Thoughts on the wild, the weird, and the romantic from author Joy Nash

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Joy Nash is a USA Today Bestselling Author and RITA Award Finalist applauded by Booklist for her "tart wit, superbly crafted characters, and sexy, magic-steeped plots."

» Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Great summer read - Insufficient Mating Material by Rowena Cherry

Days 'till the Summer Solstice: 11

Today's treat is another Great Summer Read!

Rowena Cherry writes a fantastically witty futuristic romance series featuring a race of muscular, sexy djinn who are always ready for a fight! These single-minded macho heroes are very stubborn and thick-headed when it comes to pursuing their female djinn mates, which tends to lead them into some hilarious situations.

Insufficient Mating Material has earned a place on my keeper shelf because of its witty dialogue, laugh out loud scenes, and the very clever chess theme (hence the double-entendre of the word "mating" in the title).


Just because Tarrant-Arragon—the high handed hero of FORCED MATE—decreed that his sharp-tongued, scandalous, fashionista sister (the one who made a film of herself having sex with an unsuitable stranger) should be married does not mean that the p
lanned Royal shotgun wedding will go off without a hitch. For one thing, the "unsuitable stranger" turned out to be his greatest rival, not only for the Imperial throne, but also for Djinni-vera, the last virgin of Djinn blood royal. For another, that stranger could not be seen to survive his attempt to assassinate Crown Prince Tarrant-Arragon, so he must have a new face and identity… And the indiscreet Princess Martia-Djulia can never be told the truth.

Chapter One

Tigron Empire of the Djinn
Ark Imperial, Operating Theater

Damn them! Prince Djetthro-Jason eyed the masked males and the unpleasant array of implements they were preparing to use on him. He hadn't told them every damn thing, and he wasn't about to. No way was he going to invite anyone to take a laser to his privates.

Ahhh, Fewmet! The "battlefield analgesia" was wearing off. During the duel, which he'd begun as Commander Jason and ended—defeated—as Prince Djetthro-Jason, he'd felt almost no pain despite the damage that Prince Tarrant-Arragon had inflicted.

Now, his massively bruised thigh throbbed heavily, his neck muscles ached, and his jaw… it hurt even to think about his jaw. Perhaps worse—but less so by the moment—was the damage to his alpha-male machismo as he lay strapped down, stark naked in the Ark Imperial's operating theater, preparing his mind for surgery without anesthetic. Also for "the fate worse than death" which was to come.

If Tarrant-Arragon had observed Great Djinn tradition, the duel they had fought less than an hour ago ought to have been to the death.

Why had Tarrant-Arragon not killed him? To the victor went the Empire, the Ark Imperial, and gods-Right to any female he wanted. Although Tarrant-Arragon had crippled his leg and shattered his jaw, he should have fought on. Why hadn't he? What was left for him?

What indeed? He, Djetth—as he'd call himself for short from now on, since he couldn't go back to using any of his former aliases—was to be the Great Djinn equivalent of a broken thoroughbred stallion put out to stud. He had no illusions about why Tarrant-Arragon had made an excuse not to finish off his younger rival.

The Great Djinn were nearly extinct. In twenty years' time, Tarrant-Arragon's and Djinni-vera's children would need true-Djinn mates, all entitled to the silent D- prefix to their royal Djinn names. That's why!

When the "fate worse than death" had been spelled out, it had been sheer bravado to mumble that he wanted to marry Princess Martia-Djulia.

Maybe he did. Maybe he didn't.

Maybe he still wanted Djinni-vera, who'd been the last Djinn virgin in all the Communicating Worlds—and beyond—and betrothed to him, until Tarrant-Arragon abducted her by force and took her virginity.

What consolation would it be to have Tarrant-Arragon's sexy, fashionista bitch of a sister in his power and in his bed?

Djetth winced at the savagery of his thoughts about Martia-Djulia. Shards of pain shot along his broken jawline. Hell's Teeth! If he and Martia-Djulia were going to make a go of it, she'd have to have a shorter name. Maybe Marsh. Or Jewel….

"Well, Djetthro-Jason, are you ready to be carved up for your new identity and your new life as my little sister's glorified love slave?"

From somewhere out of Djetth's line of sight, Tarrant-Arragon taunted him, stressing the part of Djetth's real name that he'd used until his cover as "Commander Jason" was blown and he was overpowered and arrested.

Djetth did not turn his head. The pain in his face and head was intolerable enough without moving.

"Ahhh, I do believe that Our Imperial surgeons are ready to take out that distinctive jagged scar on your cheek," Tarrant-Arragon crooned. "And screw up your jaw."

What else might they do while he was under the laser and the knife? While his face was open, might they carve out a sensory gland or two? Implant a tracking device? Use his broken jaw as an excuse to weld a mask over his head?

Prince Djetthro-Jason would be a latter day 'Man In The Iron Mask' if they realized how closely he resembled Crown Prince Tarrant-Arragon. Which he would, without his scars, his colorful contact lenses and his long, blond-dyed hair.

Djetth glanced at the treacherous, turncoat 'Rhett, who'd been his bloody useless "second" at the duel, and who was still hanging around.

What for? Damn him. 'Rhett was way too much the intergalactic statesman for his own—or anyone else's—good.

If the patient lost consciousness, Tarrant-Arragon could decide that the chances for galactic peace would be better if Djetthro-Jason were neutered… one way or another. Given the secrets 'Rhett knew, 'Rhett might agree.
"No—" Djetth groaned with the unexpected agony of trying to speak. He wanted to refuse anesthetic again. How he wished there was somebody present whom he could trust!

A door swished open.

"Does he have to be in such pain?" The cause of all the trouble spoke from the doorway. She sounded on edge, as if she felt his pain telepathically.

Djinni-vera! No longer his Djinni. By conquest, by the irrevocable exchange of vows, and finally by her own choice, she was Tarrant-Arragon's.

By All the Lechers of Antiquity, how he loved her! At that moment. For coming. Mentally Djetth qualified his thoughts. Djinni-vera might not love him now, but she was honorable to the core. Tarrant-Arragon wouldn't dare do anything dastardly in front of her.

As she glided to his surgical table, Djetth looked at her wildly, helplessly, with mute appeal, hoping that she would read his mind and help him this one last time.

Djinni-vera's amethyst eyes widened as if she had Heard him and understood. Her gaze averted, she reached out and dropped a gauzy white cloth of some sort over his monstrously inappropriate erection.

To others, her action might have looked like public modesty on her part. Djetth assumed that Djinni had read the part of his mind that was worrying about his striking tattoo that only showed up in the dark or when suitably excited.

Thank you! he thought. Please help me. Stay.

She nodded, and took his fettered hand with her undamaged left. "You've been macho about this too long, J-J. Why won't you let them put you to sleep?"

"Careful, my love," Tarrant-Arragon said, moving possessively to her side. "You can never call him J-J again. Nor any one of his damned traitor's aliases. Not J-J, not Commander Jason. Traitors cannot be seen to survive their attempts on my life. Commander Jason is officially dead, and everyone—including Martia-Djulia—must believe it. From this day forward, he's Prince Djetthro-Jason."

"What a mouthful…" Djinni began, then her changing expression told him that she must have read a thought-pun he couldn't resist. "Djetth!"

She frowned sternly.

"I know you Great Djinn males can't help thinking of sex all the time. But, it's not helpful. As long as you have your saturniid gland, you're dangerous."

Not dangerous to you, kid. You won't ovulate while you're pregnant, and probably not for a while after that, he thought back at her.

Her mouth twisted in a wry smile.

"You'd be safer if you let them remove it."

Some aspects of Royal Djinn maleness one would rather die than surrender, he rejoined, hoping she would not read his darker thoughts.

"Martia-Djulia would be better off if you couldn't have the rut-rage again, too…." As she spoke, Djinni tossed her head as if shaking off a bothersome fly.

Djetth wondered if Djinni had unexpectedly Channeled someone else's reasoning. Djinni couldn't possibly know how savagely Martia-Djulia liked to be served in bed.

"I saw Palace footage of you having the rut-rage with Martia-Djulia." The little mind-reader's voice rose in protest at the thought he hadn't meant her to sense.

You saw? You saw what, exactly? His thought question was a ploy to distract her from the rut-rage, but no sooner had he asked than he dreaded how detailed her reply might be.

"What you might expect, given that the camera was behind a mirrored ceiling, and you were on top," she retorted, keeping his tattoo a secret. "Tarrant-Arragon fast-forwarded you, because you went at it so long."

"Not that long," Tarrant-Arragon murmured maliciously, probably to remind them that he was listening to Djinni's half of the conversation.

"Long enough," Djinni said. "Djetth, you might already be a father."

"Granted, that is remotely possible," Tarrant-Arragon sneered while appearing to examine a wicked looking lancet. "Let's hope you weren't that thorough, Djetthro-Jason, or your firstborn would have to be—and remain—a bastard. Unfortunately, my slack-wit of a sister can't keep a secret. If Martia-Djulia thinks Commander Jason got her pregnant, the rumor will be all over Court before we get home, and before she hears that her lover is dead."

Djetth felt an inexplicable distress at the idea that he could never claim this theoretically possible child as his own.

"Shall we begin?" Tarrant-Arragon's too perceptive eyes ranged over Djetth's body, lingering for an instant on the cloth covering his penis. Not for the first time in his life, Djetth thanked the Great Originator that Tarrant-Arragon had lost the power to read minds.

"I am staying with him," Djinni announced, gripping his hand tightly.

Djetth was careful not to wrap his fingers around hers or to respond to Djinni's comforting touch in any discernable way. Touching the Heir Apparent's Mate was yet another act of Treason punishable by death.

"Very well, my love. You may stay as long as you keep your gaze on his face." Tarrant-Arragon's lips curled into a sneer. He had certainly noticed the hand-holding.

"Djetthro-Jason, I'll ask you for the last time: Have you declared every identifying mark on your body that my sister might recognize? Every scar…?"

"Yes!" Djetth snarled back, one eye on Djinni to see whether her face betrayed his lie.

Head turned, distracted by Djinni and the explosion of pain in his face from speaking aloud, Djetth forgot that his neck was exposed where 'Rhett could reach it.

He felt a cold, numbing touch of 'Rhett's fingers on his most vital acu-pressure point, strove to turn his head, and couldn't.

'Rhett was using Djinncraft on him! Damn 'Rhett and his secret agendas!

The growing paralysis had not yet reached Djetth's eyes. As his vision dimmed, his desperate gaze met the cool green, inscrutable eyes of his bastard cousin and half-brother, 'Rhett.

He'd be lucky to wake up with a new face, a new and dangerous identity. If he woke up.

Find out more about Rowena's sexy djinn at

Don't forget!!
This week's prizes: Comment on any post from today, Monday June 8st, through Sunday June14th for a chance to win one of two new prizes:

  • Any Immortals title by Joy Nash: Immortals: The Awakening, Immortals: The Crossing, or Immortals: The Reckoning (anthology)
  • Insufficient Mating Material by Rowena Cherry
  • And one former prize! - Dina, who won Angie Fox's two book set last week has told me she already owns Angie's first book, An Accidental Demonslayer - and would like to offer another reader the chance to win. (Isn't she a sweetie?) So post this week and you might win An Accidental Demonslayer, too!

The three winners will be chosen at random and posted on Monday June 15.

Good luck!

Joy Nash

Available NOW!

A Little Light Magic

Summer at the Jersey Shore has never been so hot!

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Blogger Rowena Cherry said...

Thank you for the hospitality, Joy. I wonder if I may ask a question?

For authors, do you feel pressured to write about sexual positions or situations that you've never tried? And if so, does it concern you that your readers may assume you've done in depth research?

For readers, do you find love scenes with one (consenting) woman and more than one man too much of a good thing?

1:08 PM  
Blogger Cathy M said...

Hi Rowena, I don't mind a menage at all, as long as it makes sense for the characters and is part of a well written story.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Rowena Cherry said...

All right, Cathy!!! Thank you for answering.

I have difficulty imagining how being part of "a sandwich" could ever be a comfortable thing, especially if the guys were different heights.

Taking turns would probably be far more mainstream... do you think?

3:04 PM  
Blogger flip said...

Would have no problem with the threesome as long as there wasn't any action between the two men.

3:26 PM  
Blogger Rowena Cherry said...

Oh, Flip! My eyes are streaming with tears of mirth.

I remember Liddy Midnight and Janet Miller wrote an excellent paranormal called Rogues, and you probably would have had a problem with that. The two men were an established couple (one was a Vampire), they wanted a dog but accidentally acquired a female werewolf. The scenes involving the application of vaseline were tastefully handled...

But I wouldn't want to write about that because I really couldn't face the research. Or my family.

My comfort level would probably involve some heavy chains to separate the guys (from each other)

3:47 PM  
Blogger Estella said...

Not my cuppa tea!

3:57 PM  
Blogger Rowena Cherry said...

What isn't, Estella?

The chains?
Guys who need to be separated?
More than two people in one bedroom.

This is exactly what I need to know, because I often wonder how good a grasp one has of what is likely to be considered the right heat level in nine or ten months' time.

4:18 PM  
Blogger Joy Nash said...

LOL, Rowena, we can always count on you not to shy away from the tough questions!!

As an author, I don't feel pressured to write the love scenes any certain way. The chemistry between the characters will let me know what they want to do!

5:07 PM  
Blogger housemouse88 said...

Hello Rowena,

Thank you for a great look at your work. Have a wonderful day.

6:14 PM  
Blogger Rowena Cherry said...

Thank you, Joy. I hasten to assure all comers that my first four works (Forced Mate, Mating Net, Insufficient Mating Material, and Knight's Fork) are all traditional romances involving one alpha male and one spirited female, and they end up happily married.

However, I was flabbergasted to hear that menages-a-trois are hot stuff and not unwelcome at at least one, non-erotica publishing house.

8:25 PM  
Blogger WK said...

sounds interesting.


10:26 PM  
Blogger RowenaBCherry said...

WK... I don't mean to say that a writer can skip the traditional happy ending for two, but the rules have relaxed about premarital fidelity.

I may be able to sell Mating Net to New York in five more years' time!

10:33 PM  
Blogger Gabby-Lily Raines said...

As a reader, having a menage scene (or however many would be in the book), wouldn't be my first choice. That's simply a personal choice and I respect that there are those who do like them.

However, I wouldn't entirely rule out having those kinds of scenes in my reading material so long as:
1. They were right for the story
2. Handled well.

10:38 PM  
Blogger Rie Sheridan Rose said...

I stick to positions I can research with the aid of my more than willing husband for my erotic ventures. ;)

10:44 PM  
Blogger Rowena Cherry said...

Thank you, Y. Bressani. I agree with you and Cathy M. Any love scene has to be well written, in character for the participants, and it has to advance the plot.

Oh, the troubles our characters can get into!

10:48 PM  
Blogger Rowena Cherry said...

Hey, Rie! Thank you for your comment and very sensible opinion.

My husband was less than willing to act out the cover scene for Insufficient Mating Material (the sea was very cold).

10:51 PM  
Blogger darbyscloset said...

Oh Joy, Loving it and thanks for sharing!!!
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

11:57 PM  
Blogger Pissenlit said...

I absolutely positively love the title, "Insufficient Mating Material"!!

As for the reader's question, ya, I tend to find one woman and more than one man does seem a bit too much of a good thing. Seems to me the nice woman should maybe share. ;)

1:31 AM  
Blogger RowenaBCherry said...

Thank you for the compliment. I love the title "Insufficient Mating Material" too.

It's a chess term, but it sounds wonderfully uppercrust... and reminds me of David Niven's famous remark about "shortcomings" when a streaker invaded the stage of some prestigious award ceremony.

7:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Traditional couples tend to be my cup of tea for reading. I realize there is more out there, but not of interest for me. I have read a few and didn't find them all that enjoyable.
The excerpt was interesting. Hard to shift gears and get into the rhythm of a new world/society. Was just starting to get the feel for it. Obviously, it would help to read the series from the beginning. Sounds good.

9:47 PM  
Blogger Raonaid Luckwell said...

Honestly? There has to be a strong story-line, and most definitely have to have a strong chemistry between the female and more than one males.

I have a lot of friends who are into the yaoi scenes, and often try their hand at that, so I'm totally comfortable reading if the men get a little more action.

11:19 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I enjoyed the excerpt and would love to read this series. In answer to the readers question: I don't mind an extra man in the mix with one man, one woman as long as the story warrants it.

11:45 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Personally, I am more traditional in my reading. I like a good story, characters, and dialogue regardless of the genre.

1:03 AM  
Blogger Rowena Cherry said...


Thank you very much for the kind comment.

I'm traditional in my own reading tastes, in fact, my all time favorite author (for Romance) is Georgette Heyer. In fact, later today I intend to raid my local library to see if they have a copy of False Colours which I think was the book where the heroes were identical twins.

Traditionally, identical twins may confuse the heroine, but they tend to find sisters to marry.


I haven't heard of yaoi before, and am off to Google the term. Thank you for adding to my vocabulary!


Hi! Waving. My thinking is that a story certainly must warrant any situation, but often, a writer never knows until she's drafted the entire book if the characters go along smoothly with the original plan (so it's good to know in advance which roads cannot under any circumstance be taken, and which could.)

Thank you for the very helpful feedback. I often find that characters come alive (for me) when I capture their dialogue on paper. Sometimes, I'm surprised... a hero might turn out to be much more conservative once he opens his mouth.

9:45 AM  
Blogger Raonaid Luckwell said...

Heheh Rowena. It's a Japanese animation term. I'm so use to using it for that kind of pairing.

8:59 PM  
Blogger CherylS22 said...

I, also, am a traditional kind of reader. I prefer thrillers, romance, historical fiction.

Thanks for the excerpt!

10:55 AM  
Blogger Rowena Cherry said...

Thank you for explaining, Raonaid. I used to quite enjoy some of the Japanese anime shows, especially Yu-gi-oh.

Being me, I liked the villain with the false eyeball.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Rowena Cherry said...

Thank you, Cheryl!

11:38 AM  
Blogger Rowena Cherry said...

Congratulations to PhyllisC. I see the results are up.

6:43 AM  

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