Wednesday, April 20, 2022

WEP & Brat

 Rain fell and fell and fell.

Brat wondered if it had got into her skin and replaced her blood. She hoped it would keep falling.

When she’d snuck out of the hole she’d dug, he’d been heading for his bottle. She hoped he drank it all the way to the bottom. Even if he went looking for her, he wouldn’t be able to chase her. His thinking wouldn’t be clear enough to find her hole.

He would think demons were messing with him again and hiding her.

Then when he’d recovered enough, he wouldn’t remember.

If the rain kept falling, he wouldn’t be able to follow her. She knew he tracked animals for food. He always complained about how the rain messed up the tracks.

She tried to hide on those days, but her closet wasn’t big enough to hide.

He told her she was lucky. He fed her, gave her a home.

She didn’t feel lucky.

But how was she to know?

Maybe all the places were like this one. Maybe some of them were worse.

If it was worse, she didn’t know how it could be.

But he told her it was.

She knew trees because they were everywhere she looked when she got to look out the window. Was there anything else?

Brat slipped on the mud again but didn’t stay down. She had to keep moving.

And moving.

When she couldn’t walk anymore, she crawled.

And still the rain fell. Hiding her path. Hiding her.

Her hands bled so the rain hadn’t changed her blood yet.

She pushed to her feet again and kept walking, never looking back.

When the trees disappeared, she stopped. This was new. She didn’t know what it was. Didn’t have the words to tell.

The rain kept falling. Brat kept walking.

When she fell again, there was no mud for a soft landing. It was hard and more blood came from her knees and hands.

Brat swallowed hard and then pushed to her feet. Kept walking.

A noise broke the air and light broke the rain.

Brat couldn’t make her feet move. More noises she didn’t know.

Then a voice. “Are you okay? What are you doing out here? Are you hurt?”

It wasn’t him.

Was it worse than him?

Another voice. “You’re bleeding honey. Come on in the car. We’ll get you to the hospital and get you some help. Don’t worry.”

Brat didn’t know all the words, but the hands on her didn’t hurt.

Brat went with the voices while the rain continued to fall.


Tagline: A hard rain is just what she needs

The above is part of the #WEP April Challenge: A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall.

I have to admit I'd never heard of this song before the challenge. It's an intense song with some pretty dark lyrics. I struggled for a bit. And listened to it several times. And still struggled.

The song reminds me of court jesters who were allowed to speak harsh truths disguised as entertainment. We all interpret songs/poetry differently, but this song broke my heart. There's such cruelty in the world.

All of this finally brought me to the story above. I'm a romance author, I'm a teacher, I'm a believer in the power of hope and love and kindness. There will always be a light at the end of my tunnels.

I hope you'll check out the link to find the other stories written for this prompt. And I hope you'll join in!

Monday, April 11, 2022

Alex J. Cavanaugh & CassaDark

Another great adventure!!

Alex has done it again! CassaDark is an epic story that spans planets and cultures with ease. Bassan (son of Byron) is the focus of this story and he's a great main character. Tormented by a sense of not-quite-good-enough and unable-to-act-in-time, Bassan struggles to find his place in the shadow of the great things his parents have accomplished. Who could imagine the son of two talented pilots would be afraid to fly?

To make up for what he views as a mistake, Bassan agrees to travel to another world to present at a conference. And that's where his life changes forever.

New worlds. New friends. New enemies. New challenges.

If Bassan can't find the confidence and the will to act, it won't be only him who won't survive. Can he find the strength to do things he's never done? Things he's never imagined?

You'll have to read to find out! A fabulous story!

I invited Alex here to answer a few pressing questions!

What's your favourite part of writing? (outlining, draft, revision, editing, marketing)
Definitely not the first draft! How I loathe the first draft. Revisions and editing. The story is on the page and I can see what I need to do with it at that point. I have something to work with.

Do you write in silence or do you have music (or TV) playing while you work?
I can’t write when it’s quiet. My brain can’t focus. I need music in the background, something that fits the mood of the scene I’m writing. Often the television is on as well. (Muted, of course—that would be overload.)

I know you play the guitar. Do you ever plan to have a character who is a musician?
So far, I haven’t! You would think I would’ve put an instrument in one character’s hands. I guess I just don’t put that much of myself into my characters.

My favourite piece of science fiction "stuff" is my R2D2 flash drive. What's yours?
Either my Starcraft Protoss Pylon USB charger or my Firefly Yahtzee game.

What part of your Cassa series came to you first? (character, plot, location, tech)
I wrote the first version of CassaStar when I was an early teen, so I don’t really remember. Pretty much only the two main characters survived the rewrite, so I guess I’d have to say characters.


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.



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?

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 –
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Thanks for popping by today, Alex! Congrats on yet another awesome book!

How about you? Anyone else love the Cassa series? Anyone else going online in search of Firefly Yahtzee? Who else needs music or background noise to write (I do!)?

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

#IWSG and Audiobooks

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.

IWSG badge

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!   

April 6 question - Have any of your books been made into audiobooks? If so, what is the main challenge in producing an audiobook?

I haven't taken the dive into audiobooks yet.

It's cost-prohibitive - or at least it was when I first checked into it a few years back. One piece of advice I received at the time was that it was only smart to do an audiobook if your profits from one month for that title (only the one book) would easily pay for the narrator, which at the time was between $2k and $5k.

As a teacher, I've been reading aloud for decades and have pretty good skills in that area...but...I'm certainly not a professional, nor do I have a sound booth or good place for a "studio".

I may try it for Dancing With Dementia at some point but I'm not as sure about the romance. Maybe. It's a whole new skill and at least two new technologies to learn (microphone, program, sound editing...). Even though the idea of learning new skills and tech appeals to me, I'm not sure I have the time for that.

How about you? Are you an audiobook reader? (I'm not because of the bouncy brain and that might be part of my reticence as well.) Have you enjoyed the audiobook process if you're a writer?