Writer’s Log

Character sketches from Spark of Attraction, Pets in Space

These past few weeks have been a whirlwind.  We are so pleased with the success of PETS IN SPACE. WE couldn’t have done it without all of you. I am sending you all huge hugs of thanks!  

We are going to round out our conversations with the PETS IN SPACE ANTHOLOGY authors with Cara Bristol.  She is going to introduce us to her story Spark of Attraction.  Be sure to visit her website and follow her on social media.  Links are at the end of the blog post.

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Spark of Attraction in Pets in Space has three main characters. The hero, heroine, and a dog. Here’s a highlight of who they are.

Name: Dante Stone

Race: Cyborg. A computer-modified human.

Nickname: Cold Stone.

Occupation: Captain of the Crimson Hawk, a military spacecraft

Goal: Deliver the 200+ survivors of an alien attack to Space Station 15 and then resume his normal duties.

Temperament: Analytical and mission-focused. His emotions were accidentally erased when he was transformed to cyborg. His nickname is “Cold Stone.”

Obstacle: Miranda Lowell, one of the survivors who sneaked aboard a malfunctioning K9-500 bot. She’s an unwelcome distraction, and her robot dog is irritating. The damn bot bit him!

Name: Miranda Lowell

Race: Human.

Occupation: Archivist for the New Utopians, a group of colonists that sought to establish a colony on Verde Omega.

Goal: Recover from the alien attack that nearly killed her and destroyed everything she owned except for Sparky, her K9-500 robotic dog.

Obstacle: Something is terribly wrong aboard the Crimson Hawk. Her fellow New Utopians are disappearing one by one. Why won’t the captain believe her?

Name: Sparky

Appearance: Resembles a real dog. He’s small, with short white fur, electrified teeth, and one hell of a bite.

Race: Artificial Intelligence. A K9-500 robot.

Function: Companion to Miranda Lowell. Programmed to protect her at any cost.

Obstacle: The captain of the Crimson Hawk. To protect Miranda from the threat posed by the captain, Sparky bit him. Now he’s been deactivated. As soon as he can move again, watch out!

If you left to colonize a planet, what one personal item from home (Earth) would you want to bring?

Spark of Attraction blurb

Memory: intact. Cognitive function: enhanced. Emotion: erased.

After becoming a cyborg, Captain Dante Stone didn’t think he’d ever feel again, until a traumatized young woman and a ball of synthetic fur named Sparky helped him to love.

An excerpt from Spark of Attraction, Pets in Space

“How’s your leg?” she asked.

“Good as new.”

“I’m so sorry about what happened.”

“Don’t worry about it. With my nanos, the bite wound had healed by the next morning, and all traces had disappeared the day after. Just give me your word you’ll keep the bot powered down.” A cyborg, he’d healed fast, but if the K9-500 bit a human, the outcome wouldn’t be so good.

She crossed her heart. “I learned my lesson. I had assumed when you grabbed me to keep me from falling, it triggered a protective response in Sparky, but he hasn’t been performing to spec lately.”

“You need to get that checked out.”

“I intend to when I get to the space station. He’s the only thing I have left. My father gave him to me before he died.”

“On Verde Omega—”

“No, no,” she added quickly. “He died when I was teenager. I’ve had Sparky ever since, and he saved me from the Tyranians. He bit one of them, too.”

Thank goodness she had had the bot. “Maybe I could examine him?” Dante offered.

What was he thinking? He needed to break off all association with this woman—not find ways to spend time with her. A relationship between the captain and a refugee passenger would be inappropriate—not to mention short-termed. Once the ship docked, they would go their separate ways, as they should. And if he already ached at the idea of never seeing her again, how much worse would it be if he got to know her better?

“I don’t understand.” She frowned.

“We have an android lab. I’m no coding expert, but as a cyborg, I run diagnostics on my own programming regularly. I can examine…uh…Sparky for anomalies, red flags.”

Was he crazy? He couldn’t fraternize with a passenger! Tell her never mind. Forget what I said.

“You’d do that?” Her face lit up with a beautiful, glowing smile. For the second time since he’d met her, he felt as if he’d been punched in the chest. If she ever smiled at him like that…well, she was, but only because he’d offered to run a diagnostic on her robot.

“Let me see when I have the time,” he backpedaled. Before he extended any more stupid offers, he excused himself. “I’ll let you know what Lieutenant Commander Brack finds out,” he said, and rose to his feet. “I must return to the bridge.” He fled the observation deck.

Cara Bristol’s website: https://carabristol.com

Cara Bristol’s newsletter: http://eepurl.com/9aRJj

Cara Bristol on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/cara.bristol.3

Cara Bristol’s Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Cara-Bristol/e/B004D8KZTQ/

My Favorite Pets

Please welcome Susan Smith (S.E. Smith)  as she tells us a little about her love of animals and introduces us to a couple of her favorite pets.  Susan’s PETS IN SPACE story is A Mate for Matrix.  At the end of today’s post, you will find links to follow her on Facebook and to her website.  

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What is your favorite pet story?

For a Fiction read, my favorite pet story would have to be The Black Stallion by Walter Farley. The Black, a wild horse from the Middle East, is not your typical idea of a pet. The hero of the story, Alec, is a young boy who eventually befriends the stallion after the two are shipwrecked together. It is a powerful story of survival, friendship, and overcoming the odds.

The fantasy/fiction stories are always the best, but sometimes the real-life pets can be just as entertaining. We’ve always had pets and they all have their unique personality. At the moment, we are living with our first cat. PIA, she has been through numerous names, is one of our most unique pets.

When she was about three months old, she was abandoned by her owners. Two of my sons were on a job when the owner of the house came up and told them that he was trying to catch a cat that had been left behind by the previous owners. He planned on killing her. My youngest was living in an apartment at the time and already had three cats so he couldn’t take her in and my other son, who now owns two kittens and thinks of them as his kids, is highly allergic to cats. Yes, I know, strange, but true. They called me up and ask me if we wanted a cat. Never having owned one, I said no (Okay, it might have been more of a NO! then just a no, if you know what I mean). Well, boys being boys, especially mine with a tender heart, a half hour later I was the proud owner of a cat. This was four years ago. PIA loves to hunt snakes and play with them, head butt you, meow, follow you around like a puppy, and snuggle. She loves attention and acts more like a dog than a cat. LOL. When my youngest son sent me a picture of her while we were gone and said ‘Mom, your cat is malfunctioning again’, I knew she fit into our family perfectly. 

Why did you write for PISA?

Anyone who knows me will recognize two things: I’m a sucker for animals and good causes. I first heard about Pets in Space when Veronica Scott messaged me and asked me to participate in an anthology. I knew I was already on a tight schedule, but when she told me what it was about and the charity that the stories were going to support, I knew I had to agree. I firmly believe in the healing properties of animals.

Most of the dogs, and definitely PIA, were either strays or pound puppies when we got them. Pixie Missile, a small terrier mix was one of my favorites. We had her at the time the boys brought PIA home. When the dog we had before Pixie passed away, I was heartbroken. I didn’t want another pet as it was just too hard. Three months after Fuzzybucket passed away, my hubby came home and said “There’s a dog in 12A that you need to go see down at the Humane Society.” For a week, I refused. Finally, my daughter and I were out and she told me that we might as well go see it. Of course, it was Pixie and I fell immediately in love with her. It tore me up when she was diagnosed with bone cancer when she was ten years old. I still miss her today. It is for her and all the other pets out there that become such a part of your life that I wrote the story for Pets in Space. My story is for Pixie.

Here is a teaser from A Mate for Matrix from Pets in Space:

“Jana knocked you out – with a small wooden brush. She is fierce and loyal and has the heart of a wolf. I have chosen her as your life mate,” K-Nine stated, jumping down off the bench. “I will scan the area. You need to wash before dinner. You have dirt in your ear.”

Matrix’s mouth snapped shut as he watched K-Nine disappear through the narrow opening. Since when did he let anyone – much less a cyborg wolfhound – choose his life mate? Turning, he gripped the sink before emitting a loud, frustrated growl. He stared at his reflection in the mirror. A grimace of distaste flashed across his face.

“I kissed her looking like this?” He asked himself in disgust before he bowed his head. “I should have left his mangy hide to the trainer. Everyone warned me to stay away from K-Nine. But no, I had to see what a Despairing Wolf hybrid looked like. When will I ever learn?”

Click here for your copy of Pets in Space http://sesmithfl.com/pets-in-space-anthology/

S.E. Smith, New York Times and USA TODAY Bestselling author of Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, and Paranormal Romance brings another action, adventure, and suspense- filled story to transport readers out of this world. Readers can check out her website at http://sesmithfl.com and chat with her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/se.smith.5.

Everyone’s a Critic - Even the Squirrels

Today we are getting squirrelly with, Pauline Baird Jones.  I am sure you will enjoy today’s conversation as Pauline tells about her PETS IN SPACE story, The Real Dragon and her squirrel critic.  Please be sure to visit Pauline’s webpage http://paulinebairdjones.com/

Everyone’s a Critic – Even the Squirrels

I have been owned by many pets, but I have also—entirely without planning—coexisted with what the hubs and I like to call our “wild kingdom.”

Since we have mostly lived in cities since our marriage, I did not expect to have trouble with critters in my house. The worst of our wild kingdom“roommates” were the woodpeckers that moved into our attic for a brief time. Right above our bedroom. My head still aches remembering.

Most startling award goes to the squirrel who moved into the vent hood above the stove. When said vent hood quit venting our cooking smells, I didn’t give it much thought. Until the day I was cooking something or other and the vent hood—hissed at me.

Now I’ll admit what I was cooking was not up the New Orleans standards. But it wasn’t that bad.

I tipped my head, took a closer look. Noticed little bit of straw poking out the edges around the filter and saw…

Eyes.

My vent hood was looking at me.

I might have emitted a startled exclamation. Or a scream. I know I backed up until I could back no more.

The Hubs came running.

He got hissed at, too.

We removed the food we no longer wanted to eat and discussed what to do for long enough for the elements to cool.

And then we made a…tactical error. I say “we,” even though it was the Hubs that did because I didn’t stop him.

He released the clamps on either side of the filter.

All kinds of nasty crud fell out.

And a squirrel.

She didn’t fall all the way out. She was clinging to the vent hood motor which had dropped out with the crud. They both swung gently above our stove. Her tail just brushing the surface of the stove. I am glad it wasn’t hot because who knows where that would have sent her.

I honestly don’t know how long we stared at her and she stared at us. Then the Hubs backed slowly away, left me alone with the squirrel long enough to get a box. He crept up on the squirrel and eased the box under it. Then knocked it down and slammed the lid shut. He took it outside and released the squirrel and…

…before the Hubs could get back inside, the squirrel had re-entered our vent hood—and fallen out again.

So, we did it all again, only this time, I re-secured the filter on the vent hood and the hubs explored how the squirrel was getting in.

And discovered her babies.

So yeah, it was a while before we managed to move them out.

After that, I tried to up my game with the cooking. It was not the first, nor would it be the last time, I felt judged by an animal.

Have you ever been given a review (good or bad) by a pet or wild critter? Did you recover? Change your life? Become a better cook?

In my short story, “The Real Dragon,” Emma’s pet bearded dragon is a bit pet, a bit wild critter and, in his own dragon way, all hero.

      If you like stories of romance, action, adventure and PETS, I hope you’ll check out Pets in Space. Not only will you get EIGHT original, never-before-published stories, and ONE expanded story, 10% of the first month’s proceeds will be donated to Hero-Dogs.org, an organization dedicated to training dogs to help Veterans.

So, youre not dating Ted?Peddrenth broke into what had turned into a long silence.

It wasnt that Id run out of questions. I think I had maxed out my ability to process his answers. Here I sat in my bedroom, dealing with the fact that my dad was getting married again, my dragon had taken an accidental trip to space and back, and all I had were book boyfriends. I glanced around. And bedroom that hadnt been updated since that night. And who was Ted?

I started to ask, but then I remembered. The me before the accident had thought Ted might ask me to the senior prom. He hadnt, of course. Id been in the hospital with a concussion. And our datinghad been as imaginary as my book boyfriends.

No…I’m not dating Ted.From “The Real Dragon,” Pets in Space

Pauline never liked reality, so she writes books. She likes to wander among the genres, rampaging like Godzilla, because she does love peril mixed in her romance. You can find out more about her books (and get a free story for subscribing to her newsletter) at: http:///www.paulinebjones.com

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My Alien Pet

Please welcome Veronica Scott.  Veronica’s PETS IN SPACE story is Star Cruise: Stowaway.  Today, Veronica gives a sneak peek into her story so make sure you read through to the end. Then visit Veronica’s web page for more information on her books and upcoming projects https://veronicascott.wordpress.com/

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One of the first things that comes to mind for me when thinking about petlike alien animals in space would be the tribble, from the famous Star Trek episode “The Trouble With Tribbles.” They’re soft, they kind of purr and oh did I mention they multiply like nobody’s business? The rabbit of the spacelanes! I always loved that episode…

Data had an orange tabby cat named Spot in “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” And Ripley had her orange tabby named Jonesy in the movies “Alien” and “Aliens”. Although the cat wisely stayed home in the second movie. The cat always knows best!

Apparently there was a pet in the old show “Lost in Space,” a creature that made a ‘bloop’ sound and which was named Debbie but I’ve got no memory of it! Looks like a chimpanzee with pointy ears.

So when it was time for me to come up with my ‘alien pet’ for the novel Star Cruise: Outbreak, I did think about tribbles. I made Midorri, my pet, soft and green, but there any resemblance to tribbles ended because my pet has two golden eyes, a long tail like a red panda (which is my favorite wild animal on Earth so if I’m designing an animal, I get to include that tail!) and six legs. Not a tribble, not even close. But affectionate and patient, although Midorri may be allergic to humans- we’re still figuring that part out. And she loves cat treats.

Because Owen Embersson, the cargo master of my ship Nebula Zephyr, has a rescue cat, Moby.

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.

And the blurb for 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.

 

A quick excerpt from the story – this one comes from the second half of the adventure, not that I want to give spoilers, but Owen and Midorri are setting off to accomplish something important (and perhaps slightly illegal, but for a good cause)!

 

             A major shipping hub in this Sector, although not a governmental center, Devir Six hosted a Cargo Master Guild Hall so there was nothing odd or unusual about Owen taking one of the Nebula Zephyr’s personal flitters to the surface, ostensibly to conduct business. The ship would to be in orbit for a few days, while the passengers sampled the planet’s many beautiful amenities. As he moved among the crowds at the spaceport, he didn’t attract much notice—just another spacer in nondescript utilities—with his unusual pet perched on his shoulder. A number of men and women in the crowd sported their odd alien furred and feathered companions, as if to proclaim the fact of their extensive journeys among the stars.

                He reached up to pet Midorri. They both knew her leash was for show only and wouldn’t stop her for a second if she wanted to bolt. He’d come to realize she was a lot smarter than anyone had been giving her credit for, and he hoped she might come in handy during the next few days.

Author Bio:

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.”

Blog: https://veronicascott.wordpress.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/vscotttheauthor

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Veronica-Scott/177217415659637?ref=hl

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Veronica-Scott/e/B006CUCJ92/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

The Story Behind the Story

Today we are continuing the fun with a conversation with Lea Kirk.  Lea is going to share with us the story behind the story of her pet. To find out more about Lea, please be sure to visit her website http://www.leakirk.com/

The Story behind the Story

I am the dog, the guardian of this place, and I survey my domain as I lay here in my yard, warming myself in a spot of sunshine. I really love the cold-damp season the best because it rains, and rain is glorious. It makes puddles, and those are my favorite things. Although, it hasn’t rained for almost a week and now all the puddles are gone. Most disappointing. Now I have to figure out what to do for the rest of the day.

I’ve been asked if there is a story behind the story of Ranger, my Pets in Space pet. Yes! There absolutely is.

When I first wrote about Ranger, the dog from SPACE RANGER, I had only a vague idea what she was like, other than she was a roly-poly puppy. I also knew she would grow up to be a big dog, about sixty to sixty-five pounds or so.  As my story unfolded, I got to know her better. She had short red fur, floppy ears, and she loved to run, which meant her legs would be long and gangly through her doggie teenage months.

She would also be very protective of her people and her territory. Her people had saved her life and given her a home, and her first loyalty was to them. She loved to be with them as much as possible, but she also spent time patrolling her territory. No matter how far afield she went, she’d always find her way home.

It was at this point that I realized there was something hauntingly familiar about this pet. After researching dog breeds with red fur and deciding Ranger was a Rhodesian Ridgeback, it hit me. She had become an unintentional tribute to my one-time writing companion and best dog ever, Indy. Indy was only part Ridgeback, but she was all spunk—much like my fictional dog, Ranger.

I chose a dog as my pet because I know dogs. With the exception of a few brief years here and there, there has always been at least one dog bringing joy to my life. I’ve had a Samoyed, a Cocker-Lab mix, two Dalmatians, a yellow Labrador, a crazy Beagle, a Plott hound mix…and just recently, after a four-year hiatus, we adopted our first Doberman Pinscher. Never in a million years did I ever think I’d have a dog of that breed! But, he’s a sweetheart. A total marshmallow and we love him.

Incidentally, it took us a week to figure out his name. It was my husband who proposed it, and it seems to be sticking.

His name is Ranger. He may not look like the Ranger from my story, but he sure does seem to carry her spirit.

 

 

Read more about Ranger in Lea’s story, Space Ranger. 

The gift of a puppy connects two lost souls that find they need each other to thrive.

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