Friday, January 29, 2010

Repost Friday: Nicknames

This repost is from Tuesday, September 16, 2008...

Dragonheart and Merlin posted a list of their nicknames last Thursday and it got me thinking about the other names we call Au and Target. It reveals a bit of character - theirs and mine - and our relationship too.

See what I mean by looking at their "other" names. Au's nicknames are followed by an A, Target's by a T, and ones that apply to both with an A and a T.

Fuzz face (A, T)
Squeezlebug (A,T)
Cat-Kur-Squizzle (A, T)
Squeezle-bug-fluff (A,T)
Cat fluff (A, T)
Mr Kitty (A)
Big kitty on the block (A)
You little bugger! (A)
Fuzzily wuzzily (T only because A objects!)
Mr Snizzles (T)
Little tail (T)

Au is a big man cat who's not much into hugs but he tolerates me quite well and let's me hug him every day - not too much though in case I am spoiled. And guess what I call him when he demands a treat to show his power over us and walks away without eating it!

Target is a very soft kitty who adores cuddles and baby talk. He's not at all worried about being called fuzzily wuzzily little tail snizzles sweetie... Mind you, it's early days and when he's older he may be put a limit on that sort of stuff.

Thanks for the great idea Dragonheart and Merlin!

Today is the last day for the Katz Tales competition, open to anyone living in Malaysia.

All you have to do is answer these questions:
1. Who is older: Target or Au?
2. Who was called Mr Snizzles as a kitten: Target or Au?
3. Who has a white tummy: Target or Au?

Also, complete the slogan in less than 20 words:

I like Katz Tales because . . . . .


Email entries to katztales AT lepak.com.

There are 3 first prizes:
1 copy of Katz Tales: Living Under The Velvet Paw
1 rock painting of your pet by Malaysia's pet artist Suzi Chua
Cat treats from Addiction
A 35% discount voucher for any Marshall Cavendish titles under General & Reference Publishing

And 3 second prizes:
1 copy of Katz Tales: Living Under The Velvet Paw
Cat treats from Addiction
A 35% discount voucher for any Marshall Cavendish titles under General & Reference Publishing

The closing date is THIS FRIDAY! Friday 29 January 2010. Winners will be announced in Weekender on Saturday 6 February 2010.


If you want to keep in touch with updates, here are some simple ways:
Subscribe to Katz Tales in a reader
Subscribe to Katz Tales by Email
Follow Au on Twitter
Follow Ellen on Facebook.



Tuesday, January 26, 2010

COT Snizzling All Sunday

I hung out with Target all day Sunday. We slept in till 9AM, cuddled for half an hour (spreading fur ALL over the bed in the process), had breakfast together, and then fuzzed about on the sofa watching episodes of Buffy. It was sybaritic. It was lovely.

Target purred so much he sounded rusty. He shed so much fur over me during our snizzle sessions that I looked furry. Au was disgusted by all the baby talk that went along with it. He stayed by Tom and played rough games.

To each his own!


For more cats, check out Gattina who hosts Cats on Tuesday.

Don't forget to enter the Katz Tales competition if you live in Malaysia. CLOSES FRIDAY SO HURRY UP!

All you have to do is answer these questions:
1. Who is older: Target or Au?
2. Who was called Mr Snizzles as a kitten: Target or Au?
3. Who has a white tummy: Target or Au?

Also, complete the slogan in less than 20 words:

I like Katz Tales because . . . . .


Email entries to katztales AT lepak.com.

There are 3 first prizes:
· 1 copy of Katz Tales: Living Under The Velvet Paw
· 1 rock painting of your pet by Malaysia's pet artist Suzi Chua
· Cat treats from Addiction
· A 35% discount voucher for any Marshall Cavendish titles under General & Reference Publishing

And 3 second prizes:
· 1 copy of Katz Tales: Living Under The Velvet Paw
· Cat treats from Addiction
· A 35% discount voucher for any Marshall Cavendish titles under General & Reference Publishing

The closing date is THIS FRIDAY! Friday 29 January 2010. Winners will be announced in Weekender on Saturday 6 February 2010.


If you want to keep in touch with updates, here are some simple ways:
Subscribe to Katz Tales in a reader
Subscribe to Katz Tales by Email
Follow Au on Twitter
Follow Ellen on Facebook.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Monday Writers Craft Online: Asking To Preview A Piece

Are you running a blog and looking for some publicity? Over the next 4 weeks I'll be talking about common issues that are worth thinking about. We've talked about basic interview tips, and legitimacy, now we move on to the next topic...

Today I'd like to write about a really common misunderstanding between writers and interview subjects. This is: when you are interviewed for a newspaper or magazine article, is it OK to ask if you can see the piece you are contributing a quote to before it's printed? Or to approve which picture of you goes in?

The answer is No.

The only people who can see the article before it's printed are the people who pay for it to be written. This is part of the ethics of the business. The PM, politicians, celebrities, rich folks etc... none of them get to approve their quotes or their pictures.

If you give an interview, you do so because it's fun, because it's part of your job, or because you want free publicity. As such you have to trust the writer to get it all down, and present the view you hope for. To do that, don't say anything you don't want to appear in print.

If you say it, expect to be quoted.

You can also expect us to give your statement a bit of a polish so that you sound better.

We change your, "well, uhm, you know, I kinda like that pasta stuff with the hot chillis...uhm, that sort of uhmmm, you know, hooker thing? Uhm, oh yeah, pasta puttanesca. You know, because it's sort of spicy? It's got a kick. And I like it with salad... especially sour sort of salad. that balsamic one... It makes your mouth run, you know?"

into, "My favourite is Pasta Puttanesca, a pasta made with hot chillis. It's got a real kick to it. I pair it with a salad tossed with balsamic vinegrette because the sour dressing compliments the spicy pasta."

For partial control, go for email interviews (more on that next week).

If you want total control over your interview, hire a writer or write the piece yourself, and pay to place the piece as an ad. If you want to control what picture is used, hire your own photographer, makeup team etc and pay for it yourself.

Having said that, I do make two allowances. If I get a legal or medical opinion, I doublecheck the quote with the lawyer or doctor, and give a note to my client that the exact wording of these particular sentences has been checked for accuracy.

Mind you, I check the actual quote to be attributed; I don't show them the whole piece. I have a duty to make sure I represent what they say accurately. However, I reserve the right to include general information they don't like, or quote other people in the piece whose opinion doesn't agree with them.

Even if I check the exact working of a quote, this does not guarantee that every quote is published. When four people interviewed say the same thing, only one gets quoted. If the quote doesn't fit the slant of the piece, it gets dropped. Also, sometimes an editor will take out quotes (usually because the piece is too long) or even whole paragraphs (especially if they get an extra ad!)

As a typical piece is checked by 2 or more people, writers know that their work seldom appears exactly as they wrote it. It's practically impossible to write a piece and edit it for grammar errors and style yourself afterwards. If you're lucky, someone else tidies up your grammar, and does it a bit of polishing, and doesn't bother you with the details. This is known as the easy life.

Other times we write a piece, discuss it with an editor, rewrite bits of it, add bits in, take bits out, and then discuss it again, possibly with someone else present too, and make more changes. This is a painful process that has everyone tearing their hair out. And frankly, the fewer people making changes and needing to give approval for the final product, the better for us poor, overworked writers.

That's another reason why we don't want to show you our stuff before it's out. So don't ask, OK?

Also, if you are in Malaysia, don't forget that there is still time to put in your entry for Weekender Star Katz Tales competition. Send me email as the competition closes on Friday.

Remember, participants must live in Malaysia.

If you want to keep in touch with updates, here are some simple ways:
Subscribe to Katz Tales in a reader
Subscribe to Katz Tales by Email
Follow Au on Twitter

Follow Ellen on Facebook
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Friday, January 22, 2010

Au Speaks Out: Me An De Fur Brain

Wot did i say back in nohvembur? i sed i will blog wunse for sharon becos she is always very respektful. Wunse, i sed. an here we are, wif me blogging again!

de feemale survunt begged an begged an begged an i sed NO but then she sed dat if i doo, she will make me somefin special. i am thinking ros chikkun or maybee ros beef.

my subjekt today is targut, my fur friend house mate.

targut kame to live wif us abowt 2 years ago. my fur friend scoop, may he rest in peece with bowls of chikkun everywhere always, had past away an i was sad. de feemale playd wif me lots and so did de male but i mist my fur friend. so den won day de feemale goes owt and koms bak with dis big kage an dis little kat. it waz targut.

at furst targut hisst at me. he hisst at me in my own howse! dis shows how stoopid he is. but den he sed sorree an now we are gud frends.

targut is my frend but let me tell yoo privatlee: targut is a fur brain. he has no sense at all. honust. i kan pruv dis.

1. targut invites oddur katz into owr gardun.
2. targut shares owr biskuts wif de kats akross de street.
3. targut is skared of noisus, even soft ones like falling leafs.

targut is also klumsee. two munfs ago he dislohkateud his paw. now he is bettur he is brayking stuff. at krismus he smasht a watur glass. last week he jumpt on de taybul an smashed de feemale survunt's favourite tea mug. an today he almost smasht a plate onlee de survunt kaught it. sumtimes she is kwik like a kat. espeseeally when she gifs me medicine... but dat's anodder storee....

aldough targut is a fur brain he is furry good at begging. you kan see us in de piktshures, singing at de male survunt to hurree up an are eating owt of de biskut barrel. i am de wun wif de handsome white tummee.

targut is good at begging becos he says MEEP insted of MEOW most times. de hoomans think dis is kute. so wen i want ekstra treets an dey say NO BECOS YOO ATE JUS 5 MINOOTES AGO i get targut to say MEEP? an den dey usually gif in.

dis is kalled peepul managemunt. allso fur brain managemunt.

dis is de end of my post. now i want my treet.

Live in Malaysia and want to win cool cat prizes? Check out the Katz Tales competition! If you want to keep in touch with updates, here are some simple ways:
Subscribe to Katz Tales in a reader
Subscribe to Katz Tales by Email
Follow Au on Twitter
Follow Ellen on Facebook.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

COT Purrrrrrr


This is Target, pulling funny faces as he gets his ears rubbed. Happiness is being squizzled!


For more cats, check out Gattina who hosts Cats on Tuesday.

Don't forget to enter the Katz Tales competition if you live in Malaysia.

All you have to do is answer these questions:
1. Who is older: Target or Au?
2. Who was called Mr Snizzles as a kitten: Target or Au?
3. Who has a white tummy: Target or Au?

Also, complete the slogan in less than 20 words:

I like Katz Tales because . . . . .


Email entries to katztales AT lepak.com.

There are 3 first prizes:
· 1 copy of Katz Tales: Living Under The Velvet Paw
· 1 rock painting of your pet by Malaysia’s pet artist Suzi Chua
· Cat treats from Addiction
· A 35% discount voucher for any Marshall Cavendish titles under General & Reference Publishing

And 3 second prizes:
· 1 copy of Katz Tales: Living Under The Velvet Paw
· Cat treats from Addiction
· A 35% discount voucher for any Marshall Cavendish titles under General & Reference Publishing

The closing date is Friday 29 January 2010. Winners will be announced in Weekender on Saturday 6 February 2010.


If you want to keep in touch with updates, here are some simple ways:
Subscribe to Katz Tales in a reader
Subscribe to Katz Tales by Email
Follow Au on Twitter
Follow Ellen on Facebook.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Monday Writers Craft Online: How To Tell A Writer Is "Legit"

Are you running a blog and looking for some publicity? Over the next 5 weeks I'll be talking about common issues that are worth thinking about. Last week we talked about basic interview tips, this week we move on to the subject of legitimacy.....

As I said last week, about half of the people I interview for magazines and newspaper are bloggers and web site owners whose writing interests me. Business people tend to put up a telephone number, in which case I approach with a call first. But private people tend not to, so I contact them via their email.

I have found that some people are suspicious of strangers writing to them. Some will not accept they are contacted because their writing is interesting; they think there is something odd going on. Or worry it will cost them something. Or they think it's some sort of hoax.

Fair enough. So if you're a blogger, how do you know that the person contacting you is a legitimate writer?

First, there's the approach.

When I approach someone via email, I say who I am, what sort of piece I am writing about, for what publication, and invite the person to contribute one top tip or one comment on a very specific issue. I mention a deadline. If I want to meet up for an extended interview and/or take photos, I put this in the email too. Most times (although I sometimes forget) I include the URL with my writing credits.

In my experience, someone who is very upfront and precise about what they want, is probably OK. Also, a standard quote like, "I love pasta made with fresh cream but I wish restaurants would not add sugar," says Brendan Ho, a 24 year old engineer from Kedah who runs My Food Blog. is unlikely to get you into any sort of trouble.

When doing an email interview, we will ask you a bit about yourself (check last week's post to see what and why). Be sensible about talking about yourself and just don't reveal sensitive information like your address and IC number or where you will be on Friday night between 8 and midnight (just in case your contact is a fake ID creator or Freddy Krueger pretending to be a journo).

If you are approached by someone who wants to meet you for an interview, I would observe the usual precautions when making online contacts. Meeting strangers is dangerous, so don't take risks. If you don't like the idea, or have a gut feeling, say no. If you're talking to a real writer, say you don't meet friends made online and ask if you can contribute via an email interview. Most likely they'll say yes, and then once it's published you'll know what sort of person you are dealing with.

Me, I ignore my own advice and meet people I don't know because I need publicity for my work. However, I'm very careful about this.

If I had an official office, I'd meet them there. As I have a home office, I meet new people in their offices. Or as journos often move about a lot, I arrange to meet them in very public places like a cafe in daylight in a busy shopping centre. And if I were a young blogger, or a sexy looking girl, I'd bring along a pal or relative too just in case.

I also check out unknowns who want to meet me. Here are my top tips and caveats:

1. Check their email address to see if it matches the people they say they work for. If they're working for The Star, they should have an email that says @thestar.com.my.

However, a journo may or may not have a corporate email address, or use it. Some companies are mean with email box space; or there may be problems accessing official boxes from outside the company building. I know many pros who work for big companies yet use Gmail and Yahoo for these reasons.

Also, remember that freelancers may use public email too. I have my own web site and use @lepak.com email addresses but I know lots of fulltime freelancers who rely on Gmail.

2. Ask for their work number and call them. This works if it's a local journo and they give you a direct line, but expensive if they're abroad or not transparent if they give you a cellphone.

If you're stymied by a cell phone number, and it's local, you can call the publication they say they work for. However, if it's a big company, like a newspaper, be sure you ask the right department. A sports writer may not be known at the newsdesk or the weekend section, and visa versa.

3. Check the publication they say they work for for their byline. However, you should realise that not everyone has a piece out every day/week/month so the issue you look at may not have their name in it. Also, some people work under pseudonyms. I have about 5.

You can check online versions of the publication but that only works if the writer has a deal whereby their work is published on the web site. Most of my stuff does not appear online so checking mag and newspaper sites for my byline doesn't work well.

Finally, although I have never heard of this happening in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Hong Kong or Indonesia, don't ever pay to have a quote published. If a writer approaches you for a quote for their piece, then they get their money from the client when they sell it. Anyone who asks you for money is not legit!

NEXT WEEK: Is it OK to ask if you can see the piece you are contributing a quote to?

Also, if you are in Malaysia, don't forget that there is still time to put in your entry for Weekender Star Katz Tales competition.

Remember, participants must live in Malaysia.

If you want to keep in touch with updates, here are some simple ways:
Subscribe to Katz Tales in a reader
Subscribe to Katz Tales by Email
Follow Au on Twitter

Follow Ellen on Facebook

Friday, January 15, 2010

Repost Friday:

Reminder: Dog Talk is out tomorrow in The Star, Weekender, print version only!

Today's Repost is from 14 July 2006...


Yesterday Scoop sighed over his chicken liver, munched moodily on his cat biscuits, and generally grumbled about falling standards. So when I woke up at 7 this morning and decided to go to the wet market, old fuzzy was happy to push me out of the front door. He may never have set eyes on the place, but he knows it's where all good things come from.

On my return, old fuzzy stuck his nose into the groceries, unerringly passing by the tomatoes and spring onions, and aiming straight for the RM2 worth of chicken livers and the whole chicken sitting snugly in the bag beside them.

You can drench a chicken in paprika, stuff it with onions and fresh tarragon and surround it with potatoes if you like, Scoop doesn't care as long as he gets his paws on what his considers his fair share of the roast: a generous helping of breast with small slices of juicy leg meat.

Of course Scoop always gets what he wants. Having gulped down a huge bowl of meat, he is now lying on the sofa, leisurely licking his whiskers and chatting to Au with satisfied mewaufs that indicate dinner was excellent.

From the look of satisfaction on his face it's clear he's anticipating leftovers for supper, breakfast and lunch. It's a cat's life!


Want to win a copy of Katz Tales and other great prizes? As published in The Star last week, check this post for entry guidelines.

Remember, participants must live in Malaysia.

If you want to keep in touch with updates, here are some simple ways:
Subscribe to Katz Tales in a reader
Subscribe to Katz Tales by Email
Follow Au on Twitter

Follow Ellen on Facebook

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

COT Naughty Cats!

Au and Target are proud members of the Naughty Kitty Club. They may seem like purrfectly sweet fluffs, but they do have their evil moments.

Au's #1 Naughty No No is to wake us up at 6AM to say he's hungry - even if one of us fed him at 545AM! Au just wants us to get up.

I'm immune but the other slave gets up, goes downstairs, and ends up starting his working before 7AM. Au of course is back in bed by this time.

Target's #1 Naughty No No is sticking his claws into the sofa. He doesn't claw the sofa because that would be too evil.

Instead, he lies on his back, snoozing. When he hears his name though, he wakens up, and begins to purr loudly. At the same time he paddles his paws, sticking out his claws. And of course, some of these end up in the cushions.

If you have a naughty kitty, check out Amy's Naughty Kitty Club, and drop us a note with the blog post!

If you are in Malaysia, don't forget that there is still time to put in your entry for the Weekender Star Katz Tales competition. Check this post for entry guidelines. Remember, participants must live in Malaysia.

For more cats, check out Gattina who hosts Cats on Tuesday.

If you want to keep in touch with updates, here are some simple ways:
Subscribe to Katz Tales in a reader
Subscribe to Katz Tales by Email
Follow Au on Twitter
Follow Ellen on Facebook.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday Writers Craft Online: Email Interview Tips For Bloggers

Are you running a blog and looking for some publicity? Over the next 6 weeks I'll be talking about common issues that are worth thinking about. This first one offers basic tips.....

I interview and quote about 100 people every year for newspaper and magazine articles. About half are bloggers and web site owners whose writing interests me. But I approach about double that amount. Want to know why 50% don't get into print? Let me tell you...

When interviewing people for a feature where I need to meet up, talk for a while, and then use lots of quotes, I ask for a face to face interview. But when it comes to one sentence quotes, spending hours and hours on the job just isn't feasible. For short quotes like this I often turn to bloggers.

Bloggers are fun to quote because they often have great things to say. Also, blogs are fashionable. So for me, I make a beeline for my fave people whenever I can.

Typical approaches to online writers are done via email (as most bloggers quite rightly keep their phone numbers private).

I say who I am, what sort of piece I am writing about, for what publication, and invite the person to contribute one top tip or one comment on a very specific issue.

If you run a blog and hope for publicity, are contacted in this way, and reply, yet don't get your quote in the press, chances are you are making one of these top 3 mistakes:

Error 1. You don't answer immediately. Writers work to deadlines. If your quote isn't in on time, you don't get in. Also, email is not always delivered instantly. Email can be delayed on servers and by firewalls for several hours. If you leave it too close to the deadline, and your mail is delayed, you miss out. Also, if your answer isn't quite what we wanted, getting in early means we can talk to you again - before the deadline.

As a rule of thumb, it always pays to answer as quickly as possible. Even if we tell you our deadline is in 10 days, do answer immediately. If your reply is really cool, you may be upgraded from a tiny quote and be invited to play a bigger part in the feature.

Error 2. You answer the question you think we asked, not the question we actually asked. If we ask you for your top tip on how to save $$$ at Christmas, don't tell us you think spending a little extra is fun. It's not what we're looking for. If we ask you about your favourite meal, don't tell us about your favourite restaurant: talk about the food you love!

If you don't answer the question right first time, you may be invited to reply again - if the deadline allows, and if the journo hasn't already got enough quotes from others for the piece.

Note: Consider that writers know that email approaches often don't work out. We always ask several people for quotes at the same time. If all the people we approach give great answers, we feel lucky and quote the lot. And if we get some off-topic replies, we ignore those and move on.

If you want free publicity, answer the question and do it fast and we'll come back to you again and again. Honest. It's because we love a hassle free life!

Error 3. "I don't see why you are asking me about...." Always answer all the questions, even if you think it's silly. It's fine to say, "I don't know" to something, but don't refuse to answer normal questions about yourself.

One of the main issues writers face is that our bosses/clients want a particular type of introduction/accreditation for people we quote.

For example, ladies magazines typically want a line like, "I spread my holiday expenses by buying one present a month throughout the year for my kids," says Deliah Tee, 22 year old mum of Theresa, 5, and Matthew, 3, who blogs at XXX.

Or they might want something like, "I spread my holiday expenses by buying one present a month throughout the year for my kids," says Deliah Tee, a 28 year old Financial Consultant with 5 years Debt Management experience.

Because of this we need to know your real name, not your blog nick, and probably your age, your profession and something personal like the names of your kids or the place you were born. It's all stuff that helps readers connect to you - and saying who you are also inspires trust in what you are saying.

We don't ask you this stuff because we want to figure out how old you are, guess at how much money you're making, or anything else. We do it because it's part of the deal. If we don't give this info, we get upset editors nagging at us. Or people think we make it all up.

SO: if you don't want to give up your age, your name or whatever, that's OK. Just say so and pass on the opportunity to be quoted.

By the way, I am looking for short email quotes from Malaysian food bloggers for a Star newspaper article. If you're interested in being quoted and having your blog mentioned in the newspaper, drop me a comment with your blog URL and email or send me an email at ellenwhyte AT lepak.com and I'll tell you more about it.

NEXT WEEK: how to tell if you're being approached by a "real" writer over email! And what sort of info not to give them!

If you are in Malaysia, don't forget that there is still time to put in your entry for the Weekender Star Katz Tales competition.

As published in The Star last week, check this post for entry guidelines.

Remember, participants must live in Malaysia.

If you want to keep in touch with updates, here are some simple ways:
Subscribe to Katz Tales in a reader
Subscribe to Katz Tales by Email
Follow Au on Twitter

Follow Ellen on Facebook

Friday, January 08, 2010

Repost Friday: Racing, Chasing Kitties

This post was originally put up on Friday, 29th September 2006.

Racing Chasing Kitties

It's been a wild morning. Scoop and Au have been chasing each other up and down the stairs, and round and round Au's cardboard box. As it was before 8AM, the earliest hour I'm willing to get up voluntarily, I pretended to be fast asleep. They took no notice of this, and happily wrestled all over the bed when it suited their game.

N
ow that I'm up and ready to start work, our two fuzzies are sitting on the roof of the Beetle, using the height advantage this gives them to keep an eye on our neighbour 2 doors down who is tending his flowers, and Sam next door who's doing interesting things to his car.

If I have to come back, I want to be a cat in my next life. One who lives in a house like ours....

PS this is an old pic of Scoop having a quiet dinner with Au. Au was about 3 months old when this was taken.


Scoop passed away two years ago and I still miss him. Sometimes I think I catch a glimpse of him from the corner of my eye, or that I hear his loud meow in the middle of the night. Scoop was a wonderful person - and an excellent cat!

If you are in Malaysia, don't forget that there is still time to put in your entry for the Weekender Star Katz Tales competition.

As published in The Star last week, check the last post for entry guidelines.

Remember, participants must live in Malaysia.

If you want to keep in touch with updates, here are some simple ways:
Subscribe to Katz Tales in a reader
Subscribe to Katz Tales by Email
Follow Au on Twitter

Follow Ellen on Facebook

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Katz Tales Competition

Scoop, our old kitty who lived with us for some 12 years, passed away 2 years ago - after a fun filled luxury life that many cats would envy!

Scoop lived in Kuching in Sarawak as well as Malacca and Kajang and Subang Jaya in West Malaysia. He traveled on on aeroplane - and had the man at the airport weigh him twice because he couldn't believe how fat Scoop was! And Scoop made friends wherever he went.

Here he is, snoozing in front of the bedroom window on his favourite box and towel.

A year or so after he passed away, Sook Yeng who was one of the organisers of the Dogathon, sent me a gift for a pet rock made by Suzi Chua, a popular Pet Artist in Malaysia. And here he is! Isn't he glorious?

Suzi is one of the most talented people I know. She really captures pet characters, be it on rock or canvas. So I'm really chuffed to tell you that the 3 lucky people in Malaysia who win first prize at The Star Weekender newspaper this month will be getting one of their pets painted on a pet rock by Suzi.

Winners will also get free copies of Tales, the book, and yummy scrummy pet treats from Addiction. Au's fave are the salmon crunchies. In fact, they are the only shop bought treats he's really fond of. Target also likes the herring and fish crunchies.

Finally, the publishers are throwing in a nice extra in the shape of a discount!

All you have to do is enter the Weekender Star Katz Tales competition. I'm afraid it's for people in Malaysia only. If Tales is ever out in Europe and North America, I'll hold another contest.

As published in Feline Fixation this week in The Star, these are the entry guidelines:

Katz Tales Weekender Star Contest

Katz Tales: Under The Velvet Paw is authored by Weekender’s Ellen Whyte and is based on her column Katz Tales in The Star.

Katz Tales: Living Under The Velvet Paw is available in all major bookshops. The retail price is RM28. If you answer these three questions correctly, you may be one of the lucky winners to win a free copy of Katz Tales: Living Under The Velvet Paw and other fabulous prizes!

All you have to do is answer these questions:
1. Who is older: Target or Au?
2. Who was called Mr Snizzles as a kitten: Target or Au?
3. Who has a white tummy: Target or Au?

Also, Complete the slogan in less than 20 words:

I like Katz Tales because . . . . .

Please include your full name, address, telephone number and email address.

Entries may be emailed to katztales@lepak.com or posted to Katz Tales c/o Marshall Cavendish (M) Sdn Bhd, Bangunan Times Publishing, Lot 46, Subang Hi-Tech Industrial Park, Batu Tiga, 40000 Shah Alam, Selangor.

Participants must live in Malaysia.

There are 3 first prizes:
· 1 copy of Katz Tales: Living Under The Velvet Paw
· 1 rock painting of your pet by Malaysia’s pet artist Suzi Chua
· Cat treats from Addiction
· A 35% discount voucher for any Marshall Cavendish titles under General & Reference Publishing

And 3 second prizes:
· 1 copy of Katz Tales: Living Under The Velvet Paw
· Cat treats from Addiction
· A 35% discount voucher for any Marshall Cavendish titles under General & Reference Publishing

The closing date is Friday 29 January 2010. Winners will be announced in Weekender on Saturday 6 February 2010.

If you want to keep in touch with updates, here are some simple ways:
Subscribe to Katz Tales in a reader
Subscribe to Katz Tales by Email
Follow Au on Twitter

Follow Ellen on Facebook



Monday, January 04, 2010

Monday Writers Craft Online: Placing Your Books

I had tea with Steven Yong of Horizon Books last week. Steve is one of my Malaysian marketing gurus, so I quizzed him relentlessly and he gave me some of the best tips ever on how to get your book placed nicely in book shops.

I have asked Steve to guest blog, and hopefully he will oblige once the start of the New Year rush is over. In the meantime, I will share his advice.

My question was, "How do I make sure my books are in good places in the shop?"

Steve said that although in many countries publishing companies pay bookshops for book placement, and this happens sometimes here too, writers in Malaysia and Singapore can still talk on a one to one basis to shop managers about their book placement.

He added that good places are at eye level and in eye catching positions.

I visited my local MPH book shop to see where my two new books, Logomania: Where Common Phrases Come From And How To Use Them and Katz Tales: Living Under The Velvet Paw were, and found them in excellent positions.

Logomania is in the wall display unit in the dictionary section, facing out at eye-level.

Katz Tales is at eye level on the corner of a shelf under True Account and Profile.

As both books are in highly visible places, and at eye-level to boot, I just said thanks and took the pics. Now I'm off to check other book shops and see where the books are.

If you've books out, go see where they are, and if they're not in good places, beg the manager for a nicer position. The more people see your book, the better chance of that on-the-spot sale. Good Luck!

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Friday, January 01, 2010

Friday Repost: Hooray for Science

Happy New Year, everyone! May 2010 bring you peace, prosperity, happiness, health, love and luck.

Katz Tales will be out in the print version of The Star, Weekender tomorrow. Buy it to read the latest about Au and Target. There's also a surprise for Tales readers tomorrow... You needn't ask! I'm not saying a word! You'll have to wait and see.... (addition on Saturday: check it out here online)

In honour of our Friday Repost, here is something from Thursday, 24th August 2006. I remember it as though it were yesterday.

Hooray For Science


It's official: Scoop and Au had picked up some fleas. What's amazing is that they were flealess on Friday, and had a bath with anti flea shampoo on Saturday. They must have picked them up on Sunday night or Monday. Me, I blame the Cat With The Dirty Face. Or possibly the black girls at the back.

Good news is that it took less than 5 minutes to rid our fuzzies of those pesky fleas. I rushed over to our local vet, and picked up a bottle of Frontline. This stuff is amazing. You just spray your cat under the pawpits, rub it in, and the liquid penetrates the skin and repels fleas and other pests for 5 weeks.

We used to import supplies of Frontline from Australia ourselves as it wasn't sold in Malaysia. And when we ran out of it a few months ago, I started with the old fashioned controls of flea soap and daily grooming to look for trouble. If I had only popped into the vet to check, I would have known that this miracle spray is now being sold here!

Anyway, my fuzzies are perfectly clean again - but they're not talking to me. After the bath and the spraying, Scoop looks at me as though I'm a devil and Au gives me a theatrical hiss. I've told them it was for their own good, but they're not buying it.

PS the picture from Wikimedia Commons is an engraving of a flea from Robert Hooke's 1665 Micrographia, funded by the Royal Society. Wikipedia says cat fleas are "Probably the most abundant and widespread flea in the world".

If you want to keep in touch with updates, here are some simple ways:
Subscribe to Katz Tales in a reader
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Follow Au on Twitter

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