Effing Feline blushes #wewriwa

Photos: DepositPhotos

I, Effing Feline, am a cat, and like all cats I’m proud of my reputation for audacity and independent thinking. Ever tried to take a cat for a walk, without a leash? Hah to that! We cats do our own thing — which makes me admire today’s snippet.

Last week we left fourteen-year-old Billy Seaweed atop this cliff, trying to bottle up the mania energy churning inside him. This week he’s still there. We learn what he plans to do with all that energy.

Be forewarned Billy has a mouth that makes even a cat blush. Ed tells me he tried to tone it down, but whenever Billy was in a manic phase he said no way — the only time a character has ever come alive enough to refuse what Ed wanted. I admire that so much.

Anyway,  please feel free to skip this one. I promise I won’t cough a fur ball in your slippers.

Billy stiffened his arms and legs like a mythical creature carved on a cedar pole. If he didn’t concentrate he couldn’t fly, and if he couldn’t fly, he might die. Like a guy cooked in a pie, he’d die in the sky.

Shit, this wasn’t working. And he didn’t want to die like a fucking spy in a pigsty. The tide was low, which meant the rocks were barely under the surface. Water pounded the base of the cliff, thrusting watery fingers toward him, beckoning him to its chilly embrace if he didn’t jump far enough — so concentrate, motherfucker!

Tsonkwa,” Billy shouted, hoping sheer volume would give him the energy of the creatures his ancestors had carved on totem poles. “Sisiutl . . . Komokwa!”

But the supply boat coming early meant another rich, soon-to-be-dead, crazy white guy who’d paid to get himself smuggled through the quarantine, hoping to become a fucking genius.

Effing Feline here again. For those upset by Billy’s language, I’ll alert you to a spoiler: sanitizing his language is one of the transformations the boy will undergo by the end of the book. Thus perishes another individualist.

Have you ever written a character who refused to behave? Good for you!

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

The Saint of Quarantine Island

Maybe 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 to catch the new disease. She’s hoping to redeem her empty life by writing a great book . . . and maybe, just maybe, find love with the man called the Saint of Gilford Island. She’d once spent a memorable, though oddly chaste, night with him. Surely he’ll help her.

But a lifetime’s exile on an island of madmen — pirates, a suicidal Indian boy, an arrogant Cambridge scientist, a licentious cult leader, all of them periodically insane then sane and back again — is crueler than any suburban daydream. To survive, she’ll need to adapt.

Adapt how, though? Even if she wins the saint’s love, nothing in her life — or anyone’s life, ever – could possibly prepare her for the unpredictable society these creative madmen have built.

The Saint of Quarantine Island escapes from its pre-sale quarantine on July 1, 2020. Until then, it’s available at a special reduced price. Don’t wait — the price will be rising as surely as Billy Seaweed’s mania.

37 comments

  1. Why don’t I believe that you are REALLY blushing, Effing?

    (Great scene. And the profanity fits.)

    1. F***ing Feline agrees that the profanity is great!

  2. This is just fascinating–the little tidbits you feed to the reader.

    I like Billy’s character. A bit of a weird-ball, but I think he’s funny. Hope you mean him that way.

    Effing, I do admire your ability to NOT conform to the behavior standards society demands of living creatures. You are breath of fresh air… Wait, or is that breath of hot air?? lol

    1. Definitely the latter, Teresa.

  3. Billy’s language fits perfectly, don’t change a syllable–until the character does. The only time I’ve had a behavioral problem with a character was, ironically, with the characters in To Woo A Wicked Widow that’s on my blog now. They all had a mind of their own!

    1. Nonetheless, having read that book, I know your characters didn’t have such wicked mouths as Billy!

  4. Charmaine Gordon May 24, 2020 8:o;clock. Reply
    Ed, you are a wonder. Loving this section and just know something weird will happen and soon.

    1. Something weird, yes . . . yet believable, I hope.

  5. Diane Burton · · Reply

    Billy’s language fits. Don’t change it. You show his manic period well. He’s going to be an interesting character. Wait…he already is.

    1. One of things that makes his language appropriate is that he has a lot of anger inside because of the losses he’s experienced.

  6. Author Jessica E. Subject · · Reply

    Okay, I want to know if he can really fly, or if he just believes he is because of his manic state.

    1. And you’ll find out . . . provided that section fits into short-snippet format. Otherwise you’ll have to read the book.

  7. Wow – a disease that makes people manic! How will you control the chaos?

    1. Great question, Aurora — and one that kept me awake at night while writing this book.

  8. Don’t change Billy’s language, I grew up with sailor’s, it’ll take more than that to offend me. I like your depiction of the manic phase. Can’t wait to get to know Billy more. Also I can’t wait to see what other people on this island are like.

    1. It sounds as though chapter one is doing its job, at least for one person.

  9. nancygideon · · Reply

    Love the manic mood you’ve set for Billy. It puts him right on the edge – literally. And that sudden jump of logic to the purpose of the boat – brilliant. Just what’s needed to distract him.

    1. ‘Brilliant’ . . . what a lovely word in this context. Thanks, Nancy!

  10. Again, intense view into his messed-up world, but it was that last paragraph that really raised the questions – soon-to-be-dead, and becoming a genius. Intrigued.

    1. This is a fairly complex setting, at least compared to my usual light tales, so I found the need to tease a lot of things rather than plunging into an explanation of each thing as it came up.

  11. I wasn’t offended by the foul language, and now that you mentioned it being part of Billy’s journey in the story, it made so much sense!

    1. Glad to hear it, Frank.

  12. julieevelynjoyce · · Reply

    Most teenagers, as I well know, don’t have much in the way of a filter. But they are a rather entertaining lot if you can get past that. 😉

    1. Lack of filters and self-confidence. That defines a lot of teens.

  13. Elaine Cantrell · · Reply

    Billy’s language seems to fit his character. It’ll be interesting to see how he evolves as the story goes on.

    1. Yeah, Billy’s language does define him.

  14. The cussing didn’t bother me at all. Fun snippet. I especially enjoyed the first paragraph’s style and rhythm.

    Keep smiling,
    Yawatta

    1. Glad you noticed the rhythm! Word play and a poetic sensibility is a fairly frequent characteristic of manias, so that’s what I was going for here.

  15. Billy’s outburst fits. I wouldn’t change it. Didn’t bother me.
    Enjoyed the snippet.

    1. As I said somewhere above, Billy’s language really does define him.

  16. Billy tells it like it is, and that’s what makes him who he is. No problem for me. Effing, are you done blushing?

    1. Effing, blush? Not really. It’s all done with Photoshop.

  17. Cathy Brockman · · Reply

    All of my characters must have cat souls because they never do as I say lol oh. And walking a cat on a leash is a feat lol! I’m curios to see if Billy flies

    1. I beg to differ, Cathy. Walking a cat on a leash is not a feat — it’s four feet!

  18. It makes me wonder, if this is just one level of madness, how much deeper others on this island are? Billy is willing to be seen. How much more insane are those not willing to be seen?

    1. One of the things this book does is try to imagine what sort of society a bunch of severe manic depressives might create. They’re only manic part of the time, and only in the worst cases are they pathological. Later on we’ll see how the mania might be harnessed (always remembering that this is science fiction!

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