Category Archives: About Cynthia

New book reviews for Spun Stories!


So sorry you haven’t heard from me recently. For those of you who don’t know, I took off a couple of years to do an MFA in imagesCreative Writing at Lesley University’s low-residency program. (Lesley is in Cambridge, MA). In any event, I’m nearly at the end of my time there, but this last (fourth) semester has been particularly grueling. Hence, no posts.

Now that I’ve got my second submission in, I have a window of time to put up some new reviews of books that I met in the Fall. I hope you enjoy reading them.

If all goes according to plan, I hope to graduate this June. Please keep your fingers crossed!




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My Fifteenth Half Great-Aunt

Recently, I learned that I am related to CastleRabyCecyleeSigLady Cecylee, the heroine of my THWARTED QUEEN series. I thought I would let Her Ladyship tell you all about this discovery, in her own inimitable way:

Today I learned the most wondrous news. Did you know that my scribe and I are related to each other? Tis passing strange.

It came about because I encouraged her to learn more about her family. I mean how can you appear before folk if you know not who you are? In my day, we spent many an hour discussing the windings and twisting of our various family trees. So she began by looking back into the past, at her ancestors in the Land of Henry, which is today called America.

Did you know that they lived there for nearly three centuries, since making landfall in a leaking ship called The Mayflower? How they managed to get across that dark and wide ocean is beyond comprehension.

Then my scribe looked beyond, into the ancestors of her Mayflower ancestor (called Mary Mayflower Allerton) and discovered that her grandfather was a Sir Edward Norris. Immediately, my ears perked up for the gentleman was a knight. I must say I am not acquainted with that family. Still, twas a promising start.

I encouraged her to go back further. Would you believe it but Sir Edward’s grandfather was a gentleman named Sir Henry Norris, a friend of a queen of England. I have never heard of this queen before, but my scribe says she is most famous. Her name was Anne Boleyn. She sounds rather like that common strumpet who played upon my son’s male weakness and inserted herself on the throne of England. I always refer to her as “The Serpent”, but I am told that people nowadays refer to her as Elizabeth Woodville. It seems that my great-grandson, Henry the Eighth of that name, was displeased with his wife and her friends and had them executed on Tower Hill.

7b1a174b4cc97f16c95d7658a57ef4eb-bpfullI shall pass no judgement on his actions, as I was then cold in my grave and had been for the past forty-one years. Wishing to turn the conversation away from unfortunate channels, I urged my scribe to find out more. “Find out who his mother, grandmother and great-grandmothers were,” I remarked. “I have a notion that the ladies of that family were well-connected.”

Lo and behold, I was right. Sir Henry’s great-great-grandmother was Elizabeth Holland, a lady I had known well. For her grandfather was none other than my grandfather, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster.

So what does that make my scribe in relation to me? Well, Elizabeth Holland’s mother was Lady Elizabeth Plantagenet, who was the half-sister of my mother, Lady Joan de Beaufort. That means that I am my scribe’s 15th half great-aunt. Truly I marvel at such tidings!

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I have been aware for some time that some members of my audience have been a bit confused about THWARTED QUEEN. They’ve had a hard time wrapping their heads around the fact that THWARTED QUEEN was the ENTIRE saga of the Yorks, Lancasters and Nevilles whose family feud started the Wars of the Roses. The reason why I decided to have both the entire saga AND the four parts that make up that saga (THE BRIDE PRICE, ONE SEED SOWN, THE GILDED CAGE and TWO MURDERS REAPED) is because I was taking a leaf from the page of J A Konrath, who advised authors to do that as a way of giving readers a choice.

I realize now that this was a mistake, and I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to my readers for making things so confusing. I was a newbie author, and a newbie marketer and it just didn’t occur to me that this way of doing things would cause problems.

So, I have re-marketed THWARTED QUEEN to make it less confusing. It is now available as a series of four e-books:

RoseRabyVol1Volume 1 retitled ROSE OF RABY (formerly called THE BRIDE PRICE) is about Cecylee’s girlhood.

Volume 2 titled ONE SEED SOWN is about Cecylee’s affair of the heart with the handsome archer on the Rouen garrison.OneSeedVol2

Volume 3 retitled THWARTED QUEEN (formerly called THE GILDED CAGE) is about Richard of York’s political career, and how Cecylee nearly became queen of England three times.ThwartedGeBAVol3

Volume 4 titled TWO MURDERS REAPED is about Cecylee’s life after Richard of York’s death, her relationship with her son Richard III, and what happened to those two boys in the Tower. TwoMurdersHofVol4

I have created new covers with Create Space to make my work look more beautiful.

If you are one of those people who have already bought my books, you need do nothing. This is just a relabeling and remarketing to make things easier for future buyers. If you have downloaded anything you don’t want, please get a refund from Amazon.

To my new readers, I hope you will find this easier to understand. And thank you, everyone, for supporting Lady Cecylee!

PLEASE NOTE: The Goodreads page is ALL WRONG! Unfortunately, as I am NOT a “super-librarian” (whatever that means) I DON’T have the power to fix it. Sorry!




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News & Notes

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these lessons on craft gleaned from my first semester at Lesley. As June approaches, I have to disappear to prepare for my third residency that takes place from June 19-29 this year.

I look forward to reconnecting with you all later this year! Meanwhile, have a wonderful summer…


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I’m currently enjoying my residency at Lesley University in Cambridge MA…


Just in case you’re wondering where I’ve gone, I’m currently participating in the low-residency program at Lesley University, which means that I have to travel to Cambridge MA twice a year for 10 days a piece.  As I sit here in my room at Mary Prentiss typing these words, I am coming to the end of my second residency. Which means that I’m about to begin my second semester in the MFA Program for Creative Writing.

If all goes according to plan, I should graduate June 2015. In the meantime, expect to see more posts in this space, starting early February. Mondays, I will devote to craft, Wednesdays to book reviews, and Fridays to anything interesting, intriguing or fun that catches my eye!

Happy Spring!



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New Years Greetings and thanks to the 23 THOUSAND people who bought Lady Cecylee’s memoirs in 2013!


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The summer traveling season approaches…


My husband and I usually leave town at this time of year to avoid the very hot summers of Washington DC, which we find increasingly difficult to tolerate in our old age. This year, I will be going to the Black Forest area to do research on Grimm’s Fairy Tales for a forthcoming novel, while my husband gives papers in Germany, Sweden and Norway.

During this time, both the Monday Craft Tips and Friday’s Internet Goodies series will be in abeyance. However, I always read plenty of books when I travel, so expect to see lots of book reviews until I return home in August. (My husband has to prepare for his fall teaching schedule).

Have a wonderful summer!



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Friday’s Internet Goodies: Ashley’s Bookshelf

InternetGoodiesAshley Wintters is not a professional book reviewer, as she is the first to admit on her Home Page:

This is my little place in cyberspace, I love to read and write, so here I write about what I read. I’m not a professional, just blog about what I am reading at the moment!

However, she provides a valuable service to the writing community by sharing her thoughts about the books she’s read, and also hosting author interviews on her site. To be considered for an interview, you just have to click on “Author Interviews” in the sidebar, answer her questions, and email them in.

AshleysBookshelfAshley is interested in reading many different kinds of genres. This is what she says:

Mainly I read Christian Fiction, but I do enjoy pretty much any type of book except horror and erotica.

Her interests include: children’s books, fantasy, historical romance, mystery, paranormal, suspense, thriller, urban fantasy, western and young adult.

To find her site, point your browser to:

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Is this a democracy? The inauguration parade of 2013

Huge metal gates at my favorite spot on 14th & Pennsylvania made it hard to see the parade. I normally stand here. I've never seen anything like this before.

Huge metal gates at my favorite spot on 14th & Pennsylvania made it hard to see the parade. I normally stand here. I’ve never seen anything like this before.


I’m sorry to interject a sour note in the midst of the celebrations, but as the media is NOT reporting this, I feel I must.

First of all, let me make it clear that I am SO relieved that Barack Obama has been re-elected. (The alternative just didn’t bear thinking about IMHO). I am a big fan of the president and consider myself an “Obama girl.” Please bear that in mind when you read this piece.

Yesterday was the fourth time I’ve attended an inaugural parade. Because I live just a mile from the White House, I usually stroll down to Pennsylvania Avenue and stand on the sidewalk. My favorite spot is 14th and Pennsylvania.

Yesterday, I couldn’t do it. I have never seen anything like it. Literally, the parade route was gated up, so there was no way in or out.


This is the checkpoint on 14th Street near Pennsylvania Avenue. The crowd was HUGE and it moved at a snail’s pace. Imagine hearing the cheers, and the music, and being unable to SEE anything, and you get a picture of how frustrating it was. After an hour of waiting, my back gave out.

I didn’t have a ticket, I don’t know any politicians and I don’t have any pull. I’m just a regular person. The only way I could get to see the parade was to go through a police checkpoint on 14th Street. But the crowd to get through was HUGE and after waiting around for an hour, we’d only edged forward a few feet, and then only because people were leaving. I walked past police checkpoints at 16th Street and 15th Street. There were signs warning that we’d have to undergo having our bags searched. But by the time I got there (around 3 pm) they were shut. So the only way to actually get on the sidewalk to see the parade was to go through the ONE checkpoint that was still open on 14th Street.

After an hour of waiting, my back gave out (I suffer from low back pain) so I gave up trying to go through. I walked back up to I Street and walked west. Where Pennsylvania Avenue reconnects with 18th Street, I was able to see an 18th Century battalion march past. But that was all.


A view of the US Department of the Treasury, draped in bunting, with two snipers on top.

It seems a great shame that regular citizens like me can’t participate in our nation’s great day. Perhaps if the nation weren’t awash in 300 million weapons, the authorities wouldn’t see the necessity for posting snipers on top of every building.

Or for caging people in who just want to enjoy themselves.

My relatives in England wanted pictures of the parade. It’s a shame that what I have to share suggests a police state rather than a democratic celebration.

Oh, and I can’t go home and watch this on CNN. I don’t possess a TV.



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