Part I by Rebecca Ryals Russell
I had a unique opportunity recently to meet an author I’d befriended online but never dreamed of meeting in person as she lives about 1000 miles away. We’ve shared interviews on blog postings and many emails over the last few months. It was one of those emails that got me thinking I might get to meet her after all. She and her husband were planning a trip to Florida, from their home in Ohio, to visit family. And the amazing part? Their journey would take them directly past my home.
So I offered Roseanne Dowell and her husband Roger a stay in my Vacation Rental log house and they accepted. It was wonderful. They had a place to stay overnight and we would meet face to face. Then I got to thinking, there was another author I’d met just recently at the Florida Writers Association Conference in Orlando. Maybe Marsha A. Moore and her husband, Steve, could drive up from Tampa and we could drive down from Lake City to meet for dinner in Gainesville. And so the invitations went around and arrangements were made. We would meet at the Carrabbas at Archer Road and 34th Street in Gainesville at 5pm.
Then something happened that was totally cool. A new author joined The Musers and she lived in Gainesville. So, as a surprise, I didn’t tell the others that I had invited Barbara Bockman to join us. In order to know me I said, “Look for the lady in the hat.”
Throughout dinner we laughed and chatted amiably. It was as though we were all old friends. That comes from the comradery shown on the MuseItUp Author’s Loop where we chat daily. That part of this publication process has been the biggest surprise (compared with other Houses I’ve heard about) as well as the biggest comfort. No matter what happens in our Author or Personal lives, we KNOW there are people who care and will support us. That means the world.
Part II by Roseanne Dowell
When the invitation came from Rebecca, I couldn’t believe it. Of course, there was no way I’d refuse an offer like that. I mean, seriously, how could I? A chance to meet fellow muse authors was like a dream come true for me also. I knew I couldn’t afford to go to Canada for their first annual get together. In fact, this will probably be the last vacation we’ll be able to take. Rebecca’s cabin is, without a doubt, beautiful. It’s hardly what I would call a cabin. The 1300 square foot three bedroom home is gorgeous with all the modern conveniences. It’s peaceful and a perfect place to write. I wish we could have stayed longer.
We arrived late Friday afternoon. Thank goodness we didn’t arrive in the dark. I don’t think we would have found it. For one thing MapQuest said it was on the right, which was where we were looking. NOT. We realized the addresses were even numbers, and after turning around three times and, of course, passing the house, I finally recognized pictures of the Victorian Home Rebecca lives in. Talk about beautiful, but that’s another story.
Saturday afternoon, Rebecca and her husband, Mike, drove us to Gainesville. I had the pleasure of meeting Rebecca’s son, Robert, who we dropped off at the University of Florida to stay with his sister, one of Rebecca’s beautiful daughters. And then it was on to the restaurant.
When we walked into the restaurant, Rebecca said she had a surprise for us. I had no idea what it could be. We had arrived a little early and were seated. Shortly thereafter, a woman walked up to the table and spoke to Rebecca. She was Rebecca’s surprise. One of our new muse authors, Barbara Bockman. Marsha A. Moore arrived next and what a treat to meet three Muse authors. Although Rebecca and Barbara write young adult and Marsha writes for the Hot line, we had much to talk about (Yes, Lea, even you!).
It was such an enjoyable experience and I will treasure the memory. Who knows, maybe on our way home, I’ll get to meet another Muse author.
Part III by Marsha A. Moore
What amazed me the most about our visit was how much fun we all had, so much to talk about, even though we write such different genres. Rebecca and Barbara write for younger readers, Roseanne writes romance, and I write fantasy romance. We represent all three lines of Muse: MuseItUp, the main line, MuseItHot (erotica) and MuseItYoung (readers 10-14). It wasn’t by any accident or coincidence we eagerly got together and had a great time. The collective, sharing, and caring spirit is what makes MuseItUp Publishing unique. Not only does that basic tenet help out whenever concerns, small or large arise, but it allows us to be comfortable with each other. Our publisher, Lea Schizas, certainly will not like being credited with this, but she’ll get over it. Her vision and example established and continues to foster this wonderful, interactive environment. As we turn toward Thanksgiving, I’m very grateful for this terrific group of authors, working and enjoying life together. It was a treat to meet three of them.
Part IV by Barbara Bockman
I couldn’t believe my good fortune when I read on the Muse Blog that Rebecca had invited Roseanne and her husband to stay in their cabin and that they were coming to dinner Saturday night in my town. (Who says eavesdropping doesn’t pay?) I asked to be included and Rebecca said she would save me as a surprise. In addition to Rebecca and Roseanne, Marsha was to be there, too. I was thrilled at the prospect of meeting some live Muse Authors. I joined the group for dinner and we had a terrific time talking about writing and writers and The Muse. (The three husbands were sweet and tolerant of our writerly conversation). I am a Baby Muse Author with a lot to learn. It’s a great advantage for me to be among experienced writers who are always willing to show the ropes to a newbie. This is ONE TERRIFIC GROUP. I am so happy to have been a part of the Muse Conference Board for a few years now and I’ve seen Lea’s vision expand and grow to where she’s now a publisher of books. She shows us all how to reach for the stars.