Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

NaNo-ing under watchful eyes #nanowrimo2018



I flip on the light in my writing office.

Holy shi*!

Once my heart finds its way back into my chest and my pulse recovers, I glare at my Muse, who is standing just inside the doorway. “What the hell? You scared the shit outta me.”

He just stands there, arms crossed on his broad chest, inches in front of me. And he’s wearing that burgundy henley that fits him so well, sleeves shoved up to his elbows. I can smell apple cider and autumn leaves, along with a hint of campfire–not the smokey kind, the hot flames and weenie-roasting kind.

“Are you quite finished, love?”

“Um, could you, er, slide over a bit so I can get in here?”

He looms over me. “I thought you said you were going to finish your WIP before you started NaNo.”

“Ahh, yeah. Hey, I’m still working on it. Every night. I’m counting the words since last night toward my NaNo total.”


He doesn’t sound too convinced. And I’m burning writing time here. “You gonna move or what? I’ve got words to write.”

He pivots just enough to let me squeeze past him. “I will say you are giving it a good go, love.”

I settle behind my desk and fire up my laptop. “So what’s with the whole stoic muse thing you got going? I’m working, aren’t I?”

He paces to the front of my desk and plants his hands on the top before he leans over. “I want to see words. Two thousand a day. ”

“I know, I know. I’ve been doing NaNo for years, even outside of November,” I tell him, exasperation in my voice. I don’t need this sort of distraction. “So, how about some inspiration to go along with your hard-ass.” I fail to quash a fleeting thought of his nice…

“Hey.” He snaps his fingers and points to the computer. “Eyes on the screen, love. And I won’t be the only one keeping tabs on you during NaNo.”

Uh-oh. “Oh? Sooo, like, what? My book dragon? I’m sending her with Betsy to that writing conference she signed up for. And I’m pretty sure my Night Fury is on holiday all month. I think she’s avoiding me. This whole election thing–okay, the whole ‘my husband is a news junkie’ thing–isn’t doing my anxiety any good. Gawd, I can’t wait until those political ads are over.”

“No.” He waves a hand with a magician’s flourish to settle a foot above my desk, palm up. A sparkly cloud coalesces into a vertical disk before a whisper of wings reaches my ear.

“Ooooh, you got me a fire lizard?” I almost jump to my feet. I’ve wanted one of my own ever since I read Anne McCaffery’s Pern novels back in seventh grade.

My Muse deflates my excitement with a laser glare that I’m afraid might short out my computer. “No. Meet Grumpy.”


The dragon jumps off my Muse’s hand and settles beside my computer.

“O-kay. What happened to his wings?”

Grumpy snorts. “Who needs wings?” he says, his voice low and gravelly, like Sam Elliot meets Boris Karloff as the Grinch.

“But I heard…”

He snorts again, this time with a wisp of pale green smoke. “How the hell else am I supposed to get here? I got ’em. They’re camoflauged. Don’t you worry your pretty little head about it. You’re supposed to be writing.”

I look up at my Muse. His smug expression makes me wonder if this is payback. “Seriously? I’m not writing fantasy.”

“Genre doesn’t matter, love. He’s almost as qualified as I am.”

Grumpy peers at him. “Don’t go there, pretty boy.”

My Muse stares back. “Don’t forget who has the capital ‘M’.”


“I earned it. When you’ve spent as much time with her as I have …”

Grumpy brushes him off with a wave. “Go on. I got this. Say ‘hi’ to E for me, and tell him I want a rematch. He ain’t that good at darts.”

“Wait. You stick me with Scaly here, and you’re going on a pub crawl with Mr. E?”

“That’s Grumpy, kiddo, and next time I won’t lose that last hand to some Aussie.”

Before I could process that, my Muse bends toward me and plants a quick kiss on my forehead. “Behave. Both of you.” He exits out the back door before the shock wears off.

What just happened?

Grumpy snaps his fingers. “Hey, focus.”

“Dude, I’ve got over eight hundred words in.”

“On your WIP? Get your mind with the program here.”

Um, well, no. But a blog post counts, right? I’m counting it. Twelve hundred words to go.




He is kinda cute, though. In a grumpy sort of way.

“Hey, less yakking, more writing.”

Okay, okay.

This weekend’s weather is looking like a prelude to winter, with rain and snow. Ugh. Better for writing, though.

Grumpy taps his foot. “I’m waiting.”

Fine. NaNo onward!


Author: Julie Holmes, author

A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for a decade, I have 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. My debut novel, "Murder in Plane Sight", has been released by Camel Press (an imprint of Coffeetown Press/Epicenter Press). In real life, I am a technical writer and empty-nester with a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), two dogs, seven 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.

30 thoughts on “NaNo-ing under watchful eyes #nanowrimo2018

  1. I love that dragon!! And it is good to have some sort of accountability when you’re doing NaNo. And even when you’re not, actually. I like the idea of holding oneself accountable, whether it’s tracking words, or having a friend do so, or something else.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A muse and a dragon–what better incentives for NaNoWriMo. Write on!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, my gosh, Julie. You got Grumpy and a kiss on the forehead? What’s going on????

    Best wishes with word count. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! I don’t know what the deal was with that kiss. Maybe he feels bad that he wagered babysitting me at that poker game–even if he did win πŸ˜€ Wait, my Muse feeling bad? That doesn’t sound right. πŸ™‚ And pretty sure he met Grumpy at the Ugly Mug; he’s been hanging out there lately.

      Have a wonderful weekend, Staci!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Grumpy and your muse both fit in nicely at the bar. It wouldn’t surprise me if they met there.

        As to him feeling guilty? You’re right; I can’t see it, either.

        Happy writing and happy weekend!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I wouldn’t mind a dragon helping out ) Good luck on your word count and have a wonderful weekend

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hee hee! I was really hoping he got me a fire lizard, though. Grumpy’s a little like one of those pictures where the eyes seem to follow you around the room. Er, he’s snorting smoke again. I’d better be nice.

      Have a wonderful weekend, Denise!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I LOLed multiple times here. The first was at the mention of the henley. Ha! I’m still laughing. Where was that other line… “I fail to quash a fleeting thought of his nice…” There it was. πŸ˜› And Grumpy! Love it. But most of all–BY NAME! Wow! I’ve never gotten a mention by name. I feel so famous! And could you possibly post a pic of your book dragon again sometime? I only have a foggy recollection of what he looks like. I thought I was going to get the night fury, but that’s okay if the book dragon “fits into my bag.” I’ll have him with me more discreetly then. πŸ˜‰ But he’s the one with the colorful orb, yes? Gotta lock it in my mind so it sticks come Feb!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I ws negotiating with the dragons, but my Night Fury left before I finished. And now my book dragon is claiming she’ll be happy to let the little one go on a trip with you, because apparently she’s seen California already. So, I’ll post a pic of the little one again. And you might want to bring a bag or two of Chex mix or Gardetto’s along; she can get the munchies πŸ˜€ But not the barbecue ones. Wait. She just requested the turtle ones. Just be careful not to give her too much sugar, because then she has a tendency to fly around like a maniac. I mean, seriously. Have you ever seen a dragon chasing around like a house fly? Everywhere at once? πŸ˜€ If you want to check it out now, here’s the URL: https://facetsofamuse.wordpress.com/2018/05/05/when-characters-need-a-tune-up/


      • Oh, yes! That dragon is adorable! I think we’ll get along famously. I’ll be sure to find some turtle chex mix to share. My oldest has been requesting that, too. I’ll have to hunt for it, as not every store carries the same varieties, the punks. I have to watch the sugar intake for the little humans around here, so hopefully I can manage with this little one, too. I’ll remind her(?) to mail a postcard! She doesn’t need suntan lotion, right? I hope she’ll be okay being indoors most of the time, though we’ll be so close to the beach. The water will be cold, tell her.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Nope, she shouldn’t need sun lotion, but she might decide to go for a swim (even if the water is cold πŸ™‚ ) She’s really looking forward to the trip! She wants to know if they’ll be selling books, so she can bring a bunch back. πŸ˜€

        Go Vikings! (Game’s not over yet πŸ˜€ )

        Liked by 1 person

      • I suppose I’ll be able to spare her for a bit of swimming. After coming all this way… Not sure yet about books. Probably the authors presenting would be selling. I hope she has a suitcase.
        I see the game’s over now! Skol!!! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  6. How can Grumpy look fierce, cute and vulnerable at the same time?! I’d be wasting my time trying to solve this and let time run away from writing! Great piece and love the two muses … no capital M! Hope you’re having a good start to this month’s writing frenzy and good luck with the word count and creativity! Have fun, Julie! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! I think he likes being called cute–he kind of cracked a smile πŸ™‚ Thanks, Annika! So far, it’s a quiet start to NaNo. Empty house (except for hubs), so fewer distractions from that direction.

      Enjoy your weekend, Annika!

      Liked by 1 person

      • No distractions sounds perfect for writing and if your husband is like mine he appreciates some time for his own interests! A lovely weekend so far, thank you and and evening at my mother’s…us two chatting away, dining and sipping wine!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Ha ha ha ha. Grumpy has some attitude. He may be just what you need, Julie. Sort of no-nonsense like another muse I know. Get going on that word count and Happy Writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Your muse will go to any length to keep you on track, Julie! Haha! The addition of Grumpy should do the trick. And the kiss! How about that!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. OMG, this post was hysterical! I love Grumpy….even though he’s, well…grumpy, LOL! He’s cute too. I hope this doesn’t give Mr. E any ideas. He was definitely off somewhere this weekend (now I know where), as I was doing a speaking event. I’ll have to blog about that one later.

    Good luck with your word count and goals. I’m hoping to churn out a bunch this month too. Onward for both of us!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Grumpy is a great name to call that old muse. Mine is more of a Goofy. He lurches about my writing area as if sleepwalking. He bumps into good ideas at random and directs my writing not in straight lines but in curly cues.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Fascinating internal dialogue by the way.

    Liked by 1 person

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