Effing Feline spits nicely, by comparison

Space cat-wewriwa

Fart-Fueled Flying Feline, Effing for short, writes the Weekend Writing Warrior posts on Mr. V’s behalf

I, Effing Feline, have selected a decidedly unromantic snippet from Ed Hoornaert’s The Trial of Tompa Lee for today’s 10-sentence Sunday. Read it and weep, humans. Sometimes your species acts rather arrogant–I mean, you think you own us cats!–but let this be a reminder that when you meet ETs, you’ll be nothing special.

Our lowly heroine, Tompa Lee, has been framed for terrorism on an alien planet. Dante Roussel, a Space Navy policeman we met last week, must turn her over to cruel Shon justice. In this snippet, she is escorted through an alien city to her courtroom.

The Trilogy of Tompa Lee is set on Zee Shode. It's inhabitants have a long history, but never achieved space flight Tompa Lee's final showdown occurs in the flooded city of Rapree, pictured here

The Trilogy of Tompa Lee is set on Zee Shode. It’s inhabitants have a long history, but never achieved space flight. Tompa Lee’s final showdown occurs in the flooded city of Rapree, pictured here

When Tompa’s two burly Navy escorts propelled her into the street, all the Shons stopped going about their business. The air changed, filling with . . . something. It wasn’t a smell or a sound, but it was there nonetheless; a sudden, almost palpable sense of shared malice aimed at her. What had been a hundred individuals became a single entity. A herd. The hair on the back of Tompa’s neck rose and the escorts glanced around nervously as they walked down the alien thoroughfare.

A Shon spat at her, whistling. A second later, another Shon spat, then another and another in a rhythm as precise as a machine gun. They pinched their supple mouths into a funnel shape, leaned their heads back and jumped as they spat, like kids taking jump shots on one of the glass-strewn basketball courts back home.

And they all whistled as they spat.

Effing Feline again. We cats have been accused of spitting, but it’s really more of a hiss. Cats are much more civilized than these nasty Shon creatures.

And now you should go drool over the snippets by other great weekend writing warriors.

<<  ==  >>

B-Trial paperbackTompa Lee is a homeless ‘street meat’ who has clawed her way up to the bottom-most rung of the Space Navy . . . but her dream job plummets into a nightmare when she’s framed for mass murder on an alien planet.

Dante Roussel is the Navy policemen who surrenders Tompa to the Shons . . . but he is horrified to learn that their justice requires trial-by-combat–and Tompa must conquer three hundred accusers.

Awmit is an old, lower-class Shon who is the sole witness to Tompa’s innocence . . . but to prove it, he must find the valor and the strength to fight to the death at her side.

Can Tompa learn to trust and love not only a member of the alien race that wants to slaughter her . . . but also the policeman who betrayed her to cruel alien justice?

<<  ==  >>

The Trial of Tompa Lee is the first book in The Trilogy of Tompa Lee.

B-Trial paperbackThe Trial of Tompa Lee
Only her enemies can save her from alien injustice.
(The book is free, so you can’t go wrong. Click. Buy. Read. Write a review. Rejoice, because there is more!)

C-TribulationsThe Tribulations of Tompa Lee
Goddess or Madwoman?  Even Tompa isn’t sure any more.

D-TriumphThe Triumph of Tompa Lee
Now the prey stalks the hunter — to the death.


Finally, next Tuesday I’ll be posting my personal Top Ten List of Heroines. Drop on by; maybe we love some of the same heroines.



  1. Oh this is fun. I love this description: “They pinched their supple mouths into a funnel shape…” I also love the flying kitteh.

    1. I always loved the image of the Shons spitting with such precision. It’s the first scene that shows how coordinated their herds are.

  2. chellecordero · · Reply

    A herd mentality can get out of control in a hurry, very frightening to be the focus of their anger. Great tension.

    1. That’s a good analogy for Shons throughout the book–intelligent herd creatures who REALLY run out of control when they stampede. Tompa’s (nearly) impossible task is to turn the stampede.

  3. You created such a sense of menace! I would not want to be her right now!

    1. Now or ever. i can think of few things worse than being a hero or heroine in an adventure novel, with a wicked writer cackling as he devises more difficulties and problems.

  4. Oh man, do you paint a vivid picture… I downloaded this book last week. I need more reading time!

    1. “I need more reading time.” I’m tempted to print this out and post it on my bulletin board, because it’s so true.

  5. I agree with the others, a wonderful sense of menace! I particularly like this line ‘What had been a hundred individuals became a single entity.’

    1. That’s the Shons herd mentality at play. Throughout the trilogy I play around with how they can form a planet-wide consensus. TV plays a big part for them; Tompa’s trial is telecast around the globe, and Shons everywhere make up their mind about her guilt–and, in the bigger picture, about the worth of humans.

  6. Seems like a lovely species! Nothing like a mob of spitting whistlers. Poor Tompa- being on the receiving end of that must be terrifying, and wet.

    1. And smelly and yucky and disgusting and…

  7. I love your action scenes, Ed.

    1. Thanks, Paula. I like yours, too, though I’m only about 1/6 done with Chalvaren Rising. I think I’m finally getting to scenes I haven’t read in one form or another.

  8. daezarkian · · Reply

    Terrific imagery and imagination. But I don’t think I’d want to stay in this place very long, at least not without a raincoat.

    1. Umbrella, too! And boots!

  9. Scary scene, Ed. You paint a frightening picture of mob mentality in a most unusual way.

    1. My aliens are herd creatures, which I guess hasn’t been done very often. We’ll see both the good and the bad sides of mob mentality before the book is over.

  10. Nasty and also funny!

    1. Would you believe that Shons end up being good guys, for the most part?

  11. Yikes! That is really terrifying and icky. I’m rooting for her to get out of there quick!

    1. And her trial-by-combat against 300 accusers hasn’t even begun.

  12. Karen Michelle Nutt · · Reply

    Great imagery, I could imagine the whistling and spitting. I wouldn’t want to be there. (I have cats and yes, it sounds like spitting but it’s a really intense hiss. lol I have a cat McGregor who loves to tease our other cat Tiger Lilly with reaching his paw toward her but never touching. I can just here him saying, “I’m not touching you. Still not touching…” Of course Tiger Lilly is having a hissy fit. lol Great snippet.

    1. Your cats sounds exactly like my son and daughter when they were young. It’s the humanity of pets that draws us to them, at least in part. Snakes, for example, have no hint of humanity, and few people are drawn to them.

  13. Wow, very scary scene indeed. I can easily imagine things escalating from here – great snippet!

    1. Yes, they escalate–this is just the beginning of 300 pages of torment for poor Tompa.

  14. Wow! Great description of the escalation. I liked that she could feel the malice before they started acting on it.

    1. As the book progresses, we learn that there’s a psychic/spiritual element to the Shons’ ability to function as a herd. I’m trying to hint at that in this passage.

  15. Oh wow…these Shons are nasty pieces of work! I was just having a conversation yesterday with a friend who didn’t know about show vs tell, and I could easily point her to this snippet as a prime example of how to paint the scene with words. Nicely done!

    1. When Shons dislike a person, they REALLY dislike them…but the reverse is also true.

  16. Love the herd concept and how you described it in action.

    1. The herd concept was fun to write. Easy, too, because it meant I didn’t have to individualize her 300 pursuers, except for a few who become convinced of her innocence and fight at her side.

  17. elainecsc2013 · · Reply

    The herd mentality is a great device for the story. Well done.

    1. As I got into the trilogy, I developed their herd-bonding mechanisms more. Shons use a low-level form of telepathy that enables them to sense consensus (pleasant) or discord (unpleasant). They’re natural born conformists–but they vastly admire an individual who stands up for what they believe in and can convince a whole her they’re right–like turning a herd of stampeding cattle. They call such individuals ‘Bez”, or ‘god’, and they only come around every few generations.

  18. Eww. Interesting that these aliens have some similar cultural concepts, like a mob throwing stones. But I bet cooperative behavior would show up in a lot of species. You work together or get eaten.

    1. As unpleasant as the Shons are behaving, they’re only throwing spit, not stones.

      1. Less painful, more gross. o_O

  19. I’m scared of the shons but I love the way you described this scene and her fear as she sensed them turning on her. Very nicely done

    1. I loved writing the Shons. They were fun.

  20. Ha, my cousin and I used to have spitting contests while I was growing up. I was such a tomboy. Loved seeing that childhood memory recreated here. Great scene Ed.

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