I have a few winners to announce.
The winner of BLUE BIRDS is Jennifer Rumberger!
And the winner of the Fools for Books Giveaway Hop is Katie Watkins who picked the $10 Amazon Gift Card.
Congrats to the winners!
Today I’m super thrilled to have Alex Cavanaugh here to share about his new book DRAGON OF THE STARS that released on April 7th. If you don’t follow Alex’s blog, you really should. He’s part of a great community of bloggers where you can make good blogger friends. And he’s the founder of the Insecure Writers Group, a group that blogs the first Wednesday of the month and is a great group to connect with, and co-host of the A-Z Challenge, which is a month of blogging this month.
I haven’t read an adult book since I read Alex’s CASSASTORM over a year ago. So I was a bit nervous. But I really loved this story. Aden is such a great character. We see what he wants and his struggles and have to read on to see what happens. Alex really keeps the plot moving and is really mean to Aden in terms of the choices he must make. It made me like Aden even more. I really like Alex’s writing style too. He makes all his words matter.
Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:
But when the Alliance denies Hyrath’s claim on the planet of Kavil and declares war on their world, Aden finds his plans in disarray. Entrenched in battle and told he won’t make captain, Aden’s world begins to collapse. How will he salvage his career and future during Hyrath’s darkest hour?
One chance remains–the Dragon. Lost many years prior, the legendary ship’s unique weapon is Hyrath’s only hope. Can Aden find the Dragon, save his people, and prove he’s capable of commanding his own ship?
Hi Alex! Thanks so much for joining us.
1. I know you were thinking of not writing anymore. But then you wrote this fantastic book, DRAGON OF THE STARS. Where did you get the idea for your story and why did you feel like you had to write it?
CassaStorm was supposed to be the last, wasn’t it?
This story came to me over ten years ago when I heard a song by Ayreon called Dragon on the Sea. The song has to do with Queen Elizabeth I sending Sir Francis Drake to face the attack by the Spanish Armada. I envisioned a spaceship with no equal defending against invaders. Using most of the lines of the song, I crafted an entire story around this Dragon ship.
2. Awesome that you got the idea from a song since you're a musician too.You’re really good at keeping your plot moving. There’s no sag anywhere. And I know you outline. Share your outlining process. And do you have any advice for those of us who don’t like the idea of outlining?
I don’t used index cards or a board or Scrivener. The ending always comes first, so I just work my way backwards, trying to figure out the path the character took to get to that point. I’ll spend months playing it in my head, like a movie. Then I start jotting down the basic plot on paper. When I start adding so much it’s as if I’m writing the story, that’s when I begin working on the manuscript.
Basically, I outline to death. And hate writing the first draft. The payoff is I enjoy the edits and they don’t take long.
3. I don't like the first draft either, but I don't outline like you do. I loved the world building. And there was a lot of it because Aden doesn’t stay in one place. How did you create this whole universe that is Aden’s world?
I did more research and world-building for this book than for any other. I spent a lot of time planning the
4. You’re a musician and that pulls at you too. Do you have plans to write anything else
I do have ideas. Perhaps I’ll try some short stories. I do have an idea for an adventure for Bassan, Byron’s son, from CassaStorm. But I am really focused on my music and don’t want to let my band down.
5. I'd love to learn more about Bassan! So I want to move on to talking about blogging. Since I interviewed you in September, 2013, people have been cutting back on blogging a bit, often to once or twice a week. But those days seem to still be good days where lots of people visit each other’s blogs.
You’ve cut back too. So have I. I blog every Monday, but try to limit the Wednesday’s to twice a month. I really like this change because we’re all so busy in our non-blog lives. We still stay in touch, but it doesn’t take as much time. What are your thoughts on it?
I’m happy with once a week on Monday, with one Wednesday for Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. I still spend a lot of time during the week checking on fellow bloggers, as some post different days. And I still enjoy the connections. A lot have vanished, but new bloggers continue to appear.
6. When we last talked, you had 2000 followers. You were reading about 100 blogs a day and were spending three to six hours a day reading blogs. Are you still doing that? Why do you think it’s important to be friends with so many bloggers?
Certain days of the week, I spend a lot less time now. Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays are quieter, so I take advantage of it. But otherwise I try to connect as often as possible.
I just know friendship is important. I have so many friends here and I want to be there for them. And that’s part of why we’re here–to make life better for others.
7. I've cut back on reading blogs on those days too. I'm finding I need a break from it and am glad those are quieter days. What struggles do you see bloggers facing and what’s your advice to them?
8. So agree that visiting and commenting so we know you've stopped by is critical. There are periodic discussions on this topic: Is blogging dead? I don’t see it that way at all. Do you think blogging is still thriving or do you see it dying out? Where do you think it will be in five years?
Blogging isn’t dead, it’s just changing. People don’t have as much time anymore, so they have scaled back. That just means when we do post, it needs to be quality content. Or very short doses. I think the days of frequent, medium-sized posts are gon
Then again, I am posting daily this month for the A to Z Challenge… But the posts will be short and easy to digest!
9. Glad you just see it as changing too. I know you’re on Twitter too. Do you feel like you interact with people there? And how do you advise the rest of us to get involved on Twitter?
I have almost four thousand followers and I still have no idea what I’m doing on Twitter!
I’d advise people to make lists. Group followers into categories. It’s easier to keep up that way. And be willing to share blog posts and re-Tweet what others send out. Again, it’s all about connecting and sharing. And you don’t know where those connections will lead. Tweeting a review of a live RiffTrax show led to them following me on Twitter which led to me interviewing two of the members. (A dream come true for me!)
Thanks for sharing all your advice, Alex. Good luck with your book release!
Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design, graphics, and technical editing. 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. He’s the author of Amazon Best-Sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, and CassaStorm.
You can find Alex at:
Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Dragon-
Stars-Alex-J-Cavanaugh-ebook/ dp/B00S0DPUYU/ref=sr_1_1?s= digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid= 1420814971&sr=1-1&keywords= dragon+of+the+stars
Barnes and Noble - http://www.barnesandnoble.com/
w/dragon-of-the-stars-alex-j- cavanaugh/1121069418?ean= 2940046510720
Alex's publisher, Dancing Lemur Press, generously offered an ARC of DRAGON OF THE STARS for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through April 25th. I’ll announce the winner on April 27th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.
If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. This is for US and Canada.
Here's what's coming up:
Next Monday, I have a guest post by Megan Morrison and a giveaway of GROUNDED: THE ADVENTURES OF RAPUNZEL, her YA fairytale retelling.
The Monday after that I have an interview with Sabaa Tahir and a giveaway of AN EMBER IN THE ASHES, her YA fantasy that is one of the books getting lots of buzz.
Wednesday that week I have an interview with agent Brent Taylor and a query critique contest.
Saturday that week I'm participating in the May I Suggest Giveaway Hop. I'll have lots of great newly released YA choices or a $10 Amazon Gift Card for you to choose from.
Hope to see you on Monday!