Once Upon A Romance

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It's a pleasure to introduce you to Rowena Cherry...

Rowena Cherry photograph Dear Reader...

July 1, 2008 "I'd like to tell you a secret...about Insufficient Mating Material. Now, before I sound like I belong in a spam filter, I should tell you that all my futuristic romance titles are chess terms.

That's true! Not a lot of people know this, but back in 2003 my friend and colleague Susan Grant told me that I needed some kind of trademark. Susan Grant is a pilot, so her tag at the time was "aviation romance" when she was branding herself.

I chose "chess" because there are a lot of sexy-sounding words associated with chess moves, positions, and pieces, and because I was a three-time school chess champion, and once played in an exhibition chess match with the late Grand master and world champion, Max Euwe.

"Insufficient Mating Material" refers to a game that looks impossible to win, no matter how good your own moves, or how bad a player your opponent is. OK, so the title isn't what you thought. Nevertheless, it's not a book I'd show to my traditional-romance and cozy-mystery loving mother or my tweenager daughter.

Although it contains well-researched ("SURVIVORMAN"- endorsed) information that could save a lost, weekend hiker's life, it also is spiced with some strong language, and some explicit and slightly unusual romantic musings by the hero.

For instance, he has a tattoo in a delicate area. It's bioluminescent, which means that it glows in the dark under certain circumstances. There comes a point in the story where the hero (Djetth, pronounced Jeth) needs to find out if the heroine has ever seen a tattoo like it. So, he goes into the sea, and pretends that he has been bitten by a fish...there, and asks the heroine to see if the (non-existent) fish broke his skin.

Yes. There is quite a bit of bathroom humor.

As for the hero's language, I don't speak like that, and nor do my other heroes, but he's not the sort of chap to say "Gosh darn!" under extreme provocation. It's been quite a relief to put myself back into the point of view of a more controlled and elegant gentleman for the next book in the series.

So, I promised to tell you a secret. It's a bit ironic. While doing some eleventh hour research for the cover scene, I was attacked by a fish! I went away for my summer holiday, thinking that I could relax secure in the knowledge that Insufficient Mating Material was all ready to go to the printers. Then, my editor sent me the cover art. Have you seen it? Almost everyone who sees it thinks of the Burt Lancaster movie "From Here To Eternity."

The problem was, there was nothing at all in the book involving a couple frolicking in the surf. Nothing! There is now. One of my passionate beliefs is that cover art should illustrate something in the book.

I had a couple of months, one of which was my summer holiday, to tear apart the book and write in that scene. That is a story and a half in itself! At least I was at the seaside, but it was a cold sea, and I couldn't persuade my husband to immerse himself in the interests of scientific research. The best he would offer was to stand ankle deep on the shore at low tide, while I lay at his feet and did what I had to do.

Trust my bad luck, there were weaver fish buried in the sand, and I stepped on one...not heavily, but I felt the spine and the sharp injection of venom. I was lucky on two counts. First, we knew what to do and home wasn't far away, so I spent the rest of that day with my foot in a bath of Epsom salts and water so hot that it felt cold for an instant when more hot water was added to keep up the temperature. Second, I go barefoot a lot. You may extrapolate what that means. The spine probably broke.

I suppose I should thank my luck stars I didn't sit on one!"

Thank you!
Rowena Cherry

Insufficient Mating Material...
January 2007
ISBN: 9780505527110
Dorchester Publishing Insufficient Mating Material cover

"A powerful romance laced with devastating family secrets, treachery and a sizzling passion hot enough to singe your fingers as you turn the pages." ~~ Billie Jo, Romance Junkies

      Shot down…for failing to mate in public. Marooned on an island with the ultimate fashionista, who wouldn’t take off her clothes to save her own life, Djetth discovers that when a Tiger prince is honor bound to hide his true identity, when his best tool of seduction bears a damning tattoo, and his very life is in danger, survival isn’t just a matter of making out.

Someone is trying to kill them.
      But even in the outrageously wicked Tigron Empire, who would dare to attack a royal princess and her consort? So what if she had spectacularly rejected Djetth’s hand and privately turned her pretty nose up at his other princely parts? With the aid of two exiled empresses acting as psychic sleuths, some misplaced guitar glue and a talent for disguises, he would unmask a killer and prove this was certainly not a case of…



"I really like Cherry's writing; it is literate and fast moving, with active imagery, and it challenges the reader." ~~ Jean Cooper, reviewer, Fallen Angel Reviews

"What a fantastic read! A book full of possibilities, humor, intrigue and action.  I loved it!  I always knew survival had many erotic and exciting possibilities.  Rowena Cherry proved it with INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL!" ~~ Les Stroud AKA "SURVIVORMAN"

"If you look up the word spellbinding in the dictionary of authors - Rowena Cherry is right at the very top.

She writes about alien universes as if they exist, she's lived there and characters as if they are real and she's know them. Fantasy fiction at its very best. If you look up the list of fans of Cherry- I'm right at the very top." ~~ M.J. Rose - international bestselling author of THE REINCARNATIONIST

Read an Excerpt - Setting the Scene...

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. She doesn't know that he has already seen it 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. Read The Excerpt...

Additional Titles...

Forced Mate  ISBN 9780505526014
(in print, first release November 2004)

Mating Net  ISBN 13: 9780976539711
(ebook, short story, October 2005)

Knight's Fork ISBN-13: 9780505527400
(release October 2008... B&N preorder, Sept 1; Amazon preorder as of now)

Rowena's Recipe...

Almost every weekend, I make Kedgeree for my husband and myself. Over the years, I've adapted a very basic smoked-fish-and-rice recipe to incorporate healthy eating and "kitchen medicine" for our needs (low fat, high fiber, calcium from whole fish, fish oil, garlic, turmeric, cumin, magnesium).

Here's a printable copy of KEDGEREE.

"I've had great fun! My thanks to everyone for their time and interest." ~~ Rowena Cherry



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Once Upon A Romance ~ #17 ~ 3601 S. Noland Rd. ~ Independence, MO 64055