I was sick on Tuesday when author Robert Roman was originally scheduled to join us and because of that, I posted Robert's guest blog too late for him to get any exposure. So, I'm running his blog today. Robert's got a great sense of humor and a wonderful personality, so please give him some comments and enjoy getting to know him!
Now, it's time to create a little mayhem and get to the good stuff by revealing all of Robert’s deepest darkest secrets in the moonlight. LOL Yeah, you wish! ;-D Grab your favorite wicked drink, sink your teeth into something decadent, sit back, relax and enjoy getting to know Robert.
MLM: The holidays are fast approaching and things always seem to get busier during this time of year. Do you have a relaxing technique that helps you de-stress? If so, please share, because this is advice we all need!
Robert: Nope. Not gonna share. Naughtiness with the Ur-Goth is the only de-stress technique I’ve found that works, and she’s not into sharing.
MLM: LOL. Not everyone celebrates Christmas, but most of us still have traditions we participate in, such as attending holiday parties, decorating your house, baking cookies, etc. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Robert: My holiday tradition is pretty boring to describe. My friends in college were a mixed batch tradition-wise, so we’d get together on or about New Years to exchange gifts. Most of us have moved away, but half a dozen of us (and our kids) get together now to exchange on New Years. It’s an interesting event for us, but kinda dull to describe.
MLM: In the south, holidays are centered around food, with huge meals and lots of baked sweets. Do you have a favorite holiday recipe you'd like to share with us? If not, how about an all-year-round favorite recipe?
Robert: My favorite holiday recipe is pfefferneuse. I don’t have my mom’s recipe for them, although I’m sure she’d email it to me if I remembered while I was chatting with her. There are a million recipes for them online, and I’ve tried quite a few over the years. Most of them come out nothing like the ones I remember from my childhood. Having made them recently, it’s mostly the memories that make them my favorites.
Once you get the dough made, you roll it out into little snakes about a half inch across, then cut little ‘coins’ of dough about a quarter inch thick. Put them in the oven for about ten minutes, and after they cool they wind up being just what it says on the tin; pepper nuts. Little hard cookies the size and shape of an almond, with a slightly peppery almond flavor. But when they first come out of the oven, they’re warm, and soft, and if half of them actually get to cool off and become pepper nuts, I’m shocked.
MLM: Pfeffer…what? LOL Sounds tasty and something my kids would love digging their hands into! Have you ever made your own holiday presents and/or decorations? If so, what were they? Were they successes or failures? Did you have fun while making them?
Robert: The first holiday present I ever made with my own hands was a carved wooden Maltese cross, decorated with various bits of arcane symbolism, as old Maltese crosses were wont to be. The girl I was dating at the time was into things odd and arcane, and I thought she’d like it. When she unwrapped it, I realized by the look on her face that I’d done a rather poor job of it. She had NO idea what it was, and thought it was some kind of anti-vampire shuriken. :-/
Complete present fail, but I still had fun making it.
MLM: Aww…I thought it sounded cool and really dug the anti-vampire shuriken concept! =D If "Santa Claus" could bring you any gift you wanted, what would be your ultimate gift? (Please refrain from saying "money" because who doesn't want more of that!)
Robert: Extra hours in the day. Another 12 a day would be nice, but I’ll avoid being greedy and just ask for 8.
MLM: *nods head* Oh, goodness, me too, me too, I soooooo want extra hours in the day!! Odd question, but my 9 year old thinks Rudolph and the reindeers "guiding Santa's sleigh" have GPS navigation. So, if you could give Santa and his sleigh any one modern technology, what would it be and why?
Robert: Whoof. Tough one. I’m thinking he’d want a video phone. He’s got to see some real weird stuff on his trips, and being able to youtube it would be a trip.
MLM: ROFL at the thought of what Santa would put on Youtube. Now, let’s get to your writing, Robert...what genre do you write and what is the draw for you?
Robert: That’s the sixty four thousand dollar question, really. I write the stories my muses put in my head. Those stories don’t always fall cleanly into a genre.
Take my first published story, for instance: it’s a story about a Golem and a Faerie princess who fall in love through a mutual appreciation of artwork. Romance, right? But there’s also a pair of gay pixie fairy godfathers, and they work over the Golem like he’s the car in an episode of ‘Pimp my Ride’. Comedy, yah? But there’s ALSO a greedy elf who wants to burn the museum down for the insurance money, and that entails chases and fights and action. Adventure, yah? It got listed as ‘Urban Fantasy Romantic Comedy’, but…
Better yet is my current book; A Christmas Evening Vigil. Someone mentioned Steam Punk Christmas and Military Romance in the same sentence, and a Steam Punk Christmas Military Romance sprang full formed into my head. Only later did I realize that it technically qualified as an Interracial Romance, but since the characters were rather more concerned with ‘does he / she like me’ and ‘can I / we avoid getting shot’ than color or creed, I didn’t realize at first. So the final genre descriptor wound up being Interracial Steam Punk Military Romance. With Cyborg Zombies and Skateboarding Mecha.
See what I mean?
I suppose that more of what I’ve written falls under ‘Steam Punk’ than anything else, but only by a little bit. The ‘craftsmanship married to creativity’ of the aesthetic appeals to me.
MLM: Hmm…you're an eclectic writer, which can only mean good things! If you could describe your writing with a word or phrase, what would it be? Please delve into the core of your writing to tell us what word or phrase you want readers to take with them when they've finished reading your story.
Robert: Oddly enough, Transhumanism. Not that I’m really deeply into it, but I write a lot about people who aren’t, technically, homo sapiens. Golems, Elves, and Pixies, Cyborgs, Aliens, AIs and Angels. Because of that, I write more than a bit about what makes someone ‘human’ or not. That may be why so much of what I write has romantic elements; one of the things that makes us ‘human’ is the ability to care for someone else, to experience love, whether the object of our affections looks like us or not.
MLM: With the current movement to encourage people to give books as gifts, what, in your opinion, makes your story unique? What makes it stand out among all of the other books out there?
Robert: As noted above: Interracial Steam Punk Military Romance, with Cyborg Zombies and Skateboarding Mecha. I dare you to find another published work with all of that and an HEA. If you can pull that off, try finding one where the Cyborg Zombies are the good guys.
So… yeah. Unique I’ve got in job lots.
As for standing out, Dara does fantastic covers, does she not?
MLM: *nods head* Agrees, Dara does spectacular covers. Do you prefer throwing snowballs or serving hot cocoa? Does that show through in your writing? If so, how?
Robert: Is there a ‘both’ category? It’s all about experiencing the sensations. I think that sense of having all of it shows through in my writing a lot. All in one story I’ll have quiet midnight talks, hymn singing vigils in packed churches, big battle scenes, and heartfelt discussions between would-be lovers. If I left any of it out, it wouldn’t be the same story, and it would be a lesser story than it is.
MLM: If you could give any of your characters a holiday gift, which character would it be and what would you give them? Why do they deserve this gift?
Robert: I would give Jason (from Road Mage) a day without magic. He has involuntary psychometry; he feels the emotions of those he touches and things he works with. As a CSI, he deals with unpleasant people and things a lot, so he’s come to be very jaded. A day without magic would, for him, be a blessing.
MLM: Who decides what your characters do, you or your muse? What kind of influence do you have over your story, or is the muse always the one stuffing the stocking?
Robert: When I’ve got a character in my head, they’re the one controlling their actions. Honestly, if I’m ‘driving’ too much, they probably aren’t fleshed out enough.
As for who puts the story and characters in my head, that would be my muses. Agatha and Penelope. They hate me. But they have an awful wicked sense of humor, so I’ll keep them.
MLM: Awesome, someone else other than me who has muses with names and muses that relish torturing us! Suddenly, I don't feel alone in the world. Ahem…what character did you have the most fun creating and why?
Robert: I have fun with all of them, honestly. The process of character creation, learning about who and why a person is the way they are, is my favorite part of writing. I’d have to say the most surprising recently has been Gramma Jones from A Christmas Evening Vigil. The heroine’s great-grandmother, she was born a slave and died before emancipation. Despite all that, she manages to reach out via her words and change the course of her world’s history. She’s a fabulous example of overcoming circumstances by not letting them define you.
MLM: If you had the opportunity to meet just one of your characters in real life, who would it be and why?
Robert: That’s a tough one. Most of them would probably smack me in the head for putting them through all that. I think I’d have to go with Ophilia from Fae Eye for the Golem Guy. She’s a Muse, she might be able to explain why the pair in my head want to hurt me so much. Also, she’s got fabulous tattoos, and I’m fascinated by body art.
MLM: Which of your characters would you never want to meet under any circumstance and why?
Robert: That’s easy. Paul Dunn from Road Mage. Serial Killer and Death Mage. Not a pleasant person in any sense of the word.
MLM: If you were interviewing yourself, what is the one question you would ask yourself and please give us the answer to that question?
Robert: “You answer these questions like a complete Christmas fruitcake. Are you really that odd, or are you faking it all for the publicity?”
The answer is, of course, ‘yes’. I’m actually that weird, but long ago learned to hide it. I’ve realized that the thick coating of ‘normal’ I slather on before work each day is actually a detriment when it comes to standing out as an entertainer, so I wash it all off before I start writing, or answering questions about my writing.
MLM: LOL Great way of putting it, Robert. I have no desire to be 'normal' *shudders at the thought* because it's so boring! Thanks so much for joining us, Robert! It's been a treat getting to know you better!
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The Triple Alliance, led by Kaiser Otto II, struck without warning. The combination of Prussian military might, Austrian clockwork, and Ottoman funding cut through the unprepared Entente powers like a chainsaw through Brie; hamstringing Britain, pinning Russia, and very nearly destroying France. The year is 1908, and the Entente is almost defunct.
Sebastian Cole and Leigh Abrams each came within a hair's breadth of giving their lives defending the last Entente stronghold. Destiny has drawn them to each other. Their Duty forces them apart.
Leigh is trying to be an Officer worthy of serving with Sebastian. Sebastian is trying to recover from physical and mental wounds of battle. Worst of all, the Triple Alliance is still set on winning the war.
A cowardly attack on Christmas Day leaves Sebastian standing alone against the might of the Ottoman Immortals. There is no sane way for Leigh to reach him in time to help.
Fortunately for him, Mad Scientists aren't burdened with an overabundance of sanity.
“Do you still want this Sebastian as much as you did in the summer?”
Now Kay’s voice went wistful, which was an excellent sign. “More, Mother. I have had a chance to know him. He is fine and strong and brave. Where another man would have run back to Washington afraid or seeking glory, he chose The Line, where he can come to grips with his fears.”
“So be it. The military has always been a closed and Byzantine thing to me. Does he still report to you?”
A touch of wonder entered Kay’s voice. “No, Mother, I don’t believe he does. He’s officially returned to Armored Infantry command.” The wonder was quashed as rapidly as it began by bitter self-recrimination. “It doesn’t matter, though. Your words aside, I‟m not a woman of quality. I’m just a poor half-breed soldier-girl.”
Some part of Capricious found it interesting that some things other than David could still instill a rage so fierce she saw red. Her anger flowed freely into her voice. “Daughter! No one will speak of my child that way, not even the child herself. Do you understand me?”
“Yes, Mother,” came the chastened reply.
“You are a fine young woman. You are a Surgeon and Engineer and Officer, and you have distinguished yourself well in all three areas. Your father’s family is wealthy enough that his grandfather was nearly snapped up as an aristocrat during the purges. You are his only child; you’ll inherit. Between your accomplishments and your potential wealth, I doubt anyone with sense would call you less than a woman of quality.”
The girl’s voice was still quiet, despairing. “I can’t compete with Sarah.”
“Who, pray tell, is Sarah? I’ve seen no woman around him. I’ve watched him carefully.”
“She’s the woman in his locket. She’s beautiful, all air and grace.”
“Your mother took to the air when you were still a child, and you are beautiful, child, where I was only handsome and pretty. Still….”
The hesitation in Capricious‟ voice was enough to rouse Leigh from her lethargy. “Still what?”
“If you’ve decided you do not want him, because he carries a locket from another?”
The girl’s reply was full of fire, as it should be. “Of course I still want him, Mother. I just have no idea how to get him.”