Excerpts from The Fate of Wolves!

Though the kindle is due to be released Oct. 31st and the paperback in mid-October, I just couldn’t wait to share a little snippet from the book. I’ve already published Chapter 1 at the end of The Love of Gods. Here’s a little from Chapter 2:

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Eva stoically worked her way to the bathroom that lay just beyond his bedroom. After being trapped in her wolf form for so long, the best she could manage was a jerking, halting kind of step, and bloody footprints marked her slow progress. The palms of her hands were just as badly abused as the balls of her feet, and they, too, dripped blood, laying a trail upon the rug and the wooden floor. What would happen when the one who’d called to her wolf returned to his house? Would she meet the wolf first, or the man?

The cabinet over the sink was well stocked with supplies. Gathering what she needed, Eva gratefully lowered herself to the edge of the porcelain tub and dabbed the hydrogen peroxide onto the balls of her feet. Then, rather clumsily, she bandaged them and the pads of her hands as best she could with gauze.

Why he or his pack weren’t here now was a mystery she couldn’t quite wrap her tired mind around. Entering his domain undetected should have been impossible. She’d come from the north, across his territory, onto his front porch, and up the stairs to his bedroom, leaving a clear blood trail. Her wolf had simply followed the route his mind had left behind after that initial contact. At moments during the journey, her human half feared it had been all a mistake on his part, completely unintentional, for the contact had occurred only that one time. How did he even know she existed? Eva had shared these doubts with her white wolf, but her wolf half had refused to be reasonable, and so it was now going to be up to Eva’s battered human half to deal with whomever or whatever found her scent trail first.

It took Eva a good fifteen minutes to summon the will to rise from her cool porcelain perch. During that time, she contemplated the likelihood that she would be dead by nightfall. She was the very last of her ancient bloodline, but that might not be enough to save her. She’d been taught about the packs. She knew it was an act of war to trespass on another pack’s territory. Her grandfather had warned her just how dangerous the male pack would be should they ever find her. He had not been the kindest of men, always quick to anger and sparing with his affections. Only Eva’s grandmother had looked forward to his visits. Unfortunately, Drako Azoulf was the only alpha Eva had ever known; as such, he had ruled her absolutely.

Stay away from the packs. Stay away from humans if you can. Stay hidden at all costs. These had been his laws, and they had guided her life as long as Eva could remember. Now, because of this stranger, by day’s end she would have broken all her grandfather’s commands.

The horrible thought that the one who had compelled her might deny what he had done—or worse yet, might be totally ignorant of the act—buzzed inside Eva’s mind like a fly. If he didn’t find her first, or if he wasn’t near enough to vouch for her, then she was utterly and completely screwed. Eva braced one hand against the bathroom wall. She was no stranger to death. She knew the scent of it, the taste of it.

With a slow but steady shuffle, Eva Ivanova Azoulf stubbornly worked her way to the corner of the neatly made bed. Rest was what she needed. Just a few hours of oblivion, and then perhaps she’d be able to confront the unknown. Her bandaged hand gripped the wrought-iron footboard just as a wave of dizziness hit her. Darkness fogged the edges of her vision, and then she crumpled and dropped like a hanged man cut free from his noose.

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The Fate of Wolves (Kindle Edition) is available for preorder! I’m so thrilled!!!

Some of the latest reviews from Amazon Readers

I love getting reviews from readers. I am fortunate that thus far, The Love of Gods has been received so warmly. Here are some of the latest comments from readers:

“Smith’s characters, though many in number, are well-written and leap from the page. Her depiction of gods/goddesses who operate in the human realm connects the paranormal and romantic elements of the story in a real and understandable way. Her dialog is quick and succinct, making the book’s 300 or so pages a fast read. The romance/love between Lugos and Keely is portrayed in a real, mature manner. Fans of paranormal romance will find The Love of the Gods: The Legends of the Pale Series, Book 1 a terrific read.” (5 Stars) Sept. 21st

“So much going on in this fantasy of love, hate, friends, family and the darkness of the enemy. This is a must-read for all fantasy book lovers. I give The Love of Gods by Tarrant Smith a fantastic super high 5 stars for me.” (5 Stars) Aug. 25th

“This is a beautifully written love story. I am looking forward to the second installment of The Legends of the Pale Series. I also plan to pick up her Darkly Series! Tarrant Smith has created a wonderful, believable paranormal world filled with gods, goddess, Fae, demons, and more. A must-read for any lover of Paranormal Romance.” (5 Stars) Aug. 13th

“Well written, and vivid in the creation of the Pale and its inhabitants, this story shows us that even gods, even shifters, and yes, even demons, are capable of true love and are more like us than not. For a wonderful story about love throughout lifetimes and the age-old fight to survive in any world, this is a great read. I will definitely be reading the second story in this series!(5 Stars) Aug. 8th

Thank you to all those readers who took the time out of their day to leave a comment or review for this book. I hope you will enjoy book 2, The Fate of Wolves, just as much.

The Instagram Effect

Hello all. I’ve now jumped into the world of Instagram, though to be completely honest, I don’t entirely understand it. I also realize that Instagram is owned by Facebook and so I’m not really getting away from big bad Facebook by opening an Instagram account. But once you post something on Instagram it is so easy to share those posts and pictures back to Facebook and Twitter. This should definitely save me some time. Too often I find myself wasting hours upon hours on social media when I should be writing.

After poking around the Instagram world, I came to several realizations. Firstly, I need to up my photography skills. Yes there are a ton of filters, but if you don’t take a well-composed picture in the beginning, filters aren’t going to make it any more appealing.

The second realization is that you don’t have to take selfies every time you upload a post. (I’m telling this to the people in the room who are over the age of thirty-five and are afraid.) I had a preconceived notion that Instagram was nothing but snap-happy Kardasians and celebrities aiming a cell phone at themselves to take selfies or videos. I was wrong. There are a lot of authors and normal people using Instagram. I personally hate selfies with a brightly burning passion. I’ve never taken a good picture. Even professional photographers have a difficult time getting me to relax long enough while in front of a lens in order to capture a decent picture. Luckily, I can spend the rest of my life posting on Instagram without ever taking one single selfie.

My third realization is that I’ve gotten stuck in a rut with my book advertisements. They all are very graphically structured and no longer photography based. So with Instagram as my muse, I’ve changed my approach. In the coming days and months, I intend to do a series of promotional shots for The Love of Gods and the soon to be released, The Fate of Wolves. Here are a few examples.

A cozy read.
Book Club anyone?
I just loved the color of this scarf.
Book on the go…

All of these pictures were composed of household items. Throw in a little graphic design and I think I ended up with some very appealing ads.

Being terribly new to Instagram, I have hardly any followers. If you’d like to join me on this weird journey, you can find me at starrantsmith.

The Hard Truths About Self-Publishing

You’ve written a great book. You’ve queried agents and publishers but have gotten no takers. Your beta readers love your book. You love your book. Even a few of your rejection letters declared it to be a good book but they just aren’t looking for (insert genre) at this time. So, do you sit on it and wait? Or do you jump into the world of self-publishing and become an indie author overnight.

Amazon has made publishing easy because they’ve changed the way books are seen and sold. But there’s a big financial catch. If you are going to go it alone, you’ll need to do your homework and prepare your bank account for the hit it’s going to suffer.

First, some backstory. I’ve always been an indie author. With my first book, I sent out query letters in hopes that I’d get that magical email that said, “Yes, please let us publish you!” After lots of rejections, I got that email. But then I learned how much control I’d be required to give up, so being the hardhead that I am, I turned to Amazon and self-published. That was back in 2010 when anyone with a professional cover, website, and social media skills could garner sales on Amazon.

Fast forward to today. It’s not so easy now. Books by indie authors are oftentimes indistinguishable from traditionally published books. The covers are professional, the writing is well-edited, and the formatting is up to industry standards. Self-published books are no longer a joke. They are a viable option. They win awards. They create buzz. And sometimes, they get noticed by traditional publishers. I call it the YouTube effect.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Publish yourself. Retain control over your vision. Make lots of sales. Maybe get noticed by one of the big publishers. In all likelihood, only one of those four things is going to happen. You’re going to publish. And you’re going to watch your sales rise when your friends and family purchase your book…and then nothing, followed by a trickle of sales. Usually.

The hard truth is that you are competing against thousands of books published weekly, maybe daily. How do you stand out? Social media. Promotions. Word of mouth. Reviews. And a willingness to talk about your books with strangers—all the time, anywhere, no matter how uncomfortable it makes you or them.

I just ran the numbers for this year. Granted I am promoting a catalog of previously published works along with my newest releases, but damn! I’ve spent twice the amount I’d initially budgeted and it’s only September. My promotion cost includes; printed material (bookmarks, posters, handouts, business cards), Facebook and Amazon Advertisement, various promotional sites on the internet (many I’d never use again), and paid review services (which do not violate Amazon’s policies) for the books. Other staggering costs include; the editing of two books by a professional, purchased art for covers (thank the gods I have the skill set to design my own covers), proofs, and a physical book inventory for book signings. What’s not included are the smaller costs; folding table, tablecloth, frames and easels for posters, book display stand, rolling cart to safely transport the books, cost of gas to the event, and a 10×10 pop-up tent. Basically, I’m a walking bookstore at this point.

Without throwing figures around, let me just tell you that my book sales are only a quarter of what I’ve spent this year. And my experience is typical. Thank goodness I don’t write and publish with the goal of supporting myself. I doubt that will ever happen. No, I write these books and share them with readers because I love the stories. And I love to write.

So my writing friends, if you decide to become an indie author be aware that the professional editing and production costs are only a third of what you will spend. And check out the marketing page on my website for a list of free Facebook promotional groups for authors.