Monday, September 5, 2011

Alien Coffee

What is a novella?

This is where I wait for you to answer the question, right?  No?  *sigh*  Fine, I'll answer it.  Sheesh; making me do all the work.  A novella is a girl novel *nods* . . . actually, that's not true.  A novella is a story in between 17,500 - 40,000 words.  It's bigger than a short story and smaller than a novel.  There's another type of story called a novelette that's between 7500 and 17,500 words, but nobody likes them.

Okay, now that we have that out of the way, let's get to the important stuff.

Alien Coffee

I recently published a novella titled "Alien Coffee".  The concept came about because a friend of mine who I talk through yahoo IM (Instant Messaging) to most days always runs out of coffee while talking.  Then she goes downstairs to get more, does dishes, cleans up cat puke, then comes back and realizes she forgot the coffee.

So I started making jokes about how aliens were drinking her coffee.  I'm really big on running jokes. (the emo bunnies are rolling their eyes at me)  One day she told me I should write a story about it, so I did.  She now knows better than to tell me to write about anything. ;)

What about the rest of the story?  How did that come about?

I know, I know.  You're not going to answer that either.  Fine; I will.  Using the concept of my friend's missing coffee was one thing, but after that all similarities stopped.  So I made up the rest of the character.

Jillian is a 30's something married woman living in the community of Priest Lake, Idaho.  A google search turned up the town and it worked perfectly for the beginning scene.  I made Jillian an editor for Indie Authors.  It allowed for a bit of irony and an opportunity to poke fun at myself and others like me.


Next I had to decide about the aliens.  I'll tell you a little bit without giving away spoilers.  Aliens are kind of hard to create and kind of easy all at the same time.  One of the hardest parts is coming up with something that hasn't been done.  I tried to do that with the first one.  With the second two, I went the alternate extreme and made them stereotypes, but had fun with them.

I made Sclurp a bit of a weirdo pothead.  I had to describe him physically in a way that would be interesting, but mostly believable.  Sometimes, the key is not to over-describe.

Its skin was yellow green and mottled, appearing somewhat slimy.  The being was dressed in a tight silver suit with a utility belt and what appeared to be a holstered gun on one of its three legs.  The limbs were set at even intervals, two to the sides and one behind; like a tricycle.  Its face was wide with three horizontal, deep set blue eyes.  It had four ears, two set vertically on each side of its oversized bald head.  Its mouth was a tubular appendage with big puckered lips like those found in a bad comic book.

The hand I used to create the alien hand over the coffee cup.  It belongs to my teenage daughter.  All teenagers are aliens anyway, especially the girls.

The next alien is Nyxulla.  I decided to make her the stereotypical type of alien girl that Captain Kirk would totally hit on.

      “Hello, Jillian.  I’m Nyxulla” a woman’s sensual voice lilted through the air.  Sensual was the only word to describe it; like one of those sultry sirens portrayed in old detective movies.  Only the individual coming into the sitting room was not human.  She had creamy, dark green skin, emerald eyes and violet hair cascading down her back like silk.  She was everything a virile starship captain would want in a five and a half foot tall alien woman.

The next stereotypical alien is Buffy the BEM, which is short for Bug Eyed Monster.  I decided to make him a mostly likeable, sophisticated alien.

“Buffy?” Jillian asked in timid amusement.  “There’s an alien named Buffy?”
He grinned, the protruding lips turning upward.  “Its real name is too hard to say for any race and it spends all its free time watching vampire shows.  It’s super smart though.”
“It?” Jillian asked, not knowing what else to say.
“Yeah, everyone of their race is androgynous, so we can’t say he or she.  It’s a BEM on top of that.”
“BEM?”  One word questions were all she could come up with.  Maybe it would delay her death or transmutation a little longer if she kept asking them.
“Don’t you know anything?” he demanded, throwing his hands in the air.  “BEM is short for bug-eyed-monster.  Buffy has the biggest bug eyes I’ve ever seen and its race is classified as monsters.  I wouldn’t hold that against them though.  They’re really wonderful people.”

Emo Bunnies

Remember the part where I mentioned running jokes?  Yeah, I put emo bunnies into the story.  It was a lot more fun than blood and violence.  It's a lot easier to hide bunnies than it is dead bodies too; so it made complete sense.


One of the coolest things I came up with is snails as spaceships.  I was trying to decide what to make the spaceship look like.  At first it was going to be black and sleek, but that's been done; as have flying saucers.  I finally decided to make them snails.  Then I came up with the idea that snails are really spaceships.  It was a really neat idea, so I ran with it.

“Snails aren’t spaceships exactly; they’re the biological coding for spaceships.  A device is needed to transform them.  The good news is that they reproduce quite well, which helps keep costs almost non-existent.”  Nyxulla turned the main lights back off, leaving only the few that were on before they entered.  “Every planet and moon in the galaxy has snails.”


Then I had to figure out the plot.  I'm not going to tell you anything other than it involves a Columbian drug lord, his army and intergalactic teenagers, and coffee.  All and all, it was a lot of fun to write and a light-hearted read. :)

You can find it for $.99 or the equivalent price in international stores (the price it will be at permanently) at these stores:

Smashwords (My favorite store for Indie Authors)
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble

Jillian stared at the BEM for a moment.  “That’s just silly.”

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