Way More Ideas Then Time

Creepy Tree
Creepy Tree in Northern Minnesota

One of the most frequently asked questions I get when I tell people that I write stories is:

Do you ever run out of ideas?

The answer is an emphatic “NO.”

My biggest obstacle over the last three and a half years since I started self-publishing is finding time to write everything that I want to write. Even though I consider myself still fairly ‘young’ in my publishing career, most people, including those who write themselves, would consider me prolific.

Since November 2011 when I first published Edge of Shadows and when I was working as a lawyer at the weblink of this company, I’ve released somewhere in the neighborhood of 45 titles under three different pen names. (So when you don’t see a Cege Smith release for awhile, it’s likely because I’m working on stories under my other pen names.) I’m slightly embarrassed to say that I don’t know the definitive number simply because there are so many that I can’t keep track of them. It’s not the worst problem to have.

Since I’ve finished out all of the projects that I had planned here, I’m going to do something a little bit different. I want to spend more time bringing in my readers and fans into my writing process because I think that makes all of us feel more invested in it.

So this summer will be the summer that my fans get to help me decide which stories to write. That will focus my ideas- and I will find the time. I found a photo list of some of the creepiest places in the world, and readers get to vote on which location will form the basis for the story that I ultimately write and publish. This is something that I’m offering exclusively to readers who have said they want to hear from me, either by liking my Facebook page or joining my fan club. (If you haven’t done either of those things yet, backtrack one sentence for the links. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

All my best,


Anniversaries, Milestones, and The Bloodtruth Series

Two posts in one week- this is pretty amazing stuff for me! Like I say in the vlog, I SUCK at blogging, but I’m going to try to be better about chatting with you guys here. I need to, because Facebook is making it harder and harder for me to share news with you there and I’ve become way to reliant on it.

Breathe, blog, breathe!!

A few links to things I mention in the video:

Milestone necklace– a creative gift idea for someone special!

Links to the brand spankin’ new Bloodtruth paperbacks:

Links to the Shadows paperbacks (just in case you’ve never seen them before):

Finally, if you want the latest and greatest on the 4th Bloodtruth book, and don’t have time to watch the whole video (I got going and clearly had a lot to say!) just fast forward to the 4 minute mark. ๐Ÿ™‚

Thank you to everyone who has purchased one of my books and followed my characters. You all are amazing!

On Covers and Adjusting When It’s Just Not Working


You might not know this, but I agonize over my book covers. When you have one shot to entice someone to grab your book off the virtual shelf, first impressions are everything. I am the first one to admit that I’ve gotten it wrong. Like, a lot. If your book isn’t immediately screaming your genre and what to expect to your potential readers, it’s the first thing you HAVE to change. If you are getting it wrong, you’re missing the boat.

Do not wait. Do not pass go. Change it as soon as you are able.

Because I know that lots of people love the old cover/new cover comparisons. I thought I’d go back over the last two years of my self-publishing journey and share a few of mine with you. As evidenced below, you’ll see that I’ve never backed away from changing a cover if it just wasn’t working (at least eventually).

I’d also like to preface this by saying that I’ve enjoyed working with every cover designer I’ve ever had and changing the cover in no way reflects on their work.

Believe me- it’s all me. ๐Ÿ™‚

Edge of Shadows

Have you been hanging around with me since the beginning? If so, you might remember the original cover to my very first book, Edge of Shadows. To me, it had an old-timey wallpaper kind of feel to it that represented something you could see in the old, haunted Bradford mansion. Although I did have early success with it, once I changed it over to the current cover when I released the second book in the series, Shadows Deep, I noticed an immediate uptick in sales. It definitely says “ghost story” now with that creepy face over the stairs, don’t you think?











The Soul Ripper (aka The Soul Garden)

Struggle, struggle, struggle. Toil and trouble. I have had nothing but heartburn branding the Twisted Souls series since the beginning. It is such an unusual story. Yes, it has zombies in it, but that’s not what it’s all about. It’s about good triumphing over evil and about finding out that when destiny calls, you have to answer whether you want to or not. The end was especially bittersweet for that reason.

But it all began at the base of the Fountain of Souls inside The Soul Garden. I thought the original cover was so cool and symbolic, but ultimately it really didn’t convey “sci-fi dystopian”. I liked the second cover with the bony hand and the grave, but it was a pre-made that was supposed to be nothing more than a placeholder for a few months. I just changed it again two months ago when I changed the title- and I can say with almost certainty that this will not be the last cover. Now that the series is complete, I think I can wrap my head around branding it in its forever covers.













(2nd cover)

The Soul Ripper v1 Nook






(Current cover)




Heiress of Lies

It’s funny how the books that you expect to be the easiest to design end up being so difficult. I mean, YA paranormal is pretty set in what readers expect to see on the front cover. The pretty girl in the pretty dress with some kind of spooky background is something you can’t get away from. I started out in that vein, so it seems counterintuitive that Heiress of Lies has had the most covers changes of any of my books- and yet is has.

Well, fourth times the charm. I felt so good ร‚ย and certain that I had finally hit on this series “forever covers” that I even moved forward with converting this series into paperback.






(Original cover)

Heiress of Lies-small

(2nd cover)

Heiress of Lies-v1






(3rd cover)



So what do you think about all of my cover swaps? How much does the cover affect your decision to pick up a book? Sound off in the comments below!

(Header Photo credit Zach Klein)

Confessions of a Cliffhanger Queen


“You left me hanging!”

I frequently hear some variation of this sentiment in reader reviews, comments, and emails of my books. As each of my series have progressed, and I am releasing more books than ever, I can see a clear trend in my writing.

I write a whole lotta cliffhangers.

This is fascinating to me because if we take a step back and examine the humble beginnings of Edge of Shadows, my very first novel, I’ll let you in a little secret. I originally wrote it with a closed ending. The end was THE end. I reworked that story ten ways to Tuesday. I thought I was on the final stretch, but something nagged at me. That something that said this story was a whole lot bigger than I was giving it credit.

That idea came from my beta readers. They were asking me questions about the events leading up to the final scene, and I realized that I had two choices. I either could go deeper within EoS to explain the events unfolding, or I could open it entirely and continue the journey- and answer those bigger questions along the way.

I’ve shared before that there is no higher compliment than having readers tell you that they want MORE of what you’re writing. As a reader myself, I love engrossing myself into the characters and stories of my favorite authors. I’m a bit monogamous that way. When I find an author I like, I have a tendency to stick with them through multiple books. But my favorites are those that involve characters I’ve met before.

So, I decided to really jump into the deep end of the pool, rewrite the end of EoS, and plot out a trilogy.

The other thing that I should point out is that I have a long history of watching episodic TV, and the stuff that I like to watch seems to lend itself more to the cliffhanger endings. (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, anyone?) Answering a smaller subset of questions within one installment while carrying over a couple of really large overarching themes/questions across multiple installments is what I cut my teeth on as a kid.

You could say that I’ve been conditioned to cliffhangers. They are what I know, and I know them well.

As a reader, I understand why people might be a bit frustrated with this approach. With the internet and mobile technology, we have gotten used to instantaneous gratification in our lives. We want what we want, we want it right now, and we don’t want to wait for it. I get it.

But there is something to be said for the slow build of tension and suspense as we wait for the next installment of our favorite book, TV series, or movie. Think about that little ball of excitement in the pit of your stomach that gets bigger and bigger until you just think you are going to explode! Assuming it meets your expectations, there is a sense of sweet satisfaction and pleasure. If it’s really good, you want MORE. Even if it’s over and the curtain goes black. When you are invested, you always want more.

That’s the experience that I am trying to create for my readers. I’ve seen authors accused of trying to make more money by having cliffhanger endings. (I’ve been subtly accused of that myself.) I can’t speak for all authors, but I can speak for me.

If there’s more story to tell, I’m going to tell it, and I think it’s my job as a writer to create an environment of suspense and intrigue that whets your appetite for what’s coming next.ร‚ย That’s why I write cliffhangers, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

(photo credit: oddsock)

Happy Birthday to Me…With a Gift For You!

It’s that time of year again! Hard to believe that I hit the “Publish” button on Edge of Shadows just over a year ago on November 12th, 2011, and celebrated my birthday with the paperback version in hand (yes, for you sharp observers out there, that was the old cover). That was a pretty awesome day. ๐Ÿ™‚

This writing journey over the last 12 months has been fantastic. I’ve learned a lot and I know my writing is getting better all the time because of the great feedback that I hear from my readers. That’s why, even though today is my birthday, I want to do something for you.


In my mind, Edge of Shadows will forever be linked with my birthday. So from now through 11:59pm CST on Sunday, November 18th, either comment on this blog post or shoot me an email at cege@cegesmith.com, and I’ll give you a coupon code to download a copy of EOS for free from Smashwords.com (and if you write a review afterwards, good or bad, I’ll love you forever.)


Everyone knows I am an HUGE, obsessed fan of The Vampire Diaries. It’s an addiction, I know, but I can’t stop. (Team Delena all the way!! Lol).

So here’s the deal. There’s a little box right off the right of this post about mid-way down the sidebar. It’s a sign-up box for joining my fan club. Enter your email address and join before 11:59pm CST on Sunday, November 18th, and you’ll be entered into a drawing to win Elena’s vervain pendent ($50 USD value) shown below. (Fans of the show know it well.)

I don’t spam or anything like that- it’s just a way for you to hear about upcoming releases first, and I will occasionally share other awesome news from the Cege Smith universe.

So that’s it!ร‚ย  If you are looking for gift ideas for me, you pick your gift for my birthday- and you can absolutely do both. Thank you for being there and helping me celebrate! It’s because of you that these stories come to life.