Follow the secret lives of Moonlighters Carrie Hinkel-Gill and Margay Leah Justice.
For website issues or questions, contact our Webmistress.
This blog works best with Mozilla. Scroll down to see today's blog.
Please Disable the Java add-on to your browsers to protect yourself from it's security flaws! Happy surfing!
Our Fantasy Files blog returns with a new look!
It's Tuesday, and that means Hollie posted a new review on our Book Review blog! Be sure to check them out!

Current Releases

Buy: Sloane Wolf by Margay; Nora's Soul by Margay; Pandora's Box by Gracen; Hell's Phoenix by Gracen

Video of the Day

We Are Young - Fun

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Kissing the Muse
By G.R. Bretz

Muses, flirtatious and fickle, intangible and surreal, they are as unique as the men and women they descend upon. They craft themselves to be whatever we need them to be. They mold us to be what they need us to be. I think that’s one aspect of Muses that is often overlooked. They need us as badly as we need them.

Mine arrived one night last December; quick on the heels of my sixth glass of absinthe. Or perhaps it was eight; I try not to count. No good will come of it. She stormed into my life; a sultry, shadowy specter that could only be seen with eyes wide closed and mind wide open.

She made her offer the moment she arrived. “Make me real. Tell my story and I will give you a thousand more to tell.” A very nice return on my investment, but not without a caveat. “Fail me and you will you go mad.”

My momma didn’t raise a fool. There was no way I would undertake such a foolhardy enterprise. I was fully prepared to stop drinking and turn on the television. Television is toxic to Muses. If you turn it on they will flee and not return until after the screen has faded to black.

I had my exit strategy, but there was no way out. She already knew me better than I knew myself. She swept in close, swirled about me, lingered on my skin like the memory of mosquito bites, and whispered words that I could not resist.

“Nothing in your life has ever been constant. Friends and lovers come and go like the passing seasons. Youth, health and sanity dissipate and depart without so much as a ‘by your leave.’ I alone will never leave you.”

That was nearly a year ago. My television still decorates the north wall of my living room. It’s very fashionable, but no longer functional. The rest of the nation took the ditch to Swigital and I chose the path less traveled. The story is long since told. My publisher is happy with it. My Muse is tickled pink or pickled tink; depending on how much we’ve had to drink.

As for me? Well, I’m sure you’ve figured it out by now. My grasp on reality is tenuous, at best. A number of writers have assured me that you have to be a little crazy to be in this business. I’m sure it’s true, but I’m not a little crazy. I’m mad as a hatter and I grow madder with every page I write, including this one.

I don’t mind. The pills and the pot and the booze conspire to keep it under control. I can actually function in the normal world and no one suspects; as long as I don’t say too much. Sanity is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there. It’s just not my cuppa.

In the end, it comes to this. I didn’t go mad from kissing the Muse. The Muse kissed me because I was already mad.

Three sheets to the wind and one toke over the line

Here's an excerpt of my first novel, Absinthe Eyes & Other Lies:

Part 3: The Ice Maiden Cometh

I never wanted to be a writer. It was the furthest thing from my mind. I have a calling. I was born to it. My family refines the finest absinthe in the world. They have for six generations and I would be the seventh. It was destiny enough for me. It was all I ever intended to be.

I stand here beside the large wooden barrel, Vat 64. I am as solemn and discreet as a mortician. I watch as six of Paris’ darkest and dreariest file past his grave. They lay flowers against the modest headstone. Lucinda puts her long black shawl on the ground and kneels beside his grave. I know what she’s going to say, it’s a ritual for her. “What an appetite, mon cherie. Did you think you could drink it all in one night?”

No, I never wanted to be a writer. The only writer I have ever known was Richard Chalmer. I barely knew him, but nothing about the man spoke well of the profession. He was a tortured and tormented soul. I was only a child back then, but I could see that; everyone could see that. The last time I saw Richard Chalmer I was thirteen years old and he was floating face down in Vat 64. No, I never wanted to be a writer. It just happened.


I remember it like it was yesterday. The vats hold a thousand gallons each and we open a fresh one every few weeks. It was a family affair and I was maturing. It was the first time I had been asked to attend an opening.

Grandfather was unlocking the doors when she walked up. Everyone just froze. The sun was to her back and she was wearing a thin, green cotton dress; every wondrous curve was silhouetted and high-lighted. It is an awe-inspiring image; most especially for a thirteen year old boy. She was beauty and she was legend; she was the Muse.

Richard Chalmer stumbled into her life four years earlier. They met on a rainy night in one of the city’s seedier nightclubs. She was sixteen; a hormonal cascade in progress, a heartache searching for a soul mate. He was in his fifties; an over-the-hill writer of hack fiction. His best days were behind him and his best days had never been all that good.

It was a match made in heaven. They moved in together. Over the next two and a half years he wrote five award-winning novels, international best sellers. One night he simply vanished. The press insisted that he had disappeared under suspicious circumstances. How astute of them. Has a human being ever vanished under less-than-suspicious circumstances?

There was an intensive search, a rigorous investigation, but nothing came of them. After a few months it slipped from the headlines and became one more file sent to the cold case squad. His muse retreated to their villa and was not seen in public for the next year and a half: not until that morning.

She walked straight up to me and put her hand on my shoulder. “Are you opening Vat 64today?”

I opened my mouth but the words refuse to form. I was too awestruck to speak. I nodded my head. If we weren’t I would gladly have opened it for her.

She pressed her credit card into my hand. “I want to buy it; every last drop. Have it delivered as soon as it’s bottled.”

Grandfather unlocked the door and invited her in. As far as I know, no one outside of the family had ever been there for an opening; but she was legend, and it was her absinthe.

We moved the overhead crane into place and lifted the heavy wooden lid from the vat. There he was, the subject of much speculation, floating at the top of Vat 64. Old mysteries were solved that morning; new ones sprang up to take their place. The police no longer asked where Richard Chalmer had gone, but they were very curious as to how he had gotten there. The vat could not have sealed itself.

The investigators wanted to question her, but people don’t always get what they want. They asked her to come in for questioning and her lawyers arrived with a sworn deposition. It said that their guess was as good as hers. They presented her with a subpoena to testify before the Coroner’s Inquest. She took a red marker, graded it C- and returned it. In her opinion it lacked originality. So did the second one; which she simply ignored. They threatened to have her arrested for contempt of court. Richard’s fans, her fans, took to the streets by the thousands; they laid siege to the courthouse. The judge reconsidered the matter and decided that a sworn deposition would be sufficient.

We watched as the paramedics lifted him from the vat and lowered his body to the ground. It was likely that he had been in the vat since the night he disappeared. You wouldn’t have known it to look at him. Apparently our absinthe preserves as well as it intoxicates. The expression on his face was that of a man who had died a moment ago.

She stared at him a minute and turned to face me. She was taller than me and larger. Her body was all that an adolescent boy might wish a woman’s body to be, but her face was ageless. It would have been at home in my classroom. It would have been at home carved on the side of a mountain. She laid her forehead on my shoulder and she wept. She wept and she clung to me like the morning fog clings to the Seine. She wept and I held her.

1 Moonbeams (comments):

Gracen Miller said...

Thanks for joining us today, Glenn. And a super thanks for giving me the opportunity to read your book, Absinthe Eyes & Other Lies! I can't praise the book enough! Best of luck with it!

If anyone missed my review of Absinthe Eyes & Other Lies, follow the link to read how exceptional this piece of work is:

Gracen Miller