Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

A-Musing Return


Blue goo drips down the brainstorming wall like a slime creature suffering from narcolepsy. A crimson splat mixes with a yellow blob. I lob another idea at the wall, this one a bright green. It hits and bounces against the wall like a skipping stone across the water until it shatters against a pink and orange swirl.Β 

That could work. I peer closer. I’m pretty sure that will work. Still following the pattern on the wall, I reach back for another idea.

No bucket. Damn. I know I left it …

“Looking for this, love?”

I swing around so fast I lose my balance and catch myself against the wall. My hand slips across the mosaic of ideas. I flail, scrabbling against the slick wall.

My Muse catches my arm and hauls me upright before I hit the floor, his other hand occupied by my idea bucket. “Still clumsy, I see.”

Steady now, I move to wipe my hands, until I see the mess. Like finger paints, only brighter and a bit more slickery. “Geez. It’s about frickin’ time. Glad you found your way back.” Seriously. I’m glad he found his way back. Grumpy was starting to get on my nerves. For the past two weeks.

He hands me a towel he pulls from his back pocket. The texture is odd, like velour but scratchier. It does the trick, though. While I clean my hands off, I notice his five o’clock shadow has an extra 12 hours on it. He’s wearing a Hard Rock Cafe sweatshirt from Surfer’s Paradise, wherever that is, sleeves shoved to his elbows. His wearing-them-well jeans and flip-flops complete the ensemble. Then I notice his blond hair is lighter on top, and his skin has acquired a bronze tint.

“Queensland,” he supplies, even though I know I didn’t ask out loud. “And yes, I did enjoy some sun. It’s summer there, you know.” He scratches at the stubble on his face while he checks out the brainstorming wall. “Progress, I see.”

I finish cleaning off my hands and dangle the towel–now looking like a rainbow vomited on it–toward him. “Some.”

He sets the bucket on the floor and snaps the towel at it like a shower room gotcha. The colors shoot from the towel into the bucket, each hue reclaiming its ball shape as it hits the target.

Damn, he’s good.

“Grumpy said you made NaNo. Congratulations, love.”

“No thanks to that killjoy. You know, he’s worse than you are. I am sooo glad you’re back.” Then I plant hands on my hips. “Don’t do that again.”

His blue eyes sparkle. “You progressed on your WIP and you won NaNo. And you worked some things out.”

I poke his distractingly-solid chest. “No excuse. Isn’t there a rule against wagering time with your writer in a poker game?”

He just grins.

Damn distracting. “Anyway, you heard the news, right?”

He tucks the towel back into his pocket. “Which news? The news where you’ll be starting your term as VP with the Twin Cities Sisters in Crime? Do you have your panel ready for the January meeting? How about the workshop about using Word and track changes?”

I roll my eyes. “No. Well, yes, but no.”

He raises an eyebrow. “The news where you’re getting more visibility at the Writer’s Institute in April? Two presentations, a panel, and two half-hour sessions with other writers. Plus selling your book. You are going to be a busy woman that weekend.”


“Well, yes, but that’s not what I’m thinking about.”

“You should be. You know it’s a great opportunity to get your name out there.”

“I know, I know. It’s on my list. I have to work on my presentations.” Sheesh.

“You got your cover?”

*Grumble* “Not yet. I have seen a draft of the final. Don’t get me started on that.” It’s out of my control. Besides, my agent is looped in on that. She knows what’s going on.

“You’re at the three-month mark.”

“I know. I can’t do anything about it.” Except grumble. “Okay. Here it is. I’ve got an offer for the audiobook version of Murder in Plane Sight.

A smile brightens his face. He wraps his arms around me and gives me a huge bear hug, forcing my face into his shirt. Mmmm, smells like the sea and coconut.

“Congratulations, love!” He releases me. “Well done.”

“I have to give my agent credit. She’s awesome!”

“So, when the book comes out, you’ll have Book 2 ready to go.” It wasn’t a question.

Figures. “I’ve got promo stuff to work on. And I have to revamp my website. And get a newsletter going.”

“Book 2,” he says again, this time adding a scolding finger. “At least you found the plot issues during NaNo.” He rubs his hands together. “Now, about this wall. Needs something over there.”


It’s the last weekend without kids before Christmas break. My plan: writing. Lots of writing.

How about you?

Author: Julie Holmes, author

A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for over 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, six 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.

27 thoughts on “A-Musing Return

  1. Congratulations to all your writing achievements. Whilst reading the beginning I wondered if you should
    take up painting. Big canvases with loads of paints splashed and smeared …?
    Of course, all depending on if Mr Handsome agrees. 😊 .

    What about Julie Holmes, authour and painter πŸ‘©β€πŸŽ¨


    Liked by 1 person

    • Nice! Although I fear I would be disappointing as an artist. Paint by number is about the extent of my ability, but I really like watching Bob Ross and have often thought about giving his technique a whirl. I can handle big flat walls, though. Mostly πŸ˜€

      Enjoy your weekend, Miriam!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve gotten so much accomplished! I am impressed. And happy to see your Muse back. It sounds like he had a nice trip! πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great update, Julie. It may seem that you’re not making progress as fast as you would like to, but clearly you are making progress! And it’s all going to pay off in the end. Congrats!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember the busi-ness of Christmas break. I’m glad I was young for it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You are an inspiration. Maybe when I grow up I can become a great writer like you. HUGS

    Liked by 1 person

  6. All that stuff with the paint was sheer brilliance. Are you a writer, or what?
    An audiobook?! That’s so awesome! Wish I could come to buy your book in person in WI. :/
    A newsletter list? Shudder. So.much.work. to be a successful novelist! Worth it, of course. I just scare easily. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Way to go, Julie. You, your agent and your Muse are on the ball.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow…lots of good news. Congrats! Yes, I plan to get a lot of work done and then take some family time. Have a great weekend:)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Congratulations, Julie! And I’m glad your muse is back. You are killing this writing thing, but you aren’t sugar coating it – it’s a lot of effort.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Julie, you have so much going on! Congrats on NaNo and all your other accomplishments. You’re really kicking butt. Wow, I feel like such a slacker,LOL! Uber congrats!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heh, says the woman who is finishing up the third book of her HH series within what, a year or two after finishing up the PP series? You, my friend, are so not a slacker (you and Staci, who writes 5k a DAY! Sheesh!)

      Enjoy your week, Mae!


  11. I LOVE that he’s back. Grumpy was so… grumpy.

    You’ve got a ton of good news in this one. Congratulations on all counts!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Congratulations on all your news, Julie!! I feel you’re going to be a whirlwind of writerly activity for months and months to come! How exciting about the audio book – do you have a chance to listen to the readers beforehand? Wow, your April weekend sounds amazing and you can do it – have fun preparing the presentation, you’ll do great! I hope you got lots of writing completed at the weekend … I find the next two are non-stop Christmas sorting and can’t wait! First step, finding that perfect tree! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Annika! Talk about whirlwind–you are so right! I don’t know much yet about the audio book stuff; my agent is reviewing the contract. I hope I get to listen to them πŸ™‚ I’m looking forward to April, partly because I’ll have my book in real life πŸ˜€ I’m trying to tackle some website/marketing stuff; this is finals week, so the kids will be home on Friday through the holidays. Some writing time, but mostly holiday stuff, I think.

      Hope you find an awesome tree! Enjoy your holiday preparations πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

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