Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Will You Marry Me?

Today, as you all know, is February 29th. What is commonly refered to as Leap Day.

"According to an old Irish legend, or possibly history, St Bridget struck a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men – and not just the other way around – every 4 years. This is believed to have been introduced to balance the traditional roles of men and women in a similar way to how Leap Day balances the calendar."

And as I'm half Irish, you might have thought I would have taken note of this in my younger years.

"In some places, Leap Day has been known as “Bachelors’ Day” for the same reason. A man was expected to pay a penalty, such as a gown or money, if he refused a marriage proposal from a woman on Leap Day. In many European countries, especially in the upper classes of society, tradition dictates that any man who refuses a woman's proposal on February 29 has to buy her 12 pairs of gloves. The intention is that the woman can wear the gloves to hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring. During the middle ages there were laws governing this tradition."

Now I'm sure most of you know, I will be using this little piece of information in one of my books.

Tell me -- Is there anyone (living, dead, character from a book, movie) you would like to propose to?

Here is my choice. This would be Col. Brandon from Sense & Sensibility.

(Source of quotes

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

CassaFire -- Book Review

Alex J. Cavanaugh's long awaited sequel is out today. CassaFire.

I wish I had a son, or a nephew, so I could give him this book to read. I mean it's wonderful for every age group, but I know boys will like it. The plot is great, science fiction and things that go BOOM, friendships that are made, and broken ones that are healed, integrity, and hard work, and hey, there's even a little romance, so it was right up my alley.

Byron is the main character (again -- it is a sequal after all) and he's been sent to do menial labor, flying scientists to and from the exploration ship to the planet of Tgren. All is not what it appears to be, and when he finds one of the new Tgren pilots he has to train is not only a woman, but has mind reading capabilities, well, that just spins Byron out of his rigid and lonely existance.

When something goes awry in one of the caves on the planet (I'm not giving spoilers, you'll just have to read it yourself) Byron finds he must make some hard choices he never wanted to make, and one involves just what exactly makes a friendship.

Cavanaugh's writing is crisp and clear. You know where you are and what is going on at all times. Because it is science fiction, I had a little trouble keeping up with the names of the characters (I mean, they're not Mike, or Joe, or John) but, after awhile, I figured out who everyone was. The tension level is quietly kept at medium high, not only with the main plot, but also between Byron and Athee (the woman pilot), which pulled me along to the end. And the ending was soooo satisfying, I even ended up crying. Well, maybe because I'm a romance writer and I like a happily-ever-after.

If you're looking for something fun and light, this is the book to read. It's not a bang'em up-shoot'em up, with blood and guts but  a good sturdy story, capable of keeping even the most discernable reader entertained.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Marketing Quietly

Good Morning. As most of you know I self-published several short stories and two novels to Kindle/Amazon with a third on the way. It's been a truly life changing experience in more ways than one. Yes, I am exceedingly proud of all I've achieved with my writing. I've also learned how to upload, download, fix html codes, and all kinds of other "fun" stuff I never in a zillion years thought I'd ever do. (With the help of some very dear friends, I might add.)

When I first uploaded A WIFE FOR WINSBARREN to Kindle back in October, I had no idea what "ranking" was or "best-seller lists" or any of that. However, as I uploaded more books, I found my ranking was getting higher. Now, one of my dear friends said that being at #63 was an amazing achievement.
I even wrote about it here on my blog.

As of this writing, I'm on three different best-seller lists, with that one book, at #5, #16, and #52 respectively. People are actually buying my books and reading them. (And these rankings change HOURLY so what may have me sitting in astonishment one moment, has me plummeting to the dregs of the earth in another.)

Now there're all kinds of ways to get to the top in a short amount of time. Here are three I've heard about. Put it free, get tons of reviews, do a blog splash. I never did any of those. As a matter of fact, WINSBARREN sat with the same 3 reviews it had, written by dear friends, for the first 4 months it was out. It now has 4. (Two stars I might add.) So reviews don't have anything to do with ranking as far as I can tell.

As of this writing, THE LADY'S FATE has 5 reviews. My other two short stories and novel have none. And quite honestly, I don't care. They're all selling. Quite well I might add. So as far as I'm concerned, word of mouth is selling my books. Either that OR the fact I have so much reading material out there
I did do "free" on one of my other books (A HUSBAND FOR MISS TRENT), but I did that the wrong way, using Smashwords for the "free" instead of Amazon/Kindle, hence, a lesson learned.

As for a blog splash (or marketing blitz) nope, didn't do that either. Not that I couldn't, but quite frankly, I just didn't want to. With so many people complaining (myself included) about people shoving their books in your face on every social media site known to man, I just couldn't do it. As a matter of fact, I hardly did anything -- I believe 2 interviews and a guest post and that was it. Some very nice people wrote some very nice things about my books and posted them on Goodreads, but I didn't ask them to do it. I Tweeted once and only once for each book release. That's it. I posted once for each book release on both of my blogs. That's it.

(The one thing that I haven't done, that I really want to do, is get bookmarks and/or postcards made. I'm waiting on my third novel to go out before I do that.)
As for my actual stats on how many I've sold, well, that's kind of personal, like asking what religion you belong to, or if you ever inhaled. I want to tell you, really I do, but I'm not going to. You know why, because my sales will be different than yours. There are all kinds of reasons why -- different genre, different publication dates, different marketing strategies, hey, even different covers. And we can't compare. ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY CANNOT COMPARE. It wouldn't be fair to you or I, or any of the other writers out there.

Yes, some people have sold 50k in the last year. Some only 100 books. You have to find what works for you to be able to sell. You have to find your own marketing groove and go with it. J.A. Konrath suggests playing with pricing. David Gaughran suggests putting books out for free. K. K. Rusch suggests putting excerpts up on your blog. And all of these are really great ideas. And yes, I've done them. Some worked, and some didn't. But only you can make the decision of what works best for you. Sometimes it's just the difference of changing the cover.

What I do know, however, is that putting out great content, with a pretty decent cover, keeping the typo's and mistakes to a minimum, and keeping that momentum going, will see your sales grow over time. This isn't a race. There's a long tail on this roller-coaster. What sells today, might not sell next year, or even next week. Who knows. Then again, even if you don't sell this year, in five years, you might be the next gazillionaire.

I guess what I'm saying is, you don't have to beat people over the head to buy your books. I didn't and I'm making a nice living now. I keep my nose to the grindstone and write. I guess you could say I "Market Quietly", and just do what I think is best and let the chips fall where they may. But then again, I'm not you and you're not me. We each have our own way of looking at things.

Tell me -- What are the most effective ways you've seen writers market? What are some of the most detrimental? What are some of your marketing techniques?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday's at the Piedmont Grille

On Today's Menu -- Talli Roland

I'm really excited to have Talli here today. I've long been wanting to do an interview, and she graciously consented. Let's get right to it.

For those who don't know, you also write travel guides under the name Marsha Moore. Have you written any more with your travels to Egypt and Canada?

I haven’t, because I’ve been focusing mainly on fiction. I love travelling and travel writing but right now, I want to build up my fiction readership as much as I can. Fiction has always been my dream.

I know what you mean. I don't think I could write non-fiction in any aspect.

Your pen name is such a delightful creation and so fits your personality -- how did you ever come up with it?

Thank you! I’ve always wanted to choose my own name, so it was a very fun process. Since I write chick lit, I wanted something quite fun and also a bit different – so when it was Googled, it would be easy to find. My mum’s maiden name is Roland, so that sorted my surname. My editor at the time and I threw around a few first names, and we finally hit on Talli. I think Talli is taking over my whole persona now!

I love it. It reminds me of candy.

Do you have plans to write another book for your publisher or are you concentrating solely on e-books on your own?

Never say never, but right now I’m concentrating solely on putting out e-books myself. I love that I can set my own timelines and that I’m in control of the process. Not to mention the fact that I don’t need to divide my royalties! My sales were always mainly e-books, so it made sense to go out on my own. 

I hear you on the control issues.

With the publication of your self-published e-book Build a Man and the upcoming Construct a Couple you were thinking about paperback versions as well.  Have you made a decision? (inquiring minds want to know) 

I’m still on the fence, but I’m leaning towards not putting out a paperback copy. It’s a ‘nice to have’, but with most of my sales being e-books (even with the paperback copies of my first two novels available), I’m not sure it’s worth the time and the effort.  I’d rather spend that time writing!

I think that's the new 'normal' these days. E-books are the new paperback version.

What is the hardest part of writing for you -- revsisions? first drafts? edits?

Oh God, definitely the second draft. The first draft, I have a general outline, but I just sit down and write. The words pour out.  With the second draft, I need to take my drivel and shape it into something. There’s always a moment where I look with despair at what I’ve written, wondering if I can use any of it! 

Oh, it's nice to know we're not alone picking over our drivel. lol
Your chick lit titles have been wildly successful -- is there another genre you'd like to write in?

Chick lit suits my voice right now, and although I started off writing more literary fiction, I think I’ll stay writing chick lit for a while to come. Eventually, I’d like to move into commercial women’s fiction – less humour, more depth – but we’ll see what the future brings!

What is the most important advice you've received thus far that you'd wished you'd known earlier in your career?

Actually, no one’s told me this, but it’s something I discovered and I wish I’d known it earlier: pace yourself, because getting published is not the final goal. If you want to have a successful career in publishing, you need to think about your next book, and the one after that, and the one after that . . . Being published is not the end of the road.

I think that's important, to know where you're going after you write The End. Someone once told me to have a ten year goal. Right now I'm set for five and I think that's enough for now.

What is the most surprising thing you've learned about yourself in publishing both with a small press and self-publishing?

Wow, that’s a great question! Er . . . um . . .  *five minutes later* Do you know, I don’t think I’ve learned anything new about myself, but the process has reinforced things I already knew: that I like being in control, that I can easily obsess over unimportant things for hours (not good!), and that I’m very driven.

Well, your drive has certainly gotten you to the top of the chick lit market. I can't think of anyone who doesn't know you. And as always I wish you all the success in the world.

You can find Talli on her blog here.

You can find Talli Roland's books here.

You can find Marsha Moore's Travel Guides 24 Hours Paris, 24 Hours London here.

Thanks again Talli, it's been great having you.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Publishing Logo

Day two of the new/old schedule. So far so good.

Today I want to discuss publishing logos. You know, those little piccies on the spines of books that most of the major publishers have.

Back in the old days, when there were only like six publishers (waaaayyyy back in the old days), a logo would mean, you knew exactly what you were getting from the publisher without even having to crack the book open or look at jacket copy. A yellow star with a blue background meant it was romance, and sweet romance to boot. No boobies hiding in there. A captial H with a diamond for the the crossbar meant something else. Two red waves, different publisher, same genre. A capital P with a star in the middle, different genre, same publisher. You get my drift.

In the world of self-publishing, there's so much to think about, a logo just doesn't seem necessary. Especially as most self-publishers aren't even thinking of "physical books". With the advent of the e-book revolution, I mean where would you even put something like that. There's no spine. On the title page? On the copyright page? In the back matter somewhere?

Besides, most self-publishers don't form their own companies, and if they do, don't necessarily think about a logo for it. I know I never did. Until I started thinking about publishing to paperback and someone asked me what my logo would be. I was like, why bother? But then I started thinking, I used to have a logo for my catering company. And my cards and brochures were passed around like candy. Back in the day, my name meant something, and the people who hired me knew exactly what they were getting as soon as they saw my logo.

(Sorry for the tilt. I couldn't quite get it to scan right.)

And so now, with a little push, and help from my very dear friend, I have a new logo to accompany Shore Road Publishing. (I so wanted to have Beach House Publishing but that was already taken.)

What do you think? Kind of cool isn't it. I think it's quite snappy. (Although I might change it to the same color blue as my original business card.)

And look, I didn't even have to ask, this just magically appeared in my inbox.

And I didn't even realize when I drew it out, but the RP is actually my real name. So I think that's a really good sign/omen/portent for the paperback versions of my books. 

Tell me -- Have you ever thought about your own logo?  What would it look like?

PS I've got a great guest for an interview on Friday at the Piedmont Grille so I hope you'll stop by.

Monday, February 20, 2012

I'm Just Not That Into You

Good Morning.

Last year, before all my falderal, I had a schedule for this blog -- Monday's were about love, Wednesday's were about writing, and Friday's were at the Piedmont Grille. I liked that schedule and I think I'm going to try and go back to it since I'm not crazy busy anymore.

So here we are on Monday, and I'm going to write about love. Or should I say my lack thereof. For long -time readers of my blog, you know I'm a single parent, and some of you may also know my ex- finally got his act together and moved back to NC to be near our daughter. What most of you don't know, however, is that my ex- has moved back into our home.

NOT to be with me. To be near our daughter. Let me repeat that -- NOT to be with me.

Right from the get-go, I made it quite clear in no uncertain terms that WE were not a couple anymore. I had no desire for us to try and work things out and we would maintain separate bedrooms. (Which, luckily I had an extra one.) So far this has worked out well.

HOWEVER, I am approaching my 50th birthday in April and I keep wondering if I'll ever fall in love again.

One of the big internet dating sites had a "free" weekend this past weekend and I toyed with the idea of online dating. No, I didn't join. I mean, seriously, what would my ad say?

SWF, 50, w/7 yr. old daughter, seeks companionship one or two days per week to meet for coffee/chat. Cannot travel, cannot date at night, cannot bring you home because my ex- lives with me. Hobbies include -- BBC adaptations of Jane Austen, writing, reading, and trying to get a grip on housework. Must be between the ages of 45-60, single/divorced, like old rock and roll, be sober, have a job, and vehicle. Looking for long term commitment with no foreseeable future.

How many men do you know would answer an ad like that? Besides the crazies.

And truth be told, I don't even know if I'm actually serious about getting into another relationship these days. I've got my career going on, The Monster is my top priority, and I've gained so much weight, well, I'm not exactly comfortable in my own skin.

But with spring right around the corner, and the (almost) promise of returning to the beach in RI again this summer, my thoughts have turned to the men I met on vacation last year. The guy on the beach, the guy in the fish department at Stop & Shop, and the chef at the restaurant where we ate like 6 times. (There are no men in NC that attract me. NONE.)

I've been in this "love limbo" for about 6 years now. It's not fun. And as the clock ticks closer to my big birthday I have to wonder if I'll ever fall in love again. I mean, I'm not looking to get married. I've remained free from the nuptial noose for this long, why bother. One in two marriages end in divorce anyway. Why be a statistic.

But the thought of remaining for the rest of my life without another someone to kiss good-night really has me bothered. The thought of never having sex again is kind of disturbing. (Then again, it has been 5 years, what's a few decades more. Sorry, that might have been a little too much information. But you know, this is my reality.)

The things I miss about men are subtle -- a shared joke, a mid-day call just to check in, bringing home a gallon of milk without me asking, help with the dishes. But that kind of stuff takes years to achieve. And I'm feeling like I don't have too many years left, before the looks completely fade, and the arthritis really sets in.

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy being single. I'm too independent and too set in my ways, I think, to really have what I might have wanted back in my 20's. But a nice lunch every now and again would be great. A walk through a museum or a night out at the theatre would be swell.

(And for those of you who say or think I should give my ex- another chance -- hush your mouth. THAT will NEVER EVER happen. I may have forgiven him, but I will never forget what he did to me and our daughter. There is no trust or respect left in that relationship.)

So tell me -- Do you think love after 50 is possible? Or am I more likely to get hit by lightning at 12,000 feet in an airplane?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday's at the Piedmont Grille

On Today's Menu -- Liver and Onions, Beer, and Cole Slaw

Sounds really appetizing doesn't it. Well, that's kind of how I feel right now. All bloated and fat and just a disgusting mess. Not because of anything I ate, but just from the general let-down from getting the last two books out before Valentine's Day.

 I gave myself the publishing date for Valentine's Day, way back in December when I knew it wouldn't be done for Christmas, and as the day loomed overhead, it was absolutely ball breaking to finish it. My timelines were off in the ms., (I write an overlapping series), I had just created another story with another hero who had to be enmeshed with this one, my ending wasn't going the way I wanted it to, and ugh, Christmas happened.

So for the whole of January I was rushed, and writing, and revising, and editing, and then off to the beta's and critters, and then I had to let it sit for at least a week, and then formatting and uploading and whew, I can finally breathe.

But then comes the crash and burn. All that stress, and then, I've got nothing to do. Nowhere to be. Nothing to write. And I kind of just lost myself.

I know some of you may know what I'm talking about. Actually most of you may know what I'm talking about. The rush, the excitement, the finishing up of a how-long-have-I-been-writing-this project, and then it's all done. And then what?

For me it was sleep. Then laundry. Then a good scrub down in the kitchen. You might have thought I would at least have gotten a nice dinner out of it. Not. I think I ended up with fish sticks and french fries.

And now I think I'm finally returning back to normal. I even managed to get three blog posts in this week.

So what do you do when you finish a big project? Do you celebrate, or do you vegetate?

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pen Name Revisited

Well, if you were here on Monday, you saw that I'm thinking about a pen name for my women's fiction books.  Robynne Rand was the clear winner, with all the rest coming in a close second. I didn't realize Ann Coulter was who she was, so that name is definitely out of the running. (Although I wonder who would get more publicity out of that kind of book??)

Anyhoo, Anne R. Allen brought up a really interesting point -- about how I've already spent so much time building up my author name as my brand, and with my covers, and how long it's taken me to do this, then why would I want to start again from the bottom. And she's right.

However, here's my itch -- I know how I felt when I found out Lisa Kleypas (of Regency romance fame) wrote a contemporary romance, and used her own name. I wigged out. Yeah, I did. I don't know why, but I did. I did read her contemporary stuff, and truth to tell, I didn't like it all that much. It was a good book, I guess, (It was a long time ago, I really don't remember it all that well.) but I know it definitely wasn't her finest hour. I don't know if I was expecting something else, if it had to do with the publisher, the editor, or what, but I didn't like it. The sad thing is, I haven't read anything else by her.

Which isn't fair, but that's how I feel.

The same thing happened with Susan Wiggs. I loved her historicals. I hated her contemporaries.

Now these are just two authors that I know of. And I'm not saying it's a bad thing to want to branch out, hey, I'm all for it. It's just that once you brand yourself to a particular genre, you should keep the name that made you famous, and if you want to write something else, then you should change your name. I mean, what if Stephen King wrote romances under Stephen King? He'd probably get laughed at by some people. And other people wouldn't read it. Because it's not what he's known for. But I bet if he wrote under Stephanie Kingston, then nobody would know or even care.

Because I don't know about you, but I just read an authors' name and don't even wonder who they really are. I had absolutely no idea that Nora Roberts and J.D.Robb were the same person. Honest. That goes for a half dozen other authors too.  They brand themselves and as far as I'm concerned, that's what they write under that particular name.

Which is where I'm waffling. I've made a successful branding of my name, Anne Gallagher, to my Regency romances, right? And for however many fans I have, that's what they expect of me. Regency romances that are exceedingly sweet, and predictable, with just enough twists and turns to make you really wonder if the hero and heroine are actually going to make it to their happily ever after.

Now suppose, I released a book about a rape victim, incest survivor, and a wife-beater? Do you think I'd lose some of my Regency fans? Especially if there were f-bombs and gruesome beatings, and full on rape scenes? (I mean, not that I am going to release that kind of book, I don't have it in me to even THINK about writing something like that.) But I mean, can you get my drift here?

So my question to you is -- Do you think that authors who brand themselves in one genre, should rebrand themselves in another? Or do you think it's possible to keep your same name and be successful in both?

Big Words

A beta reader once said to me, she didn't like my use of "big words". She felt they detracted from the story because she always had to stop reading and look them up.

I think I began loving the Regency/Historical romance genre because they did, in fact use big words.

implaccable   gloaming    penury    quiescent    louring   obliquy
I now have a list of 25 cent words, like those above, that I tuck into my stories here and there.

Tell me -- Do you use big words in your stories or do you stick with the regular ones? Do you think writers are "showing off'" by using them? Do you like learning new words as you read? Tell me some of your "big words".

Monday, February 13, 2012

I Need a Favor -- An Informal Poll

Good Morning.

Now that I've gotten a grip on my Regency romances and have put two novels (+3 short stories) up, I'm taking a break from getting into the third Regency novel for the nonce. My brain is a little fried, and I need to sit back and contemplate where I'm going to go with it. I thought it would need just a little tweaking, but because of the novellas, it seems I've made another gross error in my timeline and need to rework a few things.

However, I also have two women's fiction/contemporary romances waiting in the wings for upload. Only problem is, I don't want to use my Anne Gallagher name to publish under. So I need a new pen name.

Here is a list I've compiled. Let me know which one you like better.

Trudi Gallagher

Trudi Hendricks

Trudi Rand

Robynne Rand

Robynne Colter

Robynne Hendricks

Anne Hendricks

Anne Colter

Or any combination thereof.  Remember, my w.f./contemporaries are exceedingly contemporary, with cursing, mature adult themes, and even a hint of sex (a slightly opened door if you will but certainly not erotica).  I wouldn't want Aunt Martha as a fan of my Regencies to think my contemporaries are just as sweet. Therefore, I don't want to lose that particular fan base by being too outre as Anne Gallagher, if you know what I mean.

is published on Amazon. You can find it here

and I even wrote another short story


So what do you think about the pen names?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Paperback Writer

Good Morning. No, this post isn't about the Beatles, but you can thank me later after the song has been in your head all day.

Today's post concerns the idea of putting my books into paperback form. I've been thinking about this for a long time. A LONG time. Probably since I was a kid and dreamed of becoming a famous author. There I was in braids and braces, holding MY book, accepting an award for writing the best durn book in the world. I think I was maybe 11, so Pulitzer wasn't in my vocabulary. Thinking back on it, the book probably had to do with horses (Misty of Chincoteague and The Black Stallion), and maybe a girl detective (Trixie Belden) who saved a town from the villainous villain. You get the drift.

Anyway, since I published to Kindle, the thrill ride has been amazing. I still get goose bumps every time I see the covers when I click to Amazon (about 8 gajllion times a day). Pulitzer is not in the picture, nor would I want it to be, I'm not that smaht, but something's been missing. And I finally figured out what it was.

The fact is, it's not a "real" book. I mean, sure, it's there, you can download it and read it, my name is on it so I know I wrote it, I even formed my own publishing company to do that. But I can't hold it in my hands. I can't smell it. I can't stick a bookmark in it, write in the margins, or kill a fly with it. I can't FEEL it. It's not tangible to me.

And so I've been scouring the internet looking up POD (print on demand) companies, looked at pricing, and royalties, distribution models, and percentage mark-downs. It's a lot to take in. Most companies are about the same. That's not the problem.

The problem is the consumer. When you can buy digital books for so much less, would you really spend the money on a paperback? I've seen prices from small publishers and self-publishers run the gamut from $9.99 to $15.95. (Most traditional publishers for the 5x8 mass market paperback are still hovering around $7.99 but that's with a 50K print run.) However, after looking at the POD models and how the companies do it, with the cost of paper, ink (not only for 273 pages but also the color covers), staff, electricity in the plant, all that, I can actually see how they would come up with the price they do to print one. Which is actually fair. (Working in a restaurant all those years really makes it easy to see the wholesale/retail mark-up.)

I guess the question I'm asking is, do people still buy "books"? Real books made out of paper. I mean, I wouldn't expect people who have the digital version to buy a paperback version too, that would be crazy, but I'm thinking of Aunt Martha who wants a nice Regency but without the sex, and maybe cousin Joyce who doesn't have an e-reader yet. If you're stuck in an airport, or dentist office, maybe a day at the beach. Do people still buy books as gifts? How much is too much for a paperback? (I know what I pay and how I read, so my opinion doesn't count.)

Tell me -- your opinion. I really want to know.

PS   I have another novella coming out shortly. (Like within the next few days.)
You can read all about it here.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday's at the Piedmont Grille

On the Menu Today -- Alex J. Cavanaugh   CassaFire

Welcome to the Piedmont Grille today, Alex, it's so great to finally have you here.

I’m happy to be here!

Let's get right to the interview, shall we? First off, I want to know what you eat for breakfast, because as we all know, you are EVERYWHERE on the blogs. I see you leaving comments, and I think to myself, "Man, that guy gets around." How do you do it? Really? Is there a trick we don't know about? You blog, comment, guest post, I know you're getting ready for the CassaFire launch, not to mention write your next book, how do you do it all?

Ninja skills! Seriously though, one advantage I have is that I can blog from work. (Does my job rock or what?) I have so many amazing blogger buddies - how could I not keep up with them? And yes, I log between four and six hours a day online. Weekends are much less - I do get out and live a little!

Because you're so busy, do you actually have time to do anything else? I guess my question really is, how do you relax?

Hey, I’m a guy - I know how to chill! I play my guitar every night, which is the ultimate relaxation. I also play PC games and watch a lot of movies.

What would you say is the hardest part about writing a book for you? First draft? Revisions? Editing? Any or all of these or is it something else?

First Draft! It is so difficult for me to get my vision down on paper. I neither write nor type fast, and I’m always analyzing as I write, so it’s a long process.

I know you chose a small publisher and are very happy with Dancing Lemur Press. Did you query CassaStar to agents or decide to go with a small pub right from the go? And why?

I never queried agents. I started with a list of science fiction publishers and sent queries to them. After many rejections, I broadened my search and tried other publishers. Dancing Lemur Press offered a contract and I said yes!

What piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers? What do you wish someone had told you, or that you had learned early on to make the journey to publication less difficult?

Think outside the box is so overused, but it fits. Query everyone! Think of what other genres might describe your book as well.

Thanks so much for being here today.

CassaFire comes out on February 28 in print and eBook!

Preorders are currently available through Barnes and Noble.

CassaFire 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 http://http//