Friday, January 20, 2012

Alex Cavanaugh on Successful Blogging

Surely everyone - particularly those who adore SF - has heard of Alex Cavanaugh. He wrote a fabulous article for me here last year. He's also the author of the acclaimed Amazon best-seller SF adventure CassaStar and creator of its main character the rebellious, unforgettable whiz Cosbolt fighter-pilot Byron.

In addition, Alex is a successful blogger with a huge and faithful following - you can be proud if you say you belong to Alex's Ninja Army.

All writers should aspire to what he's achieved. So - and, of course, hoping to catch a few tips myself - I asked Alex to give some advice to those who are starting to blog.

Read on to find out what he said and also to hear about his new novel CassaFire which is due out Feb 28.

Alex: Here’s a few things I’ve learned about blogging over the years:
  • Blog about your passions! Every blog needs a focus and it doesn’t have to be about writing. If you select your blog’s theme based on what fires you up, it will come through in your posts and draw in readers. 
  • Remain positive. Sure we have our down days. (I started the Insecure Writer’s Support Group for just that purpose.) But if you’re constantly negative, no one will stick around. 
  • Set a schedule. Even if it’s just a couple days a week. 
  • Blog details do matter. Place your Google Friends Connect button high on your sidebar. Make it easy for people to leave comments. (Embedded comment boxes and word verification are challenging.) Keep your posts short and invite others to get involved in the discussion. 
  • Follow a variety of other blogs. Don’t just follow other writers and authors. You’ll learn a lot following them, but when it comes time for your book to enter the world, you want as wide an audience as possible. 
  • Get involved. Blogging is a community. You need to get involved by commenting on other blogs and participating in blogfests and other events. You need to give back by encouraging others and shouting out their accomplishments. 
  • It’s not the followers, it’s the connections. Sure you want a lot of people following your blog. But forming relationships is more important. 
Wow, that’s quite a list isn’t it?

Sue: But an invaluable list. Thank you :-)  I'll just check my Friends button...and see when the next blogfest is...
Alex, tell us about your new novel CassaFire. Are there any similarities with CassaStar? And how did it come about?

Alex: CassaFire begins twenty years after CassaStar ends.

Similarities: The storyline continues to follow Byron and his journeys. It’s still low-tech and focuses on character development.

Differences: This time there is a female lead, which adds a new relationship aspect. Most of CassaStar took place in space while the setting for this one is a planet. And I think it’s better written!
CassaFire came about because fans wanted more. They wondered why there were no women in CassaStar and wanted a female character. Yes, I panicked! Fortunately I’d envisioned many adventures for Byron and one revolved around Athee. I took advantage of NaNo 2010 and after many revisions, sent the book to my publisher last June.

And as they say, the rest is history!

Thanks again, Sue!

You're always very welcome, Alex. CassaStar is one of the few SF books I've read and enjoyed. Much as I adored Byron I'm so looking forward to reading about a female character (I foresee just as many sparks flying).

**** Here's a preview of what we can expect from CassaFire. And you really HAVE to take a look at the incredible Book-Trailer (below)...

by Alex J. Cavanaugh

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. All Byron wanted was his privacy…

Available February 28, 2012
Science fiction - space opera/adventure
Print ISBN 978-0-9827139-4-5, $15.95, 6x9 Trade paperback, 240 pages
EBook ISBN 978-0-9827139-6-9, $4.99, EBook available in all formats

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

You can visit the author’s site at
Book trailer available at
B&N -