From Effing Feline’s species to yours #wewriwa

Photos: DepositPhotos

I, Effing Feline, am too busy to write — Christmas presents to claw open, cards to send.  I hope I have enough pee for Twiggles the Dog’s card!

Instead, here are some Christmas greetings from my species to yours.

Alien Contact for a Christmas Nutcracker is Ed’s sci fi novella for the holidays. Holly Jansen has gone to Kwadra, an alien island transported to the Pacific off the coast of Washington from an alternate Earth. While listening to the orchestra she’ll be conducting, she and Lissette, the facilities manager, learn more about each other’s cultures.

Her acquaintance from yesterday, Smairo, was the oboist; he hit a loud wrong note. The Nutcracker made light use of the oboe — the woodwind instrument’s bigger cousin, the English horn, was more prominent — so Holly could forgive a few wrong notes. Only a few, though.

When the March ended, she was scribbling notes on the back of her hand.

When she glanced up everyone in the thirty-piece orchestra was looking at her, and so was Lissette. The woman’s dark eyebrows were raised expectantly.

Holly clapped, belatedly and said, “Great job, folks.” Then, to Lissette: “Sorry. I was taking notes.”

“So I see,” Lissette said dryly. “I must confess to no more experience with Americans than you have had with Kwadrans — is note-taking on your hand an American thing?”

Effing Feline here again. May all your catnip dreams come true this Christmas!

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

Alien Contact for a Christmas Nutcracker

The Nutcracker ballet — for and by aliens?!?

Holly Jansen, a young orchestra conductor down on her luck, is secretly hired by the king from an alternate Earth 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 meeting 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 it no matter what, and Holly finds her goals and ambitions melting in the face of her growing admiration. Will love cost her all her dreams?

Click the cover pic below to learn how Mr. Valentine came about.



  1. I liked how Holly handled her job in this book. She was encouraged people even when they made mistakes (thinking of the oboist). Nice cat cards, Effing!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Kate.

  2. Happy Holidays, Effing. Be good to Ed and his family – they deserve it!

    1. We’ve got the whole crew at the house now — all three of my sons, and my daughter although she’s at her own place here in town — so it promises to be a great holidays. I wish the same great season for you, Lisabet!

  3. Nice scene creating great future dynamics for Holly’s team. She’s a good leader. Have a wonderful family holiday, Ed and thank Effing for the cards!

    1. I hope you didn’t get one of the cards he peed on.

  4. As always, Ed you bring humor and love to all of us.

    1. And to you, Charmaine, much humor and love this Christmas season!

  5. Can’t wait to see how she responds to that question! Hope you have a fabulous holiday with all your family there, Ed! My younger daughter comes in on Christmas Eve–so excited to see her! Effing, have a very purry Christmas!

    1. Enjoy your family, Jenna. I know I’m enjoying mine.

  6. Loved all the vintage illustrations! And the snippet was excellent…she’s very businesslike here, but with empathy. I can’t wait to see what she says to them next…

    1. The illustrations go to show that cats have always been a popular subject.

  7. Author Jessica E. Subject · · Reply

    There are always going to be differences between cultures. I like that they can admit it’s something they don’t know and ask about it, even if it seems to bother them. Nice snippet!

    I forgot to sign up. My post is here:

    1. I kind of think there’s a bit of snark to the question, because Kwadrans have implants they can take notes on, yet here she is pointing out Holly’s very low-tech note taking.

  8. I hadn’t thought about the fact that all the musicians are aliens. That will add a level of complexity to her conducting! Happy Holidays! Hope Effing doesn’t shred all the presents before the big day.

    1. Just like a little kid, Effing is more interested in the wrappings than the presents.

  9. Diane Burton · · Reply

    This reminds me of The Nutcracker ballet program my granddaughter danced in a couple of weeks ago. So moving. Love the vintage cards. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    1. It must’ve been thrilling to watch your granddaughter dance. Congratulations, Diane!

  10. Teresa Cypher · · Reply

    Another cringe-worthy moment in her crash course on Kwadrans. 🙂

    Thanks for the cat cards, Effing. I’m not sure if it’s a trend or what, but I’ve received no less than a half dozen cards with Dogs on them. No cats till now. 😉

    Merry Christmas to all!

    1. Effing wants me to tell you that you obviously hang around with the wrong kind of people.

  11. Cathy Brockman · · Reply

    Cute cards! Merry Christmas!

    1. Merry Christmas to you and yours, Cathy!

  12. I too can’t wait to hear Holly’s answer. As we humans know, yes, we do have our own flesh notepad with us always. (As long as we have a pen or our phone.) Thanks for sharing the Christmas greetings. Merry Christmas to you and your family, Ed. Oh, and of course, Merry Christmas to Effing, who won’t hear me with all that paper crinkling.

    1. Thanks so much for the warm Christmas wishes, Mary!

  13. Well, if they’d given her something else to write on… Surely, they don’t expect to be above needing pointers. Will love seeing Holly tackling that.

    1. Kwadrans have implants that allow them to compose notes and store them in a database. They never even thought about giving her something to write on.

  14. I love the cards! I don’t know if the writing notes on the hand is entirely an American thing. I know I’ve done it, and I’m an American. Don’t blame me, I didn’t vote for the current mess.
    Holly seems like a kind person. I like her.

    1. I’m glad you like Holly, since she’s the heroine of the story!

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