Thanks for having me as your guest yet again! I always love stopping by to talk scifi romance.
The 5th annual SFR Galaxy Awards were recently announced – hours of wonderful scifi romance reading highlighted there – and I was honored to have two of my novels, as well as the Pets In Space anthology honored with an Award. I always love to read the explanations the judges provide as to why they picked a book as memorable enough for them to decide to bestow the award. Some of the background thoughts are mini essays and others are a few sentences but always worth perusing. Lots of tongue in cheek SFR humor in the write-ups and this year was no exception.
By all means hop over the SFR Galaxy Award site at http://sfrgalaxyawards.blogspot.com/ and check out all the winning books (and one webcomic).
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For Star Cruise Outbreak, which received the Award nod from two judges, one of the essays said, in part: “…This star cruise line is run by a whole lot of ex-military, and it’s a damn good thing, because this crew runs into the sort of trouble that would leave the usual cast of a Love Boat drifting in space in a dead hulk…Star Cruise: Outbreak
The first patient is a princess? That sure sets the tone for the trip. Emily swung around and walked toward the group, unsure who the patient was. Gripping her bag tightly, she hoped someone spoke Basic. Or any language she’d been hypnotrained in.
Only one person was seated—a young girl, long black hair elaborately dressed in braids and curls anchored with jeweled pins. Her pearlescent, ruffled robes shimmered in the lights. She resembled a doll, a miniature version of a queen, lacking only the crown. Emily guessed she was perhaps ten standard years, if she had a Terran heritage. Surrounding the child were three much older women and two massive bodyguards. No one in the party looked ill or in distress. One of the men took a protective stance in front of the girl as Emily approached.
She paid no attention to him but kept walking. The guard moved aside at the last second. Addressing the oldest woman standing directly behind the girl’s chair and seemingly in charge of this odd party, Emily introduced herself. “I’m Dr. Shane. Is the child unwell?”
“The Hereditary Princess Falyn of Tregallovan is quite well, thank you,” answered the woman, frowning as the little girl sneezed with perfect timing.
“Then what brings you to sickbay today? How may I be of assistance?”
“It’s my pet, Doctor, she’s sick.” Brown eyes glinting with unshed tears, the girl left her chair and glided around the bodyguard with steps so smooth she might have been on an antigrav cushion. She pulled a small creature of indeterminate origin from one heavily embroidered, bell-shaped sleeve and cuddled the animal close to her chest. “You must make her well for me.”
“I’m not a veterinarian,” Emily protested. Surprised, she turned to Jake. “You allow animals on board?”
He came to join her, also ignoring the bodyguards. “Good afternoon, Lady Scorsshyn.” He nodded to the old woman before answering Emily’s question. “Sometimes our guests bring their pets along with them, yes. As long as the ICC regulations about inoculations are observed, no worries.” He got down on one knee to address the child. Emily couldn’t decide if he was trying to be nice about not towering over Falyn, or showing deference to her rank. “What seems to be the problem, Your Highness?” Running one hand lightly over the animal’s fur, he said, “Your pet is soft.”
“She sneezes and won’t play or eat or anything.”
“Sounds like a virus. What do you think, Doc? Or maybe an allergy?” Jake gave Emily a meaningful glance. Lowering his voice as he rose, he spoke close to her ear. “You’re going to have to treat the little fluff, veterinarian or not.”
“Well of course. I’m not going to allow any creature to suffer if I can prevent it.” Emily was over her surprise now. At least this trip wasn’t going to be boring. “Bring the animal into the examination room where I can attempt to check the vital signs, see what, if anything, is wrong.”
Scorsshyn opened her mouth, but before she could object to a mere ship’s doctor ordering a princess around, Falyn obediently carried her pet into the smaller chamber. Her five companions had no choice but to follow.
“As her regent, I shall of course be close at hand in the examining room,” said the elderly lady, pushing past the others. Without making a protest, Jake, the two ladies and the guards clustered around the open portal. The ship’s AI smoothly extruded a waist-high table from the wall, and Falyn set her unusual pet on the gleaming surface.
Looking closely at the furry green creature as it shivered on the table, Emily counted six impressively clawed feet, a bushy tail stubbornly curled around the animal’s body, and two golden eyes glaring at her. The pet’s glossy fur, alert attitude and clear eyes projected a reassuring impression of good health so far. “Do we know what kind of animal this is?”
“The Hereditary Princess acquired the creature on the planet three days ago, from a street vendor who gained entry to the hotel lobby,” said the nearest bodyguard.
“Great,” Emily muttered. “How about those up-to-date inoculations now?”
Best Selling Science Fiction & Paranormal Romance author and “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happily 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 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.”