Beatle t’battle t’bottle t’boodle #wewriwa

Photos: DepositPhotos

I, Effing Feline, need to clarify a recent post, in which I said Sadie the Good Dog was my Dutch cousin from Amsterdam. Here’s the Instagram post of hers I talked about:

I want to make clear that I am not related by blood to Sadie. Or any dog, anywhere. We’re related only by marriage. There, I’m glad I cleared that up! Now a word from my sponsor, Ed’s WIP, Never Saw a Purple Cow. 

You’ve read about viruses that turn people into zombies. But how about one that turns people into mad geniuses? Janet Davis, a beautiful 44-year old suburbanite, abandons her husband, her luxurious LA home, even her life to risk madness and death on a quarantined island in the northern wilderness.

She bribed her way onto a small supply boat when she spots another of the story’s main characters, a First Nations lad named Billy Seaweed. We also see what Janet is risking — his mind is affected by the virus she wants to catch.

A splash of unexpected color riveted her eye. At the top of the cliff stood a figure wearing a hooded orange jacket like hunters wore to keep from getting shot by accident. Man, woman, child, she couldn’t tell at this distance, but probably a man, because the overwhelming majority of the patients-slash-inmates on Gilford Island were male. The HNH virus was harder on women, and few women were stupid enough to seek the disease.

No, not stupid. Most women weren’t brave enough.


“Beatle t’battle t’bottle t’boodle,” fourteen-year-old Billy Seaweed chanted into the wind. The hood of his bright orange jacket made his voice sound odd, as though it belonged to someone else – and he liked that, because he wasn’t himself. “I’m a totem pole; my legs are cedar, solid and immovable.”

From his vantage point, alone atop the cliff, Billy saw the supply boat pass the sophisticated electronic buoys guarding the quarantine line. He ignored the boat, just as he ignored the drizzle, the complaints of the seagulls, the chill in his fingertips and, most especially, the wild energy that mushroomed inside him like a marshmallow zapped in a microwave.

Effing Feline here again. I goofed again! My disclaimer about Sadie didn’t come out right. I’m not married to Sadie! I would never marry a dog.

Sadie is the pet of Ed’s third son, Brett. That’s the only connection, I swear. We’ve never even sniffed. Honest!

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

Never Saw a Purple Cow

You’ve read about viruses that turn people into zombies. But how about a virus that turns people into madmen, some of whom become creative geniuses?

Spurred by her husband’s infidelity, a suburban housewife smuggles herself into a wilderness quarantine. She’s hoping to redeem her empty life by writing a great book. But the reality of lifetime exile on an island of madmen — including pirates, a suicidal Indian boy, a licentious cult leader — is crueler than any daydream. To survive, she’ll need to adapt.

But how? Nothing in her sheltered life has prepared her for this.



  1. Fascinating premise!

    1. The premise is maybe the best thing about the book.

  2. Marshmallows zapped in a microwave. I LOKE that! lol

    Effing, Sadie seems like an awfully nice dog. It might actually be to your benefit to claim her as your cousin. lol

    1. Effing figures being cousins with a dog would cast a taint over his bloodline.

  3. I really like that last line. 🙂

    1. Ah, someone who likes toasted marshmallows!

  4. My dog Sadie will be really mad to find out there is another dog with the same name. So here we are with more trouble.

    1. Tell your dog that this Sadie lives 5000 miles away. Maybe that’ll help . . . though you may have to explain what a mile is.

  5. Author Jessica E. Subject · · Reply

    I’m not sure catching this virus is really worth it.

    1. Most people would come to the same conclusion, but Janet is such a romantic that the idea of suffering for her art is appealing. Personally, I’m with you. ‘Tain’t worth it.

  6. nancygideon · · Reply

    Such wonderful visuals. Love her change in comment to brave enough. I hope she is!

    1. That change of wording is pretty darned telling. Her real feelings came out the first time, but she feels the need to defend her decision.

  7. Love the visuals in this snippet! I like the “chill in his fingertips”. Great snippet!

    1. That ‘chill’ is a particularly Canadian touch. 😉

      1. Once you wrote that I felt it in my fingers. I used to teach kids to sail and that Atlantic May wind is something the bones don’t forget lol

      2. Your May wind sounds just like a North Pacific April wind!

  8. So she’s going to a remote island filled with crazy dudes hoping to catch a possibly mind-destroying virus? Sounds like an iffy life plan.

    1. Why do you think the first word out of her mouth is ‘stupid’? She knows what she’s done is crazy, but she’s also trying to get back at her cheating husband.

  9. Diane Burton · · Reply

    Ed, you come up with the most interesting premises for a story. To leave one’s family to experience this virus is crazy. Crazy brave???

    Effing, you gotta live and let live. Dogs have their place, too. Stay safe and keep your owner safe, too.

    1. In this case, Sadie’s place is 5000 miles away on another continent. Even Effing should be able to handle that!

  10. I think this is one of the most unusual inagoodway stories I’ve ever read – each snippet just serves to deepen the mysteries of what’s going on here. Terrific excerpt!

    1. Unfortunately for 10-sentence snippets, most of the answers don’t come until chapter three. I just hope that the mystery is sufficient to carry readers along until then.

  11. I’m so intrigued to see where this story goes. Great snippet.

    1. Great! That’s what I want readers to feel.

  12. The boy ignored the boat. That sounds rather ominous.

    1. He *tries* to ignore the boat, but it ends up distracting him from his inner, insane drama.

  13. julieevelynjoyce · · Reply

    I’m still curious beyond all reason how things will play out for our heroine. I think Effing has picked up on your storytelling prowess. Always leavin’ us wanting more!

  14. With just 10 sentences per week, ‘wanting more’ is about all your can hope to get across.

  15. Loving the visuals. Another great snippet.

    1. Getting inside a crazy person’s head can be challenging. I’m glad you think the metaphors are vivid enough.

  16. Elaine Cantrell · · Reply

    Wonderful visuals.

    1. Thanks, Elaine.

  17. Linda Hamonou · · Reply

    So she sees herself as stupid and brave at the same time. I guess that makes it a bit easier to consider that your stupid idea is brave instead.
    I wonder what that boy is about and what he is waiting for.

    1. That’s better than thinking your brave idea is stupid.

  18. I hope she is brave enough. Once she get the virus I assume there is no turning back. Hope it’s all worth it in the end.

    1. Gilford Island will test her courage.

  19. dixiejackson · · Reply

    ‘the wild energy that mushroomed inside him like a marshmallow zapped in a microwave.’ I love this! That angst-ridden itch every teen feels at one time or other, only for this kid the itch is on steroids.

    1. Have you ever seen a marshmallow cooked in a microwave? In just a few seconds they balloon up to two or three times their normal size.

  20. I loved how descriptive this snippet was with the setting details.

    Keep smiling,

    1. The disease caused by the virus Janet is trying to catch causes symptoms similar to but more extreme and yet fleeting than Bipolar Disorder, which is the mental illness most clearly associated with increased creativity. Whenever Billy is soaring, his inner thoughts become wildly descriptive.

  21. Cathy Brockman · · Reply

    I don’t think I would want the virus. Sounds like an intriguing book.

    1. Ted Williams, one of the greatest baseball players ever, was asked if he would’ve taken steroids if they’d been available in his day. His answer was “Of course,” or words to that effect. He wanted to be the best player he could possibly be, and if steroids would help, he’d do it.

      Writers who feel like Ted might at least consider trying to get a disease that might make them the best writer they could possibly be.

  22. As you say in one of your comments, I love how she corrects herself about being brave enough to catch the disease. I find it interesting that the disease puts you in a particular state of mind, but in a way, she is already on a strange path mentally.

    1. If she’s going to run mad, it’ll be a sprint rather than a marathon.

  23. This snippet has brought out even more questions. And poor Sadie, Effing should lend her a paw

    1. Effing’s in no position to help poor Sadie — they’re both locked inside. As for lending Sadie a paw, Effing’s legs aren’t 5000 miles long to reach from Arizona to Amsterdam.

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