A Great Cause: Why I Write for Pets in Space® 4 By S.E. Smith

A huge, big welcome to fellow Pets in Space sci-fi romance author, S.E. Smith! Her story in the anthology is called MADAS’ FALLING STAR (part of her Lords of Kassis Series) and stars a warrior, a warrior princess, and a super cute pet called L’eon.

This is my fourth year of writing a story for Pets in Space® and I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of something that has taken on a life of its own and a project that gives back so much to our community. What do I mean? Well, Pets in Space® 4 is one of those very unique opportunities that you get in life to pay it forward.

When I was in 8th grade I remember our teacher having us write an essay about what we wanted to do when we were older. I had my life mapped out — I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps. I was going to graduate, go to college, spend a couple of years after I graduated traveling, then join the Air Force. My teacher was impressed with my plans. LOL. Well, I didn’t necessarily follow them all the way. I had a few detours and never joined the Air Force (I was an officer in the Civil Air Patrol which I was proud of) but… I did marry an Air Force veteran. Many of my family members all belonged to the military in one form or another over the years, serving with pride. When Pauline and Veronica first approached me and asked if I would be interested in participating in an anthology that benefited Hero-Dogs.org, I researched them and knew this was one way I could help support not only veterans, but first responders as well.

Life is about giving. In a world that sometimes feels like we have forgotten, it only takes one act of kindness to help us remember that what we give is the legacy that we leave behind. I am proud of the amazing authors who have participated in this charity. To date, we’ve been able to donate almost $8000 while giving readers hours of enjoyment. Join me in paying it forward by supporting Hero-Dogs.org and the outstanding authors in this years Pets in Space® 4!

PS: The Pets in Space® 4 Anthology will only be available for a limited time! Don’t miss out on this amazing collection of stories before it disappears! More info here: https://petsinspaceantho.com

S.E. Smith is an internationally acclaimed, New York Times and USA TODAY Bestselling author of science fiction, romance, fantasy, paranormal, and contemporary works for adults, young adults, and children. She enjoys writing a wide variety of genres that pull her readers into worlds that take them away.

STAR CRUISE: IDOL’S CURSE by Veronica Scott

Pets in Space 4 is almost here! I am so excited for this anthology of fun sci-fi romances to arrive. I am also very excited to have one of my fellow authors — the always awesome Veronica Scott — here today to talk about her story and share a snippet! I have to say that I totally want to go on a star cruise in space thanks to her series.

Welcome, Veronica…

Usually I start with the concept of the pet for my Pets In Space® stories and develop the plot from what the animal ‘suggests’ to me but this time my jumping off place was legends about tourists having bad luck after removing rocks from national parks as souvenirs.

Of  course since I’m writing science fiction, I then took the entire topic a step further and gave my ‘rock’ some scary attributes, the ability to do real harm and a bit of carving to justify referring to an idol’s curse in the title.

Stunning petrified wood in the Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona, USA

It seemed to me the idea of tourists and souvenirs fit in very nicely with my interstellar luxury cruise ship Nebula Zephyr, and then since an entire deck of the ship is devoted to recreating a beach from the planet Tahumaroa Two, it was logical for the rock or ‘idol’ in question in my story to have come from that planet and need to go back there. This led me to ponder who in the crew would be likely to become involved with returning a rock and I decided it was time for the Cruise Director, Juli Shaeffer, to get her story. She’s been referenced many times in other STAR CRUISE stories but we really never met her.  I got to do all kinds of fun research into what exactly a cruise director does on Earth and then embellish and enhance for my starship.

I also got to stage a fun beach party on the ship as they prepare to arrive at the planet.

My next challenge was how to put a pet front and center in the story, and to engage them in a meaningful fashion with the action. I decided Juli and Third Officer Steve Aureli had unfinished romantic business, and that Steve has an elderly aunt traveling aboard this particular cruise. Of course Dian and Charrli, her dog, have a lot more backstory and aren’t what they seem on the surface. They’re veterans of the Sectors Special Forces Z Corps, which means Charrli is very smart and telepathic with Dian. Charrli also bonds with Juli and has an affinity for the rock or idol of the novel’s title. I liked the idea of making Charrli a darling little dog who could be carried around in a purse but who actually has all this ferocious military style training and abilities. He’s not afraid of anything, not even alien idols!

He and Moby the Ship’s cat from other STAR CRUISE stories might not get along too well but I pretty much left her out this time – I think she might have flounced off in disdain after someone let a dog on board and refused to show up for the book!

The excerpt:

Juli was traversing the beach venue on Level Five when Charrli scampered up to her, barking. She craned her head, searching the crowd for Dian but didn’t see her. “Are you lost?” she asked the dog.

Charrli ran a few steps, danced in a circle and yipped as if to demand she follow him.

“I don’t know what you want,” she said. “I can’t play right now—I’m working.”

The dog bounded to her side and carefully clamped his teeth on her hand, taking care not to break the skin as she stooped over to pet him. He growled.

Fearing perhaps Dian was ill, or in some kind of trouble, Juli looked around wildly for Steve, even as Charrli tugged harder. Deciding she could call for help on the senior officer channel if there was a problem but would feel silly if all the dog wanted was to play, Juli said, “All right, I’m coming. Show me the way.”

Charrli released her hand and bolted along the beach as if time was of the essence. Juli pursued him as fast as she could although he got a bit ahead of her. He was barking excitedly and circling an object in the sand as she quickened her pace.

And came to a dead halt, shocked at what lay in front of her.

Grab your copy of Pets in Space® 4 today! For a limited time, Pets in Space® 4 brings together today’s leading Science Fiction Romance authors to help Hero-Dogs.org, a non-profit charity that helps our service veterans and first responders. 

More Info

USA Today Best Selling Author 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.

Veronica’s Blog: https://veronicascott.wordpress.com/

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

Release Day: Embrace the Passion and Mission: Her Rescue

I am SO excited. Today is release day for not one, but two new books!

To celebrate I have a Release Day Giveaway with FOUR different prize packs up for grabs. Scroll down to the bottom to enter.

Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3 Anthology

The pets are back in this new, exciting collection of eleven original stories from today’s hottest Science Fiction Romance authors! My story is the Galactic Gladiators novella, Desert Hunter.

Mersi Kassar is a woman of the desert. Born, raised, and sold into servitude on the desert world of Carthago, she’s finally found her freedom and her place on the Corsair Caravan. She’s the right hand to the caravan master, and works leading travelers from the gladiator city of Kor Magna through the desert. She also works side by side with her friend—the big, silent Bren—a man she’s desperately in love with. But stubborn Bren shuts down her every attempt to deepen the feelings they have for each other and Mersi isn’t sure she can take the pain anymore.

Desert hunter Bren Hahn has secrets. Life taught him early to never share the terrifying darkness he hides within. He will protect the few people he cares about with everything he has, that includes the smart, lively woman he cares about most of all. A woman who sparks a simmering passion he finds harder and harder to ignore. But Bren knows the one thing he can’t live with is Mersi looking at him in horror. So even if it kills him, he vows to guard her from the most dangerous thing in the desert—himself.

On a perilous journey in the heart of the desert Mersi and Bren rescue a strange alien creature. Working together to heal the big, shaggy canine, their smoldering desire ignites, but their feelings turn out to be the least of their concerns. A deadly enemy is hunting their new pet. An enemy that threatens Bren’s darkest secret and all they hold dear. Will Mersi still feel the same for Bren if he has to unleash the darkness inside of him or will he lose the one woman who holds the key to his heart?

More Info on Galactic Gladiators

Mission: Her Rescue (Team 52 #2)

The next high-octane installment of Team 52 is here! They are a covert, black ops team known only as Team 52. Their mission: to secure and safeguard artifacts deemed highly dangerous and classified…and protect the women who capture their hearts.

When archeologist January’s plane is shot down over the Guatemalan jungle, she knows she’s being hunted for the invaluable Mayan artifacts she’s carrying. Only one man and his team can save her…the covert, black ops Team 52, and the distrusting former CIA operative who drives her crazy…

Dr. January James has a motto: live life to the fullest. A terrible incident in her past, where she lost both her mother and her innocence, taught her that. Now she spends her days on archeological digs doing the work she loves. When her team uncovers a pair of dangerous artifacts in an overgrown temple, she knows they need to be secured and safeguarded. But someone else knows about the artifacts…and will kill to get them.

Working for the CIA, Seth Lynch learned the hard way that people lie and will always stab you in the back. He has the scars to prove it. He lives for his work with Team 52—ensuring pieces of powerful ancient technology don’t fall into the wrong hands. When he learns that the feisty, independent archeologist who works his last nerve has died in a plane crash, he makes it his mission to discover who the hell is responsible.

Deep in the jungle, Seth rescues a very-much alive January and it is up to him to keep both her and the artifacts safe. Hunted from every side, their attraction is explosive and fiery, but with January’s life on the line, Seth must fight his own demons in order to rescue the woman he can no longer resist.

Currently exclusive to Amazon for a short period.

Amazon US  Amazon Other

Release Day Giveaway

Two wonderful reasons to celebrate! The Release Day Giveaway includes:
 
– 2 x Team 52 Signed Book Packs (includes a signed copy of Mission: Her Protection AND an Aussie romantic suspense novel I picked up at the Romance Writers of Australia Conference!)
 
– 2 x Galactic Gladiators Pets in Space Swag Pack (includes a tote bag, mug and magnet featuring my alien canine Fiend and a signed Galactic Gladiators paperback
 
 
Enter using the Rafflecopter below (you don’t have to do all the options, just pick the ones you want!). Giveaway ends on Sunday 14th October. FOUR winners will be selected randomly. Open internationally.
 

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She Surprised Pauline by Pauline Baird Jones

I have fellow Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3 anthology author Pauline stopping by today to talk about a sentient alien raptor (ooh, that sounds so cool!) and her share a snippet from her story.

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I am always surprised when I write a short story or a novel. Characters surprise me and the twists and turns of the plot, as I figure it, often surprises me. Okay, most of the time I am surprised. I’m not a “figure it out ahead of time” writer. Mostly I plunge into the mist and flail around a lot until things start to clear. So picking the character that surprised me the most is not usually that easy.

This time it was a little easier to nominate Lady Yodrirka as my “Most Surprising Character” award.

When I first me the Lady, she was a scary, enigmatic raptor like sentient with a truly scary gaze. Each of her claws were the length of a human hand and her wing span was about four times longer than she was high. And she was tall. Taller than the humans tasked with taking her home.

A harpy eagle showing its claws.

I modeled her on the harpy eagle, which is also scary and enigmatic, by the way, as you can see by the picture. My raptor’s coloring is different, because she is from a planet far, far away. And my raptor talks, well, she can. She does not talk much.

She has secrets and finding out what they were puts Operation Ark and everyone involved in extreme peril. Lots and lots of peril. The perilous kind of peril.

 

Here’s an excerpt from early in Operation Ark:

City had eaten MREs in a foxhole while under fire. That, she decided, was more comfortable than this. Rita was in there pitching. She had provided some soft, elevator music so the lack of dinner conversation wasn’t painfully obvious. Everyone had their game face on—or in the case of the robot, he had his usual face on. On the surface, it was smooth and civilized as long as she didn’t look at the Harparian, at the head of the small table, ripping her dinner to pieces with beak and claw.

The food dispenser had manufactured everyone’s food, based on nutritional needs and personal preference, but it was still unsettling to watch. For City, this was the closest she’d been to the over-sized bird since freeing her from a cage in the hold of a space pirate ship. The tuft of feathers over her eyes acted as a hood to a gaze that was deep and old, like a mysterious pool in a fantasy tale. If emotions stirred in the black and gold depths, City was not equipped to read them, though her gaze did make the hair lift on the back of her neck.

I hope you’re as excited for the release of Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3 as I am. Here’s the blurb for Operation Ark:

She’s a USMC Sergeant deployed to the Garradian Galaxy.

He was raised by the robots who freed him from slavery.

It’s a match made nowhere anyone can figure out.

They clashed as enemies but joined forces to defeat a common foe. Now they’re tasked with returning some freed prisoners to their home worlds. In the next galaxy. With an alien, a robot, and a caticorn. It was a bar joke without a punch line, though Carolina City has a feeling it is out there—like the truth.

Kraye isn’t eager to return to his galaxy where the dark secret of his past lays in wait, but he’s willing to risk it in hopes that Caro can teach him what the robots couldn’t: how to be human.

Together they must face a dangerous journey, a lethal enemy with a score to settle, their unexpected desire, and an uncertain future if they make it out alive.

Can Caro and Kraye navigate the minefields—both emotional and space based—to land a happy homecoming for the sentient animals in their care? Can the man raised by robots learn how to kiss the girl while the starchy Marine decides if she is willing to bend the rules for a happy ever after? Don’t miss Pauline Baird Jones’ newest Project Enterprise story!

Please join us for the next round of adventures with romance, danger and pets! All of it happening in space!

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 author Pauline Baird Jones 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.