My Muses

The Muses set the bar high this week. How’s Mr. Friday supposed to follow Brodi, the GILT cover, and a decade-long love story? I’m pulling out the big guns – I’m talking about some of the authors who’ve influenced me profoundly and personally: The Muses.

These four authors have taken me under their wings and taught me more about the craft of writing and the art of being an author than anything my deranged imagination could’ve conjured. Here are a few (of the countless) things I’ve gleaned from them:

Donna might’ve walked off her own page. She and her characters buzz with life. They’re wickedly funny and wonderfully endearing. You root for them from the moment you meet. They’re real. They’re touching. From her I know that karma is alive and well within children’s literature. That you can take beating after beating, but as long as you keep picking yourself up, things WILL get better. And with the right idea, the right passion, and the right amount of laughter, you can make the impossible seem scarily simple.

Katy (or Katherine if you want to use her authorial name) is a master of detail. Her most informal emails are eloquent and nearly perfect in every regard. Her thoroughness is astounding. She’s shown me that worlds are built one brick at a time, the meekest of characters have sharp tongues inside their heads, and with a good dose of passion (combined with healthy talent) you can sell a debut book (or three) in any friggin’ genre you want. It’s okay if not everyone gets what you’re doing, but soon enough, they will. Plus, she’s sweeter than cotton candy. Except the sugar is just a coating, underneath she’s unwavering, adventurous, and tough.

Talia is beyond compare. She never, ever gives up and is fiercely loyal. And, literally, I don’t think there’s a person alive who is more excited about children’s literature – from reading to writing to knowing which editor is with which publisher. This energy is as contagious as Ebola. Just try and have a conversation with her without walking away pumped about being able to participate in this industry. In terms of craft, Talia’s lawyer-mind shines as a beacon of logic for my own engineer-brain. She’s able to boil stories, characters, and acts into these beautiful (that’s right, beautiful) outlines and checklists. She’s brilliant. Period.

Veronica is a walking graduate course in writing fiction. If there’s a craft book out there, she’s read it. If there’s a theory on structure, she knows it. I try to follow her around like she’s Socrates, absorbing information in her aura. And the thing is, folks, she applies it all. Her sense of story and world are staggering. She’s gone beyond tension on every page and seems to be experimenting with tension in every punctuation mark (when I figure out how she does it, I’ll let you know). Boy, can she work hard, and you pretty much have to threaten her with violence to hear a complaint. Veronica handles the world with grace and refreshing optimism.

Most of all, The Muses have influenced me as a group. They’ve taught me the importance of staying positive in a world filled with boo-hooers. That I have to listen to my friends, but follow my gut. And while writing may feel close to solitary confinement, it’s really a team sport.

I sure feel lucky to have them drop their weekly insights, huh?
YAH Muses! 
Rah! Rah! Rah! 


Very nível!!! Very gracious!

That is a wonderful way to round out a week of wonderful, inspirational posts. Well done to all of you!

What a lovely tribute! So nice to read. Refreshing to have such an informative, instructive and CARING blog to return to.

Nice Post, Bret! So wonderful to have such talented and giving people in your life who are willing to guide you, isn't it! You are so blessed!

Thanks, all! We're building a nice lil'community here.

I smiled the entire time I read this! I love your group. But, you know, not in a stalkerish way. Just in an "I will buy your books and follow your blog and try to make coffee dates with you" kind of way. Which doesn't sound stalkerish at all, does it?

I feel the love!!! Beth, always love when you come by. Coffee ANYTIME. That goes for all the rest of y'all, too.

Mr. Friday. I like that. I think I'll start calling you that from now on.

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