It's my pleasure to welcome back Veronica Scott. Playing Fan Girl here, I love her books. They are always a one-click for me. And I've been hooked on the anthologies created by Veronica and Pauline Baird Jones. Such fun stories. Here's Veronica to tell us about the 4th anthology.
About four years ago, my author friend Pauline B. Jones and I started a fun project we call Pets In Space® and invited some other science fiction romance authors to join in. We put together an annual collection of all new stories featuring action, adventure, romance and a pet of some sort involved in the story. Sort of like “Lassie in space”. (Not the racier kind of ‘pets’ you find in some steamy fiction!).
The idea was to find new readers for scifi romance and to support a worthy cause with a portion of the royalties. Now in our fourth year, we’ve hit the USA Today Best Seller list three times and been able to give our charity over $7K total for the first three years, thanks to our wonderful readers.
Pets in Space® 4 Anthology Blurb:
For a limited time only! Pets in Space® 4 is proud to present 13 amazing, original new stories! Join the adventures as today’s leading Science Fiction Romance authors take you on a journey to another world. Pets in Space® proudly supports Hero-Dogs.org, a non-profit charity that provides service animals to veterans and first responders in need. Join New York Times, USA TODAY and Award-winning Bestselling authors S.E. Smith, Anna Hackett, Tiffany Roberts, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Laurie A. Green, Donna McDonald, Regine Abel, Alexis Glynn Latner, JC Hay, E.D. Walker, Kyndra Hatch, and Cassandra Chandler for another exciting Pets in Space® anthology. Get the stories before they are gone!
I always set my Pets In Space® stories on an interstellar cruise liner and have had all kinds of pets from a cat to an eagle to an alien blend of a tribble and a red-tailed panda. This year my pet is an alien ‘dog’, named Charrli. I’m not much of a dog person (it’s always been cats for me, since I was a kid) but I kept seeing Charrli in my mind’s eye and just had to write him into the action! My ship has a resident cat, Moby, but she disappeared for the entire novel – I think she wasn’t happy I brought a dog on board LOL.
Here’s the blurb for my full length novel in the anthology:
STAR CRUISE: IDOL’S CURSE (The Sectors SF Romance Series)
An unusual bequest….
Juli Shaeffer, the Nebula Zephyr’s cruise director, receives a mysterious bequest from the estate of a longtime passenger – a lump of rock taken from a reef on the planet Tahumaroa. Legend states anyone who steals from the ocean gods will be cursed. The passenger’s will requests the rock be returned to the beach so his heirs won’t be affected by the bad luck he believed he’d incurred. Juli doesn’t believe in superstitions and she agrees to carry out this small favor on the ship’s next stop at the planet in question.
Until the rock disappears from her office…
When the rock disappears and reappears in various locations around the ship, and seems connected to a steadily escalating series of mishaps, Juli turns to Third Officer Steve Aureli as the only one she feels she can trust. Along with Steve and his elderly Aunt Dian – a passenger aboard the Nebula Zephyr for this cruise - she investigates the strange series of malfunctions plaguing the interstellar luxury liner. Steve and Juli enlist his Aunt Dian’s dog, Charrli, a retired Sectors Z Corps canine, to help them track the missing rock as it moves about the ship.
Juli and Steve must find the rock, hang onto it and transport it to the planet’s surface, before the alien idol’s curse turns deadly. The attraction between the two of them grows as the threat to Juli becomes more and more focused. Can she carry out her task while he keeps her safe from the alien curse? Will the capricious alien idol bring them good fortune…or disaster?
Here’s a quick excerpt as Juli and the rest of the ship’s crew begin to realize the trouble they might be in:
Maeve, the ship’s governing Artificial Intelligence, spoke next. “I am unable to identify any anomaly in my systems. There was no command given or received to alter the air pressure flow on Level Five, other than the time boxed kite event, which occurred early in the day and ended as scheduled. I’m currently devoting extra ganglions to controlling all systems in the ship which affect life support. I’m also running specialized analysis, drilling into the available data for any clue or predictor of the problem.”
Captain Fleming nodded, rotating his chair to face Juli. “Anything to add?”
She swallowed hard. “Yes, sir, I believe I do.” Steve flashed her an encouraging smile, raising his eyebrows. The captain is either going to believe my wild tale or write my career off for being space happy. “Sir, do you remember the special assignment I took on? Retrieving a rock that a now deceased passenger had taken from Tahumaroa Two and returning it to the planet on his behalf? I found the rock in the sand on Level Five right before the winds started blowing.”
The chief of Security made a quickly suppressed sound of surprise. The Executive Officer was staring at her with his mouth open. Fleming raised his eyebrows but was stoic. “Did anyone else see the rock? Maeve?”
“I had a ganglion in the general area but the picture was fuzzy.” The AI projected a miniature trideo on the burnished conference table and Juli saw herself and Charli on the beach, but the quality was grainy and broke up into fragments. There was no sign of the rock and from all appearances she and the dog were playing.
“My aunt said Charrli agreed the rock was there,” Steve said. “They’re a former Z Corps team. The dog has unusual capabilities and an enhanced IQ and has been used in the past for gathering intel. If he told Dian he observed the rock, there’s no doubt. A causal link to the malfunction has yet to be established of course. ”
“Do you have a theory, Juli?” the captain asked.
“I can’t even begin to guess, sir, unless the rock contains an unknown type of alien sentience and has the ability to teleport, and to affect systems in its vicinity.” She blushed as she heard how ridiculous she sounded. Like I’m reciting the plot of a bad trideo action movie. “My groundcar did break down shortly after I took the rock from the lawyer’s office but I realize that’s not conclusive.” And the diva lost her voice right when I was going to stick the rock in my safe. She remembered how ill at ease Cilla the lawyer had been the whole time Juli had been in the office, as well as the several odd instances of minor damage in the vicinity.
“I’ve seen countless unbelievable things in my years traveling through the Sectors and outside the fence on missions,” Fleming said after a moment’s silence. “Where is the rock now?”
“It’s supposed to be in my office,” she said.
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07WCQF358/
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07WCQF358/
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07WCQF358/
Author Bio and Links:
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. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.
Seven 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 read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the official audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”