A cat inside a space suit with a glove-encased paw looking adorably out to the reader, the Earth in the background

Space Cats from Space

A Summary

A cat inside a space suit with a glove-encased paw looking adorably out to the reader, the Earth in the background

Space Cats from Space

Sarah just wants to write enough books to quit her day job. She does not want police officers to come to her door. She does not want some idiot to total her car. In fact, she really ought to stay away from cars altogether.

Except that’s not how Sarah’s life is working out. She’s got four cats, and they can talk. To her.

In English!

And they’re dragging her down their rabbit hole of intrigue and secrets, whether she wants to go or not. Now the question is whether Sarah is willing to accept this new world and the talking cats that come part and parcel, or if she wants the entire situation to return across space from whence it came.

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An Excerpt

“Why does she do that?” Blinky asked quietly in his language to his brother. Had Sarah overheard, she would have noticed only a small half purr-grunt from the feline.

But she was absorbed in her project. Or maybe just pretending to be absorbed.

“Do what?” Pinky asked. “Talk to us, when she thinks we don’t understand? Negotiate, instead of just getting the job done?”

“Both, I suppose,” Blinky replied. “It’s confusing.”

“She’s human,” Pinky pointed out “Who knows why they do anything?”

Inky sauntered in from the kitchen, his head high and his ears forward. Blinky and Pinky blinked slowly at him as he entered. They watched him wind around Sarah’s leg for a moment, and then when that didn’t elicit any direct attention, he looked at the two of them.

The small, probing meow elicited no response from their human but called the two brothers lying on the sofa to attention.

“We need to meet,” Inky told them before turning to trot up the stairs.

Pinky looked at his less bold brother, bit him, and leapt off the sofa, racing after their captain.

Blinky just sighed. He took the time to stretch before standing and crossing the room to watch Sarah for a moment.

She was indeed quite determinedly typing away on her antique computer. Well, Blinky reflected, antique to him. For Sarah, it was only two or three years old. Disposable, even by human standards. Technologically out of date, but still functional and socially acceptable.

Blinky heard Inky call for him from upstairs, impatient, so he followed the sound of thundering feet that left the upstairs bathroom and ended in the master bedroom.

He arrived in the room that smelled most like their human, and thus was his favorite place to be. No one had yet claimed her pillow as his seat, so Blinky did. In doing so, he absorbed more of her scent into his fur. He would carry it around for the rest of the day, no matter how many fights he stumbled into, and no matter how much he bathed.

Blinky would not admit to having a crush on their human. Not even to himself.

“We’re ready for the Revelation in two days time,” Inky began without preamble. “We landed with the ideal subject. She has been responsive to every test. I am confident that everything will go smoothly.

“But I believe in preparing for the worst just as we hope for the best,” Inky continued.

Blinky watched their captain pace along the faded red bedcover that Sarah preferred. He wondered if Inky seemed a little on edge to anyone else.

Was he telling the whole truth?

“Blinky, if Sarah naps at all for any reason over the next two days, see if you can work in an extra session.”

Blinky nodded and flexed his paws reflexively.

“Pinky,” Inky snapped.

Pinky, who had been examining the area where his testicles had been a month previously, snapped his head up and his leg down. “Yes, Captain?”

“Make sure we’re set on supplies, and that our science is sound. I want you to double and triple check that this is the right time for the Revelation. Make sure we’re not missing anything.”

“You got it,” Pinky replied, relaxing, and resuming his grooming.


Blinky watched the largest of their litter lift his head. “I’ve double and triple-checked our transportation off planet,” Clyde replied before Inky could ask. And when the captain nodded sharply and took another breath to deliver additional instructions, their Engineer continued speaking. “There are enough nanites built up in your system for the transfer. I’ve just straightened out the paperwork for our arrival back home. And Sarah’s been feeding us the good food again. Pinky did a bang-up job with his regurgitation to get us back with the prime stuff. He deserves a raise.”

Blinky grinned. Pinky’s vomit hadn’t been an act.

Pinky hissed. He hated any mention of the illness, and the subsequent smell they’d had to endure until Sarah had arrived home from work.

Inky barely held back his smile at the impertinent report.

Then again, Clyde was everyone’s favorite, Blinky thought fondly. And Pinky’s contribution, purposeful or not, had been helpful.

“Excellent. Just make sure you hide those damn nail trimmers today. If Sarah gets a chance to blunt my tips again, I’m going to have a real problem with delivery.”

Clyde nodded, and lay his head back on the bed.

“Then I suppose that’s all I have. I’m very proud of all of you,” Inky added. “We’re going to go back heroes.”

Blinky sighed as his three brothers left the bedroom, leaving him alone with his task. If Sarah took a nap, it would be in her bed. She felt the sofa was too uncomfortable for anything but visitors.

And she hated how the cushions slipped to end up in an angry pile on the right side of the thing.

He wasn’t sure he wanted to go back. Hero or not, he liked it here. They wouldn’t be the first team to fail at their mission and instead enjoy a life of luxury on this planet.

But he wouldn’t do anything to ruin things for Inky. Their captain believed in this mission with every barb on his tongue, and Blinky loved his brother as much as he loved Sarah.

They would deliver the Revelation. Sarah would help them.

And Blinky would deal with the rest as it came.

450 fiction words, 764 total words, 1.5 hours formatting

Still not published, but writing

I wasn’t going to start writing until I got Space Cats published, but then yesterday I found myself with some free time and only the writing computer available for use, so I started writing something that got started on Facebook. It’ll be fun, but I need to flush out a lot of the details. Even what I wrote yesterday will need a complete overhaul.

But in a good way, you know?

So yesterday was 450 fiction words, 764 total words, and 1.5 hours of formatting. Today will probably be similar if I can stay away from an overdose of Minecraft.

Should be easy.

332 total words, 1.5 hours formatting

Making the fabrics clean

Another day, another load of laundry.

I’m a little foggy today, needing to work harder to make my brain work to do the things I usually don’t have to think about. Don’t like it, I don’t.

Yesterday I got quite a bit accomplished in the way of formatting the interior of Space Cats. So with The 27th Letter, I did quite a bit of odd formatting to the book. I had a large bottom margin and wide edges, mostly because I could. I’m not doing anything like that this time. Normal margins, putting my name and book title at proper positions and such. That, of course, makes me want to sneak in something really special design-wise. Drop caps are nice but aren’t doing enough for me.

I’ll start flipping through some of the books on my shelves and figure out something nice.

I wrote 332 blog words yesterday and spent 1.5 hours on formatting for the print book. The formatting for the ebook has been done for quite some time, so the current plan is to finish print book formatting, do print cover, take ebook cover from that, and then publish. I was hoping to be done by May 1st, but I don’t think I’m going to get there. Especially because I must order a proof copy. I always find things in the proof copy to fix.

I may start working on a new piece of writing today, too. I’ve brought Elder Youth to do laundry with me, and he’s interested in the computer. In order to stay productive, you know.

334 total words, .75 hours editing

Anxiety and Frustration

Yesterday I finished my second swipe at things first readers found messed with their heads while reading. We’ll call those edits. I finished the edits.

Now I need to work on cover art. I still love the image I have chosen, but I need to do a little more with it. And fix the title. I had an idea. I hope I remember it.

And then I’ll need to format the print book. I’m toying with the idea of trying KDP’s new print book system, except I really like formatting the interior. It’s my place to be visually artistic with the arrangements of my words, and that makes me happy. So I’ll probably stick with CreateSpace until that new service sorts itself out. In fact, I have another piece I could try KDP’s service with. Might do that.

I blogged 334 words yesterday and edited for .75 hours, which was enough to finish. I shouldn’t dread the fixing of words because it never takes me as long as I expect it will. I believe I’ve spent only around four hours total doing first reader fixes, and probably only another four shoving things through the computer generated grammar fixer. This is probably not as much time as it deserves, but it is as much time as I gave it.

One office day’s worth. Not a lot.

My mind is elsewhere this morning, at the events to come on Friday afternoon and not in the present. There’s a bit of prep to do for that, and it routinely stresses me out. I am anxious (though there is nothing to be anxious about) and stressing (though again, there’s no real reason), and I can’t wait until Friday is over completely.

275 total words, .5 hours editing

Days of Rest

If I had to pick two days of my week that felt like “days off” from writing, I would end up choosing Tuesdays and Fridays.This isn’t intentional.

This isn’t intentional, it’s just how it ends up feeling. Tuesdays are chatting and relaxing with friends. No matter how hard I try, it’s nearly impossible to get anything done. (I may have mentioned before that this is okay, although sometimes I forget it’s mostly a socializing event and try to get something accomplished, and feel frustrated.)

And Fridays are the end of a long week at the office, and inevitably with the youths relaxing with their entertainments, it’s easy to slip into mine as well.

At any rate.

Yesterday I wrote 275 blog words and edited for a total of about 30 minutes. 25, if we’re slicing hairs (which I am not, which is why I rounded). This morning I’m going to tackle the edit that stalled me yesterday involving a space ship. Then  I’m going to see if I can get to Chapter 34, putting me less than ten chapters from the end and hopefully allowing me to finish editing tonight so I can focus on the cover. I have a lot of work to do there.

Finally, I have no friends that need well-wishes and positive thoughts, but I do have a friend that deserves congratulations! At least, I think that’s the appropriate response. To be honest, I wasn’t sure when I first saw the article. It sounds like a lot of work and responsibility, and sometimes when people step down it’s not entirely good. Still, VP of SFWA sounds “more impressorial”, as Lisa would say (Morning Glory – hilarious film), and so yes. Congratulations ought to be appropriate.

117 fiction words, 579 total words, .5 hours towards publishing

GTD: A to Z Challenge

I have done it. Five days before the end of the month I scheduled the last post for the A to Z Challenge.  That gives me a self-imposed six days to get Space Cats edited (first reader catches), polish up the cover, and get things ready for publishing.

Then I’d like to do some editing on A Brief History. See if there are any letters I missed. Get that ready as a separate ebook.

And at that point, once I have the three projects I’m working on wrapped up, I’ll start another writing project. So I’ll have several days with no writing, I think. Unless by some miracle something gets in my head I can’t shake. I really would like to keep my writing streak going, but I also don’t want yet another thing to do.

The whole thing offers a sense of urgency to the publishing bits so I can get back to the writing bits.

I used 117 fiction words to finish up the A to Z challenge and wrote a total of 579 words yesterday, along with spending 0.5 hours towards publishing. I expect today will go similarly, with fewer fiction words, as I don’t have a writing project right now.

We’ll see how it goes tomorrow!

Know when to fold ’em

I will cheerfully blame my mother for my love of horse operas. She was an avid reader of Louis L’Amore novels when I was young and had an enormous collection. They lived in the stairwell to the basement which hadn’t been insulated past the first floor. We also kept canning on those studs, and they really made a lovely shelving unit.

At any rate, though you won’t often hear me enjoying country music, I dearly love The Gambler, Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson, and the like. And that titular song has it right. You’ve got to know when to give up and get the fuck out of Dodge.

Anyway! That probably seems really pessimistic, but it really is for my own good. Trying something 6 times and getting the same result (but expecting something new) just seems silly. I’m done! And that’s all I have to say about that.

So yesterday something happened – I finished that story I started in December and thought for sure I’d finish in January! I don’t have a really great title for it yet. I’m still running with Space Cats from Space Earth whenever I talk about it, but I need to replace that because I don’t know how a strikeout would work on Amazon. I suppose it would end up being Space Cats from Earth there, with the cover being the only place you’d see the strikeout. I’m not certain how I feel about that, except that I’m certain I can do better.

Since I ended up writing/finishing three chapters and an epilogue yesterday, I wrote 1,228 fiction words (and 1.358 total). It wasn’t my best writing day, but it felt like the best since I finally finished the story/book. Here’s the stats block for last week.

Weekly total words: 5,884
Weekly total fiction words: 4,247
Weekly total blog words: 1,637
Difference from last week: 0% (only 5 words less!)
Weekly rank: 5 (of 12)
March fiction total: 9,937
February fiction total: 9,217
January fiction total: 18,615
001* Words: 36,591

*If you hadn’t sorted out from the tags on these posts, 001 (and then 001-1) was the number of this story in my pursuit of Pulp Speed. It’s as good a code name as any, and allows me to easily keep track of which story I was working on in my word count tracking spreadsheet.

Well, that’s what I have for today! I’m off to start waking the household.

“N” works

I got an obscene amount of hair and fiber from underneath the N, A, and S keys last night, but the good news is that the N now works when I use it. The S is still a little funny, but not enough to drive me nuts. My keys are very flat, and there are a couple small pieces of plastic underneath that fit together just one way. I’m glad I know how to do it now, but the first time I took a key off I thought it was broken forever.

Well, no excuses. I wrote 341 blog words, and 241 fiction words. I didn’t subtract all the words I cut out from what was written before. I would do that in November, but not now.

I’ve already written more today than yesterday, which is a good sign. We’ll see how the rest of the day pans out.  Wish me luck!

Slicing off the unwanted fat

My “n” key is not reliably working. Occasionally my “s” and “a” will follow suit. This is displeasing because I use those letters often. I’m going to have to try popping keys off later, even though it’s a struggle to get them back on with this computer. The alternative is trying an external keyboard, but I don’t think I’m ready to do that yet.

I got up at 5:30 this morning, and it feels good to be back in that routine. I had the thought yesterday that I really enjoy taking the time to make my #BuJo layouts “pretty” (banners, doodles, quotes, etc), and so instead of trying to write first thing this morning, I used my pen.

Then, I started deleting words.

On the way home last night, I realized I was rushing some things in my story, and avoiding others that needed attention. So I saved a new copy, chopped out some words, and smoothed out some edges. I think this will be better, and it will get me moving quicker towards the real problem in the story, which will let me solve the problem, and finish this so I can start another.

Yesterday I blogged 390 words in two blog posts and wrote 333 words mainly at my writing/editing group. I think I’m in a better place to start writing faster this morning. There’s quite a bit of cleaning that needs to happen this evening, too. Hopefully, I’ll have a very productive day.

Unbreaking things

I don’t know how I managed quite so many years without a single problem on Off the Beaten Plan. Knowing that too many plugins and such can break a blog, I try not to do anything I don’t understand, or am unfamiliar with.

Imagine my surprise when I found my blog broken-ish for much of yesterday.

Worse, this morning, when it was broken completely.

Fixing WordPress isn’t easy, and there’s not a lot of resources that are clear on what might fix the issues. I took advantage of the WordPress Codex on common errors (along with several websites that offered the same advice), and finally, this morning, managed to get things sorted out.

I also spent much of my evening yesterday with my daughter shopping for news shoes, hopefully to alleviate the foot pain she’s been experiencing. We bought a nice pair of ryka’s, but had to travel across the Valley to do so, and got back quite late. Though the trip was ultimately successful, it was a late night. Piling the intermittent service with the blog, my word count was awful.

But damn it, I wrote. 30 words of fiction, and (somehow) 237 words of blogging. And this morning, I fixed the blog. Hopefully now will all be right in my world, because the entire process angered me greatly. I’m determined not to let it bleed over into the rest of the day. I shall say no more.

Happy Tuesday!