Thursday, May 9, 2013

Zenn Scarlet Blog Tour {Guest Post}

When you're studying to be exoveterinarian specializing in exotic, alien life forms, school... is a different kind of animal.

Best-selling author Mike Mullin (Ashfall) calls Zenn Scarlett "...delightful, bizarre, and occasionally terrifying." Melissa West (Gravity) says it’s “Utterly imaginative… sci-fi at its best. Fantastic world-building. Deep characters... I couldn’t put it down!” And Temple Grandin (Animals in Translation) says "All future vets will want to read Zenn Scarlett and her adventures with veterinary medicine on alien animals."

The Story

Zenn Scarlett is a resourceful, determined 17-year-old girl working hard to make it through her novice year of exovet training. That means she's learning to care for alien creatures that are mostly large, generally dangerous and profoundly fascinating. Zenn’s all-important end-of-term tests at the Ciscan Cloister Exovet Clinic on Mars are coming up, and, she's feeling confident of acing the exams. But when a series of inexplicable animal escapes and other disturbing events hit the school, Zenn finds herself being blamed for the problems. As if this isn't enough to deal with, her absent father has abruptly stopped communicating with her; Liam Tucker, a local towner boy, is acting unusually, annoyingly friendly; and, strangest of all: Zenn is worried she's started sharing the thoughts of the creatures around her. Which is impossible, of course. Nonetheless, she can't deny what she's feeling.

Now, with the help of Liam and Hamish, an eight-foot sentient insectoid also training at the clinic, Zenn must learn what's happened to her father, solve the mystery of who, if anyone, is sabotaging the cloister, and determine if she's actually sensing the consciousness of her alien patients... or just losing her mind. All without failing her novice year....



  1.       I’d get to live on Mars. Not the Mars of our own likely near-future (ie, living in an over-crowded inflatable dome with no privacy, potentially annoying co-explorers and an “atmosphere” outside that’d kill you before you went ten feet). No, I’d be living on Zenn’s Mars: entire, sprawling canyon systems roofed over with a transparent layer of ionized gas to hold in the air and allow the canyon floors to be mini-terraformed and grow lush crops and support entire villages. Yeah, I could handle that.
  2.       I could interact with and learn about a mind-boggling array of wicked-cool alien life forms, from 80-foot-long whalehounds and swamp sloos big as battleships, to amiable guys like Hamish, the 8-foot-tall sentient beetle-like insectoid who serves as the cloister’s handyman (bug) and Katie, the raccoon-size rikkaset who is Zenn’s companion and who can communicate using sign language.  
  3.      I’d have a chance to, someday, travel between the stars on an indra-powered starship. The vacuum dwelling species called indra, or “stonehorses,” are immense, serpentine creatures that have evolved the ability to “tunnel” through the very fabric of space-time. They usually live in huge, iron-nickel asteroids, and they use the mass of the asteroids as particle shields when they tunnel. Now, humans have built starships with an indra-hold that mimics the caverns of an asteroid. So when the indra tunnels, it takes the starship with it.
  4.      I’d be able to learn about the extraordinary diversity of alien cultures spread out among the twelve inhabited planets of the LSA, the Local Systems Accord. Unfortunately, the Earth has more or less cut itself off from all contact with the Accord, and with Mars, due to the earthers’ deep anti-alien sentiments. This has made things pretty tough on Mars, but so far they’ve managed to struggle through it. There are some indications attitudes on Earth are changing, but like Zenn, I won’t be holding my breath that things will get better any time soon.
  5.      I’d be 17 years old again! Hey, I remember pretty clearly what that was like so, yeah, bring it on…

Christian Schoon Bio

Born in the American Midwest, Christian started his writing career in earnest as an in-house writer at the Walt Disney Company in Burbank, California. He then became a freelance writer working for various film, home video and animation studios in Los Angeles. After moving from LA to a farmstead in Iowa several years ago, he continues to freelance and also now helps re-hab wildlife and foster abused/neglected horses.  He acquired his amateur-vet knowledge, and much of his inspiration for the Zenn Scarlett series of novels, as he learned about - and received an education from - these remarkable animals. 


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