Thursday, December 1, 2011

Rowena Cherry's Mating Material

I am absolutely delighted to have futuristic author, Rowena Cherry, visit today.
Welcome to the blog, Rowena. Have a cup of tea?

Why, thank you, Susan.

Tell us something about yourself that readers might be surprised to learn.

I don't like writing sex scenes. Surprised?

Absolutely! You certainly write them well.

How many books have you written, Rowena?
That depends how you count.

I wrote Forced Mate as a science fiction romance for release as an e-book and as a Print On Demand with NBI, and simultaneously worked with Alicia Condon, then of Dorchester, on a futuristic romance version solely for the mass market paperback market.

When NBI went belly-up, my rights were returned, and I self-published Forced Mate as an ebook.

My next mass market paperback was Insufficient Mating Material (mass market paperback only), followed by Knight's Fork (mass market paperback).

Yes, I'm in love with that knight

In the meantime, I also wrote a novella which I license to New Concepts Publishing. It's a prequel, and is titled Mating Net, and is only available as an e-book.

I also have a first draft of Grand Fork... half-written, not published, not for sale.

What books or authors have influenced you?

Georgette Heyer, George Orwell, Isaac Asimov, Agatha Christie.

What has been your most rewarding experience during the writing process?

"During the writing process..." That rules out letters from readers, compliments from editors, generous reviews from strangers, the arrival of checks/cheques.

I think, then, my answer must be something to do with what happens when a talented editor such as Alicia Condon or Karen Babcock asks a question about content, and I solve the communication problem with three alternate revisions, and they want to use all three.

Tell us about your latest release.
Is it available in print, ebook, and Kindle formats?

I'm editing Insufficient Mating Material for release as an e-book.

Forced Mate, Insufficient Mating Material, and Knight's Fork are available in print while supplies last, and I occasionally sell some of my stash on EBay. Mating Net is available from New Concepts Publishing.

Knight's Fork is the last paperback book I released before I realized that the royalty model of traditional publishing is unsustainable.

This is an unofficial blurb that I may use for the e-book.

One virtuous Knight, an interstellar quest, a sexy royal stowaway and, a saboteur along for the ride.

‘Rhett knows why he is going to Earth. He has a lost Princess to find, a secret that might petrify his
enemies to unearth, and a scandalous Queen to avoid.

What is unclear is why his arch enemy, Tarrant-Arragon, is so eager to lend him an Imperial space destroyer, a young Prince in need of a mentor, and the dour fellowship of his man, Grievous.

 Were any of your books more challenging to write than the others?

Yes. But which? I suppose that most authors struggle for longest with their first book (mine was Forced Mate) if they learn the craft the hard way. However, Forced Mate basically took every stock situation from a standard Historical abduction romance, and spoofed them. Once I found the proper starting point, there was a logical progression of scenes. Nevertheless, many scenes involving secondary characters and parallel storylines could have been inserted at several different junctures.... and they were, before the book was "right".

Insufficient Mating  Material was an alien desert island romance, so, again, there was a structure for the first part of the book, and also for the third and final part. The middle was a bit of a challenge. I think the term of what to avoid is "expository lump".

Knight's Fork was probably the most challenging to write. I hadn't planned the books as a series, and found myself writing an interstellar soap opera. As a result, I'd painted myself into a few corners, and since I was writing about a family (a dysfunctional alien royal family) I had to continue to include senior members of the royal family. Also, their appearances had to be meaningful, and had to advance the plots.

The biggest difficulty with Knight's Fork was the heroine. She was married to someone other than the hero, and I did not want to glorify adultery (one reason I put her in a chastity belt and lost the key) and it didn't suit me to kill off her husband. That would have been too easy! The second biggest difficulty was in **not** making the husband the villain. That, too, would have been too predictable.

How do you develop characters?

Painfully slowly. No one could possibly be interested in my methods. I might compare my methods to making sloe gin.

Anyone who wishes to learn how to develop characters would do much better to visit and benefit from the lessons taught by Jacqueline Lichtenberg or look up Linnea Sinclair's courses.

You're much too modest, Rowena. Your characters are exquisite.

Why, thank you. You want to know how to make sloe gin?


Go out onto the windswept cliffs where the thorny, hardy, wild damson bushes are in fruit (Autumn) and free to pick. Remove worms and cobwebs and other assorted wildlife. Prick the dusky purple sloes individually with needles or pins. Fill a narrow-necked old bottle (that can be corked) with the pricked fruit, just like a colorful science class demonstration of volume.

When the bottle is full of pricked berries, fill it with sugar.

When the bottle is full of berries and sugar, fill it with cheap gin. Cork it. Leave it for several months, turning the corked bottle at intervals. Enjoy responsibly.

Appreciate the metaphor. (Grinning.)

Yes, I certainly do appreciate it. LOL.

How do you choose your setting?

All the books so far are spin-offs of the first one, so the core settings remain places I've lived: Britain (parts of Britain that I know... therefore London, Cambridge, Hertfordshire, Dorset,Wiltshire, Guernsey), imaginary spaceships, imaginary alien palaces and brothels.

One of the more interesting choices I had to make about setting was for Insufficient Mating Material. Initially, it was a toss-up whether I would locate the deserted, sub-tropical island where the hero and heroine were to be forcibly marooned on Earth or on the imaginary alien planet An'Koor.

Looking back, the choice was a no-brainer. The island had to be on An'Koor. One simply cannot have humongous alien spaceships blockading Earth and expect Earthlings not to notice.

What are your protagonist’s strengths? Flaws?

I cannot imagine loving a man who is incompetent... not romantically. So, all my heroes are supremely competent. Effective. Very good indeed at whatever it is they do. Also, they all have a sense of humor.

Their flaws vary. They may be incorrigible liars, have awesome tempers, swear or drink too much, be obsessive or compulsive, or unable to delegate.

Can you tell us about current or future projects?

If you don't mind, I'd like to talk a little bit about copyright infringement, because fighting infringement on behalf of those who cannot or dare not has been my passion for the past two years. (I even won an E.P.I.C. award for my efforts.)

Go right ahead, Rowena. We all need to be reminded.

It appears that a lot of internet users have trouble understanding this:

"The FBI Warning: Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000."

Sometimes, those who reproduce and distribute (or "share") e-books online cut out the front matter, and start the e-books at Chapter One. I believe that some settings on older e-readers defaulted to Page One. So, possibly, a lot of e-book buyers never see the warning. Kinder, gentler publishers use words like "All Rights Reserved", which might be a tad vague.

Other times, the heavy duty, FBI warning or a similar one, is right there on the "free e-book hosting" sites that allow visitors to "preview" the document.

Possibly, the problem lies in the word, "unauthorized". Too many readers assume that, if they purchased an ebook, they are entitled ( or "authorized" ) to do whatever they like with it. This is not true.

Nor is it true that if a site like offers (you) the ability to copy every book in someone else's collection to your own account that therefore it is legal for you to click that option. It's not. Just because someone uploaded a modern bestseller to a file hosting site does not mean that that bestseller is "in the public domain" or that the copyright warnings --whether there or stripped-- do not apply to anyone copying or downloading the work.

If you take a paperback to a copy-shop, you will be required to fill out paperwork before the copy shop will photocopy the entire book for you. Try it. If you take a library book to the library photocopier, you will see warnings posted about copyright infringement.

With a paperback, if you used a coin-powered machine to print a copy of every page, you'd probably spend more on the machine than it would cost you to purchase a legal copy. Also, if you lend or sell or give a paperback to a friend, she has it. You don't have it any more.

With e-books, it is possible to create thousands of copies with no effort, no expense, and no thought. One can even make a profit. However, making copies and sharing them is the prerogative of the copyright owner. The author. If a reader makes copies and shares them without personal, written permission from the author, it is copyright infringement.

A better solution, which Smashwords is now encouraging authors and publishers to use is wording in the front matter that makes it clear that an e-book is not purchased, but licensed.

Excerpted from

"A user is a licensee, rather than an owner, when the copyright owner

1) Specifies the user is being granted a license
2) Significantly restricts the user's ability to transfer the software, and
3) Imposes notable use restrictions

For anyone who wishes to learn more about the horrors and triumphs of fighting digital piracy, there is a group open to readers and authors.

Susan, I hope these remarks will be more helpful to your aspiring-author-readers than any insights into how I stay on track as I write about faraway worlds and through the eyes of alien hunks.

Excellent information, indeed. Thanks for sharing.
Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Thank you for asking. There is an interview of me on TheAuthorsShow (check for "Rowena Cherry" and "Knight's Fork" in the yellowish menu bar in the middle of the page) at Various authors' interviews are featured on a rotating basis.

I'm supposed to be promoting "Knight's Fork" but end up talking more about my alleged psychic abilities, cows, and why "futuristic" is not the right genre for what I write.

I have two websites. They are: and

You might well ask why I have two. One is run professionally by a webmaster, whom I have to pay if I want any kind of update. The other is through Authors' Guild, was set up free, I can edit it any time I wish, and it costs me $6.00 a month.

And, finally, again for the authors in your audience, I run a group on
for "Authors Of Romance Helping Authors Of Romance"

Thank you very much for inviting me over!

I have thoroughly enjoyed having you over, Rowena.

Now, readers of the blog, play attention to the offering that follows:

Rowena is giving away a $25 gift token. "No warranties, no purchase necessary, winner selection random from comments, starting 12.01 am Eastern, December 1st, ending midnight Eastern December 5th, (all the usual rules) full written rules obtainable from....."

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Melodie Campbell's Rowena

Melodie Campbell got her start as a comedy writer, so it’s no surprise that editors have called her work ‘wacky’ and ‘laugh out loud funny’. She has over 200 publications, including 100 humour columns, 30 short stories and one novel. She has received five awards for fiction, and is the General Manager of Crime Writers of Canada. Melodie dropped by to discuss her new book.Welcome, Melodie.

Thank you for having me, Susan.
Tell us something about yourself that readers might be surprised to learn.

I got my start writing comedy.  Didn’t mean to, but somehow every time I tried to write straight, the gremlins took over and twisted the words.  Okay, I’ll go back; I was the class clown in high school, always getting in trouble for quipping in class.

I wrote short for many years.  Had a humor column, wrote standup.  In 1993, a producer from fledgling HBO saw my play, ‘Burglar for Coffee” in Toronto, labeled it “completely nuts” and offered me a spot writing pilots, which I stupidly turned down.  This goes on record as one of the worst decisions ever made by a human not officially insane.
In 1999, I was asked to open the Canadian Humour Conference.  Was invited to join the Toronto Press Club.  Drank a lot of scotch there.  Then some newspaper guy said, “Why don’t you write a novel?  You’ve never written a novel.”

Never one to turn down a dare (did I mention I was not officially insane?) I wrote Rowena.

How many books have you written?

2.75.  All my books are comedies.  Rowena Through the Wall is out now.  The Goddaughter (a comic mob caper) comes out in 2012, and Rowena continues in a sequel Rowena and the Dark Lord, also out in 2012.

What books or authors have influenced you?

The great comic writers!  Douglas Adams, for Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, one of my all time favorites.  Janet Evanovich and Lisa Lutz are my primary influences; I would love to be counted in their number. 

Tell us about your latest release, Rowena Through the Wall.

Rowena was written as a comic fantasy; basically I was trying to do something in the genre of ‘The Princess Bride’, only with a feisty female as protagonist.  Then my publisher got hold of it and said: you know, with a little tweaking, we could slide this into the paranormal romance market too.  Rowena is the sort of book I wish someone else would write so I could read it.  A rollicking adventure, and a fast read.

I wish there were more fun adventures written today.  Pure escape stories with lots of rollicking action, and the spice of romance.  Nothing would please me more than to see more of this type of book written.  I have asked and asked (on Amazon, Goodreads) for people to tell me about other books like mine so I could read them, and there don’t seem to be many, alas.
Is it available in print, ebook, and Kindle formats?

Yes – all formats!  I’ll leave links below.

How do you choose your setting?

Ah!  Now that is a story.  I have family links to England. 

My late cousin Tony was Viscount Clegg-Hill of Shropshire and Shrewsbury. He had that dry British wit I adored, and would regale me of stories about the rakish ancestors.  The castle I use in Rowena Through the Wall is the original Norman castle that went to ruin in the 1500s.  (Hawkstone Hall, which still stands, was built to replace it in 1556).  The Norman castle, with its rounded turrets, crenellations and merlons, has been in my imaginations for decades.  Rowena walks through the wall to her ancestor’s home, and falls in love with it too.
Can you tell us about current or future projects?

The Goddaughter is at the publishers now, going through editing.  It is a comic mob caper, featuring the reluctant goddaughter of a mob king, who is always having to bail out her inept mobster family.  I am writing Rowena and the Dark Lord now, and should be finished by Christmas.  It will wrap up Rowena’s tale, but also leave entry for more tales in the world of Land’s End.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

I write a comic blog, which features some of my published humor columns and stand-up routines.

I also have a website.  Here are links to both:

View trailer and read opening scene at

Follow Melodie on Twitter: @MelodieCampbell


Monday, November 28, 2011

C.L.Kraemer's Shattered Tomorrows

Lucy Daniels has a secret--a deeply guarded secret.

Her life was going along just fine until she accompanied her best friend, Cassie, to her attorney’s suite on top of the Equitable Building in downtown Salem, Oregon.

Once inside the lawyer’s office, the world turned upside down and Lucy was forced to face a demon from her past. Thirty years previously, life had been different. Lucy had discovered Prince Charming and was headed to her happily ever after.

That’s when the devil intervened and because of her brush with the devil, innocent people died.

[Author’s note: This fictional account was loosely based on the incident of May 7, 1981 at 10:20 pm in the Oregon Museum Tavern, Salem, Oregon. A lone gunman entered the tavern,took out his Browning 9mm and emptied the clip into the crowd of Ladies’ Night revelers. He stepped outside to reload, entering again and shooting indiscriminately at the patrons inside the bar. Several young men tackled him, ending his killing spree. At the end of the 15 minutes of shooting, four were killed and twenty wounded.

This writer had been inside the tavern fifteen minutes prior to the incident, opting to leave with a friend to visit other nightspots.]

Intrigued? Well, stay with us while I interview C.L.
Tell us something about yourself that readers might be surprised to learn.

Once upon a time… I was a model. Difficult to believe when one views my “fluffy” appearance now.

How many books have you written?

I’m currently working on books thirteen and fourteen.

Tell us about your latest release, _Shattered Tomorrows.

Shattered Tomorrows was born of my own survivor’s guilt. On May 7, 1981, a lone gunman opened the front door of the Oregon Museum Tavern in Salem, Oregon at 10:20 pm and pulled out a Browning 9mm weapon. He proceeded to empty the clip into the crowd of Ladies’ Night revelers. Stepping outside, he released the empty clip and reloaded. Inside the door again, he started to fire indiscriminately into the remaining stunned patrons. Several young men shook off their shock and tackled him, dislodging the gun and slamming him to the ground. Three were dead; a fourth dying on the way to the hospital, and twenty were wounded.

Less than fifteen minutes prior, my friend and I had stood at the end of the bar nearest the door deciding whether to stay or leave. We opted to leave and heard the news on the radio as we pulled into another nightclub in town less than two miles away.

I’ve been haunted by the incident for years and opted to put my confusion and guilt into the pages of a novel. My main character Lucy Daniels has spent thirty years successfully blocking out the night her life changed forever, but a visit with her best friend to a location that played an important part in her younger years stirs up the memory pot and she realizes she must face her demons and conquer them.

In 1981 solving problems with a gun was not common and the event completely changed the way an entire generation thought about going out on the town. We begin to look over our shoulders and keep our backs to the wall. For some, it was a revisit to Vietnam. Our bubble of immortality had been broken. To this day if someone brings up the subject at a gathering, it is amazing the amount of people affected by incident.

Were any of your books more challenging to write than the others?

My first book was probably the most difficult as I had so little experience writing beyond 3,000 words. I had the story and knew I wanted to expand on the bare bones but didn’t have all the knowledge to move forward quickly. Once I joined RWA in my hometown, I met with my current critique partners and my writing smoothed out with their help and the information provided by picking up several writing oriented magazines. I began to purchase books and study the craft I wanted to pursue. By allowing those characters in my head to have their own way, my writing soon became a matter of keeping up with the story and not a matter of where was it going.

What are some of the problems you faced while plotting a series with ongoing characters?

When I first started my Dragon series [Dragons Among Us], I realized after the first four chapters I was going to have to create lists for characters, their traits, their countries and towns, and a little back history to give them more depth. Up to that point I was pretty much a panster writer. I quickly changed. I’ve actually begun to create outlines for my stories when I begin and find I’m thankful I did. My series is currently nine stories [I’m writing the third, Dragons Among the Ice] and may expand. I’m not sure yet how far I want to pursue the story.

How do you develop characters?

All right, I’m going to give you a writer answer. My characters seem to appear to me fully developed and it’s up to me to woo the details from them—similar to dating. I’ve traveled extensively in my life and met many different types of people. That helps wonderfully in character building. I can take one trait from someone I recall and add it to my character then borrow another trait from a separate person. There is a little bit of everyone I meet in my stories. I tell my friends I love being a writer because I can commit murder and never go to jail. I warn my husband if he isn’t nice to me I’ll kill him in my next book. Somehow, he doesn’t seem worried.

How do you choose your setting?

Setting for me truly depends on the story. As much of my writing is fantasy, I can create my own world as I see fit. For my story, Shattered Tomorrows, the setting was defined by the story itself. Since the story was loosely based on an actual incident, I opted to keep the setting local and change names and some details of places to avoid any legal issues.

Can you tell us about current or future projects?

As I mentioned, I’m currently in the midst of writing a Dragon series. I have completed Dragons Among Us for the base book and Dragons Among the Eagles as the second in the series. I’m starting to write Dragons Among the Ice. I’ll be completing Dragons Among the Bamboo, Dragons Among the Deserts, Dragons Among the Heather, Dragons Among the Stars, Dragons Among the Rains Forests and Quest for the Amber Ruby [a prequel]. Those are certain to be written. I’m thinking of Dragons Among the Roos, Dragons Among the Iguanas and possibly Dragons Among the Savannahs. This all depends on my ability to manage my time.

I’m also writing a mystery about a motorcycle poker run called Joker’s Wild. It’s a motorcycle run where those unfortunate enough to pull the Joker card have some pretty awful things happen to them. This will be completed in March 2012. My other passion is the Fae. I started writing about them in a couple anthologies and they have been trying to get their own series ever since. We’ll see.

You can also follow me at:                           ;;;

Or contact me at:

C.L., it been a pleasure to learn more about you. Have a wonderful Christmas.

tThanks, Susan.