Friday, March 9, 2012


My guest today, is Sci-fi author, Alex Cavanaugh. I'm glad to have him visiting again, Over Coffee (psst don't tell anyone, but Alex is a favorite of mine).

Alex wasn't a blogger, nor did he have a online presence, until his first novel, CassaStar, was soon to be published. He literally went from unknown to what he is today, intrepid blogger, the host of various blogfests, and now has well over a thousand followers. Pretty amazing, isn't it? However, to achieve this calls for a lot of time. I think he mentioned his time went from fifteen minutes a day to two, sometimes three hours a day, online. That's a lot of hard work. His life changed drastically once he sold his first novel.

How, I wondered, did all that change his life? He tells us a bit about it.

Life used to be simple. I worked. I watched movies and played games. I jammed on my guitar. I volunteered at my church and spent quality time with my wife. My life wasn’t adventurous but I liked it.

And then, I found that old manuscript.

I’d enjoyed writing when I was a teen and thought it might be fun to tackle a rewrite of this story. The plot was crappy, but the characters were strong. So I spent the next couple years rewriting it and then submitting it. After many rejections, I landed a small publisher, and a release date was set.

I was told to “get my butt online,” which I did. And through blogging I met some really amazing people. They were encouraging and supportive and saw me through the release of CassaStar. I was excited and having fun.

What happened next sent me into a panic. Fans began to ask about the next book. So did my publisher. Next book? I’d never planned on more than one. You mean I had to go through the process again?

Yes, it did. And life wasn’t so simple anymore.
It has taken some serious adjustments and time management skills to make it all come together. My game playing time took the hit first, and over the past few months. I’ve seen far fewer movies. I do still play my guitar, as it’s my way of relaxing, but the jam sessions are shorter. Even time with my wife decreased. (Fortunately, she’s very understanding.)

What takes up a lot of my time now is promoting and networking. I’m blessed I can blog from work while performing my duties and during down times. I’m also on Twitter and a couple other sites. But on a busy day that can take six hours. That doesn’t count the time it takes to compose blog posts either. Or do guest posts or interviews. And since I run the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and I’m an A to Z Challenge co-host, those take time as well. Toss in the promotional requirements from my publisher, and some days it’s just insane.

Safe to say, I never planned on all of this. And I’m supposed to be working on the third book!

I won’t be able to keep up the pace forever, but there are a few things that make it worthwhile right now. Such as the amazing friends I have made online. I draw energy from their enthusiasm and triumphs. They are also the most supportive bunch of people I’ve ever met. I would’ve given up ages ago if it wasn’t for my blogger buddies.

And I would’ve given up without the support of my wife. Some days we don’t spend a lot of time together. But when we do, I make sure it is quality time. We never miss dinner together, either. That often becomes our time to talk. She’s just amazed at what I’ve accomplished so far with my books and my blog, though. And you know every guy wants to impress his wife! I also promised her a killer vacation in the next couple months, which scored one for the Ninja!

So, for any writer who is seeking publication, just be ready for the changes. (And be ready to write another book!) Know that life won’t be so simple anymore. But you know what? It will be better! 

  • Visit the author’s site and leave a comment during his book tour for a chance to win CassaFire, CassaStar, and a CassaFire tote bag and mug!



CassaStar was just the beginning...

The Vindicarn War is a distant memory and Byron’s days of piloting Cosbolt fighters are over. He has kept the promise he made to his fallen mentor and friend - to probe space on an exploration vessel. Shuttle work is dull, but it’s a free and solitary existence. The senior officer is content with his life aboard the Rennather.

The detection of alien ruins sends the exploration ship to the distant planet of Tgren. If their scientists can decipher the language, they can unlock the secrets of this device. Is it a key to the Tgren’s civilization or a weapon of unimaginable power? Tensions mount as their new allies are suspicious of the Cassan’s technology and strange mental abilities. 

To complicate matters, the Tgrens are showing signs of mental powers themselves; the strongest of which belongs to a pilot named Athee, a woman whose skills rival Byron’s unique abilities. Forced to train her mind and further develop her flying aptitude, he finds his patience strained. Add a reluctant friendship with a young scientist, and he feels invaded on every level. Excerpt

All Byron wanted was his privacy...

CassaFire is the sequel to Cavanaugh’s first book, CassaStar, an Amazon Top Ten Best Seller:

“…calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein’s early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the many Star Wars novels. Fast-paced military action and a youthful protagonist make this a good choice for both young adult and adult fans of space wars.” 

- Library Journal

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. Currently the author lives in the Carolinas with his wife.

You can visit the author’s site at
Book trailer available at


welcome to my world of poetry said...

A wonderful post, I first "Met " Alex on the first A to Z, and have been friends ever since.
Although I am not a sci fi fan I did enjoy his first book Cassa Star and look forward to reading his CassaFire once the A to Z is done and dusted,
I wish him all the best with his book.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thank you again, Sia!

Marta Szemik said...

Well written Alex. When I started writing I thought I'd just do one book as well, that was until I began loving writing every day. Yes, life changes, priorities shift and time management kicks in high gear. Your priorities seem to be well organized. Have a great weekend!

Rusty Webb said...

That was very well stated, Alex. You deserve a break. Enjoy that vacation.

Anna Smith said...

That's such a lovely story I really enjoyed reading it. :)

Melissa Bradley said...

I know what you mean about the business side of writing. It has changed me tremendously as well. I couldn't imagine myself with an online presence and now I can't iagine my life without my wonderful blog buddies.

Tonya Kappes said...

I completely get this! I've been self-published for five months and have five novels out. It's been a great success and recently I signed one of my genres with a Literary Agent. This totally upped the ante. Not only do I have to complete the second and third book in a series, I had to come up with more ideas to give publishers.
You are right, we can't keep up the pace forever, but I'm going to give it a good run:)

Anonymous said...

It was quite interesting to learn more how writing has changed your life. Hang in there and keep it up.

Jo said...

Always fascinating to see what authors say about their writing lives. All I do is blog and I find that time consuming enough.

Jo said...

I just bought the Kindle version of Casa Star

Liza said...

There is a well-used saying..."You reap what you sew." Alex gives so much to others that it is a pleasure to return the favor. Plus...I'm convinced he is a ninja who requires no sleep!

Charles Gramlich said...

Dang, man. Your energy makes me feel pretty tired. :)

Morgan Mandel said...

How very true. It didn't used to be this hectic to market, but with so many other authors and so many sites all trying to get readers' attention, it's a tough world out there for an author.

It's doubly hard if you have a day job. I know how difficult that can be. Fortunately, I lost my job a little over a year ago, went on unemployment, and at first missed the extra income. Then I discovered the freedom to work at what I wanted to do was worth it. As of March 1, I'm officially retired, but that's just from my day job. Being an author occupies countless hours, as Alex has mentioned.

Keep up the good work, Alex! You're doing a fine job.

Morgan Mandel

~Sia McKye~ said...

@Liza, *snork. I want his ninja batteries. They seem much better than the Energizing Bunny's.

Tracy Jo said...

Hi Sia! This is my first visit and found you through Alex. :-)

Alex, I can't believe you have a full time job. I thought for sure you were a full time writer. I think your next gig should be public speaking on time management. You have skills to share! I love your story and your words always help me to keep pushing on!

Thank you Sia and Alex!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Marta, it's funny how it works out.

Melissa, me neither!

Tonya, or die trying! Congratulations on the agent.

Jo, thank you!

Liza, thank you very much.

Morgan, I envy your extra hours.

Tracy, public speaking??? The horror...

Karen Walker said...

Congratulations on a bang up finish to an awesome blog tour.

Anonymous said...

Well put, sir! Enjoy your successes and your break. And best wishes for your third book!

Anonymous said...

Well put, sir! Enjoy your successes and your break. And best wishes for your third book!

Old Kitty said...

Sorry Cap'n Ninja but my attention has been hijacked by lovely Sia's pic of utter male and wet gorgeousness to the right of her blog. Sigh.

Where were we? Oh yes - Changes!! One must always be prepared for them!

Like not expecting the pic of this gorgeous wet man! Ahem.

Take care

Tyrean Martinson said...

Wow! Well written post Alex! 6 hours online . . .whew! No wonder you can be everywhere at once in blogland. Take your wife on that vacation - you both deserve it!

Rek said...

What can I say except you have finished the blog tour with a bang, enjoy your laurels and the vacation with your wife.
Come back and get busy with the new book, its release and the associated activity.
Enjoy your weekend.:)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Kitty, they are like shiny things to you, aren't they?

Thank you, everyone!

D.G. Hudson said...

Thanks Sia and nice to meet you. I like the in-depth nature of this interview and some BG on what it's like when the editors and fans are lusting for the next book.

I'm hopping over here from Alex's blog.

Like I said on Alex's blog, a good woman is hard to find. Treasure the one you have, Alex.

I'm following now, Sia. I like coffee.

~Sia McKye~ said...

@DG, thank you.

Treasuring your mate (any time),but especially when you're a writer. It's not just the writer making sacrifices in life and time to follow their ambition, your mate and family is also making sacrifices so you can.

M Pax said...

It was nice to read of how writing has transformed your life, Alex. Understanding spouses make it all so much easier.

Christine Rains said...

Wonderful post. You're a lucky man to have such a wife, but I bet you know it. :)

Jessica Salyer said...

Wow, Alex what a beautifully written post. Thanks so much for sharing this. Sia, thanks for hosting.

Laura said...

It's something that no one talks about - the changes you have to expect. An interesting one to end on Alex!

Maryann Miller said...

It's been fun following you on this tour, Alex. It has introduced me to some awesome blogs and new cyber friends. This was a good way for you to end the tour, and you give sage advice to authors who may be just beginning this journey.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I treasure her, DG!

Mary, yes it does.

Christine, I'm the luckiest man on earth.

Aw, thanks Jessica.

Laura, can't deny the changes.

DL Hammons said...

When you get ready to book that "killer vacation" for your wife, make sure you give me a should because my wife is a "killer" travel agent! :)

Sarah Pearson said...

This was really interesting. It's easy to say 'Oh Alex, he must be really busy', without actually thinking about what that means.

The Golden Eagle said...

Wonderful post! And a great subject to end the blog tour with. :)

Mary Aalgaard, Play off the Page said...

Alex, it's so fun to read about all the positive changes in your life and writing life. You also seem to know how to balance things in your life and keep your relationships in perspective.
Nice blog, Sia.

Play off the Page

~Sia McKye~ said...

@Kitty, lol! I try to please the senses here, Over Coffee. Music, coffee, good conversation, fun topics, hot bods to drool over...

@Mary, Thank you--it's been a work in progress. :-).

Been up to my eyeballs fighting off alligators today. I will try to get around to everyone's blog tonight and tomorrow and return the follows.

Authors who have stopped by: You can ask for a guest spot and if I have openings, I'll accommodate.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Thanks for sharing how you had to cut back on other things to make time to build your online presence and write that second book. It's work even if you enjoy it. I've enjoyed following your tour.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

DL, sorry, it's already booked!

Sarah, and I didn't even cover half of it.

Thanks, Mary - I try.

Susan, I've appreciated you following my tour!

Thanks again, Sia.

Cherie Reich said...

That's wonderful your wife is so understanding. Plus, we're luck our jobs are understanding about our online time. It'd be impossible otherwise, wouldn't it?

Anonymous said...

Great post.... I loved your thoughts Alex - I need to somehow find a better balance in my life.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sia and Alex - great interview or guest post - Alex you've obviously got life balanced - and it's great you can see your way ahead. Good example for us all to follow - happy blogging, A - Zing and CassaStar + no 2, + no 3 'ing ... have a great weekend both of you ... cheers Hilary

C.M.Brown said...

Great post, I liked the personal perspective! Congratulations once again Alex, you deserve all the attention you receive!

Candy Lynn Fite said...

Loved hearing a bit about you, Alex! You do an amazing, beyond words, job with your blog and keeping up with the community online.

Thanks, Sia for hosting & posting. :) Your blog is amazing here. I almost fell off my chair when the Scottish? music began. My kinfolk come from Ireland, and whenever I hear the music, it stirs something wild in me. This was similar. And it took me about 45 seconds to realize that my mouth was hanging open looking at the picture to right, of the wet hunk leaning...

Great post, and I plan on visiting again. :))

~Sia McKye~ said...

Candy,Celtic music--Irish and Scot. I've always loved Celtic music an understand perfectly the concept of the music (especially bagpipes for me) stirring something wild inside. I love fiddle and bagpipes.

Glad you stopped by. :-D

Monti said...

Thanks, Sia, for hosting Alex.

Thanks, Alex, for sharing your amazing story here.

Mary Montague Sikes

ediFanoB said...

Thank you Sie for hosting the final post of Alex' blog tour.

Alex, thank you for worthy final post of your blog tour.

As a happily married man I understand the importance of your wife.
She deserves love and respect and of course a killer vacation.

But also you deserve a rest. Like a lot of other people I'm impressed by your power and endurance.

I believe the FORCE is with you.

Botanist said...

Wow! This is a scary account. Alex, you are so lucky to be able to do some of the social media stuff at work. My work absorbs every ounce of energy I can give it from the moment I arrive to the moment I leave. Even so, I'm amazed at the energy you devote to your writing and online presence.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Cherie, it would be impossible!

Thanks, Edi. The Force times a thousand has been with me to keep up with all of this.

Thanks, everyone! My wife is amazing and yeah, what I do online takes a lot of energy - both are worth every moment.

And Sia, you rock!

Pk Hrezo said...

Do great to see Alex's success. He totally deserves it. :)

Charmaine Clancy said...

Alex is a blogging legend! Great to see his new book getting so much attention.
Wagging Tales

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thank you, PK!

Charmaine, wouldn't say legend - I just get around. But thanks!

Leslie Rose said...

Cool to get to know Alex better. That's a lotta bloggin' hours. Wow.

Ella said...

I knew you had real Ninja skills, whoah! Alex you are amazing and I love how you ended this wonderful interview, it gets better~ Well done!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Leslie, I do put in blogging hours.

Thanks, Ella!

Deniz Bevan said...

You're awesome, Alex! I can't believe how much time you put into all this - you make it seem so easy. Congratulations on all you've accomplished.