Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Hodgepodge #mnsummer #amrevising


wall of colored spatters

This week has been interesting. A little bit of everything going on, from a much-needed couple inches of rain to a farewell to colleagues to smoke. Lots and lots of smoke.

As is the entire western half of the continental US, Minnesota is in a drought, though ours is moderate to severe rather than the West’s extreme. My sister-in-law lives on a lake, and she said the lake is down a good six inches, which makes getting her pontoon to the dock trickier than usual. She likes to take it to the middle of the lake, where she swims every day she can.

We got a couple inches of rain earlier this week, which made my garden rejoice! And the weeds, but we won’t acknowledge them, because they are rude. I mean, growing where they aren’t supposed to, like in the garden, is rude, right?

My youngest turned 21 this week. Wow. It doesn’t seem like it’s been that long. It never does, does it? She’s still not sure about the whole adulting thing, so at this point she’s docked at the safe harbor of her childhood home. However, the impending start of rent payments (yes, we will start charging her rent) and the 24/7 presence of Mom and Dad might encourage her to try out adulting again soon, this time away from college. As much as I love having her around, I do miss my empty nest, and all the space that is now occupied by my daughter’s possessions brought back from her apartment.

This week I also bid my colleagues adieu. Of course, I worked furiously to make sure some things were finished before I left, considering I’ve been training my two replacements for the past month or so. Yes, two replacements, new hires to boot (both in the subcontinent on the other side of the world), to do my one job. Part of that is because some of the software I wrote documentation for has been moved to a different department. When I told my brothers I was training my replacements, one of them railed against the idea. I get it. I said the same thing when I would hear about people in the same situation.

Of course, I didn’t know about the bonus that comes with the promise of sticking around to train replacements until it happened to me. Maybe I’m too nice, anyway. I made sure they had all the files and the info they need to try to do my job. Yep, must be that. I’m too nice. Well, it is a decent bonus …

When I headed to the office to turn in my computer (after working from home for the past year and a half), a thick white haze hung over everything. It was like fog, but it didn’t smell like fog. It smelled like forest fires. Smoke from the wildfires in Canada has settled over the state, triggering air quality warnings that were supposed to end yesterday, but are now extended through Tuesday, when the winds shift from the north to the south, blowing all that smoke back to Canada. Ugh. It’s bizarre, to see the hazy smoke and smell it everywhere you go. Needless to say, I haven’t run in the past week or so, first because of the hellish humidity and heat, and second because no one needs to run in air filled with smoke. I feel sorry for all those firefighters who have to breathe in that stuff all the time while fighting those fires.

And on the near horizon, my reunion retreat with my Writing Sisters! Woo-hoo! I can’t wait! Next week I’ll be posting from Wisconsin beside the Crystal River. The delta variant will put a shadow over everything, but we are all fully vaccinated, and we all take precautions. It’ll be a welcome four days of creative energy and focus on writing.

So, a week off, then I start my new job the day after I return from my retreat. I wanted to take that whole week off and not start a new job until the following week, because I always have so much creative energy available after the retreat, but my new job wanted me to start then. Who am I to argue, since it’s the job I really wanted.

As for book 2, I’m on another revision run. After the reunion, I’ll expect I’ll do some additional revision, then I think it’s time to call in some beta readers. After that and revisions based on their feedback, I’ll send my baby off to my agent.

You know that whole thing about the fear of the second book not being as good as the first? Yep, I’m in the thick of that incredible uncertainty. But I have to jump off the high dive at some point. It’s just scary. Very scary.

Stay safe! Stay cool! Write on!

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.

8 thoughts on “Hodgepodge #mnsummer #amrevising

  1. You have had a hodgepodge of a week, Julie! And it’s interesting to see how many up-and-down moments there’ve been. It’s a time of endings and beginnings, I suppose. I wish you well as you move on to your new job!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So excited for your reunion! Too bad you won’t have that extra week off. :/ Hooray for the unexpected bonus, however! 🙂
    Oh, Zoe, Zoe. 🙂 Did I tell you “our” cat disappeared? She was 15. Still, just so sad she’s gone. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m excited for the reunion as well; I’m heading out tomorrow for four days of nothing but writing and retreating and catching up with my Writing Sisters.

      Oh no. So sorry to hear “your” cat disappeared. Hopefully the other cats in the neighborhood will step up to take her place 😀

      Have a great rest of your week, Betsy!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oooh, almost forgot. I got to visit my son last weekend, and the kitties! He sent me some pictures of them, so I’ll use them on my posts for the next few weeks. Nyx has filled out–what a pretty kitty! And Tibbers is a big chill guy, and handsome! My son’s girlfriend also has a cat, so they have three felines in a 3-bedroom apt (along with a gecko, fish, and a hamster. Wait, make that 2 hamsters)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The weather has always been a great source of conversation, Julie, and now we get to add smoke to the options. I live in the far west, west of the fires (this year) and we’ve missed much of the smoke as it blows east. But last year was horrendous. I’m worried that catastrophic fires and drought are going to be the new normal except for the floods and blizzards. Enough of that. Enjoy your Sisters workshop and your new job!

    Liked by 1 person

    • At least you’ve been spared the smoke this year. It’s not so bad now, but up in northern MN near the border they’ve closed about a third of the entrances to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area because of the smoke. Ugh. Hoping that I escape that in WI this weekend.

      Have a wonderful rest of your week, Diana!

      Liked by 1 person

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