Musings on Muses

Most writers need a little extra inspiration sometimes, and we Chicks are no exception. Some of our muses are real and some are, well, a little unusual…

  Marla Cooper

CotC Marla Cooper

My muse is a baby goat. Okay, well, he’s part muse, part mascot and part spirit animal. It started with this video of a baby goat giving it all he’s got. I watch it anytime I need a shot of motivation or just a little smile. At some point, YouTube noticed my interest and started feeding me up other videos of baby goats. A baby goat hopping around a barnyard. Baby goats wearing pajamas. You get the picture. In Dying on the Vine, Kelsey meets the owner of a vineyard who mentions he has goats. “Baby goats?” she asks. “Do they have pajamas?” To which he answers, “Baby goats don’t have pajamas.” Kelsey immediately replies, “They do on YouTube.” So not only does my original baby goat remind me to give it all I’ve got—to commit fully and joyfully—but he and his friends have worked their way into my writing. Give it all you’ve got!!

Lisa Q. Mathews

CotC Word balloonsAs I may have mentioned in my last post, my most recent muse, that nasty red fire monkey, was a disaster. Really, it works better for me just to stare at the random chatchkes I keep on rotation on my desk for inspiration. I have a lovely pink tape dispenser that’s shaped like a Cosmo cocktail (it’s very pink and the sun shines through it.) My fave object to play with, though, is a little tornado in a plastic container–a long-ago client gift from The Weather Channel. You swirl it with your wrist and the tornado appears like magic. So satisfying. (Take that, Evil Flying Monkeys!)

Kellye Garrett


I don’t have any animals and any attempts to watch YouTube videos usually turns into me falling down the well, only to emerge three hours later having binged on videos of women doing “Plan with Me” videos where they literally just show what they’ll be doing the next week. I’m inspired by the most random things when it comes to my writing. Good writing. Bad writing. A person on the subway. And my favorite one—my bed. I get the most random dialogue and plot ideas while lying in bed hoping to go to sleep. This usually results in me reaching over to furiously type it into the Notes section of my phone. My genius only comes in fits and I have the memory of a knat.

Ellen Byron


I have three muses for my Cajun Country Mystery series. I met Charlotte Waguespack Allen when we were both Theatre majors at Tulane, and she’s one of my dearest friends ever. Her family has been in Louisiana for centuries and their history totally hooked me from the moment I first stepped into her home, commented on an antique sideboard, and Charlotte casually responded, “Oh, that’s from a family plantation that burned down.” My second muse is the brilliant New Orleans artist, Jan Gilbert. I met Jan on an Amtrak train. We started chatting in the snack car, exchanged telephone numbers, and have been close buds ever since. My third muse is an extraordinary woman I met when she was a tour guide at a Louisiana plantation. Gaynell Bourgeois Moore is an artist, a musician, an author, and one hundred percent Cajun. When I was writing Plantation Shudders, I told Gaynell that I wanted to name a character after her. She could be the eightysomething grandmere or a nineteen-year-old musician. Gaynell, who’s in her seventh decade, instantly responded, “Oh, I’ll be the nineteen-year-old.”

Readers, to whom–or what–do you turn to get those creative juices flowing? Let us know in the comments below!

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5 thoughts on “Musings on Muses

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