Thursday, June 30, 2011

[Character Spotlight] #1: Hakan Kramer

The protagonist of Whiskey Tea Cafe is a 21-year-old recent college graduate residing in Destin, FL! Introducing...Hakan Kramer!

Hakan appears in the first chapter as the owner of the titular cafe. His personality is portrayed as the calm and collected type, but his sense of humor manifests during his conversations (and bickering) with his best friend Luke Prath. He is described as having tousled black hair, slanted green eyes, assorted Nordic features, and a tall, toned build.

I picked his name out of a book of male names without the slightest clue how to pronounce it. Yes, my brilliance astounds me sometimes, too. I ended up Googling the correct pronunciation and determined it to be of Swedish origin...[HAH-kan]. Basically, just say "Hawkan" and you should be good.

My sister pointed out that he seems very similar to me, which makes sense, considering that he and this entire story are based in part on me and my life. However, there are quite a few stark differences, which I'm somewhat ashamed to admit:

...Wow. I think I've become jealous of my own fictional character.

-J. S. Blancarte

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Whiskey Tea Cafe is now posted!

Image by Soa Lee
Yes, I s*** you not...after over a month of delayed promises, I present to you my first posted original story...Whiskey Tea Cafe!

Summary: When Hakan Kramer opens a tea café in a tourist town, his uncanny ability to match patrons with their favorite teas quickly gains him a loyal customer base, including the renowned rock star Avery Fawns. But as Avery's interest in Hakan grows, she begins to pull him into her world, one comprised of rock music, the thrill of fame, and the dangers involving a hidden Biblical race…the nephilim. And he and his tea café are along for the ride.

Please select one of the following links to read the first chapter:

via FictionPress
via Wattpad
via WritersCafe

They all contain the same content, but I recommend the FictionPress version for the simplest layout (and you'll be able to leave a review at the bottom of the page...just sayin').

Why did I upload this story to multiple sites, you may ask? My aim was to 1) gain as much exposure across the web as possible, and 2) make it very difficult for someone to get away with plagiarizing my work. I reasoned that consistently throwing my name with Whiskey Tea Cafe all over the internet would cement me as the original creator of this (prospective) masterpiece.

Please read and leave me a review/comment with your feedback or critique. And for those of you who read my blog, here's a fun fact...

My first novel will be connected to Whiskey Tea Cafe. I need to know that I'm at the top of my game with this story. So when I say read the chapter and give me some honest constructive criticism, I mean...BRING IT!

Thank you for your consideration.

-J. S. Blancarte

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

[Ungodly Cravings] #1: Instant ramen

Okay, so I bloody lied about how soon Whiskey Tea Cafe would debut. My apologies. It wasn't intentional. I've been sick with some sort of stomach ailment for the past two weeks, and my only symptom is a persisting tight clenching in my upper abdomen. Which, you know, could be anything from a stomach virus to the bubonic plague.

I've stubbornly refused to see a doctor just to prove that I can take care of myself even after my health insurance runs out, although some friends have told me how absolutely retarded that logic is ("Get medical attention while you can, moron!"). I decided to compromise: I will go to the hospital in the event that this problem reaches the one month mark.

So what have I been doing all this time? I spent it watching the entire anime series of Naruto since I was rendered immobile in the fetal position on my couch for hours at a time, and Netflix was the only source of entertainment that didn't require much movement from my torso.

But to get to the point of this post, this is the first in my Ungodly Cravings series, discussing horrible foods or unproductive activities a health-inclined individual like me sometimes craves. Today's topic is instant ramen.

After witnessing Naruto stuff his face with ramen in several episodes, I decided out of the blue that I wanted to eat ramen, too. I was on a bland diet, anyway, and soup-type foods had become my primary entree. Unfortunately, the only ramen available to me was a pack of ostracized Maruchan instant ramen shoved into one corner of my pantry.

I know how awful this stuff is, but I was under a temporary Naruto-obsessed trance and was convinced that eating ramen would get me that much closer to becoming a ninja. Or something.

Needless to say, I gave into the craving, but not without some improvisation to buffer against Maruchan's sadistic plot. First off, I chucked the flavor packet directly into the trash. If I wanted that much sodium and crap in my soup, I would just go to the beach and slurp from the ocean.

Next, I pre-boiled the noodles in one pot and used another pot to set up the base of the soup.

Recipe: Improved instant ramen

Once the noodles are cooked, drain and set aside. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in the main pot. Add the napa cabbage, ginger root, and bouillon cube and boil, covered, for 5 minutes. Add the noodles, shallots, basil leaves, and chicken. Turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.

These extra ingredients will add to the volume of the ramen and provide the meal with nutrients. So even if you're used to eating a full pack of ramen in one sitting (which I've been able to do only at the height of my physical fitness when I was in Air Force ROTC), the added volume will help split it into two servings.

My pot turned out to be five servings since I couldn't stomach more than half a bowl at a time. Tragic, I know.

Well, hopefully my digestive system isn't completely screwed.

-J. S. Blancarte

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The protagonist's gender has been decided!

After several days of equal votes for both genders, one last-minute vote (procrastinate much?) broke the tie! Whiskey Tea Cafe's protagonist will be...


Last week it seemed like most people were dead set on a female protagonist, and I went, "What? No one wants to read about some dude pouring tea and baking cakes?" However, male votes managed to catch up and both genders were tied until the poll ended today.

I was beginning to wonder whether I'd have to create another poll, come up with a tie-breaker, or draw depictions of both genders dueling each other for the right to be the protagonist.

...Which I did, anyway.

Well, that was my announcement for the day. I've already been writing up the character profiles and plot outline, so the first chapter should debut soon on one (or all) of the fiction websites. My motivation has been waxing and waning since I'm torn between working on my writing career and continuing my futile job search, but I promise you that this story will happen.

-J. S. Blancarte

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

And the brainstorming begins

Let's get on to business, shall we? Whiskey Tea Cafe will debut in the very near future, after we get some basics down. First, I would like to know what gender my readers prefer the protagonist to be. I have a poll running until June 7 so please cast your vote before it ends. I should mention that the story will differ greatly depending on which gender is chosen.

The plot will involve the protagonist opening a tea cafe in the beautiful Emerald Coast of Florida (an illustration can't do it justice).

Whiskey tea will be the cafe's specialty drink.
Whiskey tea with chocolate chip biscotti

But other than that, everything is up in the air. I will be working on the first chapter while reclining on the white sandy beach with crystal blue-green waters five minutes away from my apartment. The tourist season is currently at its peak here, so I've been somewhat reluctant to venture outside my apartment complex except to purchase food and supplies. Yes, I know, I'm fairly reclusive.

I will also be perfecting my whiskey tea recipe (tea picture above was taken in my home), which means possible incoherent blog posts this next week since my alcohol tolerance post-college has plummeted to the negatives. You have been forewarned.

Right then...if you have any questions, please ask them by commenting or send me an email at jsblancarte[at]gmail[dot]com.

-J. S. Blancarte