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‘The Auctorati’ Is On Hold

Jarrod’s Journal

If you follow me on social media, you may have come across some of my posts complaining about how tough it is to crank out this next book. I don’t like to complain, but this project really got to me. Even though my first book, Pangaea: Unsettled Land, took me years to write, it was under a different set of circumstances. First, I didn’t know how to even get started writing and plotting out a novel, but when I did, the words came quite naturally nearly every day. Additionally, I didn’t have a set date to publish or plans to become a full-time author and make a business out of this. I just had an idea. Now, with all of that pressure on my head, I find it nearly impossible to get back to that space where the words would flow.

So, I’m taking a step back. I tried to outline and I tried to force it, but it’s just not coming like I need it to. I thought if I showed up every day and pounded out some words, that eventually that inspired feeling would come and I wouldn’t feel blocked. That wasn’t the case. And when I don’t feel good about what I’m writing, it makes it difficult to get me back in front of my computer day after day.

I don’t want to give you anything I’m not really feeling. I have a high standard for what I put out into the world and I want to respect your time. The new book is on hold, but it is not cancelled as of yet. You’ll just have to wait a little bit longer to see how the Auctorati came together and how that informs the remainder of the Pangaea series. I don’t want to be untruthful here, either. There may not be series.

My Plan to Provide Impact

I wrote Pangaea with a clear beginning and end in mind for one book. I never planned out a full series from the start. However, what got me thinking about expanding the stories is the reception I got from a few readers who wanted to see more of the characters. I also learned that it is a good business move for self-published authors to have a series. However, I need to be true to myself, and I don’t want to just make up things that aren’t there just to seize an opportunity. I had to make a decision on whether I was in this more for the art or the money. I chose art. I chose expression of ideas and furthering representation of characters like me and inclusivity of everyone else. That doesn’t mean I don’t balance that with the desire to get paid for my work, but if I want my stories to have a real impact, I must first and foremost have something impactful to say. I can’t just chase the money.

To those of you who enjoyed Pangaea so much that you want to see more, I thank you for your support, and I’m sorry that I cannot deliver as quickly as I’d hoped. While I take a break from The Auctorati and the series itself, I will continue to explore other stories and ideas. I ask that you remain open to what I have in store. And I can promise you that whatever I publish next will be of high quality and speak to your soul. Because that’s what I intend for all of my writing to do.

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BooksTV / Film

Rounded Characters and Big Questions

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I was recently interviewed by Ecelctica Cafe, a podcast hosted by Dustin and Chance, where we discussed topics of diversity in media, some politics, and what you can expect from my upcoming book, Pangaea: Unsettled Land. We continued a discussion started after my writing of the LGBT Fiction article and I’m happy to have been a part! Take a listen below and tell me what you think. And subscribe to Eclectica Cafe’s podcasts here!

 

Link to the podcast on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GtJjMVC8ho

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Books

Here’s My Book Cover!

Novel Title

 

It’s finally done! Here is the cover for my first novel, Pangaea: Unsettled Land. It’s been over a month in the making (mainly because of my perfectionism), but I’m so happy to finally have a great visual for my story. Believe me when I say that you’re in for a wild ride when you read this! My hope is to get this released by the holiday season this year. So, stay tuned for an official release date. I hope you like the design!

Unsettled Land | Fantasy | Jarrod D. King

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Books

Back Cover Reveal

Mysterious Book

Today, I’m revealing the description of my first novel which will appear on the rear of the book once it’s published. It’s taking me a while to get past the finished line because I’m new to this and I want it to be right. So, please hang in there with me because it is definitely coming. Without further ado, here’s what you can expect in Pangaea: Unsettled Land.


Slade Maxwell is a noble and a senior in college who’s expected to graduate and be next in his family to work for the queen. His desperation to escape that path leaves him unprepared for class, but when his classmate, a chiseled warrior by the name of Douglassaire Hart, asks their professor about an ancient sword called the Djed Key, Slade pays close attention. The sword is a mythical relic that’s said to have brought magic to the world, and its secrets could be Slade’s ticket out. He joins up with Douglassaire, wondering what else he knows. And should he open himself to the warrior, will his feelings be returned?

Slade’s best friend, Gisela Benitez, who is still reeling from her mother’s mysterious death, harbors a secret crush on Slade that draws her into his quest with Douglassaire. What the three of them find out leads them to a bloodthirsty magician, possession by spirits, and a vengeful queen who will stop at nothing to find the Djed Key for herself. What was once a journey of self-discovery soon becomes a race against time. Will they be able to save their world or will the queen start a war that could bring her to ultimate power?


That should whet your appetite! If you want to see how everything begins to play out, join my email list and get the first three chapters right now! If you like fantasy that you can get lost in, I know you’re going to love this.

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BooksTV / Film

Comic Views

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Despite the turbulent news this past week, there were some exciting character announcements that made us all sit up. In comics, the mantle of Iron Man will soon be taken over by Riri Williams, a black teenage girl. In movies, we’ve heard that the popular Star Trek character, Sulu, will now be an openly gay role. If you know me, you know I was excited about both pieces of news. But as I dug further, I had to tamper down my hype. There are some things that could prove problematic if these characters are not handled correctly. Even after being brought down to reality, I still believe that these changes are a step in the right direction.

The Swap

It’s been reported that after the current Civil War 2 series ends, Tony Stark is retiring and giving a young protege the reins. My enthusiasm for a character like Riri was tempered after reading how some people responded. Some issues included the possibility of this fifteen-year-old being seen as an adult (Iron Woman) or misgendered and called a man throughout the series because of the title she’s taking over. There’s also concern about the handling of such a character from writer Brian Michael Bendis, and the issue of no black female writers at Marvel to handle a story like this. All of these issues are summed up quite nicely in a post by Son of Baldwin. However, the one topic that I found most interesting was the changing of a character just to appeal to a diverse audience. This is something that is going on in a certain spacey movie universe as well.

In the latest installment, Star Trek: Beyond, it was announced that character Hikaru Sulu was written to be openly gay. Apparently, this was done as a tribute to George Takei, but surprisingly he wasn’t so open to it. In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, he says, “Unfortunately, it’s a twisting of Gene’s creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate.” Simon Pegg, the writer for the new movie, is quoted in a TIME article mentioning the trouble about creating a completely new character. He reshaped the existing role to escape tokenism, believing a entirely new person may end up being “primarily defined by their sexuality.” Again, for diversity’s sake, we have the transformation of an established personality, but this begs the question, which way is right?

Old vs. New

The arguments against this method of character change are many and show up almost every time something like this happens. They’ve been put forward when Miles Morales was introduced as Spider-Man and when Michael B. Jordan played the Human Torch / Johnny Storm in the Fantastic Four. Many fans feel like it’s a slap in the face because they’ve grown to love everything about a character and suddenly it all changes. There are also those who say that it seems like the writers are pandering to a community for a quick buck, only for the role to change back later. Lastly, there’s the idea that it doesn’t solve any long-term diversity problem the way the an original character would. There are some points on the opposite end, however.

The flipside is that an original character is hard to get excited about. So, it’s easier to just rewrite an existing person with tons of popularity and fill the diversity gap. It’s instant minority gratification (in theory). Again comes the question, which way is the best?

When I think about how I grew up without seeing or reading of  people like me in extraordinary fictional circumstances, I can’t help but side with the rewriting of a character. It’s a big boon to the children coming up today to see that they can be amazing, too. That sense of possibility that gets instilled outweighs any figurative slaps to the face that fans may feel. However, I do think that if more original diverse characters were created and properly pushed to audiences, we’d have less of a need to do this. While I’m pleased to see more diverse stand-ins / rewrites, I think the most energy should be spent on new ideas that solve the problem. We have yet to see how Riri and Sulu are going to be handled, but for now their presence is a good one in my book.

On which side of this argument do you fall? Write a comment below!

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BooksWriting

Harry Potter’s Hermione Is Black?

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Some controversy has been stirred up recently with the casting of a black actor, Noma Dumezweni, for the role of Hermione in a stage production of the next chapter in J. K. Rowling’s mega book series. There seem to be two camps of thought ranging from “don’t change the character” to “it’s great – she was never fully described in the first place”. Regardless of where you fall, the core of the issue lies in how we perceive characters with less than exact descriptions in books. I talk about this in my latest YouTube video below. Watch now, give me a thumbs up, and join the discussion!

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Books

A Black Slave Master

KnownWorld

The Known World

Edward P. Jones’s novel takes a unique angle on the slave narrative with its focus on a black slave owner. In my new YouTube video, I give my initial impressions of the first 100 pages and talk about what we can take away from it as writers.

One thing of note about the diversity in this book, aside from what I already mentioned, is that there is mention of a gay character. His role in the story so far is very minimal, but it may grow later.

I am enjoying all of the different characters in the story so far, but the tendency to dwell on backstory for each one is giving me pause. And more than anything, you don’t want your readers to pause. Unless, of course, it’s one of those “awesome line” moments that makes you just stop and think.

Have you read this Pulitzer Prize winning book? Without spoilers, what were your thoughts? I’m going to stick with it for a little while and see if it picks up some steam. Comment below.

Follow me on any of my social media channels if you enjoy discussions about reading, writing, diverse characters, and the occasional gay topic that may pop up.

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