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First episode in the series of Cherry's adventures set in the heart of the San Francisco art and cultural renaissance.

Let me tell you a bit about how I got here.

Back around 1999, I got the first whiff of what blogging was going to do for innovative writers. That’s when I started putting together the pieces of “Cherry Tales” with the idea of publishing short-short novels in an ongoing series about local culture, that could be accessed digitally. What it's turned into is sort of like “Tales of the City,” only with more dissent, a different economy, and bigger boots. And by a female author.

The first episode in Cherry Tales is called "Grow Time." This Kickstarter project produces the episode, funds editing, formatting, design and art, and publishes it first in digital format, then as a print book. (If we go over the goal, Cherry and I will tromp right on into the next episodes -- see “Rollover Points.”) Heck, if there's enough interest, we'll start working on an app for Cherry. Oh, the places we'll go!

In the episode “Grow Time,” Cherry McClay lives alone in a converted warehouse on a waterway in San Rafael, California. She’s sorting out being single again while she pursues a heartfelt cause: educating the world about the role of industrial hemp for a thriving American-goods economy. That job is harder than it looks, as she discovers a collective consciousness fast asleep, in a logic-defying stupor induced by ladder-climbing politicos way back in the 1930s. Cherry hopes her skills as a statistical writer will be able to break through the cloud of misinformation. If that doesn't work, she's got a few other tricks up her sleeve.

In the course of ongoing episodes of “Cherry Tales,” readers travel through local art communities, hang out in waterfront cafes, see private beaches, mansions and cabins, bounce around in boats on the bay, see how the '60s affected Cherry’s parents and her childhood, and learn how secrets turn life inside out.

Rewards Note: Since this episode has a lot to do with hemp as fabric, fuel and food (as opposed to its close relative, pot, which hemp is not), the finest rewards are made of 100% pure, soft, strong, amazing hemp linen. The T-shirt rewards come in two versions: One reflects the art for the whole series (images coming soon!), and the other shows quotes from the 1938 Popular Mechanics, when hemp was being pushed by the U.S. government as "the new billion dollar crop."

PRINT BOOK REWARDS NOTE: Here's the deal. These are micronovels, so they're all going to be under 100 pages. What I want to do is offer them in print in "batches." That means I'll create print versions that contain three of the micronovels, or maybe four or five. The print copy offered as a reward is a special edition and the only time I'm planning to print one episode on its own. It is the Kickstarter Edition of Cherry Tales. There will be copies for backers and just a handful beyond that, so get 'em while you can!

What else can happen in this Kickstarter:

Check out the Rollover Points! Here's what will happen if our campaign goes over. Every $2500 increment will allow me to produce the next episode in Cherry Tales, slated for publishing every two months or so. Awesome!! And if the campaign goes over $20,000.00, meaning I'll be into the seventh or eighth episode, I will also have a smartphone app made so you can click right into the stories from your seat on the ferry, train, biplane, bus or BART.

Want to see more about Cherry? You can read a passage from "Body Rust," when Cherry was doing her thing on the Sonoma county coast. Come over to the Cherry Tales site for more about that: Cherry Tales

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    6 backers

    Thank you for being the shiny seeds of this project. For you, a copy of GROW TIME via PDF, hot off the digital presses, the day it becomes available, plus your name permanently engraved on the Cherry Tales website Acknowledgments page.

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    4 backers

    Now we're cookin'! You receive the PDF of GROW TIME, website Acknowledgment, plus a thank-you card in the mail (yes! mail!) that contains Cherry McClay's favorite recipe. You can cook it for the holidays! The card should arrive around December 20th.

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    3 backers

    What do you call it when sprouts start to show their first little green leafy bits? YOU. I've added this special reward for excited readers who really want the print book. So you'll receive the PDF and a signed copy of the very-limited-edition GROW TIME in print, with, of course, your name on the Acknowledgments page. growgrowgrowgrowgrow!

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    4 backers Limited (21 left of 25)

    Flower Level! For your generous flowery pledge, your choice of two T-shirt designs (you'll see them here soon!), plus a signed print copy of GROW TIME (the Limited Edition for this first episode!) with your name listed on the Acknowledgments page. Yes: PDF, signed print book, and a T-Shirt. Expected print delivery around the end of February 2012.

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    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    When Cherry has her way, rope is made of hemp. You are the ropes that secure our boat to the dock, and to thank you for your generosity, YOU get to NAME A STREET OR PARK in Cherry Tales! Allow me to grant you everything described for Flowers, in addition to the fun of seeing your name-of-choice in the series.

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    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    GIANT ROPES, you are super-ply, pure hemp. You are Rope's rope. We salute you from the foredeck, hands on our hearts. For you: A comment by a character in Cherry Tales, taking notice of YOUR PRESENCE IN A SCENE. Along with everything in Flower level. You are amazing.

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    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    SAILS: You help drive Cherry's story across the seas. The treasure chest opens for you. Inside, you'll find everything in Flower level, plus an extra signed print copy, and -- what's this here? Wow, it's a beautiful, handmade hemp poet's shirt. Feel it, it's sumptuous! That's right, for you, O Sails of Cherry Tales. Since the poet's shirts are handmade, give us a few weeks to get your specs and make it perfect. And thank you. So, so much.

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    SAILS: Here we have the Genoa. The giant sail of the ship, assuring Cherry's story will reach every shore no matter how light the winds. You are Godspeed. For you, everything in the Captain's quarters. (Except the maid.) Yes, you also receive the handmade hemp poet's shirt, AND: A conversation with you worked into a scene in Cherry Tales. We'll talk about how that works in the updates. For now, just think about sinking your hands into the strong-and-soft texture as you experience your own hemp poet's shirt. And sleep deep, and dream well. You deserve it.

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