Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Guest Blog by Tes Hilaire - Luring Lady Muse - December 5, 2012

Please welcome Tes Hilaire to The Qwillery.  The second novel in Tes' Paladin Warriors series, Deliver Me from Temptation, was published yesterday, December 4, 2012.

Luring Lady Muse

Book one, Deliver Me from Darkness, has been out for months, Deliver Me from Temptation came out yesterday… book three? About to be passed to the hands of the editor, YIKES! Next? Well it’s time to sit down and start making music with my keyboard. Only, darn it, Lady Muse has gone on vacation! Please come back, Lady Muse! I need inspiration.

This is the desperate plea of authors (and creative peeps) everywhere. When those creative juices clog up and lady muse has gone on a walkabout what is a writer to do? It’s a battle we face a lot more than our fans probably realize and one that takes its own creative attack to fend off. Here are some tried and true strategies used by yours truly along with some of my other awesome author friends. Enjoy! :-)

1.) Take a shower! This one is my go-to method, thought I know the dear Vicky Dreiling, who rights fun, witty historical romances says it’s a cure-all for her too. Maybe it’s that cleansing action of removing all the crude you have built up on you that somehow manages to do a scrubby on your brain too. Whatever the case, it works!

2.) Give a call to Mr. Sandman… Vicky is also a proponent of anything that lets your subconscious takes over. When she’s deep into a story, she will often wake up in the middle of the night having dreamed about the characters. She’s also awakened in the morning with full blown scenes in her head. She says, “I have no explanation, other than the infamous muse - or what I call my magic romance fairies.”

3.) Leave the chains behind…and take a walk. Nothing like some fresh air, right? Not only has the exercise been linked to spiking brain function, it just feels good to get out there and leave your problems from the desk behind. It’s somewhere around the two mile mark that my clogged gears do there little shift and settle and a few minutes later I’m all but running to get back to my desk.

4.) Pump up the volume! While writing her sexy paranormal romances, Sara Humphreys says there is nothing like a bit of music to lure back the muse and I have to agree. I have my own collection based on what sort of scene I’m trying to write from pure despair, to happily optimistic, to that action-packed beat. Right on, Sara! (or is that write on ;-)

5.) Grab some popcorn and a DVD! Sara isn’t the only one who loves music to work to. KC Klein also finds it to be good therapy when her cowboys (both space and here on the Texas ranch) aren’t cooperating. Even better though is grabbing some popcorn, a notepad, and settling on the couch for some screen time. She says, “I will load up on drama filled movies on Netflicks and have myself a lazy day.” The visual stimulation and the down time helps her get past the writing block and soon enough she’s scribbling on her notepad with ideas!

6.) Don’t put down that pen! Just switch gears. When Elisabeth Staab needs a break from her gritty paranormal romance world, she likes to set a fifteen minute timer and do a writing exercise that she pulls off of The process of setting her mind to a task that is not her current WIP, but is still engaging her writing brain helps. (I’m going to have to try this one!)

7.) Visit an old friend. My own dear friend and fellow paranormal author Erin Kellison says that when she’s hit the proverbial writers’ wall, she reads old favorites to get her creative juices flowing. Reading also reminds her that books are friends--longtime friends--and that helps her approach my own with a positive outlook.

8.) Write for love, not the deadline. Samantha Grace, who writes sweet regency romances, says she recently wrote an extended epilogue to give away as a free read to fans. Not only was it a nice diversion to her deadlines but it was liberating to write something that wasn't going to her editor. The process reminded her of how much joy she had in the beginning writing stories, and it freed her muse to have fun. Now she’s having a blast writing her newest book.

9.) Write for yourself, not the audience! Megan Mulry who writes sexy, playful women’s fiction also believes in writing for fun. She says that lately her muse has been totally fired up by writing scenes for friends rather than her fan base. She really wanted her current hetero hero to kiss a guy in front of the heroine, just to mess with her (she is totally messed up about her sexual identity). She says, “I doubt it will even go into the manuscript, but Mira Lyn Kelly said "Ooh! Write that! I want to read it!" So I did. And I wrote 2k in an hour and I *love* the scene. Sometimes pretending no one will ever read it really frees me up.”

10.) Don’t waste your money on bait for luring lady muse…you can make your own! Historical romance author Shana Galan would say that 95% of the time she doesn't believe she has a muse as she pens her adventures regencies. For her, it's all about just putting in the time. But then there are those unexplained flashes of insight and those days when every word flows like water. On those days, she has no explanation except the muse, but she believe what inspires her is all the work she’s put in up to that point…even if that work is just mulling things over as she folds laundry!

11.) Stop thinking! Or at least stop twisting your grey matter in a bunch ;-) Sexy paranormal author Cheryl Brooks says she just keeps writing anything that pops into her head--sort of letting her subconscious become conscious. Brainstorming with friends also helps, but leaving her brain alone so it can come up with the ideas on its own works best.

12.) How about a little mix and mash? Terry Spears likes to brainstorm a lot while writing about her wolves and shifters, but sometimes she just has to take a break, write on another book, reread the book she’s having trouble with, or do some research. Sometimes that gives her a whole new great direction to go in that she would never have considered before!

13.) When all else fails, take some advice from romantic suspense author Julie Ann Walker and drink some COFFEE! …then go scan for pictures of half-naked men. Oh, la la! :-) On a more serious note, Julie says she gets a lot of inspiration from volunteering at the USO and bearing witness to the courage, valor, and sacrifice of men and women in uniform. When she sees all they give in the service of our country, it makes writing stories about them almost a NEED as opposed to a want. She says, “I MUST tell their tales!”

I hope you enjoyed these thirteen little tidbits of advice. Has there ever been a time when your creative muse abandoned you? If so, please tell us how you got out of your funk and if not, feel free to ask any question that comes to mind about me or my writing process. One lucky commenter will win a copy of my newly released second novel in the Paladin Warrior series, Deliver Me from Temptation!

About the Paladin Warriors

Deliver Me from Temptation
Paladin Warriors 2
Sourcebooks Casablanca,  December 4, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

Logan Screwed Up…Big Time
When things go bump in the night, Logan bumps back. Vampires, demons, succubi—you name it, he’s fought it. His job as a Paladin angel warrior is to protect humans. Not fall for one.

She Never Believed in Divine Intervention…Until Now
Detective Jessica Waters protects humans too—with her Glock and a good set of handcuffs. She doesn’t believe in fate. But if anyone looks like a gift from the gods, it’s Logan. And he clearly knows more about her case than he’s letting on…

Deliver Me from Darkness
Paladin Warriors 1
Sourcebooks Casablanca, February 7, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

A stranger in the night…
He had once been a warrior of the Light, one of the revered Paladin. A protector. But now he lives in sin darkness, and the shadows are his sanctuary. Every day is a struggle to overcome the bloodlust. Especially the day Karissa shows up on his doorstep.

Comes knocking on the door…
She is light and bright and everything beautiful—despite her scratches and torn clothes. Every creature of the night is after her. So is every male Paladin. Because Karissa is the last female of their kind. But she is his. He may not have a soul, but he can’t deny his heart.

About Tes

Daphne Award-winning author Tes Hilaire started creating whole new worlds to escape upstate New York’s harsh winters before finally fleeing to sultry North Carolina. Her stories are edgy, exciting, and bring a hint of dark fantasy to paranormal romance. And no one ever has to shovel snow. For more, visit, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter, @TesHilaire. Look for the other books in the Paladin Warriors Series: Deliver Me from Darkness (in stores now) and Prince of Shadows (November 2013).


What:  One commenter will win a copy of Deliver Me From Temptation (Paladin Warriors 2) from Tes.

How:   Answer Tes' question:
Has there ever been a time when your creative muse abandoned you? If so, please tell us how you got out of your funk and if not, feel free to ask any question that comes to mind about me or my writing process.
Please remember - if you don't answer the questions your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)   Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)   Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

There are a total of 3 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry) and Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry).  This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook or Twitter mentions. You MUST leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Wednesday, December 12, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*


  1. I also agree with Julie. COFFEE! Can't wait to read this one.

  2. When doing crafts or projects sometimes by muse has left, so I just take a break from what I am doing. I will sit back, relax, and move on to a different activity. Taking a walk, reading a book, or playing with the kids is always another activity. I will have 1/2 or 1 hour break, then go back to the project or whatever I was doing. Try again and hopefully that worked. If not, then try another break or quit for the day and try later.
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  3. I don't really believe in muses, but there have been some books that were way more difficult to write than others. THE MAKING OF A GENTLEMAN was a tough book to write as was the one I just finished TRUE SPIES. But THE ROGUE PIRATE'S BRIDE and BLACKTHORNE'S BRIDE were both very easy. I don't know how to explain why some are hard and some don't even feel like work.

    Love the tips, Tes!

  4. Yippie! My house has internet again! Sara, I just had to make myself a cuppa Joe right now. Having that mid-day lag! Shana, you're welcome :-) I have the same problem with some books being harder than others. It seems like some stories just flow more organically than others. For me it's the distraction factor, all those kid things break my flow!

  5. Coffee is so key, along with other snacks! Wine is also good but it makes me fall asleep. When it all gets too much, I go watch mindless reality tv. sometimes the flow is there or it isn't, no matter what you do.


  6. Nancy - I've tried the wine idea before... works for writing short bits and blogs, but anything more and you're right, Zzzz time! Thanks for stopping in and sharing your inspirational tricks!

  7. Thanks for the inspiration muse is constantly going off on her own! (These ideas may make her stay home more often)


    1. LOL! Well hopefully this will help keep her in the house :-) Thanks for stopping in, Michelle!

  8. Hi Tes! Congrats on the recent release :) It's funny but I've taken Vicky's advice and it helps. I'm just dabbling in writing but when I do get stuck, I have a tendency to crank up music (mostly Taylor Swift) and an idea forms.

    Question: How do you keep track of your characters (what they look like, how they act, back story, etc.)?

    1. Oh so cook that you're starting to write! What genre, Kati? Taylor Swift makes me think contemporary or YA, what does it inspire in your muse?

      As far as keeping track of my characters' profile and persona, it can be difficult if they aren't talking to you (normally when lady muse isn't there to help translate!) but once the story gets moving I find that if I don't stay true to them, that there is some instinctive part of me that knows the scene isn't working right. The difficulty is in figuring out why! ;-)

  9. Thanks for a fun post! Congrats to Tes on the new release! I'm not a writer, but sometimes when I feel bleh or need ideas I go for a walk :) Clears my head right up and I can brainstorm!

    gfc: erin

    1. Thank you, Erin! Walking is one of my favorite brainstorming activities too. Do you wander aimlessly or do you stick to a well-loved path? I find when I need inspiration I go for the aimless approach, but when I just need to let the puzzle pieces settle, I go for the well-worn favorite.

  10. ...i stopped everything and when to play with my dog and cat, or watching teh flowers in the garden just to have a bit of reality somethini could touch and after it was more easy i guess i was putting to mucu stress on myself ( and a good cup of tea helped too^^)

    thank you a lot

    +1 blog follower ( gfc:miki)

    1. Miki,

      My cat sits on my lap while I type. He can be very distracting. But I do like to pause occasionally and give him a good scratch behind the ear. Something about the simplicity of the action and the bond with such a lovely creature helps soothe the frustration of a mental block! Thanks for sharing!

  11. You mentioned the main ones, for me it's long walks especially near water! Rock music gets my muses going especially Avenged Sevenfold and 30 Seconds to Mars. Revisiting old favourites is a must too! That works realy well when I'm in a reading funk and depending on the situation either spending time with or without the kids ;)

    1. Walks near water! YES! That's almost like a two-for. Just don't jump in unless it's really warm, k? ;-) i must say I don't have the ability to find inspiration around my youngsters, but... that said... I think the break sometimes does give my mind time to settle! Thanks so much for sharing, Michelle!

  12. These are both on my wish list ( the darn thing just keeps growing!!), and I can't wait to read them. I enjoyed reading about what you and others do to bring back the muse. Thanks for the chance and congrats on the new release!

    old gfc follower and email subscriber

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

    1. You're welcome, Martha! And thanks for the congrats :-) Is now a good time to tell you that all e-copies of book one, Deliver Me from Darkness are on sale for 99c until December 22nd? :-D Regardless, I hope when you do manage to grab these babies that you'll love them!

  13. Great ideas. I'm too nervous about my cistern level to stay in the shower, but walking and exercising are good options. Though my muse likes me to stay in bed and be quiet.

    1. Ella,

      That was my old farmhouse! We had to be so careful of the septic system until we completely replaced it all! So annoying. As for staying in bed... I admit, on a weekend morning I'll often wake up and then pretend to be asleep for just a little while longer as my mind turns over new ideas! Thank you so much for sharing!

  14. Don't have a creative muse, so it hasn't abandoned me.

    I follow the blog.


    1. Oh I'm sure that's not really true, bn100. Lady muse must just be really shy ;-) Thanks for saying Hi!

  15. I do not do a lot of writing but if I have a problem I play a game.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

    1. Sounds like a good diversion! I think anything that takes your mind off it's current issues help :-) Thanks so much for stopping in, Debby.

  16. Hi Tes! It seems that the older I get, the more my muse abandons me. I am not a writer, but I used to be very creative/crafty, but the inspiration seems to have left me now a days. Maybe if I didn't have so many other things going on. OH WELL! I loved the first book in the series and can't wait to read the new release! Thanks for the awesome giveaway! +1 Comment, +1 Follower

    1. Barb, I'm so glad you loved Deliver Me from Darkness! I hear you on having too many other things going on. It seems like the moment I clear a bunch of extras off my plate, more just gets piled on! Very stifling for the muse!

  17. I write our annual Christmas letter every year. I was better at it in the beginning, rhyming the words and all, but now, I just tell it like it is. I feel like I am either brimming with creativity when it comes to writing, or I am just empty.
    I follow via GFC: sdylion, twitter@sdylion, FB:Sandy Lion & email: sdylion(at)gmail(dot)com
    posted on FB and tweeted:

  18. SdyLion, Oh no! I have to tackle my x-mas letter this weekend. Thanks for reminding me. I think it's worse now that I'm a published author... the expectations are just that much higher! I think I'm going to try and take your advice, though: just tell it like it is! Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

  19. Music is my main muse. Different types of music for different scenes. Sometimes I pop in my headphones and everything distracting around me disappears until I'm done with the scene. :D I tweeted:

    1. Marlene, I know just the feeling! Thanks so much for stopping in and sharing :-)

  20. I use music to get out of my muse funk... either that or a bath helps:)

    +1 Comment
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    1. Ah! A bath! Is that better than a shower? Hmmm... I'm going to have to try that one too. I normally bring a book with me but maybe I should just be vegging in the warm water. Thanks for sharing!

  21. I think I got passed by when I was born; I swear I was born w/out one. I have absolutely no imagination & am eternally grateful for those talented people out there who bring their imagination to life in a story that i can read.

    +3: blog follow, comment, tweeted

  22. Linda, sounds like you have a shy muse too. I bet she's there and you just don't realize it. That said, us authors are very grateful to those readers who appreciate our imaginative creative streaks :-) Thanks so much for stopping in!

  23. 1)Hi! Nice post! I have to admit that I have alot of imagination, creativity and everything a good author may need except for the spelling ,syntax and grammar! I am HORRIBLE!!!! LOL Anyway that's why I do review instead (I guess):P

    Thanks for this chance!

    2)I'm a follower: as Proserpine via GFC
    3)Post on Facebook and Twitter:



  24. Proserpine,

    Don't let those things stop you if you want to write, I'm a horrible speller too! (thank goodness for spell check) Besides, isn't creative spelling actually a good sign of a healthy imagination? ;-) Thanks for stopping in.

  25. I don't know that I have a muse. I do daydream a lot, so that could be it. However, if I never had it, I really can't lose it can I?

    GFC: Mary Preston


  26. Congrats on the new release! I not writer and absoluty don't have talent to write such a story,so i doing what i know best, reading..LOL!!

    GFC as Filia Oktarina
    Facebook :
    Twitter :

    filiafantasy at gmail dot com

  27. Hi Tes,

    Congrts on the release.

    For the question : I will listening my MP3 while singing :)

    gfc : eli_y83