Effing Feline and the door into winter

Photos: DepositPhotos

I, Effing Feline, have gotten interested in tracking down my ancestors. Geneology sites are useless for cats — an intolerable oversight — but I’ve discovered some cats who are worthy of my bloodline.

One such is Pete in The Door Into Summer, by Robert A. Heinlein. Awhile back, Mr Valentine proclaimed this ginger ale-swigging puss the greatest cat in all of science fiction. Clearly, Pete must be related to me.

Today, a snippet from an upcoming (December 4, 2017) science fiction romance by my pet human, Mr Valentine: Rescuing Prince Charming. It picks from where we ended last week, with tech writer Dusty Johnson searching all alone for a bomb saboteurs have planted in the poorly lit guts of Earth’s first starship, which is under construction.

Nothing was neat and tidy down here; in a prototype, speed and ingenuity trumped meticulous design. That meant a lot of places for saboteurs to hide a bomb, but only two where technicians wouldn’t discover it in the course of a workday.

The first hiding place was a niche behind the backup life support nexus. Staring into its shadows, she paused. A heroine wouldn’t hesitate, but an ordinary, everyday woman would think twice about squeezing into a dirty cranny while wearing a new, cream-colored chambray skirt with filigree trim.

Maybe she should just walk away.

Or run.

But there was no one else around to save the ship, and reaching the stars was her dream . . .

Imagining she was watching a movie heroine who’d never had a second thought in her life, Dusty slipped between a girder and the grease-streaked life support housing. When her skirt survived unscathed, she felt an instant’s relief . . . until she spied a cheap plastic lunch kit, tucked almost out of sight.

Effing Feline here again. When the weather got cold and snowy, Heinlein’s Pete went from door to door, hoping that one of them led to summer. That’s incomprehensible! Summer is hot enough to singe my fur. Why isn’t Pete looking for the door into winter?

Mr V, you should totally write a story about an Arizona cat called The Door Into Winter. Do it now. Immediately!

While he’s writing, the rest of you go visit the Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday authors. Do it now. Immediately!

I now have a back cover blurb for Rescuing Prince Charming. Here goes:

Dusty Johnson, a self-styled ordinary, everyday woman, responds with extraordinary heroism when saboteurs try to bomb the prototype of Earth’s first starship. Although she yearns to return to anonymity, that moment of courage propels her ever deeper into dangers that tear the scabs off her dark secrets—and thrust her into the arms of the unattainable man of her dreams.

Reese Eaglesbrood, an alien prince, yearns to restore his tattered reputation by guiding the starship project to completion, but his fascination with the unassuming heroine threatens to undermine his fragile authority. Shunning Dusty is necessary, yet unthinkable—and when the saboteurs strike again, she is his only ally against Earth’s most elusive enemies.

Rescuing Prince Charming is now available for pre-sale.



  1. Interesting snippet with great descriptions. I like how she just goes for it.

    1. But with a great deal of trepidation.

  2. Sounds like she’s not dressed for the job, but it’s a good thing she’s doing it anyway!

    1. What kind of heroine would she be if she went home to change before searching for the bomb?

  3. She’s a brave one! Great snippet!

    1. Hopefully her courage will make her vivid and well loved by readers.

  4. The Door into Summer is probably my favorite of Heinlein’s books. If Pete is your ancestor, Effing, you truly have a noble ancestry.

    I love how Dusty pauses not because of the possible danger, but the possible destruction of her outfit! Glad she sacrifices that in the end and finds the suspicious lunch kit!

    1. The Door into Summer is one of my favorite Heinlein novels, too. Supposedly he wrote it in two weeks!

  5. nancygideon · · Reply

    I love it when the ordinary becomes extraordinary! So much more at stake . . . and to root for!

    1. If a ‘superhero’ did the things Dusty is doing, it’d be no big deal.

  6. Author Jessica E. Subject · · Reply

    I love her brief moment of hesitation before going for it. Very realistic. And now she realized how much more important her actions are. Great snippet!

    1. If I were in her Manolos and hesitated, I’m pretty sure that stopping to think would do me in. I’d run.

  7. What a scene! So perfect.

    1. I’m glad you think so, Charmaine.

  8. I wonder why she’s so not dressed for this sabotage hunt but i’m really enjoying it! Can’t wait for more…excellent excerpt!

    1. The warning message about the bomb arrived in the middle of the workday, so her search is impromptu.

  9. Sometimes a woman’s just gotta do what a woman’s gotta do. (Which is why I’m nursing a sore back and more bruises than I can count from assembling a piece of flat pack furniture. Let’s hope that Dusty — and her clothes — fare better than I did.)

    1. Oh, she does. She finds the man of her dreams, which is probably more than you managed.

  10. Great scene. Great snippet.

  11. I love unlikely heroines and the premise for this story. Let’s save the ship!

    1. I’m speaking on some panels at the local Comic Con, and seeing all the superhero costumes and comics and artwork reinforces my preference for more ordinary folks over superheros.

  12. I love than entire midsection– so good!

  13. kimmydonn · · Reply

    Brave woman! I don’t think I’d fit…

    1. She’s not at all sure she fits into the role of heroine, either.

  14. I love that she seems more worried about her chambray skirt (with filigree trim – great description) than the imminent possibility of being blown to smithereens! Great excerpt – and take care of Effing, he sounds a wee bit sorry for himself!

    1. Oh, Effing always feels either sorry for himself or annoyed by the lesser beings around him.

  15. I adore the bit about the skirt. Great snippet.

    1. The skirt was a last minute addition. Since I know nothing about what would be a nice skirt, I Googled it and asked my wife.

  16. Karen Michelle Nutt · · Reply

    Great imagery in this scene. I love that she has just a moment of hesitation before she decides what the heck and goes for it. Very realistic way of processing what to do next. I’m curious to know how it will all play out.

    1. While I want Dusty to seem heroic, I always want readers to know that she’s just an ordinary woman embroiled in extraordinary events.

  17. elainecsc2013 · · Reply

    Having her worry about her blouse is absolutely perfect.

    1. Being a guy, I had to research the details for her clothes.

  18. Great description of her skirt. I’d hesitate too. lol.

    All was going well until that plastic lunchbox. Excellent job setting a hook!

    No snippet for me this week.

    1. If you’d hesitate, then you’re a woman after Dusty’s own heart.

  19. Love the way she has to think about it. I thought all was going to be good until that lunchbox.

    1. Yeah. Now she has to check to see what’s in the lunchbox.

      1. I’m hoping it’s just somebody’s lunch.

  20. Diane Burton · · Reply

    I love her view of herself. An ordinary person doing the extraordinary. I’m intrigued by this snippet. Off to pre-order the book.

    1. Her inner journey partly includes acknowledging the extraordinary part of herself.

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