Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, CassaDawn, The Dungeon at Annaberg, Luke Cage Review, Question of the Month, and Ninja News – Opportunities and Releases

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

My awesome co-hosts today are Beverly Stowe McClure, Megan Morgan, Viola Fury, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Angela Wooldridge, and Susan Gourley! Don’t forget the IWSG Anthology Contest is open – fantasy/hero lost is the genre/theme. We have changed the word count! It’s now 3000-6000 words. See the site for full details.

Today's question - When do you know your story is ready? My answer - when I start reverting back to what I originally wrote I know I've gone too far and I'm done.

Writing has ground to a halt. Too many plot holes in the outline I was working on, so I’ve chucked it. Which is weird for me, as it’s only the second time I’ve tossed an idea completely. (I wrote the ending for CassaStorm before I’d finalized the outline, and I eventually tossed it as it didn’t fit the story.) Not sure what I’ll try next, if anything.

However, I do have some cool book news!

First, the winners of CassaStorm on audio are… Sheena-kay and Crystal Collier Congratulations!
You’ll enjoy it, if only because the narrator put so much effort into the sound effects and voices. And although CassaStorm is the third book, you don’t need to read the other two to follow the story. Nor do you need to be a fan of science fiction! (And if you like middle grade, one of the main characters is Byron’s ten-year-old son.)
Find it on Amazon, iTunes, and Audible

Next, my publisher just reduced the price of Dragon of the Stars to $2.99 for the eBook!
Find it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, ITunes, and Kobo

Finally, a story I wrote last year for an anthology that was delayed many times before the publisher scrapped it will be available soon!


A pilot in training...
Fighting the odds, Byron is determined to complete Cosbolt training. Poised at the top of his class, only one situation holds him back–his inability to work with anyone in the cockpit. Byron’s excellent piloting skills won’t be enough without a good navigator…

The Dungeon at Annaberg by Bish Denham

Thank you Alex for letting me usurp your blog!

The dungeon at Annaberg, a sugar plantation on St. John in the U. S. Virgin Islands, plays a small but important role in my story, The Bowl and the Stone. A little history might be interesting.

The factory building where sugarcane juice was boiled down. Imagine the hillside behind the building completely cleared, terraced, and planted with sugarcane.

Earliest records show the land was already under cultivation in 1723. By 1733 it was one of 109 plantations.

Annaberg soon became the largest sugar producer, adding to the 1.1 million pounds per year the island produced between 1820 and 1826.

Tucked away, out of sight, is a small room, no more than six-by-twelve feet. At one time heavy, wooden doors locked people in. High in one wall a small window with bars lets in the only light and air.

As I child I saw manacles still hanging from another wall. A prisoner would have had his or her hands shackled above the head.

The aura of lives spent time in the small space is still strong, for etched into the plaster are pictures. Look closely. A slave, perhaps with a rock, scratched out what Annaberg looked like at the time of his or her imprisonment. The wooden second stories are long gone.

And this one is even harder to see, but it's a ship, flying a flag. Perhaps it’s like a ship the slave endured during the Middle Passage, or a trading ship that plied the waters of the Caribbean. In my story The Bowl and the Stone, Sam and her best friend Nick, discover an etching they've never seen before.

It’s mysterious because it looks new; the scratches in the wall aren't dark with age, but white. Stick figures of bodies lying on the ground look like they’re being tended by someone carrying a bowl. Sam knows cholera, yellow fever, and small pox ravaged the islands. Could this be a scene from one of those epidemics? Who put it there and why? When the etching disappears, Sam and Nick know the ghost that's haunting them must be involved.

The Bowl and the Stone
Pirates. Explorers. And spooky ghost hunters.
Available at Amazon and Smashwords
Visit Bish at Blog, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads

Luke Cage Review

This NetFlix series has a solid cast and the story seems to be meshing together well. I’ve never seen the lead in any other roles, but he’s been acting a long time – and he’s perfect as Luke Cage.
The music ties in well with show, which is very cool. In tone, it’s similar to Daredevil and lighter than Jessica Jones. And while the latter’s pace feels slow, Luke Cage’s story is developed faster.
Marvel has fully embraced its adult fare – this one is not for the kids.
I’ve only watched a couple episodes, but overall it’s a great start.

Question of the Month

Hosted by Michael at A Life Examined

“What’s a decision you’ve made in the past that you know, logically, was the right decision to make, but which you still feel guilty or regretful about?”

I really can’t think of anything. If I regretted it, that’s because it wasn’t the logical decision. And if it was, then I didn’t regret it. Sorry, just too narrow a focus for me to come up with an answer this month.

Ninja News

Take this survey to see what species of BEAST you are from BROKEN BRANCH FALLS by Tara Tyler.
I was Steve the Vampire. Which fits, as I’m pale and I like Batman.

New Releases:

I’m excited to announce this release from my publisher –

Bloodwalker by L.X. Cain

Lightning flashes. Another child disappears…
When Zorka Circus performs, its big top roars with laughter and cheers, but when it moves on, there are fewer children in the European towns it leaves behind.

Find Bloodwalker at Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, BAM, and Dancing Lemur Press
L.X. Cain was born in the U.S. but now lives on the Red Sea and busily taps away at a laptop, coming up with stories to thrill and entertain readers. Contact L.X. Cain at: Blog, Facebook, and Twitter

Circuits and Slippers – an anthology
Featuring stories from LG Keltner and Leandra Wallace
Find it on Amazon


The WEP Challenge this month:
You can respond to the CONSTELLATIONS challenge, or
you can respond to the HALLOWEEN challenge, or
you can be very clever and combine the two
We accept flash fiction, non-fiction, poetry, photographs/photo essays, artwork. Written work needs to be 1,000 words or under to help with reading time.
The list is now open. Visit Write…Edit…Publish to sign up or get more information.

Tell-Tale Publishing announced their annual Scariest Story Starter Contest. Prizes include Amazon gift cards and an opportunity to be published by Tell-Tale Publishing.
Last year, I had the opportunity to be a judge in contest. (I had to decline this year due to the timing.) The stories were great and it’s awesome to see the winners released in this year’s horror anthology, The Keeper’s Secret and Other Stories. (Available October 15.)

Jessica Therrien’s publishing company, Acorn Publishing, is now accepting submissions for the 2016 Author’s Circle Awards. There is a fee to enter but it is open to any author with a book release this year. (Or last year depending on the category.)

MJ Freiheit announced that The Great Flash Fiction War is now open! It offers cash awards to the top stories, including publication.
For more information, visit their site, sign up for the newsletter for a discount code, and follow on Twitter.

Yes, I had a good time catching up with family this past week – glad to be back though.
What’s your writing insecurity this month? Want to visit the Dungeon at Annaberg? Catch any Luke Cage episodes? Taking advantage of any of those opportunities? Think I could cram more into this post…?


nashvillecats2 said...

Excellent news about CassaDawn, hope it goes as well as the rest.
Loved the choice of book and film reviews as always, though I don't get to see the movies It's good to know what is being made these days.

Mason Canyon said...

Wow, that's a lot going on. Congrats to everyone with a new release. Can't wait to find out more about CassaDawn. I've seen the name Luke Cage and wondered about it. I'll have to check it out. Now I'm off to see what species of BEAST I am. Glad all went well catching up with family.

Cathrina Constantine said...

It's always a pleasure to reconnect with family, glad you and your wife enjoyed yourselves.

It's a shame about the anthology. I still don't know what to do with my story, so I'm going to sit on it for a while.

Congrats to all the new releases.

Rhonda Albom said...

Congrats on CasaDawn! And to Lexa and the other authors. As for your question, I have no idea, that's why my first book is still unfinished. (My second book finished, and I just knew when it was done)>

Stephanie Faris said...

Sometimes we do have to walk away from a book...but the best cure for that is to just start something new!

Donna K. Weaver said...

Lucky Sheena-kay and Crystal! Congrats!

Reverting back to what you previously wrote. I like that. The temptation to keep editing can suck all the good out of a story.

Nick Wilford said...

What you say about knowing when you're done is interesting, particularly when our original idea is often the best one. It's all about instinct, I guess.

Maybe it wasn't just the right time for that story idea - it might come back to you later, in a better form. Great news about CassaDawn!

Those etchings look very haunting, Bish, and the story sounds intriguing. Congrats!

Finally, thanks for the contest news. Sounds like some exciting opportunities.

Jennifer Hawes said...

Pirates, explorers and spooky ghost hunters? Sounds like a great read from Bish! How exciting that you put a kid in one of your books! I LOVE writing MG fiction. Kids are a little too honest, full of fun, and bent on humor.

Shady Del Knight said...

Hi, Alex!

Thanks for the review of Luke Cage. Charismatic actor Mike Colter commands attention. He was great in the recurring role of a drug lord on The Good Wife and he was also terrific on Jessica Jones. Mrs. Shady and I are eager to get started on Luke Cage.

Lynn La Vita said...

Congratulations CassaDawn finally making it to the hands of your readers! Sounds like there were a few challenges along the way.

Thank you for sharing a snippet of your writing world. For some reason, I think even though your writing has ground to a halt, the wheels are churning and soon you will headed in brand new direction.

I enjoyed your answer to this months question. Thank you!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Sorry for the dead end on your outline. That's at least good that you can outline and make those decisions before you write. I could never do it when I wrote fiction. But I absolutely love it for my job as a nonfiction writer. It helps me just show up to write and be productive every day.

Julie Flanders said...

How great that your anthology story found a new home with your publisher!! Sorry the writing has ground to a halt though. Hope you will feel energized again soon.

mshatch said...

Glad you enjoyed your time off :)

Mary Aalgaard said...

You do have a full post! Congrats on all your book success. So glad that your audio book turned out so well. Bish's book sounds intriguing! Happy IWSG day!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Catherine, it was a shame it crashed and burned.

Donna, it can suck out the good and go back to the bad beginning!

Jennifer, I wasn't sure I could do it, but I guess every guy still has a ten year old in him.

Shady, I'm four episodes in now and it's very entertaining.

Lynn, we'll see what happens.

Natalie, it saves me a lot of time I guess.

Pat Hatt said...

Only book I ever heaved was my first, very bad. Congrats on the anthology. Sure sounds like a great read there too. Bet you could cram more in haha Luke Cage is far better than Jessica Jones, not on Daredevil season 2's level, but still good.

Dean K Miller said...

This is cram filled . . . even for you. Strange to think of you tossing out a story line and being "stuck."

Congrats to the audio book winners. Still haven't spent time with an audio book, nor converted any of mine . . . hmmmm another project, maybe?

Possibility on the dungeon . . . but I might chicken out.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

So, too many plot holes for the project? Sorry it didn't work out, but hope you get a new idea soon.

Glad you spent some good time with your family. Hoping we don't all float away in the hurricane this Saturday. :)

Nicola said...

Lots to celebrate in this post. Thanks for sharing, Alex and congratulations to you and everyone who appears. I'm looking forward to Bish's book coming out and extra happy to be welcoming her to my blog this month.
Family time is to be cherished. Have a great month!

Unknown said...

Your IWSG post is packed full of news this month, Alex! I've scrapped more than my share of story ideas. Lots and lots of them. The problem with becoming a better writer is that you start being too critical of yourself, and second guess everything. But if you pay attention to the things people said they really loved in your published books and keep trying to come up with new ideas, eventually you'll find one that excites you and can fan the flames of your enthusiasm. Don't give up!

Congrats to Sheena and Crystal for winning the audiobooks! I really enjoyed Bish's info about the sugar cane plantations. I can't imagine what people could have done to be put in the dungeon! The Bowl and the Stone sounds exciting and spooky!

Congrats to LG and Leandra for getting into the new anthology!

Thank very much for featuring Bloodwalker's release! I really appreciate your help! :)

Arlee Bird said...

Yeah, I'd like to visit that dungeon. I enjoy history and this looks like a place with a lot of stories to tell.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

Jennifer Lane said...

It takes bravery to chuck something we've spent time on, but it often makes the story better.

That dungeon looks scary and sad. I just finished reading a book about slavery. :-(

The Cynical Sailor said...

Bish - I really enjoyed reading about the history behind the dungeon. Very interesting!

Alex - It's reassuring to know that experienced writers like you end up chucking outlines.

Cheers - Ellen

C.D. Gallant-King said...

No, no I don't think you could possibly cram any more into one post. ;-)

Maybe next year you should take it as a challenge. Each month for IWSG, try to add another 500 words, or 2-3 additional topics to your post. By next December you could have more content in your one post than all the other bloggers on the list combined! :-P

IWSG October

Crystal Collier said...

First all to Bish, SUPER fascinating stuff. Can't wait to read the book and learn more.

Second, YAY FOR ME AND SHEENA-KAY!!! (Incidentally, it's my birthday today, so this was perfect timing. Happy birthday to me!) Thank you so much, Alex!

I love the cover of Lexa's new book. Tara's quiz was fun, and wow, I really have to go update my TBR list. *exits stage right*

Truedessa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob/Sally said...

Only the second time you’ve tossed an idea completely, Alex? I envy that commitment. I have so many ideas I've tossed along the way, you're making me wonder which might be worth revisiting.

Karen Lange said...

Congrats on the story! That's exciting news. Nice to see Bish here. Enjoyed reading about the dungeon.

Bish Denham said...

My goodness Alex! Indeed quite a post. I'm honored to be here. Do not despair about chucking an idea, I've chucked more than I can count. There are always new ideas floating around waiting to be plucked from the air.

Lots of opportunities... I'll be participating in WEP, as if I didn't have enough to do.

Thanks to one and all for reading about the dungeon at Annaberg. It's a beautiful place with a painful history.

Diane Burton said...

Congrats on CassaDawn, Alex. Bish, we went to St. John on our honeymoon and saw the remains of the sugar factory. I don't remember the dungeon, though. Maybe I blocked it out. So much history there.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

It would be so fun to look for all of those drawings, Bish. Congrats on your latest. I loved the story.

Unknown said...

I recently went through that same hell of having completely wrote something and then chucked the whole thing out. It's so frustrating and I feel like I wasted a bunch of time. ARGH!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

You trust your gut when it comes to the writing, Alex, and that's so important. You'll find the next project or the next project will find you. No worries.

Glad you enjoyed your break!

Heather M. Gardner said...

This post is bursting at the seems!

Glad you had a nice time away.

I'm also glad to hear that you will get your short story out soon!

Luke Cage sounds good. Netflix is killin' it!


Nicki Elson said...

Ooh, Bish, that post is so atmospheric and has my mind working.

Congrats on that shortie making it out!

One way to interpret the "when is your story ready" question would be - when is it ready to be written? You made a tough choice in knowing yours wasn't ready. But maybe pieces of it will find life in a new & different story.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Pat, I have a hard time watching Jessica Jones.

Elizabeth, it keeps veering out to sea just a little bit more...

Lexa, you're welcome!

Ellen, we do!

CD, the scary thing is that I could do that...

Crystal, consider it a birthday gift.

Bob, you might want to go back to some of those.

Bish, happy to host you!

Megan, may our next story ideas be gold.

Nicki, I can always come back to it later.

Chrys Fey said...

Hopefully you didn't chuck it for good. Maybe setting it aside and not thinking about it will help you to figure out what's wrong.

It would be something to see that dungeon. It's really neat learning more about the places Bish wrote about in her story.

L.G. Keltner said...

I've had to completely toss out ideas that weren't working, and it's frustrating when it happens.

Congratulations to Lexa on the release of Bloodwalker!

Thanks for mentioning Circuits & Slippers!

Lisa said...

Cool about CassaDawn! Now I'll watch Cage! How come your question of the month is different from the one on the IWSG site?

Tony Laplume said...

Realizing the ending needs to change is one of those key creative breakthroughs more writers should feel free to admit to themselves.

J.L. Campbell said...

Yes, that definitely says you're done. Going back to the old stuff is a no-no. Thanks to Bish for that bit of history and congrats on her new book! Congrats also to Lexa and everybody else with a new book out.

Jen said...

Congratulations on CassaDawn!

I'm glad you enjoyed your family time. It's nice to get away, even if just for a weekend.

Tossing out ideas can be painful but it's also very liberating. I've had to do that on many occasions but it's always the right decision. I keep a small snippet of every story I've thought up, though, that way if in the future the story comes back to me in another form I'll have something to go on!

Wow! That's a lot going on in the writing world! I'm still battling with my possible entry for the IWSG anthology and toying with the idea of NaNo. Thanks for posting them all here for us!

Jen said...

Congratulations on CassaDawn, Alex. I'm always happy to get another dose of Byron.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Glad to see Bish's new cover and novel highlighted today. Glad you had a nice holiday, Alex. I'm thrilled that our internet is back up and running. Life is good.

Jeffrey Scott said...

It's exciting to see your book is in audio format now. I will certainly have to check it out.
I did get back to the IWSG this month. Sorry I was unavoidably detained from writing the past few months. I sincerely apologize. As you'll notice, my goal for the next year is to not miss another. ;)
I didn't even know Cage was a Marvel thing. I had heard about it, but never seen it.

Christine Rains said...

Awesome news! Yes, definitely when I go back to what I've written before, I know it's time to stop too. I haven't started on Luke Cage yet, but I can't wait. I've watched the first episode of Westworld and loved it. Bish, what an awesome post! :)

Patricia Stoltey said...

Visiting historical sites like the dungeon can inspire all kinds of stories, not to mention a few ghostly apparitions. I'll never forget driving through the battlefields at Gettysburg on a foggy morning and seeing soldiers, muskets held high as they jumped over wooden fences and ran through the trees...

Birgit said...

I think that is wonderful news regarding your book and I believe you will find a new challenge in will come. MYbe that is a future question to give and others may inspire you. The plantation and the etchings sounds interesting and eerie...would be a good read. Congrats to Alexa for a wonderful plot and love the cover. Most of the Tv shows seem to be on channels I just don't get.

Al Penwasser said...

I'll be catching up with family at a wedding this weekend. We may lose the power of speech sometime during the reception.

Ellie Garratt said...

I'm looking forward to reading CassaDawn and Bloodwalker!

Your answer to this month's IWSG has got me thinking. I shall bear it in mind next time I'm finding it difficult to stop fiddling with a story.

M.J. Fifield said...

I haven't watched any Luke Cage yet, but I'm really looking forward to binge-watching it at some point. I have really loved Netflix's Marvel shows.

I like your answer to the IWSG question...I will have to keep that in mind during my current edit.

Misha Gerrick said...

So glad that CassaDawn is coming out. :-D

Annaberg seems to be a fascinating place. Filled with history.

Anonymous said...

Wow, there is a lot crammed in here. Sorry you had to toss your idea. That had to be disappointing. It's great to hear about CassaDawn, though. Congrats to the winners and everyone with new releases! The Dungeon at Annaberg sounds creepy. The perfect place to visit for Halloween. Thanks for all the opportunities listings. I'll have to check them out. Happy IWSG Day!

cleemckenzie said...

Coming full-circle can be a wake up call! Loved reading about the Dungeon at Annaberg. Good post, Bish. Congrats for all the new books out there.

Loni Townsend said...

That's super exciting about the release of CassaDawn and your audiobook.

Great history lesson, Bish!

Jessica Therrien said...

Thanks for posting about the awards, Alex!! :) You're awesome! The great flash fiction war looks awesome too!!

Carol Kilgore said...

Bish, I enjoyed learning more about Annaberg. Alex, congrats on the audiobook. Good wishes to all those with new books!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I'm not usually a fan of superhero shows/movies, but I REALLY liked Jessica Jones. I will probably give LUKE CAGE a try.

Jenni said...

Ooh, it's fun to see so many names I recognize in the books coming out. Congrats to all! I hope you find something new and exciting to replace the story idea you just had to chuck. It's good to figure that out before you get in too deep.

Sherry Ellis said...

Nice to hear the word count is now 3000-6000. I'm writing, but I'm afraid I'm going to end up way over that word count and have to do a lot of trimming. We'll see.

Sandra Cox said...

Thanks for mentioning the contests. That's very helpful. They all sound fun, especially scariest story.
Congrats to Sheena-kay and Crystal. What a great win!
Have a pleasant productive week.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Luke Cage was done pretty well. Thanks for the win and congrats to Crystal as well. Bish's post had me visualizing those poor prisoners as well as the sugar cane since in Jamaica I have seen fields of it many times. Thanks for the wealth of info today Alex. I have clicked multiple links to look at later. Happy IWSG!

Tamara Narayan said...

Read an early copy of Bish's book for review--it was excellent. I'm looking forward to reading Lexa's book as well. Love scary stuff. I'm also jazzed to finally have my entry for the IWSG anthology down to 6000 words. I wonder if I could cut all my stuff by a third?

Kristin Smith said...

Congrats to Crystal and Sheena-kay for winning the audio version! Woot!

And it is so cool to see my critique partner's anthology on here! Leandra Wallace has an awesome story in there!

I'm sure you'll get back into the writing game. Sometimes it helps to take some time off before starting something new. Here's hoping the inspiration you need kicks in!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Glad you had fun with family, Alex! I'm sorry your WIP ground to a halt; I've had two ideas go that way this year. So . . . I get where you're at, but not write anything else at all? No way. You're a great writer. I bet you have another awesome novel in you. :)

The Dungeon at Annaberg reminds me of the Labyrinth under Castle Hill in Budapest - the real place where the real guy behind the Dracula stories was tortured and imprisoned. I wonder what else is buried beneath some of those stones.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I couldn't answer the regret question either. I try to live without regret, so I don't often make rash decisions. But if I do make a choice that may not have been the best, I consider it a learning point. I figure God opens the doors and I move through in faith. If I screw up, He'll fix it to my favor later. No matter what? It's all good in the end.

Going to start Luke Cage as soon a I finish Gotham.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

LG, you're welcome.

Lisa, crap, is it?

Jen, maybe I'll use that tossed ending somewhere.

Robyn, and you will!

Jeffrey, no worries.

Patricia, very cool.

Al - funny!

Jessica, you're welcome.

Sherry, hope you can enter.

Sheena-kay, congratulations.

Tamara, awesome.

Elizabeth, amen.

Cherie Colyer said...

Congrats to the winner of your audio book giveaway, and to those with new releases.

Never heard of Luke Cage, but I usually enjoy Marvel, so I'll have to check it out.

Stacy McKitrick said...

When do I know my story is ready? Hmmm... Maybe when it stops talking to me.

Shannon Lawrence said...

I'm glad you've found a way to put your short story out anyway! I haven't had a chance to check out Luke Cage yet, but I will get there. I still haven't finished Daredevil, though I did finish Jessica Jones. Congratulations to everyone on the good news posted here! I'm always afraid I'll miss someone if I try to address everyone separately. I would be very interested in visiting Annaberg, though sad.

farawayeyes said...

Agh! Not a good way to start out, blogger ate my comment. Ah well, it might have been something I did.

Great post with lots of information. I need to check out some of these things ASAP.

On scrapping and idea altogether...not something I've done yet, but maybe I'm too stubborn for my own good.

I've been in the dungeons at Fort Christiansted on St. Croix, where Alexander Hamilton's mother did some time, and even though they are a tourist attraction today they spectre of pain and suffering still permeates the place. Very creepy indeed.

Fundy Blue said...

When I first started reading your posts, Alex, I didn't know what was going on! My eyes were skittering all over the screen. But it took only a few posts to understand all that you were doing. I always appreciate what you do to help, support, and promote everyone! I noticed you were up late last night making the rounds!

Bish, your story sounds fascinating! I love how strongly it is tied into place! Your faint pictures on the wall in the small room reminds me of similar scratchings I've seen in The Four Corners area of the US (Anasazi) and in Pompeii in Italy. Good luck with your book!

I made a decision that hunts me still. I broke up a serious relationship with someone who truly wanted to marry me. It absolutely was the right thing to do, but I will always regret how deeply I hurt him.

Have a great IWSG day!

Carrie-Anne said...

I let my local writers' group know about the contest. I've never been much of a short story person (unless it features pre-existing characters I know well), though some of my friends in the group do enjoy the shorter form. Pretty much every single flash or short story I've written has featured characters I already created, which makes it a lot easier for me to work with a very short wordcount.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Glad to hear CassaDawn is finally being born. I would like to visit that dungeon. I'm not letting myself watch Luke Cage until I catch up on other things.

Anonymous said...

Happy IWSG Day, Alex!

Glad you had a wonderful visit with your family.

Too bad about scrapping the book though. At least you knew when to stop instead of trying to force it. That would've been a terrible waste of your time. Very happy to hear about CassaDawn. Congrats!

The dungeon sounds like an interesting place to visit, Bish.

Leandra Wallace said...

Thank you very much for the feature of Circuits & Slippers, Alex!! I wish we had Netflix, as I'm really curious about this Luke Cage show. Though we really don't need yet another show that we have to wait until the kidlet is in bed to watch. =)

Elephant's Child said...

So many books, so little time...
I would be very, very surprised if you have given up writing. I am pretty sure your muse is stronger than you are.

Liz A. said...

I just trunked my WIP, so I kind of know how it feels to scrap something. Although, I'll get back to it someday.

Yup, this was quite the packed post. Something for everyone.

Anonymous said...

Aww, crud, I forgot about IWSG. I thought about it last night, then Youtube distracted me. LOL

J E Oneil said...

Looping back to the beginning is usually a good indication that you're done :)

Chemist Ken said...

I can't even think about writing or outlining until I know how the story starts and how it ends. Everything else has to fit within those two constraints. That may seem constricting, but by the time I'm ready to write, I've thought about those two points for a long time and I'm sure they're where I want to go.

Jemi Fraser said...

That dungeon is creepy! Humans have been so awful to other humans in so many eras in our past - so sad!

I wish I could outline like you do! I'm learning but it's a steep learning curve!! :)

Patsy said...

It can be hard to know when a story is ready - but we can't keep on tweaking forever.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Faraway, that does sound creepy.

Fundy, I try to cover a lot. Monday will be less, I promise. And sorry about that decision.

Carrie-Anne, thanks!

Leandra, you're welcome.

Elephant, we'll find out.

Ken, I at least have to know how it ends.

shelly said...


Liza said...

Sorry you felt you had to chuck your project...but my guess is you will use bits and pieces elsewhere. Nothing is ever a waste.

Andrew Leon said...

Done or done enough. That is always the question.

Toi Thomas said...

I think you could cram more into this post, but that's not your style.
Glad you enjoyed your vacation.
I'm insecure about the state of my blog and my relationship with
I'm enjoying Luke Cage. I like the way they pay homage to the original story.

diedre Knight said...

It's always such fun to visit your posts and this time it's exceptional! Such a festival of entertainment and cool information deserves treats from the concession stand ;-)

In a bit of a slump myself these days, I can sure understand setting things aside for a while. I save everything - even the bad stuff, so I can always go back to it. In the meantime I'll work on getting with the program and not missing the question next time;-)

The Bowl and the Stone sounds fascinating!

Ann Bennett said...

I've inquired as to what sort of beast I may be. However, I almost liked the shirt enough to buy it that showed a witch's garb, and said my season to be myself.
Lots to choose from. Woo Doogie.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

I'm super excited about Dawn. Yay!
Isn't Luke Cage part of the Jessica Jones universe? I'm struggling to keep them all straight, lol.
Bish, I love the setting you painted.

Gwen Gardner said...

I like to listen to audio books when I'm walking around the local lake. Right now I'm listening to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows but I'm nearly done. I would love to hear CasaStorm on audiobook. I'll go check it out. Thanks, Alex!

DMS said...

What a fascinating guest post from Bish. So excited for her! I found the history she shared to be very interesting. I can see why The dungeon at Annaberg plays a role in her latest story!

So excited to see Lexa's release here. Congrats to her!

Happy October!

alexia said...

Congrats on the book news! I haven't watched Luke Cage yet, I just saw him in Jessica Jones. He's cool for sure.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hey, Shelly!!

Liza, I'm already planning ways to do that.

Toi, the whole Amazon thing is just ridiculous!

Lynda, Cage, Jones, and Daredevil are all in the same universe.

Gwen, thank you!

Victoria Marie Lees said...

So sorry to hear about your manuscript. You usually can plug up holes. All the best with your next endeavor. Awesome books here, Alex. Thanks for sharing.

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Alex
Stories often surprise us or disappoint. I'm sure a new idea will come to you soon.

Hi Bish
That is interesting history and I'm sure your characters wonder as much as I am now about the artist.


kaykuala said...

Congrats on CassaDawn Alex. Delayed a little but now available and that is important. Checked the IWSG list Hank's name already there. Looking forward to participate. Tossing aside is still ok even delayed a little but the info can still be used in the meantime. Nothing is wasted really


M Pax said...

Cool to visit a dungeon. Congrats to Bish! I used her name in a Backworlds character... Tabbish. :)

Yeah, I've scrapped things too. Mostly because they need to marinate longer. Eventually the right piece will come along and things will click... so I believe.

Congrats on the new story. That's an awesome cover.

Tara Tyler said...

I knew you must've posted your beastly results as I got a surge of new participants filling out the form =)

Thanks, Captain!

And as always, I enjoyed all the news and fun tidbits!
Happy October, Vampire! This is your month!

Erika Beebe said...

I agree with you on reverting a manuscript back to its original state. It's frustrating and especially frustrating when others who read it agree, that it should go back to its earlier Yay for your short story! my insecurity is my short story writing skills and taking an idea that has blown up into a novel and somehow getting it back into a simplier short story format again. I think I can do it. :)

Anonymous said...

I exhausted just reading all that is going on in your post. It is good to know that more experienced writers find it necessary to walk away from a project. This from a writer who is still searching for the "right fit."

Truedessa said...

Another story CassaDawn, I cannot wait to read it, the cover is great! Did you design it yourself? I am sure you will write again, your muse will speak to you, just listen! You are light and inspiration to many writers. Let that light guide you, I am sure you can navigate the imaginary realm with ease :)

I watched the Jessica Jones series, so I had to watch Luke Cage. I've only watched one episode so far, but it looks good.

Have a good week and brace for the storm! said...

Congrats on CassaDawn!I get what you mean about reverting to what you've written before. Sometimes I make so many changes that I end up in a circle as well.

Congrats to Lexa on her release!

H.R. Bennett said...

So much here, I'm not sure what to say. So I'll just say "Gah! I got's to by CassaDawn now". Haha.

That, and Luke Cage is awesome. :)

ViolaFury said...


Thank you so much for once again, having me as co-host! I did get a chance to see "Luke Cage" and once it started, I watched the entire thing from beginning to end. The music was completely captivating, with everything from "Son of a Preacher Man" to Wu-tang Clan. The little shout-out to Marvel's old-style Luke Cage in epi 4 was a nice touch as well.

I know what you mean about reverting to what you've written before; you fall into this rut; it happened when I was writing my novel for NaNo2013 and that whole last section is just basically a repeat of the beginning. it's like a Novel-lite, not even a novella. I could toss that out, but still have to come up with an ending.

Congrats on CassaDawn! That has to feel good! I'm so happy for you! Now, I'm off to wrestle with some more blog entries, and hopefully, not A-to-Z ones! :D

erica and christy said...

Ha! You really do pack a lot in your posts. They're so informative and exciting, though! I don't think I've yet to write myself in a circle for a manuscript...maybe that means I've never really had one as READY as I need it to be! Hmmm... Uh oh! Congrats to you and with publication news and the winners! Christy

Suzanne Furness said...

Yeah you crammed a lot in here! Congrats to those with new releases and a huge congrats to you on your audio release that must be so awesome to hear your words read out with sound effects and everything . . . really bringing it to life. Sorry you chucked your latest piece but if it isn't working it's best you sit back and think for a while. Happy IWSG day!

Empty Nest Insider said...

Alex, Congrats on CassaDawn! Glad you had a wonderful trip! Thanks for hosting another fabulous IWSG!


Anonymous said...

Interesting info on the sugar plantation. Congrats to Lexa for her book release. It was phenomenal. Twinny, since I've been at Vivi and Alan's, they've caught me up on the whole Marvel Universe (in order). I'm addicted now. :) We watched the entire season of Luke Cage. Awesome sauce is all I have to say. I'm behind the curve, though, since I didn't start with Daredevil and Jessica Jones. (I'm in Season One of Daredevil now). Great contests coming up; don't know if I'll be able to participate because of the upcoming move. Hugs to you and my 'sister-in-law'. Xoxoxo

dolorah said...

I think this writing gig is working out for you Alex :)

I've submitted stories after I've revised my revisions back to the original too. Tweaking can be a never ending process. Deadlines are great for curbing those inclinations.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex - lots going on ... so I'm glad you and your wife had a good time away and had that break. Well done on CassaDawn .. but so good to see so many other bloggers achieving ... wishing Bish well with her new book - it does sound fascinating and the thought of being locked up without an end in sight appals me ... on a cheery note - I'll hit the Autumnal day - cheers Hilary

Elise Fallson said...

I just checked out the details on the IWSG anthology contest (slowly catching up in the blogging world), and I'm thinking the story I wrote for that 'other' anthology that got know the one.... well it just might fit the IWSG anthology... I'd need to extend it a bit more though....not sure I'd make the Nov 1 cut off....hummmm.... Anyway, good news about CassaDawn, glad you're still able to get it out there. :)

Barbara said...

Hi Alex, you are certainly busy as is Bish - I'm just over from her blog and enjoyed my visit to you.

Angela Wooldridge said...

Hi Alex,
I'm having a ball co-hosting this month (why did I never do this before?)
The bowl & the stone sounds intriguing, will check that out. Same for Luke Cage - never heard of it before.
All the best,
Angela :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hank, that's awesome!

Mary, that's certainly worked for you.

Tara, you're welcome! Had to share Steve.

Lee, it will come.

Truedessa, my publisher designed it. I've seen five Luke Cage episodes so far and really enjoying it.

Robert, I like to hear that!

Viola, thanks for helping me. The music has been a big plus in Luke Cage.

Suzanne, it is!

Eva, glad they got you up to speed with Marvel!

Donna, I've done all right I guess.

Elise, I know the one! That would be awesome if you can submit it.

Angela, told you it was more fun on the co-host side!

Tonja Drecker said...

Welcome back and glad you got some time to spend with the family! I wished I'd only tossed one idea or two. I have an entire graveyard going. The Dungeon sounds very mysterious...right down my alley. And as to Cage. Ugh. My writing is totally terrible this week because of that show. Yep, I'm watching :)

Bish Denham said...

Thanks for all the kinds words, everyone! I'm so happy to be able to share a little bit about my book and where it takes place.

And thank you Alex, for letting me take up so much room! :D

EEGiorgi said...

Congratulations, I'm excited to read CassaDawn!!

John Wiswell said...

I've connected with enough smart beta readers over the years that I know a story is done when a crop of them tell me it is. I never have to trust my own instincts.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Highest of sales for CassaDawn! My own story for that anthology will just languish in obscurity ... but then there are worse fates! I enjoyed Luke Cage but the white stereotypes were irksome at the end. story is finished when your gut tells you it is for me at least! :-)

Sandra Cox said...

Hope the price reduction brings in all kinds of sales.

SpacerGuy said...

A handy trick is to know the end of your story before writing the novel.The WEP Challenge sounds interesting but heres the record scratch - my L1014 story doesn't have an ending. I gritted my teeth when I made that discovery years ago. Great opportunities here for writers Alex.

F. Stone said...

I chucked out two short stories several years ago. Now, I wished I had saved them. There was a kernel of a great story in them but I couldn't see that until years later. Thought they were too over the top in a fantasy. As far as when is a story finished, I've read too many books that needed another critical read from a beta reader or editor. If they give you a thumbs up, publish and move on to the next.

mail4rosey said...

Nice insight on how you know when to end a book. I can't answer the question either... my things I COULD regret all led to amazing things/moments/places I don't, so... I wouldn't change a thing.

Rebecca Green Gasper said...

Sometimes it is hard to know when your book is ready. And others won't always help since each person has their own could change and change and change and go nowhere! Best to you, Becca

Cherie Reich said...

Thanks for letting us know about the sale! Congrats to Bish!

Stephen Tremp said...

I remember the Luke Cage Powerman comics as a kid and collected them. I looked up Google images and he and his female sidekick sure did look Funkadelic back in the 70s. I'll have to check out a couple episodes this weekend.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Last things first. Why yes, I do believe you could cram more into this post. (You're the all-powerful Ninja dude, remember?)

Yeah, I'd love to visit that dungeon. Visiting places like that makes us more acutely aware of past events, and the past seems to comes alive because of the history that haunts them. It's like being on sacred ground.

J.H. Moncrieff said...

That is an epic blog post, Alex! I'm definitely going to check out Tell-Tale.

Sorry to hear about the book. It sucks when that happens. :(

Elizabeth said...

Wow, there is a lot in this post! Annaberg sounds like an interesting setting. Congrats to Bish!

I've been like you with blog posts before. When I start repeating myself, I know I'm done with that subject. I'm glad to hear about CassaDawn. I'm currently in the middle of CassaFire and I'm loving it! It's nice to finally find a book that's hard to put down again :)

Yolanda Renée said...

Alex, you can do anything! So yes, if you had to, you could cram more in! :) Great job, great information! Thank you!

Congratulations to Bish, and all these creative writers. So many opportunities! Wonderful! Now to work it out to my advantage!

Mark said...

Bish's piece on the Caribbean was both fascinating and haunting. I wish there was more written on the subject to be sure.

Angela Brown said...

I've heard some good things about Luke Cage. Netflix has been on fire with some its developments.
Not sure I'd be interested in visiting a dungeon. I imagine it has some souls lurking...hmmm...

Brandon Ax said...

I finished Luke Cage, it was really good. I can't wait for Iron Fist.

T.F. Walsh said...

I am completely hooked on Luke Cage at the moment... with each episode I'm getting more and more addicted.

Joanne said...

Oh you could cram in more if you wanted too! I have left several of my books when I am bored with my own characters. That is sad if you dislike them all.
Luke Cage is quite good. Happy friday

Michelle Wallace said...

Congrats to Bish! That's some interesting history to go with her story.
I'm sure you can guess what really captured my attention in your post? The Great Flash Fiction War! Any mention of flash fiction does it for me! I'm off to check it out.

Karen Baldwin said...

As always, Alex...thanks for your comment. Finally! I can say I've seen a movie or TV show that you posted about. Luke Cage! LOve it! Mike Colter also played the role of Lemond Bishop, a thug, on The Good Wife.

Melissa said...

I'm glad your story will be published.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Tonja, addictive, isn't it?

Bish, you're welcome!

Space Guy, I always know the ending before I begin.

Feather, you can always write them again from scratch. I did once.

Stephen, I like that word - funkadelic.

Elizabeth, thank you!!! That is awesome to hear.

Brandon, I'm now halfway through.

Joanne, fortunately I still like them.

Michelle, I knew that would interest you.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

Congratulations to the winners of your book. It's cool that the narrator for your book went the extra mile with sound effects. Thanks for reminding me about the Insecure Writer's Support Group on Wednesday. I'm in the process of buying a house so my mind hasn't been really focused on other things. Also I agree on Luke Cage. I'm only three episodes in (I watch slowly).

Michael Di Gesu said...

No Kidding...

So much going on in this post for sure! Hope to start on my Anthology piece this week! I finally have a free moment between insanities. LOL...

ALL the best to Lexa, Bish, Tara, and Circuits and Slippers Anthology....

Sandra Cox said...

Thanks for sharing the information on Annaberg, Bish.
Both poignant and sad.

Olga Godim said...

So many good news. And I like your answer to this month's question. Thanks for sharing.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Congrats to the two winners. Cassa Dawn..hmm.. I like the sound of it. Actually I like the name Cassa a lot. Somehow, it has a lovely feel to it.
Am waiting for my results..wondering which species of beast I'll be.

A Beer for the Shower said...

Sorry to hear about having to scrap an entire story. We hate when that happens, but better to do so now than to try to force a story that wasn't going to work out anyway.

I'm excited to start Luke Cage. I'm also excited that it's got a faster pace than Jessica Jones (which was good, but man that was a slow start).

Nilanjana Bose said...

I like crammed posts so yes, you could if you wanted to!

Congrats to authors with new releases, particularly interesting to read about L.X. Cain. Sometimes I wish I could go back to the shores of the Red Sea :)

Pleased to see WEP up there, too!

Cynthia said...

That's great news about CassaDawn!

As for Michael's question of the month, I can think of a number of things that I've done that were the right thing to do, and while I don't have actual regrets, the consequences weren't exactly my cup of tea either.

Lidy said...

Congrats on CassaDawn and to the others as well! I just started watching Luke Cage and I'm enjoying it. But have to make sure the kids aren't in the room because it's not for their viewing pleasure.

Deniz Bevan said...

I love the way you cram so much into your posts! It makes me happy because so many people seem to gleefully keep repeating that blogging is dead. They just don't hang out in the right places!

Debra Renée Byrd said...

Ahhharrghcassadaaawn!! lol I have to catch up. I've only read CassaFire, so I have Star & Storm to read. I believe I bought them both...I'll have to check my tablet.

I like that writing tip. Sometimes you do end up back at square one. I'll have to remember that!

I tried to watch Luke Cage, but I realized I don't watch any of the Marvel tv shows. They just don't interest me (which ironically, I've watched most of the Marvel movies).

Juneta key said...

Congrats on the book news. Great post by Bish. I survived Hurricane Matthew looks like you did too. Survived the move and I'm back online. Thanks for visiting my blog.
Juneta @ Writer's Gambit