Spin Cycle: Teaching and Writing

With all the book launch craziness going on lately, I haven’t had much time for blog posts, but I promised my launch team friend Ginny Marie that I’d get back on this blogging business! This week’s Spin Cycle topic of teaching seemed like a good time to do so.

I certainly know something about teaching. I’ve been doing it for . . . well, never mind how long I’ve been teaching. I was just excited today when my sixth graders found out I’ve been at our school for eight years, and one of them said, “Really? I didn’t think you were that old!” I’d give the kid an A for that comment, but he’s already getting one! ;)

I’ve debated quite a bit about what exactly to say. On a recent guest blog post, I’ve already talked about how my careers as a writer and as a teacher have overlapped, so I thought I’d take this topic one step further and talk about what exactly has been happening lately.

Angelhood 2 1400x2100The regulars around here know that last month my young adult novel Angelhood was released by Vinspire Publishing. It’s been an exciting time, but I haven’t been sharing it with my students. Some have wondered why not. Aren’t they my target audience? Couldn’t it create some teachable moments?

I have, in the past, shared some of my writing successes with my students. For example, several years ago, I had a Highlights magazine article published about a former student and the experiment he had on one of the final space shuttle missions. It was a perfect story to share with the students because it was about one of their peers!

When I was published in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book two years ago, one of my coworkers insisted on printing out the local newspaper article and having it hung outside the school office. To be honest, I cringed a bit. The story itself had nothing to do with school and was really aimed at a more general adult audience. Nonetheless, there was nothing inappropriate in the story, so I let it go.

Now, however, I have a young adult novel published. It’s the story of a troubled girl who finds herself in the position of being a guardian angel after her own tragic death. Since it deals with guardian angels, it’s filed under the category of “Christian fiction” on Amazon. Since it deals with difficult topics such as suicide and drug use, it’s definitely more “young adult” than “middle grade.” For those two reasons, I am not discussing the book at my public middle school with an extremely diverse student body.

I treasure my role as a teacher. When I’m there, it’s my job to help my students reach their potential. It’s not my job to sell books when I’m at school. I’m there for my students, not to toot my own horn.

Nonetheless, you can never underestimate the Googling abilities of middle school students. I’m not sure who started it, but somebody found me . . . perhaps on Instagram or Twitter or Facebook. Or maybe they just found this website. Either way, there are murmurings at school about my book.

A few students have been bold enough to come right out and ask about it. Sometimes I have a little fun with them when they ask something like, “When is your book coming out?” and I respond, “Oh, you mean my Chicken Soup book? That came out two years ago.”

And other times, when I feel like they’re asking just to change the topic in class, I say, “We’re not talking about that right now. We’re talking about your writing. Now let’s get back to it.”

Lovely gifts from some lovely students for teacher appreciation week!

Lovely gifts from some lovely students for teacher appreciation week!

Teaching is a really special career. It can be frustrating, demanding, and heartbreaking, but it can also mean lots of wonderful moments watching kids blossom in ways you’d never expected or finally seeing that light bulb go on over their head. I wouldn’t want to do anything to take away from that. Therefore, when it’s appropriate, I’ll discuss my own writing in class, and when I feel it’s not, then I’ll hold back. In the end, I’m going to do what’s best for my students, and that means focusing on their writing, not on mine.

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Three Giveaways!

Did you know I have three giveaways going on right now? Enter to win!

  1. On Emilie Hendryx’s “Thinking Thoughts” blog, she is giving away a copy of my book Angelhood and a copy of Misty Beller’s The Lady and the Mountain Doctor. Just comment on the blog to tell her which one you’d like to win. Click here to enter. Also on the same page, I discuss who would play me in a movie version of my life. :)  This contest ends May 11.
  2. On Patti Shene’s Teens of Today and Tomorrow, I’m giving away an ebook copy of Angelhood. This contest ends May 18. Enter here. Also on this blog post, I talk about why teens like fantasy so much and how my careers of teaching and writing overlap.
  3. On Sara Ella’s blog, I’m the “Featured Author” this weekend. Come find out what made me want to be a writer, how I deal with rejection, and what I’d do if I got to hang out with my characters for a day. The ebook giveaway on this blog runs until May 31. You can read the post and enter to win here.

And if you just can’t wait to read Angelhood, don’t forget that all ebook copies are still only $1.99. You can find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks.

Angelhood 2 1400x2100

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More reviews, blog tour stops, and giveaways!

First, thanks to everyone who turned out for the Facebook party and Twitter contest last Thursday night. I had a blast! I’ll be blogging about the experience on the Seekerville blog on Memorial Day, so stop by then to find out a bunch of behind-the-scenes workings of a Facebook party.

In the meantime, the blog tour and giveaways continue! Here’s a roundup:

  • On April 24, Pegg Thomas wrote this lovely 5-star review of Angelhood on The Sheepish Scribe.
  • On April 27, Pegg Thomas interviewed me over at the Quid Pro Quills website. Hope you didn’t miss that giveaway!
  • On April 30, I guest blogged over on Johnnie Alexander’s blog about my collection of angel paraphernalia.
  • Also on April 30, Rabia Lieber wrote this awesome review of Angelhood on her blog.

Coming up this week:

And still more to come!

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Deal for Heather Letto’s Impervious

Some of you may remember me talking about Heather Letto’s book Impervious a while back. Well, the sequel is now up for pre-order, and Heather asked me to share the news with you all.

If you haven’t read Impervious yet but were thinking you might be interested in it, now’s a good time to try it out. If you pre-order the sequel Implanted, you can get the original for free! Check out the deal in the banner below.


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Twitter Contest! Let’s fill the Twittersphere with angels! (er . . . #Angelhood)

In addition to the Fabulous Facebook Book Launch Party on April 30 (you are coming, aren’t you?), we’ll be holding a Twitter contest that night as well. To be entered to win an autographed copy of my young adult novel Angelhood, simply send out tweets with #Angelhood any time between 6-9 p.m. CDT on Thursday, April 30.

The more tweets you send, the more entries you’ll receive. Let’s see if we can’t get #Angelhood trending Thursday night!

Here are some tweets you can use. Or feel free to make up your own. Just remember the #Angelhood hashtag!

Tweet: Enter to win #YA books, including #Angelhood , right now at the Facebook party for @AJCattapan : http://ctt.ec/6J0uW+

Tweet: Enter to win an autographed copy of #Angelhood by @AJCattapan over at Goodreads: http://ctt.ec/YAO3D+ #yafiction #giveaway #freebooks

Tweet: Join me now at the Facebook launch party for #Angelhood by @AJCattapan Tons of #giveaways: http://ctt.ec/4xr6S+

Tweet: #Angelhood by @AJCattapan is only $1.99 on Kindle right now. Check it out: http://ctt.ec/tPeaV+ #yalit #yafiction #Christianfiction

Tweet: Enter the Twitter contest to win an autographed copy of #Angelhood by @AJCattapan http://ctt.ec/5WzMb+ #yalit #yafiction


Posted in Angelhood, Giveaway, young adult | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Enter to win an autographed copy of my book!

For an autographed copy of my book, enter my Goodreads giveaway:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Angelhood by A.J. Cattapan


by A.J. Cattapan

Giveaway ends May 01, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to Win

Enter to win an ebook copy of Angelhood during my Facebook party on April 30.


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Monday Book Review: The Thorn Bearer by Pepper Basham

I’m going to take another brief break from my usual middle grade and YA book reviews to bring you a beautiful inspirational historical fiction book by one of my “publishing sisters” (as I like to call her) Pepper Basham. Pepper is also a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), and our books both recently released in Kindle from Vinspire Publishing. In fact, it just so happened that my Angelhood released in Kindle and paperback on Amazon on the same day that Pepper’s The Thorn Bearer released on Kindle. The paperback version of The Thorn Bearer will release on May 7, the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Lusitania (’cause her book has to do with the sinking of the Lusitania!).

thethornbearer-500x750-1Title: The Thorn Bearer

Author: Pepper Basham

Genre: Inspirational historical fiction

Synopsis: Ashleigh Dougall has endured more than is one woman’s share. First, horrendous sexual abuse at the hands of her own father. Then, being jilted by her fiance when he learns she is a “tainted woman.” Not too mention, there’s a long-standing coolness between her and her sister. Seeking a fresh start, she decides to take her nursing skills overseas to England where she will start an orphanage after caring for the wounded soldiers of World War I. Unfortunately, the problems with her plan are multiple. First, Ashleigh’s ex-fiance is on the same boat. Second, also on the boat is her sister’s ex-fiance for whom Ashleigh is developing feelings. Third, the boat they’re all on is the ill-fated Lusitania.

It’s pretty rare I pull my head out of middle grade and young adult fiction to read something intended for actual adults, but how could I resist this story from my “publishing sister”? And I’m glad I didn’t. Pepper’s characters are vivid and fun! Definitely people worth caring for! During the sinking of the Lusitania, she’ll have your heart pumping. I never like to give too much away, but if you enjoyed the movie Titanic and enjoyed the World War I episodes of Downton Abbey (when they were caring for the injured soldiers right at the house), you’ll enjoy The Thorn Bearer.

You can find Pepper on her website here and find The Thorn Bearer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It’s currently only $2.99 for the Kindle and Nook versions. (Rumor has it the price will be going up, so buy now!)

Posted in Book Reviews, Historical | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Blog Tour Stop #1

The Angelhood blog tour has begun! Stop by Ginny Marie’s blog Lemon Drop Pie to see what she had to say after reading my book.

Here’s a sampling of her review: “Cattapan deftly weaves Nanette’s story into despair and back into the light; it is a story that will capture your imagination and keep it captive until the very end.”

Click here to read the rest.

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Are you a teen who loves to read? Or do you know a teen who’s passionate about YA books?

I’m looking for teens to join my Angelhood Street Team. What’s involved and what do you get by being a member?

Angelhood 2 1400x2100

To be a member of the Angelhood Street Team, you must . . .

  1. be a teenager (ages 13-19)
  2. follow me on Instagram.
  3. come up with at least two ways you’ll help me spread excitement about my upcoming young adult book Angelhood.

What will you get in return?

Five bookmarks to share with your friends!

Five bookmarks to share with your friends!

  1. five of my awesome bookmarks
  2. entries into special exclusive drawings only for Street Team members (we’re talking autographed books, iTunes gift cards, cool book swag, etc.)
  3. the ability to brag that you were on my original Street Team before I become the next cool young adult author a la J.K. Rowling, Veronica Roth, or Suzanne Collins. :)

How do you become a member of the Angelhood Street Team?

Simply contact me and send me your mailing address (so I can mail you the bookmarks) and then tell me at least two (or more!) ways you will help me spread excitement about my book.

Will you . . .

  • post a pic of you with the Angelhood bookmarks on your Instagram account?
  • tell all your friends (via Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) that they must attend my awesome Facebook launch party on April 30?
  • post a youtube video talking about how excited you are about the book?
  • read the book and then post reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads?
  • create a book trailer for Angelhood?
  • get all your friends to follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook?
  • interview me for your school newspaper?
  • come up with something even more creative????

And remember, I’m an English teacher, so the more specific you are about exactly what, how, when, and where you will help me build excitement, the better! If your ideas sound really fantastic, I’ll even throw in some extra bookmarks for you. :)

Posted in Angelhood, Giveaway, young adult | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments