Our First Fictional Pet by Tiffany Roberts

Anna here, and happy to report I’m having an awesome release week! Embrace the Passion is now out and finding so many readers. And a huge bonus is that we are generating lots of support for the Hero Dogs charity!

Today, I’m welcoming husband and wife sci-fi romance writing duo Tiffany Roberts to talk about their Embrace the Passion story, Hunter of the Tide. They’re talking about the cutest-looking fish cat I’ve ever seen (okay, maybe the only fish cat I’ve ever seen, but still the cutest!)

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Throughout the books in our Kraken series, we’ve done our best to create vibrant alien environments both above and below the waves, but we knew our needs for Hunter of the Tide would be unique. The creatures we’re already established in the world of Halora were firmly planted either on land or in the sea (apart from the titular kraken, of course, who get to enjoy both), and none of them would quite work to suit the circumstances of our hero, Randall. As a human, Randall would spend most of his time in the air, but his life among the kraken meant he’d be in the water quite a bit, too. He needed a pet that could thrive with him in both environments.

We had a few criteria to meet in the creation of his companion—as mentioned, the animal needed to function well on land and at sea, it needed to be endearing to both the characters in the story and the readers, and it needed to be something that felt like a real, living part of Halora.

We looked to some earth creatures for inspiration, particularly semiaquatic mammals like seals and otters, but they weren’t quite alien enough as they were. Some inspirational artwork added the last bits we needed to create the prixxir, a semiaquatic species that lives along the coastlines of Halora. Part otter, part feline, and part fish, the prixxir present something vaguely familiar to Halora’s humans—a faint echo of the dogs and cats that were their ancestors’ companions on another world—while all the same having alien features.

The prixxir Randall befriends, Ikaros, is little more than a pup in Hunter of the Tide, but he demonstrates some of the best qualities a pet can have—loyalty, empathy, cunning, protectiveness, and affection. Ikaros is the first pet we’ve written in any of our stories (which is surprising to realize, now that we look back), but he was great fun to create and bring to life in the story. Though Hunter is about Randall and his relationship with Rhea, Ikaros provides the story’s heart and soul in true Pets in Space fashion, and we hope everyone enjoys reading about him as much as we enjoyed writing about him.

Hunter of the Tide Teaser

“He is eating so well,” Melaina said, twisting to grin at Rhea and Randall. Her attention immediately swung back to the prixxir. She offered another bite of fish, and the creature devoured the morsel, long tail waving eagerly.

“That’s good. It’ll help him heal faster,” Randall said.

Rhea watched her daughter pet the creature. Melaina’s face was aglow with delight, and her eyes sparkled with adoration. Rhea’s chest tightened; the youngling’s wanderlust had caused trouble over the last year, but seeing Melaina so happy filled Rhea’s hearts near to bursting.

And it was because of Randall. He’d made it possible by agreeing to care for the prixxir.

Ikaros chirruped, cocking its head and tilting it back when Melaina dangled a bit of fish higher up. The prixxir followed the moving food with large eyes, and the instant the meat came within its reach, it darted up to snatch the food out of Melaina’s fingers. She giggled.

“Once he’s fully grown, you won’t be able to hold food out of his reach anymore,” Randall said. “Not until you grow up, yourself.”

“When I’m as tall as you?” Melaina asked.

Randall glanced at Rhea, sweeping his gaze over her from tentacles to head, before looking back at Melaina. “You’ll probably be taller than me when you’re done.”

“Are you done growing? You don’t seem so tall for a male.”

Rhea smirked.

“Yeah, I’m all done growing. Maybe I’m not as big as Dracchus—”

“No one is as big as Dracchus,” Melaina interrupted.

Randall smiled. “But I make up for it by being the hairiest one in this whole place.”

Melaina laughed, pointing at Randall’s chest. “You are!”

“Everyone has to have something they’re good at.”

“Being the hairiest cannot be all you are good at,” Rhea said.

“I might have a few other talents,” he replied, eyes roving over Rhea’s body again. Her brows rose, and her lips curved into a smile. “But I usually let other people judge that for themselves.”

Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3

Bio: Tiffany Roberts, a husband and wife writing duo, are now actively living their dream creating happily-ever-afters one monster or alien at a time.

The pets are back in this new, exciting collection of eleven original stories from today’s hottest Science Fiction Romance authors! Feel the action and passion! https://www.petsinspaceantho.com

Future Crimes, Punishments, and Pets by Carol Van Natta

Today, I’m welcoming my fellow Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3 anthology author Carol over to my blog to talk about her story in the anthology! I really enjoy her Central Galactic Concordance series — space opera with romance for the win!

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My Central Galactic Concordance (CGC) space opera series has a grand, sprawling plot going on about evolutionary change and rebellion. I love all its twists and turns, but sometimes I like to take a break and visit the unexplored places in my CGC universe. Novellas, like CATS OF WAR in the Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3 anthology, give me the chance to explore background aspects and explore their implications for the galactic civilization at large.

My previous novella for last year’s Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 anthology, PET TRADE, centered on shady pet trade industry. For CATS OF WAR, the backdrop is the CGC’s Criminal Restitution Indenture and Obligation (CRIO) system.

The CGC has more than 500 member planets. Serious criminals (e.g., murder, rape, genocide, etc.) go to prison, or get mind erasure and menial jobs for life. In extraordinary cases, the CGC executes the criminal on a live simulcast feed throughout the civilized worlds. However, for lesser crimes that involve theft and property destruction, convicts must pay back the monetary damage, or be sent to the CRIO system to work off their obligation.

The CGC government partners with private industry and assigns indenturees to provide the labor. Like any other human-created institution, the CRIO system can be gamed, and there are rumors of hellholes.

One of the better CRIO installations is the setting for CATS OF WAR. The facility itself is in the middle a swamp. It filters rare-earth metals from mountain water runoff, which the government uses for building faster-than-light stardrives. On paper, it’s a win-win. Reality is more complicated.

The hero of CATS OF WAR, Subcaptain Kedron Tauceti, is the military liaison for indenturees who are veterans. He had no more choice in his assignment than did the heroine, indenturee Ferra Barray, who is doing restitution time for property damage.

Ordinarily, they’d have no reason to interact, but they are brought together by the unlikely arrival of two mysterious creatures who need their help—or might be the help that both Kedron and Ferra need when trouble comes to call.

Here’s a little excerpt from CATS OF WAR:

While Kedron wouldn’t miss the Argint d’Apa facility, he would miss the swamp. He’d disliked it at first, the same way most staffers still did, but it had grown on him. He’d spent time studying its ecology and gone with the biodiversity scientists on a few sample-collection expeditions. Living so close to untamed nature made it easier to understand how everything, from the majestic giant trees to annoying clouds of gnats, had a place. Maybe he did, too, even if he couldn’t see it.

He put away his uniform and decided to walk laps on the campus’s wide perimeter walkway, rather than spend another evening alone in the gym. Regulations restricted it to military personnel, and he’d never seen the CPS representative use it.

As much as possible, he kept his interactions with her in virtual space. As a mid-level telepath, she could read thoughts, and as a low-level sifter, she could affect brain chemicals, detect lies, and sense the use of active minder talents. Military personnel caught with minder talents earned an immediate, permanent transfer to the CPS’s Minder Corps.

Kedron’s minder talent wasn’t much, just an ability to use seemingly unrelated information to find things of interest, but he’d rather direct traffic for a city of half a billion or be an indenturee than work for the Minder Corps. Too many private family stories warned of how badly the Minder Corps treated its personnel. He’d learned to hide his talent well enough to beat the CPS Testing Center for mandatory age twelve and seventeen tests, and random ones since, but some sifters were better than the equipment. Fortunately, minder talents in the patterner class were hard for even high-level sifters to detect.

He pulled on pants and a long-sleeved top to ward off biting insects and stepped into one of his few indulgences, custom-tailored, waterproof, adaptive boots. Even with myriad modern transportation options, Ground Div gunnin, from the lowest ranker to High Command commodores, spent a lot of time walking, running, and marching. Good boots made all the difference.

He looked out the north-facing window of his quarters to check the weather and the path. Non-essential indenturees were on lockdown, and half the staff was busy, so he wasn’t surprised to see it deserted. The tall perimeter fence’s horizontal power lines beyond the road-glass pathway glowed faintly as reminders of their presence. The overhead and glass path lights blinked on and off erratically, then stayed off. Twilight and mold sometimes messed with the sensors.

Shadowed movement caught his eye. Someone carrying a shallow, rectangular crate stepped off the path toward the exterior powered fence. The figure knelt right in front of the fence and set the crate down. After furtive looks left and right, the figure slid something under the fence.

 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!

PETS Website 

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About 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.

 

SFR Read: Alien Attraction (Alien Mate 2) by Cara Bristol

If you are looking for a sci-fi romance to read while you wait for Imperator, then make sure you check out Cara Bristol’s latest, Alien Attraction!

This one is sitting in my TBR and is reality show meets sci-fi romance!

How insane is it to marry an alien as a publicity stunt?

I’m Sunny Weathers. You probably recognize me from my reality show, Sunny Weathers’ Excellent Adventures. I’ve had to perform a lot of crazy stunts in my career, but this one takes the cake! The producers are sending me to another planet to become an alien’s mail-order bride. I’m not allowed to tell anybody it’s a put-on, and as soon my contract is up, I’ll be leaving planet Dakon. Unfortunately, I hadn’t counted on my attraction to Mr. Tall, “Darq,” and Handsome…

I’m Darq. The moment I laid eyes on the female with pretty mud-colored hair and a sunny smile, I knew she was mine. Competition for females is fierce, and I was determined to claim a mate from the latest shipment from Earth, so I broke the rules. If anyone finds out, my own brother will banish me to the icy wilderness, and I’ll lose my mate. I will do anything to keep her…

 

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Cara also donated a signed paperback from her cyborg series Cy-Ops to help celebrate the Galactic Gladiators cover reveal of Imperator. Pop over to the cover reveal to enter the giveaway!

New Sci-fi Romance from Cara Bristol

If you’re looking for something to read while you’re waiting for Hell Squad: Theron…Cara Bristol has a new release! I was sucked in at ‘falsely convicted and sent to a primitive, frozen wasteland’ and Alien Mate has joined my TBR list.

I’m Starr Elizabeth Conner. Earth’s government falsely convicted me of a crime, packed me on a ship with other female felons, and sent us to Dakon, a primitive, frozen wasteland of a planet. Why? Earth needs minerals, and Dakon is desperate for females.

But I’m no barbarian’s ‘mail order bride,’ even if he is super tall, muscular, and the chief of his tribe. He doesn’t want a BBW blonde, either–it’s written all over his chiseled face. He’ll be truly angry if he ever learns what my ‘crime’ was.

I am Torg. I have waited 34 rotations for a mate of my own. With this shipment, I was sure to get a fine, sturdy mate who’ll bear me many daughters. Instead, I receive a small, curvy, pale-haired female who looks at me with anger and fear.

It is only when we ‘kiss’ that I believe things may work out between us. But I’m hearing rumors that Starr and her shipmates are law-breakers. To survive, Dakonians must obey all laws … or be exiled into the frozen wasteland.  Just when I have found her, will I have to send my mate to die?

Don’t miss this sexy, suspenseful sci-fi romance–get your copy of Alien Mate today!

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Action, Adventure, Romance and Pets in Space

I’m a dog lover with no dog. If I didn’t move around quite so much, I would totally have a beagle and call him Porthos, just like Captain Archer in the Star Trek series, Enterprise.

So, I love space pets (and Porthos completely stole the show in Enterprise), although I have yet to write a pet in any of my books. Well, there was a robot dog in On a Rogue Planet…and he was kind of cute. My fabulous guest today has written a space pet.

Sci-fi romance author Veronica Scott is here to talk about action, sci-fi, romance and…pets. Veronica and a bunch of awesome authors are part of a fun anthology called Pets In Space.

Here’s Veronica to tell you all about it….

Thanks for having me as your guest today!

When Pauline Baird Jones and I first started taking about doing a “pets in space” themed science fiction romance anthology late last year, we rapidly grew excited by the idea and all the fun we could have with that writing prompt.

Of course there have been pets in space in science fiction – Jonesy the cat in the first two “Aliens” movies, Muffy the Daggit in ‘Battlestar Galactica,’ the fire lizards in Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series, telepathic animals paired with human partners in various Andre Norton novels, to name a few…but we liked the added element of making the pet (or pets – I wrote two into my story) even more pivotal to the action.

I already had my Star Cruise series going on, so I made sure that Moby the cat and Midorri the alien pet  were mentioned in Star Cruise: Outbreak, which released earlier in 2016, to set them up to play a key role in Star Cruise: Stowaway, the novella in this anthology. I figured the ship’s pets would be the most logical beings on a huge interstellar space liner to detect the presence of someone hidden on the cargo deck. The fun thing was that as I wrote this novella, Moby the cat stayed pretty much a superior Cat as of course she would, but Midorri kept revealing new aspects of her abilities. I don’t want to give spoilers but by the end of this adventure, Midorri’s been quite the ally for Owen, the hero, as he tries to save Tyrelle, the heroine.

As a fun little extra, we commissioned drawings of our space pets from artist Nyssa Juneau, and I loved the one she did for me, of Moby and Midorri. [Anna here, this is so cool. Love the pic!]

mobymidorri

The blurb for Pets In Space:

pets_in_space_cover_artEven 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 eight amazing new adventures  and one expanded story 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 – Cargo Master Owen Embersson is upset with some of the treatment Tyrelle the stowaway is receiving and he faces down his own captain. Jake is the ship’s security chief. Maeve is the ship’s Artificial Intelligence with  an attitude.

Owen reached a decision. Clearing his throat, he stiffened his spine and said, “Captain, I’ve been researching the law regarding stowaways. Regs state such a person is entitled to have an advocate appointed while on board the subject vessel, to ensure their well-being. I respectfully request to be made Miss Tyrelle’s advocate. Clearly she needs one.”

“Interstellar Commerce Commission Regulation 2005, subparagraph 100, clause EE3, paragraph A,” Maeve said.

Fleming cocked an eyebrow at Owen. “I guess you mean the AI’s been researching it for you.  You’re not a lawyer.”

“The shipboard advocate doesn’t have to be but must be an officer. I believe I meet the requirement, unless you want to bust me to crew member today.”

“Don’t try my patience.” Sipping his coffee, the captain considered. “Are you attracted to this girl?” He held up a hand to forestall Owen’s protest. “Your recent actions are out of character, leaving the cargo hold and arguing with us about how we’re treating a stowaway.”

“I told Jake last night, she’s in trouble and she needs someone on her side. I’m not saying you aren’t, but the ship and the passengers are your first priority, as they should be. I found her, it’s kind of my responsibility.”

“Like Moby,” Jake said.

“A woman burdened with an explosive collar is hardly the same as an abused kitten,” Owen said with dignity.

“You have the urge to protect and defend is all I meant.”

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About Veronica:

veronica-scott-square-photoBest 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.”

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