Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Gardens, retreats, and updates–oh my!


I add the new publishers from the second round of submissions to my list on the whiteboard in my writing office. I sense my Muse behind me, his energy radiating into me like a heater gone all psychic-creative vibes in place of warmth.

He settles beside me, his arm a solid line along my own. “What’s the tally, love?”

I add a footnote below the list and mark two entries with an asterisk. “Six passes, five radio-silent but could still be interested, and seven active.”

“What about these two?” He points to the marked entries.

“Those are ones who asked for the revised manuscript when my agent nudged them and offered it. So, crossing my fingers they’re still interested.”

“Hrrumph.” He rocks on his heels. “What does your agent think?”

“She thinks my latest revisions are good, and that might be the clincher.” Hoping. Searching for that damn leprechaun who’s supposed to grant wishes … wait, no, that’s a genie.

“So,” he slings an arm around my shoulders, “writing retreat to your dad’s this weekend.”

“And next weekend.”

He nods. “Does that mean you are going to stop procrastinating on that second draft you keep promising to work on?” His arm tightens around my shoulders.

Almost like a warning.

“Yes, after I get my promotional plan and three-to-five page synopsis done for my manuscript. One of the publishers my agent submitted to is asking for them.” I know he’s aware of that. I suspect he wants to remind me I’ve been dragging my feet and he’s done watching me do it.


“It’ll be a dreary weekend, and you’ll have all day Saturday to work. On writing,” he adds, an edge to his baritone voice. “Right, love?”

“That’s the point of going to my dad’s while he’s away. No distractions.”

“Uh-huh.” He squeezes my collarbone. Hard. “Just remember that.”

Er, o-kay. At least I managed to get the garden planted before the cool, rainy week set in. Needless to say, it’s been too wet to do much outside, although when I checked the garden last night between rainshowers my onions were still looking good. Whew! Those are the ones I worry about the most, because they’re just tender seedings about 5 inches high and about as thick around as the wire from a coat hangar. Once they’re strong enough to stand up, I can stop worrying about them.

No pics this week since it’s been so icky outside and the garden looks way too forlorn. I imagine by the time the rain finally stops and it dries out enough to work in the garden that the weeds will have a decent head start. Sigh.

Hey, since I’ve got you here, anyone know of any good blogs aimed at middle-grade readers or writers? One of my writing sisters is looking for opportunities to guest; her next middle-grade book is coming out this summer.

Enjoy your weekend–stay warm, stay dry, and WRITE!


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.

18 thoughts on “Gardens, retreats, and updates–oh my!

  1. Have a couple good writing weekends away. I get jealous every time you go on writing retreats! Ah, the peace and quiet. Good luck with this round of submissions, Julie. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Diana! I’m looking forward to the opportunity to focus without the usual distractions, which at this point include my home-from-college-for-the-summer-without-a-job-yet son and my daughter who loves to procrastinate on her homework (hmm, wonder where she gets that from πŸ˜‰ ). I’m hoping hard with this round of submissions as well. My agent is confident my latest revisions will improve our responses. She’s very good; and I hope she’s right πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We emerged from a week of rainy weather and are finally enjoying sunshine, although I think next week we’ll be back to the wet stuff. That always makes for good writing weather.

    I hope you have a prolific time during your writing “retreat.” I’ve got fingers crossed on the next round of submissions for you too. It’s very encouraging that two pubbing houses asked for revisions.

    Regarding your friend, one of the bloggers I follow online writes middle grade books. Her blog is https://jemsbooks.wordpress.com/

    Another author who I know through RRBC writes books for adults and children. Her blog is http://www.dlfinnauthor.com/

    I hope one of those help!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Mae! I’ll pass those along to her. I offered her a guest spot on my blog, but my audience doesn’t quite match hers (adult vs MG). I miss the sun; it’s been rainy all week, but I haven’t taken advantage of the forced stay indoors (procrastination? Who, me? Naw πŸ˜€ ) Now I just need to figure out how to put a promotional plan together … Have a great weekend, Mae, and stay dry!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Enjoy your retreat, and good luck with the marketing-planning. πŸ˜› That’s never my favorite part of the writing biz.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. No leads on MG blogs, I’m afraid. Here’s hoping the onions can withstand the wet. And more importantly, that you get lots of writing done. Your Muse is starting to get just a bit hostile. If he’s not careful, he might get an elbow to the nuggets.

    Liked by 2 people

    • LOL! Nuggets, heh. He’ll be lucky if I don’t advise my new dragon to spend some “quality” time with him πŸ˜€ As for writing, the quiet is good, but writing a synopsis just isn’t as much fun as revising. But, I promised my agent I’d have it and a “promotional plan” done by Monday. Ugh. Now to resist the draw of Candy Crush Saga. No candy. Nooooo candy… πŸ˜€


  5. Oooh, it’s hard to say no to candy. I’m ashamed of the copious amounts of jelly beans I ate last night while editing my boss’ book. We’ll call it fuel. πŸ™‚ That promotional plan sounds like a real … uh… fun? project. bleh. But you’ll feel awesome once you get it done, and that will make all the difference. Take that, Candy Crush!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Yeah, that is good news with your submitted book – still so many active and it’s got to be good they two have asked for revised ms. Fingers crossed for you, Julie and thank you for letting us follow along on your publication seeking journey – nerve-wrecking! Have a peaceful time at the weekends at your Dad’s – a good chance to crack on with the weather so poor and no distractions. Did you hear…no distractions… not even us kindly folk on WP!πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was a sort-of productive weekend. I did get my synopsis and promo plan finished, but no work on my WIP. Sigh. I’m heading back there this coming weekend; of course, my plans will be adjusted since my dad’s returning a day earlier than I expected. At least I’ll get a couple days of distraction-free writing in (no Candy Crush. I promise! πŸ˜€ )

      Liked by 1 person

      • Candy Crush!!πŸ˜€ Yikes! Dangerously addictive and I had a summer where I had to prised off my phone…then found out it was David Cameron’s favourite game – its glow and novelty quickly wore down after that. Have a good writing weekend and time with your Dad.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. What a fun post. Another complication of having an agent: You have to track publishers. It definitely doesn’t outweigh the positives.

    Liked by 2 people

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