NaNoWriMo Winner!

National Novel Writing Month

I am happy to announce that I have exceeded the 50,000 word challenge of National Writing Month. As of now, I have written 50,547 words in my novel. And I’m about halfway through my intended outline, so I still have a lot more writing to do.

And since this is just the rough draft, I also have a lot of editing and revising to do.

But I took on the challenge and I completed it. This is a good day.

Thank you to everyone who were supportive.

Now that it’s over, hopefully I will get back to posting more often. Starting with putting the rest of the Fantasticon pictures up.

I will also keep you posted with developments on my novel, The Rune of Illusions. You can read the synopsis and an excerpt by visiting my NaNoWriMo page here.

National Novel Writing Month

Fantasticon 2014 – Part 2: Lightsaber Duels


This is the second part of my review of Fantasticon 2014 in Milwaukee, WI.

In this post, I will share the pictures that I took of the awesome choreographed lightsaber duels that were performed. The pictures don’t even do the show justice. But here they are, nonetheless.

Click a picture to enlarge it.










You can check out video of these amazing duelists in action on this YouTube channel.

Check back soon for more Fantasticon pictures.

  1. A Taste of the Con
  2. Lightsaber Duels
  3. Dealers’ Room
  4. Celebrities
  5. Gaming
  6. Cosplay

Fantasticon 2014 – Part 1: A Taste of the Con


I spent last weekend (October 24-26) with my friends at Fantasticon in Milwaukee, WI. My friends are veterans of going to cons, and they invited me to come along for the ride. Being the first year of this con, none of knew how it would go.

It ended up being an awesome time! Instead of cosplaying, I stayed mostly behind the scenes taking pictures of the cosplayers and anything I thought was interesting.

It took me a while to sort through all the images, but I finally did. There were so many pictures, that I will spread them out in six different posts.

Being the introductory post, this will include a few pictures just to give you a taste. NaNoWriMo begins Saturday, so I don’t know when the next post will be. Check back soon to find out!

  1. A Taste of the Con
  2. Lightsaber Duels
  3. Dealers’ Room
  4. Celebrities
  5. Gaming
  6. Cosplay

Click a picture to enlarge it.


My friends and I posing for a group selfie.
From left to right: Mark, Stephy, Dan (myself), and Tim.


It’s the TARDIS! I’ll just peek inside. Nobody will mind.


It wasn’t bigger on the inside. They lied! I will show my dissatisfaction by devouring it.
Who’s that lurking behind me?




Geek Trivia hosted by Geeks Who Drink.

Do you like geeky stuff? Do you like trivia? Do you like to drink? Check out Geeks Who Drink.


Professional face painting by Jubilee.



If you live around Milwaukee and want your face painted, check out Jubilee.

And check back for more pictures from Fantasticon.

Project Exodus: The Rune of Illusions


National Novel Writing Month is just around the corner and I’ve been planning my forthcoming novel so that I can hit the ground running when November 1st comes around.

In an earlier post, I had mentioned that I had several different ideas but wasn’t sure which direction to take. So I’ve combined some of these ideas into one cohesive (I hope) story.

This book will be the first in a sci-fi/fantasy trilogy. This trilogy is tentatively titled: Project Exodus.

The first book is tentatively titled: The Rune of Illusions.

And now I present to you the synopsis.

In a dystopian future, an oppressive government uses a girl with psychic powers to open a portal to a magical realm in order to escape the impending apocalypse. Now it’s up to her brother, a member of the resistance, to retrieve the Rune of Illusions, a magical talisman that can help him save her before the portal becomes unstable and destroys both worlds. Along the way, he faces opposition from warmongering orcs, a destructive dragon, a bounty hunter sent to recapture him, and a beautiful elf girl with a dark secret.

With planning my novel and then frantically writing it in November, I’ll probably post less than usual. But if I get time (keyword: if), I will post updates about my progress.
Or you can check out my progress by visiting my NaNoWriMo profile.

My screen name (and pen name) is Phoenix Autumn. Add me as your writing buddy and I’ll add you back!

The book cover was designed by Lisa.Vail, another NaNoWriMo participant.

Are you going to participate in NaNoWriMo this year? If so, what are you going to write? Promote your project in the comments.

12 Key Pillars of Novel Construction

Novel Construction

I have been planning out the novel that I will write for NaNoWriMo this year. It will be a sci-fi / fantasy adventure combining several of the ideas that I had mentioned in my previous post.

I’m still constructing the pillars that will structure the story, so I’m not going to talk about my idea yet. I will say more about it once it has been fleshed out better.

The purpose of this particular blog entry is to share some valuable information with other authors and aspiring novelists.

I have recently discovered an excellent writing blog called, “Live Write Thrive,” by author and editor C. S. Lakin.

Each year, Lakin writes a year-long series that focuses on one important aspect of writing a novel. In 2012, it was about the heart of your story. Her series in 2013 teaches how to shoot your novel (i.e. write description that makes the novel play like a movie in the readers’ minds).

Lakin’s series for 2014 is particularly useful. This year, she delves into the 12 key pillars of novel construction.

These pillars are:

  1. Concept… with a kicker
  2. Conflict… with high stakes
  3. Protagonist… with a goal
  4. Theme… with a heart
  5. Plot and subplots… in a string of scenes
  6. Secondary characters… with their own needs
  7. Setting… with a purpose
  8. Tension… ramped to the max
  9. Dialog… compressed and essential
  10. Voice… unique for each character
  11. Writing style… concise and specific
  12. Motifs… for cohesion and depth

Along with handing out great advice for each of these pillars, she also provides handy checklists to help you construct each one, ensuring that your novel covers everything that it should.

I highly recommend checking out this blog series if you are interested in writing a novel. The checklists ask great questions to get you thinking about different angles in your story.

Are you planning on taking the NaNoWriMo challenge this year? How are you preparing your story?

Novel Construction

NaNoWriMo: Preparation


I didn’t even know about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) until just before it began last year. At the time, I didn’t have enough of a solid idea for a book. So I decided to do it this year.

Now the problem is it that I have several ideas but I’m not sure which one to follow through with.

Some of my ideas include:

  • A spy thriller in a fantasy setting
  • A story about a man marrying a succubus
  • The first installment of an epic fantasy series
  • The histories and/or holy text of a fictional universe
  • A story about demon hunters
  • An action thriller about uncovering conspiracy theories
  • A book of poetry and/or haikus
  • Real life advice from father to son

There were more, but I’ve narrowed it down to the ones listed above.

I could potentially combine some of the concepts of the fiction ideas into one solid book.

My dear readers, what I write is for you to read. What direction do you think I should go in? I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment with your thoughts. Thank you!

My Guest Appearance on the Chris Brake Show Podcast

Chris Brake Show

Thursday night I had the pleasure of making a guest appearance on the Chris Brake Show Podcast.

I had some interesting conversations with Chris Brake, John Rapp (my doppelgänger), and Spitfire Sarah.

I talked with them about the safety of electronic cigarettes. I also talked briefly about writing and was labeled a Word-slinger by Sarah, who prefers to write prose (and that’s okay).

You can listen to the podcast or download it here.

Hopefully next time I’m on the show I can talk more about writing and perhaps settle some grammar disputes. Perhaps even tell a funny story or two.

Also, if you would like Spitfire Sarah to shave her head, there is a petition that you can sign. When the petition receives 5,000 unique signatures, then she will do it.

Sign the petition here.


In other news, I finally have a LinkedIn account. Please feel free to add me to your network if you would like. Check it out here. (If that link doesn’t work, then try this.)

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

My friend, Travis, nominated me to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. It is also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Please visit for more information or to donate.

Enjoy the video!

A Neutral Guide to Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality

A while ago, I had posted an article asking people to Sign the Petition to Protect Net Neutrality.

Whether you are a blogger or just enjoy reading blogs, I’m guessing that you spend a decent amount of time on the Internet, since you are reading this. In that case, Net Neutrality affects you, just as it affects everyone who uses the Internet. It is imperative that Net Neutrality is protected.

If you would like to learn more about what Net Neutrality is and how you will be affected if it is abolished, then check out this Neutral Guide to Net Neutrality.

Net Neutrality

Read My Articles on Bubbleblabber and Shiftgig

Bubbleblabber Shiftgig

One of the reasons why I haven’t been posting as much on Missing the Muse is because I’ve gotten some paid blogging gigs. As a writer and blogger, it is truly awesome to get paid for my words. If you enjoy my posts, then please check out my articles on Bubbleblabber and Shiftgig.


Bubbleblabber is a fun blog that reviews cartoons, anime, and animated shorts.

Here are my articles so far:Bubbleblabber


Shiftgig is a website that dedicated to helping food service industry workers find jobs and food service industry employers find help. Think of LinkedIn for restaurants and bars. They also have a blog.

Here are my articles so far:Shiftgig

Thank for you reading my blog and for checking out articles that I have written on other blogs.

A Great Honor As A Blogger

Honored blogger

Hello? Is anyone still here?

In case anyone was worried, I’m still alive.

I’m going through a lot of personal stuff and junk right now.

In the midst of Life bitch slapping me like a used up hooker who comes up short on cash, I seem to have neglected my blog. Worse than that, I have neglected my loyal readers.

Once again, I seem to be missing the Muse.

It wasn’t until today that I realized how appreciated my blog posts are.

I received an email from one of my readers, a fellow blogger whose posts I have always enjoyed as well.

I really hope that she doesn’t mind me posting what she wrote, but her email meant a lot to me. I am quite honored to be told that my posts are appreciated and that I have been missed.

Here is what she wrote:

Hi Dan,

I started following Missing the Muse in June because your words really resonated with me. Pieces of your story and some of your feelings seemed to resemble mine in a few key ways, so it was cool to read someone else’s take on such personal experiences. Also, you are simply a beautiful writer with what seems like a great sense of humor and an ability for deep, meaningful introspection. Since those are all things that I admire, I was looking forward to reading more from you. But, there hasn’t been a new post since Father’s Day.

If life has just gotten in the way and you’re not writing, then I totally understand how that can happen and it’s not my intention to put any pressure on you at all. But, I just wanted to check in to say that I’ve missed your posts. If you’re writing somewhere else, I would love to follow you there, if that would be okay.

Hope you are alright and that everything is going well for you.

Take care,

CC, thank you so much for the kind words. I am sorry for posting your email without asking you first, but it really touched me. Just ask, and I’ll take it down if you’d like.

Indeed, life had gotten in the way. I have been working on some writing projects. Besides that, the writing that I’ve been doing has been personal, introspective, and self-reflective. In a way, I’ve been journaling privately as part of therapy. It has allowed me to get out a lot of the emotions that have been building up inside of me. Kind of like how writing poetry has done for me. Except this form of writing isn’t creative. It is an uncensored collection of everything that is currently going on in my life.

Honored blogger
Being told that my writing has touched someone else is one of the greatest honors that I could ever receive.

To all of my readers, I am sorry for any inspiration or entertainment that you may have missed out on due to my absence.

Honestly, I’m still trying to figure out what the point of this blog is supposed to be.

Please let me know what you enjoy the most about this blog, and what you would be most interested in reading. Is it my poetry, stories, rants, random stuff, or something else? What would you to see more of on my blog?

CC, thank you for giving me a kick in the ass when I needed one.

CC is an excellent poet, and I highly recommend checking out her blog, consciouscacophony.