― Carl Sagan,
― Carl Sagan,
Susan Grant is a fellow author in Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2, and here she tells us something about writing that story and something about herself. Welcome, Susan!
I had a blast writing about Trysh, Rornn, Puppy, and the crew of Bezos Station, a city in space above the planet of Barésh. (You may recognize these places—and even some of the secondary characters (including Puppy)—from Star Champion (previously titled The Champion of Barésh) or Star Hero (expanded from my short story Stray from Pets in Space 1).) Even though my books are “make believe” in a fantasy/science fiction setting, my background as an Air Force jet pilot helps me add touches of realism to the military characters.
In The Prince, the Pilot, and the Puppy (Star Puppy), I needed to come up with more than just first and last names for the starfighter pilots. Think: “Maverick” and “Goose” from Top Gun, or “Starbuck” from Battlestar Galactica. A call sign is an integral part of my characters, so I really wanted the ones I chose to fit. In the Air Force, call signs are handed out at naming ceremonies. They can be a play on your name (a pilot with a last name of Gordon is likely to be named “Flash”), or you can get a call sign based on an incident that made you infamous. On my flight last week, I flew with a former Navy Tomcat fighter pilot. I noticed he had “Disco” embroidered on his flight bag. He explained it came from the night he got drunk and danced on the bar—on TOP of the bar. Likewise, if you really screw something up, expect a call sign to come out of it. It can also be based off your personality, or on the whim of the drunken mob of fighter pilots at your “naming”.
On Bezos Station, namings are likely to take place in the all-ranks club Nimbus.
Here are a few of the starfighter pilots from the Mighty Titans squadron and their call signs:
Trysh Milton is “Firefly”—Her naming was mostly due to her being a big fan of the TV show, but it’s also fitting because she can appear bright and cheery one minute and dark and serious the next, blinking on and off like a lightning bug, or firefly.
Rornn B’lenne is “Charming” —He’s a Vash royal prince who oozes charisma. Need I say more?
Declan Fisher is “Danger”—He started off as “Fish” but during flight school he was the cause of a series of fender benders, making him the butt of jokes that he was a Danger—to himself
Carlynn Riga is “Mooch”—she loves to cook gourmet meals on small appliances in her quarters, but being on a space station limits her ability to get ingredients. She’s famous for her power to beg, borrow, and barter with the mess hall staff for the items she needs.
Then there’s me—Susan Grant. In the Air Force my call sign was Sue Bob. My name was Sue and I was considered one of the squadron “good ol boys”, and since “good ol boys” always had names like Jim Bob and Billy Bob, I was named Sue Bob. Silly but as with all fighter pilot call signs, it could have been worse.
Please enjoy this excerpt from The Prince, the Pilot, and the Puppy. (Star Puppy):
“Titan Squad, this is Station Control—we have multiple bogeys out of G quadrant!”
The frantic voice filled Lieutenant Trysh Milton’s headset. A distress call. It came from the station, a giant, rotating city in space. It housed thousands of people inside—military personnel like her and their families. Children. She and her squadron had just cleared the area of enemy fighters. Giddy with victory after destroying a wave of alien invaders, they were exhausted, sweaty, pumped with adrenaline. But just when they had thought it was over, it wasn’t.
“Titan Squad—we’ve got multiple bogeys! I repeat—multiple targets. They’re coming from… My God—Encke Gap!”
From an opening in Saturn’s rings? How? Plowing through the rings would get you killed in an instant. Trysh gripped the joystick of her starfighter, craning her neck to see if she could get a visual on the threat. Saturn was a creamy-yellow and orange globe surrounded by an ethereal halo. Those rings were nothing like they looked when viewed from a telescope on Earth. Up close, they were snowstorms of ice particles with eddies and whorls caused by tiny embedded moons, some moons as small as hailstones. Imagine—a moon you could hold in the palm of your hand! It was breathtaking, a scene she never grew tired of admiring…until the sight of enemy alien craft pouring out from a gap in the rings pulled the last of the air from her lungs.
The Dragaar! They had but one goal—destroy the space station and then Earth. In moments, the alien fighters were upon them, firing vivid streams of plasma at the defending starfighters.
Flying at her side, the Vash alien exchange officer, Prince Rornn B’lenne, call sign “Charming”, sounded unfazed as they joined the dogfight. “Firefly,” he said, using her call sign. “Go private.” The starfighter-to-starfighter channel allowed them to speak to only each other. “They must have precision-jumped through the gap.”
“It’s some sort of pop-up wormhole,” she answered. It left her with a sick feeling. If the Dragaar had the technology to punch holes in the fabric of space at will, it was game-over. Burst after bright burst caught her eye as friendlies were destroyed. Friends…squadron-mates, killed. “We’ve got to do something. We’re getting our asses kicked.”
“We must deny them their jump gate. Close it off.”
“Wormholes can’t be opened and closed like that.”
“Do not forget—I can make the impossible possible.”
She almost laughed. He used that same dumb line the last time he tried to get her to go out with him. His propositions were hilarious, and she shot every one of them down. It was a game—their game. They were friends with no benefits. But even she couldn’t deny that Rornn had a brilliant tactical mind. He was scary smart with a fresh way of looking at things that she admired. If he had figured out a way to turn this battle around, she was all ears. “Talk to me, Charming!” She strafed a crippled Dragaar fighter. It blew up, followed by the enemy knocking off two more friendlies.
“I read a research paper on the intentional disruption of small wormholes.” He targeted another Dragaar. The enemy fighter exploded in brilliant fireworks. They barely escaped the debris. “It concluded that it is scientifically possible.”
“On paper. By scientists sitting at nice safe desks stringing together a daisy chain of equations. Even if we lobbed all our R-bombs through the gate, the best we can hope for is transient instability.”
“Yes. The R-bombs. See? Your mind is perfection. One relativistic bomblet salvo coming up. Cover me, Firefly.” He wheeled away from her and accelerated into the invasion.
“Wait—Charming!” She used to think that “Charming” was a fitting call sign for the alien prince. Now she was convinced “lunatic” was a better fit. He was the constant instigator, the devil-may-care hotshot; she was his goal-driven, play-by-the-rules best friend who couldn’t help getting swept off her feet by the riptide of his charisma. But if he had figured out a way to turn the tide of this battle, she wanted in on it.
Find out what happens next in Embrace the Romance, Pets in Space 2! http://www.petsinspaceantho.com/pets-space-2-embrace-romance-2/
This means a lot to me: the second Pets in Space anthology was released today, and once again it features one of my stories, a novella called Mascot, along with eleven other authors spinning tales of space, romance, and pets. It’s a *big* e-book for only $3.99!
Science fiction romance is fun to write and read, because if there’s any one thing that powers the universe, it’s either hydrogen fusion, or love—and I’d be hard-pressed to say which of the two carries more cosmic weight. Throw in pets intrinsic to the storyline, and it’s almost irresistible! On top of that, the anthology raises money for a very good cause. Ten percent of the first month’s profits go to the service organization called Hero Dogs.
Here is a brief video of me discussing my story and the particularly unusual pet in space featured in it….
The Kindle edition is here.
For a landing page with all ebook editions of Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2, go here.
There’s going to be another anthology of science fiction romance with cute, helpful and/or valiant pets! The authors in Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 are S.E. Smith, M.K. Eidem, Susan Grant, Michelle Howard, Cara Bristol, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Laurie A. Green, Sabine Priestley, Jessica E. Subject, Carol Van Natta, and me.
I first encountered the concept of pets going into space in Andre Norton’s Solar Queen series, where the captain of the ship kept a very unpleasant blue, six-legged toad-parrot in a cage in his quarters and the Cargo Master had a tiger striped tom cat. Of course Ms. Norton also wrote many other science fiction stories where animals were featured, often as enhanced telepathic companions. Beast Master is one of the best. Catseye, which was actually the first Andre Norton book I ever read, has cats and other animals but they weren’t going into space – they were already on an alien planet. The crew of the Solar Queen, however, had their pets on board the ship.
Pair this with all the research I did into the sinking of the Titanic a few years ago, including the details of all the dogs on board (who sadly perished). I loosely based my novel Wreck of the Nebula Dream on the Titanic, but set in the far future on an interstellar liner.
So I was primed to write my own story with pets in space when Pauline Baird Jones and I first started discussing the possibility of putting together an anthology with this concept as the central theme. I’m a cat person, so of course Owen Embersson, the cargo master on my ship, has a cat named Moby, and I wanted to include an alien pet of unknown origin, so I took the ‘character ‘ of Midorri from my book Star Cruise: Outbreak and left her on the ship after the adventure in Outbreak concluded. Midorri is kind of a six legged, green puffball, equipped with a tail to rival a red tailed panda (my favorite Earthly animal after cats). And she purrs. Moby and Midorri pretty much have the run of the ship, which is useful to Owen as he attempts to watch over his stowaway and later to rescue her from the very bad guys.
I don’t think my cats Jake and Keanu would be all that effective in rescuing me and despite their efforts to brainwash me into feeding them more often, we have no telepathic link. I can’t imagine not having them to keep me company though, so it makes sense to me that when humanity moves out into the galaxy, we’ll take pets with us and find new pets to love as well.
Here’s a short excerpt from near the start of “Stowaway” as Owen Embersson knocks off work for the day:
Stepping onto the echoing deck, he called for Moby. She spent most of her evenings hunting vermin lurking among the monstrous crates and containers, but she usually passed the first part of the evening in his cabin, eating the incredibly expensive cat food he had the ship’s AI keep in stock. Not much else to spend his salary on. “Come on, cat, I want my dinner even if you don’t,” he said to the elegant vision in white fur who trotted from the murky recesses of the deck. How she stayed clean when she spent her days prowling the cargo deck, he’d never know.
Purring, she came to his steel-tipped work shoes but evaded his effort to pick her up, moving just out of range the way felines did, as if cats could teleport. Moby scampered toward the towering stacks of cargo then turned. Seeing he’d failed to chase her, she sat, tail twitching, head tilted, eyeing him.
“What‘s the matter with you? I’m not in the mood to throw cat toys and retrieve them right now.” Embersson headed toward the gravlift. Moby regarded the entire ship as her territory and could find his cabin for her dinner when she was hungry.
In the next minute, he nearly tripped as she rubbed his ankles, nipping at one in passing. Swearing, he caught himself with a hand to the bulkhead. “What in the seven hells is wrong with you tonight? Giving me a concussion won’t get you fed.”
Moby yowled at him and ran toward the stacked cargo again.
Best Selling Science Fiction & Paranormal Romance author and “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happily 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.
Three 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 recently was honored to read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “City On the Edge of Forever.”
Visit Veronica’s Blog to learn more about her books and her USAT HEA column.
I adore dogs and cats, and I feature them in many of my books. Both rescue pets and show pets have brought joy to my life. So it was a thrill when Erin, one of my readers, wrote to tell me that she planned to name a newborn Collie puppy “Banzai” after the heroine in my action romance The Legend of Banzai Maguire. She loved the story, but more than that, there was something that really struck her about the book and the whole 2176 series.
It turns out Erin’s dad was a Marine Corps “Gunny” (the highest non-commissioned officer rank). She was always so proud of him and also her brother, who was a captain in the Air Force (like I was). Erin wanted to join the military herself, but life intervened. But the great thing about books as we all know is that they let you live vicariously through the characters. While reading the 2176 series, she was flying right along with Captain Bree “Banzai” Maguire in the cockpit of a fighter jet.
Back in 2007, Erin and her husband showed Vita, Banzai’s mother, at Westminster (think: the Olympics of dog shows in the USA). At the time, Erin’s favorite book was The Legend of Banzai
Maguire. She planned to breed Vita and told me that she hoped to have a good female in that litter to name after Banzai. Well, not only did Erin get a good puppy, she got a great one.
From the beginning Banzai was special. She started winning right away, like a great athlete who is undefeated. I always looked forward to the updates Erin emailed me. It was amazing that after only a couple of years Banzai was the #1 female Smooth Collie in the country, living up to the female hero after which she was named. “WHAT A THRILL ride she has been!” Erin says. And for me, too (!!!), as the author who penned the story that inspired Erin to name this incredible dog after a character in my book.
Erin says, “I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of her. There will NEVER be another like her.” No, there won’t be. BIS/BISS Gold Grand Champion Tir Na N’ Og The Legend Of Banzai Maguire, aka “Banzai” is one of a kind, just like her namesake, Bree “Banzai” Maguire.
Have any of you ever named pets after characters in books? I love the idea. Naming your pets is definitely an art. It has to be just the right one. Often it’s not easy. We named our two-year old Border Collie “Skye” only after trying out Harriet, Jamie, and Casey. We worried she thought her name was “No”. Skye was a very naughty puppy, haha. But that is another story for another time…
Here’s an excerpt (in the dog’s point of view!) of that naming process from Stray, when the hero, Lt. Lukas Frank, comes up with a great name:
“There’ll be no getting rid of him now, Sir. You’re gonna have to name him. How about Kabob? We can call him Bobby.”
“Kabob? What the f—?” The Tall One sounded unhappy.
He cowered all over again, tucking his tail.
“Because the Baréshtis like to eat street dogs—”
“That’ll be all, Staff Sergeant.” The Tall One turned back to study him. “A backfire sent you running—straight to me. I could call you Backfire…” Then he shook his head. “Nope. Doesn’t fit. It was more like a double bang. A bang, bang.” A hand ruffled his fur. “That’s it. Bang-Bang. A good name. Come on, boy. You’ve just been recruited to be an Interplanetary Marine. Bezos Station could use a few good dogs.” The Tall One hoisted Bang-Bang high off the ground into his arms. “But first, dinner and a bath. Definitely a bath.”
Thank you for having me on your blog! I always enjoy chatting about pets and books, so to be able to do both? A win/win.
Jumbo jet pilot Susan Grant is a NY Times bestselling and RITA Award-Winning author of science fiction, time travel, and paranormal romance featuring strong women and honorable men. Visit her Website to find out more about Susan and her books.
The world for my Pets in Space story took a turn after I began writing it, looping back around to one of my favorite and most beloved stories: Gracie’s Touch: Zion Warriors Book 1. This story actually begins five years before the Alluthan invasion. Gracie actually makes a cameo appearance in the story.
One of the things I love about the story is that life can be serendipitous. In this case, it is something that happens in the Zion world that causes the Alluthans to end up on Earth, starting a chain of events that will change Gracie’s life forever. Seeing Gracie again also showed more of her character and life before the invasion. I have plans for four prequel books in which we will see Gracie as she grows up.
The story is set between the alien star system where the Zion and many other species live and Earth. Matrix and K-Nine are from the Zion home world, although K-Nine’s DNA is a mixture between two different canine/wolf species. They are part of an elite military unit where the experimentation of cyborg technology is in its infancy. When a new, genetically engineered creature is developed and escapes, they are sent out after it. This starts a chain of events that will have widespread consequences.
The second thing I love about the story is the challenge of seeing the world from a different point in time. The story is set just as the Confederation is being formed. The Zion Warriors have always been a powerful species, but they are having to learn to get along with the other species. There will be a lot of growing pains that will both help and hold back the worlds set in this area before they can advance. We will also discover the origins of the Alluthans and what happens to them.
The third thing is creating a new series of incredible characters that make me hungry for more. I love it when I’m writing and see how the worlds tie together. I also enjoy seeing old characters in a different light. Each character – each series – holds a new, magical world that is just waiting to be explored. I’m really excited to have been given that opportunity in Pets in Space.
Excerpt from “A Mate for Matrix”
At the sound of nails on the tile, Jana frantically glanced over her shoulder. Her eyes widened when she saw that the massive dog was now standing just a foot from where she was lying. The wolf-dog watched her with intense, gray eyes filled with curiosity. Rolling over and sitting up, she scooped Butter into her arms and scooted back along the shiny floor. She stopped when she felt her back hit the door frame behind her. Her gaze remained focused on the unusual dark gray eyes of the dog.
“Good… Good boy,” Jana whispered. She’d leaned just far enough to the side to confirm the sex of the dog before straightening. “Please… Please don’t eat us.”
Jana jumped when the dog sneezed and shook his head. He glanced over his shoulder toward the cabinet. Her gaze followed his and she released a silent prayer for Honeybun and Biscuit to remain under it. That thought died when the dog – wolf – whatever it was, turned his attention back to her. Jana smothered a cry when he stepped closer and pressed his nose to her cheek.
“Please… Good boy,” she choked out in a trembling voice, her eyes closing as she turned her head away. “Don’t eat us. We would taste really, really bad.”
“Meow,” Butter agreed.
S.E. Smith is a New York Times, USA TODAY, International, and Award-Winning Bestselling author of science fiction, romance, 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.
Click here for your copy of Pets in Space!
We authors are trading blog posts . . . and here Pauline Baird Jones shares what her life as a science fiction romance author can be like.
An author walks into a Barnes & Noble store and asked for books on Roswell, New Mexico.
Where does the helpful help desk clerk send her?
To the travel section.
This was not a joke with a bad punch line but a true story.
I wasn’t sure they hadn’t shelved the books in travel so I went and looked. Then I went back to the “help” desk.
“You don’t understand,” I said. “I need books on Roswell. You know, the alien ship crash.”
I wish I had a picture of the clerk’s face. There is no describing that look.
“Roswell. Aliens,” I say, more gently because she’s not young. “Just type Roswell, New Mexico, into your computer.”
She put her hands on the keys, but I could tell she didn’t want to. I nodded encouragingly. Finally she typed the words and hit “enter.”
And then jumped back at what the computer produced. There are a LOT of books about the Roswell incident.
She looked at me again, this time like I was a kook. I smiled a bit uneasily. “Can you tell me if you have any of them and where they might be in this store?”
It only took me twenty minutes and two trips to the help desk to get to the right section.
This is not that unusual when you write science fiction. And not just from bookstore clerks who think you’re a kook.
It’s always interesting to tell people I write science fiction romance and then wait for it. I can almost see them thinking, “You don’t look like a science fiction romance writer.”
I’m not even sure what that means. What does a science fiction romance writer look like? All the writers — of all genres—look like people. And not one of them looks like the other one. (Okay, did that make you feel like you’d wandered into a Dr. Seuss post? Or maybe it’s a Sesame Street episode. Let’s all sing together, “None of these authors is at all like the other ones…)
So, if you’re a writer, have you ever gotten “The Look” while doing research? If you’re a reader, what do you think a science fiction romance writer should look like?
And while you’re thinking about that, let me tell you something about this wonderful project. Pets in Space is not only a fun, romantic, adventurous anthology filled with EIGHT original stories and one expanded story by nine authors (how lucky is it that we have exactly the same number of stories and authors?), but 10% of the first month’s profit will be donated to Hero-Dogs.org, an organization dedicated to training amazing dogs to help veterans deal with post-traumatic stress.
We hope you’ll grab a copy of Pets in Space AND help a worthy cause at the very same time!
My dragon studied me with a peculiar intensity. “You truly do not remember?” I shook my head. “That perhaps would explain—”
“Explain what?” I felt a strange dread, as memory tried to pierce the thick fog hiding whatever happened that night eight years ago.
“There is a problem with the launch.”
There was nothing in my nondisclosure agreement about talking to a dragon, but it still felt disloyal. “Launch?” I tried to look clueless. Which should have been easy since I pretty much was.
Peddrenth couldn’t raise his brows, but it felt like he did.
“Okay, so there might be a launch—which you didn’t hear from me—what of it?”
“There is a leak.”
“A leak?” I jerked upright in alarm. “In the fuel tanks? On the team?” Exploding space vehicles and corporate sabotage were both a real worry. “What?”
“You. You are leaking.” From “The Real Dragon,” Pets in Space
Pauline never liked reality, so she writes books. She likes to wander among the genres, rampaging like Godzilla, because she does love peril mixed in her romance. You can find out more about her books (and get a free story for subscribing to her newsletter) at: http:///www.paulinebjones.com
Pets in Space is a brand new science fiction romance anthology in which I and eight other authors have stories about – pets in space!
We authors are trading blog posts . . . and here Cara Bristol tells us about her story.
Memory: intact. Cognitive function: enhanced. Emotion: erased.
After becoming a cyborg, Captain Dante Stone didn’t think he’d ever feel again, until a traumatized young woman and a ball of synthetic fur named Sparky helped him to love.
Spark of Attraction is a science fiction romance between the captain of military warship and a young woman, an archivist for New Utopia. Aliens attacked the New Utopian settlement, killing most of the colonists. As the nearest spaceship, the Crimson Hawk responded to distress call and rescued the remaining survivors.
Miranda’s sole possession is a cute-as-a button robotic dog named Sparky. He has electrically charged teeth and bites the captain when Miranda first meets him. The romance is short and sweet with a touch of heat and an HEA, but the ending is suspenseful and action-packed. I guarantee readers will be surprised.
If you can honestly say you are not surprised by the ending of Spark of Attraction, email me at carabristol50 (at) yahoo (dot) com and tell me what happens at the end of book, and I’ll post a picture on my blog of me dressed as an alien. (Note these restrictions: saying the hero/heroine end up together does not count as “the ending.” Spark of Attraction is a romance; there’s going to be an HEA. That is not the surprise. This challenge expires Oct. 30, 2016.)
An excerpt from Spark of Attraction, Pets in Space
“Sparky, no!” Miranda grabbed her robotic dog and tried to pull him off the captain. This was awful. Stone would airlock him for sure. “Release, Sparky, release!” she cried, but the companion-model robot hung on. “Let go!”
The captain bent, and gripping the dog’s upper and lower jaws, began to pry its mouth open with his bare hands.
“Don’t hurt Sparky!” He was all she had left, and the captain could break him, dislocate his jaw.
“Hurt him?” He peered up at her. “Might I remind you its teeth are imbedded in my leg?”
She reached under the collar for the power switch on the dog’s nape. He jerked, released the captain’s ankle, and fell over. Still. Silent. “I’m so sorry,” she apologized, wringing her hands. “He’s programmed to protect me, and he perceived you as a threat.” Maybe if she’d explained at the start her dog was a canine artificial intelligence model, all of this could have been avoided—but at the captain’s edict, she had panicked.
She scooped him up and clutched him protectively to her chest, stroking his soft synthetic fur. He looked and acted so lifelike, sometimes she forgot he was a robot. They’d have to eject her from the ship before she’d allow them to remove him. If they put him on a pod, how could she be sure she’d get him back?
He hadn’t been bothering anything.
Well, not until he bit the captain.
If Stone’s eyes had been cold before, they were positively flinty now. She’d never seen such a dark scowl.
Blood stained his pants leg, and he pulled it up to reveal a lacerated ankle. For all its small size, the K9-500 had a jaw like a vise and sharp metal teeth. If the bot had attacked a human, the damage could have been severe. Rumor had it Dante Stone was a cyborg, a computer-enhanced human with biomimetic parts. She’d heard cyborgs were immune to pain and practically indestructible.
“I’m sorry,” she repeated. “It doesn’t hurt much, though, right?”
“Of course, it hurts!” he snapped. “Why would you think it doesn’t?”
“Don’t you have those nano thingees?”
Her fellow colonists were staring, watching the interchange, waiting to see what would happen. Would the captain toss her into the brig? Airlock poor Sparky?
USA Today bestselling author Cara Bristol has written more than twenty-five books, which include two science fiction romance series: the Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance cyborg series and Breeder.
Pets in Space is a brand new science fiction romance anthology in which I and eight other authors have stories about – pets in space! You can get a free sampler of the first scenes of every story in the book at Instafreebie. Release date for the anthology is TOMORROW, October 11! We authors are trading blog posts . . . and here is why SFR author Lea Kirk wrote her story.
“What are you going to name her, Simone?”
“I think I’ll call her, Ranger.”
When the concept of the Pets in Space anthology was first proposed, I couldn’t resist jumping onboard. It seemed like a natural fit for me. I’m an author, and I’ve had dogs all my life—along with a couple of cats, at least a half-dozen rabbits, and more fish of more varieties than I can count. As I see it, pets and people are the perfect combo. Like Trigger and Roy Rogers, Lassie and Timmy, Wilber and Fern, Angry Cat and…. Well, never mind. You see my point though, right? Like most human/pet duos, authors benefit from having someone around to comfort us when we cry after a character dies, or to celebrate with us the moment we type “The End”.
As I began to write Space Ranger, my mental picture of the story’s puppy developed. Little, round, and red. Several breeds came to mind, the first being the Rhodesian Ridgeback. But like a wedding dress, I didn’t want to settle for the first one. For the better part of a week I vacillated between Ridgebacks, red Labradors, and Redbone Coonhounds. After much research, I finally decided to make my puppy a Rhodesian Ridgeback in honor of my one-time writing companion, Indy. She was a Ridgeback-Lab mix and one of the best dogs I’ve ever had. (No, we did not name the dog Indiana. She came with that name, but we loved it so much we kept it.) Here’s a picture of Indy playing with a puppy we fostered. I wish we had better pictures of her, but she always put on her “sad face” around cameras. I don’t think she liked having her picture taken.
I’m thrilled to have given my hero and heroine—who were secondary characters from my first novel, Prophecy—full closure, and to have their story featured in the Pets in Space Anthology. This has been an opportunity for me to work with eight other SFR authors I know and respect. Having my name on the cover with them is an honor. It’s also an opportunity to support an outstanding charity, Hero-Dogs.org. I come from a military family, and it means more than words can say to be able to help out this organization of dedicated people who provide service dogs to our military veterans.
Lea Kirk loves to transport her readers to other worlds with her romances of science fiction and time travel. She fell in love with the show, and was even known to run through her parents’ house wearing the tunic top of her red knit pantsuit and her white go-go boots pretending to be Lieutenant Uhura. By nine years old she knew she wanted to be a writer, and in her teens she read her first romance and was hooked. She lives in California with her wonderful hubby of twenty-six years and their five kids (aka, the nerd herd).
You can find out more about Lea at her website, leakirk.com, or on Facebook and Twitter.