Hump Day Kick Start – Housekeeping Edition

June 6, 2012

Song of the day: Give It Away by The Red Hot Chili Peppers

Hump Day Kick Start – for your muse, a writing picture prompt, or just a visual treat.


Oh my! What a fun photo for fodder.

Tell me about this picture. Who is he? A rich playboy? A millionaire’s wayward son? A squatter? (lol…sorry, I couldn’t help it.) Dod he order a wake up call from housekeeping?

How about the woman? Is she really the hired help? If so, just what exactly is she hired to do? Could she be working undercover in a faux fur rug smuggling ring? Or maybe she’s auditioning for a role in the 50 Shades of Grey movie.

Love to hear your thoughts!


Dead Babies In A Suitcase

May 17, 2012

It’s good to have mysteries. It reminds us that there’s more to the world than just making do and having a bit of fun.- Charles De Lint

Good morning Muse Trackers!

I’ve thought quite a bit about The Artists Way especially since our Link Of The Week brought you to a wonderful tool based on one of the exercises found in that book. The premise is that you are to write three pages (preferably handwritten) every morning. The tool that I found creates a platform for you to do it electronically and store your pages to be retrieved when you need them. I was excited that many of you chose to comment and share your own spin on Morning Pages. Based on that, I thought you might like a spark. Give it a try, who knows what might happen


Today I would like to share a story with you. It’s so intriguing and has the bones of a fantastic novel, but it’s real life. Someone once told me that you just can’t make this s*** up- and I believe they’re right. This proves the old saying that truth is stranger than fiction.

Two women made a shocking discovery when they began to clean out their apartment building’s basement. It was full of items left from tenants long gone and forgotten. As they made their way through the piles of stuff, they came across three suitcases obviously left there for decades. The women brushed away years of dust and mildew and flipped the latch on the top two cases. They were empty. Disappointed, they went for the last case on the bottom. No one could have prepared them for what they would find hiding inside the leather luggage.

Stacks of books were neatly set on the left side and on the right side were two doctor’s satchels tightly wedged into the small space. You can imagine their excitement when the books proved to be copies from the 1920s and 30s. Surely, they had found a time capsule from a long ago era. The ladies carefully pulled out both satchels and opened them up. They seemed to be stuffed with newspaper also from that time period. They each took a bundle from the bags and unrolled the ball of paper. One discovered a mummified infant and the other unrolled a fetus about 20 weeks along.

Investigators determined the luggage belonged to Janet M. Barrie who had emigrated to the U.S. from Scotland in the 1920s. She was the home nurse for a Los Angeles dentist and died in 1992. Her belongings had been packed up and stored in the basement- apparently forgotten until these two decided they wanted to clean things up. The cause of death for the babies has not been determined. (I don’t know if the cause of death has ever been determined or not.)

The rest of her belongings did give a slight picture of the women who harbored this grisly secret for so many years. Janet Barrie appeared to have an interest in J.M. Barrie who wrote Peter Pan. There was a copy of the book as well as a membership certificate for the Peter Pan Woodland Club, an upscale resort. They surmise it’s because he was also from Scotland and carried the same initials. They also found postcards from exotic places like Korea and South America sent to Janet bundled together in the case. The mystery deepened when they pulled up a ticket stub from the closing ceremonies of the 1932 Olympics at the L.A. Coliseum

At the time when this article was written, the authorities had tracked down some of Janet Barrie’s relatives living in Canada and were DNA testing the remains of the babies.


If this doesn’t get the writer juices going, I don’t know what would! Why did she keep those bodies all those years? Who are those post cards from? Did she meet someone at the Olympics? Is there more of a connection to the author Barrie? Was she a killer? Did she hide them for the dentist? Are they her babies? Why didn’t any of her relatives claim her belongings? Why? Why? Why?


What is your take on this story? Who is Janet Barrie?


Keep on writing!

Hump Day Kick Start

February 1, 2012

Song of the Day: Heart in my Hands by Trust Company

Seems today’s writing prompt features chains. And who doesn’t like chains? Don’t ya just love the light and shadows?

What genre would you place him in? Paranormal? Romantic Suspense? Erotica? Thriller? Spicy contemporary?

Who is he? A shape shifter? Demon? Kidnapper? Motorcycle builder? Man of steel? Prisoner?

Who or what is he directing his heated stare and what is he thinking/scheming?

Why does he have a chain around his neck? To ensnare and subdue a sexy demon? Rough and tumble with the leader of a rival gang? Maybe he has a wild beast collared at the other end of the chain.

Love to hear your take.

Hump Day Kick Start

January 4, 2012

Song of the Day: This is Gonna Hurt by Sixx A.M.

Something tells me a few mouths just dropped open.

All right, kiddies. Tell me about this one. Who is he? He’s wet, and he’s obviously hot.  You know…because of the steam. Rivulets of water are still streaming down his body. What was he doing to get all soaked and vaporous?

What genre would you write him in? Is he a paranormal demon hunter? How about a romantic suspense homicide detective or Navy Seal? Sci-fi, thirller, time-travel?  Maybe he’s bad, bad boy. Did you notice the pretty impressive tat on his arm?

Love to hear your thoughts.

Play That Funky Music

November 3, 2011

If a picture paints a thousand words, music paints a thousand pictures.   Laura Whitcomb


By:Stacey Purcell


Good Morning Muse Trackers! I’m on my third day of NaNo and am far too caffeinated for my own good.

If you’re not familiar with NaNo, there is a minimum word count that you are supposed to hit every day of around 1700 words. That is no small feat! I’m a slow writer by nature so pushing myself like that is very difficult. So far, I’ve hit above the word count and am on cloud nine.

Yesterday, I threw out a question on the NaNoers FB page and was surprised by the number of passionate responses that popped up.

What do you listen to while you write?

Some swore by classical, others claimed silence was their auditory muse. A few liked Korn, and jazz mixed with blues filled the air with the rest of the responses. Wow- what an eclectic mix!

Laura Whitcomb wrote Novel Shortcuts and covered this topic in her wonderful book on the craft of writing. (If you haven’t read it yet, treat yourself.) She puts together actual soundtracks for her novels. It’s a collection of music that captures the mood and action of her storytelling. It’s important for her to find musical pieces that “speak directly to the real emotion driving the novel”.

This would be an interesting technique to try on my next novel. Perhaps if I had a specific soundtrack, the music might help me blast past the walls I run into that stop me dead in the water! Sounds good. I’m too far into this novel and NaNo is pushing me forward with an insistent call of the word count, so it will have to wait.

Pandora is a wonderful thing and a quick way of putting on types of music. I’ve created several different types of music stations that fit either my mood or the mood of the scene I’m writing. My Robin Trower (a blues/rock guitarist who’s been compared Jimi Hendricks) station got me through an emotional push and pull between my two main characters  yesterday. This faded into my Josh Groban station when she described the death of her father. Whew! Talk about a stretch in one day.

Laura Whitcomb ends her chapter with a recommended list of music. I’ll pass that on to you. Good luck with your writing today! Let me know what you like to listen to when you commune with your keyboard.

Laura’s List:

The Others by Alejandro Amenbar- strange, dangerous, and anguished

Ladies in Lavender by Nigel Hess- romantic, pure, and charming

Kingdom of Heaven by Harry Gregson-Williams- stark, passionate, and enchanted

Hamlet by Patrick Doyle- honorable, aching, and pensive

Gladiator by Hans Zimmer- Celtic, rueful, and heroic

The Lord of the Rings by Howard Shore- ethereal, nostalgic, and ominous

Carnivale by Jeff Beal- bleak, desolate, tender, and eerie

Titanic by James Horner- haunting, sweet, and grand

Henry V by Patrick Doyle- courtly, noble, and pastoral

Munich by John Williams- ancient, holy, and heartbreaking

Hump Day Kick Start

November 2, 2011

Song of the Day:  Cold by Evans Blue

Photo by Billy Corgans Chic

Hoo boy! We can certainly have fun with today’s prompt.

I’m thinking Tomb Raider meets Crouching Tiger/Hidden Dragon something or other.

Look at the way they are looking at each other. Smokin’! Who are these two?  Is he an informant? Is she undercover in a drug/turf war? What kind of ink is she going to get? A butterfly? Lucky charm? Tweety Bird? Maybe she’s having some type of secret message tattooed on her. Do you suppose he’s telling her how to ‘wax on, wax off’?

Love to hear your take.

Hump Day Kick Start

October 12, 2011

Song of the Day:  Would? by Alice in Chains

Randall Mesdon Photography


Oh no! What happened to our boy? Who is he? Where is he? Why does he have a bed roll? And what happened to his shirt?

Use your wild imaginations. Is he Coast Guard hunting drug runners? A man on the run from the law. Or a vigilante hiding out? Environmentalist shooting film of the migrating whales? Lost boy scout?

I’d love to hear your take on today’s photo prompt.



Link of the Week

October 4, 2011

Sorry about the hiccup last week.  Here is your regularly scheduled Link of the Week by me, your resident goddess, Jenn.

Many authors listen to music when they write.  Do you listen to music? Maybe you bob along to some tunes for a little inspiration or to put you in the right mood for a scene.

For those who may not have heard of Pandora Radio, it is an internet radio service that creates a radio station custom made for you.  And it’s free. Just type in a song title or artist and the site will generates a playlist based on your preference. Doesn’t matter what musical genre either.  Rock, Pop, Country, Bluegrass movie soundtracks, holiday, whatever, your choice. Create as many radio stations as you like. And if you don’t like a particular song chosen, you can simply shelve or skip it. Pretty awesome! Pandora also has a Facebook app, iTunes app, can be used on mobile devices, displays lyrics and artist information, and many other features.

Similar radio services with varying degrees of features include Grooveshark,,  and Spotify.

Check one of these sites out. You’re sure to find be-bopping and singing along in no time.

Update: Grooveshark shut down in 2015. Here is a 2017 list of alternatives to Grooveshark.

Rock on, my friends!

Hump Day Kick Start

September 28, 2011

Song of the Day: …to be loved by Papa Roach

Oh, the possibilities on this prompt.

Who are they? Where are they? And what are they doing?

Shipwrecked lovers?  Survivor cast members having a special moment while secretly plotting to betray one another? Drug runners who just barely escaped their enemies? The Blue Lagoon revisited? Maybe she is a mermaid who just saved him from drowning? If he was drowning, why?

I’d love to hear your take on this picture.


September 5, 2011

Hello All,

I’m super excited to have this writer here today. I was lucky enough to find and befriend Saranna DeWylde during the Next Best Celler contest at Textnovel, and I’m extremely lucky we’ve stayed pals since. I could list her qualities (one of which happens to be a ridiculously fast and super efficient crit partner who puts me to SHAME) but I’ll let you get to know her through her writing, which is what drew me to her in the first place.

Saranna recently released her uber sexy THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF MOUNT OLYMPUS and she’ll be giving away one PDF copy to one lucky comment EVERY TEN COMMENTS! Sweet!

I loved this book in its earliest draft and now – awesome.

Love the cover!

Welcome Saranna!

Let’s start out easy! What do you write and is there one genre you wish you could write but don’t?

I write paranormal romance, urban fantasy, contemporary and erotica. I also write a bit of true crime. I used to be a horror author but after my employment as a corrections officer, it sort of changed what I wanted out of my career and what I wanted to put out into the world. I’ve even got a romantic suspense that’s been poking at me to give it some attention.

The second part of the question is harder to answer. I don’t really write in genre, (contrary to labels I slapped on myself in the previous paragraph. *laughs*) I write the story that wants to be told. The one living in my head. So, if I have a hard-boiled cop story in my head, that’s what I write. If I have a historical in my head, I’ll write it. I think anyone can do the same as long as you’re true to the characters and the story that needs/wants to be told.

Um, the correction’s officer part is true and Saranna just sold her memoir about that time in her life. WOOT! Okay, back on subject. Are you a plotter or pantser?

Mostly a pantser. I usually have a general idea of what I want to happen, major plot points in my head when I start. I don’t write it down though, or make a story arc or an *shudders* outline. I do, every so often, write down some GMC statements where I can see them. Goal, Motivation, and Conflict. Just to remind myself what drives my characters and that really helps me keep them in character so I don’t have to go back and delete 20K of material because it’s not working.

Can you tell us what made you decide to self-publish Housewives?

It was a tough decision, but everyone who read it as far as agents and editors were concerned told me they thought it was too snarky. But my critique partner and other beta readers loved it. More importantly, *I* loved it. I believe in it. There is so much more to it than the snark and it’s using the gods as they were meant to be used. As an allegory for ourselves and what I like best about romance–in that it shows us redemption and happily ever afters are possible for all of us.

Further, publishing is changing so fast now. It’s shifting with new technology, new ways to get stories to readers and new ways to connect with each other. Platforms, markets, and even product are all in a spin. I wanted to dip my toe in the water and check it out. So far, it’s been great. I got exactly what I wanted for this book as far as character, content, even my cover is exactly what I imagined.

Regardless of whether I’m with a traditional publisher, an epublisher, and indie publisher or publishing myself building a backlist is important.

I had requests for something after I did some promo for my Kensington books that won’t be out until 2012.

So, you add all of that together in a big blender and get the self-publish smoothie.

Smoothies, yum. Okay, even a publishing smoothie is yummy considering so many of my fav authors are putting out titles on their own. So is there one pro and one con you’ve found from your experience self-pubbing?

They’re the same thing. Being responsible for everything myself. It was cool because like I mentioned earlier, I got to produce this product exactly to my specifications and my visions.

But wow, the pressure. There were some things I had trouble with and luckily I have awesome friends who were right there to jump in the fire with me and help me out.

Any advice for those considering the self-pub path?

I’ve only done it with one book so far, but I’ve learned that people do expect more from a self-pub book because of the stigma of being self-pubbed. It’s not as bad as it used to be, there are a lot of good books out there self-pubbed. But don’t let it get to you. Accept it and prove them wrong. Put out the best product you can. Engage an editor, take time with your cover and remember a book isn’t just your creative expression, it’s a product. If you want people to buy it, you have to treat it like a product and you are the brand.

Okay, now some fun stuff:

Who’s your favorite character in Housewives and why?

Thanatos. He’s so modern, kind of cyberpunk. He’s like Death living in The Matrix. He’s one of the most powerful gods, but he wears it so casually. He accepts what he is, a little dark and brooding, (I mean, come on. He’s Death.) but he still has a sense of humor, he’s witty. Hades was the one I thought I’d fall for, but I ended up being stuck on him just a little bit.

Where did the idea for HOUSEWIVES come from?

I was talking shop in chat with a few friends of mine and we were talking about cool titles. I threw that one out there and one of my friends demanded I log off and write it. So I did.

HA! I know that friend. She’s a slave driver. Thank goodness! Tell us a secret about Housewives. Were there any deleted scenes you’d put in the extras category if this were a dvd?

There were not any deleted scenes. Usually, there is something I delete but the words flew hot and fast with this one. I would just sit down in the morning and crank out sometimes three chapters a day and it was surprisingly very clean. Although, I had trouble with Demeter’s chapters. I didn’t like her much and living in her head was hard for me until she learns her lesson.

As I’m a card carrying metal head, it may surprise those of you who know me that this book had its own CD. Lady Gaga’s Fame Monster. Each couple has a song. I don’t write to music anymore, I used to, but I weaned myself away from it. Although, I could hear these songs in my head when I wrote them.

Hera/Hades-Dancing in the Dark

Demeter/Eros- Bad Romance




And if this were a DVD, I’d have an interactive section where you could dress them up like live-action Barbie dolls.

This is always hard, but can you tell us a secret about you?

I, the all powerful Amazon Goddess of Doom, am afraid of cows. I hate them. The neighbor’s bull broke through the electric fence to chase me a 1/2 mile UP-friggin-HILL home. And ever since then, the cows across the street watch me with their big soulful eyes, but inside, I know they’re laughing.

Or they could just be looking for my mini Amazons. They like to feed them Hershey’s kisses. (When my youngest was smaller, she thought if she gave them Hershey’s, she’d get chocolate milk so she’d sneak over and give them some.)

LOL! COWS?!? Hey I can’t say much since I freeze up like Medusa glared at me whenever a spider makes an appearance. Thanks for being a good sport.

Here’s an excerpt of HOUSEWIVES:


     “Thanatos!” she cried when she saw her oldest son lounging on her temple steps.

     “Hey, Ma.” He stood and endured her hug.

     “I thought you were working all week. Wasn’t there a natural disaster in South America?”

     “Wouldn’t you know it, it’s so cool. Red Cross showed up and the volunteers saved a bunch of people.”

     Nyx hadn’t seen him in what felt like a century. In fact, she almost started counting on her fingers to see if it had been that long. “I suppose you’re hungry. Fig cakes with cream cheese frosting?”

     Thanatos patted his flat stomach. “You know me so well.”

     “Why are you outside? You could have gone in, you know.” Nyx pushed the door open.

     “I didn’t want to startle you. Might fall and break a hip and I’d feel bad.” He shrugged.

     “You little shit,” she laughed. He was always teasing her about her age. She was a Titan after all and older than all of the gods. She was one of the last of the old guard; one Zeus was sure wouldn’t try to overthrow his power. He was mistaken about that one, only she didn’t want the power herself. She wanted him to stop treating Hera like crap. Or divorce her. That at least, would be honest.

     He smirked back at her. Of her two sons, Thanatos was most like her. She loved her children the same, but she had a special kinship with Thanatos.

     “So uh, what’s the deal with Persephone and Hades?” he asked as he followed her inside.

     Tartarus on cracker! What was with that girl that these dark types were so stuck on her? Was it because she was blond? Nyx just didn’t get it. Not that she had anything against the girl, but it wasn’t like she was as pretty as Hera. Or as smart as Athena.

     “You have been out of the gossip loop for awhile, yeah? They broke up, so to speak.”

     “He let her go? Dumbass.” Thanatos shook his head.

     “What would you have him do? Sacrifice the world for her?”

     “Well, yeah,” Thanatos answered as if that were the only reasonable response.

     Nyx couldn’t argue with that, but she tried anyway. “Hades released her from the curse too. He didn’t want her to be unhappy.”

     At that, her son was silent for a moment. “So how hard do you think Demeter would smite me if I asked Persephone out?”

     “She better not smite you, or I’ll kick her ass up over her shoulders. She has winter, but I’ll drench the world in eternal night if she tries.” Nyx was thoughtful for a moment. “Unless of course you were unreasonably handsy or demanding. Or acted like Zeus. Or—,”

     “I get the picture, Ma. By the way, you look great.”

     “You’re just saying that because my hair looks like yours now.” She scowled.

    “Moonlight and stardust. No one can resist.” He smirked as if it was just his trial to bear, being that attractive.

   “Nice deflection. I mean what I said. If you want Persephone, do what you will, but don’t be a dick. Got it?”

     “Yeah, Ma. Don’t be a dick. Got it,” he recited dutifully.

     “So I have to ask. What’s with you dark and tortured types and this girl?”

     “I dunno. She’s hot. It’s not like I want to marry her or anything. It would just be a date. Maybe a kiss.” He considered for a moment. “Maybe something else.”

     “That girl is a virgin, Thanatos.” Yes, he was her son and she loved him dearly, but he was one-hundred percent male—thinking with his parts. She had to struggle not to sigh.

     “She’s probably got a family of bats living in there after all this time. Don’t you think it would be okay if she—,”

            “You know, we so don’t need to have this conversation.” She threw her hands up in defeat. Nyx loved that her boys talked to her, confided in her, but there were some things a mother just didn’t need to know.

Thanks so much for coming by hon. Okay everyone, Saranna’s an open book so if you have questions, ask away. And make sure you leave a comment to get a chance at a free copy!
And here’s where you can find THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF MOUNT OLYMPUS: