This Week’s News…

maarten-van-den-heuvel-0SYJS6nfR10-unsplash

This week I’ve been at home mostly, spending a lot of time on Medium…reading articles and writing poetry. You’ve probably seen the links on my Facebook page where I’ve posted something new every day. Here’s a sample of my poetry efforts: (Published May 21st, 2020 with the Partnered Pen)

Morning Rain

Gray light of a rainsoaked Sunday,
Breakfast crumbs pressed
into rumbled sheets
and cooling coffee sits.

Cell phones lay facedown.
Digital expatriates —
the pitter-pat against windowpanes
is our chosen anthem.

We are languid explorers
of sensual lands within
bedpost-boundaries.
— Discovering each other again.

Some of these poems will make it into my collection, Love, Sex & Witchery, which I plan to release right before Valentine’s Day next year. You can read more about the specifics of this collection on the book’s dedicated page. Truly, this is something I am doing for myself more than any of my romance readers. I just wanted to have all my favorite poems in one place. Something I could point to and slide off my bookshelf in the years to come.

Though Georgia is officially open, my husband and I are not ready to venture out much. That does not mean I’m not going a bit stir crazy here at the house! My plans for travel this year have been curtailed by the virus. I desperately need an escape, so beyond the poetry writing, I’ve been doing a lot of book reading. Romance, crime, mystery and some erotica. I’ve also been making an effort to leave a review behind for potential readers with Amazon and Goodreads.com. This is the best way to support the authors of the books you like. Especially, if like me, you read digital books. The cost of an ebook is so low that most authors don’t make much money off that format.

As for the Legends of the Pale Books…

The Dreams of Demons will be available in all online bookstores by June 1st. I am very excited about this book! I absolutely adore Murmur’s character. I believe the paperback is already live on Amazon’s site. My author copies of this book won’t arrive until June 9th, so if you’d like to purchase a physical book directly from me, I will find a way to accommodate readers. I intend to get several copies to The Madison Artist Guild and to The Southern Pen Bookshop in Monroe. Links to their online sites can be found on this site’s sidebar.

Hopefully, in Mid-June I will find a way to organize a drive-by book signing. As soon as the details are worked out, I will make an announcement on Facebook.

Everyone stay safe out there. And I’ll keep writing.

-Tarrant

Poetry: A Secret to Better Prose

Learning the Language of Emotion

Tarrant Smith May 13 · 4 min read (First published on Medium. Some text has been highlighted by Medium readers.)

Photo by Lavi Perchik on Unsplash

I’m not a poet but in fits and spurts, I pretend to be. I think forcing myself to think lyrical, choosing each word with care, and the tortuous imposition of brevity is an exercise worth the effort — even if the results are far from perfect. Reading and writing poetry has made me a better prose writer. And because poetry is the language of imagery and emotion, it can help you too.

I’m an author with several romance titles to my name, but I was an aspiring poet first. I’ve been writing bad to mediocre poetry since the age of eight. Just ask my parents. They still have some of my earliest attempts framed and on display. The rhyming, self-involved drivel of my pre-teen mind is scattered among family photographs lining their bookshelves. It’s embarrassing and sweetly endearing that they’ve kept them.

I know I’m not a real poet because I have friends who are honest to God poets. They’re different than ordinary folk. I believe, they see and experience life more deeply — their minds making strange and wonderful connections that I struggle to notice in my ordinary day to day life. But it works for them, and with each poem they produce, I get to experience an emotional moment of their lives encapsulated inside a few well-crafted stanzas.

It’s magical and awe-inspiring to see what a poetic mind can produce in a few well-chosen words.

Because I don’t claim to be a poet, don’t attempt to judge the poetry of others according to the correctness of form. My only standard of saying ‘this is good’ or ‘this is bad’ rests solely on whether I’m moved by the end product. Did I understand the overall meaning? Was it clever? Did I feel something after reading it? And, these are the same standards I apply to my own efforts.

So what is it about poetry? Why is it important to read and attempt to pen a poem yourself?

Well, and I can’t stress this enough, poetry is the language of emotion. Its entire purpose is to elicit a feeling from the reader. Using metaphor, symbols, meter, repetition, sound, color, and other tools, a poem has the power to seep past our critical minds and touch the very heart of us.

Learning how that lyrical alchemy works, even in a small way, is worth a writer’s effort.

Though Medium isn’t a profitable place to share your poetry, it is a welcoming platform. The community of poetry writers are supportive. They read and clap. If you’ve managed to string together a striking image they tend to highlight it. And on occasion, you’ll receive an encouraging comment. I love those!

You’ll find all kinds of poems to read on Medium, from the brevity of Haiku to long free-verse poems that take you on a journey. Search the word poetry and you’ll discover publications dedicated to all sorts of poetic forms. And whether you share your efforts through one of these publications, publish on your own, or never show your poems to anyone, the time you take learning the art will not be in vain.

Lately my poetic efforts have been centered around sex, love, and the power dynamic of BDSM. I seem to have sex on the brain lately. Some people are baking during this pandemic to deal with stress. I tried that, but my husband complained about his weight gain, so I turned to the next best thing.

Once you go lyrical, you’ll glimpse the world of words differently.

Like a melody, the sound and beat of the words on the page will start to produce music inside your mind. Read aloud, rhythms will appear in your prose work. You may begin to notice the dance between breath and pause, phrase and emphasis. Overall, your writing will become more musical.

When I’m stuck because I’ve written a character into a corner or I’m not ready to write a difficult scene, I’ve discovered that taking a break from my current manuscript to write a week’s worth of poetry is extremely beneficial. By the time I’m done with that exercise, I can return to my book with fresh eyes and the words flow freely again.

Poetry has the power to refill the emotional well and make everything clearer.

So if you’ve never written a poem in your life, I urge you to give it a try. If you are a closet poet, I encourage you to share your poetry on Medium. But above all, my friend, I hope you take a few minutes every day to read a poem. Not only will it teach you the language of emotion, but it will feed your writer’s soul.

Updates from my Desk

Photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash

It’s been a busy week! The most notable news that I have to share is that The Dreams of Demons, book 3 in the Legends of the Pale Series is now available for pre-order in ebook format with Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks…and soon many more. Just follow this universal link…Here to order your copy. I’ve also just ordered my paperback proof for Dreams of Demons and am eagerly waiting to hold my newest baby in my hands. I absolutely love Murmur and Gabriela’s story. And I hope you will too!

This week I’ve also been sharing my poetry on Medium. It’s quite personal as poetry tends to be. Here are links to my latest offerings published by The Partnered Pen. I intend to submit many more articles and poems in the coming months.

The Bargain and A Submissive’s Wish

I also managed to put to bed the fourth book in my series this week, The Souls of Witches. I am extremely happy with how the book came together. I love Lars, but I have a soft spot where Rowan is concerned. She, like me, is a kitchen witch. This book was surprisingly hard for me to write because it required me to explain what it feels like to be a witch, to handle and read energy, and all the pitfalls of that kind of calling. This book is slated for release in October or early November. It all depends on my editor’s timetable.

Now that my desk has been cleared, I can get back to writing the next few books in this series. As always, the Legends of the Pale books are designed to be stand-alone novels with satisfying endings. No cliffhangers! I promise. 💕

Next week I will celebrate my 23rd wedding anniversary with the love of my life. I must say that my life has never been so good; writing full time, a son finally out of college, and travel on the horizon once this pandemic allows it. I thank you, readers and visitors to my site, for allowing me to share with you the worlds and characters roaming around inside my head. I hope I have touched you in some small way.

All the best,

Tarrant