A Lesson I learnt as an Author

Hello everyone. This is my first blog in practically ages. Because of that I didn’t want to head straight into more trivia, facts or bios about Predgarians.

I do want to tell you all what I’ve been doing in my absence though.

The funny thing about being a writer is that even when there’s no pen in hand or fingers tapping on keyboard – we’re still working.

Our brains don’t let us rest, ever. Even in sleep, our heads often tell us stories.

The last few months, since before Christmas in fact, I’ve been wading through mud.

I don’t know whether you’d call it being closed, guarded or just proud, but I’ve always had this thing – even when I was a teenager. I’d happily tell people my dreams, aspirations, achievements, but the other stuff I’d brush under the carpet.

All my failures, my flaws, my fears, as far as other people were concerned they didn’t exist.

I wouldn’t let anyone see those things, and I really didn’t do this on purpose, but I created an outside persona that wasn’t all of me. I really think people thought I had no problems.

I don’t like to talk about it. The world has lots of problems without me throwing mine out there as well.

But here I am, on the verge of telling you all. I’m not going to spell it out, I can’t go that far, I guess I’m not open enough. Let’s just say my fears get the better of me sometimes, and when that happens the world gets very dark.

There was something else pulling me down as well as my own mind though, and for the longest time I couldn’t work out what it was.

Then a good friend of mine made a very good point. She said:

Christine, you do realise that for the last year and a half you’ve been doing nothing but revising and editing?

It stopped me in my tracks. I realised she was right, I hadn’t actually wrote anything new in ages.

So even though I have deadlines, I set Predgarians to the side and began to write a side project I’d had in mind for a while. I had to really, because not only was Predgarians suffering, but I felt dead inside.

I enjoyed myself tremendously and by the end, I looked on Predgarians book 3 with excitement, not dread.

So I learned a very important lesson here, and I know what to do if this ever happens again.

I’m not out of the mire just yet though. I’m working on it, and I’ll try to blog again with some frequency – and I’m going to work my ass off to make Predgarians 3 a book you’ll all love and not be able to put down.

Look out for it this Christmas, I can’t tell you much about it just yet, but it features all the usual suspects – and Jackal is far from finished with Falcon.

Advertisements

The Red Jackal

Hello friends, I’m sorry I’ve been silent for a bit longer than usual. I’ve not really been in a good place for writing lately – however, one cannot expect the world of Predgarians to sit still.

So today I’m going to nip over to the other side and talk about Jackal. Like Falcon, this character has evolved so much from the original idea that it’s safe to say he might as well be a different person.

One thing I really didn’t expect was the love the readers would have for this man. He’s my villain, my antagonist – so why do people like him so much?

Well, it turns out that readers like bad guys who are intelligent, witty, look badass, and can kick ass as well.

Jackal is certainly all of the above, and I’m told the tension that is created when he’s with Falcon is very good too.

I’ve really enjoyed putting Jackal together as a character, he’s fun to write. His scheming mind keeps my brain sharp and his wit makes his interactions memorable.

So what can I tell you about the Sarpien general?

It’s mentioned in Mind Games that Jackal has been a Sarpien for 49 years. A lengthy time of service, but not as long as some others I could mention (yes, I’m looking at you, Cobra.)

He wasn’t always a general, of course. He started off as just another Sarpien warrior in the service of a mediocre blue sclithe. It wasn’t long before his first general singled him out for his expertise and intellect.

After several years of trying to get noticed, he was transferred to Rajiti to serve Lord Gavelgash. It was less than a year before the general, Silver Warthog, promoted him to Elite.

Warthog kept his Elite small in number, fearing too many Sarpiens plotting his downfall. This only made it easier for Jackal to excel though, and he cut a path to the top – quite literally, with his blood-red sabre.

It was less than a week later when Lord Gavelgash was gifted a Sarpien from another sclithe in a gesture of goodwill and respect. Gavelgash knew of this warrior and her growing reputation, so she was given a spot in the Elite of the very new General Red Jackal.

Though at first these two were at odds, always trying to kill or at least out-do each other, they soon saw the benefits of working together.

Jackal taught the new warrior the art of intrigue and guile, demonstrating how the long game could be more satisfying to watch, and she taught Jackal a level of brutality he hadn’t considered, and how it could affect the minds of their enemies.

Gavelgash’s name became known across all Courin because of his two most prized and feared warriors. Dakkonin armies would visibly falter when Jackal and his partner stood across from them.

But gone are those days. The Dakkonin defeated Gavelgash in the end, and Jackal’s partner was killed…allegedly. After all, it’s not like her body was ever found or anything.

Silver Falcon

Hello friends, as promised, today I’m going to talk a bit about Falcon. The question is – where to start?

At this point, I can’t dig too much into her past, cos spoilers, however, there’s still a lot I can tell you.

Three years before Jackal’s Gambit begins, the woman called Karen Fireirro had just become walking dead, and was marked for death by the Black Emissaries, the most dangerous Sarpiens on Courin.

Why was this fairly short and average-appearing Unician marked? because she’d been a Sarpien too. When the Dakkonin managed the impossible and actually slew the mighty Gavelgash, Karen was far enough away that her mind wasn’t obliterated by her master’s demise.

She’s been on the run ever since, having regained her mind and free-will. Every Sarpien that comes into contact with her (and recognises her) wants her dead. Well, almost all of them. The one exception is the Red Jackal.

Karen and Jackal worked together for 27 years. Together they made a name for themselves, throwing the world into chaos and bloodshed, giving an example of appropriate behaviour for the younger, up and coming Sarpiens.

Jackal has wanted Karen back by his side ever since, and that desire has turned to desperate need since she appeared in Steiron.

Karen’s actions have naturally got nothing to do with Jackal. As walking dead she has no interest in the man, but her decision to stand her ground and fight, once more taking up a medallion, has inflamed Jackal to the point he has trouble thinking about anything else.

As the Silver Falcon, Karen now has the means to defend herself from her enemies, but it means so much more than that as well.

Now she stands with the Predgarians, no longer apart, no longer alone, and fights to protect her new friends and the city of Steiron.

This is very bad news for Jackal, because Falcon also brings with her everything she’s learned as a Sarpien.

Falcon, as well as being exceptional in combat, knows Sarpien strategy well, but also knows Jackal. Her ability to second-guess the general and see almost immediately when her old partner has had a hand in something, will ensure Jackal has no choice but to rethink how he lays his plans in the future.

White Dove

Hello friends, it’s that time again.

Now I have no idea what your opinion of the White Dove might be, but the feedback from various sources tell me this particular Avian is well-liked.

This woman, who is far older than she appears, bears a serene grace. She is beautiful with clear but intelligent blue eyes and long sunny hair.

Always calm and collected, she always has her team mates in mind and thanks to her skill in empathy, always knows when one of them is feeling down. She is also incredibly hard to lie to.

Despite outward appearances, she is not perfect. She was trained in Phoenicia, the capital of the Pharollin Order. Her training sometimes takes over and will sometimes meddle in affairs she has no business in. She is also known to gently steer people in a particular direction for what she believes is their own good.

Thankfully, Dove genuinely cares about people, so when she does manipulate people to take a certain action, it usually is for their benefit – a prime example being when she persuades Karen to join the Predgarians.

Dove also has a playful side which only reveals itself when around people she is comfortable with. She was trained to always appear respectable and serious to the outside world, so her humour is usually quite muted. When in the company of Lion or Falcon though, it shines through, showing she has a natural wit and fondness for the occasional prank.

This should not be all that surprising considering her family though, who are known for their unconventional opinions and decisions.

White Dove is a member of the Phain family. Now to you and me that might be just a word, but on Courin, it’s one of the most famous names on the planet. They’re known for a few things, the first and most prominent being that every Phain since the founding of the Orders has always carried a phoenix medallion. The second is that a Phain was the first ever Pharollin warrior, and the third that every Phain are exceptional in their ability to use the Power.

Dove has been no exception. Before becoming a Predgarian she was called the White Phoenix and was known as one of the most powerful women on Courin.

She willingly gave up her powerful medallion and entered the Predgarian Order. To many, this has seemed a bizarre act, especially to her two brothers.

Dove is a white warrior, and her first call and love is to healing the injured. Trapped in her place as a Pharollin councillor, she rarely had opportunity to interact with the people who needed her. Knowing that would never change whilst calling herself a phoenix, but also knowing the Pharollin would never accept her demotion, she left.

Now she’s where she wants to be, a mundane job compared to her Pharollin duties perhaps, but Dove is now in a place she can use her healing powers – and just as well, because the Silver Falcon tends to bleed fairly often.

Speaking of Falcon, I think I’ve made you all wait long enough. Next week, we’ll put her in the spotlight, and I’ll tell you a few things about the close-mouthed heroine you might not know.

Green Swallow

The woman known as the Green Swallow is not to be underestimated, despite having the name of such a small and pretty bird.

Beginning life in the old city of Kian, she was the youngest daughter of a shopkeeper and was raised in the shop, helping her parents and sisters sell fruit and vegetables.

The youngest of the family, as she grew she couldn’t help but become resentful of her sisters, one the beauty of Kian, the other becoming famous for her lovely voice. Swallow found her greatest talents were in her attention to detail and her studious mind.

Swallow’s father saw this and before long she was given double the responsibility of her sisters. This didn’t make Swallow feel better about her place in the family though. She felt slighted, as if her family thought stocking shelves and serving customers was all she was good for.

Swallow yearned for more than the simple life Kian offered, and to prove to her family she had more to offer than just stock-taking and running numbers.

Practical in her methods from an early age, it didn’t take her long to cover all the fields she could excel in. She decided that if she wanted the same popularity and growing fame of her sisters then becoming a medallion warrior might be the best way to do it – plus it meant she would still be young and smooth-faced when her sisters grew old.

Joining one of the five Orders turned out not to be as easy as she’d hoped though. The Dakkonin instantly turned her down due to her age, the Unicians because she had no aptitude for healing and the Pharollin because she’d no obvious talent for the Power.

The Darphon were a closed Order so this left only one option – the Predgarians. Swallow managed to get accepted as a Predgarian candidate and soon proved her worth for she had a keen mind and a disciplined body.

It was during this time she discovered her talents in the Power and her life was changed forever. Becoming addicted to the energies she could draw on, Swallow became obsessed with increasing her skill, being stronger than her class mates and finding ways to gain even more power.

Swallow earned her place as a Predgarian and was assigned to Predas. She excelled and was sent to Sharan a few years later. Unknown to her comrades in the Order, this is where Swallow’s life took another turn – but for the worse this time.

Still motivated by her love of power, she finally found what she’d been seeking – a teacher in the arcane. His tutorship came with a price though. He stated that to become truly powerful then one had to walk paths lesser people would shy from.

Swallow was adamant she would do whatever it took to become the world’s most powerful sorceress.

Her vow of commitment given, her new mentor agreed to teach her and soon after, presented her to his sclithe.

Swallow’s ambition was never-ending, and she soon outgrew not only her mentor, but her place as a Sharan Sarpien as well. She had an edge which most Sarpiens didn’t have, she was still working as a Predgarian.

Becoming a spy for her sclithe presented her with an open door, because many sclithe and Sarpien generals would welcome the inside info she could give them.

This when added to her Power skills and knowledge of dark magic, made her quite a prize and Swallow found it easy to transfer to a more powerful master.

Before long she was in Steiron working for Trine, mightiest of the green. Her career in the powerful sclithe’s tunnels didn’t go according to plan, for she met her match in the likes of Bronze Cobra and Red Jackal, but she is still alive and still scheming.

The tale of the Green Swallow is far from over, and she won’t forgive Jackal and Cobra for moving against her.

Tiger and Hawk

As you begin to read Jackal’s Gambit, it’s easy to see Fire Tiger as a breed apart.

Even in the latest book, Mind Games, she still remains the only warrior to have an element in front of her name.

The honorific ‘fire’ means she is far more powerful than the average red, like Jackal for instance.

To get a true representation of this woman, one needs to pay attention to the interactions between not only her and her team mates, but between her and outsiders, such as Falcon.

On the surface she has a bubbly personality, always up for a joke and laugh. Scratch the surface and you’ll find strength, determination, a keen mind and a responsible attitude.

Fire Tiger comes from a long line of Predgarian warriors, and was raised within the hidden city of Predgariah itself. She’s always known she would become a warrior, and has worked hard to meet the standards and expectations of her elders.

Tiger isn’t bitter about this. Being a medallion warrior is everything to her, and her family is famous for its affinity with fire.

This is not to say her career has run smoothly thus far. She is a young warrior, being only twenty-three. Being favoured by the Predgarian elders (and also the best in her class) earned her an important first assignment.

Tiger was sent to West Sector Steiron, a place with not only known sclithe activity, but where some infamous Sarpiens were also currently residing.

Tiger was quite put out when she realised her first ever captain was a man only two years older than her.

The first year or so the relationship between her and Golden Lion was strained, but Lion eventually managed to prove to Tiger he was worthy of her respect and loyalty.

Tiger is a solid member of Lion’s team, and one of the strongest, despite her short height and often harried features. As the story continues, not only Lion, but Hawk, Falcon, Jay and many others will come to rely on her power, friendship and cheerful demeanour.

Another member of the West Sector team is the Bronze Hawk. This individual is also known not only for his prowess but his easy-going nature and willingness to laugh at danger.

Where Fire Tiger jokes to relieve the tension of others however, Hawk often does to cover his own fear.

The bronze warrior is swift and accurate, and the only bronze Predgarian working in Steiron. He was not trained in Predgariah as Tiger was though. Born and raised on the streets of Joinstohm, the greatest city on Courin, he had to learn to look after himself from a young age.

The need to survive (and pay the bills) made the tall Ischaclappe Islander do some things he would have rather not, things that to this day he has not shared with his Predgarian team mates.

Hawk eventually left Joinstohm and came to Steiron, and found a way to put his past dealings to good use, protecting the city from the Sarpiens.

A little impatient, wary of Tiger and Dove’s dependency on the Power, and incredulous of the way Tiger and Leopard just fling themselves into battle in such a carefree manner, Hawk hides his fears and doubts behind sarcasm and an eager cockiness he does not feel.

Though on the surface it seems they are too different to ever get along, when Lion and Dove suggest he partners with the Silver Falcon, he doesn’t object, seeing right away that underneath the faces they both show the world, they have their similarities.

Rhino and Osprey

Not much is known of the gigantic Sarpien called Rhino. He is easily recognisable on the street, armour or no, thanks to his impressive height, bulk and powerful muscles.

At first glance Rhino seems to be overflowing with strength, at second glance, this is proven true.

He does have flaws however. The first is his intellect. He doesn’t think things through often, relying on Jackal and Cobra to do that for him. He finds complicated orders difficult to understand.

Rhino doesn’t mind being out of the loop when it comes to the planning stage of the plots and schemes laid out by Jackal. Rhino has an almost child-like trust in his general, believing the Red Jackal has his best interests at heart.

There is not much reason for Rhino to think this, and Jackal himself sometimes wonders why Rhino is so loyal.

It stems mostly from Rhino’s childhood. As a potential raised in the tunnels, Rhino was always bound for Sarpien recruitment since even in adolescence he was of extraordinary girth. Growing up he’d heard great tales of the likes of Cobra, Mantis, Jackal – to name a few. None had stirred his admiration and imagination as much as the mighty Red Jackal though.

Rhino’s worth as a Sarpien warrior has always been undeniable, no matter who held the rank of general, and the Red Jackal was no exception. Upon arriving in Trine’s tunnels to take over the sclithe’s army, he found the Bronze Cobra and Grey Rhino in the Elite, and were the only two to keep their positions.

Grey Rhino is not the only Sarpien to start as a lowly potential and rise to Elite though.

Predgarians: Mind Games introduces the young Grey Osprey. First appearing in Jackal’s Gambit as a nameless trainee in the Sarpien tunnels, the teenager is singled out by Jackal upon learning he is training in Avian.

Deciding to place him under Silver Harrier’s personal tutorage, in Mind Games Jackal brings forward the Initiation, realising that with the threat of the Silver Falcon nearby, Harrier may need someone to watch his back.

Osprey passes his test and not only becomes a Sarpien, but is immediately raised to elite by Jackal.

Not even two days pass before Osprey gets his first ever encounter with Falcon. Safe to say it’s one he won’t be forgetting in a hurry. As a young warrior, only just finding his feet amongst his Sarpien elders, he hates how much attention Jackal and Harrier give the Silver Falcon, and is determined that if they succeed in capturing her, that she doesn’t end up being his replacement.