How StarDogs invaded the
Inherited Stars Universe
by Laurie A. Green
In early 2016, I was asked if I wanted to be part of the original Pets in Space collection, and oh wow, was I excited about the idea! Pets plus space! Coolest idea ever! But I wasn’t quite sure about a pet or a premise for a new tale that would be part of my Inherited Stars series. Until I remembered the heroine of a future novel was supposed to have a starship-friendly pet, possibly a ferret or weasel, or some other member of the Mustelidae family (otter? mink? wolverine…yikes!). I realized that might work as an expanded concept.
So how did my ferret-weasel-otter-mink evolve into a StarDog? It went something like this…
Fifteen hundred years in the future animals will most likely be bred for different purposes. If they’re bred at all… Oh, wait! What if this heroine’s pet wasn’t bred, but engineered—bio-engineered—to be the perfect shipboard mascot on a spacecraft? What if it were a mix of the genetics of many familiar animals, combining the best qualities of each? What would that recipe look like? I needed to “build” my pet.
Going back to the original idea, I started with a bit of weasel DNA. Yes, yes! Weasels are small, agile and terrific vermin hunters in the wild. But my pet wouldn’t be in the wild, so it needed some user-friendly genetics from domesticated canine and feline genes. DNA that would incorporate the loyalty of dogs with the easy-care attributes of cats. Obviously you can’t walk a pet in space, so the critter needed to have instincts to use a “granule box” while in flight, much like a housecat.
But my mascot still didn’t feel quite finished. It needed something that would make it fearless to take on the worst of starship pests. Easy one! The champion of all vermin wranglers—the venom-resistant mongoose!
Voila! The pet was born—er, incubated—for the first Pets in Space story.
Wait! Not so fast, my muse scolded. How does the heroine come by such an exotic animal? Surely they’d be expensive. And that became the backstory of StarDog.
When I started writing the story, magic happened. Whole new layers embellished the evolving Inherited Stars Universe. New characters emerged, such as the scientist who created StarDogs and his affiliation with the Network. Fresh conflicts sparked; StarDogs were employed as spies on enemy ships. Lurking dangers threatened; those enemies sought to wipe out the StarDog lab. The finished story was one I was truly proud of.
When I was asked if I’d like to write a new story for a second Pets in Space collection, I was stumped again. Could I come up with another pets+space adventure? Maybe a story about a horse in space this time? Tempting, but troublesome. Crocodile in space? Uhhh, not really my idea of a cuddly pet. Guinea pig in space? Hmmm. Very cute, but uh-uh. Nothing seemed to be clicking for me. That’s when Jagger and Ketsia, two of the original minor characters in Inherit the Stars, tapped me on the shoulder and reminded me (in no uncertain terms) that they were meant to have their own adventure post Inherit the Stars…and what if their story involved a StarDog?
A StarDog sequel was born!
Courting Disaster: StarDog 2 picks up where StarDog and Inherit the Stars left off, carrying readers three calendars (years) into the brave, new future hinted about at the close of the novel.
Now, here’s a special bonus. If you haven’t yet read StarDog (or even if you have), then I invite you to enter the Inherited Stars Universe as my guest. You can grab a free copy of StarDog via Instafreebie right now, right here: https://www.instafreebie.com/free/lTsVO
Then you’ll be set to continue the StarDog adventures with Courting Disaster: StarDog 2 in Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2.Once Upon a StarDog with @SFRLaurie #PetsinSpace #scifirom #romance Click To Tweet
About Courting Disaster: StarDog2:
A commander of a spaceship faces the toughest decision of his life when he vows to protect the woman and her StarDog that he is escorting through a dangerous section of space.
About Embrace the Romance:
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.
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About the Author:
Laurie A. Green is a three-time RWA Golden Heart® finalist, an award-winning author, and a science fiction romance enthusiast who founded the SFR Brigade community of writers, which is now over 1,000 members strong.
She confesses to being an Andromeda Galaxy groupie and would someday love to own a vacation home on Mars or Titan. She’s enthused to be a part of this wonderful anthology mash-up of two of her favorite things–pets and space.