Search Results for: newsletter

Pauline Baird Jones: Houston, I Need a Pet, and Pets in Space

Pets In Space 600x900I am thrilled to be one of nine authors in the anthology, Pets in Space, combining two of my big loves, space and pets. A portion of proceeds are being donated to who raise and train service dogs for US veterans.

I am delighted that each author in Pets in Space has agreed to share with us an insight into their story in the anthology and a little bit about why they decided to write for the anthology. Today’s guest is Pauline Baird Jones:

I am a little embarrassed to admit that I, who have a story in an anthology called Pets in Space, am not currently “owned” by a pet (unless you count our wild bunnies and the deer that pause long enough to leave brown deposits on our lawn while on their way to eat my sister’s flowers.)

We used to be owned by two cats. Felix (named after a hurricane) came to our family via some friends and The Look from Our Son. You know that Look, the one that says, “My life will be over and possibly the world will end if you don’t give me what I want right now.”

Houston Need Pet

I might have still resisted, but the Look packs more than a message about saving the world. It has the power to alter your brain chemistry, so that when your brain starts working again, you are owned by said cat and scooping stinky clumps out of a box (I have a vague memory of the Son swearing he’d scoop forever and ever and I’d never have to do a thing…)

Our second cat was the brother of Felix and you know we had to call him Oscar. I wouldn’t recommend ever doing that again. Because they turned out just like Felix and Oscar of The Odd Couple. Seriously. When Oscar did his business in the box, Felix would go in and clean up after him.

Sadly, Oscar had some birth defects and wasn’t with us long. I thought that having shared ownership of us would make Felix more flexible when Allie came to stay with us for a few years (we were cat sitting for Our Daughter) but, no, they fought like, well, cats.

Felix passed away a few years ago and Allie followed him into the afterlife last year. I have this image in my head of Felix giving her that same look he gave her when she showed up at our house the first time. And I expect they are now chasing each other all over in the afterlife.

Because we are currently in “travel to and fro upon the land” mode, we have not allowed ourselves to be adopted by a pet. (We manage this by not making eye contact with any cat, particularly any cute kittens—who will live longer than I will at this point.)

But, the pet need simmers on. When I see cute pet pics on Facebook, yeah, I feel the tug (can pets guilt you from the afterlife?).

While waiting for someone to invent the virtual pet (all the companionship with none of the scooping), I’m settling for fictional pets.

Though I have to say, during the writing of “The Real Dragon,” Peddrenth the bearded dragon became so real to me that I miss having him hanging around now that the story is finished. (However, I’m not sorry I’m not buying bugs for him…)

Have you ever bonded with a fictional pet? Do you love stories featuring animals?

If you like stories of romance, action, adventure and PETS, I hope you’ll check out Pets in Space. Not only will you get EIGHT original, never-before-published stories, and ONE expanded story, 10% of the first month’s proceeds will be donated to, an organization dedicated to training dogs to help Veterans suffering from PTSD and other battle injuries.

I swallowed to wet my dry throat and asked, “Is he, you know, humanoid?”

“Mazan? Of course.”

What was “of course” about it? This alien had accidentally collected the dragon, not the human.

“Does he look like…I mean, is he purple or something?” I had a feeling if Peddrenth could have rolled his eyes, he would have.

“You…” he stopped, as if reconsidering what he’d meant to say.

“You all look similar to me.” From “The Real Dragon,” Pets in Space

About Pauline Baird Jones
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:///

Pauline Baird Jones








Click here for your copy of Pets in Space

What Does Cara Bristol, Woman’s Best Friend is a Robot Dog, and Pets in Space, Have in Common?

Pets In Space 600x900I am thrilled to be one of nine authors in the anthology, Pets in Space, combining two of my big loves, space and pets. A portion of proceeds are being donated to who raise and train service dogs for US veterans.

I am delighted that each author in Pets in Space has agreed to share with us an insight into their story in the anthology and a little bit about why they decided to write for the anthology. Today’s guest is Cara Bristol:

Maltese puppy, 6 months old, sitting in front of white backgroun

My pet in Spark of Attraction is a robotic dog named Sparky. I’d call him an android, except “andro” specifically refers to a man, so by definition an android is a robot with a human appearance. So maybe Sparky the canine is a “candroid.” Lol.

In any case, he looks and acts like a real dog. So real, that when hero Dante first encounters him, he mistakes him for a real animal, which is not allowed on a military spaceship, and so immediate friction results between him and the heroine. Then Sparky bites the captain with his electrically charged teeth, and that doesn’t go over well either.

Sparky is a K9-500 model, a prototype invented by the heroine’s deceased father, and is all Miranda has left to remember him by. The K9-500 is programmed to protect her no matter what. The protection sequence cannot be halted, not even by Miranda herself.
If you were going to create a robotic dog, what traits would you want it to have?

Spark of Attraction blurb

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.

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?

Cara Bristol’s website:
Cara Bristol’s newsletter:
Cara Bristol on Facebook:
Cara Bristol’s Amazon Author Page:

Interview with Autumn Dawn

Author Spotlight – Autumn Dawn

Autumn Dawn

I have been a long time Autumn Dawn fan (okay, major fan-girl moment) so I am thrilled that Autumn said yes to being in my newsletter. Thank you so much, Autumn!

Autumn Dawn writes futuristic,. With over twenty books and six series, she continues to thrill fans with her werewolves, dragons, elementals, gargoyles and trolls with a thing for Poe.

She spent most of her life in Alaska, including several winters in a cabin in the woods, where she became intimately acquainted with outhouses, generators and woodstoves. Her years of snow machines, boating and mosquitos convinced her to move her family to Washington, where she basks in the “tropical” winters.

  1. Tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been writing? What genre do you write?I’ve been making up stories since I was a kid. My first novel was written on lined notepaper when I was a teen. I got pubbed with a small press at 27, was picked up by Dorchester in NY in my thirties and now I self-pub. I’m happy to say that I make a living at it, but that’s not common.
  2. What inspired you to write your first book?5th grade creative writing class; I was a natural. I love books, enjoy writing, and I have all these stories in my head. I love sharing my stories, letting readers peek into amazing worlds.
  3. Where do you get your inspiration from?A better question is, how do I turn it off? It’s hardwired. The only time the stories stop is when I’m extremely sick or stressed. Otherwise, driving is a hazard, because I have to concentrate to see the road. Stories are playing before my eyes, distracting me.
  4. Where/When do you do the most of your writing?At home, at my desk. Plotting happens anywhere, but often during my midday nap or as I’m falling asleep. It gives my busy brain something to do before my body shuts down for the day.
  5. What do you think has been your biggest accomplishment?Honesty, being a wife and mother. I have the best kids, and that’s thanks to hard work (diligent parenting) and my awesome husband. Whatever I achieve in the book business is merely business, even if I win the highest accolades and loudest applause. A family legacy is forever, and I’ll see it in my kids and grandkids.My eldest son is 18 and high functioning autistic. There were times he shut down in school and I had to home school. It cost me money and momentum in my career, but I don’t regret it. Now my daughter, 17, is home schooled b/c public school finally overwhelmed her (super ADHD). She’d getting great grades and loving WA’s online school.I have a younger son, 15. He’s very smart and VERY strong willed and wants nothing to do with home school (thank you, Jesus!), but if he needed it, I’d make it happen. He just bought and fixed up his first car with his dad and is excited to get a job. That’s what he needed.
  6. What series/book did you write that has the biggest following.The Dark Lands. Ugh! I still get lots of requests for more in that series, but I’m a strict 3-4 books in a series and move on kind of girl. I love that people love it, but I can’t tie myself to doing the same thing all the time. There are so many books, so many worlds. If I wrote for the rest of my life, I’d never get them all down.That said, Bramble Burn is getting a lot of attention. I’m working on book 2, Breaker’s Ruin, right now.Bramble Burn
  7. Who has influenced your writing the most?I read a lot. I think it would be easier to say the romance genre, followed by fantasy and sci-fi. I enjoy a good urban fantasy with humour when I can find one.Example of things I might read in a day include Fox news, Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, cookbooks (read them like novels), random science articles, the Bible, romance novels, some graphic novels, books on herbal medicine or health (fascinated by the human biome), computer how-to, how to books in general, gardening, political stuff, art and the rare biography.I’m not a fan of horror (too vivid of an imagination/soft hearted), tear jerkers or books were everybody dies. I won’t watch the Titanic ever again, and I don’t like dramas (too sad). Although I’ve read many of the classics, high school reading lists suck the joy out of life. I did enjoy Mark Twain, however. At least he had a sense of humour.
  8. Do you have a favourite author?It’s like Doritos; no one can have just one. A few favs include Illona Andrews, Christopher Paolini, Stephanie Meyer, Larry Correia (Monster Hunters International), Pat Briggs, Iron Druid…
  9. Is there anything that you find particularly challenging in your writing?Interruptions. Getting sick, having teens or husbands randomly walk into the room and ask me questions, long visits from loving relatives… Formatting a cookbook sucked. Amazing what a time sink technical stuff can be.
  10. Are the experiences of your characters based on any of your own or people that you know?While there are elements of personal experiences, I don’t know anyone who has encountered a shapeshifting troll or tree mage lately. The glory of writing is that I can take someone to a completely alien world to take their mind off their sick dog, broken leg, visiting in-laws, etc.It helps that I can take my frustrations out by killing a few Jabberwockies while I’m at it. Fictional violence is completely legal and very refreshing.
  11. Do you have any advice for other authors?Nobody says, “I’m going to put my pants on and walk to the mailbox today.” They just get up and do it. Don’t say you’re going to write a book someday. Just do it!
  12. Is there a particular niche or direction you would like to expand your writing portfolio into?Nope. I’m where I want to be.
  13. Describe your latest WIPIt had been thirty years since the Convergence, when the dimensions aligned and combined Earth and the world of Gwyllon, known in human mythology as “Underhill”. Elven castles and ancient ruins sprouted in vacant lots, on major highways, sometimes merging with existing buildings, twisting into completely new structures. Roads and rail systems reformed, and after the rioting, starvation and death, agriculture finally sorted itself and food began to flow. A new government formed of elves and men had arisen, a society of human tech and elven magic. Cell phones and frost giants, race cars and elven steeds, dungeons and dragons…And everywhere, monsters.Dixie Jones has monster mojo. For three days, monsters love her and then they try to kill her. Dragon shifter Shozan won’t leave Dixie alone, but is it love at first sight, or is he the monster that will finally be her doom?

Buy here:

How can readers reach you?

Interview with Carol Van Natta

Author Spotlight – Carol Van Natta

Carol Van Natta

I am thrilled this month to shine my author spotlight on Carol Van Natta. Carol is a real sweetheart and I love her. I hope you enjoy discovering more about Carol.

  1. Tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been writing? What genre do you write?
    I’m an independent science fiction author and playwright. My muse’s home base is science fiction, but has vacation timeshare condos in romance, action-adventure, mystery, paranormal, and fantasy. Like most authors, I’ve been writing since I was old enough to put pen to paper and not scribble refrigerator art. I’m an independent author because my current Central Galactic Concordance series is science fiction romance (SFR), and that genre, while growing, is too small for traditional publishers. I’m also a playwright and screenwriter, mostly of comedic pieces, and have had several short plays produced.
  2. What inspired you to write your first book?
    When I was in high school, my friends and I wrote fan fiction for Star Trek. It was really dreadful, but we had fun, and the experience firmly fixed the writing bug in my brain. Fast forward a dozen years, and I co-authored a retro science fiction comedy called Hooray for Holopticon because we had a nifty idea and a free summer to write it. My first solo book, Overload Flux, came about from a Big Damn Story Arc that took over my brain one summer and wouldn’t let go. The resident Mad Scientist, my significant other, was convinced my computer had enslaved me, but he was kind enough to feed me regularly anyway. I wrote the story arc and the universe to go with it. If I’m calculating correctly, it’ll need 9 books to complete, which should keep me off the streets and out of the karaoke bars for a few years.Overload Flux
  3. Where do you get your inspiration from?
    Everywhere. I’m a big fan of science, so I read a lot of science articles. A comparative mythology article I read spawned an idea for an urban fantasy series, and a TV special on the Pacific Northwest rainforest in the U.S. and Canada spawned an idea for a fantasy romance series. I saw a gorgeous digital painting of an artist’s re-imagining the battle of Fort Sumpter (which started the American Civil War) in the steampunk style, which gave me the idea for a steampunk trilogy set in what the U.S. would be like 25 years after that. Little things inspire me, too, from the power source for interstellar spaceships to how you buy clothes in the 34th Century.
  4. Where/When do you do the most of your writing?
    On an ideal day, I’d get up really early (I’m a morning person) and write, then check in with friends on Facebook, take care of business, such as writing blurbs (a task I hate), or working with a cover artist (a task I love), then write some more. I don’t get very many ideal days, though, because I have a full-time job and life happens. I end up writing whenever and wherever I can—coffee shops, dentist’s waiting room, my car, hotel rooms, etc.
  5. What do you think has been your biggest accomplishment?
    Creating what I hope is a repeatable process for writing more books. It sounds prosaic, I know, but I really want to share the Big Damn Story Arc with readers, and to do that, I need to write a lot of books.
  6. What series/book did you write that has the biggest following.
    Readers who like action and adventure like my first book, Overload Flux, and demanded to know more, so I wrote a sequel novella, Zero Flux. Readers who like mysteries and character-driven SF respond to my second book, Minder Rising. The first book won a 2015 SFR Galaxy Award, which was a delightful surprise.
  7. Who has influenced your writing the most?
    I’m undoubtedly the product of a dozen influences, but I’ll name two. Lindsay Buroker’s Emperor’s Edge fantasy series showed me how to handle a recurring cast of characters and make them fun and interesting, while tracking a bigger plot. Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series showed me the power of romance in giving added emotional weight to an overarching plot. Both series deal with major societal change, which is what my aforementioned Big Damn Story Arc is all about.
  8. Do you have a favorite author?
    I’m fickle, I’m afraid. I have dozens of favorite authors, and because I read fast, it varies from week to week. I’ve already mentioned Buroker and Singh, so I’ll also mention S.E. Smith’s Cosmos’ Gateway series, and not because she’s having me over for virtual tea and crumpets. I’m a sucker for feisty, competent women, geeky beta males, and balanced relationships.
  9. Is there anything that you find particularly challenging in your writing?
    Not getting distracted by outside… look, a new cat video!
  10. Are the experiences of your characters based on any of your own or people that you know?
    Yes, of course. I tell my friends they’re all in my books, but they have to guess where. 😉 Honestly, I steal, uh, become inspired by bits and pieces everywhere to develop my characters, from the restaurant server with that amazingly annoying voice to the brilliant analyst I work with who can’t figure out make a pot of coffee. I love languages, so my series has a lot of multicultural characters and references.
  11. Do you have any advice for other authors?
    Write. You can’t edit what you don’t write; you can’t sell what you don’t write. Will all of it be useful, marketable, or even readable? No, but how can you get better if you don’t practice? Free bonus advice: Do your homework, and treat writing as a business. You’ll be a lot happier if you do.
  12. Is there a particular niche or direction you would like to expand your writing portfolio into?
    After I have a few more books in my current series, I’d like to start a new one, so I can be working on two series at the same time. Which of my various idea seeds will sprout when the time comes is anyone’s guess.
  13. Describe your latest WIP.
    I’m currently working on the third book in the Central Galactic Concordance series. Pico’s Crush has new lead characters and cameos by characters in the first two books, plus urban assaults by mercenaries and jack crews, a hunt for a killer, and lots of explosions. It both finishes a mini-plot arc begun in books 1 and 2, and launches the events in upcoming book 4.
  14. How can readers reach you?
    I usually check in on Facebook a couple of times a day, and I love hearing from readers there or from my website or email. People who sign up for my newsletter ( get exclusive advance notice of new releases and sales.

Carol’s social media links:
Website & blog:

Carol’s Bio:
Carol Van Natta is an independent author of science fiction, including Overload Flux, Minder Rising, and Zero Flux in the Central Galactic Concordance series, and Hooray for Holopticon, a retro science fiction comedy. She has been a swing-shift guard, secretary, actor, voiceover talent, singing telegram performer, non-profit director, business continuity specialist, and of course, an author. She still does some of those things so she can eat regularly and sleep indoors. She shares her Fort Collins, Colorado, home with a sometime mad scientist and various cats. Any violations of the laws of physics in her books are the fault of the cats, not the mad scientist.

Interview with Catherine Cade – Romance Author

Author Spotlight – Catherine Cade

Catherine Cade

  1. Tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been writing? What genre do you write?

    First, thanks so much to S.E. Smith, fabulous sci fi romance author for inviting me to guest here! Love SE’s stories, so I’m thrilled to meet her readers for a day.I’m Cathryn Cade. I grew up in Montana in the cowboy culture, taught school there, married and raised two wonderful sons. Now my husband and I live in the lake country of North Idaho, with a boat, bicycles and a love for brewpubs. When I’m not reading or writing, I’m usually quilting with colors as wild as my characters.I’ve been writing since I was old enough to hold a pencil! As a teen, I read my first romance and that was it — I became a romance reader & writer. I wrote scenes and snippets for years. In 2007 my husband, the boys and I moved to Portland OR, where I discovered Romance Writers of America. Then I learned how to construct a romance that other people would actually want to read, and how to get it before a publisher.
  2. What inspired you to write your first book?
    In 2007, Samhain Publishing put out a call for shifter novellas. I sat down and over spring break from teaching I wrote Tyger, Tyger, Burning Bryght, a 30K erotic sci fi romance. The book debuted in 2008 at #1 on Samhain and the #7 best-seller on Amazon. What a thrill that was!
  3. Where do you get your inspiration from?My space opera is just a short leap from the ‘horse opera’ westerns I loved as a child. My space captains are alpha heroes with lasers instead of six guns, my heroines wear fitted flight suits instead of petticoats and the Native Americans are planetary natives struggling to get Earthlings to behave when they show up uninvited on planet. I adore gadgets, so lasers, power shields and space ships are favorite aspects of my sci fi universe. I also love messing about with sexual mores and powers on the different planets—that’s just fun! Fiercely sexy alpha shifters, coolly arrogant empath-intuits, exotically beautiful desert-dwelling reptiloids … they all dwell in the Cade-iverse!
  4. What series/book did you write that has the biggest following.My current sexy, futuristic LodeStar Series has been very popular. Logan Stark, space billionaire and his two younger brothers Joran and Creed fight to hold their own against villainous space pirates, and win true love on a futuristic Earth II and beyond. These guys are alphas who are willing to get as down & dirty as it takes to show their feisty heroines where they belong—at their hero’s side and in his arms. The major romance arc of the series has wrapped up for Logan Stark, but I’m now giving some fave secondary characters their own stories, so watch for more LodeStar goodness.
  5. Is there anything that you find particularly challenging in your writing?

    Can someone please, please clone me so I will have time to write all the series, characters and stories in my brain?? Recently a funny meme appeared on Facebook, that inside the mind of a writer are 25,000 screen tabs open all the time that cannot be closed. This is so true! I write sci fi, contemporary, contemporary paranormal and have too many ideas to count in all of these genres.
  6. Describe your latest WIP

    Cyborg Pleasure; the Space Madam’s Warrior, Book 6 in The LodeStar Series debuts in February 2016. Having a blast writing this one!
    She lost everything …Ilya Mondas once lived her dream — life with a band of space gypsies wandering the wild plains of Frontiera, the freedom to use her tech savvy to wreak mayhem on pirates and slavers, and her big, soft-spoken warrior Var, who adored her. Then she lost him, and the life she loved.She’ll do anything to get it all back …Now on her own, she must take over The Pleasure Palace, a ragtag space-station casino, home to hookers, gamblers and rogues. But one or all of them want her dead, and they have the monsters to do it — human-cyborg gladiators, created for the illegal fight ring hidden deep in the center of her new home. Where the biggest, baddest cyborg of all looks eerily like her dead husband.But can she trust him again?
  7. How can readers reach you?I’m easy to reach & love to chat with readers. I spend a lot of time on Facebook, and I have an email link on my website, where you can also find all the books, along with reviews, exclusive excerpts and more. To keep up with new releases & maybe win books and bling, sign up for my newsletter!