Monday, May 29, 2023

Gargoyles Can Be the Best Partners - Take by the Gargoyle by @meganslayer #gargoyle #romance #monsterromance


Taken by the Gargoyle (Taken 2) 

by Megan Slayer

Cover Art: Angela Knight

BIN: 010756-03497

Genres: Action AdventureNew ReleasesParanormalRomanceUrban Fantasy

Themes: Elves, Dragons & Magical CreaturesMagic, Sorcery, and WitchcraftNew Adult

Series: Taken (#2)

Book Length: Novella

Page Count: 120


 With the help of a gargoyle, an enchantress tries to connect her past to her future.


Spread the ashes, find her future, meet an overly eager harpy, a gargoyle and the love of a lifetime? Belle might not be new to Eerie, but she’s got a lot to learn.

Belle Isle came to Eerie because she needed to hide, but also to spread her late mother’s ashes. According to the will, she needs to visit Chester’s Corners within Eerie. The job seems easy until her car breaks down, stranding her on the side of the road. She’s convinced she’s at her lowest point.

Then she sees the gargoyle, and her entire world changes.

Azel wasn’t looking for love, but he knew the moment Belle set foot in Eerie. His harpy eagle, Melanie, knew there was something special about Belle, too. He refuses to let her tackle the job of spreading those ashes alone -- especially when he finds out she’s being followed by a shadow from her past who wants to ruin her future.

Warning: Taken by the Gargoyle contains references to child abuse in the victim’s past that may be triggers for some readers.


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Taken by the Gargoyle (Taken 2)
Megan Slayer
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2023 Megan Slayer

She knew better than to offer her hand to the animal. Eagles, even if they sure resembled harpy eagles, weren’t friendly. The fact she wasn’t dead yet shocked her. Harpy eagles didn’t show up for no reason. This one had to have a handler or at least a partner. She wanted to check the ground to ensure she hadn’t accidentally hit the partner without realizing it. Maybe a collision was the reason her engine had died.

Except she didn’t remember hitting anything. She’d been careful.

“What are you going to do to me?” she asked, knowing damn well the thing wouldn’t answer her in words. It’d probably snap her head off.

She couldn’t run. The eagle would catch her in seconds. She trembled but held onto her mother’s ashes. What are you doing? she asked herself. “Get out of here, you eagle.” She forced herself to remain calm. Her gift wasn’t any help right now. Even if she did spark flames in her hand, the harpy wouldn’t care. It might force the bird to lash out faster.

At least Arthur hadn’t found her. Not yet.

The longer she stood on the edge of the road, the more she risked him catching up to her. He wanted to exploit her. To make her bend to his will and use her gift for his financial gain.

What a guy.

Before she could come up with any plan for escape, her feet were no longer on the ground. Something grasped her under her arms and tucked her to something else hard. Like stone. The ground sank beneath her, and within seconds, she looked over the skyline of Eerie. Something had her in its clutches. The harpy’s partner? She didn’t feel claws in her arms. More like hands.

When she struggled, she couldn’t move much.

“Put me down,” she managed. “Hey.” She kicked, but whatever held her had her tight in its grasp.

She struggled again but noticed the tower of the Eerie Hotel came into view. She’d stared at pictures of the hotel so many times and wished she had towers and turrets in her house like those in the hotel. Maybe then she could’ve hidden away in those high places. Maybe then Arthur wouldn’t have found her. Or he’d have locked her up there and done even more dastardly things to her.

She didn’t want to think about her past.

Just as soon as she’d been lifted into the air, the thing that had her placed her on her feet at the top of the tower. She collapsed next to the crenelated top and thanked the Goddess she still had her mother’s ashes in her hand. She fought to catch her breath. “What are you?”

The being who had lifted her from the ground settled on the stones before her and folded its wings, giving her a better view. This being wasn’t an eagle. No, it was a man. She stared at him, not realizing what she was looking at. He wasn’t a regular man -- no, he had wings and his skin was tinged gray, like stone. He folded his arms, and his muscles bulged. He spread his feet, and the loincloth he wore barely contained his manhood. He reminded her of a statue, and his imposing shadow practically blotted out the sun.


Saturday, May 27, 2023

Today is Nothing to Fear Day by L. A. Kelley

photo by Pixabay

to Fear

Today is Nothing to Fear Day. Start that novel. Finish that novel. Do that laundry that’s been sitting in the basket for a month with the stain you can’t identify. It’s not going to smell any better. If you don’t have a specific fear, perhaps you’d like to adopt one of those below:

Arachibutyrophobia: Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth

Who hasn’t had this at least once and lunged for the chocolate milk? I won’t tell anyone you drank right from the carton, if you don’t rat on me. It’s a rare phobia that can stem from a greater phobia of sticky or from a traumatic incident with peanut butter. (Use your imagination.)

Nomophobia: Fear of being without your mobile phone

Cell phone addiction is fairly common. People with nomophobia also experience excessive anxiety with a low battery or phone out of service. They obsessively check their phones throughout the day and worry they will miss a call. I admit I get a little armpit sweat with a battery below 50%.  

Xanthophobia: Fear of the color yellow

Do bananas send you screaming from the room? People with this rare phobia are usually afraid of any yellow object, and you may find them running in the opposite direction of a school bus.

Octophobia: Fear of the number eight

Numbers seem to cause untold distress. Octophobia is a fear of the number eight. Why eight has such a bad rap I don’t know. These people are easy to spot as they goggle in terror at the packs of hot dogs and bun at picnics.

Optophobia: Fear of opening one’s eyes

I get it. There are days I have no good reason to stay in bed, but wanna anyway.

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia: Fear of long words

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is one of the longest words in the dictionary. How ironic.

Amathophobia: Fear of dust

Amathophobiacs should not look under my couch

Chaetophobia: Fear of hair

Chaetophobiacs have a fear of one’s own hair, other people’s hair, animal hair, or a hairball on the ground. Again, they should avoid looking under my couch. Don’t judge me. I don’t sweep there often.

Ergophobia: Fear of work

Okay, fine. I don’t sweep under the couch. I also avoid other housework involved with floors such as mopping and vacuuming. I used ergophobia as an excuse with my family. Sue me.

Eisoptrophobia: Fear of mirrors

Only after eating a big meal or trying to squeeze into last year’s dress that I swear still fits.

Now, get off that couch, swallow your fear, and do something constructive. Don’t let decidophobia (the fear of making decisions) keep you from having fun today. And be careful with that peanut butter.

L. A. Kelley writes sci-fy and fantasy with humor, romance and a touch of sass. The only thing she fears is fear itself.



Thursday, May 25, 2023

A Knight’s Paranormal Tale by Nancy Gideon

My two favorite vacays were to Las Vegas – a glittery fantasyland where time and belief is suspended. While staying at the medieval-themed Excalibur the first time, it was easy to pretend you’d slipped back into the past (nothing says medieval like eating chicken with your fingers!), into a world of gallantry and honor where brave knights participated in tournaments and carried the colors of their fair ladies. Just the kick I needed to develop the last book in my paranormal romance contract with BelleBooks, MIDNIGHT CRUSDADER, the final book in my vampire romance series, “Touched by Midnight.” Nothing says romance like a lovelorn noble who damns himself in order to follow his love through centuries to save her and, hopefully, break his curse. Now a detective on leave in the City That Never Sleeps to find and reclaim the future he was denied, Gabriel must do more than rescue his fair Naomi – he has to get her to remember him. As a new Peruvian temple rises on the Strip, the evil it houses stirs to life, becoming not only a threat to the star-crossed pair but to humanity, itself. Enjoy a taste . . .

Midnight Crusader (Touched by Midnight Series - Book 9)

Published: May 4, 2011
Length: 228 Pages

A love without end . . .
Having given up his mortal life to search for his lost love through the centuries, vampire Gabriel McGraw begins his final crusade to free her from an enemy’s grip against the glittery backdrop of Las Vegas. But is she the same woman he loved and lost or an equally dangerous foe who could betray all that he believes in?

Naomi Bright’s memories go back no farther than her arrival in Sin City. Does her hidden past conceal madness or a truth too terrible to be believed? Compulsion draws her toward a medieval fantasy world, and obsession to a man she instinctively knows but can’t remember.

Will finding the answers release her from her prison of fear? Or will it ensure that she loses everything - her life, her love . . . her soul?

“ . . . another enthralling and soul-stirring vampire romance.” —

 The Excerpt 

He sank back into the shadows, watching her confusion as she scanned the sidewalks for him. He stayed out of sight with an anguished purpose. He hadn’t meant to reveal himself to her, not so soon, not so spontaneously without planning the result.

But he had, and he had his answer.

He passed his hand across his eyes, covering the tender torment that came with beholding her image. The sound that escaped him was half strangled sob, half moan of longing.

She didn’t know him.

No recognition sparked her gaze. No awareness leapt at the sound of his name.

He meant nothing to her.

(. . . and a bit more . . .)

How could that be when she was the very breath in his body, the very reason for his heart to continue beating in its unnatural rhythm somewhere between heaven and hell?

The scent of her lingered. The perfume she wore had passed from her tender skin to his hand, and he inhaled deeply until intoxicated by fragrant memory. Violets. Her favorite. The delicate bouquet had teased him through centuries, quickening his hopes, his desires, his dreams.

She was here. And she would be his at last.

And he would never, ever let her go again.

I’ve just gotten back from a wonderful weekend filled with friends and fiction at a writers’ retreat in Grand Haven, Michigan. It reminded me of how much I need my writing time (even though I spent the weekend editing a romantic suspense that I started at LAST year’s write in!). It was a small group this year, just seven of us all working on vastly different projects but the energy was palpable. I came home with a completed revision and, unfortunately, a miserable cold. Worth it!

Now, to get back to work at my own desk . . .

Nancy Gideon on the Web

Monday, May 22, 2023

Why Wind Makes Us Cranky by Tena Stetler

 Have you ever noticed yourself becoming restless on windy days? Studies suggest that this phenomenon may not simply be coincidental. It’s thought the wind's influence can alter our emotions and behavior in unexpected ways, leading to feelings of discomfort, anger, or unease. Let’s see why wind can make us cranky.

Leaves rustling in the wind, trees swaying back and forth and feeling its chill on our skin and in our minds.  Wind can make us irritable but also has soothing or cooling properties at times. Why do such powerful forces of nature have such an immense effect on human emotions and temperaments?

Did you know negative associations with wind can affect our nervous systems? Wind can be unpredictable and noisy in its effects on us, prompting an elevated state of alert or creating stress. Our nervous systems were designed to detect changes that required rapid responses - when winds become strong our body becomes more likely to trigger "fight or flight" mode releasing stress hormones like cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine into circulation as a defense response mechanism.

Hormonal changes in response to wind can make us unnerved or anxious as our bodies prepare themselves to respond to potential danger. While wind might not directly threaten us, its constant stimulation makes calming down difficult.

Our skin is one of the primary sources of sensory information and as such is sensitive to environmental changes; when wind blows across your skin it creates a constant and fluctuating stream of sensation that becomes irritating over time - particularly if combined with cold temperatures or heat waves.

Wind can also contribute to skin dehydration by evaporating moisture off its surface and leaving behind dryness, tightness, itchiness, and general discomfort - adding further aggravation for sufferers of both conditions.

Pressure changes caused by wind gusts may alter our inner ear causing dizziness, disorientation or nausea thusly contributing to greater feelings of irritation during windy conditions.

Wind can have an immediate and significant effect on our hair and clothing when out and about in the wind, creating inconvenience to those who spend hours maintaining their look indoors only to have it destroyed the minute you walk outside. Okay, I admit that I am not one of those people. I do my best, but in Colorado, the breeze blows, and so does your hair. Also, wind blowing skirts up or causing clothing to stick can make us feel awkward or make us self-conscious, worsening our already present physiological irritability and worsening overall mood in windy conditions.

Wind can make people irate due to physical discomfort caused by windburn and debris, atmospheric pressure shifts (yep, my bones and joints put me on alert) or humidity level variations and disruption to daily activities such as outdoor work or leisure pursuits. Additionally, you may experience emotional stress or anxiety because of strong winds' unpredictable and inextricable nature.

I’ve given you a few reasons for wind caused cranky. But what can we do about it? Finding ways to cope with or mitigate its effects - for instance through stress reduction techniques or skin and body protection strategies can make even the blusteriest days more manageable.

Recognizing and acknowledging these potential effects of wind on our mood and well-being can help us better cope with its presence, mitigating its adverse impact. By seeking shelter or altering plans as necessary or taking deep breaths to stay calm we can learn to weather this unpredictable element.

Wind can also be beneficial when you want to go fly a kite or as a alternate source of engery.

Please take a peek at my soon-to-be-released (July 10, 2023) RAVEN'S HOLLOW SPRING MAGIC
#timetravel, #mystery #fantasy #paranormalromance.  Set in the same town as Meringue Snowflake Magic with some of the same characters, plus new ones you're going to love.  Was the ancient jelly bean machine to blame? You'll never look at jelly beans the same.

Pssst… While you’re here, don’t forget to check out my paranormal romance/mysteries click  here.  

Well, what do you think? Tell me in the comments!

Saturday, May 20, 2023

At home and then back out.

At home and then back out.

I made it home after being away for four months. Many of you know I am a snowbird spending the winter months at a campground in Florida. This year was tough. Pollen was the worst in a long time, and I ended up in the emergency room. A shot in the keister and prescription got me through but not “fixed”. I had to call the doctor from the road. He got me in the next day. Yikes! I had a book signing at Brook Hollow Winery in Columbia, New Jersey, on Saturday. Thankfully I was able to push through asthma and fake being well.

Let’s chat about book and reader events. I LOVE them. Yes, it’s about readers wanting your books. But honestly, I just adore being around like-minded people. Authors are readers, Readers are authors, and we’re all one big happy family.

Somehow even after an exhausting day of talk, talk, talking, I’m energized. Truth be told, I’m usually a very quiet person. Do you know the theory about men and women and how many words they use each day? Nope, not me. My poor husband loves conversation. I can go for hours without saying a word. At camp, he’ll hear other campers laughing and chatting. I tell him to go play with his friends.

But somehow, at events, I put on my outgoing persona. I become a different person. Are you an author who has been reluctant to participate in in-person events? Don’t be. They are fun. Other writers are supportive, and you’d be surprised at the readers who want to talk to a real author.

If someone is coming to an event, they are your people. Otherwise, they’d be somewhere else. So I recommend a few things.

1.   Get out of the chair and stand in front of your setup. You can’t hide. We see you, silly.

2.   Get a hook. It can be as easy as “What type of book do you like?” I go a little farther. My above-mentioned hubby often goes with me and hands out bookmarks. When I see someone carrying them, I’ll call over, “So you met my trophy husband.” Great ice breaker.

3.   Have more than books. I hand out chocolate and lifesavers. Bookmarks are great and put your name in someone’s hands. Sometimes readers are just as introverted as we are. But if you have something that interests them, they’ll look you up later.

4.   Put a QR code on prominent display. This makes it easy for readers to find you.

5.   Wear comfortable shoes. (Last time, mine came off halfway through the day.)

6.   Set up a game to interact.

7.   Have a newsletter signup.

8. If possible, have an assistant. Desi is my go-to girl, and when I'm talking to someone or have to leave the table, she grabs the reins and does a stellar job.

For readers.

1.   Authors love you.

2.   They want to interact with you.

3.   You don’t need to feel obligated to buy a book just because you speak with us.

4.   If it’s a multi-author event, do it like a buffet. Go through and grab some bookmarks or business cards. Scan  QR codes. See what’s out there. Then, circle back. You’re sure to have missed something the first time around. But then you can also revisit the writers and books who caught your attention.

5.   Some events have reusable bags to give out but bring your own if you’re unsure. Most authors give away “swag,” and you’ll need a place to stash it.

It was a rainy day, and my hair was much nicer when I left the house.

6.   Wear comfortable shoes, especially if it’s a big event.

7.   Most of all, whether you are a participant or an attendee, have fun!

Here are a few places I'll be this year. I hope to see some of you.

June 10th - Passaic County Book Festival
11:00 am - 4:00 pm Saturday, June 10, 2023
Weasel Brook Park, Clifton, NJ

Until next month wisdom from Winnie the Pooh
“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you.
You have to go to them sometimes.”

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Crafting a Believable Alien Society by Keri Kruspe


As I start a new science fiction romance series, I pondered what it took to create a believable alien society. Coming up with alien cultures has long since puzzled other writers, filmmakers, and fans of science fiction since the genre first came on the scene. In a lot of ways, it’s more challenging to come up with creating a believable alien society since it comes with all different intelligence, cultural norms and behaviors, and technologies contrary to anything we’re used to. I gotta admit, that’s the kind of challenge that gets me going. Before I know it, I’ve “fallen down the rabbit hole” as I explore ways to create unique alien societies and civilizations.

In this article, I’m going to highlight some elements and principles others used to create believable alien societies that have helped me out. To start, we’ll look at some on examples from popular films that have come out in recent years.

The Nature of Alien Civilizations

When attempting to create a believable alien society, the first thing to consider is what kind of civilization the aliens inhabit. Are they a race of warriors, a species of mystics, or a civilization of scientists and philosophers? Maybe hunter-gatherers, or have they developed complex cultural norms and technologies? Another thought, are they nomadic, or settled in one place? To create a foundation for our story, we need to these basic questions first.


One of the most studied alien societies is that of the Klingon Empire from the Star Trek universe. This warrior species is governed by a strict code of honor and glory. The Klingons are a remarkable people, striving to uphold the strength and courage they value. Their culture is steeped in tradition while their advanced technology enabled them to develop complex societies. They are a fascinating yet believable people that serves as an excellent example of an alien society.

The Na’vi, from the movie Avatar, are another species of aliens with an interesting culture. These natives of Pandora have a deep connection to the land, other creatures, and all life on their planet. Their spiritual bond to nature is strong and they revere the balance of life. Even though they are peaceful people, they fiercely defend their homeland when threatened. 

Not all extraterrestrial civilizations need to be advanced or sophisticated. The aliens in Steven Spielberg's E.T. don’t look to be very technical, even though they possess space travel capabilities. There are hints these little guys are a peaceful species, and while they have their own language and customs, their society doesn’t come across as highly structured. I also didn’t get the feeling their community was rigid or organized. Even so, it still comes across as convincing and intriguing.

The Psychology of Aliens

Now that we have the basic idea of what kind of society we want, we’ll have to create an understanding of the psychology of these aliens. This means understanding how they think and feel, how they interact with each other, and how they view their world. It is important to consider the values and beliefs they share, and how these result in their actions and decisions.

For example, let’s examine another favorite Star Trek aliens, the Vulcans. They are a logical, emotionally detached species, driven by their philosophy of "Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations". They strive for perfection and believe in the pursuit of knowledge and understanding. These beliefs shape the way the Vulcans interact not only with each other, but the galaxy around them. They have an intricate social hierarchy and a strong sense of loyalty and duty. 

The aliens in the movie Arrival are another example of a society with an intriguing psychology. The heptapods, as they are known, are an advanced race that communicates using a complex language based on symbols. They have a deep understanding of time and a unique view of the universe. They are mysterious and enigmatic, and their alien psychology is an integral part of their culture and society.


Technology and Culture

Making sense of the technology and customs of an alien society helps make it more realistic and interesting in a story. Their technology (no matter what level) is essential to most alien societies. As a writer, it’s important to consider how the aliens apply their technology. For instance, the Klingons are a highly advanced species, with formidable weapons and spacecrafts. They have conquered the ability to navigate interstellar journeys in relative security and freedom.

The Na'vi may not be as highly tech-savvy compared to the Klingons, but their approach to technologically is rooted in a unique type of science. It’s an organic, interconnected practice that bonds them with the planet and all its creatures. Through mental connections, they control animals and plants while collecting knowledge and strength.

The technology and culture of an alien society can also help to create an immersive and believable world. The planet Coruscant in the Star Wars universe is one such example. It is an ecumenopolis, a planet-wide city filled with advanced technology, bustling with activity and energy. The culture of Coruscant is rich and vibrant, and the world feels alive and believable.


(The picture here is my rendering, not the one in Star Wars!)


Creating believable alien societies is a complex and challenging task, but it’s one that has captivated authors and filmmakers (and those who enjoy them!) for decades. While I’ve only touched on the bare surface of what to look for when creating an alien society, I hope you’re encouraged to explore filling your own stories with a smattering of alien psychology, their types of technology as well as how they use it to interface with their culture.

The greatest science fiction tales, be they of love or something else entirely, show us humanity's place in this vast and mysterious cosmos. From the smallest atom to the furthest star, our adventures tap into a shared sense of awe and helplessness; an understanding that despite all our efforts, we may never truly understand the universe we inhabit.

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Pets in Sci-Fi Romance by Jessica E. Subject



by Author Jessica E. Subject

In my house, we've recently adopted a new dog after our other dog passed at the beginning of the year. As someone whose lived with some kind of pet for the majority of my life, it was hard for me to live without one. I've had dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, fish, ferrets, and a newt. Right now, we have our dog (a big puppy), and a green frog that adopted our pond last spring as it's home. We did our research, and helped it hibernate over the winter. We were so happy when we saw her this spring.


That got me thinking about the pets in my stories. In sci-fi romance, they can be anything, from pets we know on Earth to one's created from an author's imagination. I don't have many pets in my stories. And I'm not sure why. In the story I'm writing, circumstances don't make caring for any pet possible for the characters. Though, I want to write a pet into the end of the story. That's usually when I can add them, is at the end when the MCs lives are more settled. I'm going to try really hard to add pets into this shared universe series though. I already have many ideas for the next stories. And who knows? I may find a way to add one in earlier to my current WIP.

If you've been visiting this blog for a while, you've probably heard of the Pets in Space anthologies. Some of our authors have contributed, and we've had many guests on here with stories in the anthologies. All these stories have pets in them, from common to fantastical.

I do have one story where the one LI's pet introduced the couple in the first chapter. It was part of the second anthology, Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2, which made the USA Today bestseller list. In my story, Vilarra's pet is a tibbar, which looks like a cross between a ferret and a rabbit.

Here's more about GIB AND THE TIBBAR...

A dedicated Defender to the core, Gib is willing to go to any planet the Galactic Alliance sends him. That is, until he’s sent with his squad to Hemera for their Alorama ceremony, far from any threat of Erebus invasion and with no chance for promotion.

Vilarra has lived on Hemera all her life, working hard in the kitchens of the royal palace until she achieved lead hand. But learning of the universe beyond her world reveals her insignificance and shreds her sense of accomplishment and purpose.

With the help of a furry, little tibbar, Gib is determined to win the affection of Vilarra, prove to her how significant she is to him and the people who depend on her. But will his personal mission be cut short before he has the chance to win her heart?

*Formerly part of USA Today Bestselling Anthology Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2.


Enjoy an excerpt from GIB AND THE TIBBAR...

A high-pitched squeak sounded, and Gib’s surveillance partner returned to reaching for the branches. The little creature stood on its hind legs below Zair’s bench, peeping as if telling him off.

Gib couldn’t hold in his laughter. Not just at the other Defender’s reaction, but also the thoughts running through Zair’s mind, thoughts he’d failed to block in his fear.

“It’s not going to eat you.” Gib shook his head, wondering how his squad mate could see the creature as dangerous. “Would you please get down from there? Defenders are supposed to be brave and fierce. Right now, you’re neither.”

“Go to Gaspra, Mingot. And stay out of my head.” He yanked his plazer from his hip holster and aimed it at the critter. “If I don’t destroy it, it will bring death to everyone on this planet.”

Stepping into the line of fire, Gib yanked the weapon from his squad mate, thankful the safety remained on. “You’re being ridiculous. Besides, if you fire your weapon, you’ll cause a panic. The Hemera will think Erebus have arrived.”

The frightened Defender shook a foot at the creature. “Fine, then. Kick it into the fire. Or you could stomp on it.”

“Don’t you dare!” A Hemera woman burst from the bushes, storming toward Zair like a mother rehn protecting her young. She shoved him off his bench and shouldered past Gib before scooping the noisy creature into her hand. “This is my tibbar, not some kind of vermin.”

“Tibbar? Try nasty rodent that tried to eat me.” Zair smoothed out his uniform but kept his distance from the creature now perched on the woman’s shoulder.

“You’re both on nehbred.” She kicked dirt at them, her pink lips pursed and her dark eyes set in a deadly stare. “You don’t know what you’re talking about when it comes to my pet or my planet.”

And be sure to check out the other books in my Galactic Defenders series...