Friday, December 14, 2012

Guest Post by Alex J. Cavanaugh

Please welcome the Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh! Alex supports, encourages, and inspires  writers in this writing community. Thank you Alex for all your support! 
Livia wanted me to talk about my beginnings—how a head banging, science fiction and tech geek like me got started—and where I am today.

First, let me clarify something. I’m still the same dude. I’m still just Alex.

I joke that I never wanted to be an author, but it’s true. Writing was never a big drive for me. I’m shy, reserved, and don’t like the spotlight. (Or my picture taken!) I never thought my name would one day appear on two books—soon to be three!

That I even sent out queries for my first book was a miracle. If not for the encouragement of my wife and two friends who read my manuscript, CassaStar would still exist only on my computer. Several months of rejections from science fiction publisher led to a wider range of queries, which eventually resulted in an offer from a small press.

It came with an ultimatum though—get my butt online or else.

Oh crap! I wasn’t prepared for that.

Ready or not, on November 9, 2009, I wrote my first blog post. I had zero followers. (I didn’t even know what a follower was!) But I was socializing online for the first time in my life—and I had no idea what I was doing.

I started following science fiction blogs, but few returned the gesture. Fortunately I found some authors online, and they welcomed me to the blogging world. Those early followers included Elizabeth, Diane, and Stephen, and they guided me along. Not long after I found Arlee Bird and the first A to Z Challenge. With about thirty followers, I plunged into April’s Challenge…
And now?
I’ll give you the measurable stats first:
~My blog has over 1700 followers,
~I’m approaching my third year as a co-host of the A to Z Challenge.
~I founded the Insecure Writer’s Support Group September 2011, and it’s over 250 members strong.
~I’ve hosted dozens of blogfests. (Heck, I WAS a blogfest!)
~My site was a Blog of Note.
~I’ve been invited to science fiction conferences and featured in magazines.
~My first two books are Amazon US and Amazon UK Science Fiction Best Sellers.

Now for the intangibles:
How do I list those? I have hundreds of blogger buddies who support and encourage me. Tens of thousands of fans await my next book, CassaStorm. And my life has been enriched and blessed beyond my wildest dreams.

The greatest intangible is my ability to give back. So many have supported me—I want to give back to the community that helped this once struggling blogger and author. I want to celebrate the achievements of my fellow bloggers. I want to help others succeed and achieve their goals. God has blessed me, and I want to pass that on to others.
Where am I now?
I'm Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. And I am here to serve...
Thank you Alex!
* * *
The Golden Globe Nominees were announced on Thursday, December 13!
I will post more about this subject next week!


  1. Hey Alex,

    It's always interesting to get a little more insight into how you got going and I was nodding at several of your early blog life bullet points - which cheers me up to no end :)

    Dear Livia,

    Once again you have great taste in guest posters - thanks for having what's-his-face over :)

  2. Long live the Ninja Captain!
    Thanks for featuring that no-hyperlink-needed guy, Livia. ;)

  3. Although the blog side is awesome, I'm really impressed by Alex being featured in magazines and invited to conferences because of his writing. That must be a fantastic feeling!

    Hello Livia :-)

  4. Mark, it was a slow start, trust me.

    Annalisa, it's an incredible feeling!

    Thanks again, Livia.

  5. I've watched you grow from strength to strength, Alex. Who've guessed from such humble beginnings? You truly are an inspiration to so many people, me included.
    Yay Livia for hosting the Captain.

  6. I love Ninja Captain Alex's story. That's an amazing journey and I know half of it is not even told.

    Livia, thanks for letting Alex share his story here.

  7. Great post from the Captain. I can see him getting a Golden Globe in future - his books would make amazing films!

  8. This is inspiring because it shows that success, on many levels, doesn't require a specific mold or a specific beginning. You can be anyone, you just have to be motivated and persevere. (:

  9. From such humble beginnings. You had a dream and went for it Alex, culled your talent and now give back-- what a great example to offer other writers.

  10. The story alone is an inspiration; a dream can become more. Glad you found your place, Alex - I think a lot of writers are.

  11. I love humble beginnings! Thanks for sharing-you inspire all of us, to continue our journey!

    Livia, thanks for interviewing the Captain!

    Thanks Captain for sharing! It gives all of us more courage to keep putting ourselves out there~

  12. You do so much for others, Alex that it's great to know you get something out of it too.

  13. 1700 followers is very impressive! You're right in that the blogging community is one of the best parts of blogging. I really like interacting with the other bloggers and reading what they have to say; most of the people I've encountered so far have been really nice and encouraging.

  14. Look how far you've come. Don't think I helped that much. You figured it out on your own.

  15. Thank you, Lynda!

    Nick, it would be awesome if they were films!

    Elise, well said.

    Neurotic, this community is amazing.

    Diane, you did point me in the right direction.

    Thanks, everyone!

  16. Very cool learning a bit more about Alex. I can't even picture him at the beginning of his blogging journey! And to see where it's gone is a remarkable thing. But the thing is, it isn't just 1700 "followers." It's 1700 FOLLOWERS. There's a difference--and that, is what makes Alex special.

  17. Has the IWSG only been going on for just over a year? It seems like such an epic thing, it had to have been around for longer, lol.

  18. Your online following is staggering. I remember when you hit 1000 followers and that doesn't seem so long ago. And now you're almost to 2000. That's crazy. My goal for 2013 is to reach 800 by year's end (I think that's doable for me).

  19. I'm in awe. I can tell because I'm speechless. I remember that scary feeling when I first started my blog. I knew no one! We haven't been friends very long, I write thrillers, not S/F, but I do have a good instinct for people, and Alex, you're special. Thanks for being you.

  20. Its fun to look back at our humble beginnings. Most of us started within the past few years. Since then countless books have been released with the help and support of other bloggers who share their experiences and skill sets (most for free).

    I wonder what the next couple years will hold. Big big big things I'm sure!

  21. I'm amazed! Hard work clearly pays off. The inspiration and support Alex gives is incredible. Thanks for all.

  22. Morgan, thanks, and it was a sad beginning, let me tell you.

    Cassie, just one year, and I hope it outlives me.

    Michael, you can do it!

    Thank you, Joylene!!!

    Stephen, many big things.

    Thanks, Rebecca.

  23. Thank you Alex, for all that you do!!! And Congratulations on all your well deserved success!

  24. For someone that didn't want to be online, you've certainly done a good job of it!

  25. Enjoyed this interview, Livia. Thanks for sharing some of the inside bits about the series, Alex.

    Watching for the storm. . .

  26. Your living the American 'Ninja' Dream, Alex. Rock on Ninjaman.

  27. Andrew, no idea how that happened, either.

    DG, storm is coming...

    Running, you saw some of the beginning.

    Spacerguy, I like that!

  28. That was a whole lotta inspiration crammed into one interview! It's comforting to hear about how successful people started out in the same place I am now... there IS hope! Great interview. Thanks to both Livia for hosting and Alex for sharing :-)

  29. Incredible post and very inspiring. My favorite thing about you, Alex, is the way you give back. I remember that you were one of my first regular followers. Number 3, I believe.

  30. Thanks for hosting Alex, Livia. All it takes is one good deed to spawn another. Help and encouragement can go such a long way. And in Alex's case it's gone light years and touched hundreds (if not thousands) in the process. Alex WAS a blogfest for a reason. :)

  31. High five, Alex! :) You too, Livia!

  32. I salute you, Ninja Captain!
    Thanks for the interview Livia!

  33. Alex, this was a wonderful peek into the beginnings of the Ninja Captain. It seems like the pieces fit into place, probably due to your talent, support, and determination. Yeah...getting our butts online...didn't think I'd ever be blogging and creating a website.

    You've got a lot going for you! (Oh...and I hope you got the fact that I was "roasting" you...I know the Ninja Captain has a stomach of steel. Hope you took it in the jest it was meant when written). :o)

  34. And now you know the rest of the story...

    Hee hee. Great to hear your path to publication and Ninja fandom, Alex!

  35. Thanks for hosting Alex, Livia! Thanks for sharing with us your humble beginning. Look how far you've come and all you've accomplished. A true inspiration.

  36. Great interview. It captures Alex's personality well.


  37. I'm Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. And I am here to serve..

    That is so you Alex. Great interview and we love you.

  38. T, you can achieve even more!

    Melissa, really?

    Thanks, Jeff!

    ML, I appreciated your kind words.

    Candilynn, blows my mind.

    Sheena-Kay, thanks!

  39. Thanks for posting this Livia. It's good to hear how someone broke into the field and is doing well from hard work and making the right connections. Is there a detailed blueprint to follow?? :)

  40. Livia, adorable blog header you have here.

    Alex, isn't it funny how small things lead to big ones :). Small beginnings and now look at you! Scrolling to the bottom of your comments would exhaust ;).

  41. Awesome post by an awesome guy. :)