Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere


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10th Anniversary — Back at the Inn #crystalriverbb #amwriting

Another wonderful reunion!

I find a spot in the glider in the morning, before the sun heats everything up. Okay, it’s before breakfast, none of my Writing Sisters are up, and it’s peaceful, listening to the river. We’ve been spending some time just enjoying being here for another year. Listening to the river in the quiet of the morning is one of the best parts.

The glider creaks as a weight settles beside me and sets the glider in motion. “Enjoying your stay, love?” My Muse rests an arm on the back of the glider behind me.

“Always.” I indicate the new addition to the options for hanging out by the river.

“I noticed you’ve been taking advantage of the hammock. You were out here yesterday when my Sisters wrote my novella for me, weren’t you? And I’m sure you didn’t encourage them at all,” I add with a huge dose of sarcasm.

He leans toward me. “It’s good for you. Besides, it’ll be a great novella.”

I can’t hold back a sigh. “Yes, it will be. And when am I supposed to work on this novella? I want to get Book 3 brainstormed and put together a timeline before NaNo this year. Besides, I’m sure that’ll be the next request from my agent. Oh, and that’s besides getting my police procedural shaped up. And you’re not helping with the whole urban fantasy project, which you know damn well I can’t focus on until I get through the procedural, my rural mystery, and Book 3.”

He shifts his arm to my shoulders and slides closer. His chuckle vibrates through him. “You’ve been receptive the past few weeks. I’m just making sure you’ve got enough creative energy to get some stuff finished.”

“Uh-huh. I don’t think creative energy is the problem at this point. It’s time. Can you slow down time so I can finish all these projects I have going?”

“I’m good, love, but that’s out of my jurisdiction.”

“Meaning, you could, but you don’t have permission?”

He hesitates for a long while. The gurgle of the river fills the quiet morning air. “I can’t slow down actual time. I can just make it feel like you have the time.”

“Oh, like when I’m on a roll and before I know it three hours have passed and I’ve written 5,000 words? When I’m so focused on writing that I don’t pay attention to anything else?”

“Exactly.”

Which is good, because that’s when I’m most productive, but it doesn’t put the rest of the stuff I need to get done on hold. I just have less time to do the other stuff.

We’ve been having a wonderful reunion retreat again this year. I always get so inspired when we gather. Time to get back to writing!

Have a wonderful writing week, everyone!


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Potpourri #amrevising #amreading

A little of this, a little of that. There’s been a lot going on lately (at least in my mind, but it’s considerate enough not to keep me awake at night 🙂 )

On the writing front, I turned in my revised revision of Book 2 to my agent this week. Crossing my fingers it’s in good enough shape that she’ll be able to take it to publishers. One thing I always seem to discover is just how much I can edit out when I remember what one of my critique partners said: If it doesn’t need to be there, get rid of it.

Which, yeah, duh, that’s kinda the point, and a vital part of the revision process, especially before sending it off to my agent. For some reason, though, when my critique partner said it (we were critiquing my submission for the month) something “clicked”. Or maybe it was that combined with my agent’s request to cut 10k words (from a 91,300 word mss). I managed to cut half of that, but as I was going through the book, I shook my head more than once and mumbled, “What the hell was I thinking? This doesn’t need to be here.”

Started the harvest season in earnest this week. Did one batch of pickles (7 quarts fit in the canner). I could have done probably 3 or 4 more quarts, but I didn’t think I’d need that many jars, so I didn’t prep enough. I made a cucumber salad I like instead (with a briny dressing, not the white creamy dressing). I should have enough for another pickling session this weekend. Crossing my fingers the upcoming hot humid weather doesn’t make the dill mature too fast. I need to do another batch of pickles before I leave for Wisconsin.

Speaking of, I can’t wait! This year is our Writing Sisters 10th Reunion! We’ve been “sisters” for a decade, now. Wow. It’s wonderful to have those ladies in my life; like a sorority, but better. We’ve been meeting via Zoom every other week since 2020, but seeing each other in person is always a treat!

Now that I’ve turned in Book 2, I need to focus on my next project, which I printed out (I often do better with hard copy I can scribble on), but I also need to figure out Book 3. Struggling with that a bit, so maybe some brainstorming during the 5-hr drive to the reunion.

I have to dedicate some time to reading, too. I’m a backup moderator for my panel at Bouchercon in Sept, so I should read a book from each of the panelists. I’ve got one down, three to go. Not sure when I’ll get through them all, but I’m just the backup, so hopefully I won’t need to sub in at the last minute. Well, that would be okay, but I’d feel unprepared if I didn’t read everyone’s books.

And I got some of the travel arranged for the wedding in VA at the end of September. Whew! There are a few more details (car rental, airport parking) to get settled, but the main things were the flight and the hotel. Part of me still dreads the travel, but part of me is relieved I got that much done 🙂

Hope everyone is staying cool, enjoying this last month or so of summer (or winter, for those south of the equator), and getting some writing done between vacationing, lawn mowing, weed pulling, and all that other stuff that has to get done.

Happy Writing!


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Summer of a-Muse-ment #amrevising #amreading

“You’re hovering.”

“I’m here, love.”

I push back from my desk in my writing office and narrowly miss my Muse’s toes. “I know, and I appreciate it, but you are hovering.” I plant a hand on his solid–oh, yes, broad and solid–chest and push him back so I don’t crack my head into his chin. “Give me some space. Sheesh. Why are you hovering?”

A crooked grin eases onto his face, giving his dimple an excuse to appear. “Because you are riding a surge of creative energy, and I want to make sure you take advantage of it.”

He rests a hip on the corner of my desk. Today he’s got a beach bum theme going: blue board shorts, flip-flops, and a tank top sporting a hand flashing the universal “hang loose” sign. He smells like the ocean, sand and sun and coconut tanning lotion. His skin is burnished bronze, and his hair is sun-bleached on the edges. I suspect he spent some time enjoying wind and waves while I visited with my family last weekend.

“Uh-huh.” I brush past him and try to ignore the rising temperature of the room. Or is it just me? Or maybe it’s the upper-eighties temps outside–naw, the air conditioning is working pretty well. Must be one of those fabled “hot flashes”.

Yeah, let’s go with that. Wait, that means I’m, ah, …

My Muse chuckles, a deep, baritone rumbling that raises the room temp even more. “You’re only as old as you think you are.”

Dang, it’s hot in here. I focus my next steps on crossing the office to grab water from the mini-fridge. The fewer times I stumble when he’s around, the less chance his ego has to take center stage. “I want to get my revisions done and sent back to my agent by the end of the month, before the reunion.”

“You’ll have them done,” he assures me, “unless you get distracted.”

I swallow a quarter of the bottle of water before I turn toward him. “I’m really trying not to get distracted, but we have my hubby’s nephew’s wedding out in Virginia at the end of September, and oh, my god, trying to figure out the best”–and cheapest–“way to get there and back is like falling into an internet rabbit hole.” I think we spent three hours last night (on top of the three hours I spent last week putting together a spreadsheet of flights and prices for Hubs (because he likes to see everything written down; I’ve known him for over 30 years, so yes, I spent the time)) trying to determine the best way to get around out there. The Metro Lines? Do we have to rent a car? Which Metro stations have parking? When should we sightsee? When are we flying out? Which airport is better? Oh. My. Gawd. This is one reason I hate traveling.

“That’s not your only distraction, love. You have creative distractions.”

“No thanks to you.” It seems I’m riding a surge of creative energy right now, but I have to put any thoughts about next projects aside until my revision is done, which is frustrating in a lot of ways. Man, I need a writing sabbatical in a little cabin in the woods.

“You’re welcome.”

“Wait, you’re warning me about creative distractions pulling me away from my revision, and you’re smug about it?”

His grin widens. “You are receptive right now, so yes.”

“Well, put a pin in it for now. I have stuff to do this weekend, like clean and make pickles.” I hate the thought of breaking away from my writing at this point, but real life has to be handled when it has to be handled, and the house won’t clean itself (damn!).

He saunters to me and rests a hand on my shoulder, the scent of coconut tanning lotion surrounding us. “I’ll still be here, love.”

“Well, don’t hover.”

“I can’t make any promises.”

Uff-da. The worst thing about having all the creative energy is not being able to sit down and take advantage of it. Hope you are all staying cool and able to take advantage of your own creative energies.

Happy Writing!


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How does my garden grow? 2022 edition #amgrowing #mngarden

kale and onions

I figured it was about time to post a garden update. Things are looking good, and we finally got a bit of rain. Of course, the hot humid weather we’ve been having has giving everything a boost, including the weeds!

I managed to add more mulch about a week or two ago. That’s the key, kids. Lots of mulch. Unless you really like pulling weeds. I mean, I don’t mind pulling some weeds, but there are a whole lot fewer to pull when you have more mulch to suppress them.

Cukes in foreground, tomatoes in back

Everything is coming along. I’ve already gotten a handful of cukes that are bigger than I want to pickle. I planted a different variety than my usual this year, but I’m not sure that was the best idea. I need to do pickles, so I planted 3 plants of a pickling variety, bush pickling cucumber. Normally, I plant National Pickling, which is a full vining plant. I’m getting cukes, but nowhere near enough in one or even two pickings to warrant a pickling session. It is still early, though, so hopefully as the plants keep growing I’ll get more cukes at once.

I have one slicing variety similar to the Diva variety I planted last year and the year before. They’re nice because the skins aren’t bitter, which means it’s less work when it’s time to snack on them 🙂

peppers

The peppers are looking good, at least the jalapenos are. Of the four sweet pepper plants, one looks great, the others still look pretty sad. Crossing my fingers they’ll perk up soon.

My cabbage and brussels sprouts are looking fantastic! The organic bug spray seems to be working, at least for now.

One of my pumpkin plants has finally decided to cooperate. Not sure how many pumpkins I’ll get; it’s pretty late in the season, so I’m not sure if any pumpkins it might manage will be able to mature. The onions are doing well, and I’ve had some spinach and kale for lunches. The kale I’m not impressed with; it’s not my favorite black kale variety. I planted Russian White and Russian Red kales, which are supposed to be the most cold-hardy, but the texture when cooked is booooring. At least the black kale had some personality.

The tomatoes are coming along. It’s time to go out and tie them up again, which I do periodically as they grow. Hubs’s potatoes are looking good, and I did cave to doing some weeding for him because he asked nicely 🙂

In other news, we got 4 new laying hens, since we were down to one hen (some thing killed the other one) and she wasn’t laying at all. I’ll try to post pics next time. We got them from my daughter’s BFF’s parents, since they have lots of chickens. They aren’t any particular breed, more like “mutts”, but we are getting brown, blue, and green eggs, so that’s fun!

Also, ventured out into the wild for black raspberries. This year, there are more than there’s been for a few years. Hopefully I’ll get enough for a nice batch of jelly.

And last, but not least, I learned my son–actually, his girlfriend–decided 3 adult cats in a three-bedroom apartment isn’t quite enough. Meet Juniper, with super-soft fur and enough mischief to give Nyx a run for her money.

And yes, her eyes are two different colors. She’s about 10 weeks old and has big paws like Tibbers did. I haven’t seen her in person yet, but my daughter has, and she said I have to go visit. Sounds like we might be cat-sitting in October, so maybe I’ll wait, or maybe I’ll drop in on the kitties–um, my son and his girlfriend.

Anyway, enjoy your week! Keep on writing!

Juniper