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Why Veronica Scott Wrote The Fated Stars

This is always an essential part of Veronica's release strategy! Yay!

 

cover artThanks for having me as a repeat guest!  It’s always an essential part of my new release ritual to come to your lovely blog and talk about why I wrote the book!

When you and I co-organized the Pets In Space 1 anthology in 2016, I had the inspiration for a story with an alien empathic priestess as the heroine and to have her be a captive of the interstellar crime syndicate in my Sectors, which is the futuristic civilization in my scifi romances. I enjoyed writing that story, Star Cruise Stowaway, so much, that I realized I wasn’t done with the concepts and I went on to write two more, full length novels with different heroines and their struggles to escape the evil crime overlords. (Danger in the Stars and Two Against the Stars). And of course the brave human heroes who help them. I loved the challenge of putting each empath in a different predicament.

So when it was time to write the fourth book, I wanted a really unique situation. I started pondering what would have happened to a male empathic priest from their planet of Tulavarra if he’d been kidnapped and forced into working for the crime bosses. My daughters have been challenging me to write a female soldier for several years now and I thought this book was my golden opportunity to write a really kick ass woman mercenary.

Cover artist Fiona Jayde created an alien carnival for me, although you have to look closely to see it on the cover, but I thought that was a fun touch…when I was little we used to go to the county fair and the volunteer firemen’s field days and I especially loved the merry go round. I pulled on those memories a bit when writing about the place where Samell is held prisoner. Of course I never met any aliens – to my knowledge! – at any of the rural fairs I attended as a kid (we did bring home a live duck named Cleveland once but that’s another story), but it was a fun concept to translate to the far future and the rim worlds of civilized space. Very different than anything I’d ever written before.

I don’t know if I’ll feel the call to write another empath novel but never say never.

Here’s the plot: 

Larissa Channer, a tough no-nonsense mercenary in the Sectors, is celebrating success on her last job and a big bonus, with no slightest thought of taking on another assignment anytime soon. Out for a night of carousing with her friends at a third rate carnival on a backwater planet, she walks into the tent of a fake fortune teller and finds herself confronting the most intriguing man she’s ever seen. But something’s wrong, ominous currents lie beneath the surface of their encounter and Larissa can’t leave well enough alone.

Samell, a powerful, high born empathic priest, has been kidnapped from his own primitive planet along with a number of his people, and sold to the shady operator of an interstellar carnival. Kept enslaved, pretending to be a fortune teller while forced by his captor to steal information from the minds of all who come before him, Samell despairs of ever breaking free.

Until Larissa walks into his tent and he recognizes the warrior who might mean the difference between life and death.

The situation becomes dire when Larissa and Samell come to the attention of the Shemdylann pirates who kidnapped him in the first place and the deadly Mawreg, aliens who threaten the Sectors. Can she save herself and the empathic alien noble, and derail the Mawreg plot against the Sectors? And will the soldier end up with her prince when all’s said and done?

The excerpt – Larissa is unsettled by her encounter with the fortune teller at the carnival the night before and the telepathic message she believes she had from him – a plea for help.

Larissa checked her vidscreens as she ate lunch. The day outside was gloomy and overcast. All the more reason to blast off from this rock and be on her way. She lingered over her meal and then slammed her hand on the table, realizing with annoyance she was thinking about the seer again. His eyes had been so distinctive, captivating with the way the golden glints came and went in the emerald depths. She’d wanted a connection with him, maybe for reassurance he wasn’t actually in trouble. Well, with his voice in her head, she’d gotten the one-on-one link all right, but instead of easing her mind, his message had deepened her misgivings and triggered her instinct to help.  “It can’t hurt to take one more quick recon of the situation,” she said to herself. “Report anything fishy to the authorities and then be on my way before I owe this crummy little spaceport another day of docking fees.”

Maybe she’d give herself a few days on Sirena Two, to relax and sunbathe, before moving on to the business of getting ship upgrades. She programmed the course to the resort planet into the ship and put the astronav unit into standby status. “Just as soon as I get back from this crazy side trip to the fortune teller, we’ll be on our way,” she said to the uncaring AI.

Strapping on her blaster, Larissa left the ship and walked into town. One advantage of these small colony settlements was the proximity of everything. The place was pretty deserted today, as it was a local work day. When she reached the carnival, the attraction was open but had hardly any customers, mostly teenagers cutting school or work, and a few parents with young children, gawking at the animals or enjoying the kiddie rides.

How can this carnival make enough credits to stay in business? To fly around the Sectors?  She made a point of lingering over a game of chance, winning a small toy she handed off to a nearby kid, getting a shy smile and a whispered word of thanks. Now she was observing closely in the harsh daylight, she saw even more clearly how rundown and shoddy the setup was.

There had to be a hidden purpose to this carnival’s existence. Smuggling maybe. Or drugs. Neither was her problem unless a client paid her to investigate, so she continued her leisurely tour of the place, trying to imitate a bored spacer killing time.

When she reached the fortune teller’s tent, three giggly girls were already inside, so she pretended to examine the faux antiquities scattered around the interior with awe while the trio received their generic fortunes. The girls departed amidst much speculation over which boys of their acquaintance the seer had meant.

The man hadn’t opened his eyes at all. Larissa drifted to the front. “How much for a private reading?”

“Huh?” The carny, who was the same woman who’d been on duty the night before, gaped at her. “You pay your credit and you get whatever he says.”

“Yeah, I understand. I was here last night, and I just wondered if I could have him tell me more.” Larissa lowered her voice and leaned toward the other. “I didn’t want to ask too many questions with my friends listening, you know?” She pulled out a ten credit token. “Of course I understand there’d be an extra fee for a private session.”

The credit was gone from her hand as if it’d never been. The carny headed for the entrance. “Five minutes. Don’t touch anything. Stand in the circle at all times. When I get back, you’re done.” She looped the flap down as she exited, giving Larissa unexpected privacy.

She planted her boots in the circle and studied the man’s face. “All right, you seemed to want to talk to me last night, so talk. Or am I wasting ten perfectly good credits?”

His eyelids flickered. Difficult. They increased the pressure after last night. Please, can you help?

“Sure, I’ll report to the local authorities you’re being held against your will—”

No!

His voice was a shout in her head, making her temples throb with pain.

There are other lives at stake. Elsewhere. Can you help me? Get me out of here?

His head lolled on the chair, and she could see the effort he was making against whatever stasis or force his captors were using. “What’s in it for me? I don’t usually work for free.” She was curious what his reaction would be.

You’re a warrior of Thuun, how can you speak of payment? Perhaps I was mistaken in you. I thought I saw…His voice trailed off and he slumped.

She didn’t like the idea he was judging her, even though she had to admit she’d asked for it, mentioning payment. “Thought you saw what?”

The blue flames. Now his eyes opened, his gaze locking onto her. I must have been mistaken. There is no help to be had in this cursed place. No hope.

She was his best hope, whether he knew it or not. Larissa was one of the top mercenaries in the Guild. She knew she’d more than half talked herself into taking him on as a nonpaying client. “Do they keep you in the bubble all the time?”

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Author Bio:

USA Today Best Selling Author and “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 was honored to read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “City On the Edge of Forever.”

You can find Veronica here:  Blog    Twitter    Facebook   Amazon Author Page

I’d like to thank Veronica for visiting my blog today! I always love her visits (and her books!). I love the idea of a carnival setting and it looks awesome on your cover. So, readers, what have you seen at a carnival, or other fun setting, that set off your imagination? Or sent a tingle of unease down your back?

Perilously yours,

Pauline

4 Comments

  1. Diane Burton says:

    This sounds like a fab story. As I mentioned on another blog, this is a one-click for me. Best wishes, Veronica.

  2. Veronica Scott says:

    Thanks for having me over to chat! I love to explain ‘why I wrote…” !

    1. Always love having you! Thanks for sharing your story!

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