Sunday, June 27, 2010

If Microsoft and Cisco can take down pirate sites, why can't RWA

Not just RWA. If RWA, SFWA, Authors' Guild and others would work together, we would make better progress.

"Dear Scott Turow, Allison Kelley, John Scalzi,

Thank you very much for everything your organizations do to defend authors' copyrights against copyright infringement. We very much appreciate having an address to which to send our complaints, and the comfort of knowing that you compile a database of the most egregious "pirates" and pirate sites.

Despite small triumphs, ignorance persists among honest readers; lies about the legality of "sharing" go unchallenged, and the problem is getting much worse.

Please Scott Turow, Allison Kelley, John Scalzi will you talk to one another, set up one powerhouse task force, meet regularly, share resources, engage your members, give authors one central "Go To" address where we can submit complaints, report piracy sites, blogs and yahoogroups, cc our individual take-down notices.

One forceful industry voice could shut down an entire account and insist on a hosting site complying with their own TOS where their TOS has been repeatedly violated, instead of individual authors taking down one file at a time.

Thank you.

Rowena Cherry"

Sunday, March 01, 2009

My "blue scrotum" excerpt

There isn't a "bright" blue scrotum in my book. There's a "glorious blue scrotum". Can you find it?

In this scene, the villain --who is known as The Saurian Dragon-- has decided to convince an alien king Viz-Igerd that his queen is committing spectacular adultery. To that end, he has doctored a radio transmission from the man, Grievous, much as it is alleged Mr John Gibson's remarks were doctored

The Dragon considered. Grievous was a memorable character, and it was dangerous to underestimate an enemy. “The same, I think. But I cannot be positive. Dirty-pink Earthlings all look alike to me.”

“They look like Djinn!” Viz-Igerd agreed, blind drunk. The King seemed struck with the physical similarity. This was not the first time His Majesty had commented. Presumably, the splendid idea of breaking intergalactic law with one of a billion human women had taken root.

“I hope you can still hear me, Your Imperial Highness. I have to say that I would not have thought it of Princess Electra....” Tarrant-Arragon’s man appeared to continue his report without a pause. The editing had been smoothly done. “…There’s no way to put this delicately. I’ve seen it with my own two eyes. Bunking… both of them.”

The Dragon narrowed his eyes, watching Viz-Igerd carefully. The re-use of “bunking” had been a calculated risk. It sounded sufficiently like ‘bonking’ for his seditious purposes.

By now, at least three official transmissions were curving their way around the space-time continuum at different speeds, and in different directions, all making reference to Electra-Djerroldina enjoying unlawful carnal knowledge of someone. Or not. The flow could not be staunched. The only sensible course was to goad Viz-Igerd into such a blind fury that he’d never take a rational moment to consider that ’Rhett would be the more plausible lover.

Other auditors would hear accurate versions, of course. And Viz-Igerd’s mind could always be wiped with Djinncraft, if exploratory mischief-making turned out not to be advantageous.

“Dragon! What is a Fust-er-Cluck?”

That one had obviously been festering in Viz-Igerd’s imagination for some moments.

“Where that human comes from, it means an orgy,” the Dragon mistranslated. “That is, various clumsy sex acts performed in rapid succession, with the greatest excesses condensed into a relatively brief time.”

He glanced at his victim. He refrained from discussing how many participants were required for an authentic orgy, as opposed to a Volnoth “Orgy of State,” where only the King copulated with the Queen, although they both watched multiple goings-on. Amusing as it would be to torment His Majesty, he did have to protect his only son. ’Rhett had to survive. He was the succession plan. ’Rhett would be the next Saurian Dragon, and all the sooner—perhaps— if he wanted to avenge Electra.

Yes, the Queen might have to be sacrificed. However, a show trial without a named co-conspirator might be difficult to orchestrate. Fortunately, he’d identified a satisfactory scapegoat in Prince Thor-quentin. No one cared about Thor-quentin.

“I imagine that your Queen and the vigorous young Great Djinn Prince are thoroughly enjoying the rut-rage.” He turned the screw, while gesturing blandly to the hologram, where the messenger was still speaking, and trying to scrape invisible dirt off his footwear. “It would be Electra-Djerroldina’s first rut-rage, would it not?”

Poor Viz-Igerd, unable to control his embarrassment, was displaying his… displeasure to hear that his queen was creatively fornicating her way to Earth. There was some species of primate on Earth—the name of it would come— that had a boiled-red face that turned redder the angrier it got. It seldom had to fight. The facial reddening was threat enough. Ah, yes! The red uakari. That was it.

Then, there was the ridiculous vervet monkey from somewhere on the African continent, which came with a violent red tallywhacker, shown off to great advantage—to those easily impressed or demoralized by that sort of thing— against a glorious blue scrotum. The Volnoth threat-to-mount had nothing on the vervet for sheer outrageous… cojones.

The Dragon discovered that his urbane finger steepling had turned to pantomime- villain hand rubbing, and stopped himself.

“Anyway, Sir,” Grievous continued, “it seems your sister can’t get it off… without… bunking… Prince Thor-quentin…”


“Need you ask?” The Dragon sighed expressively. He’d never thought of phrasing it quite as Viz-Igerd did, and his unruly mind filled with a crinkly bed of lettuce, three kinds of runny cheese, man-handled meat, and all the trimmings.

“…And, Prince Thor-quentin is proving a right bugger.”

“What is a bugger, Dragon?” Viz-Igerd’s voice sounded choked, which was not altogether surprising, given the way His Majesty was twisting the chain of office around his neck, like a panicked Earthling bureaucrat “social” worker trying to loosen a knotted necktie.

This excerpt is from KNIGHT'S FORK by Rowena Cherry

This is the news video mentioning the monkey with the bright blue scrotum. It seems to be a different species from the vervet.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Rowena Cherry's Knight's Fork wins Amazon Clicks Award

I am absolutely thrilled that Knight's Fork received enough votes to win the award, and I'd like to thank all the authors who voted.

Thank you!
Rowena Cherry

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Survival and the American auto industry

I'm a Science-fiction Romance writer. I look at History (which repeats itself) also current events, and I wonder What If...?

Not that I write it, yet, but Steampunk is where the writer changes one invention from the time of the industrial revolution, such as H.G. Wells's "The Time Machine". That was the "age of steam", hence steam punk.

More recently, there is "cyber punk" which I suppose relates to choices made in Silicon Valley in the 1980s. One of the hallmarks of punk writing is that it explores the road not traveled and the consequences of a different decision whether made by a scientist, a businessman, or a politician (I assume).

I'm using "gunk" punk because if steam is what the Nineteenth Century machines are remembered for, then gunk might be what petroleum-driven cars leave behind. Or maybe I've been watching too many STP commercials.

Gratuitous decoration

This is a car made by my husband, with his own hands and the help of a few people he contracted with privately. He burned his hands on hot clay, he came home with his eyebrows covered in dust from sanding... he lost 10lbs from all the exercise. This photo was taken at SEMA by Jonathon Ramsey for

So, what if... in the 1940s American didn't have a manufacturing industry and depended on Germany and Japan? I'd probably be blogging in German, right?

History is being made right now, that's why I'm laying claim to "gunk punk" (unless someone has already thought of it, or someone has a better name). Peter M DeLorenzo of may have done so, but he doesn't write fiction as far as I know. He has a jaw dropping rant going on.

Peter is also selling an alarming book (non-fiction) titled "The United States of Toyota."

Alarming cover art.

I am now imagining myself as a writer in, say 2020 (hindsight pun!) looking back on the third week of November 2008 when Congress made a catastrophic vote NOT to make a loan to the last American car companies.

It's a "Mad Max" world now. Or perhaps it's Mary Doria Russell's "The Sparrow" world with a touch of "1984". The Jesuits and the Japanese rule. We have an Emperor. And a Pope. And a third Minister of some sort, because good things come in threes.

Onstar speaks to us in Japanese in our cars. We cannot turn it off. They got Murdoch, too. And Comcast. All our Direct TV has Japanese subtitles. We cannot turn it off. Big Brother looks a lot like Vladimir Putin with Botox to get rid of the ugly Western crease in his eyelids. He tells us what to think.

America is bankrupt. When the world bank foreclosed, one of the creditors took Hawaii, another took the island of Manhattan, another took the Great Lakes for the water. No one wanted Detroit... I could go on. In a grim way, this is rather fun.

Maybe my imagination is overactive. I hope so! I was having trouble fitting any kind of Romance into my budding novel of milieu.

My point is, pay attention to the information that is available, and store it up for future reference. (Thank goodness for flashdrive!). There's a massive dissonance right now between the truth and what people are saying in the media.

If interested in GM's version of car myth vs fact visit

Best wishes,
Rowena Cherry

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Poverty Inteview for Oct 15th Blog Action Day

Interview on Poverty for October 15th (Global Blog Action Day)

I'm embarrassed, but I'm not familiar with the correct way to address a member of the Capuchin order (or any other monk). Are you Father, Frater, Brother….? And is it polite to call you a monk?

The vision of our founder, St. Francis of Assisi, was that we would be brothers to the world—first of all, to other human beings, of course, but also to all of creation—the birds, the animals, the fish of the sea. He spoke of “Brother Sun” and “Sister Moon”, and taught us that we must deal respectfully with all of creation. This was eight hundred years ago—he was “into” ecology way back then! I say all this to arrive at the point that since we strive to be brothers to the world, it is never incorrect to address any Capuchin as “brother”, even if he happens to be a priest. (Some of us are priests and some are not, but the bottom line is that we are all brothers.) And technically we are not monks, as monks are “attached” to a certain monastery for a lifetime whereas we are much more mobile. So it is more correct to call Capuchins “friars” (which comes from the Latin word for “brother”, though we are similar to monks and even call some of our residences monasteries.

I've seen The Sound of Music, and I've read some of Ellis Peters's Brother Cadfael mysteries, and I saw Richard Chamberlain in The Thorn Birds.

What is the difference between a monk and a Catholic priest, in terms of job description, career expectations, pecking order, contact with members of the public?

As I stated above, a monk is attached to a particular monastery for a life time; that does not mean that he can never leave the premises, but that he is “connected” to that monastery for his entire life. Most priests in this country are diocesan priests, meaning that they are “attached” to a particular diocese for a lifetime. A diocese is a geographic area of the country, of which a bishop is the leader or shepherd. He is the leader of all the Catholics in that area, and the diocese is organized into local parishes or churches. Those churches are served by priests who in most cases have been ordained to serve within that diocese.

However, within the Catholic Church there are also religious orders, such as the Capuchins, who are groups of men or women who feel called to live the vowed life (poverty, chastity and obedience) in the spirit of their founder. In our case, that was St. Francis of Assisi; in the case of the Dominicans, it was St. Dominic; in the case of the Jesuits, it was St. Ignatius of Loyola. The bottom line for us in religious life is that we feel called to live that vowed life within a community of like-minded individuals. Thus, living that life faithfully and authentically is our bottom line. Now, within those religious orders of men, some members are priests and some are not priests. Our common life; our charism and spirituality are the same; it is just that the way we live it out is different: the priests do so as administrators of the sacraments and by celebrating the mass, those who are not priests work as teachers or social workers or nurses, etc. Those who are priests “report” to the leaders of their order, whereas priests of the diocese are under the leadership of the bishop.

This is getting to be a very long answer, but in response to another part of the question, within the Capuchin Order we try to live without a “pecking order.” We proclaim ourselves a fraternity of equals, with no special privileges for anyone, whether ordained or not ordained. Members of some monastic orders live quite contemplatively without much contact with the world beyond the monastery walls., we Capuchins are very involved in the world. However, although we Capuchins try to be contemplative as well, (spending a significant portion of each day in prayer and contemplation), we are very involved in the world. In fact, our mission is no less than to “transform the world through reverence!”


Is it true that nuns, monks, and Catholic priests all take vows of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience? If not, who takes what vow?

Men and women members of religious orders (ordained and non-ordained) take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Some take a vow of stability as well, meaning that they are attached to a particular monastery for life. Diocesan priests take vows of chastity and obedience.

I'm sure that there's a very good reason why there are three vows, and they are "Poverty". "Chastity" and "Obedience"? Would you liken those three vows to the three legs on a stool?

My understanding of the vows is that all people are called to live poverty, chastity and obedience, but that vowed religious are called to live them more intently. To me the vow of poverty means to use respectfully the goods of the earth, to share those goods with others, and to use no more than we need. Chastity means that I view others as magnificent creations of God, who are to always be treated respectfully. And obedience means “careful listening”—to God, to life, to others, to those in authority. And it seems to me that living poorly, respectfully and with a “listening spirit” is fundamental for anyone--vowed religious or not--to living life fully and harmoniously with others and with all creation.

What is it like to take a vow of poverty, and to live a life of poverty within a monastic order?

Once again, I do not technically belong to a “monastic order”—but I did take a vow of poverty. Throughout the centuries (and the vowed religious life goes back for centuries and centuries) there has been great discussion and debate about what the vow of poverty “means.” My understanding is that the vow calls us to a respectful use of all things material, to hold in common what we have, and to share what we have. On a practical level that means that the car I drive belongs to the community, not to me personally. It means that I have no bank or checking account in my name, and that the salary I earn is turned over to the community and placed in the general fund to cover the needs of all. It means that I must respond to those in need and share what I have with a wider world. And it means that I live simply, without accumulating a lot of “things,” or chasing after a lot of money.

Could you compare and contrast monastic poverty with the poverty you see in Detroit? (Or any other inner city)

The most obvious difference is the fact that those of us who have taken a vow of poverty almost always have what we need in order to live with dignity and comfort, whereas many others who live in Detroit do not. Again, my understanding of the vow of poverty does not mean that I am to live in destitution—there is nothing blessed about that. Rather, it means that I live simply, using only what I need, and sharing what I have with others. The difference is that while most of us who have taken a vow of poverty do not have a great deal of “things”, drive modest cars, dress and eat simply, we do it out of choice and conviction. Many others, however, are forced to do so—there is no choice about it.

Is it true that in Brother Cadfael's time, impoverished and unwanted young people were sent to a convent or monastery? If so, why wouldn't that work in modern times?

I am not certain about the social conditions specifically during Brother Cadfael’s time, but I do know that throughout the centuries entrance into a convent or monastery was sometimes a viable option to a life of poverty when there were few other escape routes. I guess the key thing here is choice—a choice to enter the vowed life must be made freely, without coercion. The life style must fit one’s temperament and “spirit”; otherwise, I suspect the person involved would not enjoy much happiness in trying to live a lifestyle that does not “fit.”

How is a Capuchin Soup Kitchen different from a Salvation Army soup kitchen?

Although I have had little experience with a Salvation Army soup kitchen, I suspect that we would have much in common. I believe that our motivators are basically the same—the idea that we are all sons and daughters of a common God, and that we must care for each other. I am certain that we share a belief in the goodness and dignity of all human beings. One possible difference is that –and I’m not sure about this—is that the Salvation Army perhaps uses their facilities as places to proselytize—preach—whereas we do not. Our founder, St. Francis of Assisi, said, “Preach the gospel. If necessary, use words.” In other words, we try to preach by the way we live our lives. We feed hungry people because it is the right thing to do, not because we want to preach to and convert them.

Why is there so much poverty in Detroit? Would there be less poverty if there was more chastity and obedience in our society?


Another Capuchin brother once said to me that what we have in Detroit is ”economic apartheid”, that when most of the white people moved out beyond Eight Mile Road, they took with them most of the jobs and the financial resources of the city. While I believe that that analysis is somewhat simplistic, I do believe that there is a great correlation between racism and poverty. But the decline of manufacturing in these cities is also a huge factor, as well as limited educational opportunities and poor transportation systems for the people left in the city. And while I have not thought a whole lot about this, I suppose a case could be made that if everyone treated everyone else respectfully (chastity), and everyone really listened to their inner voice and the voice of God speaking to us (obedience), there would be less poverty in the world because we would conclude that it is unconscionable that some of us enjoy such excess, while millions have not the basic necessities of life. And we would do something about it.

I was very impressed with your organic vegetable gardens on the abandoned lots of Detroit. I've also heard that lots in Detroit are unsold (owing to the debts and back taxes) for $1 each.

I also hear the saying "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish…" What would happen if the Capuchin monks taught Detroiters to grow their own vegetables?

What would happen if the Capuchins organized allotments (tiny communal market gardens) ? Like Habitat for Humanity, only for vegetable gardens instead of dwellings?


There is a strong movement underway in the city right now to encourage people to grow a portion of their own food. The Greening of Detroit is very active in this endeavor, and the Capuchin Soup Kitchen works in collaboration with that organization. In fact, the Soup Kitchen has a greenhouse where each year approximately 100,000 vegetable seedlings are grown for distribution to individual gardeners and community gardens throughout the city. Each year the program grows in number of participants and levels of enthusiasm, and some of the gardeners are now selling some of their produce. Here at the Soup Kitchen some of our guests have tiny plots where they grow vegetables of their choice, and it is gratifying to observe the care with which the gardens are tended. Working with the earth is also very calming and healing, and I really believe that gardening can help heal the wounds so prevalent among the people of our city.


I see you do "Teach a Man to bake…" Tell me why the Capuchins chose baking as a new career for men who have been incarcerated. Can a man "bake" his way out of poverty and destitution?

Or, is the baking a way of providing the bread to accompany the vegetable soups?


Our ROPE program (Reaching Our Potential Every day) teaches baking techniques and life skills to formerly homeless or incarcerated men. The idea is not simply to learn a skill or trade, but to simultaneously address the issues that brought the men to homelessness or incarceration in the first place. Thus, participants do receive training in baking, but at the same time deal with their addiction problems, or work on obtaining their GED or other educational pursuits, or receive professional counseling to come to peace with issues that have caused them turmoil in their lives up until now. The hope is that after they have been in the program a year they will have saved enough money and resolved enough of their personal issues that they can successfully “re-enter” society and become assets to their community. Some might choose to continue working in the field of baking; others may pursue truck driving or whatever other career might interest them.

How does donating clothing, furniture, and appliances to the Capuchins for distribution differ (if at all) from donating to the Red Cross or Salvation Army, or Purple Heart?

I've never received a postcard or a phone call from the Capuchins telling me that their truck will be in my neighborhood, and asking if I have anything to donate.


I’m not sure about all the other organizations named, but one possible difference is that items that are donated to us are distributed free of charge to people in need—we do not sell them. And while in the past we were able to send trucks out into the neighborhoods to pick up donations, the costs of fuel and labor now make that prohibitive.

What have I not asked about Poverty that I ought to have asked?

Entire books have been written about poverty. I could go on and on—but I think we have a good overview here at least.

Are the Capuchins only in Detroit? If not, where else are your Soup Kitchens, Gardens, Art Therapy Programs, Food package donation outlets, and shower facilities?

What have I not asked about The Capuchin Order and the Capuchin Soup Kitchen service sites that you'd like to mention?


The Capuchins are an international order of brothers, found all over the world. In the United States (and internationally as well) we are divided into geographic provinces. There are six provinces in this country, and this Province of St. Joseph is headquartered here in Detroit. We are about two hundred members, and are separate from the other provinces in terms of finances and personnel. The Province of St. Joseph sponsors a similar food program in Milwaukee, though not of this magnitude. I am not familiar with much of the work of other provinces, although I do know that the friars in Denver operate a homeless shelter, as do friars of the Pittsburg province stationed in Washington, DC. Traditionally throughout the world we have been known to minister among the very poor.

I would like to close this by acknowledging that the work we do is made possible only through the generosity of the people of this community. Our annual budget is seven million dollars, and most of that money comes from fundraising activities and donations from generous benefactors. It is very humbling to me that people trust us so. I also extend to anyone interested, an invitation to come and visit us. We are very proud of what we do, and love to show it off!

Useful Contact Information for the Capuchin Soup Kitchen in Detroit

To volunteer
313-822-8606 ext 10

To donate
313-579-2100 ext 173

Thank you very much!
Rowena Cherry