Effing Feline feels no guilt #wewriwa

Photos: DepositPhotos

I, Effing Feline, chose this week’s snippet only because Ed, aka Mr Valentine, says it’s crucial to understanding the heroine of Constellation XXI. Personally, though, I don’t understand it at all.

Guilt? What the dogfart is that? To quote a famous cat (who really wrote those plays), guilt is “but a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the page and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot.” (If the shoe fits, Mr V . . .)

Sienna Dukelsky captains a tugship, outer space’s answer to a tugboat. She has just matched speed with an incoming ship captained by Crispin Hunt, her first and best lover; she had parted with him years ago under circumstances that still caused insomnia and guilty tears.

But when she finally sees her again, he hugs her like a long-lost love. The final lines last week were: He didn’t know what she’d done to him, then. He didn’t know!

If she’d thought about it, she would’ve guessed discovery was the worst possible thing that could happen. Even as a girl, she’d feared having her little misdeeds come to light.

Her siblings were at least ten years older and they seemed perfect. They could run faster, stay up later, think quicker, eat without spilling, get every schoolwork question right — and for a perfectionist-in-the-making, that was intolerable. They never wet the bed, or left their clothes on the floor, or hid half-chewed stringcorn under the rim of their plates.

If no one said anything about Sienna’s stringcorn, she felt as perfect as the big kids who always ate their stringcorn even it if was slimy. But if her misdeeds surfaced —

And now, if Crispin spoke of her gravest misdeed — worse than anything a decent woman would even contemplate — or if he hinted that knew she’d gotten him expelled from the academy, she might have a heart attack and die. Or at least want to.

But didn’t she wish that already, sometimes?

Effing Feline here again. Okay, now I sort of understand where this woman is coming from. Getting in trouble is something that any cat not as brave as I am can understand.

Guilt, though? Ridiculous! Do anything you can get away with, that’s the Feline Motto!

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

Constellation XXI

Rediscovering Love at the Worst Possible Time

When her tugship inexplicably loses power while aimed straight at her space station home, Sienna Dukelsky tries frantically to get her ship working in time. But can she cooperate with Crispin Hunt, a former lover she’d once betrayed, to create a way to regain control before the ship kills thousands?



  1. I can imagine how those childhood fears could survive into adulthood, in a slightly different way, and leave one feeling rather insecure.

    1. Oh, she’s feeling more than “rather” insecure.

  2. Author Jessica E. Subject · · Reply

    Sienna’s guilt is very strong. Will it make her confess?

    1. Eventually, yes, but one or two (or three or four) little problems will crop up to interfere with an immediate confession.

  3. Ed, this story is so well told in every way. You have left me right in the middle of an exciting tale. Thanks.

    1. Thanks so much, Charmaine!

  4. “Do anything you can get away with.” That’s a great cue for a story.

    (You do have me wondering what Sienna did do to Crispin, though.)

    1. That’s a cat’s philosophy of life. I’m sure Effing thinks it would make a great story.

  5. She has a big problem. But is her self-guilt worse than the actual misdeed? Maybe he doesn’t care.

    1. From his POV, the problem is that he has built her up as a paragon that he must strive to live up to. The misdeed might threaten that image.

  6. julieevelynjoyce · · Reply

    Guilt schmilt! 😀 I, too, am very curious to know what happened between Sienna and Crispin in the past. Keep up the excellent writing!

    1. I’m glad so many people have swallowed the bait I cast upon the waters.

  7. Diane Burton · · Reply

    This snippet shows so much about Sienna’s need to do a good job. I always thought being the oldest was tough. Looks like being the youngest is tougher, so much to live up to.

    1. Speaking as a youngest, yes, it can be tough, too.

  8. That’s quite the twist. It makes what should be old trouble new again! I can relate to her agony. Great snippet.

    1. The usual trope, in romance at least, is for the woman to have been the wounded party years ago. Although I use tropes all the time, I break out in hives if I don’t give them a twist, such as shifting the misdeed to the female.

  9. Getting someone expelled is way worse than not eating your stringcorn! Will we learn what she did to achieve that?

    1. I’m glad you caught this. The juxtaposition of a trivial misdeed with a major misdeed is intentional and intended to make the major misdeed seem even worse..

  10. Uh oh, high stakes here for sure. I like the glimpse into her past for sure. Very well done snippet! Can’t wait for more…

    1. My intent was to make the personal stakes for Sienna as high as possible.

  11. Wow–got him kicked out of the Academy?? That might be a tough one to get through should their feelings for each other rekindle…

    Oh Effing, wish I had your confidence.

    The feline motto? I believe it! lol

    1. Yes, they’ll definitely have some big issues to work out, although, as is typical for people with overactive consciences, she’s overstating her role in the affair.

  12. Elaine Cantrell · · Reply

    She seems sort of insecure and guilty. It’s hard being a perfectionist.

    1. Darn, darn, darn. I was trying for “sort of insecure and REALLY guilty.”

  13. I know that type of insecurity well. You certainly nailed it.

    1. I’m a youngest child though not (quite) a perfectionist, and it was easy to imagine the rest of it.

  14. Wow, that’s a lot of insecurities to deal with, and on top of it the guilt …

    1. She has a lot of baggage to overcome, that’s for sure.

  15. Of course, I’m curious to know what she did to get Crispin expelled from the academy.

    Her fear of discovery came in loud and clear.

    1. Then the mystery hook is doing its job.

  16. Oooh!! Interesting last line. What a cliff hanger, Ed, you dog (or cat, if you prefer!).

    1. Effing would prefer cat.

  17. Childhood insecurities stay with you forever. I hope it doesn’t bring her more grief though. I feel like those last few lines were very telling.

    1. If she were a character in Sense and Sensibility, she’d be Marianne — but with everything bottled up inside her.

  18. Now there’s a bombshell! I wonder how she got him expelled, and why. Was it on purpose? I want details. Lol. Good snippet! (And oh how I’ve missed Effing and these blog hops, it’s good to be back.)

  19. Welcome back, Daelyn. Effing has missed curling up on your (virtual) lap.

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