Sunday, September 28, 2008

Knight's Fork

As I've said before, I go to a lot of trouble with my research.

For instance, for Knight's Fork (the virtuous hero has to unearth an alien skeleton on earth, but wants to do everything legally, with the utmost respect and good taste, and by the book) so I found myself filling out Exhumation 'Rhett's point of view, and talking with coroners, ministry officials, archbishop's assistants, funeral directors and persons who specialize in the intercontinental transport of remains.

(I blogged about this when writing the scene).

While I was working on the logistics of how to repatriate alien remains to an empire far far away, I couldn't help thinking of the Star Trek movie where Captain Kirk simply beamed up a whale.

I don't do "beam me up!"

Apparently, before an exhumation license is granted, the applicant has to attest where the body is to be reinterred. Of someone intends to transport a coffin by air, (perhaps because the entire family has emigrated) then the applicant has to submit a letter from the receiving funeral director in the host country, and also a letter from the airline.

Moreover, it cannot be some fly-by-night airline. It would not do to turn in a letter from Captain James T. Kirk on USS Enterprise letterhead stating that the Enterprise had been engaged to transport the remains from Luton Airport to the Pleasure Moon of Eurydyce.

Quite often, if something seems implausible or ridiculous in my books, it is because it's true that truth is stranger than fiction.

Most of this scene fragment got cut from the book.


'Rhett sat at a table, and rubbed his chin with the loosely curled forefinger of his right hand. "This is more difficult than I thought, Grievous," he admitted.

"Forms, are they, Sir? I never was much of a one for that sort of thing. Can't help you out, there."

"What I have here, is an Application for a licence for the removal of buried human remains (including cremated remains) in England & Wales, from One Of Her Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State in the Ministry Of Justice, and I am endeavouring to fill it out truthfully."

"So, where are you, Sir?"

"Full name of applicant."

"That should be easy enough, shouldn't it?"

"One would think so, Grievous. However, my 'full name' is Djarrhett Raven Perseus Pendragon Roland Djames Djinnmagister. If I write really small, I could fit all my names into the box, but should I?"

"Probably not, Sir. Someone is probably going to have to copy all that on a typewriter, if not one of those super duper new word processing gizmos. They're never going to spell your names right. The spell checker will have a fit."

"I doubt that I can avoid the problem. Selecting just three would be less startling, but if only three, which middle name should one choose?"

"How about being Rhett Roland Jinnmagister. Just cut out the apostrophes, and all the silent D's. They'll only cause confusion and expose you to the risks of being misfiled and lost. What's next?"

"I'm going to have to go with whatever spelling is on the death certificates. Next is 'Title'. Which one should I select? Prince?"

"As I recall, that's bogus! You might as well go for Great Djinn and lesser god?"

"That would be truthful, but unwise to tell humans so. Leviathan, Saurian Knight? That would arouse suspicion. No doubt, Mr. would be the stealthy choice. Sometimes an alien is obliged to lie for the protection of the person reading the form."

"Death certificates!" Grievous slapped his forehead with his open palm. "We're sunk. What are you going to do about that, Sir? When I took inventory, I don't recall seeing that sort of thing."

'Rhett looked up with a grin. "We kept a couple of safety deposit boxes…"

"It's been nine months. They might have been opened."

"Have you never heard of a standing order, Grievous? Bank fees are the least of our worries."


"Credit Suisse. A Swiss bank. Also Lloyds. And Coutts."

Grievous whistled.

"Grandmama Hell was –and is—and exceedingly good card player." 'Rhett spread his hands, "Now, I have to provide a 'Full address'. Also a telephone number."

"Where will you stay? I dare say all the red tape will take a while?"

"Anything from 20 days to three months."

"You can get a passport done in a day, if you don't mind kicking your heels. Maybe you should deliver your forms in person."

Grievous looked him over, with the assessing eye of a Savile Row tailor. "A dark suit would suit you, white shirt, Windsor knot to your tie---a nice wide one, I should think. Look here, Sir, did you see Star Wars. With your Djinncraft business could you
wave a gentle hand like Obi-Wan Kenobi and murmur "This is plausible." That sort of trick could speed things along very nicely, I dare say."

Knight's Fork will probably come out of bookstore back rooms on Monday night. Meanwhile, Linnea has come through for me with a lovely quote.

I'm so thrilled, that I'd love to share it here:

“Another wacky and wicked romantic romp from the talented keyboard of Rowena Cherry! With her trademark droll humor, she attacks intergalactic politics, sets up a sizzling romance and throws in a colorful—and memorable—cast of characters that rivals the best that Monty Python ever produced. A wonderfully fun read.”
~Linnea Sinclair, RITA® award winning author of SHADES OF DARK

I'm in the middle of a blog tour, and producing a radio special in honor of Sea Otter Awareness week in about four hours' time.

Please look out for me on star_crossedromance, also on BittenByBooks, and on Melissa Schroeder's blogspot blog. All tomorrow.

Best wishes,

Rowena Cherry

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