Sunday, November 16, 2008

You couldn't make this up. GM, Mad Max and 1984

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 Autoblog.com http://tinyurl.com/5kv9jf


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 autoextremist.com
http://www.autoextremist.com/current/ 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 http://gmfactsandfiction.com/

Best wishes,
Rowena Cherry

Friday, October 10, 2008

Poverty: Topic for Blog Action Day

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



Rowena
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?


Jerry
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.

Rowena
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?


Jerry
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!”


Rowena

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

Jerry
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.



Rowena
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?


Jerry
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.

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


Jerry
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.



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


Jerry
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.

Rowena
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?


Jerry
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.”

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


Jerry
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.



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


Jerry

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.

Rowena
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?


Jerry

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.


Rowena

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?


Jerry

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.


Rowena
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.


Jerry

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.


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


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


Rowena
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?

Jerry

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
Website
www.cskdetroit.org

To volunteer
volunteer@cskdetroit.org
313-822-8606 ext 10

To donate
313-579-2100 ext 173







Thank you very much!
Rowena Cherry

http://blogactionday.org/js/d36c82f64f9d18ccbaf02723a96e02a7b5276306

Monday, October 6, 2008

Truth in advertising (my god-Princes of Tigron series)

Here's a bit of fun. I'm trying out what I call "Contrarian Marketing". I've been on a blog tour (I'll report back on the success of that, too) and I noticed that Savannah had a list, and she said she'd got the idea from someone else.

Those of us who are trying what might be a new trend of truth in advertising are tweaking the idea of a list in different ways. I find it the perfect compliment to my mission statement.

My goal as an author is to give good value. I expect to provide my readers with six to eight hours of amusement, a couple of really good laughs, a romantic frisson or two from the sensual scenes, a thoroughly satisfying Happy Ever After, and something to think--or talk-- about when the book is finished. And possibly some useful information



ELEVEN REASONS NOT TO READ KNIGHT'S FORK

11. Disrespectful words such as tallywacker and joystick are used with reference to male body parts

10. It's long. (Not the tallywacker... well, it is, but I meant the book). Knight's Fork has 340 pages, and most new Chapters do not begin on a fresh page.

9. It has a Prologue and an Epilogue. That's two beginnings, and two endings!

8. It's going to take about eight hours to read.

7. The hero is a 28 year old virgin and proud of it. (He's also ruthless with a weapon of a different sort).

6. The heroine is locked in a chastity belt, and she doesn't have a key.

5. The family tree is so complicated they needed to spread it over two pages.

4. If you read in bed, your significant other might be disturbed by your giggles and snorts.

3. The F- word is used, but only by villains, and only in conversation.

2. If you read it in public, someone may ask why the naked man on the cover is lying in a puddle

1. If you don't read every paragraph, you may ask yourself why the naked man is lying in a puddle


If the above list has not deterred you, please look for Knight's Fork at this convenient location
http://tinyurl.com/KnightsFork

Knight's Fork was awarded a PNR Reviewer's "Top Pick"
also a LASR readers' choice for Best Book of the Week

It's predecessor, Insufficient Mating Material recently won the 2008 Hollywood Book Festival's Romance category.

http://tinyurl.com/Backlist-reviews
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/results.asp?WRD=Rowena+Cherry


TEN (AND A HALF) REASONS NOT TO READ INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL


10. Insufficient Mating Material are not words I feel comfortable waving about in front of gentlemen on the bus or train, for instance.

9. If it's about a man with a small penis, I don't want to read that... I see enough of that at home/at the office/on TV.

8. It's going to take about eight hours to read.

7b. I find it totally implausible that a male could have a tattoo on his male body parts... and as for one that flashes in the dark, I'm not interested in the slightest.

7. The hero is a loser. I don't like books that take the antagonist from a previous book and give him a happy ending.

6. I don't identify with a heroine who is a little bit overweight, and who wears a corset (or any other tummy taming garment).

5. The family tree is at the back of the book. I'll be furious when I find that I wasted all that energy trying to memorize the characters' names and relationships.

4. I've heard that if I read Insufficient Mating Material in bed, my giggles and guffaws will annoy my significant other.

3. The F- word is used by the hero both as an expletive and as a verb.

2. If "Survivorman" Les Stroud loved it, there's probably too much information about hunting, fishing, camping, and surviving in the wilderness.

1. Apparently, it contains "a sizzling passion hot enough to singe" my "fingers as I turn the pages".... That sounds uncomfortable.



TEN REASONS NOT TO BUY FORCED MATE

10. I'm told that it's not a bodice ripper, but it sounds like one.

9. PS. I like bodice rippers.

8. It's going to take about eight hours to read.

7. The hero is an alpha male. I don't like books that give male chauvinist pigs a happy ending.

6. I don't identify with beautiful, spirited, young, virginal heroines who have some funny ideas about sex.

5. I can't get my tongue around the Dj- names. I know that I simply pronouce them as if the D isn't there, but all the Ds bother me.

4. I've heard that if I read Forced Mate in bed, my giggles and guffaws will annoy my significant other.

3. The alien hero uses alien swear words. Moreover, his command of English grammar isn't perfect. He says unsense instead of nonsense. I hate that!

2. The spirited heroine uses her wits and her tongue. I can never have enough of heroines who kick the heroes in the goolies.

1. I don't like fantasy books set in England. Or in outer space.



Rowena Cherry
http://www.rowenacherry.com


http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/results.asp?WRD=Rowena+Cherry



I think Rowena's true skill is that she weaves this intricate world of aliens and sex just the same way J.K. Rowling weaves the world of Wizards.
~Des DiFabio, bookclubqueen

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Knight's Fork is shipping from Amazon

KNIGHT'S FORK is a page-turner from the very first one to the very last. I enjoyed it so much, after I reached the last page I started right from the beginning again. KNIGHT’S FORK has it all! If you only have time to read one book this season, I highly recommend you run out and grab a copy today.

~Kimberly Leslie

http://romancejunkiesreviews.com/artman/publish/paranormal/Knight_s_Fork.shtml


Three other reviews have been posted on Amazon, and the book is in stock, as are Forced Mate and Insufficient Mating Material


Blurb:
What is a queen to do when the sperm donor of her dreams says no?

Carpe Scrotum. Seize Life by the Testicles! The Queen Consort of the Volnoth needs a sperm donor and only one green-eyed god has the right stuff. Little does she know that she has pinned all her hopes on the crown jewels of the fabled Royal Saurian Djinn. Not only is he the son of her greatest enemy, but he has taken a vow of chastity.

Knight's Fork continues the alien romance series of the god-Princes of Tigron, begun with Forced Mate. It takes up right after the grand downfall of my most heinous villain in Insufficient Mating Material, and this time the hero is 'Rhett.

'Rhett has incurred the resentment of his elder brothers/cousins for his more-virtuous-than-thou attitude, his spoilsport interference when they want irresponsible sex with unsuitable partners, and simply because he is his father's only son. They decide that he must be hiding a sordid secret, and they set out to find out who she is.



Rowena Cherry
http://www.rowenacherry.com
http://tinyurl.com/Buy-KnightsFork

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Book Club Queen interview

Excerpt from an interview with the Book Club Queen

"....with my family tree. My two biggest mistakes were getting my arithmetic wrong, and in giving every character at least one (out of seven) royal "Djinn" name beginning with Dj---.

The D is silent.

In my ignorance, I thought that a Dj- would be a convenient signal to my reader that this was another Djinn Prince or Princess. Not everyone agrees with me.

As for the arithmetic, that left me with the choice of being nasty or inconsistent. I chose to be consistent, and rely on Egyptian and European history where royal marriages --even between infants-- was accepted, puberty was earlier, and fifteen year old Princes led armies into battle.

Thus, my family tree has given me intellectual challenges, but has also supplied a structure... and plenty of skeletons in the Royal closet."


To find out what Des DiFabio asked about bodily functions, curses, and the use of toilets in Romance, and what Rowena Cherry said, check out the interview:


Interview: http://www.book-club-queen.com/book-club-questions-6.html


Review of FORCED MATE: http://www.book-club-queen.com/free-book-review-6.html

SNIP

"I found Forced Mate a breath of fresh air in the romance arena. Sure it had it's love scenes (which actually were written with surprising intimacy and class), and definitely more than one allusion to various phallic symbols, but it was also unique, witty, and very clever."

~ Des DiFabio, bookclubqueen

"I think Rowena's true skill is that she weaves this intricate world of aliens and sex just the same way J.K. Rowling weaves the world of Wizards."
~Des DiFabio, bookclubqueen



Sunday, May 11, 2008

Bear Awareness Show tonight on PIVTR




I can't resist a totally --well, not totally-- gratuitous hunk to start the day. Look out for further news from me about how this manly pose was transformed into a poster representing 'Rhett (Prince Djarrhett) the hero of the sequel to Forced Mate and Insufficient Mating Material. Or maybe you've seen the ad with the temporary cover?

He could give me a Bear Hug any day!

Anyway... Not only is today (Sunday) Mother's Day, but it is also the start of
Bear Awareness Week.

Angie Fox, Carrie Masek, Sandy Lender, Cynthia Eden and Charlee Boyett-
Compo
are joining me on internet voices radio tonight between 9pm
Eastern and eleven pm to give a whole new depth of meaning to Bear men and Romance.

We'd love some listeners, even for a little while.

FOR CRAZY TUESDAY: In the last program, Jade Lee and Emily Bryan (aka
Diana Groe) talked about everything below the belt in honor of Earth
Day... from Brazilian waxes for courtesans, to castration, to foot
binding.

http://www.internetvoicesradio.com/CrazyTuesday.htm


FOR CHERRY PICKING SPECIALS, which is the irreverent and irregular
Sunday night-time show about Romance heroes and the animals they shift
into being when the right female comes along.

http://www.internetvoicesradio.com/rowena.htm


Best wishes,
Rowena Cherry
http://www.rowenacherry.com
http://www.internetvoicesradio.com

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Friday, March 28, 2008

April Fools Day "Crazy Tuesday"

We'll be Fools in Boots, with Jade Lee, Marianne Mancusi, and Julie Kenner.

Rowena Cherry website wins Award of Excellence










Thursday, I began the morning by responding to a surprise email from Dave at preditors and editors asking me to contact him.

Early in the evening, I received a notification that Preditors and Editors had awarded my site the Author's Site Of Excellence Award.

Needless to say, I am thrilled!