I’m very glad to welcome Veronica Scott here to share her furbaby and Sci-fi romance STAR CRUISE: MYSTERY DANCER–her story in the third annual Pets in Space™ anthology, Embrace the Passion. I love orange tabbies! My cat, Peaches, is one.
Veronica: Thanks for having me as your guest today to talk about my furbaby, Jake the Cat! I’ve always been a cat person and have had many feline companions over the course of my life (one at a time, not a house full LOL) but they were always gray or brown striped tabbies. I used to say I’d never have an orange tabby, apparently as the result of a book my mother read me as a child, wherein an orange kitten wreaked havoc on the household. My mother was always very disapproving of the kitten in the story and I guess I internalized that message!
When I became an empty nester because my daughters took their cats when they moved out after college I needed a cat of my own to keep me company.
The day I went to the local shelter in 2013 to look for a cat, the one who captured my attention was Jake, who was about eight months old, soft, purred very loudly, had a fabulous ringed tail like a red panda (my favorite wild animal) and…was an orange tabby. (I tried to say he was “cameo colored” for a while but even my very young grandson at the time knew Jake was orange so I gave up the fiction.) My family was in disbelief that I’d gotten a cat who wasn’t gray striped – I couldn’t believe it myself but I adopted him and he’s been the cat of my heart from that day onward. He has the sweetest personality, although at times he believes he’s a ‘house cougar’ and goes tearing around through the place, chasing his toys or his own tail or just burning off energy in general. I keep a very large cat treehouse climbing structure in the corner of the living room so he can sit above it all and survey his territory.
He loves to sit in my lap when I’m reading and will supervise me from a chair next to the desk when I’m writing. Jake’s very much a creature of habit and I used to feed him breakfast at 4:30 AM daily, which is when I’d get up to get ready for the day job. Unfortunately when I was able to become a full time author, Jake didn’t get the memo that we could now sleep in and he still wants to eat at that time!
He’s very companionable and moves to wherever I am in the apartment and checks in on me to get a bit of petting and make sure things are going ok.
The third annual Pets in Space scifi romance anthology has just been released (as of October 9th) with the theme of pets in space (like Lassie, only on spaceships LOL) and for my story, Star Cruise: Mystery Dancer, I wrote F’rrh, an alien cat with three eyes who is similar to a genie. Each year my co-founder and I, and the authors included in the collection donate a portion of the first month’s royalties to Hero-Dogs, Inc., which provides service dogs to veterans.
Here’s an excerpt from my 41K novel in this year’s anthology. My heroine-on-the-run, Tassia, has made it through a day of auditions and been hired as a dancer on board the interstellar cruise liner Nebula Zephyr:
Dressing in an oversize T shirt and shorts, she wandered into the kitchenette area of her cabin and found the promised welcome basket. These people try very hard to be kind. Munching on a ration bar, holding a cup of synthcaff, she went into the living area and sat on the couch built into the wall, running through meditation exercises in an attempt to regain her inner calm. The danger wasn’t over, but she had a temporary respite.
Finally, she returned to the bedroom and opened the backpack, carefully removing the few items Xandrina had swept into the bag at the last minute. Tassia arranged the small boxes and miniature statues on the top of the empty bureau with care, trying to appreciate what she still had, not to remember the vast collection in her bedroom at home on Ruatsar Ten, or the beloved relatives who’d given her each of the beautiful items. Soon enough she’d probably have to sell the remaining trinkets, if not on this ship, then later.
“I need to save every credit in salary I can.” She spoke out loud just to hear a voice. Trinkets weren’t important for anything other than the memories attached to them, most of which were now too poignant to revisit.
Picking up the final item, the black lacquer box, she set it in the exact center of the bureau, put her hands together and made a formal bow, then rubbed one hand over the drawing and opened the lid.
Golden motes drifted upward from the interior of the container, twirling in the air as if happy to be set free. As Tassia watched, the sparks came together in the outline of a catlike being. There was a flash of purple and F’rrh sat regally next to the box. Her third eye was closed but, tail curled over her paws, she watched Tassia intently from the other two.
“It is well?” F’rrh asked in the old tongue of Ruatsar, voice raspy as if she was meowing and speaking simultaneously.
“Yes, Knowing One. Your vision was clear, and I pursued it to fruition. Thank you for the gift.”
“We will miss Madame Xandrina,” the cat said. “Yet it was her time to join the goddess and enjoy eternal peace. Our time to continue onward.”
“Do you have any further guidance for me?” Tassia enjoyed using the language of her birth, the syllables falling from her tongue so lyrically. She held her breath as the cat’s third eyelid opened the slightest bit and then shut.
“Not at this time.” F’rrh stretched and reverted into golden flickers of light which flowed into the box as if sucked into the heart of a black hole. For all she knew the box might contain such a thing. Tassia smiled at the whimsical concept.
Unsure if she was relieved or disappointed, Tassia returned to the living room to interact with the ship’s governing Artificial Intelligence, set her alarm as the dance captain suggested and went to bed, able to sleep soundly and without fear for the first time in months. At this rate, she might actually be able to accomplish the mission she’d sworn to complete when she was eight.
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!
This is the blurb for my story in the anthology, which has something of an ‘Anastasia’ vibe:’
STAR CRUISE: MYSTERY DANCER blurb: Tassia Megg is a woman on the run after the death of her elderly guardian. Her search to get off the planet in a hurry comes when chance directs her to an open dance audition for the luxury cruise liner Nebula Zephyr’s resident troupe. If there is one thing Tassia can do, it is dance!
Security Officer Liam Austin is suspicious of the newest performer to join the Comettes. She shows all the signs of being a woman on the run and seems to fit the Sectors-wide broadcast description of a missing thief, accused of stealing priceless artifacts. As he gets to know Tassia during the cruise, he starts to wonder if she’s something more – a long vanished princess in hiding from deadly political enemies of her family perhaps? And what’s the story with the three-eyed feline companion other crew members swear Tassia brought aboard the ship? Does the animal even exist?
As the ship approaches its next port of call, all the issues come to a boil and Liam must decide if he’ll step in to help Tassia or betray her. Life is about to get very interesting aboard the Nebula Zephyr as Liam tries to uncover the truth. Could F’rrh, the peculiar alien cat he has been hearing about, be the key to the mystery and Tassia’s fate?
Author Bio and Links:
USA Today Best Selling Author
“SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happy 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.
Seven 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 read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”
Thanks for stopping by. Please leave Veronica a comment!