Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Writing and waiting


Today I use a green dry-erase marker for my writing office whiteboard. You know, for St. Patrick’s Day (even though St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish to start with). Three more publishers off the list as passes, but I add a new one to the bottom. The editor reached out to my agent, so of course she pitched my manuscript, and the editor asked to see it.

Yay! I mean, anytime another editor gets eyes on it is another chance an editor will love it, right?

My Muse arrives in full regalia: well-worn (in every sense of the word) jeans, tennis shoes, a bright green Guinness t-shirt, and a green hat with the requisite “Kiss me, I’m Irish” motto in shiny gold letters. I’m almost surprised he didn’t do a temporary dye job and go red- or green-haired for the day. Almost.

He hands me a mug of steaming coffee. “With Irish Creme, doncha know,” he says with a grin and a pathetic attempt at an Irish accent. “It’s too early fer green beer, but I’ll bring that along later.”

I feel my eyes narrow and a wince escape my control. “Dude, you’re Australian. You’re not even very good at American accents. Gonna have to work on your Irish accent.”

He sips his own coffee with a loud slurp. “So you say.”

“Seriously. When have you ever had to do an American accent? I mean, outside of a Southern accent, and you slip with that. I can’t think of one project, and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen most of them.”

“You’re going to blow my cover, love.”

“Phhfftt. Like anyone’s going to know.” I sip the coffee, and suck in air. Woof. Cough. “Holy crap. Just how much Irish Creme did you put in here?”

“Enough. I added a little Jameson to even it out.” He takes another horrendously loud slurp and evaluates the board. “Three more passes.” He points to the new addition. “How does this one look?”

“They’re an independent. They’ve got a lot of mysteries, thrillers, and such on their list.” I wander to the window and look out.

A path covered with bark mulch wends into the woods. A white guidepost stands at the end just outside the office. Another appears beside the path around the first bend. Beyond it, fog hangs thick, obscuring the path and the next guidepost.

My Muse stands next to me. I notice now the rainbow and pot o’ gold motif on the mugs. “What’s up with that?” he asks, lifting his mug to point.

I brace myself for another sip of altered coffee and wonder if the caffeine will counter the Jameson. “My new draft.” I sidestep until I can see a guidepost beyond the fog bank. “I kinda know where I’m going, but I’m not sure how to get there. I’m missing a lot of stuff I’ll have to go back and add. I’m still a day behind in my word count because of it.”

“Or are you behind because you missed another day this week?” At my questioning look, he raises an eyebrow. “I’m watching you, love. Are you going to make your NaNo?”

“Yes, I’ll catch up. I’m taking Monday off from the day job.”

He tsks. “And how much writing do you suppose you’ll put in tomorrow? You’re going to be ‘out’ all day.”

I roll my eyes. “It’s a writers festival.” A local one I’ve never heard of before. Apparently the group has been doing an annual gig in Bloomington. This is their first year in Rosemount. I found out about it through the local Sisters In Crime newsletter. “It’s not downtown Minneapolis or downtown St. Paul. It’s for writing. Not a substitute for the super-awesome UW Writers’ Institute in Madison, but it’s something.”

“Then you’ll have to buckle down, love. You’re going to miss your mark otherwise.”

Yep, I know. And I still haven’t started getting ready for the family Easter gathering. Sigh. I need to start getting the house cleaned (ugh) and organized (double-ugh), since we’re celebrating the weekend before Easter.

The publisher news is disappointing, but I expected to get passes. And there’s still nine publishers who haven’t reported in, including the new one. There’s still opportunity. I haven’t talked to my agent about what happens if none of the publishers like the manuscript. I expect she’ll pick another bunch of publishers to try. The feedback we’re getting is more “we like this part a lot, but this part doesn’t resonate with us” than “thanks but no thanks”. The brief critiques aren’t particularly useful, but it’s nice to know why they passed, and what they liked. It’s kind of interesting when one passes because of something they didn’t think worked for them but others really liked.

So, off to a writing thing tomorrow, then hammer away at the draft. Have a Happy St. Pat’s Day for those who celebrate. Also, Happy Vernal Equinox a few days early πŸ™‚

Write on!


Don’t wake me until the weekend!


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.

19 thoughts on “Writing and waiting

  1. I remember those days of waiting, Julie. They aren’t fun, but if you’re on to your next project, it helps. Everything in this business takes time, so we just keep marching ahead and producing something new. Happy St. Patrick’s Day ☘️

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I think waiting can be the worst part. I normally focus on a new project when I’m waiting to hear back on a manuscript. Otherwise, I’d be climbing the walls. Have a green beer tonight and unwind.

    And I have a feeling after you attend the writer’s conference this weekend, you’re going to be fired up for your word count on Monday. I think I need to take a day off soon and concentrate on writing too. I’ve got a bunch of blog posts to write, not to mention a WIP that is in desperate need of expansion. Maybe, I’ll have a green beer too! πŸ™‚

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Waiting is absolutely the worst part. I’m anxious to get a little bit ahead on Monday, because I have to start getting ready to entertain (ugh!) I’m hoping to get inspired at the writers festival tomorrow. I need some creative energy πŸ˜€

      Here’s a toast with green beer to getting more writing done, both you and me!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I hope you had a great time at the Writer’s Festival, Julie and you found it inspiring! πŸ˜€Please don’t be despondent about the publishers, there are still so many to hear from and just think of the numerous attempts the big names made before landing a deal. I can only try and imagine the agony of your wait. At least your trusted muse is on hand with coffee Irish style – I’m disappointed though, sure he’d have gone for the full monty and coloured his hair! Take a leaf from your sweet cat and wishing you peaceful relaxing moments this weekend doing absolutely nothing!πŸ˜€β€οΈ

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Annika! I had a good day at the Writers’ Festival. My sister-in-law was there volunteering, since she’s a member of one of the affiliate groups of the arts council. I’m not worried about the publishers; I look at it like querying agents. There can be a lot of rejections before you find the right agent. Or publisher. I was wondering about my Muse and his choice to stop at the hair. I expected him to do the full leprechaun-esc beard and all πŸ™‚ Keeping on with my draft, and watching the calendar–I’m going to have to focus on getting the house ready for entertaining pretty soon. The family gathering is coming up fast πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ooh-she-boo-boo! Who’s a good kitty? Do you like it when I scratch behind your ears? How’s that kitty?
    Oh, oops. Hi, there! Ahem. Uh, great post! Love LOVE your silly muse. Great imagination, especially the Irish AND Jameson. Ha! Sorry about the other 3, but yeah about the new addition!

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! Love it! You are so funny πŸ˜€ Thanks–glad you liked it! For some reason I keep picturing you with big fuzzy kitty slippers… Hope your R&R is going well. Wishing you luck there, too!


      • I should have big fuzzy kitty slippers shouldn’t I?! Instead I wear ugly brown man slippers that were on clearance at Walmart for $5. Nothing but high class here! I’m not really doing the R&R. Here’s the thing: I asked clarifying questions–in detail. Then I asked if I could turn it in sooner than 6 mos. She only responded to the last question! So, based on what little feedback she initially gave me, I’ve added a paragraph to the first 10 pages–all that she read–and intend to send it to her in full w/o other changes, in 5 mos. What more can I do with so little to go on? I’ve considered asking her AGAIN to clarify. Still debating.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hmm. she asked for a R&R but not a full? Seems to me asking her to clarify again may not be helpful. Keep querying other agents. If she was semi-interested, and you have a full out, (right?) there will be others that will be more interested. Don’t give up!

        And find some fuzzy kitty slippers (you can always use the excuse they’re for one of your girls who has really big feet πŸ˜€ )!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for the advice. And question: When they ask for an R & R, do they expect the full in reply? That wasn’t real clear either. I’m guessing since she didn’t specify, I’ll send her the full. I’m hoping that I’ll have gotten a positive response by the one who did ask for the full (and read the first 50 pages) by the time I’d send this off. I could send the R & R sooner, but I don’t want her to remember her reservations too readily. She did strike me as somewhat flaky. Then again, it turned out I had emailed her while she was at a writer’s conf.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m not sure whether they expect a full after an R&R of a partial. The R&R’s I’ve gotten (and granted, I’ve only had two, and one was half-hearted) have been in response to a full submission. I’ve usually sent a partial, then gotten a request for a full, then a rejection. I’ve also had requests for fulls straight off (at in-person pitches at writers’ conferences), but gotten *crickets* or rejections (except for my agent, she requested an R&R after my full submission πŸ˜€ ). Might want to just note when you send the R&R that it wasn’t clear if she meant the partial or the full. HTH!


      • I’m so not cool. What’s HTH?
        And, man, that must’ve been so exciting to have so many requests, but ouch–the rejections. I’ve only gotten the one request for a full, but the odds of that working out really aren’t in my favor. I need to hit those queries. Too bad life intervenes so much, and I have so little time. :/

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hope This Helps.
        Don’t feel bad; I still have to look some of those up. More queries = more opportunities for a full request πŸ™‚ And yes, life can get in the way, esp. with younger kids and one on the way. Keep working at it, though. Persistence: it does a writer good πŸ˜€


      • I thought it was milk that did a writer good. Well, I just had some of that and no requests landed in my inbox. I guess I can try out persistence too. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • And p.s. I really appreciate having you to “talk shop” with and ask these questions. You’re more than just a pretty cat face poster. πŸ˜‰ I look forward to reading each other’s novels one day, God willing!! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • πŸ˜€ And P.S., I like your new blog site design!


      • You mean how I outed myself as an author and shamefully posted all my books’ accolades and articles and such? I read agents like websites and verifying your writing creds. I figured I’d make my blog look more like a website but still keep it a blog. I used to be subtle about all that stuff, but looks like I have to be a little more obvious. Feels weird. Hope it helps, though.

        Liked by 1 person

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