Monday, August 22, 2016

Author Interview: Mann Ramblings with Priest and Pariahs

Today I have an interview with a lovely author, Mann Ramblings, with a feature of his latest book in the Ship Logs of the Santa Claus series, Priests & Pariahs.


What do you love most about writing science fiction?
World building! I love stretching the rules of possibility inside of a framework of reality. Some writers make the mistake of not following their own plot structure religiously and it hurts their efforts. My geeky friends and I used to spend our time as teens watching movies and pointing out the plot holes and errors to each other. Even with movies we loved. So I really strive to not give readers that easy opportunity. My best example of it done right: the Harry Potter series, where from the first book, it's said no one can come back to life. And no one ever does. Ghosts haunt the school and speak to others, but no one comes back to life. Dead is dead.

For me, science fiction is the setting the story sits inside of rather than the driving force. I like to introduce the elements without making it so technical only a die-hard can appreciate it and making it plausible enough the reader isn't pulled out of the narrative. It can be a tough balance, and I hope I manage to achieve it.

If you had to only work on one writing project for the next year... what would it be?
My next WIP is a steampunk novel titled Innocence & Carnality which so far has been part of my flash fiction group, Wednesday Briefers. Writing and posting 1k a week, I've already put in almost a year on it, and I'm about halfway through the first draft in the process. (It's a big one.) I'm just gearing up after a break to start hashing out the rest. Not at 1k a week. I'm hoping to get the manuscript submitted by the fall. There's a lot of rework to fix the pacing out of the 1k scenes, but I'm looking forward to it. I've stayed really excited about the story even with the extended writing phase. I'll be sure to let people know when I get closer to the end.

Do you have any of your books represented in your tattoos?
Why yes, now that you mention it. Anyone who's spent any amount of time talking to me knows of my passion for tattoos. (Some ad nauseam, no doubt.) I love all my ink. I designed each one and plan on getting more once I pay some of it off my Visa card. In the meantime, I need to get back in to the gym before I ruin the canvas. LOL

On the inside of my right arm sleeve I have the title logo from The Luxorian Fugitive. It was a present from my tattoo artist for getting my first publishing contract. I also have plans for getting the ship's logo that appears on all the covers and title pages, Santa Claus Express, (a not-so-subtle nod to the show Futurama) but I can't decide just where to place it yet. Maybe on my back just below the neckline....
Do you have a favorite quote from Priest and Pariahs?
Oh, man that a tough one. Writing Costa's dialogue was the most fun for me. I wanted his speech and phrasing to distinctly British, so when I first wrote Priest & Pariahs, I had my dear friend, member Never Surrender, beta-read the chapter with a focus on helping me revise his speech patterns into something genuine. The whole process helped me hone his sharp wit and other characteristics. I love all of his lines, such as this bit from chapter one as Costa talks to a young boy who's hitting on him after awaking from cryo-sleep. The line underscores Costa's unforgiving nature to the intolerant and alludes to the new adventure about to begin.

You should get back to your bigoted little family,” he said, dismissing the boy. “Run along. We all have new lives to start.”

Where does the crew of the Santa Claus go from here?
Whether by accident or design, I've left multiple avenues to take for future stories. When I designed the Santa Claus, I deliberately didn't introduce the entire crew to give me some flexibility for the future. A lot of people's stories haven't been touched on and others haven't been 100% completed. James and Barrus are in limbo, and I'd like to see what Dante is capable of, just to name a few.

I can think of two different storylines I'd like to write that don't really intertwine, so that would potentially create at least two more books just off the top of my head. Nothing's solid yet. Once I finish my current WIP, I'll start deciding what will be next and go from there. So far, all the stories have been one-offs, but sometimes I'd like to try for a multi-book epic saga. It's always a hard choice. I have so many ideas....

Synopsis – Priest and Pariahs

Ship Logs of the Santa Claus, Book Three
Costa McQuillen is a Pariah, a para-human with tech empathic abilities who has escaped from Earth, where being para-human is illegal—and marks him for extermination. Arrogant and standoffish, Costa is unable to trust anyone, but is willing to risk everyone’s safety to reach the planet Omoikane. His best solution: gaining passage on board the Santa Claus.
Arbor Kittering, the crew’s newest coding tech, is a medical oddity. With the technologies available to prevent birth defects, Arbor’s status as a dwarf brings the kind of attention he could happily do without. Having spent a short time in prison for data hacking and falsifying government files doesn’t help. The Santa Claus is his last chance at a new start, if he can decipher the strange malfunctions plaguing the ship.
Priest, the Santa Claus’ Head Pilot, is a bit of a scoundrel. Perpetually single, Priest is attracted to Costa for his exotic looks, and to Arbor for his unique qualities. In truth, he’d like to have both, but it’s clear such a thing isn’t in the cards. Now Priest needs to make a choice, before it’s too late.

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THE DARKNESS REMINDED him somehow of an unborn child, floating weightless, enveloped by warmth. What would anyone give to fall back into such a simple existence, removed of all need beyond instinctual thought? What a fortunate nine months it would be. What a wonderful life, sleeping and cared for inside the womb, never requiring a voice. All before anyone could teach a soul to love or hate, or something or someone was unwanted.
Is that what was happening here? Had he somehow regressed back before his own infancy? The pangs of jealousy he was experiencing told him no. Sadly, no.
He felt like he’d been slumbering for such a long time, and very, very slowly he was starting to wake. Threads of logical coherence began to tickle his thoughts in the dark. It was not a welcome sensation and he fought to avoid it. Why couldn’t he go back into the lovely silence?
Envy for the ignorance of the unborn rolled through him. How unfair it was to have the innocence of being sequestered and never hearing the taunts of children or comprehending the cries of the intolerant taken away from him. If only he had never heard slurs of hatred or understood what defined a second-class citizen.
What was that sound? Could it be a faint heartbeat in the distant void? It sounded brash and unnatural, refusing to lull him back to sleep like the soothing cadence of a mother’s pulse.
Like a child, he wanted nothing more than to stay safe and warm, but like in every instance, someone always forced a person into the painful light and cold of reality. The darkness parted above him with a soft mechanical hiss. The warmth bled away, making him want to cry.
Daring to open his foggy eyes, he squinted in the artificial light. A woman in a white coat hovered over him.
“Welcome back to the real world,” she said. “Can you tell me your name?”

Book Trailer

Start with Books One and Two of Ship Logs of the Santa Claus!

The Luxorian Fugitive

Sergeant Liam Jacks is the security chief of transport vessel, The Santa Claus. He travels the planetary cluster with Marc Danverse, his best friend and captain, seeking to escape his tortured past and find some peace of mind.
Having been through a civil war together, Danverse and Liam are close. Maybe too close….
All that changes when mysterious stranger, Hadrian Jamison, an escaped Adonirati, books passage to Alpha Centauri. Can he be trusted? Can the stories of his past be believed?
As Liam’s fascination with Hadrian grows, jealousy threatens to tear apart his friendship with Danverse.
When Hadrian’s owner shows up, Liam is forced to go against orders in order to launch a rescue mission to save him.
The ensuing conflict may be more than any of them expected.
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A Cook’s Tale

 The trials and tribulations of the crew and passengers of interplanetary transport vessel, The Santa Claus continues in A Cook’s Tale.
After a horrific breakup, Erron Murfin is bitter, homeless, and friendless. When the cook’s position on the Santa Claus presents itself, Erron decides to escape his current circumstances and join the crew. On board he reconnects with family friend Gamin Wells, whose own secrets and issues begin to surface upon Erron’s arrival. The least of which is the reason the pair haven’t laid eyes on one another in over twelve years.
As Erron settles into his new duties, the men on board take an interest in their newest crew member. Among those intrigued by Erron are polyamorous couple, Barrus and James. Despite Erron’s cautious nature, he’s drawn into a triad relationship with the pair.
But there’s something about Gamin…
Is Erron too damaged to confront his own feelings?
Will his past prevent him from finding what he needs?
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About the Author

Like many gay men, when Mann Ramblings grew up, there weren’t any heroes he could relate to. The world held him back while he tried futilely to hide the real person inside. So much has changed since those hollow days. He finally found his voice, the voice that says it’s all right to revel in the so-called inappropriate joys, laughs, and loves that storm inside a man’s head. It took a long time to find that courage and now that it’s here, he plans to use it well.

While spending years more focused on visual arts, he never let go of his innate passion for storytelling—he wanted to write and draw comic books when he grew up. Once he discovered M/M fiction, a whole new world opened with new possibilities. Why couldn’t you have fantastic and dynamic tales with an M/M cast? He started reading the online tales of authors like, Night Tempest, Rob Colton, and Alicia Nordwell, which only fueled within him the need to create. Eventually he found, and with a little coercive nudge from Night Tempest, started sharing his tales with an unexpected level of positive response. That experience and support gave him the courage to cross his fingers and aim for the world of M/M publishing.

Born and raised in Michigan, Mann Ramblings continues to type away, wishing it was practical to use a noisy, old fashioned keyboard that clacks with each strike, if only to annoy his loving partner and spoiled miniature dachshund.

Twitter: @mannramblings

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