Effing Feline, astronaut! #wewriwa

 Photos: DepositPhotos

I, Effing Feline, like my pet human’s stories about outer space — but wouldn’t they be astronomically better with feline heroes and heroines? Just imagine!

Today’s snippet from Constellation XXI continues picks up shortly after last week’s. After positioning her tugship to intercept any spaceships coming in through her sector, she looks at family pictures to remind herself what’s at stake in her job.

Then she waits.

After another painstaking double-check of all systems, Sienna the cat reclined her command chair — step one of the trance procedure — and then followed the other eight steps involved in entering the high-alert repose that would allow her to function for seven days.

Boredom and routine were good. Boredom and routine were her friends. But as Sienna the puddytat drifted through clouds of cotton candy into the cozy depths of trance, she wished something exciting would happen so she could convince the doubters — including, she was annoyed to discover, herself — that she was worthy of one of the most exacting and underappreciated piloting jobs in the galaxy.

* * *

The visor of Sienna’s the puddingtat’s flight helmet cycled from jade to burgundy and back in a soft, ever-brighter rhythm that nudged her out of trance.

Incoming ship!

She jerked straight in her command chair even before it was fully upright. Gravitational-wave sensor eight displayed an insignificant dot, but when she magnified it to maximum, the dot grew a short tail that wiggled like a stringfish tadpole. Sienna thought the command to turn on the communication channel to Rampart-G space station cat house, her ‘home’ during this six-month tour of duty, so she could report the approaching ship.

Effing Feline here again. My edits make this a much better story. You agree, of course — don’t you? Before you answer, remember my claws!

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.



  1. I must admit that Effing did a bang-up job of editing your snippet, Ed!!

    I keep saying that you need to write a book about Effing–or use him as your MC. lol

    I like the detail–the helmet cycling through colors.

    I think that her wish for something exciting to happen is about to come true.

    1. What’s that old saying? Something about “Be careful what you wish for?”

      As for an Effing book . . . Ideas for Effing come in tiny packages, not book-sized nuggets. I don’t know why.

  2. Effing has big ideas, but I think like most cats, the lure of a nap pretty soon overwhelms the creative energy!

    Hope the book is doing really well, Ed.

    1. Effing would like the idea of going into trance mode for a week. Thanks for the best wishes, Lisabet.

  3. I love Effing’s edits! Cats have never forgotten, and never will forget, they used to be worshipped as deities.

    I also like your visuals of the helmet and the dot becoming a tadpole.

    1. It seems Effing’s edits are a matter of personal taste. In all honesty, this snippet probably isn’t as gripping as some others, so Effing’s edits might actually add, rather than detract.

  4. Wishing for something exciting … seems like one of those “be careful what you wish for” moments! And of course, Effing’s edits are pawsitively purrfect 🙂

    1. Definitely a ‘be careful what you wish for’ moment.

  5. Is Effing available to edit other authors?

    I think the puddytat, er, Sienna, is about to get that excitement she daydreams about. Be careful what you wish for!

    1. Do you think Effing has a future as an editor? Can he edit your next book?

  6. I agree with Effing! So much better with a cat 😂

    On Sun, Mar 3, 2019, 01:50 Ed Hoornaert (Mr. Valentine) wrote:

    > Ed Hoornaert posted: ” I, Effing Feline, like my pet human’s stories > about outer space — but wouldn’t they be astronomically better with feline > heroes and heroines? Just imagine! Today’s snippet from Constellation XXI > continues picks up shortly after last week'” >

    1. And here I always assumed you had good artistic sense, Elyzabeth!

  7. Hywela Lyn · · Reply

    Wow. Effing is a master editor – do you lend him out? (and Effing, the heroine of my last book was called Cat – just saying.) I’m another fan of the colour changing helmet and the tadpole. Got this one on my wish list, all I need now is time to read them all!

    1. “Lend him out?” Hah! RENT him out is more like it!

  8. Some author write books about cats in space.
    Effing would like the sleep time on this job!

    1. You’re right about Effing enjoying all the time to sleep. Problem is, he’d fall asleep even in the middle of a fist fight.

  9. Today Effing reaps all the way. Ed, I so enjoy your stories year after year. They are different with lots of humor.

    1. I can’t help the humor; it creeps in unannounced. Same thing for being different. I can’t help it.

  10. Cats would be awesome at that alert repose thing. Just saying.

    BTW, the book “Otters in Space” by Mary E Lowd actually has a cat MC. Effing might enjoy that, depending on how he feels about otters.

    1. I’ll have to look into Otters in Space. Maybe if Effing were absorbed in reading it, he wouldn’t mess with my work!

  11. Not a fan of Effing’s ‘edits’…. but ignoring him (hard to do, I know LOL) another terrific snippet, great details in how all this works in her world!

    1. And here we get the opposite opinion about Effing’s editing. Personally, I kind of agree with you. As I said above, this passage lacks strong emotional punch, which he sorted added.

  12. Great imagery.
    Effing’s editing was distracting. I read the snippet his way and then went back and read it the way you wrote it. lol Well done either way,

    1. You’re with Jean, then. Rest assured that the published book doesn’t contain Effing’s scribbles.

  13. Author Jessica E. Subject · · Reply

    Sienna really wants to prove herself here, and after the snippets you shared earlier, I’m sure she’ll have the chance. The question is, will she prove herself to all the doubters. Nice snippet!

    1. I like to think that in the end she has the kind of triumph that convinces everyone of her worth.

  14. nancygideon · · Reply

    Nice scene, Ed, from dream to drama in 8-10 sentences. Is she up for the challenge? My cats can never agree on their edits so I usually give them treats and they keep their opinions to themselves.

    1. Good thinking, Nancy. Cats are likely to express their editorial opinions with either their claws or their pee.

  15. Cats in space! Though I think Effing should write his own, rather than tamper with yours.

    1. You hear that, Effing? Don’t mess with my writing!

  16. Diane Burton · · Reply

    Shouldn’t it be “da puddytat”? Loved Effing’s edits.

    You reinforce Sienna’s diligence with regulations. Good story arc. (no spoilers)

    1. Puhlease, Diane! Effing’s handiwork is bad enough without you editing his edits.

  17. Great snippet, especially since I was literally picturing it with a sassy female cat wearing a pilot cap through the whole thing.

    1. Oh, dear. Effing has created a monster in my readers’ minds!

  18. She wished for something exciting… the oncoming shop will certainly give her plenty of that.

  19. Cara Hartley · · Reply

    Dear Effing Feline,
    When I was a child, I wanted to be a cat. There was a book that my parents would read to me. One scene described a fiercely barking collie. I demanded that the fiercely barking collie should be changed to a fiercely meowing kitty.
    My dreams of being a cat were destroyed when I finally tried a handful of kibble and realized there was no way I could ever be a cat.
    Your fan,
    The Real Cie

    1. You actually tried kibble? Oh, yuck! On the other hand the prospect of lying in the sun on something soft and getting petting has its appeal.

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