If you're curious to take a peek at those snippets, you can do a quick catch-up here:
All New Scene: Nebula Encounter Newly written material
Meet the Hero: Star Navigator Taro Shall Introduction to the hero and his background
My goal is to release StarDog this summer as a standalone book in The Inherited Stars Series. In order to do that, I felt the story needed some special TLC, in particular many expanded scenes, some majorly reworked passages, some spiffy new sections, and a new epilogue to fully flesh out the plot, characters and conflict. These changes will also serve to better dovetail the story into Inherit the Stars, the novel that opens about six months after StarDog.
But as I was reworking the manuscript, it led to a couple of Whoopsie! moments. A.k.a: Bloopers!
Now, these weren't truly monumental, and judging from the previous reviews, no readers caught these...er, little missteps, either. I thought it might be fun to highlight them in a rendition of a movie Blooper Reel. Hopefully, you'll get the same chuckle that I did.
Just to be clear, this story went through multiple passes by me, my betas and my editor--and even under our joint magnifying glasses, none of us caught these little gems, so hopefully that speaks to the subtlety of the errors--but since my goal is to make the story better, I had to address them.
To set it up, here's the story blurb and scene description:
Navigator Taro Shall’s captain assigns him an unexpected mission–find a way to eradicate deadly vipers that have infested starship Calypso. He never expects to find the solution to his problem in the hands of Adini, a charming street vendor. But the bio-engineered StarDog he acquires turns out to be a galactic hot potato, and both Taro and Adini are soon fugitives on the run.
Adini Kemm can’t deny her fascination for the honor-bound navigator, though his past and her present seem to null any chance of a shared future. Until her father’s capture as a spy catapults both her and Taro into a desperate bid to save him…and straight into the clutches of a brewing insurrection.
Scene Set-Up: Taro is sent by his captain to find an exterminator for the ship and in his search, he's directed to Adini, a street vendor. She convinces Taro that what he really needs is a StarDog--a bio-engineered dog-cat-weasel-mongoose created to serve as vermin-terminators on starships, among other talents. Those "other talents" are about to create some big problems for the two.
Adini fell into step beside him as he retraced his route back to Calypso’s hangar. He hadn’t traveled twenty steps when the little StarDog hopped from Adini’s shoulders to his, and made herself at home by coiling her thick tail around his neck.
“Whoa, there. Did I invite you aboard?” Taro laughed, sliding his fingers over the dense, silky fur on her back. The little animal thrust her cool nose against his hand and tried to burrow beneath it.
“She wants you to pet her. StarDogs are friendly by nature. And loyal, being part canine.”
“She’s very cute,” Taro admitted begrudgingly.
Adini threw him a lopsided grin. “She thinks you are, too.”
“Well, that’s not going to hold much sway with Captain Jordan. ‘Cute’ isn’t something she looks for in a resume.”
“You sure about that?” Adini questioned with a subtle side-eye.
Taro pressed his lips together and dropped his gaze. Was she flirting, or was it only his imagination wishing it so?
“How long have you been selling StarDogs?” he asked, channeling the conversation back to business. Good thing his Tectolian complexion hid the evidence of the flush warming his face.
“Since my daddy invented them. He’s a bit of a biohack. LaGuardians seem to have a knack for it.”
“You’re LaGuardian?” Taro cast a questioning glance at Adini’s dark locks.
He enjoyed the sound of her laughter. “Clearly only half. My mother was Purmian.” She tilted her head, smiling at his startled look. “I know. I’m very tall for a Purmian.”
“Tallest Purmie I’ve ever met,” Taro teased.
“Well, I got mom’s hair and eyes, but dad’s stature. I kind of like how things turned out.”
A fleeting smile crossed Taro’s lips when their gazes touched. “So do I.” A little return volley on the flirting seemed like fair play.
It only took a glimpse of the towering men ahead to kill their conversation and good spirits. Taro’s face set in a hard frown, and he slowed his stride. “Palies,” he muttered to Adini.
“I see them,” she responded.
A pair of Ithian officers stood at the entrance to the spaceport hangars, their over-tall, lanky frames and pallid faces an arresting contrast to the blue Carduwan sky. They looked to be engaged in casual conversation except for the sharp, penetrating sweep of their eyes over the surrounding area. They were clearly on the lookout for something. Or someone.
The older of the two cast an assessing look their way, sizing them up. His gaze lingered on Adini a moment before moving on to other pedestrians in the street behind them.
“They’re scouting,” she whispered.
“Yeah, but not for us. Let’s keep moving.”
Moments later, he and Adini passed through the gate and beyond the Ithians, heading for the alley that split the hangs. Taro eased out the breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding.
“They’re into everyone’s business these days. And the tributes they demand…” Taro clenched both fists.
“No fan of the Alliance either, I take it,” Adini whispered.
“Let’s just say we try not to attract their attention.”
What Went Wrong?
The error falls into the "not seeing the forest for the trees" scenario. Readers probably didn't catch my little blunder because the full premise hadn't yet been laid out by this point in the story.
But for me? It was one of those forehead-smacking, laughing out loud while uttering mild curse words moments.
Here's the issue. Though the pair are clearly uncomfortable with the Ithian presence, Adini, in particular, has very good reason to steer very clear of the Alliance...and one of those very good reasons is now riding on Taro's shoulder in full view of the Ithian officers they pass by.
Nope. Not. Nada. That scene required a fix by way of some careful re-crafting. I'm happy to say the reworked/expanded StarDog scene even allowed me to create a nifty little tie-in to next-to-be-released companion book Courting Disaster. I love how that turned out.
In my June 18th blog, I'll share Blooper #2.
Until then, have a great week!