Happy Happy Happy!

Literary Titan has come back with their editorial review of The Dreams of Demons. Here’s what they had to say:

The Dreams of Demons is the most unique book I’ve read this year in that it is set in modern-day, but involves gods and demons who have lived for thousands of years, so there is an ancient feel to it as well. Smith has been able to not only braid these two times into one, but the lives of mortals and gods as well, and she has done it exquisitely.

Smith gives a bit of back story here and there, but not too much that would make the reader bored if they had already read the series in its entirety.

There are only so many ways you can describe the act of love and lovemaking. But Smith has breathed new life into the classic romance genre, with steamy scenes enhanced by the raw power of a demon and a mortal who may have otherworldly blood in her. While reading you can feel the magnetism between Murmur and Gabriella. Their relationship was an enthralling escapade of emotions that I looked forward to.”

To read the entire review on their site, click here.

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.

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

Interviewed by Romona Portelli

Follow the link above to see original interview on Ramona Portelli’s blog.

Much to her husband’s delight, Author Tarrant Smith is a practicing kitchen witch. She lives near the picturesque town of Madison, Georgia in a slightly dilapidated Antebellum house with the love of her life, her college-aged son, two cats, one worried rat-terrier, and a blind dachshund. She graduated Queen’s University in Charlotte, North Carolina with a degree in English Literature because…well, she was told to do something she loved.

She abandoned corporate retail within a year or two of college and bounced from job to job earning a variety of skills and meeting interesting people. Among other things, she’s been a horse breeder and trainer, a cook, a baker, kitchen manager, waitress, dog trainer, yoga teacher, and Reiki master. When she’s not in nature hiking, kayaking, or cycling, she’s curled up in a comfortable chair reading or working on her next book.

Ramona: Tell me more about your latest book:

Tarrant Smith: Without dropping spoilers, The Fate of Wolves is a stand-alone paranormal romance that can be read on several levels. On the surface it is a romance between Deegan, a world-weary werewolf alpha who has lost everything he’s ever loved to the curse, and Eva who is the very last of her bloodline and the culmination of a prophecy written by a god hundreds of years before her birth. The book is steamy in parts and delivers an unexpected twist for the reader near the end.

On a deeper level, the book wrestles with themes like the worthiness of being loved, can monsters find redemption, the duality of mind, and how do you hang on to your humanity when the world you live in is cursed.

Because of the depth and insights into the nature of love and the various forms that love takes within its pages, I’m very proud of this book.

Ramona: What was the most challenging aspect of writing this book?

Tarrant Smith: I had three challenges with The Fate of Wolves. The first was that it was the second book in a series of stand-alone novels. I knew that the gods would make appearance in each of the books, but I had to find a method of introducing the concept of the Pale and gods in a way a new reader would understand, and yet not bore a reader who’d already read The Love of Gods. It had to be succinct and something I could replicate in the books that would follow.

My second challenge was creating a werewolf mythology and a prophecy that could ultimately be fulfilled by the end of the book. That took a good bit of research into the various werewolf traditions—movie, literature, and lore. My love of history also helped me decide the place and time the original curse might have occurred.

The last challenge, and probably my biggest, was establishing the duality of the wolf-mind verses the human-mind, monster verses humanity. I wanted the reader to understand the different motivating factors within each character and also be willing to accept the mind-speak that occurs later in the book when the pack is in their wolf forms.

Ramona: When writing a book, how do you keep things fresh, for both your reader and yourself?

Tarrant Smith: To stay fresh, I give myself a new skill to master or angle to explore with each book. Whether it’s dialogue with multiple characters in a single scene, creating clear action sequences, exploring new mythology, or genre-bending, I never want to bore myself or the reader. As a whole, the genre of romance is dismissed far too often. Prospective readers have told me that romance is just too predictable, which translates to me as too shallow or lacking in deeper themes. Yes, some elements are required, but that can be said of any genre. I love nothing more than giving a new reader an appreciation for the sophistication my genre can offer.

Ramona: What is your normal procedure to get your books published?

Tarrant Smith: While producing a first draft, I’m usually working on more than one book at a time. This allows me to jump between books whenever I get bogged down because I’ve written my characters into situations that I don’t have answers to yet. It happens quite often. They’re a rowdy bunch and tend to exactly the opposite of what I had planned. But once I have a first draft, there are the rounds of rewrites and edits where I look for plot holes and sharpen the themes and dialogue. The actual rounds of grammatical edits happen once the book feels whole to me. This often take months. Once I’ve done all I can, I send the book to my editor who I trust with my life.

During my initial editing process, I am also working on designing possible covers and blurbs. I’m updating my website so readers know where in the process each book is and when they can expect a book to reach the marketplace. I don’t like to keep secrets from my readers. I don’t do last minute cover reveals. I operate more like Marvel movies by starting the book buzz a year before the release date.

Once I get the book back from April, my editor, I do a read through with her suggested changes. I then format the book myself and let Microsoft Word read it back to me so I have a chance to catch any lingering mistakes. Even with this final proofreading, one or two errors sometimes make it to final print and publication. Over the years I’ve learned to let that go. All I can do is give my very best effort and hope I’ve gotten them all.

I use Amazon platform to produce both a paperback and kindle edition. I use Draft2Digital to create and distribute the epub file to other retailers like Barnes & Noble, Nook, Apple, and others. After that, it’s all marketing. And a lot of hope.

Ramona: What motivated you to become an author?

Tarrant Smith: I’ve always written and been an avid reader. When I was younger, I mainly wrote very bad poetry. By college, I discovered my narrative voice and began learning the rules and forms of short story, novella, and novel writing. Even then I dreamed of being a published author, but I didn’t attempt it because of a college professor who warned me about how hard the publishing process could be. She wasn’t saying I didn’t possess talent, but she understood that I was too easily shattered by criticism and rejection at that point in my life. I’m now grateful that I waited to put myself out there.

With age comes a certain level of confidence and knowledge about life and relationships. I have far more to offer readers now than I did as a twenty-three-year-old. As to why I began publishing? It was for the money. My family was in need when I published in 2010. I had to find a way to pay bills. I needed another source of income, however small. And luckily for me, Amazon allowed me to bypass the traditional publishing world’s gatekeepers. Ebooks were still catching on with the reading public and I understood how to market myself using social media. In the end, I had a decent amount of success for an indie author, but more importantly the bills got paid.

Ever since that first royalty check, I’ve never looked back. I love being an indie author.

Ramona: How many books have you written so far? List and name them all here:

Tarrant Smith: Between the two series, I’ve published seven books thus far.

My first paranormal romance series consists of five tightly knit books which draw heavily on Celtic mythology, fey (fae) folklore, and Arthurian Legend. I began publishing these in 2010 with Enchanted Darkly. It was quickly followed up with Bound Darkly and Kept DarklySurrendered Darkly came next but it took until 2019 to release Resurrected Darkly. This final book was delayed because these were characters I loved, and I found it quite hard to say goodbye to the series. I now offer this series in a completed boxed set in ebook format only for readers who binge read like me.

In March of 2019 I also released the first book in my Legends of the Pales Series, The Love of Gods. It was followed up with The Fate of Wolves in October. Unlike the Darkly books, I wanted to give readers the freedom of reading the books out of order without feeling as if they’d missed anything from a previous book. Creating stand-alone books that all take place in the same universe has been a challenge, but I’ve populated the world of the Pale with so many supernatural communities that I don’t think I will be limited creatively as an author. My eighth book, The Dreams of Demons, will be released this June and the ninth, The Souls of Witches, in the fall of this year. I’m currently writing two more books scheduled for release in 2021. They too will be a part of the Legends of the Pale Series.

Ramona: Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotion strongly?

Tarrant Smith: Depending on the genre, I absolutely believe that someone could be a writer even if they don’t feel emotions strongly. Non-fiction and History are prime examples where emotion is not your friend. However, for the genre of romance—my genre—it’s all about the emotional connection between the author and his/her characters, the strong pull between the characters themselves, and the emotional ties between the reader and the book’s characters. To really make an impact, it’s best if I delve deep into that pool. If I don’t fall in love, hurt, laugh, and cry while writing then neither will the reader.

Ramona: How hard or easy is it to establish and maintain a career in writing? What is your advice for aspiring writers?

Tarrant Smith: I’m going to combine the last two questions because if you read my website blog, The Chalkboard, you’ll see that I spend a good bit of time answering these two questions for myself and others. My answer is always: Writing is Hard. And Publishing is Brutal. At least, this has been my experience.

Once a writer has learned the nuts and bolts of the form and formatting of a novel or short story, your success rests entirely on perseverance and a bit of luck. That is probably not what an aspiring writer wants to hear, but there’s no sugar coating this truth. Most writers I know have a 40 hour a week side-hustle to pay the bills and fund their writing habit. The exceptions are these…I have one friend that earns enough income with content writing to write fulltime. Or like me, a writer that is retired from their previous careers and is now writing fulltime. Or, they are independently wealthy and don’t need the income. The JK Rowling’s of the world, going from living in your car to selling millions of books, is that bit of luck I mentioned earlier. It doesn’t happen often.

However, that doesn’t mean you should give up writing. The best writers write because they must write. They have a story to tell, even if it’s to themselves. The indie authors that make the most income are the ones who are consistently producing good work. Their readers can rely on a new book coming out, usually twice a year. They understand how to brand and market themselves. And, they give back to the writing community whenever they can. For example, I keep an updated resource guide on my website for authors to utilize. When I learn some new marketing idea or avenue, I share it. I also do book reviews for indie authors whenever I have extra time. All of that effort plus consistent marketing across social media culminates in name recognition. And name recognition can get your books past the marketing noise and into the hands of readers.

So, if you are an aspiring writer. Write. Get the first draft done. Then keep writing because it takes writing a novel to learn how to write a novel. All the other stuff like marketing you can learn along the way. There will be others to help you. But first you have to begin.

Visit Author Tarrant Smith universal book links:

The Love of Gods: https://books2read.com/b/brVlVk
The Fate of Wolves: 
https://books2read.com/b/3JV7VJ

The Darkly Series Boxed Set: https://books2read.com/b/47rkZj
Enchanted Darkly: 
https://books2read.com/b/3LpzK0
Bound Darkly: 
https://books2read.com/b/mdGoLl
Kept Darkly: 
https://books2read.com/b/mgGW07
Surrendered Darkly: 
https://books2read.com/b/4AxWQA
Resurrected Darkly: 
https://books2read.com/b/38E19O

Visit Author Tarrant Smith Social Media links:       

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LegendsofthePale/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TarrantSmith
Medium: https://medium.com/@starrantsmit
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3507684.Tarrant_Smith
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/starrants/pins/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/starrantsmith/

To learn more about Romona Portelli… Click here.