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.


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.

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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BooksMy Thoughts

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.

Want to see if my writing is for you?

Sign up for my emails and get an exciting short story that shows you just what I’m working with.

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‘The Auctorati’ – Characters of the ‘Pangaea’ Prequel

auctorati silhouette

If you’ve noticed, lately there’s been a bit more activity for me. Just last week, I released my third short story, The End of Forever, and I’m gearing up for my next major release, The Auctorati. Read on to learn more about the story, how it fits into the world of Pangaea, and just who these people are.

What does Auctorati mean?

Auctorati is the title given to paid volunteers who became gladiators and fought in the Colosseum in Rome. You can get the full definition here, but that’s where I got the name of my fictional group from. Since in Pangaea: Unsettled Land they were bounty hunters, I figured it a fitting name for a paid group of warriors.

What is The Auctorati about?

Tired of seeing his city in ruin, a vigilante forms a team of fighters with a common enemy who’s pulling the strings of government to his own will. Their quest to take him down involves fighting a shadowy gang, dangerous creatures, and each other, all while finding the secrets of a dragon which could be used to destroy them all.

Who are the characters?

Libra - The Auctorati


After quitting the police force, Libra became the city’s protector, known as ‘The Auctorat’. He wants to free the city from the grip of Talon’s corruption, but it will take more than just him…

“If we team up, we have a chance at really changing something.”


With parents killed by mysterious creatures, wise-cracking Vinzant made a life for himself on the streets and sees a need for change. He teams up with Libra to find a way to bring down Talon for good.

“Who’s the sidekick now?”


Micks - The Auctorati

After failing to kill his mark, Talon, and getting the money he needs to live lavishly, this assassin and master of disguise, finds his way into Libra’s group, but who’s side is he on? Talon, is the man with the cash after all…

“Don’t we have the same enemy?”


Kandyce - The Auctorati

After her girlfriend is killed by Talon’s thugs, she vows revenge even if it means burning him with her own magic. However, her mission gets complicated after joining Libra and seeing another life is on the line…

“If I was after you, you’d be dead by now.”


Jack - The Auctorati

When falsely accused of an attempted assassination on the mayor, Chef Jack loses everything. Libra gives him a place to hide out, and in return, Jack lends him a hand. But, someone in the group may have set him up…

“It’ll be hell trying to restore my reputation…”


Talon - The Auctorati

The once-advisor to Queen Aeothesca is now pulling the strings of the mayor in a new city. Always a step behind real power, he seeks the power of a Dragon to make his biggest move yet.

“You will all kneel to me!”

See Who I’d Cast

If you follow me on social media, chances are you’ve seen me post these character synopses before. Check out my full thread on Twitter, complete with pictures of their qualities and who I think could play them if it were ever made into a movie. And while you’re there, give me a follow! Keep in mind, the photos are just ideas. Your interpretation of the characters are what matter.

Coming Soon!

Sign up to my email list to know when pre-orders are available. And in the meantime, get a taste of how my stories feel to you by getting the short story, The End of Forever, in exchange.

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Pangaea Character Illustrations

Pangaea Characters

Pangaea: Unsettled Land is my first fantasy novel and I’m excited to reveal the artwork for my characters. I wanted to do this to give people a better idea of what to expect from the story. I also wanted people to see that this was a very diverse cast. After posting a call for illustrators on Facebook, a friend mentioned the services of Perry Santulli. I linked up with him and the process of getting these characters illustrated was fantastic from start to finish.

Read on to learn all about Slade, Douglassaire, Gisela, Gigi, and Queen Aeothesca.

Pangaea Characters

Slade Maxwell | Pangaea: Unsettled Land

Slade Maxwell

Slade is of noble blood and expected to work for the Queen after he graduates college. However, he feels that there must be something more out there for him. After learning about a mythical sword that’s said to have brought magic to the world, Slade teams up with his best friend Gisela, and his handsome classmate/warrior Douglassaire, to find out all about it secrets. All that digging leads him to a choice between taking the path already laid before him and taking a chance on something new. He also finds himself a foe of the very Queen he would serve.

Douglassaire Hart / Heuresyt

Douglassaire Hart

A warrior of the Southern Third. After learning the sordid details of his father’s demise, Douglassaire vows to become Commander – leader of his country – and enact vengeance upon the Middle Third.

Gisela Benitez | Pangaea: Unsettled Land

Gisela Benitez

After the mysterious death of her mother, Gisela is just trying to move ahead, but the discoveries of her friends pull her into the fight of her life – a fight that could finally lead to answers.

Gigi | Pangaea: Unsettled Land


Once locked away, Gigi is finally free and betrothed to one of the wealthiest men in the Northern Third. Her fiancé should watch out – there’s a sinister force just beneath the surface whose happily ever after does not include him.

Queen Aeothesca

Queen Aeothesca

The Queen of the Middle Third has followed all the rules of peace thus far. But she’s an Etherean – a magic-user, whose kind is held at arm’s length from mainstream society. After seeing that her efforts do nothing to remove her from suspicion, she goes for even more power, putting the world at risk.

Purchase Pangaea Today

Get Pangaea: Unsettled Land in print or e-book form at the following retailers:

And get a taste of my work with two free short stories just for subscribing to my email list.

Check out Perry Santulli’s artwork portfolio for more fantastic work. Follow him on social media as well: Instagram | Facebook.

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BooksMy Thoughts

‘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


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:

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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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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

no thumb

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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