Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Stormin’ the brain


I enter my writing office, coffee mug in hand. It’s a fun one I received as a gift. Every writer needs a fun mug! plotting-mug_cr“G’day, love. It’s about time you showed up.”

My Muse is standing in front of the whiteboard wall, marker in hand. Today he’s sporting an Atlanta Falcons jersey and jeans, with a New England Patriots cap.

“Can’t decide who to root for?” I ask, gesturing with my mug at his ensemble. “The Super Bowl is next weekend, not this weekend.”

“Figured I’d start early. It was either these or …”

“The burgundy henley?” I finish.

He aims those baby blues at me. “You really like that shirt, don’t you?”

I really like how he looks in that shirt, but I’m not going to tell him that. He might never wear it again. I sidle up next to him. “Sooo, whatcha doing?”

“Trying to come up with alternate titles for your book, as you well know.” He adds another word to the collection on the board. They’re mostly aviation-related, words like “terminal”, “plane”, and “stall”. Some are words that often show up in mystery and thriller titles, like “death”, “dark”, and “fear”. HeΒ  writes “bag-smasher” off to the side.

“Really?” I erase it. “Do you think ‘bag-smasher’ conveys a sense of mystery and suspense?”

“Hey, I’m just tossing out ideas.” He drapes an arm around my shoulders. “I really like that one.” He points. “How about ‘Terminal Cargo’? Or ‘Frozen Stall’? ‘Crash and Freeze’? What about ‘Deadly Wings’?”

“Ugh. No.” The words on the board start to swim in my vision. We’re brainstorming different titles for my book at my agent’s request. “It needs to be aviation-esque, but still have a connotation of suspense.”

He stares at me. “‘Aviation-esque’? Really?”

I duck out from under his arm and head to my desk. “We can think about the title later. Right now I need your help with the proposal.”

My Muse leans against the board, arms crossed. “Are you ready to sit down and get started on that? That one’s not going to be easy, love.”

“I never expected it to be easy.” I drop into my chair and set my mug aside. “It’s like a spiffed-up synopsis.” The same dread that I feel when I think about writing a synopsis blows a chill through me now. It’s like a cover blurb, or the blurbs you see on Amazon. But more.

“Want to tackle the bio first?” he asks.

Tempting. Very tempting. “Nope.”

He drags a director’s chair to my desk and sits across from me. “It’ll be easier.”

“True, but we gotta get the pitch part done, and that’ll take the longest.”

A slow smile brightens his face. “I’m proud of you, love. No procrastinating.”


I always seem to find other things to do instead of the hard stuff, like writing a synopsis or figuring out a plot hole. I’ve got an example of a proposal, and I’ll have to research some on Amazon. For ideas, not procrastination.

No. Really.

My agent accepted my revision, with a few minor edits, so the next thing on the list is to come up with another title (current title: Just Plane Dead), write a bio that wows, and create a proposal she can present to editors. I’d be lying if I said I’m not worried about it. I’m sure my Muse and I can come up with something super awesome. I still think writing the book and revising it are way easier.

Oh, and for those who stop by for cat pics (you know who you are πŸ˜‰ ):

I’m pulling from the archives. Zoey is our orange cat, and Socks was our other one until she went MIA. We still miss her. She was so nice and fuzzy and nice. Zoey’s kind of a grump; she doesn’t even like to be picked up, but she sure likes to be petted.

Go forth and write this weekend! I will be πŸ™‚


Author: Julie Holmes, author

Pen names: J. M. Holmes, J. M. Goebel A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for a decade, I've been published in small press magazines such as "Fighting Chance" and "The Galactic Citizen". I write adult mystery with a touch of romance, mystery with extrasensory elements, contemporary fantasy, and epic fantasy, and I'm represented by the fabulous Cynthia Zigmund of Second City Publishing Services. In real life, I am a technical writer with a family of two teens, a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), two dogs, two chickens, and more chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits than any garden should have to deal with. My garden, our hobby farm, and Nature's annual seasons are some of my muses.

15 thoughts on “Stormin’ the brain

  1. Those cats… Are friggin’ adorable!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, the work and pressure doesn’t end, does it? Start with a rough draft of your proposal so you can leave it and come back, leave it and come back while you work on the title. I think it helps to make a dent in the hard stuff first. Whatever you do, enjoy this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great suggestion, Diana. Book-surfing on Amazon to get a feel for the blurbs (but just for a few minutes–um, yeah…) I like to chip at the hard stuff first, because then anything left over is a piece of cake! I had a flash of fear today–OMG, what the hell have I gotten myself into? Then I remember: I’m a writer, and I want this. πŸ˜€ Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t necessarily do the hard things first, but I start them πŸ™‚ Then when it’s time, it feels sort of “outlined.” I sensed some of the OMG in your post, but you’ll do it with flying colors. Writing the book was the hard part!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Ahh…cat photos, I love them! Socks is adorable and so cute and cuddly – now I’m missing her too. It’s really tough when they disappear and you don’t know what happened to them. My cat vanished one winter many years ago and even ten years later I thought I’d caught a glimpse of him out on my walks.

    Great mug too…I think there is an unwritten law that all writers have to have a writing mug!!

    Good luck with the blurb and yeah, I admire your commitment to getting this done. Good idea to research similar book blurbs. How many words do they need to be? How many paragraphs? Congratulations on such positive feedback to your revisions – seriously, you’ve done the impossible (almost), just these minor (haha!!) details – I love following your novel journey. How’s the aviation title hunt going?

    Julie, have a good weekend and hope you can soon get out into the garden – I can feel your brain overheating with all this writing!!πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank, Annika! I’ve been scribbling ideas for the blurb for the past couple days. Taking walks usually helps, but the weather is still a little cold for long walks. My agent and I came up with a new title, which when I searched on Amazon, turned up a lot more books with that title than I expected. So, sent her some other ideas. We’ll see what she thinks. The next thing is the bio.

      Man, I never realized how much work this writing business is!

      And you’ve reminded me I need to order my seeds. I’ll have to start my seedlings soon!

      Have a great weekend, Annika!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, and for those who stop by for cat pics (you know who you are πŸ˜‰ –I read this out to my husband and said, “Hey, that’s me!!” πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ I feel so special and loved. You did pull from the archives, b/c I know you only have the orange one. Look at the extra trouble you go to for me! So honored. Sorry Zoey doesn’t like to be picked up. At least she takes the petting. And ooooh does Socks every look fluffy! I so love the fluffy!
    Did you say anything about writing in this post??

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, I don’t envy you juggling the hard stuff with the proposal and blurb. I love the way you’re charging ahead though, building steam with everything you do. And titles always seem to come very easy for me or with great difficulty.

    As for the cat photos? Yeah, I’m one of “those” LOL! They’re so gorgeous. And it’s so so sad that Socks ran off. As I type this, Raven is curled up in her circular bed on my desk. I tried putting it on the floor, but it was a no go. She likes to be up with me where the action at the keyboard takes place!

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! I can imagine Raven tucked into a cozy curl while you’re typing away. Sure beats her walking all over the keyboard!

      Ugh. I’ve been taking walks (helps me think) and brainstorming for the proposal. I had a great phrase–that I promptly forgot as soon as I got in the door to write it down. Sigh. I think I’m close (I hope).

      Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I hate when that happens…a moment of brilliance that disappears because you didn’t write it down. I’ve been there, done that, LOL.
        I’m sure you’ll come up with something just as grand πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  6. So get this–I got an email in my inbox saying I’m now being followed by ihavethecats.wordpress.com. It’s a blog filled with cat pictures! Will I be following back? Why, yes. Yes, I will.
    Please note, however, this does NOT relieve you of your duty to provide me with cat pictures as well. Maybe I’ll be satisfied if they’re not in every single post, though. You’re welcome.

    Liked by 1 person

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