Friday, October 29, 2010

Guest Blogger: Alex J. Cavanaugh


It’s my pleasure to be a part of debut author Alex J. Cavanaugh’s virtual blog tour and welcome him today as the special guest blogger here at Thoughts in Progress.

Alex’s has just released his first science fiction thriller, CassaStar, and it’s already making its way on the Top 5 List of Best Debut Sci Fi Books by Novel Writers. I’m a huge fan of sci fi movies, but have never been into reading them. Alex has changed my mind about that. He stops by today to talk to us about ‘going back to the first story.’

Thank you for allowing me to visit today, Mason! I’m sure your readers are wondering why a science fiction writer has landed on your blog. Where’s the mystery or romance? Well, let me assure you folks, a mystery is still involved, just not within the pages of my book. The mystery resided in me when trying to come up with an idea for a novel-length story.

I’d written several short stories over the years, ranging from science fiction to fantasy to horror. Anything that involved the fantastic! I kept thinking that I needed to attempt a novel, though. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. Thumbing through those short stories, I saw nothing of interest. Certainly nothing that I could expand into a full-length novel. (Unless I wanted a plot as thin as tissue paper!)

As I agonized over creating an entirely new story, my mind returned to one of the first stories I’d ever written. I’d planned a full novel, creating an outline and even writing a couple key scenes. But for whatever reason, I’d abandoned the idea. Faced with the daunting task of creating a story from scratch, I searched my closet until I’d located this early work. I was saved!

Now, a writer’s first effort is often rather pathetic. Mine was no exception. There were issues. Heck, the entire plot was an issue!
I couldn’t use the story as originally conceived. Before I gave up on the idea, a glimmer of hope appeared. I really liked the strength of the two main characters. While the bogus storyline held gaping holes, the characters were solid. I just needed to start from scratch and re-imagine the story. And that is what I did, spending endless hours constructing a new tale for my heroes.

The result of my efforts is CassaStar, my debut novel. It bears almost no resemblance to my original vision, either. All that remains are the two main characters, the title, and one pivotal scene. Trust me, what hit the trashcan will not be missed! And yet, despite the differences, it still boasts the same spirit and energy. It’s still CassaStar – just a whole lot better!

Alex, thanks for guest blogging here today. Your story just goes to show that sometimes our first ideals are the best (even if they do need more work).

Here’s a bit of information about Alex’s book: CassaStar (ISBN 9780981621067) by Alex J. Cavanaugh, debuted Oct. 19, and is listed as Science fiction/adventure/space opera. It is published by Dancing Lemur Press LLC. Now a brief synopsis:

To pilot the fleet’s finest ship…

Few options remain for Byron. A talented but stubborn young man with a troubled past and rebellious attitude, his cockpit skills are his only hope. Slated to train as a Cosbolt fighter pilot, Byron is determined to prove his worth and begin a new life as he sets off for the moon base of Guaard.


Much to Byron’s chagrin, the toughest instructor in the fleet takes notice of the young pilot. Haunted by a past tragedy, Bassa eventually sees through Byron's tough exterior and insolence. When a secret talent is revealed during training, Bassa feels compelled to help Byron achieve his full potential.
As war brews on the edge of space, time is running short. Byron requires a navigator of exceptional quality to survive, and Bassa must make a decision that could well decide the fate of both men. Will their skills be enough as they embark on a mission that may stretch their abilities to the limit?

Interest peaked yet? Here’s a glimpse at a review that might help you along: “…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

Now check out the awesome book trailer.




CASSASTAR can be purchased at the following links:
AMAZON - http://www.amazon.com/CassaStar-Alex-J-Cavanaugh/dp/0981621066

BARNES & NOBLE - http://search.barnesandnoble.com/books/e/9780981621067/?itm=1&USRI=cassastar

BAM - http://www.booksamillion.com/product/9780981621067?id=4581185563381#overview

It is also available in eBook format for Kindle, iPad, Nook, and others.

Now a brief look at Alex. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He’s 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 Alex lives in the Carolinas with his wife. You can find out more about him and his book on his blog http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/


33 comments:

  1. Thanks for another great post Mason. I'm going to take a look at this author... interesting to hear about the writing process.

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  2. Thanks for wrapping up the tour, Mason!

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  3. Alex, thanks for guest blogging here today. Glad to be included in your tour. Best of luck.

    Lou, thanks for stopping by.

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  4. It's nice to revive our early efforts, bringing back those ideas that sparked our crafts. Kudos to you for taking the time to develop that original story!

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  5. Mason - Thanks for hosting Alex.

    Alex - Thanks for sharing your journey. Sometimes it is really helpful to think back to the first things we write. They may not be our best work, but they are often full of that excitement and passion we feel for writing, and that can be channeled.

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  6. Alex,Wow, that is a great story in itself on how CassaStar came about. Gives me hope, since I'm a lover and writer of shorts, that there is a novel in me.

    Mason,dear host, You always put on a great party.

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  7. Alex,Wow, that is a great story in itself on how CassaStar came about. Gives me hope, since I'm a lover and writer of shorts, that there is a novel in me.

    Mason,dear host, You always put on a great party.

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  8. A wonderful interview, I have always wondered how to birth a full length book...I am doomed to produce only shorts.

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  9. Congrats again Alex on making the list! As you already know, I love CassaStar - it's a great book! And the story on your rewrite is just what I needed to hear right now. Thanks :)

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  10. a lovely post as always, Masy!

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  11. Thank you Mason of Thoughts in Progress for hosting the ever so fab Alex J Cavanaugh!! It's great to learn how Cassa Star was born and a comfort to know that early ideas can and does work after much crafting and learning! Take care
    x

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  12. Margot, you're right!

    Gail, you never know.

    Thanks, everyone! Don't give up those early ideas.

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  13. Alex, you rock. And Mason, you are such an amazing supporter of writers of all genres, it seems. Thank you both so much.
    karen

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  14. Great tour wrap-up - and it gives hope to those of us with old, old manuscripts hidden away in closets or on flash drives!

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  15. Good for you, Alex, for sticking with characters you believed in. Thanks for hosting him, Mason.

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  16. Great insight into Alex's process. Thanks for the interview, Mason. And congratulations to Alex on Cassastar.

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  17. Thanks, everyone! And Mason, you rock!

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  18. Alex, I love it that you fished out an old short story to use as a point of departure for your novel.

    Thank you for so many interesting blogs along the way on your tour!

    Monti
    NotesAlongTheWay

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  19. Great Wrap-Up stop on an AWESOME tour, dude! Nive job on the layout and formatting, too, Mason!

    Alex - are you tired? My two-week tour ends tomorrow and I feel like I need to follow it up with a two week vacation, lol.

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  20. Nice wrap up on an awesome blog tour. Whew! You must be exhausted. Glad you stayed with your characters. Stick with what got you there. That's my philosophy.

    Stephen Tremp

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  21. Really enjoyed meeting Alex and reading about how CassaStar evolved from that first concept to finished book. That proves that strong characters can become so real they need a good story in which to reside.

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  22. Thanks for having Alex, Mason.

    Alex - thanks for letting us "see" into your process.

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  23. Monti, thank you for following!

    Marvin, I'll relax this weekend, but Monday kicks off NaNo.

    Thanks Mason and everyone who enjoyed this post!

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  24. You've put out some good ideas why one should never just toss their old stories out, Alex. Who knows what kind of gold can be woven from these earlier works?

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  25. Thanks everyone for stopping by. Ya'll are the best.

    Alex, thanks again for letting us see how CassaStar came about. Wishing you all the best. Just remember us when James Cameron turns CassaStar into a movie. :)

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  26. This was fun! I loved learning how Alex revived CassaStar. That was news to me. Alex, we all wish you the best of luck, and congratulations on this awesome blast off of your debut novel.

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  27. I dig your cool book trailer, Alex. Where did you find that animation?

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  28. I dig your cool book trailer, Alex. Where did you find that animation?

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  29. Alex gives hope to the masses.

    Excellent interview. Can't wait to get my hands on a copy.

    Well done, Mason.

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  30. Mason, I won't forget you!

    Cara, my publisher created it.

    Thanks Wendy!

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  31. I was reading about this book on another blog. Sounds interesting.

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  32. An excellent post Alex. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this.

    And thanks for introducing me to Mason. I'm enjoying browsing the site.

    ........dhole

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I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.