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Wednesday, April 6, 2022

#IWSG and Alex J. Cavanaugh's New Release CASSADARK

 Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Day. IWSG is the brainchild of Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh.

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! Thanks, Alex, for starting this group and keeping it going. We are rockin' the neurotic writing world!

The awesome co-hosts for the April 6 posting of the IWSG are Joylene Nowell Butler, Jemima Pett, Patricia Josephine, Louise - Fundy Blue, and Kim Lajevardi!

Today's optional question has to do with audio books. I have no experience with audio books, so no answer. I'm glad because now I have more room to talk about and with our Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh and his newest release. Yay!

I've read all the books in his science fiction Cassa series and thoroughly enjoyed them. CassaDark dropped into my iPad yesterday, so I'm looking forward to reading it. I asked Alex why he wrote the Cassa series. Here's what he has to say.

Why a Series? And Why These Stories?


It’s funny because I know a lot of authors who write series. Some of them plan several books before writing. Some are even smart enough to write most of those stories before attempting publication with the first book. And then some of us, well, we just sort of fall into a series.


The first book, CassaStar, was with me for a very long time. I’d written it as a teen and then it sat in a drawer for about thirty years. Of course, when I read it again, it was garbage as far as the writing quality. But the general idea was good. Inspired by the Battlestar Galactica promotional image drawn by Frank Frazetta, the story and characters really stuck with me. Prompted by my wife, I rewrote it, and eventually it became my first published novel.


Dream come true! I wrote a book. Mission accomplished. On to the next thing.


Oh wait, the fans want a sequel?


A sequel? I had no plans to write another book. But there they were, fans and publisher prodding me for another.


So, I dug into my memory and recalled another adventure for my main character I’d never written. One that introduced a new main character. Maybe I could write another story. And in six months, I’d completed and polished the story that would go on to become book two, CassaFire.


I didn’t need any prompting to realize I needed one more. Who ever heard of a series of two books? To finish this, it had to be a trilogy.


I think I had the most fun writing the third story. I used the same formula as I had from book one to book two—jump twenty years ahead. What would be happening in the main character’s life by then? The story and characters fell into place quickly and I produced what I still feel is the best book I ever wrote, CassaStorm.


Trilogy done! Good, because the main character is going to start showing his age soon.


I moved on to another book set in a new world and some short stories. Then I took a break. A really long break…


Interesting how a story will start to poke at you after a while. How an idea will form and the characters take you off on a new adventure. And you realize this is the next story you must write.


Even if it means your trilogy is about to get a fourth book!


The main character had a son, so I jumped ahead a bit and wrote his adventure. That resulted in the latest release in the series, CassaDark.


So, if you ever think your series is done (or maybe you are done!), don’t count on it. Your imagination might have a different idea…


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

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

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.






Click here to find others on the Insecure Writers Support Group Blog Hop. Or go to IWSG on Facebook to see who’s blogging today.


  1. Diane, thanks again for letting me take over your blog today!

    1. My pleasure, Alex. Congrats on the new release.

  2. I love that your story poked at you while you were on a break. Good to know we have no control!

    1. That is the truth, Liza. I've had stories like that.

  3. That's exactly how I fell into my By Moonlight series. One story begging to be told. What? I needed more? 14 books later . . . A writer is never completely done with their characters and their stories.

    1. Not when the characters clamor for their story to be told.

    2. Not sure I could take mine to fourteen!

  4. You had a great system for writing your series. With MG and YA books, though, it wouldn't work to jump 20 years in the future. Glad you are continuing the story you started, which you though would only be one book.

    1. People who don't understand the writer's mind think/say something like: okay, you wrote a book; you got it out of your system now, so you're done. LOL Little do they know.

  5. Thanks for featuring Alex and his new book. I'm certainly glad he wrote it.

  6. Congratulations to you, Alex! Glad to see this out there.

  7. I enjoy hearing about Alex's journey as a writer. My writing mentor Candace Simar had a similar experience. She wrote a "trilogy", but another book, a fourth one in the series, came to her in a dream. She had to write it!
    Congratulations, Alex, on all your success!

    1. Good, I'm not the only one messing up a perfectly good trilogy.

  8. Happy IWSG Day!
    Thanks for hosting Alex today. Great post.

  9. Always a good sign when a story just won't let you rest till you finish ;-)

  10. Wishing Alex super success, he deserves it.

  11. Readers love series in books that same as they love them on TV. Once they connect with the characters, they like to follow their lives. Congrats to Alex on his.

  12. I'm laughing and nodding as I read this. I fell into my series, too. The first two novels I wrote (paranormal romance) weren't good enough, so I set them aside. I had been reading a lot and decided I liked western historical romance more, so I tried my hand at that -- a standalone. It was good enough for pub and became my debut.

    It sold thousands of copies (shocker) and earned quite a few fans.
    "Is [this character] going to get his own story?"
    "Is [that character] going to get his own story?"

    I had been so busy setting up everything and publishing, I hadn't stopped to realize that I would brand myself as a western historical author. And, due to requests for more, my standalone turned into a series. I'm glad, but it's funny to look back on. Holy cow, I was dense. LOL

    Congrats on your book, Alex. I'm glad you made your debut a series, too. :)

  13. Congrats, Alex. I'm glad your dreams have come true. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  14. Alex, this is fascinating how your series unfolded. Maybe there will be another book down the road...

  15. This was my favorite of the Cassa series.

  16. I accidentally wrote a major character from my first novel Dead Witness into my latest WIP. But I still don't think of it as a series because ... I'm not sure. It's so different. You've given me pause, Diane. Thank you!

    1. Thanks, Joylene, but I think Alex gave you pause. :)

  17. I love that your imagination inspired you to write a 4th book. I am anxiously waiting for my copy to arrive. I will binge read once it gets here.

  18. Fun interview Alex. Thanks for featuring him, Diane. I look forward to reading Alex's book!

  19. Great interview, Alex! The first novel in my space opera series had a similar teen writing, thirty year hiatus birthing story. Glad to know I'm not the only one. :) Keep the series rolling!

  20. So interesting to discover how this series grew and grew and grew, and then grew again! Best wishes for success with #4!!!

  21. Congratulations to Alex on his new release!

  22. Your imagination might have other ideas - love it. Writers never know what their imaginations have in store. And that's what makes writing so much fun. I'm sure it won't be long until that next idea is poking its way out.


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