Wednesday, April 6, 2022

CassaDark Release! Interview with Alex Cavanaugh and IWSG!

CassaDark

By Alex J. Cavanaugh

His world is unraveling…

Bassan’s father is stepping down from command. His best friend almost dies when Bassan freezes. Now, he’s being sent across the galaxy to speak at an important conference. Despite saving the eleven races years ago, he’s paralyzed by fear and doubt. Could things get any worse?

Once there, new acquaintance Zendar convinces Bassan to visit his planet for a humanitarian mission. Bassan’s special connection to ancient technology is the key to saving Zendar’s people. One problem though—it’s a prisoner planet.

On Ugar, he discovers things aren’t so straightforward. As each secret reveals itself, the situation grows more desperate. If he can’t find the right answers, he might die along with Zendar’s people. Can Bassan summon the courage to be a hero again?

Trade paperback, 226 pages, Dancing Lemur Press, LLC
Science fiction - Adventure (FIC028010) / Space Opera (FIC028030) / Space Exploration (FIC028130)
Print ISBN 9781939844842 $16.95 / eBook ISBN 9781939844859 $4.99

Links:
iTunes – 
https://books.apple.com/us/book/x/id1574189874
Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0982FL3SH
Barnes & Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/2940164947033
Kobo – https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/Search?Query=9781939844859 
Scribed – 
https://www.scribd.com/search?query=9781939844859&language=0 
Goodreads - 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58461762-cassadark 


Interview with Alex Cavanaugh!

Kathy: Hi Alex! Great to have you here!

Alex: Thanks for having me!

K: I've known you "virtually" for a long time and it was a thrill and a joy to read your latest adventure in the Cassa world! I'd love to hear more about what went into this newest journey through space. So let's just get started:

K: In your Cassa series most of the books follow Byron, what made you choose to tell Bassan's story this time?

 

A: By the time I got to CassaStorm, Byron was now in his early sixties. (Cassans live to be 120, so he wasn’t quite as old as it sounds.) But since I kept jumping ahead twenty years in between books, I knew the next jump would place Byron too old for action and adventure. (Like having Harrison Ford do Indiana Jones right now!) An idea for an adventure for Bassan (Byron’s son) hit me and I decided that was the next logical step in the stories—move on to the next generation. I only jumped ahead fifteen years for this one, though…

 

K: I agree! I'm all for staying active late in life, but I don't really want to see an 80 year old Harrison Ford in an action movie! 😬😳 How much growth can an 80 year old experience throughout a story arc any way? The growth and progression of Bassan's character and how he learns to trust himself as well as those around him was one of the things I loved most about this book. Can you talk about how you crafted Bassan into a well-rounded character?

 

A: Sheer luck? Just kidding! Bassan was a bit shy as a child and always following his older friend’s lead, and I figured that carried over into adulthood. Add the fact that he feels his greatest achievement was saving the races when he was ten and it’s now fifteen years later. He’s aware that’s mostly what he’s known for. He doesn’t like change, but he wants his life to mean more. It fed into his insecurity. Dump on the concerns of choosing a life mate, of disappointing people, and fear of new things, and I think I gave him a lot of qualities many people deal with in real life.

 

K: Yes, you did! And I think there are so many people who have early success in something whether it's school, sports, or music and then all of a sudden as they age, they struggle with the fact that maybe they have already had their moment of greatness and wonder where to turn. I'm so glad Bassan learned to trust in the fact that his greatness was his courage to do the right thing and risk his own life to help others.

 

K: Let's talk a little bit about world building--the Cassa world is huge!! What is your process to keep all the details straight?

And how do you go about coming up with new species for your worlds? My favorite in this one was the xert!

 

A: I wish I could tell you I keep everything organized on a spreadsheet or something, but I really don’t. I do have the basics for each race and the planets encountered in the series written down, although when writing this, I had to refer to CassaStorm, the previous book, more than once. I guess I have lived with this world so long, it’s ingrained in me.

Glad you liked the xert! He was a last minute addition. I tend to focus so much on people that I forget critters. But on a planet with few people, those critters would be all over the place.

 

K: About how long does it take you to write a new book?

 

A: Depends on the book. This one took almost two years, because I’d taken a long, long break and was quite rusty once I began writing again. The first one was about a year. The next three took around two to four months, so that’s probably closer to my average. 

 

K: Two to four months on average! That's awesome! I hope some day I can write that proficiently. What is coming next in the CassaWorld? Or are you planning something totally different?

 

A: I have no idea. I may have thrown everything at Byron’s family that I can. As for my standalone, outside of death, I can’t think of anything else to throw at that main character. Might have to come up with something new.

 

K: I can't wait to see what you conjure up! Which sci-fi books or movies have had the biggest influence on your writing?

 

A: I read a lot of Arthur C. Clarke, Alan Dean Foster, Robert L Heinlein, and Terry Brooks when I was younger. More recently, Timothy Zahn’s Star Wars books have been a big influence. (The man knows how to keep things brief and moving!) As for movies, of course Battlestar Galactica and Star Wars influenced me when I was younger, and the slew of new science fiction movies keep the ideas flowing.

 

K: Those are the giants of sci-fi!

As the Ninja captain of IWSG, I know you're super busy! Do you do speaking engagements, book fairs, or writers conferences? What do you feel has been the best way to get your book in front of readers?

 

A: I’m not much for in-person events. Most of what I’ve done in the past has been through my connections online and blogging. Times have changed, so we’ll see how well that does for this book. Thankfully my publisher does a lot of marketing and comic con appearances to make up for what I lack.

 

K: Is there anything else you would like to share? 

 

A: Buy the book!

Just kidding.

CassaDark may be the fourth in a series, but it can be read alone, especially as it follows a different character than the other three. 

 

Thanks for letting me ramble, Kathy!


K: You're welcome! And yes, everyone go out and buy the book! It's a great read!

And here's a cool graphic of all of Alex's books, go read them all! 😀





Alex J. Cavanaugh works in web design and graphics, and he plays guitar in a Christian band. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is known as Ninja Captain Alex and he’s the founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. 
http://alexjcavanaugh.com  

https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/

https://twitter.com/AlexJCavanaugh

 




When I first started blogging over 12 years ago, Alex was there to be a voice of encouragement and support. He brought so many of us together, sponsoring fun contests, bloghops and finally creating the Insecure Writer's Support Group, now a site recognized as one of the top Writer's sites by Writer's Digest. Without Alex, I most likely would have quit blogging a very long time ago. Thanks Alex for creating this wonderful writing family!!!



And now for April's IWSG post!


 

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!


Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting!--from IWSG website

Find us on Twitter at @TheIWSG #IWSG



Question of the Month: Have any of your books been made into audio books? If so, what is the main challenge in producing an audiobook? 

I haven't made my book into an audio book yet, though I am thinking about doing that eventually. So I welcome any suggestions or ideas on this topic.


My insecurity for this month is that I have a few library/bookstore talks coming up this spring and I'm a little nervous about them. I actually don't mind public speaking too much but in the past I have always spoken about my other career: the sport of figure skating. I've spent over thirty years teaching beginner to advanced skaters so I'm super comfortable speaking about it.  Talking about my memoir, One Year on Broadway seems like a much more daunting task.


Are you excited to read CassaDark? What are your tips on audiobook creation or speaking events?

Have a lovely April! We're finally seeing a little bit of sun here in Ohio!


Love, 

Kathy :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

#IWSG Post

 

Okay I don't know how March snuck up on me so quickly! February seemed to move like a snail and all of a sudden it's March 2nd and it's the first Wednesday of March which means it's time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post! The IWSG was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh as a place where we can share our fears and successes with a supportive environment. The IWSG is a wonderful community to meet other authors, hear their struggles, give and receive encouragement and friendship and it has been named one of Writer's Digest top 101 sites for writers!!

Come join us! 

Thank you to this month's co-hosts:  Janet Alcorn, Pat Garcia,Natalie Aguirre, and Shannon Lawrence! Please go visit them!

The optional question for March is: Have you ever been conflicted about writing a story or adding a scene to a story? How did you decide to write it or not?

Yes, I have. When writing my nonfiction/memoir book One Year on Broadway which just released last August, I was conflicted about writing the chapter detailing my parents' anger and refusal to allow me to date my husband because he was half Japanese. There were some pretty horrible things said to both of us. One night in particular they threatened my husband with harm if he ever saw me again.
Of course my husband and I have been married now for over 27 years. My parents apologized before our wedding and deeply regretted their actions. They have been wonderful to us ever since. 

Writing the first draft, I put everything in, all those pent up feelings that I thought I had let go a long time ago came out in a very vivid, emotional scene. But I knew that I couldn't publish that. Those shouted words that had been burned into my brain that night so long ago, now written on a page would have hurt my parents as much as they did us when they were first said. That was never my intention for writing our story. Their words spoken in fear and anger did not define who they really were.
I wanted our story to be more about the forgiveness and the capacity to love deeply even when hurt by someone. 
So I rewrote the pivotal scene to be more like a series of sharp photographic flashbacks instead of full narrative. This way, I could get the point across of what occurred and still protect my aging parents. They had only been trying to protect me.
Sadly, my father passed only a few months before it was published, but my mom read it and I'm happy to report that she loved it so much that she has recommended it to all her friends and our relatives!



Also don't forget to stop by April 6th for my interview with Alex J Cavanaugh about his upcoming release CassaDark!!!



Hurry and pre-order your copy to today and make sure to add to your Goodreads To Read shelf!!
Here are all the links!

iTunes – https://books.apple.com/us/book/x/id1574189874
Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0982FL3SH
Barnes & Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/2940164947033
Kobo – https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/Search?Query=9781939844859 
Scribed – 
https://www.scribd.com/search?query=9781939844859&language=0 


Hope you all have a wonderful March!!
Love,

Kathy

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

My Favorite Books as a Kid, IWSG, CassaDark Coming soon!

Purpose:
 To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting!--from the IWSG home page, check us out!

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

Our awesome co-hosts for this month are: Joylene Nowell ButlerJacqui Murray, Sandra Cox, and Lee Lowery!


My Favorite Books as a Kid

In the middle of cleaning out the clutter in my house and boxing old books to donate to the library, I found some treasures. Hidden amongst Early Reader mermaid novellas that my daughter had loved, were some of the books that I had cherished as a child. These were the books that sparked my fascination with words and story-telling.


I asked my parents to read Tweety so much to me that my dad started reading the words backwards to make it more interesting for him! Then when I was about seven, I decided I was going to make my own copy of it (not sure why, I guess I was fascinated with book-making from a young age) so I wrote down every word from each page and tried to trace the pictures.

These three were my other favorites. I loved the irony that Grover was the monster at the end of the book, it made me laugh every time. Ho-Hum was about a little boy who went to the zoo and saw all the animals yawning which put him to sleep. I think my mom read this one to me to put me to sleep too-yawns really are contagious! Here again I was drawn to the humor of the boy wanting so badly to visit the zoo and then falling asleep there. 

The middle book was my favorite of all of them which is probably why it lost its cover. Dinosaur Time by Peggy Parish was my favorite because first of all it was about dinosaurs, my favorite animals, and it was the book that my grandpa most often read to me. Which brings me to the IWSG Question of the month:

Is there someone who supported or influenced you that perhaps isn't around anymore? Anyone you miss?

Other than my parents, my grandpa probably had the biggest influence on my young life. We had so much in common that he was easy to bond with. When I was very little he read to me. We shared a love of nature, animals, and gardening, and he helped inspire a fascination with travel and adventure in me. Almost every weekend in the summers we went fishing together. Usually, we didn't catch anything but we talked about everything and enjoyed watching the pink-orange sun slip beneath the horizon.


our favorite fishing spot

Gramps teaching my son to fish

A lucky day!

Throughout my life he has always been there. In my competitive skating days, he built me a backyard ice rink, so I could practice every day in the winter. When I was in college he supported me in my decision to marry my husband and later he helped me and my husband build a deck off our first house-he was 78!

Always active and trying new things, he took up singing lessons when he was 89. He always had a lesson to teach me and this was that age doesn't matter, if you want to go do something do it!

One of the last times fishing with him and my girls

We lost him in 2013 at the age of 91 and I miss him every day. His spirit inspires me to this day and I carry him in my heart where ever I go.


Jeremy Hawkins Tribute

On January 3, 2022 we lost one of our own IWSG members. I met Jeremy the first year I started my blog--way back in 2012 and he was always there to give a helpful comment. I never met him in person but his warm and caring personality came through in every blog/social media exchange that we ever had. Jeremy will be greatly missed. You can support his family by buying one of his t-shirts that he designed.


CassaDark Releasing April 5!



Alex J. Cavanaugh is releasing his latest book in the Cassa series CassaDark on April 5th!

Come back on April 6th to read my interview with Alex where we talk all sorts of writing stuff and he gives us insight on how he chose to follow a new character line in his series!! 







Hope everyone has a wonderful February! 
Stay safe and healthy! 💕💕


Kathy :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Happy New Year! and #IWSG Post

 

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!--from IWSG.com

Our awesome co-hosts this month are:  Erika Beebe, Olga Godim, Sandra Cox, Sarah Foster, and Chemist Ken!

January's question: What's the one thing about your writing career that you regret the most? Were you able to overcome it?

I think my nephew said it best this NYE when he said, "I'm going to trust myself more."

My biggest regret of my "writing career" is that it took me a very long time to trust my own writing. I had some successes scattered throughout the years, getting a couple poems and an article into print but rejection after rejection of my longer works got to me. It wasn't really a career at all.

Especially when my girls were little, it seemed like I was wasting precious time on something that was fruitless. So, I gave up trying to be published and I simply wrote for myself by journaling, blogging, or collecting thoughts that appeared out of nowhere.

Finally, in 2021 I took the leap to get back into the publishing world and my first book, One Year on Broadway, was published! It took me about twenty-five years to trust that my writing was good enough to persist. Now, I feel that I can say my writing career has truly begun and I trust myself and my writing more-though I need to keep working on that.


So trust yourself and who knows what you will accomplish!

We've made it to 2022, which seems like a huge accomplishment after all that 2020/2021 threw at us!


Happy New Year! 

Love to all!


Kathryn


 

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Shattered Launch! And A Sprinkle of Magic--#IWSG Post

Happy November!! 

Today I'm handing over the blog to fellow blogger and friend, C. Lee McKenzie, who is talking about her amazing new release Shattered.  I can't wait to read it!



This story surprised me. That is, I didn't have any idea that I would write a book about paraplegia--something I knew very little about--until Libby's story began unfolding in my head. I'd started jotting down ideas when our library announced they were featuring a local author as their next speaker, and this speaker was also a businesswoman, a sportswoman, and... a paraplegic.


I'm not one to get goosebumps when it seems fate has come into play, but I never ignore events that conspire to nudge me into a direction. I attended the event. I read the book this author had written, and I started more serious research into paraplegia. I knew I wanted to write the story that had been hovering at the edges of my mind for a while.


Stars aligned when I found out one of my yoga instructors worked at a clinic for spinal cord injuries. She introduced me to a doctor on staff there and the doctor gave me an hour of her time. I came away with pages of notes, details I could use while trying to write a realistic account of my protagonist's experience.


That next month stars aligned even more. Someone I only knew as a fellow yogi, turned out to be a clinical specialist in spinal cord injuries. She was more than generous with her time and information. She even read an early draft and gave me feedback on the medical details as well as personal experiences from her patients. If I wasn't meant to write this book, nobody was.


Writing this story has taught me so much and I'm grateful for the new awareness I have about people who experience devastating life changes, adapt, and thrive.


So now Shattered's written. It's out to the world. I'll soon learn if these two years from idea to manuscript have been well spent and if I've managed to create a story that is accurate in its details and realistic in its delivery while enjoyable to read.


Available at Amazon . B&N . Kobo . Smashwords






I'm a native Californian who grew up in a lot of different places; then landed in the Santa Cruz Mountains. I write most of the time, hike and practice yoga a lot, and then travel whenever I can. 
In my young adult books, I take on modern issues that today's teens face in their daily lives. My Evernight Teen Publication, Double Negative was voted as one of the best top ten Young Adult books, 2019. My other books, The Princess of Las Pulgas, Sliding on the Edge, Sudden Secrets and Not Guilty are out to four and five-star reviews.


Thanks so much C. Lee for telling us more about Shattered. It's incredible where the universe leads us sometimes, sounds like you were definitely meant to write this story!



Now for this month's IWSG post!


"Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting! "--from the IWSG website.



This month's optional question: What's harder to do, coming up with your book title or writing the blurb?

For me, these were equally difficult!
I had such a hard time coming up with both my book title and writing the blurb!
When I first started writing the book, I had about ten different titles that I sort of liked. I picked my favorite and thought that was that. Then one morning my husband and I were talking about it over breakfast and one thing led to another and he said, "What about, One Year on Broadway? It's short and simple and gets people's attention."
My mouth hung wide open for a second, both thrilled that it finally had the right title and a tiny bit disappointed that I hadn't come up with it. "That's perfect!" I said.



Similarly, I wrote the blurb but I wasn't completely happy with it. It wasn't quite right. But I didn't know how to make it better. So I let it simmer in my brain while I worked on other parts of the book. Every now and then I would look at it but nothing came to me. I changed a couple words here and there. It still wasn't perfect. Finally, the right combination of words popped into my head and it was done.

The whole process of writing a book, creating a title, and a writing a blurb all required time and a little sprinkle of magic when fate or something otherworldly took over my brain and fingers and words just poured out onto the computer screen. I don't know where some of the ideas came from they just appeared in my head seemingly from nowhere.


Hope you all have a wonderful week filled with a little sprinkle of magic!
And good luck if you're doing NaNo this year!!


Love Always,

Kathy McKendry



Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Steamy Scenes and Expletives...Do You Use Them? IWSG DAY!

                                             


It's time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group Post! The IWSG was started by Alex J. Cavanaugh as a way:  "To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!"--from the IWSG website.

And congratulations to IWSG for again being named by Writer's Digest as one of the top sites for writers!! Way to go!!

This month's wonderful co-hosts are Jemima Pett, J Lenni Dorner, Cathrina Constantine, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, and Mary Aalgaard


The optional question for October is: In your writing, where do you draw the line, with either topics or language?


I'm not necessarily against using a well placed four letter word in my writing every now and then. I just don't often use them. Even in my own speech, I don't often utter them. 

In fact when I have used them occasionally, my kids, who are now mostly grown adults, actually laugh and tell me, "Mom, you don't sound convincing."

So I guess I'm not good at using swear words even in my own life, not sure I could write them convincingly. Though, I think whatever character I am writing actually determines the language they use. I just haven't written many characters like Roy Kent from Ted Lasso that use expletives with every breath. Nothing against Roy Kent, I love him!

As far as sex scenes go, I guess I lean more toward the Disney "G" rated author. I'm very much a hopeless romantic and at least so far most of my fictional characters are too. There are plenty of books that I have read and enjoyed that are in the rated "R" spectrum but, again, I'm not sure I could write scenes in the steamier realm that flow convincingly. I haven't really tried though so maybe I'll delve into writing some hotter characters and see how it goes.


I just want to thank again all the wonderful people that helped with my book launch last month! This is such an awesome group of supporters!

Alex J. Cavanaugh

Nick Wilford

C. Lee McKenzie

Natalie Aguirre


Hope everyone has a wonderful week and a beautiful October filled with fall colors and yummy apple desserts! I can't wait to make an apple pie!


Kathy :)




Monday, September 6, 2021

Broadway is Back!

Broadway is Back! 

We had the wonderful opportunity to go to the Invited Dress Rehearsal for the musical Hadestown on Wednesday. 

Being in a Broadway theatre again after a year and a half was magical. Bursting with energy, the crowd gave an extended standing ovation as soon as the cast walked on stage. It was incredible to be there.


Walter Kerr Theatre: Hadestown before the show



Today, I'm over at C. Lee McKenzie's blog, talking about One Year on Broadway, so stop over and say "Hi"


Have a wonderful Labor Day!


Kathy :)