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/

Comments

  1. Thanks for having me as your guest today and for writing a story for Pets In Space 4 yourself!

  2. Robin Thompson says

    I REALLY, really, can’t wait for the next PISA! I’ve been there from the first book and found it some of the best reading around and I totally support HeroDogs! Thanks for all the stories and your support of a great cause.

  3. I cant wait to read it. I have read all the others and loved every single one. There are so many great stories and authors in them.

  4. Linda Poindexter says

    I have all the Pets books, such fun to read. Thanks

  5. Jacqueline Quinn says

    Looking forward to the next pets in space book. Roll on the 8th 😊

    • I can’t believe it is almost the 8th! I have so much fun writing a new pet every year and building a story around that and my interstellar cruise liner…and of course we’ve been beyond thrilled to have Anna H with us for two years now!

  6. I loved Charrli!! And everyone but that idol! hahaha So excited for readers to get to dive in!!!

  7. Rachelle Westcott says

    Hi! Since you’re here, it means I’ll have to read your story! Can’t wait!

  8. I enjoy the Pets In Space books. The animals help save the day! We would all love sidekicks like them in our lives.

    • Thank you! I definitely believe humans will find a way to take pets out there with them, and find new pets too…as you say, they do make terrific sidekicks, especially when the chips are down.

  9. You got some really interesting background details, I’m excited to read this story! Cursed rocks… oooo that makes me shudder. My region has several beaches that you’re not supposed to remove rocks from… maybe this is really why. 😉

    Thanks for sharing!

    • I was just fascinated when I started digging into the topic of the cursed rocks, as to how many places have the legend and the rather prosaic explanation at least in some national parks…but in other places, well who can truly say LOL? It was fun to research and fun to then adapt to a scifi theme.

  10. Trisha Turner says

    I have this pre ordered! I can’t wait for it to come out! I have all the Pets In Space books.

    • Thank you so much for pre-ordering! It makes us happy to see, very reassuring 🙂 I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed the previous books – we do try to present a variety of stories (and we love having Anna share her Galactic Gladiators’ world with us…I’m just a HUGE fan of hers.)

  11. Pauline Dixon says

    Have preordered can’t wait for bk 4 to be out, I love these books and the cause they support, the stories are all great and the Pets all have their own distinct personalities in all of the stories and the variety of pets are always interesting! Loved Anna’s arc of her story and looking forward to Veronica’s it certainly grabbed my attention.

    • Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated! Having my interstellar cruiseliner as the backdrop helps me frame a story each year, although coming up with a new pet can be a challenge BUT Charrli just showed up in my head and insisted he was this year’s star.

  12. Carrie McConnell says

    I also have all the Pets Anthologies and always enjoy reading all the stories. Already pre-ordered number 4 and just waiting for the download.

    • WOOT! Thank you so much for pre-ordering – as I mentioned above, it’s always reassuring to me to see those pre-orders 🙂 I hope you’ll enjoy this year’s mix of adventure, romance and pets!

  13. How fun!!! I love learning more about different authors!

  14. Loving this series of books – really looking forward to #4 😀

  15. Sally Davis says

    I really love this concept..Pets in Space, and all you great writer conributing your time and beautiful words in writing for animals, is Awesome. Thank you all for your contribution for helping all animals. And the stories are awesome, also!!!

    • We’ve had such a fun time with the pets concept and as the co-organizer I’ve found authors enjoy the concept of fitting a pet into their ongoing worlds they’ve built – the results are so much fun to read. We did think Hero Dogs was a very worthwhile cause to support and really appreciate all the support from the readers to make the donations possible! Thank you!

  16. Christine Bean says

    I love the Star Cruise stories and I can’t wait to read this one!

    • Awww, thank you so much! Made my day 🙂 I’m always happy to ‘be back on the Nebula Zephyr’ and revisit my characters from the earlier stories, as well as intoducing new ones and a new pet each year. I hope you’ll enjoy this year’s story – I tried to make it different all right!

  17. So looking forward to reading this next Pets in Space. Have them all.

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