Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Encountering Cheryl Moore - Her Art, Her Words... A Review...

Her Art, Her Words

Cheryl Moore

Encountering Cheryl Moore through her art and her words is like coming into direct contact with our feelings, our emotions. Hers, yours, those of her characters! Like a swimmer that had somebody come up from below and pulled me under, I feel submerged--drowned in the words and visual sights that exist thousands of years into the future. I have visited the time period 3987 through 4020 and met many fascinating people in countries such as India, China, Poland and the Sahara Desert...and even visited a prison ship, a Floating Asylum.

And you can too! I highly recommend you click the title of this article when you've finished reading and start following Cheryl Moore' blog! Cheryl is the author of a new series entitled, Unbound Boxes Limping Gods, which at present has not yet been published. I'll be privileged to read the first manuscript, so look for my review of the novel in the near future. Even if you never read the novels, however, you will find a treasure-trove on Cheryl's blog! Using what she terms micro-stories, Cheryl presents each of the characters appearing in her novels. Her art is original, unique and strangely beautiful, even in those that depicts characters that are flawed, affected by the grim lives they've lived or, sometimes by what other characters have forced them to bear. I admit that, at this point, her artwork pulls me in more than her words...but only because I want more of her words!

Alexand is the main character and, admittedly, Cheryl's favorite. Her picture above shows Alexand after she has been released from The Floating Asylum. Obviously affected by that trauma, she has withdrawn from her family, even while there at home with them. Before she has fully recovered, however, her husband is murdered and two of her children are kidnapped! Using what she terms, disconnected stories, Cheryl introduces each of her characters to readers of her novels. I followed a part of Alexand's story chronologically on my blog this month. For me, the glimpses were so enticing, that about midway through the month, I started hinting about reading the novel! Tragedy, often grim, terrible acts are presented. Or the sorrow and love of a husband, trying to help his wife recover from unbelievable trauma and depression, is provided. The stories are taut, precise in wording and full of such emotion that readers are captured immediately, no matter what particular life story they have entered.

I hope you have already read my interview with Cheryl that appeared yesterday. She talks about how she entered the world in which she now feels so much a part of her at the early age of 17! Her intimacy of this world is revealed in each story and drawing she shares with her followers--it is provided with love, tenderness and an awareness of humans that I have not seen in the work of many writers. Her ability to complement her characters' image in art is a truly fascinating addition, but it is clear from her words that she not only loves the world she has created, but craves to introduce her world and the characters to each of us so that we may come to know them as she does. Whether she achieves that in her novel is yet to be seen, but I can guarantee that if you begin to read her micro-stories, you will develop a "taste" for the world where limping gods live...

With a touch of the supernatural, fantasy, and futuristic science fiction, Cheryl Moore's fiction falls into the speculative genre. It is clear from her micro-stories that Moore cannot be pigeonholed--she stretches the boundaries of this world and takes them into a future that perhaps is not totally plausible, but created within a scientific framework of imagination that results in readers' believing that, for her characters, anything is possible. Dean Koontz has the same intensity, but rarely writes series, so that readers don't achieve intimacy and connection... I have read only one other author that competes with Moore in this regard...Ruby Moon-Houldson's Guardian Series, with over 10 novels, constantly blows my mind with the scope of creative genius she exhibits. I have every confidence I have found another of her ilk in Cheryl Moore!

Readers, if anything about Cheryl's work interests you, it is my recommendation you start watching! This author is "setting the standard" for books of speculative fiction and the use of graphic complementary imagery to accompany fiction novels in the future. She is only prevented by the limitations of today's computer graphics capabilities... In my opinion, the future holds nothing but "possibilities" of how Moore's books will reach readers... hopefully long before circa 4000 where we'll find Unbound Boxes Limping Gods!

Mother's Land

Characters from left to right: Ancille Merevija, 
Alexand Merek, Samuel Merevija and 
Eldenath Balsara. (Takayama, Japan 4041)


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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Interviewing Author Cheryl Moore! (Continued)

Note: This Interview took place over the last month, as I was reading a selection of Cheryl's micro-stories...

Your micro-stories do indeed solicit interest in your novels! How did you think, or decide, to create the short stories to merge with your art work? The stories are disconnected, but do they dwell only before your novels begin? Or do they sometimes supplement or complement what is covered in the books?
The micro-stories arose out of a need to tell stories which couldn't possibly be covered in the novels. I've been writing (and drawing) for these characters since I was seventeen. I'm now thirty six. There are things which can't be told in the novels, due to the natural progression of the series. For example, the first novel is set in 4041. The stories are seemingly disconnected, but I'm weaving them in so that once you read the novels, they will make sense. Readers are clever and make connections. (I have to be very careful not to give too much away about the novels, due to this! In fact I've had one reader come close to guessing who The Guild Master's General may be!) 
You'll notice the last micro-story is set around 4037. I've written many books that are set before the first novel, Unbound Boxes Limping Gods. None of these books will ever be released. However, the first story, issue 1: Alexand Merek, is based on one of the chapters in the fledgling novel. It was something I felt very strongly about telling and have always wanted to illustrate. Alexand has been through so much in her life, it would be a shame for readers to miss out on all of these events. Usually a character's past life is restricted to sub-plot in a traditional novel. I wanted to explore alternative ways of telling a story, which is why I use illustration. We'll see if this works well with the novel, once it's eventually published. I'll leave that decision to the readers!
As for supplementing what's in the books, I'm careful not to tread on that territory. I can't go into too much detail because the micro-stories so far, compliment the first novel. As it's not been published (seeking publication) I'm very reticent to use characters associated with anything beyond the first novel. (With the exception of Anum Anzeti, who makes his first appearance in book three, The Guild Master's General) I better not say too much about him or that book though!!! These micro-stories are primarily a way for readers to understand my characters more thoroughly, before they potentially read the first novel. Emotionally the characters are like you and me, effectively real and therefore deserve to be understood as such. The micro-stories are an experiment, but I enjoy writing and illustrating this world and sharing it with those who want to take that journey with me. Hopefully some day the first novel will be available to read too. One thing I know, is that as long as I'm able to, I'll continue writing these micro-stories, to complement my novels. It has become very addictive.
How do you and have you reached that balance to chose what to put in novel versus the micro-stories?
The novels are written to stand completely alone from the micro-stories, in fact I didn't start writing the micro-stories until after book five The Woman Who Never Was was completed. To me it's really a case of withholding a lot of information from the micro-stories. I have the luxury of using many characters to tell my stories. The average book may have one or two main characters, but as you can see on the character list I have many more than most writers and therefore can afford to spare a little in the back story department. In this sense, the micro-stories can be about any character before the main timeline of the first novel. I deal mostly with their backgrounds, emotions and sub-stories. An exception to this is the ongoing saga of Anastasia's abuse at the hands of Lord Ichitumbu. I took a while to decide to include this, as it is one of the issues in Unbound Boxes Limping Gods. I feel it was something that needed to be touched upon. Chantal Boudreau described the micros better than I can. She said: "It is kind of like looking through a little window and eavesdropping on their existence before someone slams the shutter quickly closed again."
The novels are differently structured. I am very disciplined when it comes to their timeframe and content. I want to take the reader on a journey, for them to relate to my characters. There are no shutters, I want the reader to become caught up in what's going on as if he/she is "there". The best I can describe is that I see myself as the director of the novel. I have to choose story and characters carefully. I see the world within the novels, like our own, it has many complicated potential story-lines, but the focus is very much on Alexand and what happens to her and those around her. Unlike the micro-stories, only one larger story can be told, but using multiple voices to tell it, as other main characters play key parts. The reader has to be taken on a journey as opposed to being simply teased by the micro stories.
The similarities between the micro-stories and the novels are mainly that each chapter (and sub-chapter) is told by the first person perspective. For example in the first novel the reader hears Alexand's voice, then Eldenath's and then Sam's. Alexand is the main focus of the novels, but the reader is introduced to the story via multiple character perspectives.
Cheryl!  How did all this start? What is your writing background, when did you start writing? Who are your role models/which books brought you to experiment with this speculative world of yours? Is it totally separated from your real life? How do you move from life into this world of Alexand?
Glenda, I was seventeen when Alexand popped into my head. I was bunking off a theatre studies class at college, as I wasn’t the most sociable of teens. She was born in a park in Farnham, England, called “Borrelli.” I sat on a bench and stared at the river and she just came to me, almost as if she’d decided to introduce herself, despite not existing physically. I’d written other stories, but this character latched onto me and developed into something which has taken over my life, admittedly. 
I was greatly influenced by worlds in which I, as a reader, could escape into. Writers such as Anne Rice, Neil Gaiman and Joanna Russ had and have a great impact as well as Toni Morrison and Margaret Atwood, Alma Alexander, Alan Moore, and Clive Barker, to name a few. I love The Sandman graphic novels, The Ballad of Halo Jones, The Female Man, Interview With a Vampire, The Handmaid’s Tale, Paradise and many more. I found myself as a young woman, searching for something or some other place in which I felt I belonged. I was quite an odd child. In fact I spent most of my childhood thinking I was Erik Estrada from C.H.I.P.’s which perhaps didn’t help my ability to fit into groups whilst growing up! Anyway... moving swiftly on...
I can remember writing my earliest story at about ten. It was about a detective who was also a dog. I illustrated it, but unfortunately haven’t got that any more. I’ve always written, in fact I used to carry a notepad and pen with me until I was about twenty-six. (Around the time my own real life son was born and I had to grow up a bit more!)
My real life and the life in which I live in fiction are not always separable, these characters are intrinsic parts of myself. Not only do I have to write and illustrate the micro-stories, I live with my characters, in a way see them as living (but invisible) people. I have an external and internal world, like everyone, but this world and its people are fused to me! Fortunately it is something which I can share in writing and illustration. My son comes first, always, but Alexand a close second! Moving from this life into hers is dependent on many factors. Multitasking is something I’ve learned, especially with a ten-year-old son... but this fictional life is never too far away.
Erik Estrada? I would have thought you would have been a fictional superhero! LOL If you were to write the back cover blurb for your novel, what would it say?
The blurb on the back cover for the novel, Unbound Boxes Limping Gods, goes something like this... 
Alexand Merek is a woman who treasures "Bad Things," and delights in music. She has done something stupid, placing those she loves in danger. Women like her are not welcome in the ordinary world, where women who play piano and dance with wives are placed into, "The Bad Thing Box." Alexand must fight to bring her lost family back together to save them from an unimaginable fate.
Ok...your blurb has indeed hooked me!  I was thinking about your artwork more...the characters are rarely what you would call handsome or beautiful. Indeed the world created is dark and as you say, we think of "bad things..." Is this representative of the entire world circa 3997 or is this just the world that surrounds Alexand? Because no matter what you say, or what she has done, Alexand has strength and character...and good... but how do I "know" this...I have read an insufficient amount of material to "know" this...Tell me, am I wrong?
I'm glad you picked up on that Glenda. The artwork is quite grim although I've managed to slip in a piece of work reflecting Alexand's quite unbreakable sense of humour. Although Alexand's life experiences have been tough, she as a person is quite a positive and funny character. There is a lot of humour in the novels, which isn't as apparent in the micro-stories. Alexand sees beauty in things that aren't necessarily traditionally beautiful. Her thought processes are in themselves quite beautiful to me as a writer. Alexand and a lot of the characters make for quite positive things to come out of bad situations. Alex is quite a delightful person to be around in fact. Which is probably why after all these years I'm still writing about her. I'm pleased you see that hidden side, through the murk and grime of the world she's trapped in. As with all people's lives, her life goes in cycles. Some years or days are bad, and others fantastic!
Cheryl, Intriguing... I love when a writer refers to a character as if she existed outside of the writer's "pen"...because, after all, you MUST admit that if Alexand's thought processes are quite beautiful, you are paying yourself a compliment that your own thought processes are quite beautiful... I'm glad to hear that humor will be part of the novels...much needed given the many tragic events happening in the lives of your characters! By the way, is your reference about humor the picture appearing above the couch in one of your family shots? If not, I'll have to go searching...LOL I did enjoy the wry humor Alexand exhibited when she had a new cell mate in prison...
As the author, what made you merely reverse the same name in "birthing" Alexand and her twin?
Although Alex and Heyem are very different people, their lives have certain common elements. Heyem is often upset to find her own life ending up on a similar path to Alex (Alex is older by half an hour) Their parents, Inajda and Eric were very young when they had them and reversed their names because they are identical. It wasn't anything very deep on their part, Although Eric's father was called Alexand. It's a family name, meaning 'Defender of the people'. Heyem means 'Home.' The twins seem to mirror and repel each other, but both have a common interest in protecting and providing stability for the people in their lives. Alex is a better soldier and Heyem is much more stable and reliable as she hasn't had the same traumas as her sister.
In creating your character personalities, readers form opinions based upon those personality characteristics, right? How closely do you then use those characteristics to create your novels? Or did you write your novels and form the personality fact sheets as you developed your micro-stories? One story is a good example of why I raise the question. When I read about Heyem on her character data sheet, I got the picture of a selfish, jealous sister...yet I find myself, personally, very empathetic to Heyem in this, naturally, LOL, I don't think of her as being selfish or jealous...more, I find her responsible in spite of her personal life preferences... Can we, then, even with characters, truly define the individual they really are?
Although the reader forms opinions just as we do when meeting real people for the first time, it's important to remember that these micro-stories are merely glimpses into good and bad days, and behaviour. Alex is no angel, and has made some bad mistakes, she loves her children, and her husband, but on bad days isn't capable of being a wife and mother, or a soldier. Heyem has had to clear up on many occasions. This story is important as I wanted to show that there is much more to their relationship than just rivalry and jealousy. Heyem cares about the children's welfare but isn't a natural mother. In a different life, Alexand could be a wonderful mother. Alexand is a very lovely but damaged woman. She and Jarad have a tempestuous relationship as they are both very emotional people. Alex has a drinking problem, and Jarad just doesn't have the tools to help her recover, and get the help she needs. She isn't a typical hero in that respect, but everyone has done things in their lives they aren't proud of. Just to give you some perspective, later on, a few micro stories down, after Ancille's story, Alexand promises her daughter she will not drink again. She goes on cold turkey, with the help of Heyem, her mother Inajda and Heyem's wife, Maria. Alexand and Jarad agree that it's best for their family if she retires. Jarad is a language lecturer and arranges a position in a University on the Island of Goa. Alexand plans to teach piano. Things don't go according to plan, but that's what was decided in order to attempt to mend their family. 
I do recognize, again, the micro-story providing glimpses of the individual. What I find fascinating is that, because of these "intrusions" into a character's life, we automatically become more involved, more concerned about them. I have found this to be the case in novels--if the writer takes the time to develop their characters, then we as readers often claim that we found the book character-driven, that we "loved" the characters... In a book I'll review later this week, I found that the action, the trauma of what was happening was so all-consuming, that the characters were not as important... I'm wondering whether your novels will appeal to me as character-driven or as more story-driven...
I’d be interested to hear what you think! (Note: Cheryl's has given me the honor of allowing me to read her unpublished manuscript, which I'll be reviewing in the future!)
Two stories bring in immortals...can you share a little more about this world without giving anything away from your novels?  Bringing in immortality for characters is new...are they the more traditional gods like Zeus, etc., or are they more vampirish... At first I didn't understand the "paintings" that were not yet accepted...then I got it. Can you imagine repainting parts of the world?  Also, the poison of this bloodline to the group...Again, not asking for you to go beyond what you can share at this time.
The Amanojuko are human made, but I won’t go into too much detail as this is something which is covered in the first novel. There are Amanojuko who were born human and made immortal by a series of experiments and there were others (who believe themselves superior) who were born immortal. Alexand’s blood is something which is also a feature of the first and second books, but I can reveal that her resistance and subsequent ability to destroy Amanojuko is a genetic factor unique to left-handed members of her direct family, descending from her grandfather’s line. (His short story hasn’t been written yet... His name is Xan and he also has alopecia. A side effect of this gift they have for destroying their enemy.) Ancille and Anastasia are mirror twins. Anastasia is left handed and Ancille is right handed. Both Alexand and Heyem are left handed. This plays a key factor in their resistance to the Amanojuko virus as their immune systems work slightly differently. Basically they can’t be turned, although Heyem hasn’t been through the same genetic switches as Alex, to enable her to become a biological weapon. I won’t say any more! Around the time Alexand met Katherine De Somme, (3984) there was a terrible outbreak of what they called ‘plague’ which was actually a government created virus (to control rebels). Ichitumbu Jalhavi was one of these unfortunate victims. He was given an antidote (I won’t say by whom) which turned his body into that of an Amanojuko. Katherine De Somme and Alexand were also infected by ‘plague’, but Katherine died, whereas Alexand was given an antidote, different from Ichitumbu’s, which cured her of plague, but switched on her body’s ability to fight the Amanojuko virus. I really can’t go into too much detail here, unfortunately.
I must comment on your creativity and imagination...I know that anybody can "conceive" of ideas...but how do you go about taking a concept from the idea into full bloom...and then use it, as you do so well, to take that to then branch off into more and more unique and new concepts. I'm still not clear how you chose to go so far into the future and decide to "drop" your stories into different countries and times. In your novels, do you have a more traditional beginning and ending, free-standing...or will they be truly a series that will stop and force readers to wait until the next book is out to know what happens?
I see the life of each character as separate, but can then connect them to one another. I’ve been writing this mythology since I was seventeen and know the events very well. Sometimes I learn new things when I’m writing, but have a very good sense of what has happened in the world’s past. Each character stitches the fabric of the story together. As for dropping the stories into different countries and times, some micro-stories may have started to connect together, whilst others seem isolated. The world is huge, and my characters have the luxury of particle physics to allow them access to different places very quickly. Some of my characters can’t age (not connected to the immortal Amanojuko, this is a result of future technology, a chemical which switches off the aging process, called SIR2HX) and therefore I can allow greater periods of time to elapse. In the novels the timeframe is more traditional in respect of a beginning, middle and end, but admittedly, there are a few cliff hangers amongst them!
Cheryl, it has been such a wonderful privilege to have you here at Book Reader's Heaven. To close out our's my final there anything that you'd really like to share with your readers, but I just haven't asked you? Thanks again for visiting!

It’s been a pleasure, Glenda, I’m very glad you asked me and have enjoyed talking to you at Book Reader’s Heaven. If I asked myself a question, it would probably be. “After nearly completing book six, do you see yourself writing further books in the series?” The answer would be, “I hope to never leave this world as it has become such a large part of my life. I don’t know what I’d do if I ran out of stories. I hope that one day I can share the novels with others as well as these tiny micro glimpses.” Thank you for inviting me, Glenda.


Main Character Alexand, as her husband tries
to coax her away from the piano...
Note the tremendous detail, including the
fingers that have been replaced for Alexand...

Interviewing Author Cheryl Moore!

Good Morning! I have been honored to have author Cheryl Moore here at Book Reader's Heaven. She allowed me to experiment a little, so that I was reading her work, preparatory for my review, and also asking her questions during that time! Here's what we've talked about!

Cheryl Moore

Cheryl, How did you come up with the title Unbound Boxes Limping Gods? What does it mean to you? What do you want your readers to find in those Boxes?
Hi, Glenda. Unbound Boxes is a reference to particle physics. My protagonists have a device called a ‘writer’ which was invented by a physicist called Anesidor Sumian. (After the murder of her mother, see issue 2) The characters use their writer’s to travel around and to store things inside. Losing things and people, is a natural part of life, but these writers or boxes allow my characters to keep precious things safely inside. The child in me loves the idea of protecting things and people. The ‘writer’ enables the possibility of conjuring things from apparent nowhere. Some characters regard this as magic. The characters have very strong links with their writers, as these keep them alive. They are mostly nomadic people, on the fringes of society, who carry their lives inside these ‘boxes.’ Without them they’d die. Unbound Boxes is also a reference to the potential freedom this ‘magical’ item gives the protagonist and reader alike.
As for limping Gods. Most of my characters can’t age. They live in our future, but they aren’t technically immortal. My father died at a relatively young age, along with some other close friends and family. Since then I’ve been looking for ways to run away from that finality. I don’t like the prospect of death, although, my characters aren’t gods, they’re highly flawed and human. In the future there’s a chemical called SIR2HX, which shuts off the aging process. This could be controversial, for obvious reasons, but it enables me to carry out some complicated story arcs, in the novels. The characters age, differently, and it’s not necessarily a good thing. It allows me to hold onto them for longer. As for the reader. I like the idea that people can imagine their own precious things, people they care about, have lost or are close to, as they read. It’s a very emotional journey, which I’m hoping people can relate to.
Your artwork pulled me in long before I read a word you've written. What is your background in art? Are you formally trained? And are your characters envisioned in word form first or as they are graphically created?
I trained in Glamorgan University as a fine artist and then as a Graphic Designer later on in The Surrey Institute of Art and Design. I’m a writer first. I’ve always been more passionate about writing the novels and short stories, so my characters are written and then drawn! Although it is amazing to be able to see characters come alive through art. It makes them real to me, almost like looking at a photograph of someone you’d desperately like to see again, but can’t. It’s frustrating!
You are located in the UK, yet your stories are set in so many other countries. Have you traveled to any of them? Or do research? And how do you decide where to travel in order, I assume, to ultimately have some continuity? 
The characters dictate where the stories are set. I lived in Iran as a child, so have a different perspective about how people and cultures change, depending on where you live. I’ve traveled a bit since then, but mostly it’s based on research. I’ve been writing these characters since I was seventeen, and placing them in location is second nature. I’d love to be able to travel to some of the places I’ve written about!
Your timeline for your stories are way in the future? Did this allow you a measure of flexibility in writing? Or what vision did you have to look hundreds and thousands of years into the future?
It definitely allows for flexibility. I am a huge fan of feminist science fiction. As a child I felt very isolated, as a lot of people do. I wasn’t a typical girl and possibly needed more reason than most to justify my worth. There were positive female protagonists about, but they were scarce. I found most of these in science fiction and fantasy films and novels. The possibility of creating a world in which I fitted into, was very tempting. I love Margaret Atwood, Joanna Russ and Neil Gaiman. It felt natural to set the lives of my fledgeling characters, in a place removed from my own time. It isn’t strictly science fiction, but this futuristic setting seems to fit both me and my characters. Although I probably wouldn’t really want to live there, because it’s quite a scary place and I’d die the day I arrived!
The flow chart I found seemed to fit how often readers are able to move online from character to story to other stories...But, really, how do you keep everything straight? Do you use outlines, flowcharts...or is it just like keeping track of your family and their activities? 
In terms of the timeline, it's more like the third description. I know them like they're part of my own family. I know when and where they were born and who's connected to whom. I do keep notes though, and check consistency and continuity as it's so essential. When I'm editing there have been errors which I've corrected, but usually I have lists of dates to check everything's right!
Cheryl, you've chosen to consider your work speculative fiction...obviously setting the stories far into the future must be part of that. I note that this is sometimes used to "signal a wish not to be pigeonholed," could you tell us (1) did you decide to write "speculative fiction" or did you start writing and later find that your work could be considered that genre...and (2) what caused you to conceive of your world of speculative fiction as opposed to, say, the mystery/suspense genre?
That's a good question! I think you’re right in thinking I was reluctant to be pigeon holed. I use ‘speculative fiction’ as a term, because my work isn’t strictly science fiction, or fantasy or historical. You can see all those elements. I love sewing the mythology into real life events. For example there are some real life people in the novels, such as Grace O’Malley, the pirate Queen of Rockfleet Castle. She appears occasionally, (Julie Andrews is also in the sub plot, as Alexand hero worships her, *grins*) Oliver Cromwell also makes an appearance. *Waves fists at him for being so destructive.* The history of Alexand’s world is ‘our’ present, so our own history is her history. It is an imagined future, but it isn’t traditional science fiction. There aren’t any space ships, but it is more science fiction than any other genre. Emotional fiction may be another way to describe it, maybe? There is also a humorous undertone, the novels concentrate on the lives of the characters, rather than the technology, which is why I was reluctant to label it as science fiction, but it is open to interpretation and suggestion!

Whew! This imagined future for the world is very scary! It reminded me of the old days of fighting/killing for seems, at least for this author, the future is just as grim... Still, Alexand has lived where most others have died...are the experiments different for the various prisoners or is she such an exceptional individual--a survivor..
Yes, Glenda, this imagined future is rather grim, lol. But Alexand  loves walking along the beach, as opposed to being locked in a cell. It does change her, as it would any of us, were we unfortunate enough to go through what she and Juba have. There is a biological reason for her survival, (tied into her alopecia) but I won't go into too much detail as this is mostly covered in the novels.
I note that in your character descriptions you use "partner" as opposed to spouse...Is that merely a consistency factor to allow for sexual orientation...or...does your future have "marriage" and "spouses"?
Using 'partner', was purely practical, as some of the characters have been married, whilst others haven't. In my future world there are no restrictions on same sex marriage. This is recognised as equal to heterosexual marriage. In fact Alexand has been married twice, once to a man and once to a woman. (Jarad Vijay was her husband and as you noticed in Farokh's story, Katherine De Somme was her wife (not at the same time, I must add!)


Monday, August 29, 2011

Allow Me...The Romantic Poet...

Whenever I'd like to read beautiful, romantic poetry, I turned to my friend Spencer's words... What do you think?

Allow Me

Allow my dedication
my devotion to your heart.
Allow my cravings
which arose from the start.

Allow my caresses
the churning needs I have.
Allow tender touches
to your body like a salve.

Allow my kisses
to draw you right in
to remind you of places
you've never ever been.

Allow my strummings
to raise your body's desire.
Allow my loving
to set your soul on fire.

Allow my sensations
to touch your body's pleasure
and bring on sensations
beyond your wildest measure.

Allow me to trigger
your most inner needs
as I'm learning to love you
just one of my pleads.

Del Cano 2005 Sept

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Poetry by Irving Greenfield...

Riding a local bus in Nadi, FijiImage via Wikipedia

A Little Bit In Love

Sometimes I see her on a train or bus,

not the same one.

But always with those black, blue or green eyes,

at the young man alongside of her.

Her hands flying through the air,


then wing up,

palms out to make a point.


And in me a song,

wordless but beautiful,

a melody from the past,

when we were young;

and your green eyes were filled with dancing light,

and your hands took flight.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Selected Favorite Character Sketches from Cheryl Moore!

Katherine DeSomme

Farokh Merek

Edith MehXian

Abouna Panak

These are just a few more character drawings that were outside of the group previously provided. You can click on any of these pictures to see larger sizes and the remaining collection by Cheryl at Flicker!

My very favorite of all is the one now being used to spotlight Cheryl's activities this month in the right column top of my blog! All of these are also available with stories on her blog (click title of this article to link there!).

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Final Reading: Unbound Boxes Limping Gods: Juba Apfvarzian

Unbound Boxes   

Limping Gods:

Juba Apfvarzian

By Cheryl Moore

Time Line: 4020, The Sahara Desert

Juba Apfvarzian needs to forget his past. He spends a lot of time taking drugs and drinking with his best friend and fellow drunk Alexand Merek. They met decades ago on a floating asylum ship for the criminally insane. Juba had a wife, Lucy and a son, Ayo, before he went to the asylum. When he was released, he discovered that they had both died of influenza, and he was alone. He and Alexand met up again after her release and discovered that they had a lot in common. Alexand had also lost her wife, Katherine to an unknown virus and her husband Jarad to an unbeatable war. Her son, Sam and daughter, Anastasia had been stolen when they were children. Alexand’s surviving daughter Ancille has grown up and Alexand and Juba spend a lot of their lives trying to run away from bad things. This is one of those days.
My Thoughts: Soooo, we have come to the desert to end our has been anything but "dry" in content! Like a good writer, you have left us looking toward the future...Alexand's son has been found...

Has Alexand gone off the wagon in general, or is this indeed a typical day? Is Juba the influence? Will their meeting in prison be in the first book?

I enjoyed the "bit of underwear" (or some garment) showing for Alexand... The variety of your art is interesting. How do you choose what I consider, in my lack of knowledge, line drawings, such as shown here versus the more indepth closeups such as for your characters used at the top of your pages? I must admit I was blown away by the picture I'm now using to spotlight on my blog showing Eldenath Balsara. It is simply beautiful and reflects a totally different style, it seems to me, than all your own pieces...I love the deep colors, the mysterious tone... Your artistic talent is amazing!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Reading: Unbound Boxes Limping Gods: Anastasia Merevija

Unbound Boxes   
  Limping Gods:

Anastasia Merevija

By Cheryl Moore

Time Line: 4018, Poland

Right Now! Cheryl is on vacation in Ireland! Wow!

Anastasia was stolen from her family when she was five, and forced to live as a concubine. From the age of fourteen she has produced children for the Amanojuko Lord, Ichitumbu. The Amanojuko are a race of immortals who have the ability to regenerate. They are no longer human, but Anastasia’s mother,Alexand Merek’s blood, is poison to them and can turn them into ‘What isn’t’. Amanojuko scientists are using Anastasia to attempt to find a cure for the poison in Alexand Merek’s bloodline. Anastasia has no concept of death and therefore no concept of murder. “What wasn’t” is an Amanojuko term for human and “What could be” refers to the potential for Anastasia producing an Amanojuko child. So far she has failed and her husband isn’t pleased.

Ichitumbu is an immortal, from a race of people called The Amanojuko. Chop his arm off, it’ll grow back. He is the husband of Anastasia Merevija, the abducted daughter of Alexand Merek. He spends his life moving from one country to the next, attempting to prevent Alexand and her sister Heyem, stealing Anastasia back from him.

As earlier, readers may wish to click over to Cheryl's Blog to more easily read the linked stories!

My Thoughts:

This time I've read beyond the time frame I've been following--I had to read about this man Ichitumbu who abducted his wife, Anastasia, but finds it frustrating that her mother and aunt follow/track them, wanting to free her. He is immortal, but seems afraid of them, else why should he run.

Anastasia exhibits the trait of believing what she has been told by her abductor--she believes Alexand  did not want her. I wonder whether he links their constant relocations or knows that they are constantly pursued, her mother hoping to free her.

I am intrigued by the "blood" of Alexand being poison to the immortals... I would think that both Ancilla and Anastasia carry the same blood even though Ichitumbu threatens his wife's trade for her sister. It is hard to understand her seeming(?) acceptance of her husband's constant murder of her children when they are born human

Bringing in immortality for characters is new...are they the more traditional gods like Zeus, etc., or are they more vampirish... At first I didn't understand the "paintings" that were not yet accepted...then I got it. Can you imagine repainting parts of the world? 

Questions for Cheryl:

These two stories bring in immortals...can you share a little more about this world without giving anything away from your novels? Also, the poison of this bloodline to the group...Again, not asking for you to go beyond what you can share at this time.

I must comment on your creativity and imagination...I know that anybody can "conceive" of ideas...but how do you go about taking a concept from the idea into full bloom...and then use it, as you do so well, to take that to then branch off into more and more unique and new concepts. I'm still not clear how you chose to go so far into the future and decide to "drop" your stories into different countries and times. In your novels, do you have a more traditional beginning and ending, free-standing...or will they be truly a series that will stop and force readers to wait until the next book is out to know what happens?

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