I’m pleased to host three time SFR Galaxy Award & National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award winning author, Veronica Scott. Veronica has two projects she’s going to talk about today: Her just released novel, TRAPPED ON TALONQUE, and an anthology, PETS IN SPACE. Her PETS story, STAR CRUISE: STOWAWAY is about one of my favorite subjects – cats!
Thanks for having me as your guest!
- Trapped on Talonque has a little bit of everything in it: aliens, princesses, Special Forces soldiers, and a deadly ball game. Can you tell us more about sapiche and why it’s so dangerous to play?
I needed a reason for the local rulers to keep Nate and his men alive in the beginning, and a challenge for them to overcome, so I developed the game of sapiche. It’s based in part on ritualistic ball games played centuries ago in Central and South America, in part on gladiatorial type contests in ancient Rome and owes a nod to the ritual combat the Aztecs would sometimes put captured warriors through, where they had no real chance of winning and saving their own lives but were forced to fight anyway. Sapiche is like all ball games – there’s passing, blocking, strategy, scoring… The game itself is rough and tumble but the stakes are life and death. In the book, the winners of each match get to live to play another day and the losing team becomes human sacrifices at sunset.
- Bithia sounds little bit like Sleeping Beauty. What can you tell us about her psychic power and why she reaches out to Nate Reilly, the Special Forces soldier?
Since Bithia’s an alien, she has more strongly developed telepathic abilities than humans of terrestrial descent. She’s been imprisoned in the chamber for millennia. When she’s awakened and sees the locals holding men as prisoners who are obviously not from the planet Tlanque either, she realizes they must be from the stars, like her. She hopes they have a ship somewhere and can escape. At this point in the novel she really only wants to save their lives – she feels her own situation is hopeless.
- You also part of the anthology Pets in Space. What can you tell us about the anthology in general?
Pauline Baird Jones and I got the idea about a year ago and thought it would be terrific fun and a good writing challenge to combine pets and science fiction romance. We invited some other SFR authors to ‘play’ with the idea and the anthology became a reality.
Here’s the blurb for the collection:
Even 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 nine amazing adventures 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.
- Can you also tell us about the story you’ve contributed to Pets in Space?
Mine is entitled Star Cruise: Stowaway and is set on my interstellar cruise liner Nebula Zephyr, with some continuing characters from the series appearing. Here’s the synopsis: 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.
Owen and the two pets appeared in Star Cruise: Outbreak as secondary characters. When it came time to develop a story for this anthology, I thought it would be exciting to have a stowaway on board the ship and then of course the cargo master and the pets would logically be the ones to find her first.
Here’s a quick excerpt, as Owen has just ended his shift for the day:
Stepping onto the echoing deck, he called for Moby. She spent most of her evenings hunting vermin lurking among the monstrous crates and containers, but she usually passed the first part of the evening in his cabin, eating the incredibly expensive cat food he had the ship’s AI keep in stock. Not much else to spend his salary on. “Come on, cat, I want my dinner even if you don’t,” he said to the elegant vision in white fur who trotted from the murky recesses of the deck. How she stayed clean when she spent her days prowling the cargo deck, he’d never know.
Purring, she came to his steel-tipped work shoes but evaded his effort to pick her up, moving just out of range the way felines did, as if cats could teleport. Moby scampered toward the towering stacks of cargo then turned. Seeing he’d failed to chase her, she sat, tail twitching, head tilted, eyeing him.
“What‘s the matter with you? I’m not in the mood to throw cat toys and retrieve them right now.” Embersson headed toward the gravlift. Moby regarded the entire ship as her territory and could find his cabin for her dinner when she was hungry.
In the next minute, he nearly tripped as she rubbed his ankles, nipping at one in passing. Swearing, he caught himself with a hand to the bulkhead. “What in the seven hells is wrong with you tonight? Giving me a concussion won’t get you fed.”
Moby yowled at him and ran toward the stacked cargo again.
Figuring she wanted to show him a recent kill, which he’d then have to dispose of, he followed.
Moby moved faster now that she’d gotten him with the program.
He followed her around the corner of the pallet the ship had taken on earlier in the day and found Midorri, the Zephyr’s other pet, crouched beside a free trader container. “What mischief have the two of you gotten into now?” he asked Moby. Midorri came aboard the Zephyr originally as the pampered pet of a princess, but after the whole outbreak incident, Sector authorities refused to let the lady disembark on Sector Hub with the undocumented animal, so the ship had kept the odd green fluffball. Dr. Shane was her official owner of record, but the entire crew liked the slightly clumsy but always amusing creature.
Midorri sneezed, as she was often wont to do, allergic to humans perhaps, and flicked her plush prehensile tail before lowering her head and extending her long green tongue to lap at something on the deck.
“Freaking flares, do not tell me we’ve got leaking cargo…..”
- Are there any other projects you would like to tell us about?
I’m currently working on the long awaited sequel to Wreck of the Nebula Dream, telling the story of what happened next to Khevan, the D’nvannae Brother (a combination bodyguard and assassin) and Twilka, the Socialite heiress. It’s the sequel my readers have asked for the most often so I’m excited. I hope to be able to release it in November but right now the Pets In Space launch has all my attention!
Pets In Space Buy Links:
Best 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.”