Tending To My Book Garden

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You might have noticed that things have been a bit quiet on the new release front of Cege Smith books. I wrapped up the last book in the Bloodtruth series in March, and then kind of disappeared for awhile.

There’s a few reasons for this:

  • I have the luxury for the first time since February 2012 of picking where I want to go next without having to worry that I’m disappointing readers (because you were waiting for the next book). I could write a sequel to Ageless. I could write a companion story to the Shadows trilogy. I could start something brand new entirely. It’s a bit heady really.
  • I was feeling a bit of burnout. 25 published works since November 2011 is pretty nutty when you think about it. By this time last year, I had published 3 short stories, 1 novella, one novel, and was halfway through a 2nd novel. That pace is exhilarating and exhausting, especially when still trying to find time for family and holding down a full-time job.
  • I realized that I had finally had the time and space to do some tending to my book garden.

This last point is really important for anyone who has jumped on the hamster wheel of being an indie author. There is always something to be done, whether it’s writing your next manuscript, promoting your work, or balancing your writing life with everything else you feel like you should be doing. A lot of things get prioritized much lower on the list and sometimes sacrificed altogether.

Dean Wesley Smith shared a great blog post on this recently in his “Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Publishing” series. The post, called “Put the Book Up and Leave It” goes into great detail about the importance of tending to your book garden. I didn’t even really realize it, but this is what I’ve been doing since publishing A Heart’s Deceit in March.

I have three complete series under my belt, and honestly, the Shadows series has been the star performer since day one. I had some fantastic success with making Edge of Shadows free as part of the early days of the KDP Select program, and I also managed to complete the trilogy in just a tad over a year. I’ve only rebranded the covers once, although I continue to tweak the blurbs. It does well with promotions, and so I often feel like if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Love it or hate it, that trilogy has earned out its production costs in spades and so, for now, to me it ain’t broke.

I’ve always thought that the Bloodtruth series suffered from the anti-Twilight backlash. Those characters are some of the nearest and dearest to my heart, and that is probably why it was the series that took the longest to finish. I so wanted to do Angeline’s story proper justice. Still, it wasn’t until I rebranded the covers late in 2013 and ran a successful Bookbub promo on Heiress of Lies in January that I felt like it was finally starting to get its legs. With the final book now done, I’d say it’s treading water and showing some very positive signs of momentum.

That brings me to the Twisted Souls series. It pains me to say that this series has yet to find its footing with readers. I’ve made tweaks here and there to covers and blurbs (and even the first book’s title), but I’ve never spent a lot of dedicated attention to it to try to figure out what went wrong. It’s a strange, quirky take on the zombie mythology, with some dystopian horror elements mixed in. That’s probably part of the problem too. It doesn’t fit well within any specific genre.

So I decided to spend some of my newly found down time rebranding that series and trying to find it a home with readers. So far, I’ve had positive comments about the new covers (which I personally love) and so I went ahead with my plans to finally put the series in paperback. I’ll keep tweaking, but I think the major work has been done. Perhaps this will be the year that series finally breaks even.

The future is full of promise, and I’m excited to see where the secondĀ half of 2014 takes me. Just know that if you don’t see me writing, I’m probably out back tending to my garden. šŸ™‚

(Photo credit: Raddish + Rose)

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The Bloodtruth Series Comes To An End: Get A Heart’s Deceit (Bloodtruth #4) NOW

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Here’s the set-up:

In the stunning conclusion of theĀ BloodtruthĀ series, rules have been broken. Queen Angeline Robart must face the consequences of her actions if she ever hopes to keep the Alteran throne.

As Angeline’s abilities grow stronger, it quickly becomes apparent that uncovering the lineage of her wraith is the key to everything. To secure her throne and banish her enemies forever, Angeline must become a master manipulator to find the answers she needs to save herself and her people. But her past doesn’t intend to let her go that easily.

In order to escape a death sentence, Connor Radwin gave into his baser instincts. Now that the time has arrived to return to his former self, he finds it more of a struggle than he everĀ anticipated. But he is unwilling to leave Angeline’s side; despite the fact that he knows she has to marry someone else.

With old foes emerging at every turn, Angeline’s time is running out. She is about to find out how far she will go to save her people. In this high-stakes game of deceit, the loser pays in blood.

  • Buy your copy on AmazonĀ HERE.
  • Buy your copy on Barnes and NobleĀ HERE.

Apple, Kobo, and Google Play editions areĀ coming soon! Check out myĀ Facebook pageĀ for news on when it is available atĀ these retailers.

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The Latest News On A Heart’s Deceit (Bloodtruth #4)

I am in awe of all the folks I’ve heard from over the last few weeks who are eagerly anticipating the release of A Heart’s Deceit (Bloodtruth #4). I’m reading and responding to every comment that comes my way, so don’t stop sharing your feedback. It really does help spur me forward. (Motivation/pressure- it’s the same thing, right? LOL.)

I know the question that is top of mind for everyone is WHEN. “When will it be ready?” “Can I just get a date, please?”

Here’s my answer on that:

Yes, soon.

I was hoping for a January release, but life has a way of interfering with the best laid plans. Rest assured though- the story is well-underway and so I should be able to set a hard release date in the next week or so. I have other exciting things planned for the launch in the works, so stay tuned here for the latest word.

This book will mark the very last of the three series that I started two years ago, and because Angeline is probably my favorite character of all of my books, I really want to make sure that I take the time to do the end of her story justice. Be patient with me, and hopefully you’ll see that it was worth it. šŸ™‚

Don’t forget to sign up for the Cege Smith Fan Club in the meantime for all the latest and greatest news in the meantime!

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Give Me Balance, Or Give Meā€¦Death? Another Resolution Post

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Five days into 2014, I have to admit I’m feeling pretty good about my New Year’s resolutions. I know, I know. It’s only been five days, but you have to start somewhere. As I reviewed my list of potential resolutions during the last few weeks of December, I realized that I could easily drive myself bonkers trying to be “Cege v2.0” in 2014. But if I’ve learned anything about myself over the last thirty-eight years, it’s that I latch onto goals, have a short burst of energy, and then burn out, and crash 2-3 weeks later.

Then I ran across this meme which completely changed my perspective on approaching my resolutions:

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It was time to pull out the KISS method to create my resolutions (Keep It Simple, Stupid if you’ve never run into the expression before.) Hence I refocused my resolutions on changing engrained behaviors, which should lead to the results that I want.

So let’s start here:

BALANCE

2013 felt lopsided to me for many reasons. I started out the beginning of the year with an extremely aggressive production schedule for my writing that included rolling out a new pen name. I actually did pretty well on that front through the first quarter, but that output wasn’t sustainable when my personal life fell apart in a way that dramatically altered many aspects of my life.

By the time I recovered, I felt so derailed that I slowed down even more. The result of that? The delay of the conclusion to both the Twisted Souls and Bloodtruth series.

Careful examination of every diet and weight loss program I’ve ever attempted yields an interesting thing. After finding initial success, things fizzle out because I never spend the time to change the behaviors that caused me to overeat to begin with. I went into it every time full force, but then burned out, and was right back where I started from.

I’m an extremist. I’ve learned over the years that I get short-term results by immersing myself into whatever activity I’m doing, and that works. But it never sticks long-term. I need to learn patience, celebrate small milestones, and keep an unwavering focus on keeping my feet on the balance beam of life, and that includes not acting like a crazy person when the newest diet fad comes around.

It applies to my work, my play, my diet, and my mental health. Achieving BALANCE will push me higher and further than any short-term burst of productivity.

WRITING IT DOWN

This probably sounds silly coming from a writer. I put words to paper and computer screen all day long every day. But that’s my stories and messing around on Facebook and Twitter. That’s not outlining a life plan that clearly spells out what I want to accomplish and how I’m going to measure if I’m successful.

We’ve all probably hear about the Harvard (or Yale) class study that studied the effects of writing down goals. The problem with that study is that is never actually happened. But, an educator at Dominican University did her own study and was able to confirm the results of the supposed Harvard/Yale study. When you write down your goals and hold yourself accountable (in collaboration with a partner), you have a greater chance of achieving your goals.

To keep things organized and keep myself from being distracted, I plan to write down short and long-term goals in a place where I see them daily, and reassess them often to adjust as needed. That will keep the goals and action plans fresh and relevant.

No doubt about it. Sometimes notĀ making New Year’s resolutions seems like the path of least resistance. But I’m still optimistic, and I’m going implement the tweaks to behavior that I mentioned above.

That’s it. Two things, but two things that if I stick with them can mean a tremendous difference in my life for many reasons.

What about you? What are your 2014 resolutions?

Photo Credit: dleell

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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. šŸ™‚

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

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