Hi, my name is Donna Maree Hanson and I’ve been at this writing gig for about 12 years now. After all this time I can say I’m not longer a raw recruit. Rayessa and the Space Pirates was something I tried to write back in 2003 as a short story for a local anthology called Elsewhere. Things were going swimmingly with the story until the pirates turned up and as it was already about 8,000 words (the longest short story I’d written at the time),so  I ran with it and ended up with a novel of just on 30,000 words. Rayessa didn’t get out much, in the story and as a story because she laid around in my harddrive for many a year, until recently.

I heard about Harlequin Escapes new digital imprint so I thought I’d submit Rayessa. I hadn’t thought of it as a romance, but more an adventure story. I did think it was young adult though. However, after going to the Romance Writers of Australia Conference in August (Great conference!), I realised that Rayessa was a romance, as well as a number of other manuscripts I had written. Of course, I could have kicked myself for being so dense. I wasted a lot of time submitting to places that probably weren’t interested because of the romance.

I had in the last couple of years had paranormal romance short stories published, but Rayessa is the biggest work yet to be published. Rayessa and the Space Pirates is a young adult space opera. I am working on more stories with Rayessa and space pirates so we will see if she gets to go on more adventures.


Here is the snazzy cover. 

Rayessa and the Space Pirates_cvr

Here is the  blurb

Sixteen year old Rae Stroder lives in a hollow asteroid, a defunct refuelling station, with a brain-damaged adult, Gris, for company. Low on supplies, they’ve been eking out an existence for years. Everything changes when Alwin Anton, ultra-clean, smart and handsome AllEarth Corp company auditor, arrives to find disarray. Full of suspicion, he interrogates Rae, threatening her with prosecution for theft. He uncovers the fact that she is not Rae Stroder at all, when space pirates attack.

During the attack, Rae is taken prisoner and Alwin Anton escapes in his space ship. The pirate women prepare Rae for sale on the infamous Centauri slave markets. All seems to be going badly, when she is purchased by a mysterious Ridallian. Meanwhile, the space pirates are out to kill Alwin Anton because he holds the secret to Rae’s true identity. It’s a race against time to unravel the intrigue that is Rae’s past to secure her future.

Here is an extract from chapter two.

The crackling of the communication console woke me up. Still dazed from sleep, I didn’t quite recognise the sound. An indistinct voice sounded over the interference. I shook my head, dislodging my confusion and disbelief. I hadn’t heard external comms for quite a while. The voice grew louder and more distinct.

‘Outpost 311…in…read me. Outpost…’

I scrambled up and threw the seat cushion back on the chair. While rubbing sleep from my eyes, I straightened my chest plating and eased the back of my metal skirt away from my chaff marks. I should’ve undone the ties before I slept, but I had been too lazy and too tired to even think about it.

‘Outpost 311…please respond…’

I jumped. ‘Huh?’ Startled into action, I plopped into the command chair and spun around to activate the automated response and telemetry readouts.

‘This is outpost 311 receiving,’ I said in my best vidmovie tone. I’m sure Dad would’ve been proud of me.

‘Captain Stroder?’ came the surprised, posh-sounding voice.

I had to think quickly. It wasn’t a good idea to give things away too easily (especially when you didn’t know who it was). ‘Um, I’m the only Stroder here. Who are you and what do you want?’

I called up the telemetry and stared at it for a while. I traced the blip with my finger and tried to make sense of the readouts. From what I could tell the small cruise ship was still a way out but it was heading directly for the outpost. Turning the communication console off for a moment, I keyed the commlink.

‘Gris,’ I hissed urgently. ‘Gris.’ No answer. ‘Wake up, Gris. This is an emergency. We have a ship coming in. Wait.’ My eyes danced over the readouts looking for the ship’s ID. ‘Here’s the signature. It’s from AllEarth Corp. Who in hell is that I wonder?’

I reactivated the communications console. The impatient male voice was berating the outpost. ‘…are you reading me? This is Alwin Anton, representative of AllEarth Corp. Please activate landing beacon and ready the landing bay. I repeat…’

‘Shit, shit, shit,’ I began to fidget then pounced on the landing protocol checklist from where it hung on the wall. ‘Gris. What do I do? They’re looking for Dad. It’s official, not some scummy pirate. Gris?’

A crackle of static and I could hear him. ‘Ummph,’ groaned Gris into his commlink. The sound of him waking up flooded through the centre. He must have bedded down in one of the service conduits, probably on the other side of the air filters where it was warm. ‘Gris here. What…is…it Rae?’

‘Gris, thank god,’ I said, grateful to hear his mumbling. I scanned the checklist. ‘Ah, power up landing bay Alpha, quickly. We have official visitors. Then get up here and help me find the protocol sheets for official visitors—or was it for emergencies?—that Dad stashed away’

‘Visitors?’ he said, slowly enunciating the word. I could picture him, standing slack faced, mouth agape as he said it.

‘Yes, god dammit. Real visitors. Maybe they’ll have real food.’ I snapped off the commlink. I hoped that Gris understood what I was saying and would go and ready the landing bay.

I leant over the console and tried to get my bearings. Lights were flashing all over the place and displays were projecting three-dimensional images of the ship approaching in front of my face. I was shaking so hard I nearly tipped out of my chair. I had to get a grip. Clearing my throat, I opened a channel to the incoming ship.

‘Welcome to outpost 311, Mr, er, Anton. Landing bay Alpha is at your disposal. The Lollydrop will find all services available,’ I said in the same vidmovie accent I’d used before, though with a bit more polish. I flicked off the switch and mumbled to myself. ‘Except fuel, supplies, amenities and every other goddamn thing it’ll want.’

Gris entered while I was rummaging through Dad’s records. He’d been an old-fashioned man, keeping paper books as well as storage wafers.

‘Pirate,’ Gris grunted. I knocked my head on the cupboard I was leaning into and groaned.

‘Ow,’ I said as I rubbed my wounded noggin. I pulled myself out and bounded to my feet. ‘Really, Gris, you think he’s a pirate? His ship signature is genuine, matches the auto update we had two years ago. Look,’ I added with a smile. ‘I’ve never heard of a pirate that would call himself ‘Alwin Anton’ have you?’


The link at www.escapepublishing.com.au will lead you to your favourite digital book store. My website is http://donnamareehanson.wordpress.com and Rayessa has her own blog at http://rayessaandthespacepirates.wordpress.com/ Check out her emergency checklist!



The Diva’s want me to answer some questions from their special diva couch. Here goes.


  1. Imagine you had a time machine—oh let’s just call it a Tardis. What time period would you travel to and why?

That’s easy. The Regency Period in England. Of course, I’d be fully immunised, have lots of money, and an excellent wardrobe. Why to meet my Mr Darcy, of course.

  1. Favourite comic book superhero?

That would be Thor. And oh yeah, Chris Helmsworth has nothing to do with it. It was the mighty hammer that got me. (Okay Chris Helmsworth solidified his position as my fave.) I always thought it was cool that he had these chats to Odin.

  1. If you could kiss any fictional hero from history, who would it be?

Is this a trick question? Because fictional means not real right? But from history means they existed for real. I’d say Mr Darcy. He had to be real. He really did. Move over Lizzie. He’s mine!

Last one:

  1. What super power would you like to have and why?

I think staying young but being able to build on my experience. I guess that’s what you call immortality. Oh well if the shoe fits. I probably need a psychiatrist now.