Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Survival isn't always romantic in the conventional sense

Males do some pretty disgusting and unromantic things from time to time. No doubt females do, too.... such as eating the head of the male while, or just before, he impregnates her.

Infant cockroaches, and infant koalas eat their mother's waste. And one type of infant spiders eat their mothers.

When it is a matter of survival, one does what is necessary, no matter how gross.

That was gross!
Moreover, it's not something that inspires me to write a scene for a romance. I just cannot imagine any heroine wanting to kiss him for any reason under the sun any time soon after that.

I would have loved to have been a fly on the nearest object of great attraction to flies, in order to have heard the camera crew's remarks during filming. Unlike SURVIVORMAN, who was filming his own, original series, in Africa during February/March --and who carries 50lbs of his own, self-operated filming equipment--, "Bear" Grylls has a cameraman with him.

Judging by the quality of the video, I'd guess that the cameraman was shaking with laughter.

Males are better equipped to carry out this survival trick. There is a long tradition of unspeakable things that thirsty men will drink. Warm beer. "The stale of horses" to quote from one of Shakespeare's plays with Roman heroes. "Goat's" in a recent film about a Beerfest (involving competitive drinking).

I wonder what kind of toast would be appropriate?
Here's looking at you?
Bottoms up?
Your very good health!

All the best,

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Inspiration everywhere

But some things are simply not conducive to writing "heated science fiction romance."

Take men in trees.

Now, in Insufficient Mating Material, I do place my hunky hero up a tree when the heroine, thinking herself alone, says something that prompts the hero to ask the "How about it?" question.

I've got six or seven "important" ash trees in my back yard. They are not equally important. The one that grows through the deck is much more important that the others, though their canopies all dropshadow my roofline.

We've got the alien Emerald Ash Borer in Michigan, and it is a continual and expensive struggle to treat the trees. I am doing a good job of making the wood taste unpleasant, but not all my neighbors are.

Last Thursday, reluctantly, I tore myself away from the romantic and riveting pleasure of writing about the first heroic lip lock between my hero and heroine in order to keep an eye on three tree surgeons who were giving my trees a first class pruning.

I can't say that it was a romantically profitable morning. One chap could have modeled for Pieter Brueghel. Another for Jabba the Hutt. Oh dear, that is cruel. I suppose he would not have made such an unfortunate impression if he hadn't been wearing only low-slung trousers and a short T-shirt which he used as a face towel when the ambient heat became too much, and sent his pores into overproduction.

It took from 8am to 12.15 pm including chipping, road sweeping, and so forth.

After that, the man who cleans my deck came.

I did not have to worry about him falling out of a tree and the insurance ramifications of that (you thought I watched those guys out of lust?) but men with power sprayers just cannot help squirting things they are not supposed to squirt.

This guy's method of preparing the soil for planting pacysandra was to squirt it. He squirted a hornets' nest, too!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Plant hybrids inspire alien-romance world building

Hybrids aren't just cars that run on more than one fuel source.

There are hybrid animals, and hybrid plants which occur either naturally or with the assistance of mankind, also hybrids in Greek and Roman mythology. Some hybrids are sterile, and some are not. Some hybrids are called after a combination of the father's name and the mother's (father's name first).

The mythological creatures do not appear to follow this convention... and in fact, now I understand the convention, my mind boggles over the Manticore (man-lion-scorpion).

The etymology is delightful. According to wikipedia, hybrid comes from the ancient Greek for "son of outrageous conduct."

I could have called my Tigron world's black sabre-toothed tigers ... pangers, or tigthers, but I think that would have complicated matters.

This week, I'm more interested in plant hybrids. For world-building in a hurry --not that I recommend taking a short cut, but sometimes one has to-- a few hours in the grocery aisles can be quite inspiring. After all, if you are unexpectedly space-shipwrecked and marooned on an alien world, you're going to be obsessed with what you can and cannot eat.

There are some astonishing hybrids available in the produce section, as well as exotic fruits and vegetables that might or might not have been hybridized. I look at the Ugly Fruit, and I wonder whether it evolved to be visually appealing to anything (assuming that its fruit is "designed" to be dispersed with the assistance of creatures that eat the fleshy parts and eject the pits).

There's something spiny and orange that looks like a cross between a sea urchin and a sea slug, and I'm fascinated by those waxy green globes that come inside a pale green papery looking flower. If you were to change their colors, rename them, and describe them carefully as if you'd never seen them before, you'd hardly need to dream up your own fruits and vegetables for your alien romance's world. And, then there are the roots. You have to be careful what you do with your root vegetables, in my opinion.

How did we ever start to eat root veg? Did we observe a primate and copy them? Did our earliest ancestors' curious gaze fall upon something intriguingly orange, or pleasantly white, pushing up through loose soil? I suppose we do have an instinct (as children) to pull things out of the ground and bite them as an experiment. I'm told that I ate a worm once when I was a toddler! Would your aliens have similar instincts?

Your human heroine has to eat in outer space --or on whatever unfamiliar territory she is trapped-- so not all her food can be unrecognizable (or she'd have to have major allergy testing) or her gut would not be adapted to handle it. We're accustomed to stories about our domestic pets eating human delicacies which are not natural for them... which their guts are not adapted to handle. I've been thinking about what natural carnivores can and cannot eat, because I want my tigers to play a larger role in my next story.

In fact, having spent several hours reading the ingredients on dry pet food for research purposes, I do have to wonder under what circumstances a dog in the wild would eat corn on the cob. Or rice!

There are some schools of alternative healing thought that claim some of our painful ailments (such as arthritis) are a consequence of us eating fruits or vegetables that we are not adapted for, or to which some of us are allergic. My mother cured very painful arthritic swelling in her hands by giving up all produce in the tomato families. Other people have a problem with potatoes. (Some have a problem but don't know it.)

In Insufficient Mating Material, the hero and heroine are marooned on an island on an alien world, and they have to test food and deal with the possibility that the heroine might not have a tolerance for some of the fruits and vegetables growing there.

Why do I think roots are a problem? Carrots are easy, and you can eat them raw if you want to. Parsnips look like big carrots only white... but you really do have to cook them. Watch out for onions and shallots, because they look like tulip bulbs. There are different roots that look alike. Take ginger root and Jerusalem artichoke. They are both about the shape and size of a small, pudgy hand, with gnarly, stub-tipped fingers, root filaments like fleshy hairs, and are beige-gray.

On our world, some plants do not want to be eaten, especially by the roots (!) so they evolve to be poisonous. What happens in your alien world?

For those interested in research, or obsessed with plausible alien anatomy --and possibly inspired by the fact that a carrot fresh from the ground does not necessarily look "carrot shaped"-- M.I.T. (an eminently respectable place of scholarship) sells --or used to sell-- a to-scale, and anatomically correct poster called "Penises of the Animal Kingdom".

I thought the plural was Penes, but I suppose a few people wouldn't get the point.

And having Googled that, because none of the three of my dictionaries within easy reach gives any guidance on what a proper person should call multiple schlongs, I'm off to pursue other lines of romantic alien research.

Best wishes,

Rowena Cherry
Insufficient Mating Material
"racy, wildly entertaining futuristic romance" ~Writers Write

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Insufficient Mating Material's heroine

Insufficient Mating Material has just been launched in the UK as of May 25th 2007. I'm told that it can be found in Tesco, WHSmith, Waterstone's, and Blackwell

"Be good..." they say. "And if you can't be good, be careful!"

It must be almost impossible to be careful when all the worlds are watching all the time, and not always sympathetically.

Princesses and celebrities have everywoman's problems, but their problems are magnified a hundredfold by the telephoto lens of public scrutiny. Everyone wants to know who they are seeing, what they are drinking, what they did in bed and with whom, whether or not they are pregnant...

A single alien princess might precipitate a constitutional crisis if an unflattering camera caught her just as a breeze was bellying out her bathing costume... especially if it was common knowledge that she'd slept with a foreign terrorist for kicks.

Princess Martia-Djulia has all the problems of a youngest child (the third child) but more so. It seems pointless to compete with her brilliant older brother and sister. Until senility overtakes them, they will always be older, wiser, better-read, more experienced, more athletic, more powerful.

In a world of feudal primogeniture, the older she gets, the lower her status. She is only interesting if she is scandalous.

Insufficient Mating Material's heroine was introduced in FORCED MATE, where she got a great deal more than she bargained for when she flirted with a handsome --and most unsuitable-- commoner.

She also went through her brother's private "stuff" and got caught, did the gustatory equivalent of spiking the drinks at her brother's wedding banquet, made a compromising video of herself in bed with a tattooed stranger, and fell hopelessly in love with a hunk who was honor-bound to marry someone else.

She makes her dramatic appearance in Insufficient Mating Material as the Royal bride at an Imperial shotgun wedding. As she surveys the throngs who have come to see her married to the mate of her dreams (who has miraculously been relieved of the fiancee he intended to marry and brought back to her) her happiness seems complete...


Never in all Great Djinn history has any Imperial Princess had such a Mating Ceremony on such short notice, and to a mate freely chosen by the Princess!

Princess Martia-Djulia savored her unique happiness. The second best part was that she was going to get away with it. By taking an alien and a commoner like Commander Jason to mate, she poked a defiant finger in the eye of Imperial tradition.

“You’re glowing,” her tall, grimly magnificent brother commented as he joined her on the raised throne-stage and offered her the support of his bent arm for the slow, gyring descent of the stage into the Throne Room below the Imperial suite.

“I’ve a lot to glow about,” Martia-Djulia retorted. She could have made a barbed remark about how Tarrant-Arragon had tricked his own cold, pale bride into saying the irrevocable Imperial Mating Vows, but she didn’t.

After all, Tarrant-Arragon had hunted down Commander Jason, and brought him back to her.

Her thoughts returned to her Jason who shared her taste for subversion and mischief-making. He was the Mate who would change her sad, lonely life; her boring, bottled-up life. He was her rescuer, her lover, her private hero, the warrior who made her feel young and beautiful, and who awed the Fewmet out of her insolent, uncontrollable sons.

He was the only male in all the forty-two gestates of her life who had ever given her an orgasm.

Martia-Djulia took a deep, happy breath as the last notes of the Fanfare Royal drifted up from the balconies of the Throne Room, and the Crown Prince’s throne stage —its stark, craggy contours pleasingly draped for the occasion in her favorite colors of dusk-sky mauve and midnight-purple— descended silently, like one of her brother’s deliberately placed chess pieces, only fortress-sized.

“I can hardly believe it,” she whispered to herself as she nodded graciously to the crowd below. “I’m about to be Mated to the only male who has the physical strength to pick me up and sweep me off my feet, and the desire to do so.”

Tarrant-Arragon lifted an eyebrow at her.

“Oh, when I think of Jason’s passion--” she said, "When I think of how violently he knocked the ceremonial headmask off an interfering Saurian Ambassador, and of the wicked, sexual insults he threw….”

“You liked that, didn’t you?” Tarrant-Arragon teased. “But, I hope you don’t expect your new Mate to pick you up, attack Saurian Ambassadors, and hurl sexual insults in front of our distinguished guests.”

Martia-Djulia took in the carefully orchestrated tableau where she stood on the stepped stage, waiting for Jason to make an entrance through one of the Throne Room’s soaring central portals.

What would he be thinking? Would he remember how they met at a Virgins’ Ball in this very Throne Room? Would he mentally undress her with his strange, dark-nebula eyes and notice that she looked better than he remembered?

Surely, even a fashion hawk like Jason would approve of her sense of style. For her second Mating, she could hardly usurp the pallor of a Royal Virgin bride. She had chosen the subtle, shifting colors of a fast-frozen sea, glittering with the palest, most precious gemstones aligned in all the right places for the most flattering effect.

“They all came back!” Martia-Djulia breathed, gazing out at the heads of state, ambassadors, military leaders, and subject royalty who had been hastily recalled, some before they had returned home after her brother’s nuptials.

“Of course,” Tarrant-Arragon murmured. “On occasions like this, no matter how lofty the ceiling, it is never high enough, is it?”

The pentagonal Throne Room shimmered with the warmth rising from the thronged guests. Massed body heat made the vast room a battleground of assorted perfumes and less intentional odors that only Djinn nostrils might identify.

Suddenly, Martia-Djulia was conscious of emerging mature notes from her own signature perfume.

“Tarrant-Arragon,” she whispered anxiously. “Did I overdo the Queen of the Night?”

“You seem to have put it absolutely everywhere,” he drawled, and grinned, confirming that his Djinn-sharp olfactory senses were as embarrassingly acute as those of a sea-predator.

“I’ll let Jason lick it off,” Martia-Djulia quipped brazening out her secret embarrassment.

“If he’s got any Djinn in him, he might find that joy a little overpowering,” Tarrant-Arragon said.

Martia-Djulia felt a vague, fleeting apprehension. Was it a certain enigmatic tone in her brother’s voice? Something wasn’t right. Tarrant-Arragon had once threatened to kill Commander Jason if her lover turned out to be of rogue Djinn lineage.

Why was Jason late?

Her anxious gaze searched the double avenues of ground-lighted, living trees which flanked the four grand entrances.

“Ah. The so delightful Henquist and Thor-quentin.” Tarrant-Arragon jerked his head to indicate the upper level balcony where her two tall sons leaned negligently on the elaborately carved stone balustrade. “They look pleased.”

Martia-Djulia smiled hopefully at her usually sullen, sulky sons, until she realized that Tarrant-Arragon was being ironic.


“Nervous?” Tarrant-Arragon asked mockingly.

Before she could retort, a loud fanfare made further conversation impossible. The pentagonal room vibrated with the thunder of massed war-drums. Colored plumes of scented smoke surged up and tumbled from the Imperial throne-space, reminiscent of an ultraviolet tinted, pyroclastic cloud. The Emperor’s throne-stage thrust up through the smoke like a coldly gleaming, ice-volcano rising out of a swirling fog.

Her father, The Emperor Djerrold Vulcan V, appeared to stroll on the pinkish-purple vapor trails, high above his guests. Martia-Djulia tried to imprint on her memory every detail of this splendid, dramatic illusion.

“Dear friends, welcome back,” the Emperor began with his customary, affable menace. “You are now here to witness the exchange of vows between my younger daughter and her new mate. Since The Princess Martia-Djulia is a widow, and a mother, and since this is her second marriage, there will —obviously— be no display of proofs of virginity.”
He pointed his Fire-Stone-Ringed forefinger around the room, his guests shrank in their seats, and he smiled tigrishly.

“There will come a point when my dear daughter will ask anyone who objects to her choice of mate to speak out. Anyone who dares to do so will be incinerated.”
Star-blue lightning sizzled and flashed from the Emperor’s finger. Regrettably, her father had flatly refused to even try to color-coordinate his laser ring’s fire for this one occasion.

“Out of consideration for your fellow guests’ nostrils,” Djerrold Vulcan V continued pleasantly, “I advise against any interference. Proceed!”

High above, another fanfare blared from long, deep-noted instruments. The massive central doors at the far end of the Imperial throne room opened.

“I kept my promise,” Tarrant-Arragon said quietly, “…to bring back Jason, if he agreed to come, or to find you a mate like your Commander Jason.”

She wasn’t paying attention, though it was an odd thing to say. Unseen, a massed male voice choir roared out the Mating Anthem... usually heard only once in a generation at the Mating of an Emperor or the Emperor's male heir.

This, too, was her due. She’d been promised that her Mating would be as splendid as the one she had organized for her big brother. And so it was. Only prettier.

“Here he comes!” Martia-Djulia whispered, trembling.

A tall, broad-shouldered silhouette limped from the darkness beyond the doorway.
His beloved, scarred face was a shadowed, distant blur… but something wasn’t right. Had Tarrant-Arragon tortured and starved Commander Jason into agreeing to Mate with her?

“What is wrong with him?” she hissed accusingly. Time stretched out. A sense of creeping horror chilled her vitals. “You promised not to force him.”

Her thoughts raced back to three Imperatrix cycles ago.

She vividly remembered what they’d agreed, just before Tarrant-Arragon left to exact terrible revenge on the unknown villains who’d tried to assassinate him on his honeymoon.

I want him to be happy, she’d protested when Tarrant-Arragon caught her trying to erase compromising footage of Jason on top of her. Jason’s happiness hadn’t been on her mind when she triggered the surveillance systems.

Do you think he’d be happy with me if I force him to be my mate? she’d asked her brother, who had no scruples when it came to mate appropriation.

No, Tarrant-Arragon had bluntly told her, dashing any lingering hope that she could blackmail Jason into returning to her bed permanently.

At the Virgins’ Ball, Commander Jason had made it clear that he’d rather be searching the rim worlds for his errant mate-to-be, but he was on duty. Since he had to be at the Ball, he’d been in the mood for a revenge dock in any bay that would accommodate him.

Martia-Djulia had only wanted illicit excitement — until Jason gave her so much, she wanted him to do it for the rest of her life.

“Did you force him? Did you torture him?” Martia-Djulia demanded urgently.

“Not really,” her appalling brother replied.

Something was wrong. Martia-Djulia's heart thumped. She clasped nervous hands to her glittering breast, and glared in an effort to get a better look at her promised Mate. At this distance, across the Throne Room, it was hard to tell…. Closer he came. Closer.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse of Martia-Djulia.
Read her story in Insufficient Mating Material

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Survivors and Romantics

The Romantic Times Booklovers' convention in Houston is winding down. The book fair is over, the next Mr Romance has been chosen, my speeches have been given and my handouts have been handed out.

In effect, I spoke about research every time, though in some cases it was presented as Swordfighting secrets, and I'd like the romance-writing world to know that my handouts are going up on my website.

Best wishes,

Sunday, April 08, 2007

If I had to... could I?

Before I write about heroines, I research the situations into which I dump them, and I like to think that if I were their age, in the shape they are in, and in similar circumstances, I could do almost as well.

But could I?

Could I purify and filter water without a commercial tablet or a store-bought gadget on my plumbing? If global warming reduced my neighborhood to something close to a dust bowl, could I find water? Could I follow my own survival advice that I dish up in my "survival romance" Insufficient Mating Material? Could I make pizza from scratch... on a hot rock?

Well, could I?

I might surprise myself. We women may be tougher than we think.

Actually, I used to make pizza when I lived in Dorset. I had a coal fired oven, which meant that I had to shovel coal into the fire box, wait for it to get really hot, and then bake. My paternal grandmother didn't have a refrigerator. She had a slab of marble in a cupboard under the stairs!

But as for doing some of the things Survivorman does.... I'm not sure, and I hope I never find out, but I pay attention, and I'm thinking of buying some of the best fire making tools I've seen him use on his show, and keeping them in my handbag. It won't do much for the shape of my bag, but a bit of extra weight-lifting should keep my arms and my bones in shape.

Insufficient Mating Material contains quite a lot of information from various survival sources and the consultative wisdom of Survivorman, Les Stroud. Like the hero, Djetth (Jeth), I took part in competitive life-saving at school. I still have all the badges that I earned. However, when I think back to all the mushrooms we used to gather in the local cow pastures at dawn, and the berries we picked from hedgerows in Autumn: hips and haws, elderberry, crabapples, blackberries, I wonder whether I'd dare to today, if I weren't desperate.

My mother would be a lot better at survival than I. She has a head start because she is a passionate (and almost an organic) gardener, and for fruits and vegetables is pretty much self sufficient.

The problem is (for everyday people), practising making shelters by cutting down vegetation is not environmentally responsible, and experimenting with strange berries when I don't have to seems to be asking for trouble.

Happy Easter!


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Survival of the fittest

I developed this poster from custom artwork done by Ed Traxler for my Insufficient Mating Material book video, and from photographs given to me by Les Stroud (aka SURVIVORMAN).

Now, I use it as a visual aid for when talking with romance experts in bookstores, or potential readers. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words!

Survivorman is holding up a conch shell, which is quite useful for heating water on the campfire, if one doesn't happen to be marooned with a saucepan. There are also scenes involving fishing using whittled stakes, and in making a shelter from vegetation, so his pictures were all very relevant to what goes on in my romance!

I like to multi-task, so when my husband agreed that we could drive down to Florida (for the Amelia Island concours d'elegance), I arranged to make strategic stops at major bookstores along my route (the I-75) to do "drive-by signings" of INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL, and hopefully to tell booksellers some highpoints about the alien/survival romance.

In my drive-by signing bag I packed: autographed stickers, a purple ink gel pen, spare pens, my poster, a hair brush, bookmarks, business cards.

We set off from Detroit, not as early as I'd have liked, but on the other hand, the morning rush-hour traffic had cleared. By around 3pm we were in Lexington, Kentucky, which I'd chosen because I thought that --if we had a tiresome drive owing to weather or roadworks-- we might want to stop at the Super 8 near there.

There is only one Barnes and Noble in Lexington, so that is where I signed, while my husband and child stretched their legs and enjoyed the store's fine displays of magazines and games.

The next day, around eleven a.m., I was in Knoxville, having got off to a record slow start which had not a little to do with a blocked toilet (not blocked by us) which meant that I had to repeatedly flush what you might expect, by bailing water (from the bath) using the room's fortunately-large-and-plastic trash bin.

There's only one Barnes and Noble in Knoxville, too, and I had a great time chatting with the CRM.

Around three pm, we almost overshot our turn-off. Actually, we did. As one of my favorite secondary heroines is called Tarragonia-Marietta, of course I had to sign in Marietta!

I had appointments at two stores, but we'd seen the Atlanta Northbound traffic back-ups, so decided to drop by a third store to while away the time, and keep us off the motorway for a while longer, but still going in the right direction.

Finding the Cobb Parkway store took a lot longer than we expected, partly because I hadn't "MapQuested it", however, we received a pleasant welcome, and three extra copies of Insufficient Mating Material were signed as dusk descended.

On the third day, we got into Jacksonville in the early afternoon and found the first store, on Atlantic, with relative ease although I'd misidentified an East-West street, and thought we were going North-South!

I didn't have an appointment for the Dalton store, because they are closed on Sundays, which is when I was doing my telephoning. However, that was in a mall, and not too hard to locate. We gave up trying to find the Mid-Town store, owing to my misreading of the map, and the fact that we wanted to paddle in the sea before sunset, now we were so close.

Armed with a better map, and expert directions, we found the store the next day, and I think the St. John's Town Center was the most impressive store, in the loveliest open air shopping mall that I've ever visited.

Signed copies of Insufficient Mating Material can be found at:


Barnes & Noble Booksellers
Hamburg Pavilion
1932 Pavilion Way
Lexington, KY 40509


Barnes & Noble Booksellers
Suburban Plaza
8029 Kingston Pike
Knoxville, TN 37919


Barnes & Noble Booksellers
Town Center Prado
50 Barrett Pkwy Suite 1100
Marietta, GA 30066

Barnes & Noble Booksellers
The Avenue West Cobb
3625 Dallas Hwy SW
Marietta, GA 30064

Barnes & Noble Booksellers
2952 Cobb Pkwy
Atlanta, GA 30339


B.Dalton Booksellers
Regency Square mall
9501 Arlington Expressway #250
Jacksonville, FL 32225

Barnes & Noble Booksellers
9282 Atlantic Blvd
Jacksonville, FL 3225

Barnes & Noble Booksellers
St Johns Town Center
10280 Midtown Parkway
Jacksonville, FL 32225

(Also, Barnes & Noble Booksellers

The Streets of Westchester
9455 Civic Centre Blvd
West Chester, OH 45069

see the Insufficient Mating Material video:

INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL takes up where FORCED MATE ended, with Djetthro-Jason (Jethro-Jason) severely beaten, about to undergo surgery to change his face and identity before his shotgun wedding to the frivolous Princess Martia-Djulia (Marsha-Julia).

No one gives a thought to what Martia-Djulia might do when she realizes that it’s not her unsuitable lover, Commander Jason, but a stranger being frog-marched up the aisle to become her Mate.

Her surprising reaction sets off a firestorm of rumor… and rattles a murderer who thought he’d gotten away with an ancient crime.


A Tricky Experiment

“Maybe, sweetheart, we should have sex to prove to you that you can and will enjoy it.”
“I enjoyed it once. I am very happy with my memories. I don’t need you or your experiment to prove anything,” she said stiffly.
“Once?” He raised an eyebrow. His lips twitched. Too late, Martia-Djulia realized that she had just contradicted one of her earlier statements.
“The Aim of the Experiment is to discover whether or not we are sexually compatible,” Djetth said loftily. She suspected that he was amusing himself by parodying a formal checklist. “Method: to have mind-blowing recreational sex using positions and techniques that mitigate or avoid unfortunate consequences. Expected result--”
“What unfortunate consequences?”
“Insects in your hair?” he teased. “Sand in your baby box. A baby. Infection. Injury. Legal consummation of a Mating we might not want.”
His gaze flickered. Martia-Djulia had the impression that his list was deliberately ordered.
“Injury to whom?” she asked, ignoring the glossed over “baby.”
“I’ve wondered why you haven’t blasted me backward onto my butt since our Mating Day. I’ve certainly deserved it.”
“Yes you have!” she agreed heatedly.

ISBN 0-505-52711-1

Bit of Self-promo

***** Five Stars!
Excellent adventure and highly recommended!

This book has one of the best ending sequences. … Ms. Cherry has created a seriously evil villain. … Trust me, INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL is a book you don’t want to miss. Be sure to check out the back-story in Rowena Cherry’s FORCED MATE.
~bookmaedin, for

INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL is an outstanding sequel to FORCED MATE! Cherry skillfully combines mystery, romance, and humor with a fast-paced science fiction adventure. I couldn’t put it down! ~ Jean, Fallen Angel Reviews

Rowena Cherry is one of the best sub-genre writers due to her skill at placing the heroic characters in impossible scenarios
~ Harriet Klausner, Affaire de Coeur

For those of you who read and enjoyed FORCED MATE, the long awaited story about Commander Jason is finally here and what a story it is! It was well worth the wait! I highly recommend running to get this book the minute it hits your local book store!
~Kathy Boswell, The Best Reviews

… a powerful romance laced with devastating family secrets, treachery and a sizzling passion hot enough to singe your fingers as you turn the pages. Ms. Cherry pens a compelling plot with vivid imagery and fascinating characters that will leave you breathless….Ms Cherry has become an auto buy author for me.
~Billie Jo, Romance Junkies

Best wishes,

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Mark Your Calenders! New Hunt Coming in May!



The New Pillow Scavenger Hunt!

Featuring these great authors and a lot of cool prizes, including autographed books!

Amy Knupp, Barbara White Daille, The History Hoydens, Jaycee Clark, Jenna Black, Jordan Summers, Joey W. Hill, Jory Strong, Michelle Pillow, Kalen Hughes, Kate Austin, Kelley St. John, Lacey Alexander, Lauren Dane, Mackenzie McKade, Mandy Roth, Maya Banks, N.J. Walters, Nicola Marsh, Patricia Sargeant, Portia Da Costa, Raven Vampire Nightclub (M Pillow and M Roth Joint), Rowena Cherry, Samantha Storm, Shelley Munro, Shiloh Walker, & TJ Michaels & MORE!

Check back for details!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Insufficient Mating Material--survival excerpt

I encourage anyone thinking of buying one of my books to read a free sample chapter from my website or Barnes and, or just stand in the romance aisle of your favorite local bookstore and check out a few pages.

These might be some good pages to scope out for a fair idea of whether or not this book is your cup of tea.

Royal wedding: page 33
Sexually frustrated swearing: page 199
A fish bit my ... : page 244
Battle scene: page 253
Cover scene : page 264
Grievous explains "the trots" to an alien: 273

Here is a very short excerpt with genuine survival advice.

In this scene, the hero, Djetth (pronounced Jeth) and the squeamish fashionista
Princess Martia-Djulia (Marsha-Julia) are marooned on a Costa-Rica-like island. They have been shot down, landed in the sea, and Martia's elaborate gown is wet, and she will not remove it.

She is embarrassed about the corset she wears underneath her preposterous Court dress. She doesn't know that Djetth has already seen her corset and more, before his plastic surgery, when he had a wild one-night-stand with her.

Djetth has decided that their first priority should be to get a fire going.


"There are a lot of things we could do without for one night." Dinner came to
mind. Sex… Djetth grunted and rose to his feet.

The most natural thing in the world would have been to hook an arm around Martia-Djulia's tightly cinched waist, and point to the campsite he'd chosen. Instead, he put his left hand on his hip and pointed with his right hand.

"You see that little stand of trees -- the ones with twisted trunks, which fork into three or four branches at about the height of my hip? Those two, there, will make good supports for the entrance to a shelter. I'll thrust a long, straight branch between their crotches as a ridgepole."

She looked doubtful, but Djetth was on good ground with his woodmanship.

"A 'crotch' is where a tree bifurcates," he explained, simply so she would think about crotches, and long, straight objects being thrust into them. "They're a good
choice because their canopies lean inland, away from what becomes the obvious spot to clear for a fire pit. Do you agree?"

He took her silence for consent.

"Right. I'll start by digging the fire pit. Do you think you could find something we can burn? There are three types of fuel needed for a fire. Tinder is the most important."

Chivalrously, he assigned the greatest importance to the easiest, lightest, most enjoyable, most feminine task.

"I can't start a fire without tinder," he added with strategic disregard for the fact that he was a Great Djinn in possession of three Rings of Imperial Authority, one of which was the laser-like Fire Stone.

"What is tinder?" she asked, sounding suspicious.

"Ahhhh," he drawled, overcome by a mischievous instinct. "Look here."

With his left hand he lifted his T-shirt, with his right forefinger and thumb he reached into his navel, confident that after eight weeks of hard exercise he had well defined abs and a very deep and attractive "inny" of a tummy button.

He withdrew lint.

"Oh, slurrid!" his squeamish Princess exclaimed, predictably, but she stared at his lower abdomen and perhaps at the bulge in his trunk briefs with flattering interest.

"This fluff--" He placed it in the palm of his left hand as reverently as a
scientist explaining an important specimen, "is created from the action of hard work. Friction attracts filaments of fabric from my cotton T-shirt, and works them into a flat, fluffy mat."

He moved his cupped hand closer to her.

"Good tinder needs to have irregular edges, plenty of airspaces." He teased his tummy button fluff into a looser wad. "It must be dry. Would you like to touch it?"

Best wishes,

Rowena Cherry

Some readers might be interested to recall that in one episode of Survivorman, Les Stroud plucked lint from his socks to use as tinder to start a fire. When I saw Les do that, I sensed that he and I shared a sense of humor, and that he would be the perfect "survival details" expert for Insufficient Mating Material.

Another tip... besides surprising things that are flammable, is that it is better to be naked and dry rather than clothed and wet.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Insufficient Mating Material secrets...

...of making the Insufficient Mating Material book video.

Happy Superbowl Sunday, by the way. Have you seen my 50 second advertisement? Not on TV, naturally, but on MySpace and You-Tube and anywhere else that will put it up (including my home-run website... which isn't run by me!)

For the record, Edward Traxler --Myra Nour's brother-- did my video. However, I put in a lot more time and did a lot more work than I expected, so I really hope that it is as effective as a marketing tool as everyone who has them, seems to think.

I don't know. Seeing a cover cut up and moved around on a screen has never sent me to a bookstore with the speed and purpose of a heat-seeking missile.

When we started, I thought I knew what I wanted. For about $75 (not my end cost!) I wanted a Me-Too product, just to hedge my bets in case Susan Kearney, Linnea Sinclair, Mel Schroeder, Myra Nour, Ruth Kerce, Mandy Roth and Michelle Pillow (I watch Mandy and Michelle, because they must be the most savvy self-promoters I've ever seen, and I mean that in the nicest possible way) are right.

Music: I wanted the Pilgrim's Chorus from Wagner's Tannhauser. I'd once seen a feeble --but choral-- version on a Royalty Free site. Failing that, yeah, Billy Idol's White Wedding or Jethro Tull's Locomotive Breath would do nicely, but that idea was quickly squashed. One cannot buy Royalty Free 30 second clips of Rock Star's music. Alas!

And, to get anything except the orchestral Overture from Tannhauser, the sites I visited required Membership and a commitment to buy more than 30 seconds of good stuff.

Ed gave me links to six sites that sell legal-to-use music, and told me to find what I wanted. Imagine... well, I am picky and I have expensive tastes. If I couldn't have someone famous, I wanted a lot of people, so I hunted for a good, bombastic choir. I'd hoped for massed, warrior-like men in extasy, but settled for kick-butt females going Aaaaaaaahhhhh.

I'd seen Lightboxes in an earlier reconnoitre, but hadn't figured out how to use the site. I learned. I thought I wanted beach and sea and an aurora borealis to play up the cover art, which I assumed we'd be cutting up.

Unfortunately, my From-Here-To-Eternity cover models are in an isoceles triangle configuration, so there was no way to make them roll over (and over again) in the surf.

Using the index and search functions, I wasted a lot of time looking at seascapes, hoping to find ejaculating clams.... or something that could suggest that.

Also, I went through a lot of little campfires (most had unsuitable men in
baseball caps silhouetted against the flames). My romantic aliens do not wear baseball caps or Chicago Bears helmets. Eventually, I decided that it was witty, funny, and appropriate to show a really big fire. If you've read Insufficient Mating Material, you'll understand why.

Then Ed sent me to a NASA site, and I spent a day or two looking at
starfields and comets and planets.

Next, he sent me to the airforce to check out jetfighters, and then to....look at fonts and colors.

And meanwhile I was trawling MySpace trying to find a cheap, naked man.

I found one enjoying a shower (which would have been really good, given one of the archetypically dirty tricks Tarrant-Arragon plays on his sister) but .... it wasn't to be.

Thank Evan I remembered what a good sport Evan Scott is! He said I could use one of his photographs. Oh, but the trouble we had removing Evan's hair, and putting a piratical headsquare on his head. The early efforts looked like a hard, orange hat. No one wears a construction site helmet and nothing else in the sea.

There was another shot we considered... Evan was waist deep in the sea, proudly holding up a manly bathing-costume. We turned the swim suit into a big fish, as if he'd just tickled a sea-going trout and caught it.

However, the fish was a distraction, and would take too many words to explain, even if there IS a school of thought that says you can use fish skin as a condom. SURVIVORMAN (who was my survival techniques consultant for the book) opines that you can't, but that rabbit guts are an option.

Back to Evan's inconvenient hair. You can imagine me googling Pirates of the Caribbean for good-looking headwear. Unfortunately, most of that looked good because of the explosion of dreadlocks and beaded beard underneath the scarf.

And, Djetth should have had a goatee, but Ed draws goatees like a subway grafitti artist putting facial hair on the Mona Lisa (it must be his only weakness), so I googled Men In Goatees. (That was an interesting search!) I also found Max Von Sydow's Ming from Flash Gordon, and Andre Agussi and Brad Pit and chin curtains. Chin Curtains!!

In the end, I decided that Djetth did not need a goatee for the purposes of this trailer.

Then, finally, the video is done, and Ed puts up a really good resolution, and I discover that the hero in the sea has what looks like monster love bites around his visible nipple.

No one seems to mind, though.

Best wishes,

Rowena Cherry
"Insufficient Mating Material is a strong, intelligently written book..."
~Marcy Arbitman, reviewer for JERR

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Insufficient Mating Material is in stores

Possibly the "horny-berries" would not be the cover icon that I would have chosen, but You Tube doesn't give me a choice,
and they do relate to a survival element in the book Insufficient Mating Material, which is in bookstores at the moment.

Ed Traxler put this fabulous show together for me.

best wishes,

Rowena Cherry

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Insufficient Mating Material plus priapic iguana

INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL comes to bookstores everywhere on Tuesday (January 30th), and I do want to promote it, and my HIDDEN IMAGE contest, so I ought to take advantage.

However... the iguana-with-an-erection story is topical, and it's good to be topical, even if one is an author of futuristic romances.

I just cannot leave a good double penis story alone. (I was sorely tempted to omit a noun from that last sentence for the sake of sensationalism.)

Did you see the Reuters article about the iguana named Mozart who has sported an erection for almost a week? Concerned vets have decided to put a stop to the unruly erection by amputating.

"The good news for Mozart and his mates is that
male iguanas have two penises.

Mozart, sitting on the shoulders of his keeper as camera crews
focused on his red, swollen erection, seemed unperturbed..."

Is red and swollen a problem?
I confess my ignorance. I have no idea what color a healthy, happy iguana's penis ought to be.

I really hope the vets aren't being hasty.

Who is this erection bothering most? Reportedly, the male iguana doesn't seem concerned.

As for what use I can make of news like this... well, here's how one speculative romance writer speculates.

I ask myself:
What do I know about double penises?

I know that Barbara Karmazin wrote a wonderful book, The Huntress, and the hero had one.

I've seen partially-insertable sex toys with an appendage apparently designed for simultaneous external stimulation.

I know that one fabulous theory about dragons is that they squirted fire by having two nozzles at the front of their mouths --like doubling up a snake's snorkel-- that sprayed different liquids. The liquids became combustible when combined.

I know that there are super glues, drain cleaners, and other household products --I think there is a beauty product, too-- that comes in a double barrelled container, so the substances only combine when squirted onto or into whatever they are designed to be squirted onto or into.

Now I start speculating:

I wonder why an iguana has two penises.
One to use and one to rest?
A spare?
One for fun and one to get the job done?
Do they work like the cannons in Star Wars? Like pistons? One recoils while the other fires?

What if the iguana has super-glue semen? (In that there's different stuff in each barrel, and it's only effective if both barrels are discharged.)

And finally, after I've amused myself sufficiently, I ask myself:

Will my editor buy a LoveSpell Romance hero with this level of complicated, high-tech equipment.

As Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry used to say, "A man has to know his limitations."

So does a writer.

Best wishes,

Rowena Cherry

PS. In conjunction with the launch of INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL, I am running a HIDDEN IMAGE contest from January 31st until February 28th 2007.

One entrant will win a $500 bookstore buying-spree. Details, entry form, rules can be found at

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Thusness (and the importance of a jolly good ending)

This post has nothing to do with survival... as it happens.
It's about technique, and one writer's way of working.

I don't see "Thusness" being talked about very much. One of my English professors at Homerton College, Cambridge, taught me the expression and the concept, and I've never forgotten it.

At the time, I believe we were studying Alfred, Lord Tennyson's Idylls of the King. Epic poetry. Medieval Fantasy SpecRom opera with never-ending quests for the Holy Grail, swords, sorcery, treachery, maidens being surprised in their bathtubs by horny rotters. Inspiring stuff, really! That's what I remember. But it could have been Browning, or Coleridge.

Maybe someone will want to tell me that the Arthurian legends aren't SpecRom. I might answer that it all depends who is retelling them, and how.

The bottom line with "Thusness" --as I internalized it-- is that all the interwoven story threads are tied up so neatly by the end of the story that the reader is left with a feeling of great satisfaction and justice. Not only is everything explained (that needs to be explained), but there is harmony, balance, and maybe that forehead-slap of enlightenment.

"Thusness" makes a story memorable and thought-provoking (in a pleasurable way) after the last word has been read, and the book has been put away... or returned to the library. The ending is "right" and has a quality of inevitability. Of course, in a romance, it is generally accepted that, inevitably, the hero and the heroine will live happily ever after together.

That's not quite what I mean by "inevitability."

Perhaps "thusness" is like the old definition of obscenity. "...I know it when I see it."

If that is the case, how does a writer achieve "Thusness"? Some of us are plotters, outliners, linear writers. Others are pantsers, channellers. Some do both. Some put a book together like a jigsaw (I do). Some plan it like dinner... you know, it has a beginning (starter), a middle (main course), and an ending (the pudding).

"Pudding" might not be entirely felicitous. Some end with a Bombe Surprise, or cheesecake, others with a swiggable yoghurt or quick coffee. It's all good, but probably it's most satisfying if it is a balanced meal.

I try for thusness. If I have three prologues (of course, they cannot be called that), I need three epilogues. This might mean that a lot has to be cut from the middle to meet the publisher's page limit (about 400 double spaced pages at 250 wpp).

Once the ending is written --and not all authors know the details of how their heroes' stories will end when they begin-- well, then you have the linear warp, but not the weft (weaving imagery). Then, knowing how your story ends, you go back to the beginning and weave in the almost-invisible details at regular intervals.

Perhaps your editor wants the villain to be badder. (Given that badder is good English). For "Thusness" as I see it, it isn't enough to put super bad thoughts into his point of view one scene before he gets his come-uppance, though that would be the quickest and easy edit... and on a deadline, quick and easy is very tempting! In my opinion, the first time the reader sees this villain he has to be doing something bad, although it could be stealth wickedness. We may not recognize his evil for what it is, after all, he hasn't been caught.

And so it goes. A hint is woven in, and it has to be repeated, not necessarily every seventy pages, but that's a reasonable rough guide. The Imperial March was a pretty cool tune. They say the devil gets all the best tunes. It took a while before we realized that it meant that the bad guy was up to no good. Same with the Jaws horn riff. (If horns can riff).

Because Jolly Good Endings and striving for "Thusness" is important to me, I was thrilled with a recent review by "Bookmaedin" posted at

"This book also has one of the best ending sequences. Everyone in the story pulls together against a common enemy. Ms. Cherry has created a seriously evil villain. What goes around comes around, and it definitely came back on this villainous specimen.

Trust me, INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL is a book you don’t want to miss. Be sure to check out the back-story in Rowena Cherry’s previous book, Forced Mate.

~Review by bookmaedin for iBookDB Review: Insufficient Mating Material"

INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL will be in bookstores on January 30th.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Save the Weird!

First, let me say, thank goodness for YouTube or I might never get to watch Craig Ferguson. (Clip is 2:42 minutes.)

This isn't just comedy.

The Zoological Society of London really has started a program called EDGE of Existence that is focusing on research and conservation efforts revolving around the world’s most Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered.


There really is a Human Zoo @ Adelaide Zoo operating in January 2007. Description from their Web site: Every week 6 humans will live in the Adelaide Zoo with scientist Dr Carla Litchfield. The human with the most sms votes at the end of the week has a chance to become the SUPER HUMAN (you can vote for your favourite human any time during January). Most voted human at the end of the month will win the title of SUPER HUMAN and win an amazing overseas holiday to Honolulu. Money raised from the Human Zoo concept will go to conservation projects.

And now for why finding these two subjects discussed on this video on YouTube caught my eye...

Strange coincidence alert!

Last night I had a dream I was "on exhibit". Not in a zoo! I'd agreed to be part of an Internet-based reality show where I was surviving on a deserted island for an entire year. It was all very The Blue Lagoon complete with a very handsome Christopher Atkins blond (ooh-la-la) and me looking like Brooke. Every week the contestants blogged about their experiences (via satellite), and there was video posted too. It was a fun dream, and I thought it was eerie that I woke up, turned on the Internet, and found this video that talks about human beings putting themselves on exhibit in an effort to win a vacation on a tropical island.

And as for as saving weird animals...

My interest in zoology and conservation shows up in my writing. I've been working on a freebie short story for my Web site where the hero and heroine are wildlife biologists. They meet on a planet called the IGZ (Intra-Galactic Zoo), which is set up for conservation of all animals (but I write mostly about the weird ones). In my futuristic worlds, the IGZ is dedicated to the idea that human beings will always be interested in ensuring other species survive.

The IGA first shows up in Starlit Destiny, in this scene:
Dena knew she had no right to stop him from finishing the ivaraa he had been sent on, even if he didn’t believe. According to the traditions of her people, the zhel he found would be his--theirs. “You were called to this place,” Dena said, knowing Darian had no idea of the significance of the act. “There is zhel nearby that is...” Ours? Or was it? He said that Krys was dead. If he wasn’t Krys...

It seemed impossible that she was about to find her alykzhel with this man. Darian didn’t understand her people’s traditions. The same emotional tug that grew within her as she reached their destination was obviously not touching him in the slightest. He displayed only lust. “You have as much right to it as I, or it would not have been revealed to you.”

“Now, that I can deal with.” Darian pushed a button. “Lyn, you might want to take a look at this.”

When Lyn walked into the cabin and was speechless for a good minute as he surveyed the sunken city before them. Then he uttered two words. “Jurate’s palace.”

“We don’t have time to sit and admire the view,” Darian said, turning to her. “It’ll only take a few minutes.”


“We’ve got to get our gem.”

Dena realized he planned to go without her. “Lyn cannot. I have to go with you.”

“We don’t have a wetsuit that will fit you.”

“I have to go. The zhel will not reveal itself to Lyn.”

“It’s everywhere.”

“Will you two stop?” Lyn’s eyes moved quickly from Darian to the view before them and then to Dena. “Dena you aren’t getting into the water without scuba gear.”


“I’m on your side,” Lyn insisted. “Considering our situation, I should stay onboard in case we have to leave in a hurry. We’ll have to make my suit fit you.”

Dena soon found herself pushed and prodded by both men as they bound her into Lyn’s black wetsuit. The suit sagged on her frame horribly. “You look like an anorexic hippopotamus,” Lyn said.

Darian stripped down to his shorts, right in the middle of the room. Dena’s heart started pounding so loudly she was sure the men could hear. She watched as he pulled on the wetsuit. “Is that what a hippopotamus looks like all fleshed out?”

Darian snarled at her.

“What did I say?”

The corners of Lyn’s mouth turned up in amusement. “You gave him quite a compliment.”

“I did not.” That was obvious.

“You’re right. You didn’t. I saw a live hippo once at the IGZ.” Lyn described what the huge aquatic beasts from Old Earth looked like she giggled.

“What is high cheesy?”

“Huh? Oh, no!” Lyn explained the acronym for Intra-Galactic Zoo, and how the entire planet had been terraformed from a barren world to preserve life from across the known galaxy. “The Tomerian Federation holds dear the ideal of preservation. Without the IGZ, many life forms would now be extinct.”

“Why not preserve the original planets?”

“That isn’t always possible,” Darian said.

“It would be if star pirates would stay where they belong.”

“Lyask was peopled by colonists.”


Lyn held up his hand to stop her from speaking. “Through all human history there have been wars fought over land ownership, and there always will be. The fact remains that the Old Earth is incapable of sustaining all the human life that now exists in the galaxy. We should be thankful that some valued freedom or we wouldn’t be having this conversation now.”

The man’s words gave Dena a lot to think about. It was true her people weren’t originally from Lyask. She also realized that Lyn and Darian weren’t defending the soldiers who wanted to harm her planet. “I don’t know why I’m arguing with you. We can’t change the past.”

“She’s right, so if you two are done making zookaburras of yourselves--”

“We’re just talking,” Lyn said.

“And it’s taking so long the three of us will end up extinct life forms.”
~ Annalee Blysse

Friday, January 12, 2007

Insufficient Mating Material

Insufficient Mating Material
Rowena Cherry

Prince Djetthro-Jason is offered a choice: hide his true identity and Mate with Princess Martia-Djulia or die. He agrees to Mate with Martia-Djulia because he knows his true love Djinni-vera is lost to him. Unfortunately Prince Djetthro-Jason, also known as Djetth, can never tell Martia-Djulia that he is the man she knew as Commander Jason. Martia-Djulia must believe that Jason is dead.

On the day of their Mating ceremony Martia-Djulia is distraught to learn that Jason is dead and her brother has put an imposter in his place. When Martia-Djulia publicly rejects Prince Djetthro-Jason her brother comes up with a plan to put the two together.

While flying over an island on An’Koor, Djetth and Martia-Djulia are shot down and stranded. With only each other for company they will have to learn to trust and depend on one another. But how is Djetth supposed to Mate with a woman who won’t take her clothes off even when her life depends on it?

When someone send assassins to the island, their situation becomes all the more serious. Can they make it out alive? And will they be able to figure out who wants them dead?

INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL by Rowena Cherry is a fantastic futuristic romance full of mystery and page-turning suspense. Throughout the story I kept wondering: Would Djetth be able to seduce Martia-Djulia? Would Martia-Djulia figure out that Djetth and Jason were one and the same? Who wanted them dead? And most importantly, would Martia-Djulia find the love she so richly deserved?

Djetth is such an excellent example of an alpha male, and Martia-Djulia is a resourceful woman who’s not as flighty as she lets on. Together they compliment one another so well you can’t help but love them.

This book also has one of the best ending sequences. Everyone in the story pulls together against a common enemy. Ms. Cherry has created a seriously evil villain. What goes around comes around, and it definitely came back on this villainous specimen.

Trust me, Insufficient Mating Material is a book you don’t want to miss. Be sure to check out the back-story in Rowena Cherry’s previous book, Forced Mate.~Heather

Review by bookmaedin
Heather began reading as a small child with the story "Little Bear." She found Romance when she was 13 and hasn't looked back since. She's a Romance Expert for her local chain bookstore and reviewer for Romance Junkies. Check out her reviews here:

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Adequate Insufficiency

One of my grandmothers used to have a kind way of calling a halt to my childish dramatic, poetic, or vocal performances.

"I think that you have delighted us sufficiently..."
she would say.

Another grandmother used similar phraseology to announce that we had eaten enough of her expensive Sunday roast.

"We have had an adequate sufficiency..."

None of my grandmothers (I remember three) would have got beyond the first page of my next alien romance, Insufficient Mating Material. The hero is naked and worried about his inappropriate erection. He's on the operating table, about to have identity-changing surgery, and he's got a glow-in-the-dark tattoo that he does not want the surgeons to notice.

(Cats sometimes purr when they are in pain, so I don't see why aliens shouldn't react to distress in ways that defy human experience.)

Having warned off influential grandmothers... I should also warn others. Insufficient Mating Material is not about shortcomings in the wedding tackle department. It's a chess term. Go ahead and google it!

Originally there was a chess scene in the book, but it had to be cut because the book was too long. In theory, I like the hero to learn something mind-changing about the heroine during an intellectual pastime (or the heroine about the hero).

In this case, the hero reveals something important to the heroine while he's tie-dying her clothing. She's very fashion conscious, and wearing a plain white T-shirt isn't stylish enough for her...even if they are marooned on a desert island.

The reason my subject line is an oxymoron is because "Adequate Insufficiency" fits my mood: I've got enough, but it's not good enough. So much to do, so little time... and I am thoroughly disorganized.

Take my panic last night. I put out a bi-monthly newsletter, maybe you know. If not, check out

The November/December issue may still be up, in which case the turkey joke (if you can find it) is a bit old. I should have put it up on the first of the month, but my webmaster might have been caught in a weather condition over the holidays.

Around that time, I discovered that although I had two interviews with cover models "in the proverbial bag", my delicate and tasteful ISP had stripped the hunks... or else they are now pursuing careers in which public semi-nudity is frowned upon. A high resolution close up of knitting isn't quite the titillation my readers have come to expect of my newsletters.

A third cover model was able to let me have wonderful photos, but we're playing phone tag to get his interview answers written.

My New Year's Eve resolutions were to take my coffee black, drink only champagne (at times when alcohol might be appropriate), and to finish the first draft of my next book before Insufficient Mating Material hits bookstores on January 30th 2007. So far, less than seven days into the month, two resolutions are broken already and too many helping hands keep shoving things that I thought I could postpone until February onto my professional, metaphorical front burner.

Off to burn something else, now!
Have a good week.

Rowena Cherry