fabricated awesome questions

Yeah I made all of these up. I suspect everyone else makes theirs up too. I bet most FAQ sections are actually FAQ sections. So here’s a list of awesome questions that I hope you might be asking.*

What is the Roche limit, and why did you pick Melissa J. Roche for a romance author pen name?

I’m so glad you asked. The Roche limit shows up in planetary science when scientists get the urge to talk about the tidal forces between two orbiting objects. (Just in case you’re a scientist or have similar urges, here’s the Wikipedia page on the Roche limit in its full detailed glory.)

In case you’re not, here’s my definition in lay terms. You’re welcome.

The Roche Limit is the closest that two heavenly bodies can get before one or both of them are ripped apart by their mutual attraction.

- Melissa J. Roche, romance author

What is your real name?

I don’t think your tongue is up to the challenge. And my real name is only used by my PhD alter ego. If you snoop around my science pages you can find it, but don’t hurt yourself.

What is the name of your awesome cat?

She’s so glad you asked.

Meet Sophie Chloe, also known as Toothless, Furry Snake, Slinky, Meowbuns, Furry Purry, and Kitty McCatface. “Kitty” for short.

You’ll have to specify which when you ask for her autograph.

an upside-down tortoise shell cat face

Okay, what is "azimuth"?

Ah, you’ve read The Prom Redo? Don’t worry, I won’t leave you and Chase hanging.

Azimuth is basically the angle off from north,** increasing clockwise (north is 0°, east is 90°, south is 180°, west is 270°). We use it coupled with altitude to tell a telescope where to point in the sky—this far around the azimuth circle, and this high up in the sky.

That’s the simple part. If you’re still with me, here’s the fun bit. Alt-azimuth systems describe position in the sky in terms of what it looks like to the observer relative to their particular spot on Earth’s surface, so alt-azimuth coordinates for any given celestial object are always changing as the planet spins or the observer changes position. If you want a coordinate system that’s fixed with the sky itself, you’re going to need coordinates called “right ascension” and “declination”… and a lot of patience with antiquated nomenclature.

**It’s also an almost irresistible innuendo pun. But look at me—I resisted.

Will you share the recipe for Chase’s award winning chili?

Of course! Here is the recipe for “Chase’s Chili” from Skate Cute, courtesy of my own hot hunk of a husband, Chase’s official confidant for all things related to creative cooking and manly awesomeness.

Chase's Chili

1 pound ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

2 tablespoons flour, pinch salt & pepper

1 cup chicken or beef broth

2-3 cans kidney beans (14oz), drained

1 can diced tomatoes (14oz)

6 oz tomato paste

1 teaspoon garlic

4 tablespoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon coriander, optional

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon honey

1-2 tablespoons A1 steak sauce

Brown the beef, then add onions and sprinkle with flour, salt & pepper. Cook for a few more minutes until beef is mostly done.

Add broth, beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, and spices. Simmer for at least 30 minutes, or more if Kriss ends up distracting you with online skating videos in the living room or an impromptu astronomy lesson under the winter stars on the back porch. Go. The chili will be fine.

Remove from heat and add the honey and Chase’s famous secret ingredient (A1 steak sauce, baby!), stirring to combine.

Serve with chips and cheese to hungry firefighters and fans at the annual chili cook-off fundraiser, win hands down, and bring home the plastic trophy for the Best Chili Award to impress the girl. Boom.

Where is that awesome Lego cover mockup you created for Skate Cute?

Right here.

And why aren’t you using it as your actual cover??

I know, right?? It’s adorbs. But… licensing. I’ll settle for this little bit of awesome in my FAQ section.

a super cute Lego mockup version of the author's novel, Skate Cute by Melissa J. Roche

Where did you grow up?

From ages 4-17, I lived in a tiny country in West Africa on the coast of the Atlantic ocean, full of red dirt and blue saltwater and green trees. My first novels were composed in wide-ruled notebooks among those lovely treetops in The Gambia, West Africa.

Bonus real FAQ: Did you see lions there?

Bonus answer: No. Just sleepy ones in zoos.

Where do you live now?

I live in a lovely small town in Colorado, in a blue house with a big yard that is close to the school and the skating rink and the library and acres of open space for walking and jogging. According to native-land.ca, I live on land that likely belonged to the Arapaho, Cheyenne, Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute), and/or Očhéthi Šakówiŋ (Sioux) people groups.

Why do you write "JJ" and "SDG" on everything?

These are abbreviations for the Latin phrases of Jesu Juva (Jesus help me) and Soli Deo Gloria (to God alone be the glory). I’ve been known to put the two of these on lots of things: websites, science exams, new project documents, and even homemade writer T-shirts.

I first discovered the phrase Soli Deo Gloria in a choir song in high school (The Awakening, by Joseph M. Martin), and I fell in love with it. I used to put it on all my work, my writings and school projects and tough science tests. I wanted the reminder that my learning and its success or failure was not to my glory. Then one day my physics professor noticed the notation and commented that I was following the example of Johann Sebastian Bach, who would write “JJ” and “SDG” on his compositions, the one at the beginning and the other at the end. Needless to say, I fell in love all over again and decided to be like Bach. The rest will be history.

That’s it. That’s all the FAQs I could come up with.

* If you’ve got a burning question that’s not on here but still lives up to this level of Awesome, send me a note in the contact form. I’d love to hear from you!

** If you ask it enough times, maybe it can even achieve FAQ status and get posted here.

*** If you ask it too many times, I’ll probably blacklist you.