Category Archives: Blog

The Toymaker

The Toymaker was originally published in 2013. The publication where it was originally published no longer exists, and so I have posted it below for you to enjoy.

The Toymaker
By Cynthia (cina) Pelayo

“There are only a few hundred of us left, Elise. You must be careful next time!” The Toymaker said as he inspected the doll. Those in his craft were dwindling quickly, regretful of the terrible turn their work had begun taking.

Sitting at a large wooden table, the Toymaker reached for a spool of Buttercream 50625 colored thread. Holding Elise’s left arm tightly against her plush body he began to sew her back together. He did this delicately, stitch by stitch. “Well, of course they had to tear your arm off,” he said. “You should have released your hold when they entered the room.”

Hundreds of pairs of eyes watched him at work. “I heard that,” he grumbled. Raising Elise to his face he looked into her black button eyes. They were kind once, sweet and loving, he thought. What happened?

Elise looked like the doll every little girl wanted to have and adore. She was a lovely doll with a checkered pink and white dress. Royal gold colored yarn served as her long soft hair, and blush pink lips and cherry colored cheeks adorned her face. Yet, what every little girl was not expecting was to awaken one night with that perfect little doll holding a perfectly sharpened knife to her throat.

“You’ll need a new dress,” the Toymaker said as he noticed spots of dried blood on her hem.

A giggle slipped from Elise’s mouth followed by cheers and laughter from all of the others seated carefully on wooden shelves that lined the small, elegant toy shop.

The Toymaker rubbed his brow. There’s a can of kerosene in the back storage room, I could just do it now, he thought. The wood and the yarn and the button eyes and dresses, as well as me – ME – we could all just erupt in a blaze and melt into a heap of hate and guilted ash.

A bell chimed. Two adults in black wool coats dusted off flakes of fluffy snow from their shoulders.

“Mom, look!” The child rushed towards a doll in a perfectly pressed royal blue dress. “She’s the one!” The little girl squealed.

“How much for the doll?” The father asked.

The power of the dolls possessed the Toymaker. He shuffled over to the family, smiled and then said “Oh, her. She’s a very special doll. You promise to give her a good home?”

A Fairy Tale for You

Below is a short fairy tale my son and I made up as we went hiking through the forest. We did so as a way to ease his fear and anxiety of all things going on in the world. Enjoy.

The Bread and the Animals

“Mommy, I hope I’m enchanted now.”

by Cynthia & Son


Once upon a time there was a mother and a little boy. They baked a bread and still warm, packed it to go to grandmother’s house. On the way to grandmother’s house, they hiked deep through the wood. The little boy noticed something peculiar. “Mother, I do not hear the sounds of the foxes, or the deer, or the butterflies, or the birds.” Mother stopped and asked the tree. “Tree, why do we not hear the sounds of the foxes or the deer or the butterflies or the birds?” Tree said “Because they are all waiting at grandmother’s house for you. They are very much looking forward to seeing you there and sharing in the delicious bread you’ve made.” And so, mother and son rushed to grandmother’s house and there, with such joy on their faces was grandmother and all of the foxes, and all of the deer, and all of the butterflies, and all of the birds to greet them. They all sat down together to share in the wonderful bread that was baked, and they were happy. The end.

Release day! LOCKDOWN

Today is release day for LOCKDOWN! To order go here.

A mysterious virus sweeps across the country, mutating rapidly as it jumps from person to person. Cities are locked down. The skies are clear as all planes are grounded. Some people panic, while some go to heroic lengths to save those they love―and others use the chaos as an opportunity to engage in purest evil.

In “Lockdown,” 19 of today’s finest suspense, horror, and crime writers explore how humanity reacts to the ultimate pandemic. From New York City to the Mexican border, from the Deep South to the misty shores of Seattle, their characters are fighting for survival against incredible odds. An anthology for our time, showing how the worst crises can lead to the best of us. Proceeds from LOCKDOWN will go to support BINC, the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, as it seeks to help booksellers recover from the devastating COVID-19 crisis.

Contributors to LOCKDOWN include:

Hector Acosta

Scott Adlerberg

Ann Dávila Cardinal

V. Castro

Angel Luis Colon

Jen Conley

Terri Lynn Coop

S.A. Cosby

Alex DiFrancesco

Michelle Garza/Melissa Lason

Rob Hart

Gabino Iglesias

Nick Kolakowski

Richie Narvaez

Cina Pelayo

Renee Asher Pickup

Eryk Pruitt

Johnny Shaw

Steve Weddle

Reviews for LOCKDOWN are great:

From Criminal Element

“Overall, this anthology was extraordinary. The editors, Nick Kolakowski and Steve Weddle, put together a quality volume in record time. I have no idea how they pulled this off so fast. These two put in a tremendous amount of work for charity and deserve praise.”

“Come Away, Come Away” was written by Cynthia Pelayo. This is an impeccable finish to Lockdown. I don’t want to ruin it for a reader, but it plays with a classic tale in the perfect way (and mentions the ocean).”

From CrimeReads

“Writing is never easy, not even under the most ideal circumstances. It’s even harder during a virus-driven lockdown, no matter what your individual situation. Even if you have lots of time to sit down and write, the worldwide tension is so heavy that it risks coming through the walls of your house-turned-prison, crushing your urge to create in the process.”

As always, thanks for your support.

-C

Two Readings Coming Up

Hi friends,

I wanted to remind you that I will be participating in two readings this month. A quick outline is below as well as further details:

LOCKDOWN launch. I will be reading Friday, June 19th at 7pm EST. To register for attendance to this online event go here.

Two Bad Apples Present Reading for Relief. I will be reading Friday, June 26th at 7pm EST. To register for attendance to this online event go here.

Overview of the LOCKDOWN reading –

In LOCKDOWN –

“A mysterious virus sweeps across the country, mutating rapidly as it jumps from person to person. Cities are locked down. The skies are clear as all planes are grounded. Some people panic, while some go to heroic lengths to save those they love―and others use the chaos as an opportunity to engage in purest evil.

In “Lockdown,” 19 of today’s finest suspense, horror, and crime writers explore how humanity reacts to the ultimate pandemic. From New York City to the Mexican border, from the Deep South to the misty shores of Seattle, their characters are fighting for survival against incredible odds. An anthology for our time, showing how the worst crises can lead to the best of us. Proceeds from LOCKDOWN will go to support BINC, the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, as it seeks to help booksellers recover from the devastating COVID-19 crisis.”

Details for the reading can be found here:

Please pick up a copy of LOCKDOWN here: http://www.polisbooks.com/books/lockdown/

Overview of Two Bad Apples Present Reading for Relief –

The second reading event is a virtual reading and fundraiser. Two Bad Apples Present Reading for Relief, features multiple authors who have joined together to raise funds for Minneapolis.

Many of the writers who participated in the award nominated anthology ¡PA’QUE TU LO SEPAS!: STORIES TO BENEFIT THE PEOPLE OF PUERTO RICO by Down and Out Books and edited by Angel Luis Colon will be participating in reading our works as a celebration of Puerto Rican Day on Friday, June 26th!

Some of us will be reading stories from the collection and others may be reading new material. So please join us.

Again, I will be reading on Friday, June 26th at 7pm EST, but please join us Thursday, June 25th as well! Details are below and here.

Please pick up a copy of ¡PA’QUE TU LO SEPAS!: STORIES TO BENEFIT THE PEOPLE OF PUERTO RICO here https://downandoutbooks.com/bookstore/colon-paque-sepas/

Award Nominations ¡PA’QUE TU LO SEPAS!: STORIES TO BENEFIT THE PEOPLE OF PUERTO RICO

¡PA’QUE TU LO SEPAS!: STORIES TO BENEFIT THE PEOPLE OF PUERTO RICO which includes my short story “Boricua Obituary” has now had a short story nominated for an Edgar Award and the anthology overall has been nominated for Best Anthology for an Anthony Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the Mystery writing genre. I am honored and grateful to be a part of this project. You can pick up the collection here.

Remember to follow me at Twitter for the most up to date details, and my musings on writing and life.