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This sticky post is so that you can follow along with my journal attempts. Check out the Journaling Junkie: http://journaling-junkie.tumblr.com/

If you participate, please comment and I’ll go read your post!

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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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Ffalling in love with writing was easy.

You live out in the middle of nowhere, stories become your friends.  Stories on the long bus rides to and from school, stories while you play, stories while you fall asleep.

To this day I think more in stories, I often day dream things to help me figure out what to say or what to do.  I would rather day dream than think about my day.  I’ll solve a problem or think about a decision if needed, but once the ship of my life is turned in the right direction, stories again are what fill my brain.

So it was not such a huge step, going from stories in my had to writing them down.  It’s such a different set of mechanics…things don’t have to be so thoroughly planned or understood in day dreams as they are in writing (though to be honest, the better you get at writing the more you slip things into day dreams to keep them sensible) or so perfectly plotted.  I love how writing makes you flesh out the world, the people, how you have such a larger palette of words and tools at your disposal.  If I were to write down a day dream – and I rarely do – it would change so very much between the mind and the screen.

As I said, I rarely write down day dreams, because I try not to think over much about what I am writing except when I am stuck.  I prefer to have that moment of discovery at the screen to keep me motivated to keep writing.  If I day dream it. I have already experienced it and I am les motivated to sit and type. Perverse, right?

Tthat brings me to soft candle light.  A couple of times the electricity has been knocked out for days where I live.  The last time I was in the middle of writing something…2009, I think.  We were without power for 9 days.

I lived by candle light. I did not have a laptop so could not write until the battery ran out, so I wrote by candlelight and by the light of kerosene oil lamps.  I read by it, covered by high heaps of covers to keep warm, cooked by it on a propane camp stove.   It is a kinder light, in some ways, yellow and gentle, but the shadows are deeper.  More things can hide in the corners.

To me, candle light is not overly romantic, but a mark of a time of quiet.  Nothing is quieter than a house without electricity, especially in winter during a snow storm.  No cars pass on the road.  The snow smothers most incidental sounds and the animals are in hiding.  All electrical appliances seem to hum, even if the sound is nearly undetectable, and with the power out all that white noise is gone.

I like it, to be honest. That absolute silence.  BUT, I like flushing toilets (nothing says fun like walking down a steep hill with a bucket or two to try and fill it at a creek you hope is not completely frozen over) and automatic heat more.

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Ii think, in a previous post, I said that A Knight in Shining Armor was my first romance novel, but as I thought about this post a little throughout the day, I realize that I was wrong.

When I was 14?  I think?  The neighbors – I live on a road that has no close neighbors, but the ones down the road would circulate bags of books.  Mum would go through them, but mostly they were the thin Harlequins that, while perfectly fine, held no interest for either of us.  She was hoping for adventure novels (fantasy, SF and mysteries and thrillers are her cuppa, you never found f/sf, but sometimes you got lucky and got the latter.  Or a Stephen King book.)  but usually had no luck.

I went through the bag one summer, and found a copy of Jude Deveraux’s Velvet Angel.  It had knights on the cover, and, flipping it over, I saw that it took place in Medieval Times. So, of course, I read it.  And that started the summer of reading every historical romance I could find and afford.  Up the road there was a used book store, and we’d stop, and I would stop and try and find something.  Jude Deveraux was particularly prized, as were the early Joanna Lindseys.

I got into Julie Gardwood because I was at a flea market, and I was either kind or honest – I don’t remember which – and the book seller insisted on rewarding me with a book.  So, I quickly picked the first book to catch my eye, The Gift, which I fell in love with immediately.  Such an adorable book.

Teresa Medieros, Laura Kinsale – I adored them all.  To be honest, I think that a lot of who I am as a person and as a writer comes from reading these books.  I am in love with love, in love with the fall and the happily ever after.

I have happy memories of one summer, laying in my folding plastic chaise lounge under the pine trees, reading.  Then going in for dinner.  Then reading, unable to go to bed until I had finished the book.

There was a joyful abandon, there.

Eventually, I got married.  And then I wasn’t.  Romance novels didn’t hold the same allure. ..perhaps I love faith in the happily ever after for a bit, or it just hurt too much.   And though I have been able to read some romance novels since – I reviewed for Affaire de Couer, though my poor, generous and long suffering editor soon gave me the “Treasure from Other Genre” books as much as she could – it has never been the same.  I purged maybe 90% of my romance novel collection, keeping only a few favorites.  I love romantic subplots, I write them very happily, but I changed.

But someday, maybe, I will change back.  And my old friends will be waiting for me.

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Ii often have fictional crushes.  I never really crush on actors…I crush on characters, how they inhabit the roles and what they bring out of themselves to fill out the character.  I once sat and tried to see if this was a window into what I wanted in an ideal mate, and I had to say, probably not.

I loved Tom Pullings sweetness and confidence, William Mowett’s poetic warrior spirit.  Boromir – and Richard Sharpe’s innate nobility and bravery.  I will almost always have a crush on Athos, though I am not sure why – he is a problematic favorite in many ways, but perhaps it is that idea that you can heal someone and make their lives better and then live forever after in devoted bliss.  Let me assure you, honestly, that I am quite certain that in real life that would be a path to shame and despair.

I like Daryl Dixon a lot…all competence and strength and such development over the years.  The Darkling from the Grisha series, even though, of course, one would say he is even more problematic than Athos.

I like stories, and I like men with stories.  I like kind men, wise men, competent men.  Men with scars on their faces or on their hearts, yes, but not really tortured souls, though I fear that is crack in my fictional crush life.  (Hello, Snape.)

Sometimes the crushes are fleeting, two hours, three, and I am done.  Sometimes they inhabit my head, whisper me stories that I take apart and change and make my own.

In other worlds, I have been writing again, and am less —  when I am stopped in my writing I feel grumpy and discontent — so that uncomfortable feeling has faded.  Something Horrid that I was going to do to Tasmin at the end of the book (to lead to the next book) happened much earlier, and I am glad.  Because it works, and because I don’t really like cliffhangers.  I like to finish a story — what if I die and never write another book?

I am reading Amy Tan’s The Valley of Amazement.  I am unsure how I feel about the book.  I love Amy Tan’s work, but — nothing at all to do with her writing — I am frustrated by the story itself, because I am not sure if I like where it is going.  I will give it every chance, which isn’t hard…It’s AMY TAN, and the writing is very involving…but I wonder if I will really be happy at the end.  We shall see.  Then I will have to make that decision I hate — should I keep a book on my shelves because I own a ton others by the author?  Or should I get rid of it?  There’s a weird bit of me that likes being complete, at least when it comes to books.

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Tthis one was hard because of the sheer plethora of songs I like…and my horrid love of…erm…love songs.

So.  Let’s see.  “Love Me Tender” by Elvis – that’s rather lovely, isn’t it?

 

Love me tender,
Love me sweet,
Never let me go.
You have made my life complete,
And I love you so.

Love me tender,
Love me true,
All my dreams fulfilled.
For my darlin’ I love you,
And I always will.

I love the sentiments; they are so ideal.

Then, there’s also “Never Tear Us Apart” by INXS.

Here’s the video, with lovely men wandering around lovely Prague.  I was a bit of an INXS fangirl when I was younger, and sometimes when I hear this song I find myself missing Michael Hutchence just a tiny bit.  The part about the wings always struck me a little.

We could live
For a thousand years
But if I hurt you
I’d make wine from your tears

I told you
That we could fly
‘Cause we all have wings
But some of us don’t know why

I was standing
You were there
Two worlds collided
And they could never ever tear us apart

Something newer…um…aha.  Damien Rice, “Colour Me In” — I love the earnestness of this song…though I wish he’d come up with a rhyme other than “Like a dogless bone.”

So come let me love you
Come let me love you
And then… colour me in

Well I tried to control it
And cover it up
I reached out to console it
It was never enough
Never enough…

So I tried to forget it
That was all part of the show
Told myself I’d regret it
But what do I know

I love the refrain of “Come let me love you.”  Let me love you.  Let me prove myself.

 

 

 

 

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Ii am doing SO well on these, am I not?  I meant to do favorite love poem, but they were both sort of dreary.

Day 5:  Favorite Love Poem (sort of.)

When We Two Parted, but Lord Byron.  I don’t know why, but I find it so beautiful:

In secret we met--
   In silence I grieve,
That thy heart could forget, 
   Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee 
   After long years,
How should I greet thee?--
   With silence and tears.

The weekend was busy, I spent a lot of time cleaning.  I even *gasped* scrubbed the living room ceiling.  How’s that for…something?

Day 6:  Favorite Romantic Comedy

This is so hard, because…I am not really big on them.  I will watch anything if it has a favorite actor in it, but I don’t know.  What’s on my DVD shelves?  Um.  Wimbeldon.  That was cute, but I would not call it my favorite.   Bride and Prejudice was sweet.  AHA.  Got it.

A Knight’s Tale. It’s funny, and romantic.  And James Purfoy is heroic and beautiful and Rufus Sewell is evil and handsome and the jousting is so much fun.

What else did I do this weekend?  I finally bought my for myself Valentine’s Day gift, The Paper Magician series for me, some books for my mum.  When the box gets here I won’t open it until the 14th.

Day 7:  A Language I adore:

Italian.  This is actually fitting for the month — the language of romance, right?  But also because I fell in love with it when I saw a sign that said “Always kiss me goodnight” in Italian, and I loved the words so much I, for the first time, was tempted to buy a piece of art that was just words.  What’s funny is that I am trying to find the spelling for it, and there’s like, five different ways of saying it, so, forgive me if I pick one that is incorrect.

Dammi sempre il bacio della buonanotte is one way.  (On this page they also have “Ti amo tesoro mio” — I love you my darling.  Isn’t that beautiful?  I love how the language ebbs and flows.  It seems so graceful and beautiful, like water in sunshine.

I have desperately wanted to learn a language for years…I was decent in Spanish as long as I used it, I always wanted to learn French, I dabbled in Latin, but I have no ability for it.  I simply cannot remember anything.  Except curse words.  I can remember those pretty well.

 

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Iin my head, she is a magician.  Perhaps she got her name because she was a mistress of the card trick, “Following the Queen”, “Whispering Queen” – back and forth no matter how hard you try, you cannot hide from the Queen of Hearts.

And at first, she played up to it.  But it is a name with chains.  People expected a rare beauty, a Venus, someone who breathed sexuality and sensuality.  And then they saw her, and saw that she was not.  People would ask her, over and over for those same old tricks, trying to understand them, laughing in delight when, yet again, the Queen of Hearts outfoxed them.  And she is a combination of pleased and miserable, pleased that she made them happy, miserable that no one knows how far she’s come, that they don’t care nearly as much for her newer, flashier acts, such as the “Girl with the wire tattoo” and “Guillotine of Ice.”

She finds her acts getting edgier, more dangerous.  Someday, it’s going to kill her.

 

(Sorry it’s late.  I had a busy day and then went to fencing…by the time I got home I was way too tired to concentrate.)

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Ii associate pink and red with Valentine’s Day…or, as I sometimes call it, Vilentine’s Day.  Being single and almost always ready to feel less about myself, I am sometimes not prepared for the 14th of this month.  I used to be really down on it vocally, and then a wise friend, who is also single, said “Let people enjoy it.”  I felt a little ashamed – I mostly was down on it in public for the comedy factor, and did not want to make anyone feel badly.

Years ago I handled it by having a secret Valentine thingy on Live Journal.  I called it Dear Surprise – because I had opened a LJ community that was meant to be a Master and Commander letter writing RP that I never got around to doing.  I stopped doing it because I had a lot of family sickness related stress, and you had to plan the darned thing RIGHT after Christmas and I was not in the mind set.  But I should probably start it up again, it was really nice to have everyone get a little present on V-Day.  I got some neat stuff, including an awesome book.

I keep meaning to buy myself a gift this year, to give myself something to look forward to.  And get something for mum, as well.  *glances at the Calendar*  I better get on that.  I am seriously thinking about getting The Paper Magician Series by Charlie N. Holmberg.

In other news, I watched the first disc of World Without End — I liked Pillars of the Earth, and maybe my tastes have changed, but this one is so brutal.  I am sure the last one was as well, but man, I don’t know if I can watch the rest.  I am so tired of violence against women, and no one ever getting ahead.  Shows like that get to be like water boarding.  The plot keeps holding your head below the water and not letting you up except to breathe JUST enough to keep you from dying right away.

I wonder if I have become weak, lol, lost my bottle, as they say.

 

 

 

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Uugh.  These past couple of weeks have been less than ideal in this part of the world.  I heard news about a friend, very disappointing news, and since I genuinely liked him it actually hurt.  It’s funny, we go through our world doing what we do and thinking no one cares…I do, I tend to think I am very out-of-sight-out-of-mind…but maybe, maybe people do, and maybe it all does matter.

Yes.  I tend to maunder just before bed.  ANYWAY.  The entry:

The first time I ever read a romance novel was Jude Deveraux’s A Knight in Shining Armor.  It starts out as a contemporary – Douglas is in a terrible relationship.  She and her hoped for fiancé and his bratty daughter abandon her in a cemetery.  She’s broken hearted, and her sobbing can be heard by the man whose tomb she’s crying against – Nicholas Stafford, who is a prisoner in the time of Elizabeth.  Somehow she draws him forward and they try to solve the mystery of who got him into prison.  She grows as a person – he is an Earl from the 1600’s, and she becomes stronger as she deals with him, and falls in love as he changes a bit, too.  It’s splendid.  And then he gets drawn away…and she ends up following him into the past.  These chapters, too, are delightful escapism as a modern woman tries to fit in, and tries to solve the mystery.  (One of my favorite bits is when she creates a fried chicken and potato salad picnic using things from that time.  So fun.)

I remember all this, and I’ve not read the book in at least 20 years.  Most of you are probably like, “So what?”  but I barely remember what happens in Blue Moon or Unbalanced, and I wrote those books.  XD  (OK, I probably remember them about equally well, though I do have fears that I’ll write something and someone will be like “Yes, that was a cool scene…un Unbalanced!”)

I hope with the success of Outlander, maybe this book will get on the screen, too.  It has all the elements.  It is an awesome story.

In the great book purge I got rid of a ton of my romance novels – some of them don’t work for me any longer because the various pieces of baggage in my life…but I kept my Deveraux’s, as well as the books by Medieros, Quick, Kinsale and Sutcliffe.

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Wwoot. Getting this in under the wire. I wrote it partly over lunch, which was basically shoving oatmeal in my mouth and hoping to have a few minutes to myself…the beginning of this semester has been a madhouse.

Tonight I went and worked on some illumination. Might get started on that again…I love the painting aspect, once you’ve gotten the design down it’s like a medieval coloring book.

Currently I am scribbling in a plastic covered notebook with pale pink and purple stripes on the back, and circles on the front. Not normally my pattern, but I like the heavy plastic front and back covers. They travel well, I was using a mini-legal pad but the top page always gets beaten up and torn.

Mostly I don’t write much of worth in note pads. They are for ideas, things I need to do…currently I am trying to straighten out the knots in The Chocolatier’s Ghost.

I have always loved the idea of note pads. I enjoy journaling, and I used to be so much better at it. Some of it is a feeling that I have nothing to contribute, nothing that people can look at and go, “OK, someone understands something I have felt, wonderful.” Some of it was that too many people knew me in real life…when I started with the SCA I picked up a ton of fellow Live Journal friends who I would see at events. Concerned comments from people you don’t actually see are fulfilling and easy to be handled, those from people who will meet your eyes…even though I never tried to be a drama queen, I often used my journal to speak of things and try and figure out things in my life and soul. So I felt GUILTY. Like I should keep myself together more.

Which, I am sure would make my LJ friends feel badly. I don’t mean to…they are wonderful people. I feel so lucky to have them in my life.

So, I have a harder time writing. Maybe it’s also that I managed to figure the stuff out that bothered me and I don’t need to think through my fingers so much. And that might mean that I am in a better place.

But, since I am going to try and keep up with a monthly journal for the whole rest of this year…maybe I’ll get into the habit and find some treasures that I can share and find my journal voice again.

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