Monday, December 5, 2011

The Big Idea, Cursing, and a Ton of News

I have the honor of a guest post at Sommer’s Tell Great Stories today! It’s all about the BIG IDEA. She is an awesome writer and motivator, so stop by after you’re done here…

The Movie 411 Awards are now open for voting!!! I’m up for two awards, but my buddies Cinemarvellous, Melissa, iZombie, and MsMariah are also up for awards and need your vote. Nebular’s Cinemarvellous is in the running for three awards including GOLD. I don’t care if you vote for me but please vote for my awesome buddies!!!

I was also asked to contribute an article to The Specusphere, an online magazine for Australian writers. It’s called The Long Road to a Surprise Best Seller, describing how CassaStar became an Amazon Best Seller a year after its release. Actually, it’s more of my best guess!! Anyway, I was really honored that they featured my article.

Fantasy Nibbles reviewed CassaStar this weekend and I couldn't be more pleased with the review! Thanks so much.

Some awesome new books:

Ground Rules by Cate Masters came out last week.

Marta Szemik’s Two Halves also came out last week. It’s available at Amazon



Congratulations, ladies!!


Other cool happenings:

Jamie’s Mithril Wisdom just celebrated two years of blogging.

MaineWords is holding a 200 followers giveaway.

My buddy TS at The Non Review just celebrated two years of blogging and is almost to 300 followers.

Jen at Unedited is competing in the My Heroine Tournament as Hermione and she needs our help to win the fight!

And Reid Kemper is hosting a Blog Swap Blogfest.

Jenna at Meandering in a Field of Words gave me the Great Comments Award.
I have so many awesome buddies who always comment! But I decided to limit it to five who stop by here every single time:
Nancy Thompson
Suze at Analog Breakfast
Laila Knight
Robyn at Life by Chocolate
Christopher at Socially Awkward


Recent posts by David Powers King and Michael Offutt tackled cussing in books. I thought that would make a good topic for a CassaFacts post.

I don’t mind cussing in books if it fits the story and the characters. I recently read The Lies of Locke Lamora and there was a fair amount of language – but the characters were low-life thieves, and as the story progressed and they became more wordly, the cussing decreased. So it fit.

Another example is Game of Thrones. There’s some cussing but it fits. Now Spartacus… that is SO over the top! I’m not sure why they even bother with proper sentences.

So, how much cussing is in CassaStar and CassaFire? Well, how much cussing do you see on my blog? In my books, it’s probably even less. And here’s why:

I write science fiction space opera. Like Star Wars. Now, how much cussing is there in Star Wars? It just doesn’t fit my genre.

While I don’t mind reading it, I could never write something that was curse-word heavy. It would just bother me, as I do feel my writing is a reflection of me.

I think back to the books I read when I was younger. Adult fantasy and science fiction rarely had anything inappropriate in the content, so I was allowed to read it when I was a child. My passion for reading came from books such as The Sword of Shannara. I wanted my books to be appropriate for young people as well. I wanted a kid who loves Star Wars to be able to read CassaStar as well.

And finally, while I’ve read plenty of books that used cussing excessively, I have never read a book and thought “You know, if the author had just dropped the F-bomb a few times, it might’ve been a good story.”

So I ask you guys – did I make the right decision with my books?

Now, go check out my guest post at Tell Great Stories and vote for the The Movie 411 Awards!

148 comments:

Pk Hrezo said...

LOL! No doubt! I've never once longed for more curse words. I agree with you %100 and while we have to be true to the characters, I choose other ways to convey what I need other than curse words. I don't use them myself and if I do, it's gotta be because my arm was blown off or the house caught on fire... I think stories should be like that too... they hold more weight. Man, i loved The Sword of Shannara books.... used to have dreams about the characters... that was just plain cool.
Congrats on all your great stuff happening!!

oceangirl said...

I wonder how you keep up but I know it must be your strong comradeship. Congratulations on the reviews and article. Conversations have to be natural like in Huckleberry Finn.

Marta Szemik said...

Thanks for the shout out Alex!
My cussing is pretty limited too. I don't mind it in other books if it fits, but I usually cannot go beyond 'crap' and 's*%t'. I can't even say it here completely and I consider that pretty colorful for me. But again, I don't mind it elsewhere if it fits.
Congrats on the review and keep it up!

A Daft Scots Lass said...

And don't forget the Blogfestivus 12 Days of Christmas happening over at A Daft Scots Lass!

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I'm taking it out of my cozies completely...totally as a marketing decision. There are groups online that list books in different genres with no profanity--I'd rather have more readers than fewer.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

PK, exactly! Although I've been known to cuss for reasons less than the house on fire. And the Shannara books are just awesome. Cool you dreamed about them!

Oceangirl, there was just so much this week!

Marta, you're welcome, and that's funny you can't even type it.

Lass, sorry! Too much this week.

Elizabeth, that was my thought - more readers rather than less.

Anne Gallagher said...

Saw that article. Great job! Still working hard I see.

Tonja said...

Awesome that you kept the language mild for the kids. :)

Laura Pauling said...

Yes, I think you made the right decision. It's very rarely that cursing fits and it's usually with contemporary stories about real teens or adults. So far, cursing has not fit any of my stories and I'll probably keep it that way.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Wow, there's a lot going on. I agree with Laura on the cussing. I don't see that much in the YA books I read. It's something good for all of us writers to remember.

Nebular said...

I'm super excited for the awards!
Thank you for the support, Alex, and thanks to all of you who voted for me.

Congrats to Jamie and TS, and thanks for sharing all these great news. :)

Rusty Webb said...

Hey, you had tons of notes in today's post, hoe do you keep it all straight?

Anyway, I figure you have to be proud of what you've written when it's all said and done. The world is full of all types of stories, yours is a family friendly tale, sounds like a good choice to me.

Old Kitty said...

Damnation! LOL! And curses!

But oh you are so right about there being an art to the use of expletives in writerly form! I was given this book by a lovely blogger who loved the book and so passed it on to me. I couldn't get past the first 2 pages because the main character was so obnoxious for no reason - the fact that she cussed like a good un too only made me dislike her more - but if she were a likable character I'd have forgiven the cursing - then again if she were a likable character she'd have no need for such language! LOL! Hope that makes sense.

I heard the best put down of someone cursing in an episode of Frasier. Daphne retorts with "Oh nice language! I hope you don't eat with that mouth"! Love that!!

And here for me are some great examples of using colourful language in various art forms: the last scene in the original Planet of the Apes film - Charlton Heston's famed "Damn you all to hell"! A close second is Clark Gable's very risque "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn" in Gone with the Wind. See? Beautifully done! Oooh a very close third is Misery! The crazy stalker woman number one fan, Annie, unable to swear - "Heaven's to Betsy" is the worst she can say as she keeps Paul Sheldon imprisoned and assaulted in her bedroom.

Now where was I?!? Oh yes - you have been a busy boy so off I go to effing stalk you. LOL!!

Take care
x

Ciara said...

I think you did a great job. None of my books have much cussing. Even my adult fantasy only has world type cussing phrases. Loved your guest post today and I already voted. :) Have a great week.

Liz Fichera said...

I don't mind curse words, as long as it fits the dialogue. That said, I'm not a fan of reading books riddled with curse words either. That's just too...angry?

Jen Daiker said...

Ground rules looks awesome! Right up my alley!

Thanks for the shout-out! I appreciate it! I'm hoping we can take Hermione to the top!!

Today is the YA Tournament of Heroines bout - Hermione vs. Claire! Please vote for Hermione!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks, Anne.

Tonja, Laura, and Natalie, that's good to know.

George, I'll keep doing the shout-outs!!!

Rusty, wasn't easy - in fact, I forgot a couple items!

Kitty, that did make sense. And those are good examples - plus damn is about the only word I use. Thanks for the big laugh, as always. You the kitty!

Ciara, thanks so much!!

Liz, I try not to write angry.

Jen, you're welcome and hope Hermione wins!

Robyn Campbell said...

Of course I'll vote for Hermoine. Jen is so cool!

I have to agree with you Alex. Please no swearing in your books, unless it IS absolutely necessary. And in most cases, it is not. I have to skip over those words. They just fill, add to your word count, much like the word was.

Congrads on the award. Heading over to read your guest post. Oops, the link isn't working for me. But I'll search and find. :-)

Creepy Query Girl said...

I only really use swearing when the character and story really need it to be authentic. Loved the run down of this weeks events in blogland! Thanks!

LynnRush said...

Happy Monday. Holy moly there's a lot going on. Love reading about all this. :) There is tons going on all the time, that's what keeps this journey interesting, huh? LOL.

Have a super day!

Madeleine said...

LOL! I had a friend who wouldn't read the curse words in 'Of Mice and Men' in Class. She blushed crimson when confronted by the teacher!
Congrats on the guest post.

Lots going on including a cliche phrase blogfest today.

DL Hammons said...

I believe that cursing has the potential of being more of a distraction, than a benefit. I use it when it seems necessary to fill out a character, but that's it. You made the right call!

C D Meetens said...

I agree with you, Alex. If swearing fits the characters, then perhaps OK. Otherwise, I don't see a need for it. I don't swear, and I think that's why I find it hard to read swear words in stories. I'd be like Madeleine's friend, and probably try to find a way to ignore the curse words ;).

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Gopod luck with your nominations.
Enjoyed reading all the news, did you recieve my twitter about my book?

Have a great day,
Yvonne.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks, Robyn!

Thank you, DL. I hop I did.

Yvonne, I did!

Dempsey Sanders said...

Hey Alex, I want to really thank you for supporting the awards as much as you have, I'm so glad to see you defending your sci-fi title and up for Best Post this year, but also speechless at how much you support your fellow bloggers in them.

What a great guy you are!

Talli Roland said...

Look at all that news! Wow!

Cussing is a tough one. I didn't even notice the lack of it in your book, so it didn't impact the plot at all.

I used quite a bit in The Hating Game... because the characters were quite hardcore and the people in the London media scene cuss a lot. But in Build A Man, I didn't use much. I think it depends on characters and setting.

Charles Gramlich said...

Sounds like lots of good things happening. Excellent. I'm hoping as soon as finals are over to spend more time in the writing world.

iZombie said...

glorious.... thanks for the shout out.

Bish Denham said...

About cussing...there are two kinds.
There are the three Cs, Casual Conversational Cussing, which is to me simply a lazy way of speaking and shows a person's ignorance. Then there's the Well-placed Expletive when one hits one's finger with a hammer or when one is truly pissed off. The former is like living in a sewer. The latter is perfectly acceptable given the circumstances.

I'll have you know after reading this post I have gone and bought CassaStar!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I could spend all morning following those links!

Congratulations on everything. I'll go read and vote.

I don't like cuss words in my books. I won't read one that has strong language in it.

Laura Eno said...

Lots of happenings here!
I'm like you, I don't cuss much in my books. I have used it where it's appropriate to the character but not to the point where it's a distraction for the reader. It's really not necessary.

N. R. Williams said...

Congratulations on CassaStar being a best seller. I'm with you on the cursing. It really isn't necessary.
Nancy

Karen Lange said...

Yes, Alex, I completely agree with you about the cussing thing. If you write a great book (which I'm sure you did) and my kids are interested, I want them to be able to read it. For the most part, I just don't see what it brings to the story. I want a good story, not something I feel like I have to skip around to get the point. Thanks for the links!

Christopher Hudson said...

There's just too #@%$% much cursing in books these days! Seriously (and that's hard for me to be), it's all about the characters ... if it is the character's nature to cuss, it sounds fake if he/she doesn't ... and, of course the opposite is true.

L.G.Smith said...

I have a pretty high tolerance for cussing and even I couldn't believe the language in SPARTACUS.

Kittie Howard said...

Congrats on your award, Alex, and for the awesome links. So much going on! About cussing, yes, you made the right decision for your genre. I think there are salty characters here and there, where some cussing works, but, by and large, I'm sick of it.

Sarah McCabe said...

I assume there's a newer iteration of Spartacus than the Kirk Douglas classic I'm familiar with. ;)

It's very simple really: cursing will definitely alienate some readers. Not cursing shouldn't eliminate any.

Arlee Bird said...

I voted at 411--I wasn't familiar with most of the contestants though.

You handled language very well in your books. I can deal with profanity in a book if I barely notice it because it has been integrated into the writing very naturally. Actually I am probably more bothered by crude language in films than the use in books.


Lee
Dealing with adoption
Wrote By Rote

Suze said...

Al, I give a lot of thought to the subject of cursing in my writing for a number of reasons. I see it as such a personal call that I believe you definitely made the right choice in limiting it in your manuscripts since it is a reflection of you. Very, *very* few people would like a book less because it didn't drop enough f-bombs.

Keep being you. You're very good at it. :)

Lydia Kang said...

You have to do what feels comfortable and right. I have cussing in my book, but it's not gratuitous, if that makes sense.

Bossy Betty said...

I came here, lured by the promise of cussing in your title. I must say I am disappointed.

Due to recent events, I have become potty mouth! It's a whole different side of me! Exciting and SOOOOO attractive, don't you think?

OK, OK, actually I hate cussing in books. Let's clean it up, people.

Budd said...

by not cussing you alienate/offend no one. By cussing you may alienate/offend someone. I don't think I have ever read a book and thought a character was unrealistic because they didn't cuss enough.

Stephen Tremp said...

I am adament in that I never use G-damn (or related words and phrases), no F-bombs, and I never abuse children to further the plot or make the bad guy badder. If other people want to, then that's their business and I'm not judgmental.

Other than that, anything goes. I have scattered mild swearing, one sex scene in BREAKTHROUGH, and a whole lot of murders.

L.C. Frost said...

Yeah, definitely in your genre, I think cursing would be more...obvious? I don't like cursing if it is "obvious" in a book, versus blending in as part of the story. Cursing in Fight Club worked. Cursing in Star Wars type stories would be strange. In sci-fi you'd also have to think of futuristic curses... ("Son of a Mothership!") :-)

Tina said...

Wow, you sure packed a lot into one post! Feeling a bit dizzy ;-)
I agree with you regarding foul language - if it fits the character, then OK. Or if your particular genre usually includes a lot of it, then I'm OK with that too. For example, there are bodice rippers that include intricate details about a sexual session. There, readers expect it. If you try that in YA for example, you'd be in a heap of trouble from many directions, I imagine.
I'm continuing to work on my science fiction space opera, and my main character has a bit of foul language when she's in a jam, but as an under-cover operative, I feel it fits her.
Looking forward to CassaFire!
Tina @ Life is Good

Man O' Clay said...

I couldn't agree more about the F-bomb. I tell students they surely have a better vocabulary than that! You'd think writers would too...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks, Dempsey! My winning isn't nearly as important as my buddies winning an award.

Talli, exactly!

Charles, I appreciate you taking time out to visit when you can.

Bish, wow - thanks!!! And you're right about the two kinds.

Diane, glad I could keep you busy.

Karen, thanks.

Christopher, thanks for the laugh!

LG, it's just over the top and beyond, isn't it?

Kittie, that's good to know.

Sarah, oh yeah, it's not Kirk Douglas!

Thanks, Lee!

Suze, thank you - I don't know how to be anyone else.

Lydia, it does!

Betty, you had me going there...

Budd, me neither.

LC, that's funny.

Michael Offutt, Expert Critic said...

Thanks for the shout out Alex. I was pleasantly surprised :)

Congratulations on the success of your book.

Isis Rushdan said...

Hi Alex! You are everywhere and there's a ton of good news.

I'm fine with cussing if it fits the character and the situation, but when it's simply thrown in for absolutely no reason it bothers me.

You make great points about Star Wars, although I think Han Solo would've used a word or two :).

~Sia McKye~ said...

Cussing? I don't mind reading it if it fits the character and that goes the same for sizzling sex scenes. Some of it has to do with the genre--writing about a military fighting teams there's gonna be cussing because, honey, they cuss. But to have it tossed in just because, it has a rather neon affect-which you don't want. Ditto with sex.

I swear, your site is like a gossipy news column. I want to know whats going on in the blogosphere, I stop here. Always fun to read.

Sia McKye's Thoughts...OVER COFFEE

Leovi said...

Very interesting this article Tell Great Stories, ideal to learn more about your work.

Mel Fowler said...

Thanks for the heads up with everything that is going on in the blogosphere. As far as swearing goes, I guess you could say a little goes a long way. I liked David Power Kings post about swearing. I think it was titled 'what the frack'. I don't know if you read if or not but it was good. Let me know if you need a link to it or anything.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I think you did, Alex. There's lots of cussing going on in our world. But look at how even that's changed in the last twenty or thirty years (if you're old enough). How much more will it have changed for futuristic societies?

I totally agree with you on this:

I have never read a book and thought “You know, if the author had just dropped the F-bomb a few times, it might’ve been a good story.”

D.G. Hudson said...

Yes, Alex, I'm sure you've done the right thing since you stayed true to your own principles.

If it seems appropriate, I'm not usually offended by some cussing in the dialogue. I'd probably skim right over it.

Johanna Garth said...

You stayed true to your genre and characters and that's the most important thing.

One person who reviewed my book was offended by the language (there are some f bombs) but they are all by lawyers who are notoriously foul-mouthed. I kept trying to rewrite it in drafts but it just wasn't ringing true to me without the appropriate bad language.

Nancy Thompson said...

Its your book so any decision you make for it is the right one. I agree, language should be appropriate for the audience & the genre. There's lots of swearing in my genre. The adult thriller just wouldn't seem real without it. So of course I have a bit in my own novel. The F-bomb included.

As for why CassaStar is an Amazon bestseller, well there's only one real reason: great story with great writing! Word gets around, ya know.

And hey, thanks for award! How cool is that?! I always come by & comment because you're one of my very favorite bloggers. I'll get on that after the IWSG.

Cate Masters said...

Interesting post, Alex. Glad to read the responses, as I wondered too how much cursing was too much.
And thanks for the shout out for Ground Rules! :)

Rekha said...

Congrats on the various achievements....personally, don't like books which use the cuss words too much unless it is in the characters' blood and necessary....that what the movies are for, aren't they?
I normally don't comment unless there is something I can add or have an opinion on...and powerful people tend to scare me into being just a silent visitor... ;D

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks Michael and you're welcome.

Isis, I wonder if "Walking Carpet" is cussing?

Thanks, Sia - I guess I get around.

Thank you, Leovi!

Mel, that was the post of his I was referring to.

Thanks, Donna! And I know - I'm definitely old enough to remember when it wasn't so prolific.

Johanna, it's like a gangster movie - no cussing would be odd. So sometimes it just fits.

Thank you, Nancy!!

Cate, you're welcome!

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

I love you Alex. Thanks for the award.
xoRobyn

E.R. King said...

Thanks for introducing me to Cate Masters! I look forward to following her blog.

cleemckenzie said...

Cussing: I'm not wild about it in YA's unless it's absolutely necessary and appropriate. I gave up reading one book when I found more "F" words on the page than any others. Who needs that?

Congrats on the featured article. Off to take a look.

Brinda said...

I voted on both categories at movie 411. You are in the lead in both!!

farawayeyes said...

Of course you wouldn't cuss. I might be a little disappointed if you did.

Still the nicest blogger out there. Nicest and most informative posts. Definitely the nicest comments.

Don't change a thing.

David P. King said...

Thanks for the shout-out, Alex! Glad to read your thoughts on the topic. It's kind of a hot button, lately.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You're welcome, Robyn!

Thanks, Lee!

Brinda, really? Whoa... Thanks for voting!

Faraway, thank you and I am ever so humbled.

David, it is! Decided not to tackle the overall issue and just go with what I did in my writing.

Empty Nest Insider said...

Congratulations on your award, and I also voted for you at 411! I'll bet your parents never had to wash your mouth out with soap!

nutschell said...

I've done voting! COngratulations on the article and the award. Man, I seriously don't know how you manage to do all these things--and leave great comments besides! Do you ever sleep?

Shelley Munro said...

What a lot of great news. I've been enjoying Game of Thrones and agree the cursing fits. The series Deadwood is full of swearing. It took me a while to get into this series because of this.

Southpaw said...

Well if this post had at least ONE...j/k I find overuse of curse words distracting but there are appropriate settings and characters where it does work.

Fantasy Nibbles said...

Yep, you definitely made the right choice, there's more than enough swearing going on around me all day every day, I don't need to read it as well! And it's, of course, a sign of much higher intelligence if you can avoid it ;) Plus I'm already reading CassaStar to my son, he's only 2 but he loves to be read to and I think it's good to give him a change from Spot and Thomas the tank engine once in awhile :)

Tara Tyler said...

woah! that brain blog overload!
ouch!

today i dub thee alex the promoter!

GigglesandGuns said...

Now that you mention it, I've never put a book done because it lacked cussing. I have dropped a few for having way too much for no particular reason.

LOL you cuss just fine, Alex :o))))

Jay Noel said...

I cuss a lot in real life, but it's non-existent in my own writing. Weird but true.

I think there's one curse word in all of Episodes IV-VI. When Princess Leia shoots the grill to the garbage shoot during her "rescue," Han yells, "What the hell are you doin'?" And that's pretty much it.

Copyboy said...

You are gold! Of course I voted for you!!!! BTW...you are kicking butt!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Julie, not me! Now my older brother - that's a different story. Thanks!

Nutschell, I like my sleep. Don't worry, I'm not missing any.

Thanks, Southpaw!

Fantasy, really? Thank you so much!

Tara, I have a new title - thank you!

Mary, glad I hit the mark.

Jay, that is about the extent of it.

Copyboy, thanks! Am I?

Sangu Mandanna said...

I think swearing's fine if it's appropriate to the story and not just there for shock value - but I can't say I've never noticed the LACK of it and thought 'hmm I wish someone said the F-word more...'

And I totally agree: I want my books to appeal to all kinds of readers, including younger kids - I have a bit of swearing where I think it's right, but I don't throw it in just for the hell of it!

Jennifer Hillier said...

That's such a good point! I can't imagine ever wishing for MORE f-bombs in a books.

That being said, I used quite a bit in mine... sigh. And I've heard it back from readers that not everyone appreciates the profanity! It's a fine line trying to stay true to your characters while not offending your readers.

Great post!

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

I appreciate "clean" language in books that consider their readership's feelings or opinions. Especially in YA and Sci Fi genres that draw a wide range in reader demographics. As a writer, I feel strongly that cussing for the sake of shock value is wrong, but I also feel disallowing a character a few choice words when that character is the type who would swear is also no good. My characters tend to swear, but so do I, in real life. (shhh! don't tell anyone!)

Thanks for all the great links in this post, Alex!

Jen Chandler said...

I love the last paragraph! I must admit, I've never sat around mourning the fact that Star Wars exists without a single F-bomb. I mean, seriously? That being said, I do believe that in the right context, and if it suits the characters, then it's fine. However, that doesn't give license for the villain to do nothing BUT curse.

I actually think villains who are more calm and calculating, who keep their head and don't always spout out a string of swear words are the best. It means they're well versed in the art of villianry (sp)and don't need to over react.

Just a thought!

Congrats on the award nominations and all the awesome regarding CassaStar :D

~Jen

Lynda R Young said...

My goodness that IS a lot of news :)

And absolutely yes you made the right decision!!!

i'm erin. said...

Ok, I'm super excited for the awards!

About cussing, I dunno. I don't drop the f-bomb, but I'm ok with a little d word now and then. Ugh, I'm so lame for even saying d-word.

Patricia Stoltey said...

The cussing question is a good one. I usually have none or very little in my books, but I have one manuscript where the bad guy is so bad, bad, bad in every way. His language is appalling. The problem is, I'm reluctant to submit the manuscript anywhere. I think I wrote myself into a corner on this one. :)

M Pax said...

Congrats to Cate and Marta. Congrats to you, Alex, on the article. Tons going on.

As to cursing, I do use it, but tend to stick with the sh word and rarely use the f bomb. And I don't use a lot of swearing. It can be distracting. When used for emphasis lightly, like exclamation points, it can be effective.

You made the right choice. Each of us does for each story.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sangu, good for you!

Thanks, Jennifer.

Nicole, I won't tell a soul...

Jen, that's true and calculating is an excellent description.

Thank you, Lynda!

Patricia, that's a tough one then.

Thanks, Mary.

Carol Kilgore said...

Language should be story and character appropriate, in my opinion. I think others here have said the same thing. If curse words fit the story and characters, they should be there. If they don't, they should be omitted. To choose wrong either way is equally jarring to me as a reader. My two cents.

The Golden Eagle said...

Congratulations on all the good news!

I agree--I've never thought that a book would have been better with more cursing.

Monti said...

So cool!!! Congratulations on all that great news and events!

Monti
Mary Montague Sikes

Journaling Woman said...

That's a lot of news. I'm off to read some more.

T

Jules said...

You definitely made the right choice and I did not know Star Wars is considered science fiction space opera. :)

Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Carol, and your two cents are worth a fortune!

Thanks, Golden.

Thank you, Monti.

Jules, until I wrote a book, I didn't know either!

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

ooh, what'd you think of Lies of Locke Lamora? Scott Lynch is a local writer here and i've met him a few times

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I agree with you completely about the cussing part. Perhaps if I wrote contemporary I would use more but I use only mild words in my fantasys.
You certainly had a lot of news today.

Mary Aalgaard, Play off the Page said...

Definitely the right choice in keeping the language PG. I gave your book to my son, age 10 at the time, and he really liked it. He's just the kid you had in mind while writing it. He loves Star Wars and fantasy novels, action and adventure.
Thanks for writing the books!

LisaAnn said...

Holy smokes! This is a TON of news.. Thanks for posting all this... I can't wait to do some exploring!

Kimberly said...

I'm with you on the cussing. Only if it fits. By the way, I've very excited that I have finally just bought CassaStar. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sarah, I really enjoyed it! You should get a signed copy sometime if he's local.

Susan, I agree. And yes, news overload!

Mary, that is so nice to hear!

Kimberly, thank you so much!

Chuck said...

Alex you are a comment collector! I am way down at number 99 so you may not see this but I think your reasoning for curse words vs not curse words (is this making any sense down here at 99??) is exactly the right take. You book didn't need it and I doubt you will stray into the end of your genre where it would be acceptable. Congrats on your best seller tag and can't wait for CassaFire!

PS. You really deserved your award as busy as you are you are many times my first commenter...it means a lot to me. Thanks.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Alex - You definitely made the right decision!!! I've never read a book and wanted more cussing . . . sometimes less, but never more. I love all your news, and the way you showcase other bloggers and authors. You Rock!

Jeffrey Beesler said...

It depends on the characters if they swear. Some of my stories have no traces of profanity whatsoever. But a couple of my horror stories do lend an occasional profane word or two to the mix. Stories are after about stuff that happens to people, and some of the people in my stories don't exactly keep a zipped lip on the profanity matter.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Chuck, thanks! And it doesn't matter what number commentor you are, I always see it.

Tyrean, thank you!

alexia said...

Great article! That's actually exciting that one can still reach bestseller lists after a year, because most of the advice says you have a small window when your book it first released. Super cool and congrats!

TS Hendrik said...

You know what's funny? Apparently I'm nominated for one of those awards too, but they wrote the wrong name down. I found this out because I was clicking through sites I didn't recognize and one of them was mine.

Seriously though, I hope you win. You're blog is consistently awesome.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Jeffrey, it definitely fits horror better.

Alexia, thanks for reading my article! If my book can do it, then authors everywhere should have hope.

Kelly Polark said...

Laugh it up, fuzzball is as strong as it gets in Star Wars! :)

Voted for you at 411!

Angela Brown said...

Loved your interview over at Sommer's blog. You did wonderful and got me in a fracking good mood :-)

Will Burke said...

I think that the cursing epends on the characters. Aristocracy doesn't curse in public, but it could make a vivid behind-the-scenes contrast.
I thought that when GRR Martin used F-Bombes, itdidn't fit. F*** seems contemporary to me (it's not, but printing it, o saying it in media is). It took me out of the story. As one of my writing heroes (Mordechai Richler) said, it's more powerful to say it once than to say it 15 times.

tfwalsh said...

Congrats on everything... you are indeed a busy person.

msmariah said...

Thanks Alex! Your endorsement means a lot.

I'm thinking of starting a blogfest. I have a topic and I've signed up for one of those widgets. You're pretty good at hosting a blogfest. Any advice?

Thanks.

Melissa Bradley said...

Thank you so much for the plugs Captain Alex!! I appreciate it from the bottom of my potty-mouthed heart. Yes, I have a terrible dirty mouth and well, the f word is my favorites because it is so very versatile being a verb, noun, pronoun, adjective and adverb. Do I curse in all my books? Maybe, but not very heavily, the exception being Maxie Briscoe and that was because it was totally in keeping with her character. Now, so you don't think badly of me, I don't curse all the time, mostly in my head and with nephews I've gotten used to Bless You, Shut The Front Door, Son of a Biscuit Eating Bulldog and Oh Schnitzlesticks. Weird, aren't I? LOL

Jamie (Mithril Wisdom) said...

Thanks for the shout out, Alex :)

I think cussing can be overdone in books, but I'm glad that the ones I've read recently fit with the character types (thieves etc.). I think you were right to go with a non-cussing vibe for a Space Opera :)

Donna Hole said...

My women's fiction novels have loads of cussing, and explicit sex; but you have to consider the culture its written in. Some have even told me the cussing was too light . .

But when I write my fantasy stories, I rarely use swearing, unless I can come up with a unique term to could be equated with swearing. I just don't see our present day swearing as appropriate to a fantasy novel - adult or YA.

I do see it as a fit to some sci-fi though. It is, afterall, the future of our present, and I'm sure some words will stand the test of time. I watch a western movie once where the F-bomb was consistently used, and I was thinking; nope too modern a term. Threw me out of the story.

I guess I'm saying I think the use of cussing - like the use of sex - needs to reflect the context of the novel. I don't like either used as gimmicks to attract certain readerships.

I like an author who stays true to the novel concept. Nothing wrong with a clean novel - usually.

I didn't miss the swear words in CassaStar.

.......dhole

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks, Kelly!

Angela, thanks for the chuckle.

Will, I agree!

MsMariah, I'll send you a message.

Melissa, weird but we like you anyway, darn it!

Thank you, Jamie.

Donna, for the science fiction that is our future, of course. Mine's that 'in a galaxy far, far away' type. And thanks!

Amity said...

Oh thank God, I did not miss this super important post and yeah I have voted for you Alex!

If I can click it so many times or if I am allowed to do so, I would have done it!

I wish and pray you win Alex and you deserve it more than anybody else!

Fireworks Alex!

See you soon come your next post.

Btw, I have already posted my Insecure Post now...:) Will bloghop too, promise...I am in better shape now than last week...:)

Ciao...:)

Amity said...

Voted you on both categories where your name appeared :)

Susan Fields said...

Cussing in books is such a hard topic for me. I write YA, so my characters do cuss, even though I personally do not. I just don't think the characters would feel genuine if they didn't, though I draw the line at the F-bomb and using God's name in vain, those are two things I can't bring myself to type into my stories. I have to admit, I have read stories with characters that don't swear, and there are times that I feel they don't sound genuine, so I guess that's why I use cussing in my stories. I like how James Dashner handled it in The Maze Runner series, where the boys had a made-up language with made-up cuss words, but obviously that's not going to fit every type of story.

Sommer Leigh said...

Thank you for guesting on my blog, Alex! I love your story of how CassaStar came to be!

p.m.terrell said...

Years ago, someone asked Bill Cosby what he thought of a new stand-up comedian named Eddie Murphy. Cosby's response: "If you have to rely on four-letter words to be funny, you're not funny." I think about that every time I am tempted to use a curse word in my books. Am I using it because I can't find a better way to express something? Or is it truly necessary for the plot and the character? The result has been the use of two four-letter words in 13 books. My fans tell me they like it that way.

julie fedderson said...

I don't mind cursing, especially if it fits the theme/context of what you're writing. However, I find sometimes pop culture (movies especially) relies too much on it to make up for the inability to convey humor or drama the old fashioned way. It's a shock value thing. In books, I loathe "clean cursing"--like the heroine who says shucks or friggin' all the time. If your words are strong enough, you don't need it and it just makes the dialog seem unnatural. Unless you are on frackin' Battlestar Galactica.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks, Amity!

Susan, it doesn't fit all stories.

Thanks for hosting me, Sommer!

Patricia, I remember Cosby saying that!

Julie, I had no need to shock, so I just didn't.

Laila Knight said...

Good morning, Alex.

My goodness, it looks like you had so much to say. I'm sorry I didn't catch it yesterday.

Congrats on getting your article published...and that Cassastar is doing so well. My Kindle should be arriving today...and I'm so excited to read it.

Congrats on the award too. Thank you so much for passing it on to me! Will past it over on the side soon. I'm wondering if there are any rules behind this one...you know the whole talk about yourself bit.

Now, now, don't mess with Spartacus. I get a kick out of that show. :)

I have to say I don't curse much in my writing, but in today's world people do curse on occasion, especially men.

Have a great day!

Nisa said...

I couldn't agree more. I got CassaStar for my husband for Christmas, but I think I may sneak read it before I give it to him. ():)

Enid Wilson said...

Kids swear a lot nowadays. I think you can write as much or as little of the swear words in. After all, kids as young as three or four are surfing the net all the time.

My Darcy Vibrates…

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Laila, thank you! I hope you enjoy it. My book and the Kindle. No rules as far as I know. And Spartacus is like a guilty pleasure. Told my wife there's no way I could watch it with her in the room though!

Nisa, thank you so much!!!

Karen Peterson said...

I'm with you. Swearing in novels doesn't bother me that much, especially if it's used only as an enhancement to the characters. But I don't personally include a lot of swearing in my stories because I imagine my mom will want to read them one day.

Angela Orlowski-Peart said...

I completely agree with you- the way we write is a good representation of our personalities. I might throw an ocassional "damn" into my dialogs but you won't find any heavy artillery in there. In life I rarely curse too. There are so many great words in English language to be used that I don't find cussing necessary.

I definitely don't like nasty words in YA books at all, but very sparingly used "light" cussing is often okay in the adult literature. It all depends on the characters.

Christine Rains said...

You made the right decision. Cursing only works if it fits the story and then don't have it too much. It takes away the impact it can have. I use it sparingly in my stories and most of what I write is contemporary.

Clarissa Draper said...

I go away for a week and a lot of stuff happens. Congrats and now I have to check out the other links and news.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Karen, you nailed it! What if my mom read it...?

Angela, thanks. And damn is my go-to word as well.

Thanks, Christine.

Clarissa, I know!!!

E.R. King said...

How did I miss the news about CASSASTAR being a bestseller on Amazon the first time I read this? I guess I zeroed in on the romance novelist and lost track of you. Sorry, Alex. A belated congrats to you!

Helena said...

As far as cuss words go, you know what's right for your book and what isn't. Years ago I read David Mamet's play American Buffalo, which won the Pulitzer, and every other word was a variation on the f-word. Yes, the language fit the characters, but I'd rather see a play by a real wordsmith like Tom Stoppard (he co-wrote Shakespeare in Love). He can occasionally use the f- or other such words, but so lightly they fit well.

LD Masterson said...

I know my 13 year old grandson hears plenty of cussing but I feel a lot better about giving him a book as a gift if it's not laced with foul language.

Side note: This same grandson wanted to see a movie about Rome and the gladiators. I couldn't bring myself to sit and watch any of today's gladiator movies with him so I Netflixed the original Spartacus (the Kirk Douglas version). No bad language, no graphic sex, and minimum gore. He was stunned. He couldn't believe an "old movie" could be that good. Next we're getting Ben Hur.

Dafeenah said...

oh well back to the bottom, but at least I had one day of glory at the top!! And I do find excessive cussing a turn off EVEN if it fits the story line. I don't mind the occasional cuss word here or there but I prefer the author find another way to express it. Although the occasional word here or there won't make me hate the book but a thousand in just weird places is a definite turn off for me. I like that you don't feel pressured to add it into your books.

Julie Musil said...

Alex, I think you made the right decision about cussing. If it doesn't fit the story, it stands out. And if the story is great, you don't need F-bombs to get attention!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

ER, thanks! And that's all right.

Helena, I totally agree.

LD, good for you! Now you have a ton of movies he can watch, and they will be new to him - and clean.

Thank you, Dafeenah. If it makes you feel better, you're not dead last.

Thanks, Julie.

Leovi said...

The Ground Rules are necessary in all areas, but equally important is to leave room for imagination.

Amy said...

Congrats on the award Alex! And thank you for sharing those new book releases, I can always use more to add to my TBr list.

Good choice with the cussing. I barely use it myself, and never really liked reading it in excess. Heading over to check out your guest post!

Donea Lee said...

Hi, Alex!! Just popping in from my blogcation so say "hello!" and see what I'm missing ~ :)

I'm with you - there's not much (if any) cussing in my writing, typically. Although - I know when my 17-year-old protag says something like "Heck" or "Dangit!" - I've had people comment before, "Would a 17-year-old in today's world really talk like that? Why not just use the "real" word?"... Hmm. I think it's a fine line, sometimes.

Hope you're having a great week! :)

jbchicoine said...

"I have never read a book and thought “You know, if the author had just dropped the F-bomb a few times, it might’ve been a good story.”"
That's exactly how I feel.

Even in my own novel, there are places where I could have inserted profanity--it may have even added a more 'realistic' flavor, but I just didn't want that attached to my name, plain and simple. The story should be able to stand without it.

Pat Tillett said...

I just got back from Specushphere. Good job Alex! I think the one thing that REALLY helps your sales is your energy! I don't see how you do it, but you do. You are involved in so much stuff on line and I think that just about all the people you come in contact with like you. That sure can't hurt! Add to all that, the fact that your book is awesome!

Vicki Rocho said...

Lots of good news! Congrats on the awards and the article. I agree with the swearing. I can throw out a few of the lower-level words but I can't do the "big" ones. Just not me.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Amy, thanks!

Hey Donea! Yeah, I just can't put harsh cussing in my writing.

JB, you understand completely!

Pat, thanks! And appreciate you reading the article.

Vicki, not me either.

February Grace said...

You did what your heart told you to do- that's the right thing!

I think that putting profanity in a book just for the sake of it is like a group of middle school kids swearing to try to look cool. It just sounds ridiculous and is, I think, a lazy way to try to make your book feel 'edgy' or cool.

Now having said that, you definitely do have to take your subject matter and audience into mind. If you're writing a grisly war story, (not say historical or fantasy, but modern-day) I doubt the soldiers in the foxholes would be saying "Oh merciful heavens! It appears that the enemy is about to attack us! Drat it all to heck!"

And likely an audience that would read a book like that would not only not be offended by the use of grittier language but would go in expecting it.

So it's all about who you're playing to, and how to make the story and the characters feel real. That's what I think, anyway.

Your book is family friendly, and that totally rocks.

~bru

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Bru, thank you! I wanted it to appeal to all ages.
Really appreciate you stopping by!

The Man-Cave said...

Cursing is not needed in any genre and that was a good thing about CassaStar.

And congrats on your article getting included!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hey Geof! Thanks - appreciate that.

Media News said...

Thank you for sharing your vast knowledge on this subject and Congrats on the awards and the article