Fàilte (Welcome), Lisa and Vimh. It’s a pleasure to have you join us at the Tavern.
Lisa and Vimh visit The Wicked Muse Tavern
“What the hell are you wearing?” I ask my muse as we stand outside the Tavern.
“What? I’m a tavern wench.”
“Was there a tavern in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century?”
“Maybe.” He preens a little.
“You have glitter in your hair,” I tell him.
“Aw, thanks for noticing!”
Ugh. Muses are tricky creatures. Mine is called Vimh, short for Voice in my Head. He’s bratty, obnoxious, in your face, and probably not ready to play nice inside the Tavern.
“Look,” I tell him as we stand in the cobblestone street. “See that? That’s a gaslight. God, you’re not even trying to fit in.”
“I was going to go steampunk, but I lost my aviator goggles,” Vimh tells me, wrapping one hand around the lamppost and swinging from it. “Anyway, you told me the Tavern was like a cross between the holodeck in Star Trek and the Tardis, so I dressed accordingly.”
I cop an eyeful off his silver shoulder pads and skin-tight lycra. “According to David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust?”
Vimh makes a face. “Are we going inside or not?”
At my side, Vimh fidgets like a kid on sugar.
“Just…” I rake a hand through my hair. “Just don’t embarrass me, okay?”
“I won’t,” Vimh says. “Cross my heart and everything.”
I push open the door and step inside. Vimh floats in behind me on a cloud of glitter.
“Wow,” he whispers as he takes in the décor. “This place is really something. Will there be hobbits?”
Oh god. “Just try to behave, please, Vimh.”
We cross to the bar. In the interests of authenticity, I order a cider. Vimh orders a white wine spritzer with an olive and an umbrella. The barkeep gives him a beer.
“Remember, I’m here to talk about my books,” I warn him.
“My books,” he corrects.
“Fine, our books.”
As much as I hate to admit it, without Vimh whispering ideas in my head and pulling plot bunnies out of his increasingly weird collection of hats, I would never get anything written. And he’s not always this bratty and fey. Sometimes he takes me by the hand and leads me through some very dark places. He surprises me. Sometimes, I surprise him.
“Woah,” he whispered when we’d written The Island. “That is so not where I thought we were going with that! That was some dark shit!”
“I know, right?”
“I like the twist!”
Vimh deals with the inspiration, and I handle the research and the heavy lifting. Most of his inspiration starts when he gets that gleam in his eye, chews his lower lip for a while, and then grins. “You know what would be hot?” he asks, and we’re off.
Vimh says he helped out a lot with Tribute. By that, he means he dressed up in a sword belt and tried out the sling. “Is this working for you?” he shouted at me while I tried to ignore him and keep writing. “Hey, Lisa, I think I’m stuck. Can you get me out of here?”
He was even less help with He Is Worthy. While I was looking up Nero and Latin and slavery in Ancient Rome, Vimh was making a toga out of my bedsheets and a laurel wreath out of hibiscus flowers.
“I didn’t know Rome had a Pride parade,” I told him.
“You’re just jealous that I look so hot,” Vimh sneered.
I was not. Well, maybe a little.
“So you’re co-writing now,” he announced one day. “With J.A. Rock.”
“Yeah,” I said, and showed him. “We’re calling it The Good Boy.”
He narrowed his eyes. “Does J.A. Rock have her own muse?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “I guess so.”
“You’d better not be talking with another muse behind my back.”
“God, Vimh, I would never…look, come and have a read. It’s got spanking. You like spanking, right? And bondage. And Mexican food. And it’s hot, Vimh. It’s even got a character in it that’s a lot like you.”
“Ooh! Is Brin based on me?”
“Yes,” I barefaced lied to him. “Bratty Brin is you all over right?”
But I was actually thinking of the foul-mouthed macaw Mr. Zimmerman.
For Dark Space, Vimh sat beside me as I wrote.
“This is creepy,” he whispered. “Go and turn the light on.”
“You go and turn it on.”
“I can’t,” he said. “The Faceless might get me.”
“Vimh, they’re not real.”
“Neither am I!”
Vimh doesn’t have many existential crises, but when he does they’re doozies. I kind of wish he’d have one now, but no, he’s not going to sulk and run off tonight. He’s grinning around the Tavern madly. He’s in love with the place.
“So,” he says, winking at the handsome Scotsman over by the fireplace, “I might come here more often. Do you think they have karaoke?”
I catch the barkeep’s attention and order another drink.
I have a feeling I’m going to need it.
Lisa (and Vimh’s) most recent release is Dark Space, published by Loose Id:
Brady Garrett needs to go home. Brady’s a conscripted recruit on Defender Three, one of a network of stations designed to protect the Earth from alien attack. Brady is angry, homesick, and afraid. If he doesn’t get home he’ll lose his family, but there’s no way back except in a body bag.
Cameron Rushton needs a heartbeat. Four years ago Cam was taken by the Faceless — the alien race that almost destroyed Earth. Now he’s back, and when the doctors make a mess of getting him out of stasis, Brady becomes his temporary human pacemaker. Except they’re sharing more than a heartbeat: they’re sharing thoughts, memories, and some very vivid dreams.
Not that Brady’s got time to worry about his growing attraction to another guy, especially the one guy in the universe who can read his mind. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s just biochemistry and electrical impulses. It doesn’t change the truth: Brady’s alone in the universe.
Now the Faceless are coming and there’s nothing anyone can do. You can’t stop your nightmares. Cam says everyone will live, but Cam’s probably a traitor and a liar like the military thinks. But that’s okay. Guys like Brady don’t expect happy endings.
Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape. She writes m/m erotica.
Vimh lives in Lisa’s imagination.