Cindy Lynn Speer is the author of several books and short stories, including The Chocolatier's Wife. She is also a fencer, terrible gardener, passionate reader and storyphile.
764 articles written by cindylynn

This is a post for my links…mostly useful for me, but maybe it will be of use for you, too!





Goodreads Author Page:

Goodreads Book Page – The Chocolatier’s Wife:

Goodreads Book Page – The Chocolatier’s Ghost:

Amazon Author Page:

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OoR, How do you go to England on a secretary’s salary without punching your savings account too hard in the face?

I feel like this sometimes, but I never look that happy about it.

Intro time.

I have wanted to go to England and Scotland for years.  Way too many years.  But every time I looked into it the plane tickets were prohibitive – I could literally take my mum on a road trip across the US for what two plane tickets would cost.  So I didn’t feel like I could justify it.

Then Wow Airlines came in.  They were cheap (I will talk about them in the next post.) and suddenly I could make things work.

And as I started planning, I realized that there were a lot of things I could do to not only make the UK affordable, but to spread out the financial pain.   And I’ve been telling people about it, and they seem like, “This is pretty awesome” so whether it is awesome of they were just being nice, I will let you decide over the next few weekly posts.

Before we get started, let me explain the kind of traveler I usually am…I say usually because this trip became very different!   My mother is on the “Golden Age Pass” – which, if you are 62 and up, means you and a friend can get into any National park free. (

We are NPS junkies so this is fantastic for us.  Camping is often discounted even in State Parks for peeps her age, too.  So usually we camp as much as possible and eat inexpensively and such.  But England, we knew would be different.   So that was an adventure, all on its own, but also more hotels = more expense.

My usual type of vacation.

We are experience people, not shopping people.  (I LIKE to shop.  Don’t get me wrong.  But I am worthless at making time for it.)

We know that we may never get back (I know, never say never, but) so we try and do as much as we can.  We try and steal marches by getting as close as we can to the next thing before we stop for the night.  Sometimes we will decide to stay at a cheap hotel so we can drive another couple of hours and get to the place.  But we couldn’t do that this trip, either, so planning had to be very different.  And there was some stress wanting to make the train because I’d already pre-booked a room somewhere.

Thus, I also think of time as being worth as much as money.  I actually have a mental worth for my time.  If I can spend a little more and waste less time, or gain more time, I am likely to.

So this trip, with the realization that I would not be driving already had a different complexion.  And we had to carry as little as possible because we would be carrying it on our backs, and my mum is an adorable little older lady who you don’t want to carry much.

  1. Enough intro. Since I am wordy as heck and no one wants to read a ton of stuff in one sitting I will be dividing up these posts.  I am pre-writing and pre-posting these for every Friday without fail.  I don’t like leaving people hanging!

Next week:  The airlines, or, in which we make the big commitment OMG.


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Ttoday I am very excited to present the cover reveal for Avishi — doesn’t she look marvelous?  You know that I am all for warrior queens, so this will be added to my TBR pile.
~ Cover Reveal ~
Avishi by Saiswaroopa Iyer
12th July, 2017
Long before the times of Draupadi and Sita
Immortalised in the hymns of the Rig Veda
But largely forgotten to the memory of India
Is the Warrior Queen with an iron leg, Vishpala
Brought up in the pristine forest school of Naimisha, Avishi reaches the republic of Ashtagani in search of her destiny. When Khela, the oppressive King of the neighbouring Vrishabhavati begins to overwhelm and invade Ashtagani, Avishi rises to protect her settlement. But peril pursues her everywhere.
Separated from her love, her settlement broken, with a brutal injury needing amputation of her leg, can Avishi overcome Khela?
About the Author:
Saiswaroopa is an IITian and a former investment analyst turned author. Her keen interest in ancient Indian history, literature and culture made her take to writing. Her debut novel Abhaya, set in the times of Mahabharata was published in 2015. Avishi, her second novel set in Vedic India explores the legend of India’s first mentioned female warrior queen Vishpala.
She holds a certificate in Puranas from Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. She is also trained in Carnatic Classical music and has won a state level gold medal from Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams.
This Cover Reveal is brought to you by Book Review Tours


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Aand at last, the Blog Tour is off to a wonderful start!


Ally at Fabulous and Brunette kicked things off today.  Please visit her page for excerpts and answers to some burning questions — what are my phobias?  Do I have imaginary friends?

Here’s the link because my internet is awful and the editor does not seem to be adding it:

Also, a $50 Amazon gift card is up for grabs, so make sure to enter!

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Ssince Tuesday kicks off my several week blog tour, I thought this article, which I wrote but have not yet published, was timely.  😀

So you have a friend who is published, creating that little bit of alchemy that transforms a writer into an author.  It’s not as easy as you may think, and, in itself, an accomplishment worth celebrating.

So, how do you help them?

First, a caveat.  This article is not meant to make any of you feel guilty.  You’ll see why I say this in a second.  Just the facts, no guilt attached.

When you want to be supportive, but you just ain’t sure.


In Which We Realize a Prophet is not a Prophet in their own country.

It is a well-known fact that friends do not read friends books.  Maybe if you give them to them and beg a lot, but mostly, no.  I have a vast circle of friends (which is weird to type because it was not always this way) and I can only think of six of them, off hand, who have read my books on their own.

Think about it, though.  There are a million reasons why you wouldn’t read a friend’s book.  One, it’s kind of hard to take your friend seriously as an author (Hence the title – even Jesus wasn’t taken seriously where he grew up at).  Two, you might hate what they write.  Three, you might not just be much of a reader or have time to sit down. Or you have a limited budget.  Lots and lots of reasons.

So, what can you do that’s free and doesn’t force you to read their stuff?

Download their books when they are up for free.  

Weird, huh?  But when they put their eBooks up for grabs, it’s because we want you to download it.  The more downloads, the more other people might see our book.  The best royalties I ever had was when we gave The Chocolatier’s Wife away for free for a few days.  There’s this alchemy called algorithms (which I will mention again) that helps Amazon sell your books to people.  So download away.

Re tweet, re-blog, repost, re-whatever.

Spreading the word is the best thing.  And if it looks vaguely embarrassing, like it’s actually a book filled with dragon/vampire porn you don’t have to say the book is awesome.  Never say that something is awesome unless you mean it.  You can say any of the following:

“My friend’s book is on sale/published/etc. today…please check it out!”

“This looks fun, check it out!”

I often say, if I have no idea what the contents are like, “This is such a cool cover.  I’ll have to check it out later.”  I say this because I am a sucker for a cool cover, so if I say this, it’s not a lie.

There’s a lot of other things you can say, much better than what I typed.  The point is, if you spread the word on sales, interviews and reviews it really helps.  It’s someone else saying it’s cool.  People will take someone else saying that they should look at a link so much more seriously than if I say it about my own content.

Not that that’s going to stop me.

Go to your local library

A lot of local libraries will have a place where patrons can make a suggestion as to what they should buy.  Do this, because being in a library opens up a whole new world for your author, namely:

  1. If the author wants to do a book club meeting, and they have enough books that people can get through inter library loan, then they can be a guest at a library’s book club gathering.
  2. Exposure to more people.
  3. If a library already has the author’s book, they are more willing to work with said author to do stuff.

So, write down the ISBN, the author name and book title.  ISBN’s can be gotten off Amazon or B&N if you don’t want to ask your friend.


Part the Second:

In which you say, “But Cindy, I actually like their book!”

Well, that opens up some more steps for you.  You can do the above with more enthusiasm, and:

Do book reviews

Are you on Good Reads?   Make sure to add it to your shelves (and add anything else they’ve done and mark it as want to read if you’ve not read it…again, free and no strings attached) and review it.

Reviews are not hard.  It needs to be at least one complete sentence.  “Really loved it!” is a complete sentence and does the job.

Don’t go beyond the first half of the book in your review.

Amazon, however, is even more important than Good Reads for a review.  It’s those Algorithms, and the fact that Amazon won’t put your book on the “If you liked this, you might want” ribbon unless it has at least 60 reviews.

Amazon also removes reviews that they think are unfair – i.e. if they think the author’s mother wrote it, or if they think the author got their friends to do it.  So don’t mention that you have a relationship with the person, and only write a review if you feel the work merits it.  While reviews are really important, dishonesty, even with the best intention, can break the system.

Word of Mouth: 

Word of mouth is worth so much.  Mention that you like your friend’s blog, friend them on twitter and retweet something clever.  Any exposure that you can give, as long as it doesn’t peeve off your other friends or make you uncomfortable really will help your friend achieve their dreams.

Presents:  If you like the book, and know someone who you would need to buy a present for, you can always get your friend to sign a book.  I’ve signed books for mothers, girlfriends and sisters.  Signed books are still cool.

And that’s it.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for any support you’ve given me.

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Rright now it’s hard cover and eBook, but trade paperback will also be available.

*pets the cover*  I love how the cover is done by the same man (David Howard Johnson) because they look so pretty together.

We know that Tasmin is dark-haired, so who is this playing with the wind sprites?


Are you excited?  Spread the word, please!  And leave a review if you can – the hardest part, the most crucial part for the success of any author that you like is reviews.  They don’t have to be long (and they don’t, actually, have to be nice, though we always hope and pray for nice ones) you just need a certain amount of reviews for the Amazon algorithms to kick in.  I think I talk more about it in the next blog post (which I wrote months ago, lol.)

I am also working on a blog post about my recent trip to the UK, or rather, how I made it doable for me, in the hopes that someone finds my ideas useful.

And…starting next week, there will be a blog tour!  I’ll try and post links as we go.  (No, really, I will.)

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The new edition of The Chocolatier’s Wife, now with lovely illustrations and amazing maps is out in hard cover.

The box came a couple days ago…it was really kind of wonderful, opening up the box and seeing my book in hardcover.  A real dust jacket, deep green cover underneath.  There is something that feels so — I don’t know, immortal about hard covers.  I know that probably sounds silly — I am sure I am not any more or less “immortal” than I ever was, but hard cover always felt like part of the big leagues.


I was also at a signing at Wind Gate Winery.  I confess…I am not much on wine, but the setting was rather lovely.  Lots of wonderful authors, great food, and happiness.

Kathy Bryson featured me on her blog:  It was pretty awesome of her…and I’ve been checking out her work, she’s really good.

My TBR pile has mostly been the Benjamin January books.  I love that series so much (Barbara Hambly is amazing) but I just kept buying them for Christmas and not reading them, so I had a backlog of five books.  That’s been fun to read.

On June 7th, the word will see the cover for The Chocolatier’s Ghost…it looks amazing, and it’s by the same artist that did the ‘Wife.  On July 10th, I will be embarking on an awesome Blog tour!

I started working on the Fifteenth Princess this week…I started on this book mentally in January, when I was off sick for a week from work.

So that’s me caught up.

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So, I needed to change a fuse in a secondary fuse box…which means walking out of the house, around the front, and unlocking the cellar door to get into the master box to shut down the main power, because I am not fooling around with electricity if there is a slight chance I can meet my maker sooner than I would like.

ANYWAY.  I think, “I could leave the cellar door open.  I live in the middle of the country, no neighbors, and there’s no access to the house from here…nothing of value to steal.  Make life easier.”

And another part of me thinks, “Do you want to be murdered?  Because this is how you get murdered.  Someone decides to off you – maybe they’ve wanted to kill you for God knows what reason, or maybe some random guy walking down the road decides this is a great way to off someone so they do it.  And NO ONE WOULD KNOW.  It is the perfect murder.  You walk in carefully, wipe off your prints from the main power switch, and disappear.  The traffic on this road is so light the chances of them being seen is NILL.”

Pause.  “OK, I guess I’ll lock up on the tiny, tiny, extremely off chance that someone might want to murder me.”

And so I did.  And lived to tell the tale.

(And the fuse changing went fine.  A little stubborn, but guess who has hot water again?)

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There is nothing usual about the Amazing Arden.  A female illusionist in the 1900s, where such a thing is a rarity, she cuts a man in half every night.

But one night, after the show, a dead man is found.  She flees, and luck, or perhaps fate, throws her into the path of the sheriff of a neighboring town.  Instead of turning her in, Officer Virgil Holt takes her to his own office with the intention of using her capture to prove his usefulness despite a well-hidden, but debilitating wound.

This is, in some ways, the frame in which the real story sits.  During the interrogation, Arden tells the whole of her own story, an unbelievable and complex thing filled with luck, hope, and love.  It is a story about magic, but it is told in a pragmatic, practical light.  The chapters between the slices of Arden’s history are, the some ways, out chance to take a breath as Virgil voices our opinions.  They are tense, because Arden is trying to convince him to let her go free.

I liked both halves of the story.  I’ll admit, it’s not what I expected.  This is not really a mystery to be solved with detective work and forensics.  The reader spends time wondering if she is the killer, the victim, or a madwoman – but the resolution of that is the story she tells, not through sought out evidence.  It is beautifully told, I loved the slice of late 1800’s/early 1900’s history and life, the bits about illusions and how she built her career.  I also enjoyed the interplay between Arden and Virgil – often I am tempted to race through the secondary story, but this was well written and I wanted to read it and see what was happening there.

So, the take away.  This is an excellent historical novel.  The characters and place are drawn extremely well, you feel like you are there.  I really enjoyed it.

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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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