Monday, October 22, 2018

PETS IN SPACE 3 Stories Connect With Authors' Series!

Veronica Scott: Back one more time, to mention that many (not all) of the stories specially written for the Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 3 anthology are from the authors’ existing series. Each story is standalone, however, and we have varying lengths from short to novellas to full blown novels this year.

Anthology Blurb:
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, Pets in Space™ authors have donated over $4,400 in the past two years to help place specially trained dogs with veterans. Open your hearts and grab your limited release copy of Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space™ 3 today!

HEART OF THE CAT by S.E. Smith is book 3 in her Sarafin Warriors Series and it is a full length novel!!
Can love bridge the gap between a wounded alien warrior and the reclusive human woman who holds the future of his species inside her?

Longing for more of Anna Hackett’s Galactic Gladiators Series? Anna gives us a treat with DESERT HUNTER and the romance of Mersi and Bren from the Corsair Caravan.
Among the desert sands of an alien world, a man with secrets to hide finds himself face to face with the one woman who can bring him to his knees.

Ruby Lionsdrake takes us back to her Mandrake Company Series with QUASHI.
Alien fur balls, a handsome doctor, and a little white lie create havoc for a young woman who only wanted a job.

Sketch by Nyssa Juneau
I love spending time in my The Sectors SF Romance Series and my story this anthology is STAR CRUISE: MYSTERY DANCER (Veronica Scott)
A long-lost princess and her three-eyed cat seek refuge on the Nebula Zephyr only to catch the attention of an inquisitive Security Officer.

Pauline Baird Jones jets us away to her Project Enterprise Series with OPERATION ARK.
A not quite routine mission to return rescued prisoners to their home worlds turns deadly for unlikely allies, a USMC Sergeant and a raised-by-robots pirate. Is the Sergeant’s unusual pet the wild card that will save or doom them?

Carol Van Natta adds to her space opera series, A Central Galactic Concordance, with CATS OF WAR.
A disgraced military Sub-Captain, a repair technician with secrets, and two special cats must save the day when trouble erupts at an important factory.

Who doesn’t love a good Kraken story?! Tiffany Roberts gives us HUNTER OF THE TIDE, book 3 in her The Kraken series.
Nearly broke by betrayal, a human discovers solace—and a chance for love—among the creatures he once hunted, but he must overcome prejudice and inhibition to claim the female he desires.

STARWAY by Alexis Glynn Latner
A lonely interstellar pilot and a passenger’s mistreated consort find each other in an interstellar hotel that offers everything to satisfy its guests’ desires—even desires they didn’t know they had.

Two ex-lovers, stranded in space, have to save a pair of kittens with hazardous powers before the local drug cartel catches up to them.

On a world of perpetual night, an aging ranger and a widowed veterinarian need to put aside their past to protect a pack of wolves... and their future.

AFTER THE FALL by Kyndra Hatch
The Invaders took everything worth living for. Could an Invader show him how to live again?

Eleven original Science Fiction Romances. Eleven action-filled tales that mix pets in space with their two-legged companions. Supporting a great cause – Don’t miss out on Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3! 

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Saturday, October 20, 2018

Halloween Monsters: Werewolves & Shapeshifters

Happy Halloween! October is possibly my favorite month of the year, and Halloween has a great deal to do with that. I thought it would be fun to do a little fact finding about the traditional Halloween monsters (werewolves, vampires, Frankenstein, etc.) and their evolution in folklore and literature.
Since every single one of my series (Fire's EdgeSvatura, Shadowcat Nation, Legendary Consultants) involve shifters or werewolves of some sort, you know I had to dig into the history of those creatures.
156637714As I researched this topic, I found it very interesting that unlike vampires and Frankenstein almost every culture around the world has some type of transformation or shape-shifting mythology (typically with animals indigenous to the area). Many of these mythologies go back to antiquity.

In earlier history, shapeshifters were most commonly deities (gods or goddesses) with the magical ability to transform. In Japan they have Kitsune, a fox shifter who is typically benevolent but often a trickster. Korea and China have similar fox shapeshifter myths. In Africa, deities shift into lions or leopards. In South America they transform into jaguars. Some gods/goddesses in Greek, Roman, Norse, etc. mythology can choose their forms.

Another frequent myth seen for shifters in earlier history is humans who were transformed into something by a god or goddess as a punishment. In Greek mythology, Arachne was transformed into a spider. In Roman myth and Ovid’s Metamorphoses, King Lycaon was changed to a wolf by Jupiter (some attribute this as the beginning of werewolf mythology). But in these cases, the person changed had no power to return back to human. This theme continued in later European folklore. The Frog Prince and Beauty and the Beast both involve transformation into animals as a punishment.

Enter the Middle Ages where the werewolf mythology became prevalent. Most of the people executed for being werewolves in this time period were later found by historians to be serial killers. The werewolf mythology also closely follows witch folklore and persecution. In fact, shifter mythologies were not all that prevalent in North America until brought over by European colonists at the same time as they brought their fear of witches.

Based on what I could find, not a lot seemed to change about shapeshifter folklore for quite some time. Up to the 1940s (and even later) they were truly seen as monsters eliciting terror and revulsion. Early books and movies about werewolves have the happy ending being the death or defeat of the creature.

In my research, I couldn't find a specific trigger for the change in perception of shapeshifters and werewolves as monsters to the view of them today as sympathetic and even heroic. Even books written in the mid- to late-1900s still use a more classic example of shifters. For example, in C.S. Lewiss The Chronicles of Narnia, Eustace is shifted into a dragon but more as a learning moment or punishment, not at will.

White wolf
I would argue that shapeshifters we see today both in literature and movies, unlike their earlier counterparts, become the hero of most stories in the last 10-20 years by changing these aspects:
  • ability to change at will (rather than being trapped in the animal form)
  • more reasoned thinking (more human attributes, previous monsters went total animal)
  • usually good and are solving the problem (even if the problem stems from them)
  • frequently have an entire subculture to support them / live with in peace
  • more often than not, shifting/were-hood is not a punishment, but a lifestyle
What a change from the monsters they originally were. Right?
I've found this topic so interesting to research, I'll have to dig more on the psychology behind this phenomenon. My guess is that, like vampires, we've romanticized werewolves and other shapeshifters, giving them more human qualities, behaviors, and values. Dissatisfied by our human frailty, we are intrigued by the thought of what additional power assuming such a form could provide. It makes me wonder what the next 10, 20, even  100 years have in store for these fascinating and ancient creatures.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Listen up! by Elizabeth Alsobrooks

Why audible? So many people told me at the Tucson Festival of Books that they only listen to books now, rather than reading, whether while they walked, exercised, did chores or even while driving, that I decided to really push for all my books to be in audible.

Thomas Edison made audio books for blind people in the 1800s, but not until after the advent of cassette tapes did audio books hit mainstream. So why are audio books up 32% in the first quarter of 2018 while digital sales have flatlined? Multitasking and burnout. So many people have told me they can’t focus any more, they are so burned out by a phone and internet-centered existence they just can’t find the patience to read an entire book. One reader recently told me they couldn’t make it through a short story. And in a day and age where everyone is said to multi-task, why should reading be any different? Hardly anyone just sits themselves down in a quiet corner and listens to a book. They stay busy accomplishing other tasks or performing other activities. Audio books become a companion to other tasks and often become a habit while performing those tasks. They can even be social, listening to a book together while on a road trip.

In the audio vs digital or paperback argument, do you get the same benefit? Yes and no. Your brain still processes the language the same, first decoding and then comprehending, so in that way you are still taking in the book. However, some would argue that you are not as one-on-one with the narrator, giving them your undivided attention and can quite literally miss some important details and nuances. You are not as emotionally invested in the story. Or are you? I guess it depends on the “what” you are doing as you listen, and how good a listener you are. Listening is a different activity than reading, and some people are better at it than others, audio versus visual. For example, do you learn better from hearing someone talk or from reading the information at your own pace?  Whatever your answer to that, listening to audio books will definitely improve your listening skills…and who do we know that can’t benefit from that?  

Guess what else I found out about audio books? Many readers are not only listening instead of reading, the what of their selections seems different from paperback or digital sales. I have still to figure this out entirely, but I am doing some logistics research, trying to ascertain the demographics of those who now prefer audio books over other forms. Do you listen to audio books? If so, what genre do you choose most often?  I'd love to hear your opinions of audio books.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

SE Smith Talks About the HEART OF THE CAT #Scifi Pets In Space

SE Smith’s all new story in the scifi romance anthology Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3 is HEART OF THE CAT and in this video she talks a bit about the collection and the story she wrote.

Anthology Blurb:
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, Pets in Space™ authors have donated over $4,400 in the past two years to help place specially trained dogs with veterans. Open your hearts and grab your limited release copy of Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space™ 3 today!

Heart of the Cat blurb:
Series: Sarafin Warriors Book 3

Prince Walkyr d’Rojah’s mission is to find an ancient artifact known as the Heart of the Cat, a revered gem that holds the mystical power that connects his people with their cat-form. He isn’t the only one searching for the Heart. A secret sect determined to overthrow the royal families wants the power contained in the gem, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to obtain it.

Trescina Bukov’s affinity and ability to care for large cats has taken her all over the world. A frantic call from a rescue group compels her to fly to Wyoming in the western part of the United States. She is confused and wary when she discovers the injured leopard is more than he seems.

Walkyr is shocked when the human female caring for him connects with his leopard and recognizes who he is. Now, he has to contend with the assassins who followed him, his leopard who wants to claim the woman, and find out why all the clues in his search for the Heart of the Cat are pointing to a planet so far from home.

When Walkyr discovers the secret that Trescina has been hiding, he is forced to make a difficult decision: let her go, or kidnap her and return with her to his world. Can Walkyr convince Trescina that their lives are bound in more ways than one or will she flee, taking her secret and the future of the Sarafin species with her?

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Pets in Space™ Facebook Group:
S.E. Smith Bio

S.E. Smith is a New York Times, USA TODAY, International, and Award-Winning Bestselling author of science fiction, 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.

Readers can check out her website at and chat with her on Facebook at

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Bonito & Furbaby Friday

I had to write a post recently for Beth Trissel's Furbaby Friday.  Since I no longer have pets, it was easy to travel back in time to the 80s and 90s of the previous century to choose my favorite of all time.  There was also no contest though many contenders. I've been fortunate to have many lovely animals share my life with me, but my hands-down favorite is my Andalusian stallion Bonito VIII.

In the fall of 1980, the same year my son was born, I purchased this 4-year-old stallion who knew much more than I did about the high school movements (going sideways, dancing in place, turning on a hind leg at the canter) and I had to learn quickly to catch up.  I think it took me 10 years.  :-)

I won't go into infinite detail about the Andalusian (as I am wont to do) because this post will become volumes.  The Andalusian was known as the Horse of Kings because most crowned heads of Europe preferred the breed in the Baroque period.  Some of the most famous paintings are Charles I of England on Andalusian steeds painted by Van Dycke. 

Today, my post on Bonito on Furbaby Friday will be live.  I hope you will visit us and learn more about him and the magnificent breed.

My novel about horses and life in the glittering world of competition is now available on audio. Gambler's Choice is a romantic suspense.  A Virginia socialite and an English Baron go head to head and foot to foot over the ownership of a very special stallion in the world of three-day eventers.  Free with your subscription.  Gambler's Choice.

Enjoy your Saturday and don't make any butt prints in the sand!  :-)  Unless you're on a sandy beach with a pina colada in your hand.  (Be sure it has one of those cute little umbrellas).

If you are interested in the Andalusian or Lusitano breed, more information is available here:

Saturday, October 13, 2018

The Story Behind the Story: ONE RED SHOE by Diane Burton

Assassins, killers, and spies. Oh my! My upcoming release does not have paranormal elements, nor does it take place in space. So, no aliens, shape-shifters, or ghosts. I hope you’ll indulge me anyway. Here's the origin of ONE RED SHOE.

Once upon a time, many, many years ago, at a local romance writers meeting (Mid-Michigan RWA), one of the members presented a writing exercise. The only clue was this: you’re on a train platform and someone is running toward you.

The first thing that popped into my head was: the man running toward her on the subway platform wore one red shoe. I wrote as fast as I could until time was up. When we shared our pieces, I was amazed at the variety. One person wrote about a man going off to war, and his sweetheart ran toward him to say good-bye. Another met a friend. And so on. If I recall correctly (and it was years ago) mine was the only one that hinted at danger. You see, the red in the shoe was blood.

That mini-story stuck in my head for years. I wrote, rewrote, and wrote more until I had a complete story. The central theme remained the same: a schoolteacher writer from Iowa rescues a wounded spy in a New York City subway. Daria is a wide-eyed optimist, going to NYC for the first time, ending up there on her own. I remember my first time at a writers’ conference in NYC. I was older and not that na├»ve. Still, I did play Fan Girl when I met my favorite authors. Consequently, I used some of those feelings for Daria’s emotions.

As the story progresses, the reality of assassins chasing them sinks in, and Daria changes. At first, she lets Sam (the wounded spy) dictate their escape. Each time, the assassins nearly catch them. Dara’s strength emerges as she takes over the rescue. I loved watching (writing) her character arc. Very rewarding.

For several rewrites, the first line remained the same until I went to another writing conference. I’d never ridden on the subway in NYC. Toronto and DC, yes; New York City, no. To make my story authentic, I had to see what it looked like, so I talked a group of friends into going with me, and we rode the subway. At night, no less. I’ll never forget the sights and smells, which I had to include in the story.

Six years ago, I submitted this story to The Wild Rose Press. They accepted and published it. I just received the rights back, and now I’m reissuing it myself. That half-hour writing session turned into one of my favorite books.


It Happened One Night meets Knight and Day
When elementary teacher Daria Mason left Iowa for a writers’ conference in New York City, she didn’t expect to come home with a wounded spy. Sam Jozwiak works for a shadow agency that gathers intel vital to U.S. security. From the moment he steals digital files from a Russian Mafia kingpin, Murphy’s Law takes over. No matter how he covers his tracks, the kingpin’s assassins find him. What’s worse than getting shot in the butt? Accepting help from an Iowa tourist. Thus, begins a road trip that takes Sam and Daria cross country with the assassins right behind them.


For the second time in her life, Daria Mason came face-to-face with a man pointing a weapon at her. A pervert, with unzipped jeans, wielded a green box knife. Because she’d raced into the restroom without checking out the situation, he now stood between her and the exit.
She was at the end of the proverbial rope. After walking in circles, she finally found a restroom and nobody was stopping her from using it. Especially not someone playing copycat with that guy in the movie who wore one red shoe.
“I am having a really bad day,” she declared in the don’t cross me voice she used on her brothers. As soon as her words echoed off the hideous pink and black tiled walls and floor, she lowered her voice. “You are in the wrong place, mister. Now zip up and get out.” She pointed straight-armed toward the door.
The man shook his head and set the flimsy knife on the counter. “Lady, you have more guts than sense. You are in the wrong place, at the wrong time.” His voice was even softer than hers. He eyed her with a look so dark and intense it paralyzed her like a hawk freezes its prey. She swallowed past the fear in her throat, certain it sounded like a gulp.

ONE RED SHOE will be released on Monday, October 22, 2018. It's available for pre-order:

Friday, October 12, 2018

Sampling the #SciFi Pets Included in PETS IN SPACE 3 Anthology

Veronica Scott: Thanks for having me back on the blog as a guest! I'm still excited about our release this week of Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 3 anthology. Although adventure and romance are key components of all the stories, the pets themselves are very important and I sat down with a couple of our authors to find out more about their pets. Wonderful artist Nyssa Juneau brings our pets to the page!

Anna Hackett
I often have plenty of nasty beasties in my action-packed sci-fi romances, so it wasn’t too hard to find one who wouldn’t bite anyone’s head off (well, at least not the good guys!) My story, Desert Hunter, is set in my Galactic Gladiators series, on the distant desert world of Carthago. It also stars Fiend.
Fiend is an alien canine of dubious origins. He’s a big, scruffy ball of tangled fur and he’s rescued from sand pirates in the desert by our hero and heroine, Bren and Mersi. He has a barbed tail, a lolling tongue, and doesn’t like baths…and watch out when he gets riled, because he’s very protective of the people he claims as his.

Pauline Baird Jones
I created a caticorn—a combo cat with a small horse body and a single horn in its forehead.
So technically I picked a cat and then did some ficitonal genetic engineering. (Dont feel bad for the pets not picked. Somehow most of them managed to force their way into the story in other ways.)
I did have good reasons for going with a caticorn.
I needed a pet that would help, but not be high maintenance for my heroine.
And I needed a pet with secrets. Lets face it, cats always look like they are keeping secrets—when they arent giving you the Puss’n boots “give me what I wantlook.
And I needed a pet that could sneak on board the ship, because the caticorn did not get an invite for this trip.

Tiffany Roberts
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.

JC Hay
It was my love for dogs, and my fascination with animal-soldiers that prompted me to start writing about the JTF Rangers and their umbra wolf bondmates. I knew I wanted the bond to be something more than just a working relationship, which led to the idea of the wolfbond being a deep empathic connection. From those two pieces, most of the rest of the world-building snapped into place, including the trauma that results when one half of a bonded pair dies.
I knew that I wanted to write a story about Rafe Penzak, the Rangers’ commanding officer, before I was invited to write for Pets in Space anthology. When the invite came I realized Rafe, with his wounded psyche, and the grief over his fallen wolf, would be a perfect match for a book about heroic animals and the people who care about them. Rafe’s pain and his inability to feel have been his defining characteristics in the previous books about the rangers, where he’s the emotionless, brooding commander. Prying back that surface and helping lead him toward his own happily ever after was important to me. Part of his road to happiness is about healing, and it’s an encounter with his past that acts as his first step on that journey.

Alexis Glynn Latner
I modeled my pet dog after a real breed called the Japanese Spitz. Star is a delicately built little creature with a thick coat of clean white fur and bright black eyes. She is an invented breed of dog. Her owner explains, “Star is a Chivvier, the only breed of dog native to Wendis, descended from a noble breed of Twentycent Earth. It’s inborn into Chivviers to find misplaced things or missing people. . . . Star is a nickname. Her real name is Strelka She is named after a famous dog at the dawn of the Star Age, one of the first dogs sent in a rocket into space.”
Wendis is an interstellar space station where the citizens have a distinctive culture with a fascination bordering on reverence for everything about Earth in the distant past Twentieth Century.
And Wendis has Chivviers.
Sure enough, as the story unfolds, Star finds a missing person and, fortunately for my heroine and hero, even more than that.

Cover by Fiona Jayde
Anthology Blurb:

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, Pets in Space™ authors have donated over $4,400 in the past two years to help place specially trained dogs with veterans. Open your hearts and grab your limited release copy of Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space™ 3 today!

Amazon     iBooks     B&N    Kobo     Google

Pets in Space™ Facebook Group: 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Is There Magic in the Everyday World?

 When I watch an old movie, or television show, I try to imagine what life was like then. The plethora
of gadgets and technology we have at our fingertips today weren’t even considered a possibility. 

Some resisted bending their imagination and may have even considered new amazing technology as inconceivable, or sorcery. 

Nowadays, most of us are more accepting of new technology every day. It’s almost as if we expect the unexpected to become part of our lives. Things that we may have never believed were possible in the past, that we may have thought we’d need a little magic to create, have become part of our daily lives. 

My Children Were Amazed

It’s possible that we’ve begun to incorporate magic into our everyday world. A few of these things are so ingrained into our reality that it’s almost hard to imagine that not too long ago, they may have been considered a fantasy. It takes more and more to impress us and stir the wonder we felt as a child. 

My daughters are teenagers. They grew up in this magical time. As children, I could amaze them with my magical abilities. 
  •     I could slide open the van door with a wave of my hand, and occasionally I might toss in an abracadabra! (As I secretly pushed the key.)
  •     I had eyes in the back of my head and could tell when they were getting into trouble in the other room. This was so convincing that they searched for eyes buried under my hair to no avail. (I viewed their reflection on the television screen or the microwave.)
  •     I had the hotline to Santa, the Easter Bunny and all the magical creatures of our world. It came with the parent handbook. (Don’t I wish there was a parent handbook!) 

Now I’m Amazed

As teenager, my daughters, and most people, would find it hard to imagine a world without the technology they’ve grown up with. I find it hard to amaze them anymore, things that may have once been considered sorcery or magic, are expected. Instead I find myself amazed at what magic the world has to offer and can hardly imagine what will be available next.  

  •     The way we can instantly connect with people around the world with computers, cellphones or technology in all shapes and sizes. There’s no more busy signal, or waiting for a letter to arrive when there’s email.
  •     How my phone seems to know where I’m going and tells me the distance and time to get there or the GPS that’s now part of almost every car.
  •      Self-driving cars and gadgets that can mop and vacuum my house are now available. I don’t have either yet, but I hope one day I will.

We Want to Believe in Magic

It’s harder to be amazed and wonder if magic might be responsible, although I think most of us want to. Even as adults we may still flock to movies and stories about extraordinary people and things. We dress up for Halloween and go to parks that let up suspend belief in the world we live in for a bit and escape into the books that we love.

I think even as we grow and mature that magic doesn’t leave us. It’s still around us in our everyday world. We just must open our imagination, look a little closer, or when the world gets too serious we can find it in the pages of our favorite book.

Don't lose your sense of wonder, it's what makes the world wonderful.

What in the World Do You Find Magical?


P.S. Like Magic? I’ve got tons of fun this month with lots of spooktacular giveaways and events leading up to my new release. You can find out more about them on my Facebook page, newsletter or author website. 

Here's just one of this month's contests that you can- enter here.

Author Bio: Maureen Bonatch grew up in small town Pennsylvania and her love of the four seasons—hockey, biking, sweat pants and hibernation—keeps her there. While immersed in writing or reading paranormal romance and fantasy, she survives on caffeine, wine, music, and laughter. A feisty Shih Tzu keeps her in line. Find Maureen on her websiteFacebookTwitter

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