The rose petals fell from the bushes and climbing vines that surrounded them, sliding with a soft susurrous across the stone mosaics, twirling and falling into the rectangular pool.

The men and women of the court lined the edges of the court yard, all silent, except for the breeze that stirred the brances and leaves, that scarrted the rose petals, catching in hair and hems.  She approached the pool with her head held high, the dark coils of her hair carefully pinned, but her feet hobbled in fetters.  Matching fetters graced her wrists, which she held, her elbows straight out, her wrists heart-high.

She met the eyes of the king as she neared the edge of the pool.  She let her gaze flicker to all in front of her, the toes at the very edge of the pool.

She turned.  She did not waver.  She looked at her attendants, her heels at the rounded endge of the marble.  It felt cool under her feet as she slipped them just a little further, until her heels were hanging over.

A second, time to take a breath, and she let herself fall back into the petal covered depths.  She sank into the sun light streaked gloom, years of rose petals giving the water an oily sheen that seemed to make the rays of light glitter.  Red petals, like drops of blood, swirled around her, joined by white petals, yellow, pink.  She waited, counting in her head.

She did not like to keep lock picks in her mouth, not after the time she swallowed it, but today she had had no choice.  She pushed the picks with her tounge, shifted so she could use one finger and her mouth to manipulate the pick into the lock.  Years of practice took over, and soon there was a success.  One fetter fell away, and the second hand was easier to free.  The feet easier still, those fetters joined the others in the deep.  Twelve sets of fetters littered the pool floor.

She let the air out slowly, hovering in the silence.  This was her favorite part, the quiet and cool and the brush of rose petals.

Finally she came out, climbing out of the pool, her attendants coming forward with towels and a hand up.

“Someday you will fail,” the king said.  “Someday we will figure out where you hide the lock pick.”

“But it is magic, your majesty.  Magic!”  She rejoined.

“Something new for tomorrow, I think.  Perhaps a box.  With swords.”

She bowed.  She already knew what she would do.

 

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I had a hard day yesterday.  Today is not much better, but I wanted to update.  (I have the next update, for today, half written.  It’s a tiny piece of fiction.  I just wanted to separate these.)

 

There are many beautiful words.  Susurrous.  Ebullience.  Alabastar.   But it is the context that makes words truly beautiful.

I love you.  I wish I could help you see how beautiful you are.  I am here.  You are not alone.

In pieces, these words mean nothing.  Together, they mean everything.

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Or, shush, let people enjoy things.

I don’t like how this day makes people feel – the false expectations.  The feeling the media seems to throw over you – that if you do not have anyone today, there is something wrong or you should feel bad. I also hate the false expectations placed on people who are in a relationship…the stress.

We allow ourselves to be told what to feel or think to give us emotional expectations –  though how can we fight it?  We are indoctrinated from our earliest years, it seeps into our hearts and souls before we even know to fight it.

But, the other half. What I like.  I like celebrating.  I like there to be an excuse for people to hang out and be happy and love each other.

I bought mum and me books and tea and ordered our favorite candy – chocolate covered cherries.  I used today as an excuse to indulge myself and treat my mum.  I read a book – Charlaine Harris’ A Bone to Pick and sewed on my brown velvet doublet.  I am so excited about the doublet, it will have coppery trim to bring out the brown in the doublet – it is about the shade of dark chocolate – and the sleeves will be lined in red taffeta with pearls – doublets often have removable sleeves (I say often…probably supposedly 98% of the time, but I am hazy because I don’t really want to know, because if I really knew then I would have to do it the right way.)  and these would then be reversible.

So, instead of thinking about what I lack, I thought about what I had and took care of me and mine. It’s been a pretty good day.

I hope yours was even better.

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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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