Wednesday, February 16, 2022

WEP, RMFW Podcast, & Jemima Pett's 10 Things You Didn't Know About Zanzibar's Rings

I was interviewed on the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers' podcast, and it can be listened to (click on the title) or watched! The interviewer is Mark Stevens, a mystery writer himself.

My WEP post is below. But first, Jemima Pett visits to tell us 10 Things You Didn't Know About Zanzibar's Rings:

10 Things you Didn’t Know about Zanzibar’s Rings

Image for Saturn taken by Cassini-Huyghens and used for the cover of Zanzibar’s Rings:


1.     Zanzibar’s Rings is the third book of the Viridian System series. Dolores and Maggie now have their own businesses; Pete is occupied with his family, now settled in the southern part of their world, Sunset Strip, and Lars is, well, Lars is wondering what role he has now.

2.     Pete and Lars got rich by mining asteroids for a rare element called orichalcum. So rich they don’t plan on doing it, ever again.

3.     The Viridian System is the richest source of orichalcum in the galaxy. The asteroid belt is considered to be the property of the two planets in the third orbital ring, Pleasant Valley and Sunset Strip.

4.     Orichalcum is essential for instantaneous communication systems. Other faster-than-light communications systems allowed for inter-stellar navigation before the discovery of orichalcum, but this metal with its strange properties was a game changer.

5.     Asteroid miners still use archaic radio (speed of light) to communicate with other spacers within the same planetary system.

6.     The Viridian System is so named because its sun, Viridium, emits a green-tinged light. It has long been held by Earth scientists that stars cannot emit green light, because of the way we see colour. In my science, it is green because of the presence of orichalcum, which produces the green effect throughout the system. In real science, astronomers have recently found something that is pretty much green, a star called Zubeneschamali.

7.     Zanzibar is a planet in the Viridian System, in the orbit beyond the asteroid belt. It is a gas giant with distinctive rings.

8.     Zanzibar is modelled on the planet Saturn, of course. Much of what we know about Saturn was produced by the Cassini-Huyghens mission. Cassini orbited Saturn for 13 years, and took a total of 453,048 images. You can browse them on the Cassini mission pages.

9.     Saturn is light enough to float on water, if you could find an ocean big enough.

10.  I asserted somewhere that ringed planets are now thought to be common. I didn’t find the exact reference, but they are more common than water worlds like Earth (and Sunset Strip). Astronomers currently think that exoplanets classed as ‘puffy’ may in fact be ringed planets, much like Saturn—and with similar densities.



Galactic communications crisis strands several well-loved travelers with deadly enemies and no safe way to get home…

By Jemima Pett

Zanzibar's Rings, Science Fiction, Princelings Publications, 389 pp.

A Galactic crisis: the entire comms system destroyed. No waypoints, no navigation aids, no database access… and how will spaceships in flight get home—or to any destination?

Dolores is stuck in warp with a very dangerous passenger, Pete gets his shuttle back home on manual. But how come anything in close contact with pure orichalcum fixes itself? Just flying through Zanzibar’s Rings solves the problem—as the Federation’s fighters find, as they descend on the Viridian System to take possession of the planets.

Zanzibar’s Rings brings the Viridian System series to a conclusion with a bang—and a lot of whimpering. And possibly a view of things to come.

Book Information

Release Date: February 22, 2022

Publisher: Princelings Publications

Kindle: ISIN: B093QFX6DV; 380 pages; E-Book, $2.99

Apple Books


Jemima Pett
 has been writing stories since she was eight, but went down the science path at school, and into a business career before retraining into environmental policy research. She wrote many manuals, papers and research documents before returning to fiction, publishing the Princelings of the East in 2011. That led to ten books in the series of the same name, written for older children. She started the Viridian System series in 2014.

Jemima reckons she read all of the science fiction in her local library, and most enjoys alternative universes, time travel, consequences of social change and unusual ideas surrounding alien species.  Her favourite authors included Anne McCaffrey, Fritz Lieber, Poul Anderson, John Brunner, Robert Heinlein and Arthur C Clarke. These days she likes Becky Chambers, Matt Haig, Lindsay Buroker, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Clare O’Beara, M T McGuire, Jennifer Ellis…  She also loves series – once involved with characters she loves to read their continuing adventures.

She has degrees or diplomas in maths, earth sciences and environmental technology and studied with the Unthank School of Writing while she lived in Norfolk. She now lives in Hampshire, where she enjoys rewilding her garden, raising organically grown vegetables, and birdwatching.

She would most like everyone to use their natural resources sustainably, since we only have the one planet to support us.

Her latest book is Zanzibar’s Rings: Viridian System Series (Book 3).

Visit Jemima’s website at or connect with her at TwitterFacebookGoodreadsInstagram and Pinterest.

Sponsored By:

Twice in a row? Gasp! Check out the WEP blog for other entries.

All the Time in the World

Tagline: Sometimes love requires creative measures.

Beseeching, she drops to her knees, hands clasped so that her knuckles whiten. 

He scoffs then steps around her and, without looking back, exits through the front door. A slam would have showed he had some emotion about the situation, but he closes it softly. 

She expects it to feel different, but somehow that quiet click has left her feeling unsatisfied. She waits for the tears to come. Waits for the big emotions to wash over her. Waits for the grief.

Instead, that click flips a switch. A gentle sort of anger seeps through her veins, flushing up through her cheeks. Her eyes even feel hot. Then it becomes a throbbing rush. Blood roars in her ears, and she tastes blood.

No one walks out on Samantha.

She throws herself into changing things around the apartment. All that energy and rage needs to be funneled and directed. Walls come down. Walls get framed and built. Remote controlled metal shades go in. Samantha shops for brand new furnishings, including a comfy bed and two easy chairs. Bamboo sheets that are soft and cool get fitted onto the mattress. A second bathroom goes in. Security cameras go up. After all, she's a woman living alone now. Safety matters.

He doesn't call. Within a week, his mail stops arriving. Bill carriers contact her to confirm the removal of his name. The effect on her emotions is a blade to the gut every time. 

Samantha meditates. She does her breathing exercises and ponders gratitude for what she has. She stretches and does yoga and goes for runs and hits the exercise bike and desperately seeks some new way to work it all out of her system. 

The next step is to move his remaining belongings into the renovated guest room and let him know. She discovers that, despite her best efforts, his smell wafting up from the clothing tightens her belly. She strokes his silk ties and gently folds his sweaters. Images of him in her favorite light blue cable knit flit through her mind. 

With an irritated grunt, she pushes it all back down into the emptiness inside her, sealing it up as best she can.

Finally, she texts him: All your stuff is in the guest room. I'll be gone between 2 and 4 tomorrow so you can come get it.

He replies: Got it.

With a small smile, she eats her lukewarm microwave meal and drinks a glass of wine. It will all be over soon.


The next day, she puts on a silk kimono that looks stunning with her eyes and brushes her hair until it shines. She takes painstaking care to apply her makeup. When she hears his key in the lock, she hides in the master bedroom and pulls out her phone to watch him on the security cameras.

He comes in carrying some boxes. These he sets against the entryway table long enough to dump his keys into the bowl and take off his coat. He looks like he's just coming home from work, following his usual routines. It makes her heart ache, but she steels it again, locking it back in its cage.

He's wearing a button-down shirt that hangs from his broad shoulders just right. His jeans hug him in all the right places. Just as he usually does, he slips off his loafers and nudges them under the table to keep the walkway clear. Then he grabs the boxes again and heads into what used to be the "guest room," which was actually an office with a futon previously, in case someone came to visit. No one ever did. They'd been enough for each other.

He pauses in the entryway, taking in the changes she's made. She's known him long enough to read the puzzlement in the stiff set of his frame.

He recovers quickly and steps inside, setting the boxes against the bed. 

Samantha tiptoes from her room and crosses the living room. In the doorway, she arranges herself in that special way that drapes the soft fabric across her breasts and clings to her curves. He always complimented her on how she looked in it.

He turns around at the rustling behind him and his shoulders droop. "You're not supposed to be here."

"Plans change," she says. "You taught me that." With a wicked smile, she steps backward, out of the doorway, and pushes "3*" on her phone screen. The door slams shut, as do the metal shades.

He pounds uselessly on the door.

Samantha sends him a text and watches the camera until he gives up his pounding and checks his phone. 

Anger thunders across his face and he flips off the camera over the door.

She sends another text: All you need is love.

He'll come around. They've got all the time in the world.

The End.

806 words. NCCO.

What do you think of the cover for Zanzibar's Rings? Have you purchased your copy? Are you participating in the WEP challenge? 

May you find your Muse.


Damyanti Biswas said...

Congratulations to you on being featured on the podcast, Shannon!

I'm looking forward to reading Jemima's new book--it is already on my TBR.

Your WEP story took a turn I wasn't expecting--loved the end!

Pat Garcia said...

Hi Shannon,
Congrats on your book. I preordered it and it is now on my iPad.
I like your story. She's got her revenge, so, I'm wondering how long is she going to let him stay in there.
I loved your descriptions.
Shalom aleichem

Natalie Aguirre said...

Awesome that you were interviewed on a podcast, Shannon. Congrats on your book, Jemima.

And great story, Shannon. I wasn't expecting the twist at the end.

Jemima Pett said...

Thanks, Natalie :)

Jemima Pett said...

Just to mention, Damyanti, the ebook price will go up towards the end of March ;)

Jemi Fraser said...

Love Jemima's cover!

Fabulous flash, Shannon! I didn't click into the renovation details until it was too late - just like her man! :)

Jemima Pett said...

Thanks, Jemi!

Tyrean said...

Gorgeous cover, Jemima - and I love the world-building you've put into your writing!

Shannon -wow! Excellent flash fiction! Plus, I love the interview. I started reading your book today, and since I can be a super slow non-fiction reader, it might be a month or so before I feel I can officially review it, but so far, I love it! Thank you for writing it. It's definitely a book all short story writers need.

cleemckenzie said...

Thanks for giving me another chance to wish Jemima well with her latest book!

Hats off to you, Shannon, for your WEP contribution. I'm already imagining how she manages her captive.

Jemima Pett said...

Thanks, Tyrean :)

Jemima Pett said...

lol, there'll be more opportunities, Lee, and thank you for all your good wishes<3

Sherry Ellis said...

Very cool cover! And I like the name, Zanzabar.

Congrats on the podcast!

Elephant's Child said...

Congratulation to Jemima.
And thanks for an intriguing (and chilling) flash.

N. R. Williams said...

Well, what can I say after that? I'm pretty sure she doesn't know what love is, and he's in trouble. Great story.

Olga Godim said...

@Jemima: Love the name Zanzibar.
@Shannon: Congrats on your podcast. Your story, though, leaves me divided. What kind of love is it to imprison your beloved? It's not love, its a dictatorship. I hate Samantha and people like her.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Well, now I want to find an ocean big enough for Saturn to float!

Nilanjana Bose said...

Hell hath no fury...right? Well crafted and greatly enjoyed. Kudos.

Denise Covey said...

Great that you feature Jemima. I wish her all the best for publication day! Congrats on the podcast.
Hmm. Scary story in the end. How long is her 'beloved' going to be imprisoned?

Debbie D. said...

Congratulations on the podcast and to Jemima for her upcoming publication. Cool cover! Your WEP story is a delicious tale of revenge. I had a hunch Mr. Perfect would be in for trouble! "No one walks out on Samantha."

Kalpana said...

Congratulations on the podcast and to Jemima Patt. Your tale is well crafted, slightly shocking and also very satisfying somehow. I loved it.

Jemima Pett said...

Thanks, Sherry :)

Jemima Pett said...

Thank you!

Jemima Pett said...

Thanks Olga, I love it too :)

Jemima Pett said...

There were reports recently of a supergiant exoplanet in the habitable zone of some star, but whether it's got water, I haven't a clue!

Jemima Pett said...

Thanks, Denise :)

Jemima Pett said...

Thanks, Debbie :)

Jemima Pett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jemima Pett said...

Thanks Kalpana. And I agree with you about Shannon's story :)

L.G. Keltner said...

Congrats on the podcast! And Jemima, your book sounds so interesting, and I love the cover!

This story is so good! I had a feeling something sinister was afoot, and that ending was superb! Well done!

DMS said...

How exciting to be on a podcast!

Congrats to Jemima! Sounds lie an interesting book. I also- love the ringed planets! Especially Saturn. :)

Loved your story!

Jemima Pett said...

Glad you like it, LG.

Jemima Pett said...

Hope you get a chance to read it, Jess!

Jemima Pett said...

Shannon, many apologies - I forgot to thank you for having me, and more importantly, thank you for the amazing story you put together alongside it! I may have been lost for words, though...or lost the post because I'm sure I'd said something about it somewhere...

Michelle Wallace said...

Congratulations on the podcast.
You ARE the Queen Of Short Story Submissions!
Love the cover of Jemima's book - it's atmospheric...

I enjoyed the WEP story! It took an unexpected turn, which (knowing your style) I kind of expected it to do.
But what a turn!

Pennie Nichols said...

Wow. I should have cued into the remote controlled shades! Nice twist.

Bernadette said...

Congrats on the book, Jemima and the podcast, Shanon.
I enjoyed the story. Certainly didn't see the twist in the end coming.

Chrys Fey said...

I love to learn about space and enjoyed learning about Zanzibar's Rings.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Shannon - I hope your Business of writing short stories is getting lots of hits - it should do. Jemima's book - the cover is brilliant ... and I imagine your word-craft for your series is fun to read.

Your take on the prompt - well ... I'm not sure it'll end well - but loved it - great read ... cheers Hilary

Sally said...

Ooh, that's a bit scary and creepy at the same time. Good writing, kept me engrossed.

Mary Kirkland said...

Congrats on the books, it sounds intriguing. I like reading about other planets.

Anstice Brown said...

Zanzibars rings sounds great!

I really enjoyed your story. There was a sinister sense of foreboding at the beginning that I couldn't quite put my finger on. The ending was very satisfying and creepy. Great job!

Shilpa Gupte said...

I wasn't expecting that end, but it was so satisfying to read what an angry woman is capable of!

Jamie said...

I went to a show at my local planetarium that was all about Saturn. They showed how, from certain angles, the rings seem to disappear because it's so thin (comparatively with our distance and pov). Fact 9 made me think of that.

I think his having a working phone is going to put a kink in her plan. "Hello, police? My ex locked me in." Probably not going to work out in her favor. But excellent short story otherwise.
A phone jammer. Watching his frustration as he can't send texts or make calls, that would be more powerful to me. It would go from flawed plan to chilling suspense if his phone didn't work.

Jamie said...

Oh crap, it was NCCO. Sorry sorry. And I can't see my comment to remove. I'm sorry.

Let me try again:

Lovely story. Bet she's going to prison, maybe the prison psych ward. Nice work.

J Lenni Dorner said...

I have read a book in Jemima's series. Pretty good.

This was fun way to use the prompt. Nice work.

Yolanda Renée said...

Love the end. And Congratulations to Jemima! I'll have to add it to my list and get her a review and a guest post! She's done so much for me! Congratulations to you too! Love success!