When Your Muse Skips a Date

My muse and I had a date. I planned my work/vacation time so I had a four day weekend. Perfect for writing, right? Given I’m behind on my WIP, I was jazzed to pull off such a coup. Mr. E. knew when and where he was to show up. If you’re not sure who Mr. E. is, you may want to check out book two of my Point Pleasent series, A Cold Tomorrow.

In the meantime, let’s check out how things went wrong. 😦

Plans for day one (Thursday) of my four-day writing schedule:
Several hours of writing in the morning.
Run errands.
Immunization shot at pharmacy.
Lunch with hubby.
Writing in evening.

What went wrong:
Overslept and got a late start. Part of this is the fault of my cat, Raven, who likes to curl up in bed with me. Seriously, who could resist a cute, sleepy ball of fluff in snuggle mode? Here’s a shot of what she looks like when she’s pouring on the power-cute.

Cute black cat curled up on rug looking at camera

Errands got a late start and instead of writing, I caught up with email. After I finished with errands I headed to my local pharmacy for the second half of a two-part shingles immunization shot. Have you guys heard about this thing? It’s for anyone over fifty—an uber precaution against getting shingles. The shot comes in two parts, You get part one (shot), then somewhere between two and six months later you get the second shot.

The day I got the first shot, I had also gotten a tetanus shot and had a bad reaction (chills, muscle aches, slight fever). I thought that was from the tetanus, but NOOOOO!

Thursday afternoon I got the second shot and by the evening I was a mess. Fever, extreme chills, body aches off the scale, headache, nausea—not to mention my arm felt like I’d never be able to lift it again. I got up in the middle of the night to get a drink of water and was shaking so bad from chills, I spilled water all over the place. Not a good night. The next morning, I checked out the side effects on the handout they give you, and I had every one of them.

Joy! I know countless people (including my husband) who have gotten this series of shots without any side effects. Leave it to me. Needless to say, no writing got done.

Plans for day two (Friday) of my planned four-day writing schedule:
A few hours writing at a coffee cafe.
Meet with friend at the library regarding plans for a 2019 trip to Maine.
Get together with my niece and SIL (spur-of-the moment, planned Thursday morning).
Afternoon and evening writing,

What went wrong:
Couldn’t sleep because of a miserable night with side effects from the shingles shot.
Up early and went to the coffee cafe but spent my time catching up on email and blog visits.
Enjoyed time with my niece and SIL, but was dragging from lack of sleep. Still feeling horrible from side effects of shot.
Came home, zonked on the couch and went to bed by seven PM.
No writing.

Saturday of my planned four-day writing schedule:
Starting to feel better—not 100% but enough to feel well enough to do laundry and make a huge pot of New England Clam Chowder.
My den looks like a cyclone hit it (thanks to the recent author presentation I did for a historical society) so I decide to clean it up into order to get to my desk.
That involves cleaning out my closet—which involves sorting through boxes of family photos to give to my nephew (don’t ask).
The entire day vanishes.
Evening out with my family, something that popped up at the last minute. My brother bought one of those drive-able RVs and he and his wife drove it up for everyone to see. A bunch of us ended up going out for dinner.
No writing.

Sunday of my planned four-day writing schedule:
Now fully recovered from the shot. YAY!
Back to the den to finish the cleaning project I started yesterday.
Caught up on my author record keeping (expenses, royalties, inventory, banking).
Caught up with email and blog visits again. No writing,

Four whole days without a single hour at my day job and I didn’t manage a single minute of writing. My friend, Craig Boyack, recently experienced something similar, so I know I’m not the only one who experiences plans that go haywire. Still, as much as I enjoyed time with my niece, sister-in-law, and family, it was frustrating not to manage even a few thousand words of writing. On the plus side, I’ve got a second chance. I have the entire week of Thanksgiving off and hope to hammer out major word count. I may not be as visible that week online, so if I miss a few posts I hope you’ll forgive me. My deadline is looming and the last few days have set it back another notch thanks to a dreadful shot and an absent muse!

I’m hoping your week (and week ahead) was/is much more productive—and that if you opt for the Shingrix immunization you’re like my DH and the bulk of people who don’t experience the debilitating side effects I did!

When Characters take Control by Mae Clair

I’ve been thinking about my characters a lot lately and how more than a few have surprised me. For the most part these are secondary characters who demand a bigger role or—at the very least—venture beyond the part I intended for them.

In my first novel, WEATHERING ROCK, it was Rick Rothrock who turned out quite different than planned. If I ever get back to that series, I still owe him a prequel story. He earned it.

In TWELFTH SUN, my characters all behaved and played their roles. Maybe because there were so many, and they are such an eclectic bunch. If you’ve read the book (I won’t spoil it) you’ll understand the tongue-in-cheek reference in this paragraph. 😀

TWELFTH SUN has always been a pretty steady seller for me despite the fact it’s several years old, and only has twenty-three reviews. I can’t pinpoint a breakout character, but that’s probably because my lead, Dr. Elijah Cross, stole the show.
If I had to pick one book that was pure fun to write, it’s this one. If you’re looking for something breezy and adventurous to read this summer, give it a try. As a reader, you get to solve clues along with the characters.

An owl with glasses is reading a book in the woods ECLIPSE LAKE rolled around and I encountered my first incredibly demanding character—Jesse Carlisle. Originally slated as a secondary character Jesse evolved into one of the four leads of the novel. Yeah, four. Count ‘em. Interesting thing about Jesse…I wasn’t the only one he captivated with his personality. I’ve had multiple readers tell me he needs his own book. It’s on my list.

In MYTH AND MAGIC one of Caith’s brothers insisted on his own book. I actually started that story before succumbing to the call of the Mothman in A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS.

Which brings me to Mr. Evening who has conveniently taken on the role of my muse. He crops up in A COLD TOMORROW, book two of my Point Pleasant series. When I did a rough synopsis to send to my publisher, his role was pretty minimal. Well, give a muse control and…:)

Mr. Evening decided to expand his part, evolving his character into one far more complex than I’d envisioned. We squabbled a bit, but in the end I went back and rewove two plot threads to accommodate him.

But it didn’t end there.

He’s now worked things to ensure he’ll be back for book three and is beginning to whisper about becoming a continuing character outside of the series. He’s conveniently pointed out how nicely that would dovetail with some of the ideas I have percolating on the back burner. Grandiose plans, but he’s got me thinking maybe, just maybe…

Which of your characters has taken control?

Guest Blogger, Donna Cummings: An Interview with My Muse, Endora

I’m turning my blog over to my good friend Donna Cummings today, and her very witty, spectacular, beyond-fabulous guest (you’ll understand all of those lovely adjectives in a minute). This post had me grinning in delight, so sit back and enjoy. Oh—and Donna has an awesome treat for you, too, at the end. 🙂

~ooOOoo~

An Interview with My Muse Endora
by Donna Cummings

After I read the great post here from C. S. Boyack about the raven Doubt, I received an unexpected visit from my muse Endora. She was quite inspired by Doubt’s work, and wanted to renovate the writing cave to include room for an entire flock of ravens. She argued that it would help with our “job share” arrangement—the one where she takes all the credit and I get all the blame.

I know the best way to distract Endora from such a crazy notion is to interview her. So I’ve set things up here to look like a stage, because she’s quite the diva, and is more likely to “cooperate” if we make a big fuss.

Let me just do a quick check to see if everything’s arranged the way she likes. There’s an extra comfy chaise longue for her to lay on while she waves her hand disdainfully. Wall-to-wall mirrors so she can admire herself while ensuring I can see that she’s ignoring me. An applause machine on the “Never Quit” setting.

Yep. I think we’re good.

Ladies and gentlemen, Endora really needs no introduction, but she would twist my arm into a pretzel if I didn’t talk about her in the most glowing terms. She’s the one who inspires me to keep writing. (Usually by leaving me with all the work.) She’s the one who makes me try harder. (By sniffing at all the work I do produce.) But most importantly, she’s the one who keeps me laughing. (Because I’d spend all my time crying otherwise.)

Please welcome the lovely and talented Endora!

Me: *waves hand and coughs* That appearing in a puff of smoke thing never fails to impress. Are you sure you aren’t using more smoke lately?

Endora: *reclines on the chaise longue and arranges her flowing skirts* I have no idea what you’re talking about. I never do.

Me: Oh. Well. Uh, thanks for stopping by. I know you’ve got a busy schedule. *rolls eyes and speaks to the audience* I actually have NO idea how she spends her time.

Endora: It’s a full-time occupation just to maintain this level of fabulous. *fluffs hair* If I wasn’t so busy, I might be able to help you out more.

Me: Yeah, I bet it takes centuries to achieve that particular shade of orange—Ouch! I can’t believe you kicked me.

Endora: I was just stretching my leg out. Your chair is closer than I realized.

Me: *grumbles* Well, let’s get started. I’ve got a few questions that were submitted beforehand by audience members. Oh, this is a really good one: “Why are you always so mean to Donna?”

Endora: *sniffs* Pick one that you didn’t write.

Me: How do you know I wrote it?

Endora: Honestly. I’m your muse. I know what you sound like.

Me: I don’t know how. You’re never around. *shuffles cards* Okay, how about this one? “How did you and Donna meet?”

Endora: *speaks directly to the audience in a sugary voice* She was a fledgling writer, and I decided to take the poor darling under my wing—

Me: It was more like a chokehold. Our arrangement actually started when I was struggling with some early writing, and there was this derisive voice in my head that kept comparing my efforts to all kinds of garbage-y trash-like things.

Endora: It’s exhausting coming up with new variations for those terms. I know I make it look easy–

Me: *glares* Okay, next question. “What’s your favorite of all the books Donna has written?”

Endora: She writes books? *yawns* How droll.

Me: “What’s Donna’s best quality as a writer?”

Endora: Oh, that’s easy. The way she keeps giving so much time and attention to me.

Me: This isn’t going quite the way I planned.

Endora: That’s because you’re a pantser. You don’t plot anything out ahead of time.

Me: *grits teeth* Except your demise. I’m always plotting THAT.

Endora: Are we about done? I’ve got a million things to do today. . .

Me: Oh! So that means you’ve looked at the latest WIP? I could use your help with Chapter 5 actually.

Endora: *exhales heavily* Well, apparently I’ve got a million and one things to do now. But I’ve got to work on the important things first. Like figuring out my new theme song. I’ll catch up with you later.

Me: That line is going to be on my tombstone, thanks to you.

Endora: See? I’m always inspiring you. It’s no wonder I’m worn to a complete frazzle. I need to schedule another 52 weeks of vacation just to rest up.

Me: And I’ve got to schedule an optometrist appointment for all the eye-rolling you make me do. Anyway, thanks for showing up today. It was such a surprise. I mean, it was a real thrill—

Endora: *disappears in a huge cloud of smoke*

Me: You can’t even wait until I finish my sentence?! What a witch.

Endora: *disembodied voice* Thank you.

Me: That wasn’t—oh, never mind.

~ooOOoo~

BEK_medAs your reward for enduring Endora, I will be gifting a copy of my latest release, Bad Ex Karma, to each commenter today (up to a maximum of 20). Just let me know what inspires YOU.

~ooOOoo~


Author Bio
:
I have worked as an attorney, winery tasting room manager, and retail business owner, but nothing beats the thrill of writing humorously-ever-after romances.

I reside in New England, although I fantasize about spending the rest of my days in a tropical locale, wearing flip flops year-round, or in Regency London, scandalizing the ton.

I can usually be found on Twitter, talking about writing and coffee, and on Facebook, talking about coffee and writing.

Look for Donna at these haunts:
Website: http://www.AllAboutTheWriting.com
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/LRgT5
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BookEmDonna
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5349107.Donna_Cummings
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Donna.Cummings.Author
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/bookemdonna/

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You can purchase all of Donna’s books, including her ROGUES GALLERY of three wonderful novels at:
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