It’s always such a pleasure to visit your blog and explain the influences that contributed to how I wrote a newly released book or story! In fact, this process is so much fun I sometimes find myself thinking while writing a book, “Oh, I’ll have to tell Pauline about this.”
I’ve always wanted to write a rock star romance because I LOVE the genre but if I sit down to write anything, it inevitably becomes science fiction. So when you and I decided to do Pets In Space 2, I thought, here’s my chance to involve a rock star. Among my favorites are Nalini Singh’s Rock Kiss series, J T Geissinger, Liora Blake…plus movies such as “The Bodyguard” and “Beyond the Lights”. I had also recently read that there are cruises nowadays where bands are featured and do concerts and fan events during the cruise. So that part of the story worked fine if I set this Pets In Space story on board my interstellar luxury cruise liner, the Nebula Dream.
The next question was who would the hero be? I love to write Sectors Special Forces heroes, or recently retired service members from that branch, so I decided Grant would fall into that category and be a security officer on the ship. In that job assignment, it was logical that he’d cross paths with a high profile passenger like a rock star.
As far as a pet, I didn’t want to write another cat or catlike animal. I decided to go with a bird, and then, of course, a number of our other PISA2 authors independently did as well this year, which was ironic. I was inspired by an actual parrot I met a long time ago, which had lived through the 1906 San Francisco earthquake (as a young bird) and had been passed down through two generations of family members to the present time. But a parrot didn’t feel right for the story I wanted to tell. One of my favorite Andre Norton science fiction books was The Beastmaster, with a military hero who had a team of telepathic animals, one of which was an African eagle. I thought what if I made my hero a Special Forces officer who’d inherited a special telepathic warbird on his own planet?
Then the analogy of a certain scene for my novella involving songbirds came to mind (no spoilers here) and I had my two pets and my title.
I’ve been asked if the Diva Plavalaguna in the movie “Fifth Element” was an influence and I have to say while I love that movie, my singer Karissa was not really inspired by the Diva. Although they both sing on a fantastic cruise ship! My character is more rooted in our modern day culture on Earth, with a variety of strong female singers from Adele to Katy Perry to Rhianna to Taylor Swift and Kelly Pickler to name only a few. I also watched a lot of backstage documentaries, including ones on boy bands and country music group tours, to get the feel for some of the scenes I had in mind.
And then, of course, I weave in the scifi elements I have to have.
When Karissa emerged from the room where she’d been getting ready, Grant was astounded. She looked as if she’d stepped straight from a trideo, her sexy costume elaborate and glittering in the lights, her multicolored hair caught up in coils by all manner of elaborate, bejeweled accessories. Even he could tell her shoes were works of art, with heels designed to resemble stacked planets, standing six inches high. She smiled, obviously enjoying his reaction. “Well?”
Pirouetting on those absurd heels, she laughed and held out her hand. “Escort me,” she said like a queen.
He did so, surrounded by her team, including the backup singers and the six dancers, all of whom joined Karissa when she reached the backstage area. Gently she let go of Grant’s arm and stepped away, gathering her team around her for a pep talk. He stayed alert, watching everyone else in the area, ready to challenge anyone acting suspicious.
The show was already going on at full volume. Karissa’s was the final set of the evening and when she ran onstage, her dancers bouncing and doing acrobatics around her, the roar was astounding. Grant stood in the wings, as close to the stage as he could, and watched the performance. Karissa strutted, she danced, she teased, she brought a child on stage for a brief chat, she sang full throated. The crowd loved it all. He had a hard time keeping his eye on the audience, watching for problems, because she was so riveting.
“First time at a show?” asked an older woman standing next to him. “This is nothing compared to what she’ll do at the big concert on Calillia next week. There’ll be multiple costume changes and aerial components. And maybe some new songs, although she’s been quiet about that. She doesn’t want Ted getting the rights to any more of her stuff if she can help it. Things are really sour between them now.” She laughed self-consciously and held out her hand. “I’m Desdusan, by the way, her chief makeup artist. Chief busybody too. I try to look out for her as much as I can. Been with Karissa for nine years, ever since she hit the bigtime with ‘Twisted Comets’. She’ll probably sing that for the encore.”
“I hate to admit it but I’ve never heard her music before—it’s all new to me,” he said as they shook.
The woman did a double take. “Really? You’re probably the only person in the Sectors who hasn’t heard at least one Karissa song.”
“I have now,” he pointed out, annoyed to feel so defensive.
Blurb for Star Cruise: Songbird:
Grant Barton, a Security Officer on the Nebula Zephyr, is less than thrilled with his current assignment to guard an Interstellar singing sensation while she’s on board the ship. It doesn’t help that he and his military war bird Valkyr are dealing with their recent separation from the Sectors Special Forces and uncertainty over their future, with their own planet in ruins.
Karissa Dawnstar is on top of the charts and seemingly has it all – talent, fame, fortune and devoted fans, but behind her brave smile and upbeat lyrics she hides an aching heart. When a publicity stunt goes wrong, Karissa finds herself in the arms of the security officer assigned to protect her – and discovers a mutual attraction she can’t ignore.
Trouble continues to plague the pair, driving a wedge between them and leaving Grant certain that Karissa is in more danger than she realizes, from overzealous fans and her own management. Grant is determined to protect Karissa whether she wants his help or not. Can he discover the truth behind what’s going on before he loses Karissa or is there someone else plotting to keep them apart – permanently?
Blurb for Embrace the Romance: Pets In Space 2:
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.
Best Selling Science Fiction, Fantasy & Paranormal Romance author, as well as the “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 recently was honored to read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”
I’d like to thank Veronica for making MY blog a stop when she releases something new! Huge fan of her books! And so excited we’re partners in our Pets in Space! So blog visitors, have you grabbed your copy of Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2? We hope so much that you have, because, until Nov 11, 10% of our proceeds will go to help Hero Dogs!
I love comments so much that I pick a favorite to receive a $25 gift card from my Zazzle store. The recipient is announced in the first blog post of the new month.