Monday, September 30, 2013

Alex Cavanaugh Visits: The Storm Has Arrived

In case you hadn't heard, Alex J. Cavanaugh's third book, CassaStorm, made its debut this month. He joins us today to share about his journey. 

Welcome back to Write Now, Alex! Congratulations on your latest release, CassaStorm! This is the third book in the trilogy, after CassaStar and CassaFire. What inspired you to write this series? Did you intend for it to be a trilogy? 

Hey Karen! Glad to be back. The original version of CassaStar was written when I was a teen, inspired by Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, and other science fiction shows and movies. I rewrote it and intended for it to be the only book. My fans (and publisher) had other ideas. They inspired me to write the other books. Or maybe the word is persuaded? Close enough! 

Close enough, lol, yes! You are also a musician – does your music inspire your writing? Or vice versa?

I’ve been a musician for almost forty years. It does indeed inspire my writing. I think music is a powerful tool for visualizing and feeling the emotional impact of a scene. Often ideas come to me while I am playing and if I play that piece a few times in a row, the idea is etched in my mind. 

It is interesting how other parts of our lives influence our writing, isn't it? What is the best writing advice you’ve received to date? 

It’s not really advice, but it made a huge difference in the way I wrote. It took me a year and a half to write CassaStar, but only four-five months each to complete the next two books, and that includes revisions. What made the difference was signing up for NaNoWriMo. I don’t like to lose, so having a daily word count goal motivated me to write faster. I needed that, as I am basically a lazy writer. 

I'd say that's a great tip, whether officially considered advice or not! :) Are there any books by Alex C. on the horizon for 2014 and beyond? 

I’m still undecided as to whether I’ll continue writing or not. I do have an outline for another space opera, but I am so busy playing guitar in a band that I just don’t have time to write anymore. But who knows what will happen next year!

I hope you continue to write if you can work it into your schedule. Your readers will miss you! Thanks so much for stopping by. It's always great to have you here. Wishing you all the best with your books! 

Thanks, Karen!

By Alex J Cavanaugh

From the Amazon Best Selling Series!

A storm gathers across the galaxy… 

Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.

After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, threatening to destroy the boy’s mind.

Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could return. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…
“CassaStorM is a touching and mesmerizing space opera full of action and emotion with strong characters and a cosmic mystery.”
– Edi’s Book Lighhouse

“…mesmerizing story of survival, personal sacrifice, tolerance, and compassion. It’s a rare jewel that successfully utilizes both character and plot to tell a story of such immense scope and intimate passion…” - Nancy S. Thompson, author of The Mistaken

"An exciting, nail-biting read which sweeps the reader off on adventures in another galaxy."
- Nicua Shamira, Terraverum

Find CassaStorm

Book trailer 

Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He is experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The author of the Amazon bestsellers, CassaStar and CassaFire, he lives in the Carolinas with his wife. 

Find Alex:


Did you ever participate in NaNoWriMo? Do you have any questions for Alex?

Happy reading and writing,


Monday, September 23, 2013

Blog Tag

I'm It!  

Sending a big thank you to Lisa Ricard Claro of Writing in the Buff! She tagged me, and now I get to answer the following questions. :)

What are you working on right now?

My work in progress is an historical fiction novel set in colonial America. It's a collaborative project with author Susan J. Reinhardt. Both of us have had other projects on our plates this year so progress has been slow. But it's been fun and exciting to watch the book take shape. Susan and I both are seat of the pants writers and we like to give each other surprises when we hand over a completed chapter.

In addition to working on articles and blog posts, I'm brainstorming ideas for more educational books for my publisher, Helping Hands Press. I'm also taking a copyediting course and considering new lesson offerings for the online writing classes I teach.

How does the WIP differ from other works in the genre?

The book Susan and I are writing touches on a little known historic event of that era. There are additional surprises, but since this is a collaborative project, I cannot divulge any more right now. Sorry about that! We're hoping that it will offer a fresh and interesting storyline to Christian historical fiction fans.

Why do you write what you do?

I realized about fifteen years ago that I enjoy writing lessons, like those I use for teaching teens and adults online. I come from a family of teachers, but I never wanted to go into teaching, so this came as a bit of a surprise. Composing lessons involves writing but takes a different approach and role than that of a traditional classroom teacher, so maybe that's why it appeals to me.

When writing lessons, I think about material from the student's viewpoint. What can I write that will engage young minds? How can I make it fun and interesting? What will help them stretch, learn, and retain info? I've seen success in my classes with this approach; it motivates me to write more lessons that can help students learn.

I enjoy writing fiction too, although I am not sure yet how strong of a writer I am in that area. Susan seems to think I do okay, as she agreed to write the book with me. :) She's a patient teacher.

Bottom line, I enjoy writing and have long felt that I could use it to reach and encourage others in various ways. Writing is a passion that I also see as my life's work at this stage of the game.

What is the hardest part about writing?

I like all stages of the process unless I am stuck with a deadline pressing, or when editing and not sure how to rework something. I battle two things most - lack of confidence and procrastination. I'm a work in progress though, and figure there is no growth without a few bumps in the road to overcome.

Now You're It! 

I'm supposed to tag three authors, but I've decided to tag all of you. If you are willing, consider yourself tagged. If you'd rather pass, I understand. Let me know if you accept the challenge, Would love to hear your answers. :)

Coming Attractions

Alex J. Cavanuagh joins us for an interview on September 30 to celebrate the release of his latest book, Cassastorm.

Jody Hedlund's blog tour for Rebellious Heart stops here on October 7 and will include a giveaway and other surprises.

Hope you can join us!

What do you think is the hardest part about writing?
Have a great week,


P.S. Looking for writing tips for kids K-12? I'm sharing a few over at Carol Alexander's blog.

Photo credit: Stock Exchange

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Word Image

My pastor once said, “Words don’t mean anything until you see it.” He went on to discuss how the sum of the words we read or hear reveal a concept that produces a mental image. He was talking about spiritual things of course, but in addition to reflecting on the truths within, I thought about the parallel to writing.

As writers, we know this is important. But knowing and doing are two different things. How do you translate images from your mind so that readers see what you're saying?

Do you use...

Vivid images?

Sharp writing?

Similes & metaphors?

Good editing?

All of the above?

When writing fiction, such as my work in progress set in colonial America, I set scenes and action in my head, mentally sketching, observing, and compiling sensory details as I write. Resources like The Emotion Thesaurus enhance and expand the setting, action, and dialogue. Fiction author Jody Hedlund says she thinks of each scene as a stage, and you only want so many characters on the stage at a time. I like this idea; it clarifies the story and characters and limits reader confusion.

For non fiction, I've learned a lot by writing lessons. There's something about explaining concepts to others that is a catalyst for clear communication. It also helps to ditch excess words like very and really that do not boost our writing as much as we think. A balance of sensory words and specific details further shape ideas to get the point across.

Feedback from other writers is another great tool for both fiction and non fiction. Outside input illustrates how effective our words are.

What do you think? What helps you communicate with your readers?

Have a great week!

Happy writing,


P.S. Susan J. Reinhardt is hosting a Goodreads giveaway for her book, The Moses Conspiracy. Check out the details here.
Photo credit: Stock Exchange

Monday, September 9, 2013

Visiting a Friend

I am visiting the sweet and talented

If you have a moment, please come say hello.

We'd love to see you! :) 

Happy writing,


Monday, September 2, 2013

Happy September!

Education is learning what you didn’t even know you didn’t know.  

~ Daniel Boorstin


What have you learned lately that you didn't even know you didn't know? 

What's in store for your September?

Happy reading, writing, and learning,

P.S. Congratulations to Amy C., the winner of On Distant Shores by Sarah Sundin!

P.S.S. Exciting news (pardon the plug) - my book is due to release on September 5! :)

Photo credit: Stock Exchange