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

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Goddess Of Wolves And Bears—Terry Spear

Latte Art 

My guest is Terry Spear. I freely admit I love her books and the hours of entertainment she has provided through them. Terry has a day job, writes—if you visited her website you’ll see she writes a variety of stories, not just wolves. She’s a pretty busy lady. We all have things we do to unwind. Hobbies. Terry talks about hers—making teddy bears 
and not just any teddy bear, but Celtic clan bears.

See? Terry isn’t just your average goddess of the wolves, but also of bears. 

Years ago I was making quilts, cloth dolls, embroidering pictures, hooking rugs, you name it. My folks had begun a business of creating unique doll carriages and other doll furniture for collectors and taking them to shows all across the country. They were really successful and bought a number of dolls to display sitting on their furniture at the shows. But that meant wrapping up all these dolls and keeping them safe, and lugging them all over when they had to be just as careful with their doll carriages.

So my dad asked me to create an old fashioned teddy bear and they’d take them to the shows. And I began to take them to teddy bear shows at the same time. They won best of show at a Fort Lauderdale doll and teddy bear show, best dressed bears, and most unique bear for a pirate peg-legged bear. Three were featured in separate issues of Teddy Bear Review Magazine, one was featured in Texas Monthly Magazine and others in Texas Co-op Monthly and the MacNeill in the MacNeill Galley. They’ve been showcased in several newspapers also. And Spectral Visions showed them in The International Teddy Bear Connection film.

So the business was born! With the advent of the Internet, I was excited to create a webpage and showcase the bears for the whole world to see. And then with paypal, I was able to take payments online! Besides the baby birth bears paws that are embroidered with a child’s first name and the birth date on the other foot, one of my goals was to create the beloved Celtic Clan Bears. I periodically add more clan plaids to my collection to create a bonnet and sash for the bear, and then embroider the clan name on the bear’s paws.

The bears have found homes all over the States and Canada, and as far away as Switzerland, China, Kazakhstan, France, and Australia!

Over the years, I’ve had a lot of fun with comments about the bears. At one show, I had a broken finger in a splint as I tried to embroider bear paws that had been bought at the site. A man said, “I see your bears bite.”

A lady commented, “You’re poking them with the needle, and I can see why you got bitten.”

Now, the man reminded me of my dad, and so I figured that a man would have said such a thing.
The woman reminded me of me. LOL I didn’t expect a woman to say anything of the sort.

Oh, and the way I had broken my finger? I had a black standard poodle, and a white one, both on leash, both leashes in my right hand, and both dogs dashed in the opposite direction, the leashes wrapping around the finger and yanking, hard.

So the bear story was fine. Yes, the bears don’t like being poked with a sharp needle and sometimes they bite.

Over the years I’ve also had a number of comments: “You make the whole bear?”

I smile. “Yep. From scratch.”

“Do you buy the head from somewhere else?”

I pause and think of a shop that sells only bear heads. “Nope. I make the bears from scratch.”

When I made my first bears, my dad looked them over and said, “You didn’t make these.”

I gave him one of my looks, head tilted to the side, lips pursed, raised eyebrows.

“Did you?” he asked.

And then he wanted to take them to the Dallas Trade Mart to sell with their carriages, and then the doll and bear shows, and I became the bear lady.

Although one of my fans calls me a wolf goddess.

So how have my bears helped with writing? They’re like characters in furry form. Each is an individual, and like with writing, I love to take a break and do something different.

  • Do you have a hobby that you love to do?

You can find out more information about my teddy bears here:

Her instincts tell her he's dangerous...

While her overprotective brother's away, Meara Greymere's planning to play—and it wouldn't hurt to find herself a mate in the process. The last thing she needs is one of his SEAL buddies spoiling her fun, even if the guy is the hottest one she's ever seen...

His powers of persuasion are impossible to resist...

Finn Emerson is a battle-hardened Navy SEAL and alpha wolf. He's a little overqualified for baby-sitting, but feisty Meara is attracting trouble like a magnet...

As the only responsible alpha male in the vicinity, Finn is going to have to protect this intriguing woman from a horde of questionable men, and definitely from himself...

Experience the sensual, action-packed, critically acclaimed world of Terry Spear, author of a Publisher's Weekly Best Book of the Year…

Terry Spear has written a dozen paranormal romance novels and two medieval Highland historical romances. An award-winning author, Terry’s Heart of the Wolf was named a Publishers Weekly’s Best Book of the Year in 2008. A retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, Terry Spear is a librarian by day and spends every spare moment writing paranormal romance as well as historical and true life stories for both teen and adult audiences. Spear lives in Crawford, Texas, where she is working on new paranormal romances! For more information, please visit her website!/TerrySpear

Monday, March 5, 2012

MONDAY MUSINGS: A Woman of Inspiration

 'I'm sanguine. I expect it [death] any day. But I live as if it will never happen.'

I’m not a person easily impressed, especially by people. I have met a few truly inspiring people in my life. Read about others whose accomplishments have wowed me. Oh, not ‘award winning’ whatever, but whose life has been a testament of a spirit and conviction, or body of work which has been impressive. They did it—whatever it happened to be.

In this case, it’s Ruth Gruber. Amazing woman. I caught part of the documentary, Ahead Of Time, this afternoon on The Movie Channel.  I say part of, because I was working in my office and went to get a cup of coffee and take a break when my ears picked up snatches of dialog from the show my husband was watching. It caught my interest and pulled me into the living room to see what it was. I only meant to stay long enough to satisfy my curiosity, and ended up anchoring down in my chair and watching the last 40 minutes of the show.

Did any of you see it? The things this woman has been involved with in her life. Especially when you consider her age—in her 20’s—and at time when women journalists were mainly covering ‘women’s’ fluff stuff, gardening, society pages, family issues, and maybe the occasional neighborhood news. They certainly were not jetting off, before there even were jets, to the hotspots of the world.

Ruth went places and did things that would raise the eyebrows today and we’re accustomed to women accomplishing noteworthy things or embarking on important work. But in the late 1920’s and 30’s? At a time when few women got Bachelor degrees, much less PhD’s by the time they were 20 (there weren’t any men getting them by 20 at time, either). College was a time for getting a teaching degree while waiting to find your husband. Didn’t change radically (except the degrees) in the next 20 years, either.

Here she was barely 19, single, and traveling alone (a big thing at that point in time) in 1930, to Germany for her graduate study. Let’s add some danger, shall we? She’s the child of Russian Jews and she’s living for a year in Germany when Hitler and the rising of anti-Semitism were just about full blown. I shake my head thinking what I’d feel as a mother watching my child do this. Of course, America was mostly in the dark when it came to what was happening in Germany until Hitler was in full power and even then, they felt it wouldn’t get worse. Phfft!  To her credit, she wrote about what she saw and heard when she returned home.

Ruth was 24 when she won a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship to study women under fascism, communism, and democracy. This is in 1935 and my grandmother, who was almost 5 years younger, was pregnant with my mother. While my grandmother was having her first child and finding out firsthand the joys of motherhood, Ruth was traveling to Soviet Siberia to interview women. She was the first foreign correspondent, male or female, to visit the Soviet Union and interview prisoners in Siberia. Six years later she’s sent on assignment, by Secretary Of The Interior, to Alaska to make an economic/social study of the state prior to it being opened to homesteaders and veterans. Can you imagine spending 18 months traveling around Alaska? Oh, this would be by bush plane, motor vehicle, and mostly by dogsled. What an adventure and only one of many more, some very dangerous, in her life.

At the time my grandmother was seeing her daughter getting ready to graduate from high school (my mom was 16 when she graduated in ’54 and she finished her college degree at 19, in Georgetown and met and married my dad in 1955), Ruth decided it was time to experience being a wife and mother. Of course, she got a bit of a start on her family (by several years) before my mom did, but comparing her life to what was going on with the women in mine…it boggles the mind. It gives me context.

“Have dreams, have visions, and let no obstacle stop you.” Ruth Gruber.  

I’d say she’s living proof of that statement, wouldn't you?

If you get the chance to see, Ahead Of Time, do it. It’s truly fascinating.

Upcoming Guests:

Wednesday, the 7th I will be having Terry Spear (A SEAL in Wolf’s Clothing) visiting and talking about bears—teddy bears that she makes.
Friday, the 9th, Alex Cavanaugh (CassaFire) will be visiting and his topic is on how writing has changed his life.

Wednesday, the 14th, Mike and Kathy Gear (First Contact Series and Searing Wind) will be interview guests and will be around to chat or answer questions.
Friday, the 16th, I have Diane Kelly (Death, Taxes and a Skinny No-Whip Latte )
Her topic is on trust.

Quite a round up of topics and guests, so be sure to stop back by.