Pauline Baird Jones on bad chemistry, nightmare tests & pseudoscience, #PetsInSpace #ScifiRom


My guest today is Pauline Baird Jones. I can SO relate to everything she says!

By Pauline Baird Jones

In my junior year in high school, the chemistry teacher told us that a) we had to take this national test; b) we would be graded against all the chemistry students in the country. Or the world, I forget which; c) we had to pass the test to pass chemistry and d) we had to pay a fee to take the test.

I was not thrilled about any of this, but my parents—clearly not noticing how totally wrong it was to pay to suffer this much—anted up the fee, thus ensuring I would have to take this test.

The day arrived. I opened the test and read the first question.

I not only did NOT know the answer. I didn’t even know what it was asking me. It was like reading a foreign language. Or being in one of those “homework” nightmares. Only this was not a dream. It was real.

I read the second question. If anything, it was harder to understand than the first question.

I sat there for a moment, fighting panic. How could I have taken almost a whole year of high school chemistry and not learned any actual chemistry? I was not only about to flunk chemistry, but I was on track to be the Worst Chemistry Student in the Whole Country. Or the World.

And then, I think I snapped. I thought, why waste time reading questions I didn’t understand? It would make the misery longer and be like kicking my own self esteem with my own foot over and over again.

So I just went through and checked boxes. I didn’t read a single question after those first two.

When the Day of Judgment arrived, I will admit to feeling a fair amount of unease.

Because my Chemistry Teacher liked to torture us, he told us he’d be reading our scores off in front of the class, from top score to bottom (is it any wonder we stagger out of high school with our self esteem in tatters?).

He read out the best score, then second best…and then something truly miraculous happened. He looked at me and said, “I don’t know how you did it, but—”

That’s right. I got the third highest score.

I passed chemistry. Talk about a Hail Mary. And I’m not even Catholic.

I think this early, highly emotionally significant event, prepared me to write science fiction. Or at least to make things up. While I don’t recommend making up science if you are working on, say, a new rocket fuel, there is a fairly low risk from making it up in your fiction.

Honestly, it only hurts when someone who likes real science in their science fiction gets mad and leaves a nasty review on Amazon. I want to respond with, “Hey, I passed chemistry in my junior year in high school,” only you’re not supposed to respond to reviews. So I don’t.

But I want to.

Pets in SpaceSo, if you like stories of romance, action, adventure, with PETS and made-up science (at least in the case of my story), I hope you’ll check out Pets in Space. Not only will you get EIGHT original, never-before-published stories, plus ONE expanded story, 10% of the first month’s proceeds will be donated to, an organization dedicated to training dogs to help Veterans.

Mazan and I had a plan. Not a good one—since most of it hinged on me—but it was a plan. Okay, it was the outline of a plan. Hopefully it would achieve plan-ness before my dad said, I do.

Peddrenth didnt seem worried. Not that I expected him to be worried, but—the truth was, I didnt know what I expected, other than a horrible death. From “The Real Dragon,” Pets in Space

Pauline never liked reality, so she writes books. She likes to wander among the genres, rampaging like Godzilla, because she does love peril mixed in her romance. You can find out more about her books (and get a free story for subscribing to her newsletter) at: http:///

Pets in Space will be published tomorrow – Tuesday, Oct. 11

Pets in Space blurb

Even an alien needs a pet…

Join the adventure as nine pet loving sci-fi romance authors take you out of this world and pull you into their action-packed stories filled with suspense, laughter, and romance. The alien pets have an agenda that will capture the hearts of those they touch. Follow along as they work side by side to help stop a genetically-engineered creature from destroying the Earth to finding a lost dragon; life is never the same after their pets decide to get involved. Can the animals win the day or will the stars shine just a little less brightly?

New York Times, USA TODAY, Award Winning, and Best selling authors have eight original, never-released stories and one expanded story giving readers nine amazing adventures that will capture your imagination and help a worthy charity. Come join us as we take you on nine amazing adventures that will change the way you look at your pet!


By Pauline Baird Jones

Emma Standish didn’t think her day could get any worse. Her dad is marrying his boss, her dragon suddenly came back talking and typing, and it’s her fault the Earth, or at least ten square miles of Texas, is going to be destroyed. That’s what happens when you forget something very, very important. Luckily for her, she’s got the love of her life that she can’t remember and her dragon by her side. Who needs to worry when you’re having a day like this?


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4 Responses to Pauline Baird Jones on bad chemistry, nightmare tests & pseudoscience, #PetsInSpace #ScifiRom

  1. I’m glad I’m not the only one! LOL I can still remember feeling like a bug pinned under a microscope! Thanks for having me visit today. 🙂

    • Cara Bristol says:

      After I graduated college, for “fun” I took an automotive maintenance class at the junior college. I remember getting the final exam, which was worth half our grade. To my horror, as I flipped through the test, I only knew half the answers, which would have given me a failing grade on the exam. I was stunned to discover that I ended up with an A in the class.

  2. What a fun post! And can I ever relate. I was a horrible math student all through high school. (Creative writing and English I excelled at…go figure, huh?) Yet somehow I kept passing with respectable scores and moving up to even tougher courses the next year. I have to admit though, Advanced Math nearly did me in. Trigonometry, calculus and geometry all rolled into one big confusing ball. It was the only time in HS I didn’t get an A or a B. (Do they even still use an alphabetical grading system?) Yet, what do I go on write? Science Fiction Romance! Ha! Good thing imagination is the key and not my math skills.

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