Cynthia Lee writes young and new adult works of fantasy

Posting While Tired

I spent a good deal of Saturday watching documentaries.  First, I watched one called Soaked in Bleach.  It concerned the notion that Courtney Love had Kurt Cobain killed by persons unknown.  It presents evidence that Courtney was (at the very least) an unpleasant and manipulative person very concerned with Kurt’s money and money in general.  It was a pretty trashy documentary.  There were reenactments so silly and speculative that they were worthy of an Investigation Discovery show.

I also watched Amy (the documentary about Amy Winehouse) and it was excellent.  I wasn’t expecting to be so moved by it.  It should be required viewing for anyone with dreams of being a recording artist.  They way the images and videos were synced with the music, lyrics and Amy’s voice was devastating.

Finally, I watched a documentary about Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley and their famous on-air bitch fight in the late 60’s.  I found the whole thing to be hilarious at first and then somewhat sad.  These two men, both brilliant and eloquent, just hated the shit out of each other for years and years.  They wasted all that time and all that energy on hating each other. They both died somewhat disappointed that they had both been mostly forgotten.  The documentary was entertaining and funny, in a kinda mean way, but it was mostly (for me) a lesson in what being too invested in one’s ego can do to your psyche.  Over time, it will wear you down to a nub.  There is no joy in continuously flinching because you are being lashed by your own ego.



Creepy Doll Love

I love creepy dolls.  If I had the money and the time, I would start a collection of creepy Victorian dolls but, of course, I would have to have a creepy Victorian mansion to house them properly and that’s not going to happen, sadly.

As it turns out, creepy Victorian dolls are now walking around London so all I really need to do is move to England.

The creepy dolls are coming!  The creepy dolls are coming!





Writing Tales of the Weird

It is such fun.  I spent a good part of yesterday trying to decide which human/animal hybrid is creepiest.

Is it a centaur?  A satyr?  A minotaur?  a gorgon?  Would it be creepier to be part scorpion or part goat?  Antlers or horns?  Tails or no tails?

This is why writing fantasy is so amazing and interesting.  You can actually spend time thinking about such things and you just might get paid for it, eventually.


Rejections – Eh

I’ve begun to submit some short fiction to the markets that seem to want the kind of things I like to write.  It really is fun!  I swear.  (Please keep in mind that I am a Pollyanna/glass half-full kind of girl).  I even made a spreadsheet to track my own submissions and their responses and so on.  That’s fun too!

Of course, the rejections will come but that’s okay.  They are inevitable part of the writing.  And one day they will stop – or at least slow down – and I might have a nice little business going.

Or not.

I love writing and I will not stop.  I will write even if I never sell anything.  That’s just what I want to do.

Full stop.



Neil Gaiman’s Rules of Writing. Feel the Gaiman love.

  • Write
  • Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.
  • Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.
  • Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.
  • Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.
  • Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.
  • Laugh at your own jokes.
  • The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it ­honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.

I’m Having a “What to Have for Lunch” Kind of Day

I’ve finished my daily morning grind (pilates, watching Walking Dead episodes again, getting myself and son ready for the day) and I’m now seated at my desk at work, wondering what I should have for lunch.

I know I should be thinking deep thoughts or feeling grateful for something or planning my next ten novels and my business plan for the next five years but my thoughts are still half-formed and deformed, like those weird angry baby monsters from the movie The Brood.

I’m mostly wondering what to have for lunch.

Oddly, these days sometimes turn out to be the most productive.  Once I finally focus and stop thinking about the daily little things I sometimes find that I enjoy writing more.  I don’t honestly believe that there is a great mystery involved in writing something.  I think people just do it everyday or nearly everyday and sometimes you have really good days (or great days, if you are a genius.  I am not a genius) and sometimes you don’t and no one really knows why.

The important thing is that you sat down and did it.  It sounds so simple.  It is simple.

Except when it isn’t.

His Dark Materials to hit the small screen.

Now we get to have our hearts broken properly!  I’m over the moon about this news.  Seriously.

Halloween Reading Recommendations – A Little Late

If you have not read Shirley Jackson, please remedy this tragedy immediately.

I think many people remember reading The Lottery in school.  Is it still taught in schools?  I honestly don’t know.  It’s been that long since I was “in school.”

Anyhow, Shirley Jackson was married, had five children and wrote some very fine books and short stories.  It is really hard to write fiction and raise children.  Ask me how I know.  It seems that she may have suffered from depression and anxiety.  She was a chain smoker and she died an obese woman but we don’t know, not really, how she felt about things most of the time.

A lot of us don’t know how we feel about things most of the time.  I know this to be true.

Anyway, my favorite novel of hers is We Have Always Lived in the Castle.  She had a wonderful style and a real genius for creepy Gothicness that grows and grows, builds and builds to an inexorable conclusion.  I love it when you read a book that makes you think “Oh, yes, that’s exactly how it should have ended” and you can’t say exactly why you feel that way.  You just know.

Here is the link to We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Harpo Marx sent the message that there is no message.

One of my favorite books (I have many) is Anne Tyler’s The Accidental Tourist.  I haven’t read it in over twenty years but I seem to remember a conversation between two of the main characters, Macon Leary and his soon to be estranged wife Sarah.  Sarah complains that Macon doesn’t know how to communicate.  The word communicate is Macon’s least favorite word.  (I know a few people like Macon).  She tells him that he reminds her of the old Marx Brothers’ gag in which Harpo sends Groucho a telegram that reads “No Message.”

(And if you have not investigated the legendariness that is the Marx Brothers – well, you should remedy that right now.  Start with Duck Soup).

I’m not sure why I’m posting about that memory of a book.  I think it’s because when I opened my blog with the intention to write something I realized that I had no real message.  My message is that I have no message.

I did manage to mention Anne Tyler however.  She’s a wonderful writer whose books really get under your skin.  They may seem simple and homey and plain but they are wonderfully warm and human and sad, at times, but not too sad.

The Marx Brothers, however, are not warm.  I’m not even sure how human they are.  (I kid).  Duck Soup is absolutely one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen however.  It’s so . . . silly and weird and smart and fun.  I recommend reading Roger Ebert’s Great Movies review of Duck Soup.

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