Anvil Review – The Muse by Fred Warren

Yes, I know it has only been two weeks since my last Anvil Review and yes, I know it is Thanksgiving. This is worth it though. I had the privilege to read the truly excellent The Muse by Fred Warren. Fred was brave enough to come under the anvil of one CrazyHair-Vaulter.

As always, there will be a drawing for two signed copies of The Muse. As always, Peyton will pull two names from his spectacular hat on Thursday. The winner must email me their address within 24 hours or an alternate name will be drawn.

How do you enter? Same as always. Leave me a comment here or on my facebook wall saying you would like to enter for a chance to win. Want another shot? Great! Go to  Splashdown Books facebook page and clicky the like button. Yes, I said clicky. If you have done this already just leave a comment there saying The Muse is rockin’. Another entry for posting this link on your page. Then, you can do it all again tomorrow. That is a grand total of up to 5 chances to win. Sound like a plan? Excellent!

Without further ado…

Let the anvil drop!

Many writers have come to a point where they hit a brick wall and words refuse to peel themselves from the skull cavity. They cling there like rotten children. WRITER”S BLOCK!The artist will eventually find a spatula and remove the little buggers. It can get messy. Cheesecake may help, but the battle to release creativity with inspiration is not always so sweet.

You may be asking what any of this has to do with The Muse and the CrazyHair on its cover. Don’t knock the hair…kindred spirit and all. That is Stan and he has written himself into a corner. Poor guy has probably gained 10 pounds from cheesecake consumption, gouged the inside of his cranium with a metal spatula and I think he had his wife drop an anvil on his head. It is all to no avail. He’s stuck!

Stan goes to his small writer’s group and tries to find help from his friends Jilly and Davos, but they are struggling with their own writerly woes. What they need is something to stoke the embers of imagination. A muse. What they get is a mousy gal named Leila. She overhears the group’s discussion and gives a few pointers.  They get to talking and find out Leila is a freelance editor. Stan, Jilly and Davos invite her to the group.

From there, strange things begin to happen.

The Muse is a laugh-out-loud good time.  No really. Fred Warren has a wonderful style of funny. Anyone that can work a naked Smurf or Pinky and the Brain quotes into their story and make it work has my vote of confidence.

While The Muse is funny, it is also beautiful. I will give examples of both in my selected quotes in a bit. What stands out to me is Fred’s hidden beautiful. You will be reading along, laughing and then, BAM! It is a straight-up Batman moment. Fred writes something so beautiful and profound that you have to flip the cover and make sure you are reading the same book. It reminds me so much of the Christian’s journey, or at least this Christian’s journey.

Excellent Quotes:

Funny– “I lost my respect for gnomes when they started hawking airline tickets on TV.”

Beautiful– “Autumn was waltzing with winter, and it wouldn’t be long before the lord of ice and snow cast off his partner and danced in the spotlight alone.”

Fred Warren presents his readers with very valid questions. What are you willing to give up for your wants? What if that inspiration you so desire could actually kill you? Better yet, what if it could kill the things you love? This is especially true for writers on the journey to publication. We must remember that if something is too good to be true, there will generally be a high price to pay for falling for its temptation. Is God in your journey?

Anvil rating of 5


Are you wondering why all my reviews have been 4.5 or 5? Well, I refuse to review a book I am not willing to spend cold hard cash on. It does no good for any of us and is a waste of my valuable time. So there it is. I am a snob.

Please come back tomorrow to meet Fred Warren and try for more chances to win cash and prizes. Not really but you could be the proud owner of an excellent book.

The Muse was a finalist in 2010 for the ACFW’s Carol Award, for Book of the Year in the Speculative category. It was also a nominee for the 2010 Clive Staples Award for outstanding Christian speculative fiction. If you can’t wait to win a copy or you don’t win a copy, no worries. Just hop over to Splashdown Books or Amazon and get yourself one or ten.

Splashdown Books


Barnes and Noble


Peace, love and God’s will.

About Diane Graham

Diane Graham lives in the mountains of eastern Oklahoma with her husband, children and many dogs. She is an avid reader and lover of all art forms that encapsulate imagination and goodness. Her debut novel I Am Ocilla was released in March 2012.

36 comments on “Anvil Review – The Muse by Fred Warren

  1. Mmmm makes me hungry for the cheesecake I am currently baking.

    • I will eat your pies in exchange for the cheesy potatoes I am cooking. 🙂 That is one entry. Go post your link, sister of mine.

  2. I already own a copy of The Muse so please don’t enter me for the draw. I’ve only read the first chapter so far (when’s the audio book coming out Fred?) but I’m thoroughly enjoying it and can’t wait to read the rest. When the opening dramatic scene was getting to its climax I was thinking exactly the same thing as the narrator. Very funny and I love Fred’s writing style.

    • Did you become a fan of Splashdown Books? Oh wait, you did several months ago. 😀

    • I’ll take P.A.’s entry, Diane! 🙂

      I’ve been meaning to pick up a copy of Fred’s book. Just too much life going on. I’ve been reading the same book for about six weeks now…I used to finish ’em in six hours. Darn you life! Quit getting in the way of my entertainment, will you?

      Looking forward to reading The Muse, Fred!


  3. “Must- Save- The- Brain!” Oh, wait. That’s Ren and Stimpy. hehe! I’ll be buying it, so don’t worry about putting me in the hat, CrazyHair Vaulter. And you’re about the farthest thing from a snob I can imagine. Great review! Looking forward to the read!

  4. Another one here who doesn’t need a copy, because I bought the book ages ago (where *have* you people been?) after falling in love with Fred’s short story writing. He does have a way with words! You’re right, Diane, he weaves beautiful and funny in a way that makes his writing completely brilliant. (Can you tell I’m a fan?)

  5. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Fred Warren, Danny Laurie. Danny Laurie said: Anvil Review – The Muse by Fred Warren « The New Authors Fellowship: As always, there will be a drawing for two … http://bit.ly/eb4svV […]

  6. Don’t enter me either, for obvious reasons. I love this book! Of course I do, I love all “my” books. Ha! Erm, why am I even here? Perhaps I’ll just sneak away now, but not before thanking Diane for really “getting it”. Makes it all worthwhile!

  7. My dearest youngest daughter,

    Yet another great review, and you can put me in for the drawing, because I am now very much interested in reading this book, LOL

  8. I’d like to enter to win a signed copy of the book, The Muse. I took a peek at the book trailer and it sounded very interesting to me–something I just might enjoy! Thanks for the entry. Hope I win!!!!

  9. That’s two, Melanie. 😀

  10. I’m another that just wants to respond and does not wish to be part of the contest. Let this awesome book go out to someone who doesn’t have a copy. We reviewed this for the Christian Fiction Review Blog (CFRB at http://cfrblog.blogspot.com) and I’m really looking forward to more of his work. I really enjoyed your review. It surpasses many of the carbon-copied reviews that flutter over the internet. Keep it up Diane. Make your mark, as Fred has with The Muse. God bless.

  11. I followed the turtle here and have enjoyed what I have read so far. Thanks! Yes, I would love to be put in the drawing. I am looking for good moral books that are NOT romance.

  12. I’ll respond in an effort to get a copy. BUT… as a member of NAF I’m not sure I can participate. Did we ever decide on that? I don’t remember.

  13. Make sure all of you take full advantage of the chances. Post links and all that jazz. This is an excellent book and Fred Warren is a wonderful Christian man. Click over to the interview and leave a comment also. 😀

  14. Sign me up. Fred’s terrific!

  15. Hi, Diane, please put my name in the virtual hat to win a copy of The Muse. I agree with Karina that Fred is terrific. I love reading his blog and I have every reason to believe his book will be no less entertaining as well as spiritually deep.

    Thanks for this.


  16. As I have a copy already, I’ll be one of the many who have said on here to make sure someone without a copy gets it.

    Here’s my thoughts in a brief summary of the novel:

    – Good writing
    – The back cover copy described the end of the novel, not the whole thing, so it caused me to be confused through most of the book waiting for something to happen
    – Too short

    Fred, you need to write a longer novel next time, I need more to read! 😀

    Good going, Diane! And your interview with Fred was great too! I feel bad for Fred that he felt the anvil fall on him. 😉

    • Ha!Thanks, David.

    • Hey now, the back cover copy does touch on the end, but only at the end of the copy :P. The rest of the back cover describes the whole book. Proportionally, it’s just about right :). (Gotta say here–I’m someone who usually doesn’t even read the back copy of books, but this one totally grabbed me.)

      But I can agree that it was “too short”–because I really like Fred’s writing and wanted to read more. There will be more, though, not too far down the road. Read the interview–Fred says he’s working on the sequel.

      • Kat, you may think the back cover describes the whole book, but I don’t. And I don’t think it was proportional either. I’ll tell you why:

        In two sentences I can tell you the basic impression I got from the two short paragraphs found on the back of the book, an exact quote of which that I’ll copy and paste afterwards can be found at the Splashdown Books website for the book’s page – http://www.splashdownbooks.com/themuse.html – *hint* *hint* – *nudge* *nudge* (you must go purchase The Muse if you don’t own it yet – you must go purchase The Muse if you don’t own it yet – you must go purchase The Muse if you don’t own it yet – you must go purchase The Muse….)

        Stan has writer’s block and can’t seem to get past it and needs inspiration.
        His muse finds him and rips him from reality to lead a battle in order to solve the writer’s block, but is the muse a good one or a bad one?

        The text on the back reads:

        Stan Marino needs a muse.
        He’s written himself into a corner…again.
        A shot of inspiration is all he needs to finish his story
        …where is he going to find it?
        What Stan doesn’t know:
        Inspiration has found him, and it’s about to take over his life.
        Ripped from reality, he must lead a band of lost souls in a life-or-death battle
        with a merciless enemy.
        Stan has found his muse, but will he survive it?

        Based on that, I was expecting to get into the “ripped from reality” bit rather quickly and not wait until two thirds of the book was literally 😉 over with before we got to what seems on the back cover to be the main thrust of the story.

        For me, as I was reading the book, the story was about:

        Stan Marino and his two friends Jilly and Davos have a private writer’s group where they talk over their stories and one day they talk about their mutual writer’s block when this strange woman named Leila comes to them and seems shy at first, then later she turns out to be quite bold and very connected, yet there are some questions about her motivation when a connection with Stan’s wife Charity is revealed.

        Are her motives pure? And what’s the strange connection with Stan’s wife? And when Stan and his friends are then pulled into a world unlike their own, along with over twenty other strangers, how will they get back to reality? Will they survive the beasts that attack without warning?

        For me, THAT’s what should have been on the back of the book. It covers the basics of the story without ruining what happens in the end or along the way so that someone would have a good grasp of what to expect when they opened the book for the first time yet be completely surprised by the many other twists that occur along the way. With what’s on the back now, I felt like I was getting one thing but wound up having to endure something else before I got there.

        Maybe you had read it as an advance copy or something before the back cover blurb was written, so therefore reading the back cover after having read the story it would sound okay to you, I don’t know, but for me I was a bit confused while reading it as I kept expecting Stan and his friends to get sucked into another dimension and it just kept not happening until the book was almost over with.

        Let me be very clear for anyone reading this:

        I’m not at all saying that it was a bad book, because it was a very enjoyable read and I recommend it to anyone that likes some fantasy/reality collisions. Just go to the above link to purchase a copy. *nudge* *nudge* 😉 I just was confused while reading the story because of the way the back cover blurb was written.

        Oh, and yes, Kat, I noticed where Fred said he was working on a sequel. I also noticed where he said he was working on another book with a different more sci-fi storyline too, so hopefully both of those will come out soon enough to sate our hunger for his kind of writing. 😉

      • Since this was my first novel, there was a whole lot of learning going on, especially with the aspects I knew the least about–the packaging and marketing. One thing I discovered that back-cover blurbs are tough to write. You have to encapsulate the whole book into a couple of short paragraphs, while simultaneously avoiding spoilers and giving the browser a reason to open the book and start reading.

        The whole Splashdown crew spent a ton of time in e-mails, chat, skype, etc, hammering out the back-cover text and experimenting with different images, fonts, etc, and I doubt anyone was perfectly satisfied at the end. What floats one person’s boat often sinks another’s.

        Reader feedback is very important to me on this and other similar issues because it will help me do a better job next time, so thanks muchly for the input, David.

        It’s looking like the second book will be a little longer, and there will definitely be less preamble before unusual things begin to happen. I’m hoping to have it out next year…we’ll see if Grace likes it well enough to continue the story.

  17. Enter Me Please….Sounds like the kind of reading I like……

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