Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Meet The Books! - The Top-Hat Gang



Hallo again... finally... Haha, yeah, I know. I haven't actually been gone that long. :)
But, now I'm back with the next Meet The Books! feature, and this time new and improved, with more features, which means Belle talks for longer! Yay! *crowd in distance boos horrendously* Ahem... *shoots glare at crowd* Anyways, moving on from that. :P So, I am doing this feature of introducing my books in chronological order (from when they were started). And the immediate story after Alomina is The Top-Hat Gang, a rather adorable, comedic little thing. It's a trilogy (oh, goodness, the word 'trilogy' seems far too epic and serious for it...) that I started the summer right before Alomina's first anniversary (so, summer of 2015, I believe...?). Wow. It's already almost two years old. :') My little baby book... *realizes how weird she's acting and clears throat* Ahem. Moving on again, I suppose I shall proceed to introduce it.
 I haven't actually been gone too long, have I? Well, I'm a bit of an obsessive blogger, I'm afraid. If I leave this thing alone for too long, then I feel like I'm losing the few lovely readers I have. Which is ridiculous and paranoid, of course. But, I'm finally back with another



What is the genre?
The genre of all three books is Romantic Comedy. But I find it has leaned very much more to the Comedy side at times. ;) Think cutesy old 1950's musical mixed with clever old slapstick comedy show (haha, I realized I used the word 'old' for both descriptions... haha, I'm a granny writer...).
What is the title? The time period?
The title for the trilogy as a whole is The Top-Hat Gang (as you can see from the post title). The titles for the separate three books are yet to be decided officially. Unofficially, I have them put down in document as The Top-Hat Gang's Beginnings: Harry And Flynn; The Top-Hat Gang's Best Years: Jim And Jerry; and The Top-Hat Gang Completed: Roger And Freddie. The time period (for the beginning book, Harry And Flynn) is the year 1952, and time will move on from there.
Who are the characters?
Haha, this book may have a plot like burnt toast (a brilliant phrase coined from Cait), but its characters have been very frequently praised (and, in all hopes, sincerely so!). The immediate characters in book one are these:
Harry Drew is the MC - twenty-two years old, unmarried, shy and rather nervous of nature. A gentleman in his heart, to be sure, but outwardly a rather more awkward one, particularly around ladies (whom he has never quite learned to socialize with). He works for a small music shop mostly, but is at his home apartment a composer of brilliant measure, just too reserved to get anywhere with his beautiful compositions, despite the urging of his friends (particularly Flynn), who have heard his melodies. He has blue eyes, and chocolate-brown hair, and, while no shrimp, is a bit smaller than his best friend Flynn (who is a whopping 6'3 in height), at just barely six feet. The best picture of him is this one here.
Actually a very young Frank Sinatra, but when he was much younger, he looked a good bit like I imagine Harry. Only when he was younger, though.
Younger Ronald Reagan also looks a lot like Harry Drew... In fact, possibly more so.
The reason that very young Frank Sinatra looks ever-so-slightly like him may be that Harry and Flynn are dedicated to the memory of the famous duo, Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly, so my mental image of Harry is compatible with his dedicated personage (even though Flynn looks only in a few select details like Kelly, unlike Harry and young Sinatra, who are pretty similar). The only problem with this picture is that it's in black and white, so you can't observe the blue eyes and brown hair. I have another Sinatra picture that is compatible with Harry that's in color, but Sinatra is slightly older, so it's not as ideal unfortunately.
Flynn Arnough is extremely different from his best friend, to be sure. He is the 'other' MC in a way, as a great deal of the book focuses on him too. He is twenty-three, very tall (six foot three, to be exact), has black swept-over, Errol Flynn-ish styled hair, and rare violet eyes. He was born into a rather rich family, but still works for fun as a private dance instructor. He lives in Arnough Mansion, not too far from Harry, with his younger sister, Rosanne (commonly known as Rosa) and his parents (when they're not off in some vacation home for business, which is pretty rare). He's rather a socialite, and is constantly on the search for the right girl, frequently going out with some new lady. Unlike Harry, he is about as composed with women as it is possible to be, just about. Unfortunately, even this hasn't really helped him out much in the realm of settling down, as much as he sorely wants to, so he is still unmarried.
A lovely picture of Flynn, don't you think? Errol Flynn to be precise, but let's not split hairs. ;)

After these two, are the other characters, including first and foremost, the members of the gang:
Jim Stevens can be a bit unpleasant at times, but is still as much a part of the Top-Hat Gang (as Harry, Flynn and their friends have come to be called) as anybody else. Jim has had maybe one or two going-out here and there, but for the most part is unspoken for also. He's a rather sullen, even grumpy, at times character, but he has his good moments. He's a bit contrary, and definite stubborn. Still, no matter how much he may argue or grumble, his heart is with the Gang, and particularly (oddly enough) with the person that antagonizes and teases him most in the gang, Jerrold James. He works as a math teacher, and doesn't go out a whole lot, unless it's with the rest of the Gang. He is twenty-two, about six foot two, dark-blue-eyed, darker-brown-haired, and has something messed up about his appearance usually. He isn't messy really, it's just that he has un uncanny knack for, whatever situation, getting his tie ever-so-slightly crooked, his collar ever-so-slightly flipped, his vest ever-so-slightly rumpled, or something of the like, and so gives the impression in appearance often of being rather disgruntled.
Jim Stevens... a.k.a. a rather mussed up James Stewart, haha.


Jerrold James, commonly known to the rest of the gang as Jerry, is a twenty-four year-old repairman, often to be found doing handy work more for fun than for his job. He has chestnut-ish hair(?) and brown eyes, and is about six foot two or so (roughly the same as Jim). He is especial friends with Jim Stevens, but it's still a mystery how he and Jim are such good friends. He probably antagonizes, teases, and otherwise irritated Jim more than anybody else does, and he does it practically as a hobby. Jim also will occasionally do the like to him, so nobody is really quite sure how the two are so close. Jerry, though, unlike Jim, is extremely social. Not quite so much as Flynn, though, and definitely not the same kind. He's friendly, to be sure, but steers as clear of women as he possibly can. He doesn't exactly trust them, let's say. He dislikes the 'spider-like ones', who 'weave webs around a guy', and so, not being able to tell the difference, just avoids them all more or less.
Yeah, I know that Gregory Peck doesn't match the description of Jerry up there very well, but the face he's making is incredibly Jerry-ish.



Freddie Mayne is definitely the jokester of the group. He's also the shortest, at about five ten. He's got green eyes and black hair, and is aged about twenty-three at the start of the story. He has a thing for cracking rather bad jokes and being optimistic no matter what the situation, even unto being ridiculous sometimes. He is fairly social, and, while not being such a fast-mover as Flynn, is still relatively familiar with the women. His job is working at a malt-shop, but he's frequently seen trying to do various unusual hobbies (which he usually fails at eventually) such as karate or a yo-yo world record.
Google Image Result for http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/40/Gene_kelly.jpg/225px-Gene_kelly.jpg:
I know Flynn is the one who is dedicated to Gene Kelly, but Freddie looks so much more like him than Flynn does.
Roger Raymore is the youngest member, at age twenty-one. He and Freddie are very much pals, for being very opposite. (Jim and Jerry are unusual as pals, but have not too different characters, so it's not as contrasting.) Rog (as Freddie calls him on occasion) delivers books, and own a tiny book shop. He definitely looks like a professor, even though he isn't one. He's ever-so-slightly absent-minded, and extremely indecisive in character. He's blonde, has blue eyes, and is the tallest member of the gang (despite his younger age) at about six foot four. He enjoys more scholarly activities for the most part, but will never hesitate to go out with the rest of the gang if asked. He particularly enjoys reading, but as athletic activities go, Freddie can get him to play baseball sometimes. He never really goes looking for female attention, unlike some of the other members, but he (quite unwittingly) can sometimes attract it.

After that, the only other characters that are really, really important to the first book are
Charlotte Davis, a twenty-two year-old friend of Rosanne's who goes to a rather eventful party of the Top-Hat Gang one night,
Rosanne Arnough, more commonly known as Rosa. Flynn's sister and pretty much a part of the Top-Hat Gang already, and
Ella Kitterne, a rich socialite friend of Flynn and Rosa's who arranged this mentioned very eventful party.
I wish I could talk more about them, but I elaborated so much already on the gang. I will, in another post, get to the elaboration on the girls of the Top-Hat Gang. For now, I will stick with the male members.
What does the plot consist of?
The plot is mostly a romantic one as of yet. There will be more plot that isn't romantic or comedic soon, but it's not too developed right now. The romantic plot is Flynn and Harry, basically. Harry doesn't even really look for a girl, while Flynn is desperate to find the right one. So, when Harry gets smitten with a Miss Charlotte Davis at a party, Flynn decides to put his own girl troubles aside for the moment, and help Harry with courting Charlotte. Flynn sets Harry up in one romantic situation after another, and Harry, being very shy and somewhat nervous, manages to make each one comedic somehow. Harry is trying hard, and Flynn is trying even harder to help him, until chaos hits when Flynn finds himself falling for the very same girl. Thus, the romance gets incredibly comic, and largely frustrating, I might warn you. But, it's funny. Plus it has a lot of little subplots of the doings of the other gang members and their girls here and there. The first book of The Top-Hat Gang will cover this romance, of Harry and Flynn, and then the second book will cover the romances of the so-called free ranger, Jerry, and unattached Jim. The third book will be covering the last two members, Freddie and Roger, and their doings (plus an amazing scene where somebody gets punched! I love punching scenes!). :P
What is the setting?
It is the USA in, as I've said, the time 1952. I'm still not quite sure what state it is yet, but I'm working on it. It's a town somewhere in America, wherever I eventually decide. And... I will have more pictures for both setting and characters as soon as I can get myself to just stop using pictures of awesome old actors and old movie props. :P
Who are the favorite characters in it?
Well, I have five readers for this, and almost every one has said their favorite (or one of their favorites) was Harry Drew. The next most popular one, it seems, would be the disgruntled Jim Stevens. After that, Flynn Arnough is the only one who is directly mentioned as a #1 favorite. The other gang members, though, are frequently ranted over, whether by me or by a reader. My personal favorite might still be Harry, just for having been there before Jim, Roger, or Freddie (my other favs!).
What is the favorite scene?
Haha, a scene at a museum. All the gang is there, and Jim gets lost by himself, and, well, let's just say his time was pretty eventful. All the while, Jim is incredibly grumpy (he hadn't wanted to go), and Harry is trying to be enthusiastic and get the other guys to be positive about it (Jim not helping at all by grumbling about getting left behind). But they forget that Jim's there for a moment, and they lose him. He, due to his pleasant attitude, manages to get on the wrong side of a tour guide there, a tour guide who ends up being the one for the gang's trip, so it gets a bit comical... :P But, that scene isn't finished. The favorite finished scene is one in which Harry came to try and pick up Charlotte for their first date. It was a gem, to be sure. Which reminds me! I have to place credit where credit is due with this story, of course. When I was brainstorming for the idea for this novel, I wasn't the only one brainstorming. My first younger sister was there too, and was a party helping think up the original idea for this. I would say more, but I fear she might disapprove of it, as, while she helped come up with the original idea with me and for me, she does kind-of resent the liberties I took with plot and characters. So I gather, she had kind-of intended Flynn to be a bit of an antagonist. I think. That is what I surmise from her protests. But anyways, a hand of applause for her, the reluctant aid in the idea (and if she reads this, I really am sorry with what I did to the story - I just am trying to develop it!). She helped come up with the original idea for that Harry and Charlotte scene too.
Any themes of music for this work?
Well, no official ones, but the Elvis song Girl Of My Best Friend reminds me of Flynn, and is unofficially his song. And the song I Fall In Love Too Easily by Frank Sinatra is pretty much the unofficial theme for Harry, and the first book as a whole. Which is funny, because in the scene in the movie that song goes to, Anchors Aweigh, the situation Frank Sinatra's character is in is a lot like Harry's. It's so weird, though, that even before Harry and Flynn were dedicated to Sinatra and Kelly, they resembled them in character so much, and the plot was so similar to a Sinatra/Kelly plot. It's incredibly weird, especially considering the fact that I wasn't big on Kelly back when I started writing it, and hadn't even seen more than one movie with Sinatra and Kelly together, and that one only once (and I didn't even remember it very well!). It's like Harry and Flynn were just destined to be like the Sinatra/Kelly duet in a lot of ways. It's almost creepy...
How's its progress?
Well, it's gotten to about Chapter... Nine in the first book, which is the only one being officially written at the moment. But the chapters are long, and I spend a lot of time perfecting scene in that, so... I also have some sneak-scenes for books two and three, but officially, they're not written yet (shh!).
Any snippets...?
When they got there, Flynn stepped out of the taxi, and, straightening his top hat, entered boldly into through the doors of the building. With many a second thought, Harry nervously tried to copy Flynn, but tripped on the stair and fell over. Quickly standing up and brushing himself off, he also entered, desperately hoping no one saw.
***

"Hello Rosa, enjoying yourself? Ella! You look very nice tonight! Ah, Charlotte, good to see you here!", Flynn said, kissing each on the cheek. He then singly addressed the third: "Charlotte, I'd like you to meet my best friend, Harry Drew", and at this Flynn stepped aside to display Harry.

Harry only did an odd, nervous sort-of wave that did anything but improve the situation's awkwardness.

***

"N -nice to meet you", Harry said nervously, lifting her hand as though to kiss it as he had often seen Flynn do, but shyly thinking better of it and putting it down.

She smiled at him as though she thought he was amusing. This made him ashamed like nothing else.

***
"You look swell...", Harry said, observing her lovely violet gown and done-up hair, but wondering whether 'swell' was quite the right word to use.
***
Escorting Rosa into the house, Flynn continued his thought train. He thought of how he could possibly get Harry Drew into the romantic 'mood'. But an idea did hit him. So, the next day, even before his sister was up, he went to bookshop after bookshop, and stands for movie-tickets, getting things that he thought might do the trick. When he was done, he went to Harry's small but quaint and well-kept home. He then, carrying a large bag of all that he had collected, knocked on the door.
***
"Anyway  I've got to scoot, see you later, hope you like those, bye, old pal!", Flynn said, departing.

"Bye, old pal...", Harry said, puzzled by his friend's mysteriousness.

Then Harry shrugged, picked up the closest book, and began to read.
***
At the mention of Miss Davis, if Harry's mind had been unsure, his heart was quickly certain, for he confirmed Flynn's every suspicion by answering:
"Yes, I'll be there!", and with that, he smiled briefly but then looked away, apparently realizing his own quite over-obvious enthusiasm.
***
"Rosa, um, uh, hello, and um, Char-lo-tte", he said embarrassedly , dragging the syllables of Charlotte's name, hoping he had not done something wrong in addressing her.
***
Harry looked down at his costume and then at Charlotte's again. Rosa's gaze followed his and then met his. Her look confirmed his guess. Charlotte was Maid Marian... and poor Harry was playing Robin Hood!
***
Harry groped for his tie, and somehow managed to tie it neatly despite his clumsily shaking hands. Once he was finished, he looked at his watch nervously for the fifteenth time. Good, he thought, Still thirty minutes to go...
***
He then walked up to the house and knocked on the door. No one answered. He walked round to the back, but no one was there either. He looked through the first-floor window - carefully just avoiding the small, ornamental pond by the window. The house still seemed to be empty. He sat on a decorative garden bench in the back, wondering what to do next (he thought to himself that Flynn would probably know). Harry then saw the figure of someone in the second-floor window, and tried desperately to signal to them, but in vain. Suddenly, an idea hit him, one most un-Harry-ish. There were vines all up the house's outside walls... Harry grabbed one boldly. He at the same time wondered what Flynn would say....
***
Charlotte threw off her fur shawl, and took off her pearl necklace too. She then sat on her bed, wondering what could possibly have happened. How could  he possibly be so late? Was he going to come at all? Charlotte heard a slight creaking noise from outside, and wondered what it was, but didn't move. She then heard a small yell, and a loud splash. She hurried to the window in surprise. She looked down, and to her greatest shock, saw a dripping wet Harry Drew, just sitting in the garden pond! He looked up, shyly grinned, and said sheepishly:
"Sorry I'm late"
***
"Fine", Jim reluctantly said. "But don't expect this all the time, pals"
Jerry laughed. "Who knows, you may change your opinion about going to museums, Jim, in fact - who knows? -  you could even get a date, I'm sure"

"With whom?", asked Jim suspiciously.

"A dinosaur", said Jerry, to more laughter from Freddie, and a disapproving frown from Jim.
***



"Top going to blow any time soon, Jim? It's getting a little boring waiting for it", said Roger casually.
 
Jim did indeed look as though his top was going to blow. He glared at Harry.

"And just for some girl", Jim muttered under his breath angrily.

***
"What handiwork! Isn't it great, fellas?", said Harry enthusiastically, trying to spark interest.

"Bet it's a fake", said Jim grumpily from the corner, regarding it distastefully. "What a boring place", he said.

"Nobody likes a stick in the mud, Jim, and you're a whole tree", said Flynn.
***
"Well, sorry Jim", said Freddie, "Sorry for ruining your time here", he said, an ever-so-slight hint of rare sarcasm in his voice.

"It was already ruined just being here", Jim grumbled, resuming his dark attitude.
***
"Hey fellows, isn't this a beauty?", Harry said to keep their attention, pointing  at a clump of Celestine rock on display (though Miss Harper had already pointed it out).
 "Yeah, somebody found a rock and polished glitter all over it", muttered Jim.
***
But then that glowing feeling passed. Harry realized he would have to persuade the guys into going to that opening, and his heart sank into his shoes.
***
Haha, over half of those snippets were from the museum scene... Yeah... I think I'm more obsessed with that scene than my readers... And a good amount of those snippets were centered on Jim... :P Oh well... Really, for being the main character, Harry likes to just step out of the spotlight sometimes (not that that's really uncharacteristic of him... quite the contrary...).
Any drawings?
Unfortunately, I only have a couple, and, unlike with Alomina, my sister isn't really willing to draw for this one. And I have very unusual readers for this one, most of whom don't draw, so none from them either. But I drew a bookmark for myself of Jim and Kitty Harper (a third MC in his book):

Haha, Jim's looking rather mussed-up... as usual. His collar's half-flipped, his hair is ruffled, and his tie is ever-so-slightly crooked.


And an uncolored picture of Charlotte Davis:


You see the arm of Flynn accompanying Charlotte here on the left. I was going to draw the whole Top-Hat Gang. I hadn't drawn Harry, Freddie, Roger, Rosanne, etc., etc. yet, and had not quite finished Jim. Kitty is in the picture, but headless still. Flynn looks rather below standard for the detail of the rest of the picture even though he's finished, so I didn't put him here. Unfortunately the shadow of my other hand got in the way taking the pic... :P



That's unfortunately all the pictures I have concerning the gang, but I hope to draw more sometimes soon. I suppose that's all I've got as of now, but, like I said, I may do more, because I barely scratched the surface character-wise (which means this story is quite populated - even just now I went on for a while!). So I'll end it, I guess, and leave further elaboration for another time. For being one of the less written-down stories, it's definitely one of the most developed. But, like I said, that's for another date. So, konbonwa, all! ;)
So, what did you think? Would you read it? Who would be your favorite character from the descriptions? Do you think it sounds better than Alomina, or does my former story sound better? Can anybody else sympathize with the predicament of having characters who refuse to stick to plot rather than hanging around and bantering delightfully? Do you like Romantic Comedies (especially ones where it's 75% Comedy and 25% Romance)?

























6 comments:

  1. Oh, I want to read this! Love this post so much! I can't say whether I'd like it better than Alomina because of the different setting and era - I'm 100% sure I'll like them both. And yes, I love romantic comedies! I'm currently following a comic strip online called "Miss Abbott and the Doctor" - it's more 75% Romantic and 25% comedy (or maybe 50-50), but it's so brilliant and wonderful. It's during the Victorian Era. The artist is really amazing and she inspires me a lot when I draw my characters.
    And I can't believe how tall your guys are! Out of all of them, I think Roger would be my favorite because he runs a book shop - heehee.
    This post put me in the mood to watch some black-n-white movies! Roman Holiday, here I come!

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    1. Haha, thanks! Yeah, it's very different from Alomina... ;)
      Yes, Romantic Comedies! I actually usually hate them, unless they were published before 1969. But, if they're old, then count me in!!! :D
      Well, I looked it up, and six feet is average nowadays, and they were supposed to be tall, so I made them tall for back then. Haha, Rog is definitely one of my favorites. Thankfully, unlike some others, was I was able to give him a job that was interesting (I will hate to write about Jerry's work - who wants to read about fixing stuff?!).
      Agh!!!! Roman Holiday???!!!! Take me with you!!!! :D I love that movie!!!!!

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  2. The Top Hat Gang! Oh, hurrah! Say, have you written anything in it since I've had the delight of reading it...?

    Oh, Harry! I do love Harry. But Flynn is delightful, too. And Jim--yes, I do believe I was quite fond of Jim. I say! Belle! You used the last name Harper! I'd forgotten that....it makes me happy. Harper is one of my new favorite last names, partly due to our friend Anna's book and partly due to a certain Western I fangirl over. :)

    Choose between this book and Alomina?? Oh, Belle, you're cruel! How could I think of choosing? ....Right now I think I'm in more of a mood for The Top Hat Gang, but as I just read this delightful post I don't think that can be used as evidence in determining which one I actually like better. :)

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    1. Haha, unfortunately I've only written about three pages more since you read. I'm on more of an Alomina streak at the moment (speaking of which, I may soon have more typed up to read).
      Yeah, I think Harry is my fav of them too, as much as it pains me to take favorites from these guys. This book really does have my best characters... and my worst plot, that plot being nonexistent. :P
      Haha, cruel huh? I actually get that a lot between you and Beth... Wonder why...? ;)
      I personally like Alomina better for being more complete, but character-wise, this one can't be beat for being fun to write.

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  3. "plus an amazing scene where somebody gets punched! I love punching scenes!" Ah ha ha! Same here, actually.

    I already like Jim and Jerry. They sound fun, especially Jim.

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    1. Haha, yeah, for some strange reason, I have an attachment to punching in fiction. Not sure why. :P
      Yes, Jim is a common favorite, and Jerry is often a cause of laughing, due to his interaction with Jim. I'm glad you think you'd like it! :D

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