Mr. Muse Returns

Ciao, amici. Thanks for waiting for me. I know it’s been a little more than eight months since I had any real social media interaction. Life has a funny way of derailing you when you least expect it. On the other hand, it tends to want you to continue participating in the ride. I can’t guarantee my car is going to stay on the tracks; it’s holding on by a thread, and I’ve noticed the rails are nowhere near as smooth as I thought. Plus, when you’re the only one in the car, you have to do all the work yourself. But I had a wake-up call recently that made me climb back onto the ride. Let me tell you all about it.

As you probably guessed, it was a conversation (really more like a lecture) between me and Mr. Muse.


“You’re still in your jammies, cara.”

I didn’t even glance his way. “Yep.”

“You’re always in your jammies.”

“If you don’t like it, don’t look.”

“What man doesn’t like a woman in pajamas?”

That wasn’t worth dignifying with even a non-verbal a response.

“In the right time and place, I actually prefer them.”

I mustered the energy to shoot a glare in his direction. He was in dark jeans and a Henley. His sleeves were bunched up and all the buttons at his throat were open. I should probably be glad he was as covered as he was. He’s usually one item of clothing away from naked. “I guess this isn’t the right time or place, then.”

He sat beside me. “You know, the rest of the world is starting to get back to living their lives. Businesses are opening their doors. Parks opening their gates.”

“I vaguely recall seeing that mentioned on TV.” And I did mean vaguely. Nothing has really captured my interest in several months, particularly not the nightly news. Why tune in to negative reports from around the world when life sucks under my own roof?

“So, don’t you think it’s about time you start living again, too?”

As comfortable as I was sprawled on the sofa, I forced myself to sit up. “You want me to live again, huh? Want me to get back out in the world? Get some work done?”

“Well, yeah. Don’t you think it’s time?”

“Gee, I don’t know. I mean, my boss has been waiting for me to finish my Astral Conspiracy series for months now. His patience has waned. Considerably. Imagine my surprise when I turned to my muse for help, but he was nowhere to be found.”

“Oh, cara. I was here. I’m always here. I’d never leave you.”

Where had I heard that before?

“You didn’t see me because you weren’t ready for me. But now you are.”

“I was never not ready.”

“I’ll give you a lot of leeway, but I won’t let you lie. To me or to yourself. You weren’t ready.”

“I don’t lie. I hate liars.”

“I know. Mi Scusi. I misspoke. I meant to say I wouldn’t let you kid yourself.”

Semantics, but I’d accept it. I really do hate liars.

Cara?

“Sorry. My mind wandered.

“And I know where it went. Time to stop dwelling on the past.”

He was right, but I didn’t want to talk about it. So, I focused on the problem at hand. “All I’ve had the energy to do for the last several months is write. But you weren’t here, and I was stuck, so even that didn’t get done.” I know it wasn’t totally his fault—or at all, really—but I was lashing out and couldn’t stop. “And now my boss is mad and I’m worked up and I don’t see how I’m going to get anything done today, let alone from now on. I’m too far behind. The hole is too deep to dig out of.”

He rolled his eyes. Gave me a long-suffering sigh that only Italians can pull off. (As I’m part Italian, I would know.) Met my gaze with a heated stare. “I’d think by now, you’d be tired of the pity party. Especially since you’re the only one in attendance. Now, go get a shower. Put on something that you can wear in public—and yoga pants don’t count. Maybe even swipe some liner on your lids and color on your lips. When you come back to the living room, you’d better resemble a human being.”

Typically, I struggle with authority. But that time, I didn’t put up a fuss. I (and here’s a word I loathe) obeyed his command. Figured I’d hate every second of it, but it actually felt good to make myself presentable, even if it did take me longer than it usually would. Part of the delay was my hesitation. I didn’t think I could bear it if he was gone when I went back downstairs.

When I finally had the courage to leave my bedroom, I found he’d kept his word. He was still there. He’d made me coffee, put a few pieces of my favorite chocolate candy on a plate, and opened a Scrivener file for me. My slippers were on the floor under my desk, and a small pillow was on the chair for back support.

“You thought of everything.”

“Even the next scene for your novel.”

And he was right. The ideas were flowing again. I typed thousands of words that day without looking up. When I finally did, I’d expected to find the room empty. I know I’m not his only charge. But he kept his word. He hadn’t left me.

He did, however, strip down to a pair of shorts and nothing else. Sweat had dampened the curled-up ends of his sable hair, and his muscles were bulging as he worked out in the middle of the floor—pushups. “Something simple to pass the time until you needed me again,” he’d said. I think he was on number 318 when I noticed what he was doing.

I’m not sure how that could have escaped my notice for so long.

“I’m going for a jog, cara. But you’ve got this. And if you get stuck, just holler. I’ll come running.”

I didn’t want him to go. I almost called out to bring him back, but it was because he was easy on the eyes, not because I needed him. He was right to have faith in me. I did have my project under control. I was still way behind, but I knew I could finish before my boss wiped his hands of me. 

It was probably better that Mr. Muse decided to go out for a while. I’d suddenly remembered what a distraction he could be, and I had writing to do.

I nibbled on my candy and got back to work.


I’m happy to say I finished writing the series in record time, and I spent last week revising and editing all five novels. They’re now being edited, and they release this summer. I’m already working on my next project, and I’m super excited about it.

Sorry I was away so long. Life does like to hand out lemons every now and then, and not long ago, it gave me an orchard full. Took a while, but I finally remembered how many things you can do with that tart little fruit.

I’ll be easing back into blogging, though I can’t sustain the schedule I used to maintain. I’m still working out which content I’ll post when. As soon as I figure it out, you’ll be the first to know. I’m also easing back into social media. I’ve been liking Twitter posts and blog posts, sharing a few links. Soon I’ll be commenting, too. It’s hard becoming social again, especially when the world isn’t being very social, but I’m getting there. I’ve missed you all and look forward to the day when I’m back to 100% interaction again.

Until then, thanks for your patience with me! Arrivederci!

63 thoughts on “Mr. Muse Returns

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  1. I’m so far behind … So glad you are back! And those eye-candy Muses are good for writing inspiration and a break from the screen (visual recess?) And 5! novels? Oh. My. Gawd. Can you send me some of that pixie dust, cuz I’m still getting kicked by one novel.

    Seriously, though, so glad you’ve come back. Sending long-distance hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I welcome those hugs gratefully because I need about a million of them. Thanks for the well wishes. I’ve missed you and everyone. And while Mr. Muse doesn’t share his magic with me (more like flaunts it, but that’s a whole other story), I will ask him to send a burst of mojo your way.

      In all seriousness, if you are stuck and need an ear to talk over a plot point, I’m happy to help. But if time is your issue, you’ve come to the wrong girl.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Staci! It’s not a matter of time, but a matter of “passion” for the story, I think. Because of that, I’ve been strugging with the plot. First round of revision is done, but I need to ramp up the danger for my MC. To do that I find myself treading the fine line between legit ratcheting up the tension/suspense and “you have GOT to be kidding” increased-danger version of deus ex machina (jacking up the threat to the MC way more than is believable just to raise the stakes). I might take you up on your offer 🙂

        Some day we’ll have a chance to meet, and I’ll be glad to give you a big in-person hug! Until then, virtual will have to do!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh, no! Working on a story you’ve lost your passion for is the worst. It makes it hard to see the value in what you have and harder to see what needs to be done. If I can help, let me know.

        And I’ll happily take the virtual hugs. I also send many back in return.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I can’t say I’m recovered. I may never be 100%. But I am definitely on a path of healing, and that’s the best I can hope for at the moment. Life does, indeed, have plans for us, sometimes ones we’d rather avoid. Thanks for the support.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m getting there slowly but surely (If you’ll excuse the cliché).

      Thanks. It was rough finishing, but I’m glad to have the series off my plate. Wishing you much success with finishing your novel.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, Staci. It seems that the entire world has turned upside down and it’s hard to even remember what day it is. But I can honestly say that I’ve missed you and glad you are making any kind of return that you can manage. If you ever get completely sick of your muse, please send him to Texas. It’s been a long time since I’ve gazed on a good looking hunk of a man. No telling what it would inspire. 🙂 On the good news front, I have been picked up by a traditional publisher and am super excited to work from that side of the business! Congrats on finishing your work and I’ll be happy to help spread the word when the new books are released!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Jan. That is so exciting! I’m absolutely delighted for you! I want to hear all about it (or as much as you can talk about). And when you’re about to release, my blog is open to you.

      And thank you for the offer of helping me spread the word for my upcoming releases. I haven’t even thought about promo yet, but I think I probably need to soon. It’s going to be here sooner than I expect.

      I really appreciate the warm welcome back. The world is upside down, and mine turned much sooner (and dare I say harder?) than most. I feel like I’m on the cusp of things getting back to normal (or a new normal, I suppose) and I hope everyone can say the same.

      Like

  3. How lovely to see you online again, Staci! Five books completed in that time-frame is outstanding. It’s great to see you buckled back in to the roller-coaster. 😊👍

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m very happy to see you back here, Staci:) Sometimes we have to take care of ourselves and regroup, I’ve been in that place. That’s amazing how much work you already got done and Mr. Muse is back. I look forward to that reading. Sending you a ton of hugs xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Denise. I can’t properly express how much it means to me that so many of my online friends didn’t give up on me. I missed everyone and am so glad to be back.

      Lots of hugs right back to you.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Whoot! So happy to hear from you (and your muse, who should have his own book- I’m just sayin’ :))
    I can’t wait to read more of the Astral series, congrats on getting them done!
    Your post was like a bright ray of sunshine poking through the gloomy clouds. Really glad you’re back ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aw. Thank you. After reading your post, I suspected you were a bit down today. And while I never expected my return to matter to so many people (and I couldn’t be more touched that it does), I’m especially glad my timing provided you with a little brightness. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Your post made me so sad, but life sucks sometimes and I’m glad you’ve lived through it, and you’re back. I can’t believe you wrote FIVE books and turned them in. My brain can hardly comprehend that. But yay for you! Your Muse might be a distraction, but he’s pretty good at inspiring you:) I really liked the Astral Conspiracy, looking forward to the next books in the series.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you sad. It has been a rough eight months, but I’m slowly coming out the other side, so try to focus on that. (And I very much appreciate the empathy and concern. More than I can express.)

      Astral Conspiracy is just around the corner. I’m delighted you enjoyed the first book and hope you enjoy the rest of the series as much. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it.

      And yes, Mr. Muse is a distraction. But a good one! He certainly does… inspire. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s so wonderful to visit our blog again, Staci. I’ve so missed seeing your posts. I am flabbergasted that you pulled off five books, yet if anyone could do something that work intensive, it would be you. I’m looking forward to the releases this summer and seeing how the Astral Conspiracy series wraps up. I’m also excited for your new project, and glad your muse has returned.

    Most of all, I’m just glad to have you back, my friend. Take all the time you need until you find your footing and a pace that works for you. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Mae. You’ve been so supportive through all this. I can’t thank you enough.

      Not sure I can live up to those high expectations, though. I do hope everyone enjoys the series. It changed a lot on the fly (and I hate to pants a plot) but life decided to worm its way into the story and I did things to characters I hadn’t planned to do, which changed the trajectory of almost all their arcs. Fingers crossed I pulled it off!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. A most excellent and inspiring post, Staci! Yep. You’ve still got it, girl, and you are on the right track again. Yeah, maybe those rails aren’t as smooth as you once thought, but then, they never are! There are bumps and detours and rough patches for all of us. The trick is to stick the landing, then keep on going. And you’ve done it!

    Welcome back, and here’s to it getting easier and easier every day! (And by all means, holler for Mr. Muse now and then, even if it’s just to watch him do push-ups. That in itself is inspirational!) 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Missy. These last eight months or so were the most challenging I’ve ever lived through. If I could survive those, I can get through anything, I think.

      So glad you stopped by. Thanks for the support.

      Like

  9. Woo-hoo – you’re back! Happy to see your muse returned (I’ve missed hearing about him, lol). Five novels – I have no words. Other than I can’t wait to read them. Take as much time as you need easing back into it, Staci. We’ll be here waiting.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much, Teri. It was hard being away. I’m glad you were patient with me. And I’m very glad I started back with Mr. Muse. He does seem to be a favorite. (At least he is with the ladies. 😉 )

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Mr. Muse and I thank you.

      Yeah, the company is trying a new marketing strategy and dropping whole series in chunks instead of spacing them out over the course of months or years. We’ll see how that goes. Fingers crossed!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I can’t tell you how happy I am to see you back. And I’m so glad Mr. Muse showed up. Blog whenever you can (I’ve cut way back on my schedule as well). We’ll be here when you do.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I started regretting planning out five near the end of book two! I’d done a four-book series before and started flagging near the end, but I’d also dragged at the end of a prior three-book series and just thought that was my process. It might be, but I don’t think I want to plan a five-book series again. My newest project is planned to be a trilogy, but I could extend it if there’s interest (by both me and my readers). I guess we’ll see what happens there.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Good to ‘see’ you back again, Staci. I – of all people – can understand and empathise with your leave of absence and departure of Mr Muse. I’ve had both happen to me (more than once), and am astounded how warmly this community embraces one back into the fold. I’m sure you’ll slide into your old routine in no time, and if not, make a new routine! Welcome back 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I had a lot of guilt and fear being gone so long. But you’re right; this is a forgiving community. I really appreciate everyone’s patience with me.

      Sorry you’ve been through this, too. But I’m glad you came out the other side of it. Thanks for the encouraging words.

      Liked by 2 people

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