Monday, April 23, 2012

Guest Blog by Cassie Alexander - Process Changes

Please welcome Cassie Alexander to The Qwillery as part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. Cassie's debut, Nightshifted (Nightshifted/Edie Spence 1) will be published on May 22, 2012.

Process Changes

My first book to sell, Nightshifted, was actually my tenth book written.

Along the fifteen years it took to write one that could finally sell, I was buoyed by an endless optimism and (in retrospect!) a frankly completely naive confidence in myself. Which was lucky, because ten books and a decade and a half is a lot of time to spend writing without any external validation.

But there was a two year gap in there where I didn’t write at all, and that was largely due to me not understanding how my process was changing. All I knew is that I couldn’t write how I used to, in the way that I was used to – and so instead of trying to keep writing, I gave up, because I was scared it wouldn’t be any good.

You see, I had a system. I’d get my idea and I’d write books through, A-Z, in order, every time. Scene by scene. That’s how it worked for me – and I knew that’s how it worked because I had nine books to show for it, via that method.

But when your writing process changes, it’s not like your subconscious sends you a note. All I knew was that one day, instead of being a linear author, I became some sort of quantum unknown. I’d write A, then I’d write G, then I’d write C from a different POV, or X from another book entirely.

My inability to write like I once had freaked me out. If what I was already doing wasn’t selling, what chance did this new weird stuff have? Would I even finish it? Could I finish it? Where was the end? Who was this story even about? I felt like I’d lost control of my craft, and had run my ship ashore.

So I shut down for two years. I’d try to write on and off, discover I was still “broken”, and give up again. It’s funny how a process change I wasn’t in control of at all scared me more than a decade of consistent rejection.

It really wasn’t until I went to Clarion West and had to produce one story a week for six weeks, that I got over my “What the hell am I doing? Why isn’t this in order? Whose voice is this in my head now?” panic and learned to trust in the journey and just go where my process wanted me to go. It forced me to believe in myself, and with that belief I produced some of the best work of my life. And when I was done with that trial by fire I knew that my process would work if I just let it. All I needed to do was to get out of my own way.

So when the idea for Nightshifted came along, and seemed a little strange, and I wanted to write it out of order, and who were all these weird characters and why was my protagonist sleeping with characters I didn’t even know yet? Well, I trusted it. And it worked.

Most authors don’t seem to have this problem, or if they do, they don’t talk about it. But I know Jay Lake has spoken about it before, (but he’s very prolific, I can’t find the link right now, he talks about his process a lot ;)) But if this happens to you, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Try to roll with it and see where it takes you -- it may just be the best thing ever to happen to your career.

About Nightshifted

Nightshifted/Edie Spence 1
St. Martin's Paperbacks, May 22, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

From debut author Cassie Alexander comes a spectacular new urban fantasy series where working the nightshift can be a real nightmare.

Nursing school prepared Edie Spence for a lot of things. Burn victims? No problem. Severed limbs? Piece of cake. Vampires? No way in hell. But as the newest nurse on Y4, the secret ward hidden in the bowels of County Hospital, Edie has her hands full with every paranormal patient you can imagine—from vamps and were-things to zombies and beyond…

Edie’s just trying to learn the ropes so she can get through her latest shift unscathed. But when a vampire servant turns to dust under her watch, all hell breaks loose. Now she’s haunted by the man’s dying words—Save Anna—and before she knows it, she’s on a mission to rescue some poor girl from the undead. Which involves crashing a vampire den, falling for a zombie, and fighting for her soul. Grey’s Anatomy was never like this…

And the cover for Moonshifted, which will be published in the Fall 2012!!

About Cassie

Cassie Alexander is an author and a registered nurse. Her debut trilogy, Nightshifted, will be published by St. Martin's Press on May 22, 2012. It's coming out in January from Piper Verlag in German.

She likes alchemy, blood, and science, in that order.

Cassie's Links:


The Giveaway


What:  One commenter will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of Nightshifted from The Qwillery. Please note that you will receive your book after it is published in May 2012.

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

What do you think of the covers for Nightshifted and Moonshifted

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)   Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)   Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3)   Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. You MUST leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Monday, April 30, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*


  1. I think I like the cover for Moonshifted a bit more than the first, but I love that both make it clear that the heroine's a nurse and that there are paranormal happenings taking place at the hospital.

    +1 comment
    +1 follower
    +1 tweeted (!/RebeLovesBooks/status/194475952728850432)


  2. I really like the kind of grimy, beat-up looking quality that the cover of Nightshifted has. Also the kick-ass look on the nurse's face, that's great.

    I follow the Quillery by email: carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx

    I also tweeted about the giveaway:!/carlrscott/status/194476786044780544

    I don't have a blog so that's all 3 of the entries I can get.


  3. I like Nightshifted a bit more because it's grittier.

    +1 comment
    +1 gfc follower

  4. Thanks for a lovely post and giveaway! I love these covers! I also love the premise and have definitely added both to my wishlsit :)

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC; erin

  5. I think that both of the covers are awesome! I love the backdrop of the wolf and the dragon through the window and door. I can't wait to read both of these books! Thanks for the fantastic giveaway. +1 Comment, +1 Follower

  6. I like that they aren't glossy Hollywood covers...they're kinda old school and remind me of a b-movie or soap a GOOD way. I like how the background hints that the supernatural is involved. I LOVED the premise of this story and the brief book blurb only left me hungry for more...going on my wish list, for sure! Thx for the giveaway op! :)

    Following via GFC/email
    barbbattaglia @

  7. I love both covers. They are awesome. Please enter me in contest. I am a follower and email subscriber. I would love to read both books.

  8. The covers are intriguing. I love the shadows in the background,
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  9. I like how the covers are similar so you know that they are in a series but I like the first one better because it looks more supernatural to me

  10. i love them both, but im going to have to go with nightshifted... a) DRAGONS!! and b) i like her pose more in it!

    + 1 for following!

    alainala AT hotmail DOT ca

  11. Awesome covers! There is a mystery to them that makes me want to read them.

    +1 Comment
    +1 Follower of The Qwillery
    +1 Tweeted:!/yadkny/status/194598908821897216

  12. I like them both! I especially like the dragon and wolf in the backgrounds. Very eyecatching!

    gfc follower under Martha Lawson
    email subscriber

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

  13. The cover of Nightshifted was what drew me to the book in the first place, I love the dragon shadow on the door and the look on her face, sort of "yeah, there's a dragon on the other side of that door. So what, what are you gonna do about it."

    An interesting way to write, but hey if it works it works. =)

    GFC follower Lexi
    eyesofblueice (at) gmail

  14. I think the covers for Nightshifted and Moonshifted are perfect for the how the stories are described. A nurse in uniform with creatures in the background fit very well. I especially like the dark, gritty feel of Nightshifted.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com
    GFC: Barbara E.

  15. I have to admit even before reading the blurb I wanted to read the books based on the covers alone. I think the covers are fun - paranormal but not eerie or "dark".

    GFC: Na

  16. I find them fun. Nightshifted is perfect, actually and it's my favourite!


    aliasgirl at libero dot it

  17. I think the covers give you a very good idea of what type of story you can expect.

    GFC: Mary Preston

    Email Subscriber


  18. I didn't know it was so difficult. ten books... wow! I really like, I think it's very intriguing. I don't think I've seen Moonshifted before but also love it! Lol now I want to read it!

    thanks for the contest,
    I'm a gfc follower: Melliane


  19. I like the covers, especially the one for Nightshifted. It looks like Edie has gone through something rough, with her uniform being slightly dirty. I would hate to tangle with her! I'm adding both books to my must have list.

    +1 comment
    +1 follower

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  20. Very interesting covers. I like the animals in the background and the colors.

    I follow the blog.

    Thanks for the giveaway.


  21. I love both covers, they are inobtrusive, different from the usual UF finery and atmospheric. These books have been on my wishlist for a long time :)
    impy80 at hotmail dot com
    +1 comment
    +1 follower
    +1 blog mention

  22. Great guest blog Cassie. I really enjoyed reading about your journey to the published author your are today. Learned a lot.

    I liked the Nightshifted cover the best by far. Edie appears smart, capable and ready for anything. She is a beautiful woman but that is not the primary focus. The dragon-like creature behind her is so intriguing and with the hand plastered on the glass there is the promise of great stories within the story. The roughing up of the image just adds to the sense of adventure and paranormal action.

    In my opinion, Moonshifted dismisses all of those positive attributes and gives Edie a come-hither gaze,while the wolf in the background is cheesy and looks more like something ripped from a calendar and taped up. Finally, everything is so crisp and calm and perfect, which inspires a very different mood. Sorry. I just get tired of publishers exchanging the grit in covers for blatant romantic/sexy images. I mean no disrespect and I hope for great success for each of your books, which, by the way, I will definitely be reading.

    Thanks for the giveaway Qwill.


  23. I really like both covers, they catch my eye. I would have to say that I like the Nightshifted cover more than Moonshifted. Great post. I can't wait to read this series, I think it sounds like something I would really enjoy.

    I am a follower
    sariahwalters at gmail dot com

  24. I do like the grittiness - like an old photo was found. I also like that it looks like normal hospital room, with the super seen through the window (dragon, wolf) Looks great to me.
    + follow GFC + Facebook

  25. I love both covers. Actually they were the reason this books got my attention in the first place.
    +1 GFC follower as Sofija Kapranova
    +1 tweeted:!/soni_sonik/status/195410965876047872

  26. I'm not a big fan of the lighter, pastel background color palette - for me, Urban Fantasy covers should stick with dark, striking, vibrant colors, and I'll always wish covers featuring females were less about sex appeal and more about competence/strength (like their *cough* male counterparts). Those complaints being lodged, these covers would still catch my eye spied on a shelf, if only because it promises a female UF heroine in a non-typical-career/setting - definitely intriguing.

    1. Forgot to leave an email address: catherinejames77(at)gmail(dot)com.

  27. At first I was a bit surprised to see the lady wears a nurse uniform. It's kind of rare, or I must admit have never seen one before. But then I realized you wrote that Cassie Alexander is an author and a registered nurse. What a surprise.
    I like Moonshifted better for the whole appearance, although I love the color combination on Nightshifted.

    +1 comment
    +1 follower

    diah_tc at yahoo dot com

  28. I love both covers.the dragon and wolf in backgrownd drew me in

    +1 comment
    +1 gfc follower/ rogier
    +twitter/ rocapri
    +1 tweeted!/rocapri/status/196125489436434433


  29. [+1] I think the cover is just this side of boring but the premise is very intriguing! :)

    [+1] GFC follower. GFC name is Cherry.

    [+1] Twitted about your giveaway at:!/cherrymischivus/status/196174649132978176

    Thank you for the chance to win!!

    Cherry Mischievous
    cherrymischif-jinxward [at] yahoo [dot] com

  30. I love them they are hot!!

  31. I love the background for book one, but the way the nurse stands is a bit weird for me. Book 2's book cover is great and my fave out of the 2. I love the way the nurse is sitting on the bed, as well as the wolf on the hill out side the hospital room window. Both books sound very interesting. I would love to win a copy. Natasha @ Paranormal Goddess Book Blog

    [+1] Blog Comment + [+1] GFC Follower (Natasha Parker) + [+1] Tweeted (!/ParaBookGoddess/status/196431024039788544) = 3 give-away entry's. My Email is natasha[DOT]paranormalgoddessblog[AT]yahoo[DOT]com[DOT]au

  32. I love the covers! Thanks for the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

  33. Funky. Hahaha, I don't know why, but there's just something weird about both of them. But there's that creep factor. *Shudders* Lol, I think it's the hospital setting and things rising out of it that's freaking me out..

    Thanks for the giveaway!


    +1 Comment
    +1Follower (CYP @ A Bookalicious Story)

  34. LOL even if you hadn't asked about the covers I would have commented about them because I find them fantastic! They are unique, original and so memorable! I love this combination of Paranormal Hospital :-D In my opinion they are awesomesauce, they make me want to read them :-)

    Thank you!

    +1 commented
    +1 follower as Stella (Ex Libris)
    +1 tweeted:!/Stella_ExLibris/status/196992351091163136

    stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com