Effing Feline is a tulip #wewriwa

 Photos: DepositPhotos

I, Effing Feline, want wooden shoes.

Why, you ask? Because I learned that my cousin, Pamela Kaat, wears them. Her pet humans are Ed’s son and his girlfriend, who live in The Netherlands. Over there the law is that all cats must wear wooden shoes.

It’s true, I swear. Pamela told me so herself via Skype, and she wouldn’t lie to me.

Constellation XXI, has now been released. Today’s snippet continues from last week’s. It’s the calm before the storm, because we’ve flashed back to the very beginning of Sienna Dukelsky’s first solo mission. After positioning her tugship to intercept any spaceships coming in through her sector, she takes a moment to remind herself what’s at stake in her job.

Trying to anticipate what might go wrong, because if anything went wrong, her ship and her life were at risk, she double-checked diagnostics and scanned sensors manually.

“Step forty-one B,” Sienna whispered — because this step was her own, not the Intragalactic Traffic Control Guild’s. “Study the holos to remind yourself why you have to be perfect.”

She swiveled the chair to face the montage of holograms she’d affixed to the cover plate of storage compartment Portside-B9. At top left, mom and dad in healthier days, gazing at each other; Sienna yearned to make them proud while they still lived.

Top right: Cousin Duke and his wife, Sandrina, who were Farflung Station’s Security Chief and Assistant Stationmaster, respectively. They’d be dishonored if a rookie with the same last name screwed up.

Bottom: her brother and two sisters with arms outstretched to encompass Sienna’s four nieces and three nephews. All of them could die if she failed to keep an incoming ship on a precise course at a slow, safe docking speed. As she caressed each holographic cheek, wishing she felt warm skin instead of cool plastic, her fingertip lingered on seven-year-old Dani, who wanted to be a pilot like the aunt she idolized.

Effing Feline here again. I want some wooden shoes of my own. According to Pamela, they’re like wearing your very own scratching post. Sounds wonderful!

I notice, though, that none of her pictures on her Instagram page show her wearing them. I wonder why that is. Any ideas?

Be sure to check out the other great writers in Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday.

Constellation XXI

Rediscovering Love at the Worst Possible Time

Although Sienna Dukelsky had been the most promising student pilot at Keening AstroSpace Academy, she inexplicably settles for a routine, unglamorous job guiding incoming spaceships to safe berths at Farflung Space Station. Rumors blamed her startling decision on heartbreak after Crispin Hunt, the love of her life, got expelled.

Approaching Farflung years several later, Crispin’s freighter is met by Sienna’s tugship. Love rekindles, though dampened by old betrayals. And when her ship loses power while aimed straight at the space station, Sienna must confront astonishing secrets about Crispin and his cargo—secrets that make hers the most important job in the galaxy.

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32 comments

  1. Aunts are a great influence on girls! She’ll do well, she has a lot of people to protect, and impress.

    1. And she gets more people to protect and impress as the story progresses, until she has the weight of a world on her shoulders.

  2. Wow, this is such a powerful scene with her studying the holos, and the writing is fantastic! Also, I really think Effing needs some wooden shoes. You should start a Go-Clog-Me fund.

    Congrats on your release! 🙂

    1. There are definitely times when I want to clog Effing but good . . . even though he’s my alter ego. Does that say something weird about me?

  3. Author Jessica E. Subject · · Reply

    Oh gosh! All that added pressure on her. I love how you wove these details into the story!

    1. Thanks! I love it when I can make backstory add tension to the main story.

  4. Diane Burton · · Reply

    She has a lot riding on her, even more than she thinks. I love how she goes through the manual in her head, as if she’s checking off each item on the list. Shows her organized mind. I really enjoyed this story, Ed. Tell Effing that he has to wear 13 pair of socks to wear wooden shoes. That’s what the girls who wear them in the Tulip Time Festival in Holland, Michigan say.

    1. This means a lot to me, Diane! As for wearing 13 pairs of socks . . . Effing doesn’t have that many. Or any, for that matter. He says they interfere with his grooming.

  5. Oh, my gosh, there is a lot going on here and yet you always manage to write more.

    1. I don’t know about that last part. I have NOT been good lately as ‘writing more’.

  6. Awww, a very nice little moment and further insight into the character! Terrific snippet!

    1. I’m a bit surprised at the positive reaction to this snippet, since nothing really happens.

  7. You’ve certainly shown how important her family is to her.
    I don’t think any cat would enjoy wearing clogs!

    1. You mean you think Cousin Pamela lied about wearing clogs? I’m aghast!

  8. That is a great step in any procedures manual – remind yourself why you’re here!

    1. Not all jobs are important. I know that most of the jobs I’ve held were . . . but not all of them. When I wrote manuals for hospital laboratory software, from time to time the people on the team would muse about how important our job was.

  9. Love how you wove in this backstory and showed what’s at stake for her.

    1. There’s more backstory in this book than in many of my works.

  10. I’m with Alexis! I love the combination of backstory, emotion, and stakes!

    1. I’m delighted it works!

  11. Sienna has a lot to live up to with that last name! I like how she runs down through the holos–recognizing every reason to be ‘perfect.’

    Effing, Effing, Effing… Wooden shoes? You never struck me as the kind of cat that could be so easily fooled… lol!

    1. There’s an element of profound ignorance underlying Effing’s know-it-all claws. Actually, I’m pretty sure that’s true of many or most people who think their “gut” tells them everything they need to know so that they don’t need to read or listen to experts.

  12. nancygideon · · Reply

    Such strong motivation! You paint it beautifully. This is moving up fast on the TBRs on my Kindle. Oh, to retire and have all that time to read!

    1. I’m “retired” (note the quotes!) and I still don’t have enough time to read everything I want to. Right now I’m slogging through 7 books I’m judging for a contest. In fairness, two of the four I’ve gotten through have been a delight. The other two . . . why on Earth did anyone think they were worthy of entering?

  13. So many good reasons for Sienna to do her job perfectly, but that last is definitely seems like the most motivating.

    1. At key moments she thinks of little Dani again, so yes, she’s a motivator.

  14. Excellent weaving in of back-story as we keep heading toward the “bump” that’s going to take her into crisis mode. I’m on the edge of my seat waiting to see what it is! You’ve built this up for so long, I’m champing at the bit to find out! Great job!

    1. The build-up lasts four chapters. I string it out for a long time.

  15. Elaine Cantrell · · Reply

    That’s a lot of pressure on her, but it is a strong motivation.

    1. Earlier in her life she was a perfectionist even before she had such powerful motivation, In that sense, the job suits her well.

  16. Cara Hartley · · Reply

    No pressure there, Sienna! 😉
    My son’s cat Bart would not abide wooden shoes. Bart’s older “brother” Giorgio might like them. His previous humans had him declawed, so it might give him a feeling of security to have wooden shoes.

    1. I’m trying to imagine a cat trying to sneak up one a mouse while wearing noisy wooden shoes . . .

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