Readers’ Favorite is in!

The Readers’ Favorite review is in and The Dreams of Demons, book 3 in the Legends of the Pale Series, has been awarded five stars! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I can’t tell you how happy this makes me. Murmur is one of my most favorite characters to date and I am thrilled that readers and reviewers are enjoying The Dreams of Demons as much as I loved writing it.

If you just want the highlights, I have them here.

“Tarrant Smith’s The Dreams of Demons, while part of The Legends of the Pale Series, can be read and enjoyed as a standalone novel, as the author provides a cast of characters as well as a summation of preceding events in the story.

Smith’s characters are well-defined and complex, and the relationship between Murmur and Gabriela is thought-provoking and troubling at times. One can’t help but get involved in Gabriela’s story and wonder if becoming the possession of another vastly more powerful being is really what she wants or needs.

The plot is marvelous and filled with unpredictable beings, plots, and complications.

The Dreams of Demons: The Legends of the Pale Series is well-written and bound to please paranormal fantasy and romance fans. It’s most highly recommended.”

Jack Magnus reviewer for Readers’ Favorite

To visit their site and read the entire review, click here.

I am still waiting to here back from Literary Titan on their review, but in the meantime, Readers’ Favorite has given me a reason to put 5-star stickers on this books cover. 💖

Perspective is Everything

So much of the poetry I read is about the loss of love, the ache of new-love or wrong-love, the addiction to love, the lack of self-love, and the old favorite…unrequited love. My own perspective of seasoned-love feels a little out of step with the times. But as writers, we must write what we know.

When Defining Love, Relationships, and a Poem’s Meaning

Photo by Carolyn V on Unsplash

I wrote a poem the other day. I do that a lot lately — write poems when I should be working on my next romance book. My poetry is mainly about love, though I have penned plenty of sensual poems and my fair share of witch-related verse. However, when I went back to edit this one particular poem, Happily Ever After, it struck me as being a bit condescending. After considering what I should do, I changed a few lines and submitted the poem anyway.

It’s all a matter of perspective.

So much of the poetry I read is about the loss of love, the ache of new-love or wrong-love, the addiction to love, the lack of self-love, and the old favorite…unrequited love. My own perspective of seasoned-love feels a little out of step with the times. But as writers, we must write what we know.

I’ve been fortunate enough to love and be loved by one man for over two decades. The love we experienced at our beginning is not the same as it is today. It can’t possibly be the same. We’ve raised a child and been homeless. We’ve weathered extra-marital temptations and thoughts of walking away. There were the difficult-years of being partners in business and watching that business fail. The bankrupcies and financial recoveries, both self-inflicted and externally inflicted. Recently, my husband has been working in an entirely different country for weeks at a time and I’ve had to readjust to living alone — something I hadn’t done for over 30 years. We adjusted to having a child early in our relationship, sending that child to college, and then welcoming that grown adult back home. 

Loving each other is different now because we’re different and we have so much history between us. We’ve changed each other by staying together, by sharing a life filled to the brim with ups and downs. 

So, when I pen a poem about the nature of love, it’s from a perspective of knowing how much effort it takes to remain together over the long haul. How you have to be comfortable with the uncomfortable until you and your partner reach the next plateau. Love isn’t static. It’s always changing. There’s grief in that, but there’s also something thrilling about it too.

I didn’t understand any of this when my parents tried to dissuade me from my first marriage. I was twenty-four and no one was going to tell me I didn’t know my own mind. 

I divorced my first husband five years later after a chance meeting with my current husband. On that fateful day, I had a flash of insight. I suddenly understood what my parents (who had been married then for as long as I have been married now) had tried so hard to explain to me. You can love lots of potential partners, but there are a few perfect fits wandering the world and you owe it to yourself to find them. Once you meet each other, there will still be relationship-work to do as time passes, but the core of him and you will provide something to hold on to when the ground shifts beneath your feet. 

When my son went off to college and I was worried about what my marriage would look like once the nest was empty. Our dynamic had been three for so long I wasn’t sure if my husband and I could figure out how to be a couple again. Luckily, I received some of the very best relationship advice I’d ever gotten from a close friend in my writer’s group. She’s in her sixties, retired, and has been married far longer than myself — and, I was receptive to what she had to tell me.

She said, “Speak to each other from a place of kindness. Even when it’s hard.”

OMG! So simple and yet it’s the hardest advice I have ever implemented. But it has also been the most impactful. It has transformed all my relationships, not just my marriage. 

Approach every situation from a place of kindness and love. That doesn’t mean become a doormat for others to walk on. Setting hard limits is important with friends and with your significant other. That too is a form of love…self-love. 

So when I write…

Too often we rush to the Ever After
in our white gowns, not knowing the way.
It is in all the best of stories we are told
Happily is just assumed,
payment for our vows rendered.
And so we also lose the Ever in our After.

But the magick we seek isn’t straight forward,
and the destination is not the goal.
The secret of Happily rests in the beginnings,
in the mundane moments exchanged.
It is in the decades of holding hands
and overlooking the Prince’s discarded socks — 

It is the reward for repeating the I love yous
despite wanting to win the fight,
the righteous anger
and knowing him far far too well.
It lives in kindness that only blooms
in the straightening of each other’s crowns.

Happily Ever After cannot be reached before,
but only in the glancing behind — 
when the dust has settled and life slows
When softness is the way of living
there is no more rushing — 
and only time to relive the beginnings.

It’s because I have loved and been loved for decades by a man who adores me and has chosen to stay beside me no matter what the future brings. And I have done the same — stayed and loved. I’m not in my twenties, thirties, or forties anymore. I’ve lived through all that drama and somehow reached the other side still holding his hand. 

A seasoned-love is what I know. It has shaped me and my writing. That’s my perspective.

***** *****

Similar Love Poems I’ve published on Medium.

Touchstones
Through Love’s Lens

News from my Desk

Photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash

It’s been a crazy 2020 so far. All my events were canceled because of Covid-19. But never fear, I will find a way to have an event before this year is done.

Now the News…

The third book in the Legends of the Pale Series was released on time and The Dreams of Demons is starting to see some reviews trickle in. All of them are positive thus far. I am currently running a discounted price across all ebook formats with the hope that I can gather several more reviews from readers for this book. Because… reader reviews are the best!🧡🧡🧡🧡🧡

This story kept me captivated from beginning to end. It’s a steamy romance between a demon and the only human who can see him. Add in danger and intrigue, and it’s really hard to put down. Even though there are quite a few characters, I didn’t have any trouble keeping them straight in my head. Most of them I liked enough to want to know more about… hopefully in future books! This is the first I’ve read from this author, so as soon as I finished the book, I went and bought the first two in the series. Can’t wait to read more.

Amazon Reviewer… 5 stars

I’m still waiting to hear back on the editorial reviews for The Dreams of Demons from Literary Titan and Readers’ Favorite. I’ll be sure to share them as soon as they hit my email account.

In the meantime…

The Love of Gods and The Fate of Wolves are in the running for a possible award sponsored by The Southern Pen Bookshop. The GIAY Awards is a direct response to the Georgia Writers Association’s decision to exclude self-published authors from their annual award. I have often preached about the quality and value of independently published novels. I am glad that two of my books have a chance to be recognized this year. They have both been well received by readers.

In other news…

I had the opportunity to design a cover for a good author friend of mine. Crystal Jackson‘s book of poetry will be released this summer. As she formats the interior layout of her manuscript, I’ve had the good fortune to read many of her poems and I’m eager to add this collection of poetry and poetic prose to my bookshelf.

Before I forget…

Crystal Jackson was kind enough to mention The Fate of Wolves in her list of Beach Reads and Book Reviews Perfect for a Quarantine Summer. The following is an excerpt.

The Fate of Wolves by Tarrant Smith

Think the beginning of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers meets a grown-up Twilight — if you take out the singing and the teenage love triangle. Yes, this is paranormal romance, and it perfectly combines mystery, romance, and magic for this werewolf tale like none you’ve read before. The dialogue is smart, the characters are well-developed, and something about the pack dynamics reminds me of the start of the aforementioned musical when you have one strong woman surrounded by a crowd of wild men. Expect to be enchanted yourself and to fall in love with this supernatural beach selection.

To be fair, the Legends of the Pale series start with The Love of Gods, and Smith just released the third in the series, The Dreams of Demons. However, they can be read in any order you like.

If you’d like to read her Medium post and see all her recommendations, follow the link. Medium will allow anyone three free reads before you are asked to pay a $5 subscription fee.

https://medium.com/the-partnered-pen/beach-reads-and-book-reviews-perfect-for-a-quarantine-summer-81fe65bb420

As always, thanks for checking in at The Chalkboard.

-Tarrant

Books 1, 2, and 3

Looking Back- 1 Year Ago

If Not Now…Then When Are You Going to Dream? was the very first article I published on Medium. So much has changed since then. I’ve learned what works on that platform and what doesn’t. I’ve also found my poet’s voice. With a little luck and a lot of persistence, I’ve managed to remain true to my dream. I also realized while revisiting this article that the basic message has not changed, nor has my commitment to living the life I was always meant to live. I hope by sharing this, I can give other writers the confidence and encouragement we all need in order to keep writing, to keep trying, to keep carrying on no matter the obstacles.

(Jun 24, 2019 · 4 min read)

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

*** ***

If not now…then when are you going to Dream?

A deep and growing fear has taken root in me. A lot like kudzu, it’s persuasive, persistent and unbelievably hard to entirely eradicate. You see I’m an author who recently took a leap of faith in myself. I quit my job in January to pursue writing full-time.

I was inspired to drastically alter my life for two reasons. One, I was turning fifty-two and the old cliché of I’m running out of time kept buzzing in my head. I could be dead soon. A morbid thought, I know, but there’s nothing like facing your own mortality to blast you out of a comfortable life. My second reason came in the form of Crystal Jackson. We met through my local writer’s group and have become friends. She’s younger than me by nearly twenty years. She’s single-ish and has two small children to support, and yet she’d managed to make my dream of being a full-time author happen for her. Suddenly, I had no more excuses. So, after careful planning and a year’s worth of putting every extra bit of money I could in savings, I quit my stable job with the hope that I might reestablish my online presence and begin to publish my stockpile of books.

I thought I had fought all my demons parading about as insecurities, but these last six months has shown me just how wrong I was.

This morning I checked on my savings balance, subtracted the likely cost of professionally editing my next two books then divided that number by six. The number staring back was sobering. Of course, the very next thing I did was log onto my Amazon sales page only to discover that all the money I’d allocated for promotion was not creating the impact I’d hoped.

I’m now scrutinizing my possessions. Could I sell something to buy myself more time — a few more months of precious freedom to live the life I’d always wanted? Or should I accept defeat and get my job back? Or look for a part-time job somewhere else?

Can you write books and keep a job? Most definitely yes! And most writers do. I’ve lived that paradigm for as long as I can remember. Go to work and write whenever you can — in the morning, on a day off, or over a weekend. By the time I had turned fifty years old, I had managed to self-publish four books and a handful of short stories which had done moderately well in an ever-changing publishing world. I had gone through the heartbreaking ordeal of querying agents and publishers with those first four books. The rejections had been professional, polite, and encouraging. They often reminded me that this business is very subjective. The longer I work to get my books noticed the truer this sentiment seems to be.

But let’s get back to my morning panic attack.

So there I stood, my laptop open to my sales page, and my calculator on my cell phone showing an absurdly low figure. I could feel the vines of desperation wrapping themselves around my heart, my neck, my dream.

Once I got past the basic questions of what now, I realized that I’m hardly alone in this struggle. Writers are like any other artist. We struggle to be seen, to be heard, to be understood. We write because we have to. It’s a compulsion. I understand the world and myself through the medium of storytelling. Even if I reenter the workforce, I’d still write. I’d still live part-time in the worlds I create. Those worlds and the characters that populate them are part of who I’ve become.

I’m not sharing this with you because I think I’m special. I’m not. My fears and dicey finances are far less dire than some. I’m not likely to become homeless. I’m not starving. And my personal insecurities aren’t going to keep me from writing the next book, or the next chapter, or even the next sentence. I’m sharing my morning moment of terror because I’m not special. I could be just like you. I’m going after a dream with no net because if not now — then when. When are you going to gamble on yourself?

When are you going to reach for the life you really want and not the one you stumbled into or settled on?

I’m here to tell you to go for it. No matter your age or circumstance. Even if living your dream turns out to be the length of a single summer, give it everything you’ve got. Live your authentic self and embrace your voice — the uniqueness of your soul. Someone who needs to see or hear your message will find it.

Hi, my name is Tarrant Smith and I’m a full-time author. I carry a wicked-looking machete to keep my vines of doubt and insecurities under control. If you’ve misplaced yours, don’t worry I’ll lend you mine.

It’s Book Release Day!

Finally, The Dreams of Demons is available everywhere! This is book 3 in the Legends of the Pale Series of stand-alone paranormal romance novels. 🧡 

Universal Link: https://books2read.com/b/mKDLE5

Book Blurb:

Murmur was a demon, an immortal. His race had been created by the gods to fight their wars, carry their messages, and die if need be. He protected. He served. Not once in all his centuries of service to Lugh had he yearned for more than what the Golden God provided. Until now that is… Murmur now dreamed of a woman with rich honey-blonde hair and pale skin whose mind could touch his own. But Demons don’t dream. Was he going mad? Could such a woman truly exist?

   Gabriela could not remember a time when life had been easy. Darren, her roommate, insisted she needed a keeper most days. And perhaps he was right. She didn’t try to read minds—not often. It’s just that sometimes, her feeble barriers couldn’t keep the noise at bay. So, when she began to escape her dreary life by daydreaming of the perfect man, Gabriela hadn’t thought too much about it. The warrior who met her in those dreamscapes was strong and confident, all the things she was not. Gabriela never once thought a man that beautiful could be real—or that he might be a demon.