Effing Feline searches for mice

Photos: DepositPhotos

Fart-Fueled Flying Feline, Effing for short, writes the Weekend Writing Warrior / Sunday Snippet posts on Mr. V’s behalf. Click the pic for info.

I, Effing Feline, really loved last week’s practice for catching mice. I’m ready for the real thing; all I have to do is find a mouse. Here’s my plan:

  • Swipe a bag of shredded cheddar from the fridge and scatter the cheese all over the house.  You know, for bait.
  • Rip apart all the couch cushions to see if mice hide there
  • Claw apart Mr V’s computer screen and look inside. Maybe that’s where computer mice live.

I’ve chosen another snippet from The Trial of Tompa Lee. During the first ever human shore leave on planet Zee Shode, their Shon guide leads Tompa’s group of sailors to a large pub/cafe. The sailors drink a local wine — except for Tompa. The guide warned her not to. The wine is an aphrodisiac, and when the sailors try to molest her, she flees the pub.

The plot to frame poor Tompa is now in motion.

Tompa spun into a defensive crouch. She saw what the crowd was afraid of, bouncing along the concrete pavement toward the pub windows: An A-140 grenade, the most destructive explosive in the Navy’s arsenal.

“Get down,” she shouted to the old Shon beside her. (Paragraph deleted to fit...)

The blast was so loud she felt it rather than heard it.

As though her entire remaining life was compressed into the moment, things happened in slow motion. Wide-hipped bodies tumbled like dust motes through bright summer sun — bright, because massive chunks of the overhead roadway were tumbling onto the crowd of Shons. A long, snake-like bus fell from the roadway and exploded in a cascade of sparks and flame.

A severed, six-fingered hand shot from the inferno toward Tompa’s head. Inexplicably sitting in a shop doorway atop the old Shon, she tried to duck, but the gory hand slammed into her with the force of a sledgehammer.

Effing Feline here again. My plan for finding a mouse is purrfect, no? Any suggestions where else I should look?

A big wave and a hug to Weekend Warriors Elizabeth Alsobrooks and Nancy Gideon, whom Ed had the pleasure of meeting today at the Tucson Festival of Books.

Be sure to visit the other Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday posts.

Effing Feline divider

The Trial of Tompa Lee

Tompa Lee thinks joining the Space Navy is a dream come true, but it turns into a nightmare when she’s framed for mass murder on an alien planet. To prove her innocence, she’ll have to trust the policeman who betrayed her to cruel alien justice—and defeat 300 vengeful aliens who want to slaughter her.

If you enjoy watching lowly underdogs overcome awe-inspiring odds, you’ll love The Trial of Tompa Lee.

The book is currently free, so this is a great time to make it your own:


  1. Author Jessica E. Subject · · Reply

    Yuck, yuck, yuck! I can’t believe she was hit by a flying severed hand. *shudders* But, it was a great snippet! As for the mice, when we lived in a farmhouse, they hung out in the basement and ran through the walls when we were trying to sleep.

    1. Partly because this is science fiction rather than SFR, I went for realism even if it was yucky. It does have strong elements of romance, though.

  2. I’m not fond of rodents, so I wish Effing Feline all the luck there is in The Quest for Mice. I don’t believe I’m a fan of flying severed hands either. Ewww. There’s a scene to stick with you. Could have been worse, I suppose. It could have been a foot.

    1. I suppose a foot could’ve been worse, although anything hitting you with the force of a sledgehammer is pretty darned bad.

  3. Oh yuck!
    Tense situation you’re describing … and you did well, It had me glued to the words.

    1. Glued to the words? At the moment when a bomb is going off? That’s the wrong moment to be unable to escape.

  4. Ed, you’re having more fun than a pot full of spiders. In my book, this is a super snippet; in your book, too.

    1. You really think a pot-load of spiders is fun? Yuck.

  5. Love the description of the explosion. Great job.

    1. I guess I’m good at scenes of mass murder?

  6. Ugh – your descriptions are too good. 6 fingered severed hand – shudders.

    I think Effing has a brilliant plan. Tweeted.

    1. Maybe Effing should come to your house to look for mice.

  7. Quite the grim scene but very well described!

    1. This is the pivotal scene on which everything else in the book turns.

  8. This reads gritty and real, Ed. Excellent job. It engages the senses.

    1. Thanks so much, Kim.

  9. Whoa…slow-motion destruction with a final slap in the face with an unattached hand. Now that’s great action.

    1. I felt I had to slow down her sense of time in order to fit in all the action so readers grasp the extent of the crime she will be blamed for.

  10. Excellent, excellent description of the explosion! The snake-like bus was a great visual, btw. And I think I was more grossed out by the fact the hand had six fingers rather than that it was severed. Effing, dear, our mice live in the attic, in the garage, sometimes I’ve heard them in the walls! The perils of country living. Listen carefully and follow the squeaking!

    1. You touched on a great little detail that I’ve picked up from better sci fi writers: the number of fingers. Give a creature more or fewer digits and that creature instinctively feels really alien.

  11. Ewww! But it’s true, when things blow up they’re typically yuckier than we’d like to believe.

    1. For story purposes this explosion needed to be really gritty because it motivates my nice, cuddly alien Shons to become murdering demons during the trial by combat.

  12. Amazing visuals here, and a tense situation!

    1. Death and carnage always catch folks’ attention.

  13. Great description. I want to know who threw the grenade, and why, and why they’re going to try to blame her.

    1. Poor Tompa is in the wrong place at the wrong time. She is now officially the fall guy (gal) of an interplanetary conspiracy.

  14. eeew! sledgehammer hand…poor Tompa. Nice excerpt though. And Effing, save your time tearing the house apart. I have it on good authority that computer mice can be ordered on Amazon. 🙂

    1. They can be bought at electronics stores, too. My wife just bought a new mouse at a neighborhood story.

  15. Andrea R Huelsenbeck · · Reply

    Like many of the commenters, I appreciate the description of the blast. “The blast was so loud she felt it rather than heard it.” I’m there.

    1. That detail came from personal experience. One time while hurrying to get home before a storm hit, I was nearly hit by lightning — the tree near me got fried — but I never heard a thing. My vision whited out, my hair stood on end, and the concussion shoved me several feet. That’s the feeling I was trying to capture.

  16. Diane Burton · · Reply

    Great description of the explosion. So visual, sort of like slo-mo in a movie. Good job.

    1. Slo-mo in a movie is a flattering comparison. Thanks.

  17. A great and gory description of the explosion. I’ve never heard of a snake-like bus before. Perhaps it’s one of those bendy buses that no one liked in London. Effing, pack your suitcase and come to my old farmhouse, where the mice have regular tea parties.

    1. Considering the kind of cat he is, Effing wouldn’t have to pack a suitcase: I can e-mail him to you!

  18. ameliatreader · · Reply

    I’ve found peanut butter and gumdrops to be the best bait for mice. They’ll come from miles around.

    1. Hmm. This raises the question: Why on Earth have you had occasion to draw mice to you from miles around? There’s a story here.

  19. Ah yes – hold my hand!
    We have had mice in a sofa! Cats are useful.

    1. Cats are useful, but Effing is more suited to blogging than mousing.

  20. elainecsc2013 · · Reply

    Fab description of a chilling moment, especially the hand.

    1. I’m glad you liked the description. This is the inciting incident from which springs all the rest of the book’s action, so it’s important it be memorable.

  21. o.O

    That scene has quite an impact. (Couldn’t resist.) There’s going to be a lot of clean-up involved, and a lot of dead and injured. Who would do such a thing, I wonder…

    1. Enough impact to crack her skull.

  22. Love your “…like dust motes through bright summer sun.” Great visual. Intriguing snippet. Peanut butter is definitely the things to use for mice. Translate that into: If you do have mice, keep your Reese’s peanut butter cups in the refrigerator.

    1. Does Arizona have mice? In all the years since we moved down here, we’ve never had a nibble of one, so to speak.

  23. Siren X Star · · Reply

    Very descriptive snippet, I could see that severed hand.

    And Effing, your plan is brilliant. Let us know how it goes.

    1. Siren, you are definitely a BAD INFLUENCE on my innocent cat. 😉

  24. Effing, my cats tell me the best place to wait is under the sink where the garbage can is. Ed, this was a powerful scene. It brings up tragic scenes from our own reality and so makes the reaction of the Schon and Trompa’s resulting trials so much more believable.

    1. Thanks for the kind words about the scene. It takes a lot to motivate hundreds of aliens to seek revenge, so the scene skates kind of close to being over-the-top.

  25. I gotta say, the severed hand angle is brilliant. It’s uncommon, but ironic because that would likely happen in real life. Also, “purrfect…” Oh Effing, never change. 😀

    1. So often in fiction, the devil is in the details we choose.

  26. This just doesn’t seem like it’s going to be Tompa’s day, does it?

    1. It isn’t her dream, either. Being in the Space Navy was her life’s dream, but it isn’t turning out well so far.

      1. Body parts flying around outside the clinches rarely ends well…..

  27. *Shudder* Great description.

    1. Thanks, Kimmydonn.

  28. That’s one scary hand, it sounds a bit gross too.

    And for the mouse, get a piano, mice love to chew on the strings and if they don’t show up, you can still be a musician.

    1. That’s okay, just as long as mice don’t chew on my oboe reeds.

  29. I felt that blow. Ouch. Great scene. 🙂

    1. If the blow fractured your skull like it did Tompa’s, you have my apology.

  30. Great description! Tell Effing he can come to my house to chase mice – I’ve got one lurking in the garage and trying to get rid of it!

    1. Poor Effing. Everybody has mice but him.

  31. Holy shit! What a scene! I wish I knew what the paragraph left that you read out. Amazing descriptions, as always.

    And um, if Effing wants a real mouse, tell him to come to my house and lurk around my basement for a few nights. Apparently we have an unwelcomed family down there. So far we’ve caught three, but are pretty sure there’s more.

    1. The deleted paragraph dealt with the old Shon, who will become a major character, since he’s the only one who witnessed that Tompa didn’t throw the grenade.

      1. Ahh. Good to know. 🙂

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