Once Upon a Journey

The title of this particular post refers to my upcoming book series, Once, which by the way is nearly finished with the penultimate edit and is one short edit away from the final draft! After the final draft, I’ll be in the submission process and one lucky publishing company is going pick this work up. Sure, it’s the first time I’ve ever done this and sure, I’m a personal trainer who writes for a hobby but to be completely honest, I want to cease calling writing a hobby one day. Does this mean fitness becomes a hobby? Heck no! Hey, it’s more than possible to do two full time jobs. I’m pretty sure an ancestor of mine was a knight (David ap Mathew) so my bloodlines can definitely take it. So why not take two passions and make them into one. In fact, this little fitness slash love for writing isn’t as weird of a combo as one may make it out to be. Think of how these two awesome lifestyles intertwine. For one, I can write a multitude of fitness books including books for those who may think they’re too busy to exercise, how to successfully implement sound nutrition into any lifestyle, non-traditional exercises for each muscle group when things get too boring, how to successfully begin a fitness regimen, how to eat well on a limited budget as it can be done, how to exercise with little to no actual fitness equipment as it can also be done, and many, many more. From a writing standpoint, sound knowledge of exercise science comes a long way and I reference some of this in Once. Trust me, you all will understand soon enough.

So, who exactly are my characters in Once? Honestly, I’m going to go the same way I went with Comeback Kid and I will say that there are a lot of characters that are simply based off of either a particular person, or a multitude of people. I want to give some background information on each one while being as vague as vague can be.

First, I want to start off with our great protagonist, Cain Robertson. Cain is literally a carbon copy of me, as I have pointed out in past posts. He is short like I am (though also properly proportioned like I am), has pale skin, hazel eyes, dark brown, curly, ringlet hair, a rather muscular build that is well proportioned, and has a low percentage of body fat. Cain is also very kind but in a sense, somewhat brash and might rub off as arrogant to some, but this is without intention. He’ll blow a few people off simply because his mind is multi-tasking, as mine often does, and he loves to look at himself in the mirror, as I do. Hey, I’ll be open about it. His birthday is April 27th, like mine, and he is twenty-two years old. I’m actually twenty-five but I was around Cain’s age when I began writing it and besides, if he was going to be a college senior he couldn’t be much older. Cain is athletically gifted but more so in the mental capacity, as when he plays shotball (think rugby with a few differences), he knows how to move the ball and set up plays rather than use his physicality to gain an advantage. He is capable, however, of making splash plays.

Secondly, I want to talk about Lira Ross. Lira is the best friend of Cain and is based off of several different girls I had met in the past. Lira is very, very friendly but can be short and temperamental with others. However, this is simply because she typically bites off more than she can chew in any situation and is often stressed out. Lira often shows her soft side on many occasions and isn’t as short tempered as one might make her out to be. Lira is simply overworked and fails to realize this. She comes from an extremely poor family, as mentioned in the past, and is really that symbol for someone who may have had next to nothing growing up but still had it in them to make something of themselves, as she is arguably the best shotball player in the school and the most academically gifted. She has long, straight, jet black hair, a solid build in the legs, toned upper body, long limbs yet a shorter stature, blue eyes with hints of brown in them (I actually got the idea of Lira’s eyes from a friend of mine), and fair skin, much like Cain’s. Lira’s birthday is July 31st.

My third person I want to get to is Savannah Rivers. Savannah is by far my most interesting character and I actually like her more than my own character, Cain. The reason is because Savannah was never intended to play a major role in this work and she just sort of fell into one. She was intended to be a highly gifted shotball player who could rival Lira in shotball ability but she soon became much, much more than that. She is based off of a few people I have met throughout the years who had gone on to play college sports and started off very well from their freshman year onward. Savannah is a freshman and she is very well liked by every single protagonist character in the book. There is an instance in Once where her character just takes off and I know Savannah is going to be the fan favorite. She is the friendliest of all of the characters and is willing to do anything to help out her friends. Again, she is by far the most interesting and is my favorite in the entire book. She’s built along Lira’s lines, except her skin is olive colored and she has brown eyes. Savannah’s birthday is October 31st.

Micah Robertson is my fourth get-up and is based off of my cousin who is a few months older than I am. Micah is that quietly exciting character who just very quietly plays his role. He’s interesting, talented, and academically gifted. There is nothing that Micah can’t do. He is simply very good at everything, though he is extremely humble. He can be counted on for the little things simply because he is quick to think up of clever solutions. He is the dark horse character who just works well in everything. Micah has the thin build, blue eyes, light, brown, short, straight hair, and is very athletically gifted. Micah’s birthday is September 11th.

Marcos Gretels is that, the best way to put it, badass friend of Cain, Lira, and Micah. Whereas Micah is the calm one, Marcos is the aggressive, shoot first, ask questions later type. The guy is super loyal to his friends and he is not to be crossed. His loose cannon personality rubs off on others. Marcos is based off of one of my best gym friends who looks hard and acts hard, but is very nice to those who know and like him. Simply put, if one stays on Marcos’ good side he’ll defend you to the death. Get on his bad side, and there will be hell to pay. Marcos’ birthday is August 1st.

Jed Robertson is the younger cousin to Cain and Micah. Jed is based off of my own brother and yes, if one reads Comeback Kid, Jed is almost a mirror image to Jed Patrick in Comeback Kid. Jed is the quiet type, who typically only talks to his closest friends and is rather introverted. This isn’t because he is shy, but rather because there is nothing to say. He’ll also only speak if called upon to speak or if there is something important that has to be said. Jed has blue eyes, a larger yet muscular build, glasses, short, straight, black hair, and olive skin. Jed’s birthday is June 5th, along with his twin sister, Asha Robertson. Asha is based off of an old friend of mine who by day, was a workout warrior who did everything the fitness way and by night, was someone completely different. She was a hardcore partier and one who knew her by night never thought she was a workout warrior by day, and vice versa. In Once, Asha has auburn hair, blue eyes, very pale skin, a rather muscular build in the arms and legs for a female, and a pixie-like face.

Korra Adams is based off of a friend of mine who is typically (or was typically until I relocated) always annoyed with me but I’d like to see her reaction when I make a trip back to the old gym and she happens to be there. Just throwing that our there, which is why I’m being so vague tonight. Korra is the granddaughter of one of my main protagonists, Rand Jefferson, who was described in a previous post a little over a month ago. Korra is a shotball player and a very good student. She has a temperament that is worse than Lira’s however, despite her rather nonchalant approach to things. Korra has olive skin, black hair that is straight, brown eyes, a rather curvy build, and what many guys would call a perfect face.

And Generals Rand Jefferson and Lancer Roberts are based off of two guys from my previous gym. Jefferson is based off of several senior citizens who were very influential people, in phenomenal shape, and just defied the aging process. For this, Jefferson is skilled in many different aspects, as is Roberts. Roberts is younger, however, by roughly a decade, give or take a couple of years. They’re both talented, gifted, fierce, loyal, and will do anything to protect their homeland from invasion.

Onto the antagonists, where we have General Adam Matheos, King Richard Mayes, Scotty Volt, Robby Patterson, and several others playing a minor role.

Let’s start with the greatest antagonist in the book, General Adam Mattheos. Adam is the Supreme Leader of Columbia and he is absolutely ruthless. The empire in which he is a part of, Southpoint, is one that is stretched over all parts of the globe. The sun never sets on the Southpoint Empire, and Mattheos lives by those words. Yet of course, Mattheos is evil, pure evil. In his quest for power in the Southpoint Empire, he very brutally murdered, imprisoned, and used inhumane tactics in order to achieve power in Columbia, which was overseen by King Richard himself. Together, Mattheos and Richard defeated the Columbians and ever since, Columbia has been under the control of Southpoint. Mattheos is loosely based off of antagonists such as Lord Voldemort, Firelord Sozin, Darth Vader, and a few others fitting that mold. General Mattheos is in his late forties age-wise, with slicked back dark hair, a goatee, fiery eyes, and a pointed face.

Scotty Volt is the archrival of Cain and his best friends. Volt is the son of a very prominent man in the southern part of Columbia that is known as South Columbia. For this, the Volt family has money in the rather poverty stricken region of South Columbia. Volt is almost like the Draco Malfoy of the series, except his best friends are actually relevant, quick-witted, and street smart. For that, Volt and his crew are very dangerous. Volt’s role is simple: to gain a young following on the orders of Adam Mattheos. Volt is actually based off of one of my best friends because he literally volunteered himself to be the model for one of the main bad guys. I liked the idea so much I went with it and it worked.

Robby Patterson is in the very same mold as Scotty Volt, except he’s based off of a kid who literally did come from money and the only reason he has a job is because his very rich parents (who are terrible businesspeople and tend to blow more money than they earn) keep him employed. If I had to guess, I’m pretty sure the kid’s father fell into money, but I’m not too sure. Maybe he merely lost his touch. I don’t know, but I’ll just say (and I’m trying to be vague here), that when I shop for furniture, it’s not going to be anywhere in the view of my beloved water tower in Wintersville, Ohio. Yes, the water tower makes its way into every single work I write. Don’t judge me!

King Richard Mayes only makes a cameo in my first work but he is going to be built into a force. Mayes is actually based off of my former boss at my old place of work….well at my old places of work, as I molded several people to fit him. Anyway, Mayes has a back story but this isn’t the place for it because it’s going to be shrouded in mystery.

Vince Lloyd isn’t necessarily an antagonist, but he’s a double agent, so I decided to include Lloyd at the bottom since he is practically a neutral. Very young but very prominent, Lloyd has many different abilities, something I’ll get to later on. The reader may or may not like him, but one thing is for certain, many characters on both sides seem to like and trust him. This makes Lloyd rather mysterious, and it’s always good to have someone like this. I’m going to be mysterious as well. Lloyd is either a hero, an anti-hero, or a villain. Have I personally decided what he is? I have. But to be honest with you, if I tried to sit here and explain it I would be confusing even myself. It’s complicated. I got the name from an old alias my former boss used because the name just sounded right for someone of Lloyd’s mysterious ways. It also sounds very badass, and I briefly considered using the name for Marcos, but I wanted a name closer to the friend of mine that Marcos is based off of.

Taj Windsor: Taj is the tormented, pure evil lieutenant in the Southpoint Army. Born to an unknown family, she was adopted very early in life and barely remembers anything of her biological family. She even goes by her adoptive last name for this reason. After many miserable years, Taj becomes a borderline psychopath and almost enjoys torturing others to the point of mercy. She loves controlling others and uses her position in the Southpoint army to her advantage.


The Complexes: There are ten apartment complexes throughout the school. They are very similar to Hogwarts Houses or any housing system for that matter but they resemble dorm complexes more than anything else, as assignments into these Complexes are practically randomized into a particular region one may be from. For instance, Cain and those who live nearest him are from the region where those in Summit University are housed in the Matthews Complex, while Scotty Volt and those in that particular region are housed in Wilson.

There are six South Columbian Complexes and five North Columbian Complexes. Despite only eleven Complexes, there are twelve teams in any Summit University sponsored sports league due to those who commute from Richfield, the town Summit University is located while other Richfield residents prefer to be on campus. The South Columbian Complexes are named after family names I actually have ties to. They go as follows:

Matthews: Matthews, of course, is my last name, hence MatthewsFit. The Complex colors are orange and brown, after my favorite NFL team, the Cleveland Browns (it’s okay to joke about this). Their nickname is the Knights, as one of the founders of the modern Matthews bloodlines was in real life, a knight. They are regarded as the lovable losers of all of the Complexes due to their rather inability to win a Summit University Championship in the major sports. They share a very heated rivalry with Wilson despite Wilson’s recent dominance over Matthews.

Wilson: Wilson is my grandmother’s maiden name. The Wilson Complex is the strongest and most talented of all of the Complexes and is typically referred to as the Complex of Champions, due to their many championships in the major sports. Their colors are black and gold (yellowish gold) and their nickname is the Wolves in recognition of Wayne High School, where many of my older Wilson relatives went to school. Wilson is known as being the most aggressive of all the Complexes and they tend to isolate themselves from the other South Columbian Complexes. They also hold themselves in much higher regard. They are modeled loosely off of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Oiler: Oiler is the maiden name of my great-grandmother. They tend to be the friendliest of the Complexes, especially friendly towards Matthews. Furthermore, they also share an identical hatred with Wilson. Their colors are powder blue and red, a nod to the old Houston Oilers, and their nickname is the Fighting Braves as an acknowledgement towards my Native American blood, which came from the Oiler family. Oiler is the Complex that the other Complexes (minus Wilson) get on with rather well and many of them tend to be the most popular students in the school.

Caldrone: Caldrone is my mother’s maiden name. Their colors are black and orange, as a nod to the Cincinnati Bengals of the NFL. Their nickname is the Sentinels, since Caldrone is in fact an Americanized version of Calderone, the original, Italian version. They’re called the Sentinels due to the Mafia Sentinel vehicle in GTA III. Caldrone may be the shadiest of the South Columbian Complexes and they have a reputation for carrying out some organized crime, though only towards those who are on their bad side. This isn’t displayed in Book One, but Caldrone will have its day, or at least I plan on it.

Robinson: Okay, so when I made up my main character, I went with Cain Robertson. Robertson is really my grandmother’s maiden name but since Jed is based off my brother and Micah is based off my cousin, the names that connect all of us is either Robertson or Caldrone, and Robertson fit better with the characters as it’s the more common name. So, I made a slight variation here from Robertson to Robinson in order to avoid confusion. Robinson’s nickname is the Dark Raiders and their colors are purple and black. They are a nod to the Baltimore Ravens and while Robinson may be the most secluded of all of the South Columbian Complexes, they are rather friendly. They’re just very introverted people.

Wallace: The sixth, final, and possibly most irrelevant Complex of the bunch is Wallace. Teal and black are their main colors and they’re literally my fill-in Complex with little to do with the series as of now. They’re a nod to the Jacksonville Jaguars and their nickname is the Warriors, in recognition of Wintersville High School, whose name at the time was the Warriors. Wallace, however, is the Complex I had a lot of fun with as they are the most relevant to real life. For instance, the color scheme of what is now Indian Creek High School was to be a shade of teal and black before the School Board went with red and gold. It’s also worth noting that Cross Creek High School is based off of Indian Creek High School and Richfield itself is based off of Wintersville. Wallace is the one Complex that links my work of fiction with real life, and therefore it is my favorite Complex after Matthews!

So, you can also tell that I based the colors of each Complex off the old AFC Central Division that was active in the NFL from 1970 to 2001. The Jaguars joined in 1995, the Ravens in 1996, and the reincarnated Browns in 1999. I love making connections with real life things and events in any work of fiction I write. It’s my way of showing certain influences within my texts.

As mentioned above, Richfield is based off Wintersville, Ohio. Although Wintersville does not contain a university campus, Summit University itself is based off Kent State University, where I spent one year studying history before I transferred to Cal U of PA to study wellness and fitness. Summit University itself is named after Summit County, the adjacent county to Kent State. Kent was rather active during the Vietnam War era, which was highlighted for its mandatory conscription of any male eighteen or older, which is where you will find many similarities not only between Southpoint and the British Empire, but also a little bit of the American Empire we have built today with potentially disastrous consequences.

You will also see much libertarianism involved in the work, as I am an individual who preaches the political ideology. For this reason, both Conservative America and Liberal America can agree with some of the work and at the same time, disagree as well, depending on one’s own unique individual political views.

Okay, so I believe I was going to go in depth with the sport of shotball, why it is relevant to the series, and why I believed it was the absolute perfect sport to highlight in the work among any other let’s say, backyard type of sport.

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