Must Have Experience Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedExcerpt from my newly released STAR CRUISE: MYSTERY DANCER, my Sectors novel in the Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3 anthology! The story has a definite ‘Anastasia’ vibe…

Here’s the link to the Weekend Writing Warriors central page, so you can visit all the participants sharing excerpts today…a fun way to sample new books and find new authors! (Also welcome to the Sunday Snippet visitors!)

Punctuation may be wonky to comply with our guidelines here. May be edited a bit from published version.

The excerpt – Broke and alone, Tassia is on the run from assassins and has asked her genie-like companion for a way off the planet.: 

She flinched against the padded seat as a vision thudded into her head. She saw the announcement board at the neighborhood dance studio, and as she held her breath, the vision focused in on one message in particular. She’d paid it no attention at all earlier in the evening.

Nebula Zephyr Comettes seeking fill in dancers for cruise to Dyenbachar Five – All expenses paid, union salary, must have experience.

The open auditions were tomorrow morning, in a hotel complex adjacent to the spaceport.

Could escape be that easy? But what did she know about dancing for a popular revue? Her training was classical, with odd bits of folk dance acquired over the years.

As the robo cab deposited her outside the bustling spaceport, Tassia clutched her backpack with trembling hands, determination putting steel into her frame. If the audition announcement was what the vision had shown her, this was her only chance, success not guaranteed.

Embrace_the_passion_Pets_in_space3_pauline_Baird_jonesSTAR CRUISE: MYSTERY DANCER blurb:  Tassia Megg is a woman on the run after the death of her elderly guardian. Her search to get off the planet in a hurry comes when chance directs her to an open dance audition for the luxury cruise liner Nebula Zephyr’s resident troupe. If there is one thing Tassia can do, it is dance!

Security Officer Liam Austin is suspicious of the newest performer to join the Comettes. She shows all the signs of being a woman on the run and seems to fit the Sectors-wide broadcast description of a missing thief, accused of stealing priceless artifacts. As he gets to know Tassia during the cruise, he starts to wonder if she’s something more – a long vanished princess in hiding from deadly political enemies of her family perhaps? And what’s the story with the three-eyed feline companion other crew members swear Tassia brought aboard the ship? Does the animal even exist?

As the ship approaches its next port of call, all the issues come to a boil and Liam must decide if he’ll step in to help Tassia or betray her. Life is about to get very interesting aboard the Nebula Zephyr as Liam tries to uncover the truth. Could F’rrh, the peculiar alien cat he has been hearing about, be the key to the mystery and Tassia’s fate?

Anthology Blurb:

Pets in Space™ is back! Join us as we unveil eleven original, never-before-published action-filled romances that will heat your blood and warm your heart! New York Times, USA Today and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, Anna Hackett, Ruby Lionsdrake, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Carol Van Natta, Tiffany Roberts, Alexis Glynn Latner, E D Walker, JC Hay, and Kyndra Hatch combine their love for Science Fiction Romance and pets to bring readers sexy, action-packed romances while helping our favorite charity. Proud supporters of Hero-Dogs.org, Pets in Space™ authors have donated over $4,400 in the past two years to help place specially trained dogs with veterans. Open your hearts and grab your limited release copy of Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space™ 3 today!

Amazon     iBooks     B&N    Kobo     Google

Long lost Princess 'Anastasiaof the Stars_ Or an imposter _

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Is She the #Scifi Anastasia? STAR CRUISE MYSTERY DANCER

Woman in waving dress as a flame dancing with flying fabric. Dar

DepositPhoto

Adapted from a blog post I wrote this week for Pauline Baird Jones’s blog on “Why I Wrote Star Cruise: Mystery Dancer”, which is my latest 41K Sectors scifi romance novel in the just released PETS IN SPACE 3 anthology.

I love going back to revisit my interstellar cruise liner, the Nebula Dream, for these PISA stories, as the ship cruises through the futuristic human civilization known as The Sectors.  I’ve written a number of books and novellas centered on events aboard the ship now and find the whole cruise setup lends itself to telling a good scifi romance adventure tale. Readers new to my world don’t need to know a lot of backstory to enjoy the events, and for those who have read others in the series, it’s a nice return to see some favorite characters (I hope!).

Oval lacquered black Russian casket painted with troyka horses isolated

DepositPhoto

I started with the concept of the pet because that drives my plot for these PISA adventures. For some reason I kept seeing a mental picture of a Siamese cat, but with a third eye. I thought a Siamese cat would be fairly easy and interesting for our talented artist Nyssa Juneau to turn into an alien feline. But I’ve done a cat and a catlike alien before, for PISA1, although Midorri, the alien pet there actually is kind of a cross between a red panda and a tribble who acts like a cat. So I wanted something very different and I started thinking about what if the cat wasn’t actually a real animal at all? I ended up making F’rrh a ‘jenfellini’, which is something like a genie, living in a beautiful lacquered box. Visualize the gorgeous painted boxes that come from Russia.

Then, the tenuous link to Russia reminded me of the whole tragic story of the last Tsar and his family, and how they were murdered 100 years ago, this year. Rumors always persisted one of the children might have survived. From Wikipedia:

anastasiaThe youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, the last sovereign of Imperial Russia, and his wife, Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna.

Anastasia was the younger sister of Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, and Maria, and was the elder sister of Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of Russia. She was murdered with her family by members of the Cheka, the Bolshevik secret police, in Yekaterinburg on July 17, 1918.

Persistent rumors of her possible escape circulated after her death, fuelled by the fact that the location of her burial was unknown during the decades of Communist rule. The mass grave near Yekaterinburg which held the remains of the Tsar, his wife, and three of their daughters was revealed in 1991, and the bodies of Alexei Nikolaevich and the remaining daughter—either Anastasia or her older sister Maria—were discovered in 2007. Her possible survival has been conclusively disproved. Scientific analysis including DNA testing confirmed that the remains are those of the imperial family, showing that all four grand duchesses were killed in 1918.

Several women falsely claimed to have been Anastasia; the best known impostor is Anna Anderson. Anderson’s body was cremated upon her death in 1984, but DNA testing in 1994 on available pieces of Anderson’s tissue and hair showed no relation to the Romanov family.

anastasia movie posterAs Wikipedia states, various individuals claimed to be ‘Anastasia’ or another of the siblings, and of course, there have been movies and plays written with that theme, including a new TV series this year, entitled ‘The Romanovs’. I always flash back to the movie version with Yul Brynner (such an intense actor) and Ingrid Bergman because that movie was one of my mother’s favorites and also left the answer to the question of “Is she or is she not Anastasia?” somewhat open at the end. Personally, I always wanted it to be true.

My daughters loved the animated fantasy versionanastasia animated of the tale, with the voices of Meg Ryan and John Cusack, when they were growing up.

So I had the heroine – a possible princess on the run – but how could she fit into the Nebula Zephyr? Since the hero would be one of the former Special Forces soldiers who make up the ship’s security force, I had to be able to make the two interact and fall in love in a situation fraught with danger and suspicion.

I’ve wanted to do a story about the Comettes dance troupe which performs aboard the cruise liners since I wrote my very first published scifi romance, the award winning Wreck of the Nebula Dream (a sister ship of sorts to the one I write about nowadays). Dancing is a skill a maybe princess might have at a high level, right? So let her be a new member of the ship’s dancers….throw in a fabulous jewel and we have the PISA3 story!

Here’s an excerpt when Tassia begins to tell her tale to Liam, after some very distressing and dangerous events on the ship, involving her:

“You must have been really young at the time of—well, when your family…” Liam stammered to a halt and searched in vain for a tactful way to refer to the massacre of everyone she loved.

“I was eight.” She nodded. She hesitated before asking, “How much do you know about it?”

“I know it was something to do with an engagement? A wedding?”

“Yes, my eldest half-sister Fenna was engaged to marry the Duke of Gradmirov, a powerful and rival bloodline. It was a strategic alliance, not a love match. Even as a little girl, I understood that. Poor Fenna wept for weeks after my father decided she was the pawn.” She took a deep breath. “There was to be a reception to fete the happy couple, all of our family and all of the Duke’s relatives and retainers attending.”

Liam was concerned about Tassia, how pale she was, coping with the memories. He wasn’t sure this discussion was a good idea, but he kept silent as she continued her account.

“My father had multiple wives, you understand, which was allowed at the time on Ruatsar, and quite a few children. I was one of the youngest. I’d been at dance class, I think, but I was late to the gathering so I decided to slip in by a side door and brazen it out with anyone who questioned whether I’d been there the whole time.” She was quiet for a moment, eyes locked on visions from the past where he couldn’t reach her. “The entire family was dressed up, to do honor to the guests. I had on my finest white dress, with three petticoats and the badges of my rank on a sash, a blue sash. Matching blue shoes with shiny buckles.” Her fingers touched her shoulder as if to finger the long lost brooches once more. “I was just inside the room, only a few steps from the service door, when Gradmirov pulled out a weapon and shot my father at point blank range, then my sister Fenna. His guards targeted our guards and more of his men swept into the room, shooting and stabbing. The screaming was terrible, the blood…” Her voice trailed off, and Liam hugged her. “I saw my mother fall, her throat cut—”

“You don’t have to tell me.” He kissed her forehead gently.

Tassia looked at him, her eyes unfocused at first as if her gaze was directed inward, at the mental pictures she was describing and blinked. “I’ve never told anyone the whole story. I—I’d like to tell you.”

He locked his arms tight around her. “Then I’ll listen. You’re safe here, now, with me. Not there.” Liam’s anger at the monsters who’d slaughtered an entire family was a vicious beast clawing at his gut, but there was no one to kill for her. All he could do was listen and shelter her in the here and now.

“I hid behind a vase taller than I was, but a man ran at me, his face all contorted, like a demon in an old temple painting. I screamed and backed away, but he struck at me with his sword.” She touched one hand to her head gingerly, as if the physical pain throbbed to this day. “The scar is under my hair. We found out later I’d been shot as well, a flesh wound to the arm. My dress was all red. I don’t remember everything. Large chunks of time are blank. I get flashes of memory.”

A blank memory is a blessing. Listening to her, her voice eerie as if she was watching a trideo and narrating the events, he wanted to shield her from all the adverse things in the universe, to take her pain away. But he couldn’t touch this agony.

“Somehow I got out of the room, and I ran to my own bedroom. I hid under the bed. Xandrina’s adult niece was my maid, and she came in, I think intending to steal some of my things in the confusion. But, as a scared child, I didn’t realize larceny was her purpose, so I cried out to her for help. I believed she was searching for me. She was a known, friendly face. I give her credit, she threw another dress over my head, told me to be quiet, swept my shelves clean of my collection of the dragizi, the little jewel encrusted miniatures, putting them in a laundry bag, and took me through a servants’ hallway to her mother’s suite in the far wing. Madame Xandrina bandaged my head wound with scarves.” Tassia smiled. “Beautiful scarves my mother had given her at various times. I remember arguing with her that I’d ruin them with the blood. She told me to hush then she said we were going to go far away from Ruatsar so no one could hurt me ever again.”

Jaw clenched, he reflected on the terrible scenes she’d witnessed and the turn of fate that had saved her life when so many died. “Seven hells, what you endured—”

“Oh, there’s more.”

But is she who she says she is, or someone else who was there? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

Embrace_the_passion_Pets_in_space3_pauline_Baird_jonesThe anthology blurb: Pets in Space™ is back! Join us as we unveil eleven original, never-before-published action-filled romances that will heat your blood and warm your heart! New York Times, USA Today and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, Anna Hackett, Ruby Lionsdrake, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Carol Van Natta, Tiffany Roberts, Alexis Glynn Latner, E D Walker, JC Hay, and Kyndra Hatch combine their love for Science Fiction Romance and pets to bring readers sexy, action-packed romances while helping our favorite charity. Proud supporters of Hero-Dogs.org, Pets in Space™ authors have donated over $4,400 in the past two years to help place specially trained dogs with veterans. Open your hearts and grab your limited release copy of Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space™ 3 today!

STAR CRUISE: MYSTERY DANCER blurb:  Tassia Megg is a woman on the run after the death of her elderly guardian. Her search to get off the planet in a hurry comes when chance directs her to an open dance audition for the luxury cruise liner Nebula Zephyr’s resident troupe. If there is one thing Tassia can do, it is dance!

Security Officer Liam Austin is suspicious of the newest performer to join the Comettes. She shows all the signs of being a woman on the run and seems to fit the Sectors-wide broadcast description of a missing thief, accused of stealing priceless artifacts. As he gets to know Tassia during the cruise, he starts to wonder if she’s something more – a long vanished princess in hiding from deadly political enemies of her family perhaps? And what’s the story with the three-eyed feline companion other crew members swear Tassia brought aboard the ship? Does the animal even exist?

As the ship approaches its next port of call, all the issues come to a boil and Liam must decide if he’ll step in to help Tassia or betray her. Life is about to get very interesting aboard the Nebula Zephyr as Liam tries to uncover the truth. Could F’rrh, the peculiar alien cat he has been hearing about, be the key to the mystery and Tassia’s fate?

Amazon     iBooks     B&N    Kobo     Google

 

How To Get Off the Planet? Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedSwitching to excerpts from STAR CRUISE: MYSTERY DANCER, my novel in the upcoming Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3 anthology! The story has a definite ‘Anastasia’ vibe…

Here’s the link to the Weekend Writing Warriors central page, so you can visit all the participants sharing excerpts today…a fun way to sample new books and find new authors! (Also welcome to the Sunday Snippet visitors!)

Punctuation may be wonky to comply with our guidelines here. May be edited a bit from published version.

The excerpt (Tassia’s elderly companion has been murdered, she escaped but  her problems still abound so she asks her companion F’rrh for help. F’rrh is a little like an alien genie.): 

What am I going to do? How am I going to get off this damn planet?

She had Sectors citizenship papers, as phony as could be, but perfect forgeries right down to the holo seal. Xandrina had spent the bulk of their funds on obtaining the precious documents for both of them. But their carefully hoarded credits had run out after the flight to this world cost more than expected due to enemy disruption of shipping lanes and Tassia’s ultimate destination lay many lightyears away in the next Sector, out of reach.

When she thought she was far enough from the hotel, she hailed a robo cab and headed for the spaceport. Sitting in the back of the tiny vehicle, she opened the pack a fraction, slid her hand inside and rubbed the top of the shiny, lacquered box, opening the lid a fraction. I need a way to get offworld for free.

For a moment nothing happened as she touched the box, and Tassia’s heart sank.

Embrace_the_passion_Pets_in_space3_pauline_Baird_jonesSTAR CRUISE: MYSTERY DANCER blurbTassia Megg is a woman on the run after the death of her elderly guardian. Her search to get off the planet in a hurry comes when chance directs her to an open dance audition for the luxury cruise liner Nebula Zephyr’s resident troupe. If there is one thing Tassia can do, it is dance!

Security Officer Liam Austin is suspicious of the newest performer to join the Comettes. She shows all the signs of being a woman on the run and seems to fit the Sectors-wide broadcast description of a missing thief, accused of stealing priceless artifacts. As he gets to know Tassia during the cruise, he starts to wonder if she’s something more – a long vanished princess in hiding from deadly political enemies of her family perhaps? And what’s the story with the three-eyed feline companion other crew members swear Tassia brought aboard the ship? Does the animal even exist?

As the ship approaches its next port of call, all the issues come to a boil and Liam must decide if he’ll step in to help Tassia or betray her. Life is about to get very interesting aboard the Nebula Zephyr as Liam tries to uncover the truth. Could F’rrh, the peculiar alien cat he has been hearing about, be the key to the mystery and Tassia’s fate?

Anthology Blurb:

Pets in Space™ is back! Join us as we unveil eleven original, never-before-published action-filled romances that will heat your blood and warm your heart! New York Times, USA Today and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, Anna Hackett, Ruby Lionsdrake, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Carol Van Natta, Tiffany Roberts, Alexis Glynn Latner, E D Walker, JC Hay, and Kyndra Hatch combine their love for Science Fiction Romance and pets to bring readers sexy, action-packed romances while helping our favorite charity. Proud supporters of Hero-Dogs.org, Pets in Space™ authors have donated over $4,400 in the past two years to help place specially trained dogs with veterans. Open your hearts and grab your limited release copy of Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space™ 3 today!

Amazon     iBooks     B&N    Kobo     Google

canva ad mystery dancer

Carol Van Natta Talks CATS OF WAR Pets In Space 3

Embrace_the_passion_Pets_in_space3_pauline_Baird_jonesVeronica: Always fun to talk scifi with USA Today Best Selling Author Carol Van Natta!

Carol: We writers of the stories for Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3 are a wildly inventive lot. All the stories have romances, of course, because it is a science fiction romance anthology, but they also have some very unusual pets. They play a pivotal role in causing trouble, bringing the lovers together, and/or saving the day.

In my story, CATS OF WAR, the pets are two top-secret, genetically-engineered creatures named Novo and Boz. (For more about the ethics-challenged pet-trade industry that created them, see Pet Trade, my novella from last year’s anthology.) They are mostly feline, but with enhancements, such as wings, opposable thumbs (they can operate the can opener!), and camouflage coloring. Oh, and they’re telepathic. My own home cats insist that all space opera is better with cats, and for this story, I have to agree. See the excerpt below for the human heroine’s first introduction to the cats of war.

I asked the other authors in Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3 to tell you about their story’s pets (don’t worry—no spoilers).

  • S.E. Smith: HEART OF THE CAT – Cinnamon and Spice are white Bengal tigers that were recovered from an illegal exotic animal trader. They are extremely protective of their mistress, which complicates things for my amorous hero.
  • Anna Hackett: DESERT HUNTER – Fiend is an alien canine of unknown origin. He’s big, scruffy and protective with a barbed tail to watch out for. He’s also hiding some dark secrets…
  • Ruby Lionsdrake: QUASHI — That’s the name of the species and the real start of the story. There are dozens of them in the adventure, but only Roberta gets named and does more than trill in a cage. These are like old Star Trek tribbles except they have legs, antennae, and blue fur. Favorite food? Apple slices. (BTW, Roberta is concerned that everybody else’s critter is a predator.)
  • Veronica Scott: STAR CRUISE MYSTERY DANCER: The pet is F’rrh, resembling a Siamese cat but with three eyes. F’rrh is a jenfellini, an alien spirit similar to a genie who doesn’t grant wishes but will occasionally utter a prophecy.
  • Pauline Baird Jones: OPERATION ARK: Tiger is a caticorn – he has a small horse body, but his head is a cat’s with a small, single horn in the center of his forehead. He has secrets and plays a key role in resolving a crisis in my story.
  • Alexis Glynn Latner: STARWAY – Strelka, nicknamed Star, is delicately built little dog with thick white fur. She’s a Wendisan Chivvier, the only dog breed native to the interstellar city called Wendis. Chivviers are bred to be very good at finding missing people and misplaced things.
  • E.D. Walker: THE BAJO CATS OF ANTEROS XII – I have two bajo kittens in my story. They’re brightly coloring (like a Lisa Frank illustration come to life), and they also secrete a psychotropic substance from their fur that causes some…uh, complications in my story.
  • Tiffany Roberts: HUNTER OF THE TIDE – Ikaros is a prixxir, a land and sea creature. They’re scale covered predators with sharp claws and teeth, very territorial, and are usually in packs. He’s fiercely protective of those he has bonded with and loves, who he has claimed as ‘his pack’, and will place himself in danger to defend them…despite being a pup. Prixxir are intelligent and can read body language and emotions, allowing Ikaros to be the perfect companion.
  • JC Hay: SHADOW OF THE PAST – JJ is an Umbra Wolf pup. Umbra Wolves are rendered mostly invisible when not in polarized light, and develop an empathic bond with the SpecOps soldiers they’re paired with. The wolfbond benefits both Ranger and Wolf, but carries a risk as the death of one can destroy the other as well.
  • Kyndra Hatch:  AFTER THE FALL – H’tch and K’mi are moghas, which form a one-time bond with a Korthan biped. H’tch already has his alpha master companion, but K’mi is still waiting for one when the story starts. If it were possible to get a cross between a wolf and a fox of Earth, that’s what they generally look like, except that they have long antennae sticking up from the tips of their ears with feather-like tufts on the ends. They also have retractable fingers in their front paws that help them grab and climb.

Here’s the excerpt I promised you from CATS OF WAR. Ferra, the human main character, is in a prison of sorts, working off a restitution debt. When she discovers two creatures in the pouring rain, she feels compelled to smuggle them into her cell, despite the risks. Now that they and she are temporarily safe, she discovers what she has rescued.

cvn pet

Carol’s pets, Artist Nyssa Juneau

THE EXCERPT: She closed up the lab, returned the gravcart, and walked back to her cell. She closed and locked the door behind her, just like any other evening.

The bed looked inviting, but first, she had to look after the cats. She could feel their presence in her mind, even if she couldn’t see them. She used the wallcomp to turn up the lights and darken her only window.

The female oozed out from under the bed, followed by the male.

Now that she saw them in better light, she didn’t know what she was looking at. Wide, cat-like heads and ears, with narrower muzzles, and nose flaps. Mottled dark fur with a faint rosette pattern, and folded, bat-style wings with fine downy fur. No orange stripe on the female’s wing, so that must have been a trick of the light. Their front paws had sharp-looking claws and opposable toes. Their tails were long and ovoid.

We are cats. That was the female.

We were made for war, thought the male.

Food? asked the female.

Ferra didn’t know what to do with cats designed for war, since the Central Galactic Concordance government had kept the peace across the galaxy for the last two centuries, but she could do something about food.

She reached up to the top shelf of her closet to retrieve the mealpack she’d stashed there two days ago. She triggered the heater and put it on a narrow counter that served as the cell’s desk and table to warm.

She sat on the bed and pulled off her clammy shoes and tossed them onto the drying mat by the door. “Do you have names?”

The female’s tale twitched. Yes.

Ferra laughed. The cat was just like some AIs Ferra had known, unhelpfully literal and disdainful of imprecise questions. Ferra tried again, this time forming the words in her mind and projecting them to the female cat. What is your name?

My call sign is Novo Seventeen Alpha.

I am Bozlurian Four Delta, volunteered the male.

“I’ll just call you Novo and Boz, if you don’t mind.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Read more in CATS OF WAR, one of eleven new, original stories in
Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3

10% of the first month’s profits goes to Hero-Dogs.org

Story blurb for CATS OF WAR:

A repair technician must convince a disgraced military sub-captain to help her save two special cats before trouble engulfs them all.

Military Subcaptain Kedron Tauceti counts the days until he can leave the rare metals factory and his current duty station as the liaison to the Criminal Restitution and Indenture Obligation system. The post was protection—and punishment—for exposing a theft ring in his previous assignment. He’s more than ready to get his career back on track on a new base halfway across the galaxy, even if it means leaving behind the one person who makes him want to stay. Not that he’s told her, because technically, he’s her warden.

Former financial specialist and current indenturee Ferra Barray, hiding from her past, only has three months to go on her restitution sentence. She’s lucked into a tech repair job, and If she keeps her head down, she’ll be free to figure out her future. Unfortunately, the local boss behind every illegal scheme in the facility wants her to steal for him, and she’s running out of excuses. And now the heroically handsome Tauceti, who she hoped could help, is transferring out.

Everything changes when Ferra discovers two genetically modified cats. Saving them takes incredible risks. She doesn’t know what she’ll do if she can’t convince Tauceti to take them with him and keep them until she’s free to come for them.

When trouble erupts at the factory, it might just be the cats who save them. Find out what happens in this exciting stand-alone novella from Carol Van Natta’s award-winning Central Galactic Concordance space opera series.

————————————-

Anthology Blurb for Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3

Pets in Space is back! Join us as we unveil eleven original, never-before-published action-filled romances that will heat your blood and warm your heart! New York Times, USA Today and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, Anna Hackett, Ruby Lionsdrake, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Carol Van Natta, Tiffany Roberts, Alexis Glynn Latner, E D Walker, JC Hay, and Kyndra Hatch combine their love for Science Fiction Romance and pets to bring readers sexy, action-packed romances while helping our favorite charity.

Proud supporters of Hero-Dogs.org, Pets in Space™ authors have donated over $4,400 in the past two years to help place specially trained dogs with disabled U.S. veterans and first responders.

Open your hearts and grab your limited release copy of Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3 today!

Website: https://www.petsinspaceantho.com/

Universal link: https://books2read.com/u/4Dl6XA

Direct links:

KOBO: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/embrace-the-passion-pets-in-space-3

iBOOKS: https://itunes.apple.com/mt/book/embrace-the-passion-pets-in-space-3/id1414010304?mt=11

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/S_E_Smith_Embrace_the_Passion_Pets_in_Space_3?id=JghkDwAAQBAJ

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/embrace-the-passion-se-smith/1129099896?ean=2940155751496

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FNXKQJZ

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07FNXKQJZ

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07FNXKQJZ

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07FNXKQJZ

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40237564-embrace-the-passion

cvnAbout the Author:

USA TODAY bestselling science fiction and fantasy author Carol Van Natta shares her Fort Collins, Colorado home with a resident mad scientist and various cats, all of whom would love to travel to the stars.

Accept the Reality Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedSwitching to excerpts from STAR CRUISE: MYSTERY DANCER, my novel in the upcoming Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3 anthology! The story has a definite ‘Anastasia’ vibe…

Here’s the link to the Weekend Writing Warriors central page, so you can visit all the participants sharing excerpts today…a fun way to sample new books and find new authors! (Also welcome to the Sunday Snippet visitors!)

Punctuation may be wonky to comply with our guidelines here. May be edited a bit from published version.

The excerpt: 

“The old world is gone—when will you accept the reality?” Massaging her temples as she and her companion revisited this familiar argument, Tassia couldn’t whip up much energy for the conversation, “There will never be a chance for me to become a high priestess of Normeia, much less to sit on the Fire Throne and show how I can make the magic flames dance at my command. We need to deal with what is, not what you wish would happen. The Ruatsar system doesn’t even belong to our  family any more.”

“As long as you live, the bloodline lives,” Xandrina was stubborn.

Tassia bit her lip and went to get the stew before it grew stone cold, “Here, Madame, you must have something to eat.”

Xandrina waved away the bowl impatiently with one claw-like hand, “Show me what you learned today.”

“Are you crying? Madame, what’s wrong – are you in pain?”

“Our roads part now,” the elderly woman said, sniffing, “I read the cards three times while you were at class – death approaches, for myself certainly, for us both if you don’t leave now, tonight.”

Hand shaking, Tassia set her half eaten food aside, “The Ruatsar New Regime agents found us again?”

Embrace_the_passion_Pets_in_space3_pauline_Baird_jonesSTAR CRUISE: MYSTERY DANCER blurb:  Tassia Megg is a woman on the run after the death of her elderly guardian. Her search to get off the planet in a hurry comes when chance directs her to an open dance audition for the luxury cruise liner Nebula Zephyr’s resident troupe. If there is one thing Tassia can do, it is dance!

Security Officer Liam Austin is suspicious of the newest performer to join the Comettes. She shows all the signs of being a woman on the run and seems to fit the Sectors-wide broadcast description of a missing thief, accused of stealing priceless artifacts. As he gets to know Tassia during the cruise, he starts to wonder if she’s something more – a long vanished princess in hiding from deadly political enemies of her family perhaps? And what’s the story with the three-eyed feline companion other crew members swear Tassia brought aboard the ship? Does the animal even exist?

As the ship approaches its next port of call, all the issues come to a boil and Liam must decide if he’ll step in to help Tassia or betray her. Life is about to get very interesting aboard the Nebula Zephyr as Liam tries to uncover the truth. Could F’rrh, the peculiar alien cat he has been hearing about, be the key to the mystery and Tassia’s fate?

Anthology Blurb:

Pets in Space™ is back! Join us as we unveil eleven original, never-before-published action-filled romances that will heat your blood and warm your heart! New York Times, USA Today and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, Anna Hackett, Ruby Lionsdrake, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Carol Van Natta, Tiffany Roberts, Alexis Glynn Latner, E D Walker, JC Hay, and Kyndra Hatch combine their love for Science Fiction Romance and pets to bring readers sexy, action-packed romances while helping our favorite charity. Proud supporters of Hero-Dogs.org, Pets in Space™ authors have donated over $4,400 in the past two years to help place specially trained dogs with veterans. Open your hearts and grab your limited release copy of Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space™ 3 today!

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Alexis Glynn Latner Talks FLYING THE STARLINE Pets in Space 3

Embrace_the_passion_Pets_in_space3_pauline_Baird_jonesVeronica: This is USA Today Best Selling Author Alexis’s third year to be in the Pets in Space anthology and I’m always excited to read her stories because I love her universe and she comes up with the coolest ‘pets’!

Alexis: Stories aren’t completely made up. This includes far-future science fiction romance stories. Something in the real worlds that informs the story. In my story for Pets in Space: Embrace the Romance, “Starway,” the heroine’s profession—starliner pilot—reflects what it’s like to fly airliners on Earth today. Some of the similarity is positive. Some of it, alas, is not so positive. Either way, it adds the kind of realism that makes science fiction work.

Airline pilots are very, very smart men and women with high energy levels. This describes Nikka, the heroine of “Starway,” though her work takes her across stars, not lands and seas.

The modern work of the airline pilot—they call it flying the line—depends on Crew Resource Management. The old way of running a cockpit, in which the Captain was godlike and never questioned, resulted in too much smoking wreckage. Airlines, starting with United, worked out how crews should cooperate and synthesize everyone’s knowledge and experience into the best outcome for the flight. Interestingly, something like CRM was first devised by the railroads. I can well imagine such a good idea going to the stars.

alexis pet

Alexis’s scifi pet Artist Nyssa Juneau

Unfortunately, airline cockpit crews have schedules that are brutally hard on sleep. It’s profitable to the company to do it that way. Profit conflicts with humane work conditions. This is why transportation unions—probably starting with the steamboat pilots’ guild in Mark Twain’s day—are important. The Airline Pilots’ Association has a long and embattled history of protecting pilots and passengers. Nikka doesn’t have a union on her side. What she does have is something very characteristic of pilots faced with indifferent or bad management: passive aggression honed to a sharp edge. Don’t go out of your way to make an enemy of an airline pilot. Really, you won’t like the outcome.

Given her working conditions, Nikka has a quirk borrowed from an airline captain friend of mine. He loves eating at buffets after a long exhausting flight. Nikka likes a future equivalent—a food court with selections to choose from behind glass windows. She explains, “A starliner pilot has to make a cascade of decisions in real time. After a star run, when it’s been hours of decisions like that, it’s easier to for me to pick food out of the wall than decide with a restaurant menu.”

Not included in “Starway”—meaning there are whole new stories to be explored—is what it’s like for starport personnel—the future equivalent of the airline rampers. These guys and gals are critical to the airline business, not always appreciated by the public or even their own management, and have their own way of looking at their world. For example, Boeing 777’s, known as Triple-Sevens to pilots, are Bigfoots to the rampers. The big landing gear are what the rampers have to work around.

I wonder what rampers will someday call different kinds of starships?

alexisAuthor Bio: Alexis Glynn Latner, based in Houston, writes science fiction about space exploration and star travel, adventure, hope and love. Her Website is www.alexisglynnlatner.com.

Book blurb:

Pets in Space™ is back! Join us as we unveil eleven original, never-before-published action-filled romances that will heat your blood and warm your heart! New York Times, USA Today and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, Anna Hackett, Ruby Lionsdrake, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Carol Van Natta, Tiffany Roberts, Alexis Glynn Latner, E D Walker, JC Hay, and Kyndra Hatch combine their love for Science Fiction Romance and pets to bring readers sexy, action-packed romances while helping our favorite charity. Proud supporters of Hero-Dogs.org, Pets in Space™ authors have donated over $4,400 in the past two years to help place specially trained dogs with veterans. Open your hearts and grab your limited release copy of Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space™ 3 today!

Amazon     iBooks     B&N    Kobo     Google

 

Nightmare Not A Dream Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedSharing from AYDARR, the first book in my Badari Warriors scifi romance series…

Here’s the link to the Weekend Writing Warriors central page, so you can visit all the participants sharing excerpts today…a fun way to sample new books and find new authors! (Also welcome to the Sunday Snippet visitors!)

Punctuation may be wonky to comply with our guidelines here. May be edited a bit from published version.

The excerpt: 

A bolt of lightning arced across the sky, and Jill broke into a zigzag run, forcing her body to respond to her terror. Standing anywhere close to a giant tree in a thunder storm was a recipe for disaster.

I’m in a nightmare, not a dream, but it’s all too real. In her headlong flight, she stepped on a rock or a sharp root and cried out, but she kept going as thunder boomed. She had to find either a stand of small trees surrounded by taller ones or a ravine. Of course, an actual shelter would be better than either of those make-do options but probably too much to hope for.

Running full tilt, ignoring the pain from her foot, she suddenly slammed into an invisible barrier and bounced off, falling on her back. Cautiously she rose, extending her arms –  the barrier was a tingling against her palms. She tried going right then left, but the wall ran for quite some distance in both directions. Being in an invisible cage was the most unsettling thing since she’d awakened, especially when coupled with the bracelet affixed to her arm.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00068]The blurb: 

Jill Garrison, a maintenance tech at the Sectors Amarcae 7 colony, goes to sleep one night as usual only to wake up in her nightgown stranded in the middle of a forest on an unknown world. There’s no time to think as she’s stalked by carnivorous predators and rescued by genetically engineered warriors calling themselves the Badari. Turns out they and she, along with her whole colony, are now prisoners of the Khagrish, a ruthless race of alien scientists. Working for enemies of the Sectors, the Khagrish have created the Badari to be super soldiers.

Aydarr, the Badari alpha, isn’t sure he can trust Jill but his attraction to her is undeniable. He impulsively claims her as his mate to prevent her death at the hands of the Khagrish.

Can he continue to protect her from the experiments already underway? Will his claiming her put his pack in jeopardy from their alien masters?

As Jill searches for a way to rescue her fellow humans and get them all to safety, she finds herself falling for Aydarr, despite the secrets he’s keeping. She has a few of her own.

The situation becomes dire when Aydarr and his pack are sent offplanet on a mission, leaving Jill unprotected, prey for the senior scientist. Can she escape the experiments he has in mind for her? Will she be able to thwart the Khagrish plans and liberate humans and Badari alike? How will she and Aydarr reunite?

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canva badari warriors series 4 covers

Tiffany Roberts Talks HUNTER OF THE TIDE Pets in Space 3

Embrace_the_passion_Pets_in_space3_pauline_Baird_jonesVeronica: So excited today to have Tiffany Roberts here to share an excerpt from Hunter of the Tide, their story in Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3. I’ve been fascinated by the character of Randall since we first ‘met’ him in the Kraken Series and now we get to know so much more via this story. Plus a really cool scifi pet!

Tiffany: Though all our books have either strong sci-fi or fantasy elements, our approach to storytelling has always focused on romance first. The core of each of our books is the love that develops between the main characters. Their relationships have to feel natural, have to feel genuine, and have to grow. Our story for the Pets in Space 3 Anthology, Hunter of the Tide, has that romantic core, but this anthology has allowed us to explore a relationship that we’ve never touched on before: the bond between people and their pets.

Randall Laster, the main character of Hunter of the Tide, is a broken man at the onset of the story. Ikaros, a semiaquatic sea creature that was found wounded, provides him an unexpected means of support and healing. Those of us with animals in our lives reap the benefit of such relationships every day, often without noticing—our pets provide us with so much more than something to pat on the head or scratch behind the ears every now and then.

The relationships we develop with animals are unique and powerful things, somehow enhanced by our inability (in most cases) to speak the same language. We connect with our pets on a deeper level, and the most precious and special of those connections don’t require words; they are intuitive, empathetic, and beneficial to all involved. Pets provide comfort, companionship, affection, and so much more. They can heal the wounds we carry in our hearts, they can ease the pain and worry we so often carry throughout our lives, they can help us see, if only in brief glimpses, that everything will be okay.

We’re honored to have taken part in this year’s Pets in Space Anthology. Not only will it contribute to a worthy cause—Hero Dogs, which places service dogs with disabled veterans and first responders—but it is a celebration of the joy and love people have for their pets, no matter how mundane or otherworldly those pets may be.

tiffany roberts pet

Artist Nyssa Juneau

Hunter of the Tide Teaser

“He is eating so well,” Melaina said, twisting to grin at Rhea and Randall. Her attention immediately swung back to the prixxir. She offered another bite of fish, and the creature devoured the morsel, long tail waving eagerly.

“That’s good. It’ll help him heal faster,” Randall said.

Rhea watched her daughter pet the creature. Melaina’s face was aglow with delight, and her eyes sparkled with adoration. Rhea’s chest tightened; the youngling’s wanderlust had caused trouble over the last year, but seeing Melaina so happy filled Rhea’s hearts near to bursting.

And it was because of Randall. He’d made it possible by agreeing to care for the prixxir.

Ikaros chirruped, cocking its head and tilting it back when Melaina dangled a bit of fish higher up. The prixxir followed the moving food with large eyes, and the instant the meat came within its reach, it darted up to snatch the food out of Melaina’s fingers. She giggled.

“Once he’s fully grown, you won’t be able to hold food out of his reach anymore,” Randall said. “Not until you grow up, yourself.”

“When I’m as tall as you?” Melaina asked.

Randall glanced at Rhea, sweeping his gaze over her from tentacles to head, before looking back at Melaina. “You’ll probably be taller than me when you’re done.”

“Are you done growing? You don’t seem so tall for a male.”

Rhea smirked.

“Yeah, I’m all done growing. Maybe I’m not as big as Dracchus—”

No one is as big as Dracchus,” Melaina interrupted.

Randall smiled. “But I make up for it by being the hairiest one in this whole place.”

Melaina laughed, pointing at Randall’s chest. “You are!”

“Everyone has to have something they’re good at.”

“Being the hairiest cannot be all you are good at,” Rhea said.

“I might have a few other talents,” he replied, eyes roving over Rhea’s body again. Her brows rose, and her lips curved into a smile. “But I usually let other people judge that for themselves.”

tiffany robertsBio: Tiffany Roberts, a husband and wife writing duo, are now actively living their dream creating happily-ever-afters one monster or alien at a time.

Veronica: I’ve chatted with them at length on the phone and they are so much FUN! They bring a strong video gaming background to their worldbuilding and the Kraken universe is really well done, in my opinion!

 

The book blurb:

Eleven original Science Fiction Romances. Eleven action-filled tales that mix pets in space with their two-legged companions. Supporting a great cause – Hero-Dogs.org. Don’t miss out on Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3! https://www.petsinspaceantho.com 

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Am I Dreaming Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedHere’s the link to the Weekend Writing Warriors central page, so you can visit all the participants sharing excerpts today…a fun way to sample new books and find new authors! (Also welcome to the Sunday Snippet visitors!)

Punctuation may be wonky to comply with our guidelines here. May be edited a bit from published version.

I’ve reached the end of what can be shared from DARIK without giving spoilers so until I have TIMTUR back from edits, I’m going to share a few excerpts from the first book in the series, AYDARR.

The excerpt, from the beginning of the book, follows directly after last week’s:

She remembered eating dinner in her small modular house on the edge of the colony, falling asleep watching an adventure trideo she’d seen a hundred times then…nothing.

“And now I’m here,” She took a closer look at her left arm and did a double take. A black bracelet she’d never seen before was solid against her skin just above the wrist, with no visible hinge or fastening. As she gawked at it, prying at the edges in an increasingly desperate attempt to make the band move, flickers of red and yellow pulsed inside the cool, hard surface. The bracelet and what it might mean scared her more than the loss of short term memory or even the unknown sun.

The roar came again, closer, and was answered by another. Something hunting me maybe?

She pushed away from the tree, realizing she was barefoot, wearing her short, pink-and-black nightgown, molded to her body by the rain. Lingerie was her secret luxury after a day spent in technician’s coveralls, but certainly not suited to this experience. Am I dreaming?

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00068]The blurb: 

Jill Garrison, a maintenance tech at the Sectors Amarcae 7 colony, goes to sleep one night as usual only to wake up in her nightgown stranded in the middle of a forest on an unknown world. There’s no time to think as she’s stalked by carnivorous predators and rescued by genetically engineered warriors calling themselves the Badari. Turns out they and she, along with her whole colony, are now prisoners of the Khagrish, a ruthless race of alien scientists. Working for enemies of the Sectors, the Khagrish have created the Badari to be super soldiers.

Aydarr, the Badari alpha, isn’t sure he can trust Jill but his attraction to her is undeniable. He impulsively claims her as his mate to prevent her death at the hands of the Khagrish.

Can he continue to protect her from the experiments already underway? Will his claiming her put his pack in jeopardy from their alien masters?

As Jill searches for a way to rescue her fellow humans and get them all to safety, she finds herself falling for Aydarr, despite the secrets he’s keeping. She has a few of her own.

The situation becomes dire when Aydarr and his pack are sent offplanet on a mission, leaving Jill unprotected, prey for the senior scientist. Can she escape the experiments he has in mind for her? Will she be able to thwart the Khagrish plans and liberate humans and Badari alike? How will she and Aydarr reunite?

Amazon      B&N  Google   Kobo     iBooks

 

 

Face Down in the Grass Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedHere’s the link to the Weekend Writing Warriors central page, so you can visit all the participants sharing excerpts today…a fun way to sample new books and find new authors! (Also welcome to the Sunday Snippet visitors!)

Punctuation may be wonky to comply with our guidelines here. May be edited a bit from published version.

I’ve reached the end of what can be shared from DARIK without giving spoilers so until I have TIMTUR back from edits, I’m going to share a few excerpts from the first book in the series, AYDARR.

The excerpt, from the very beginning of the book:

Why am I lying face down on the wet grass in the rain?

Jill rolled over, putting a hand to her forehead in an attempt to quell a ferocious headache. Opening her eyes gingerly, she blinked at the vividly colored pink, purple and blue leaves on the tree above her, which certainly had never grown on Amarcae 7. She’d been all around her home colony on various repair jobs, and nothing there had riotous leaves in these colors, much less with spikes at the tips. As she watched, one of the leaves snapped into a tight roll to capture a slow moving insect.

“Thank the Lords of Space I’m too big a bite.” Wary, nauseous, she sat up, swaying a bit, and examined her unfamiliar surroundings. She was in the midst of an old growth forest, with other forms of vegetation besides the carnivorous trees but nothing recognizable.

A loud roar in the distance gave her the shivers, and she forced herself to stand, staggering a few feet to lean on a less colorful tree’s broad trunk to stay upright. Despite the rain, her mouth was dry, and she had a hard time swallowing, “What the seven hells?”

Her mind was curiously blank, no memory of how she’d gotten to this place, or what had happened in the last few hours.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00068]The blurb: 

Jill Garrison, a maintenance tech at the Sectors Amarcae 7 colony, goes to sleep one night as usual only to wake up in her nightgown stranded in the middle of a forest on an unknown world. There’s no time to think as she’s stalked by carnivorous predators and rescued by genetically engineered warriors calling themselves the Badari. Turns out they and she, along with her whole colony, are now prisoners of the Khagrish, a ruthless race of alien scientists. Working for enemies of the Sectors, the Khagrish have created the Badari to be super soldiers.

Aydarr, the Badari alpha, isn’t sure he can trust Jill but his attraction to her is undeniable. He impulsively claims her as his mate to prevent her death at the hands of the Khagrish.

Can he continue to protect her from the experiments already underway? Will his claiming her put his pack in jeopardy from their alien masters?

As Jill searches for a way to rescue her fellow humans and get them all to safety, she finds herself falling for Aydarr, despite the secrets he’s keeping. She has a few of her own.

The situation becomes dire when Aydarr and his pack are sent offplanet on a mission, leaving Jill unprotected, prey for the senior scientist. Can she escape the experiments he has in mind for her? Will she be able to thwart the Khagrish plans and liberate humans and Badari alike? How will she and Aydarr reunite?

Amazon      B&N  Google   Kobo     iBooks

Here’s an extra snippet from MATEER, book 2 in the series:

canva scififri triage