Ageless Comes To Life!

This is Day 11 of my 31 Days of August Awesomeness Blog Challenge. Want to know more? Check out the inaugural post here.

It’s been a busy weekend here in the Cege Smith household. I’ve added about 8000 words to my work in progress (The Queen’s Betrayal which is the sequel to Heiress of Lies) which is pretty fantastic. But the thing I’m MOST excited about is that I launched Ageless, my newest paranormal novel.

Here’s the blurb:

On the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Violet Swanson is introduced to a world that she never knew existed. Thoughts of finals and college applications fly out the window when she finds out that the topic of her final term paper, the Fountain of Youth, may actually exist.

Together with her best friend Margo, and the handsome, mysterious Montrose brothers, Violet tries to decipher the clues in her family history to find the Fountain’s location. Jeremiah and Jonah Montrose have their own secrets, and Violet quickly finds herself caught between them. All will be revealed on Violet’s birthday, but her past is reaching out to claim her, putting her entire future at stake.

Pretty cool, huh? Plus I LOVE the cover which is courtesy of Flip City Books. I actually bought the cover back in May without a real inkling of the story- that all came later. What I really like about this story is that I’m exploring the vampire mythology again, but this time I’m doing it in a present day setting (as opposed to the completely different world that Heiress of Lies takes place in). It was a lot of fun to explore, and if people like it, there’s a lot more story to tell about Violet, Margo, and Jeremiah and Jonah Montrose.

So I’ve been a busy bee with launch activities and getting the word about my newest work. I’d love it if you’d consider picking it up. If you enjoy YA paranormal romance, then I think this would be a wonderful, quick read treat for you. 🙂

Public Accountability = Getting It Done

Every Sunday I go through the same set of motions with my writing goals. I review the upcoming week and I think about what I need to get accomplished and backtrack my to-do list from there. I realized today that I should be using the same philosophy for everything in my life that I want to button up on, because my life isn’t just about my writing (contrary to what my husband may believe).

One awesome way to shame motivate you to accomplish your goals is to make them visible to other people. Not that anyone’s going to come rap your knuckles if you don’t do it, but there’s something about declaring your intentions publicly that makes things feel more real. Plus, an upside is that often you’ll find other people who share the same goal so you celebrate or commiserate together. (Accomplishing goals can be social and fun? Who knew??)

So in the spirit of sharing a little bit more about me, I’ve decided to share my weekly goals over the course of the next few weeks.  I’ll do this on Sundays. Then the following Saturday, I’ll let you guys know how I did. If anyone else wants to play along because you see something on my list that’s one of your goals too, then drop me a comment and I’ll cheer you on too. 🙂

Cege’s Goals- Week of July 22nd

  • Launch Twisted Souls (Twisted Souls #2)
  • Finalize draft of Ageless- it’s due to my editor on 7/28!
  • Attend 2 workout classes
  • Walk 10,000 steps- put my Fitbit pedometer to good use
  • Track my food intake for the week
  • Read 1 book

None of this is hard or earth shattering, but all are things that I could struggle with if I don’t proactively keep up with them.

Even if you aren’t tracking to some of the things I am, I’d still love to hear what you are up to this week. Sound off in the comments below and have a great week!!

Shadows Deep Is Here! Launch Madness Begins

I have to tell you, I am THRILLED to finally be able to say that the Edge of Shadows sequel, Shadows Deep is available! I am so appreciative of all of the support I’ve received since the release of EoS in November 2011, and it has been phenomenal to have one of the very first questions from fans be “When’s the next book coming out?” It created a lot of pressure too. 🙂

From the beginning, I’ve had the makings of 4 different book series in my mind. (You’ve seen the first book in three of them now.) I had to make a choice in March if I was going to work on the first book in the 4th series, or go back and revisit Ellie and crew to find out what happens next in her journey, so I created the book in physical and digital forms, using Sodapdf to edit the digital versions.

Well, it’s pretty clear which direction I went and I am so happy that I did. Creating a sequel was a lot more work than I was expecting, but at the same time it was like coming home. Ellie’s facing a whole new set of problems in Shadows Deep, and I can tell you that she’s finding out things about herself and her past that she never saw coming. And…it’s not over yet. I can now share that there will be a third installment of the Shadows series that you will likely see before the end of 2012.

Now for the Fun Stuff: Launch Goodies!!

May 15th is the “official” launch date for Shadows Deep, and I’ve got some fun stuff planned for everyone.

1) I want to give away some copies of Shadows Deep, of course! So 5 ebook copies (Kindle or Nook) are up for grabs. What do you have to do to be entered to win one? Either comment here on this post OR on my Facebook fan page and tell me who your favorite Edge of Shadows character was and why. I will pick 5 random winners and announce them on Friday, May 18th.

2) The Edge of Shadows Kindle book is on sale through June 30th, 2012 for only $0.99!  Grab your copy today or gift one to a friend.  On May 15th, you’ll even find it for FREE on Amazon.

3) If you like vampires and you haven’t tried my vampire series, I invite you to download Heiress of Lies for FREE on May 15th-May 16th. If it strikes your fancy, I’d love to hear from you.

4) I’ve started a Q&A group over on Goodreads entirely focused on discussing Shadows Deep. Join in the conversation and ask me anything you want as you are reading it.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me so far on this writing journey, and know I’ve got lots more planned for you this summer.

Happy Reading!

Heiress of Lies Is Live on Amazon!

I am delighted to share that Heiress of Lies is officially available on Amazon!  While this story did not take me nearly as long to produce as Edge of Shadows, it definitely has its own backstory to share.

The first hint of Heiress of Lies came to me right after Christmas 2009.  I admit that I had just finished reading the Twilight saga (sigh, I know I know!) and I was in love with vampires again. I go through phases just like any writer, and with Edge of Shadows very much on my mind, I had ghosts on the brain- not vampires.  Plus, I was feeling like maybe vampires were a bit…overdone.

So even though I had a clear image of Angeline, Heiress of Lies’ main character, in my head I resisted writing anything down.  That lasted about two weeks. Then the computer came out and the game was on.

I wrote about 15,000 words in the span of just a few days. And then whatever demon had possessed me flew away (or more than likely work got busy) and I put Angeline aside fully intending to come back to her when I wrapped Edge of Shadows.

Fast forward six months. On a lovely late spring evening, our car was broken into and my backpack was stolen. I won’t go through the litany of everything I lost that night except for one thing: a small coin purse that I was using to carry all of my various USB drives. Basically everything I’ve ever written in my life. Gone.

I was fortunate to recover a workable version of Edge of Shadows- I had sent it out to beta readers and found it hiding in my email box. But Angeline was gone. It was heartbreaking. It took me a long time to feel like I was in a spot again where I felt like I could do Angeline justice.

Looking back at my writing goals in 2010 and early 2011, Angeline’s name was there. My working title at the time was Angeline’s Quest.  She waited patiently for me.

You see, I didn’t want to try to just recreate the story that was stolen, because I wasn’t even sure that was actually the right story. As a writer, you have to have no mercy and you have to be willing to completely change things up to make things work.  And I spent a long period of time feeling wedded to Angeline’s beginning, and somewhere deep down, I just knew that it wasn’t right.

In November 2011, I finally took the plunge to tell Angeline’s story. Not surprising to me, while Angeline stayed the same, many things about the plot changed dramatically.  The story became a whole lot darker, and while there is a romantic element to it, it isn’t the focus of the story. Ultimately I had to completely let the past story go in order to truly find Angeline.

Heiress of Lies synopsis:

With the King of Altera on his deathbed, all eyes are on his only child. Princess Angeline Robart has spent the last three years finishing her studies in a remote convent far away from the capital city of Brebackerin. On her way to her father’s side in preparation for her Ascension, Angeline is kidnapped by Connor, a mysterious vampire who has his own motivations for becoming involved in the high stakes game of intrigue.

As the last of the Robart bloodline, Angeline soon realizes that enemies long thought conquered have been doing nothing but lying in wait for just such an opportunity to turn things to their advantage, and horrifying myths are actually realities.

Facing the impossible consequences of a freak accident, Angeline must travel a dangerous path to regain control of her fate, even if that means relying on Connor, a man who epitomizes everything her family hated and tried to destroy. As Angeline struggles to find an escape, the future of Altera hangs in the balance.

If this sounds like a story you’d enjoy, please consider picking up a copy and adding a review on Amazon.  And as always, thank you for your support, don’t forget that there are a few amazon coupons you can use to get a copy, just visit coupon website like Raise!

The Art and Science of a Newbie Book Launch: Planning

I’ve been a planner since way back.  I didn’t need to take the Myers-Briggs to know that I have a strong preference towards data-based decisions and am very time-oriented. I experience a high level of stress when I leave the house without my watch on.  I am constantly thinking about how to best utilize my time and maintaining an efficient schedule.

Yes, I’m that person.
So it may surprise you a bit to know that I fell into my book launch schedule more than I actually planned it.  I think that is because I recognized that there were a lot of things that I didn’t know, and if I set my expectations too high and some went off the rails unexpectedly, I’d be in trouble.
I had to strike a balance between planning and being able to remain nimble.  Here’s where I landed on the things that I identified as “necessities” in the plan and how it worked out.
  • Timeline: I decided to bring Edge of Shadows"" “>Edge of Shadows still hasn’t been accepted into Smashwords Premium Catalog which is a requirement to get it distributed to B&N, Sony, and Kobo among others.  And once it’s accepted, it can take up to another week to before it’s submitted as Smashwords only distributes to those outlets once a week.  I definitely need to take this into consideration before I publish my next novel.
    • Gathering the Troops: By far the biggest complaints I’ve seen on the self-publishing front from readers are either a) lack of editing or b) poor cover design.  I knew I was going to have to invest some cash and hire these out.  So I had to make some decisions fast. Outcome: I posted for an editor on eLance the day I made the decision to publish, and selected my editor, Christine LaPorte from the 40+ bids that came in.  I found Scarlett Rugers through the Nano site and she was running a scary good promotion on cover design that I snapped up. Both delivered on time with no problem.
    • Sounding the Horn: Book promotion is supposed to start well ahead of the actual live date of the book.  I had this site up and running, but it wasn’t current. I had a Facebook page set-up, but I didn’t even have 25 fans yet to be able to customize my URL. I had let my Twitter handle languish in favor of my other one given my most recent area of interest.  I knew this was by far the area that needed the most work. Outcome: I’ve been spending a lot of time here, and will continue to do so to grow my fan base.  This is mission critical, so there’s no other way.  What I need to do though is be very careful not to let my book promotion take away from my writing time.
You don’t have to have a complete business plan drafted to self-publish a book.  But I do think that you do have to have realistic expectations of what you can do with the time and money you have available.  It is your job and your reputation that you are putting on the line, so it’s worth the time to slow down and flesh a couple of the finer details out.
(photo credit andyp uk)