Effing Feline peers into the wolf’s mouth

Photos: DepositPhotos

I, Effing Feline, think English is weird. Take the saying “Never look a gift horse in the mouth.” Why shouldn’t you? You can tell a lot by looking in a horse’s mouth, like its age and health. Right, Hywela?

“Gift cats,” of course, are different. Don’t expect a gift from a cat. Instead, shower your cat with gifts.

Ed’s upcoming near-future SFR novel is Audra Fleeing Audra Finding. Penniless and desperate, twenty-something Audra lets a Kwadran construction worker guide her up a wilderness mountain to a back entrance to Kwadra’s abandoned, underground cities, where she hopes to be safe from the abusive lover who wants to take sole custody of her baby.

As they reach the ventilation tunnel that will allow her to visit the underworld, she asks her guide’s name. Talopas (Tal for short) means prairie wolf in his language. She tries to say goodbye, but he insists on accompanying her into the mountain.

“Why?” she said aloud; “what’s your angle, mister?”

He reached toward her chest, making her cringe back. Extending his index finger, he caressed Roxie’s cheek, and the baby gurgled.

“Oh.” So his selflessness had nothing to do with her? That was reassuring — or was it a tiny bit insulting, instead?

“Well, then . . .” She should be grateful to him, should smile and say thank you, should accept this token of the universe’s surprising love with grace and good humor. She grinned; what was that saying about not looking a gift wolf in the mouth?

Effing Feline here again. If you look a “Gift Wolf” in the mouth, all you’ll probably see is your nose being chewed. After all, wolves are related to (shudder) dogs.

So don’t peer into the mouth of a wolf, okay? If you need something to do instead, check out the other writers in Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday.

Audra Fleeing Audra Finding

She’s running from an abusive lover…but what is she running to?

When her lover threatens to take sole custody of her baby, Audra Verhailey flees where even he can’t follow: the aliens’ forbidden cities underneath Kwadra Island.

But can the safe isolation she wants for her daughter survive a search party, a violent gang of criminals—and the love of an emotionally damaged Kwadran?



  1. When’s the release, Ed? (When will you stop tantalizing us?)

    1. Sorry, no release date yet. It hasn’t even been edited yet.

  2. Author Jessica E. Subject · · Reply

    Considering she doesn’t know what she’ll encounter inside, it might be nice to still have him along. Nice snippet!

    1. Yes, she needs him.

  3. Well Effing, you’re absolutely right about the reasons for lookng into a horse’s mouth. They’re actually the very reasons why you shouldn’t, if the horse is a gift – it could be considered a tad rude and ungrateful. 🙂 As for not looking into a wolf’s mouth, an excellent bit of advice, which I shall definitely take heed of next time I meet one.

    Ed – I like this Kwadran of yours more every week. For goodness sake, Audra, thaw a little can’t you!

    1. Thanks for enlightening me about why you shouldn’t look in a gift horse’s mouth. I never thought about that angle.

  4. On the one hand, Tal has been very helpful and eager to please. On the other hand, he really is a stranger. Which outweighs the other? I can see why she’s still leery. But Jessica makes a very good point–he could still be helpful inside the mountain. I’m thinking she’s gonna say yes. Great conflict you’ve set up, Ed. She’s pretty much damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t.

    1. This is a very measured response, though I can understand that people want the romance to heat up.

  5. Hey, Effing, my cats bring me lots of gifts. Nothing I ever want, but I guess it’s the thought that counts. Hey, Ed, another great snippet. I like that she’s both relieved and a little insulted.

    1. I think her emotional response is rather honest. So much of the time our responses are an amalgam of more than one emotion.

  6. Diane Burton · · Reply

    Audra’s feelings toward Tal are all over the place. She really should just accept his help and be grateful. LOL

    1. True. Her feelings haven’t yet settled into one groove. In the manuscript, though, this is only page 12, so there’s plenty of time.

  7. A resolution is about to come. You don’t miss a trick as the story unfolds.

    1. You’re right about the resolution, though at this point it’s a temporary resolution.

  8. ‘Gift wolf’ indeed – love the concept! Another fascinating snippet, I appreciate that he and the baby seem to get along so nicely.

    1. I considered using the gift wolf thingy in the book title, but it’s a bit clunky.

  9. One touch of the baby’s cheek and suddenly she trusts him! Good instinct.

    1. It speaks to her motherly instincts.

  10. I’m agreeing with Effing. She has every right to be cautious for now!

    1. The writing warriors seem to be split between those who want her to trust him quicker and those who understand her caution.

  11. Karen Michelle Nutt · · Reply

    I can see why she’s still leery. He is a stranger even if he’s been helpful.

    1. She’s grateful, but not yet willing to put total and utter trust in him.

  12. elainecsc2013 · · Reply

    If it were me I’d appreciate the company, but he is a stranger after all.

    1. Although she’s really conflicted, she pretty much feels the same way.

  13. So she trusts him now?
    BTW, never heard of looking a gift wolf in the mouth 🙂

    1. You have now, Iris!

  14. Lots of people like babies, or will go the extra mile for children, so I’d go with reassuring. Besides, she can’t afford to be picky!

    1. Right on all counts, Caitlin.

  15. I really like Audra’s character! She’s spunky and cynical–and trying real hard to be nobody’s fool. 🙂

    1. She would greatly appreciate your assessment of her character.

  16. I like both these characters. Good job!

    1. Likable characters are super important, so thanks, Chris.

  17. I applaud Audra for trying to be sensible in a chaotic situation. Who to trust when she’s not been able to trust anyone, is a big deal.

    1. It’s certainly a big deal for her.

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