In 2016 I published three prequels which lay the foundation for the epic space opera series, T’nari RenegadesPleiadian Cycle. Each book can be read as a stand-alone story, but when read as a collection, they build on each other and introduce key concepts and pivotal characters who come together in the upcoming first novel, Blood of the Prime.

To experience the “full flavor” of the series, read the prequels in the following recommended order:

T'nari Renegades Chronology

TO STEAL A MOON

I’ve never been satisfied with one-dimensional bad guys. Adversaries who do nasty things just because, well, they’re bad, are simplistic and boring, and I tend to fault writers who don’t give me enough substance to understand these important characters. At the very least, I want to be given a glimpse inside the thinking and emotions of characters who create conflict, and to be shown what may have led them to do what they do before I judge them. After all, “bad” is a matter of perspective.

When I decided to write shorter works to release before publishing the whopper first novel of my series, I asked my sons which characters they would be interested in learning more about. I was surprised and intrigued when one of them suggested a backstory for Bálok and Izar, two of the kingpins of the reptilian Drahks, the antagonists of the entire series.

And so the short-story-which-became-a-novella was launched. I knew I had my work cut out for me to craft a story around some very violent men. The challenge was to step into the heart of their culture and bring the reader inside Drahkian psychology while creating  sympathetic characters and a captivating storyline. No small task – but I pulled it off.

To Steal a Moon is told entirely from the point of view of Bálok, Lord of the Eltanin system, head of a noble house within the elite caste of Ka Drahks, subservient only to the ruling minority of Goran Drahks in Draco. Females and other races, including other reptilians, are barely-noticed, viewed simply as commodities to be used or consumed while the males of the ruling gentry vie for power, wealth, and prestige.

BalokFighting plays center stage within Drahkian society and so the plot is centered on a grand tournament. Writing interesting fight scenes within the framework of a long, three-day sporting event turned out to be a slippery task. I drew on my own limited experience in Taekwondo for the action and geared the pacing to follow the emotional breakdown of a damaged man chasing after revenge.

The result? A fast-paced, raw, suspenseful thriller which paints a very graphic picture of men at the top of a depraved culture motivated by conquest.

DESCENT OF THE MAW

The second of the prequels delves into the backstories of two of my all-time favorite characters.

Magnus PortraitMagnus Talrésian is a young captain in the starfleet of Alcyone. He’s an intelligent, capable leader and tends to be loud and overbearing, but his heart is entirely in the right place. He’s a dedicated father and deep feeler who has a difficult time coming to terms with loss in a devastating war against the invading Drahkian Empire.

Kirian Vall is a brilliant psychic adept of the Makhás tiger clans of Sirius, masters of geometry and sound, and designers of the great, sentient Khalama starships. Brooding and sober, Kirian reluctantly steps into the shoes of his deceased father to lead the sole surviving band of adepts and their families in their quest to escape Lyonnae before they are captured or wiped out by the violent leonine Shitza and their off-world reptilian masters.

What these two men have in common is passionate intensity and an unflagging drive to protect the people dear to them. Due to the incredible pressure of fighting for survival, they both internalize the stress that comes with leadership and are prone to blaming themselves when events turn sour.

Their stories are laid out in parallel throughout the novel and touch on the mysterious circumstances which ultimately bring them together. We come to understand what shapes the choices they make in order to meet the inevitable challenges which still lie in their future.

FLARE SHIFTER

This riveting novella holds a special place within the lineup of prequels and takes us into the heart and fears of an extraordinary man.

Ryder Dundalk is the superlative introvert and loner, for good reason – he fears for his life. His world of touch-sensetive shapeshifters was overrun by the Drahkian Empire long before he was born and he has grown up with the terror of living as property under the harsh rule of reptilian nobility (Overlord Bálok makes an appearance).

A master goldsmith by trade, he walks a razor’s edge between his privileged status as a valuable artisan and certain death if the secret he holds close is ever discovered by the vicious Lord Tiro, Master of the Assassins Guild.

His precarious balance and protective walls of isolation come tumbling down when a naive, heartbroken woman crosses his path and connects him with wells of emotion he thought he had buried long ago. For her sake, he finds a core of inner strength which leads him down a dangerous path in order to claim his freedom.

Depth of Worldbuilding

As I work my way through the lengthy novel I wrote twenty years ago (Blood of the Prime) where all of the above characters originated, I’m amazed at the enormous difference writing these prequels has made to the overall story. I understand these people, their worlds, their thoughts and feelings so much more than I did before. A richer, deeper tone is infusing itself into the characters and events of the novel as I polish and craft each scene for the final version. It’s like adding the layers of color to the monochrome underpainting practiced at one time by European masters.

In addition, I am discovering that many of the new characters developed in the prequels will find their way into the broader series. I like who they are and can’t imagine the story now without them. Several concepts, such as psychic linkage through disrupted portal locks and the generation of toroidal fields to lift and move objects, became much more focused and clear as I wrote and discussed the prequel stories with both of my sons (my sharp support team).

I’ve also changed more than a bit myself in twenty years. I’m a thousand times better writer than I used to be and I’ve lived with the core ideas long enough to see which threads are primary and which details can easily drop away. The direction of the entire series has shifted as I’ve shifted and will ultimately have a much stronger thrust than I originally conceived. Of course, I’m not finished changing, so this wild story I’ve begun still has exciting developments to explore that I have yet to imagine. That’s the supremely satisfying part of being a writer – seeing the colorful ideas that push the boundaries of my paradigm come to life through vivid characters and finely crafted tales.

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Erin MacMichael is a science fantasy author and artist, creator of the T'nari Renegades series of novellas, novels, covers, and artwork. Her lifelong quest has been to explore past the boundaries of conventional thinking and figure out what really has transpired on this planet. She has traveled extensively throughout the world and lives in the Pacific Northwest with her marvelous offspring.

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In 2016 I published three prequels which lay the foundation for the epic space opera series, T’nari RenegadesPleiadian Cycle. Each book can be read as a stand-alone story, but when read as a collection, they build on each other and introduce key concepts and pivotal characters who come together in the upcoming first novel, Blood of the Prime.

To experience the “full flavor” of the series, read the prequels in the following recommended order:

T'nari Renegades Chronology

TO STEAL A MOON

I’ve never been satisfied with one-dimensional bad guys. Adversaries who do nasty things just because, well, they’re bad, are simplistic and boring, and I tend to fault writers who don’t give me enough substance to understand these important characters. At the very least, I want to be given a glimpse inside the thinking and emotions of characters who create conflict, and to be shown what may have led them to do what they do before I judge them. After all, “bad” is a matter of perspective.

When I decided to write shorter works to release before publishing the whopper first novel of my series, I asked my sons which characters they would be interested in learning more about. I was surprised and intrigued when one of them suggested a backstory for Bálok and Izar, two of the kingpins of the reptilian Drahks, the antagonists of the entire series.

And so the short-story-which-became-a-novella was launched. I knew I had my work cut out for me to craft a story around some very violent men. The challenge was to step into the heart of their culture and bring the reader inside Drahkian psychology while creating sympathetic characters and a captivating storyline. No small task – but I pulled it off.

To Steal a Moon is told entirely from the point of view of Bálok, Lord of the Eltanin system, head of a noble house within the elite caste of Ka Drahks, subservient only to the ruling minority of Goran Drahks in Draco. Females and other races, including other reptilians, are barely-noticed, viewed simply as commodities to be used or consumed while the males of the ruling gentry vie for power, wealth, and prestige.

Balok

Fighting plays center stage within Drahkian society and so the plot is centered on a grand tournament. Writing interesting fight scenes within the framework of a long, three-day sporting event turned out to be a slippery task. I drew on my own limited experience in Taekwondo for the action and geared the pacing to follow the emotional breakdown of a damaged man chasing after revenge.

The result? A fast-paced, raw, suspenseful thriller which paints a very graphic picture of men at the top of a depraved culture motivated by conquest.

DESCENT OF THE MAW

The second of the prequels delves into the backstories of two of my all-time favorite characters.

Magnus Talrésian is a young captain in the starfleet of Alcyone. He’s an intelligent, capable leader and tends to be loud and overbearing, but his heart is entirely in the right place. He’s a dedicated father and deep feeler who has a difficult time coming to terms with loss in a devastating war against the invading Drahkian Empire.

Magnus Portrait

Kirian Vall is a brilliant psychic adept of the Makhás tiger clans of Sirius, masters of geometry and sound, and designers of the great, sentient Khalama starships. Brooding and sober, Kirian reluctantly steps into the shoes of his deceased father to lead the sole surviving band of adepts and their families in their quest to escape Lyonnae before they are captured or wiped out by the violent leonine Shitza and their off-world reptilian masters.

What these two men have in common is passionate intensity and an unflagging drive to protect the people dear to them. Due to the incredible pressure of fighting for survival, they both internalize the stress that comes with leadership and are prone to blaming themselves when events turn sour.

Their stories are laid out in parallel throughout the novel and touch on the mysterious circumstances which ultimately bring them together. We come to understand what shapes the choices they make in order to meet the inevitable challenges which still lie in their future.

FLARE SHIFTER

This riveting novella holds a special place within the lineup of prequels and takes us into the heart and fears of an extraordinary man.

Ryder Dundalk is the superlative introvert and loner, for good reason – he fears for his life. His world of touch-sensetive shapeshifters was overrun by the Drahkian Empire long before he was born and he has grown up with the terror of living as property under the harsh rule of reptilian nobility (Overlord Bálok makes an appearance).

A master goldsmith by trade, he walks a razor’s edge between his privileged status as a valuable artisan and certain death if the secret he holds close is ever discovered by the vicious Lord Tiro, Master of the Assassins Guild.

His precarious balance and protective walls of isolation come tumbling down when a naive, heartbroken woman crosses his path and connects him with wells of emotion he thought he had buried long ago. For her sake, he finds a core of inner strength which leads him down a dangerous path in order to claim his freedom.

Depth of Worldbuilding

As I work my way through the lengthy novel I wrote twenty years ago (Blood of the Prime) where all of the above characters originated, I’m amazed at the enormous difference writing these prequels has made to the overall story. I understand these people, their worlds, their thoughts and feelings so much more than I did before. A richer, deeper tone is infusing itself into the characters and events of the novel as I polish and craft each scene for the final version. It’s like adding the layers of color to the monochrome underpainting practiced at one time by European masters.

In addition, I am discovering that many of the new characters developed in the prequels will find their way into the broader series. I like who they are and can’t imagine the story now without them. Several concepts, such as psychic linkage through disrupted portal locks and the generation of toroidal fields to lift and move objects, became much more focused and clear as I wrote and discussed the prequel stories with both of my sons (my sharp support team).

I’ve also changed more than a bit myself in twenty years. I’m a thousand times better writer than I used to be and I’ve lived with the core ideas long enough to see which threads are primary and which details can easily drop away. The direction of the entire series has shifted as I’ve shifted and will ultimately have a much stronger thrust than I originally conceived. Of course, I’m not finished changing, so this wild story I’ve begun still has exciting developments to explore that I have yet to imagine. That’s the supremely satisfying part of being a writer – seeing the colorful ideas that push the boundaries of my paradigm come to life through vivid characters and finely crafted tales.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Like and share this page!

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Erin MacMichael is a science fantasy author and artist, creator of the T'nari Renegades series of novellas, novels, covers, and artwork. Her lifelong quest has been to explore past the boundaries of conventional thinking and figure out what really has transpired on this planet. She has traveled extensively throughout the world and lives in the Pacific Northwest with her marvelous offspring.

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