Caution: Today’s guest poster may cause overly exuberant fangirling, high volume squeeee and furry kitten aawwwss.
Today, we give the mic to the indubitably amazing ( I just like saying indubitably), bestselling author Veronica Scott. She’s here to talk about her anthology with other authors of the SFR goodness.
Thanks for having me as your guest today!
Late last year author Pauline Baird Jones and I started tossing around the idea of creating a science fiction romance anthology using the story prompt of pets mixed with science fiction romance stories. It seemed like so much fun that we invited a few other writers to ‘play’ and Pets In Space was born.
For myself, I’m a cat person (look at this collection of my childhood books and I think you see a feline theme creeping in LOL!).
And I currently have two cats, Jake and Keanu, who thoroughly approved of my inclination to write a story involving a cat in space. I do think cats would adapt beautifully to the environment, don’t you? They’d figure it out and be the boss of everything in short order, just as they are here on Earth! Just ask them…
Moby, the cat in my story and her alien sidekick Midorri, have the run of the intergalactic cruise liner Nebula Zephyr, although they like to spend a lot of time in the cavernous cargo hold, chasing space rats. The Cargo Master is Moby’s owner, having rescued her from a group of bullies at a spaceport as a kitten, and he looks out for Midorri as well. She belonged to a pampered space princess passenger who left her on the ship when her own voyage ended, and the crew adopted her. Midorri likes Moby and loves cat treats so you usually find the two of them together, getting into mischief of course, and being fed by Owen.
Here’s the blurb for my story in the anthology – Star Cruise: Stowaway:
Cargo Master Owen Embersson is shocked when the Nebula Zephyr’s ship’s cat and her alien sidekick, Midorri, alert him to the presence of a stowaway. He has no idea of the dangerous complications to come – nor does he anticipate falling hard for the woman whose life he now holds in his hands. Life aboard the Nebula Zephyr has just become more interesting – and deadly.
The blurb for Pets In Space:
Even an alien needs a pet…
Join the adventure as nine pet loving sci-fi romance authors take you out of this world and pull you into their action-packed stories filled with suspense, laughter, and romance. The alien pets have an agenda that will capture the hearts of those they touch. Follow along as they work side by side to help stop a genetically-engineered creature from destroying the Earth to finding a lost dragon; life is never the same after their pets decide to get involved. Can the animals win the day or will the stars shine just a little less brightly?
New York Times, USA TODAY, Award Winning, and Best selling authors have eight original, never-released stories and one expanded story giving readers nine amazing adventures that will capture your imagination and help a worthy charity. Come join us as we take you on nine amazing adventures that will change the way you look at your pet!
10% of the first month’s 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.
One of our authors, Susan Grant, is a veteran, and most of us have relatives who served in the military, so selecting Hero Dogs, Inc., as the charity we wanted to partner with was an easy decision. We hope the anthology will attract new readers to the science fiction romance genre, entice current readers to try our authors’ other books and enable us to provide the charity with a nice donation to support their good work.
Here’s an excerpt from near the beginning of my story, when Owen has just ended his work shift and is ready to leave the deserted cargo deck.
Stepping onto the echoing deck, he called for Moby. She spent most of her evenings hunting vermin lurking among the monstrous crates and containers, but she usually passed the first part of the evening in his cabin, eating the incredibly expensive cat food he had the ship’s AI keep in stock. Not much else to spend his salary on. “Come on, cat, I want my dinner even if you don’t,” he said to the elegant vision in white fur who trotted from the murky recesses of the deck. How she stayed clean when she spent her days prowling the cargo deck, he’d never know.
Purring, she came to his steel-tipped work shoes but evaded his effort to pick her up, moving just out of range the way felines did, as if cats could teleport. Moby scampered toward the towering stacks of cargo then turned. Seeing he’d failed to chase her, she sat, tail twitching, head tilted, eyeing him.
“What‘s the matter with you? I’m not in the mood to throw cat toys and retrieve them right now.” Embersson headed toward the gravlift. Moby regarded the entire ship as her territory and could find his cabin for her dinner when she was hungry.
In the next minute, he nearly tripped as she rubbed his ankles, nipping at one in passing. Swearing, he caught himself with a hand to the bulkhead. “What in the seven hells is wrong with you tonight? Giving me a concussion won’t get you fed.”
Moby yowled at him and ran toward the stacked cargo again.
Figuring she wanted to show him a recent kill, which he’d then have to dispose of, he followed.
Moby moved faster now that she’d gotten him with the program.
He followed her around the corner of the pallet the ship had taken on earlier in the day and found Midorri, the Zephyr’s other pet, crouched beside a free trader container. “What mischief have the two of you gotten into now?” he asked Moby. Midorri came aboard the Zephyr originally as the pampered pet of a princess, but after the whole outbreak incident, Sector authorities refused to let the lady disembark on Sector Hub with the undocumented animal, so the ship had kept the odd green fluffball. Dr. Shane was her official owner of record, but the entire crew liked the slightly clumsy but always amusing creature.
Midorri sneezed, as she was often wont to do, allergic to humans perhaps, and flicked her plush prehensile tail before lowering her head and extending her long green tongue to lap at something on the deck.
“Freaking flares, do not tell me we’ve got leaking cargo. Damn free traders and their beat-up equipment.” He hoped Moby hadn’t sampled whatever Midorri was drinking. The alien animal could probably handle anything up to and including nuclear fuel, who knew, but Moby was definitely a terrestrial cat, with a more delicate stomach. He tried to shoo Midorri away from the slowly growing puddle of green goo, dripping from a dented corner of the container. Musta gotten banged when the shuttle crew offloaded the final pallet too fast and had to straighten everything in a rush. Funny, he’d never have picked this box—well constructed, made from high-quality materials—to be a problem. “I better see what’s in there,” he said to the interested animals.
Moby yowled, startling him as her voice echoed, and Midorri emitted a high-pitched chirping that grated on his ears like a physical assault.
Spurred on by the animals’ distress, which confirmed his own suspicion he faced a genuine problem, Embersson used his cargo master key, which was supposed to open any container on his ship. Nothing happened. Swearing, he tried again. “This free trader’s never shipping anything with us again, idiot forgot to set the damn code for my access. Maeve, can you open this?”
“Of course,” the ship’s AI said. “I haven’t forgotten all my military skills just because I run a cruise ship nowadays.”
“Wait a second.” He stepped aside, encouraging the animals to do so as well. He imagined a gush of whatever was leaking when Maeve did her hacking thing and overrode the container controls.
Midorri tried to climb over his boot to return to the growing puddle.
A loud click echoed in the cargo bay and the seams on the crate glowed yellow, unsealing in a smooth progression along the rim.
Amazon TBD on Release
Best Selling Science Fiction & Paranormal Romance author and “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happily Ever After blog, Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.
Three time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances! She recently was honored to read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “City On the Edge of Forever.”
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Veronica-Scott/e/B006CUCJ92/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1