentially fatal disease organisms that are also contagious to humans. (This is called zoonosis.) These wild animals would also lunge at my client, his wife and their dog if they would try to access their own backyard.  This all began in 2005 and continues to be a problem to this very day. I'll get to that in a moment.

What could possibly cause such damage and potentially affect the health and well-being of my client and his pet? Raccoons. These furballs are definitely not the cute and cuddly tame pets portrayed on some movies and television programs. First of all, these are wild animals. To take them out of their natural habitat to domesticate them is just asking for trouble. 

In this case, the neighbor's property was literally INFESTED with these nasty buggers. They destroyed the attic with their urine and feces, turning it into what is referred to as a raccoon latrine. They even found ways to cross over from this property to that of my client, attempting to attack anyone that came close to their "claimed" territory. When my client complained, the owner of the property ignored him. She even ignored the calls and citations from Animal Vector Control to clean up the property because of the risk to human health. When my client complained to the city council, they sided with the negligent homeowner and refused to send in anyone to do anything. Even letters from me and my office outlining the dangers of these animals to the dog's health and that of my client went ignored.  One of the smart-ass animal control officers even stated that raccoons "were on the endangered list" and there was little he could do about them.  

Really? Endangered? What kind of idiots did this buffoon take us for? If this is what we can expect from people paid to take care of the animal dangers in the local cities, then we are all doomed.  

Okay...I'll get back to the topic now. ;)

At every turn, my client was stopped from complaining. He's gone to the local papers, news stations, more council meetings than he could count, and still he was ignored. Other neighbors are afraid of the negligent former city council member who owns that house and many have moved away. My client can't sell his house with the raccoon and disease infested home next to his.  Last summer, one of the walls of the patio collapsed onto my client's property. The structure was so undermined and filled with urine and feces, the wall couldn't stand any longer. Unfortunately, the crew the property owner hired to "clean up" the mess and rebuild the wall, just dumped all of the raccoon feces into my clients yard. Hundreds of pounds of it. That's right. Hundreds of POUNDS of it.

So what's wrong with that? Can't you just pick up the poop and be done with it?

It's not that easy. Raccoon feces can contain a variety of parasites and disease organisms including but not limited to fleas, ticks, toxoplasmosis, giardia, coccidia, distemper, leptospirosis, and the very deadly round worm called Baylisascaris. Like many intestinal parasites, the eggs of this worm are fairly hardy can can infect humans and other animals through ingestion or inhalation of the infective eggs. The worms can lay thousands of eggs in a very short period of time. It takes 2-3 weeks for these eggs to be infective, so prompt clean up is a must as is keeping residential and play areas free of raccoons. All access points under decks, into attics, gardens and sandboxes need to be monitored and blocked off/covered if at all possible.  If a human is infected with this parasite, the larval stages can migrate throughout the body causing damage through many organs, even the brain. You will find articles all over the web talking about this and just as many naysayers complaining that it's very rare so why worry about it. Yeah, don't worry about it until your child goes blind from the larvae migrating into his/her eyes.  I'd rather err on the side of caution thank you very much!



Not only is the feces of concern, but the urine as well. Leptospirosis is a bacteria that can be spread through urine and feces of infected animals including wildlife and dogs. So far we haven't documented a case of it in cats. For those of you who have traveled to Hawaii may have seen signs near waterfalls and other waterways indicating leptospirosis had been found in the areas and to take precautions. If infected and not treated, people and animals  could end up with kidney failure, liver failure, meningitis and/or respiratory distress. 

The vaccinations we had for dogs had only two of the strains of leptospirosis in it for years. Within the last four years, they've developed a vaccine with 5 strains in it and at this point it's thought to be cross protective against some of the other species in the wild. Each region of the world has different strains, even in just the United States there are a variety of strains. It used to be difficult to test an animal if they had been vaccinated against leptospirosis and know for sure the positive result wasn't due to the vaccine. Now we have much more sensitive and specific tests.

Okay, so raccoons can potentially spread parasites and diseases to pets and humans. Are they really all that dangerous besides that? They really are cute with the way they use their hands to wash their food. 

Yeah, real cute until you're rushing yourself, your child or your animal into an emergency hospital. I said it at the beginning of this post and I'll say it again. RACCOONS ARE WILD ANIMALS!!! They needed to be treated as such and shown respect by staying as far from them as possible. Don't leave food out for the stray cats. Don't leave bird feeders out at night. Lock or close off your pet doors at night so they don't have access to your house to get more food. Secure your trash cans.  Keep your pets vaccinated for rabies, leptospirosis, and distemper. Have routine exams with your veterinarian to include fecal tests and dewormings.


The CDC has a nice article on how to prevent and control the transmission of the Baylisascaris from raccoons. The advice is good for the other parasites and diseases these rodents can carry as well.  Here's a video of a woman and her dog who had a run in with several raccoons this summer while out jogging at night. The most important thing to take away from their experience is to make sure you protect yourself and your pets from these dangers by making sure you give them a wide berth and follow the CDC recommendations for "raccoon-proofing" your home and it's surroundings.


Friday, January 4, 2013

#Furbaby Friday: How Many Cats is Too Many?



Welcome to the very first "official" post of Furbaby Fridays with Dr. Tammy. I say the first "official" post since last year I had talked about a variety animal/pet related topics on Not Enough Time in the Day. After nearly 20 years as a veterinarian, I've seen and experienced quite a few memorable cases. Some of them would break your heart just as much as others would make you smile. Today I'd like to talk about a topic that quite a few people don't ever think about until they have a problem.


Just How Many Cats Is too Many for One Household?


If you put ten veterinarians in one room and ask this question, you will undoubtedly get ten different answers. Over the years I've come up with one criteria that will help you determine if you should have a cat in the first place and just how many you are willing to share your space with.  Drum roll please...you need a MINIMUM of one litter box per cat.  That's right. I said one box per cat. The rule of thumb is actually one box per cat plus one. So if you have two cats, you should have at least three litter boxes.

But I live in a small studio apartment? I can't have more than one box.


Well, then you shouldn't have more than one cat. Sure, two cats may do fine with the one box if it's a large one, but once you start adding the third, fourth and fifth cat to your furbaby family, you are asking for a world of hurt with only one litter box. 

Cats are very territorial. If they start to feel crowded or stressed in any way, they are going to start exhibiting behavior problems. The first of which is inappropriate urination. This doesn't just mean spraying urine on walls, doors and windows. Stressed cats will start urinating on bedding, furniture and clothing. You name it, they will pee on it. 

Stressed cats can develop a syndrome called FLUTD: Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease. This can be a life-threatening condition in male cats. Cystitis can develop because of the stress causing the cat to be unable to urinate and it's bladder to fill. Toxins normally expelled from the body through the urine will then back up causing kidney problems, even kidney failure, electrolyte imbalances that can cause a fatal arrhythmia, not to mention the cats are in excruciating pain. It's not pretty and requires an emergency run to your veterinarian.

The second most common behavioral issues with a crowded cat household is aggression directed at one or more of the other cats, or even human family members. Many cats are euthanized every year because of aggression towards humans. Most of these cases could have been avoided if the warning signs were noticed from the beginning. 

My cats do just fine with one litter box because they know if they start peeing on my stuff, they will be banished outside.


Good luck with that. As a veterinarian who has to treat outdoor cats for injuries from fights, dog attacks, hit by car/truck injuries, not to mention the contagious viral diseases that affect cats, I always recommend cats stay indoors. My two cats are indoors and they are quite happy. They have four litter boxes, multiple toys and scratching posts to keep them busy and we give them individual attention. We don't have fighting between them and we don't have any urinations or defecations outside of their litter boxes. Now if someone could find a way to retrieve all the bottle caps they've tossed under the stove and refrigerator, life would be "purrfect" for them!

If you live in an area where your cat is able to go outside and roam around without being exposed to the dangers I described above, more power to you. The folks who live in heavily populated areas should think twice about letting their cats roam. You may not mind having strange cats in your yard, but your neighbors may not be so happy about it. Some cities also require outdoor cats to be licensed and others have a limit on how many you can have in the house so make sure you check with the local animal control office for the local regulations.

Think twice about bringing home a cat!

I'm not saying DON'T have a cat or several cats as part of your family. I want you to think about a few things first before you bring that cute little fur ball into your home.

1. Is your living space big enough for the required number of litter boxes?

2. Are you willing to scoop out those boxes at least once a day and completely clean them out at least every other week?

3. Do you have a local veterinarian to be sure each cat is healthy before you bring them into your home and to help you keep them healthy afterward? This includes vaccinations, annual checkups, grooming if long haired, nail trims, dentistries, and proper nutrition. (For you vegetarians and vegans: cats are CARNIVORES. Their diet has to be mostly MEAT. If you can't handle the idea that your pet has to eat meat, then don't get a cat.)

4. Cats and dogs are a lifelong commitment. You can't just get rid of them when they no longer suit your needs/desires.

5. Are you willing to give up being the Master of your house? Once a cat enters, everything and everyone is there to serve them. ;)


I hope this post helps to give you some insight on what it takes to be the "guardian" of a cat. You can't make them fit your lifestyle. They allow YOU into theirs. Once you are "in," it's your responsibility to make sure they have everything they need to keep happy and healthy for many years to come.

Until next time...
~Dr. Tammy