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Pangaea Commentary Chapter 9 – A Queen’s Tale

fairy-3420136_1920

Welcome to a new blog series called Pangaea Commentary. Each week I’ll be diving into one chapter of my book, Pangaea: Unsettled Land, in sequential order to give you the following:

  • my thoughts on my intentions for the chapter
  • how things changed through various drafts
  • why you should love this chapter
  • and even why you may stop reading

I’ve learned a lot about my craft by going through the process of writing and publishing this book. This will be a great way to share what I’ve learned and provide some entertaining tidbits.

Spoiler Alert

The following will contain spoilers. Haven’t read Pangaea yet? Buy it now and follow along.

Chapter 9 Summary

This chapter begins with the introduction of a new character, Catherine, the Queen’s lady-in-waiting. She’s an Etherean, so already feels a bit isolated from the the others who work in the castle. Her status as the closest person to the Queen doesn’t help either.

Catherine acts out as a way to cope with that isolation. One of her moments of acting out was a smart remark about the Queen’s missing sister, but when the Queen calls her on it, showing just how intimidating the Queen can be.

When Queen Aeothesca is asked about her story, she retaliates with a test: telling it to see the other person’s reaction and if they can keep the details to themselves. She’s had others killed for the wrong reactions, knowing it would be just a matter of time before her secrets leaked. This is Catherine’s test now.

The Queen tells the story of her and her sister, Annonymn (Anna), growing up in Lorelei Castle. They were both princess back then and their mother was the Queen. Aeothesca learns of her powers, her mother calls her a monster and tells her to keep it a secret. Their mother dies, and Aeothesca takes over the throne at 12 years of age right in the middle of a long war with the Southern Third. Aeothesca reveals that she was the one who used her power over earth to sink the opposing army into the ground and win the war. Years later, Annonymn meets a suitor who plans to marry her, but out of jealousy and a sense of entitlement, the Queen steals him from her. This causes Annonymn to out her sister as an Etherean and flee the castle.

When the Queen finishes her story, Catherine is intrigued, not shocked or scared. She passed the test and counts herself as the Queen’s ally.

What You Should Love

This chapter is a big shift from following the main characters, but the personalities and stories of Queen Aeothesca and Catherine are so rich. I knew exactly who the Queen was when I started writing. Catherine as well. And I think it shows.

Catherine starts off as this troublemaker, but is quickly put in her place by the even more wicked Queen. And the dynamic is one that feels right. At least to me it does. And I hope you liked learning about these two.

What You May Dislike

The biggest thing may be my purposeful omission of conjunctions when the Queen or her sister speak. As royals, I wanted their voices to be instantly recognizable and somewhat elevated. However, I’ve since learned that this is a rookie mistake that many have made before that makes the characters sound weird. Not all the time, though. In this case there were a couple spots where it sounds off, but reading it back now, it doesn’t completely remove the reader from the story.

You may also have found it hard to get into this chapter, just as things started to move along between Slade and Doug. It’s one of the lengthier chapters, but one I think is necessary to add more details that will all be dealt with further on.

What’s Next in Chapter 10?

We get to see Slade and Gisela travel on their spring break vacation. They’re off to see Slade’s family, and Slade has to break the news that his stay will be short since they are also on their way further south to meet up with Doug. During their stay with his family, one of Slade’s old flames pops up. Stay tuned!


If you haven’t already, sign up to my email list and get a short story in exchange. You’re gonna love it!

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Pangaea Commentary Chapter 8 – An Invitation

Chapter 8 commentary

Welcome to a new blog series called Pangaea Commentary. Each week I’ll be diving into one chapter of my book, Pangaea: Unsettled Land, in sequential order to give you the following:

  • my thoughts on my intentions for the chapter
  • how things changed through various drafts
  • why you should love this chapter
  • and even why you may stop reading

I’ve learned a lot about my craft by going through the process of writing and publishing this book. This will be a great way to share what I’ve learned and provide some entertaining tidbits.

Spoiler Alert

The following will contain spoilers. Haven’t read Pangaea yet? Buy it now and follow along.

Chapter 8 Summary

In this quick chapter, Slade runs into Douglassaire on the way to class. He hesitates telling him about Lesech, but Doug reassures Slade that he’ll protect him if Lesech were to try anything. Slade puts his trust into Doug and confirms that Lesech is indeed an Etherean. Doug thanks Slade by inviting him and Gisela on a trip to the Southern Third for their upcoming spring break. Slade agrees, but doesn’t reveal he already has plans to go back home and see his family.

What You Should Love

This chapter tied a neat little bow on the beginnings of this story. It gives small details about the governments of the three Great Nations, shows that Slade and Doug are growing even closer, and gives us a different environment to look forward to. I want the reader to question “What is spring break going to be like?” and “How will Slade square his agreement to go with Doug with his overbearing mother?”

What You May Dislike

You may not feel that this earned a full chapter. Looking back on it, this section could have been added to the last chapter and probably made more sense. You also may be looking for the story to jump into a full-on fantasy lane and pick up the pace, but we’re not there yet.

I’m on the fence as to whether I truly did a bad job of pacing. I’ve learned that in typical fantasy books, the plot moves a bit faster, but all of this build-up leads to some great moments that make sense and feel earned. If you stick with it, it pays off. Speaking of…

Next in Chapter 9

You finally get to meet Queen Aeothesca in the next chapter. It’s a long one, but by the end of the chapter you’ll fully understand who she is. While she has a bad rap with how she’s talked about earlier in the book, you may find you empathize with her. Or you could find her to be much worse. Stay tuned!

Thoughts on the Story So Far?

What do you think about Slade and Doug’s budding romance? Do you think the pacing could be better or are you okay with how the story is unfolding? Leave a comment below and let’s talk!


If you want a taste of how exciting my stories can be, sign up to my email list and get a short story in exchange. You’re gonna love it!

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Pangaea Commentary Chapter 7 – Encounter with a Madman

spying

Welcome to a new blog series called Pangaea Commentary. Each week I’ll be diving into one chapter of my book, Pangaea: Unsettled Land, in sequential order to give you the following:

  • my thoughts on my intentions for the chapter
  • how things changed through various drafts
  • why you should love this chapter
  • and even why you may stop reading

I’ve learned a lot about my craft by going through the process of writing and publishing this book. This will be a great way to share what I’ve learned and provide some entertaining tidbits.

Spoiler Alert

The following will contain spoilers. Haven’t read Pangaea yet? Buy it now and follow along.

Chapter 7 Summary

The chapter begins with Slade and Douglassaire at lunch. Internally, Slade realizes just how attracted he is to Doug. They talk about their lives and learn how different they are, but that’s exactly what brings them a bit closer. Slade pushes for more info about this mysterious Etherean Doug mentioned last time. Doug caves and spills the info, revealing his rival’s name and physical description.

Later that day, Slade and Gisela are hanging out on campus when Lesech comes into view. They decide to follow him and find him practicing his sword skills alone. Not only that, but they find him hovering above the ground, confirming Doug’s suspicions. They’re soon found out and threatened by Lesech not to say anything to anyone.

What You Should Love

I think you may love the interaction and budding relationship between Slade and Douglassaire. And I have my editor to thank for that. I originally wrote their relationship to have this undercurrent of unspoken attraction that never reached a head until a few chapters later (the love scene). With her notes, I understood that doing that would be too jarring for the reader and decided to spell it out a bit more.

I also think you can enjoy the tenseness in the friendship of Slade and Gisela. She is not secure in their friendship because Slade has started growing closer to Doug. She’s not ready for the change that will happen by letting him in, so she resists Doug. It shows in her protests of Slade following Lesech to find out the truth.

Finally, you get more insight into who Lesech is as a person. He’s pompous, a little crazy, and kind of scary. He was a joy to write! I especially love this line of his that perfectly sums up who he is (and, to an extent, my sense of humor):

“’But you ask how our ether works and if I told you, I’d have to kill you.’ He paused and his lips curled into an evil grin. ‘Very well, I’ll tell you.'”

What You May Dislike

The biggest pain for me was not being able to show Gisela’s thoughts in this chapter. Yes, this is written in third-person, but too much “head-hopping” (telling the thoughts and feelings of multiple characters in a scene) confuses the reader and makes for a jarring reading experience. Here’s what I mean by this:

When Slade and Gisela are secretly following Lesech, there’s a moment where Lesech turns around, seemingly suspicious of them. Slade thinks fast and grabs Gisela’s hand and pretends they’re lovers on a stroll. Knowing Gisela and her crush on Slade, you can imagine just how confusing or thrilling this could feel in the moment. And originally, I wrote all of her feelings. However, upon a revision, I found that there was no way to keep those details there and have a high-quality chapter. So, all in all, you may not like that lack of description (if you even noticed). But more so, this is a piece of the scene that I hated to remove.

On To Chapter 8

The next chapter is short, but important for Slade and Doug’s relationship and sets up what is to come down the road. Stay tuned!

Thoughts / Comments?

What did you think of chapter 7? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to connect and discuss.


If you want a taste of how exciting my stories can be, sign up to my email list and get a short story in exchange. You’re gonna love it!

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Pangaea Commentary Chapter 6 – A Fight Between Gods

A Fight Between Gods

Welcome to a new blog series called Pangaea Commentary. Each week I’ll be diving into one chapter of my book, Pangaea: Unsettled Land, in sequential order to give you the following:

  • my thoughts on my intentions for the chapter
  • how things changed through various drafts
  • why you should love this chapter
  • and even why you may stop reading

I’ve learned a lot about my craft by going through the process of writing and publishing this book. This will be a great way to share what I’ve learned and provide some entertaining tidbits.

Spoiler Alert

The following will contain spoilers. Haven’t read Pangaea yet? Buy it now and follow along.

Chapter 6 Summary

High off of the excitement that an Etherean could be right under his nose at school, Slade does research as soon as he goes home. He reads an ancient tale about a fight between the gods in the fabled isle of Ether. In this story, the god of creation, Elao, uses the Djed Key, his magical sword, to create Pangaea and all animals and humans. Calamity, animal-like himself, is jealous of the humans’ control of the land and imbues some animals with magical powers, thus creating the lusae. The lusae start fighting with the humans to regain control, but Elao gives some humans magical powers in order to fight back, thus creating the Ethereans. Calamity vows to destroy Pangaea and this causes Elao and Calamity to begin fighting themselves. The power of the fight causes the four Ethereal spirits, embodiments of the powers of earth, air, fire, and water, to flee to Pangaea. And when they leave, they say, “Three of four to open the door.” This means that it will take a majority of them to be present at the same time for anyone to come back to Ether. Elao binds Calamity’s legs in chain, banishes him under water and retreats to the sky.

After reading this story, he watches a clip of the first time the Queen was outed as an Etherean. Finally, during a phone call with his mother, he hears that Queen Aeothesca has too much unchecked power and that her retaliation, should you ever go after her, is lethal.

What You Should Love

There’s a lot of foreshadowing and worldbuilding in this chapter that should ground you further in this world. Slade’s excitement is a change from the lethargy he was feeling earlier in the day before class and that should make you feel like things are going somewhere.

A few people told me they really loved the poem that set up the ancient fight and creation of Pangaea. That comment took me by surprise because I don’t really consider myself a poet (aside from dabbling in songwriting). And I don’t know how exactly I was able to fit this story into verse. I think I was just extra-inspired that day. I credit that inspiration to my English classes where we read epic poems like The Iliad and The Odyssey. I always wondered how that style would work in the modern day, and I think I got my answer: in small doses.

I loved throwing in that detail about “…the existence of other dimensions, other gods…” and “There was even a name for one: Earth” because it should have answered the question about setting. While my original idea included an Earth that never shifted, Pangaea, the setting, is not exactly that. To be clear: this whole story takes place in a dimension different from ours. And should I get the momentum and solid direction for the sequel(s), this may be touched upon more.

Lastly, I wanted to further cast the shadow of the Queen over this story. I wanted to show that she was powerful in magic, potentially very dangerous, and build anticipation for when we can actually meet her.

What You May Dislike

By the end of the chapter, I don’t really have a hook that pushes the reader into the next chapter. This is a technical thing that I’ve noticed as a writer that you may not have been aware of, but in my current writing, I always make sure to get the reader hungry for what’s next. An example of how I may have handled this is show what Slade plans to do with the information he seeked online. Maybe have him plan to track down this Etherean student that Doug talked about. Ending it with how dangerous the Queen is and then not following up with a chapter on her makes the moment lose a bit of its oomph.

What’s Next?

Next, I’ll discuss chapter 7 where Slade and Douglassaire’s friendship grows stronger and how Slade and Gisela come across Lesech, an Etherean.

What Are Your Thoughts?

Let me know what you think about chapter 6 in the comments below or anywhere on social media.


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Pangaea Commentary Chapter 5 – Isolation

Gisela Alone

Welcome to a new blog series called Pangaea Commentary. Each week I’ll be diving into one chapter of my book, Pangaea: Unsettled Land, in sequential order to give you the following:

  • my thoughts on my intentions for the chapter
  • how things changed through various drafts
  • why you should love this chapter
  • and even why you may stop reading

I’ve learned a lot about my craft by going through the process of writing and publishing this book. This will be a great way to share what I’ve learned and provide some entertaining tidbits.

Spoiler Alert

The following will contain spoilers. Haven’t read Pangaea yet? Buy it now and follow along.

Chapter 5 Summary

Gisela returns home after school but takes a pit stop at the nearby lake. The very same lake where she lost her mother 13 years ago. She goes there to speak to her mother much like at a grave site. The loss of her mother affected her socially in the sense that she feels alone and has a hard time connecting to other students. She also notices a presence of something out there in the lake. Mentally, she feels guilty as if her mother’s death was her fault. This is only compounded when she gets home to her grandmother.

Gisela’s grandmother is introduced and the dynamic between them is toxic. Her grandmother is a tyrant, verbally abusive, and expects her to do everything around the house. She has no empathy for Gisela’s feelings or time. After an argument, Gisela runs to her room and thinks about how she’s only ever truly happy when she’s with Slade.

What You Should Love

This return to Gisela’s perspective and follow-up of what happened to her in the first chapter is probably highly anticipated by you and I tried to deliver. This one incident has shaped Gisela’s life in some tragic ways, and I’m setting up her fight to be more of an internal one.

It’s a very emotional chapter. Her speaking out to her mother at the lake, getting sidelined by peers, and yelled at by her grandmother shows this depressed girl who’s trying to take it day by day. Her feelings of “losing her friend”, Slade, are more about losing his attention to Doug. And since she sees Slade as her only source of happiness, she wonders where his pulling away/absence may leave her.

What You May Dislike

This isn’t an action scene and there isn’t a whole lot of magic. Perhaps it’s too cerebral and emotional for a fantasy novel. Or at least this early in. Perhaps you were expecting some greater momentum for the main arc. Well…not yet.

Gisela was the hardest character to write. During my many drafts of the beginning of this story (meaning all of the scenes that take place in or around Burrow University), she was always there, but always a two-dimensional “friend” character. She never had any real stakes and was never fully fleshed out. So, it was like pulling teeth to find a storyline for her. I’m happy I was finally able to give her some power in this story and make her more than just an archetype, but judging from your reactions, it wasn’t enough. If it isn’t clear in this chapter, she has a thing for Slade (which I’ll get to in a later post), and many readers didn’t enjoy that particular part of the story. Perhaps you were one of them.

Up Next In Chapter 6

We go back to Slade who’s running high on the possibilities of some excitement and we learn all about the magic of the world and get our first tidbit about Queen Aeothesca.

Do you like Gisela?

As you can see, I’ve gotten some reactions that didn’t favor this character. I’d like to know your thoughts. Leave a comment below.


If you haven’t already, sign up to my email list and get a short story in exchange. You’re gonna love it!

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Pangaea Commentary Chapter 4 – Rivals

rivalry

Welcome to a new blog series called Pangaea Commentary. Each week I’ll be diving into one chapter of my book, Pangaea: Unsettled Land, in sequential order to give you the following:

  • my thoughts on my intentions for the chapter
  • how things changed through various drafts
  • why you should love this chapter
  • and even why you may stop reading

I’ve learned a lot about my craft by going through the process of writing and publishing this book. This will be a great way to share what I’ve learned and provide some entertaining tidbits.

Spoiler Alert

The following will contain spoilers. Haven’t read Pangaea yet? Buy it now and follow along.

Chapter 4 Summary

In this chapter, we get more acquainted with Douglassaire as he trains for the Power Battle. It’s a big brawl that the Southern Third has to determine its new leader, the Commander. We learn that he is a trained warrior for his country along with the others including Lesech, his rival.

Lesech, we learn, is eager to spill blood on the battlefield. He also has a mysterious advantage when he and Doug square off in a duel. Lesech wins and Doug is a bit rattled.

Goals for Chapter 4

The goal was to add new layers to the story and set up an antagonist, Lesech. In the previous chapter, Doug dropped a rumor about a guy who may be an Etherean. In this chapter, we see Doug struggling to fight against Lesech in a weird way. Hopefully, I dropped enough hints to let people know that this was the guy.

This also gave Doug a little backstory about being at Burrow University on scholarship for being one of the best warriors. And it set up the greater arc for him with the coming Power Battle.

What You Should Love

This chapter is quick and to the point, and shows the energy that you’ll get with fight scenes. In fact, this is the first fight scene in the book. It’s a good change of pace from the previous chapters.

You’ll love Douglassaire’s range of emotion. In the previous chapter we only saw him as a curious, cool, friendly type. But in this chapter, we saw that he can get angry too, making him a fully-fleshed character.

Lesech, on the other hand is smug and you get the sense that he’s a bit jealous of Doug. And you get a glimpse at where this intense emotion can take him.

What You May Dislike

You may be turned off by the “telling” and not “showing” of Douglassaire’s background. I just didn’t want to slow the story down even more with those details. At this point, I needed some things to pick up, and what better way to do that than a fight scene with foreshadowing of a larger fight to come?

You may also have wanted a better way of describing Lesech’s “unhinged-ness” than me just writing, “[Doug] just remained on the green grass looking up at Lesech – staring into the face of insanity.” Hopefully the way I wrote the chapter as a whole sold his character for you.

What’s Next

In chapter 5 we get back to Gisela and get an update on how the ice-skating accident affected her life. Plus, her secret crush on Slade.

What are your thoughts?

What did you like or dislike about this chapter? Leave a comment and let’s talk about it.


If you haven’t already, sign up to my email list and get a short story in exchange. You’re gonna love it!

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Pangaea Commentary Chapter 3 – The Djed Key

Lecture Hall – Pangaea Chapter 3

Welcome to a new blog series called Pangaea Commentary. Each week I’ll be diving into one chapter of my book, Pangaea: Unsettled Land, in sequential order to give you the following:

  • my thoughts on my intentions for the chapter
  • how things changed through various drafts
  • why you should love this chapter
  • and even why you may stop reading

I’ve learned a lot about my craft by going through the process of writing and publishing this book. This will be a great way to share what I’ve learned and provide some entertaining tidbits.

Spoiler Alert

The following will contain spoilers. Haven’t read Pangaea yet? Buy it now and follow along.

Chapter 3 Summary:

In chapter 3, we see Slade in philosophy class at Burrow University (BU). We learn that his best friend is Gisela Benitez, the same character from chapter 1, and that she’s a bit awkward. The class begins a discussion on the lore and creation story of Pangaea; how the world was created on the isle of Ether. Ether is said to house the Djed Key and legend has it that if it were ever wielded by a human, that person would be granted the powers of their god, Elao. The only thing is, despite people having already searched all over the world, Ether cannot be found. There’s a peeling back of layers on other terms like lusae (dangerous magical creatures) and Ethereans (humans with magical abilities – of which the queen is one). And I touch slightly on the ancient tale of Elao and Calamity – a fight between gods that gave birth to the magic the lusae and Ethereans use. But, the real star of the show is the new character being introduced: Douglassaire.

He’s described as having massive arms, long legs, a deep voice, and coming off a bit arrogant to Slade. Douglassaire mentions that he may know of an Etherean that goes to school with them. This excites Slade and he wants to know more, but Doug hesitates to put his business out there just yet. By the end of the chapter, Slade finds himself even more intrigued by this new friend.

Goals for Chapter 3

My goal with this chapter was to feed you just enough historical info to flesh out the world of Pangaea while still keeping it grounded in the story and relationships of these characters. I also had to introduce my third main character, Douglassaire, and get the larger story rolling. His mention of the possibility of a fellow student being an Etherean should set up a bit of mystery for you to make you turn the page. I wanted you to question who is this Etherean and what does Etherean magic look like? At the same time, I wanted to start dropping hints of the romantic element of the story between Slade and Douglassaire – and the potential problems for that, seeing how Gisela is so unwelcoming of Doug.

What You Should Love

I think most people would enjoy seeing the friendship dynamics between Slade, Gisela, and Douglassaire play out for the first time. I also think most would have no problem picking up the hints I laid down about Slade’s attraction to Doug. They’re not explicit, but enough to make you go is he just sizing him up or is his feeling him? Many will appreciate not losing touch with Gisela after it may have seemed like she disappeared between chapter 1 and chapter 2. There are a lot of little breadcrumbs I leave here that should whet your appetite for answers.

What You May Dislike

I make a newbie mistake of head-hopping to the professor of the class for a moment. That may feel jarring to you. You may also dislike that nothing really happens. This is another setup chapter with a miniscule bit of movement forward in the narrative, and you may see now that the pace is not the same as or on par with other current fantasy novels. When I was writing this book, I had been reading a lot of literary fiction, so I think that had a lot of influence in how I structured this narrative.

Up Next

In chapter 4 I discuss Douglassaire’s rivalry with fellow warrior, Lesech, as they train for a big battle. Lesech definitely makes a big impression. Stay tuned for that.


If you haven’t already, sign up to my email list and get a short story in exchange. You’re gonna love it!

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Pangaea Commentary Chapter 2 – Rich Kid Problems

Slade’s Bedroom

Welcome to a new blog series called Pangaea Commentary. Each week I’ll be diving into one chapter of my book, Pangaea: Unsettled Land, in sequential order to give you the following:

  • my thoughts on my intentions for the chapter
  • how things changed through various drafts
  • why you should love this chapter
  • and even why you may stop reading

I’ve learned a lot about my craft by going through the process of writing and publishing this book. This will be a great way to share what I’ve learned and provide some entertaining tidbits.

Spoiler Alert

The following will contain spoilers. Haven’t read Pangaea yet? Buy it now and follow along.

Chapter 2 Summary: Meet Slade Maxwell

Chapter 2 is a short one and we’re introduced to Slade Maxwell who is a student at Burrow University in the Northern Third. We learn he’s rather well off for student because he has his own penthouse apartment and plenty more. We also learn that he’s a little dissatisfied with his life. As he is getting ready for class, his slightly helicopter parent of a mother calls him to check in on him, knowing that he’s not in the best head space. We learn about Slade’s recent breakup with a guy named Mason, and his mother is supportive saying “When you find the right one, bring him to me first.”

A lot in his life is already set. He’s expected to come home to see his family during his upcoming spring break and he’s also expected to work for the Queen after he graduates. This is something that his family has done for generations as nobles. We end the chapter realizing that this set path is not necessarily something Slade wants. He wants something different; some adventure and some new experiences.

Goals

My goal with this chapter was to introduce you to the main character and show you his pain points and his motives. I wanted you to get a feel for who Slade was and see just how complex of a character he was. He’s dealing with family expectations, a recent breakup with a jerk, and stuffing his own wants and needs down out of a sense of tradition. I think this makes him a very relatable character. And he’s someone that closely resembled me at the time of writing this book.

I started writing this book in my senior year of college and I was in a head space of not knowing what I wanted to do with my life and feeling like I had just checked off the “college” box for my parents. Especially my mom. Now, I wouldn’t call her the most overbearing parent ever, but there were definitely some helicopter tendencies. It was all done out of love, but when a parent doesn’t let go (or push), it’s then up to the adult child to stretch their wings on their own. And that’s a scary thing to do because you’re leaving the safety behind. I’ve also had my own issues in finding love.

Mason is definitely inspired by a few of the guys that I’ve dated. They say all the right things, they flirt, things appear to be going in a deeper direction, but one day they disappear. I’ve even dealt with guys who weren’t truly interested, but kept flirting like they were only to disengage after I asked for clarity. Dealing with that is super hurtful and it makes you wonder what it is about you that pushes these people away or draws these people to you in the first place.

With all this pressure on Slade, he feels the need to break free from the current state of his life. And we see how he does that in the coming chapters.

Why You Should Love this Chapter

I think you would love this chapter because a lot of what Slade is going through is very relatable, especially for those in our late teens/early 20s. We’re trying to figure out what life is going to be like in the future and balance our own autonomy, but still trying to maintain a level of security. Also, this is a break from the dramatic previous chapter and I’m able to show you that I can be very light and normal for a moment.

Why You May Dislike the Chapter

You may dislike this chapter because you may feel fooled that Gisela is not the main character. You may want to follow her story a little bit more and get the aftermath of her mother’s mysterious death, but the story quickly shifts gears. Chapter 1 acts as more of a prologue. When writing this, I was unaware of how people looked down on that type of device. But, if you stick with it, you’ll see that Gisela makes a return.

You may also feel that Slade’s problems are too surface level. He’s a rich kid with all of the advantages in the world, and his complaints may make it too hard to engage.

Next for Chapter 3

In chapter 3, a lot of lore gets introduced, adding to the fantasy aspect of the story. Plus, you get to meet your new favorite character, Douglassaire. Stay tuned next week.


If you haven’t already, sign up to my email list and get a short story in exchange. You’re gonna love it!

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Pangaea Commentary Chapter 1 – Whispering Waters

Pangaea Commentary

Welcome to a new blog series called Pangaea Commentary. Each week I’ll be diving into one chapter of my book, Pangaea: Unsettled Land, in sequential order to give you the following:

  • my thoughts on my intentions for the chapter
  • how things changed through various drafts
  • why you should love this chapter
  • and even why you may stop reading

I’ve learned a lot about my craft by going through the process of writing and publishing this book. This will be a great way to share what I’ve learned and provide some entertaining tidbits.

Spoiler Alert

The following will contain spoilers. Haven’t read Pangaea yet? Buy it now and follow along.

Pangaea Commentary

Chapter 1 Summary

In this chapter we get introduced to a young, eight-year-old Gisela Benitez. It’s a wintry day in the Northern Third and she’s wet and freezing while sitting in the snow by the frozen lake. She’s crying and her neighbors who have passed by, a father and son, are trying to console her. The father says “Nobody could have fallen in the lake,” which lets us know that something inexplicable has happened to put Gisela in such distress.

We do a quick time jump backwards to just moments ago when Gisela and her mother arrive at the lake to go ice skating. We’re introduced to the term lusae, which means magical creatures, as they come across a ceffyl, or horse that can control water. There’s also a line that serves as a teaser to the larger forces at play in this book:

She was constantly amazed at her daughter’s lack of fear in a world where people feared so much. The lusae, Ethereans, the elements themselves, even the people of the other Great Nations.

Once the ceffyl is gone and it’s safe to skate, Gisela is quick to leave her slower mother behind and get on the ice. Once she does, she’s startled when a wispy voice calls out to her. After investigating, she falls through the ice, and her mother successfully saves her. They think all is well, but as soon as Gisela turns her back, she hears a splash. She looks back to see her mother is gone and the hole she fell through it completely frozen once again. She frantically cries out for her mother while hearing the voice again, saying, “I’ll be waiting for you, Gisela…”

Goals & Changes

My goal with this chapter was to start this book off with a bang. I wanted you hooked with an intense scene that also started the job of worldbuilding. In addition to the list of terms in the above quote, I also have Gisela’s mom pleading to this world’s god, Elao, as she frantically saves her daughter.

I originally did not include the first section of this chapter – where Gisela is being consoled by neighbors. It had started with Gisela and her mom’s arrival to the scene. I strove for a lot of beautiful language to set up the scene including one of my personal favorites, “The sun hid behind the clouds, but peeked through from time to time as if watching events unfold and anticipating a scene it did not wish to witness.” But, even with all of that, it was brought to my attention that starting a scene off by describing the setting was impersonal. Readers connect to characters. And because of that, I decided to include that first scene so you got a better idea of who Gisela was. I made sure to maintain a tone of dismay to keep you anticipating the big tragedy that was soon to come.

Why You Should Love This Chapter

I think I did a good job of setting the tone for the narrative to come. With the whole ice skating rescue/tragedy scenario, I showed that I can keep you anticipating something big and deliver on that promise. There’s a trust I tried to gain with this opening chapter, and if I got it from you, you know that I’ll deliver on all the other breadcrumbs I left lingering.

Why You May Put Down The Book

If you find yourself uninterested at this point, it may just be a lack of polish on my part. This was my first book, and as such, regardless of how much I tried to hide it, there are probably some cracks that showed to the more avid readers or editors out there. You also may be confused about why Gisela and her mom rode in on horseback, but used some futuristic binoculars. That with the mention of wheelers, or cars, despite the explanation of why they hadn’t used one (they didn’t want to stir up any dangerous lusae) may lead some to think I don’t have a firm grasp on what kind of book this is. You may ask, “Is this like Lord of the Rings or is this more of an urban fantasy?” And to be quite honest, I’ve had trouble answering that question when asked face-to-face because the truth is, it’s a mixture of both. It’s an epic fantasy set in modernized times in a different world. So it’s not clear cut, and that may trouble some.

Looking Ahead to Chapter 2

In the next post, I’ll discuss our introduction to the main character, Slade Maxwell, and dig into the inspiration for his character. Now I’m not saying Slade is me, but there’s a lot here that closely resembled my life – from my relationship with my mom, what I was expected to do after graduating college, and even the failures in my love life. Stay tuned for that. It might get deep.


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Using the Fear: Where Is the Pangaea Sequel?

kid waiting by rainy window

If you’ve read my first book, Pangaea: Unsettled Land, you may be wondering where the sequel is and if there will ever be one. You may be excited for the upcoming release of its prequel, The Auctorati, but for some of you that may not cut it. You want to jump back into the lives of Slade, Douglassaire, and Gisela and see where the adventure takes you next. So, where is the sequel? In short, it’s in my head, but that’s not completely accurate.

A Stalled Draft

I’ve already begun writing the Pangaea sequel. So that’s good news! The bad news, is that it’s still in its beginning stages. It’s super slow going and I’d blame it on an abundance of ideas for other stories, not really having this story outlined the way I need to feel confident in it, and editing and releasing the upcoming novella as well as my latest short story, The End of Forever. However, the biggest contributor to my stalled progress is…well, me.

You can either let fear stop you or fuel you.

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It All Boils Down to Fear

You know when a TV show starts off great, but goes on too long because it just had to keep up with customer demand? It usually ends up being terrible because the writers obviously ran out of ideas. I don’t want that for Pangaea. And I think that’s the biggest thing that’s holding me back. The question I ask myself is, Am I doing this because there’s more story here, or am I doing it just to make fans of the first book happy? Both are important, but I don’t want to create fluff. I want to give you something that’s worthwhile.

The Good News

The good news is I’m not out of ideas. I have a lot of inklings of where I can go next with these characters, and some of it is already drafted. I just need to fight through the self-doubt and uncertainty.

You can either let fear stop you or fuel you. I’m going to write this sequel. And starting now, I’m using that fear. It’s a sign on the road of what not to make this next book. With that, I can turn from that path towards the best version possible.


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