Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Sweaters, the spooky season, and a surprise #amreading #mnauthor


I was going to save the surprise for the end of the post, but I’m one of those people who shakes the present to try and guess what’s inside, so I moved the surprise to the top. You can thank me later ๐Ÿ˜€

One morning I got an email that made me do a double-take. Turns out, I entered my book in a contest (I did remember entering … eventually ๐Ÿ˜€ ).

Murder in Plane Sight won IAN’s Outstanding Mystery of 2019!

Outstanding Fiction 2019 25pct

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled boring post ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

Have you broken out the sweaters yet? It’s time to do the ol’ seasonal outfit swap–pack away the summer shorts and T-shirts, and pull out the sweaters and mittens. Now’s the time to stock up on hot cocoa mix and mulling spice (with apple cider!).


Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

I have scraped frost from my windshield a few times already this season. It’s a reminder of what is to come. I don’t mind winter so much, up until the holidays, then I’m good with ending winter and opening the gates to spring. Of course, living in Minne-snow-ta means more than two months worth of winter. Try twice–no, three times that.

Okay, I do like winter, as long as I don’t have to drive in a snowstorm, or on icy roads. On the plus side, no weeding the garden, and a great excuse to stay inside where it’s warm and write.

All Hallow’s Eve is coming. That night kids look forward to. Dressing up is encouraged, and candy is the rage. Adults like Halloween, too. Have you noticed how many people decorate for Halloween these days? It’s almost like driving around looking at Christmas lights. with the inflatable lawn ornaments and the spooky haunted house setups in front yards , and even string lights. Sheesh. On the bright side, it’s warmer when setting all those decorations up than when you set up the outdoor Christmas stuff.

The trees are shedding leaves like crazy, which is a bummer because they are so pretty when they are dressed up in yellows and reds and pinks and oranges.

And next on the agenda for a writer trying to get her butt in gear? NaNoWriMo! I am anticipating the marathon, and planning to use the excuse to focus on regaining the habit of writing every day (actually to avoid stuff like housework ๐Ÿ˜€ ). I have a few projects I want to work on, and wonder of wonders, hubs cleared some clutter from my old writing space (since I haven’t worked on organizing my son’s room yet), so I have a cave–er, I mean, a spot where I can hide out.

Have a great weekend! Get that yardwork done before the snow flies!

zoey awake

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, four 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.

34 thoughts on “Sweaters, the spooky season, and a surprise #amreading #mnauthor

  1. Huge congratulations on winning the IAN’s mystery of the year award, Julie! How fantastic! And now I’m super excited to read the book!

    As for breaking out the sweaters, well … I don’t even own a sweater. In fact, I don’t even own a long-sleeved shirt! I have an old hoodie somewhere that I’ll pull out if it’s really too cold to go outside without it, but even though I see a few other folks bundled up like they’re braced for snow, the occasional drop into the 50’s doesn’t hit me the same way. I love it! And for once, I can enjoy being cool without running up the electric bill. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Our oaks down here have two leaf drops, a small one in the fall, and a much larger one in the spring–neither of which is preceded by changing colors. I really really LOVE fall, and miss visiting up north for that crisp air and frost on the pumpkins, so I envy you that. (Though not as much as I envy you that lovely golden award at the top of the page! ๐Ÿ˜€ )

    The good news is, we can garden year-round here, and many of the prettiest plants thrive in our winters and burn up in our summers, so even though it’s not very cold, winter is still a joy in Florida. (Both days of it. ๐Ÿ˜€ )

    It’s fun to read about what’s going on in your part of the world–the exact opposite of my part, I think. And one more big WoooHooooo for Murder in Plane Sight! ๐Ÿ™‚ โค

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Marcia! And a two-day winter? You don’t have to have long sleeves?! Part of me thinks “yeah, that’d be great, winter in Florida with no snow and balmy.” Then I think, “But what about the trees? And do I really want to garden all year ’round? And hurricanes. And those big snakes that have invaded. And alligators. And poisonous snakes. And … I think I’m good (I say that now, but will curse the first big snow that Florida doesn’t get ๐Ÿ˜€ )

      Enjoy your weekend, Marcia! And may you not need to break out that old hoodie ๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sorry I’m just getting back to this. It’s been a tough week. Winter can be a bit longer than 2 days, honestly. But we usually never have more than one freeze a year, and that’s normally gone within two days. Most people would at least put on sweaters, but I’m never cold. As for gardening, no I don’t garden all year. It’s way to hot in the summer when it can hit triple digits for several weeks on end. So, I stay INSIDE from late May or early June until about NOVEMBER. We had a lovely temperature drop day before yesterday. Went clear down to the 60’s and only reached a high of 72 all day. I turned off the a/c for about 4 hours, and opened the windows. Yesterday, it was back up to 82 and today hit 85. Shorts and a/c again. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

        Oh, well. This is where we are, and I believe I’m supposed to bloom where I’m planted. That needs a bit of work on my part, but overall, you just learn to adapt. No place is perfect, I reckon! ๐Ÿ˜€ (The big invasive snakes are still in the Everglades, btw, though that could change.) I’m quite fond of our normal reptiles, and they really aren’t hanging off of every branch, as some would have you believe.) Come on down. I’ll show you around! ๐Ÿ˜€


  2. Congrats on the award! I love Halloween and fall decorations.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations! That is such fabulous news, Julie! I’m so excited for you! And I have to say, this time of year is top on my list. I love crisp weather, warm cider, fireplaces, autumn meals, and all the rest of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Margot! And I’m with you on this time of the year. It’s that transition between summer and winter, cooler weather and fewer bugs! There’s nothing quite like that first cozy fire in the fireplace and a cup of hot cider on a chilly fall evening ๐Ÿ˜€

      Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. We don’t have snow here, Julie, actually, we hardly have winter really. It does sound nice to write inside all cuddled up around a fireplace.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My gosh, you won an AWARD?! That’s amazing! So funny that you’d forgotten you’d entered! Way to go–with the forgetting, and the winning! Do you qualify as an independent author?
    I so happily can no longer relate to the stuff about the weather. It’s now been years since living in Ohio and dealing with all that. Just the thought of all the additional clothing I’d need for my kids. Ugh. But having an excuse to stay indoors, snuggly, to write… that sounds wonderful. And for you to have a place to write INSIDE your house. Lucky girl.
    Do you ever wonder if anyone else wonders why you always end your posts with cat pics? Someone else probably thinks you do it for them, but I know better. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Betsy! And in that particular contest, because I’m published by a small independent publisher, I qualified.

      Aw, man, you are so missing out on the weather! You should come visit in January. *snicker* Ohio in January is nothing like MN in January. I’m sure Paul has lots of stories about MN winters! That excuse to stay in and write–priceless! And now that I have my spot back (still planning to set up a writing office in my son’s room), I don’t have to try to ignore the TV (which hubs has on All. The. Time.)

      You know I have to post cat pics for my wonderful writer friend who has chickens but still doesn’t have kitties of her own. At least the neighbors’ cats have taken pity on you and hang out with you and the kids ๐Ÿ˜€ Still thiink Joe will be the “cat whisperer”.

      Zoey says ‘Hi’! (or rather meow, mwr, purr, purr, mewrr)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Joe was outside with Paul this morning. I look out the window, and there are TWO cats in our driveway brushing up against Joe’s legs. They really do love him. He’s probably so much nicer than the little boys who own them. One of the cats comes to our door every night, meowing for love and attention. And cat treats. Yes, we have a small bag of those now. :/

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Congratulations, Julie! I love fall, but I’m definitely not a fan of winter. I’m cold when it’s 78 degrees. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow, congrats on your award, Julie!

    We did take a walk this week looking at the decorations and fall colors, although here it was hot.

    I’m ready for the cold and winter weather or even just rain.

    Have a fantastic week!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Denise! My daughter was just saying today how she wanted to go around to see all the Halloween decorations. But not hot here. In fact, the whole next week is forecast to be 10-15 degress below average. Ick. I like the cooler weather, not the coldish weather.

      Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Congrats on the award. It must be a real good feeling.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow, that is quite the award. You seriously kicked butt! A huge congrats and a spontaneous Snoopy dance in your honor. Way to go!!!

    I’m like you about winter. I’m okay with it until the holidays are over and then I want it to take a hike in favor of spring. I already broke out all my fall clothing and sweaters but the weather is still weird here. One day it feels like autumn, the next day like spring. At this point I just want it to settle into fall because the seesaw back and forth I starting to get old!

    Raven, who is curled up in sleepy ball of fur right now sends hugs to Zoey. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Mae! It is validating. Helps to counter that whole insecure writer/imposter syndrome thing. The weather hasn’t been too weird here, just cooler than average, which sucks. Average is around 50-55 degrees. Our forecast highs for the week run 40-45 degrees. Sigh. I like the cooler 50s–still warm enough so you don’t have to bundle up, but at that cool temp where a fuzzy arctic fleece jacket with a turtleneck is enough when raking leaves or going to the apple orchard. I just hope we get a few more days of fall temps in the 50s. It’s too early to be cooler than that!

      Zoey sends hugs back ๐Ÿ˜€

      Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wow, you are dipping far lower than us when it comes to temperatures. The high today was 69. I’d kind of like to break my sweaters out for pumpkin weather, but one day equals 3-4 days of short sleeves. Mother Nature is so weird. Happy weekend!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Hello Julie! Congratulations on your award! That’s awesome that you are participating in Nanowrimo ๐Ÿ™‚ I will be giving it a shot this year as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Congrats, Julie. That’s wonderful! You have to share and celebrate those awards even if it feels awkward! And I’ll see you at Nano. Even though I know I’m going to fail to reach the word goal, I’ve joined up. Writing is writing, right? Good luck to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hooray!! ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿฅ‡ Julie, Iโ€™m super happy for you! This is fantastic and Iโ€™m surprised you could compose yourself to write about anything else! Congratulations… I hope you and your family have had a chance to celebrate!

    Yep, the jumpers have been out, then the days become warm up to 16 degrees centigrade before dipping to gentle frost at night. At least the autumn colour has finally arrived and cheered us all up!

    Have fun writing away next month and good for your husband to clear some room for you. I must admit I moved some of my junk … errmmm work .. into my sonโ€™s room whilst he is away to make room for other projects! Going in there today Iโ€™m wondering what to do with it when he comes home for Christmas!๐Ÿ˜€

    Happy Halloween! ๐ŸŽƒ๐ŸŽƒ

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Annika! It was so unexpected, I’m still not really sure how to handle it.

      I swapped my summer clothes for fall/winter clothes finally. There is something nice about the excuse to wear comfy sweaters and sweatshirts, and to wrap up in a blanket at night. The trees are pretty much naked now, but the leaves are a nice bright carpet beneath them.

      Heh, I hear ya about using the suddenly-free space. I’ve been warning my son for months, and the last time he was home I had him point out the boxes of stuff–mostly clothes that don’t fit anymore–I can take to the Goodwill. Then I found all the stuff I collected when my dad sold his house ended up in my son’s room. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

      Happy Halloween to you!


  13. A huge congratulations on the award, Julie! I got my jumpers out this week… First week wearing one… In the bungalow! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

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