TIH 483: Cynthia Pelayo on Thomas & Mercer, Loteria, and Fairy Tales

TIH 483 Cynthia Pelayo on Thomas & Mercer, Loteria, and Fairy Tales

In this podcast, Cynthia Pelayo talks about Thomas & Mercer, Loteria, Fairy Tales, and much more.

About Cynthia Pelayo

Cynthia “Cina” Pelayo is a three-time Bram Stoker Awards nominated poet and author. She is the author of books such as Loteria, Santa Muerte, The Missing, Poems of My Night, Crime Scene, and Children of Chicago.

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Coming soon from Cemetery Gates Media and Mother Horror.

The Girl in the Video by Michael David Wilson, narrated by RJ Bayley

Listen to The Girl in the Video on Audible in the US here and in the UK here.

Michael David Wilson 0:28

Welcome to This Is Horror, a podcast for readers, writers and creators. I'm Michael David Wilson, and every episode alongside my co host, Bob Pastorella. We chat with the world's best writers and creatives about writing, life lessons, creativity, and much more. Now, today, it is part two of our conversation with Cynthia Pelayo. And we get into the specifics of her Thomas and Mercer Amazon deal. We talk about how to write about detectives and law enforcement within fiction. And we talk about some of the more obscure and underrated fairy tales, amongst other things, so plenty that I think you're going to enjoy. But before we get to that conversation, it is time for a quick advert break.

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Bob Pastorella 2:10

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Michael David Wilson 2:39

Okay, well, with that said, here it is it is part two of Cynthia Pelayo on This Is Horror. We were talking before about the publishing deal with Thomas and Mercer. So I want to know, how did this come about?

Cynthia Pelayo 3:03

My agent for what I had written the novel that they went on to pick up, but I wrote it. And then I set it aside. Because I had to I had to write the shoe makers magician. So the shoe makers magician was that deadline, I have like, gosh, I think I had like a year or last or something to write that battle. So I had you know, I Clark Street Bridge, which the name is going to probably be different. But for now, it's a funeral. So I had to read Clark Street Bridge, I had to put it aside. Right, the shoemakers mission and to finish crime scene. And so my agent was like, that's the book I want to say just to go out to, you know, some major publishers with you. That's, that's the one I'm but you know, I know, you're busy. I know you have these other contractual agreements, let's get those done. And my agents, amazing, he's, like, really supportive. And, I mean, I can't I mean, I'm just really grateful and thankful to Elaine and his support for everything that he he, he's, you know, he and I had been together for like, you know, a little over a year, but it feels like we've been together longer because, you know, he's been, you know, he's just always, you know, he knows when I'm overwhelmed, and he'll check in and he's like, you know, it's like, you're on your agent, but your friend too. And, you know, just let me know what you need, and I'll support you and so it's just been to have someone like that in this business is like, I mean, priceless. It's just he cares. He cares about my mental health. He, you know, he cares about like my workload. You know, he wants me doing what I want to do, which is just focusing on the novels and so I am taking So we're gonna be taking a step back from short stories. And so, you know, we went out on submission once I was done with submitting, you know, Shoemaker in the red buys Lotteria and then crime scene once those were done, and I was able to find, catch my breath, and then I returned today returned to a funeral. Clark Street Bridge, I went through a round of revisions, and I, you know, reshaped to that novel. And so, I mean, we went out on submission. And it was, you know, there was immediate interest from several publishers, and Amazon came in, right away. I, you know, when I saw that Amazon was interested, like, I want to work with you, because I have, I've heard, you know, the nothing but the most like, wonderful things about their publishing arm, that they're, you know, they're how organized they are. And, you know, the process, like, the editorial process is just so it's just so organized, and it's just so like, you know, it's very supportive, as well as supportive, you know, for the author. And I was, like, I need that in my life, because I need to work, I wanted to work with a publisher that had this type of support system in place for me, that I would feel supported from not only the editorial process, but like, through marketing and through book launch. And also with like, you know, my social media presence, like, you know, I pulled back significantly from my social media presence, to focus on the writing. And honestly, social media was just making me miserable. Like, I don't even like being on there. I, if I could just delete it all I would, I would delete it. All right, the second and the only reason I keep it is just because I know, so many of my readers, follow me there. But one of my goals in life as to be able to, like completely, turn off all my social media and just have a newsletter. Because it's just, it's just not for me, it's just not a healthy place to be. And so my focus is just on social media these last few months has just been sharing updates or sharing the work of other authors who I enjoy. I'm trying to, you know, I try not to really scroll or look and see what's going on just because I just can't it takes up so much headspace I'd rather that anytime be focused on the writing. And that is Amazon's position. They were like we are happier when you are writing. So if you want to be if you want to be on social media, you can be on social media, if you want, you can decide which social media you want, if you want, but we were happiest when you're writing. And I heard that and I was like, I was like ready to burst into tears because I was like, so I found a publisher that is amazingly organized and detail oriented with helping me get the book to where I want to want it to be I feel comfortable that it's a successful product. And that it's going to be given the amount of care it deserves, and Mark Keating and they're supportive that I am not, you know, on social media, every like, you know, our tweeting and retweeting or something I was like, I this is, this is what I want to work with. Because it's just, you know, the I know, several other authors with Amazon publishing, and it's just consistent across the board. People love working with them, they're good to their authors, they do good work. And you know, they're just very supportive. And that's, that's what I wanted. I didn't, I didn't want to that's what I want. And so I kind of put it out there. And it I mean, it's sold fast. And which was shocking, but not in a way because once I met my editor, it was like, Oh my gosh, you're absolutely perfect. And we have like the same things in common. It was like amazing, and so I am, you know, they like they like my blend of genre. They like my approach with fairy tales and how I weave in mystery and detective and crime fiction and I was like, this is perfect. I found I finally found my holy when so that's what happened. It happened really quickly. It's still a blur. I'm I'm in the midst of edits with them right now. And so I'm in a little cabin in the middle of the woods and so you know, I'm just I'm really enjoying working with them. And you know, I want to continue working with them when I have a long career with them because they they I am definitely, you know, where I want to be as a as an author.

Michael David Wilson 10:06

Yeah. Yeah. And I mean, we often talk about the Big Five in terms of publishing, but I really think that Amazon is going to or has already joined, you know, that list of big publishers. And I mean, the first time I saw Retama sunmaster book was actually really recently when I was sent the hardcover of the new Dean Koontz book, and he is so beautiful, it is so well done. I'd say that it's as good if not better than anything I've seen from, you know, the other five publishers. And, of course, when Dean had his new book coming out, at as you would expect, because it's Dean Koontz has a lot of interest from various publishers, and Amazon was the one that cut him the best deal. So I mean, you can't get much more glowing endorsement than that. And I mean, it's Amazon. It's the biggest selling online retailer.

Cynthia Pelayo 11:16

Right? I mean, it's, you know, the goal and finances is there. And so, you know, I want I wanted a part of, you know, part of what I wanted, and, you know, part of what I was manifesting, I was like, you know, I put it all out there, like I just would tell myself, like, this is what I want, and it just sounded so like, like, it was a dream. Like I want a publisher that's, you know, very well organized and very well structured. And I want a publisher that says had a great marketing plan and a marketing team. I want a publisher, that's gonna give me the widest reaching global readership as possible. And that's what I have. And so it's like, I can't, like I, you know, I am, I am happy with them. And, you know, the other authors that I know that, you know, are with them, you know, mystery authors, and, you know, they do have they do, they do have different imprints, Thomas and Mercer is like their mystery imprint, you know, but they do like romance and historical. Children's even and so. I mean, that's, that's, it was, you know, I put out my dream, and I got it. So I'm very happy.

Michael David Wilson 12:33

Yeah, yeah.

Bob Pastorella 12:35

Well, I have something that I wanted to, to kind of go back to, is that, you know, considering the, you know, the, I guess, the political and socio, you know, climate, with, with, you know, in general with law enforcement, cops in particular police officer. And there is a massive difference between a police officer and a detective. It's it's like considered, yep. Climate, how do you how do you reconcile, wanting to, to continue to write about Texas? And I don't mean that in a negative way. I mean, that in a positive way, like, how do we can we continue to have that, that that narrative?

Cynthia Pelayo 13:18

Yeah, no, I mean, it is, I wrestled with that with crime scene, because I had the story. And I was like, I kind of hesitated because I was like, Is this should I be writing about this and writing about, you know, this career path given? So much, we're seeing so many issues that have been presented. I mean, not just now but historically. And so I think that's kind of why I want more, even though it's so you know, it's the law enforcement ultimately. Right. And that's why I went with a more generic agency of interest that agent you know, I didn't, you know, classify FBI or whatnot. I just had agent. But it is. It is something that I mean, I think a lot of I know at least that I've wrestled with controversial issues that we've seen over time with this. This career path is something like I said, it's it is something that I found of interest within my studies when I turned to pull even with Arthur Conan Doyle, or Jorge Luis Borges who have explored this figure, and so it's something I've I'm trying to see how I can explore it different whether that might be in the future, writing about just Sleuth. You know, it could just be, you know, a regular person who was investigating a crime as opposed to somebody in law enforcement per se. So, I mean, at least for now, like the works, the works that I had, actually, the next that the 2024 release, but the 2025 book that I had said it was like sci fi detective, that one is not it's not a formal detective is more of a sleuth. So this is more just like an individual who has been exposed to a crime and is investigating it. So that's sort of where I'm trying to explore and see it from that approach, as opposed to law enforcement. So I will see how that, you know, works out but it is something that I'm, at least for the works that I had put in place already that were I was never written and ready to go like, you know, children in Chicago, because that was years and years ago, but then the shoe makers, magician, it's not, I think, her husband, the protagonist, husband is a detective. So the protagonist is more of like a sleuth. And then the funeral at Clark Street Bridge, the protagonist is not a detective, but there are detectives that have their own chapter. And then the 2025 release is more of just like a armchair investigator in a way because something happened to a loved one another, investigating it themselves. So I mean, that can be going on. Those are detective stories. don't incorporate, like the federal law enforcement aspect, you might have law enforcement in it, you know, like, what they appear on scene or on the page, and you know, to ask questions, or whatnot, but the protagonist isn't formally the detective. So at least, I guess I can say, children of Chicago, the protagonist was Law Enforcement crime scene, the protagonists were law enforcement, but the main protagonists, and like the shoemakers, magician, funeral clerk Shoebridge, and my 2025 release are not law enforcement.

Bob Pastorella 17:26

So you see yourself, you know, can I generally getting away from that, which I mean, I feel the same way. Primarily because of the reasons that I mentioned. But also because there's, there's a ton of research involved in that and you want to get it right. And I don't want to meet me and research don't really go together too. Well, I tend to dive into rabbit holes, you know, and the next thing you know, I'm like, looking up stuff about JFK again, and then we're gonna cause a lot of problems. But, you know, to me, it, in a sense, there are, in most stories, especially horror stories, or mystery or thriller stories, there is a character that is basically the detective, they might not even fucking work for anybody. They may, they're only doing this because they want to know the truth. And we don't call them detectives, we call them a victim, we call them the, you know, the hero of the story. They're there, they're survivors. But we find you know, that, that there's, there's a detective in these types of stories, are they going to sometimes, you know, they get too close to the fire, it burns them in sometimes they never get a resolution to what they're looking for. And so, to me, that's, that's how I would, that's how I reconcile that because I made a conscious effort, you know, to not really to kind of shy away from the, you know, the police aspect of things are using as little of that as possible. But it took me a while to realize that there's generally a character in a story that functions as a detective because they want to know something and and they have to find out on their own and right you know, I mean, we Miko dealing with They're Watching, you know,

Cynthia Pelayo 19:33

yeah, definitely an industry and you're gonna have someone that's serving that type of capacity and are and I think, I mean, I like the research that's, that just comes from my journalistic background, and I embed tons of research on my stories. But I think the main reason you're probably I mean, my you know, the works after children of Chicago or crime scene, don't deal with like the law enforcement as a protagonist is because What I said earlier, like, I just want to be able to sort of explore, you know, I did it, and I'm moving on it. So that was like, at least my way of reconciling. It's like, why are you roped in that perspective? Now I want to write from a different perspective. And it's just, you know, me, me pushing myself and experimenting and you know, writing probably, you know, different types of characters positions. But yeah, there are there often isn't a mystery, someone that's going to serve that type of.

Bob Pastorella 20:32

Yeah, and that's, I mean, to me, I think that's a valid reason is, I think gender, there might be some people out there who are kind of wrestling with that. It's like, well, I have an idea for a story, but deals with cops, and I don't want to write about cops, and hey, I get it. You may not be able to avoid it. But there's going to be a character in your story, who's going to function as a detective, it's usually in really in any type of story, or someone who wants to know something. And they take it upon themselves to find out everything that they can about something. And, you know, it took me it took me 50 years of reading to realize this. So maybe somebody wants to spend that much time because that's a long time of trying to, you know, before, you know, you park the curtains and go, Oh, wow, okay. Yeah, there's always that type of person, you know, so but yeah, it's,

Cynthia Pelayo 21:27

it's like private detectives. And like I said, there's a private citizen who investigates a crime, like how many, you know, you can say, like a true crime podcast or my brief meto you how many, there's just enough stories there that you can explore some of them, you know, that's a true crime podcast, or that becomes so fascinated with a haste that they just start investigating it, you know, a person that, you know, a loved one was murdered, and they take it upon themselves to investigate and you know, the nosy neighbor. So you have these types of servers, that is that role as well. So if someone is, if someone wants to write a detective story, but they don't want to write it, from the point of perspective of law enforcement, I get it. But if you you know, there are other ways of exploring that type of genre.

Bob Pastorella 22:17

Right. And they can always go to Matthews gutter route, you know, retired cop hate system, and sometimes breaks the law to, to get things the way you need them.

Michael David Wilson 22:32

Yeah, I mean, it's an interesting point that Bob has brought up. And I mean, if a story idea comes to me, then I'm very reluctant to reject it, or to dismiss it. So if I decided, oh, I don't want to write about cops, I might ask myself, why not? And then explore that a little bit more, and then see, well, what what is the reason? And is it coming from me? Or is it coming from fear of how others might react to it? And I suppose if it's more the latter, it's like, look, whatever you do, someone won't like what you're doing. So you kind of have to make your desert sit rain with you. And if it sits right with you, then I think that's, you know, justification enough to write about it, and to know that you're gonna do the subject matter, the service that it deserves.

Cynthia Pelayo 23:31

Right, and it's like, you can't We can't stop a story before he even starts because we're too afraid someone's not gonna like it. Yeah, you know, we can't do that to ourselves, either. I think if there's something that's calling to you that you want to write, the criticism is always going to be there. And that's part of that's part of our job as creators to develop that emotional maturity and intelligence to know that my work you know, I this is the work and you know, that there's going to be critique, but you cannot be searching for the critique. Yeah, that makes sense. Like don't go out there. You go out there looking for critique you're gonna find it and it's just going to make you feel bad. Like why do you want to do that? You know, so it's just write write the story. I mean, look at you know, I tell people you know, when I when I was like, one of my pieces that piece of art, like my biggest piece of advice to like new, or young writers, like don't look at someone get the review, stay away. And then they're like, but why? And I'm just like, Well, look, look up your favorite book. Look up your favorite novel. Look at those one star reviews. It's like it doesn't matter. You cannot please everyone One. And if anything, do you really want to please everybody? Do you want everybody to love you, you probably don't. I mean, it's like the same. It's not just like our work, but even us as individuals, it's like, you have to, if you are not yourself, what you're gonna do, you're gonna start attracting people that liked that fake version of you, you have to be yourself, be your full self, own your weirdness. Because that way, you're going to attract the people that belong in your life, and you're going to repel the people that don't belong in your life. Just like, you know, my readers, readers who like my work, know, what they're gonna get, you know, they're gonna get, you know, genre blonde, they're gonna get the history, they're gonna get chicago until they're like rolling their eyes. Like they know what they're gonna get. And if you come to my work, and you absolutely hate it, then it's fine. Like, I mean, that's not it's, I'm still gonna sleep at night and wake up in the morning and go to work. Like, you can't allow these things to like, consume you, because then we would never write our job is to write.

Michael David Wilson 26:03

Yeah, definitely. When you were talking about the Amazon, do you said that your agent Lane helped you get the steel and that you'd been with him for a little over a year? So of course, that's another change since we last spoke with you. So then that, that does beg the questions, firstly, is laying your first stage? And and secondly, how did working with Elaine come about?

Cynthia Pelayo 26:35

So yeah, so Lane is my second agent, my first agent, we, we parted ways, because their specialty really was not hard. And it was there was just so much demand. I mean, I was just getting, you know, story requests for anthologies quite frequently, and they just didn't they, I think we both understood, like, you know, their focus was more romance, there really was romance. And my focus was hard, or not just hard, but like, speculative. So they just weren't in the best position to support me, because their contacts in the publishing world were mostly romance editors. So they just didn't know they did not know the horse base. And when I reached out, I reached out to Elaine, and, you know, we had a discussion about, he's like, Well, what do you want? And I was just like, you know, that's another thing I tell new and emerging authors, like, what do you want? Like, what do you what does you know, we have this like, really, like, general idea of what an author is. But you know, people might say, well, I want millions of dollars, okay, but what is it that you want? Like, why are you doing this? And you know, and was like, what is it that you want to do? And I told him like, what I want to be able to focus on novels right now, I'm doing a lot of short stories. I still like poetry, because I think poetry is. It's like, my artistic exploration, I just really enjoy poetry. And it's something I want to continue doing. But my focus what I where I want to be, what I want to see myself, or I want to do myself is as a novelist, just focusing on novels. And then he was like, Well, who are what authors do you look to when you think of that type of career path? And I was like, Well, I love anything and everything that almost cuts or does because she, she loves history. And she takes these amazing historical events and just creates these wonderful tales. And I love kamikatsu I love the career. The way Daniel crosses career, hobbies, career looks, because he writes across his, he breaks within the horse space, but he writes across a range and he writes he's like huge novels as well. But he also writes like middle grade, and then he also writes more works that are more personal to him. Like you know, the ghosts that eat us and then he has works that are more I think I mean, I think I believe whale falls coming out this year and and and he's been saying that that's like, his best work. I'm looking forward to that. So I like when I think of like, author working authors today I look at their careers and I think well that's kind of what I would like to do want to be able to write A range of works, but focusing on novels and so les was like, Okay, let me think. I know he TGT took a look at some of my works. He read Children in Chicago, he read what I had up until then over the shoemakers he read, I mean, he, he went and read my work to see where I was and where I was going. And we signed, you know, we signed to we have another partner, Kevin, because we had another conversation, we might have had some other quick conversation. And then I signed with him. And so I just like, he's very honest. And he's very, he is, like I said, so supportive, but he's also protective of his people. And I needed that, because he saw what I was going through. At the time with children of Chicago, he was just creating so much discourse. And I was like, this is a lot. Like, I was not prepared for any of this. And he was like, you know, he just gave me the best advices it's almost like you should be writing, you should not be even looking at looking at anymore, or you're looking on Twitter, while you're logging on your writer you should be writing, that's all you should be doing. And then, you know, I was getting caught up with all these short stories and short story calls that I wanted to write. He's like, you told me you wanted to be around to write novels, what are you doing, you need to focus and so it's just a key, he helped me focus on what it was I wanted to do. Because I mean, coming up in case, I was very scared of saying no to anything, to the point where I was like, I said yes to everything. And to the point where it was just harming me, because I was sleeping, I was overwhelmed. I had so much work. And it's just like, because I was scared, I was scared. If I said no to an offer, or short story or poem, then no other opportunities would come. And it was just this fear and this panic, and I just had to slowly start stepping away from that and say, the life you want is to write novels. That's what you should be doing. And so he's been protective of that, and supportive of that, and really grateful to work with him.

Michael David Wilson 32:18

Yeah. And I know that you've said before that, you know, your aim is to be doing this full time. So I mean, do you still have the day job? If you do? How is that balance working? And you know, what, what one would assume from everything. God has said that, you know, you're trying your best to move away from that. But of course, this is a marathon, not a sprint.

Cynthia Pelayo 32:48

Yeah, I mean, I'm doing my best I still have, I still work full time. I'm a risk research consultant by day, I've been doing that for 17 years, for like one of the largest research firms in the world, which says, I mean, it's an amazing career. It's what I have. I had two masters, one of my masters in marketing research, and are one of my Masters of Science. And I focused on marketing. And so I'm working on my PhD slowly or trying to finish my dissertation one day, and that's in business psychology. So those two degrees directly tie into what I do, by day, you know, helping global clients position themselves and understand their corporate reputation. And so I do this very, like, sophisticated, scientific based day job. That's very, very demanding. And then I log off, and I sleep for a couple of hovers. And I wake up, and I write fiction, until I pass out, asleep at 2am. I know it's crazy to AM. And then I wake up at 6:30am and take my kids to school, and I started all over again. So it's very exhausting. And I it's not, I don't know. I think as of right now, I'm just kind of taking it and taking it day by day, and everything is still in the air. And that's one of the reasons why I step away from all of these short stories and because I need to focus on, you know, less, but more in a way, like focus on just my novels. So that I can breathe, because no short stories do take a lot of time as well to write and I just don't have the time to do that. And do I want to do this full time. I would love to, I would love to write fiction full time. But the you know, I have two small children. And, you know, they're, you know, on the spectrum, and so I'm trying to make sure that they're as supported in adulthood as they can be. And so I think that's why I I've worked so hard because of them, I want to make sure that I mean, my parents couldn't help me with anything, they can help me with a dime for college like I, I worked full, I've been working full time, I started working at 14 or worked at the flea market selling shoes on weekends on the weekends. And then I started working full time at 17 at the McDonald's drive thru. And then from there, you go on to college, and, you know, work as a journalist. Now where I'm at, but I've been working full time since I was 17 years old. So yeah, there's this fear of stepping back from danger. And because it's still part of my identity, it's what I it's also what I worked so hard to do. I've worked hard to become a research consultant. And it's very simplistic, sophisticated field. So at least right now, this is where I want to be able to keep continue managing it all. And that's why I'm, I'm hoping that taking a step back. First stories, and then theologies or whatnot, will help be have a better work life. Work work life balance. I have two full time jobs. It's two full time jobs, essentially. Yeah, action. My day job.

Michael David Wilson 36:17

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. There's certainly many offers that have done the same as you. I mean, if we look at Paul Tremblay, it's only literally this year where he's taken a sabbatical from teaching. So everything we've seen Paul doing, he's been doing well, working as a teacher full time.

Cynthia Pelayo 36:40

He just, he just like, you know, and so like, I mean, I just, you know, I put so much time and effort in my current my day career. And, you know, I have my seniority. They're a great team. And I work with brilliant people and PhDs and these super smart statisticians, and it's like, I can't, I can't imagine that being that person. Awesome. Because it's I am two very different people, I think you Pillai on research consultant by day, and then I'm seeing a pillow at night, the whole, you know, the speculative author, and so Batman at night?

Michael David Wilson 37:27

That's right. Yeah. And, I mean, there's no reason why you can't be both for those people. And I mean, sometimes when talking to people who are looking to go full time, they almost have an all or nothing approach, like, oh, well, I'm gonna quit my day job and do this full time, or I'm gonna continue to date. Yeah. But it's like, well, you could literally just reduce your hours, you could go from five days a week to four days a week. And now, you know, you've just got that one day, right, writing full time the entire day. So, I mean, there's many ways to kind of cut it up, as it were. And I mean, David moody, the British horror writer, he was working for many years, full time whilst write in his novels, then he went to full time writing. And then he actually found that he, he missed the work, and he missed the companionship and the social element. So then he went back to work, but lb on a more reduced schedule. So there's plenty of different ways to do and I think if, you know, a large part of you are saying, I don't want to give up this identity as a research consultant. Well, you don't have to, there's no reason why if you don't want to do it, then don't do that.

Cynthia Pelayo 38:56

And so I think, you know, like I said, for now, this is what I mean, everybody's life is different. You know, I can I can, you know, I live in a major city. Yeah, the cost of living a lot. Yeah, either to small children. And so we have, you know, our expenses living in a major city than we would like in a rural community. And so, you know, there are just practical factors that I have to take into consideration and now, saving for college, or whatever they want to do when they're older, you know, I have to do that as well. And so if anyone wants to go full time, you know, that's definitely something that I think they should speak to other authors, authors that do this full time. I don't think my lifestyle is for everyone. It's, I have very, very little leisure time. I have very little time for TV, or movies. I rarely leave my house to do something. do an activity other than like pick up children or get coffee like I do like, like I go get coffee almost every day at like a local coffee shop. Because that's like my way of just getting out of the house and clearing my my brain, but I don't have you know, people, people could sit there and been binge watching entire series, I can't I have a very tight schedule. And so that's why I'm very ruthless, with my time, and with the people that I allow in my space. And so I am very protective of my energy, I know why. Associated with because I just don't have for like, any distractions that are, you know, my time is, my time is valuable. I think all of our time is valuable. And we know if there's somebody that's gonna be in my life, I want them to be contributing positively to a very stressful life that I live.

Michael David Wilson 40:55

Yeah, yeah, I know exactly what you mean about not binge watching and not having much time for TV. And, I mean, there's one of my colleagues at work who we like fairly similar TV shows, but then he'll start watching it, and she'll want to know, like our case, so. So like, if you finished it yet, because she's like, watched it all in a weekend. And it's like, look, I'm gonna be lucky if I get through one episode a week. So we can talk about this series in about six months, time is not a quick thing.

Cynthia Pelayo 41:32

Every single movie, I make every single movie into a series because I can't watch a movie like In one study, like I'll break it up in like 30 minute increments. I have 30 minutes now an hour now. And again, it's it's not, it's not the lifestyle, most people want to live. And it's exhausting and tired a lot a lot. I have to, you know, manage what I eat and vitamins. And when I want to get sick, if I get sick, that throws off. So much. I mean, I help people with my schedule, they just look at me, like, how do you do it? And like, well, I have no choice. I want to do this all. And so far, it's worked out?

Michael David Wilson 42:22

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, that's kind of how I see it do it's like, how do you do it? Because I want to do it. Because this is, you know, how I can do? Spend my life I prioritize, that's how I do it.

Cynthia Pelayo 42:38

Yeah, yeah. It's about, like you said, prioritize, like, what is going to make you what's going to make you happy. And that's what you should be investing your time in. Because if you're doing something that if you're doing something that brings you joy? Well, it's already it's healing you. And you know, we have, we have such a limited time on this planet, that we should put it into doing things that make us happy, that makes it make us feel fulfilled, that give back to us spiritually, spiritually, and emotionally. And that's why it goes back to like, people and social media, like, you know, be, I think everyone should kind of sit back every now and again and do an assessment of like, who was in your life? Why are they in your life? What types of activities are you doing online? Like, are you are you? Are you? Are you spending time with people that don't make you happy? Are you doing things online? Like on social media? Are you spending time on social media? Does that make you happy? If things don't make you happy? If it doesn't make you happy? Don't do it. Yeah. We have so much more power than we think we have.

Michael David Wilson 43:46

Yes. Yeah. I agree completely, with all of that. So you're re releasing your short story collection that you put out from in 2012. So I'm wondering, what is different about the 2020 free version?

Cynthia Pelayo 44:07

So I went back and I read it. And I mean, there was just it was, if anyone has ever gone back and read work that they wrote over a decade ago, I mean, I I think I had a massive panic attack at first because I'm like, Oh my gosh, I'm releasing this and there's so much in here that I would never write today. I would, I just didn't feel comfortable with a lot of the things that I have written. And I'll get into that in a little bit. But then also, I think Lotteria like and looking back at it right now. Um, a very different type of writer. It's it's a short story collection that's based on the Mexican board game of the same name. militaria and there's 54 short stories and poems and like small fictions in there and I write one short story corresponding to each of the 54 cards. And each story deals with a Latin American myth, folklore, legend or superstition. I'm Puerto Rican, I'm I was born in Puerto Rico, I was raised in Chicago, my husband's Mexican. And so I mean, the idea of Lotteria came about when I was studying fairy tales, because there are so many tales throughout Latin America, or that, you know, that we had been exposed to growing up that I had never seen written down, there's just it's just like story. They're like little ghost stories that we had heard growing up, and I wanted to compile them. And so that's how the idea of the collection came about. And, you know, I say, I'm a very different writer today. It literally is a work that's based on, you know, Latin American and Hispanic culture. And the works that I write today are not positioned that way. They might, you know, they have diverse a diverse cast of characters. But I've gone away from identifying my work as this is a piece of Latin America, piece of fiction that's based on Latin American folklore, or, or whatnot. So that's one way that I'm, I'm a different author. I don't mean, I want to be I want to be able to have that flexibility to write, why would I want to write another way, it was different, it was just, you know, looks a little bit fun. It's a little campy, or pulpy, and parts. You know, I write, I write in there about, like, you know, monsters and cryptids. And it's something that you probably wouldn't write today like creature if you know, there's some creature features in there. But it is definitely an experimental work that well, you can see how I develop. And so the author I am today, there are some stories where I read, I went back and I was going through an editing. And I read them as like, Well, I would write this today, because I was just really, I was able to see where my style is, or how it has evolved from some of the things that I I wound up taking out. Or, I mean, I usually don't describe what people look like, in my fiction, just because I want to leave it. It's just, it's a style thing I had picked up in my MFA. I don't like describing what people look like. And I know what like with children of Chicago, people were upset. They were like, she doesn't describe what people look like, I don't like describing what people look like. It's just a style thing for me. So I went through and I removed like, all references to like, physical appearances, like, pulled all that out. I went back, and I removed. I mean, there was just like, other things that I had removed. Maybe like some things that just didn't come across with probably, terminology that we probably wouldn't use today is written over like 10 years ago. Other things that I did, I wrote some new pieces, some new poems, and I also wrote a novella, I made my second novel novel novella that I called 54. Because I wanted, I wanted a few things in there that were reflective of who I am today as an author and I think that's so he's a little scary that you know, I people are gonna see what kind of writer it was back then. And I, I hope that I hope that they enjoy it because there are a lot of interesting tales in there about like, law Your Honor, or Chupacabra, or these accused of Latin American you know, superstitions and folk stories about monsters and ghosts vampires and that were in tuned in Mexico and just these interesting tales and so yeah, so those are the those are some of the additions so like, I went through and I made some edits throughout all the stories but I still maintain the spirit of the collection because I kind of was like this was derived from 22,008 2009 2010 that wrote this I need to honor that pool that person was but I still want to smooth that smooth it out a little bit as well as add some new material.

Michael David Wilson 49:40

Oh, is it difficult cues in the stories to cut to replace with the new ones that you know? No.

Cynthia Pelayo 49:54

Like, oh my god, what was this? Like, scrapped a couple like it was just like, right had like a couple of lines. And I was like, Oh, I read that. And I just remembered some of these stories. And I'm like, really? Yeah. But yeah, no, it wasn't, it wasn't difficult. But it was. It was a really difficult exercise. So I think overall, going back to something that I had written so long ago, and updating it, because I kind of struggled at point, I was like, do I want to just rewrite this whole thing? Like, how was that fair? How is that fair to the people that loved it? When they read it back then? Or to the writer I was back then it's like, I know, I'm a different writer today. And the new material in there can speak to that, but the older material needs to be itself.

Michael David Wilson 50:51

So when the two then does that mean, you have to panic write some new stories, because you read some in original connection, and you're like, Oh, God, yeah,

Cynthia Pelayo 51:03

I bet. It's, I was like, done with that. And then I was going through the proof like the one on the, it was like, second to final proof. And I had another massive panic attack. And I wanted to deleting two stories and rewriting two stories, even at the end, or like, I think it created to include a portrait, just because I was like, I cannot. I just can't this is too silly. This particular story, it's just not. It's just not working.

Michael David Wilson 51:34

Right. Right. Yeah.

Cynthia Pelayo 51:37

Panic writing. I like that. Did you panic, right? Yes. Yeah.

Michael David Wilson 51:43

Yeah. Well, I mean, maybe in the future, you can do a little course for lit reactor, Sina Palacio on panic writing,

Cynthia Pelayo 51:52

panic writing? Yeah, maybe we'll maybe we'll catch that and write a story because I'm so busy. But you know, we should do like an anthology panic writing. Short story.

Michael David Wilson 52:04

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, a number of questions from Alice Phelan via Patreon. Now, the first one, we have covered this to some extent, but I will ask anyway. So what advice would you give to writing flawed police officer characters in the current day and age? And are there any potential pitfalls?

Cynthia Pelayo 52:36

I mean, what advice would I give, I mean, just be honest, like we, the gosh, the and the injustices that we've seen in some of these utterly heartbreaking videos that we've seen from some of these accounts of people being hurt and harmed by law enforcement, I think just, if you want to write a law enforcement character that's flawed. The material is there. And it's heartbreaking, it's difficult, it's going to be difficult, because there's going to be critique as to like, why and how. But it's a materials there, and there's like more than enough material, if you want to explore, I mean, even some of these real cases that have have I mean, I think, almost like with into the forest, and if you are going to write, I know, they didn't ask this. But you know, if you're going to write about I think I would caution people about writing something that is very recent, just to respect loved ones that are still mourning their family. So I think, you know, be cautious of that, like if you're going to write about law, law enforcement, and if the event that you're writing about has something that has similarities with what just recently happened in the last few years, I mean, just take caution because there are people that are still mourning friends and loved ones and I have that was a consideration with into the forest and all the way through when I was writing. It's like, how do I write this from a point of respecting family, friends and family who lost these people?

Michael David Wilson 54:35

Yeah, well, what fairy tales and folklore do you think are underrated or undeservedly obscure?

Cynthia Pelayo 54:46

Underrated, undeserved, undeservedly obscure, I mean, the juniper tree is like, dark. I don't know why we haven't seen that. Ah, I don't know if I would write that just because it's not on what I have upcoming anytime soon. But my favorite fairy tale is Hansel and Gretel. I think that's a I always come to that. I think that's such a it's such a sad story. Underrated juniper tree that is terrifying. So you haven't read the juniper tree?

Michael David Wilson 55:27

You go.

Cynthia Pelayo 55:29

It deals with like cannibalism and yes, and it's just as intense. Yeah, I mean, if you're failing to really hear it, chances are very dark.

Michael David Wilson 55:39

Oh, yeah.

Cynthia Pelayo 55:41

Yeah, the abuse. incest. Cannibalism. I mean, it's the very, very dark these tales. I mean, pick up a copy of like, the original Grimms fairy tales. Yeah. Not not not something that's like in the children's section. But like one of these, you know? Originally, they're really scary.

Michael David Wilson 56:03

Yeah. Yeah. Well, thank you so much for spending vast majority your evening here and with us. You went to camping to write currently, you've just been podcasting. Tonight.

Cynthia Pelayo 56:21

It's okay. As soon as I got into the cabin, I put the food away. I got my kids situated. And I needed to take a break anywhere before I like got, you know, into my writer brain. But this was a lot of fun. But yes, I've been Hopefully, you all didn't hear my like kid too much back there. Cracking Up and laughing and a cartoon but uh, it's been nice talking to you all out here in the middle of nowhere in the cabin in the woods. It's super scary.

Michael David Wilson 56:52

Yeah. Do you have the whole weekend here now?

Cynthia Pelayo 56:56

Yes, I will be here all weekend. And hopefully, I walk out with a draft and hand so the draft is almost done. And I it's that's both exciting and terrifying. All this?

Michael David Wilson 57:10

Yeah. Yeah. It's this one for Thomas and Mercer.

Cynthia Pelayo 57:15

Yes, yeah. So this is the edits for funeral I Clark Street Bridge, the My Little Mermaid adaptation that I'm working on. So right now I'm in and edits at the end edit mode. And so I'm going through those. And again, it's a little scary, but I'm excited as well.

Michael David Wilson 57:33

All right. Well, where can our listeners connect with you?

Cynthia Pelayo 57:39

You all can find me on Twitter. I'm @CinaPelayo. I'm also on Instagram @CinaPelayoAuthor. I met tic tac occasionally. Author, my website hasn't been updated since like 90 ad. I'm kidding. There was no Internet back then. When I looked at has not been updated. And forever. I will get it updated and promise, but it's sina polio.com Yeah, that's really funny.

Michael David Wilson 58:16

Thank you so much for listening to Cynthia Pelayo on This Is Horror. Join us again next time when we will be chatting with Stephen Graham Jones, about his brand new release. Don't fear the Reaper is the second and his J. Daniels trilogy, and is out right now. So if you're a fan of Stephen Graham Jones, and quite frankly, why wouldn't you be? Then you can pick that up today? And you can also listen to that conversation today. If you are a disses horror podcast patron patreon.com forward slash This Is Horror. Now not only do you get early bird access to each and every episode, but you can submit questions to our forthcoming guests including Jordan Harper, Eric LaRocca, and Caroline Kepnes. So do head over to patreon.com forward slash This Is Horror and see if it is a good fit for you. Okay, before I wrap up, it is time for a quick advert break.

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Michael David Wilson 1:00:39

Well, that about does it for another episode of This Is Horror Podcast. But as always, I would like to end with a quote. And this is from Napoleon Hill. If you must speak ill of another. Do not speak it. Write it in the sand near the water's edge. I'll see you in the next episode was Stephen Graham Jones. But until then, take care yourselves. Be good to one another. Read horror. Keep on writing and have a great, great day.

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