Effing Feline overeats #wewriwa

Photos: DepositPhotos

I, Effing Feline, am suffering  from a horrible case of stomach woes after eating several — eight, actually — cans of salmon in quick succession. I’m taking a quick break from the litter box to turn today’s blog post over to my pet human, Ed.


Ed here, folks. I have some questions for you, relating to my upcoming novel, The Saint of Quarantine Island.

  • How far would you go to turn yourself into a better writer?
  • What if there was a disease that offer a chance of increasing your creativity . . . would you take that chance, and expose yourself to the disease?
  • What if the disease was incurable? And it meant lifetime exile to a quarantine island? And it messed with your mind, driving you periodically crazy?
  • Would you still do it?

Spurred by her husband’s infidelity, our heroine, Janet Davis, says YES to all of the above. She’s approaching the quarantine  after bribing a supply boat driver to smuggle her onto the island. She arrives just in time to see Billy Seaweed leap off a cliff.

For several seconds, Janet watched the figure standing there atop the cliff. Then she turned to the driver and immediately looked away because he was staring at her and shaking his head. If they made love, he’d beg her afterward not to go to Gilford, to come away with him instead so he could keep her safe and protected.

Up ahead, the orange-clad figure plunged off the cliff.

Janet gasped. The driver swore and gunned the boat’s engine to a roar.

A professional stunt man might survive such a jump . . . but a normal human being? Had she really seen what she’d seen? A glance at the driver’s grim, squinting eyes confirmed the worst; the reality of death invaded her like saltwater into the jumper’s lungs.

“Please, lady, let me take you back. You don’t want to die like that crazy nut, eh?”

Effing Feline here again. If I were Janet, I’d let the driver take me back to —

Uh oh! Time for a sprint to the litter box — sorry!

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.



  1. Author Jessica E. Subject · · Reply

    In my current situation, I wouldn’t go, but in hers, I can’t say. I wonder what she’ll decide after seeing this.

    1. I’m quite okay with the majority of readers thinking Janet has made the wrong decision.

  2. She is in big trouble but always fascinating.

    1. Yes, she’s digging her hole deeper and deeper, but you know what they say — bad choices mean good fiction.

  3. Your premise is a bit difficult to believe, to be honest. One would need to be very desperate in order to make the choice Janet makes. However, in the rest of the book, you do make it work.

    1. I’ve been thinking this over for a few hours, because I have great respect for your opinion. I’ve gotten many more opinions of this book than is usual, because the work has been spread out over a decade or more. Some people, like you, dislike the premise; you aren’t alone! Others love it. So what’s a writer to do?

      Follow my gut, I guess.

  4. ohh … does she really want to stay there ?

    1. I’d have to say ‘yes and no’.

  5. I wouldn’t do it. My family are too important. That said, if I didn’t have family…I still probably wouldn’t do it. There are too many other ways to improve your writing skills. And I doubt getting the virus guarantees it will manifest itself in the exact way you want it to. But other people think other ways, so I wish Janet well as I don’t think she’ll turn back. Great snippet!

    1. I think of it as much like steroids that enhance athletic performance. Steroids mess with your mind and can kill you (or at least shorten your life). Yet many baseball players and the vast majority of football players — even those in high school — are willing to take the risk in order to be as good as they can be. But you’re right about family. If her home life hadn’t just been shredded, she wouldn’t have done it either.

  6. Interesting concept. The unthinkable to us is usually what our characters have to put up with. Guess it’s a bit of “better thee than me”.
    Good scene. All sorts of different tensions.

    1. You’re right. We put our characters into difficult situations so readers can vicariously experience them and add them to their world views.

  7. Great scene. I hope Billy survives. I’d grown rather fond of him.

    There was a time when I would have gladly jumped off the cliff in pursuit of creative genius. But I was very young and deeply depressed. Depression might make your character’s choice believable; if it’s a choice between the abyss and achieving one’s dreams, than it might even seem reasonable.

    1. She’s feeling over the hill and deeply depressed — which is probably similar to your ‘young and deeply depressed.’ At least you can understand the urge, even if you’re too well adjusted to actually follow in Janet’s messed up footsteps.

  8. I think I’d have to be desperate to answer “yes” to those questions! And I think it’s too soon to write off Billy as dead …

    1. You’re right about desperation. Most people wouldn’t make the choice she’s making, but as I mentioned in a previous comment, bad choices make good decisions.

  9. This story really excels at serving up surprises and twists and turns, which I admire. Quite the writing job, sir! Enjoyed the excerpt, which reinforces all the oddity and strangeness of this place she’s determined to go.

    1. ‘Guess what’s happening next’ tends to work for only a few pages at a stretch. Thanks so much for the compliment. Coming from you, that means a lot!

  10. Diane Burton · · Reply

    I’d have to be very desperate (with no family) to make her choice. So I’m anxious to see how she deals with the choice she still has. Will the boat driver convince her to not go on the island? Despite his weirdness, I hope Billy survives. Poor Effie. Is there “cat” Imodium?

    1. Well, Janet is very desperate, with no family (other than a cheating husband) to influence her decision. So there’s that.

  11. I want Billy to survive!
    I love the strange premise of this tale.

    1. An early writing group member wanted me to make Billy the main character but I could never see how to make that work. I needed an outsider like Janet to discover what the quarantine society is like; an insider would be more likely to focus on only certain parts of the society rather than the big picture.

  12. Elaine Cantrell · · Reply

    That’s quite an introduction to the island.

    1. Welcome to your new home, eh?

  13. I dunno. That might have been enough to scare me back to the mainland! lol Wow–what a scene!

    It did just lure me into preordering it, though. 🙂

    Poor Effing. Methinks you might be torturing him, Ed, allowing him to have 8 cans of salmon. I mean…since we’ve established that Effing cannot open the cans by himself. 🙂

    In answer to your question? Nope. I wouldn’t go. Couldn’t leave the family. 🙂

    1. Look on the bright side, Teresa. At least I didn’t torture you into getting the book.

  14. To be a writer in itself edges on the brink of insanity sometimes. There have been some nights where the writers block seems so dense that one may be willing to shake hands with the devil just to get that paragraph written. So I would guess it would be where you are in your writing progress and how desperate in the moment to whether you would make that jump to get on that boat or not. Or how many cans of salmon you have eaten.

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful reply, Jeff. Some people — people whose opinions I respect — have said that the question shouldn’t even be asked, that it’s a false question. It seems to me that if you try to be as good a writer as you can possibly be, you have to answer something like the hypothetical question Gilford Island poses.

      To become as good a writer as possible, am I willing to sacrifice time with my family?
      Am I willing to probe my mind and take the risk of discovering truths some people find uncomfortable?
      Am I willing to sever my connection to ‘reality’ enough to spend hundreds of hours with people who don’t exist?
      Et cetera.
      Am I willing to accept that being a novelist — that is, creating imaginary worlds inhabited by imaginary people — is in itself a variety of madness?

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