As promised, even though I’m not blogging writing tips right now (though I am trying to work it back into my schedule), I’m keeping everyone updated. Today, you’ll find out how you can read both of my series for FREE—and there’s an awesome giveaway somewhere below. Let’s start with some news!
For the first time in my entire author life, I have seen my books placed in a library. These moments might seem super small, but they feel super huge to me. As a teen librarian myself, I know how important libraries are to a community. They are amazing. If you’re lucky enough to have one nearby, be sure to visit your local library. Make sure to request your favorite materials too, because most libraries will consider ordering them! We librarians love you for it.
Minutes Before Sunset (book 1 of the Timely Death trilogy) is officially available as an audiobook! If you watched the behind-the-scenes video, then I’m sure you’re excited. I’m placing it below again in case you missed it last time. The narrators, Sarah Puckett and Steve Campbell, are so talented. They truly brought the Dark to life. Check it out on Audible. I feel incredibly lucky to have dual narrators on this series. Want to win a copy? Keep reading!
The Bad Bloods series and the Timely Death trilogy are now available through Kindle Unlimited. If you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can read both series for free. This is a limited-time offer, so make sure to grab them while you can. I’m super excited to see these books reach more readers on a new platform!
In personal news, this year has been super hard, not going to lie. Sometimes I think it’s been the hardest year in regards to my writing. As many of you know, I’ve been struggling with some health issues, and my cat had cancer this year. Thankfully, my cat Boo Boo beat cancer. (YAY!) I wish I could also say I’m all better now, but I’m really just learning how to cope with everything better. Basically, (and I find it really hard to open up about these things), I’m not able to hold most food down. It’s caused major malabsorption problems. My Vitamin D levels were that of an 83-year-old at one point, which doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it made my bones really brittle. My hair started to turn bleach-white and fall out. (Not usual graying, which I would be cool with.) Whatever it is has caused a lot of issues. Despite visiting three gastroenterologists, a rheumatologist, and two physicians, (not to mention getting too many procedures and tests to count), I’m still without a set diagnosis. The current weeding-out diagnosis landed me on two auto-immune disorders, but living with auto-immune disorders means a set of diet and lifestyle experiments that haven’t worked for me yet. Right now, doctors have told me my next step is visiting a medical university, but my insurance won’t cover it, and the local medical university won’t see me unless I’m covered. So until I can get better insurance, I’m sort of at a loss. I’m trying to keep my hopes up. Some days are easier than others. But I am really sick of feeling so sick. Seriously, things are hard. (Okay. Whew. Not used to being so open.) In other news, I chopped off eight inches of my hair, which has been interesting to say the least. Taking some serious downtime for myself has been helpful. But that also means I don’t have publications prepared for the near-future. I am writing and editing manuscripts, though. As an update from last time, I’m almost finished with my historical fantasy, about 10,000 words into my YA sci-fi, and brainstorming more than one project now. I’m not giving up. ❤ In fact, if you’re subscribed to my newsletter, then you got to read an exclusive sneak peek at one of my WIPs! If you’re not subscribed but want to be, click here.
Instead of a sneak peek at one of WIPs today, you get to enter a grand giveaway!
By visiting any of my social media sites today, you can enter to win a free copy of the Minutes Before Sunset audiobook. All you have to do is like, share the post, and comment “Done” to win 1 of 5 copies of Minutes Before Sunset Audiobook. In fact, it starts now! Five readers today can like this article, share it, and comment below that you’ve done so, and you’ll be entered to win. Enter with more chances by visiting my Twitter (AuthorSAT), my Facebook page, and my Instagram!
As you all know, we didn’t have a SATurdate last week due to the monthly Website Wonders piece, so this one might be a bit longer than usual. (I think I say that every week for one reason or another…but oh well!)
What I’m Writing:
I realized I need to go over Take Me Tomorrow before I can move forward in Take Me Yesterday, so I’m officially working on Take Me Tomorrow. There are a few things I wanted to add, just with a sentence or two. Example, one thing that was hinted but went basically unnoticed (by my fault, not readers’) was the fact that boys and girls are encouraged to separate themselves, which was one of the reasons there were more boys than girls. I actually addressed this directly after a high demand in my article Why Most of my Characters are Male. I mistakenly thought I hinted to it enough, but this time around, I’m going to blatantly say it. There are a few things like that I’m looking forward to adding as I go through it. For original readers, I’m about 60 pages in, in the chapter It’s Too Late.
What I’m Publishing:
We’re working on the cover for Bad Bloods! The ideas were fantastic, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what the cover ends up being. Bless my cover artist’s heart for dealing with my input. (Seriously. She deserves a huge shoutout.) So, thank you, Marya! Check her out at Strong Image Editing!
Now, I’m sharing the winning #1lineWed from the previous two weeks. The first one’s theme was home.
This was home to me. Just the thought of Catelyn’s suffocating hugs made my heart lurch.
A little background, Catelyn is Serena’s best friend and practical sister. They both live in the Southern Flock, and they nearly look like twins, aside from a scar on Catelyn’s face. Here is a link to the Pinterest Pin of Catelyn. In the original version, she had a moon/star tattoo (something that got cut out) and her name was spelled Caitlin.
Since it was two weeks—of course—here was the second #1lineWed preview. The theme was humor/laughter.
“He told me to stay away from you.”
I laughed. “How unoriginal.”
I would give extra information about this line…but I have to leave some parts up for mystery. 😉
Winterspellby Claire Legrand: This is a darker retelling of The Nutcracker, so I thought it’d be the perfect book to start December off with. So far, so good.
The White Rose, book 2 in The Lone City by Amy Ewing: UGH. I love Amy Ewing so much. I cannot wait for book 3. I, of course, gave this wonderful novel 5 stars, and you can read my entire review here. But, again, not for everyone. As a flat-out, upfront warning, this series revolves around a lot of sexual abuse, including but not limited to forced surrogacy, prostitution, and castration. If you can handle reading about controversial issues, you’ll love this series. Amy handles everything delicately and brilliantly. Seriously. I have an author crush.
Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, V. 8 by Naoko Takeuchi: Again, no secret I love this manga, but I’m currently re-reading it and reviewing the new prints. Here is the link to my five-star review. This one covers the ending of The Infinity Arc and the beginning of The Dead Moon Circus.
What I’m Listening To:
I went to a concert! What? Yes! Little ol’ me went to a concert for the first time in…well…years. I went to the Puscifer concert, and it was pretty badass.
I’ve also been obsessed with I’m Good, I’m Gone by Lykke Li. Literally, it’s probably the only song I’ve listened to in two weeks.
What I’m Watching:
I binge-watched the full first season of The Man in the High Castle, an Amazon original. WATCH IT. It’s phenomenal…and I want a season two.
Basically, it’s alternative history where Germany and Japan won WWII…and Rufus Sewell is in it. For my readers out there, it’s based on a Phillip K Dick novel. Gooooo. Go watch it. GOOOOOO.
On a side note, I also watched Brother Bear. I freakin’ love that movie.
It was Thanksgiving, so naturally, I baked a lot of Thanksgiving-themed treats. I actually made my very first turkey all by myself this year too. Not going to lie, I was pretty proud of myself. I stuffed it with fruit and covered it in a white wine butter sauce. I also made candied yams for my father’s job party and pecan tarts for my little self. (Those pecan tarts, though. I ate all of them.) As if I haven’t made enough sweets, I also made Rice Krispies Treats with butterscotch. Freakin’ delicious.
What I’m Wearing:
Blueberry-Chocolate Burt’s Bees lip balm. It’s a treasure.
What I’m Wanting:
Book 3 in The Lone City by Amy Ewing. It doesn’t even have a title yet, and I’m DYING.
What I’m Dreaming Of:
I dyed my hair white as the world went to war with one another. It was rather strange, because my hair looked normal until I could flip it over and put it up, and then it looked like an elongated white halo, almost like a melted halo, down to the ending of my back. I believe a bomb went off near me, and I thought I lost Bogart. But someone I knew found him and brought him to the safe house I was staying in.
I was a mouse, and my boat went down with three other mice, so we found another GIANT boat, and we got on. It was full of monk-related items, but no one seemed to be on board. There was also a story about Lykke Li on there and how she pretended to be a priest once, so we decided to pretend to be priests. The owners of the boat turned out to be cats, but when we told them we were priests, they decided to keep us on board.
What Else Is Going On:
The dorm hall I lived in while attending the University of Kansas was demolished this past week or so. It’s rather strange to see, considering it’s the oldest dorm on campus, a dorm my father AND my uncle lived in when they attended KU. I spent a year of life calling that place home. It was an awkward time of my life—definitely not the happiest—but now those memories are there, despite the location being turned to dust. I feel old, really. So, here’s a photo of my old dorm room.
My first blog post was on September 25, 2012. I never realized how much my life would change once I started this blog. For instance, back then, I had just started my last year of college at the University of Kansas. I lived in a townhouse with two other girls, and my bedroom was painted a deep merlot red. Bogart was almost two years old. I wasn’t publishing at that time, but I was studying English, specifically poetry. I didn’t have a job that year, but I did have my eyes set on a couple of master’s degree opportunities and law school. I drove a manual, a silver RX-8. I was writing Take Me Tomorrow. I almost always wrote in a hookah house. My laptop’s name was Weebo. I was twenty-one years, three months, and two days old.
Since September 25, 2012, my life has changed irrevocably. Two weeks after starting my blog, one of my college roommates passed away. I moved back home. I was published. I graduated from KU with a bachelor’s degree in English, with an emphasis on creative writing. I was published again, and signed on with a publisher. I started working for a publisher. My car stopped working. My publisher shut down, and I lost my job. I moved to another state on my own. My bedroom is now baby blue, and I drive an automatic pickup now. I signed on with a new publisher, and I started my own company. Bogart just turned five, and I have two other cats in my life, Boo Boo and Kiki. I write in coffee houses now. My laptop’s name is Luna-P. I’m currently writing many things. I am twenty-four years, three months, and three days old.
Back then, I just wanted to have a place to share books, music, and movies. I never knew it would change my life forever. I cannot explain how much blogging can change your life, but I guess I can share my story.
I’ve thought long and hard about what to say today, but I don’t feel like
there’s anything I can say to express my gratitude for these past 525 blog posts. Today is my 526th article. I’ve been on here 1,096 days. I’ve had over 72,000 unique visitors. I never thought my silly voice would ever be heard, let alone by that many people. I am humbled.
Thank you for giving me a place in the blogosphere that I can call home.
Minutes Before Sunset hit #12 in overall Free Kindle yesterday! (Woot. Woot.) We were also a #1 Bestseller in YA Science Fiction and Paranormal and Urban Fantasy! Way to go! Stay Dark!
On October 19, the paperback of Death Before Daylight releases! Two days later, on October 21, you can come see me at Headrush Coffee and Tea Roasters in Kansas City, Missouri for a paranormal talk and book signing. It will be tons of fun!
Bonnie Brown’s Book Reviews posted her thoughts on Minutes Before Sunset, stating, “This was a book I slowly fell in love with. When I first picked it up, I wasn’t instantly hooked on it but as the pages ticked by I realized I was falling further and further in love with the story and characters. Until it became one of those books that you think, ‘okay, just a few more pages before work…….’. Then you look up at the clock and realize your already supposed to be at work and your still in your jammies… reading the book…~Oops~It’s one of those books.” But you can read more of her love story by clicking here.
My Love Story: Poetry Edition
I’ve been receiving a handful of messages and emails about my interactive poetry series on Wattpad, so I thought I would address my poems a little bit more today. But – first – I am so grateful that you’re enjoying my latest endeavor, and I look forward to sharing more in the near future. Many of you have asked me about my poetry – mainly regarding my voice and subject matter – and I am here to announce one thing: I will be explaining the poems during my YouTube posts, and you can expect the first post later this week. That being said, today I’m telling a story. (Because I’m still a story-teller) and that story is my love story with poetry.
When we met:
Strangely enough, it was a college breakup that brought us together. My brief breakup with fiction writing. It was the second semester of my freshman year, but during my previous semester at KU, I had taken a fiction-writing course that I was extremely dissatisfied with. So dissatisfied that I decided to reject studying fiction altogether. I was only comfortable with this because I felt like I knew enough about fiction that I could study it on my own. So I turned my attention to genres I wasn’t familiar with. I forced myself to get out of my comfort zone, and I signed up for poetry. (I would later return to studying fiction and also screenwriting as well.)
Our first date:
Oddly enough, it wasn’t in the classroom. It was outside of the classroom. Over winter break, I had picked up a few poetry books, and I was reading “Sailing Around an Open Room” by Billy Collins on one of my favorite benches in the Wescoe building. That’s when a class was released, and a woman ran up to me only to sit down SUPER close to me. (If you know me, I’m not a very touchy person, so this sort of scared me.) It turned out she was a poetry professor, and she was hoping I had signed up for her class. I hadn’t. I had signed up for another class because it worked with my schedule. She was disappointed but very glad that I was studying poetry. Her smile was the first moment I started to feel less nervous about it.
How we held hands:
Poetry Writing I by poet Megan Kaminski was the course I took, and she was kind and thoughtful and encouraging and never scary. And that was perfect because I was still sort of terrified. I had never written a poem in my life, and Kaminski promised she was okay with that. I found out that there were quite a few students in the classroom like me, and I still wonder if they giggle at our first poems as much as I giggle at mine. (I also shudder.) But we started reading poetry, and we started talking about poetry, and we started writing poetry, and we discovered so much about one another.
Oh, yes, we kissed:
I wish I could remember if it was snowing that day, but all I remember is how the poem affected my insides. It was “Sleeping with the Dictionary” by Harryette Mullen that got me. And if you read the poem, you will understand what I mean when I say I was “Aroused by myriad possibilities” that poetry gave, and I wanted to explore them as much as I could.
And soon, we fell in love:
Somewhere in that exploring I fell in love. I like to say “we” but I have yet to understand whether or not poetry can love one back. Still, I stayed, and I took more courses after that. I even attended Poetry Writing II twice. (Thank goodness KU counted both of them as credits.) And I was able to meet C.A. Conrad and talk to Evie Shockley and my class had lunch with two other poets we read about and my teacher was a poet and it was wonderful. Everything was wonderful.
But it broke my heart:
If you’ve been with me since the beginning, then, you will remember this post – Inspiration Meet: Kristine Andersen – On October 7, 2012, my college roommate, Kristine Andersen, passed away, but you might not have known that we had taken our first class together that semester. It was my senior year, and she had just switched over to an English major, and I was helping her with her writing when she decided to join one of my poetry classes. We sat right next to each other in class, but after she died, I was terrified – so terrified – of returning to that poetry class.
And I had to heal my heart:
When I finally found the strength to return to school, I will never forget how my class still placed her chair in the circle after she died. Her chair remained there. And we continued to learn, and we continued to write, and our poetry was published later that semester in Kristine’s name, and the collection sits on my desk, and I think about her a lot – her writing and her life – and I try not to remember that this October will be two years since she passed, but I make myself remember because that is how we cope – by facing it. By writing about it. By feeling it once again. So I write a poem.
Eventually, I loved again:
I write many poems now, but it has only been recently that I have begun sharing them openly. I believe “Regretful Memories” being accepted by LALUNA Magazine has given me the additional strength and support that I needed, but this website has also given me love and courage. Writing is a journey, and we’re always learning and exploring new possibilities in order to channel our passion so we can share it fully with the world.
Poetry is one of the many ways I hope to help the world with because poetry has helped my world.
Recently, I shared more information about my upcoming novel – Take Me Tomorrow – and that included fan art I received from a very talented fan during the time in which Take Me Tomorrow was posted on Wattpad.com.
I love this question, and because of Taking on a World of Words, I am writing this blog post today. It will include a backstory as to why I even joined Wattpad, but I promise I will get around to how Take Me Tomorrow went from Wattpad to AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc. That being said, most of my events are going to sound like they aren’t connected to Wattpad, but they are, so please bear with me as I describe the events that happened to me over the years of publishing. Yes – years. So this is a rather long post, but I think it will be helpful to those that want an insight into the ups-and-downs of publishing, Wattpad’s pros and cons, as well as my publishing and writing history. Also, this will be my last blog post of May. I am taking a blogging break, but I have wonderful guest bloggers set up that I’m announcing in two days. Now onto the story –
Disclaimer: Publishing – especially self-publishing and sponsored publishing – was VERY different in 2007. It was beyond taboo. It wasn’t even heard of. The Kindle was not even around for another four years, and there were no support groups online that I could find at the time. This is a huge factor in the story I’m about to tell.
2007: Publication as a Downfall
I was first published in 2007 with my first novel, November Snow. I was 16. I don’t mention this age because I’m proud of it. In fact, I’m rather saddened by it, because it ultimately was my downfall. I talked about this in my recent interview with Whispers in the Dark, but this is the basic story:
November Snow was published in 2007. Three months later, I received a letter from a vanity press. (At least, that’s what I would call it.) They said they had a copy of my manuscript – which I never sent them – and they were going to publish it because I did not have the “right” to own my copyright as a minor. They had bought a copyright instead, and they were claiming they now owned it. Because of this, I had to pull my novel – that I had worked so hard on after my mother’s sudden death – off of the “shelves” immediately.
It became a rather large battle, but it resulted in my father owning the copyright since I was not a legal adult at the time (and that was a factor at the time.) Even then, I was emotionally crushed. I didn’t want to release it again. I didn’t want to share it. I was simply afraid it would happen all over again. So I only sold copies to people I ran into in person, and I told myself I was done with publishing.
Of course, even though I was done with publishing, I wasn’t done with writing.
2008-2009: Writing in Private
I spent the next few years only writing for myself (and a few trusted readers who were interested in my work.) By the time I graduated from Blue Valley High School in 2009, I was more focused on college than I was on getting published. I don’t believe I was even interested in getting published ever again. I just wanted to write. So I went to the University of Kansas to study psychology.
2010: Take Me Tomorrow on Wattpad
During my freshman year, I switched to an English major because I found myself more and more drawn to my original love of language. This is around the same time I heard about Wattpad. I was in my first (and it turned out to be my only) fiction-writing class, and I befriended a girl who had recently joined and enjoyed it for finding “writer-friends” purpose only. She didn’t share her work. She just networked, and she sent me an email with the link.
Hesitantly, I joined as shanashlee23.
I networked with a few great writers, read some fantastic stories, and I got to the point where I wanted to share something – just SOMETHING – and see what happened. Plus, it made it easier to meet fellow readers and writers if I had something on my profile.
At the time, I was writing Take Me Tomorrow. (I will explain my inspiration for TMT in another post.) But I didn’t think too much of it. I just uploaded the first three chapters. And the next morning – I had readers. I had votes. I had comments.
I was blown away. I even remember seeing the little orange rankings explaining how high up it had gotten. I wish I could remember one thing though. A girl had commented, encouraging me to submit my manuscript to a publisher, because she loved how refreshing the story’s concept was. Her little comment seriously changed my outlook on things.
I took a step back, and I evaluated why I had given up. Realizing that I had allowed myself to be crushed for 3+ years was the hardest part. I couldn’t blame anyone but myself. It didn’t matter that a publisher tried to take advantage of a young writer. It didn’t matter that I fought. It mattered that I gave up. It mattered that I didn’t get back up.
I was literally afraid of praise. I thought it would pressure me into continuing into publishing that I wasn’t ready for. Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate the praise. I wish I could say it helped me believe in myself again – but only I can be in charge of my confidence, and in 2010, I was anything but confident.
2011-2012: A Tragedy
I finished Take Me Tomorrow in private. I even stopped sharing the manuscript with the trusted readers I mentioned. (In fact, when I recently told them it would be published, they were shocked. They thought I gave up on it years ago.)
I only wrote for myself. But I will say this – my fiction-writing class left a sour taste in my mouth. It truly disappointed me. So much so that I decided to focus on another genre: poetry.
I enrolled in Megan Kaminski’s Poetry Writing I class, and I fell in love. (Not that I wasn’t nervous. I was ridiculously nervous, and I cringe anytime I think of the very first poem I turned in.) But I enjoyed it. I actually enjoyed it. And I enjoyed sharing my poems with other writers for the first time in a long time, so I continued to study poetry instead of fiction, and I studied poetry into 2012.
It was the first semester of my senior year. I was feeling better about poetry and more confident in my writing, but – even better- I got to have a class with my roommate – Kristine Andersen – for the first time in our three years of college, and my professor was accepting submissions for a poetry collection to be published. I was nervous. I didn’t submit. Not right away anyway.
Unfortunately, if you’ve been with me since 2012, then you know what happened: my roommate – Kristine Andersen – passed away.
I don’t know how to explain to everyone how crushing it can be to return to a class you share with someone – someone you saw every day – someone you lived with for years – to hear roll call and her name to not be listed anymore. Moments like that aren’t something even a seasoned writer can explain fully. Moments like that are wordless.
But that’s when a surprise came over me.
My fellow classmates had pushed all the desks into a circle. This was something we did at the beginning of every class. But there was something different about that day. They put Kristine’s chair in the circle. Even though she had been gone for over two weeks and I had just returned after taking a break from classes, they put her chair in our circle.
I don’t think I remember what we discussed at all that day. (My apologies to the wonderfully talented Ms. Kaminski. I was not in a good mind state for a long time after Kristine passed.) I just stared at her chair. I could not look away from her desk. I just watched it…But I did get a flyer from Kaminski that day. She was reminding everyone of the poetry collection again.
Almost uncontrollably, I believed that if I couldn’t get published for myself, I wanted to be able to do it for Kristine. I told myself it was the least I could do. I told myself it was the best thing I could do. In fact, I still had a manuscript of Kristine’s in my folder from the month before. She wanted me to read it and tell her how she could improve it. Now that she was gone, all I could think about was how she wrote and how we discussed our writings together.
So I submitted on the basis that Kristine would’ve submitted – fearlessly and wonderfully.
That December, Poems: a collection of works by twelve young Kansas poetswas published. I went to the event to read my poems, never knowing what I would see. I held the collection in my hands, and I opened it to the first page. That’s when I saw the little words: Dedicated to Kristine Andersen.
Again, I can’t explain that emotion. I can’t, and I won’t try to pretend that I can. I am not capable of explaining my emotions about this yet. Maybe in the future. But not yet. Maybe never. It had only been two months since we lost her, and – here I was – trying to keep it together to read four little poems I wrote.
2013-2014: Determined to Begin Again
From that moment on, I knew I had to pursue publication again. I will be truthful when I say I took my Wattpad account down. I didn’t think it would look good to a publisher if they saw that I was giving away my novels for free. (I now regret this decision because I wish I could reconnect with those readers who encouraged me. I wish I could thank them. I wish I could do a lot of things, but I can’t change the past.)
I began submitting Take Me Tomorrow to publishers, but I knew it would be a long, tedious process, so I decided I was going to self-publish an older novel of mine in the meantime. Yes. Believe it or not, this “older” novel is Minutes Before Sunset. Originally, I really didn’t want this novel to be the one that went under contract, but – alas – the world has a funny way of working out. AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc. came across my website through Twitter. Yes, Twitter. And they asked me if I had anyone to represent me. I didn’t, and they were interested. Within a few months, I was signed with them, and I couldn’t be happier. I even dedicated Minutes Before Sunset to Kristine Andersen and Megan Paustian, my other roommate at the time.
In a way, publishing Take Me Tomorrow is a moment I’ve been searching for since 2012. This publication feels like my career is coming in a full circle. I feel like it will help me grow into my next stage of writing. I feel like this is my next stage.
Yes, it began on insecurities. Yes, it was shared on Wattpad. Yes, it was taken down. Yes, I made mistakes, even mistakes that still twist my heart into guilty pieces. Yes, I fell down over and over and over again. But – no – I didn’t stay down. This time was different.
I got back up,and I’m going to keep on standing.
P.S. If you’re gut is telling you to share your story on Wattpad, follow that instinct. I understand the concerns fellow writers have had about their stories and concepts being stolen, but that happens when you’re published, too. Just take the proper precautions before sharing your story with the world. I am back on Wattpad, and I truly believe it’s a fantastic community of encouragement and passion. Please join me on there by clicking here.
Don’t forget! I am being interviewed tonight LIVE on Whispers in the Dark radio from 9 to 11 p.m. (EST) Click here to join, and call in to speak with me: (347) 884-9923. Until then, check out four of my horror poems the host read for his site by visiting my Other Poems page and clicking the links at the top – OR you can click the links below: (I highly recommend listening to at least one. Not because they are my poems, but rather because Viktor Aurelius is a chilling reader.
After announcing Take Me Tomorrow and sharing the cover, I wanted to share a fun post about my life with everyone – and nothing is more fun than my most trusted companion, Bogart the Cat. You’ve seen photos of him, you’ve read about him, and you’ve even read a blog post by him, but I’ve never explained how Bogart and I met to grow into the cat-friendship we have today.
Before I explain the moment I met Bogart the cat, I want to clarify how I came to the decision to get a cat.
I hated cats. Despised them. Why?
I grew up with dogs – one husky and two malamutes to be exact
When I was seven, my neighbor’s cat scratched me across the face, and I had to wear an eye patch to elementary school – a lasting impression on child me.
I swore off of them. A decade would pass before I would be opened to the wonderful world of a cat lady.
It was 2010. I was a sophomore in college. My roommate agreed to watch a friend’s cat for a while. His name was Lucifer. Yes, Lucifer. And – to my horror – the cat attached itself to my room of all places. (We later found out that the girl who used to live in my room had cats, so this explains why every animal we ever let inside our house gravitated to my room at one point.) At first, I tried to fight him. I kept my door closed – even when I went to the kitchen for a snack – and I avoided him as I went to and from class, especially when he peered at me through cracked doors or parted blinds.
Then, time passed. I started petting him. He purred – which was cool – and he liked tuna as much as I did. Overtime, I settled. I let him in my room, and he watched birds from my window. What can I say? He grew on me. But there was one moment in particular that convinced me to love cats again.
He was sleeping in my bathroom sink. I shared the bathroom with my roommate, and at first, he would leave if we turned on the sink. Then, eventually, he stuck to his guns, and he would sit in the falling water with a smug grin (I swear – an actual grin) on his cat face.
He reminded me of the Cheshire cat from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
I laughed so hard that I cried. Even I had to admit it: I liked cats again. I liked them a lot. They were different from dogs, but I liked different. (I still like dogs, of course.)
That’s when the owner came and got him.
The house was quiet. No more cat in the sink. No more cat begging for tuna while I used the can opener. No more cat scratching at my door. No more cat anywhere.
It was lonely.
After careful consideration, I decided I wanted my own kitty cat. In fact, I bought all of the cat’s supplies before I even looked. The last thing I wanted to do was to get a cat and be ill-prepared. I had a climbing tower, a litter box, a pound of food, and even more toys. All before I looked for a kitty. In fact, I had so much stuff for a cat that visitors thought I had a cat, even before I actually had one.
So I was a little bit ahead of myself…but it worked out, because there was a Christmas sale at Wayside Waifs.
I was just going to look. I swear. My dad was driving, and I still remember what he said on the drive up there, “You will know her when you see her.” (He said “her” because I was set on a female black cat that I could name Luna – after Sailor Moon, of course.) I laughed off his cheesy advice as just that – cheesy. I didn’t know how right he would be.
We entered the cat part. I remember seeing a tabby cat and one grey one that walked around like he owned the place. Then, we turned a corner.
I’m not even kidding when I say this: We met eyes, and I knew.
I practically flew across the room with excitement. I didn’t know if he was a girl or a boy. I just knew that the little kitten was the “one.” I was filled with absolute delight. Bogart – at the time, he was named “Mikey” – just stared up at me with a mixture of confusion and horror. (But don’t worry. He warmed up to me.)
I played with him, and I still knew. Wayside Waifs made me play with three other black cats (his siblings) but I still knew. “Mikey” was mine. I signed the paperwork, and his name was officially Bogart. (Named after Humphrey Bogart, of course.)
Now – for the sad part: his past.
Bogart was found in a box on the side of a highway with his three siblings – two girls and one boy. His ears were badly damaged, and the kittens weren’t in good shape. It took four months for them to heal up well enough (and get big enough) for Wayside Waifs to put him and his brother in one cage and his sisters in another. I was the second person to play with Bogart, and the only person to take him home. We had to wait a few weeks because Wayside Waifs was waiting for him to gain enough weight for neutering. (They neuter and spay all of their animals.) But that Christmas was pretty fantastic.
Since then, Bogart and I have been through a lot together.
We’ve made friends, went on walks, and hung out with family.
We’ve moved, and then we moved again.
We’ve blogged. (No, seriously, he has blogged on here before.) And we’ve worked so hard that we’ve passed out on my laptop.
So we took a break and drank a lot of coffee. (Okay. So I drank the coffee.)
But – most of all – we became best friends. He is my pal. My buddy. My black cat. My Bo-Bo, Fatten, Bo-kitty, Bogie, little panther – my Bogart. And now you know the story behind the little (okay, 18 lb.) cat that I share on here.
Remember: I am still accepting questions and comments about my latest novel, Take Me Tomorrow. If you ask a question or comment, leave your website in the commetns below, and I will link to you on Friday’s post when I announce even more!
9:00 a.m. update: I’m in the University Daily Kansan!Read this article about my experiences here.
I REALLY wanted to record a video of me reading what I read at the Undergraduate Reading Series (that way, you could experience what the audience did) but, just as I said on the 9th, my camera isn’t working.
So what do I do?
I’m uploading PDF files of what I’ve read :] If you click any of the links below, it will open, and you can read that particular piece.
At the event I read nonfiction, poetry, and fiction. I did this, because I love experimenting in genres outside my norm (so anything that isn’t sci-fi/fantasy YA fiction.) I think trying new genres is really important for learning, and, because of this, I’ve studied nonfiction, poetry, fiction, and screenwriting at the University of Kansas (and in my free time, of course.)
But, without further my rambling (because I could), I’ll introduce my nonfiction piece:
From my memoir “To become a (woe)man” I explain how being motherless since 11 years old has effected my life up until now. I’m really excited to be sharing this piece, because it’s currently competing in a publication competition, not to mention some of the most important moments of my life. This particular scene is the day after my mother died.
After poetry, I read from a fiction piece of mine. In reality, this fiction piece is from a fantasy novel, but, from the excerpt, you will not be able to tell. I did this on purpose. Readings don’t always give you enough time to explain the setting or the characters, so you have to adjust to your audience. I decided to read a small romantic scene–one where my protagonists are looking at the stars. Read it here: FictionExcerpt
I hope you enjoyed reading my pieces as much as I enjoyed sharing them!
“The Undergraduate Reading Series showcases exceptional student work from the University of Kansas in a variety of genres…The KU Undergraduate Reading Series kicks off the spring semester with an evening of dazzling student work! Come join us for an evening filled with engrossing poetry, fiction, and short plays. Our February event features the following talented undergraduate writers:
If you’re in Kansas this upcoming Wednesday (Feb. 6th), I’d love to see some of you there (and meet!) but I understand many of you don’t live in Kansas or have free time. Both of these links have information: Facebook event & GoodReads event.
Special thanks to poet, Megan Kaminski, for making all of this possible. Read her interview on the Poetry Foundation here.
As many of you already know, I’m studying to get my bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing. Because of that, I’m in two writing courses this semester—Poetry and Nonfiction. I’m really excited for what this semester will bring. I’m sure I will have the wonderful opportunity to connect with other passionate readers and writers (just like the magnificent opportunity this website has brought me by introducing us!)
For fun, I thought I’d share what books we’re reading in regards to these subjects. Maybe you’ve already read them, or maybe you’ll think about picking them up. Either way, I’m sure I’ll review them as time passes, and I hope you all can gain as much as I hopefully will from them.