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I taught myself to read when I was four. Now, I really don’t deserve any praise for it. My mother was a teacher, my grandmother had been a teacher and my sister decided as a first grader that it was her duty to teach me everything she was learning. My parents were surprised when I read a newspaper headline but not as surprised as learning that all I ever wanted to be was a writer.
They loved me and supported me, of course. But I know that deep inside they were thinking “A writer? A writer? A writer!!!”
My first success as a writer came when I was in the fourth grade and won an essay contest. My first-plane entry garnered me my photo in the newspaper, a savings bond and a trip to the local TB hospital. Looking back, that may not have been the best reward ever. But I remember thinking how cool it was – it was super easy and people gave me stuff.
So I earned a journalism degree and set off to conquer the newspaper world. I’m sure my parents were proud of me even those I’d chosen a career with crummy hours, so-so pay and minimal respect. Yet I discovered rewards I hadn’t learned in my writing and editing classes.
That I’d walk into someone’s kitchen and see a column I’d written on the front of their refrigerator.
That someone I’d forgotten meeting would ask me if I remembered the time I interviewed them.
How even on the bad days, I’d realize I was blessed with a career that gave me freedom, great friends and a chance to affect people with the way I put words together.
But even as I moved up to an editor’s spot and hung writing awards on my wall, ideas for the other kind of stories – made up stories – circled in my brain. So I played with short stories, tried out poetry and finally realized what I was meant to do.
My first attempts shall remain forever hidden from all but my loved ones who will inherit them upon my death. They’re already preparing to haul the manuscripts out, read them page by page and make cruel fun of them. I figure it will cheer them after they discover my estate consists of a Mac Apple IIe and a photo of me with Barbara Bush after having tea at the White House.
It took time. But I attended workshops and read articles by fantastic writers and bought books and wrote. And wrote and wrote. Eventually I screwed up the courage to submit.
And submit and submit. Which, as one might guess, brought me rejection after rejection.
Until a publisher asked for a full. And an agent agreed to represent me. And a few contest wins for my fiction and, eventually, an offer to publish the first in my Shadow Ancient vampire series, “Out of the Shadows.”
That’s when Cammie Eicher appeared on the literary scene. Cat Shaffer made her debut a year or two later when it became obvious to me that having one persona for the gritty paranormal books and another for works that were, well, not gritty paranormal books were a good idea.
I’ve been blessed to write for two publishers, Resplendence Publishing and Turquoise Morning Press, who have given me the go-ahead on a variety of books. My most recent Cat Shaffer release is Academy for Losers, the first in The Non-Magicals series, and is aimed at young adults.
Why young adult? Because Cammie’s books are aimed at adults and the kids from the youth group at my church wanted me to write something they could read. It’s taken a few years, but Academy for Losers is the result.
I love the characters, I love the happenings at the Academy and I’m so excited that the powers-that-be at Turquoise Morning want more. Yes, two more adventures of The Non-Magicals will be coming out in 2015.
So what have I learned since fourth grade?
Writing is harder than I thought back then. Editors are meaner to writers than kind small-town teachers. There is no support group as fantastic as my fellow authors.
And it’s so much easier to hit a deadline when you don’t have a cat laying on the keyboard.
Who knew that being less than special could make Violet Greene so extraordinary?
for her total lack of natural magic, Violet Greene figures life as she knows it
is over. She soon discovers that there’s more for her at this Academy for
Losers than vocational classes. Like totally cool new friends, the cutest boy
she’s ever met and an unexpected talent with lawnmower engines—as well as a
chance to use the art of prestidigitation at the county spelling bee. Hempstead Academy
Life would be perfect if only she didn’t have to thwart a nosy guidance counselor, survive her classes without maiming anyone, and figure out how to ace a report on the most boring book ever.
Suspense author Cat Shaffer is a native of
Northwest Ohio. She now lives in
with a bossy Sheltie, a
rambunctious Lab puppy and a trio
of cats who think they rule the world. Kentucky
In her alter ego of Cammie Eicher, she writes paranormal suspense, including the Shadow Ancient vampires series.
Cat/Cammie has books in both digital and print formats, most of them suspense novels. She also has her first young adult novel, "Academy for Losers," slated for release this fall, the story of a non-magical girl in a world where what matters most is magic.
The common thread to all of Cat/Cammie's works are strong characters, plots with twist and turns and her love of small towns and small town people, all presented with a sense of humor.
Contact Cat at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook.