A New To-Do from Mr. Muse

Ciao, amici. I bet you were stunned to see my name in your inbox or WordPress feed today. I apologize for my absence. Deadlines and family obligations are not a good excuse, but that’s what kept me from visiting you and from writing here. Well, time management because of deadlines and family obligations.

Semantics, I know.

It’s why I’m writing today. Someone (ahem) called me on it. The conversation went something like this.


I rolled my eyes but didn’t look up.


That time it wasn’t a question. Still, I didn’t acknowledge him.

“If I say it a third time, you’re not going to like what happens.”

“Why?” I still didn’t face him. “Is it like Beetlejuice? Because newsflash—I’m already here.”

He gave a long-suffering sigh.

I stopped typing. Had he been visiting my mother and taking lessons? Since my flow was broken, I looked up.

And boy, I wished I hadn’t.

He was standing in my living room in nothing but a black pair of those tight little swim trunks 007 wore in that commercial they played over and over again for that one movie Daniel Craig came out of the ocean for. I’d tell you the name of it, but I never saw the film or caught the name; I was too busy reflecting on that particular scene that they kept televising.

Do with that information what you will.

I tried not to gawk and said, “It’s February.”

“I’m aware of that.”

“It’s February in Western Pennsylvania.”

“I’m aware of that, too.”

“Unless you’re about to tell me my basement is flooded—and please, God, don’t let it be, as I really don’t need to deal with that right now—I can’t imagine where you plan on swimming here.”

“I don’t plan on swimming here. I plan on swimming in Maui. But you’re interrupting my plans.”

“Don’t you work for me?”

His face darkened.

I cleared my throat. “What I meant to say was, aren’t you supposed to be here to inspire me?”

“For a change, you managed to write an outline in one pass. And be satisfied with it.”

“I know, right? That was pretty impressive.”

“Of course, you abandoned it by chapter three. But you did write a good outline.”

“Yeah, well, I had an epiphany.”

“Some might say your muse struck you.”

I sighed. “So me getting off track is your fault? I’m not sure I can wrangle all these threads together again.”

“You’ll be fine, cara. This new idea is even better than what you started with.”

“Thanks. I think.” I wasn’t sure if I was angry or grateful. “Wait. So, you started me down this other path and now you’re going to the beach?”

“My tan is fading. And it’s cold here. I won’t be gone long.”

He was showing a lot of skin. A. Lot. His olive complexion looked every bit as dark and vibrant as it always did. I had a hard time believing he hadn’t just rubbed bronzer all over himself.

And that was an image I so did not need taking up residence in my mind at the moment.

I shook my head. “Are you here to say goodbye? You interrupted me. And I was in flow.”

“No, you weren’t. You were going down a rabbit hole that you knew wasn’t going to pan out. You’d be four thousand words into it only to decide to delete them all. I stopped you to save you the time.”

He wasn’t wrong. I knew as I was writing that scene that it wasn’t working. God, I hated it when he was right.

“Fine. I’ll start over.”

“No, cara. What you need to do is take a break from your WIP.”

“What? You never tell me to take a break. And I have a daily word count I have to hit.”

“This time, I’m telling you to step away.”


“Because you’ve been neglecting your friends. You’ve been neglecting everything. It’s not good for you.”

“I have deadlines.”

“You’ll be dead if you don’t come up for air. And what about your daughter? This is the important stage of the wedding planning. You have details to attend to.”

“I just bought my mother-of-the-bride gown.”

“Your daughter practically had to drag you to the store.”

“But I went.”

He rolled his eyes. “You should be exercising more.”

“I just shoveled the snow this morning. Mine and my neighbors’ walk. It took forever.”

“Do you plan on it snowing every day? I can put in a request.”

“No! God, no. I’ll make more time. Besides, I rode the exercise bike a couple of times last week.”

“Wow. You make me tired just thinking about it. Lance Armstrong is impressed with your dedication.”

“Sarcasm is ugly on you.”

“I’m worried about you, cara.”

“I’m fine.”

“You’re ignoring your family and friends.”

“I’m busy.”

“You have tunnel vision. Take an hour and write a blog post. Start visiting your fellow writers again. At least like and tweet once in a while. You know, embrace the “social” part of social media.”

“You know I’m an INFJ.”

“You know I’m not leaving until you do it.”

I looked at him in his swim trunks and wondered if that was such a bad thing.

He cocked an eyebrow.

My cheeks flamed. “Fine.” I sighed. “I’ll make more of an effort to visit friends in the mornings. And I’ll write a post at some point in the next week or two.”

“Thank you. Now was that so hard?”

If he only knew.

So, that was my exchange with Mr. Muse. I’m living up to my end of the bargain. I’ve begun visiting friends again, and here’s my post. Sorry about being AWOL for so long. Soon I’ll have book reviews and news about new releases.

As for him, there’s no telling when he’ll be back. Or what he’ll be up to. I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to. Let’s chat about it.


58 thoughts on “A New To-Do from Mr. Muse

  1. You and Julie have the best hunky muses, Staci. Mine smell bad and are very bossy. It’s okay to hibernate and write. I can use you as an excuse when I take a break and disappear for a week or two… “Staci does it, so I can too!” Welcome back and Happy Writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great to see you online again, but I agree blogging breaks are necessary sometimes. I agree with Robbie, if I didn’t have a daytime job, I could easily become a hermit. Pandemic or no pandemic.

    Hope the muse enjoys Maui while the rest of us (Texas included) are shivering.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think that this pandemic is turning those of us with an inclination to be introverted into hermits. It is just easy to drop out of sight and focus only on work or writing. It is unhealthy and I agree with your muse that you need to have some fun and time out. Nice to see a post from you.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. All I can think about is swimming in Maui now. That’s exactly what I need or at least dreaming about.
    I’m getting back into exercising too. I can’t argue with any of your muses advice. Xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • He doesn’t respond well when I push back. Over the years, I’ve learned my limits, and they don’t extend very far, I’m afraid. As long as I end up with an end product that’s working for me, I’ll put up with the sighs. (If you met my mother, you’d know why I can tolerate them so easily.) When the inspiration dries up, then we’ll have to renegotiate the terms of our working arrangement. 😉

      Thanks, Jacqui.


  5. I love conversations with muses! I’m an INFJ too ❤️ so I know and can emphasize with your focus and drive but your muse has it right on the nose. Congrats on your daughters upcoming nuptials. How exciting! My daughter was just at a friend’s wedding and started planning her own. Only problem is she doesn’t have a fiancé or even a serious relationship. 🤷🏻‍♀️

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I must say, I quite like your Muse, Staci. How long do you have to be writing books before one of those shows up to help? Okay, okay. I actually do have one, for at least some of my books. But alas, he’s an 11-year-old boy named Rabbit, so he usually only helps out on one series, and even then, he doesn’t provide anything like the same type of inspiration yours does. I mean, he brings out the motherly/grandmotherly instinct in me, sure. But then again, maybe that’s exactly what I need these days.

    Love the conversation, and I’m thinking it’s a good thing your hunky, bronzed Muse showed up. Nice to see you back out and about again! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I really like your muse and his no-nonsense attitude. The swim trunks also don’t hurt. Loads of thanks for the recipe you sent! I especially like how you broke it into different levels. We’re both excited to give it a try.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, he really doesn’t put up with much from me. It’s kind of annoying. I can’t get away with anything. Sigh.

      I’m glad you’re going to give the recipe a try. It’s very forgiving and adaptable. Please let me know what you think. (Don’t spare my feelings.) And if you have any questions, you know where to find me.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Welcome back! I fully understand the need for blogging breaks (says she who ended 2020 with a two month break), but it’s great to see you back online again. I always love your chats with your sexy muse. They’re so entertaining, LOL.

    Looking forward to more posts from you, and of course, book news! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Initially, I think it was to inspire me to write better romance novels. Now, I don’t write romance. But I do torture my characters, and this is a form of torture, so maybe it works in another way? Not sure. Sorry your muse is on a different end of the spectrum. Hope he’s still helpful to you, though.


  9. Can I borrow your muse? He sounds, um, inspiring. My muse is a goddess, and the only thing she inspires is intimidation. If I didn’t know better, I would say she once wore a nun’s habit and beat children’s fingers with rulers when they didn’t do what she said. Come to think of it, she probably won’t like me asking to test drive another muse. Don’t tell her, ok? I really do like her. She is brilliant, and 007 swim trunks? Did he say where in Maui?

    Liked by 2 people

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