Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am ecstatic to welcome the ninja-captain himself, Sci-Fi author and blogger extraordinaire, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Alex is best known for his magical abilities to gather ninja-minions, visit thousands of blogs a day and for his awesome Cassastar Trilogy.  And today, we finally get a peek at his writing cave. His last novel, CassaStormis out in the world so get yourselves a copy.

 Welcome, Alex!


Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

Alex J Cavanaugh modified

I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics, and I’m a guitarist in a band. I’m a fan of all things science fiction, books, movies, music, and games. Online I’m the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. My genre is science fiction-space opera and I’m the author of Amazon bestsellers, CassaStar and CassaFire. My third book, CassaStorm, was released September 17, 2013. My hidden talent – the ability to clone myself.



On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

I used to write by hand, but NaNo taught me to do it on the computer. So all writing is now done at my desk.

Desk - Alex modified

Ninja Captain Alex Cavanaugh’s Workspace


2.  Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

It’s been so long, I don’t know where I purchased my desk! I like my workspace free of clutter. Can’t handle piles of anything.


3.  What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

I need a bottle of water, some Hot Tamales, and some tunes playing to write. Preferably progressive rock and really loud. And if the television is on, that’s all right as well. (Sound muted of course – that would be overkill.)


4.  What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

I like the sparse appearance. Clutter is distracting. Favorite objects include my Starcraft figures (best game ever.) and my iPad. Plus Mini Alex is always nearby.

Desk Items - Alex

Ninja Captain Alex Cavanaugh’s Favorite Writing Companions


5. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

Water. I can’t stand coffee and I don’t drink soda often, so a bottle of water is a necessity.

Mini Alex Rocking modified


On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

Fantasy author Terry Brooks inspired me to write. I wanted to create stories I could read but couldn’t find anywhere else. Other favorite authors include Preston and Child, Timothy Zahn, and Ray Bradbury.


2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

When I’m writing, it’s two to four hours every night, no matter what. I need to practice my guitar first though. That puts me in the right frame of mind.

Guitars - Alex

Ninja Captain Alex Cavanaugh’s Guitars


3.  Do you write everyday?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

When I’m working on a book, it’s two to four hours. When I’m not, it’s just blog posts, articles, interviews, and comments, so probably the same amount of time. (I get to blog from work – is that awesome or what?) Television and blogging are probably my worst distractions.


4. Why do you write?

To read the stories I can’t find anywhere else.


5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

Believe in what you are writing. If you don’t, nothing that follows will really matter.



Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He is experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The author of the Amazon bestsellers, CassaStar and CassaFire, he lives in the Carolinas with his wife.


Website –

Twitter –

Goodreads –

CassaStorm by Alex J Cavanaugh modified


From the Amazon Best Selling Series!

A storm gathers across the galaxy…


Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.

After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, threatening to destroy the boy’s mind.

Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could return. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…


“CassaStorM is a touching and mesmerizing space opera full of action and emotion with strong characters and a cosmic mystery.”  – Edi’s Book Lighhouse

“Cavanaugh has created wonderfully moving moments of great poignancy… CassaStorm could have been a dark story full of hardship and angst, but instead it’s a cleverly balanced story about hope and triumph.”
– Lynda R. Young, author of Make Believe


“I thought the revelation was going to be one thing and I was completely wrong … CassaStorm pushes the limits…”
– Tyson Mauermann, Speculative Reviews


$16.95 USA, 6×9 Trade paperback, 268 pages, Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.

Science fiction/adventure and science fiction/space opera

Print ISBN 9781939844002 eBook ISBN 9781939844019

$4.99 EBook available in all formats


Find CassaStorm:

Barnes and Noble –

Amazon –

Amazon Kindle –

Goodreads –

Book trailer –



Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, Alex!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

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53 Responses to “Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Alex J.Cavanaugh”

  1. Nice interview. I’m always amazed (and a bit envious) of people who can write with music on (*or* the TV, even muted!) I think I must be highly distractable. :( The music I’ll play is always lyric-free and not very interesting.

  2. Murees Dupé says:

    I love finding out more about other writers and their work spaces. I like how Alex’s desk is neat and tidy. I can’t write with clutter around me either. Great interview!

  3. I like that Alex’s picture is bathed in darkness–makes him even more ninja-like. Aiex is one of my favorite bloggers, so it’s nice to see him here.

  4. Great interview. I loved seeing Alex’s work space and learning more about his writing schedule.

  5. Thanks, Nutschell!

    Murees, we need a clean space!

    Theresa, thank you!

  6. It’s great to see the work-spaces we use to make they stuff happen… I know I need lots of colors for art and design. No coffee, I don’t know… soda I get, coffee is important to enhance those colors. Love the musical choices and the figures, good call…

  7. Jemi Fraser says:

    One of these days I’ll have room for a desk! I have to have music or TV on when I write as well :)

  8. Hi, Nutshell, Hey, Alex,

    What at COOL surprise to see your favorite author is TERRY BROOKS… I think I’ve read almost every one of his novels and his fantasy worlds are unsurpassed. What an amazing imagination!!!!

    Love your writing pals and mini-Alex… so fun!

    You DON’T like COFFEE??!!!!! I am SHOCKED…. I couldn’t live without mine. Since I am on such a limited diet… coffee is my only pleasure.

    Like the simplicity of your writing desk. I have to simplify mine. Getting too much junk on it.

    Thanks for featuring Alex today, Nutshell!

  9. LG Smith says:

    I so wish I knew how to play guitar. I often listen to music before I write to get me in the right mood, but I have to have absolute silence when I’m writing. Love the Starcraft figures as inspiration. :)

  10. Nutschell, I can’t believe I found out new information on Alex. :) Great job.

    Alex, I can’t stand clutter either! However, I do end up with paper piles which I hate with all my heart. I’m for drinking lots of water, but you and I need to talk about your dislike of coffee. Repeat after me, coffee is my friend, coffee is my friend. Coffee IS my friend.

  11. Cherie Reich says:

    I need a clean workspace to work too, Alex! And your guitars are gorgeous!

  12. Pat Hatt says:

    No clutter works for my ocd, way to be and water is all i have too at my zoo

  13. I like your writing nook. It looks very cozy.

  14. It’s good to learn more about Alex’s writing habits and to see his writing space.

  15. I love the last two answers. So true.

    Great interview, you two.
    I learn a little more about Alex every time. :)

  16. Michael, I’ve read almost all of his books as well! And sorry, no coffee.

    LG, you should learn how to play. Lots of fun.

    Teresa, repeat after me – coffee tastes like tar…

    Thanks, Cherie!

    Thanks everyone!

  17. joylene says:

    So, is it true what they say about a man and his toys? Never come between a man and his toys. Which is why they’re hiding on the other side of your keyboard. Alex, it was fun hearing more about your routine. I feel safe in saying, you are our organizational hero! Who reads and comments on as many blogs as our Ninja Captain! Nobody!

  18. Stephen Tremp says:

    I have little figures by my PC when I write. Sometimes my kids make LEGOs of me sitting at a desk and computer. One day I’ll have to do a video using LEGO people.

  19. Arlee Bird says:

    I think it’s time for a new silhouette photo. Actually most of us would like to actually see a picture that would help us recognize you if we passed you on the street. Not like that’s gonna happen or anything.

    You’ve given me inspiration in this interview. I think I’ll clean the piles off of my desk. Thank goodness I’ve got a nice sized home office to work in so all the crap I keep in here spreads out more neatly.

    Tossing It Out

  20. LOL! Now I know his secret–it’s the clones. He gets around the blogosphere so well because there’s a hundred of him!

    I love that daily writing allotment–2 to 4 hours. (It sounds familiar.)

  21. Great interview! And photos :)

  22. I’m beginning to see a pattern. My desk is piled with clutter. As is my brain. Hmmm…making connections!

  23. Karen Lange says:

    It’s great to learn more about Alex! Thanks for having him over, Nutschell! :)

  24. Sherry Ellis says:

    I like your writing buddies! Two to four hours is a good amount of time to spend writing when you’re working on a book. I wish I had that kind of time. I’d probably be a lot happier with my progress!

  25. Great interview and loved the pictures – always enjoy seeing the workplace. Neat is good, but I do have a tendency to get messy when working. Then it’s clean up time – organization to begin all over again!

  26. Joylene, and as we grow older, the toys get bigger and more expensive! And nobody in his right mind…

    Stephen, at the very least post a photo of you in Lego!

    Lee, but I like that no one would recognize me! Now, get to cleaning that desk.

    Sherry, I just make the time…

  27. Southpaw says:

    I love the flashy background for mini-Alex. 2-4 hours is a huge chunk of time – no wonder your taking NANO off this year to give you wife a break!

  28. Tyrean says:

    Love the writing companions, and sweet guitars!!!

  29. Sia McKye says:

    You wouldn’t like my desk area Alex. There be some clutter–reference stuff and to do piles. I love Terry Brooks and Timothy Zahn. Good stories. Hot Tamales and cinnamon hots are good munching food along with the occasional snickers bar.

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

  30. mooderino says:

    I also enjoy a clutter free desk, but my desk seems to have other ideas. Great interview and nice insight into the Ninja Captain’s approach to writing.


  31. Mary Pax says:

    Alex doesn’t seem to have piles of crap on his desk like I do. It’s crap I need – calanders, outlines, etc…

    Happy Wednesday, Shell!

  32. Susan Gourley says:

    I can’t believe how clear your workspace is. I like mine neat but there are reminders hanging all around. Of course, you do have Mini Alex taking up space.

  33. Holly, she deserves it!

    Sia, other than the clutter you have good tastes!

    Mary, I like a crap-free environment…

    Susan, Mini-Alex always needs his space.

  34. I like a clean surface, too, or it distracts me, but right now it’s covered with study stuff. Can’t wait to clean it off! I’m glad mini-Alex is there to look over your shoulder while you’re working.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

  35. Ella says:

    So fun to see your work space-love your guitars! My fingers are itching to play-I need new strings…augh!
    Nicely done Nutschell and Alex! I like your cleaned off space-me I am a clutter gal. I need visual items gathered around, but I do have a limit. I clean it up and start all over again! Mini Alex has friends how nice ;D

  36. Gary says:

    Aha and delighted to see the ninja dude at your interactive site, my friend. I note you have Mini Alex as a companion. Clutter-free is good. Your guitars are very impressive. I shall now go have some water and see if that helps me keep up. Either that, or some more rented clones, or a new computer, or the help from a certain celebrity dog.

    Seriously, lovely to see Alex here. Wishing him much success with his latest book.

    Gary :)

  37. Fantastic interview! I like getting a peek into Alex’s world. TV and blogging are my biggest distractions too. In fact, Modern Family will be on in eight minutes! I wonder what sort of adventures Mini-Alex and the Starcraft guys have when no one is around.

  38. PK Hrezo says:

    So that is where the magic happens, eh, Alex? Very nice! Rock on, my friend!
    Thanks for sharing with us Nutschell! He can be so enigmatic so it’ s nice to get a clearer glimpse!

  39. I love your writing companions.
    And snazzy guitars!!

  40. Donna Hole says:

    Cool to get to blog from work. I used to have a writing space, but now I moved and have just the space the laptop sits on.


  41. Nas says:

    Wow! Alex’s desk is so neat and tidy. He’d be surprised to see my desk!

    Congratulations on the release, Alex.

    Thanks Nutschell!

  42. I like a tidy desk, too. I still have a little bit of clutter, though.

    It was great learning more about the ninja captain and seeing where he works.

  43. Ella, those are his roadies! And get new strings and play soon.

    Gary, Penny is always willing to help.

    Christine, good question…

    Thanks, everyone!

  44. Hilary says:

    Hi Nutschell and Alex – great finding Alex here .. he doesn’t disclose much does he – except he’s obviously a dust-freak with such a clean desk!! Love the characters and so pleased Mini Alex is always on hand …

    It’s great you’re creating the stories you wanted to read, and now want to read .. hence you write them yourself ..

    Congratulations to you both – great fun to read .. cheers Hilary

  45. Jo Wake says:

    Always want to know more about the Ninja Captain. He is actually pretty reclusive.

    I can recommend Cassa Storm, it was great and the ending was unexpected. I devoured it.

  46. deniz says:

    Woo! Awesome guitars! Love seeing Mini Alex everywhere :-)
    Love your answer to ‘why do you write’!

  47. Julie Luek says:

    Great to see your clean work space, Alex– just what I would have expected. Always nice to get a little “insider’s glimpse” of people through these profiles. Thanks!

  48. Lexa Cain says:

    “To read the stories I can’t find anywhere else.”
    That’s the best reason to write! Too many people get hung up on sales and money — and then they’re miserable. I love your work space, the action figures, an mini-Alex. Great interview! :-)

  49. LD Masterson says:

    That was fun. Nice to get to know a little something about the Ninja Captain.

  50. Hilary, I actually like to dust. My wife says that’s weird.

    Thanks, Deniz!

    Lexa, it’s the only reason to write.

    Thanks everyone!

  51. Julie K Pick says:

    It was fun having a peek at Alex’s office. I’m also impressed with how clean and organized it is. Glad that mini–Alex is busy overseeing everything! Nutschell, Thanks for hosting Alex!

  52. Toi Thomas says:

    I love the format of this interview. This is a great way to learn about a writer’s process and, of course, we all want to know more about Alex’s. I love that he has action figures at his desk; I do too. While I usually write in silence, sometimes I do put on music for inspiration. Good stuff.

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