Monday, October 16, 2017

#Touch the Stars #Other Worlds #Kindle Fire Giveaway #PetsInSpace 2 #Release Updates

Lea Kirk is here today to talk about her new release--Touch the Stars--that's coming as part of the Other Worlds boxed set of Science Fiction and Fantasy Romance novels and novellas. You can see a special cover for the story below. I asked her to tell me a little more about her story and the boxed set of novels and novellas.

Touch the Stars Blurb 

When her twin disappears without a trace, Kaitlyn Faulks can't accept that she's gone. In her heart, she knows her sister is alive out there, somewhere. One alien abduction later, Kait finds herself on a posh spaceship, the honored "guest" of a sexy seven-foot-tall alien of questionable sanity. He insists she's the heir to his "Star Empire" and that the fate of Earth, and the empire, depends on her compliance. What hooey.

Warrior Baatar must retrieve the Earth woman for the emperor. It is the only way to restore his family's honor and insure that they do not pay the ultimate price for his brother's treachery. But the future empress, Kaitlyn, is a difficult, wily female who challenges him at every opportunity. And Baatar begins to have doubts about the truth behind his mission.

As the stakes rise and the fate of an empire hangs in the balance, Kaitlyn and Baatar are thrust into a conflict decades in the making, where nothing is as it seems, and no one can be trusted.

Excerpt from Touch the Stars:

Weird images flashed through Kaitlyn’s mind. A giant of a man…a sheriff’s deputy…a flash of bluish light. Her body jerked, like it did when she slept through her alarm. Her heartbeat pounded in her ears as she gasped for air.

Had she overslept? Probably, because her goddamn bed had never felt so soft and comfortable. She blinked at the stark white ceiling once, twice, three times. Wait a minute. Her ceiling wasn’t white, it was sage green. And this was so not her bedroom. Her bedroom was full of furniture, mostly old, garage-sale deals she’d refinished herself. This place had no furniture at all, except for the bed. It did have gently blinking blue lights lining the walls at different intervals.

“Where in the hell am I?” And what was that humming sound? White noise or something?

Apaṇ graṇa samṭa cy corgaṭa kasagān rava jhāta,” a woman’s voice said.

“Eep!” Someone was in the room with her. She sat up, or tried to except she was strapped to a wide bed. “What the ever-lovin’ f**k?”

“You are aboard the Grand Emperor’s stealth class galaxy traveler,” the unseen woman said.

“The grand emperor of what?”

Nothing in this room looked even vaguely familiar. What the hell was going on? Oh! The gigantic man…alien…thing. He’d…shot her?

“Oh, for the love of god. Have I really been f*cking abducted?” Unbelievable, but not impossible. It did explain the stark, furnitureless room and the sporadically placed blinking blue lights on the walls.

Well, mostly furnitureless, except for the bed. Was she an alien sex slave now? The big guy was in for a shock if he thought she’d cooperate with that little fantasy. And apparently, he didn’t think it was necessary to restrain her completely. Mr. Alien Genius had left her hands free.

Big mistake, buddy.

She lifted her head, and a wave of dizziness crashed over her.

Okaaay, let’s just lay back down for a moment.

This always happened when she skipped meals. Inhale…exhale…repeat. Her hypoglycemic body was not going to let her down. It couldn’t, not this time. Her freedom was at stake.

Steak. Saliva filled her mouth. Oh, god, what she’d give for a nice, juicy, medium-rare steak. A low growl came from her stomach. “You’re not helping.” She ran her hands over the strap across her hips. No buckle, but there was something that felt like a tab. She slowly raised her head again. Yes, a blinking blue tab. She grasped it and gave it a yank.

Click. Pop.

The strap retracted over the edge of the bed and disappeared. That had worked? Okay, one down, two to go.

“Remain strapped in for your safety,” the voice said.

“My ass.” She repeated the process on the strap across her chest, then the one over her ankles.

Ah.

So much better. Now to get out of here. It was probably too much to hope that the door would just open for her.

The entire room dropped like a rollercoaster in freefall. She flipped onto her stomach and dug her fingers into the mattress. The thin film of a blanket covering the bed bunched in her fists. A moment later everything stabilized again. Everything except her stomach, which threatened to expel all the nothingness that was in it.

She clenched her teeth together. “I hate roller coasters.” Which was weird because the rest of her family had loved those nauseating, head-jerking, puke-inducing rides.

The room tilted to her right. “Oh, shit, not again.”

She clawed at the blanket and dug-in with her sneakers against the slick material trying to get a grip as the room tilted farther. It was no use. The only thing she was accomplishing was pulling the useless excuse for a blanket loose.

I should have left the straps on.

If she had, she wouldn’t be sliding down the bed toward the wall that was now below her. Literally.

The bed cover came completely free. “No.”

The wall rushed up to meet her.

About the Author
Lea Kirk loves to transport her readers to other worlds with her science fiction and paranormal romances. She is the author of the popular SFR Prophecy series, and a Magic, New Mexico PNR story, Made for Her.

She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her wonderful hubby of twenty-seven years and their five kids (aka, the nerd herd).

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bwGBDT
Website: http://www.leakirk.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLeaKirk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LeaKirkWrites

Other Worlds:
A Limited Edition Collection of Science Fiction Romance and Paranormal Romance

Fierce Aliens.
Elite Hackers.
Dragons.
Dark Vampire Lords.

How can you fight the world's monsters when you're in love with one?

OTHER WORLDS takes you on a journey across the stars and plunges you into immortal realms, in a collection of Science Fiction Romance and Paranormal Romance that reaches beyond the boundaries of imagination.

Step into new worlds and distant universes, in 20 full-length novels and novellas, all contained in one limited edition box set overflowing with NEW STORIES from today's hottest USA Today and Award-Winning authors!

But grab it fast! This limited collection of Paranormal and Science Fiction Romance will soon be gone forever.

Amazon: http://ow.ly/NSP430dEONB
Barnes and Noble: http://ow.ly/AS4D30dEOSN
Google Play: http://ow.ly/KvTU30dEOWL
iTunes: http://ow.ly/eVPM30dEORA
Kobo: http://ow.ly/Dsxa30dEOPf

Website http://www.otherworldscollection.com/

And here's a fun bonus! You can get a FREE sneak peak at the beginning of all of the stories in Other Worlds via Instafreebie. << Just click there.

Many thanks to Lea for visiting today to share more about Touch the Stars and Other Worlds.
__________________________________

Now I've got some fun updates for you on our recent book release!
 
News Flash!

Would you like to win a Kindle Fire 7?

Bestselling author M.K. Eidem, one of the authors of Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 is holding a drawing for a brand new Kindle Fire 7 on her blog. All you need to do to enter is go to her website and answer one simple question (and I'm guessing there aren't really any wrong answers).

But here's the catch...you have to hurry! The drawing ends in just days! Here's the link:



Book Launch Update

Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 launched last Tuesday and my oh my, what a ride it's been! Readers have given us some wonderful reviews, and we're hoping we'll be able to do great things for our charity, Hero Dogs. I even got my esteemed Top 100 Paranormal Author ranking on Amazon as the book danced around at the top of several bestseller lists!

Some of the heights it reached:
 
#2 Hot New Releases
#3 Science Fiction Romance
#9 Paranormal Romance
 
and *drum roll* please
 
#281 overall
(of every book for sale on Amazon)

And the reviews have been equally awesome. Readers, we love you! Mwahhh!




Exciting News: Hero Dog Mitch!

As you probably know, Pets in Space 2 is donating 10% of all preorders and first month's profits to the amazing Hero Dogs.

Last year, during the launch of the original Pets in Space, as a special side project I "adopted" one of the Hero Dogs in training at the Hero Dogs headquarters in Maryland. His name is Mitch--short for Billy Mitchell--and I picked him out because he was one of my favorite breeds--a Labrador Retriever--he resembled our own Kiva (a yellow Lab) and he had the same name as the hero in my upcoming novel, The Outer Planets.

As part of the "adoption program," I made several donations toward Mitch's training and the amount of my donation increased every time someone commented on a post about Mitch.

Well, I've got some big news!

Mitch will be successfully graduating from the Hero Dogs training program on November 5th and he will be paired with a US Coast Guard veteran as a fully-fledged service dog! Hip, hip, hooray!

The Hero Dogs training program is very stringent and only a select few dogs who enter the program will successfully graduate as a service dog, so this was very important news indeed.

As one of Mitch's (many) sponsors, I was sent an invitation to the event, but alas it's far, far away and I won't be able to make the trip. But I will share the invitation with you here:

Please Join Us in Celebrating our 2017 Graduates

So three cheers for Mitch the Hero Dog! Job well done, boy, job well done!

We Got Blogs!

As part of the launch each author wrote a variety of blogs about our stories that got shared across the internet. Here are a few that I'm particularly proud of, and that will tell you so much more about my story--Courting Disaster--and its characters.

The Sheeban: Starship and Metaphor
A guest blog with bestselling author M.K. Eidem (Tornian SFR series) that explains how the "derelict" ship in the story is actually a metaphor for the hero, Captain Jagger.

Courting Disaster Release Day
Here I explain more about the hero and heroine--Jagger and Ketsia--as a guest of Lea Kirk, author of the popular Prophecy series.

Once Upon a StarDog
Fellow Pets in Space 2 author Jessica E. Subject hosted me for this blog that's all about StarDogs and how they've forever changed the Inherited Stars Universe.

Courting Disaster Cover Reveal and Excerpt
This blog from right here on Spacefreighters Lounge includes a cover reveal that will be the future cover for Courting Disaster after it's expanded to a novel. It also has a story excerpt, more about my pet--a StarDog--and a few other fun things to discover.

We also received this fabulous review from Riley at WWMB ReviewsCourting Disaster got a very nice mention in this one. Thank you, Riley!

I hope you'll check out all the links. I love getting deeper into the roots of the story and how it came to be.

Hope you all have a great week!


Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Future is Pink: Guest Blog by Lea Kirk

Today I'm hosting science fiction romance author Lea Kirk with a special message:

The Future is Pink
During Breast Cancer Awareness Month
 
 
Roses are Pink,
Our books are too;
We're fighting breast cancer,
With a little help from you!

Nine sci-fi/paranormal/fantasy romance authors have banded together to fight against breast cancer. Ten percent of any of the following pink-covered books sold during the month of October will be donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Please join us in the fight, by reading your way into the future where everything is pink!

 
 
#AuthorsInPink
 
Participating Authors and Books
Alora’s Love Potion by Rosalie Redd
Salvation by Lea Kirk
Building a Hero by Tasha Black
Crazy for Carly by Crystal Dawn
Captive by K.M. Fawcett
Avenger Mine by T.M. Slay
Terran by Cara Bristol
Bound by Water by Monica La Porta
Not His Werewolf by Annie Nicholas

Friday, October 13, 2017

OFF TO PLAY NONNA

Hey, y'all,
Sorry, no post this week. I'm off to meet my new granddaughter, Savannah! So, in keeping with the pets theme this week on Spacefreighters, imagine me as this happy kitty snuggling with the little one. I'll be back next week with a review of Blade Runner 2049.


P.S. If you're a sucker for real baby pics, check out my personal page on Facebook!
 
Cheers, Donna

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Interview with Puppy - Guest Blog by Susan Grant

NY Times and USA TODAY bestselling author, RITA Award winner, and 747 airline pilot Susan Grant is here today with an Interview with Puppy from Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2
 
Puppy's story The Prince, the Pilot and the Puppy, also known as Star Puppy in her very popular Star Series, will join Star King, Star Prince, Star Hero, Star Champion (aka Champion of Baresh) and the other wonderful books in this outstanding science fiction romance series.
____________________________________

I can’t wait for you to meet Trysh, Rornn, and Puppy, and the rest of the crew of Bezos Station, a city in space that orbits the planet of Barésh. Readers may recognize some of these places and characters from Star Champion (previously titled The Champion of Barésh) and Star Hero (expanded from the short story “Stray” from Pets in Space 1).

Puppy is a canine type of animal, an alien street dog—called a “yipwag” in the local dialect. Smarter than Earth dogs, yipwags are experts in predicting human behavior and reading our emotions. They have wagging tails and wet noses like the dogs we know, and come in different colors. Puppy has a brownish-black coat, black eyes, and huge upright ears.



Let’s ask Puppy a few questions about herself and the people in her life:

1. Is Puppy really your name?

Yes! My Tall Ones tried a few times to give me a “real name”—Cocoa, Blackie, Kaylee, Lucky—but none stuck. It’s okay. My mother called me Puppy and that’s who I am.

2. Is it true that yipwags are being used in an experimental K-9 program on Bezos Station?

Yes, but there’s just two of us so far. Me, and my friend Bang-Bang. Like border collies and other herding dogs on Earth, we yipwags are good a reasoning, but our powers are supercharged. The Tall Ones are first beginning to realize how much we can help them—and they need our help a lot. I’m being trained for contraband detection, bomb sniffing, search and rescue, and protection.

3. Where’s your favorite place to nap?

With my favorite Tall Ones in their bed. But on My Trysh’s side. My Rornn is too tall and his feet get in my way.

4. You say your two favorite people are Trysh and Rornn. Who else?

That would have to be Danger. He’s a starfighter pilot like My Rornn and My Trysh. He helped My Rornn say and do the right things to win Trysh’s heart. He’s funny and when no one is looking he gives me pieces of bacon.

5. and your least favorite person?

Sergeant Spratt. He’s also called “Sarg” or “Box Cutter.” He’s the station’s cargo wrangler. We got off to a bad start when I ate the pie his girlfriend baked for him.



Please enjoy this excerpt of how Puppy got on Sergeant Spratt’s bad side:

Puppy trembled as her shelter swayed and seemed to lift off the ground. There was a terrifying noise and shaking, then it subsided, replaced by a gentle swaying, a low rumbling. Her ears felt stuffy.

Then she floated off the floor.

She bobbed and bounced along the walls and ceilings of the dark, cavernous space. A delicious smell made her forget the pain in her hind leg. She pushed away from the wall to follow the scent to its source, grabbing hold of a small box with her teeth and claws lest she float away again. Glancing around for Others who would steal her prize and maim or kill her, she decided she was still alone. Frantically, she peeled off the outer covering, ripping apart the casing under that, and sank her muzzle into a warm, crumbly mess that tasted of the sweetness of her mother’s milk and the savory richness of fat. It was almost too sweet, too sticky, but food meant survival. Half-choking in her frenzy to eat, awash in a swirling cloud of torn paper and crumbs, she wolfed it down.

A jerking movement knocked her loose. She dropped, hitting the floor with the remains of her meal. The den swung wildly, throwing her around. She slid across the floor and smacked into containers, hurting her ribs. Then, with a powerful boom, the crate went still. Her lungs heaved, her body hurting. She could hear the voices and footsteps of Tall Ones. Crumbs dangled from her whiskers, her nose was sticky. Bright light hurt her eyes as the entrance banged open.

Faces of Tall Ones peered in. “Sarg! Sergeant Spratt! We got a hitchhiker!”

“A what?” Feet stomped closer.

“A stowaway. And…uh…it got into that pie you said your nurse friend was sending up.”

“What! Someone got into my pie?” yelled the raspy voice.

“Something. It’s one of those yipwags from the colony, Sarg. A street dog. A puppy.”

Find out what happens next in Embrace the Romance, Pets in Space 2

About the Author
When NY Times/USA Today bestselling author and Air Force veteran Susan Grant isn’t driving an 18-wheeler (a 747 jumbo jet) she loves writing romantic, action-packed stories featuring gutsy woman and honorable men. Flying to exotic places and trying every kind of food imaginable helps Susan bring her sci-fi worlds alive for readers. She is a winner of the prestigious RITA award for her book Contact, an alien abduction sci-fi romance.

Website      Facebook       Twitter       Amazon Author Page 

FB Handle: @Author.Susan.Grant      Twitter Handle: @flyerdreamer

 
Just Released: October 10th

The pets are back! Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2, featuring twelve of today’s leading Science Fiction Romance authors brings you a dozen original stories written just for you! Join in the fun, from the Dragon Lords of Valdier to a trip aboard award-winning author, Veronica Scott’s Nebula Zephyr to journeying back to Luda where Grim is King, for stories that will take you out of this world! Join New York Times, USA TODAY, and Award-winning authors 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 Alexis Glynn Latner as they share stories and help out Hero-Dogs.org, a charity that supports our veterans!

10% of the first month’s profits go to Hero-Dogs.org. Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence.

BUY IT HERE:

Amazon short link     Amazon CA     Amazon UK     Amazon AU   
 
      
iBooks      B&N      Kobo       Google Play 

 



Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Launch! Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2

It's here!

October 10th means the Pets are Back!

Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2

Featuring twelve of today’s leading Science Fiction Romance authors bringing you a dozen original stories written just for you!

Join in the fun...
  • from the Dragon Lords of Valdier
  • to a trip aboard award-winning author, Veronica Scott’s Nebula Zephyr
  •  to journeying back to Luda where Grim is King
  •  to another exciting foray into the Inherited Stars universe 
for stories that will take you out of this world!

Join New York Times, USA TODAY, and Award-winning authors 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 Alexis Glynn Latner as they share fabulous new adventures and help out Hero-Dogs.org, a charity that supports our veterans!

10% of all preorders and the first month’s profits go to Hero-Dogs.org. Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence.




The First Reviews are in!

"The books are amazing.When I started reading I couldn't put I'd down I read the book in one day.Keep up the book work."    ***** Rating on Goodreads, Anadosen

"This is a collection to savor, and possibly also one to plan on reading over a long trip. This book is huge. Why? Because this is not a collection of short stories, it’s a collection of novellas. Novellas are longer, meatier and just have room for more story all the way around. So if you like SFR in general or stories where animals help the humans get their romantic act together, this one is a winner from beginning to end."  A- Rating from Reading Reality reviews

"If you have read the original books by these authors you will definitely want to read these."
 **** Rating on Goodreads, Lizzieb

This massive collection offers so much for readers. It features twelve original, never before released novellas *plus pets* and many of the stories are part of favorite SFR series.

PEARL’S DRAGON
A Novella in the Dragon Lords of Valdier Series
By S.E. Smith (New York Times/USA TODAY Bestselling Author)
An old dragon warrior unexpectedly finds love with a human mate who is as creative and clever as she is dangerous - a perfect combination when poachers attack.

A GRIM PET
A Novella in the Tornian Series
By M.K. Eidem (USA TODAY Bestselling Author)
Grim’s two young daughters discover an injured raptor and their love, faith, and kindness creates far-reaching consequences no one expects.

THE PRINCE, THE PILOT, AND THE PUPPY
(“Star Puppy”)
A Novella in The Star Series
By Susan Grant (New York Times/USA TODAY Bestselling, and RITA Award Winning Author)
A talented starfighter pilot and a handsome prince rescue a starving puppy only to discover they are the ones that need saving.

WIRED FOR LOVE
By Michelle Howard
When a young woman is reluctantly drawn into a scarred soldier's past, they soon find themselves working against an enemy with an old grudge.

RESCUED BY THE CYBORG
A Novella in the Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance Series
By Cara Bristol (USA TODAY Bestselling Author)
A hostage waits for death at the hands of predatory aliens when a cyborg agent disobeys orders.

STAR CRUISE: SONGBIRD
A Novella in The Sectors SF Romance Series
By Veronica Scott
A security officer aboard a spaceship finds his job complicated by his attraction to the interstellar singer he is assigned to protect and the bird he has inherited.

TIME TRAP
A Novella in the Project Enterprise Series
By Pauline Baird Jones
An unusual birthday gift creates more trouble than a USAF Engineer expects when he finds a time traveling rebel and her parrot partner in his arms.

COURTING DISASTER: STARDOG 2
A Novella in the Inherited Stars Series
By Laurie A. Green
A commander of a spaceship faces the toughest decision of his life when he vows to protect the woman and her StarDog that he is escorting through a dangerous section of space.

SENSATE
A Novella in the Alien Attachments Series
By Sabine Priestley
A scientist must decide if she can trust the man who once betrayed her if she is to help his sentient com unit gain a physical form.

GIB AND THE TIBBAR
A Novella in the Galactic Defenders Series
By Jessica E. Subject
A young woman fights to come to terms with her place in the universe with a little help from the sexy alien warrior befriended by her furry pet.

PET TRADE
A Novella in the Central Galactic Concordance Series
By Carol Van Natta
An elite forces veteran crash lands on a frontier planet with a cargo full of designer pets and must seek the help of a talented, but damaged veterinarian to help him save them.

MASCOT
A Novella in the Aeon's Legacy Series
By Alexis Glynn Latner
A space station manager and an interstellar auditor must work through their antagonism and attraction to each other while the station comes under attack. Then the station mascot enters the fray!

If you're already familiar with one or more of these series, this is your chance to catch up on the latest release. But even if you're new to these universes, each story works as a stand-alone romantic adventure...with one or more very special pets.

The original Pets in Space collection (no longer available) was wildly popular with readers and named one of the "Best Books of 2015: E-Originals Fiction" by LibraryJournal.com as well as winning two SFR Galaxy Awards.

This second volume promises to be even better, and offers twelve stories -- 30% more than the original.



Get your copy today at any of these vendors:

 
Amazon AU   |   Amazon FR   |   Amazon DE   |   Amazon JP  
 
iBooks   |   B&N   |   Kobo   |   GooglePlay   |   Goodreads

 
Plus Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 is has been published in a massively huge BAB (Big @ss Book ) PRINT VERSION due to popular reader demand. The print version is a whopping 826 pages or almost 289,000 words! That's the size of a monster trilogy! :)

Print version -- what a whopper!

We hope you'll love these wonderful reads...and you'll be proud to know you're helping Hero Dogs in the process!

Join us on social media to chat or learn more about Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2:

Pets in Space Website
Newsletter Signup 
Pets in Space Facebook Group

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Courting Disaster #CoverReveal #Excerpt #Freebies #PetsInSpace

Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 releases in just THREE DAYS!

Though that may not be news to you (if the authors have done a good job of getting the word out), I do have some fun and totally NEW things to share with you today about my story in the collection--Courting Disaster: Pets in Space 2.

First of all, the novella has a brand new cover! This won't be used for the Pets in Space 2 version, but for the future release of the story as a standalone after the Pets in Space collection has run its course. (The collection will only be on sale until the end of April 2018...and then it's gone forever.)

When that happens, the story will evolve. It will also drop it's "StarDog 2" subtitle and simply become Courting Disaster. Current plans are to expand it into a full-blown novel before it begins its solo flight at future date.

But I don't want to keep you in suspense, so first up, here's the shiny new art for Courting Disaster.


My cover artist is the amazing Danielle Fine and I absolutely love what she did here! Most of the story elements are captured, from Jagger's "greaseskins" (ragged civilian uniform), helmet and visor, to the uhh...let's be gracious and call it the "classic" exterior of starship Sheeban, to Ketsia's elegant black suit and the intuitive little StarDog curled up in her lap.

I also love how well it ties in with it's companion story, StarDog. (Cover shown below with other PISA2 bounty--keep reading.) I share a short excerpt from the story below.

More About the Pet in Courting Disaster

The pet in my story is a StarDog, the same bio-engineered little mischief-maker as the critter in my original story of the same name, StarDog.

This StarDog's name is Luna and here's a photo of her inspiration (and the real Luna in my life--who is currently curled up under my desk). In the story, the name "Luna" has a distinct connection to some of the history of the Inherited Stars Universe that also involves her genetic-sibling StarDog and predecessor, Katrina. (Some readers may remember Katrina from the first Pets in Space story.)

But Luna isn't a miniature longhaired dachshund like my Luna, she's an unique critter bio-engineered from dog-cat-weasel-mongoose DNA, created to serve as specialized mascots (and other more covert duties) on starships.

This is artist Nyssa Juneau's conceptual art of Luna the StarDog. She did a wonderful job of capturing the fictional version in pen and ink, as well as incorporating the real Luna's expression and markings.

But Luna is more than just a pet. More than just a mascot. She's got skills. And she demonstrates them in the story.

About My Story

For those of you who've read Inherit the Stars, Captain Navene Jagger returns in Courting Disaster, still living with past regrets.

He has survived lost love by transforming himself into a military space monk with his professional career his only true passion.

The ever-charming Ketsia Tayah, also returning from the novel, is now older, wiser and determined to overcome her own heart-breaking history. As luck would have it, her past is intertwined in some very painful ways with Jagger’s.

When their paths collide on a dangerous mission in the heart of the dark nebula known as the Bradley Rift, it feels like a match made in purgatory. They are soon forced to pose as mates and rely on each other for survival. But the feisty little StarDog who's along for the ride may be the root of a whole ship-load of trouble.

Courting Disaster is a tale of two lost souls finding redemption and a possible future together...if they can survive the present.

Excerpt
From Courting Disaster: StarDog2 (edited for space)

Ketsia took in the trim lines of the man’s uniform. Captain Navene Jagger cut quite the dashing figure in those threadbare coveralls. He looked every inch the outstanding officer she believed him to be. But she didn’t understand how she’d triggered such a negative reaction in the man that he’d stalked off the flight deck to escape her company.

Was it the fact she’d followed him? Or her childish admission that she remembered him from Spirit?

Hades, she’d obsessed over him. Watched him, and watched for him. Like some sad little orphan puppy pining for a glimpse of her hero.

Now the man seemed to resent who and what she was—or who she’d been—on some very deep level…but why?

And why summon her to the flight deck now? Unless he was looking for another fight.

“Have you ever seen the Rift?” he asked, without turning her way.

She pulled up short. “The Bradley Rift? You can see it?”

“At this distance, yes. It’s quite impressive. You might want to take a look.” He gestured to the monitor in front of the co-pilot console. “You won’t have this view once we’ve entered the region.”

She approached him with care in her step and in her tone. “Why is that?”

“The dust and gas clouds are only visible from a distance through Banshee’s filters. Once we’re inside the nebula, the particles will be too thinly disbursed to detect on the monitor even though they’ll obscure our scanners.”

Ketsia lifted off her helmet and peered at the screen before her, mesmerized by the images emerging from the swirling blue-green-red-violet chaos. “I see monsters.”

He managed an off-kilter smile. “Most people do.”

The man should smile more often. It was a nice look for him. Much nicer than the hard frown and harsh words she’d spent two days avoiding.

About Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2

The creative minds of today’s leading SFR authors have joined forces to bring readers 12 amazing, never before released original Science Fiction Romance stories all in one place – Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2! Join New York Times, USA TODAY, and Award-winning authors as they share stories and help out Hero-Dogs.org, a charity that supports our veterans!

and get it Tuesday!

This collection also includes new stories in many different established science fiction romance series such as the Stars Series, Sectors, and Dragonlords of Valdier. You can read more about how they are connected on this prior blog.

And Here There Be Treasures

And lastly, me buckos, I have some treats for all who've clung to the jib with me this far.

Pirates are a real threat in the Bradley Rift. But there's worst kinds lurking in the depths o' the dark nebula. If you want to earn your salt as a pirate, I've got some freebie bootie for you, right here. Just look at all these sparkly gems!


The clock be ticking! If ye don't want to miss the boat, enter NOW!
Contest to win a FREE PRINT COPY of Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 SIGNED by all the captains...er, authors -- but you gotta hurry! This contest ends in hours! So...last call!
[EDITED TO ADD: THE PRINT COPY GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THANKS TO ALL WHO ENTERED.]

________________________________________________

Click here to make off with your free copy!
FREE COPY of StarDog -- my original Pets in Space story -- via Instafreebie. Arrrr, matie. It makes a great refresher, it does, for your journey to Courting Disaster: StarDog2. Arrrrr.
_____________________________________________________

Click here for your free ticket aboard!
FREE FIRST CHAPTER SAMPLER of all the Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 stories. Want a taste of the best storytellin' this or any other galaxy has to offer, landlubber? Feist your eyes.

_____________________________________________________

These peaked beasts need a touch o' color. Try yer hand, bucko.
FREE Pets in Space Coloring Book in downloadable PDF. Arrr, you be right, it's also a contest. But here be the difference -- everybody wins!
_____________________________________________________

*peeks into her treasure trove* And what other loot might I glimpse that be lurking in the depths of this rusty old hull? Well, shiver me timbers, if it isn't another print copy of the collection (though unsigned, sadly). [EDITED TO ADD: SORRY, THIS PRINT COPY GIVEAWAY CLOSED AS OF MIDNIGHT 10/07/17.] If you be clever enough to have traveled the blog this far with me, it's yours for the taking provided you be the first to comment below and answer this riddle (arrr, nay, it's not a riddle at all, is it?): What nature of phenomenon is Bradley Rift? You may find yer clue in the prose above, mind you. I be lookin' for a pair o' words here as the key to the treasure.

I'll be back on Tuesday, October 10th, with our big release announcement. See you then. Arrrrrr!

The Dread Pirate







Friday, October 6, 2017

LOOKING AT A MASS KILLER AND WONDERING WHY



I’m not a fan of the daily news as interpreted by the television networks—any of them. I don’t watch cable or broadcast news on a regular basis; I don’t follow any pundits; I don’t even tune in to the local news except to hear the weather. I get my news at a week’s remove, from a magazine that distills the stories from a variety of sources to produce a more balanced viewpoint. This keeps me relatively sane.

But occasionally something happens—a hurricane, a mass shooting in Las Vegas—to break through the barriers I’ve erected, and I’m forced to participate in the tragic moment with the rest of the nation. And, in the case of yet another mass shooting by a crazy individual with a bunch of guns, I pause to pray for all the victims’ families. And wonder why.

This is not a post about gun control, although I certainly think as a nation we should ask ourselves some hard questions about that issue. It’s not even a post about mental illness and the community response to people in trouble, though that’s a legitimate issue, too. This is a post about the motivations of villains, and whether, as writers, we can simply say our bad guys are “evil” without any underlying reason.

As most of you know, I’m a huge Stephen King fan, and I’ve been avidly watching the television adaptation of his novel Mr. Mercedes on the Audience Network (created by David E. Kelley). The story follows retired detective Bill Hodges (Brendan Gleeson) as he revives the cold case of a mass killer driving a stolen Mercedes who deliberately ran over 23 people lined up for a jobs fair. As the killer becomes aware Hodges is on his trail, he first cyber-stalks the detective, then tries to kill him, instead blowing up Hodges’ lady friend with a car bomb.

In this week’s episode, Hodges is asked why “Mr. Mercedes” does these things. He answers that some people just have a “great black hole” inside them, they were born that way, and eventually the black hole just swallows them up. He says this—and believes it—even though he suspects a lot about the man’s true background.

King the author takes pains to show us everything about his villain, Brady Hartsfield (Harry Treadway). We know his father died when Brady was a child, electrocuted at his linesman’s job; his younger brother choked on a piece of apple, was revived, but survived brain-damaged, and Brady, still just a child, pushed the toddler down the basement stairs to his death. Brady’s mother, as a result of these tragedies, drinks to excess and abuses Brady sexually. And Brady works at a crummy job at an electronics store, berated by the boss and the customers alike.

So, which is it? Does Brady just have a “black hole inside?” Or have the circumstances of his life made him the way he is?

King is quite capable of depicting “pure evil” in his novels. The antagonist in It is a good example. The clown figure is simply a personification of a greater, deeper evil that haunts the town. That evil must be cleansed for the town (and its pre-teen defenders) to survive. (The latest film adaptation of this classic novel is faithful to the concept in every way. The film is a must-see for King fans.)

Though it is “horrible,” the Mr. Mercedes tale (actually spread across three novels—Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers and End of Watch) is meant to be a crime story, not a horror story per se. Brady Hartsfield, aka Mr. Mercedes, is not meant to be pure evil in the It sense. He’s meant to be human. But if you know anything about Stephen King, you know people can be every bit as horrifying in their humanity as any supernatural monster he can come up with. 

Like the kind of human who could kill indiscriminately with a stolen Mercedes—or by shooting a specially modified weapon at an outdoor concert crowd in Las Vegas.

Sadly, Donna