Wwelcome to the page for author Cindy Lynn Speer.  It is wonderful that you came, hopefully you will find something nice to pass the time while you are here.

I am the author of several books, including The Chocolatier’s Wife, Wishes and Sorrows, and hopefully soon you’ll be able to read my newest, The Key to All Things.  You can find more info here.

My tumblr and my blog are filled with things that make me happy — swords, travel, tea, books, nifty TV shows and movies, pretty things. If you are on tumblr, feel free to link right to the tumblr — my blog cross posts to it — and through the awesome that is Cuong Tran, who made this theme, I can have my regular blog posts and my tumblr on the same page.  If you want to comment without doing so through tumblr — and I would love to hear from you — you can comment on any post here.

I also have a Pinterest.

So, hang around, look at pretty things, tell me what makes you happy.

Cindy

 

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Wwell, actually, not writing.  Editing.  I printed and scribbled all over the manuscript.  Mostly this seems to consist of asking myself snarky questions and circling 1.5 million ellipses.

No, really, if I had a buck for every ellipses, I could retire and be a hermit.

So, now I am correcting the ellipses (most of them become commas or periods and their attendant capitalized next word) and answering questions.  For example, a dead body at the beginning should match a dead body found later, MO wise, and if not, we both need to know why and believe it.

Fun fact:  I opened up a copy of The Chocolatier’s Wife today, to confirm the spelling of one of my main character’s last names.  The woman is Cecelia, and she was all over CW and is even more important in this book.  I adore her.  In my head she looks like Zoe from Firefly, but dresses more like a Romany.

And I am reminded that in CG, she is not called Cecelia.  She is called Ailaini. Says so right in the original published PDF.

And I stared at the screen and I was like, why the hell did I do that?  She has always been Cecelia, in my head.  But at the time, the editor pointed out that Cecelia was not a very exotic name.  Cecelia…or Ailaini, as she must be called…is from the tropical island Stairs and Alyssen.  So, her name had to match who she was.

But, thankfully, God gave us find and replace.

Ailaini and her village were attacked by pirates, and enslaved.  But William and his crew freed them.  She didn’t want to go back to her life before, so she got Isan Dietson, William’s second in command, to marry her.  She’s a widow, she works at the Chocolate Shop and is fast friends with both William and Tasmin, but she’s been hiding a secret.

I love her because she embraces life beautifully.  She loves deeply – she embraces her new community by dancing blessing patterns early in the morning in the sand, to help Azin shore and her people thrive.  She reads the worst pulp novels she can find and passes them on the William.  She teases Tasmin and gives her a sister the other woman never knew she needed but now can’t live without.

She’s amazing and witty and I hope you will adore her, too.

But she’s still Cecelia, in my head.

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Anyway.  You know what I told my editor and publisher a few weeks ago?

I told them that I would turn in The Chocolatier’s Ghost by the end of the month.  Apparently, despite the scarring of many years, I forgot that April is my super-busy-run-run-and-become-brain-dead month.  And that the last half of March is just as insane as all of April.

So yeah.  I promised to turn in a fully polished MS (the second draft is half way done) by the end of THIS MONTH.

HAHAHAHAH (pause for breath)  HAHAHAHAHA SOB

One of the things I did to make myself crazy was help provide the entertainment at an event where I work.

Here is a video featuring me a lot in the background.  I am fencing in the black doublet and skirt.  (The black doublet is actually over the boned kirtle that goes with my purple Tudor dress.  I’m dancing in the purple Tudor dress, too.  Everything you see me wear, save for the gloves, I made, and the embroidery on my skirt is also by me.)

https://www.facebook.com/CalUofPA/videos/10153556698629157/?fref=nf

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Little Things Blog Hop Use Me

 

Hello!  Colleen S. Myers is hosting a Blog Hop…look below to see more blogs, some of which are giving cool stuff away, and to enter to win a gift card.  :)

I have often said to people something like, “If you are not made easily happy, it will be hard for you to be happy at all.”

The Blog Hop is about the little things that make us happy…and I think that it’s important to celebrate that.

There is nothing wrong with enjoying anything – whether it is a small, simple thing (Falling in love with a new author whose book you found for a steal at a library sale, The Game of Thrones returning, the warmth of the sun on a spring day) or something huge, like a vacation.  It’s the little things in life that get us through every day until we can get to the big things.

My little thing right now is hiking.  Well, I don’t really call it hiking – I have a stick, I have a snazzy hat, but I don’t often do tall mountainous paths that take hours to get to a scenic view.  (And when I say often, you may translate that to, I did it because it was at a National Park and several days from home so I figured I’d better do it because I’d never get the chance again.)  So, maybe I am more of a pleasure walker.  The past few weeks have had unseasonably warm weather (It’s blissful, but I am well aware it is not normal.  But I can’t change it, so I will enjoy it and hope for the best.) and that has made me itchy to go out.

I love walks.  I love feeling the breeze – it’s warm and inviting, no teeth to it at all – and the sun on my skin.  I love looking at the light on the water.  It feels good to move the body and feel fresh air going into the lungs.  The hikes were all smooth, easy going paths, so you just set the pace and got going and it was lovely and easy.

Going to a park has a way of lifting my spirits.  Especially after a couple of months of being cooped up in the house.  So that’s my little thing, my little look forward to.  What’s yours?

Please check out the next stop on the hop, AuthorSuite!

For more stops, visit the main page.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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So, I finally, actually wrote the ending to The Chocolatier’s Ghost.  I officially finished Tuesday, and it was marvelous.  After weeks of brutally pulling the words out of the cold muck of my head and setting them, carefully, side by side the ending came in a flood of words.  I totally had that “OMG I AM A WRITER” high for a bit.

I looked at the list of “chapters” in Scrivener, and counted them, decided that I wanted to be done by March 31st with draft two, and divided it by the days left.  There are 50-some “chapters” – right now any change of scene or person merits a new chapter, and one of the things I’ll be doing is reducing that number.  But I know I have to edit about 6 sections a day (skipping weekends—I’ll work on weekends but I like the buffer) and I will be done.  I really want to clean it up and turn it in to Dragon Well by the end of April.  I think I am, thank God, on track to do so.

I am actually really excited right now.  The book feels “uploaded” in my head, which is the best way to describe the feeling I have right now.  The story is sitting there comfortably and I feel very in touch with it.  I know what needs to happen for the end to work.  I have most of the data I need and I can tell if this section works, what needs tweaked, etc.  I didn’t have a clear vision of Whodunnit until recently – I think that was part of the problem.  I kept getting off track.  I knew what happened, I knew who was doing it, and pretty much why, but when I finally got to the end it changed.  The truth was revealed to me, so to speak, so I now have to make sure it all 100% makes sense.  I need to look at each character and say “Are you doing what you need to be doing?”  I like to make sure that someone could start from the beginning and go, “Oh!  OK!  Yeah, that makes sense.”

It’s like, evidence to support your argument in your thesis.  But except you don’t go to other sources and pull out quotes, you mention things in passing, you build things into the background.

So that is what I am doing.  Deleting a couple of scenes – I have so many unused bits already because they no longer fit – tweaking so that it all fits.  Putting the proverbial gun in the drawer.  And it’s exciting because I KNOW now what I need to do.  I’m not feeling around and guessing.

You know what else is exciting?  I’ll have written a book two years in a row.  Key to All Things was finished…September?  I think?  ANYWAY.  If I can actually finish CG on time, I can write another book, maybe even finish it…this year.  DUDE.

Or maybe I should use this as a time to do some screenplays?  HMMM.  Or short stories?  But it is rather wonderful to be on a finish-a-book-a-year track.  It’s taken me so long to get here.  I am determined that I shall make it last.

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Ssoul mates seems to be a concept that we are getting away from as a society.  You do not need anyone else to complete you, you are already complete in yourself.  You are already whole.

And I think that is true.  I am whole.

But.  There is something very alluring about the idea that there is someone who can fill in your weak points and make you better, someone who is so connected to you that they understand you completely.  You are home where they are.  You are loved unconditionally because they get you.  They see you as clearly and they do not look away.

Looking at the couples around me, I don’t see a great deal of evidence that soul mates exist.  I wonder if the point is to find someone you can live with and have a decent life with, someone you can get along with.  The good enough.  So many marriages seem to be – I don’t know how to express it.  People live together, get along well enough, but mostly it is two people living their own lives.  Their point of connection seems to be their children or their pets or just the comfort of knowing that they are not alone.   That they have fulfilled the expectation of getting a spouse and now they can just do what they want.

I listen to people complain about their spouses and I wonder what the point is.  I realize a certain amount of it is that it is nice to grouse to someone who is pretty good at keeping their mouth shut, as I am, everyone needs that pressure release, I guess.  (Though, I never complain about my mother, who I live with and do a lot of things with?  And it’s not because she’s my mother, I just get along with her really well.  We are very similar as people and pretty easy going.)

I know what I want…I want someone I can be completely comfortable with, that can be loved and will love me without condition.  Someone who will be honest with me but kind about it, someone I can sit on the couch with and be quiet with and read next to and be at peace when they are around me.  I want companionship and love and a feeling of connection, a feeling that we are on the same wave length about things.  I wonder if you can find someone that you have that level of mutual understanding with, or if, in the end, we just make do with what we can find?  We find someone and we think, yes, this is about as good as it gets.  Let’s just do our best with this because this is enough.

I hope not.  I hope there are soul mates.  I hope real relationships are more than that.

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Ddreaming was her greatest outlet.

The same could be said for most people, of course, but it was doubly true for her.  She had a notebook made out of a three ring binder with a swan on the cover, and she filled the binder with whatever paper she could get her hands on.

And she drew her heart out.  Everything that made her sad, everything that made her happy.  She drew butterflies, and tapped on the page, and they came alive, fluttering off the paper, the thin blue lines from the paper becoming veins in the wings.  The butterflies swarmed, up, up into the sky, before plummeting down and attacking a man.

There was no reason.  He had not done even the slightest thing to her, but she did it because she wanted to hear him scream.

Sometimes, her dreams were different.  She dreamed of being good, of saving the world.  She dreamed of beautiful people who loved her fiercely, protectively, she dreamed of all the kindness she could do, if she were rich, if she were powerful.

So sometimes, she dreamed she was the hero.

But sometimes she also has to dream that she was the villain.  Sometimes you had to feel the world burn to want to save it.

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Mmy dream life. Oh, wow.

I could say “I write them in my books” but I don’t.

Some of my dreams are prosaic. I want to be a hermit so badly that my teeth hurt. Freedom is the thing I might want most in life. Sometimes it is that companionship, (I’ll save some of these thoughts for a future entry on soul mates) that perfect idea of love.

So those dreams are about how I become a hermit, what I would do.

My dream life usually involves characters from movies and TV that I like. A handsome Russian soldier from a TV mini series – after I’ve explored that character he gets pulled out of that world, becomes a captain under orders to siege a town, hiding his magical powers. A Victorian scholar from a BBC movie goes from his gentle, boring life to that becoming a cover for him being a spy.

I get to explore romance and adventure in pieces. I get to use ideas I would never be able to use, fall in love and save the day in countless ways. My dream life has romance and swords and magic, and everything is ideal…except for those few times when things have to be less ideal for the sake of an interesting daydream.

Some of these bits and pieces will become stories that you will read, someday. But mostly, it is how I get along in life, how I color the mundane world into survivable bits and pieces.

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I have often heard tales of the perfect date.

One of my friends took his future wife wild caving on their first date. While I love their story (apparently it was quite impressive, camping and everything) and see how this absolutely was perfect for them, *I* have gone wild caving and am much less convinced that I would find it as romantic. There is a lot of mud and darkness and tiny spaces involved, in general, and these are not high on my list of romantic things.

But, joking aside, I probably would.

The perfect date is not about activities or money spent or candles or flowers. Candles, flowers, nice food, interesting things to do are trappings. They don’t mean anything because if the romance is wonderful, if the person you are with becomes the one who holds your heart, then the simplest of dates will stand out as more beloved, more perfect, than any possible situation. And just so, if the romance sours, even a cruise down the Rhine will sour in your memory.

So a perfect date boils down to the company. I tend to be happiest conversing one on one, so good company, something pleasant to do to generate good conversation…what more can one want?

But, if someone secretly someday hopes this post holds the secret to winning my heart, I will say, walking is nice. Walking where there is lots of water and rocks…or perhaps a historic district with lots of pretty buildings is even better. Or a museum. I do like looking at pretty things.

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Aalot of things strike me as cute and cuddly.  The normal — baby animals, of all kinds.  Who can resist a baby sloth?

My favorite things are soft things.   Right now I am cuddled up under a very soft electric throw, wrapped up in super fuzzy soft blankets.  I think snowmen are adorable.  Monkeys make my heart melt.  Foxes are a delight.  I went to a huge park in Florida where they let Macaques run free over several acres of land, and the humans would walk through fenced in (on all sides) pathways.  The monkeys would rattle little plates on chains, and smack their little hands imperiously on the wood frame work, demanding raisins from the visitors.  I will never forget their little fingers touching mine as they accepted my offerings.

My favorite image, when you turn toward romance (for this is the month for it) is of a sweet hearted man in a thick, comfy sweater, pottering around the garden with a cup of tea and a book.  That, to me, is a rather idealistic image.

This weekend was good.  Mum and I went to a state park for our first walk of the season.  Raccoon Creek State Park was very lovely.  The weather was in the 60’s, mum and I didn’t need a jacket…we just walked freely.

My favorite part was getting to the waterfall…you could walk into the cave, the mouth surrounded by ice.  The lake was also iced over, and it was really rather beautiful.  The ice was jade green, though the photos don’t show it.

 

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The witch made her a promise, and she hoped the witch would keep it.

Every day she went out into the woods and she collected something.  A twig.  A dried grass with a soft buff of seeds, feathers.  She glued them together with the glue the witch gave her, every day she would carefully drop a tiny bit on a plate, then use a needle to prick the ring finger on her left hand.   One drop of blood, mixed with the green white of the glue.  She used the glue and the blood to connect the things she found, building them into a box.

It was the shape of a heart.

In the next room, her husband coughed weakly.  She looked through the door, saw him leaning, weakly against the table.  “Do you need me?”  she called.

“No…just a little out of breath, is all.”

And one day, the box was done.  She waited for one of his bad nights…he had far too many, and she used it as an excuse to sleep in another room, the box on her chest.

The next day, she placed the box on his chest, holding it over his heart.  She stroked his hair away from his forehead, traced her fingers over his features with the lightest of touches.  “I love you,” she breathed softly, “I love you, I love you.”

And when the dawn broke, she took the box outside, and buried it.

And he was better.

And she was worse.

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