Tag Archives: Fantasy

Taking Things for Granted~ WB1

 

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(World-building, part 1)

Introduction

            Have you ever played SIMs computer game? It’s an opportunity to further the lives of pre-made characters and create places for them to live and hangout. It’s like being a god of your own world; you help them get a job, make friends, and basically live their lives. But sometimes things happen because you’re not paying enough attention and accidents occur. I had one character wet the floor because she needed to use the bathroom and I didn’t see it right away. I took it for granted that she would do this on her own.

A while back I wrote an article called “The Writer and the God Complex” in which I discuss how our characters seem to take on a life of their own and for as much as you want them to go here and do this, they want to go there and do that. This article is on building the world itself and how we take certain things for granted.

 

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Yeah, but what’s the source?

A couple months ago I began a new writing project I’ve dubbed DWC. I don’t want to give away the title as I fear someone will steal the idea and get stories out before me. As I began to create the characters, the concepts, and the little village where they all lived; I got to thinking that I haven’t researched World-building (WB) very much.

Yes, I already have books published and, if you read them closely, you can tell that my WB skills are lacking. So I went in search of articles and sites to help me with this information. I’ll share what I found at the end of the article.

The name of the village where my characters live is called Caldera Falls. Naturally it’s named after a waterfall that’s at the north end of the village and there is a mill at the bottom that uses the water to turn its wheel. I decided that the water ends in a pool and then creates a nice stream that runs through the village and dumps into a body of water called Farewell Bay.

So then I ask myself, where does the water come from at the top to spill over into the falls? The answer is nowhere to be found. In fact, I really didn’t want to answer that question. I thought it has a falls; the village is named after it, so leave it alone! But I couldn’t leave it because I just know someone who reads my story will ask that very same question. That forced me to find an answer. One of the articles I found talked about water runoff and the drainage situation and I’m thinking, “That’s too real!” But I then realized that this is what I’m after.

 

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Ditch the Plateau

Another idea I had was to make the capital city, Ciudad, reside on the top of a plateau of a mountain. It looks out over the rest of the area called, Alderman Valley which features Caldera Falls and two other towns. However, the question arises: Who is going to climb up the side of a mountain to get to the city after pulling into the docks of Farewell Bay? Again I wanted to refuse to answer this question because the plateau idea was neat. I even had an idea of an elevator on the side of the mountain facing Alderman Valley where people could go down and get to the towns there. Of course they can completely bypass the city and travel around the mountain, across the sand, and over to Caldera Falls. So I decided to ditch the mountain but I’m keeping the name Alderman Valley and having it to be a misnomer when it was discovered and no one bothered to correct the error.

 

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Town Boundaries

Another item I tend to overlook is boundaries or city lines where one town ends and the next begins. Out here in The Valley of Arizona you can go through three different cities in just a few minutes and not even know where one ends and the other begins. Primarily, it’s because you don’t have a Welcome to Mesa sign at every area when you cross one to another. I thought about just making the grass a slightly different shade of green for this town compared to that town but that was fairly lame. Given that Alderman isn’t that big, putting up signs to announce the arrival in one and the departure of another was a little too much.

Then I hit upon a unique idea. Since I was thinking about the source of my waterfall, what if the river to the falls broke off and travelled down the side of the hill and created a line that separated Ciudad from Alderman Valley. That’s an interesting way to create a border without stating the obvious. Since the village of Greencrest is dominated by orchards, how do they get water for the trees? So I had the river branch off and created all of the borders for Alderman Valley. This way when you crossed the river you knew you were entering the next town. Problem solved!

 

Suggestions for World-building

  1. When doing research for building your world, don’t assume you have to include everything you read about. It’s one thing for you to know it’s there in your world but you don’t have to mention it in your story.
  2. Design a type of map to know where businesses and homes are located. You don’t want to say your characters when north to the tavern in one chapter and then south in a later chapter; even though they left the same place each time.
  3. Study maps of cities and countries to get an idea of borders and the “lay of the land.”
  4. Make a checklist of things you want to include in your world so you don’t forget them. However if they don’t fit, don’t force them. You’ll upset yourself and your reader.

 

Conclusion

Make an effort to build your world so you know where things go and how people get there. In future articles, we’ll discuss other ideas. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions or ideas from you own world-building share with me in the comments below.

Happy Adventuring!

Chris

World-building Sites and Articles

Here are just a few places to research to give you an idea of how to build your own world:

World Building Academy— This site has been very helpful! You can sign up for weekly tips.

Inkwell Ideas–A collection of articles to help you flesh out your world.

Fantastic Medieval Ships— Does you world have a large body of water? You’ll need ships!

Medieval Demographics made Easy–What’s the difference in size between a village, town, and city? Here’s some help!

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Characters: What’s in a Name?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” ~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet Act II, Scene II

 

Introduction

Sometimes one of the more difficult challenges for a writer is naming their characters. They want something that will define who they are, as a person, but also to make them stand apart from everyday people in real life. This week we’ll look at advice on naming your characters and where to look for ideas.

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Life Imitates Art

Regardless of how careful you are in selecting your character’s name, there is also a slight chance that someone in the real world has that very same name. One of the best examples I can think of is the American version of the 1954 movie, Godzilla, King of the Monsters. They brought in Raymond Burr to play news reporter, Steve Martin. Twenty plus years later, a young actor/comedian came onto the scene named, Steve Martin.

Naturally this is a coincidence and, just for the record, Steve Martin was born in 1945. I’m sure this never caused problems in general for Mr. Martin until, maybe, Godzilla 1985 arrived which was to be a direct sequel to the ’54 movie. Raymond Burr, once again, reprises his role as Steve Martin. By this time the comedian has gotten a foothold in Hollywood and perhaps some found it confusing to hear that the bearded Mr. Burr was playing, “Steve Martin”.

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Cast of Joss Whedon’s “Firefly” TV series. Courtesy of Wiki Commons.

Fantasy/Sci-Fi Names

Of course if you’re writing the Fantasy genre or even Science Fiction, there’s a slim to no chance that your characters will be the names of real people. People might name their children after your characters, which isn’t new, but it could be very flattering. On the other hand, no one would want to go to school with a classmate named Voldemort.

To use the TV series, Firefly as an example, there is always a possibility that there might be someone named Malcolm Reynolds or Kaylee Frye, but a slimmer chance with the names Hoban Washburne and Inara Serra. As we head further into our own future, some of these names will be as common as Joe Smith and Bob Jones.

 

How original should I be?

Speaking of Joe Smith and Bob Jones, some writers might ask, “How do I create original character names without being obvious?” The answer to this question varies based on the decisions of the author. If you’re writing a fictional story that takes place in our world and our time, you’re going to run into plain names such as Joe and Bob. To make them unique you can always add a middle name, a numeral; to show his name is passed down from generation to generation, or give him a nickname.

Character names are can be based on a region that he is born. For example, you won’t find many people in America named ‘Colin’ or ‘Basil’ but in Great Britain, the names are as common as George or Fred.

The same works in Fantasy settings; a character’s name might have more vowels in it, like natives of Hawaii, if they live in the Northern Territory; or they might have a similar prefix or suffix to their name to denote that they are slaves from The Wasteland.

My overall advice is to keep the names easy to pronounce and easy to remember. I read where one Fantasy author provided a pronunciation guide to go along with the book so you can properly pronounce the characters names. If you have to do this, I would recommend renaming the characters. The last thing I want to do is refer to another book just to know how to pronounce their names. I’ll give up the book long before chapter 2 in that instance.

In my own writings I have two characters whose names seem long and difficult but they’re pronounced the way they are written. One is a dwarf named, Pendergrass Snickersnee; and the other is a gnome-like character named, Finnbiddle Pilwicket.

Both look difficult at the first appearance but they are pronounced as they are written. So you see you can have Fantasy or Sci-Fi names that appear complicated but are easy to pronounce. If that’s not enough, you can always shorten a name to give him a nickname. I refer to Finnbiddle simply as Finn.

 

How do I choose names?

There are a variety of ways to choose names for your characters. Here’s an article from fellow author, Chris Andrews, and how he chooses names.

Name generators found on the internet are a great way to create names for Fantasy and/or Sci-Fi characters. I’ll post the links at the bottom of this article.

If you’re looking to name a character based on a certain meaning or a certain word, you can use 20,000 Names website. They have ethnic names from different parts of the world; both male and female, and the meanings of each name.

For example my character Ravenkeep in book 3 of The Askinar Towers trilogy has a pirate ship named, The Malandra. I found the word at this website and here is the meaning…

MALANDRA: Modern English compound name composed of Mal- (“dark, black”) from Malinda, and Sandra “defender of mankind.”

As you can see the word is a form of the color, Black which is also the color of the ship.

If you work a day job in addition to being a writer, sometimes they will put out a company magazine every month. Usually they’ll list names of employees how have been with the company for a number of years based on the state they work in. This is a great way to take someone’s first name and combine it with someone’s last name to create a new name for a character. In book 3, The Reverend Edward Hardwick was named after two employees of the company. I keep a stack of magazines on hand when I need to name a character and don’t always have access to the internet.

Conclusion

Try and be as original with your character’s names but not too original that it seems obvious or difficult that you have to put out a pronunciation guide. Try not to make it a huge chore either. As you’re working on your first draft, if you can’t come up with a name simply insert something (anything) as a marker then you can come back and replace it at a later time once you’ve had the chance to think about it.

How do you come up with names for your characters? Do you use generators? Names of friends? Or do they come to you in dreams? Share your experience in the comments below.

Happy Adventuring!

Chris

Here are some of my favorite name generator sites:

Seventh Sanctum: Characters Seventh Sanctum has a wide variety of name generators.

The Real Mormon Name Generator (Rum and Monkey) No disrespect but this puts out some great names that would be perfect for Fantasy stories.

Fake Name Generator This is for mainstream fiction. This not only gives you a random name but a street address, city, state, zip, birthdate, Mother’s maiden name, etc.

The Window of Opportunity

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Introduction

When Opportunity knocks I’m usually in the bathroom or at work and I’m almost always missing the visit. However last week, when it came along, I opened the window and shouted, “Don’t move I’ll be right there.”

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A Startling Announcement

On Wednesday I shocked my friends on Facebook that I was quitting writing for the time being as my books were going nowhere. However, this announcement was misunderstood as I didn’t announce it properly. I was getting comments about take a breather, sit back, and you can get going again. Only two or three people actually got the initial idea as I explained it further in the comments section.

What I meant was, since I no one was reading my books and reviewing them, I had nothing to gage my future writing on and therefore I thought, “What’s the point of continuing if no one will read them?” I have had a few sales of my stories but yet people tell me that they just don’t have time to read them. Really? My books aren’t that long or complicated. I have three short stories available that could be read in about twenty minutes or so.

 

What about Giveaways?

Yes, I have given my books away as a promotion for myself through other Facebook pages. The response I get from them is, “I have a lot of books on my reading list right now, but I’ll get to yours.” How many is ‘a lot’? I’m not trying to turn this post into a rant; I just want you to know the frustration I am feeling. Yes, I know all writers go through this. What irritates me the most is that I’ll support another author’s work; read and review it, but not receive the same in return. I get that you are too busy writing but how is it that you’re able to praise other writers’ works but not mine?

A New Opportunity

As I stated before I’m not giving up writing totally and to be honest I just couldn’t anyways. It’s a part of who I am. Even if I’m not writing things down on paper or on the laptop, I’m writing in my head. Since March 2016 I started writing poetry in conjunction with this site on Facebook called Peanut Butter and Poetry Jam. I was pointed out to me by a fellow writer and I decided to visit. I hadn’t written poetry since high school, about 30 years or so, and even then it was mostly sonnet-based verses.

The page is rather simple: an image is posted on Saturday and you have roughly until the following Wednesday to post a poem that was inspired by the image. From there it is voted on and the winner is announced on Thursday. My first attempt, The Green Blade Witch, actually got me the win. Not bad for being 30 years out of touch.

From then on the creativity that creates poetry was awaken within me and I participated almost every week. Then early last week I was told that the page had disappeared. I was heartbroken as I found something that, not only was I interested in doing, but something that could keep the writer in me writing. I contacted the administrator of that page and asked if one of us could take over. She and her associate were too busy to continue the page and so she handed it over to me! Thank you Opportunity!

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New Year, New Writing Possibilities

            With the new year beginning, this gave me the motivation to make new ideas come to life via the poetry page. So for now, this will be my muse for the next few months or so. I’ll still be working on my other projects; either by typing them on the laptop or just writing them in my head. But with this poetry page I want to turn things around for myself and head in an entirely new direction and see where this adventure will take me. I have have plans to publish a collection of poems that are Fanstasy-based and from there we’ll see where ‘the road not taken’ leads me.

Conclusion

Where is the New Year taking you? Are you on track in your writing life or has something occurred to encourage you to take another road? Feel free to comment and if you get the chance visit us on the poetry page over at Facebook!

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Happy Adventuring!

Chris

Flash Fiction No. 4

Good Monday morning! For your reading pleasure I bring to you another Flash Fiction story inspired by my trilogy, The Askinar Towers. This story would take place in book 2, Sibling Rivalry.

Devan and Galadar: The Final Conflict

“So long Cow Face,” said Devan sadly.

“Good-bye Shoeless Freak!” replied Manitoba.

As Devan returned to the elevators, he waved to Talbot and Mercedes mouthing the words, Good luck.  Once on board, he thought back to the many years he worked as a member of the now disbanded adventuring group. Although Roland would be expecting him, he was anxious to get back to Furfoot and see his mother and brothers first. He also hoped to see Sierra; provided she wanted to see him. Last time they were together, he abruptly left for adventure and certain things were left unsaid. Devan spoke a silent vow that he would make everything right this time.

He turned left towards the walkway to the Tower of Earth and then proceeded right to then next walkway and on to the Tower of Air. As he waited for disc ’54’ to arrive, he made another vow to quit adventuring for the time and make sure his family, friends, and loved ones were cared for first. It would be great to see everyone again. He also hoped that he wouldn’t have to contend with the giants from Panzington, especially Galadar.

Giant Wins

Galadar, the giant defeats the clueless halfling, Devan.

Yes, the famed children’s story of Devan and Galadar was about him and his confrontation with the giant. However, it was the giant’s version that got the most circulation; when Devan hit Galadar in the head with a small, smooth stone; the giant pounded the halfling into ground. The halfling version had Devan defeat the giant and was supposed to be a source of encouragement to shorter races to always stand up the bully regardless of size. Hardly a copy of the halfling version is even seen. Even in other halfling villages, he always found the giant’s version. From that version, all halflings are taught never to go up against a giant with just a stone.

At Floor 54, he got off the disc and opened the lone door. It came out of a tree in the woods near the village of Furfoot. Immediately, he heard cries for help and a sinister laugh that could only come from one person.

“Galadar!” His mother’s house was on the other side of the village, the last one before the road to Panzington. That meant they were the first house to encounter any giant coming in, which is also why Devan was bullied the most. That, and the fact that he stood up to Galadar each time. “This time, I’m making sure he doesn’t bother this village again!”

Devan stayed to the trees and skirted the village over to his mother’s home. He spied a bush shaking and quickly investigated.

“Oh, Master Ambercrombie!” a halfling peered out from behind the bush. “I’m so glad it’s you!”

“Morrie? Is that you?”

The bush nodded in response. “Galadar arrived this morning looking for you. He’s taken your mother and three brothers to the lake near Panzington Mountain.”

“Aloysius, Gremble, Tonkin, and Mother Lily,” said Devan under his breath.

The bush nodded in agreement. “He said that he wanted to end this fairytale nonsense once and for all.”

“What does he care?” asked Devan. “All copies of that story that exist are with the giant winning.”

The bush shook in disagreement. “Not true. All copies with the halfling being victorious are in Panzington. They know of no other version.”

“No other version? That’s it!” Devan instantly knew what he must do to maintain peace in the village of Furfoot. He ran back to the center of town and rang the bell of the church. The ringing brought everyone in the village to the church knowing that it was one of distress.

As the halflings gathered many were surprised to see Devan back in town. Some attempted to welcome him home but he stood up on the steps of the church to get everyone’s attention.

“Please, please! Yes, I am very grateful to see all of you as well but there is a more urgent problem affecting us. It appears that Galadar the giant has kidnapped my mother and brothers in an attempt to have a final encounter with me.”

Many of the halflings seemed uninterested in that the encounters with Galadar were always with Devan and his family. They expressed their opinions in that fashion.

“Yes, I do realize that he is the only giant from Panzington who comes down here to Furfoot and yes, I do realize that I am the only halfling that he encounters. But who’s to say that he will be the last and, if my family and I aren’t here, who will stop the others?”

“That’s only if any of the other giants come down here,” said a halfling who extracted himself from the crowd. He was dressed in more authoritative clothing that the other.

“Mayor Furfoot, I was informed that all of the fairytale stories of Devan and Galadar that exist in the town of Panzington are the ones where the halfling is victorious. If all of the giants read that version of the story, there is no stopping them if they should come down here.”

This bit of information alarmed the villagers. Many were in a state of panic as Mayor Furfoot ascended the steps to address the town.

“Now now, calm yourselves,” he said. “We can hold our own against the giants if need be. We have several who are trained in battle skills and can meet any opposition that comes our way.”

“If it pleases thee, Mayor Furfoot, I have a suggestion that could avoid any unnecessary confrontation and bloodshed,” Devan said.

“Say on, Master Devan,” Furfoot replied.

“If we were to gather all copies of the fairytale where the giant is victorious and trade them for the copies where the halfling is victorious, we can end this peacefully.”

“That is a capital idea! But who among us will take on this task?”

“I will, of course,” Devan said. “But I can’t do it alone. Do I have any volunteers to assist me in that endeavor?”

Many of the halflings looked away and mumbled in fear and disinterest. One young halfling bravely stepped forward.

“I’ll go with you,” Morrie said as he brushed off twigs and leaves from his clothes.

Devan smiled knowing that he might just be one of the braver halflings in all of Furfoot. “Thank you, Morrie. I knew I could count on you.” He turned to the rest. “Please return to your homes and collect every copy of the fairytale that you have and bring them here. Time is of the essence!”

The villagers dispersed to their homes. The mayor and another halfling went to the library and returned with four copies of the fairytale. Soon others arrived with copies of the story and the total amount was fifty. Morrie drove up in a horse and wagon and the copies were loaded in the bed.

“I’ll take these to Galadar and offer an exchange of the books for my family and, if possible, their copies of the fairytale as well. Wish me luck!” Devan climbed aboard the wagon and they sped off while the villagers waved goodbye.

On the far side of the lake the giant, Galadar, had his captives tied around an Acacia tree. He had a fire going and was cooking a wild boar.

“You’re not going to win,” said Tonkin, the youngest brother. “Our brother, Devan, will be here soon.”

The giant laughed heartily. “I do hope so for your sakes. I heard the bell ringing in Furfoot and I’m guessing he’s return and knows I have the four of you.”

“Galadar, why must you always fight with Devan?” asked Mother Lily.

Halfling Wins

Devan, the brave halfling defeats the bungling giant, Galadar.

“It’s because of that stupid fairytale! All I ever heard was Devan the halfling defeating the mighty giant, Galadar. It’s so annoying! I will prove to my people in Panzington that giants always prevail.”

“Devan wins?” Gremble asked. “All we ever hear about is Galadar winning over Devan.”

“You speak lies! You just want to trick me into thinking that this is true so I will let you go.”

“But it is true,” said Mother Lily.

“She’s right,” said Devan as he came around the lake with Morrie as his side. He held a copy of the fairytale story up to show the giant. “See for yourself. Every copy of this story in Furfoot has the giant winning over the halfling.

“Let me see!” He walked over to Devan and snatched the book from his hand. Morrie quickly hid behind Devan.

Galadar thumbed through the whole story and seemed unimpressed. Then when he got to the last two pages his face lit up and he smiled from ear to ear and then laughed out loud.

“I love it, this is great!”

“You see, Galadar, the halflings have only heard one version of the story and my friend, Morrie here, told me that Panzington has copies of the other version. I have fifty copies of that book in my wagon on the other side of the lake. Let’s make a trade. Free my mother and brothers and you can have those copies of the fairytale.”

Galadar appeared to be thinking it over as he looked at the book and then over at the halflings tied to the tree. “It’s a trade!” He stood up and let the halflings loose. Devan went to hug his family as Morrie looked on. “Now take me to those books.”

“Follow me!” Devan led the way around the lake to the wagon. His brothers and mother all talked at once wanting to know about his travels and what brought him back to Furfoot.

Once they reached the wagon Devan turned to Galadar.

“As a sign of good faith, I’m allowing you to take this wagon full of books back to Panzington. I hope that this will end any confrontation that you and I have and that we might become friends.”

“Friends with a halfling? Not likely.” He climbed into the wagon and then drove off toward the mountains.

“How could you let him take the wagon?” Aloysius asked.

“A small loss to keep the peace between the two races,” Devan replied with a shrug.

“Will you two become friends?” Mother Lily inquired.

“That’s up to Galadar. I kept my end of the bargain as did he. I even went one step further allowing him to drive the wagon home. If I know Galadar, he’ll realize that I’m one up on him in favors and he’ll want to return to make us even.”

“He might give us their copies of the fairytale,” Morrie suggested.

“That’s what I’m thinking,” Devan agreed. “For now, let’s return home and celebrate!”

“By the way, Son, Sierra has been asking about you,” Mother Lily said.

The End

Thank you for stopping by and as always comments are appreciated!

Happy Adventuring!

Chris

Floor 17 Café: Behind the Scenes

Over the last few weeks I’ve been sharing excerpts from an old project of mine called The Floor 17 Café blog. When I was getting ready for book 1 to be published, I came up with the idea of writing a series of blog entries, on an actual blog, to coincide with the release of The Askinar Towers trilogy. Here is a behind the scenes look at this café.

The Slide of Peril

While I was writing book 1 I had my main characters, Sara and Erika, exploring the Tower of Water since that was the first tower they entered when they came through the magic door from their world. They had a magic key with them and soon found themselves on Floor 13 which revealed not only an observation deck but also a view of the legendary fifth tower. From there they decided to go all the way to the top of the tower to get a better view.

While going through door number 100, they made a mistake (sorry, no spoilers) and soon found themselves on a sliding going down down and down to a lower level. It was here that I came up with the idea for the Floor 17 Café. There is nothing significant about the number for the floor; although 13 and 86 do have significance but that’s another story. Anyways 17 seemed like a good place to arrive and I thought a café so they could get something to eat.

Chuck the Waiter

One of the first people the girls meet here in the café is Chuck, a red-head waiter who serves them and then later serves them almost every time they reappear. There was nothing special about Chuck or Maurice, the Maître D for that matter but the café itself had such an appeal to me and my writing that I kept bringing the characters to visit.

The interesting thing about this café is that it’s a normal place to eat but very un-normal people visit. Whether it’s the adventuring party known as Destiny’s Six or the business men having a power lunch, everyone accepts each other for who or what they are and rarely seem surprised when events occur.

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Chuck’s Blog Posts

When I was waiting to get my books published I hit upon the idea of starting a blog account featuring posts from Chuck the waiter and have it available as the books came out. It was supposed to be kind of an interactive thing which fans of the books could head over to the blog and interact with a character; see how Chuck got his start and meet the other characters. I knew that I had a good idea on my hands and wanted to utilize it to its fullest potential.

After six months the ideas ran out and I soon abandoned the blog. I even had a neat little idea of a story when I was absent from writing the blog for three months and claimed that Chuck had lost his memory. But that only went four entries and I then stopped altogether. I wasn’t getting any kind of interaction from people and I couldn’t tell if anyone was reading this posts.

Happy to Serve

A couple of months ago (three years since I updated the blog) I was going through some of the old posts and rereading some of the work I had done. I had just started to link the blog entries with the trilogy. My intention was to make the café its own setting with its own storylines and then occasionally throw the girls’ visits in between. But that died with the blog.

As I was reading through them some new ideas began to formulate and a new storyline began to evolve and I knew then that I had to finish the project. I wasn’t going to resurrect the blog as too much time had passed but I knew that a book was in the making. I had 30 entries already completed from the blog and decided that I would write another 20 to round out the stories that coincided with the trilogy plus bring Chuck and the other characters to a certain completion to where instead of saying, The End, I could always say, To Be Continued, and write more entries later on.

Chuck’s concluding phrase in most of his blog entries is: Happy to Serve. So that’s what I decided to call the book and I got my friend, Hanna, to create the book cover for it. With any luck, this project should be done and available by the end of September.

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Meet the Cast

Here now is a brief look at some of the characters you will meet at the Floor 17 café.

Cafe Characters

Chuck: He a young red-headed go-getter who does his best to serve the customer. Although he’s the nephew of Maurice, the head Maitre D, he doesn’t receive special attention. Chuck learns by doing and updates his blog to share his views of life as a server in one of the more interesting places to eat.

Maurice: He’s the head Maître D. He speaks with a French accent and, when angry, lapses into his native tongue. There are rumors that Maurice is not actually French as he has been known to “lose” his accent when under pressure especially when a gun is pointed at him. Overall, he is very friendly to all customers and does his utmost to serve all who stop by.

 Manuel: Second in command, if you will. Manuel is of Hispanic origin though he won’t talk at all about his family, his background, or anything outside of his job. He’s as prim and proper as Maurice but he has less patience with the customers. His military background shows through sometimes as he orders people around like a drill sergeant. Patrons simply tolerate him when he’s on duty as the food is free and the ambiance of other patrons is very interesting.

Gretchen: A young attractive girl who has been working for the café for several months. No one knows how she became a waitress but there are rumors that her co-worker Johano knows and even has pictures to prove it. She remains very professional in her job and doesn’t tolerate frivolity from her co-servers; namely Chuck and Johano.

Johano: A server who’s been with the café for a couple of years and has become Chuck’s best friend. He has a girlfriend, Brynn, who he only gets to see once a year due to the nature of her job. He works the tables along the walls and near the Realm Doors and is always carrying an umbrella as it does tend to rain in the café.

 

I hope you enjoyed this behind the scenes view. Look for the book, Happy to Serve, to come out near the end of September. Diary of a Bard will no longer be available on this blog. I’m not getting the comments or reactions that I want and have moved it over to Wattpad to try there. You can continue to follow the adventures of Dell Chanter and his singing partner, Derek Banter, here.

Happy Adventuring!

Chris

Floor 17 Cafe project Entry-12

Good Monday Morning! Here’s another entry from Chuck’s Blog. Chuck is a waiter at the Floor 17 Cafe located in the Tower of Water of The Askinar Towers. Please enjoy and don’t forget to leave a comment.

Gestures Girl

 

Johano_Waiter

Johano, a co-worker of mine. He’s writing today’s entry.

Hello fans of Chuck! Johano here and I’ve been asked to give my view of things in the café at the moment. Don’t worry; this isn’t a hijack like what Gretchen did last week. Chuck is sitting right here with me, but he wanted me to talk about Gretchen and what she was like before she became a waitress for the Floor 17 Café.

Gretchen_main

Gretchen.

I started with the café a few years ago and about a month before Gretchen did. At that time it was only the Stonefist Twins that were regulars in the café. I was given the tables next to the Realm Doors as I like to call them and so I got to know the dwarfs very well. And, as you know, that has been my station ever since.

gestures 01

“I approve of your presence and am happy to be here!”

One day this beautiful brunette entered the café and was seated by Maurice at a table in the center and I was assigned to serve her. I was taken in by her beauty and hoped that she would become a regular and I would have the pleasure to serve her each time she visited. I introduced myself to her and she seemed to be enraptured by my handsome physique, as she was unable to speak to me. Instead she gives me a ‘thumbs up’ as if to say, “I approve of your presence and am happy to be here!”

gestures 02

She pointed at everything she wanted to order off the menu and pointed at me whenever she needed my attention. And before she left she gave me the universal ‘Call me’ gesture. But she never gave me her phone number. Thus I nicknamed her ‘Gestures Girl’.

gestures 04

A couple of weeks later she came in wearing this funky hat and, for just a moment, I thought it was someone else until she pointed with her finger at the menu and then I realized it was Gretchen or rather, ‘Gestures Girl’. She managed to give me her name and phone number this time adding the ‘Call me’ gesture again and I did and we talked for a short while.

It was then that I suggested she become a waitress as the café need help and then we could see each other every single day. She loved the idea and a couple days later she applied for the job, and then was hired a week later. Her first customer was a grumpy giant and, fortunately for the café, she managed to get over her shyness and actually speak to the customer.

Gretchen juice

Unfortunately, her speech consisted of only one word at a time and when the giant asked what she recommended to drink, she thrust a glass in his face and said, “Juice!” Then she sneezed and tossed the whole contents in the giant’s lap. He got up and stormed out but she gave everyone the “thumbs up” sign to assure them everything was okay. There you have it, Gretchen was once known as ‘Gestures Girl’. I am now returning the blog back to Chuck.

Thank Johano! Excuse me a minute friends, I’m still wiping the tears from laughing so hard. I never would have believed his story had it not been for the pictures that he took! Oh don’t worry, Gretchen has taken the weekend off and I’m sure she won’t be reading this. That is, not until Monday or so.

One final bit of news before I put this entry to bed. Maurice has spoken to the owner of the Floor 17 Café and she has agreed to the idea of celebrating Diadios. She is supposed to meet with Denbar Karma and Roland Haberdasher this weekend so hopefully I can give you an update early next week. I did recall Gretchen mention some holiday called Christmas but she said it’s only for one day. Maurice seemed more interested in the Festival of the Gods as it took place for two weeks.

Well friends, it’s been a hilarious time with Johano. I need to go and get something to eat and drink and get my breath back. Until next time!

Blog_cover

Happy to serve,

Chuck.

Hope you enjoyed this entry! Next week you will meet the cast of characters from the Floor 17 Cafe and I’ll share a cover reveal for the book to come out in early Fall. Don’t forget my posts on Thursdays known as Diary of a Bard.

Happy Adventuring!

Chris

Promo Icon 01

 

 

The Floor 17 Cafe Blog–entry 3

Good Monday morning to you. I received a lot of “likes” (though no comments) on last week’s post.  I’m sharing another entry from Chuck’s blog this week as well. These are inspired by the Floor 17 Cafe found in the Tower of Water of my trilogy, The Askinar Towers. Please enjoy!

Power Lunch Bunch

Hello, Chuck here!

It’s been a week now since I’ve been hired on as a waiter here at the Floor 17 Café. I’m still getting used to the different, uh, life forms that come in to eat but I am adjusting quicker than some of the others. At least that’s what Johano said. He and Gretchen are two of the staff that I’ve become good friends with in this last week. Here’s what they look like…

Gretchen_main

Gretchen, she’s very cute but can be annoying at times.

Johano_Waiter

This is Johano. He does use the umbrella as it sometimes rains along the walls of the cafe.

Before I tell you about my new customers, let me describe the café itself. When you come in off the elevator here in the Tower of Water, you cross a small foyer and enter what you would normally think of as a restaurant. That’s right it doesn’t really look like a café at all. The tables are all covered in a rich fabric, and the carpet is an ocean blue. I guess that’s to remind us that were in the Tower of Water. No need for reminding as the entire atmosphere is damp. I was told that there are three other towers but I haven’t seen them yet.

Anyways Gretchen took ill over the weekend and so I offered to take her tables in addition to my own. Since Destiny’s Six has been on an extended adventure I only have a couple other tables to tend to. One of her regular customers are the businessmen that she dubbed as the Power Lunch Bunch. It didn’t take much to persuade Maurice to take her tables. He knows that the businessmen are important clients and that they tip very well. So yesterday I served them for the first time!

Busniess Men

All three of them entered off of the elevator and, walking single file, make a beeline straight to their table. It’s considered their table, as no one else would dare sit there. It happened only once that someone was seated at their table and the businessmen had them promptly fired! That’s right, FIRED! Don’t know how it happened but after a couple of phone calls were made, the person seated at their table soon learned he was unemployed. Of course, that’s another good reason to consider them as important clients of the café.

I did my utmost to keep the three of them happy; keeping their service prompt and courteous. Once their meal was over all they said to me was, “You’re no Gretchen, but you’ll suffice.” Then they walked off. I didn’t know whether to be insulted or relieved. Johano suggested that I feel the latter as six members of the staff were fired since they started coming here. Something about Gretchen though had pacified them and no one has been fired since she began as a waitress. I guess whatever I did to make them happy, they’ll consider me as an alternative should she be absent again.

Maurice was very happy for this as well and gave me a 50-credit bonus as thanks and to encourage me to give them the same good service each time. He also assured me that this had nothing to do with being family so he presented it to me in front of the other staff. Everyone else was proud of me, everyone that is except for Manuel. Nothing seems to be good enough for him.

This afternoon I was expecting the Power Lunch Bunch to arrive when Gretchen appeared in the kitchen to say she had returned to work. I assumed that she was going to take care of the businessmen but then she informed me that they had arrived and specifically asked for me. I looked at her in case she might be angry by it but she showed indifference.

As I walked out I was greeted to a scene of a Minotaur, an Elf and a Halfling all in business attire and talking away on bananas pretending they were phones. I laughed and was afraid at the same time. Laughing, because Manitoba and the guys looked utterly ridiculous and, afraid that if the businessmen showed up they would do something to them. As it was, the rest of the adventuring party was at their normal table laughing as well.

Then they walked in. Silence filled the air except for Manitoba and the guys still chatting away on their bananas. The businessmen looked very cross and demanded their table. Manitoba rose to his impressive 7-foot stature and said, “No.” Before he even got to the ‘o’ part, all three were on their phones. The Minotaur simply laughed and asked whom they were going to call.

“You’re boss,” said one.

“We’re unemployed,” Manitoba replied.

“Your leader then,” said a second.

“That would be me,” he added with a chuckled.

Locan and Devan also stood hoping for a fight. The three businessmen simply sat down at a different table. I looked over at Gretchen, who was viewing this all from the kitchen, and motioned her to take care of them.

Fortunately the businessmen had a good lunch and tipped well but gave a glare to the entire adventuring party before they left. The group celebrated with an extra pitcher of ale as if they conquered an evil foe. But there are times when I wonder who the real foe was in that scenario.

Happy to Serve,

Chuck.

Chuck

It’s me Chuck! Though, now I have red hair.

Don’t forget my other Flash Fiction serial, Diary of a Bard, written every Thursday on this blog. Next Monday you’ll get a bonus entry from “Diary” as the guys give their first performance of their Bards at Large tour.

Happy Adventuring!

Chris