So you can read my books

Saturday, May 29, 2010


We are storytellers.

Before civilization, before the written word, before community, the storyteller existed.

Storytellers were the catalysts of civilization, the written word, and the sense of community.

Man banded together for the protection and shelter. The hunters fed the people. But the storytellers fed their dreams. And it was the dreams that cast back the darkness.

More than the campfires, it was the myths and legends told by the storytellers that kept the darkness at bay. They nourished Man's dreams. And the dreams gave him hope. And the hope gave him the strength for the hard days.

So when you begin to type, pause. Take a moment to reflect on the sacred trust that has been handed to you. Look towards the shadows in your room and nod to the spirits who watch you.

Do them proud.


Like the title? It's to my latest novel. It is a Steampunk YA romance/fantasty told through the male POV.

I looked for an agent who seemed a good fit for it. I found one who said in several interviews and on the webpage of her agency that she had a dream. What dream?

She longed to see a Steampunk YA romance/fantasy told through the male POV come to her. I could hardly believe my eyes. Then, I went to the website.

Remember all my stressing to you about the importance of brevity in your queries. Get ready to laugh. Her agency didn't accept queries.

Just an online form. A very specific online form. And room for only very, very brief answers. You can laugh now.


O.K. Time for me to follow my own advise. Don't you hate when you have to do that? Giving it is always so much easier!

Mark Twain first said that. I could see him in the shadows of my apartment, chewing his cigar and smiling, "Well, get to it, son. Let's see if the teacher learned his own lessons."

He looked at me and rolled his eyes, "It's easy, boy. You only got to show her three things : place, protagonist, and problem. Piece of cake."

He winked a twinkling eye and snorted, "Devil's Food Cake, that is."

Well, I have given little snippets of advise in these last posts. I thought you deserved to see me skirm a little. So here is the online form and my answers.

Be kind. Mark Twain has said all the jibes already. "Best time I've had in a hundred years, boy," he laughed.

Here it is :

Please list any prior literary credits including books previously published, MFA programs, awards/grants, short stories in magazines or journals and/or any prior representation:

My only literary experience is being an owner of a bookstore for 15 years and having to know what my customers liked. And before that I was a high English teacher who taught courses in creative writing.

Please write a short synopsis of your novel (250 words maximum):

What is worse than no love? Two jealous loves, both born of the supernatural, danger, and madness.

LOVE LIKE DEATH : A Steampunk romance -- told from the male POV. A world that, like Alice's, begins with the familiar and spins round into a kaleidoscope of wonder and danger.

An orphanage is set ablaze by a madman. One fifteen year old boy survives. Or does he? Is he dead in a mad purgatory, or is reality stranger than he believed?

In the end, he learns reality is what you make it. What matters are the choices you make and that in the end, love, like death, consumes you.

Blake Adamson is accompanied in his vision quest by two supernatural girls, a fallen Sidhe and an escaped Shinseen slave. They are bound to him by a curse that dooms the three of them to endlessly repeat a fatal cycle -- unless Blake can discover an exit he's failed to think of in a hundred incarnations.

And he does. But can he find the courage to arrange for his younger self to never escape the orphanage fire? He does. But finds he has made things even worse.

My novel can be read as a stand-alone. Or it can be continued in the fantasy, whose rough draft I have just finished : LAST EXIT TO BABYLON.

Total word count (not pages): 80,000 words.

Any additional information you’d like to include (i.e., media exposure, articles, website; 250 words maximum):

To get a better feel for my writing voice and my range, you might want to drop by my blog. Yes I have one of those, too.
Is this a multiple query? No.

LOVE LIKE DEATH is a bit of a fantasy Titanic with Blake Adamson sailing the dangerous Sea of Fate with one love, trying to save another -- all the while knowing it will likely be the death of him.

I was going to post a modern song with clips from the TITANIC so as not to punish my friends with my smaltzy musical tastes. Then, Mark winked at me. "Celine's music is better than it sounds. Go ahead. Play it again. Would I lead you wrong?"

Of course the answer to that is yes. But I did it anyway.

*With thanks to for the wonderful picture.


  1. Wow, that sounds amazing! You're extremely gifted, I wish I could write like you!

  2. I hate the e-forms. We work tirelessly on our queries to perfect them, then they throw a form at us. Ouch. Your story sounds awesome, of course. Everything you do rocks. It's only a matter of time, Roland, I swear to you. You'll be a household name.

  3. I agree with Christi, one day I'll say I know that guy.

  4. This is a very good thing for you. Also, your books sounds really intriguing. I like the idea of purgatory in a fairytale YA sort of steampunk (?) But where is the steampunk? Wonderful news. Look forward to buying that book. Keep us posted.

  5. Love it when Mark Twain visits me. He is a chatty guy, isn't he?

  6. Carrie : Blake finds himself in a steampunk nexus of sorts early on and stumbles on a three-sided chess game being played by Napoleon, Darwin, and Freud.

    Then, he finds himself walking the West End of Victorian London at the times of the Ripper murders. His escort? An angel named Wylde he helps escape from the Halls of Hell.

    My understanding of steampunk is a subgenre of Alternate History; this generally deals with advanced technology in the altered past.

    Blake begins his adventures in the present. He is kidnapped to a Victorian death club with video feeds into the internet of the future.

    He escapes back to New Zealand in the present only to find himself soon lost in shadows then upon the Sea of Fate which leads him to the Halls of Hell. And from there to Victorian London

    Charmaine : I put a lot of thought into that title. Thanks for liking it.

    Lesapea : Thanks for feeling that way. It means a lot during these lean times.

    Christi : Don't you just hate the e-forms? It is so hard to put any kind of voice and style into them. Thanks for thinking LOVE LIKE DEATH rocks. I put a lot of work into making it fun, suspenseful, and unpredictable.

    I wanted teens to read and re-read it, finding new things to discover with each reading. One of those books you discovered in school that you took to your friends and said, "You gotta read this!!"

    I wanted boys to imagine themselves as Blake and girls to wonder who would be more fun to be, Fallen or Kirika?

  7. Wow, you navigated that challenge quite well Roland. Yep, taking our own advice can hurt, but what is life without a bit of painful challenge. Good luck with the "query".


  8. Hi Roland .. this post is so interesting to read and learn a little more about being accepted as a story teller. The sagas of old are so evocative of times past .. when they dreamed of lands beyond the horizon - fortunately we have the myths and legends to draw on .. hope all goes well with "Love Like Death" .. Hilary