Thursday, September 19, 2013

Alex J Cavanaugh: I Didn’t Want to be an Author

Today is a very special day. I'm deeply honoured and pleased to welcome here, the irrepressible, Ninja Captain himself, Alex J Cavanaugh
Take it away, Alex

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I Didn’t Want to be an Author
It’s true! I wasn’t one of those people who’d dreamed of being an author since I was young. I enjoyed writing stories as a teen, but writing a book just never crossed my mind. Music was a greater passion and it was my college minor. After college, even that was put aside as I ventured into advertising and design and eventually computer work.

Several years ago, I found an old manuscript in a drawer. It wasn’t complete, but it was the longest thing I’d ever written. Created when I was a teen, it was awful. But I remembered the characters well, as they’d appeared in a few other stories. Despite the terrible writing, the characters were solid, so on a whim I started to write a brand new story.

A year and a half later, and after torturing my two test readers and my wife (who still read my manuscripts to this day – bless them!), I finally had what I thought was a much better story. My wife then prodded me to submit it for publication. I started researching online and quickly decided agents were out of my league, especially as I had no other writing credits. (And I didn’t think working on technical manuals would count.) So I made a list of science fiction publishers and started there. After numerous rejections, I widened my search to include more genres, and finally Dancing Lemur Press said yes.

And then I heard the scariest words ever – you need to get your butt online and build a platform.

Somehow I managed to do that through blogging and Twitter. CassaStar was released and I stumbled my way through a blog tour.

After it was over, I heard the next scariest words ever – when is the sequel coming out?

Sequel? What sequel? I only planned to write one book. Somehow I managed to stumble my way through another manuscript, relying on an old short story to get me through. With the help of three critique partners, I polished it and sent it to my publisher, and they set a release date.

A funny thing happened not long after that – almost a year after its release, CassaStar soared up the Amazon charts. It hung in the top one hundred for science fiction for months, which blew my mind. With CassaStar doing so well and CassaFire just two months from its release, my publisher asked if I could write one more and make it a trilogy.

I labored over the outline for months. By the time I actually started writing it, both of my books were Amazon best sellers and had soared to the top of the charts in the UK as well. Talk about pressure! I had to end the series with a bang so I wouldn’t disappoint the fans. Now I know why authors have meltdowns…

I never planned to become an author. And yet, here I am now, with three books to my credit, as CassaStorm was released on Tuesday. It’s been the craziest journey but a total blessing.

So, beware those old manuscripts hiding in drawers. You just might open Pandora’s Box and find yourself in the unlikely role of an author!

Thanks again, Lynda – you rock!

--
CassaStorm
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

…the racial conflicts propelled much of the plot in this story, driving home a message that's relevant to our own world and giving the book an interesting texture.”
- C. Lee McKenzie, author of Alligators Overhead

Cavanaugh has created wonderfully moving moments of great poignancy… CassaStorm could have been a dark story full of hardship and angst, but instead it's a cleverly balanced story about hope and triumph.”
- Lynda R. Young, author of Make Believe


$16.95 USA, 6x9 Trade paperback, 268 pages, Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
Science fiction/adventure and science fiction/space opera
Print ISBN 9781939844002 eBook ISBN 9781939844019
$4.99 EBook available in all formats

Find CassaStorm:


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.

Website, Twitter, Goodreads


Book trailer


87 comments:

  1. Alex - the most epic Ninja Captain to grace the web.

    Once the dust has settled from CassaStorm's release, they'll be hounding you for more - perhaps some short stories that bridge the gaps between Star and Fire, and Fire and Storm :)

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    1. Ooh! I like your thinking, Jamie!!! Yes, yes! Short stories!!! Or a spin off novel covering Bassan's story!!!

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    2. I second that suggestion, Jamie and Lynda.

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    3. Maybe we can start a petition... think that would work? (giggle)

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  2. Yes, the trilogy is complete, excellent your support to Alex!

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  3. Nice to see Alex here! CassaStorm is generating a bit of a whirlwind, too.

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  4. I guess some people are born to greatness, others have it thrust upon them, and some have to be prodded by the wife. Pretty sure Cassastorm will make it three out of three bestsellers.

    mood
    Moody Writing

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  5. A most unique writing journey!
    And it's interesting to note that music was Alex's minor while at college. Never knew that.

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  6. I think it's amazing when people become authors without planning to. Good interview and congrats Alex.

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  7. Jamie, thanks! They are already asking for those short stories. I'm in trouble...

    Moddy, I'm the latter. And hope so!

    Michelle, that's why music is so important to me.

    Sheena-kay, I was an accident waiting to happen.

    Lynda, thanks again - I can tell today will be fun!

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  8. Although I have read various interviews involving you, Alex, I always find your story inspiring. Thanks Lynda for the great post, you too Alex.

    I am sure CassaStorm will be a success. I can't wait to read it.

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  9. That is so cool that you went the publisher route first and it totally worked out for you and your goals. Just a great example of knowing what you want. :)

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    1. I like that he didn't give up after the first rejection.

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  10. What an awesome road to publication story. So glad your books have done so well. Hope you'll write more stories for us.

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  11. Your story is so cool! I'd didn't know that you skipped the agent route.
    You are livin' the dream, Alex, and an absolute icon to writers just starting out.

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  12. I love that Alex's story had been hiding out in a drawer for so long. Glad it found it's way to the light!! :)

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  13. Carolyn, thank you!

    Laura, I just knew an agent wasn't for me.

    Natalie, we'll see!

    Huntress, thank you.

    Jemi, although that first version will never see the light of day!

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  14. Congrats, Alex! I've enjoyed reading your journey to publication and beyond. . .thanks!

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  15. Congratulations, Alex! We're so glad you picked up that manuscript again. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

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  16. Funny how fate played its hand with Alex...it was it his DESTINY!

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  17. Thank, Jarm!

    Christine, and I almost didn't.

    David, guess it was!

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  18. It does just sorta creep up on you sometimes, planned or not, now have three books to your lot. Congrats once more

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  19. It's always interesting to hear an author's story, even moreso if they are the reluctant type. :-) Congrats, Alex! You're an inspiration.

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  20. Well I am glad that you kept your manuscript and decided to pull it out of that drawer! Your wife was right to push you forward and I believe you got very lucky with your publisher, they have done a good job with your continued journey. I really hope this is not the end.

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  21. Usually on these tours I visit one blog about the book and let the rest go, but come on, this is Lynda and Alex we're talking about here! So...

    Alex, perhaps all this is to bring to light your true talent that you never knew existed. A trilogy under your belt. Yeah, a real non-writer! HA!

    Congrats on your successes.

    M.L. Swift, Writer

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  22. Thanks so much for sharing this, Alex! It's easy to think of you as being in a completely different realm (best selling author and all) but this story gives me hope. To think that one day I might go back to one of those messy manuscripts written for NaNo and make something out of it is blissfully encouraging. Makes me want to keep writing.
    Congrats again!

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  23. You just distinguished the difference between a writer and an author. I doubt many kids think of being an author, but your creativity was there early on and just couldn't stay hidden in a draw. So happy for all your successes. Can we please see a photo of you now?

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  24. Wow, I can't believe you didn't plan to become an author but somehow stuck it out to write an entire novel. That's not easy to do!

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  25. Very inspiring post! Love the line about watching out for old manuscripts :)

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  26. Pandora Box doesn't seem so bad if its hiding a bestselling author version of you inside lol

    Congrats Alex ;)

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  27. Pat, it crept!

    Thanks, Karen.

    Siv, we'll see!

    Mike, a non author with three books. Wild!

    Bev, go back to those old ones. You might find a gem.

    Leigh, the above is the best I can do! Camera shy.

    Libby and Meradeth, thanks.

    SK, I opened a box all right!

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  28. *wondering if I have a Pandora's box hidden around this joint*

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  29. I never planned on becoming an author either. It's amazing life can take us on such unexpected journeys! Glad you found and submitted that old manuscript. :)

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    1. Now I want to know your writing story too, Julie.

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  30. I always love reading how Alex didn't plan on becoming a writer and three books later he's a rock star. It's just so inspiring! Every visit to his blog is inspiring. He is just so selfless.

    All the best, Alex!!

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  31. You may have backed your way into being the author of a trilogy, Alex, but you certainly are a success at it! :-)

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  32. Cathy, you might!

    Julie, good to know it wasn't just me!

    Elsie, appreciate that!

    Lexa, all an accident, but a pleasant one. (Better than a kitchen accident anyway.)

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  33. What a story, Alex. One of surprise and inspiriation!

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  34. It's a great story of your journey, Alex. Be careful what you don't wish for. You may end up making it happen, right?

    Thanks, Alex and Lynda.

    xoRobyn

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  35. Hi, Lynda and Alex,

    Well done on your part Alex. What you've done is impressive for someone who had not wish to be a writer.

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  36. Firstly, hello Lynda! :) It's incredible to think we might never reach our potential, be who we were meant to be. We can all take a leaf out of Alex's lesson. Stop wondering, stop hiding away in dusty draws, go be all you can be. You're an inspiration Alex. But I'm sure, after a break, your characters (new or old) will badger you to tell their stories eventually. X

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    1. I think that's what most of Alex's readers are hoping for too. I know I am!! ;)

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  37. It's ironic how many writers did not set out to publish their works. Me, I wanted to be an artist and thought this is how I would make a living. Life is so strange. Destination unknown.

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    1. I didn't realise you wanted to be an artist! How wonderful! Do you still do art, or has it taken a back seat now with all your writing?

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  38. Wow, Alex. What an interesting story. I love your beware line for old manuscripts hiding in drawers! I'm glad you picked it up though, clearly your stories were meant to be shared and loved.

    Thanks for the great post Lynda :)

    www.anythingimagined.blogspot.com

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  39. Okay, y'all. It's now official. I, too, have succumbed to Cassa Fever. Yep, it's true. Each new blog post I read about the new release, the more I considered reading the ninja captain's series. So what if sci fi isn't my usual reading choice? The pressure was growing, I tell ya. So I finally ordered book one today, with full intentions of ordering the other two later. What can I say? Resistance was futile. HA! I'm already highly impressed with Alex's online presence, and I'm sure I'll be wowed by his books, as well.

    Love this post, by the way. It sounds like our ninja is an accidental author...

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    1. The beauty of his books is that they can be enjoyed by non-scifi lovers as well. There's a real human element to the stories.

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  40. Alex, I enjoyed reading about how you wrote your trilogy. I can't believe that this manuscript languished in your drawer for so long. It was a trilogy destined for success. Mrs Ninja Captain sure is one supportive lady :)

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  41. Robyn, exactly!

    Shah, we'll find out.

    Susan, thank you! Much appreciated.

    Rachna, I wrote when ready.

    Thanks, everyone - you guys rock!!

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  42. That's how my first book was written. From stories I wrote when I was a teenager dragon. Only difference is that while you didn't dream to become an author and then that changed, I did want to become an author and then that changed. Very interesting story, as all I've read in this tour.

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  43. Fun to hear your story, Alex! Wow, really, you never intended it to be a trilogy? That must've been a pressure, for sure. Congrats on the success so far, and best wishes for the third installment!!! Thanks, Lyn, for the guest post. :)

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  44. This truly is an amazing story. Congrats.

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  45. I enjoy reading about you around the blogosphere. I learn something more about you every time. Best of luck with CassaStorm. :)

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  46. Very intriguing Alex:) I think I recall you mentioning some of this before on your blog, but it's great to see how the story of your writing has evolved:)

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  47. Al, we traded places...

    Carol, had no intentions...

    Thanks, Mina, Melissa, and Mark!

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  48. Alex - it's hard not to love reluctant heroes . . . especially a reluctant hero author like yourself who makes a difference each day in the blogging world. You rock, Alex!

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  49. I'm seeing the Alex love all over the place! Ain't it grand? Super inspiring story Alex. Look at all the writers who heart you, pal. :-) Hey Lynda!

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    1. All the support for Alex so heartening. I'm so happy for him.

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  50. I love Alex's story of publication. Sometimes our life path falls into our lap when we're not paying attention. :)

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  51. Hmmm. Be careful what you don't wish for?

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  52. Tyrean, thank you! That means a lot.

    Robyn, thanks!

    PK, I wasn't paying attention...

    Liza - clever!

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  53. Love your story. I bet a lot of those editors who rejected you wished they'd read a little deeper.

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  54. Well, I hope my women's fiction trilogy has similar journey; but I'm at least publishing short stories now and again.

    Good luck with CassaStorm Alex, I'm sure it will be your best seller yet.

    So, when does the new series come out?

    Hi Lynda; hope you have a good weekend.

    .......dhole

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    1. I did have a great weekend. Thanks, Donna. I tend to switch the internet off over the weekends, so I'm a little slow catching up on Mondays.

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  55. Congratulations to Alex! And I think that's interesting that he also didn't intend for there to be a sequel at first, let alone a third book in the series. It shows that readers became attached to the characters.

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  56. Love learning more about you, Alex. It's amazing to know you.

    Hi Lynda!

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  57. Hi Lynda. (:
    Alex, it's cool you were able to skip the agent and I'm sure this last book in your series will be a hit.

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  58. Susan, considering where my books are now sitting on the charts, they just might.

    Donna, I would have to write one first.

    Joylene and Elise, thanks!

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  59. You didn't really want to be a writer? Wow! Look at your success in writing. Just imagine if you really WANTED to be a writer!!! LOL.. Congratulations and best wishes on your trilogy.

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  60. Alex, CONGRATS on your latest release. Thanks for sharing your story on how your books came to publication. I found it interesting that you didn't want to be an author. CONGRATS on your success!



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  61. JQ, I know! If I'd only known then...

    Susanne, thanks - it's the truth.

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  62. I love reading people's publication journeys!
    I'm sure there are a number of jealous writers out there who HAVE planned to be authors and it hasn't happened yet for them!

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  63. Huh, I've never even published 1 thing, let alone 3.

    I'm impressed.

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  64. Nice work.

    I admit when my short was accepted I was surprise. I expected a long list of rejections. I know the next I submit will fall into that category and I'm ready.

    It won't stop me, but I'm ready. :-)

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  65. DW, you will!

    Emaginette, you know it can happen but if it won't stop you, that's all that counts.

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  66. Things don't always go the way you thought they would, do they? I've actually read a few posts in the past month or so that have said something along the lines of "This isn't where I pictured myself at this point in my life or at this age, but hey, here I am!" You didn't want to be an author, but you had some very nice success when you became one. Cheers to you, Alex. I'm sure there are plenty of aspiring authors out there who wish they were so talented and lucky.

    Thanks for hosting Alex, Lynda.

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    1. luck and hard work go hand in hand, methinks. Ha, even talent is nothing without the hard work behind it.

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  67. So much fun to spot Alex across the various blogs!

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  68. Congrats to Alex on his final successful blog tour!

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  69. I like Alex more and more everyday. I love his story and can relate to it. I'm so glad his trilogy is complete and well received.

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  70. What a journey Alex has had! He's a great guy, and I'm so glad he's found success!

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  71. But, Alex, what was an old manuscript doing in your drawer in the first place. I think you had a secret yearning that suddenly bubbled to the surface without warning. I wonder what other secret yearnings you have...can't wait to see what you do next. Will I see you acting on the big screen? Touring the country with you music? Stay tuned, folks. Alex is on the move.

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  72. Bonnee, I'd tell them it's all in the timing.

    Thanks, Eternal!

    Patricia - funny! Not likely though. And it was probably there because my wife never throws out anything.

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