Writer’s Log

Thankful for YOU

I wanted to take a moment from the busy holiday this Thanksgiving Day to thank YOU, my friends and readers, for all your love and support. I’m so grateful for YOU! 

autographed Paperback Giveaway!

One of my fav SF romance authors, Anna Hackett, has a new book out in her brand new series, Galactic Gladiators! (the title alone made me want to read it) To celebrate the release, Anna, myself, and fellow sci-fi romance authors SE Smith and Charlee Allden are giving away some action-packed, science fiction romance paperbacks. All these books center around fierce arenas and gaming set in the future.
 
THREE lucky winners will win copies of Anna’s book, Hell Squad: Marcus PLUS an autographed copy of my book, Champion of Barésh or SE’s Dagger’s Hope, or Charlee’s Stealing Mercury. To enter the paperback giveaway, just leave a comment on Anna’s page (international entries welcome!)
 
The paperback giveaway is only open until close of business Friday, don’t miss out!
 

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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