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New Release! - CassaDark by Alex J. Cavanaugh & April IWSG

This is my Insecure Writers Support Group post for April 2022.

I'm posting a day early because our fearless leader just released a new book! Congratulations, Alex!

To celebrate the release of his newest book, CassaDark, Alex J. Cavanaugh is visiting my blog today. I asked Alex if he would tell us about changes he made to the story during drafting, and he agreed to let us peek behind the curtain. Give the Ninja Captain a warm welcome!



Melissa asked about changes to the story, and once I thought about it, there were several things not in the original outline. Now, I am big on outlining and can take months to put one together with just the right amount of detail. So, changes sometimes throw a wrench in things for me.


One such change involved the death of a secondary character. One of my beta readers suggested it would make the situation more dire and realistic. And while I hadn’t intended to kill the character, the death did raise the stakes and revealed how much trouble the people were facing.


Another scene involved an escape. It felt too easy. I knew a lot of challenges were coming up after that scene, but the getaway needed a couple minor obstacles to add some tension. That led into the other confrontations as they started piling on.


Then there’s the ending. I liken this to the big finale in CassaStar—Byron had to save the day, but how? Despite my outline, I didn’t have a definite plan for how Bassan was going to save everyone. (It always sounds so good in our heads until we get down on paper, right?) Then I remembered something from the very beginning of the story. I went back and wove that into the story line and there I had it— the moment of salvation!


Will those changes help rock the story more? I certainly hope so after the agony of adding them!




By Alex J. Cavanaugh

His world is unraveling…

Bassan’s father is stepping down from command. His best friend almost dies when Bassan freezes. Now, he’s being sent across the galaxy to speak at an important conference. Despite saving the eleven races years ago, he’s paralyzed by fear and doubt. Could things get any worse?

Once there, new acquaintance Zendar convinces Bassan to visit his planet for a humanitarian mission. Bassan’s special connection to ancient technology is the key to saving Zendar’s people. One problem though—it’s a prisoner planet.

On Ugar, he discovers things aren’t so straightforward. As each secret reveals itself, the situation grows more desperate. If he can’t find the right answers, he might die along with Zendar’s people. Can Bassan summon the courage to be a hero again?

Release date – April 6, 2022
Trade paperback, 226 pages, Dancing Lemur Press, LLC
Science fiction - Adventure (FIC028010) / Space Opera (FIC028030) / Space Exploration (FIC028130)
Print ISBN 9781939844842 $16.95 / eBook ISBN 9781939844859 $4.99

iTunes –
Amazon –
Barnes & Noble –
Kobo –
Scribed –
Goodreads -

Alex J. Cavanaugh works in web design and graphics, and he plays guitar in a Christian band. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is known as Ninja Captain Alex and he’s the founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.


I enjoyed hosting you, Alex. As always, it was a pleasure. Congratulations and thanks for visiting!


Alex's awesome co-hosts this month

Joylene Nowell Butler, Jemima Pett, 
Please stop by their blogs and say thank you


The April 6th Question is: Have any of your books been made into audio books, and if so, what was the main challenge in producing an audiobook?

For me, that would be a no. I don't have enough volume of sales yet to make that profitable. 


IWSG is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. It's a monthly bloghop that offers a safe haven for writers to express their feelings and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. It's also a venue for offering  support, both in the form of comments and positive posts. Writers of all kinds are welcome. 

We 'meet' the first Wednesday of every month. If you're interested in learning more, click on the link above. And don't be intimidated by the size of the group. We're not expected to visit everyone on the list


  1. Congrats to Alex on his new book! It's interesting to read about the changes he made and how he didn't know the ending. I have only had vague ideas of my ending and magic system when I began my current manuscript. It was unsettling, but it's worked out great in the end.

    1. Endings can be daunting. So much is riding on getting it right. In my debut novel, I had trouble getting justice for the MCs because of the laws back then (or lack of them). Conspiracy to commit murder wasn't on the books yet. In my current WIP, I had to spend a good hour or more, studying law and corporate issues from the 1850s to come up with the details of how the villain accomplished his crimes and a plan for how to bring him to justice. It's a lot of work! LOL

  2. Woo Hoo, Alex.
    Thanks for hosting, Melissa;)

  3. I guess all writers have to be flexible to change. Can't wait to read the new book!

  4. The changes made it a good story.

    Thank you for featuring Alex and his new book.

    1. You bet! Alex does so much to promote others. He deserves to be hosted by the entire blogosphere.

  5. Great changes, Alex. Sometimes, it's hard to see the details ahead of time, esp. with the ending. You know what you want to happen, but actually writing it can be a real challenge. Congrats on the new release.

  6. Grats to Alex! And nice change to the look of your site, Melissa! (If you already posted about the change in look, sorry, I missed it.)

    1. You didn't. A little gremlin named Carrie snuck into my blog last night and changed it. LOL
      Thanks. I like it, too. It matches my website. :)

  7. Congrats Alex. It's interesting where changes lead--and one took you back to the beginning!

  8. I hate killing my characters. I like them too much.

  9. Interesting to read about the changes Alex had to make. Isn't that the way it goes. Kind of like Dominoes lined up in a row--one drops over and they all fall down. So one change can affect a whole story, so days added in re-writes. But yes, a stronger story develops so it's worth it. Plus, it's so much fun to brainstorm a story. I didn't know Alex was such a planner. Months on an outline. Wow! Congrats on the new release!!

  10. Congrats on the new book and thanks for releasing the e-version in time for me to read it while I was on my hospital adventure! And thanks for letting us see into your thought process for the edits. Very interesting.

  11. Hey Melissa. I just saw you were on Cowboy Kisses. Yay! :)

  12. Hi, Melissa! I enjoyed reading Alex's changes on your post. The word "agony" stood out. We all struggle with our writing, don't we? Thanks for co-hosting today. I hope that you are enjoying visiting around.

  13. Congratulations on the new book. Thanks for co-hosting this month.


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