Friday, October 29, 2021

Meet Velvet, Melisse Aires's Pet in Space


Today I'm hosting fellow author Melisse Aires whose story Stranded on Grzbt is one of the eleven novellas in Pets in Space 6. Mimi and two other Earth women have been abducted by decidedly unpleasant aliens who take them to a space port at Grzbt where it becomes apparent they're going to be sold as slaves.

Here's what Melisse told me about Velvet and her role in the story.


In Stranded on Grzbt, my  heroine Mimi meets a tiny alien animal and befriends her. The Earth women captives are frightened, powerless, and grieving. Cuddly little Velvet becomes a tiny spot of comfort in a difficult situation. 

Their captors eventually land the ship and take the Earth women onto a busy space dock. That’s when Velvet shows she is more than a cute snuggle bug. Somehow, during important events, Velvet pops up. What is she capable of? I suspect Velvet and her fellow nanosnoots are smarter than anyone thinks.

Velvet is a hero. Mimi and her alien trader Kyre wouldn’t have gotten very far without her. 

Mouse sized, trunk nosed nanosnoots were originally lab created to help with invasive nanobot infections. They have computer knowledge and some kind of telepathic connections. Over the years, one crazy genius scientist or another has enhanced their abilities, and those talents have spread through the nanosnoot population. 

Even I, the author, am not sure about nanosnoots capabilities.  I look forward to finding out more about them. 


“Now I’m just worried about where they are taking us,” Acacia whispered. They came to an area of larger ships, cruise ship sized. Then something appeared above. Other aliens were looking up at it. Something poked through the gray sky.

“It’s not the sky, it’s a wall,” Mimi said. “A weird wall.”

The piece coming though the wall got larger and larger. Workers around them stopped to watch. The worms tried to get them to walk, but the path was full of observers.

“The wall seemed to be made of gel or something soft,” Acacia said. “Maybe this isn’t a planet after all. Maybe it’s a space station.”

The gray gel ceiling glommed around the bright white and gold of an enormous ship.

“The ceiling is like ooze, you know, that toy that feels like snot,” Chloe said.

The ship was probably twenty times larger than one of the cruise ships. It didn’t attempt to pull into a space along the walkway. Instead, it stayed up near the ceiling. A door opened on the side and a flat barge-type ship came out, covered with containers. A covered ship flew out of a different doorway. The barge parked in the docking area. Many workers and hauling machines moved to it and started handling the goods.

A crane-like machine nearby wobbled as it picked up a container.

Velvet, who was riding on Mimi’s bra, peeking out at the dock, jumped to her shoulder, climbing her hair. “Churr-churr-EET!”

The whistle was piercing.

“Watch out!” Mimi screamed, as the container began to swing like a pendulum. They all rushed back as far as the rope would let them. One of the worms tried to jerk them forward, rope taut, since they wouldn’t move. The four watched the swinging container.

The container broke free of the crane and landed with a boom that shook the ground. They all screamed and covered their faces with their arms. Debris flew everywhere. An alarm blared. Aliens and machines ran around, screeching and howling.

Mimi peeked over her forearm as she covered her face from the flying shards. The container fell right on top of the four worms. The end of the rope fell to the walkway. We’re free! Mimi grabbed the rope and pulled the others. “Come on!”


Here's the blurb for  Stranded on Grzbt.

Splat! The unlikely sound of freedom…

Mimi Stevens considers the out-of-control packing container that squishes the stinky spaceworm kidnappers a brilliant stroke of luck. She and her companions take advantage of the unfortunate event to escape into the maze of the busy space dock and plan a strategy on how to survive. With the help of a tiny elephant-mouse and her theater skills, she just might be able to make it.  

Kyre Valryssian, First Officer of the Red Haven, is shocked to hear Earth women singing in an ancient language from a planet that has not yet entered the space trade lanes. Concerned for their safety, he is determined to escort them to his clan’s ship—especially the woman with the short hair and big eyes.

Mimi doesn’t know if she and her friends can trust the handsome alien with flashing eyes or not, but she is running out of options. With the bad guys closing in, she’ll have to trust her gut—and her tiny pet—that Kyre wants to help them. Can Kyre convince Mimi that he has her and her companions best interests at heart, or will her distrust threaten them all?

Get your copy of Pets in Space 6 while you can. You'll find all the links to your favorite ebook stores at





Friday, October 22, 2021


It’s taken two years to finish King of Pain: Interstellar Rescue Series Book 5, the latest novel in my SFR series. And it all began with Trevyn Dar, the book’s alien hero.

Trevyn is Thrane, one of a race of telepaths feared throughout the galaxy for their history of bloody conquest and brutal use of their psy talents. Worse, he was once a Hunter, part of a family of hired killers that terrorized the galaxy.

We first met Trevyn in Trouble in Mind: Interstellar Rescue Series Book 2, where he was one of two alien brothers hunting the boy Jack, son of Ethan and Asia. We learned that Trevyn is Gabriel Cruz’s half-brother, not a true villain at all, really, but a victim of his older brother Kinnian’s abuse. Throughout that book, he tried to mitigate Kinnian’s violence in whatever way he could, and, in the end, [spoiler alert] he helped rescue the heroine, Lana, and together he and Gabriel killed Kinnian.

He made a reappearance in Not Fade Away: Interstellar Rescue Series Book 4, by which time he’d taken over the family starship, renamed it the Blood’s Honor, and signed on to work for the Interstellar Council for Abolition and Rescue. It hadn’t been easy, but he was trying to distance himself from the past imposed on him by his father, the Butcher of Four Systems, and his brother Kinnian.

Trevyn Dar, troubled hero of King of Pain

The problem is that Trevyn still carries a lot of weight from a childhood of abuse and ridicule, and tons of guilt from his years trying (and failing) to curb the worst of Kinnian’s bloodthirst. He’s ripe for a serious reckoning with his past, and the emotional healing that only love can bring. It means he must return to his home planet of Thrane, tangle with and defeat some heavy villains, and bond with the love of his life. That journey is at the heart of King of Pain.

From the time I first conceived of the brothers Trevyn and Kinnian for Trouble in Mind, I modeled Trevyn on Boromir’s younger brother Faramir from Tolkien’s LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy. When you meet Faramir outside the context of his family (and particularly his father, Denethor), it’s clear he’s a hero—loyal, brave, worthy. His men love him and follow him without question. But Denethor can see none of these qualities; he’s verbally abusive and dismissive, respecting only the older son Boromir. Boromir is kind to his younger brother, but he’s not around to protect him from the madness of their father. Such a lot there to inspire!

So, of course, I took all that inspiration and twisted it. What if Trevyn’s father wasn’t insane, just insanely cruel? And expected the same from his sons? Kinnian, the older son, is cut from the same cloth, learning his lessons in brutality eagerly. But Trevyn, from a young age, is more sensitive and suffers under first his father’s, then his brother’s, savagery. Like Faramir, however, he bears up under all that abuse and emerges from it stronger. He is, at his core, unbreakable.

My heroine, Lael, is immediately attracted to that strength and determination in Trevyn. He never gives up, no matter what his enemies or the icy, mountainous planet of Thrane throw at him, and long before the mating bond begins to form, Lael admires and respects this Thrane from the once-hated House of Dar.

King of Pain: Interstellar Rescue Series Book 5 is in revisions now and the cover is being designed. I hope to publish in December. Take a look at the blurb:

One planet, two worlds. And only Fate could unite them.

Trevyn Dar was once a Hunter of Thrane, feared throughout the galaxy as son of the Butcher of Four Systems and brother of a commander of the murderous Blood Legion. But he clawed his way free of that bloody legacy to find his true path, as captain of a ship serving the anti-slavery goals of the Interstellar Council of Abolition and Rescue.

Lael Saphora is Hinarr, shapeshifter, sharing her skin with a snow cat Companion, but, like all her people, hated, hunted, and oppressed because she lacks the telepathic skills of the genetic Thranes of her home planet. Since she witnessed the brutal death of her father as a child, Lael has been fighting for her people. She leads the Uprising, a movement dedicated to overthrowing the iron grip of the Thrane Ruling Houses.

When Trevyn receives unusual orders from Rescue to seize a ship smuggling weapons for slavers, he discovers the darkly compelling Lael at the helm—no slaver, but a political prisoner, whose extradition to Thrane means torture and certain execution. His journey to uncover what’s behind her false arrest takes him back to a home planet he had hoped to never see again, reveals an ugly conspiracy at the center of an organization he had made his new home, and rips open old wounds. But Trevyn and Lael share a common past, and, ultimately, only love can heal two hearts broken by an ancient pain.

Cheers, Donna




Friday, October 15, 2021

All Change


Autumn always feel to me as the biggest change of season. The nights get longer so much quicker than they seemed to shorten. The trees shed their leaves, and this year my chooks lost their old feathers at a more sensible temperature, making the run floor look like a pillow fight apocalypse. 

But this year more so. Because today I handed in my notice and will be moving to work at a new school closer to home. It'll shorten my daily commute at a time of year when I'm having to leave before it's fully light, and would soon be coming back in the dark too. It gives me a slightly better work-life balance.

Will this finally mean I get back to writing, or the horribly long overdue edits on Keir's Shadow? I'd like to say yes. But the stresses of the past few weeks have left me exhausted, busy weekends have left me little free time, and I have a cosplay commission to work on. I can only hope a less stressful work situation and the coming winter will finally give me time to commit to my long neglected muse.

NorCon 2021

One sign of normality for us this year was the return to conventions, namely our most local con. I donned my old Han Solo costume for the first day only as making costumes just didn't happen this year. The con had a small but quite exciting guest list.

And of course, exciting swag, including a nifty Death Star handbag. I may have committed myself to making someone a Starlord cosplay...

And we stayed near an interesting feature that looked rather suspicious...

No more photos from the con as we were more interested in the guest talks and photoshoots this year, but next year I really AM going to do my extra special cosplay. No really...