My Bossy Muse

My muse. Image purchased from shutterstock

I’m polishing up the last bits of Soul Swallower and Legacy of Souls when I hear the clomp of my muse’s heavy boots on my writing-room stairs. I haven’t seen her since September 2016 when she gave me an ultimatum about finishing up The Rose Shield series. It was that or she was going to quit.

Well, I finished it in the spring of 2017 and took the summer off to rest. Instead of popping the cork on a bottle of champagne, she hired a mercenary muse, and abruptly my break was over. The guy was a hulking brute with a bad attitude and worse breath. And not only did he expect me to get writing, but he forced me to exercise.

Amazing artwork by Peter Pham

I can’t imagine what this visit is going to bring, and I brace myself. The door opens and the muse walks in as if she owns the place. She’s decked out in her clunky boots, and she’s carrying that magical staff that I still don’t know how to use since she never shares.

“You haven’t written sci-fi in years,” she remarks, having read my mind. I hate it when muses do that.

“I’ll bet you stopped by to congratulate me on the new books,” I say with a smug smile and flash the yummy covers. “They’re just about ready to go.”

“I’m not here to pamper you, Peach. That’s your husband’s job.” She settles onto a metal quasi-throne with rusted pipes that suddenly materializes against the wall.

I grimace at the contraption. “You know, I hope that’s not permanent. I just cleaned the place up after the bats!”

She ignores me and leans forward, elbows on her knees. “I’m here to talk about the next books.”

“What next books?” Oh, oops. Yeeesh. I wince. “Oh, yeah. Um…”

“Exactly.” Her eyes are blue today and they shoot icicles into my skin. “You’re a few weeks away from finishing the latest series, and you haven’t even thought about the next one.”

“I’ve been really busy!” I cross my arms and huff. “And it’s not like there are any real deadlines.”

“Except mine.” She raises an eyebrow. “You know I have other authors to manage. And there are plenty more in line looking for some guidance.”

“Looking for a taskmaster more like it,” I mutter under my breath and give her a fake smile. I know she heard it or heard me think it. “I can’t believe you have other authors. I thought you were all mine.”

She rolls her eyes. I scratch my head and blow out a breath. “Sorry. You’re right. I haven’t even thought about the next one, and I’ve got nothin’, zippo, squat. I don’t even have a starting place. I need your help.”

“That’s more like it.” Her shoulders relax now that I’ve been thoroughly cowed. “I want you to start thinking about shapeshifters. They’ve been on your mind.”

It’s true. “I can think about them.”

She narrows her eyes at me, but gives the wise-guy comment a pass. “And goblins.”

“Shapeshifters and goblins?” I twist my face. “That’s ridiculous. They don’t go together. I need a new muse.” I laugh but she doesn’t. “You can’t be serious. Are you serious?”

“You can make it work. I want betrayals, lies, manipulation. I want you to make things miserable for your characters and then make them worse. I want twists, flaws, nobility, and redemption.”

I don’t know what to say. My muse has totally lost it. What comes out of my mouth is, “Okay.”

“Good. Three books, two years. It’s a gift.”

I calculate the time frame in my head. It’s not bad. But shapeshifters and goblins?

She gets to her feet, tall and powerful. “Congrats on the latest books, by the way.” The metal throne thing disappears, and suddenly she’s changing, her form taking a new shape. A shapeshifter? She winks a feline eye and pads out the door.

The wheels in my head start turning…

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183 thoughts on “My Bossy Muse

  1. Victoria Dougherty was just writing on her own author blog about how art is a calling; when you hear the call, you have to answer…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, but I do seem to require a bit of a kick in the pants. 😀 Otherwise, I can get pulled in a lot of different directions. I need the muse to wrangle commitments out of me, particularly in terms of carving out the time to write. It’s funny how seriously I take them, Sean, but whatever works! Happy Writing to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Antonia says:

    This is just wonderful, Diana. I love how much quality writing you put out. You are such a talent, and a hard worker. I am glad that you take time to rest sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rest? What’s that? I guess I do, but I’m busy doing what I love. So far, I’m one sentence into my new writing project. The muse isn’t going to be very happy with me unless I start pushing out a few paragraphs! Thanks for the lovely comment. Hugs ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Teri Polen says:

    Ooooh – I’m liking the sound of this, Diana.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve written the first sentence, Teri. That’s it! But I am pounding out the plot and character profiles and starting to lay out the world… etc. etc. We’ll see. It’s fun and I’ll try to make this weird combo of characters work. 😀 Happy Writing!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. […] to Give Up Writing and Other Bad Habits Tamara Drazic – Outlining D. Wallace Peach – My Bossy Muse Nicola Alter – Knocking People Out: Easier in Fiction Than In Real Life Didi Oviatt – […]

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My use dumped me. LOL Maybe I can rent yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Erik says:

    You astound me.

    Send her my way (though she’ll have to vie for dominance with my music muse, mentor muse, language-learning muse, design muse and a few others).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha ha ha. You need to do a post with all your muses in your living room or kitchen arguing and negotiating for your time! It would be hysterical. If it’s not right for your blog. Send it to me and I’ll post it as a guest post. Just a suggestion. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. robbiecheadle says:

    Your posts about your muse are so funny, Diana. I have found (being new to writing) that I get an idea in my head now and it just won’t go. It nips around the heels of my mind driving me crazy until I sit down and think about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Isn’t that great? I love that about stories – as if the characters have their own minds and insist on bossing us around. 🙂 My muses are good at pushing me, and it’s what I need, apparently! Have an awesome weekend and Happy Winter!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Marnie says:

    “My muse has totally lost it.” Oh my gosh, this post! Love, love, love how vivid it is. It’s making me think I should start a dialogue with my muse, who hasn’t been prodding me very much lately!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The dialogs are kind of amazing, Marnie, because I end up buying into the time commitments and ideas. Ha ha. Writing it down is powerful and posting it even more so. My muse usually stops by to clear my schedule and give me a push. Last year we had a lot of muses showing up on posts. I’m glad you enjoyed. I’ll be very curious to see who shows up on your doorstep! Happy Writing.


  9. Aquileana says:

    “You know I have other authors to manage. And there are plenty more in line looking for some guidance”….
    Oh!. For a moment and given her plaints and overall attitude, I would have said she had an exclusive contract with you, to say the least! 😅😆 Anyway… I am sure her gadgets are effective! … of course: she is a muse after all, isn´t she?…
    A great reading, dear Diana . Love & best wishes

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading, Aquileana. She comes by about once a year to badger me and then heads out to wherever she goes. It’s effective though. I’m not exactly sure what the next adventure in writing will be, but she got the old imagination jump-started. Thanks for dropping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. ljshouse2015 says:

    Shapeshifters and Goblins – oh my! I’ve been attempting to explore Goblins for over 50 years, but am only interested in certain kinds of shapeshifters. I bet yours will be good, though.

    Not sure if I could work for a serious taskmaster Muse, although I guess I really need one to get all the writing done that I need to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not certain I can pull this off, to be honest, but it did get the wheels spinning. I do a lot of pre-planning before the serious writing starts, and some “musing” beforehand is key. My muse is tough on me, but she does get me motivated. 🙂 Thanks for the visit and Happy Writing!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. This was so entertaining (it’s been SO long since I’ve commented on your blog, but I’ve kept reading). Congrats on getting new marching orders—my muse recently told me to stop fooling with old work and get it all out there—clear the boards—so we can move on to new things. Muses rarely seem to arrive with small chores. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s so true, Ellen! Ha ha. They show up with big plans that they dump on our laps and then walk away. That’s how mine operates anyway. It is easy to get stuck in revisiting old work, and that can be time consuming. Good luck with your new project! Happy Writing! 😀


  12. Wait. Your muse has other clients? I thought muses were supposed to be exclusive!

    I’m going to have to have a conversation with my rat…

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I had no idea what a ‘muse’ was until I read this, Diana. I thought you meant a mouse, at first, but then I got myself totally fixated on what was happening to you. Do you know where these ‘Muses’ live? Do all authors have one? Does everybody have one? Do they visit only during daylight hours? 😱
    Glad she gave you some ideas, though. I usually get my ideas from the ironing board. 😀It always seems to work. In fact, there I was, this morning, ironing my pair of—

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha ha. You’re the only person I know who has an ironing board for a muse, Hugh. But whatever works! My muse is more of a taskmaster than most, it seems, but I do well with the pressure and threats. She’s pushed me to write 16 books in 9 years. Despite the humor, it’s funny how seriously I take these conversations and commitments. Again, whatever works! Happy Writing, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. ali isaac says:

    Such an entertaining post, Diana! And congratulations on the latest books! Your muse clearly does a great job at cracking the whip, she certainly keeps you busy and productive. Could do with some of her tough love over here… do you think she might want to take on a lazy Irish author?

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’d send her over, Ali, but I don’t know any lazy Irish authors! You crack me up – between family and school, you are a powerhouse. Thanks for the cheers regarding the new books, and we’ll see what happens with the muse’s idea. I think she’s gone off the deep end. Ha ha. Happy Summer, my friend. ❤


  15. Hello Diana. I am back. Just been reading about your muse. You did it all with success and your readers gets happier and happier. You are an inspiration to everyone. I am one silly head you have inspired too well since I met you. I am loving your muse and well written. I hope your week will be sunny. Take care now. Juli.

    Liked by 2 people

    • So lovely to see you, Juli. I notice a change to the name of your blog! I’m guessing that other changes are in the works too. I’m too much of a scaredy-cat to mess around with mine. It’s been the same for five years! Thanks for the visit and for reading about my bossy muse. I’ll be over soon to check out your new place! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  16. One helluva muse got there! This is going to be a wild and wooly ride!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m uncertain whether the muse was being serious or just throwing out an idea to get the juices flowing. We’ll see. Goblins and shapeshifters?! I’m excited to start on something new and the muse has a way of kick-starting the process. Thanks for the visit, MW. Have a wonderful week!


  17. How do I hire her, Diana?!?! Your imagination is a carnival filled with fright and amusement, and I LOVE it!! You never fail to inspire me and always encourage me to push myself a little harder. Thank you, for that. So many congratulations on your success, my friend! You are a Goddess! Lots of love and a big hug. ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much for the visit, Tanya. The muse has other authors, so sign her up! She has the time since she only shows up once a year to threaten me or give me ultimatums. Yeesh! Fortunately, she forces me to do things I love to do anyway. 😀 Thanks for the visit, my friend. I’ll be reblogging you post on Monday (tomorrow). 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I couldn’t comment on the other post, so I am responding here. For sharing my post, Diana, I want to not only thank you but also stress how very much it means to me that you did. To have my words shared is the ultimate and I am beyond touched that you thought enough of them to do so. Your support helps instill belief in myself, which can be in short supply at times and encourages me to keep putting words on paper. From the deepest depths of my heart, thank you, my friend. I am honoured and feel incredibly proud. Your kindness and belief have made an enormous impact. Know that. Thank you. Big hug and lots of love. xo

        PS…I am signing up that muse, stat. Nothing like being forced to do the thing you love. I could use a little of that!

        Liked by 1 person

        • You are so welcome. I love to share writing that stirs the emotions, pulls out a laugh or draws tears, or that seems to touch on something deep and universally profound as this piece did. I am a big believer in the “journey” and that we can find great beauty and compassion in having survived suffering. Pain cracks open the heart. The journey demands incredible courage if we are to reclaim our lives, but it’s so worth it when we arrive on the other side. You captured all that, and I felt the grace of that realization in your words. ❤

          Liked by 1 person

  18. Jennie says:

    I love how you write this about your muse, Diana.

    Liked by 2 people

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