Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Catch Fire Party & Tips to Blogging Success

Don't you all think there is something magical about a leap year, with the power harnessed on Feb 29th?

Well, today I’m participating in the launch party for my buddy and Ninja Captain extraordinaire Alex Cavanaugh’s second book—CassaFire!

If you haven’t read his first book, CassaStar, what are you waiting for??

It’s wonderful when you pick up a book outside of a genre you typically read and actually enjoy it. Space Opera and Sci-Fi may not be for everyone, but it doesn’t hurt to step outside of your comfort zone and give it a try.

Alex has graciously agreed to do a guest post today and give all of us bloggers some tips.

This guy is like the E.F. Hutton of the blogging world. Trust me, you want to know what he has to say. If you are too young to remember the E.F. Hutton commercials, just remember one day you will be my age.

On to the post all bloggers should read.

How does one build a Ninja army?

Ironically, I never set out to build a huge army of followers. Certainly not one that’s 1300 strong.

I used to view blogs with over 1000 followers in total awe. I couldn’t even imagine that many followers and never thought I’d hit that number. I always wondered how that person achieved so many. What was the secret? How did they gain so many followers?

It’s no secret, though. The answer is really simple. It takes involvement PLUS. The blogging world is a community. We can post on our blog, but unless we are involved in the community, we’re just talking to ourselves. (Even though I know writers sometimes do this.) Why go to all of the trouble to compose a blog post that almost no one reads? If we’re involved with other bloggers, then our posts will serve a purpose as well. (Even if it’s just to amuse others.)

So how does one get involved?

Follow and comment on other blogs
Participate in blogfests
Give back to the community

What’s the PLUS?

Possessing the right attitude and spirit.

And understanding that leading an army is an honor and a responsibility.

These qualities are important even if you only have a hundred followers. That’s when you are laying your foundation and establishing your character. A giving attitude and genuine nature needs to shine. And it simply can’t be faked.

If you master the PLUS early, those qualities will stay with you as your army grows!

Thanks again, Isis!

What do you guys think it takes to build an army? Thoughts? Questions? Anyone have a box of Hot Tamales?

Alex Cavanaugh’s book tour will run from February 27 through March 9 – and anyone who comments on his blog posts during that time can win a special package from his publisher: copy of CassaFire and CassaStar, a large tote bag, and a mug.

Congratulations, Alex!!

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 now!
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, 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
Barnes and Noble -
Amazon -
Amazon Kindle -

Monday, February 13, 2012

Origins Blogfest: How Did I Become A Writer

A big thank you to DL Hammons, Katie Mills, Matthew McNish and the always awesome Alex J. Cavanaugh for hosting this Origins blogfest. Otherwise I doubt I would have a post up today. The objective is to share the origins of how we became a writer.

Like many other writers out there, I was born to write. Creating stories at an early age came quite naturally. Even though they were all rather tragic, lots of death, a struggle to find true love, the arduous pursuit of happiness--you get the idea.

It wasn't until the sixth or seventh grade that my drive and motivation to turn my stories into a product where I could receive recognition first emerged. My school held a short story contest. All finalists would have their books displayed in a case at the entrance to the auditorium and the winner would receive a special prize.

Excitement hummed in my veins. My mind churned constantly with ideas for the perfect story. I poured my heart and soul into creating it. My teacher adored it and submitted it as a finalist, but alas I didn't win. I asked my teacher, who was a final judge, what did my story lack? Did the winner have a better plot, stronger characters?

Her answer: Absolutely nothing, in fact my story was better, but some of the judges would have preferred a happy ending. Also, all the judges were hooked by the winner's cover.

The cover?? Sure enough, in the display case the winning story did indeed have the best cover. The student had artistic skills I lacked, but packaging couldn't count for so much. Could it?

Next year I was more determined than ever. I wrote an even better story, with a sappy happy ending (yes, I was a sellout at an early age), a high concept plot (even though I didn't understand the term at the time), with a futuristic setting that would blow the judges away, but I didn't stop there. I had my aunt's boyfriend, a real artist, draw the cover for me. I described in detail exactly what I wanted it to look like, down to the color scheme. Guess who claimed first prize that year?

So I guess writing is in my blood, right along with the undeniable desire to be a successful published author.

Happy Valentine's to everyone! Remember the holiday is for those who are unattached as well. Celebrate the ones you love!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Complications Build Character

Along our chosen path in life, we will encounter obstacles. How we choose to tackle those hurdles, the attitude we adopt, and the perspective we take, will often determine the outcome ... in the long run.

As I made my transition back to the United States, I decided to take a break from blogging and tweeting to focus my energy on higher priorities. At the end of a long day I never thought "Gosh, I wish I had written a blog post or visited the sites of more of my blogging buddies or spent ten extra minutes on Twitter." However, many of my priorities (spending time with my husband, staying fit, giving my canine kiddies the attention they deserve) bring me so much joy that I was in danger of allowing my break to last a smudge too long.

So I hopped on my computer, eager to do a post for Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group. As luck would have it (there are two kinds you know) a "blaster worm" infected my computer while I was searching sites for a quote to include, quite literally stopping me cold. When a trojan hit this past December, I lost everything on my beloved laptop. It took time and money to recover all of my work, but at least I thought I'd met my quota of computer problems for a while. I guess I was wrong.

Faced with this obstacle yet again, I chose to laugh rather than cry, well it was more like a cross between a growl and a psychotic chuckle. I'm no computer expert and knew I would need help to resolve the issue, but I didn't want the problem to derail me from my objective. I searched everywhere through packed belongings to find my iPad and forged ahead with my mission: make a contribution this month to the support group.

Life is too short to shed tears over every bump that crops up on our path. It's also too short to neglect your true priorities or to lose faith in your dreams.

Never give up. Never give in. No matter how big or tough an obstacle may be.

"The block of granite which was an obstacle in the pathway of the weak became a stepping stone in the pathway of the strong." ~ Thomas Carlyle