Lisa's Lair

Hi Everyone!

I had a great writing week!  I’m just over 37,000 words on Moonlight (149 pages)  Only about 3,000 more words to the halfway point!  YAY!

Once I hit halfway, I need to focus back on the revisions for Night Walker so I can be ready for the writer’s conference in DC next month…  Whee!

Thanks again to all of you for your support every week!  I broke 12,000 profile views and 24,000 blog views last week!!!  *boggle*  THANK YOU!!!! 🙂

This week’s story came about while trying to think up a good acronym.  With Panda and Ken’s help, UMA – Unemployed Muses Anonymous was born!

Next I had a healthy dose of research to find all nine Greek muses and their emblems and art forms.  While I was doing that, I found Les Neuf Soeurs.  If you’re interested you can find it on wikipedia.  Lots of interesting history about some of our forefathers was hidden there.

So my challenge was to juggle a cast of nine sisters and one god all in the space of a short story!  Yikes!  After much tweaking, I hope it all worked out…  *Crossing fingers* 

We just disagree was the topic and while the sisters did disagree at the end, I couldn’t figure out a smooth way to use those words in the story…  Oh well!

I hope you enjoy!  Thanks for reading and commenting!


Unemployed Muses Anonymous – By Lisa Kessler








Mel fed the parking meter some quarters and hurried down the sidewalk.  Her large black leather attache case thumped against her back with each stride. She checked her watch and kicked up her pace a notch.  When she reached the bookstore, she rounded the corner and punched in her entry code into the number pad.  The red door clicked as the lock opened.  She yanked open the door and stepped into the shadows.


Today was going to be a big day for UMA.  Today was the day they started a new marketing campaign.  Zeus could leave them stranded in the mortal world, but he couldn’t stop them from working.


Not anymore.


She flipped on the light switch, bathing the empty conference room in florescent light.  The long walnut table was flanked by nine high-backed leather executive chairs; soon to be filled by her sisters.


Mel placed her bag at the head of the table and carefully withdrew her weeping mask.  With her emblem safely resting beside her place at the table, she pulled out her laptop and the projector.  As she tested some power point slides up on the wall of the conference room, her sister, Calliope, came in with her writing pad.


“Hi Mel.  This is an exciting day isn’t it?”


“I hope it will be.”  It was tough for Mel to stay positive.  It went against her nature as the muse of tragic poetry, but she did her best to overcome it.  It was difficult enough to get dates with a name like Melpomene, but wrap that up with an obsession with tragedy, and you could be a very lonely muse.  “Do you have all the business projections for Les Neuf Soeurs?”


“I do.” She nodded with a smile.  “This is going to be huge!  I can’t believe we didn’t think of it sooner.”


Mel smiled to herself.  Cal was the muse of epic poetry, so it was tough for her to be realistic about anything.  The sky was the limit with Cal.


Down the hall, she could hear humming and said to Cal, “Sounds like Era and Terp are on their way.”


Erato and Euterpe were the muses for music and lyrics.  They almost always traveled together, and you could usually hear them coming.


“Good morning Cal,” Era said in a bright shining voice, adding as she turned, “Oh hello Mel.  Do you need any help with the projector.”


“No, it looks like I’ve got it all figured out.  Do you two have the marketing materials ready?”


Terp set down her aulos, beside her place at the table.  “Yes, we’ve got them all ready to go.  I even came up with a theme for our commercials.”


Euterpe picked up her recorder-like flute and started to play.  Era closed her eyes and sang along to part of the melody just as Poly and Psi walked in.  Without missing a beat, Polyhymnia joined her sister Era and harmonized the lyrics.  Psi smiled and added to the music with her lyre, while jigging around the room.


Mel looked up at the cacophony of art improvising around her and shook her head.  This was why none of their plans ever worked out.  They were muses for the arts, not for business.  How were they ever going to get anything accomplished with her sisters dancing and singing?  She looked down the table at Cal and sighed.  Calliope was busy writing out every detail of her sisters’ arrivals.  No doubt making it seem like an epic battle between mortals and immortals.


She checked her watch.  The last three sisters were late.  Not that Mel was surprised, but after all these centuries, she thought this time it might be different.  Mel sighed, fighting back the urge to cry.  She knew it was her nature to see the tragic end of all their hard work.  Surely it wouldn’t turn out as badly in reality as it was going to in her head.


She hoped.


Laughter interrupted her swim in the pool of self-pity.  She looked over and saw Thalia pop through the door along with Clio and Nia.  Thalia was the muse for comedy and she lived up to her title.  The poor girl was so maturity-challenged that the mortals committed her to an asylum twice.  Since then, Urania, although she goes by Nia these days, moved in with her to help keep the mortals away.  Nia was the muse to the stars.  Not celebrities, but the stars up in the sky.  She always had her compass close by and could find her way home from anywhere.


Clio trudged to her place at the table, ignoring the dancing, singing and laughter that surrounded her.  Mel envied her sister.  Clio was the muse to history, and the past was where she was happiest.  Getting her to notice the present was the challenge. 


“Hi Clio,” Mel said eyeing her sister’s scrolls.  “You remember why we’re meeting today, right?”


Clio nodded.  “We’re going back to Olympus.”


“What?” Mel frowned.


Clio smiled, “Just kidding.  Thalia’s trying to help me with my sense of humor.”


Mel shot her giggling sister a glare.  “Perfect.”


She walked back around to the head of the table and cleared her throat.  “Excuse me.  Can we get started?”


The music and laughter gradually died down as the muses placed their emblems onto the tabletop.  The walnut conference table glowed with power as Mel smiled and went on.  “After selling off some of our relics and vases, we made the down payment on our new building.  I hired the architect and Nia will be working with him to design our new theater, Les Neuf Soeurs!”


All the muses applauded, but the phone interrupted their ovation.  Mel frowned and lifted the receiver to her ear. 


“UMA can I help you?”  Mel rolled her eyes.  “No.  This is Unemployed Muses Anonymous.  There is no Uma here.”  She paused.  “I understand.  No problem.”


She hung up the phone and looked up to find all eight sisters staring at her.  “It was another one of those Uma Thurman calls.”


“Oh,” was the unison reply.


Mel clicked through the power point, explaining the business plan to her sisters.  All of her numbers were very conservative, more due to her nature than any business experience, and sister muses did their best to fill in their portions.


Cal stood up and presented her epic projections for ticket sales, and Erato and Euterpe sang the new commercial jingle.  It was tough not to applaud.  There was definitely a reason they were the muses for music and lyrics.  Then Poly and Psi provided a list of potential theater groups who could use the new facilities.  Psi did her best hold still while they presented, but being the muse of dance made it almost impossible for her to keep from wiggling.


Thalia and Nia sat at the other end of the conference table doing their best to focus.  If their plans worked out, which Mel had many doubts, then they were the two muses who would be running the office.  Mel watched them, sighing inwardly when she realized they weren’t taking any notes.  By the end of the power point presentation, Mel wanted to cry, but that wasn’t unusual, just another perk of being the tragic muse.  She closed her laptop and looked over at Clio.


“Are you ready to bring the history of Les Neuf Soeurs to life for us again?”


She nodded and rose up from her chair with a scroll in hand.  Clio was tall and willowy with a porcelain complexion that was as smooth as the marble of their statues.  She fluffed her long blond hair behind her shoulders so it trailed down her back, and she took a deep breath.


“Our theater will allow patrons to travel back in time, to Paris in 1776.  Les Neuf Soeurs, or in English The Nine Sisters once helped to inspire free-thinkers like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.  These great men encouraged France to help aid in the American Revolution.  Without the inspiration we provided, this country might not have ever existed, and with our help again, this nation will find the inspiration to heal the wounds that are ailing it.  While the government cuts funding for the arts, we will inspire them to look to art for answers.  After all, life still imitates art.”


She rolled up her scroll and made eye contact with each sister.  “We will no longer need UMA.  We will no longer be ignored or forgotten.  We will once again be respected, honored and revered.”


The conference room erupted in enthusiastic applause.


Mel raised her hand, quieting her sisters.  “I have one more thing to add.  A surprise.”


“A surprise?”  Calliope gasped, making a note in her log of the meeting.  “I love surprises.”


Mel opened the conference room door and all the muses gasped.  Standing before them was a tall chiseled man with olive skin and a mop of dark brown hair.  His features were perfect and his smile would make any mortal woman fall under his spell.


“Good morning, Ladies.”


Nia frowned.  “Ploutos.  What are you doing here?  Shouldn’t you be polishing Zeus’ sandals up on Mt. Olympus?”


He raised a brow.  “Melpomene invited me to this meeting.  As the god of finance and fortune, she thought I could offer you some support with your business plan.”


Nia’s jaw dropped.  “Mel, you didn’t.”


“I did,” Mel replied.  “Can’t you see?  This is a great idea, but we’ve had millions of great ideas!  It’s what we do.  We’re muses.  But look around this table, following through on a business proposal is not our strong suit.”


Mumbles and grumbles rose up around the conference table as Mel shot Ploutos a nervous shrug.  She felt failure’s hot breath on the back of her neck, but did her best to hold it off.  He kept his shoulders squared, and his posture calm and confident as he gave her a smile and a wink.


Finally Clio spoke, “I’m not thrilled about accepting help from the snobs on Olympus either, but judging by our past history, his business expertise could make all the difference.”


Mel couldn’t believe her eyes as her sisters started to nod.  “So, are we all in agreement?  We’ll let Ploutos help us make Les Neuf Soeurs a reality?”


After the unanimous vote, the muses collected their emblems and said their goodbyes.  Mel stayed behind, packing up her laptop and the projector.  Once everyone was gone, she smiled up at Ploutos.


“Thank you for helping us.”


He took her hand and pulled her into his arms.  “You don’t have to thank me.  It’s a great idea you all came up with.  Insane given the state of the economy right now, but it might just work.”


She grinned and leaned up to kiss him.  He hummed softly against her lips and pulled back with a smile.  “You still didn’t tell them we’re dating.”


Mel shook her head.  “Baby steps.”


“Think they’ll ever like me?”


“Probably not.”  He raised a brow and she smiled.  “Coming from me, that’s a definite maybe so.”


He laughed and picked up her laptop and projector.  “I never imagined the muse of tragedy would make me so happy.”


“Not so crazy.  Money and tragedy often walk hand in hand, right?”




Mel turned off the lights and locked the door to UMA headquarters.  The God of Finance took her hand as they walked back to her car.  She couldn’t hold back her smile.  For the first time in centuries, it felt good to be a muse again.



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Night Walker Night Walker (Night, #1)
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Beg Me to Slay Beg Me to Slay
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