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.

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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?

Amazon      B&N  Google   Kobo     iBooks

canva badari warriors series 4 covers

Doomed to Fail Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedWelcome to my weekly excerpt from Darik (A Badari Warriors SciFi Romance Novel): Sectors New Allies Series Book 4, my best selling new scifi romance action adventure novel!

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 – Darik is arguing with MARL12, his Artificial Intelligence (AI) sidekick, who refused to assist him in taking down a force field barrier and rescuing Nicolle. from a large predator (Nicolle has left the spot to rejoin the other humans.)

“I thought I was going to watch her get eaten by that beast,” he said to his AI, clenching his hand on the pulse rifle’s stock, “If you ever deny a request from me in such a way again, you and I are through, and I’ll do my best to destroy you.”

“Rescuing the humans is not a mission parameter,” MARL12 floated at what he probably calculated was a safe distance.

Swallowing hard, Darik took a moment to master his anger, “Well, saving them should be. ” He reflected the need for his report at the end of this mission to contain a few harsh comments about the MARL subunit’s inability to respond to changes in the operation in the field, on the fly.

“If I had interrupted the force barrier to allow you to rescue the woman, the Khagrish would have been alerted. There wasn’t a sufficient chance of success in extracting the entire group of humans and conveying them to safety at this time. Neither you nor I can communicate with those in the sanctuary valley headquarters except at the specific times when MARL primary will be listening for my short burst signal.”

“I’m done talking about it,” Darik hated to admit the AI had even a small kernel of rationality on which to hang its argument.

He wracked his brain for a way to free her if MARL12 continued to refuse to provide assistance, but there was no way known to the Badari to break through a Khagrish force field. He could do a frontal assault on the Khagrish lab itself, of course, but a one-man attack was doomed to fail.

darik_Veronica_ScottThe blurb: 

Nicolle James is far from her home in the human Sectors, kidnapped by alien scientists to be the subject of horrifying experiments.  Her only hope might be a mysterious soldier she’d glimpsed outside the laboratory fence. She’d managed to sneak a few words of conversation with him when her captors weren’t watching but now the aliens were taking her inside the lab to begin the experiments.

Darik, a warrior of the genetically engineered Badari pack, is on a solo recon mission to check out a mysterious new lab high in the mountains. His orders are strict – do not engage. But when he has a chance meeting with the woman who might be his mate, he vows not to abandon her, orders or no orders.

Can he get inside an underground lab, find Nicolle and rescue her without getting captured himself? And when he learns the lab’s deadly secrets, can he get word to his pack about the new dangers?

Because the ruthless alien scientist running the experiments wants to get her hands on him too and will stop at nothing to achieve her goals.

Buy Links: Amazon    iBooks    Nook      Google     Kobo 

canva badari warriors series 4 covers

 

Were Those Talons? 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!)

Sharing now from my newly released scifi romance Aydarr (A Badari Warriors SciFi Romance Novel): Sectors New Allies Series Book 1. Yup, a mouthful LOL!

Continuing on directly from last week’s excerpt. A little creative editing and punctuation have been done to fit our rules.

The excerpt:

The creature watched her and moved forward a bit from the tunnel, the front segment of its body sinking onto the ground, while the rest remained in the tunnel. The segmented body expanded like a child’s toy as the predator closed the space between them. Opening an outsize mouth, revealing a yellow, forked tongue, the animal hissed and reared as if preparing to charge at her.

Jill shouted defiance in a combination of rage and fear, and threw the rock hard, striking one glowing eye in the center, shattering the facets. She dodged as the predator made a high pitched sound like an exploding generator and lunged toward where she’d been. As she scrambled in the slick muddy water at the bottom of the trap, she searched for another rock, finding only small ones. She gathered a handful of them as better than nothing and spun around as the half-blind animal tried to locate her.

With a hoarse yell, a man jumped into the pit from above and landed between her and the predator. He didn’t seem to have a weapon but, as the lightning flashed, briefly illuminating the scene in stark white light, Jill gaped. Were those talons? He glanced over his shoulder at her briefly as if to see how she was doing then made a dash at the animal, slashing its neck before dancing away.

The book 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

 

Am I Dreaming Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedMerry Happy Holidays!!!

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!)

Sharing now from my newly released scifi romance Aydarr (A Badari Warriors SciFi Romance Novel): Sectors New Allies Series Book 1. Yup, a mouthful LOL!

The excerpt:

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 above her.

The roar came again, closer, and was answered by another. Something hunting me maybe?  Distracted from the ominous mystery of the bracelet, she was briefly tempted to try climbing the tree, but the lightheadedness persisted. She pushed off, 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 book 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

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Private Session Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revised(If you’re here for the SFR Brigade Presents snippet, go here.)

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!)

I’m now excerpting my newly released scifi romance The Fated Stars. Story below the excerpt, as per the rules. I skipped a little ahead from last week’s snippet. Larissa is profoundly disturbed by her encounter with the seer and awakes the next morning still thinking about it. She goes back to the carnival on her own, seeking more information, and is speaking as the snippet starts. (Apologies for the weird punctuation, to meet our rules here!)

I’ll be releasing a new acifi romance book, possibly in the coming week, so this may be the last snippet from The Fated Stars.

The excerpt:

“How much for a private reading?”

“Huh?” The carny, who was the same woman who’d been on duty the night before, gaped at her, “You pay your credit and you get whatever he says.”

“Yeah, I understand – I was here last night, and I just wondered if I could have him tell me more,” Larissa lowered her voice and leaned toward the other, “I didn’t want to ask too many questions with my friends listening, you know?” She pulled out a ten credit token, “Of course I understand there’d be an extra fee for a private session.”

The credit was gone from her hand as if it’d never been. The carny headed for the entrance, “Five minutes – don’t touch anything and stand in the circle at all times. When I get back, you’re done,” She looped the flap down as she exited, giving Larissa unexpected privacy.

She planted her boots in the circle and studied the man’s face, “All right, you seemed to want to talk to me last night, so talk – or am I wasting ten perfectly good credits?”

TheFatedStarsFinalThe story:

Larissa Channer, a tough no-nonsense mercenary in the Sectors, is celebrating success on her last job and a big bonus, with no slightest thought of taking on another assignment anytime soon. Out for a night of carousing with her friends at a third rate carnival on a backwater planet, she walks into the tent of a fake fortune teller and finds herself confronting the most intriguing man she’s ever seen. But something’s wrong, ominous currents lie beneath the surface of their encounter and Larissa can’t leave well enough alone.

Samell, a powerful, high born empathic priest, has been kidnapped from his own primitive planet along with a number of his people, and sold to the shady operator of an interstellar carnival. Kept enslaved, pretending to be a fortune teller while forced by his captor to steal information from the minds of all who come before him, Samell despairs of every breaking free.

Until Larissa walks into his tent and he recognizes the warrior who might mean the difference between life and death.

The situation becomes dire when Larissa and Samell come to the attention of the Shemdylann pirates who kidnapped him in the first place and the deadly Mawreg, aliens who threaten the Sectors. Can she save herself and the empathic alien noble, and derail the Mawreg plot against the Sectors? And will the soldier end up with her prince when all’s said and done?

Buy Links:  Amazon     Kobo     B&N     iBooks     Google

canva alien empath series 4 books

SFR Brigade Presents THE FATED STARS What’s Your Fortune? #SciFi

SFRB Showcase

Once a month the SFR Brigade does a blog hop where authors share excerpts, cover reveals or other fun posts related to their scifi romances. Check here for the list of all the participants this month.

TheFatedStarsFinalThe excerpt from my latest release:

A bored human attendant indicated a glowing circle on the floor. “Stand there, one at a time, and the seer will give you your fortune.”

There was inevitable good natured, drunken pushing and shoving between the high testosterone members of Larissa’s party. Fluffing her purple and teal hair, Pamila stepped around the others, using her sharp elbows freely to make a path. “Rude boys. Ladies first.”

Colored lights played along the floor, walls, and ceiling. Iridescent bubbles floated from small vents under the platform holding the throne. Larissa held her hand over her mouth to avoid laughing at the cheesiness of the effects. Maybe the local colonists in this frontier Sector found this awe inspiring, but for a well-traveled person like her, who’d actually been to a few of the genuine wonders of the galaxy, this setup was pathetic. Although, of course, in the military she’d rarely had time to enjoy the marvels of any particular hotspot. Fight the battle at hand and move on, summary of service in the Special Forces. Life as a mercenary was even more of a grind.

An amplified voice emanated from the general direction of the ‘seer.’ “A romantic encounter with someone you admire will lead to unexpected consequences.”

“Are you blushing?” Larissa asked Pamila as her friend stepped out of the circle. She poked the other woman in the ribs and winked while tilting her head toward the mercenary she knew Pamila fancied. “Better take precautions tonight.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Pamila sniffed and shifted her focus to a shelf full of gilded statues.

Devlin swaggered into the designated spot and received his prediction of fame and fortune. The other two men took their turns and received similar generalized good news.

“Are you happy now? Can we go?” Reluctance to approach the dais kept Larissa rooted to the spot.

“You haven’t had your fortune told,” Pamila protested.

“I’m good. No need to tell me about my coming good fortune or the tall, dark and handsome guy I’m going to meet.” I think I’m staring at him now, and it’s not doing either of us any good. I wonder if he ever takes a break. She held up both hands with a laugh. “Let’s get out of here and find the nearest feelgood vendor. My throat is dry.”

“You paid your credit and the all-seeing giver of prophecies is waiting,” said the attendant in a bored voice. “No refunds.”

Devlin shoved her forward, and Larissa stumbled into the spot.  She straightened with a curse to find the seer’s eyes were open and he was staring at her, as he hadn’t done with any of the others. His eyes were emerald green, glowing, with glints of gold. She found she couldn’t avert her eyes.

A warrior of Thuun? Here? Have you come in answer to my prayer? The voice in her head was deep and resonant and she knew it was him speaking.

Inside the bubble, the man shifted restlessly, as if attempting to rise, to step down and meet her. Larissa realized he was held in place by force bonds, and she gasped, her adrenaline spiking. Slavery was illegal in the Sectors—what the hell kind of shady operation was this sideshow? She rested her hand on the blaster riding at her hip.

The attendant made an adjustment to a control panel at the side of the platform and the prisoner subsided, sweat beading his brow with the effort he’d made. His eyes closed and the enhanced voice sounded in the chamber. “You and your friends will journey far and reap great rewards. Widespread fame shall be yours.”

But in her head she heard his true voice, faint and desperate. I beg you for help, warrior.

Reacting to the prophecy, Devlin clapped her on the shoulder. “Now that’s more like it—widespread fame is good stuff. Let’s you book more jobs and hire your friends to watch your back, eh?  I think you got the best fortune, Larissa, so you can buy the next round of drinks.”

She allowed her companions to pull her from the tent, only briefly glancing over her shoulder, to see the seer once more completely immobile on his elaborate chair, eyes closed.

Maybe I imagined the whole thing. Too much cheap local whiskey. Shaking her head, she stepped over the threshold and tried to ignore the quiet please echoing in her head in the alien man’s deep voice.

The story:

Larissa Channer, a tough no-nonsense mercenary in the Sectors, is celebrating success on her last job and a big bonus, with no slightest thought of taking on another assignment anytime soon. Out for a night of carousing with her friends at a third rate carnival on a backwater planet, she walks into the tent of a fake fortune teller and finds herself confronting the most intriguing man she’s ever seen. But something’s wrong, ominous currents lie beneath the surface of their encounter and Larissa can’t leave well enough alone.

Samell, a powerful, high born empathic priest, has been kidnapped from his own primitive planet along with a number of his people, and sold to the shady operator of an interstellar carnival. Kept enslaved, pretending to be a fortune teller while forced by his captor to steal information from the minds of all who come before him, Samell despairs of every breaking free.

Until Larissa walks into his tent and he recognizes the warrior who might mean the difference between life and death.

The situation becomes dire when Larissa and Samell come to the attention of the Shemdylann pirates who kidnapped him in the first place and the deadly Mawreg, aliens who threaten the Sectors. Can she save herself and the empathic alien noble, and derail the Mawreg plot against the Sectors? And will the soldier end up with her prince when all’s said and done?

Buy Links:  Amazon     Kobo     B&N     iBooks     Google

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No Better Way to Celebrate 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!)

I’m now excerpting my newly released scifi romance The Fated Stars. Story below the excerpt, as per the rules. Punctuation edited a bit for this format.

The excerpt: 

Too bad there’s no better way to celebrate on this backwater planet. Larissa finished her feelgood and tossed the drink container into the nearest trash receptacle. She and five of her friends, among the top mercenaries in the Sectors, were letting off the tension after the successful conclusion of a job and the extremely generous bonus from a satisfied client. Stumbling from bar to bar in this frontier colony town together, they were looking for a good time, but kept coming up short. The small colony didn’t have much in the way of entertainment.

Just when she was thinking about turning in for the night, though, they ended up in front of the ramshackle Kinterow Stellar Circus and Sideshow, parked in a vacant lot at the end of the main street. Despite the late hour, locals packed the place, playing games of chance, eating greasy food, and watching the strolling players.

“We can’t miss this,” said one of her friends, waving a bottle of feelgood in the air. Sarcasm was heavy in his slurred words, “It’s the biggest draw on the entire planet.”

“The only thing on the planet,” Larissa was drunk but not so inebriated she wanted to waste time on a rundown carnival, having her credits drained from her account by overpriced food and fixed games.

TheFatedStarsFinalThe story:

Larissa Channer, a tough no-nonsense mercenary in the Sectors, is celebrating success on her last job and a big bonus, with no slightest thought of taking on another assignment anytime soon. Out for a night of carousing with her friends at a third rate carnival on a backwater planet, she walks into the tent of a fake fortune teller and finds herself confronting the most intriguing man she’s ever seen. But something’s wrong, ominous currents lie beneath the surface of their encounter and Larissa can’t leave well enough alone.

Samell, a powerful, high born empathic priest, has been kidnapped from his own primitive planet along with a number of his people, and sold to the shady operator of an interstellar carnival. Kept enslaved, pretending to be a fortune teller while forced by his captor to steal information from the minds of all who come before him, Samell despairs of every breaking free.

Until Larissa walks into his tent and he recognizes the warrior who might mean the difference between life and death.

The situation becomes dire when Larissa and Samell come to the attention of the Shemdylann pirates who kidnapped him in the first place and the deadly Mawreg, aliens who threaten the Sectors. Can she save herself and the empathic alien noble, and derail the Mawreg plot against the Sectors? And will the soldier end up with her prince when all’s said and done?

Buy Links:  Amazon     Kobo     B&N     iBooks     Google

canva alien empath series 4 books

 

SFR Brigade Presents Star Cruise Songbird #SciFi Rock Star Romance

SFRB ShowcaseOnce a month the SFR Brigade does a blog hop where authors share excerpts, cover reveals or other fun posts related to their scifi romances. Check here for the list of all the participants this month.

We have about a week left (through Veterans Day) to make donations to Hero Dogs, Inc., on royalties from our USA Today Best Selling anthology EMBRACE THE ROMANCE PETS IN SPACE 2, where my novella Star Cruise: Songbird can be found. So it’s not too late to get your copy! (Buy links below the blurb.) This excellent charity supplies service dogs to veterans.

In my story, the rock star comes from a planet with songs that are sung continuously for a thousand years. Here’s how she explains them to Grant, the hero…(I gave a bit more explanation for what prompted me to develop these on Diane Burton’s blog last month)

The excerpt: 

“What’s the deal with these songs? Do generations of people really sing the same tune night and day for a thousand years?”

She nodded. “Sometimes it’s the same song but more often there will be new verses being written daily or weekly, and given to the choirs and soloists. The musical variety depends on the funding and the purpose for the song. But the music never stops, not for anything. There’s a story once of a huge fire and the choir at that time moved outside and continued singing while the building fell. Anyone can commission a thousand year song although as you can imagine it takes massive resources, so typically only the most elite families or temples will do so. I have heard of villages putting all their resources into it, but the village was long gone and forgotten by the time the song concluded.”

“A thousand years? People actually sign up to sing the same song for their entire lives, and never hear the final notes? Their children never heard the final notes? Why?”

She shrugged. “Why do human beings do anything? Why did the people from Terra venture out in their generation ships before the hyperspeed drives were invented? The songs are a part of the Calillia religion. Legend says they bring the blessings of the gods upon the planet and the people. In fact, it was gods who started the first songs, millennia ago. If you believe in myths.” She gave him a shrewd glance. “Nowadays much of the planet’s economy is based on the songs and supporting the needs of the singers.”

Pulling him with her, Karissa ducked into the back of a large song temple, where the choir he’d heard was faithfully singing the chorus and refrain of their life’s work.

“See this?” Karissa pointed at an elaborate, slow moving device beside the door. “This was the style of chronograph when the song started. It’s measuring how long they’ve been singing, and how much time is left.”

“How long?”

She eyed the device. “Eight hundred years, give or take a decade or two.”

pets2Blurb for Embrace the Romance: Pets In Space 2:

The pets are back! Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2, featuring twelve of today’s leading Science Fiction Romance authors brings you a dozen original stories written just for you! Join in the fun, from the Dragon Lords of Valdier to a trip aboard award-winning author, Veronica Scott’s Nebula Zephyr to journeying back to Luda where Grim is King, for stories that will take you out of this world! Join New York Times, USA TODAY, and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, M.K. Eidem, Susan Grant, Michelle Howard, Cara Bristol, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Laurie A. Green, Sabine Priestley, Jessica E. Subject, Carol Van Natta, and Alexis Glynn Latner as they share stories and help out Hero-Dogs.org, a charity that supports our veterans!

10% of the first months profits go to Hero-Dogs.org. Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence.

Amazon   iBooks   Kobo   B&N    Our website:  http://www.petsinspaceantho.com/

 

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