Monday, December 18, 2006

Why We Read Fiction

The November/December 2006 issue of SKEPTICAL INQUIRER has an article by this title. It explains the "theory of mind," by which psychologists mean our assumption that other people have thought processes similar to our own and that their thoughts and intentions can be extrapolated from their behavior. For instance, if someone gets a glass of water, we assume she was thirsty. We constantly engage in "mind reading," not in the sense of SF telepathy, but "when we attribute to a person a certain mental state on the basis of her observable action." People with autism suffer from a severe lack in this area; their "ability to interpret behavior in terms of underlying mental states is drastically impaired." Interestingly, they also lack interest in fiction and storytelling. Works of fiction "cheat" the reader's mind into treating verbal constructs called characters as "agents endowed with a potential for a rich array of intentional stances. " An author, whether he analyzes the characters' emotions in depth like Henry James or presents actions with a bare minimum of commentary as in many Hemingway stories, supplies "cues" from which we deduce the fictional character's mental state, emotions, and motives. Fiction engages our "mind reading" cognitive capacities in a stimulating interaction with these imaginary people. Reading fiction exercises the mind, just as lifting weights exercises the body. As I've always suspected, storytelling really is important!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

50 ways to help your author

50 ways to help an author
(without buying her book)

Originally I had a longer and more accurate title, but I can’t get the song “Fifty ways to leave your lover out of my head”. I’d love feedback, or additional suggestions. The idea is to share all the things that authors can do to help each other, and that authors’ friends and family could do, might like to do, but may never think of doing. For the sake of argument, all authors for the purpose of this blog will be considered female. (No sexism intended).

Help the search engines find her:

1. Google your friend.
2. Ask Jeeves about her.
3. Dogpile her.
4. A9 search her. (That’s the Amazon search engine)
5. Does Yahoo have a search feature?

Even if you know where to find your friend, her blog, and her books, “hits” help. The more visitors the search engine spiders find, the more priority the author's website gets.

6. Visit her website… not just the home page.
7. Visit her blogs.
8. Find her Amazon Connect page
http://www.amazon.com/gp/arms/directory/A/2/105-8737680-2353243#directory

This link is to the alphabetical directory by author’s last name. Click on the name (which is blue, underlined and therefore a live link) and you will go to the author’s Amazon page. From there you can:

9. Invite her as an Amazon Friend
10. Add to your list of Interesting People
11. E-mail the page (about her… to your other friends)
12. Add her posts to your plog

As you explore her Amazon Connect page, you will find:

On the left, under her picture, links to any reviews she has written.
13. Click on them. Read her reviews. If you like them, click on Helpful.
14. If you see an opportunity to comment on her review, do so if you have something nice to say.

If authors write reviews, their books are advertised free in the attribution line, and their links to their page and their books are seen by people who are interested in the products that your friend reviewed.
There’s a link to her own web site.
15. Click on that… just to bump up the site and give it traffic. Then go back to Amazon.

If the author has blogged (written a note about what she is doing/thinking/ or given an insight into her books), there is a blue link to Comment.

16. Comment! Vote that you liked her post (it’s encouraging feedback)

If the author clicked “product” as she wrote her blog, there will be a live link on her blog to one of her books.

17. Click on the cover. Give her book page traffic. Or scroll on down and see her bibliography, who your author friend’s friends are, what reviews she has written, what search suggestions she has made, what “tags” she has created for each of her books, and what tags her readers have added. See her Reminders.

18. If you live near to the author, and she has a reminder on the calendar for a booksigning near you, click on Remind Me Too. Support at a booksigning is always wonderful.

19. While checking out her friends, maybe click on the image of other authors whose books you like. Amazon often pairs up two books by different authors and suggests “Buy Both”.

When you are on a book page, without buying that book, click on links to:

20. Put it on your wish list. It’s extra, free advertising.
21. Tell a friend

Scroll down the book page to Tag this product. (or make a search suggestion)
22. Add a tag. (Loved it! Can’t wait to read it! Soooo romantic! Etc)

23. Join in the Customer discussions. Ask a question. Start a discussion. The search engines pick up on the discussions, and quote interesting responses.

If you have read her book:
24. Write a customer review. It doesn’t have to be long or scholarly. Be as generous with the star rating as you can. Try to be specific about what you liked best about the story or one of the characters. Don’t give away the ending.

25. Ditto all of the above for Barnes and Noble, E-Bay, Borders, Chapters Indigo, Waterstone’s, Amazon uk, Amazon ca, or any other bookstore chain that allows customer reviews, comments, discussions etc. Or, simply search for her name, titles, reviews.

26. If you have a MySpace page (and if you don’t, but really want to help, get one… it’s free) invite your author friends to be your friends there.
27. Write a bulletin about your friend or her book.
28. Add a comment on their profile page’s comments section. Your comment is their opportunity to say something about their book without the appearance of soliciting.
29. Review their book on your MySpace blog.

30. If her publisher has a forum, join it and ask her questions. For instance, Dorchester publishing (home of Leisure and LoveSpell authors) has
http://forums.dorchesterpub.com/

Again, your comment will be seen by hundreds, if not thousands, and it will give your friend a reason to post something interesting and quotable about her book without seeming to be self-promoting.

31. If you see a good review—on any bookselling site that allows customers and visitors to comment on reviews-- click Helpful if it is a helpful review.

Votes help both the reviewer and the author (especially the reviewer’s rankings ).

32. If you see a bad review, click Not Helpful.
33. If you see a personal attack disguised as a “review” click Report This, and tell the author. If enough people click to report ugly remarks, bad reviews come down in 50-60% of the time

If you see your favorite author’s books in a supermarket or bookstore:

34. Facing her books (if there is room, turn one so the cover shows)
35. Tell store personnel how much you like that book, or that the author is local.

36. If you don’t see her books, especially when they ought to be there, ask about them.

37. If you have a blog, publicize your friend’s upcoming signings/author talks/workshops on your blog. Mention her website URL.
38 Link to your author friend’s website or blog on yours
39. Offer a quote if asked--or volunteer if you’re not asked.
40. Do a review for her, asked or not. It doesn’t matter if some people think that you are friends. More often than not, you became friends because you like and respect each other’s talent, or sense of humor, or something you bring to your writing. People do respect recommendations

41. If you belong to readers’ group sites, or book chat sites, or special interest sites, post what you are reading. Plugs never hurt. These are also picked up on RSS feeds and the search engines.
42. Link to other writers. It drives everyone up in the search engine.

43. Ask your library to order your friend's book.

44. Join your favorite author’s yahoo group, let her know where you’ve seen her book in stores, or where you’ve seen discussions of her book, or reviews of her book.

45. Drop in on her online chat to say how you enjoyed her book. Supportive friends at chats are cool because chats can be chaotic, and typing answers takes time.

46. Put her book as a 'must read' on your own Web site, or in your own newsletter.

47. Send e-mails to your entire address list recommending the book.

48. Be her 'friend' on You Tube.

49. Offer to take a bunch of her bookmarks to conventions, or conferences, and make sure they are put in goodie bags, or on promo tables. Or simply visit her table at a convention, and sign up for her newsletter, or pick up her bookmark and tell someone else how good the book is.

50 Offer to slip her bookmarks into your own correspondence when you pay bills, taxes, etc.

51. Instead of quoting Goethe in your sig file, try quoting a line from your friend’s blurb in the week of her launch.

With thanks to the following for their help and suggestions

Kathleen Bacus, www.kathybacus.com

Diana Groe, www.dianagroe.com

Joyce Henderson,
www.joycehendersonauthor.com

Diane Wylie, author of "Secrets and Sacrifices" www.dianewylie.com

Jacquie Rogers, http://www.jacquierogers.com, http://www.myspace.com/jacquierogers.

Deborah Anne MacGillivray, author of The Legend of Falgannon Isle, www.deborahmacgillivray.co.uk Dorchester Love Spell, Kensington's Zebra Historicals

Charlotte Maclay, author of Make No Promises,
www.CharlotteMaclay.com

Rowena Cherry www.rowenacherry.com, author of Insufficient Mating Material, available 1/30/2007.

Rowena Cherry.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Excerpt from Insufficient Mating Material



Insufficient Mating Material is the sequel to FORCED MATE and MATING NET. While it will not be in the brick and mortar bookstores until January 30th 2007, there is a free little reminder that some readers might like for a stocking stuffer.

EXCERPT;


Tigron Empire of the Djinn
ARK IMPERIAL, Operating Theater

Damn them! Prince Djetthro-Jason eyed the masked males and the unpleasant array of implements they were preparing to use on him.

I haven't told them everything, and I'm not about to. No way am I going to invite anyone to take a laser to my privates. Ahhh, Fewmet!

The "battlefield analgesia" was wearing off. During the duel that he'd begun as Commander Jason and ended--defeated--as Prince Djetthro-Jason, he'd felt almost no pain despite the damage Tarrant-Arragon had inflicted.

Now, his massively bruised thigh throbbed heavily, his neck muscles ached, and his jaw...it hurt even to think about his jaw. Perhaps worse--but less so by the moment--was the damage to his alpha-male machismo as he lay strapped down, stark naked, in his enemy's operating theater, preparing his mind for surgery without anesthetic. Also for "the fate worse than death" which was to come.

If Tarrant-Arragon had observed Great Djinn tradition, the duel they'd fought less than an hour ago ought to have been to the death.

Why hadn't Tarrant-Arragon killed him then and there? To the victor went the Empire, the Ark Imperial, and gods-Right to any female he wanted...and they both wanted the same female.

Damn it! Even if he wanted to stop, I should've fought on after he crippled my leg and shattered my bloody jaw. Why didn't I? What's left for me?

What indeed?

I'll be the Djinn equivalent of a broken thoroughbred stallion put out to stud. It's fairly obvious why Tarrant-Arragon made an excuse not to finish me off.

The Great Djinn were nearly extinct. In twenty years' time, Tarrant-Arragon's and Djinni-vera's children would need true-Djinn mates, all entitled to the silent D-prefix to their royal Djinn names. That's why!

When the "fate worse than death" had been spelled out, it had been sheer bravado to mumble that he wanted to marry Princess Martia-Djulia.

Maybe I do. Maybe I don't.

It hurt how much he still wanted Djinni-vera, who'd been the last Djinn virgin in all the Communicating Worlds, and betrothed to be his, until Tarrant-Arragon abducted her by force and took her virginity.

What consolation would it be to have Tarrant-Arragon's sexy, fashionista bitch of a sister in his power and in his bed instead?

Djetth winced at the savagery of his thoughts about Martia-Djulia. Shards of pain shot along his broken jawline.

"Well, Djetthro-Jason, are you ready to be carved up for your new identity and your new life as my little sister's glorified love slave?"

From somewhere out of Djetth's line of sight, Tarrant-Arragon taunted him, stressing the part of Djetth's real name that he'd used until his cover as "Commander Jason" was blown and he was overpowered and arrested.

Djetth did not turn his head. The pain in his face and head was intolerable enough without moving.

"Ahhh, I do believe that Our Imperial surgeons are ready to do away with that distinctive jagged scar on your cheek," Tarrant-Arragon crooned. "And screw together your jaw."

What else might they do while he was under the laser and the knife? While his face was open, might they carve out a sensory gland or two? Implant a tracking device? Use his broken jaw as an excuse to weld a mask over his head?

Prince Djetthro-Jason would be a latter-day "Man in the Iron Mask" if they realized how closely he resembled Crown Prince Tarrant-Arragon. Which he would, without his scars, his colorful contact lenses and his long, blond-dyed hair.

Djetth glanced at the treacherous, turncoat 'Rhett, who'd been his bloody useless "second" at the duel, and who was still hanging around.

What for? Damn him. 'Rhett was too much the intergalactic statesman for his own--or anyone else's--good.

If the patient lost consciousness, Tarrant-Arragon could decide that the chances for galactic peace would be better if Djetthro-Jason were neutered...one way or another. Given the secrets 'Rhett knew, 'Rhett might agree.

"No--" Djetth groaned with the unexpected agony of trying to speak. He wanted to refuse anesthetic again. How he wished there was somebody present who he could trust!

A door swished open.

"Does he have to be in such pain?" The cause of all the trouble spoke from the doorway. She sounded on edge, as if she felt his pain telepathically.

Djinni-vera! No longer his Djinni. By conquest, by the irrevocable exchange of vows, and finally by her own choice, she was Tarrant-Arragon's.

By All the Lechers of Antiquity, how he loved her! At that moment. For coming. Mentally Djetth qualified his thoughts. Djinni-vera might not love him now, but she was honorable to the core. Tarrant-Arragon wouldn't dare do anything dastardly in front of her.

As she glided to his surgical table, Djetth looked at her wildly, helplessly, with mute appeal, hoping that she would read his mind and aid him this one last time.

Djinni-vera's amethyst eyes widened as if she had Heard him and understood. Her gaze averted, she reached out and dropped a gauzy white cloth of some sort over his monstrously inappropriate erection.

To others, her action might have looked like public modesty on her part. Djetth assumed that Djinni had read the part of his mind that was worrying about the striking tattoo that only showed up in the dark or when he was suitably excited.

Thank you he thought. Please help me. Stay.

She nodded, and took his fettered hand with her undamaged left. "You've been macho about this too long, J-J. Why won't you let them put you to sleep?"

"Careful, my love," Tarrant-Arragon said, moving possessively to her side. "You can never call him J-J again. Nor may you use any of his other damned traitor's aliases. Not J-J, not Commander Jason. Traitors cannot be seen to survive their attempts on my life. Commander Jason is officially dead, and everyone--including Martia-Djulia--must believe it. From this day forward, he's Prince Djetthro-Jason."

"What a mouthful..." Djinni began; then her changing expression told him that she must have read a thought-pun he couldn't resist. "Djetth!"

She frowned sternly.

"I know you Great Djinn males can't help thinking of sex all the time. But it's not helpful, Djetth. As long as you have your saturniid gland, you're dangerous."

Not dangerous to you, kid. You won't ovulate while you're pregnant, and probably not for a while after that, he thought back at her.

Her mouth twisted in a wry smile.

"You'd be safer if you let them remove it."

Some aspects of Royal Djinn maleness one would rather die than surrender, he rejoined, hoping she would not read his darker thoughts.

"Martia-Djulia would be better off if you couldn't have the rut-rage again, too..." As she spoke, Djinni tossed her head as if shaking off a bothersome fly.

Djetth wondered if Djinni had unexpectedly Channeled someone else's reasoning. Djinni couldn't possibly know how savagely Martia-Djulia liked to be served in bed.

"I saw Palace footage of you having the rut-rage with Martia-Djulia." The little mind-reader's voice rose in protest at the thought he hadn't meant her to sense.

You saw? You saw what, exactly?
His thought question was a ploy to distract her from thinking about the rut-rage, but no sooner had he asked than he dreaded how detailed her reply might be.

"What you might expect, given that the camera was being a mirrored ceiling, and you were on top," she retorted, keeping his tattoo a secret. "Tarrant-Arragon fast-forwarded you, because you went at it so long."

"Not that long," Tarrant-Arragon murmured maliciously, probably to remind them that he was listening to Djinni's half of the conversation.

"Long enough," Djinni said. "Djetth, you might already be a father."

"Granted, that is remotely possible," Tarrant-Arragon sneered while appearing to examine a wicked-looking lancet. "Let's hope you weren't that thorough, Djetthro-Jason, or your firstborn would have to be--and remain--a bastard. Unfortunately, my slack-wit of a sister can't keep a secret. If Martia-Djulia thinks Commander Jason got her pregnant, the rumor will be all over Court before we get home, and before she hears that her lover is dead."

Djetth felt an inexplicable distress at the idea that he could never claim this theoretically possible child as his own.

"Shall we begin?" Tarrant-Arragon's too perceptive eyes ranged over Djetth's body, lingering for an instant on the cloth covering his penis. Not for the first time in his life, Djetth thanked the Great Originator that Tarrant-Arragon had lost the power to read minds.

"I'm staying with him," Djinni announced, gripping his hand tightly.

Djetth was careful not to wrap his fingers around hers or to respond to Djinni's comforting touch in any discernible way. Touching the Heir Apparent's Mate was yet another act of high treason punishable by death.

"Very well, my love. You may stay as long as you keep your gaze on his face." Tarrant-Arragon's lips curled into a sneer. He had certainly noticed the hand-holding.

"Djetthro-Jason, I'll ask you for the last time: Have you declared every identifying mark on your body that my sister might recognize? Every scar...?"

"Yes!" Djetth snarled back, one eye on Djinni to see whether her face betrayed his lie.

Head turned, distracted by Djinni and the explosion of pain in his face from speaking aloud, Djetth forgot that his neck was exposed where 'Rhett could reach it.

He felt the cold, numbing touch of 'Rhett's fingers on his most vital acupressure point, strove to turn his head, and couldn't.

'Rhett is using Djinncraft to put me to sleep! Damn 'Rhett and his secret agendas!

The growing paralysis had not yet reached Djetth's eyes. As his vision dimmed, his desperate gaze met the cool green, inscrutable eyes of his bastard cousin and half-brother, 'Rhett.

He'd be lucky to wake up with a new face, a new and dangerous identity. If he woke up. "

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Looking too closely

The public lending library wants its books and videos back, so I am under a bit of a time crunch, but I have a follow up thought from last time's blog about The Empire Strikes Back.

This is just my opinion. As I've said, I'm researching what I consider cinema history's best sword fights to try and figure out what the most "sexy" fencing moves are, who made them, and how I'd put the action into words.

I mean, "He thrust in tierce, and he parried in quarte" (if that's possible anyway) isn't going to communicate to the average reader what is going on, is it?

So, I was watching TESB, frame by frame, and in my opinion... I might be mistaken ... the champion fencer Bob Anderson was inside Darth Vader's mask for the really, really cool duel scene in the Han Solo carbonfreezing room (which is not a revelation, Richard Cohen wrote about that), but someone else wielded the light saber for the scene on the inspection platform.

In the first scene, Darth Vader appeared to hold his light saber in one hand, in the other he used both. In the first, there was a great deal of wrist action, and the saber moved in smooth, efficient arcs. In the second, it was like Darth Vader was splitting tree trunks for firewood.

I hope this doesn't ruin anyone's enjoyment! It's a marvellous movie.

best wishes,
Rowena

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Empire of Dreams

This is a duplicate posting to the one on alien romances.
Sorry!

Stayed up late last night, I did.

Empire Of Dreams was absolutely fascinating, to me, and to those with whom I watched it. I'm sure each one of us took something different away from it.

The insight that I appreciate most (at this moment) was the fact that the actor inside Darth Vader's helmet was pronouncing --and acting-- from one script, and Luke was reacting to another.

Now that really was the ultimate in saying one thing and meaning another... or of not being on the same page! I suppose it wasn't really much different from script management for Who Shot JR...? But it seemed deeper to this viewer.

I knew that Darth Vader's voice had been dubbed in later, but how cool it was to hear the difference in soundtrack when the original actor spoke. What a difference the "right" voice makes! Or the right howls. Wasn't it fascinating that Chewbacca originally had lines? Talking of Chewbacca, I greatly enjoyed the revelation that some of the movie makers were worried about the Wookie's lack of underwear. I'd noticed that uncivilized omission only the night before.

On Thursday night I tried to watch The Empire Strikes Back. I have it out from the library too, but it's a VCR and in almost unwatchably bad condition. Imagine my joy when it was on TV on Friday night. I was very pleased to see swordmaster Bob Anderson's name in the credits as a stunt double. (Recently I blogged about the account I'd read in By The Sword of why a genuine swordsman, not an actor, had to perform Darth Vader's fight with Luke.)

The music was something else I'd never really thought about--apart from the "declarative" Imperial theme for whenever Darth Vader stalked across the screen, like the wolf theme in Peter And The Wolf, only much more wicked.

How fascinating that the composer had recently finished the score for Jaws, where the
antagonist got the catchy, sinister theme music! What a twist for those of us accustomed to the Bond theme... the Here Comes The Hero refrain. When the movie music is really, really good, I don't notice it much, apart from the theme tunes. It's amusing what a difference a good orchestra makes to an aerial dogfight, isn't it?

I've watched a lot of The Making Of... documentaries, but I don't think I've grasped how much goes into making a great movie quite as vividly as I did last night, watching Empire Of Dreams.

What did you like best?

Best wishes,
Rowena Cherry

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Hot in Armour

The things one picks up in the course of research!

Of course, I had thought --briefly-- that Knights in Armour probably did not smell very nice, but I had not considered how long they'd spend inside a metal suit of armour (like all day long) or how hot they'd get on a sunny day.

I wonder whether warrior Kings timed their quarrels to avoid fighting in July and August?

What do Pierce Brosnan in Die Another Day, Roger Moore in Moonraker, Sean Connery in Highlander, Chris O'Donnell in The Three Musketeers, Catherine Zeta Jones, Anthony Hopkins, and Antonio Banderas in The Mask of Zorro, and Liv Tyler in LOTR have in common?

I found this fascinating!

According to Richard Cohen in By The Sword, the sword fighting consultant for all those great movie swordfighting scenes was Bob Anderson. A tidbit that interested me most was that it was Bob Anderson himself in the Darth Vader costume during that steamy light saber duel with Luke in The Empire Strikes Back.


Apparently, in order to keep the steam-effect from freezing Han Solo, the stage had to be kept very hot indeed, which was especially uncomfortable for a man in a helmet and long black robes plus heavy cloak.

None of this --movie trivia-- is especially helpful to me in my research for a swordfighting hero for my next alien djinn romance, but it gives me a new respect for Hollywood, and a new perspective on the "romantic" versus the "swashbuckling" versus the "pain of it" schools of movie swordfighting.

My next title is Knight's Fork. It's not about a Retiarius! Although it is Rhett's story.

Best wishes,

Rowena Cherry

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Worldbuilding: Is going to the toilet going too far?

Have you ever "seen" anyone go to the toilet in a romance?
Well? Have you?

It's a strange phenomenon. In a romance novels (I assume they are classified as romance novels), heroic characters can deploy "butt plugs" in loving detail, but the reader cannot follow them into the bathroom for anything other than a wash.

In my world view, the bathroom is a very important place, not least because it is one of the few places where most heroes and heroines are allowed to be completely private... or not, if one happens to be aboard Tarrant-Arragon's space ship, Ark Imperial, because he is one Big Brother who really does watch everything his guests do.

On the loo is a very good place to be, if one is surrounded by unscrupulous mind-readers, and a lot of FFandP characters are psis, these days.

Bathroom scenes or latrine-trench scenes are part of my world building. The logistics of necessity are important to my fashionista heroine, Princess "Marsh", when she is marooned on a previously uninhabited island in INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL. She warms up to the super-practical hero considerably when he takes the time to fashion a decent toilet seat for her.

There are bathroom fixtures I've considered that would probably never get past an editor of romances. Just like only villains in Regency romances have bad breath, no one breaks wind in a spaceship, and there is no mechanism to deal with a problem that even aliens ought to have... I would have thought.

It's simply not heroic to back up to an interior, miniature porthole equipped with carbon filters. Do carbon filters actually work? I'm off topic, a bit here, but I do so love the MythBusters tv series. They do such practical and interesting experiemnts!


Returning to science fiction romance, and assuming that all romantic aliens are humanoid... now my mind wanders off to think of the alien who kept his genitals in his knee caps... I wonder how many different toilet designs would make sense.

I've never been sure about fictional bathrooms on spaceships that appear out of nowhere at the push of a button. Walls move. Space is created with no discernable impact on the size of the living area. Solid bathroom fixtures appear. How? Is the bathroom like Dr. Who's Tardis? I could accept a shower, but not a jacuzzi, I guess. But, then, I am not a plumber.

Why push a button? What about a Clap-On Crapper? What fun if the alien-romance's human heroine were to clap her hands in delight over some unrelated matter, and the toilet would shoot out of the walls, slosh and retreat, and reappear until she had the wit to stop clapping!

Can any reader point me in the direction of a well designed alien loo?

Best wishes,

Rowena
RAH interview

Saturday, November 04, 2006

For those who like to scavenge and win

Romance Junkies is running a scavenger hunt. Now!

The Hunt is live on the Romance Junkies website, www.romancejunkies.com, accessable through their contest pages or directly at http://www.romancejunkies.com/RJNovScavengerHunt.html

I think 60 authors have offered prizes, which probably means that "hunters" may end up visiting 60 websites.

Have fun,

Rowena Cherry

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Writing Speeds

Within the past few days I've read two news bits that struck me with shock in different ways, illustrating opposite attitudes toward writing speed and productivity. An article about the death of distinguished author William Styron mentioned that he typically produced only a page or so per day and refused to let himself proceed with the work until the present paragraph or page had attained as close to perfection as he could make it. That approach is so diametrically opposed to the standard advice-to-writers (and it's the approach I've tried to break myself of). The conventional wisdom is that, since some revision is inevitable, working too hard at getting the first draft perfect in every detail is likely to be a waste of time—because some of those details will almost certainly get changed. Maybe Styron was like Isaac Asimov, such a confident and fluent writer that he hardly ever revised. At any rate, since he was a Pulitzer Prize winner, Styron must have been doing something right.

The other bit comes from an article in WORKING MOTHER magazine, "Get a Life," about mapping out a concrete plan to achieve the ideal life you dream of (including the possible hiring of a "coach" to help you construct and adhere to your life plan). One woman in the article aspired to become a writer. "Cate and her coach agreed she'd have 90 days to get a book deal—that long only because Cate wasn't giving up her day job to pursue her writing dream." She sent out queries to 61 literary agents and hired a babysitter so she could work on the book every Thursday in addition to nights after the kids went to sleep. Lo and behold, she met her deadline and has a nonfiction book forthcoming this spring. !!!!! I certainly hope nobody reads this article and thinks this path to publication is realistic or typical. Ninety days from proposal to publication offer? This Cate person achieved the authorial equivalent of winning a multi-state lottery jackpot. Somebody really should write an article for WORKING MOTHER describing what the typical career path of a freelance writer is really like. :)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Can one go too far with research?

Have I told you how much fun I have with researching my alien romances?

Possibly the high point of my week this week was a visit to a sword master's lair. My quest was to get inside the head of my next hero: Prince Djarrhett.

'Rhett is a swordsman, which seems rather anachronistic in a high tech, albeit feudal, world, so the Sword Master and I had a wide ranging chat lasting nearly two hours, which covered the real-life Sword Master's opinions of the fight scenes in the Bond movie Die Another Day, and The Phantom Menace. (He feels that the light sabres are cool, but is concerned about the balance of the hilt, given that light can't weigh much, which is why Darth Maul is his favorite!!) We also discussed the logistics of weapons aboard space ships. Swords come in various lengths, and the big ones --like rapiers-- could be rather antisocial.

I so love this analytical thinking!
You can bet that if an opportunity presents itself, a lot of Sword Master Todd's opinions will filter through into 'Rhett's point of view.

"Have you ever cut someone?" I asked, never hoping for an affirmative answer. Fencing is supposed to be safe, right?


"Yes."

"What does cutting someone feel like?"

I couldn't believe my luck! After all, if I'm going to write a swordfighting duel from the point of view of my hero, he is going to have to sink some portion of his weapon into someone else's flesh.

The answer presents some literary challenges, but I can handle that, secure in the knowledge that if any Sword Masters read my next book, they will not hurl it at a wall--or trash can-- because my hero feels unrealistic sensations.

I think I must have asked more than twenty questions. I will share one more:


"Is your image of yourself different when you have a sword in your hand?"

(Oh, I did ask what he'd fight in, if he did not have to worry about protection. Would you believe, Underarmor? )

"I feel younger, stronger and faster with a weapon in my hand."
I really liked that answer, because I can make use of a double entendre. Now, I have four books to read, including The Secret History of The Sword. I had no idea there was a secret history. I cannot wait to find out what it is!

Until next week.

Rowena.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Make my day

It's been a Michelob day.
You know the jingle "Some days are better than others" ?
I love the positive spin it puts on days that are NOT among the better ones.

Yesterday I had oral surgery, and today the face I see in the mirror reminds me of a cartoon rodent... like the prehistoric one with an acorn lodged in one cheek. Laughing hurts, yawning is worse, and I'm drinking delicious, sober liquids out of the non-operated-on side of my mouth until my stitches come out next Monday. I have been forbidden to use straws. Sucking is verboten.

So, having spent the best part of a day (Monday) on an interview for the benefit of aspiring authors (when I ought to have been pounding out the pages for a book in a month!!!) I was delighted to find this email in my account today:

-------snip---------------------
Rowena: First, thank you for your OUTSTANDING responses to my
questions. Yours is a prime example of exactly what I was hoping for
with the interviews. Education, entertainment and promo. Extremely well
done!

It's now up on the blog. Thanks again!
Lynda
http://paranormalityuniverse.blogspot.com
------------end of snip------------

Best wishes,

Rowena

Monday, September 18, 2006

FIND and REPLACE... a rabbit's testicles

In case you are boggling, I am author Rowena Cherry, and I write science fiction romance, survival romance, and I have just finished edits on my next novel INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL.

Last Thursday (eleven days ago)
was my deadline for finishing revisions on INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL.
I made it.

Over the weekend, I discovered that although we had deleted a passage about
skinning a large alien creature resembling a rabbit, but bigger, we had not removed a later
reference to the skinning.

To be specific, the deleted skinning conversation between the hero and heroine
went into detail about handling genitalia and other sources of potential contamination of
the meat.

Once that was gone, the heroine's subsequent thoughts about touching a rabbit's
testicles did not make sense.

On the following Monday, I spoke with my editor and she assured me that she had
taken care of the rabbit's nuts. I shall have to wait four weeks for the galleys to
see if she took them out acceptably. If not, I can request a change at that point.


I'd also like you to know that INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL is already up for
pre-orders at Amazon. Another cool new feature is that readers or potential readers can
add TAGs to say how much they are looking forward to the next book (or whatever).

http://tinyurl.com/ftqwy

THE OUT-TAKE

“Now, look here, and learn.” He brandished a wicked looking knife. “You don’t have to concern yourself with how to skin and gut large animals. With smallish ones like this, it’s easier to skin when its cooled.”

He used his knife as a pointer.

“The first thing to do, which I’ve done, is cut its throat. Next, place your animal belly up. That way, you can see what you’ve got.”

A very healthy, ridiculously well-developed male animal.

“Starting ‘north’ of the penis —if there is one—“

In this case, there is a very prominent one.

“If there is, remember that there’s usually a bone in it. Make an incision just big enough to slip two fingers in.”

“Why?”

“You use your fingers to press the internal organs down, away from the skin. You do not want to nick the bladder or entrails. That really spoils the meat, so you’d have to wash it, and we don’t have water to spare.

“Cut up the body as far as about the breastbone.” He stroked the body with the point of his knife. “Then go down to the far end, cut neatly around the anus, and also cut a good circle,” he tickled the area in question with his knife, “around the genitals, taking care not to cut the urinary tract.”

“Why?” she breathed, disgusted.

“Unless you want to eat its testicles, it’s simpler to pull the whole lot off with the entrails. Think about it. When we come back from wood-gathering, you can have a go. You’re not going to be sick, are you?”

Martia-Djulia shook her head. At some point during his revolting demonstration, her hand had crept up to her mouth.
Djetth stood. He had removed his flight suit, his chest and shoulders glistened, though it was too cool and too early for him to be sweaty, she would have thought.

“I’ll go on ahead, and check on the beach well. Catch up when you’ve used the facilities. I don’t suppose you fancy a morning dip, do you?”

You must be mad! She stared at him pityingly.

“You’re quite right.” He grinned. “It’s not as warm first thing in the morning when the tide’s out. The water will be pleasant once the tide comes up over hot sand. I’ll teach you to swim at high tide. Of course, one finds the best shellfish at low tide.”

*

Grinning, Djetth loped down to the water’s edge to wash the blood off his hands. One way or another, sooner or later, if Martia-Djulia were pregnant, she’d have to let him know.

Meanwhile, he intended to keep her too busy to think. Maybe she’d forget about wanting to shave him. Already, she knew that Prince Djetthro-Jason was a degree of cousin. If she found out how much like Tarrant-Arragon he naturally looked, well, Djetth could imagine that she'd dream up plenty of new reasons to object to his sexual pursuit of her.

CAVEAT

SURVIVORMAN, Les Stroud advised me that this skinning method isn't quite right for rabbits. These are alien rabbits, and bigger... they also begin their literary life as more like porcupines. Now, it is a moot point how to skin prey animals for meat and fur. It's out.

Best wishes,

Rowena Cherry

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Long Words

I recently got a book from the Writer's Digest Book Club called THE GILDED TONGUE: OVERLY ELEGANT WORDS FOR EVERYDAY THINGS, by Rod L. Evans. It's a glossary of elaborate, obscure words, all of them real (not made up by the author), as far as I can tell. A great treat for lovers of language. The reverse dictionary in the back -- meanings first, followed by words -- should be quite useful, in case, for instance, you're seeking a fancy word for "taking time off work" (feriation), "swimming" (natation), or "sun-worshiper" (heliolator). Some of the entries are polysyllable equivalents of simpler words. Others offer precise terms for concepts that have no widely known single-word equivalent. Most people probably know murdering one's wife is uxoricide, but did you know sexual intercourse in a parked car has a name (amomaxia)? Or that sexual intercourse without orgasm is acritition (a word that would sound very impressive in Viagra ads)? The potential for arcane insults is practically infinite, e.g., limicolous (living in mud). Personally, I think the author cheats to fill out Y and Z by including such not-so-rare specimens as yenta and zaftig. Haven't these Yiddish words become familiar to most Americans, especially in urban areas? But in general it's just a fun book to browse.

As a writer, do you use lots of arcane vocabulary? As a reader, do you like to encounter "big words" or unfamiliar ones in fiction? I enjoy seeing an author discover the mot juste rather than "dumbing down" his or her prose with a crude approximation. A skillful writer can make the meaning clear from context or subtly work in a definition. For instance, I like the way Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's historical fiction uses the proper names for clothing unique to a particular place and century. In contemporary fiction, of course, the vocabulary should fit the character. If he or she would use a certain word -- because of his/her profession or level of education -- that word shouldn't be avoided just for fear some readers might not get it. I like authors who expect intelligence and literacy of their readers, as well as the willingness to look up an unfamiliar word now and then.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Out, damned weaver fish

Maybe I'm peculiar, but when I read a book, I expect to come across the scene on the cover, and I feel vaguely cheated if it is not there.

I don't think everyone can possibly feel this way. Linnea Sinclair has had some very interesting comments on the alien romances blog regarding a very similar thought.

As a reader, I'm not so bothered if the cover is an artistic grouping of artifacts, although... if there's a bejewelled dagger and a lace doily, I suppose that I do expect them to be used to good effect in the novel.

Please do not misunderstand me. I'm not criticizing anyone's cover or art department. I am simply sharing my inner thoughts about covers in general, and my gut reaction to the gorgeous cover of my next book... and the hazards of hasty research.

The colors are fabulous, and the artwork is sexy. I couldn't ask for a better looking cover (unless I was absolutely out of my mind). It's just a little more "romancy" than I had in mind.
An author friend who is a bit of an expert on cover psychology says that I should tell readers, especially male readers, to ignore the cover. But should I?

My gut instinct is that if the scene is on the cover but not in the book, then I have to --somehow-- write the scene and beg my editor to fit it in. Is that extreme?

If only they'd given me a bare-chested hunk staring out to sea (face not visible, so his features could not be wrong) or up to his waist in the ocean... I should have suggested that! I'm not blaming the Art Department at all. I was warned that I could not have a hunk in underpants out of respect for buyers' fine sensibilities.

Anyway, how many cover models would want INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL displayed boldly across their groins?

Verisimilitude is important, and there are times when you just cannot ask your more exhibitionist friends to commit an illegal act and tell you how it felt.

Illegal? Well I think you can be pinched for doing the deed on a public beach.

In case any members of the law enforcement community are reading this with professional interest, I must disclose at this point that the sea was too cold for my husband.

Suffice it to say that my scrupulous --and ingenious-- attempts at research took longer than expected. Either the tide was wrong (too far in or out), or the waves were too mighty, or too placid, or the sand was too gritty, or the light was wrong....

On the last day of my time by the sea, when my bags were packed and it really wasn't convenient to get my costume wet again, my dear husband and our child decided that despite the low tide, and a stiff onshore breeze, it might be fun to experience the surge of surf.

My mother went to get towels from the car, and we splashed into the North Sea (English Channel) to join dozens of screaming bathers and people surfing on one sort of board or another.
August. Low tide, but only a seven foot drop, not like the nine foot range one gets at the full moon or with the spring tides. For a month I'd watched the shallows at low tide for signs of sinister movement. That day... I forgot.

I did get to refresh my memory of whether there is any difference between the feel of sun-warmed masculine, muscled skin in cold seawater (as opposed to in a fresh water bath, shower, or chlorinated swimming pool) but it's not useable. I like to think that I can do almost anything with words, but I cannot find romantic synonmyms for "slightly slimy".

The chance of copping a romantically inspiring feel was not worth the risk I took that last day. If anyone in my immediate family had to step on a weaver fish, I'm glad it was me. I have very high arches, and go barefoot a lot. Thanks to that, only one spine got me, and it broke off before it could deliver much of the excruciating neurotoxin.

Knowing what had stung me, I flicked off the spine, got out of the water, got home as quickly as possible (luckily it was not far), and immersed my throbbing foot in the washing up bowl filled with water as hot as I could bear. And epsom salts. And more water.

That's what you do to draw out the poison, if you are unfortunate enough to step on a weaver fish or lesser weaver fish. They are spined, venomous little predators (they eat prawns, I believe) who like to bury themselves all but the spines in sand when the water is warm.

Keeping the water as hot as possible until the pain was gone meant regular top ups. My dear husband was especially enthusiastic about this, and had no compunction about tipping very hot water onto my toes (the arch area was what needed it). I noticed an odd thing. Near boiling water feels almost cold for the first second or two as it is added to hot water. Then the brain resets, and registers that the water is very hot.

I didn't even limp the next day, as I lugged (schlepped) my little family's three heavy suitcases from Guernsey, to Gatwick, to Detroit. I was lucky.

I'm glad to have my feet under my desk again.

Rowena

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tricking Oneself into Writing

I envy authors who enjoy the process of writing. I love outlining (just call me weird). I don't mind minor revisions and proofing galleys. It's the work in between that I find laborious and slow. Maybe it has something to do with performance anxiety evoked by an empty screen.

In Peg Bracken's I HATE TO HOUSEKEEP BOOK, she discusses ways to trick oneself into cleaning. One way is to start several jobs at once. After you've got the laundry halfway to the washing machine, the vacuum cleaner out, oven cleaner sprayed in the oven, and the bed stripped, you have little choice but to finish the tasks.

Similarly, I've spent years looking for new and improved ways to trick myself into writing. Discovering FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS, by Karen Wiesner, came as a terrific help to me. The "draft" created by this method is actually a very detailed, scene-by-scene outline that ends up about one-fourth the length of the finished book. The more detail I build into the scene-by-scene "formatted outline," the more wordage I can produce while continuing to fool myself that I'm not really writing, just outlining -- the part of the process I enjoy. The next step is to expand each summarized scene into a fully fleshed-out passage of narrative. Since I have a rough idea of how long it takes to expand a scene, I can plan out a writing schedule with more accuracy than I ever could before.

Another plus of this method is that I'm working with a template of the entire novel on the screen in front of me. So if I get a stray idea for a scrap of information, description, or dialogue to incorporate into a future scene, I have a place to insert it. No more jotting notes in my workbook or on loose sheets of paper and then forgetting where I put them. (Even though, as suggested in FDin30D, I now maintain a "story file" for each novel, I find it's still possible to lose track of miscellaneous notes in the folder.) This method makes it, if not quite painless, at least measurably easier to produce what I think of as draft 1.5.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Isn't housecleaning romantic when an alien does it?

(Substantially, this is the same content as posted on my other blogs, Rowena Remarks, and Alien Romances)

Would I want to see a Mr Spock type vacuuming up my dustbunnies?
No. I don't think the spectacle would be either romantic or funny. Not for me, anyway.

I imagine that a highly logical alien, if confronted with the need to use alien household appliances, would locate the appropriate user manual, study the instructions, and carry out the domestic operation with great efficiency and a deadpan expression.

Maybe he'd raise a quizzical, flying eyebrow. Actually, that might be romantic in a traditional Regency romance sort of way.

Of course, in my home, a highly intelligent and efficient alien might have trouble finding instruction manuals. If I were to write a blow-by-blow account of the exercise, I think an alien would comment. His remarks would probably be very funny to everyone except myself, the butt of his cool wit.

I am sure many authors have written scenes where their aliens have issues with human housecleaning appliances....Dara Joy's splendid early novel, Knight Of A Trillion Stars, comes to mind. What was it her alien hunk attacked with his broadsword, thinking it was a rival? A TV? An answering machine?

That scene was so funny, and so "right" in its context. I really love Dara Joy's work. I adored Rejar, too. It was the cat that got me!

Is chopping up the furniture the closest that any alien hero has come to housework? If not, I'd love recommendations. Generally, I think alien heroes tend to be extremely macho. They are world rulers, starship commanders, space pirates, intergalactic diplomats or trading tycoons.... they have servants, or orderlies, or androids to do the domestic dirty work.

Maybe I just haven't read the right books. No one seems to wash their clothes, or scrub toilets in an alien romance. Susan Kearney said that her aliens' clothing was self cleaning (smart!!! and with nano-technology, this is becoming a reality). Intelligent spaceships have aircleaning devices that work a lot better than the monsters we keep in our human furnace rooms. I once thought of modeling an alien toilet on a whole-house vacuum.

Then I read a joke about a sexually adventurous man who did himself a mischief.

In FORCED MATE my alien prince does have a little bit of trouble drawing a bath, mostly because he takes a macho stand (sitting on its edge, waiting for the heroine to take her clothes off and get in) without realizing that human baths don't automatically stop filling once the water reaches a sensible level.

He also has trouble with a shopping list.

And... he has trouble with the heroine when she discovers that his spacecraft toilets perform automatic urinalysis and a few other functions and announce the results. Romantic? Maybe not, but it appealed to my low sense of humor.

And then, there's recycling. We all do it, I suppose. Like Susan Sizemore who blogged recently on www.aliendjinnromances.blogspot.com , I like military books. I find them a treasure trove for research, for instance for battlefield uses for urine (to make communications equipment work).

My heroine of FORCED MATE is grossed out when she learns how spacefarers obtain yeast to make deep space bread. But that's getting into cuisine, and housekeeping, rather than house cleaning.

My "thing" is to gaze at the underbelly of an alien character's lovelife and poke fun at it. And, you might not have guessed it, but of all the sciences in science fiction, Biology is my favorite.

I'll be gone for the next four weeks. Do you know the ins and outs of a crab's sex life? I do. :-)

~Rowena

July/August newsletter www.rowenacherry.com/newsletter
Warning, there is a completely nude guy in this issue.

Monday, June 26, 2006

When the high and mighty trip up (or when the low and obnoxious do)


Last night I couldn't resist staying up much too late to watch Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets --again.

My favorite scene, perhaps of all the Harry Potter movies so far, is the demonstration duel, where Gilderoy
is so busy posing that he gets legally zapped by Severus Snape.

At least, I'm pretty sure Severus Snape is simply quick onthe spell-casting draw, in neat dramatic contrast to Draco Malfoy, who cheats.

Why do I like that scene?
I find it immensely gratifying when a poser gets their come-uppance! Don't we all?

One of the most enduring themes in literature is hubris: the dramatic downfall of someone who gets too big for their boots.

If one cannot zap someone obnoxious, or watch them being zapped, it's fun to imagine warning them that they are about to get their come-uppance.

"Your High-and-Mightiness, you are in deep shit!" one of my characters tells Prince Tarrant-Arragon with great glee, in my next book, Insufficient Mating Material.

Ah, but does he live? History has shown that it isn't healthy to be the bearer of bad news.

An other program that stands out in my mind is Nigel Marvin's scientific documentary about the swings and roundabouts of a lion's sex life.

Actually that is my very loose, personal interpretation of what I got from what was a high minded and wide ranging program.

The up-side of being a lion with a big, dark mane is that the lionesses like you (and you have fewer parasites).
The down-side is that you have a lower sperm count. Presumably, it's the dirty, itchy, blond boys who get the job done.

I haven't figured out how I can work that quirk of nature into one of my alien djinn romances, but --trust me-- I will.

I wish you all an interesting week.

Rowena

Sunday, June 18, 2006

New Concepts Publishing is looking

New Concepts Publishing is looking for new short stories.
Have you all seen this?
I'm snipping from Andrea De Pasture's announcement
-------------------------------------------------------------

New opportunities for authors (Permission to post)

We have many new projects we're working on throughout this year and the next, and we're very excited about these themes. These lines/series are open to all authors, so please spread the word to any writing groups you're on or to your writing friends.
Also, please be sure to include the series title in the Subject header of your submission.

Kinetic Series—Releasing November 2006

The theme for this series is psychic powers. Examples include, but are not limited to psychokinesis, pyrokinesis, hydrokinesis, and other superhuman powers. Let your imagination run wild! Stories should be between 10,000 and 35,000 words, but longer novels will be considered. Genres can be historical, fantasy, futuristic, or paranormal/contemporary and can be in any locale or setting. Spicy or erotic sensuality is preferred. Current NCP authors can submit a detailed synopsis and 5-10k words. Non-NCP authors must submit full manuscript. Stories should be turned in for consideration no later than the end of July 2006.Send to submissions@ newconceptspublishing.com (no space)

Harmony™ Line—Ongoing release dates

We are actively acquiring high quality, original interracial and multiracial romances for this line. This line is widely advertised in print media and heavily promoted wherever opportunities arise. Romance genres we are most interested in are paranormal, futuristic, fantasy, and historical—spicy or erotic are preferred. Straight contemporary romances are rarely accepted for this line. Novels should be at least 70,000 words but novellas will be considered for anthologies. Current NCP authors can submit a detailed synopsis and 10-15k words. Non-NCP authors must submit full manuscript. More information about this line can be found on our website: www.newconceptspublishing.com/submissionguidelines.htm(We've had requests for more Domination/Captive themes for this line, but are not limited to this theme alone.)Send to submissions@ newconceptspublishing.com (no space)

The Brood—Releasing February 2007

The theme for this series is animal shifter clans, either of earthly origin or of the fantasy variety. (Please, no bestiality themes) Examples include, but are not limited to wolf, lion, bear, dragon, griffin, swan, etc. Stories should be between 10,000 and 35,000 words, but longer novels will be considered. Romance genres can be historical, fantasy, futuristic, or paranormal/contemporary, in any locale or setting and use any plot device, as long as shifting is used within the story. Spicy or erotic sensuality is preferred. Current NCP authors can submit a detailed synopsis and 5-10k words. Non-NCP authors must submit full manuscript. Completed stories should be turned in for consideration no later than the end of October 2006.Send to submissions@ newconceptspublishing.com (no space)

Enchanted—Releasing May 2007

The theme for this series is magical enchantments and curses. Examples include but are not limited to retellings of fairytales like Beauty and the Beast, Rose Red, Sleeping Beauty, etc. Stories should be between 10,000 and 35,000 words, but longer novels will be considered. Romance genres can be historical, fantasy, futuristic, paranormal, or contemporary, in any locale or setting and use any plot device, as long as the theme is used within the story. Spicy or erotic sensuality is preferred. Current NCP authors can submit a detailed synopsis and 5-10k words. Non-NCP authors must submit full manuscript. Completed stories should be turned in for consideration no later than the end of December 2006.Send to submissions@ newconceptspublishing.com (no space)

Inferno—Releasing August 2007Theme is summer and heat. These stories should be VERY SEXY and should include high sexual tension. Stories should be between 10,000 and 35,000 words. Romance genres can be historical, fantasy, futuristic, paranormal, contemporary, in any locale or setting. Spicy or erotic sensuality is preferred. Current NCP authors can submit a detailed synopsis and 5-10k words. Non-NCP authors must submit full manuscript. Completed stories should be turned in for consideration no later than the end of April 2007.Send to submissions@ newconceptspublishing.com (no space)

Sincerely,Andrea DePastureNew Concepts Publishingwww.newconceptspublishing.com

Friday, June 16, 2006

Out, Out, Damned Cherry Kool Aid!

I could be Lady MacBeth (or Hannibal Lector) right now...my hands look like I've dipped them in blood! If you ever decide to dye your hair (or anyone else's) with cherry Kool Aid, do NOT forget to wear latex gloves.

No, it's not MY hair taking a walk on the wild red side. It's my daughter's. After spending megabucks on a salon dye job that started fading form day one, she decided to touch up her red ends with cheapo Kool Aid dye. Ugh. I'll say this, I will never again drink the stuff.

We used 5 packets of cherry Kool Aid. The kind with no sugar added (this is key). She wet her hair and I mixed the Kool Aid with hair conditioner, a dollop about the size of a quarter for each packet.

Then I smeared the whole mess on her hair (and also on the sink, the floor, the towels, my shirt, the dog...) I wrapped her hair in plastic wrap and she left it in for 24 hours before rinsing it out.

And I must say, it worked great!

Now, if I could only get the stuff off my skin...

Joy

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Politics of nicknames

Somewhere, apparently not here, I pledged to blog on Sundays, so here I am, but I must confess that I almost forgot!

Why? (How rude to admit it!)

I'm in the middle of an editing exercise that I'm finding fascinating. Recently... (actually May 31st -- I'm the sort of person who simply has to check facts) my Dorchester editor, Alicia Condon, emailed that she liked my suggestion that maybe the heroine of Insufficient Mating Material ought to have a nickname.

The heroine has a royally long, formal, hyphenated name. I began to feel that constantly repeating the full name was a bit tedious, but I didn't have time before my deadline to put sufficient thought into shortening it. I'm doing so now.

Have you ever given much thought to nicknames? Just because a hunk comes into the heroine's life, and he decides to call her "Ro" (for example) doesn't mean that she thinks of herself as "Ro" all of a sudden, when she has spent thirty years as Rowena, or Ro-Ro, or Janey, or I.

The rest of her friends and family won't suddenly start thinking of her as "Ro" or addressing her as "Ro". Will the hunk introduce Rowena to his friends as "Ro" or "Rowena"? How will Rowena feel about mere acquaintances using the "private" name?

Is this an alien idea? Different nationalities have different sensibilities about how they are addressed, and by whom. Factor in that the nicknamee is a member of a royal family, and life becomes really interesting.

Up the ante. Suppose the nickname isn't a variant of her given name... "Sugarpuss"? Suppose there's a slightly rude innuendo?

So, maybe only the hero uses the nickname. Does he ease into using it? At first, does he substitute "Ro" in conversation, where before he might have addressed the heroine as "Miss Rowena"? At what point does he wonder whether "Ro" can cook, and what "Ro" is like in bed. You might suppose that he wondered such things from a distance before he even learned the heroine's name!

Anyway, for what it's worth, this is what I'm wrestling with this week.

Best wishes,
Rowena

Friday, June 02, 2006

Well, here's what's going on with me.

In two months, Cerridwn Press will have been sitting on JAGO'S PATH for a year, and that only a partial. Meanwhile two other publishing houses have been waiting for a full submission. Additionally, they have not bothered to give me any Status Check when I asked. Sure, I recognize that they're overwhelmed, but enough is enough.

So, as of June '06, if I don't hear from Cerridwn Press by August 1st, I'll withdraw JP from their consideration and deliver it to New Concepts Press and/or Amber Quill Press. And then I'll make the global changes to send it to Dorchester.

If things work out ok.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Inspired by a shark's underside

I was making progress with my next book until a bad boy-shark's genitals got me thinking.

Instead of following the I 75 all the way to Florida for the Romantic Times Bookclub convention, I took a detour East through the Smokey Mountains to visit the aquarium at Gatlinburg. As a result, I drove on through North and South Carolina, and Georgia.

I also let my mind wander.

The concept of a male shark's claspers (which look like labia when not deployed) fascinates me. However, I am not about to give my alien djinn males claspers in their groins. A penile bone and a tattoo is about as far as I'm willing to deviate from the conventional wisdom of what is romantic and "normal" in a hero's wedding tackle.

The Gatlinburg aquarium is impressive. It has a very long viewing tunnel of three inch thick glass (it might be perspex) through which visitors progress majestically on a travelator while very large and dangerous fish swim overhead and alongside.

One hears how sharks have to keep swimming to live. Not these boys. Their bellies and genitals were pressed to the glass above the gaping tourists. I wonder whether the tunnel vibrated pleasurably --because of the travelator-- or whether it was warm, or whether the sharks are exhibitionists.

That thought led to musings about figuratively cold blooded heroes, which is unfortunate.

The logical choice for the next Great Djinn to find a mate, fall in love and live happily ever after ought to be Rhett, or so I thought. He's the elegant, calculating, slightly anachronistic swordsman, inspired more by Adam Adamant than any of George Lucas's knights.

However, if Rhett is too shark-like -- or too busy being an intergalactic statesman-- to fall in love, I may need to find an alternate hero for the next book. So, perhaps it is back to the drawing board for me!


Best wishes,
Rowena

Monday, May 08, 2006

Drive-by Posting

Writing a book is tough. It requires slogging it out every day, every week, until finally there's something to show for it. So I'm going to do a quick drive-by Posting and Announce that I have started my new book. I stared it in the face a while today, but I won. I sat down and wrote a first sentence. Then I wrote another, and another and another. I crossed a few out. (I'm a throwback. I write first drafts in longhand...) And I wrote some more to take the place of those I crossed out. And by lunchtime--my usual stopping time--I had written six and a half pages. I almost stopped at five and a half, but I decided that I was going to write six and make my goal for the day, so I kept going, and didn't get 'round to stopping till I'd written a whole nother page. Ha! It's started. The bad guys didn't win today...

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Wham, bam, thank you, ma'am....

That Rowena Cherry packed so much action into less than 15,000 words is mind-boggling. It's hard enough when you writer Contemporary Romance or Historical Romance - the readers are "used" to these worlds so you don't have to fill in all the spaces. But in Sci-Fi Romance, you are really biting off a major task. Cherry does it and with style, originality and deftness that will leave the reader amazed.

It's a racy, razor edge of a tale, which will leave you amazed at how she does so much with so few pages.

~Deborah MacGillivray, author of A Restless Knight, Reviewer for The Best Reviews, Paranormal Romance Reviews, Sensual Romance Reviews & Rambles

Saturday, April 01, 2006

His Mightiness looks for Romance...and coffee

The god-Emperor Djohn-Kronos hasn't had decent sex in a gestate and is looking for a good time tonight, April 1st. His High and Mightiness will attend the Coffeetime chat at 9pm Eastern in hopes of meeting a few witty, willing, and pleasantly impressionable Earthwomen.

http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/ctr_chat.htm

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Could someone shine a light on the dark paranormal?

Dark paranormal. Everyone wants em. But I'm not sure what it is everyone wants. As a grittily determined author clawing toward first publication, it's a source of frustration.

What I think of as "dark" may be dismissed as just weird. Or too tame. Or (probably) oh-my-God-how-can-you-even-consider-putting-something-that-gross-in-a-romance-novel?

So what the heck is going through your minds, editors and agents?

  • Are you looking for the that classic noir feel, with the jaded narrative voice backed up by smoky saxophones and slow-walking baselines?


  • Are you looking for the hero and heroine to overcome life-or-death, or worse-than-death, jeopardy to find their happy ending??


  • Do you want the reader to be on the edge of her seat, wondering if the hero will win the heroine's heart or just rip out her throat?


  • Do you need one of the lovers to be a paranormal person, or can they both be human fighting a great mucking evil?


  • Are you looking for epic-poetic internal discourses about the anguish of sucking blood? (Please no, as I reader I beg you not more of that!) Or, you know, sucking anything? (This is a much better option.)


  • Or are you looking for Clive Barker-esque or Hannibal-and-Clarise-ish where the important people actually end up happily together? (Because that's what I want to read, baby.)


  • Someone deliver me from confusion!

    Monday, March 27, 2006

    Keeping the writing going

    It's a long slow slog through pages and pages of story. You just have to keep going till you get to the end, through orgasms and coitus interruptus, through sword fights and gun battles and curious fish and one blasted thing after another until you can finally write The End.

    And sometimes, you get to pull stuff out from under the bed and look it over and think: "Damn, that's still good."

    So, yeah, I mailed one of those to my agent on Friday. Let's hope other folks think it's as good as I do.

    Saturday, March 25, 2006

    Should I have an orgasm

    In my book... of course?

    I'm on tenterhooks, as you might imagine. I rewrote INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL to cut down severely on the scenes with psychics and playing cards, and to engorge the pages with sexual tension, and coitus interruptus.

    Sex gone wrong --for someone else-- is so much more entertaining to read about than sex going right, isn't it? Or do I simply have a nasty streak?

    I think IMM is a sexy book, but now it is on the editor's desk and on the way to a few of my favorite reviewers, I have started to agonize about a certain scene.

    As I've mentioned, I'm severely restricted on page count, so it's not as if I could throw pages to the wind with gratuitous sex scenes. If I were writing for an erotica line, there'd be no doubt in my mind that the hero and heroine should not miss any opportunity.

    But... oh, here's my problem... if I were on a deserted island sea shore, and the sea was cold --it usually is-- and I wasn't immensely confident about my relationship with the guy, AND I was afraid of getting seawater in my ears, I don't think I'd try to re-enact From Here To Eternity.

    Would you?

    Friday, March 10, 2006

    Did Owein have an orgasm?

    Hey all, I'm just thrilled to be invited to contribute this snobby, literary-minded, upper class blog! But I mean, really - penises being bitten by fish, phallic rhubarbs, oral sex - how's a nice girl like me supposed to keep up with all that?

    So I had to think long and hard (about 30 seconds) about the subject of my first post.

    This is what I decided: In keeping with the august literary tone of this blog, I figure there are a lot of people out there who would just love to listen in on the high-brow literary discussions that go on between an author and her editor.

    So here you have it, a real, honest to goodness recap of last week's phone conversation between me and my editor at Dorchester.

    Setting: my day job

    Time: just after lunch

    Picture this: The phone rings. It's my editor calling from Dorchester. I immediately ditch the day job to talk to her. She wants to discuss edits for The Grail King, my August Love Spell book.

    Luckily, I have the final manuscript saved on my work computer.

    "Okay," she says, "page 177. What I need to know is, did Owein have an orgasm?"

    "Um," I say, looking around wildly. There are a couple people - of the male persuasion - on the other side of the room.

    "Because," she says, "it's clear that Clara had an orgasm, but I'm not sure if Owein had his."

    "I bet you don't even blush when you say things like that," I say, blushing.

    "No, pretty much at this point I've gotten over all that."

    Since editors are busy people with no time for trivial things like false modesty, she forges right ahead.

    "Since Owein is really vulnerable to Clara's psychic power just at the point when he reaches his orgasm, I think it's important to make sure the reader knows that it happened for him right here, before you go into the flashback."

    "Um," I say again. "Okay." I eye the guys on the other side of the room. "Let me think about that and get back to you."

    "All right, good. Now, on page 295..."

    So I go home and print out the orgasm passage. I don't know about other writers, but I really like to see the words on an actual sheet of paper rather than on the computer screen.

    It's a nice scene, I think. Owein has been trying to shield himself from Clara's psychic ability to see inside his mind. He's got some nasty stuff in his past that he just doesn't want to face. At the same time, Owein hasn't had sex in two years, so he's REALLY hot for some action.

    Unfortunately, when Owein has an orgasm, he can't keep Clara out of his mind.

    I realize my editor is right (of course) - I have to make it clear that Clara has made Owein lose control of both his body and his mind. After all, that's a romance heroine's job, right?


    Here's the original passage:

    Her passion broke. His fingers moved on her, sharpening her pleasure. A sob tore from her throat. Her body convulsed as she gasped his name.

    The sound echoed in his soul.

    Here's what I add:

    It caught him and pulled him with her. Sensations expanded, until he could no longer keep them within. His pleasure broke, shattering what was left of his emotions. The door to his heart splintered.

    Next line:

    And suddenly, he felt her there, inside.


    I was pretty happy with that. I sent it on to her the other day. Hope she likes it!

    Blog with you later,

    Joy
    www.joynash.com

    Thursday, March 09, 2006

    About that penis bitten by a fish

    I want to thank Brenda for the comment on an earlier thread... does he have to wank?

    After mature consideration,
    I decided that if the heroine was examining the penis for fish tooth indentations, that would be exciting enough considering all the things the hero could think about. That saved a paragraph!

    I sent the manuscript in to my editor yesterday. It was 404 pages including the blank final page that said only The End.

    The book is INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL, it is scheduled for February 2007.

    Wednesday, March 08, 2006

    It's About the Treatment of Women

    A Public Service Announcement:

    http://www.smartbitchestrashybooks.com/billnapoli

    Sunday, March 05, 2006

    Cute Advertising Ploy

    Hi all,

    I was cyber-chatting with Joy Nash and she directed me to her site.
    She'd done a cute advertising ploy, a psuedo-interview with her characters.
    I thought: WHAT A GREAT IDEA! Especially since my www.dellishchronicles.net is sort of geared toward a neo-reality. (Have you all read Jago's welcome letter to new recruits?)

    Anyway, I thought this was a great idea and thought to share, with Joy's permission of course.
    http://joynash.blogspot.com/

    Cheers!

    Wednesday, March 01, 2006

    stasis-- a way to get off the pot...boiler

    Sorry to be clinically crude....

    I'm eight days from my submission deadline for a 100,000 word story (that I've been asked to cut to nearer 80,000 words).

    Cutting left me with about 16 pages of disjointed story points and lines of dialogue or internal dialogue that I simply have to retain. I've been blocked on what to do about it for over a month.... a precious month.

    Today--already!--, I realized that I should try putting some of it in the heroine's point of view, even though it was counter intuitive because the hero was eavesdropping on the heroine chatting with a hooker... yes, about his strange looking dork.

    I had a boring but important preamble to the fish bites penis action scene, and I could not, as I've said, figure out what to do with it.

    Eureka! It adds immense depth.... the heroine wants to be overheard!

    What a really good rotorooter when you're stuck on the potboiler.

    Best wishes,
    Rowena

    Sunday, February 26, 2006

    Fish bites Penis--a gorilla testicle?

    I need you to be honest, Bloggers.
    Is this episode best kept as an out-take to showcase my sense of humor etc?
    Or should it be retained in INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL at all costs?

    This scene takes place on a deserted alien island, where the Earth-educated hero, Djetth, was marooned with Martia-Djulia, so they could mate. Martia-Djulia did not want to mate. Feya is there by accident. She used to be his favorite hooker. Then he had plastic surgery and a change of face and identity. The one giveaway is his unique penis tattoo.

    Now, he has to find a tactful way to explain to everyone that all human males have designs on their penises.....

    (Djinni is the girl he knew all his life, to whom he was once betrothed before Martia-Djulia's brother appropriated Djinni.)

    If he happened to be exclusively sexually active with either Feya or Martia-Djulia, it wouldn’t be the thorny issue that it was.

    An injury! That would be the way to go. For some mysterious reason, females seemed to find male injuries funny.

    Djinni, at three, had rejoiced in calling his positor a ‘flopping bottom’ not that his Imperial Positor had ever flopped in her presence or in anyone else’s. She’d seen an actor’s penis on TV when she should have been fast asleep.

    Was it absolutely necessary that Martia-Djulia see his ‘injury’ take place? What were the logistics of staging a penis accident?

    Djetth cast his mind back thirty or so Earth years. Canderu! That was the way to go. Djinni had been fascinated and horrified by the phenomenon of a little Amazon river fish that was attracted by moving urine in the river water.

    Apparently, this fish was prone to mistake a urinating penis for the gills of the much larger fish upon which it usually preyed. How could it make such a terrible error? Presumably it was a very short sighted fish.

    Way to go!

    If a male came splashing out of the water, clutching himself, alleging that a fish had bitten him there, Martia-Djulia and Feya might be maliciously amused. Surely, though, they would think it the most natural thing in the world for Djetth to examine himself.

    “Something bit me! Slack damn.” Djetth swore volubly. Screaming was more than his Imperial Machismo permitted.

    Feya, who was obviously feeling better, giggled.

    “Shit, it hurts like the very blazes. I hope it wasn’t the sort of fish that goes up inside. I am sorry, Ladies. I'm going to have to inspect myself for damage.”

    Djetth threw himself on to his back on the sand, tempingly close to where the girls sat, thrust down his trunk briefs, hooking them just below his bent and spread knees. Nothing was worth the actual loss of his trunk briefs and the lethal contents in the secret pocket.

    “Whoa...that's horrible,” he groaned, knowing that females like to see anything horrible.

    Moaning, he clutched himself with both hands, one behind the other, in a golf club grip, the little finger of his left hand hooked into the forefinger of his right. Peripherally, Djetth saw the girls exchange glances. They were interested.

    “Fewmetty thing. Why the blue blazes would a bloody fish want to bite my positor?” he muttered eloquently.

    The trouble with a bioluminescent tattoo is that the little organisms have a mind of their own. They only flash when life is gooooood.

    Problem. How to wank without looking as if One is having a good time?

    Friday, February 24, 2006

    The "EW-w-w-wwwwwww" Factor

    I have been writing merrily away this week on the new book--and sometime yesterday, I realized that at least two of the elements have a very high "ewwwwww" factor.

    These are elements in the book that have a very high likelihood of making a large number of readers who read them go either EWwww or Ick! This is not the same as a squick factor, which tends to involve sex of some sort or another. The Eww Factor tends to involve disgusting things. Like blood-guts-and-gore. Or used condoms. Or spit. And I had two of these kinds of things in the book.

    Both things work very well in the story, make logical sense and create story tension and even some conflict. But they are pretty Icky. And after thinking about it, discussing it with my daughter (who thought one of the things I didn't think rated the Eww Factor was icky), thinking some more, and sleeping on it, I took one of them out. The ickier thing. The other's still kind of gross, but it's not quite so eww-y, and I just can't make myself take both of them out because it messes up the story logic too much.

    I still have 37 pages typed in, and about 10 or 12 more written. I've almost got that proposal done...

    Wednesday, February 22, 2006

    Menstruation and Men with their hair on fire

    Please understand this: I have never considered taping up a guy's mouth, and certainly would not do it for a love scene, and I've never fantasized about a lover combusting with desire.

    This is a summary of alleged findings of a UCLA study.
    Caveat: I am reporting something I saw on another loop. I have not checked for accuracy. I have not been to scropes.
    It may be a joke.
    It is not in very good taste.

    A study carried out by someone in the Department of Psychiatry at UCLA
    suggests that the kind of face a woman finds appealing may be different
    depending on where she is in her menstrual cycle.

    For example, if she's ovulating, she is attracted to men with rugged and masculine features.
    If she is pre-menstruating, or menopausal, she tends to be more attracted to a man with ..... tape over his mouth ... on fire.

    I actually deleted the original posting, but went back to it because I realized something.
    At certain times of the month, I can stand to write ... let's say ... beyond my normal level of comfort.

    Happy the editor who innocently chances to ask me to spice up a love scene as soon as possible if her request comes through when I'm at the appropriate time of the month!

    Now, I'm going back to my work in progress.

    Best wishes,
    Rowena Cherry

    Sunday, February 19, 2006

    Fruit Between Friends

    I filched this comment from the "main loop"--all due apologies--but thought, "What a GREAT thread!!" Where else but this blogg could we have at this topic, in the manner of our Spicy Group? Here it is:

    <<>>

    My first thought: "what are we gonna call it? The mighty shaft of love? The lance of manhoood?" But that was just my first thoght. Here's my second....

    Quoth--> I can see it now: "Her hands tangled in his belt, frantically working the zipped.It hissed down, a sound of relief, freedom, and anticipation.Or had that come from Jimmy?At last. At last. He sprang from the nest of curls, straight and proud as a glorious, glorious rubarb."

    Hum, brings a whole new understanding of Purple Prose. har har har!

    b

    Thursday, February 16, 2006

    Oral sex interruptus

    You must tell me if my postings are too vulgar. I would not want to bring down the high intellectual tone of this blog.
    However, if I'm starting a thread about my writing progress this week, it has been gratifying.

    I am now writing the oral sex interruptus scene.
    Originally, there was a dirty dance interrupted scene, where the hero is destroying vegetation with his thwacker to the tune of chopsticks--which he hums, he is on a desert island--while the heroine admires his prowess and insensitivity.

    Since my editor told me she needed only 400 pages from me, the dance had to go. Esp if I keep Montezuma. One really had to see the video that inspired the dirty dance scene to fully appreciate it. Unfortunately, I cannot think of another hero on my immediate horizon who would want to play an imaginary piano with his penis... a leaf banger, if you will.
    Do you think I should post it on my website?

    I thought cutting would be easier, but Insufficient Mating Material has such deep POV stuff about anger and jealousy and unacceptable secret thoughts that I'm having a hard time.

    Rowena Cherry

    Wednesday, February 15, 2006

    Author Courageous

    Marissa did a great job explaining why we write, but I think there's even more to applaud in Gail's post. She didn't just write the book -- which is, of course, a monumental achievement. She is willing to share it, too.

    A good novel, the most paradoxical of all the storytelling arts, requires that an intensely introverted and solitary sort (the author) hook up through time and space with someone they probably have never and will never meet (the reader), and together they create this magical connection we call "reading." That's such an inadequate word for the experience of a novel. You can "read" a tax form, a jury duty summons, a WalMart receipt. There's more to it when you open a novel and slide into the world the author created.

    Without the benefit of graphics, or an actor to convey non-verbal communication, or a singer's voice to layer shades of meaning to lyrics, an author trusts that her novel will hook up with a stranger's imagination and create for that stranger the visions and emotions the author experienced when she put the words on paper.

    If you think about it, the act of giving a novel to someone to read, and having that someone read the novel, is almost as intimate and mysterious and courageous as making love.

    Either that, or I just link EVERYTHING to sex. It's a possibility.

    Congrats to Gail and Marissa on their recent success! :)

    Tuesday, February 14, 2006

    Gotta do it

    Yesterday Gail posted on our goal loop that she'd mailed the ms. that was due on her editor's desk. (Brava, Gail!) She was now going to take a few days to do some character work and a few other things, and then get started on the next book.

    Now, that's a writer.

    A writer writes. There may be different reasons we write, ranging from "my editor expected it yesterday" to "I had an interesting dream last night and want to play with it". But they all boil down to the same thing--we write because that's what we do (after all, you wouldn't have an editor tapping her toe impatiently if it isn't). It's how we make sense of the world. We write because there are stories inside us that have to be told. Some days it's easier than others. Some days we toss out everything we wrote the day before. Other days the words flow, already polished and gleaming, from our fingers. But we write. It takes discipline and training, just like any other profession. But teachers teach because they have to, because that's the way their brains are made. My engineer husband designs wireless communications systems because he can't NOT scribble circuit ideas on napkins in restaurants (very embarrassing if we're eating somewhere upscale).

    I know that I get v-e-e-rr-ry cranky if I go more than about two days without having written something. It's like a boiler in my head, constantly bubbling, and writing down what has been simmering in the boiler keeps the engine running smoothly. I know that as I get to the middle of one book, the next book starts whispering (or simmering, to maintain the simile) and gets told that it has to wait its turn. It may only be a page a day, which seems to be the case for me lately :( But I write, because I have to.

    How about you?

    Thursday, February 09, 2006

    The Post Office

    Eventually, in every successful writer's life, comes the moment when one must admit defeat--or success, which can sometimes be tougher to admit--realizing that perfection is not attainable this side of glory, and package that manuscript up and ship it out.

    Sometimes this involves saving the file one last time, attaching it to an e-mail and hitting send. Sometimes it means printing out 647 pages, typing a cover letter, finding a giant rubber band that won't break when you wrap it around that monstrous pile of paper, locating an envelope that will fit around it (those free Priority Mail Tyvek envelopes from the post office just barely do), and then hauling the thing down to the post office. It's almost as much work getting it out the door as it is writing it.

    Well, no, not actually. The writing encompasses several months (years for some writers) (weeks for others) of effort. The printing, packaging and schlepping only take, oh, a day. It is an inevitable part of the process if one wants to be successful. And it's one of the most nervewracking.

    I mean, your baby is going out into the world. What if they don't like it? What if they hate it? What if--? Authors can come up with more scary what-ifs than anybody else in the world, because that's what we do. We make stuff up. We're professionals, for cryin' out loud! And it's almost enough to make you want to bundle your baby up and keep it under the bed where it's safe. Almost.

    Thing is, if nobody ever sees it--nobody in a position to buy it and publish it so other people can buy it and read it--nothing will ever happen. It won't hurt you. Some people are perfectly happy to write lovely things for themselves and their families. And if that's where you are, great. But me? I'm going to go put on my tennis shoes, stick that humongous envelope in my RWA Anaheim totebag (the perfect size for mail runs) and hike down to the post office. After a while, it hurts less.

    Monday, February 06, 2006

    Monday Number Four

    Man, what a crap week I had.

    Yeah, yeah, the Stillerz won the Super Bowl. But I had the flu and didn't put one single word to paper (or screen) in seven days. I wasn't sick enough to call off the day job, but didn't have anything left for the stuff that matters to me once I got the day job done.

    This fills me with resentment. You can bet there will be writing done at the day job this week! mwah ha ha evil laugh!

    How did everyone else do?

    Sunday, February 05, 2006

    MONTEZUMA'S REVENGE--outtake?

    Where a human tries to explain the trots to an attractive alien....

    “I can’t go with Tarrant-Arragon.”

    “Oh, so you remember who he is, do you? Scary fellow, isn’t he? Gives hardy fighting men the trots when he is in one of his bad moods. Not so much these days, though.”

    “What are trots?”

    “Montezuma’s revenge, love. The squirts. Loose bowels. The runs. Trotting is just a slower, more vertically jerky method of running. If I thought about it, I’d have to say that a man might elect to trot if he wanted to clench his buttocks while moving briskly in the direction of a toilet.”

    Grievous considered a demonstration trot around the room, but decided against. It wasn’t the image a suitor wanted to impress his future ladylove with.

    “No, love. Even if you were back on your feet, and able to remember what the bad guy did to you, you can’t go to a party with Tarrant-Arragon.”

    So, what do you think, Bloggers? Should I move literary Heaven and Earth to keep it in, or should I cut it with immense relief (since I need to shorten my novel by 100 more pages) ?

    Rowena Cherry
    INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL

    Tuesday, January 31, 2006

    Men and Their Nuts

    From the time they are little boys, men are constantly checking to make sure everything is in place. Boys are always touching, sometimes indiscreetly to make sure the package is secure. Like it's going somewhere? You don't see women doing this. We check our makeup, we know where our 'package' is, and it aint going anywhere. You see men checking the package, while playing sports, did it fall to the bottom of their jock strap? Did it shift position and feel good? Sometimes, they disguise it by adjusting their pants belt.

    Monday, January 30, 2006

    Men look down at their nuts and this THIS???

    Brenda, and Joyce,


    Thank you for your encouraging comments.

    A wanking scene!haahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!Any reference to used tea bags?


    But I ask you, rhetorically, do you know of any men who look down at themselves and think:
    By Golly, my nuts look like a used tea bag! :-) ?

    I think the teabag simile is feminine POV.
    I'm told that a male is so used to what he has down there that it doesn't occur to him to describe its looks any more than he would describe his forearm... unless there was something wrong/unusual about its appearance on a particular occasion.

    What do the rest of you think?
    Best
    Rowena

    Rowena Cherry www.rowenacherry.com

    Saturday, January 28, 2006

    Male Point of View Masturbation (scholarly thoughts)

    BIAQers,

    I have to share. I've written my male POV wanking scene.
    First draft, reasonably polished, but not something I've ever attempted before, not --obviously-- having the necessary appendage. Anyway, my dh read it, snorted over a couple of lines, chortled over another, and passed it as being very "me" but realistic.

    The only thing he questioned was that anyone would even think about having sex in a corset. He'd forgotten about what Madonna wore on stage at one point in her career.

    Best to all.

    Rowena Cherry www.rowenacherry.com

    Tuesday, January 24, 2006

    The Me I Do Not Want To Be

    Somebody at work today asked me what I write. When I told them dark romance, they asked "Why dark?" I answered, "Because I'm a pacifist."

    On the way home, a man driving a large pickup truck zoomed up behind me while I was passing a wide load transport. I was going 60 mph, but yet he felt it necessary to drive right up the ass of my Buick as I passed. And I thought, very distinctly, that the world would be a much better place if everyone on the planet were fitted with high-voltage-delivering electrodes in their brains, and I controlled the button that turned on the juice. I frequently have thoughts like this, and not just involving electrocution. Sometimes it's flamethrowers. Or, my eternal favorite, the application of Baseball Bat Justice. I often fear that I have these thoughts more than I should. Hence, my commitment to non-violence.

    But I can't deny the part of me that wants to breathe firey wrath, wreak vengeance and cause pain. So in my villians, my plots, and many times in my heroines, I let out the Me I Do Not Want To Be.

    So you know, somebody better publish me soon or I'll burn down the world. hehehehe.