Monday, March 30, 2009

Dirty Jobs of the past

My mind is in the sewer. Again. It's a confluence of things. Isn't it always?

Yesterday on Twitter, the "Squeeee" factor was in full force. Shuttle astronauts have returned from the International Space Station bearing a precious gallon (it might have been a pint) of recycled perspiration and urine for taste testing.

It will have to be passed by an inspector, no doubt.

This is new? I think not. In Shakespeare's Anthony and Cleopatra, mention was made about Roman soldiers on the march having to drink "the stale of horses". We all know how important bodily fluids were in "Dune".

Warning. Don't click the links if you don't want to see.

On Reality TV, we've seen Bear Grylls doing his Fear Factor style demonstrations that a human can drink almost anything if he is thirsty enough. In Germany (unless someone was pulling my leg) I was told that part of a pharmacist's training requires her to drink urine. Not recycled urine, either. Moreover, I understand that some medical conditions or treatments deplete a person's healthy intestinal flora, and that a familial fecal transfusion is required to repopulate the patient's intestines.

There's something else. Oh, yes. A mild scandal over colonoscopy equipment at some hospital somewhere in the civilized, modern, developed world where the equipment was allegedly used up to a thousand times without being cleaned. (Or was it simply not "sterilized" between jobs?)

Which brings me to Ancient-Mystery author Gary Corby, and his edifying blog about one of the most unpleasantly long drawn-out methods of execution ever devised. Since my mind was where it was, thanks to the news, I wondered (aloud, on Facebook) whether the equipment... the blunt stakes... were reused.

Now that, I thought, would be a Dirty Job. I began to play (and still am playing) with the heroic and romantic potential of a Carl Markus Rovius --name chosen for the oxymoronic fun potential for political satire-- of a roving execution-pole cleaner. He wouldn't be your traditional alpha male of historical or alien romance. On the other hand, the Discovery Channel's Mike Rowe has possibilities, doesn't he?

In homage to George Orwell, I might call my budding anthology "Down and Out Along The Appian Way" or "Down and Out Along The Silk Road". Puns intended.

Could a modern day Dirty Job translate into an Ancient Historical? I think so. Whether or not it would catch on is another matter. How about into science fiction? Presumably there will still be dirty jobs in the future, and on other worlds, and even on space arks, that cannot be automated or assigned to intelligent robots.

After all, why does the recycled water from the international space station have to be taste tested by a human on Earth? Is it morbid curiosity? Is our physics and chemistry technology not up to automating or outsourcing to the end-user that sort of analysis? If not, why not?

If we are still doing as the Romans did, it seems likely that some things may never change. So, what dirty jobs will always be with us? What new ones may emerge? Who will do them? What will be the social status and salary level of those who do the necessary and nasty work? After all, some jobs simply must be done well or the economy, and more importantly, the plumbing could collapse.

For the time being, my editor has found my Tigron Empire nasty enough without any need to investigate the sort of discipline and interrogation methods that my tyrannical god-Princes such as Tarrant-Arragon would probably sanction. The methods would be barbaric. If sweet reason prevailed, it wouldn't be rational that one person would be supreme ruler because his father (and his father's father etc) ruled before him, even if his birth ensured his access to the best possible education and job-specific training from birth... or would it?

Thursday, March 26, 2009



My name is Joe Konrath. Under the name JA Konrath, I write a series of thrillers featuring Chicago Homicide cop Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels. The sixth book, Cherry Bomb, is being released in July. Under the name Jack Kilborn, I write horror novels. Afraid, which might be the most frightening book ever written, is being released March 31.

Over the years, I've done my share of self-promotion. I even have a blog dedicated to the subject, called A Newbie's Guide to Publishing.

One of the things I'm just starting to figure out, after six years in the biz, is the cumulative effect.

Advertising knows that repetition leads to sales. People have to hear a product's name time and time again before it begins to stick in their minds. They also have to try a product repeatedly before they become brand loyal. That's why successful brands like Coke and McDonalds continue to advertise even though everyone on the planet knows them; they want to stay at the forefront of their customers' minds.

Books, like hamburgers and soda, are products. It is in a writer's best interest to make as many people aware of their books as possible, and to turn as many of those people as possible into fans.

We do many things to try to make this happen. Besides writing good books, we spend a lot of time meeting librarians, booksellers, media folks, and fans. We spend a lot of time on the Internet, blogging and keeping up with social networks. We spend a lot of time writing stories and articles for anthologies, magazines, and websites, getting our name out there.

The cumulative effect comes into play when our previous efforts begin to compound our current efforts. It's easy to compare self-promotion to working out on a Stairmaster--we work our butts off just to stay in one place. But the fact is, it's more analogous to mountain climbing. And like mountain climbing, it seems like we might never reach the summit.

But each step does bring us closer to that elusive summit. Just as everything we do to self-promote can build upon the previous thing.

Every book you sell can lead people to you. If a stranger buys a book, reads it, and becomes a fan, that's great. But that stranger can also tell others about you, leading to more fans. Libraries and used book stores mean each book sold can reach several, perhaps hundreds, of new readers. The more books you have in print, the more chances readers have to discover you. If they discover you early in your career, they can follow you. If they discover you later in your career, they can go back and find your previous books.

Every short story, review, article, and interview you have in print can lead people to you. Anthologies and magazines are a great way to spread name-recognition and brand awareness. They allow you to reach new demographics.

Everything you do on the internet lasts forever. A good portion of people reading this are doing so soon after it was posted. But some of you found your way here weeks, months, maybe even years after these words were written. Whenever you appear on the net, you leave footprints that people can follow to where you are now. The more footprints you leave, the greater your chances of being found.

Events lead to events. A successful speaking engagement will be talked about, and can lead to requests for more speeches. Doing a good job on a radio interview can lead to others. The more you get out there, the more you get out there.

Little steps lead to big accomplishments. If you set minor daily goals, they become major accomplishments over time. Adding five Facebook friends a day means you'll have 1825 by the end of the year. But you'll actually have more than that, because people will find you and ask for your friendship. Collecting email addresses for your newsletter, blogging regularly so more people follow you, networking and linking to peers--this all begins to pay off and eventually snowball.

But for that snowball, you have to follow the Four Stays:

Stay in Print. The more books you have that are available to the public, the better off you are. The more stories and articles you sell, the more people you reach.

Stay Current. Make sure your website and social networks are up to date, and that you're constantly putting new content on the net.

Stay in Touch. Keep networking with fans, peers, librarians, booksellers, and the media, and make sure you're easily accessible.

Stay Open-minded. Without a willingness to try new things, you'll probably get stuck in a rut, and you'll definitely miss out on hot trends.

The key here is to survive long enough to catch on with the general population. The longer you survive, the likelier it is you'll be successful. It may take years. It may take decades. But if you keep building an audience, momentum will eventually take over and your audience will start to build itself.

That's how you climb mountains. One step at a time.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Marketing tips I shared on LinkedIn

This morning on LinkedIn someone asked how to market his client's book. Here's what I suggested.

Check out Author Marketing Expert . Penny Sansevieri and her staff are very good, and they share (for free) a monthly newsletter packed with advice about online marketing including tips for using squidoo, twitter, facebook effectively.

Follow me on Twitter: or rather, check out all the librarians and journalists and reviewers on my follow/following list. Click on the text links and you can find out and follow everyone I follow.

Sheila English of COS productions (Circle Of Seven) runs the first and best book trailer making company. She's a friend of mine on LinkedIn. I'd be happy to introduce you, or meet her in a book trailer group/discussion.

COS productions will post book trailers in at least 50 locations. Check out youtube for half a dozen syndication possibilities for your trailer.

If you have a trailer, enter it in the New Covey Trailer Awards

(Feel free to vote while you are there... I believe there are 20 videos to be watched each month) Knight's Fork is mine, done by Sheila English's COS productions for around $300

Also Join FiledByAuthor, which is new, and you don't have to pay for a basic page

Also join Blazing Trailers

JA Konrath is currently marketing his Jack Killborn novel AFRAID with a month long blog tour. Check out his blog to see where he is going. He also cleverly got 50 authors' competitive juices flowing, so several of them are writing and posting reviews in about 16 places each.

Emily Bryan recently did a 50-blog tour to promote Vexing The Viscount.

Find similar authors to your client/friend who are aggressively promoting, then ride their coat tails. Comment pleasantly on their blogs with discreet references (perhaps in a sig file, and in the allowed html link for every commentator) and you will be seen.

Establish a presence (that means make friends before marketing) on Facebook and Goodreads. You can do giveaways in exchange for the promise of reviews on and also on

Use "Add This" for great syndication of your program
With apologies for a slightly self serving example, look here

The Add This feature is accessed through the "Share" button, click More and you will find links to 48 social networking sites! Take the time. Claim at least your author's name on each site (so no one else can).

Check out the radio interviews done by Don MacCauley on The interview is free. They'd like you to buy a promo package (tell them I sent you) but you don't have to do so. If you want a press release, a copy of your recorded interview, 12 months of publicity etc, the mid level package is $155 which is very reasonable, these days.

LillianandMe is another very good exposure which a lot of authors have found effective. This is a paid interview with radio station owner Lillian Cauldwell, however, it is competitively priced.

Disclosure. I am a host on her station, PIVTR

Contact Lillian or Pat Meehan.

Don't forget an Amazon page. Take advantage of all the bells and whistles they offer (many other booksites offer the same). Make friends, blog, add photos and notes, start discussions, tag your client's book. If you are grateful to me for all this fine advice and practical examples, take a moment to tag my book Knight's Fork

I'm not sure whether this is an object lesson in how to be self-serving while being helpful. I hope so. I'm a tad appalled at myself, but it took me at least an hour to write this skein of advice with live links, and probably on LinkedIn only 6 people will see it, which isn't a good ROI.

What do you think?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Afraid, by Jack Kilborn : A horrifying book. I loved it.

Afraid by Jack Kilborn is a horrifying book with a particularly satisfying ending.

I like cozies. I might as well be honest about that. Also happy ever afters. Further, in the interests of full disclosure, you should know that I read AFRAID by Jack Kilborn (with a view to a review) because Joe Konrath dared me to do so. He has a thick skin, and a strong stomach... and anyone who reads AFRAID needs both.

This is not a book to take on a fishing trip, especially if you've left your loved ones at home, alone. In fact, this book ought to come with a free membership of the NRA. You'll want your Brinks alarm turned on, and a loaded shotgun under your mattress if you read AFRAID in bed at night. You might want one of those panic button pendants, too.

Be warned. It is gruesome. AFRAID is the sort of book to be read aloud, in a large group. Maybe journalists who need to be kept up all night --for a slow-to-break story on Airforce One, for instance-- or secret types on a stakeout, would get a bang out of AFRAID.

The villains are seriously, SERIOUSLY, nasty. My own most horrible villain (Insufficient Mating Material) rendered his victims insensible, had his wicked way, then took a small plug of pubic hair for a souvenir. Jack Kilborn's baddies do a great deal more than that. You get a sense of the horrors to come when a faceless bad guy sits on his first victim's bed, and when she asks what he's going to do to her, he says "Everything."

And that's just page 7.

This book contains some sick stuff. Nothing is off limits. Think Hannibal Lecter times five --or six by my count-- with the absolute might and force of the US government backing them up...or at least covering them up.

The pace is relentless, the characterization --unfortunately-- is excellent. You will care about these people. No one deserves to die the way so many do. The writing is crystal clear, like carved coal, dark, sparkling, with more than an evil glint. There's no silliness, no messing about, and nothing strikes you as implausible at the time, even if some of the violence is over the top.

You won't want to put down this book until you reach the last line. It's a good last line. Really good.

Afraid is a horrifying book with a particularly satisfying ending. I thoroughly recommend it.

best wishes,

Rowena Cherry

Scroll down the playlist for Knight's Fork related interview

Then sign up to apply for your own interview!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Don and I... on TheAuthorsShow

The Authors Show host, Don MacCauley, wrote of my interview (which is streaming with others today, March 19th on ,
"I have done hundreds of interviews throughout the years. Most are enjoyable, some are enlightening, a few are downright painful. Others though, stand decidedly apart from the group. These interviews create memories that I will enjoy for the rest of my days. My recent interview with Rowena Cherry was one such interview."

Behind the scenes...

When an author queries a radio station to request airtime, quite often she is offered the opportunity to suggest ten or so appropriate questions which she'd like to be asked.

If I get the chance, I like to get the word out about the speculative romance subgenres. Even if I'm not the most eloquent or best qualified spokesperson, any discussion is better than none.

So, I suggested that Don might ask:

You write "FUTURISTIC ROMANCE." WHAT is that?

I gave him a brief overview of what "Paranormal" covers:

"Paranormal" is much more than ghosts. It covers space opera, speculative romance, dark fantasy, light fantasy, fantastic "snark", science fiction romance, time travel, also historicals and contemporary romances with strong psychic heroines.

This means that my aliens hang out in bookstores with vampires, shapeshifters, angels, demons, gargoyles, were-wolves, were-dragons, ghosts, elves, faeries, gnomes, mermaids, genies, and gods.

Don was kind enough to compare his experience of my interview to being dropped into the middle of a Monty Python skit.

"I believe I enjoyed the interview so much due to the fact that, throughout the conversation, I kept getting the distinctly odd impression that I had somehow been magically transported into the very middle of a somewhat peculiar Monty Python skit."

He's in great company with that comparison. I'm not sure what I said that struck him as Pythonesque, but it might have been this comment about how I see Paranormal Romance:

"It's a confusing family! So, I visualize "Paranormal Romance" as like a giant hen. Under her wings are multi-colored, dark and light chicks, a gosling, couple of kittens, a puppy… and a very small dragon!"

If you get the chance to listen, to my interview, I'd love to know what you think.

If you visit and scroll down the page, you can submit your own request to be interviewed. If you live in Arizona, or don't mind traveling, you can apply to be on their sister TV program, too.

Best wishes,
Rowena Cherry

Friday, March 06, 2009

Branding... and SPACE SNARK™

I wonder if "Branding" is finally hot?

My husband has been an automotive branding expert for years. Meanwhile, this morning on The_Haunt_at_PNR, a yahoo group for paranormal romance authors and those who like to chat, Deborah Macgillivray explained about her common usage trademark on her Dragons of Challon™ series.

Now, much to my delight, I find that my favorite marketing expert, Penny Sansevieri, is talking about boosting ones brand in her March newsletter.

Penny allows sharing of her newsletter, as long as this attribution is given.

Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.

To receive your own copy of:
A newsletter all about SUCCESSFUL publishing and POWERFUL promotion.
March 5, 2009 Issue #190

Penny C. Sansevieri, Editor

Boost Your Brand
Here's a fun little marketing tip for your presentations. If you're using a laptop, why not get a skin for your cover that lists your book/company and URL? That way it's always in front of your audience. You can order custom skins for your laptop, phone, Blackberry, virtually anything from this site: Happy Branding!

Me, again.
When I am packing for a convention, I know that I will be taking boxes of promo stuff, so I make sure to tape posters of my covers to all sides of the boxes (upright, obviously).

I also prepare the files that I might be carrying around (in which to scribble notes) by slipping a poster of my cover art inside the plastic protection sleeve that usually covers a ring binder.

I've also got a static view of my banner for Knight's Fork as a visual header, plus my professional mailing address, and for a footer I've got the images of the four awards Knight's Fork has won on 2 x 4 mailing labels, which I put on most of my outgoing correspondence. Yes... it will go on my tax return envelopes, too.

Back to Penny. And I certainly winced when I read this section of her newsletter!

Top 5 Mistakes Authors Make After the Interview
You've written the book, perfected your pitch, entertained the audience with an interesting and informative interview and now you are striving for another segment or to become that station's topic "Expert". As a producer my top 5 "Don't Screw It Up" suggestions for AFTER the interview are:

- Not saying thank you properly. Always thank the host, producer and studio technicians. Camera people and control room technicians control the way you "look" on camera so always thank them if possible. Trust me they will remember and if you do a return interview you are assured you will look and sound great.

- Not taking advantage of "The Topic Roll". If your topic is one of continuing interest ride that wave! Be in touch with the producer for possible follow-up interviews.

- Not giving the host a signed copy of your book. As silly as you think this may be it's important to give the interviewer your book. Whether they take your book home, add it to the station library or toss it you definitely want your book in the hands of people who can give you another interview. Never forget this very important "touch" of politeness and marketing savvy!

- Not getting a copy of your segment for critique purposes. You can't improve if you don't know what you've done wrong. This is the time to hire a media coach for critiquing purposes. It's always easier to learn from an actual interview than role playing. Take advantage of all your interviews and get those copies!

- Not putting a copy of the segment on your website: Nothing can promote your book like YOU! Put the good interviews on your website and forget the bad ones - NEVER put a digital copy of an interview on your website if it wasn't really good.

So remember: always say thank you not only to the host and producer but to the studio technicians who made your interview comfortable and camera friendly. Always stay in touch with the producer for future interview opportunities. Make a copy of the segment and hire a media coach for a critiquing session because you can ALWAYS improve. Finally and most importantly put the interview on your website. It is the BEST way to promote your book, get other interviews and continue to sell your book long after the interview.

For more information or to schedule a coaching session just email me at or call (602) 509-6468.

~Tip offered by Media Veteran Laura Holka, who is the producer of the Pat McMahon Show & a Media Consultant. She can be reached at or email

Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.

By the way, on March 19th, my radio interview with Don McCauley on the radio version of The Authors Show at or

Rowena Cherry

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Wendy Burt-Thomas (Query Letter guru)

Today we have a Q & A with Wendy Burt-Thomas. She is a full-time freelance writer, editor and copywriter with more than 1,000 published pieces. Her third book, "The Writer's Digest Guide to Query Letters" hit stores in January 2009. To learn more about Wendy or her three books, visit If you have a writing-related question, you can also post it on

1. Q: Can you tell us about your book?

The book was a great fit for me because I'd been teaching "Breaking Into Freelance Writing" for about eight years. In the workshop, I covered a lot of what is in this book: writing query letters to get articles in magazines, to land an agent, or to get a book deal with a publisher. Since I'm a full-time freelance magazine writer and editor with two previous books, this was incredibly fun to write because it didn't require tons of research. I was lucky enough to receive lots of great sample query letters from writers and authors that I use as "good" examples in the book. I wrote all the "bad" examples myself because I didn't dare ask for contributions that I knew I'd be ripping apart!

In addition to the ins and outs of what makes a good query, the book covers things like why (or why not) to get an agent, where to find one and how to choose one; writing a synopsis or proposal; selling different rights to your work; other forms of correspondence; and what editors and agents look for in new writers.
It was really important to me that the book not be a dry, boring reference book, but rather an entertaining read (while still being chock full of information). I was thrilled that Writer's Digest let me keep all the humor.

2. Q: Why are query letters so important?

Breaking into the publishing world is hard enough right now. Unless you have a serious "in" of some kind, you really need a great query letter to impress an agent or acquisitions editor. Essentially, your query letter is your first impression. If they like your idea (and voice and writing style and background), they'll either request a proposal, sample chapters, or the entire manuscript. If they don't like your query letter, you've got to pitch it to another agency/publisher. Unlike a manuscript, which can be edited or reworked if an editor thinks it has promise, you only get one shot with your query. Make it count!

I see a lot of authors who spend months (or years) finishing their book, only to rush through the process of crafting a good, solid query letter. What a waste! If agents/editors turn you down based on a bad query letter, you've blown your chance of getting them to read your manuscript. It could be the next bestseller, but they'll never see it. My advice is to put as much effort into your query as you did your book. If it's not fabulous, don't send it until it is.

3. Q: You're also a magazine editor. What is your biggest gripe regarding queries?

Queries that show that the writer obviously hasn't read our publication. I'll admit that I did this when I was a new writer too – submitted blindly to any publication whose name sounded even remotely related to my topic. One of the examples I use was when I submitted a parenting article to a magazine for senior citizens. Oops! A well-written query pitching an article that's not a match for the magazine isn't going to get you any further than a poorly written query.

4. Q: There's an entire chapter in the book about agents. Do you think all new writers should get agents?

Probably 99% of new writers should get an agent. There are lots of reasons, but my top three are:
1) Many of the larger publishing houses won't even look at unagented submissions now; 2) Agents can negotiate better rights and more money on your behalf;
3) Agents know the industry trends, changes and staff better than you ever could.

5. Q: You've been a mentor, coach or editor for many writers. What do you think is the most common reason that good writers don't get published?

Poor marketing skills. I see so many writers that are either too afraid, too uniformed, or frankly, too lazy, to market their work. They think their job is done when the write "the end" but writing is only half of the process. I've always told people who took my class that there are tons of great writers in the world who will never get published. I'd rather be a good writer who eats lobster than a great writer who eats hot dogs. I make a living as a writer because I spend as much time marketing as I do writing.

6. Q: What are some of the biggest misconceptions that writers have about getting a book deal?

That they'll be rich overnight, that they don't need to promote their book once it's published, that publishing houses will send them on world book tours, that people will recognize them at the airport. Still, you can make great money as an author if you're prepared to put in the effort. If it wasn't possible, there wouldn't be so many full-time writers.

7. Q: What must-read books do you recommend to new writers?

Christina Katz (author of "Writer Mama") has a new book out called "Get Known Before the Book Deal" - which is fabulous. Also, Stephen King's "On Writing" and David Morrell's "Lessons from a Lifetime of Writing." Anything by Anne Lamott or my Dad, Steve Burt.

8. Q: What's the biggest lesson you've learned as a full-time writer?

Seize every opportunity - especially when you first start writing. I remember telling someone about a really high-paying writing gig I got and he said, "Wow. You have the best luck!" I thought, "Luck has nothing to do with it! I've worked hard to get where I am." Later that week I read this great quote: "Luck is when preparation meets opportunity." It's absolutely true. And writing queries is only about luck in this sense. If you're prepared with a good query and/or manuscript, when the opportunity comes along you'll be successful.

9. What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Writing the "bad" query letters. I've read – and written! – so many horrible ones over the years that it was a little too easy to craft them. But misery loves company and we ALL love to read really bad query letters, right?

10. Q: What do you want readers to learn from your book?
I want them to understand that while writing a good query letter is important, it doesn't have to be overwhelming. You can break it down into parts, learn from any first-round rejections, and read other good queries to help understand what works. I also want them to remember that writing is fun. Sometimes new writers get so caught up in the procedures that they lose their original voice in a query. Don't bury your style under formalities and to-the-letter formatting.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Jumping on the bright blue scrotum controversy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Dragon! What is a Fust-er-Cluck?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

This excerpt is from KNIGHT'S FORK by Rowena Cherry

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