Category Archives: Muse

When plans go awry

I had my bachelor Saturday all planned out. I wanted to pick a few more peaches to eat fresh, then keep hacking my way through Lanternfish.

When I went into the back yard, Lorelei, the Muse, greeted me. She wore a pair of white shorts with an apron. That’s it aside from her sneakers. “About time you got started.”

“What are you doing here? I’m planning on editing today.”

“Yes. That’s all nice, but it’s creativity that fuels me. I want to work on your side project.” She stood on tip toes to reach the high-growing fruit.

I was inspired already. Lorelei is built like an Olympic diver, and her bronzed back glistened in the sun. “That has to take a back burner. I have two books to edit.”

“Oh, psssh! You’ll get them done. You should still dedicates some time to your science fiction project.” She handed me a peach, then went for another one.

And that’s where Saturday ended, folks. I had such a cool idea for my side project that I had to scrap most of the outline and start a new idea sheet. This was supposed to be character driven and fun. I suppose it still can be, but now it’s going to have a deeper plot. It might take me months to work this all out.

Part of this is because I’m thinking of a trilogy once more. Lanternfish was work, but perhaps if I start that way from the beginning, then don’t try publishing until it’s finished, it will be more fun.

So, what is a man, left to his own devices, supposed to do after all that? He does this.

Take few peaches fresh from the tree.

A little simmer in some simple syrup. Then pit and chunk them up.

Add a slug of insurance.

Don’t forget the other main ingredient.

Toss everything in the blender with ice, and don’t forget a nice tiki mug.

Okay, it’s wonderful, but would have been prettier with white rum. I used what I had on stock, and have my supper all ready. It’s health food, I swear.

I should find something to binge watch. Maybe some science fiction to keep my flow going.

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Just a clicking away

I got to the writing cabin at a decent time this morning, then made my way to the paranormal office. I rolled the top of Patty Hall’s old-fashioned desk back, then opened my document.

Lisa Burton, my robotic personal assistant walked in.

Lisa Burton

“Ta-dah! Ready for work, Captain.”

“Yeah, um… We finished that one, remember.”

“You’re here to do edits, though, right?”

“I’m going to wait until August. Let it clear my mind a bit.”

“The raven of Doubt will be so disappointed. He’s been super excited to help you.”

“He can wait, too. I’ve been working on something for Lizzie and the hat. It’s fun, and keeps me busy.”

“Does he become a pirate hat?”

“No.”

“Great, then I have the wrong outfit. What should I be wearing?”

“Nothing special. I need some help with research, and you’re faster than I am.”

She took a seat on the couch. “Okay. What do you need?”

“Well, we’re back to witchcraft in this tale. Every one of the witches has a different base for their magic. I need you to find some things I can use.”

“Like elements and stuff?”

“Yeah, but not completely. There’s plant magic, death magic, weather magic. Maybe one can have art magic.”

“What about Lichtenberg marks?”

“What the hell are those?”

“People get these elaborate scars when they’ve been hit by lightning. They also show up in lawns, and even wood. Turn on your iPad and I’ll bring them up.”

“Those are cool. They almost have to be magical. I can work with that.”

A knock came at the front door. “Probably your Amazon guy. Get rid of him, and let’s go to work.” I flipped through the images while Lisa got the door.

When she returned, she had guests. Consultia, Libraria, and Wiki, the Research Sirens.

“Okay, I know you ladies are good, but I have words to write.”

“Nonsense words, if you don’t have some facts ready,” Consultia barged into the room. Her giant Afro bounced as she clacked across the floor, then sat on the couch, crossing her long legs.

Libraria followed in her sexy librarian garb, stacked her books on my coffee table, then took a seat on my desktop.

Red headed Wiki wiggled her fingers in hello, as she sat in the wing backed chair.

“If you want to know about Lichtenberg scars, let me set you up with some interviews. It would be best if you could see them in person, and consult with a doctor,” Conversia said.

“I can book us tickets to Congo,” Wiki said. “Lightning strikes there more than anyplace on Earth.”

“I can’t go to Congo. Besides, that’s dangerous.”

“How will you really know unless you experience some of these things?” Libraria asked. “The smell of ozone, the explosive feel.”

“All I need are the scars. I don’t intend to write a lightning storm.”

“We might find a fulgurite,” Wiki said.

“What’s that?”

“It’s a stone configuration left behind after a lightning strike.” Libraria opened one of her books. “See.”

“Those are cool. I can use those in the story.”

Wiki looked at her iPad Mini. “If you’re willing to fly on standby, I can get some good rates.” She turned it around and held it by the Pop Cap on the back as if I could see that far.

“All five of us?”

“You and Lisa,” Conversia said. “We have other methods and can meet you there.”

“I know your tricks. Lure unsuspecting authors onto the rocks of research so they don’t get anything accomplished. I write fiction. It has to be plausible in the story world, not factual. You’d have me so far down the rabbit hole I’d never come out.”

Libraria looked over her glasses, and my heart stopped. She leaned over and kissed my forehead leaving me with a face-full of cleavage. “But it’s such a sweet rabbit hole.”

“Uh-huh. Whatever you—”

Lisa snapped her fingers in my face. “Come out of it. You know their tricks, but they can be helpful. Just focus on what you need.”

“What I need is something written by a guy named Cotton Mather. He’s like the patron saint of a group—”

Libraria returned to her books and selected a gigantic tome. “I brought his entire collected works. You should read all of it, so you have a better understanding, and can choose the best part.”

“How did you know I’d want— Nevermind.” I flipped through the pages. “Oh, Hell no. I need to base something off his words. My readers would shoot me if I wrote like this.”

Conversia leaned forward in her scoop-necked dress. Tiny bits of glitter flashed in the light against her ebony skin. “It was a long time ago, and people were pretty flowery back then. I know three historians who can give you a real feel for his time and role back then. Maybe even a trip to Williamsburg.”

I closed my eyes and calmed myself. “I’m writing about Lizzie and the hat again. I only need references to a few things, and a snippet or two. It’s their story, not his. They are outside observers to this world, so they don’t need to know how everything works.”

Wiki turned her iPad around once more. “He had silly hair.” She wrinkled her nose in an adorable silent laugh.

“You can stay, and you can help, but I’m giving Lisa total control. If it goes too far, she pulls the plug. I don’t have months to fly all over the world for something that might be two lines in my fiction. Even though you are fun company. Agreed?”

Libraria slid into my lap and leaned her head on my shoulder. “Agreed. Shall we get to work?”

***

Needless to say, today wasn’t one of those word-count giants. I did learn some fun things that will show up in Good Liniment.

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Nothing like a long drive

I woke up at five o’clock on Sunday. By visiting my parents, I missed out on a visit from my daughter. Old What’s Her Face said if I got on the road by seven, our daughter would stick around Boise and cut my hair. It felt kind of abusive of her time, but I wanted to see her.

The drive started before sunrise, and I enjoyed the dawning across the high desert. This is something I used to see every day, but took for granted.

By the time I reached Lone Mountain Station, there she was. It’s still winter, so she wore a bulky sweater, tights and knee high boots. Her shock of long brown hair moved slightly in the breeze. She watched two vehicles drive by, then stuck out her thumb as I approached.

I eased into the parking lot, then rolled down the window. “What brings you all the way out here, Lorelei? Kind of lonely territory for a Muse.”

“You.”

I watched, mesmerized by her tights, as she walked around to the passenger side, then climbed inside.

“I just wanted to check in. See how your writing is going.”

“It’s been kind of slow. There were a couple of good days, but I got bogged down in the muddy middle for a while.”

“That’s familiar territory for you. Still, I know you’ve added to your storyboards. It seems like you are well primed for your next few tales.”

“Yeah, listen to this.” I turned up the music.

As she listened, I kept talking. “It’s just too obscure for Lizzie and the Pythons to play at one of their gigs.”

“Maybe when they make the movie you can include it as background music.”

“Yeah. That would be great. Since Netflix doesn’t seem to be calling, about all I can do with it is enjoy it.”

“Have you thought about making a character based around this theme?”

“That’s a great idea. He could take a supporting role for one of Lizzie’s adventures. But, I have storyboards that will take years to write out.”

“Hang onto him. He might fit on an existing board, or maybe he needs a new story.”

“Gives me something to think about.”

“That what a Muse does.”

“Of course, Good Liniment is next for that series. Then there’s The Midnight Rambler, and I have one with some gremlins, maybe one about St. Vitus’ Dance, and I’m toying with one that will take Lizzie to the Kentucky Derby.”

“How did you come up with that?”

“The hat, of course. He would hate to be one of those fancy women’s hats. I can get some comedic mileage out of that.”

“That’s a paragraph. You’re going to need a bit more.”

“Okay, Good Liniment will expand the witchcraft world. Readers asked for that, but I wanted Lizzie to evolve into her position for a few tales. There are going to be a bunch of new characters in that story. One of which is a horse lover in the form of the headless horseman. I figure he can be the herald to walk Lizzie into some problem with the horses. Weird enough for one of my tales?”

“It’s certainly weird, but so are you.”

“Thanks, I think. I don’t think I can get her there with a Barnstable Brown performance, or even Phillies and Lillies. Lizzie and the Pythons aren’t big enough for those events. I might have to invent some dive bar in the area for them to perform at.”

“Then invent one. Sounds like it’s going to take a couple of years before you write it. I’m sure something will come to you. Start a storyboard, and remember you only have about two years to complete it.”

I signaled to exit the freeway at Meridian. “What I really need is some help with Lanternfish.”

“Sorry, this is where I get out.”

“Oh, come on!”

“Anywhere near that strip mall is fine. I’ve seen your board. Lanternfish will be fine. You just need to sift through the parts until the pieces are in position for the end game. Since this is a trilogy, make sure you bring some closure to more than just James and Serang.”

“But, you could really help me.”

She leaned over and kissed my cheek. “Of course I could, but your creativity feeds me. Not the other way around. The next time you make a long drive, maybe play something other than your Lizzie and the hat playlist.”

“But, it’s such good music.”

“It really is. Sounds like that series will survive for a long time. You gained a new character out of our visit. Be happy with that.”

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Lorelei Comes for a Visit

My company left at around 10:30 this morning. I haven’t honestly had a writing day since before Christmas and was looking forward to some quality time.

I arrived at the writing cabin and got ready to work. My robotic personal assistant, Lisa Burton dropped off some coffee, then waited for instructions. She wore boots and leggings and an oversized sweatshirt with a wide collar, exposing one bare shoulder.

“I need to read what I have before I get started. It’s been so long I can’t decide whether to pick up the Lanternfish story or the one about the hat.”

“If you need anything, just yell. I’ll be in the front seeing if there are any online bargains today.”

I had started reading Lunar Boogie when Lisa returned. “You have a visitor.”

Just what I needed on the first quality day in weeks.

Lorelei, the Muse, stepped around Lisa and into my writing office. She was as tall as Lisa, but less curvy. Beautiful in a Greek goddess kind of way. “What’s this I read about you toning things down in 2021?”

I held my palms forward in a gesture of peace. “That was about my publishing schedule. I want to satisfy the fans and get some series books out there. After that, who knows what I might do.”

“That’s where I have a problem. Your act of creation fuels me. I let you take some time off last summer, but it can’t become a habit. In fact, you haven’t been behind the keyboard since mid-December.”

“Calm down. There’s a difference between publishing and writing.”

“I’m listening.” She moved to the recliner in the corner and sat down.

Lisa took a place on the couch in case there were assignments.

“I intend to publish those two books, but will keep writing. I have several storyboards and am kind of missing my stand-alone stories.”

“That doesn’t sound like a plan. Maybe you just need some inspiration.”

“That’s as good as you’re getting right now.”

“Did you know the laws of salvage are nothing like people think? They’re actually about how a good samaritan deserves compensation.”

“Seems like a quick change in topic, and one of your tricks to me.”

“If someone were to rescue or preserve something, could be goods, or even part of a ship, they receive a lien against those items. The owner has to make good on the lien before claiming the goods.”

“So, it’s not just finders keepers?”

“Not at all. In fact, you could be charged with theft by keeping the items.”

“What if there’s nobody left alive to claim the items?”

“The country of origin can also participate. Spain will occasionally make a claim when someone discovers a sunken treasure ship.”

“That’s a maritime system, and I don’t see it working in the Lanternfish plot.”

“Just because something is on your property doesn’t make it yours, either. Otherwise, whenever someone walked in here you could claim everything they have.”

“That’s right, so pull that top off and hand it to me.”

“Ha ha. Nice try.”

“So, you’re telling me that if an alien ship crashed on my ranch, I can’t claim the wreckage. I can render a service and claim compensation, but can’t keep what I find.”

“Seems about right.”

“But the country, or planet of origin, could make a claim in our Earth courts.”

“In theory, yes.”

“I think if it were me, I’d take as many pictures as possible. Save them to a thumb-drive to protect them from government deletion, then share the photos with every news service and social media format I could find. The government couldn’t cover it up then.”

“Might make you a fugitive.”

“Almost certainly. If I filed my claim right away, there would also be a court record. That’s a bit safer place for the evidence.”

Lisa leaned forward. “The aliens probably wouldn’t go to court. You might gain possession by default, given enough time.”

“If only it weren’t for the damned Feds. They’ll try to take everything and claim it was a weather balloon. They won’t get away with it, because I have photographic evidence and good filings in the court. Once something is in the court record, they aren’t going to cough it up.”

“Looks to me like even losing possession of the wreckage, you’re poised to make yourself a celebrity speaker and go down in history as bringing the existence of aliens to the general public,” Lisa said.

“I’d need a place to hide for a while. I’m sure the Air Force or FBI would want to haul me in. It would have to be off the grid someplace.”

“You’d be dodging those guys for months.”

Lorelei stood, then dusted her palms together. “I think I’m finished here. Good to see you both again.”

“Wait a minute,” I protested. “You played me, but it won’t work. I have my own storyboards to jump on.”

“Looks like my little scheme failed. I’ll let you get back to your writing. Have a happy new year.”

“You, too,” Lisa said.

I watched Lorelei walk down the hall until she turned into the living room that served as the front office. “Did you keep any notes?”

“Your robot girl is on the job.” Lisa polished her nails on her sweatshirt. “I have a video recording of the entire meeting.”

“Why don’t you reduce the video to notes. I’ll get set up for storyboarding, and we can work on it together.”

“That sounds fun.”

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Got a bit more accomplished

I arrived at the writing cabin in the pre-dawn hour.

Lisa let me in, and she was already in her seasonal outfit. Today she was a gingerbread girl complete with some kind of white piping sewn around the hem of her miniskirt. Candy cane striped thigh-high stockings ended just shy of her dress. “Wow! Two days in a row? It’s almost like old times.”

“Almost. I have to cut it short today, but don’t want to squander the hours I have.”

“Then you’d better get started.” She got behind me and pushed me toward the writing office.

I intended to get the ship underway, but still had a couple of loose ends to wrap up in Tusconi. I took care of those and managed to make sail before I stopped.

It only came to about 800 words today, but like I noted, there were limited hours available. The good news is that Lanternfish is finally underway.

Lisa looked over my shoulder. “I think it’s good stuff. A tearful departure and a thought toward loved ones.” She placed a little square gingerbread robot on the table before me. “Don’t run away. I baked these myself from a recipe on the Internet.”

I took a hesitant bite. “Mmm. These are good.”

“Whew! I’ve never tried anything like this before.”

“Why a robot?”

“Because robots are underrepresented in the Christmas lore. We’re starting a new tradition here. If my sculpting skills were better I would have tried some robot girls, like me.”

“Well, I think they’re delicious. You can work on it, and I’ll come back tomorrow. No writing, just a Christmas visit.”

“And my Christmas bonus? These gingerbread shoes aren’t cheap, you know?”

“Yeah. I’ll bring that, too.”

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Back in action

I got to the writing cabin fairly early this morning. Lisa Burton met me at the door wearing a green and white mini-dress with matching elf cap. “What are you doing here?”

“I work here from time to time, remember?”

“I though you were getting a refrigerator delivered today.”

“That’s tomorrow. Rather than squander a whole weekend, I decided I’d better accomplish something today.”

“And which project is it going to be?”

“Huh? Don’t worry about changing clothes. I like the festive look.”

“Oh, good. I was just about to use the hot glue gun to put tiny bells on these pumps.” She held up a pair of metallic green heels.

“Sounds like a plan. I’m going to launch Lanternfish if it’s the last thing I do.”

“Okay. I have to make your coffee, then I’ll bring you a cup. You might hear me jingling as I come down the hall.”

“I hope so. 2020 has been kind of a gloomy year and any little bit of cheer is welcome.” I marched to the writing office and could see my breath in the air. Lisa had already provided kindling and wood, so I made a fire in the fireplace before I got started.

I opened my chapter by sliding Lanternfish from dry dock into the water. It takes some time to outfit a ship this size and I needed to respect that. I used the time to define some relationships, mostly between James and Bonnie. They are always parted on these journeys, and that’s pretty realistic for the era. I decided to spend some time with them as a couple.

I also spent some time reintroducing a few other characters. The overall trilogy seems to have a cast of thousands, and I can’t expect readers to remember all of them. Since it’s still early, a line or two seems more helpful than not.

Lisa jangled into my office with coffee. Somewhere along the line she’d managed to accessorize with an enameled bracelet and necklace of holly leaves and berries.

“Where’d you get those?” I pointed to her wrist.

“Cute, huh? I found them on EBay for a steal. As a bonus, Bunny likes to chew up the boxes.”

“You’re a little tall for an elf, but your heart’s in the right place.”

She leaned in close. “I don’t have a heart. There is a hydroponic layer to keep my skin healthy.”

“I know that. It’s a figure of speech. Means you have the right spirit.”

“Thanks. You type away. I’m going to go do my nails. There are boards of Christmas nails all over Pinterest.”

“Have a good time.”

I pecked away at my project, and ended at 3200 words for the day. I like this chapter, but there’s nary a cannonade in sight. Plenty of time for fantasy sea monsters and naval warfare after they leave the harbor.

I also like the way that Serang has been up to her neck in warfare in the preceding chapters. I think it adds a sense of urgency that readers can pick up on, even though the Lanternfish crew has no idea.

Tonight is all about packing all our food into the tiny freezer and a group of old coolers. Hopefully, getting the new one delivered and installed won’t be an all day affair, but my experience with such things hasn’t been good. If this is all I manage to write, so be it.

In other news, I worked through all my critiques for the other story. My group really didn’t like my title, so I changed it. The book about Lizzie and the hat is now called Lunar Boogie. Probably jump to that one next go round.

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Writing along

I looked up from my desk at the writing cabin and decided to call it a day.

Lisa Burton walked into the office in full pirate regalia. “How did it work out? Did you have a good day?”

“It really was. 2700 words I didn’t have before. Add that to the 2000 from Wednesday and things are cooking along.”

“There’s a little coffee left before you leave. Do you want it?”

“Sure. I got through my con men on Wednesday and closed the loop on three concurrent stories. Everyone is on the page now. Today, James did what he had to as far as completing the repairs on Lanternfish. She’ll be ready to launch soon.”

“Don’t you think I’d look great in period costume breaking a magnum of champagne over her prow?”

“I’m sure you would.”

“Maybe you should write that one down.”

“It’s early in the story. There could be better things coming.”

“Then you don’t have to use it, but if you write it down you won’t forget.”

“You’re a computer. You remember for me.”

“You can bet I will. So, did the queen go along with James’s scheme?”

“Shh, that’s a spoiler. You can check out the draft later.”

“What are you planning tomorrow?”

“Don’t know. Serang still has some war to wage, but she ought to gather some clues along the way. I need her to discover some old secrets, too. I might wing some of that, or take a little time to think it through.”

“You mean you’d just waste a day to think?”

“Sure. This whole country could use more thinking before writing.”

Lisa smirked. “Uh huh?”

“If it doesn’t want to come together, I can always revisit Lizzie and the hat.”

“I kind of hate it when you do this to me. I never know how to dress for the day. Am I wearing cute performance outfits or being a pirate girl?”

“How about badass monster hunter outfits?”

“I know your style. It’s too soon for those, After about ten chapters you’ll get to them. So how should I dress tomorrow?”

“I don’t know. I have to go where the Muse leads me.”

“Fine. I’m going to put on some jeans and cowboy boots, add a Smithereens tee-shirt and fashion beret, then pull the Waltus armor on over the top. Maybe I’ll even buckle on a cutlass for good measure.”

“Do it and I’ll post a picture on my blog.”

“You wouldn’t dare.”

“Of course I would.” I pointed to my head. “You don’t understand how this brain works.”

“From what I can tell, your processor runs on coffee, pumpkin beer, cheese, and crackers.”

“Actually, that’s pretty accurate. All I can tell you is that I intend to write tomorrow. If it’s Lanternfish, it’s Serang’s turn again. If not, then I’ll start the next Hat book.”

“Maybe I’ll just wear one of my polka dot dresses and some nice heels. Those make me happy.”

“There you go. I like those, too.”

“Enough to write me into another book?”

“Probably, but I’m not going to. You got a story just last year. I’m going to try revisiting Serang and see how that goes. That’s as much commitment as I can give you.”

“I’ll take it.”

“So, do we have some cheese and crackers?”

Yeah. And some dry salami. I’ll get you set up.”

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It’s been too long

I got to the writing cabin relatively early this morning. Lisa Burton met me at the door. She wore a tight knee-length khaki dress and a matching envelope cap.

“What’s with the outfit,” I asked.

“Veteran’s Day is next on the calendar. Things are still kind of boring out there, so I try to celebrate everything at home. You haven’t been out here in a while. What’s the occasion?”

“Nothing special. Just trying to keep the boredom away. I’ve been doing some storyboarding and looking for graphics. I have a lot of cool poster ideas for you as I write the next few books.”

“I’d love to go over your ideas. Maybe I can get some outfits ordered.”

I headed toward my office and turned on the lights. Lisa had placed sheets over everything, so I pulled them away and piled them in the corner. “Problem is that all the cool ideas are several books away from the ones I’m writing next. Things will have to come to me as I write those.”

“I’m sure you’ll come up with something. Maybe I can help.”

I walked down the hall to the paranormal office and threw the switch. A spark and hum revealed the same slip covers over all the furniture.

I thought as I pulled them all back. “I might be able to use that garrison cap in a story. Hang on to it.”

“For the hat?” she asked.

“Yeah, why not. I have a mission in a future story that will require him to be flat. Lizzie might come up with a performance outfit using it, too.”

“That seems worthy. I’ll keep it within easy reach. What are you working on today?”

“Nothing in particular, but I’m getting close.”

Lisa pushed me back to the main office and my desk chair. She moved the iPad in front of me. “I’ll get you some coffee. Maybe just relax and enjoy a fresh cup. See where it takes you.”

I sipped my coffee, then opened a new folder, created a blank document. A little copy and paste, and I’d created a title page and copyright data. I wrote one sentence, then another.

I knew in broad strokes what has to happen, but didn’t really plan a way to execute that. I worked on some dialog and it led toward the planned event. Might as well execute the plan and see what happens.

I dabbled, and backspaced my way along, not really expecting much. When I glanced down at the bottom of my document I’d written 3000 words. My jaw fell open.

Lisa had her own cup of coffee. She held it toward me. “Take all you can…”

I clinked her cup. “Give nothing back.”

Lisa snapped an open palm salute. “I I I I.”

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Vacation and the Muse

I went over the next chapter of Mrs. Molony before sending it out to my critique group. I admit it was a little rough, but the hours are dwindling on my vacation. Back to the real world tomorrow.

A whiff of sandalwood caught my attention. I got up from my desk and followed it like a bloodhound. Lorelei, the Muse waited in the main office.

“Where is your little assistant? Don’t tell me I’ve missed her.”

“Lisa is with Sean Harrington, making art.” I gave her a quick glance from her high heels, past her designer jeans, to the top of her long curly hair. “Haven’t seen you around here, lately.”

“You committed to series work, and I didn’t feel like you needed me. As long as you’re being creative, sometimes it’s better to get out of your way.”

“Well, I could use you now. I looked over my old storyboards and don’t have a lot to add. Then I tried to start boards for the final Lanternfish story, and the next Hat tale. It isn’t looking too good.”

She pulled me into a hug. “Aww. You’ve been on a break for a little over a week. Maybe you should give it more time.”

I fumbled a bit before speaking. She is a minor goddess, and pretty fit to boot. “Yeah, but you’d think all my ideas would fill a board.”

“I snooped. You have plenty of things for Lanternfish. The Hat series tends to be shorter. I think you’re going to be fine.”

“I need turning points for Lanternfish. There’s some cool stuff, but I haven’t been able to fit it into three-act structure. I haven’t even come up with things for many of the crew to be involved in. So far it’s just James and Serang, with a bit of the Palumbos. I need things for the other characters, particularly the root monsters. I need ways to hide any big cons that might be happening.”

“It’s only been a week. Relax. Things will come to you. You may find yourself inspired after I leave today. That’s kind of how Muses work.”

“And what’s with all the ideas for The Hat? I have more ideas than I can write in several years. Don’t want it to grow stale for readers. I’m trying to write one per year. I have two years worth of storyboards, and a solid idea for one after those.”

“Don’t be such a baby. I know you like those characters, and you enjoy writing their adventures. I may have visited your dreams a few times, but they are solid ideas.”

“That seems kind of invasive. Maybe I wanted to see you.”

“Maybe you wanted to look at me. There’s a difference. You’ve been extremely busy, and it feels like solid work. Enjoy your break. Add to the storyboards as interesting things occur to you.”

I paused, looking at her wasn’t exactly horrifying. She looked every inch the Greek Goddess, even in modern clothing. “At least there is an end in sight for Lanternfish.”

“It’s your first series, and it will be your first complete series. You should be proud of that. Then you’ll have room for your stand-alone books.”

“It would be nice to spend some time on those. I have one storyboard that’s three years old.”

“You will. Give yourself a few months. I’m sure you’ll start the Lanternfish book before the year ends. Try to enjoy yourself.” She swirled her wrist, and a crystal goblet appeared in her hand. “Aren’t you going to offer me a drink?”

I grabbed my beard and thought. “We’re all stocked up on cheap boxed wine. Lizzie St. Laurent seems to thrive on the stuff. Either that or one of her Monster energy drinks.”

“Let’s brave the wine. Maybe you ought to stock some better supplies out here.”

“Like I said, Lisa is working away from home today and I’m a little short.”

“There are delivery services in your modern world. Phone something in, and I expect a little better stock the next time I appear.”

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Living in the moment

I put the pro in procrastinate today. It was a perfect writing day for me, because Old What’s Her Face had to work. I spent my time on reading blogs, social media, chatting with friends. Eventually, I decided to work on something.

I got to the writing cabin late, with four projects looming. I need to make edits to Lanternfish, send out the next section to my critique group, brush up my short story, and possibly add new words to Mrs. Molony.

Head down, I hacked away at the chapter I needed to edit, but something didn’t feel right. I wandered through the cabin. “Lisa. Lisa?”

“Back here.” I found her working on the flowerbeds outside.

“We need to go to town. I have to tip over a statue.”

“What on Earth for?”

“It’s a living in the moment thing. This is all over the news and social media. I want to be able to tell my grandkids that I participated. Maybe some of this can weave its way into one of my stories.”

“You flew out here. It’s several hours back by road.”

“Then we’d better get started.”

“You can ride in my sidecar, or we have the old Land Rover from our storyboarding safaris.”

“Let’s take the Land Rover.”

It took her an hour to get ready and fuel up the car. Several decent mud holes, a couple of snowdrifts, and we finally reached Boise.

“This is your shindig. Where to?” Lisa rolled down her window.

“There’s a perfectly good statue of Lincoln in the park. We can start there.”

Lisa’s eyes flickered as her internal works paired with the cellular network. “That’s bronze. You won’t even be able to budge it.”

“You have that industrial robot strength. I’m sure together we can get Abe on his head somehow.”

“Oh, no. This is your deal. I’ll drive you, because you pay the bills. Any vandalism is all on you.”

“Party pooper.”

She signaled then pulled in by Zoo Boise. I hit the ground running as soon as she found a parking spot. I grunted while trying to shove the bronze onto the grass. Finally, I crawled up on his pedestal and tried again. Abe didn’t budge.

“Well?” she asked.

I strained with all my might, then clutched my side. “I think I pulled something.”

“Can we go now?”

“I’m not giving up.” I looked both ways, then jogged across the street to the community rose garden where I kicked over their garden gnome. I dusted off my hands while strutting back to the car. “How about that?”

“Fabulous. I need to swing by the nursery on the way back. We need some plant food.”

She drove down State Street then parked at the nursery. “Coming in?”

I stared at the flock of plastic flamingoes in their lawn. “No. I’m good right here.”

Lisa walked inside and I waited until she was out of sight. This was my moment. I attacked the flamingoes with fury. I managed to kick six of them over when the management came running.

Not wanting to deal with The Man, I dove in the Land Rover, then sped away.

I went around the block, then called Lisa’s internal cellular number. She didn’t answer. Finally, I dropped the Rover into gear and headed home. Lisa is pretty resourceful, and I’m sure she’ll find her way back.

Lisa Burton

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