Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere


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Cabin fever yet?

Today I finished my second week of working from home.

Needless to say, the home office idea is climbing on the to-do list. However, it’s still below spring cleaning, mostly because every time I see a cobweb or dust bunny or muddy dog prints on the kitchen floor I am reminded how much better I am at procrastinating than I was yesterday. Or last week.

On the bright side, we had SUNSHINE today! Yippee! And warm weather, around 50 F. I enjoyed a couple nice walks. It’s amazing how good a sunny spring day makes you feel.

So, in the spirit of a long-awaited awakening of trees and weeds, and a drier yard (short-lived low mud levels since we’re supposed to get rain this weekend), I have a couple pics of my baby plants.

This year hubs and I decided to try using genuine grow lights for the seedlings. For years we have been using shop lights with fluorescent lightbulbs. They worked great in the beginning, and hubs rigged them up so I could adjust the height as the plants grew.

Thing is, those bulbs weaken over time, so the last time I started seeds, the plants ended up leggy (tall and spindly) even though I had the lights almost touching the plants. Plants get leggy when they are stretching to get more light. That’s why being able to adjust the distance between the lights and the plants is important. Keep the light close enough so the plants don’t need to reach for it.

Anyway, grow lights tend to be pink in color because apparently seedlings like red and blue wavelengths in particular. These days, grow lights are often a combination of red and blue LEDs.

Ready?

You sure?

There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture.

Peppers, onions, and more peppers. Can’t see the tomatoes very well.
Peppers, onions, and kale in the blue container

Do the plants like the grow lights better than regular lights? It’s hard to say so far. Once the plants get big enough to transplant, it’ll be easier to tell if the oh-my-god-PINK light makes a difference.

Now, to help your retinas recover …

I’ve worked from home before, and Zoey has a routine in the morning: come downstairs (she sleeps in my son’s room), stretch and roll around on the floor, snack, then beg to be petted. Since I sit toward the front of my chair, there’s room behind me for her to jump up and hang out behind me.

Has she ever sat on my lap while I’m working? Nope. That is, until this week.

I’m not sure if she was just curious about what I was doing, or just felt needy since my son had returned to his apartment the night before.

Anyway, it was fun while it lasted.

Hope everyone is staying safe, washing hands, practicing social distancing. Remember, you can still enjoy the outdoors, just not within 6 feet of anyone else. Sunshine does a brain good!


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Happy Leap Day!

I was going to dig up some interesting factoids and myths about Leap Day, but I didn’t find anything super interesting.

Such as, even though the Egyptians figured out that the Earth takes a little more than a calendar year for its solar round trip, the Romans added the 29th to February, and Pope Gregory XIII tweaked that formula so we only get that evasive Feb 29th every four years.

And I learned that people who are actually born on February 29 can’t use that birthdate; computers really don’t like it, so they have to pick the 28th or March 1st. Oh, and women are supposed to propose to men on that day. It’s an interesting story involving St. Brigid and St. Patrick.

And then I asked, why does February get short-changed on days, hmm? That apparently is what we get when we let ancient Romans create a calendar. Or rather, when the Romans let superstition get the better of them. Who knew having even-numbered months or worse, an even-numbered year, was bad luck? So some guy named Numa came up with a calendar that made sure the year had an odd number of days. In order to do that, one lucky month had to have an even number of days.

Guess who got the short straw. Yup. Poor February. Even when Julius Caeser decided to fix Numa’s whacked calendar, February got gyped.

Then again, if February has fewer days, it means we get to March faster. And that means we get to Spring faster! The equinox is in a few weeks. Yippee!

I’ll be starting my seeds this weekend. This year hubs and I decided to try out special grow lights. We’ve been using shop lights with flourescent bulbs, but the bulbs lose some umph every year. The last time I had seedlings they didn’t grow all that well. The ones we’re getting are LED lights, so our electricity bill shouldn’t change too much. We’ll see how things go.

One more day to work on my rural MN WIP, then I’ll be diving into Book 2 revisions. Aaand, we’ll leave it at that for now. The first 100 pages or so I’m not so worried about because I worked on them with my writing teacher for a class. It’s the remaining 200 pages that worry me.

At least I have something to revise (after eight freaking tries to get a first draft completed. Sheesh!).

Have a great writing weekend!


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A taste of Spring and inspiration #amwriting #mnwinter #mnauthor

Image by Larisa Koshkina from Pixabay

We’ve had a mild winter this year. Maybe a handful of days where the low was below zero, and windchills in double digits below zero. We haven’t even gotten a stretch of more than one or two days of single or teens above zero. (that’s all Fahrenheit degrees for those who use Celsius šŸ™‚ )

This week we have had an interesting stretch. Last week the weather wonks said we were going to get a little snow on Monday. Maybe half an inch where we are. No biggie.

Erm. Yeah. So we weren’t expecting the 6 inches we actually got.

A little more than half an inch, I’m thinking

Then, of course it got cold, like single digit above zero cold for about 2 days, so icy roads. On the bright side, it was sunny šŸ˜€

Now we’re getting a nice thaw–during the day. Everything will refreeze at night, but there is something to be said about above freezing temps. They’re even claiming we’ll hit the mid-40s.

So, on the agenda is a walk or three to enjoy the warmth and the sun, and feed my muse a bit. The WIP is going okay. I’m past a rough patch, so now I can run a bit. Still planning to have a draft finished by the end of the month. Wait, February only has 28–no, 29 days this year. Yeesh.

So, the walks will be valuable muse-bonding time.

“At least you’re listening to me, love.”

I can’t stop the eyeroll. My Muse closes the back door of my writing office before stomping snow off his boots. He’s wearing a flannel jacket with that sherpa lining, with a dark green watchman’s cap and black leather gloves, which he stuffs into his hat before shoving them into a sleeve of his jacket.

“And you had to make sure to let me know.” Another eyeroll. “I know walks help me with inspiration and brainstorming. That’s old news. Besides, I don’t include you in back-to-back posts as a rule, so what gives?”

He toes off his boots, pulls a brewski from the fridge, and drops into the recliner beside mine. “Gotta get an early start.”

“What do you mean, an early start?”

He gestures to my laptop. “Your WIP. Which you didn’t work on yesterday.”

“I was focusing on my homework. Which reminds me, I have to finish my assignment.”

Silence swells between us, thick and heavy.

He leans toward me. “Are you going to mention it, or do I have to?”

Pressure on my chest tightens against my lungs. That stupid knot in my throat returns. “I was fine until you said something.”

“You can’t make her be reasonable, love. She has to figure it out for herself. You know that. Don’t let that strangle your creative energies.”

If it were only that easy. My nineteen-year-old daughter still can’t be bothered to listen to any advice from Mom and Dad, and has an uncanny way of pushing my hubs’ buttons. And he’s a patient man; he’s put up with me for almost thirty years.

And of course my daughter doesn’t want to talk about it.

“And here I was all fired up to write.” I get up to snag my own brew from the fridge. “You crashed my vibe.”

“No, I’m helping you work through it.”

Not so much. “Okay, since you are a Muse, why don’t you throw some sense and reason toward my teenager.”

He shakes his head. “Not my area of expertise. However, I’ll be right beside you on your walks, so maybe bring along your phone this time to record all your brainstorming revelations.”

I can do that. Everything will be sloppy with the melting over the next few days, but hey, it’ll be nice out. Looking forward to a balmy weekend.

Just keep on writing!


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Writer = yes, marketer = not so much

Hope everyone had a good Easter/Passover/Spring or whatever you celebrated (or didn’t). The weekend was gorgeous here, all sunny and spring-like. Family, food, and got to catch up a bit with the in-laws.

I think Winter is still trying to steal the spotlight, though. Forecast for today: wintry mix. C’mon, already. Give it up. Go on vacation until Turkey Day.

Everything is getting nice and green. The trees are starting to put their leaves on. I can’t wait until they start flowering. There’s nothing quite like driving through town with trees flowering. Roll down the window and smell the beauty!

Now that Easter is over, I get to put more time into marketing *cringe*. I know it’s a necessary part of the process, but now that I’m getting back into the writing groove, it’s taking time away from what I want–need–to do. Write.

One step at a time. I have to break things down into small bites, or I get too overwhelmed. This week I did an interview with a local podcaster who talks to Minnesota authors. That was fun, and we did it at the library in the city where I work (IĀ  think I found a great new place to focus šŸ™‚ ). She said she would let me know when the podcast will “air”, but not until later in May or June.

Today is Book Launch Party day! The local library director has been super in organizing this (yes, this is the library I substitute at) with ad announcements in the local paper, and even put the announcement on the light sign outside the city offices on the main drag into town:

light sign 1_crMy name in lights!

It’s my first book launch party, and the library director has never held one; even though the library has hosted a number of authors, there hasn’t been a launch party. When I checked into how to do a launch party, everyone does things a little differently. One of my Writing Sisters had some great ideas that will be fun.

A number of my family members plan to be there, and some local friends. I’ll draft my daughter to take pics. So what does one do at a launch party? I figure the usual author stuff: introduction, how long it took to write the book, where the idea came from–the questions I’ve been asked most often so far. Read a chapter, and hold a drawing. I’m testing the idea of having a prize that might translate to online giveaway drawings. I’ve got these:

drawing cups kona If you have read the book, kona coffee is in there. I haven’t done any online drawings yet, but I’m thinking a mug and coffee might be a good prize. What do you think? I also have other items to give away for promo stuff online, but I haven’t had a chance to look into doing that. It’s on my list. I can always do something with my newsletter–which I haven’t kicked off yet, either. Sigh.

When I found out today is Independent Bookstore Day–man, I could have set up something today at a bookstore. The Midwest Indie Bookstore organization is running a passport sort of thing to encourage people to visit independent bookstores over the summer, so they have a nice, convenient list of indies in MN, WI, etc; I can approach these stores in the future.Ā  Next week I’m doing an author signing with another mystery writer at a local indie. He’s visited a number of bookstores, so I’ll get some info from him.

I’ll let you know how things go today. I’m not keen on being the center of attention. I know I need to write more books to keep the momentum, and I’m struggling with putting that into the mix of full-time job and part-time book promoter. I’m still behind reading blogs, so I’m sorry about that. I’m trying to catch up šŸ™‚

Enjoy your weekend! May your spring flowers start blooming!

zoey couch1