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.
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.
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!
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.
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/