I've found my muse to be a fickle creature. Sometimes, I'll be working to finish one project and there she will perch, on my shoulder, luring me towards a new idea. Other times, I'm in need of the right word or phrase or image and I can't find her anywhere. She likes to strike when I least expect her.
That happened to me a couple of years ago. I was at a CLE (Continuing Legal Education) Seminar. I'd long ago decided CLE's are how the bar association mines money from its members on a regular basis. After all, dues only get paid once a year! SC is a mandatory bar state, so our bar gets its dues and it gets all that CLE money too. A 3 hour seminar costs several hundred dollars and lawyers have to have 14 hours a year.
Anyway, in addition to mining for money, the seminars herd a group of lawyers who don't want to be in a room into the room. We sit and fume and sit some more. But a couple of years ago, the oddest thing happened. My muse showed up at a CLE! A brilliant colleague was presenting a seminar on a statute none of us had heard of before. The statute makes it a felony to entice a minor to commit a sexual act by e-mail.
Mind you, all you have to do to commit the felony is press send. A construction worker employed on a temporary job site can be playing around with his computer in Hilton Head, exchanging naughty messages with an older than her years Carolina teenager. He might agree to meet her at Club "You're Screwed" the next night. He doesn't go, and never intended to - he left to drive four hours to get home early the next morning. Stupidity, but no actual intent to do anything. It doesn't matter. The communication is the crime! (I won't bore you all with the group's collective opinion that the statute can not be constitutional).
Muse sat there and insisted I read the statute. Lo and behold, at 17, a minor can consent to exchange naughty e-mails. It puts the power in the minor's hand. Before I got home that night, I'd composed a mental outline of my novel, E-mail Enticement. It features a couple of trials centered around a romance between a 30 something billionaire and a 17 year old Carolina Girl. I set it in Myrtle Beach where the billionaire owned a number of hotels - we have lots of those. It presents a situation where the power that would normally be in the hands of the older man, landed squarely in the lap of the young girl.
I had a blast writing E-Mail even if it was cursed by bad timing. I finished it right before one of the Congressmen got in hot water for naughty e-mails to a page. Sometimes, reality bites. And sometimes, muses show up in the least likely places.
Bad timing and all, E-Mail Enticement is a great story about forbidden love, trials where truth is relative, reality may not be real and where power, like muses, can land in the most unlikely places.
Give E-mail a read sometime. My muse recommends it. She can be quirky, but she's not completely insane. Me on the other hand...........