I Killed My Muse by Cheri Allan – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Cheri will be awarding a $25 or $15 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to randomly drawn winners.

I Killed My Muse (May she rest in peace…)

I’m coming clean. As a writer of hopeful, humorous contemporary romances, you may not believe the blood-thirsty streak that dwells within, but the fact is: I killed my muse, and I’m not sorry I did.
You see, after slogging along day after day on my book, LUCK OF THE DRAW, with all the usual pulling of hair and gnashing of teeth, my muse finally showed up. Meanwhile, the kids interrupted me while not bleeding, vomiting or on fire, the dogs were barking about nothing (again) and I was out of coffee, and I said to my muse, “You know what? Your timing couldn’t be worse! You are unreliable and fickle and give me half a good idea and then disappear again only to leave me to pick up the pieces. Well, no more!” And I thwacked her with a bag of chocolate (the milk chocolate kind which are bad for you and muses alike), buried her under a patch of what I think is poison ivy in the back lot and toasted her good riddance with boxed wine.

And if you are a writer, I hear your cheers.

Anyone who has been around writers for any length of time will have heard the inevitable lamentations about uncooperative and/or absent muses. For all the belly-aching we writers do about our muse–“She’s not talking to me” or “My muse is on holiday”–I think we need to take back the reins from this fickle fairy of fortune and call her out for the useless charlatan she is.

First of all, how much work does this muse do, anyway? I mean, who is slogging the kids to and from activities, cleaning the litter box, cooking meals and occasionally vacuuming? Not ‘can’t break a fingernail’ muse, that’s for sure! No, we writers are doing all this behind-the-writing-scenes stuff. Because, the reality is, no writing gets done unless LIFE gets done, and I don’t see my muse stepping up to bring aging relatives to doctor’s appointments or unclogging the toilets. It’s hard to drift into story-land when you know you have a sink full of dirty dishes and the car needs servicing, but does she ever pull her weight?

No, instead, in those few, precious, all-too-fragmented bits of time we are able to carve out of our lives to write, we are expected to sit back and wait for you-know-who to show up. Well I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time to wait for my muse to alight upon my desktop and inspire me, cheerfully take all the credit for my great ideas, then flit off again.

So I got rid of my muse, and I don’t miss her at all.

You see, I’ve found better, more reliable writing inspiration for LUCK OF THE DRAW and my other ‘Betting on Romance’ books, starting with:

#1) My Dearest Husband. I know it’s a cliché, but the truth is it’s easier to write about romance and happily-ever-afters when you are living your own love story. I write romance to celebrate those healthy, joy-filled relationships that DO exist in this world. And if DH wants to take credit for the steamy love scenes between Kate and Jim, I’ll give him that, too. Who’s to quibble?

#2) My Local Writer’s Group. Writing is lonely, hard work even if we do get to work in our pajamas. If you are a writer and are 100% confident in yourself and your work, then by all means, write in your hermitage and live off locusts and honey. But if you’re like 99% of us, you need reassurance now and again (okay, daily) that you’re on the right path/not completely crazy. Through the years, the books, the requests, the rejections, and ‘life events’ I’ve had the support of a truly empowering and beautiful writer’s group. The banter, the encouragement, the hard questions and tough love that come through in my books starts with this lovely group of women. So, forget about your muse and join a writer’s group. You’ll get shining examples of character, grit, loyalty and real life to inspire your books. Plus, they often share chocolate.

#3) My Critique Partner (CP)/Plotting Pals. Over time, if you are very, very lucky, wise enough to recognize the positive energy in those around you, and quick enough to strike before someone else nabs them, you may win yourself a gem of a writing buddy. They come by all names, in singles or groups, but the one thing they have in common is this: a.) they ‘get’ your voice and genuinely enjoy your writing style and b.) they give you advice and feedback in a manner that you can hear. I have been blessed with both, whether it’s a plotting pal who speaks with a Scottish accent (Chopping that favorite scene suddenly doesn’t sound so bad when her lilting voice suggests I, “…cut a wee bit–snip! snip! snip!”) or my CP who gives me clarity and direction with her uncanny knack of honing in on and giving voice to issues I knew in my heart of hearts weren’t working but thought I could get away with. (Bottom line: I can’t.) And finally…

#4) My Readers. The biggest inspiration for me has nothing to do with the creative process–it’s when my stories get into the hands of readers. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the harsher realities in life. I watch the news, too. I get that. I write because I want to help my readers escape for a little while to a place where love, hope and happiness prevail. (And if I happen to harbor a muse-whacking dark side, you won’t tell, will you?)

So, what is YOUR passion? What inspires you? Share!

If only life had a refresh button…

Kate Mitchell never planned to be a 31 year-old widowed single mom, but when her soon-to-be-EX husband up and dies, her dreams of finishing college and starting over are thrown in the air like a game of 52 pick-up. When she’s given a leave of absence from work and told to “quit or recommit,” Kate retreats to idyllic Sugar Falls, New Hampshire, to figure out whether she can discover her passion and pay the bills. Cue the fresh air, summer sunshine and one sexy local contractor.

Tall, dark, and handy…

Volunteer fireman and all-around hunky guy in a toolbelt, Jim Pearson has sworn off complicated women with messy baggage. They cling to his nice-guy stability and skills with a power saw just long enough to straighten out their lives and move on… but then he meets the cute single mom staying at Grams’ lake house for the summer.

While a sizzling attraction draws them together, Jim’s distrust of complicated women and Kate’s incredibly complicated life threaten to pull them apart. But forces beyond their control—match-making grandmothers, the lazy backdrop of summer, and their own reckoning with the past—conspire to make them risk it all… and bet on love.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“But when I think about going back… to a job I know is safe and secure… I can’t breathe.” She felt her arms grow cold despite the sunshine. “It’s like my future is closing in and there’s no way out. And the more I think about it, the more I realize that going back would mean I’m giving up hoping for something better. And… and I can’t bring myself to give up on me quite yet.”

She stared at him in the silence that followed, her chest rising and falling, feeling brittle and defiant all at once.

But then he tugged her hand until she sat beside him on the porch steps. He blew out a breath. “No one’s asking you to give up on yourself.”

“You think I’m giving up,” she said. “But I’m not. I’m not throwing my hands up in despair. I’m not trying to quit. I’m trying to let go of the handlebars to see if I can do this without help.”

“I don’t understand what that—”

“I’m saying… I know you mean well, but you’ve got to let me figure this out on my own.”

After a long moment, he nodded. “Okay,” he said, and he turned, the corners of his eyes crinkling in that warm, lovely way that always turned Kate’s insides to jelly. “You may not believe it, but I do believe there’s something better waiting for you.”

“You’re talking to a practically unemployed widow,” she sighed. “It’d be hard not to go uphill from here.”

About the Author:

Cheri Allan lives in a charming fixer-upper in rural New Hampshire with her husband, two children, one dog, four cats and an excessive amount of optimism. She’s a firm believer in do-it-yourself, new beginnings and happily-ever-afters, so after years of wearing suits, she’s grateful to finally put her English degree to good use writing romance. When not writing, you might find her whizzing down the slopes of a nearby mountain or inadvertently killing perennials in her garden.

Cheri loves to hear from readers! E-mail her at cheri@cheriallan.com, friend her at facebook.com/cheriallanauthor, like her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, or visit her website and blog at www.cheriallan.com. Luck of the Draw, Book 1 in the ‘Betting on Romance’ series is available now through Kobo and Smashwords.

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Comments

  1. Mary Preston says:

    Yet another use for chocolate. What a fun post thank you.

    • I’m here! I’m here! Thanks for having me, Mary! Oh, good Lordy, I feel like I’m rushing in with toilet paper stuck to my shoe, but in my own defense, the dog threw up and then my computer crashed… welcome to Monday!
      I’m excited to share, though, that my book is available A DAY EARLY on Amazon as well! I’ll be popping in all day (and hopefully by then I will have combed my hair.) 🙂

    • Gentle readers, thank you for your interest in Luck of the Draw! I’m happy to report the book is now available at the following vendors in print and e-book formats: Amazon | Kobo | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble
      Or, pop over to http://www.cheriallan.com/bookshelf to find the links to your favorite e-tailer! Thank you!

  2. Thanks for hosting!

  3. I have found much enjoyment in reading your posts and snippets of your book. I am looking forward to seeing the entire book and have many romance novel friends that I will be sure to refer to your book as well. Best of luck

    • Thank you, Lynn! I’ll be sure to post a hunky guy pic on Facebook with another little excerpt for your enjoyment later today. 🙂 (Feel free to share the fun!)

  4. stacey dempsey says:

    Thank you for the excerpt and the giveaway

  5. The voices in my head tend to speak the loudest when I’m NOT working on their story. Just last week I had to jot down some dialogue for a story I never had any intentions of writing (but, hey, now it looks like I’m diving into the romantic suspense genre). Darn, snarky muses! I think I shall start beating mine up with chocolate too!

    • LOL, Susan. Isn’t that just the way of it? And usually my muse starts whispering when I’m in traffic, without a working pen and the kids are ‘discussing’ something again. Yes. I recommend chocolate-whacking. And when they pop out of the wrappers, go ahead and eat them! (Good luck on the romantic suspense!)

  6. Love the excerpt!! Am now inspired to murder my own fickle little muse … if she shows back up this month! 🙂

    So excited for your book to see the world!

  7. I think you’re on to something here, Cheri Allan! When I locate my muse again (I think she may be in Scotland, stalking Jamie Fraser) her days are numbered, let me tell you. Have you ever tried to dig your muse back up again, in a moment of blank-page-panic? Or is that where the boxed wine comes in handy again? Hic.
    Am off to order my copy of Luck of the Draw – loved the excerpt and can’t wait to read Jim and Kate’s story.

  8. Oh, I hear you, Jennifer! My muse will wander off at the *slightest* provocation… which is why I’ve probably feared the siren’s call of Pinterest so long. My muse would get lost in there for sure! As for digging her back up…. no way! Brain storming is usually the key to blank-page-panic. That always gets me excited to dog back in… without damage to my chocolate stash. #whackthemuse (You’ll be glad you did!)

  9. Who killed the Muse in the backyard? Sounds like you could have a party and give out clues. You’re all set to celebrate your book. I hope her ghost doesn’t haunt you.

    Great excerpt, I enjoy and handy man.

    • I love it, Nora! But… eek! I didn’t think of her haunting me. Now I’m a little nervous. LOL

      Glad you enjoyed the excerpt. Hmm. Handy men? I am newly inspired for an upcoming blog post. (And it didn’t even take a muse!)

  10. Loved the post and excerpt. Best of luck with your new book.

    Christina Tetreault

  11. Rita Wray says:

    I enjoyed the excerpt.

  12. I loved your post and the excerpt sounds great!

  13. Ha! Holy crap! I’m glad my muse usually is a much more helpful and timely lady than yours…I may just avoid murdering her for a while… 🙂

    • You are obviously a peace-loving soul, Andra! But I recommend keeping chocolate on hand just in case… 🙂
      For those of us who haven’t already played #whackthemuse, do you have any suggestions for encouraging a healthier relationship with her?

  14. I love the way you killed your muse. This story sounds great. Love the excerpt.

  15. Serena S. says:

    I like the cover, it looks so peaceful. And nice excerpt, seems like a good book.

    • Thanks, Serena! The picture reminded me of summers on the lake with my own kids… especially “noodling” at sunset as we floated and chatted on floatie noodles as the day wound down.
      Thanks for stopping by and good luck with the giveaway!

  16. Gina Leuci says:

    Cheri, love the excerpt and I will be downloading it ASAP. I have to agree that inspiration does come from what and who are around us — especially when it is a loving and supportive husband and amazing writers who understand what we are going through each step of the way. Enjoy the next step in your journey.

    • Thank you, Gina! As tongue in cheek as my post is, I personally find the most inspiration comes from talking it out with other writers. I need the energy–and the tough questions–of that give and take to discover my stories.
      I *do* plan to enjoy this crazy ride–and I hope you enjoy Kate and Jim’s story!

  17. Charis Calhoon says:

    Oh, I love this discussion, because I always wonder is my “muse” really simply me…but with a special name and maybe with fewer wrinkles and a smaller butt…? Because when I need to get words on the page, it’s really just me doing the time–just like you said, with the help of my support circle(s). Although I do get inspiration from television and movies and newspaper articles. I’m the only one who can read about the new ride-share program for rush hour and immediately think….Oh, I wonder if any couples meet that way…?

    • Oh, Charis, I love that story idea! How ‘meet cute’ is that? (BTW, I think all our muses have fewer under-eye circles and frown lines… plus excellent manicures, but they aren’t running households, are they?) When I watch TV and movies and read novels, I’m studying craft. Yeah. That’s what I’m doing. I’m not procrastinating! And I’m DEFINITELY not waiting on my muse!

  18. That’s an interesting post

  19. CJ Schindler says:

    Hehe, very funny ! Not easy being a writer, I take it! Glad you found new inspiration!

    • Me too, CJ! Although I will say that writing as a profession has got to be one of the best to be in, all things considered. I’ve found fellow writers to be nothing but encouraging and supportive; you get to work in your pajamas; and books and most DVDs are considered tax-deductible research material!

  20. Thank you so much, Mary, for having me today! It’s been a pleasure. And thanks, too, to everyone who stopped by!

    Be sure to stay tuned to http://www.facebook.com/cheriallanauthor and @cheriallan on twitter as I continue my blog tour. Stop by each day and enter for more chances to win!

  21. Enjoyed reading the blog and looking forward to reading the book.

  22. Debbie D'Orazio says:

    Cheri,
    Loved the excerpt and the cover is devine. I downloaded Luck of the Draw onto my Nook and look forward to reading it. Bet you’ll hit the New York Times within a matter of weeks.

    • LOL, Deb, I like the way you think! Thanks so much for the cover compliment! And glad you enjoyed the excerpt. Happy reading and good luck in the giveaway! 🙂

  23. Ashley R. says:

    I like the excerpt. It was definitely enticing enough to add to my to-read list! 🙂

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