Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Alex Cavanaugh ROCKS!

It's my turn!!!! Squeeeee! If you don't know that Alex had a book release last week, you maybe should check just how out of touch you've been... Alex has been EVERYWHERE! And you know what that's a sign of? Truly impressive networking that has earned Alex not just FOLLOWERS but FRIENDS, willing to help him out. He's doing this stuff exactly right. Alex's Blog  has gone from 30-400 followers in just seven months—that is BAFFLING growth, but it's because he's done the legwork... and has been a darned nice guy about it.

So today Alex and I have traded places... I am HOPEFULLY at his blog today (if NOT, it was my SNAFU—I sent him stuff on Saturday... or thought I did... last night I spotted it in my drafts *dies* but I might be there...)

As for Alex, he is definitely HERE, speaking of, ironically, SNAFUs...

Welcome Alex!

"Writing Snafus"

Thanks for hosting, Hart! My goal is to give your readers hope and an opportunity to laugh at my expense.

We all make mistakes with our first manuscript. Some we catch, some we wish we’d caught before another human being read our work. So here, without further ado, are some of my writing snafus.

My test readers were the first victims. After reviewing a couple chapters, one pointed out a small issue with the dialogue. “Your characters sound like girls.” To my dismay, I realized he was correct. My all-male cast of characters was over-emoting, like a pack of thirteen-year-old girls at a Justin Bieber concert. (Do I lose man-points for that?) With some assistance, we went back through the manuscript, adjusted the dialogue, and my fighter pilots were jocks (and wore jocks) once more.

These critical readers noticed a few other items. I’d failed to provide the alien race with a concrete reason for attacking the Cassans. Insert new scene to explain and define their motivation for being invading dill weeds. Another reader reached one of the last chapters and asked, “What the hell is a Darten?” I’d mentioned it several times (and no, it’s not one of the Three Musketeers) but failed to mention it was a smaller, one-seater fighter. Insert a couple lines earlier in the story.

Yes, these guys were picky, but that helped me survive the first two round of edits with my publisher. That process involved adding a prologue so my story would start with a bang. I made the required corrections, returned the manuscript, and review copies were printed.

When I received my copy, there was a note – I needed to address a couple more issues. One was in regards to the press plates that activated doors. In half the scenes, the touch of a hand was required to open doors. In the other half? You guessed it! No touching required – just the wave of a hand over the device (and some dancing.) I liked that idea better (minus the dancing) so I changed all the scenes to reflect motion sensitivity. (Just kidding – no dancing ever!)

The last problem was a biggie. My characters use telepathy, and internal dialogue occasionally had the tag ‘he thought.’ I’d been asked to remove the remainder of that line – the dreaded ‘to himself.’ So, I eliminated them. Or so I thought, until I saw the tersely written note - “No, really – remove ALL ‘to himself.” Yikes, I’d missed a bunch! Okay, I missed almost all of them. Oh, the horror… Somewhere out there is a reviewer who thinks I am a total idiot when it comes to proper grammar.

So, to all the writers out there who feel mortified by your mistakes – just try and top my snafus. I dare you!

Alex J. Cavanaugh


CassaStar by Alex J. Cavanaugh
October 19, 2010 Science fiction/adventure/space opera
ISBN 9780981621067 Dancing Lemur Press LLC

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?

“…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



Links to purchase:


Barnes & Noble


Also available in eBook format for Kindle, iPad, Nook, and others


Alex J. Cavanaugh 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 he lives in the Carolinas with his wife.


Karen Jones Gowen said...

Oh this is too funny! And the worst insult to throw at a male writer? "Your men characters sound like GIRLS" This is great stuff Alex! Enjoyed the interview.

Cruella Collett said...

Haha - I agree - it would have to be a pretty impressive cave if someone really managed not to know about the release. Kudos for the marketing work, Alex!

As for writing snafu's - I'm beginning to suspect there is a conspiracy against us. Things I could have SWORN I'd fixed keeps popping up in documents I could have SWORN I'd saved with every change intact... Perhaps we don't make mistakes - the mistakes make themselves! (I'm not entirely sure this is a comforting thought, though...)

Great interview :)

Natasha said...

I was reading a book the other day, and it had snafus- a lady who moaned about not being able to change out of the dress she had worn to a party when she went to a bbq, but at the bbq, the party was referred to as having been 'yesterday'. How it escaped the various drafts, crit partners, agents, editors, etc, etc and was found by me, is still beyond me.

And yes, not knowing about Alex's release tells you something about where you have been the last few weeks. And he is one hellava guy.

Old Kitty said...

A snafu is a.....??!?!?!

But anyway!!! Thank you for making your CassaStar men folk talk like er.. Real Men.


Take care

Will Burke said...

Aw, c'mon! When have you ever read or seen scifi and not thought "Hey, this needs more dancing!" Now I have visions of river-dancing Storm Troopers. Try and shake THAT one!
Seriously, Alex's growth has been that rapid? That's crazy! What a guy!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Congratulations on the release, Alex! And for getting your men to talk like jocks and for getting rid of "to himself." :) Seriously, it's a ton of work to get these books into publishing shape. I've had plenty of snafus and sometimes I swear I've fixed the problems...and somehow they come back!

Ted Cross said...

Hmm, sounds like Alex might be good at writing a female main character!

Hart Johnson said...

Great blog, Alex!

Mari-I'm with you--I think some mistakes have minds of their own and nefarious plans to reappear at will!

Jenny: SNAFU is a military term: Situation Normal: all F*&ked up. (I'm serious--official military)

Will: I fell off my chair--I know, right?! MORE DANCING!

Thanks so much for coming in, everyone!

The Old Silly said...

Alex DOES rock! And so does this blog - 9 comments before 7 am?! (well here in EST Michigan, anyway, lol)

Hey another fine stop in this great tour - nice job, both of you. I even watched the trailer AGAIN - still grabs me!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks Hart for allowing me to humiliate myself before 7am. Usually takes until 9am or so.

Cruella, I'll by that theory!

Will, I'm sure somewhere there has been Riverdancing Storm Troopers.

Ted, since the next book has a female lead, I hope I don't suck at it!

Thanks, Marvin!!

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Alex, Girlie boys? Whatcha thinking? Very funny. And really how is one to keep track of all those details? At least you had "people" to find them for you.


Laura Eno said...

Alex did an awesome job of promoting everywhere!
Word's Search (and destroy) is a lifesaver to me for finding those pesky snafus.

MJenks said...

Fairly early on, I decided who was going to fight whom, what sides each would draw up on, and how they would drag others into the fight with them.

Unfortunately, my political reasoning was that one group didn't like the other group, and so they fought. Countless lives and thousands in money spent over what essentially was a popularity contest.

I sat back, appraised what it was I was doing, and decided it lacked any sort of...well...anything.

I had to return to the drawing board and fix that.

Since then, I've always put a concrete reason in for attacking/fighting/warring/sparring anything. It's always going to be more than just "I never liked that guy. Get the swords!"

Sarah Ahiers said...

Ha! I used to do the "he thought to himself" all the time! Glad i'm not alone

Mason Canyon said...

Oh, enjoyed your post Alex. Congratulations on your release. Your book trailer video is awesome, no matter how many times I watch it.

Thoughts in Progress

PK HREZO said...

LOL! Well it's good to know we all go thru the same snafus.... it's why beta readers/CPs are so important. They catch things we breeze right over because we know the story so well.

Anonymous said...

Concerning inner dialogue I went through and deleted as much as I can because my characters do not use telepathy. But there are some sections where its impossible to delete. So I used italics and that's all.

Tara said...

Uh, you lost far more man points at the mention of Justin Beiber than you did having girly-sounding characters ;) Haha!

As far as topping your snafus - we just had a Then & Now thread in the Compuserve forum, and let me tell you how awful my then was. Gah.

Hart Johnson said...

Teresa-I just started reading out loud (per reader suggestion) and I have already caught a few of those things... you can't filter it if you SAY it.

Laura-I totally use word search when trying to get editing changes spread everywhere they need to be!

MJenks--my first novel lacked a bit of cohesive motivation, too--some of the characters, yes, but it is a sort of CULT and their 'recruitment plausibility' STILL needs work... Motivation is a biggie.

PK-YAY for beta readers!

Stephen-probably wise, though I really LIKE to be in a characters head. I don't use 'thought' hardly ever, but I definitely describe in my character's voice, so everything is what they thought.

Krista said...

It's so reassuring to read that other people make mistakes, too! I know it's true, but concrete examples? Awesome. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Very funny post. Although not writing related per se, this reminds me of a time my husband and I were out for dinner. We had ordered chicken liver pate and it arrived at the table in the unfortunate shape of a dog t**d. (Piping bags are NOT appropriate for everything.) We couldn't stop laughing...and we kept asking ourselves, "How many cooks,chefs,servers, etc, had laid eyes on that thing and not one of them stopped it from leaving the kitchen." Not one of them had said, "Um,you know, we might want to redo that plate. It looks kind of disgusting".
So here's to loyal, sincere and honest critique groups, friends and editors who stop hardworking writers from sending snafus out into the world. Great post! - G

Colene Murphy said...

So funny! I'll even forgive the promise of nudity on Alex's blog since this was so good!

Makes me feel A LOT better about being horrified when someone has to correct spelling or the fact that I left off important plot points.

LTM said...

this is really great and funny. And yes, Alex is freakin everywhere... he's amazing. Like the Amazing Alex... or something. ;p <3

Hart Johnson said...

Krista-yeah the specifics add to the credibility, eh?

Georgina-you made me fall off my chair! BUWAHAHAHAHA poo pate! *snort* How on EARTH would they not catch that?

Colleen--I share some nudity no occasion--mostly PG13... I have November planned with a Tart Tuesday, so you will have your eye candy...

Leigh-good example to follow, eh? AMAZING ALEX! Now we just need to convince him to be a Man-tart... (so few embrace it)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Teresa, it's a good thing, too!

Falen, you are not alone...

Mason, thanks!

Tara, I will hide now in shame...

Georgina, that's funny.

Awesome Alex the Blogging Ninja - not sure about the Tart thing, though!

Lola Sharp said...

Ha ha ha!! I love these stories Alex! What a great blog post topic.

And I love the dancing joke. You're letting your funny side out lately, Mr. Cavanaugh. Is it the lack of sleep? Whatever it is, I likes it.

Julie Musil said...

Love the interview! And it cracks me up that the guys talked too girlie. You'd think that's a mistake only us women writers would make! Nice to know you're not perfect, Alex. I'd have to hate you.

BryStearns said...

Haha, that's great Alex! I'm sure you haven't made any more mistakes than any other first time writer. But thanks for sharing them with me, I must confess I may have laughed a little (but only a little!)

Unknown said...

Alex - That's great! “No, really – remove ALL ‘to himself.” LOL

And, I'm sure it wasn't the WORST, ever, IN THE UNIVERSE. Seems minor to me, compared to others.

Plus, it sounds like you had a great group of people to help you out and catch a lot before you submitted.

Hart Johnson said...

Awesome Alex the Blogging Ninja?! *snort* Nice!

Lola, Alex is experimenting with his inner nudist!

Julie-it does seem like a more female pit to fall in, eh?

Bry-Alex assured me it was okay to laugh at him! (he clearly got it all fixed up)

RaShelle--teehee Nice to have editors with a sense of humor... and yeah, I'm sure they get a ton of messier stuff.

Anonymous said...

Ha! I'm sure I can top your snafus, but you'll have to give me a couple months. I'm competitive like that, see? I bet I can get the Query Shark to publicly denigrate my query letter. Just see if I don't! (Okay, I probably won't do that. But I *could*.) :)

Congrats again on the release, good sir!

Arlee Bird said...

This was a fun and enlightening peek into Alex's writing process. Having the outside reader is essential. Just because we know what we were saying doesn't mean everybody else does.

Tossing It Out

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Lola, must be the lack of sleep!

No need to hate me, Julie - I'm imperfect to a T.

Bryan, you know you laughed a lot!

Simon, you have to now - we'll all be excpecting it.

Lee, easy for you to say.

Golden Eagle said...

LOL. It's so easy to miss things that you thought you'd caught. Thank goodness for other readers!

Raquel Byrnes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Raquel Byrnes said...

love that you did this. Knowing others make mistakes makes mine seem less earth shattering. I was once told that I write men as idiots, if thats any help. I had to go back and change every time they answer a question with a question. 0_0

Edge of Your Seat Romance

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Raquel, sometimes we are idiots!

Jeff Beesler said...

Alex, snafus, huh? Hmm. Well, I've done the over-the-top one dimensional character, I didn't use the proper terminology for playing a flute, and I had a mob find my antagonist as if they knew precisely what alleyway he'd wandered down.

These are a few of my favorite mishaps.

Hart Johnson said...

Holy cow! Alex, you're good for business! It's a rare blog I hit 40 comments and we're about there!

*giggles* Raquel, there is something subliminal there, but I'm not sure what it is *snort*

Jeffrey, that is the kind of stuff I do... act expert them prove I'm not...

Southpaw said...

Alex, I absolutely loved this post. You also have great, honest readers.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

These were really funny. I can’t imagine a manuscript without snafus, but at least yours were discovered before publication and not after.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Jeffrey, they happen to all of us.

Hart, we are over 40 comments! I was beginning to worry...

Thanks, Holly!

Jane, thanks, and I'm sure there's one or two hiding somewhere.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Emoting like girls - love it! Alex's blog growth bloggles the mind, doesn't it?

Ella said...

I love this; Thanks for the honest insight and
self mutilation. You learned from your mistakes and moved on...takes courage to build an Army!

Love the girly convo thought~

WritingNut said...

Ahhhh.. that's too funny! Really??? Your male characters spoke like girls?

Thanks so much for sharing Alex - I'm so glad to know you're human too! ;)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yes, ladies, I have humiliated and mutilated and proven myself human. Now, get back in the army ranks!

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

I had a giggle with your characters sounding like girls. Gotta love critiquers for picking out the elements we're too close to see.

Cheeseboy said...

Alex - you are the man! I look forward to reading your book.

sfdada said...

I think this is what makes us like Alex so much. He's not taking himself so seriously that we want to up and slap him. I'm one of those newish 400, who've really learned a lot from the guy. I'm not quite finished with the book but even though I didn't think the guys sounded girly, there were at least a couple of times I felt echoes of Luke's famous Toshee station whine (you know what I'm talk in about?), but in a good way!

Missed Periods said...

This is the second interview I have read with Alex. He seems like such a cool guy. Congrats on your success, Alex.

Hart Johnson said...

Thank you EVERYONE for stopping in to see Alex. I'm still giggling at all the snickers about girlie-men *snort* You know how I like a man comfortable with his feminine side...

Thank you to all the new people who stopped in here, too! And to my regular readers--You guys KNOW I love you, yes?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks, Cheeseboy!

Bryan, thanks - I think!! And hey, I've heard plenty of guys whine in my time.

Thank you, Missed!

And thanks again, Hart. YOU ROCK!!!

Aleta said...

I loved that you were willing to share the mistakes. How real (and funny).

Ok, I'm going to have to read it!