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!
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. (Don’t 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. Let’s face it, cats always look like they are keeping secrets—when they aren’t giving you the Puss’n boots “give me what I want” look.
And I needed a pet that could sneak on board the ship, because the caticorn did not get an invite for this trip.
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.
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|
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 Hero-Dogs.org, 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!
Pets in Space™ Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/PetsInSpace/