Whose Souvenir Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedBig news – PETS IN SPACE® 4 hit the USA Today Best Sellers list last week!

Taking excerpts from STAR CRUISE IDOL’S CURSE, my novel in the anthology.

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 – Juli has gone to a lawyer’s office on the planet to pick up an item at the request of her shipping line. This will fulfill a deceased passenger’s dying wish. I’ve skipped ahead. Juli takes the rock and heads back to the spaceport but her borrowed groundcar unaccuntably breaks down. Third Officer Steve Aureli and his aunt pass by and rescue her. We meet Charrli, the alien dog, who Steve refers to as a ‘chow hound’:

“What an inelegant way to describe my champion purebred miniature Deskaza dog,Despite her offended protest, his elderly relative didn’t sound too offended, “I’ll have you know they’re a rare breed.” She snapped her fingers again and the doglike creature made one final attempt to open Juli’s purse before obeying his mistress’s command and returning to the front seat with a sniff. “I apologize for Charrli,” Dian said, cuddling him close so all Juli could see were the tips of his triangular ears and his intense brown eyes peering at her over his owner’s shoulder, “Although I must say you and he are obviously going to be great friends while we’re on your ship.”

“There’s nothing in my purse attractive to a dog,” Juli said. She reached in with both hands and fished out the scarf-wrapped box holding the rock, “Maybe he likes the smell of the straw in this old basket?”

Veronica Scott - CharrliCharrli wiggled his hindquarters, escaping his mistress’s hold and crouched beside Dian on the seat, growling. His ears flared out wide and Juli tried not to laugh because he really was adorable despite his best efforts to act menacing.

“What is that?” Steve asked, eyes wide as he took in the dilapidated, colorful container, “A souvenir?”

“Someone’s souvenir, not mine,” With a chuckle she put the package away again, “And not from this planet. It was a passenger’s good luck charm, I gather, until it started bringing him bad luck, or so the story goes – the Line’s been asked to return the thing to Tahumaroa Two and I’m the stuckee.”

“Why doesn’t the owner take it himself?” Steve navigated through the traffic effortlessly but of course he was the Nebula Zephyr’s chief pilot and a former military fighter jockey so even rush hour on an alien planet didn’t faze him.

“He’s dead.”

PetsInSpace4FinalThe blurb:  An unusual bequest….

Juli Shaeffer, the Nebula Zephyr’s cruise director, receives a mysterious bequest from the estate of a longtime passenger – a lump of rock taken from a reef on the planet Tahumaroa. Legend states anyone who steals from the ocean gods will be cursed. The passenger’s will requests the rock be returned to the beach so his heirs won’t be affected by the bad luck he believed he’d incurred. Juli doesn’t believe in superstitions and she agrees to carry out this small favor on the ship’s next stop at the planet in question.

Until the rock disappears from her office…

When the rock disappears and reappears in various locations around the ship, and seems connected to a steadily escalating series of mishaps, Juli turns to Third Officer Steve Aureli as the only one she feels she can trust. Along with Steve and his elderly Aunt Dian – a passenger aboard the Nebula Zephyr for this cruise – she investigates the strange series of malfunctions plaguing the interstellar luxury liner. Steve and Juli enlist his Aunt Dian’s dog, Charrli, a retired Sectors Z Corps canine, to help them track the missing rock as it moves about the ship.

Juli and Steve must find the rock, hang onto it and transport it to the planet’s surface, before the alien idol’s curse turns deadly. The attraction between the two of them grows as the threat to Juli becomes more and more focused. Can she carry out her task while he keeps her safe from the alien curse? Will the capricious alien idol bring them good fortune…or disaster?

Pets In Space® Anthology Blurb:

For a limited time only! Pets in Space® 4 is proud to present 13 amazing, original new stories! Join the adventures as today’s leading Science Fiction Romance authors take you on a journey to another world. Pets in Space® proudly supports Hero-Dogs.org, a non-profit charity that provides service animals to veterans and first responders in need. Join New York Times, USA TODAY and Award-winning Bestselling authors S.E. Smith, Anna Hackett, Tiffany Roberts, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Laurie A. Green, Donna McDonald, Regine Abel, Alexis Glynn Latner, JC Hay, E.D. Walker, Kyndra Hatch, and Cassandra Chandler for another exciting Pets in Space® anthology. Get the stories before they are gone!

Proud supporters of Hero-Dogs.org, Pets in Space® authors have donated over $7,100 in the past three years to help place specially trained dogs with veterans and first responders. 10% of all pre-orders and the first month’s royalties of Pets in Space® 4 will again go to Hero-Dogs.org. Open your hearts and grab your limited release copy of Pets in Space® 4 today so together we can continue to assist this worthy charity!

Buy links:

Amazon      Apple Books     Kobo     Nook      Google

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Why I Wrote STAR CRUISE IDOL’S CURSE

cocktail umbrella canva graphic.pngThis past week or aso since we released the Pets In Space® 4 anthology has been a whirlwind and yesterday we hit the USA Today Best Seller’s list! I’m beaming and sending thanks to all our readers and everyone who supported the book and spread the word. I’m happy for the charity we support too, Hero Dogs, Inc.

We’ve had some wonderful, fun reviews too!

The events in STAR CRUISE: IDOL’S CURSE, my story in this year’s anthology, take place on my interstellar luxury cruise liner, the Nebula Zephyr. I always have so much fun revisiting my ship and having new adventures there.

Usually I start with the concept of the pet for my PISA stories and develop the plot from what the animal ‘suggests’ to me but this time my jumping off place was legends about bad luck hitting tourists who steal rocks from certain locales.

bad luck hot rocks coverI’ve always been fascinated by these myths and the tales of bad luck people believe they incur if they ‘steal’ a rock from a certain place. (And when I was researching this topic, I discovered there are various tourist spots where this belief flourishes, not just in Hawaii. The Petrified Forest in northern Arizona is another area where people frantically return rocks to the park after thinking their illicit souvenir has brought them bad luck.) I wanted to be sure I wasn’t doing cultural appropriation if I took this basic concept for my story, so I was relieved to find the modern legend arises in various places and is believed to have been begun in one locale by a tour bus driver who didn’t want volcanic ash and grit from purloined chunks off the beach or mountain messing up his vehicles. Another variation on the story says because it’s against the law to remove anything from a national park, a ranger invented the story to add an additional layer of ‘scariness’ to deter would-be souvenir hunters.

One of the more interesting pieces of research I did was reading Bad Luck Hot Rocks by Ryan Thompson, dealing with the issue as it relates to the Petrified Forest in northern Arizona.

Of  course since I’m writing science fiction, I then took the entire topic a step further and gave my ‘rock’ some scary attributes, the ability to do real harm and a bit of carving to justify referring to an idol’s curse in the title.

It seemed to me the idea of tourists and souvenirs fit in very nicely with my luxury cruise ship, and then since an entire deck of the ship is devoted to recreating a beach from the planet Tahumaroa Two, it was logical for the rock or ‘idol’ in question in my story to have come from that planet and need to go back there. This led me to ponder who in the crew would be likely to become involved with returning a rock and I decided it was time for the Cruise Director, Juli Shaeffer, to get her story. She’s been referenced many times in other STAR CRUISE stories but we really never met her.  I got to do all kinds of fun research into what exactly a cruise director does on Earth and then embellish and enhance for my starship.

Veronica Scott - Charrli

Charrli, drawn by ADRIAN

My next challenge was how to put a pet front and center in the story, and to engage them in a meaningful fashion with the action. I decided Juli and Third Officer Steve Aureli had unfinished romantic business, and that Steve has an elderly aunt traveling aboard this particular cruise. Every time I thought about the character of Aunt Dian, I saw one of the Gabor sisters in my head, dressed in pink and a froufrou feather boa, clutching a tiny dog. (The Gabors were famous actresses in their day and Eva from the ‘Green Acres’ TV show is kind of who I was going for, although ZsaZsa did play Queen of Outer space once in a movie.)  Of course Dian and Charrli, her dog, have a lot more backstory and aren’t what they seem on the surface. For one thing, they’re veterans of the Sectors Special Forces Z Corps, which means Charrli is very smart and telepathic with Dian. Charrli bonds with Juli and has an affinity for the rock or idol of the novel’s title.

Then I let the events unfold from there!

The blurb: An unusual bequest….

Juli Shaeffer, the Nebula Zephyr’s cruise director, receives a mysterious bequest from the estate of a longtime passenger – a lump of rock taken from a reef on the planet Tahumaroa. Legend states anyone who steals from the ocean gods will be cursed. The passenger’s will requests the rock be returned to the beach so his heirs won’t be affected by the bad luck he believed he’d incurred. Juli doesn’t believe in superstitions and she agrees to carry out this small favor on the ship’s next stop at the planet in question.

Until the rock disappears from her office…

_The rock is complicated CANVA

When the rock disappears and reappears in various locations around the ship, and seems connected to a steadily escalating series of mishaps, Juli turns to Third Officer Steve Aureli as the only one she feels she can trust. Along with Steve and his elderly Aunt Dian – a passenger aboard the Nebula Zephyr for this cruise – she investigates the strange series of malfunctions plaguing the interstellar luxury liner. Steve and Juli enlist his Aunt Dian’s dog, Charrli, a retired Sectors Z Corps canine, to help them track the missing rock as it moves about the ship.

Juli and Steve must find the rock, hang onto it and transport it to the planet’s surface, before the alien idol’s curse turns deadly. The attraction between the two of them grows as the threat to Juli becomes more and more focused. Can she carry out her task while he keeps her safe from the alien curse? Will the capricious alien idol bring them good fortune…or disaster?

PetsInSpace4FinalThe excerpt:

“I’m Steve’s Aunt Dian,” said the lady in the front seat, swiveling to study Juli. She extended her gloved hand.

Juli tried not to stare. Dian was elderly but wearing full, expertly applied makeup and her syntho hair was coiffed into a confection of pink and blond a trideo star might admire, accented with a glittery star-shaped barrette. Her pink and cream woven suit was by a high end fashion designer, or else a very good knockoff and she presented an altogether glamorous and retro picture. This is practical, stoic Steve’s aunt?  Juli detected no family resemblance although of course that didn’t mean much. “I’m so happy to meet you and glad you’ll be sailing with us.”

Next instant, a barking ball of golden brown fur sailed over the seat, landing in Juli’s lap with a thud. With a startled scream she tried to fend off the pet, which fortunately seemed intent on getting into her purse, rather than actually attacking her personally.

“Charrli, don’t be rude,” said Dian, snapping her fingers in annoyance. “No one asked you to do a search and destroy mission on Juli’s belongings. Get back here where you belong.”

Hand on the controls, Steve studied Juli. “Do you have a snack in your purse?” he asked. “Charrli’s a real chow hound.”

“What an inelegant way to describe my champion purebred miniature Deskaza dog.” Despite her offended protest, his elderly relative didn’t sound too offended. “I’ll have you know they’re a rare breed.” She snapped her fingers again and the doglike creature made one final attempt to open Juli’s purse before obeying his mistress’s command and returning to the front seat with a sniff. “I apologize for Charrli,” Dian said, cuddling him close so all Juli could see were the tips of his triangular ears and his intense brown eyes peering at her over his owner’s shoulder. “Although I must say you and he are obviously going to be great friends while we’re on your ship.”

Apparently satisfied peace had been restored, Steve put the car smoothly into the traffic flow.

“There’s nothing in my purse attractive to a dog,” Juli said. She reached in with both hands and fished out the scarf-wrapped box holding the rock. “Maybe he likes the smell of the straw in this old basket?”

Charrli wiggled his hindquarters, escaping his mistress’s hold and crouched beside Dian on the seat, growling. His ears flared out wide and Juli tried not to laugh because he really was adorable despite his best efforts to act menacing.

“What is that?” Steve asked, eyes wide as he took in the dilapidated, colorful container. “A souvenir?”

“Someone’s souvenir, not mine.” With a chuckle she put the package away again. “And not from this planet. It was a passenger’s good luck charm, I gather, until it started bringing him bad luck. Or so the story goes. The Line’s been asked to return the thing to Tahumaroa Two and I’m the stuckee.”

“Why doesn’t the owner take it himself?” Steve navigated through the traffic effortlessly but of course he was the Nebula Zephyr’s chief pilot and a former military fighter jockey so even rush hour on an alien planet didn’t faze him.

“He’s dead.”

Amazon      Apple Books     Kobo     Nook      Google

Pets In Space® Anthology Blurb:

For a limited time only! Pets in Space® 4 is proud to present 13 amazing, original new stories! Join the adventures as today’s leading Science Fiction Romance authors take you on a journey to another world. Pets in Space® proudly supports Hero-Dogs.org, a non-profit charity that provides service animals to veterans and first responders in need. Join New York Times, USA TODAY and Award-winning Bestselling authors S.E. Smith, Anna Hackett, Tiffany Roberts, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Laurie A. Green, Donna McDonald, Regine Abel, Alexis Glynn Latner, JC Hay, E.D. Walker, Kyndra Hatch, and Cassandra Chandler for another exciting Pets in Space® anthology. Get the stories before they are gone!

Proud supporters of Hero-Dogs.org, Pets in Space® authors have donated over $7,100 in the past three years to help place specially trained dogs with veterans and first responders. 10% of all pre-orders and the first month’s royalties of Pets in Space® 4 will again go to Hero-Dogs.org. Open your hearts and grab your limited release copy of Pets in Space® 4 today so together we can continue to assist this worthy charity!

Note: Portions of this blog post first appeared on Pauline Baird Jones’s website. She and I co-created the Pets In Space® concept.

Search and Destroy Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedTaking excerpts from STAR CRUISE IDOL’S CURSE, my novel in the recently released PETS IN SPACE® 4 anthology.

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 – Juli has gone to a lawyer’s office on the planet to pick up an item at the request of her shipping line. This will fulfill a deceased passenger’s dying wish. I’ve skipped ahead. Juli takes the rock and heads back to the spaceport but her borrowed groundcar unaccuntably breaks down. Third Officer Steve Aureli and his aunt pass by and rescue her. We meet Charrli, the alien dog:

“I’m Steve’s Aunt Dian,” said the lady in the front seat, swiveling to study Juli.

Juli tried not to stare. Dian was elderly but wearing full, expertly applied makeup and her syntho hair was coiffed into a confection of pink and blond a trideo star might admire, accented with a glittery star-shaped barrette. Her pink and cream woven suit was by a high end fashion designer, or else a very good knockoff and she presented an altogether glamorous and retro picture. This is practical, stoic Steve’s aunt?  Juli detected no family resemblance although of course that didn’t mean much, “I’m so happy to meet you and glad you’ll be sailing with us.”

Veronica Scott - Charrli

Charrli, drawn by ADRIAN

Next instant, a barking ball of golden brown fur sailed over the seat, landing in Juli’s lap with a thud. With a startled scream she tried to fend off the pet, which fortunately seemed intent on getting into her purse, rather than actually attacking her personally.

“Charrli, don’t be rude,” said Dian, snapping her fingers in annoyance, “No one asked you to do a search and destroy mission on Juli’s belongings. Get back here where you belong.”

Hand on the controls, Steve studied Juli, “Do you have a snack in your purse?” he asked, “Charrli’s a real chow hound.”

VS Note: Ah, but Charrli is interested in the rock, which is now in Juli’s purse…

pets in space 4The blurb:  An unusual bequest….

Juli Shaeffer, the Nebula Zephyr’s cruise director, receives a mysterious bequest from the estate of a longtime passenger – a lump of rock taken from a reef on the planet Tahumaroa. Legend states anyone who steals from the ocean gods will be cursed. The passenger’s will requests the rock be returned to the beach so his heirs won’t be affected by the bad luck he believed he’d incurred. Juli doesn’t believe in superstitions and she agrees to carry out this small favor on the ship’s next stop at the planet in question.

Until the rock disappears from her office…

When the rock disappears and reappears in various locations around the ship, and seems connected to a steadily escalating series of mishaps, Juli turns to Third Officer Steve Aureli as the only one she feels she can trust. Along with Steve and his elderly Aunt Dian – a passenger aboard the Nebula Zephyr for this cruise – she investigates the strange series of malfunctions plaguing the interstellar luxury liner. Steve and Juli enlist his Aunt Dian’s dog, Charrli, a retired Sectors Z Corps canine, to help them track the missing rock as it moves about the ship.

Juli and Steve must find the rock, hang onto it and transport it to the planet’s surface, before the alien idol’s curse turns deadly. The attraction between the two of them grows as the threat to Juli becomes more and more focused. Can she carry out her task while he keeps her safe from the alien curse? Will the capricious alien idol bring them good fortune…or disaster?

Pets In Space® Anthology Blurb:

For a limited time only! Pets in Space® 4 is proud to present 13 amazing, original new stories! Join the adventures as today’s leading Science Fiction Romance authors take you on a journey to another world. Pets in Space® proudly supports Hero-Dogs.org, a non-profit charity that provides service animals to veterans and first responders in need. Join New York Times, USA TODAY and Award-winning Bestselling authors S.E. Smith, Anna Hackett, Tiffany Roberts, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Laurie A. Green, Donna McDonald, Regine Abel, Alexis Glynn Latner, JC Hay, E.D. Walker, Kyndra Hatch, and Cassandra Chandler for another exciting Pets in Space® anthology. Get the stories before they are gone!

Proud supporters of Hero-Dogs.org, Pets in Space® authors have donated over $7,100 in the past three years to help place specially trained dogs with veterans and first responders. 10% of all pre-orders and the first month’s royalties of Pets in Space® 4 will again go to Hero-Dogs.org. Open your hearts and grab your limited release copy of Pets in Space® 4 today so together we can continue to assist this worthy charity!

Buy links:

Amazon      Apple Books     Kobo     Nook      Google

JC Hay’s Love of #Dogs, Goannas and Pets In Space 4

pets in space 4Veronica: My guest today is USA Today Best Selling Author JC Hay, here to talk a little about his story in the Pets In Space® 4 scifi romance anthology, which comes out October 8th.  (I’m the co-founder of this annual collection and my novel in the book is Star Cruise: Idol’s Curse.)

JCH:

For the Love of Dogs

One of the best parts about being a Pets in Space author, for me, is our involvement with the charity Hero-Dogs.org. For those not aware, Pets authors have donated more than $7,100 to help place highly trained service dogs with veterans and first responders as well as facility dogs with qualified clinicians. While I’m proud to be one of the Pets authors, I’m even more proud to be able to use my writing to help this important charity.

For a person in need, these service animals provide a sense of independence, of self-reliance, that might not otherwise be available. Being able to assist with this in some small way feels like a natural outgrowth of the stories in the TriSystems universe (specially the Rangers, but Barr’s relationship with his lizard-like goanna in this year’s Pets in Space is equally cathartic.) While I’ve never had a service animal, I know first-hand the soothing comfort a companion animal can provide, and how much I rely on that consolation to get through the rough spots. To help someone find an even deeper connection is a perfect charity for me.

This short excerpt is a little slice-of-life glimpse at the connection Barr and Darcy share, and a little background on goanna in the TriSystems setting. Enjoy!

JC Hay writes about heroic hearts, both human, canine, and reptilian, in a fantastic future. For more about JC and his books visit his webpage.

JC Hay - DarcyExcerpt – Heart of the Spider’s Web

“Why did you bring the lizard along, again?”

Rayan chuckled, reaching out to stroke one scaled eye ridge. “Darcy goes where I go. Always has.” Most people wouldn’t comprehend. Hell, Mira was more inclined to consider the pet goanna one of his idiosyncrasies more than she actually understood it. He dug into the pocket of his parka and tugged out the bag of yellow orchid petals he’d brought. Instantly, Darcy focused both sets of eyes on the bag. Rayan offered him a single flower, held between his fingertips. Darcy watched it, judging the distance carefully by switching between primary and secondary eyes before leaning out into space to grab the treat.

“Besides,” he continued. “If I leave him behind, then Baker will just feed him the nasty carrion paste she prints out, and he’ll get spoiled.”

“Oh, of course.” Sheri rolled her eyes. “God forbid someone else spoil him.”

“Don’t listen to her. She can’t understand our love.” Rayan leaned against his restraints until he could run his fingers along Darcy’s spine. Despite his confident words, he made sure to only touch Darcy well clear of his head as long as he was eating the orchid. He and the goanna had come to an understanding long ago—Rayan didn’t look like he might be taking food away, and Darcy didn’t bite him for trying. It was a good, pain-free arrangement.

“You’ve got that much right, at least.” She checked their position on the Nav terminal, even though they were still a good hour from Hodur’s airspace. “Also, what’s with the flower? I thought goanna were carnivores.”

“They’re omnivores. Some people feed them straight-up meat, and they get big quick on all that protein, but it tends to cut their lifespans in half. Brighter candle, but half as long. In the wild, they eat all kinds of things. Fruit. Nuts. Insects. Birds.”

“Carrion.” She grinned.

He inclined his head in a half-nod. “That too. I try to keep his meat serving a little slim. It keeps any rats that sneak on board from getting out of hand.”

************************************************************

Grab your copy of Pets in Space® 4 today! For a limited time, Pets in Space® 4 brings together today’s leading Science Fiction Romance authors to help Hero-Dogs.org, a non-profit charity that helps our service veterans and first responders. 

Pre-order buy links for Pets In Space® 4 are here.

Veronica Scott - CharrliMy pet in this year’s collection is an alien dog!

 

It’s a Rock Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedTaking excerpts from STAR CRUISE IDOL’S CURSE, my novel in the soon-to-be-released PETS IN SPACE® 4 anthology.

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 – Juli has gone to a lawyer’s office on the planet to pick up an item at the request of her shipping line. This will fulfill a deceased passenger’s dying wish.:

Juli stared as the lawyer brought out a gaudy package—a cheap, woven straw box approximately  6” by 6” by 6” high, tied shut with a pink and green scarf, whose frayed ends had been chopped off—set it on the polished desk and gave it a shove in Juli’s direction. The item had no place in this sophisticated, high end attorney’s office.  Instinctively she reached out to catch the box as it slid across the highly polished wood, finding it heavier than she expected.

“Don’t open it here,” Cilla said in a rush as Juli toyed with the knot.

“I should make sure it’s okay to take onto the Nebula Zephyr,” she said, working at the tight wrapping, “And have you verify the item is as it should be.”

She had the impression the woman was pushing her chair as far away from the desk as she could go without being obvious. But when Juli removed the scarf and opened the box, she did a double take, “It’s a rock.”

“Yes, from Tahumaroa Two, from the Beach of the Two Goddesses to be exact. He wanted it placed there,” The lawyer swallowed hard, “Anywhere on the beach is fine.”

“Is this one of those cases where the gullible tourists fall for the tour guide spiel about how removing the rocks brings bad luck?”

pets in space 4The blurb:  An unusual bequest….

Juli Shaeffer, the Nebula Zephyr’s cruise director, receives a mysterious bequest from the estate of a longtime passenger – a lump of rock taken from a reef on the planet Tahumaroa. Legend states anyone who steals from the ocean gods will be cursed. The passenger’s will requests the rock be returned to the beach so his heirs won’t be affected by the bad luck he believed he’d incurred. Juli doesn’t believe in superstitions and she agrees to carry out this small favor on the ship’s next stop at the planet in question.

Until the rock disappears from her office…

When the rock disappears and reappears in various locations around the ship, and seems connected to a steadily escalating series of mishaps, Juli turns to Third Officer Steve Aureli as the only one she feels she can trust. Along with Steve and his elderly Aunt Dian – a passenger aboard the Nebula Zephyr for this cruise – she investigates the strange series of malfunctions plaguing the interstellar luxury liner. Steve and Juli enlist his Aunt Dian’s dog, Charrli, a retired Sectors Z Corps canine, to help them track the missing rock as it moves about the ship.

Juli and Steve must find the rock, hang onto it and transport it to the planet’s surface, before the alien idol’s curse turns deadly. The attraction between the two of them grows as the threat to Juli becomes more and more focused. Can she carry out her task while he keeps her safe from the alien curse? Will the capricious alien idol bring them good fortune…or disaster?

Veronica Scott - Charrli

My alien dog in this story – Charrli

Pets In Space® Anthology Blurb:

For a limited time only! Pets in Space® 4 is proud to present 13 amazing, original new stories! Join the adventures as today’s leading Science Fiction Romance authors take you on a journey to another world. Pets in Space® proudly supports Hero-Dogs.org, a non-profit charity that provides service animals to veterans and first responders in need. Join New York Times, USA TODAY and Award-winning Bestselling authors S.E. Smith, Anna Hackett, Tiffany Roberts, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Laurie A. Green, Donna McDonald, Regine Abel, Alexis Glynn Latner, JC Hay, E.D. Walker, Kyndra Hatch, and Cassandra Chandler for another exciting Pets in Space® anthology. Get the stories before they are gone!

Proud supporters of Hero-Dogs.org, Pets in Space® authors have donated over $7,100 in the past three years to help place specially trained dogs with veterans and first responders. 10% of all pre-orders and the first month’s royalties of Pets in Space® 4 will again go to Hero-Dogs.org. Open your hearts and grab your limited release copy of Pets in Space® 4 today so together we can continue to assist this worthy charity!

Pre-order the book here:

Amazon      Apple Books     Kobo     Nook      Google

PISA4 Meet Our Pets FB Post 1

Alexis Glynn Latner Talks Unicorns in Space from Pets In Space 4

pets in space 4Veronica: My guest today is USA Today Best Selling Author Alexis Glynn Latner, here to talk a little about her story in the Pets In Space® 4 scifi romance anthology, which comes out October 8th.  (I’m the co-founder of this annual collection and my novel in the book is Star Cruise: Idol’s Curse.)

Alexis: Prince the genetically engineered unicorn first showed up in a story in Analog science fiction magazine. That story is folded into my novel Witherspin, to be published in December 2019.  Prince lives in a nature park inside the spinning interstellar city-state called Wendis. In Witherspin, Wendis holds an annual festival celebrating the Ascendance—the era when humanity left Earth on rockets and finally starships.

The Ascendance Fair is a huge interstellar tourist attraction, held every summer.  When I wanted to write a Pets in Space story set in Wendis, I had the notion of a smaller, warmup fair, something even more like today’s Renaissance Festivals. Winter would be a good time for it, giving the Fair organizers time to solve logistical problems before their big showtime the following summer. (They do end up with their hands full of problems!)  Of course, taking take place five thousand years from now and on the other side of the colonized stars, the Winterfair would have much less to do with actual history than myths and legends.

As soon as I started thinking along these lines, Prince wanted in.

Alexis-Glynn-LatnerCharacters in fiction come alive for the author. If they don’t, they may not come alive for the readers either.  Prince definitely came alive for me. He let me know that, like mythical unicorns, he has a special affinity for women who aren’t pair-bonded.  There’s a Medieval legend about how unicorns would come to a virgin and lay their head in her lap. In Winter’s Prince, he helps two women each find their true love—while our heroines and heroes battle a criminal smuggling ring that has invaded the Winterfair.  Prince is one of the heroes. And he knows it, too!

Prince presented me with a logistical problem.  He lives high up on a mountain in the park, where the spingravity is less.  That suits Prince and the other unicorns.  They are delicate-boned, and they might not even be able to stand up, much less prance and canter, in Earth’s gravity or the spin equivalent.  But the plot in Winter’s Prince had to unfold at lower elevations with heavier spingravity. Fortunately, there are characters in Witherspin who use spingravity braces.  These are humans genetically engineered for low-gravity moons and space stations.  To visit full-gravity areas, they wear special braces. So does Prince, in a paragraph from my story:

Too stunned to keep crying, Sara rose and held out her hand. The unicorn extended its muzzle. She felt its velvet skin and warm breath and smelled its warm hide—like horse smell with a floral note. Its delicate ears tilted toward her. Oh. This creature was not just a silly chimera, something genetically stitched together for no good reason. It was beautiful and horselike. . . . Patting the unicorn’s sides and legs, she found the gravity braces. They were ingenious and well fitted enough not to abrade that tender skin.

*******************************************************************

Grab your copy of Pets in Space® 4 today! For a limited time, Pets in Space® 4 brings together today’s leading Science Fiction Romance authors to help Hero-Dogs.org, a non-profit charity that helps our service veterans and first responders. 

Alexis Glynn Latner writes tales of romantic adventure that touch readers’ hearts and their minds as well.   Visit her web page to learn more.

Pre-order buy links for Pets In Space® 4 are here.

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What Is His Motive Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedTaking excerpts from REEDE, my recent scifi romance release…this is the final one as next week I’m going to switch to excerpts from STAR CRUISE IDOL’S CURSE, my novel in the soon-to-be-released PETS IN SPACE® 4 anthology.

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.

If you haven’t read any of my Badari Warriors books, here’s the background:

Genetically engineered soldiers of the far future, the Badari were created by alien enemies to fight humans. But then the scientists kidnapped an entire human colony from the Sectors to use as subjects in twisted experiments…the Badari and the humans made common cause, rebelled and escaped the labs. Now they live side by side in a sanctuary valley protected by a powerful Artificial Intelligence, and wage unceasing war on the aliens. 

The excerpt (follows right after last week’s excerpt. Reede allowed the tech to live earlier in the book, when he could have easily killed her but she still hates him.)

The technician glared at him and it was clear if she had her way, he’d be dying in agony at her feet. Reede resolved to kill her next time they met when he was trying to escape and be done with it. “The animal obviously wants to go outside and it’s not in their nature to proactively work with us – what’s his motive?”

Eyes wide, Enishiggama turned on the lower caste Khagrish woman, “What’s his motive? We’ve supplied him with a nubile female—it doesn’t require my level of intelligence to figure this out. It’s quite natural he’d want to mate in a more secluded spot than one of our cells,” Enishiggama said, looking down her nose at her employee, “I’m not blind to his clumsy attempt at manipulation of the parameters.” Now she resumed her contemplation of Reede and studying her in turn he thought he’d never seen a Khagrishi so wan and drawn.

She’s sicker than she wants to admit.

reede finalThe blurb: Lt. Fallyn Damara was sent by the Sectors to investigate a strange transmission from an isolated planet and determine whether the residents of a vanished colony had been transported there by alien enemies. Fallyn’s ship crashes and she’s taken prisoner by the Khagrish scientists, to await her fate in the slate of horrifying experiments being conducted.

Reede, the second ranking enforcer in the Badari Warrior pack, volunteers to be recaptured by the Khagrish in an effort to locate and rescue Fallyn inside the deadly lab complex.

While a prisoner Reede discovers Fallyn is the woman destined to become his fated mate but the moment is bittersweet because Fallyn will be leaving their world at the first opportunity, to report back to the Sectors. He refuses to complete the mate bond, believing to do so will lead to nothing but lifelong misery for them both, separated by lightyears and interstellar politics.

For her part, Fallyn wants to shake up the rule-bound enforcer and persuade him to take a chance on love.

But first they have to escape the Khagrish.

Amazon      Apple Books     Kobo     Nook     Google

Award winning Badari Warriors SciFi Romance Series!

Meet My STAR CRUISE IDOL’S CURSE Pet

canva charrli with shipsIn just about two week’s the fourth edition of the scifi romance anthology PETS IN SPACE® goes live (on my birthday no less, October 8th!). Co-founded by yours truly and my author friend Pauline B. Jones, this limited edition collection of all-new, great stories supports Hero-Dogs, INC., which provides service dogs to veterans and first responders in need. More details below.

Each author in the collection writes a scifi romance story also involving  a pet of some kind. This year, my pet is a canine named Charrli, who helps the main characters track down a dangerous alien idol roaming the interstellar cruise liner Nebula Zephyr. He’s a veteran from the Sectors Special Forces Z corps of telepathic animals and their human handlers.

(And there’s a free reader magnet available until October 7th which includes a mini short story from me with some of these characters but alas, not Charrli. A woman with butterfly hair though… https://www.petsinspaceantho.com/sampler/ )

Here’s the blurb for my story, which is a 42K word novel: 

An unusual bequest….

Juli Shaeffer, the Nebula Zephyr’s cruise director, receives a mysterious bequest from the estate of a longtime passenger – a lump of rock taken from a reef on the planet Tahumaroa. Legend states anyone who steals from the ocean gods will be cursed. The passenger’s will requests the rock be returned to the beach so his heirs won’t be affected by the bad luck he believed he’d incurred. Juli doesn’t believe in superstitions and she agrees to carry out this small favor on the ship’s next stop at the planet in question.

Until the rock disappears from her office…

When the rock disappears and reappears in various locations around the ship, and seems connected to a steadily escalating series of mishaps, Juli turns to Third Officer Steve Aureli as the only one she feels she can trust. Along with Steve and his elderly Aunt Dian – a passenger aboard the Nebula Zephyr for this cruise – she investigates the strange series of malfunctions plaguing the interstellar luxury liner. Steve and Juli enlist his Aunt Dian’s dog, Charrli, a retired Sectors Z Corps canine, to help them track the missing rock as it moves about the ship.

Juli and Steve must find the rock, hang onto it and transport it to the planet’s surface, before the alien idol’s curse turns deadly. The attraction between the two of them grows as the threat to Juli becomes more and more focused. Can she carry out her task while he keeps her safe from the alien curse? Will the capricious alien idol bring them good fortune…or disaster?

An excerpt from the book where Juli and Charrli make a discovery on the ship’s beach deck during a big party:

Juli was traversing the beach venue when Charrli scampered up to her, barking. She craned her head, searching the crowd for Dian but didn’t see her. “Are you lost?” she asked the dog.

Charrli ran a few steps, danced in a circle and yipped as if to demand she follow him.

“I don’t know what you want,” she said. “I can’t play right now—I’m working.”

The dog bounded to her side and carefully clamped his teeth on her hand, taking care not to break the skin as she stooped over to pet him. He growled.

Fearing perhaps Dian was ill, or in some kind of trouble, Juli looked around wildly for Steve, even as Charrli tugged harder. Deciding she could call for help on the senior officer channel if there was a problem but would feel silly if all the dog wanted was to play, Juli said, “All right, I’m coming. Show me the way.”

Charrli released her hand and bolted along the beach as if time was of the essence. Juli pursued him as fast as she could although he got a bit ahead of her. He was barking excitedly and circling an object in the sand as she quickened her pace.

And came to a dead halt, shocked at what lay in front of her.

pets in space 4Pets In Space® Anthology Blurb:

For a limited time only! Pets in Space® 4 is proud to present 13 amazing, original new stories! Join the adventures as today’s leading Science Fiction Romance authors take you on a journey to another world. Pets in Space® proudly supports Hero-Dogs.org, a non-profit charity that provides service animals to veterans and first responders in need. Join New York Times, USA TODAY and Award-winning Bestselling authors S.E. Smith, Anna Hackett, Tiffany Roberts, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Laurie A. Green, Donna McDonald, Regine Abel, Alexis Glynn Latner, JC Hay, E.D. Walker, Kyndra Hatch, and Cassandra Chandler for another exciting Pets in Space® anthology. Get the stories before they are gone!

Proud supporters of Hero-Dogs.org, Pets in Space® authors have donated over $7,100 in the past three years to help place specially trained dogs with veterans and first responders. 10% of all pre-orders and the first month’s royalties of Pets in Space® 4 will again go to Hero-Dogs.org. Open your hearts and grab your limited release copy of Pets in Space® 4 today so together we can continue to assist this worthy charity!

Pre-order the book here:

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Why Is He Being So Cooperative Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedTaking excerpts from REEDE, my recent scifi romance release…

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.

If you haven’t read any of my Badari Warriors books, here’s the background:

Genetically engineered soldiers of the far future, the Badari were created by alien enemies to fight humans. But then the scientists kidnapped an entire human colony from the Sectors to use as subjects in twisted experiments…the Badari and the humans made common cause, rebelled and escaped the labs. Now they live side by side in a sanctuary valley protected by a powerful Artificial Intelligence, and wage unceasing war on the aliens. 

The excerpt (follows right after last week’s excerpt. Reede was known as number 803 in the old Khagrish lab system before the Badari escaped.):

“So we did find you a mate,” she said to Reede eventually. Coughing from deep in her chest, she closed her eyes and wobbled a bit on her high heeled boots.

He took note of the way the other Khagrish exchanged glances and the techs fidgeted as if they wanted to move away from her. Flicking ash from her feelgood, Enishiggama glared at her underlings, “I told you, it’s merely a harmless rhinovirus I picked up at the conference.”

Reede decided to take the initiative, “These aren’t the proper surroundings for me to pursue the mate bond.” He gestured at the stark walls of the cell, “The human women are slow to accept the mate status and must be persuaded appropriately.”

Enishiggama coughed again, “I must admit to being fatigued today – too much partying with my fellow scientists last night.It may be best to wait a day or two to begin further experimentation. What are you proposing, 803?”

“This lab must have a fenced in area outside, like the facility where I was created did. Give me a few days with my soon-to-be-mate in the fresh air and wide open space, and I’ll seal the bond.”

“Doctor, we must ask ourselves why he’s being so co-operative,” said the tech he’d knocked out the day before…

VS: The tech hates Reede, not incidentally…and is Dr. Enishggama’s problem really a simple cold?

reede finalThe blurb: Lt. Fallyn Damara was sent by the Sectors to investigate a strange transmission from an isolated planet and determine whether the residents of a vanished colony had been transported there by alien enemies. Fallyn’s ship crashes and she’s taken prisoner by the Khagrish scientists, to await her fate in the slate of horrifying experiments being conducted.

Reede, the second ranking enforcer in the Badari Warrior pack, volunteers to be recaptured by the Khagrish in an effort to locate and rescue Fallyn inside the deadly lab complex.

While a prisoner Reede discovers Fallyn is the woman destined to become his fated mate but the moment is bittersweet because Fallyn will be leaving their world at the first opportunity, to report back to the Sectors. He refuses to complete the mate bond, believing to do so will lead to nothing but lifelong misery for them both, separated by lightyears and interstellar politics.

For her part, Fallyn wants to shake up the rule-bound enforcer and persuade him to take a chance on love.

But first they have to escape the Khagrish.

Amazon      Apple Books     Kobo     Nook     Google

Award winning Badari Warriors SciFi Romance Series!

The Story Spark for REEDE Plus Excerpt

reede final

If you haven’t read any of my award winning Badari Warriors series, here’s the background:

Genetically engineered soldiers of the far future, the Badari were created by alien enemies to fight humans. But then the scientists kidnapped an entire human colony from the Sectors to use as subjects in twisted experiments…the Badari and the humans made common cause, rebelled and escaped the labs. Now they live side by side in a sanctuary valley protected by a powerful Artificial Intelligence, and wage unceasing war on the aliens. 

When I thought about what elements went into writing my latest Badari Warriors novel, I realized there were several threads coming together that influenced Reede’s adventure. I really hadn’t done much with him since he’d been introduced in the first book as being the Alpha’s second enforcer and then in MEGAN AND MATEER’S BABY I showed how fierce and unsympathetic he could be as he tracked down the human accomplices in Megan’s kidnapping. He had no mercy.

But of course being the author, I knew there was a sweet guy well-hidden at the core of the intimidating enforcer. I started thinking about how life in the Khagrish labs would have affected him as a boy – what if he’d had other dreams for himself but was forced by the alien scientists to accept the deadly role they’d genetically engineered him to fill? How would that affect him and his actions as an adult, especially now the pack is free of the labs?

The Badari treasure their freedom but as I’ve alluded to in previous books, they have found challenges they never expected.

On the bigger series arc, I thought it was also time for the Sectors to have sent someone out to look into the message that was sent way back in book three, JADRIAN. Of course nothing can be simple on this planet, so the scout crashed and was captured…and is a woman.

The romance is at the core of everything for me, although the action and adventure are important as well, and I’d been thinking for a while since having a mate is the most wonderful thing that can happen to a Badari, what would cause a man who met the woman who could be his mate to resist that bond. And what other complications might there be?

I also liked making Fallyn, the Sectors scout, an active duty military officer on a specific mission because she took a different view of how the Badari operate and what her priorities had to be than the rescued civilians might. Jill, the heroine in AYDARR, book one, was a retired Special Forces tech and a badass, but not active duty. In addition Jill was really the first human to encounter the Badari and the Khagrish so her experiences were vastly different than anyone else’s.

And of course because I write romance, there had to be a Happy Ever After ending for Reede, within the series arc that is ongoing.

So I took all of those thoughts and ideas and sat down to tell Reede and Fallyn’s story. Usually I write a book in chronological order, start to finish but in this case I felt strongly compelled to write a  specific scene, which occurs toward the end of the book and is a long conversation between Reede and Timtur, the pack’s healer. Doing that scene, which runs about 8K words, really unlocked the character of Reede for me, as he and Timtur discussed some of their past, and then I was able to go back to the beginning of the adventure and write Reede as the complex person he is. It was unusual for my Muse to want to work that way but I always give in to whatever my creative impulse might be!

Readers have asked me with some concern if REEDE is the final book in the series (no spoilers here!) and let me hasten to assure you there are quite a few more books to come.  The series arc is nowhere near wrapping up! I already have the cover for my next book in the series, DAEGAN (with the human pilot Flo as the heroine) and hope to release it in late November/early December 2019.

(REEDE is the 10th book in the series, although the cover says book 9, because TIMTUR was book 2.5 and Amazon won’t list it as part of the series. Sigh.)

The blurb:  Lt. Fallyn Damara was sent by the Sectors to investigate a strange transmission from an isolated planet and determine whether the residents of a vanished colony had been transported there by alien enemies. Fallyn’s ship crashes and she’s taken prisoner by the Khagrish scientists, to await her fate in the slate of horrifying experiments being conducted.

Reede, the second ranking enforcer in the Badari Warrior pack, volunteers to be recaptured by the Khagrish in an effort to locate and rescue Fallyn inside the deadly lab complex.

While a prisoner Reede discovers Fallyn is the woman destined to become his fated mate but the moment is bittersweet because Fallyn will be leaving their world at the first opportunity, to report back to the Sectors. He refuses to complete the mate bond, believing to do so will lead to nothing but lifelong misery for them both, separated by lightyears and interstellar politics.

For her part, Fallyn wants to shake up the rule-bound enforcer and persuade him to take a chance on love.

But first they have to escape the Khagrish.

Amazon      Apple Books     Kobo     Nook    Google

The excerpt (Fallyn has been sitting in her cell at the Khagrish lab and hasn’t met Reede yet): Two guards came by, one stopping in midstep as if struck by a thought. Fallyn stayed slumped against the wall in an attitude of unconcern but she listened intently.

“What about this one?” The first guard gestured in her direction.

“She’s a special prisoner. Waiting for pickup by the main security detachment at central. I guess the death of Commander Parryfilmunn at the hands of the escaped animals must have messed things up. He was supposed to be the answer to all the security problems and now no one knows what to do over there since he died.”

“Well she’s human and she’s female so she’s covered under our orders.” The second man sounded impatient. “Do you want to explain to Dr. Enishiggama why we left her out of whatever crazy test the old red hair is running now?”

“Not especially, no. She’s terrifying when she gets upset. One of the worst I’ve ever seen in fact and I’ve been stationed at more of these so-called science centers over the years than you can imagine. But the pay beats anything I could earn on the Home World so I shut up and stick it out.”

“I hear you. So, we taking this one with the next group or not?”

The guards studied her and Fallyn watched them, keeping her face blank. Being out of the cell could mean opportunity. She was trained to resist and escape the enemy whenever possible. Of course she’d only practiced those skills in simulations.

“Yeah, bring her. No harm done if she wasn’t supposed to be included. The animal’s not reacting to any of them anyway.”

Fallyn kept her excitement from showing in her face or her demeanor as the guards opened a gap in the force barrier and gestured for her to join them. One stood with his neurocontroller aimed at her while the other put her wrists into force binders behind her back, quelling any hope she’d had of attacking them. If she could get her hands on a weapon…

With the guards, she walked further down the corridor, past a few empty cells and then stopped in front of a large space full of humans.

Pushing her against the wall, the guard yelled, “Next ten females, in order of your number, assemble on the muster line. All others will retreat to the cots.”

Fallyn watched with interest as the prisoners obeyed. She was surprised the group didn’t try to attack the Khagrish, since there were only two guards, but the captives behaved quite passively. One or two mustered up the strength to glare at the enemy but no one made a move as the ten women left the cell one at a time through a narrow gap in the force barrier, were put into restraints like the ones on Fallyn and assembled into a line.

“Where are you from?” she whispered to the woman next to her.

The other prisoner stared. “Taken off a ship, the Galaxy Cluster Swan. Most of us here are from the same ship. And you? I haven’t seen you in here before.”

“I was working a freighter.” She lied. Maybe the aliens knew who and what she was but no reason to admit it. Prisoners had been known to betray others for special treatment and her active duty military status was no one’s business. “Where are we going, do you know?”

With a shrug, the woman shook her head. “Another experiment. Sometimes you get lucky and it’s nothing too bad. Sometimes you get luckier and die and this nightmare is over.”

Award winning Badari Warriors SciFi Romance Series!

Portions of this post first appeared on Pauline B. Jones’s blog…