Monday, November 01, 2010

Guest - Laura Bickle


Good morning, everyone! Laura Bickle, one of my favorite urban fantasy authors, is visiting us again and has an excellent post about her muse.
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TYING THE MUSE TO THE CHAIR
by Laura Bickle

I've always been envious of people who have good relationships with their muses. There are writers who have healthy relationships with their muses. They take their muses out on coffee dates, have long conversations at the beach while holding hands. Their muses arrive when summoned, sprinkling fairy dust and waving magic wands. They whisper with gossamer voices, reassuring and gentle. Words flow on paper, inspired and brilliant.

This is not my muse.

My muse is a....well, she's difficult. I suspect that she may have been kicked out of Tooth Fairy school for bad behavior and was assigned muse duty as  penance for raiding the cash drawer. She's surly, unpredictable, and wholly unrepentant about being AWOL.

It's not that I've tried. I did all the rituals suggested to make friends with my muse. I have a writing nook set up. I played music. I lit candles. I wrote down statements of intention. Made dream boards. Meditated.

Nada. My muse laughed at my dream board, used the candles to light a cigarette, and complained that the desk was too small. She sat on the edge of the desk in her torn fishnet stockings and bitched about the lighting. And she used all my lipstick.

So I tried to bribe her. I bought her chocolates, made offerings of flowers. I acted like a Shakespearean actor in love, trying to woo her attentions.

She prompty informed me that she didn't like caramel and that my poetry sucked.  I think that she also blew smoke in my face and told me I needed to lose weight.

Eventually, I gave up trying to be nice. I was spending a lot of time and energy courting inspiration, and she didn't want to be courted. I asked the benevolent universe for a new muse, but my request was denied. I was stuck with the surly muse who spent more time teasing her hair and sticking gum under my desk than helping me with my novel.

 So...I decided to wage war on my muse.

"We are going to write this book, whether you want to or not," I told her. "I have a deadline."

"Oh, yeah?" She watched me with narrowed eyes covered in purple eyeliner. "Just try it, Chickie."

I threw a butterfly net over her, tied her to the chair, and sat on her. She yowled like an aggravated cat and got glitter all over the floor.

But her ass was in the chair. And so was mine. Lo and behold, writing occurred. And it was not bad writing.

I realized something...all this chasing inspiration was really meaningless for me. The only key to success was getting my butt in the chair and doing it, whether inspiration had struck me or not. I could be passive about it, and wait for my muse to bless me with insight...or I could just get to work.

BIO:

Laura Bickle has worked in the unholy trinity of politics, criminology, and technology for several years. She and her chief muse live in the Midwest, owned by four mostly-reformed feral cats. Her short fiction has appeared here and there. Embers, first in this exciting new urban fantasy series, was her debut as novelist. Sparks continues the series. 

Laura also writes as Alayna Williams. Alayna's "debut" was Dark Oracle, Pocket Juno's June 2010 release. More info is available on her website at  www.salamanderstales.com

Publisher's blurb for SPARKS:

WITHOUT A TRACE Anya Kalinczyk is the rarest type of psychic medium, a Lantern, who holds down a day job as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department–while working 24/7 to exterminate malicious spirits plaguing a city plagued by unemployment and despair. Along with her inseparable salamander familiar, Sparky, Anya has seen, and even survived, all manner of fiery hell–but her newest case sparks suspicions of a bizarre phenomenon that no one but her eccentric team of ghost hunters might believe: spontaneous human combustion.

After fire consumes the home of elderly Jasper Bernard, Anya is stunned to discover his remains– or, more precisely, the lack of them; even the fiercest fires leave some trace of their victims–and she is sure this was no naturally-occurring blaze. Soon she’s unearthed a connection to a celebrity psychic who preys on Detroit’s poor, promising miracles for money. But Hope Solomon wants more–she’s collecting spirits, and in a frantic race against time, Anya will face down an evil adversary who threatens her fragile relationship with her lover, her beloved Sparky’s freshly-hatched newts, and the wandering souls of the entire city


Buy Links:


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-- Lynda Again,

Laura is offering one reader a free copy of SPARKS - Leave a comment AND send an email to me with SPARKS in the subject line and your snail mail addy in the body. I'll forward them to Laura who will choose then notify the winner. Good luck!

13 comments:

Linda Wisdom said...

Great post, Laura! And yay you showing your muse who's boss.

My muse are fuzzy bunny slippers who can be bribed but only if I offer exactly what they want and they're never sure what they want.

Everyone buy Sparks! It's terrific!

Laura Bickle said...

Thanks so much for having me!

Linda, your muse sounds so much more agreeable. And I love the fuzzy bunny slippers. What kinds of things tend to work as bribes? Maybe I've just been going about bribing my muse the wrong way...

Pauline B Jones said...

LOLOL! Great post and so true! Mine's a bitch, too!

Raonaid Luckwell said...

Already have Sparks, Embers and Dark Oracle from Laura, so no need to enter the contest!

Damn Laura, your muse oddly sounds like mine! I've begun to suspect mine is not female but male (because half the males I know are undependable). LOL.

Though, time to time he does feel sorry for my struggling, and I think he really admires how, feeling it or not, I will tackle what I am working on.

He's been cool earlier this month on an old collaboration piece me and two friends started and simply let drop in 06. He whispered "Rewrite it" and he's been behind me with a whip for two to three weeks until I finished.

A. J. Larrieu said...

Great post! Very inspiring. I'm not sure I have a Muse, only a Revision Demon: a short, squat creature with tusks that requires constant feeding, and thus constant writing.

I've just finished reading SPARKS, and it was fantastic. I can't wait for the next installment!

Laura Bickle said...

Pauline, I suspect that many muses are bitches. We just need to form a support group to gossip about them! ;-)

Raonaid, I do believe that muses can be male. And I'm glad that you're wringing some feedback out of yours. Good luck on the rewrite - I'm in the same boat!

A.J., I'm so glad that you enjoyed it! And I love the idea of a Revision Demon...I can envision him so clearly. LOL.

Laura Bickle said...

I'm so glad that I'm not alone and that other people have monstrous muses!

Pamk said...

that is too funny. but I've heard other folks say that too. I know most things it comes down to the butt in the seat.

Laura Bickle said...

Pamk, for me, that's exactly it. Butt in the seat. Well...that assumes that I can get the cat out of it. ;-)

*yadkny* said...

Hi Laura!
It could be the most unpredictable of muses garner unimaginable results and in this case I agree with your methods:)

yadkny@hotmail.com

Lil said...

Your epiphany sounds much like my repeated lecture to my teenage daughter. Though your version of the whole things is far more entertaining than mine. Loved your post.

Laura Bickle said...

Thanks, *yadkny*. I think that she's a good muse, deep down...just a bit unreliable, and with a surly demeanor.

Lil, I never thought about it, but my muse could be a teenager...hm....

Laura Bickle said...

And the winners are...Linda, Lil, Pamk, and yadkny! I picked multiple winners, since you were such a great group. :-) I'll drop your books in the mail early next week.