Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Of Revisions and Muses


The writing office is empty.

Bloody hell. Now where’d she go? I hate this time of year. She’s too distracted by Spring–and yes, I capitalize it because it’s becoming a pain in my ass, just like my writer these days. On the whiteboard wall, I see nothing’s changed. Stands to reason since her agent returned from vacation a couple days ago.

What the … Her laptop is on her desk along with this:


Seriously? I’ve put too much time into my author; there’s no room for another Muse.

A whoosh carries through the open back door of the office, like a giant swinging a huge bloody flyswatter. Before I get to the door, Julie steps through and combs fingers through her hair.

I lean back against her desk, arms crossed. “Where the hell have you been, love?”

An iridescent green head pokes into the office through the door behind her, red eyes locked onto me. I’ve got to deal with her Night Fury conscience; I don’t have fecking time for a whatever-the-hell kind of dragon this is. “Where did that come from? I’m not playing ‘lead muse’ to a team. I work alone.”

Julie runs a hand over its golden nose and nudges it back out the door. “Don’t worry about him,” she tells it. “He’s kinda grumpy.”

The dragon glares at me. I return the favor and add a little bit of Muse temper. It snorts and disappears back out the door. She takes over the glare, hands on her hips.

“What the hell was that for? So I took a break.”

“You didn’t answer my question.”

“My daughter gave it to me. It’s the first thing she’s ever brought home and said she bought especially for me, and she’s almost 17. What the hell are you so pissy about? I’ve been working on my outline.”

Uh-huh. If that’s work, I’m going to have to get the big guns out. “And what did your sister-in-law say about the manuscript?” I ask, knowing full well what her feedback was. I just want to see if Julie’s been thinking about it instead of goofing off on the competition.

Her eyes narrow. “You’re jealous.” A smile inches across her face, deeping the dimple in her cheek. “You know, you seem a little insecure for a Muse. That’s so cute.”

I ignore the heat in my cheeks and give her my sternest Muse look. “I’ve worked with you for how many years? I’m not going anywhere.” Unless she replaces me. Naw, she wouldn’t do that. Would she?

She crosses the office and pats my shoulder. “Don’t worry. That one is more suited to my fantasy stuff, and I’m writing mystery right now. And stop writing my blog posts for me.”

“If you were in here doing it, I wouldn’t have to.”

She sticks her tongue out at me. *Thhppptt* She brushes past me and settles in at her desk. “Go away until I’m done with this. I need your help with one spot my sister-in-law mentioned in the manuscript.”

“Fine. I’ll be back in an hour. I’ve got to take a walk.” I think the forest path should do it. “One hour.”

I wave. “See you in an hour. Don’t get lost.” Geez. Who knew he’d be jealous?

Anyway, now that he’s gone for a bit, I’ll finish this off. My sister-in-law finished her read-through, and loved the book. Said she’s going to read it again, in fact. Now, before you get the idea that because she’s family she’ll gush over the manuscript, I want to say there’s a reason I asked her. She’s a retired elementary school teacher and was a librarian. She knows books. She reads books. And she’s not a blood relative 🙂 . She reads John Sandford (MN author), William Kent Kreuger (MN author), and Kathy Reichs.

She loved the book, yet had a few things she noticed. One (and remember my earlier post on the subject) thing: she wanted more technical details.

Yeah. The very thing my agent has been telling me to dial back because that’s probably tripping up the editors.

Why, you ask? She was married to a pilot, so she knows the airport (my book is set at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport), and the main character being an aircraft mechanic is interesting to her. And she loves the TMTI (my opinion) that Kathy Reichs has in her books.

She had some other very good suggestions, and she mentioned some of the things she really liked. And she specifically said: “This is going to be a series, right? Because it has to be a series.”

😀 Talk about warm fuzzies!

Anyway, the revision is due to my agent on Monday, so I’m looking at the things my SIL suggested. There’s one in particular I think I’ll focus on that’ll have a bigger effect on the story than some of the others.

And for those who missed flower pics last time (I don’t grow flowers intentionally unless it’s to use up seed in the garden, because weeding 🙂 ), here you go:

violet yellow fuzzy_cr

yellow violet


purple violet

And, of course I have to close with Zoey, who refused to stand still or look at me when I took her picture.

zoey roam_cr

Have a great weekend, all! Next weekend I might have to get the garden started 🙂


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.

16 thoughts on “Of Revisions and Muses

  1. The flowers are so delicate and beautiful, a perfect match for Zoey 🙂
    Isn’t it ironic that your SIL wanted more of what of what your agent suggested you streamline? It’s so hard to judge readers. My SIL is married to a pilot for a major airline and I often think of pestering him for inside info if I ever write a book that requires that knowledge.
    The new addition to your desk is beautiful. I love dragons!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Mae! I was going to steal one of my son’s dragons (a Beanie Baby one) since he was off at college, but my daughter told me not to. She got me this one instead 🙂 As for my SIL, she had some good insight. And as with all suggestions, if one reader notes it, meh. If three readers note it, then it bears looking into. I am looking into some of her suggestions, and actually added a touch in one spot based on her suggestion, which made a lot of sense to me.
      Have a great weekend, Mae!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved the dragon barging into the room (part way anyway, it seemed too big to get its body through the door). More tech/less tech. It’s crazy-making, isn’t it? It was almost one of the first lessons I learned about writing – tastes are as varied as there are people in the world. Happy Writing and gardening, Julie. Good luck with revisions 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are absolutely right about tastes; I keep reminding myself art (writing, painting, music, etc) is subjective. What one person likes, the next may not. And yes, it’s maddening 🙂 Hoping my hubby will do the preliminary till on the garden this week, and maybe I can plant next weekend. Crossing fingers! Have a great week, Diana!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m reading a book now about submarines and I personally like the detail, even the bits that are over my head. Makes it feel REAL. So there you go. Ha ha. I planted carrots and lettuce yesterday. Waiting for Memorial Day for the rest. So fun to be outside. Have fun in the garden. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Very clever. I had no idea your muse was British. Bloody hell is an expression I don’t get to hear often enough. Glad the ms is SIL-approved. The flowers are beauties. Ironic that you don’t do flowers yet your avatar is a flower. 🙂 But flowers happening of their own volition is even better. Now, is the Muse going to allow you time off for garden planting? Let’s hope so. I’d hate to cross him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Psst, don’t accuse him of being British. The Aussies are kinda sensitive about that; or at least he is 🙂 LOL! The columbine I use for my avatar was the very first digital picture I ever took with a good digital camera. Those flowers lasted all of one year, but I have them enshrined in electronic data 😀 Saw our lilac is starting to bloom–I had to do a happy dance! I love lilacs, and they bloom for such a short period of time I try to get as much enjoyment out of them as I can while they’re around. I’ll have to post pics. As for garden planting, my Muse and I have an understanding: he understands I won’t be writing when it comes time to plant the garden 😀 Have a great week!


      • Oh, Aussie! (Pronounced with zz’s instead of ss’s to be truly authentic.) So sorry! Way to preserve the columbine. I didn’t even know what it was. :/ Lilacs are like 4-leaf clovers in my book. They are gorge, but I never see them, so great for you. Glad you and The Muse have an understanding when it comes to gardening. Writers have to eat. And sometimes growing it yourself is the only way. I’m sure you’ve told him you’ll share. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ll post pics of my lilacs this week. Too bad I can’t include the wonderful scent! Picked my asparagus (they’re doing great with the warmer weather) last night. Yummy! I’m going to try to get the garden in this coming weekend. Then it’s weed, weed, weed–ugh. But the veggies are so good 😀


      • Stop making me jealous. I may want to come visit.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Ha! A pissy muse! Got to say, I have to disagree with him- outlines count as writing!!! Gesh, what a crab!

    Sounds like you are flying right along, Julie! Go go go!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, Julie, I like the idea of your muse being wrong-footed and slightly insecure. That’s so cute!! Great present from your daughter and I’m sure the dragon is not a threat to your muse…or is it?! 😀😀 Yeah!! Congratulations on such wonderful feedback from your sister-in-law, positive but constructive. I don’t think feedback from family members is necessarily a bad thing if they know how to give read critically and objectively! Enjoy your garden and thank you for the lovely photos. I was out at the weekend tackling huge weeds/thistles, I think they were trying to tell me I’ve neglected the flower borders for far too long!😀❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Annika! I was kind of surprised he felt a bit threatened by a dragon, of all things. Then again, I like dragons 😀 I’ve got a couple great SILs who are retired teachers and very good at giving constructive feedback. I think the fact they were teachers is the key; the feedback is the type of stuff they used to do all the time. Speaking of weeds, I spent some time last weekend cleaning the nettle out of the raspberry patch. There’s still some burdock in there, and quackgrass, but the raspberries should be okay. They’re spreading like weeds themselves! Enjoy your week!

      Liked by 1 person

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