Effing Feline has no baggage #wewriwa

Photos: DepositPhotos

I, Effing Feline, has no baggage. Or luggage. Or stuff of any kind. If a cat wants to prowl from one place to another, do we pack dental floss and jammies? Do we buy a special box to carry our things in — and make up a word for the box? “Luggage.” Something you have to lug around. Ugh.

And, since humans think one word is never as good as two or ten, you have to go to the bother of making up other words. Luggage. Baggage. Bags, Cases. Suitcases. Belongings. Then you need books to define each of these words. And of course, online dictionaries in case some people don’t know what ‘stuff’ is. It’s insane.

In Alien Contact for an Enhanced Nutcracker, Holly Jansen, an out-of-work orchestra conductor, gets a job offer from the king of Kwadra Island — a nation from an alternate earth that the inhabitants had “hopped” to our earth to escape environmental collapse. He wants her to conduct a performance of The Nutcracker ballet as a surprise Christmas present for his American-born wife.

In today’s snippet, Holly has just arrived at the arts center, where she and the performers will be sequestered until Christmas. She makes a request of the two young men escorting her into the building.

“First,” Holly said, “a telephone. I need to call my brother now that I’ve arrived.”

“Telephone?” The youth carrying her luggage frowned as though he had to search the database in his implant for the word.

She took a deep breath. “Oh Lord, don’t you have telephones here? I know there’s no cellphone reception on the island, but—”

“We choose not to be swallowed up in your communications universe,” Suko said. “Your salesmen alone outnumber everyone on Kwadra, and you have ten times as many spies trying to steal our technology — even your tourists are thieves.” He glared at her as though he meant her personally.

Effing Feline here again. The human obsession with ‘stuff’ doesn’t end with words. Once you have luggage, you need to buy a weatherproof building in which to store stuff until you need it. Bah!

The proper use for a house or apartment is not to hold your ‘stuff’ — it’s to keep your cat warm and dry. Remember that!

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

Alien Contact for an Enhanced Nutcracker

The Nutcracker ballet performed for and by aliens?!?

Holly Jansen, a young orchestra conductor down on her luck, is secretly hired by an alien king to conduct The Nutcracker on Kwadra Island as a Christmas present for his American wife. This big break seems like a Christmas miracle, but after she meets the lead dancer, she wonders if it’s a curse, instead . . .

. . . because the Kwadran queen has secretly ordered superstar dancer Rafael Sekwa to produce a potlatch dance honoring her husband’s ancestors — on the same date, time, and stage as The Nutcracker. The stubborn genius is determined to do so, no matter what, and Holly finds her ambition melting in the face of her growing admiration . . . and love.

Get your copy at:

NanoWrimo update

To help keep myself on track this November, I’m going to try to post my progress. As always, I’m starting out full of vim, vigor, and words. And as always, I’ll probably slow down later.

After 9 days — 20,855 words



  1. A place with no phones … hmm … I wonder whether that’s good or bad 🙂

    1. They have implants that allow them to communicate amongst themselves. They consider physical telephones ludicrously archaic.

  2. Diane Burton · · Reply

    Poor Effing, trying to understand us humans. But what happens when those who do speak English can’t understand our words? I love the “fancy” words for ordinary things you made up for the Kwadrans. Some are clever while some sound silly. Good snippet, Ed.

    1. I’m sure that most of what we humans do is utterly incomprehensible to the pets. For example, our dog, Twiggles, understands when we’re doing when we prepare food in the kitchen or put one our coats to go out. Everything else? Not so much.

  3. Teresa Cypher · · Reply

    Poor Holly. She does have a bit of a rough-go, starting out.

    And, poor Effing. He spends so much of his time being angry. If it’s not at us, then it’s at Twiggles…

    1. When you go to a foreign land, there’s always a bit of a learning curve.

  4. Author Jessica E. Subject · · Reply

    Sounds like she isn’t going to be able to contact her brother. I wonder if she’ll have better luck with her second request.

    1. Oh, she’ll get through to her brother, but with some unintended consequences.

  5. What about your catnip mouse, Effing? Your food bowl? Your nice cozy chair cushions?

    Good luck with Nanowrimo, Ed. 20K in 10 days is great!

    1. Unfortunately, calling attention to reality to someone like Effing is truly hopeless, Lisabet.

  6. Interesting banter that reveals so much. How will she reach her brother with no phones? I’m curious to know what her 2nd request is and if she’ll receive another snarky response. 🙂

    1. Without phones or cell reception, she’s cut off from her former life and totally at the mercy of the Kwadrans. For a person like Holly, who’s used to being always with arm’s reach of communicating with the world, that’s quite a nerve-wracking switch.

  7. Ed, you are my fave writer, so different than many others. And how in the world will she find her brother?

    1. Thanks for being so polite about it. In reviews, readers fairly often say “this book was kind of odd,” or maybe they say strange, instead.

  8. Bags . . . a reminder that I have to find mine for an upcoming trip. Ahhh to be a cat. Nice introduction to their world, Ed. No tech? Sounds wonderful . . . at least for a while.

    1. For a while, yes . . . until your teeth sprouted growths half an inch long.

  9. That’s an interesting perspective on the alien culture and probably correct.
    My alien mermen demand high payments for their technology.

    1. With no large-scale manufacturing base, their technology is all they have to sell.

  10. Difficulties right off the bat…she’s in for an interesting time. I enjoyed the attitude of the Kwadrans in this snippet!

    1. In each book, I try to investigate a slightly different aspect of the interaction between the aliens and us. Some Kwadrans are bound to feel superior yet fearful of our numbers.

  11. julieevelynjoyce · · Reply

    I think I might want to live there. Cellphones are nothing but a nuissance for a teacher. 😉 Great job on your NaNo word count! Can I trade you?

    1. Trade? Well, let’s see. What’s your experience with the relationship between madness and creativity, and also with life on isolated north coast of BC islands?

      1. julieevelynjoyce · ·

        Hmm…okay. No tradesies after all.

  12. Welcome to Kwadra! And that’s just the guys hauling her luggage. Can’t wait to meet the Queen.

    1. Instead of making her luggage handlers be faceless porters, I tried to think how they might feel about a visitor from an overwhelmingly larger neighbor.

  13. Hywela Lyn · · Reply

    She must really feel welcome there! poor thing, no phone, how will she survive? Seriously though, this is a great snippet and really sets the scene for the alien world she finds herself in. (I’m not going to be able to wait until Christmas to read the book!) Effing, my dog has a ‘bag’ for all his toys, food and treats on the rare occasions we go away. Actually his luggage probably takes up more room than ours does, if you count his blankets and mattress!

    1. Ah, but does your dog have to lug his own luggage, or can he count on you to do it. I can just imagine how much baggage your horses have, although they should be up to carrying their own!!

  14. Elaine Cantrell · · Reply

    Sometimes I think I’d like to try a place with no phones!

    1. It would take some getting used to. For several years after our marriage, we lived in places without roads, TV, radio, or phones. I’m not too sure how we survived.

  15. No phones. No car warranty scams. Whatever will Holly do though? Haha. I love what Effing Feline said about the purpose of a house!

    1. His point of view is sort of close to the truth, or at least it explains why people want such huge houses.

  16. I’m sure if she explains to the right people she’ll get through to her brother. But it sure does seem a little isolating.

    1. Yep. The lack of easily accessible phones points out just how alone she is.

  17. Holly has a bunch on her plate. Oh, what characters go through. Effing, I try to pack light n plan my clothes washing. Lucky for you take nao while the human does your packing. Be sure have a list made and make sure all have favorite well-scented cat toy n blankie

    1. Great advice, Lisa.

  18. I have an aversion to cell phones (a necessary evil I admit) so I might like living on this island. My cats always try to prevent my leaving by climbing in the open suitcase for a nap!

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