Sunday, December 15, 2013

Where in the world am I?

Just a quick personal note...we arrived in Ecuador without fanfare or problems. We've barely settled into our temporary apartment and it looks like we'll be in our permanent home by next weekend. We bought a used stove, sectional sofa, coffee table and dining set in the last two days.

Today we visited our new home - it's HUGE! And there is a ton of LIGHT! And we will need a fan or two for the warmer weather like we're having now.

Tomorrow we take delivery of the refrigerator, TV & stand, dishes, microwave, canister vacuum and stove. Before the week is out we'll get the living and dining room furniture delivered.

Tuesday we get our Visas registered here, then we can start the cedula process.

So busy, busy, busy....promise to write more when I'm not so tired. LOL!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

December book specials!!

I will be off CRUISING when these specials run, so I scheduled this post to let you know about them. Remember, e-books and paperbacks make great gifts for family and friends. I hope you will take advantage of these sales and spread the word!

Dec 6th to Dec 8thMy short story
"Lost and Found"
the pre-story for my romance novel
"Home Again"
is FREE at Amazon!!

Dec 8th to Dec 14th
My children's rhyming picture e-book
"What Do I Count"
is on sale for only $1.99 at Amazon.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

#IWSG for December - Perfectionism

Since I'm off on a 7 day western Caribbean cruise, this post was written and scheduled to publish. Gotta love that capability!

So, another year is coming to a close soon and I think back over what I've accomplished as a writer.
  • Published in two anthologies
  • Published two children's books (one 8-12 short story, one 0-5 picture book)
  • Published the first two books in my Klondike Mystery series
  • Re-did my website/blog, moving it off WordPress and back to Blogger
In my personal life I have done a few more things.
  • Took a month for an exploratory visit to Cuenca, Ecuador 
  • Took a two month motorcycle trip, riding all of Route 66 (yes, on my own motorcycle)
  • Prepared for our impending move to Ecuador (we fly out of Miami on 12/12)
  • Took a great seven day cruise (I'm relaxing right now!)
  • Combined four of our personal blogs into one, Our Prime Years.
  • Started a new blog to document our Ecuador plans, Retired in Cuenca
All in all, a pretty good year. But as an insecure writer I always have to contend with one sometimes overwhelming personal trait. I'm a perfectionist. There, I said it out loud. I want to keep tweaking, perfecting everything and that takes time. I read a great article: 14 Signs Your Perfectionism Has Gotten Out Of Control. Yup, I can tick off a few of those boxes...

Then I read this article: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect and I know I need to work on changing this. I am actually MUCH better than I was at work before retirement so I know I can do it. I just need to find the time and keep reminding myself that perfection isn't my goal anymore.

What about you? Do you find perfectionism a troubling trait, robbing you of joy and happiness in your life or do you revel in the awsomeness of it?

Sunday, December 1, 2013


I'm off on a seven day cruise to the Western Caribbean....I hope to get a lot of reading and relaxing done. See you in a week!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving thanks....

Today is Thanksgiving Day here in the US, a day of giving thanks for all we have. Many will be fortunate enough to spend it with loved ones, be it family or friends. We have both spent many past Thanksgiving with our respective families as well as wonderful friends. This year we are celebrating with friend in Florida as we prepare for our Caribbean cruise and then our move to Ecuador.

We have much to be thankful for - our large, extended family; our wonderful accepting friends; our health; our love of life; and much, much more.  So wherever you are, I'm wishing you a wonderful day of THANKS!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Research material: "Murder and Mayhem"

Writing murder mysteries can require a lot of research. Research about things that you might never have thought about or considered. It's easy to kill someone off with a gun or a knife. Poisoning too, but what poison? How is it administered? What are the symptoms? Will it show in a toxicology report? And so much more...

When I was writing book two in my Klondike Mystery Series, "Barely a Spark", I knew who was going to die but I had no idea how. I used D.P. Lyle's, "More Forensics and Fiction: Crime Writers Morbidly Curious Questions Expertly Answered" for research and combined with Internet research, came up with a unique way to kill my victim.

Well, now there is another book available for my arsenal, "Murder and Mayhem: A Doctor Answers Medical & Forensics Questions for Mystery Writers", just recently released as an ebook. Needless to say, I grabbed it and can't wait to see how it might help me write book three in my series.

As a writer, do you have a favorite author you use for research? As a reader, did you ever think about the research involved in writing a murder mystery?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Transitions - Flash to Shorts to Novels

When I started writing fiction, I wrote a couple of short stories and outlined a romance novel. I also dabbled in children's fiction. That was in over fifteen years ago. When I resumed writing in 2012, I found myself immersed in flash fiction. What fun! Writing, slashing, revising, slashing, adding, cutting until my words were trimmed to the bone but a story was still told.

In August of 2012 I participated in my first Camp NaNoWriMo, challenged with writing 50k words in thirty days. Oh my! Could I do this? Sure, I could toss words on paper but could I tell a story? Worse, could I stretch that story into 50k words? After all, I'd spent the last six plus months slashing my writing down to bare bones.

Surprisingly I did it, and I've done it twice more. What I've discovered is I write the story (no or very minimal editing) and when I rewrite my first draft, that is when I flesh out my descriptions, when I do more showing and less telling. Many authors find they cut words when they revise, I end up cutting but also adding a lot more than I cut.

Writing three novels in the last year meant no time for flash fiction or short stories. Well, I dabble a little in flash again - I missed my flash fiction writing friends - but not enough to really count. I also wrote one short story for an anthology with some author friends.

Now I need to write another short story for a second anthology and I'm struggling. I used to worry that I couldn't write a novel, now I find it hard to contain my ideas to something short.

Do you write fiction works of varying lengths? Do you have trouble transitioning?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Something new in the house...or soon to be in the house

Just a short note...we went to Atlanta last Friday to pick up our Ecuadorian Pensioner Visas and then spent the weekend with my youngest daughter's family. They have become an Apple house with Macs, iPads and iPad Minis galore.

Well, after much discussion between ourselves, we decided to splurge and get iPads. My hubby wanted something easier to view and to possibly eventually replace his laptop. So he opted for a 32GB iPad Air. We got it at our local Sam's Club and he also picked up a nice combination cover and Bluetooth Keyboard from Kensington. He likes the fact that the keyboard comes out for when he just wants the cover.

He's already got an iPhone 4S, so his setup was pretty easy. My iPhone is a 3G and I only use it for games right now (was under AT&T which we dropped when Verizon added the iPhone line). We both have separate AppleIDs but from what we've read we can share his for Apps, Music, etc and keep our separate ones for contacts, calendar, iCloud. Should be interesting...hopefully I can get mine set up before our cruise on Dec 1st. Then I can play with it a bit while relaxing.

We both have Kindle Fires - hubby has the first gen and I have the HD (second gen). We are thinking about giving the first gen to a friend who can really use it and keeping mine as a spare backup. Still not sure...

Writing new? Sigh...nothing new. Just not going to have any spare time until the first of the year. Keeping up with three blogs is tough enough. LOL!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Indelibles Indie Life for November

This my November post for monthly support group sponsored by The Indelibles, called Indie Life. We get to post anything we want in support of other independent authors.

A lot of my writing friends are busy participating in NaNoWriMo and I actually feel left out. So I've been visiting the Facebook support group for NaNo'ers and offering support where I can. I did two NaNo's last year and produced two books. Right now I'm just too busy with personal things to even attempt writing but I hope to jump in again with Camp NaNo next summer. 

I've always worked better with a goal and a deadline and NaNo provides just that. Write 50k words in a month. It's actually easier than it sounds. My first NaNo, I had a dead body - a location setting - a few characters. That was it. I didn't even know who the killer was and while writing the book, the killer changed three times. LOL! I ended at at 52k at the end of the month; the story wasn't complete but I had survived Camp NaNo AND had most of my first novel written.

The other thing that happened during NaNo was the discovery that I could be a pantster, that I didn't have to be a plotter. This was counter to everything I've ever done but it was freeing; it really boosted my creativity.

Do you work better with deadlines? Are you a plotter or pantster? Would you ever or have you ever tried doing the opposite?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"Barely a Spark" now available in PRINT!

For those of you who prefer print books, "Barely a Spark" is now available in paperback at Amazon. Good time to buy both books in the Klondike Mystery Series in either ebook or paperback. ;)
Prefer romance, try my romance novel, "Home Again", the follow-up to my short story, "Lost and Found".

There's even something for the little ones, ages 0-5, my picture rhyming book "What Do I Count" which is also available in both ebook and print versions (additional pages in the print version).

One last request, if you read and like any of my books, please consider leaving a review at Amazon and Goodreads!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Staying Updated....

Not everyone has time to read blogs, even if you've signed up to follow it, but you can still keep up with the latest news about my books. Here are several ways:
    1. Sign up for notification from Amazon anytime I release a new book 
    2. LIKE my author/writing Facebook page 
    3. LIKE my Klondike Mysteries Facebook page 
    4. Sign up for my erratic, sporadic newsletter
See? Easy-peasy!!

Donna B. McNicol

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

#IWSG for November

Another month has rolled around and I'm up to my earballs in things that need to be done...oh wait, that's eyeballs.

But I can't forget to send a SHOUT OUT of encouragement to all my fellow writers participating in NaNoWriMo this month. Last year I was writing my romance novel, Home Again, during NaNo. YOU CAN DO IT!!!!

Writing short stories, flash fiction, novels....moving to Ecuador....finding a place to live there....which I did, now we have to furnish it....getting legal issues taken care of before the move....daily chores and just generally living life.

See? My brain is exploding with STUFF.

On a happy note, I fixed my flaky, erratic mouse issue. Changed batteries, still flaky. Installed new software/drivers, still flaky. Last thought, it was Win 8 issue. Nothing on Google other than a recommendation to clean it. So I finally took a q-tip with alcohol and swapped the little laser eye. WOW! What a difference....used to clean the trackball in my old mouse all the time. Never thought about the little eye because it's recessed. Happy mouser now!

Wait, I'm supposed to be writing about my insecurities as a, let's see. Nope, no time to figure that out this month. Maybe in December! ;)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

GUEST POST: Allegories of the Tarot

First of all, I'd like to thank Donna for generously hosting me here.

My name is Annetta Ribken, and I am a professional editor of over eighty indie novels.

That means I might be slightly crazy, but I love my job.

For a long time, I had an idea of putting together an anthology of stories based on the Major Arcana of the Tarot. I know and work with so many amazing writers, I just knew if I could get them all together we could create something fabulous. I'm happy to say I was right.

The stories are incredible. Many different genres are represented, and it was fascinating to see the direction in which each writer took their chosen card. Their talent just blew me away. You'll find a cross section of new and established award winning talent in this table of contents, along with some stellar fiction. Fiction you won't find anywhere else.

I am so proud and ecstatic to introduce these writers to you.

Treat yourself this Halloween and see what lurks around the corner. You won't be disappointed.

Twenty-two cards…
…each an individual splinter of the human psyche.

Twenty-two writers…
…honing each splinter into a story of triumph and decay, arrogance and humility.

Stories of the brightest lights and the darkest corners of the weirdest minds.

Twenty-two cross-genre worlds.

Twenty-two portals into the Universal.

Only one way to get there.


An Anthology of Symbols and the Human Experience.

Available now at Amazon, Smashwords, and all e-book retailers.

Annetta's Bio: A professional editor of over eighty novels, Annetta Ribken has also been writing since a tender young age, when letters were chiseled on stone tablets. A precocious student, Annetta earned her Ph.D in the School of Hard Knocks, with honors, in the early Age of Disco. She lives and works just outside of St. Louis with her evil feline overlord, a rescued shelter cat named Athena

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

GUEST POST: Character Interview by author Saoirse O’Mara

Hi Donna, thanks for having me over on my birthday. I’d like to give your readers the opportunity to get to know me a little better, as well as meet my two protagonists, Tayla and Govin, from my YA fantasy/mystery series A Rogue’s Tale. So here’s my very own little interview with the two of them. Enjoy!

Saoirse: Tayla, Govin, nice to meet you again. Tell me…why did you choose my head to appear in?

Tayla: Oh, I liked the chaos and the creativity inside. And I liked the little dragon that already lived there.

Saoirse: Dragon? Oh, you mean Miro? Well, yeah, he’s the protagonist in another series….

Govin: Once Tayla had chosen you, I thought, oh well, why not give her a chance. And when I started to tell you the first story, it was easy enough to get you to write it down correctly. So we stayed.

Saoirse: Hm, that explains it. So what is up with you and Tayla? Why did you two end up friends?

Tayla: He helped me escape although he didn’t even know me, and when he asked me for help later, I knew I owed him. And since then, I haven’t been able to get rid of him again.

[Tayla laughs.]

Govin: It just felt wrong to leave her in that cell. She has become a good friend in those first few days and I’m glad I met her.

Saoirse: What was the worst moment of your friendship?

Govin: When Tayla sent for me from the temple of Natifa, I was scared to death. I was really afraid I might lose her in that moment.

Tayla: Yeah, and after that, I thought you didn’t like spending time with me anymore because you didn’t want to investigate with me. I’m glad we got that misunderstanding out of the way. I really missed you.

Saoirse: Okay. But seriously, a member of the City Guard and a pickpocket...couldn’t you come up with an even more unusual friendship?

Tayla: Sorry, the friendship between dragons and humans was already taken.

Saoirse: Touché. Well, I’m looking forward to writing down more of your adventures together. Do you have more stories for my readers?

Govin: How much time do you have to write them down? We have plenty to tell.

© Saoirse O’Mara, Aug 26, 2013

You can find Saoirse's books at Amazon and Smashwords.

More About the Author:
Twitter: saoirseomara
    Facebook: Facebook profile

    Monday, October 28, 2013

    Trying to get back into a routine...

    We are back home in Tennessee after SEVEN weeks on our motorcycles. What a trip! We left in HOT weather, rode in some WINDY weather and returned in COLD weather, but have to say that most of the weather was excellent. We sat out a couple of windy, wet or cold days but nothing really severe. For anyone interested, here are the posts from the trip.
    I'm working hard to get the print version of "Barely a Spark" available as well as a Smashwords version. Maybe in another week? Watch for updates...oh, and be sure to read the GREAT reviews on Amazon!

    A HUGE THANK YOU to all my guest authors who took time out of their busy schedules to do interviews, announce new books and more. You've made the past two month much easier on me. Please feel free to submit new guest articles anytime (that offer is open to all my author friends).

    The next two months will continue on the same schedule, a once or twice a week posting. Things are really busy with our return from our trip and getting ready for our move to Ecuador. LOTS to get done and I'm afraid that writing is dropping to the bottom of the list for a bit. But I won't forget you, my wonderful readers!

    Monday, October 21, 2013

    FEATURED AUTHOR: V.J. Chisholm

    Hi everyone, well I’m V.J. Chisholm indie author from bonnie wee Scotland.

    I have to thank Donna for having me on her blog today

    I’ve been a scribbler all my life and my passion for writing was most defiantly passed onto me by my nana (who could always make up the most amazing stories on the spot).

    I write for an indie publishing company called Vamptasy which is an imprint of Crushing hearts and Black Butterfly’s aka CHBB - I love working with them , it’s such a great family feeling there.

    Magick Weaved on a Samhain eve is my debut novella, this was my first shot at writing anything along the sizzling line – (It really come out as more of a sweet but sassy paranormal romance at the end of the day- guess my shyness got the better of me yet again , lol) so it took a while before me & my muse to get it together on this one and come up with the idea of Alexia with her wicked witchy ways. Lance took a bit more time to come to life. Despite knowing right away how I wanted him to be, I was lack any idea of what to make him look like.  Until a friend of mine was making us gals laugh (and there was a fair amount of drooling too, lol) one evening over a certain picture she had posted on her blog of a lovely tasty male treat.

    From that photo the looks and movements of Lance were born and so was Magick Weaved on Samhain Eve

    Magick Weaved on a Samhain eve is about Alexia who is a lively, single, sassy and sexy coven witch yet she finds herself and her sex life (or lack of it) the hot topic of her fellow coven sisters after one of the coven's full moon meetings. Add to the mix the discovery of an old spell and Alexia’s life starts to change very quickly as a spirit named Lance appears. Combine the heat of the full moon and a hint of destiny, life will never be the same again for Alexia.

    I love the team Alexia and Lance make when they clash and get together – so much so I’m currently working on the follow up to Magick Weaved.

    I’ve been very lucky with this book as it just got voted to #1 on Goodreads for best short romance fiction and has been climbing in the paid kindle bestseller in the top 100 for drama British and Irish.

    Here a little teaser for you all from Magick Weaved on a Samhain eve

    She didn’t need to open her eyes to know that the spell had worked, as the air within the room had taken on an amazing tingling electric feeling. If that was not enough of a clue for her know that she was no longer in the room, the sudden appearance of a breath touching the back of her neck, and the feeling of a hand running over her bare shoulder sweeping her hair over to one side sure as hell did the trick.

    Alexia felt like she had been burned by the touch. (There was no longer any doubt in her mind as to whether she would be able to feel her lover’s touch.) The lick and strength of heat the simple touch caused within her body shocked her so much that she would have jumped right off the bed had it not been for the arm that slipped like a snake around her waist, pinning her effectively against a well-defined and toned chest. She pushed back a little, and rubbed herself against it, reacting out of nothing more than pure instinct. 
    “Stop that now, Alexia, or this first round will before over far too quickly!” a deep male voice growled and purred into her ear.

    There was more than a hint of an accent in his lusty voice. It was as sexy as hell, but there were not enough of the little grey cells in Alexia’s head that were still working to work out where it was from. Goddess, what was up with her? She never melted from the barest of touches, and a few whispered words like this. This was an all consuming rush and need, and not normal for Alexia by any means. Hellfire! She didn’t even know this guy’s name yet. She was not allowed to dwell on that small fact for long.

    Book available on Amazon - US and UK

    Follow the author:

    Monday, October 14, 2013

    AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Juli D. Revezzo

    Tell us a little about yourself, so my readers can get to know you.

    Juli D. Revezzo: I’m a Florida girl who grew up loving fantasy and science fiction. I studied literature and art history in college so I have a curious streak that I put to good use in my writing. When I’m not writing I like to watch movies, everything from biopics to (yep, you guessed it) fantasy and science fiction. I also garden when the weather’s not unbearable and I read as much as I can.

    Who were your influences? How’d you get started writing steamy romance?

    Juli D. Revezzo: My biggest influence is fantasy author Michael Moorcock. I fell in love with his Elric series in high school and that sparked the need to try to write like him. I’m still working on that! How did I get started writing romance? I always put some romance thread in for my main characters, no matter what genre the story is—if the story allows for it. So when my friends encouraged me to give romance a shot, it seemed natural to focus on that and bring it to the fore. My biggest influences in the romance realm are Debra Glass, C.L. Wilson and Kathy Carmichael, and S.G. Rogers…without whom, you know?

    What inspired the story Passion’s Sacred Dance?

    Juli D. Revezzo: I was reading a ton of Celtic Mythology at the time. I also heard a Megadeth song, “foreclosure of a dream” in my mind (you know how sometimes a song will just play over and over, and over?) and the two meshed into Passion’s Sacred Dance.

    What kind of research, if any, did you have to do in order to write the book?

    Juli D. Revezzo: I read and re-read the myth of the Second Battle of Mag Tureid on which the main battle is based; I also spent some time, years ago actually, working in a college gallery so I had a bit of life experience on which to build Stacy’s gallery work.

    Can you tell our readers a little about Passion’s Sacred Dance?

    Juli D. Revezzo: It’s a paranormal romance about a woman who is caretaker to a gallery. She invariably falls in love with an immortal warrior of the Tuatha de Dannan, Aaron, when he comes and asks to use the property for a ritual battle. However, if they lose the battle, the Earth will be plunged into Chaos for the next 500 years.

    Do you have any forthcoming projects you’d like to share with our readers? What's next for you, now that Passion’s Sacred Dance is out?

    Juli D. Revezzo: I’m working on an untitled follow up to Passion’s Sacred Dance, as well as an unrelated, novella, and the follow up to my previously self-published novel, The Artist’s Inheritance. As well as a few other things.

    Passion’s Sacred Dance:
    Battling mounting debt, Stacy Macken is determined not to lose her historic art gallery. When Aaron Fielding appears and offers to help, she fights to keep the attraction sizzling between them from clouding her judgment. He may be her savior in disguise–but can she trust him?

    Aaron intrigues her with tales of the Tuatha dé Danann, sworn warriors who protect humanity from the monsters seeking their destruction. If Aaron can prove what he claims, she would give up anything to help–even the gallery he claims is sacred ground. But with her property set to stage the next epic battle, she needs answers. An old family diary will confirm the ancient legend is true, if only they can find it in time.

    If the battle is lost, the enemy will take control of Earth for the next five hundred years. Stacy and Aaron’s budding love might only complicate things.

    Passion’s Sacred Dance is available at Amazon.

    Your readers can find out more about me and my novels at:
    And I’m also on Facebook:
    Good Reads:
    Twitter: @julidrevezzo

    Thanks so much for having me as your guest today, Donna!

    Thank you for taking time to talk to us, Juli.

    Wednesday, October 9, 2013

    Indelibles Indie Life for October

    This my October post for monthly support group sponsored by The Indelibles, called Indie Life. We get to post anything we want in support of other independent authors.

    Yup, still on the road. We left from TN on our Route 66 adventure on September 7th and we finished in Santa Monica, CA on October 7th. What a wild trip it's been. We are now relaxing in Las Vegas until Friday when we will head eastward for home.

    I managed to get the Amazon version of the second book in my Klondike Mystery series, "Barely a Spark", published before we left and it's now getting formatted for the print version as well. I haven't decided if I will publish it on Smashwords or not...

    This was my first series and I found it hard to not put in spoilers from the first book, something I hadn't considered until a friend read the first few chapters and pointed that out to me. I had to go back and make some big changes but it made the rest of the book easier to write with that in mind.

    One thing I hadn't anticipated - how hard it was to feel as excited about what I was writing as I had during the first book. Not sure what the difference was. I knew people would love the first book and they did. I wasn't so sure about the second book. Was it moving fast enough? Was there enough mystery? Would the new characters add or take away from the story?

    If I ever write another series I will be very cautious about continuing one book into a second. It's one thing to leave a cliff-hanger (I did in book two), but you need to be sure the current story is DONE.

    Do you write or plan to write a series? What's been your biggest fear?

    Monday, October 7, 2013

    NEW RELEASE ~ Renewal by Tabitha Short

    by Tabitha Short [learn more]

    Genre: Southern Contemporary Romance

    All Grace has ever done is run away. After high school, she ran to Ole Miss, a college far away from her home in Sunset, Louisiana. After college, she ran to a job in Wyoming that spared her from a life in Jackson she didn't want. Now, at twenty-nine, her husband has passed away and all she knows how to do is run, so she's run back home.

    Now she must work through her loss while building a new life. First, she must repair her relationship with the younger sister she left behind. Then, she has to find a new job, which lands her dealing with an arrogant, sexist boss and a very competitive co-worker, but they're the least of her problems.

    Her old college boyfriend, the one who broke her heart, is the Assistant Director. On top of that, her childhood friend, Morris, keeps showing up asking for a date and flaunting his country boy good-looks.

    Going home seemed to be the right answer, but now she's tired of running. It's time for her to learn to let go, give in, and to heal. She has to learn that it's OK to remember, it's OK to hurt, and it's OK to love again. Can she convince herself to move forward? Or will the pain of her husband's death leave her unable to reach out to others?

    Where To Buy Links:

    Tuesday, October 1, 2013


    In March of 2013, I released the first book of my series, The New Pioneers. Emily, the heroine of The Smartest Girl in the Room, is similar to me in a lot of ways: she’s ambitious, tormented and… half Korean. It’s not autobiographical (I swear I didn’t do half of the things she did my last year in college), but in some ways it felt safe to write about her because of the shared ethnicity. The book isn’t about her ethnicity at all (unless you count talking about Korean food, but doesn’t everyone these days?), but I felt like I was in a safe place there.

    But the safety ends there. The heroine of The Family You Choose is Miranda Harel, half-Israeli and half… you’ll see. She wasn’t raised in Israel, but she is Jewish. While that wasn’t how I was raised, I felt like I could safely write to it as one of my best friends is an Israeli American and my husband and his family are Jewish. But I’m not. Can I write about someone who is?

    Now what about Jessie Bartolome, the heroine of Book Three, tentatively titled The China Doll? Her ancestors going back at least two hundred years have all been born on US soil… but she’s a Boston Brahmin. I have met some people who fit that description, but Jessie’s a little different. Oh yeah- she’s also blonde, grey-eyed and a hell of a lot wilder than I’ve ever been. Is it okay for me to write to that?

    And finally, we come to Zainab, Emily’s best friend who will get her chance to shine in the series finale, tentatively titled Let’s Move On. She’s a transplant from southern Africa, and she was raised all over the world. Well, I’ve been to Canada twice, and I went to Asia for about a week and a half, but otherwise, I’ve been confined to the US. Can I write to that? A good friend of mine from college comes pretty close in background, but let’s assume she hasn’t told me every story or every name. And this character is also black. Given the perpetually lousy state of race relations in this country, is it okay for someone who isn’t to write about someone who is?

    I say yes, yes and yes. Why? Because the stories aren’t about their ethnicity, and part of my life not only as a writer but also as a person has been about fighting the idea of the fatalism of origin. More simply put, I don’t believe that ethnicity is destiny. (For that matter, neither is upbringing.) I don’t believe people with certain ancestors will grow up to have certain characteristics.

    We as writers can tell stories about whomever we want, of whatever background they have, as long as we don’t write as if they are a stereotype. You will find no “hot-tempered Italians”, “drunken Irish” or “gangsta African Americans” in my work. Yeah, such people exist, but there are also hot-tempered Germans, gangsta Brits and drunken… well, everyone. What’s the point? And haven’t those things been done to death?

    Someone is going to say this is all too much political correctness, but that’s not my point at all. In my imagination, a half-Korean co-ed can be best friends with an African woman, who is dating a blue-blood and like a sister to his cousin, who is also like a sister to a young woman who is half-Israeli. I don’t want to be told that I can’t write to that, and I don’t want to be told that if I do I have to shy away from someone who isn’t exactly like me. Because maybe I didn’t grow up like Miranda, Jessie or Zainab, but they have lived in my head for so long that I know exactly how they’ll react in any given situation, and why. They are real people to me, and I’m going to write them that way- whatever they look like.

    Deborah Nam-Krane has been imagining the lives of her varied cast of characters for over two decades. When she decided they all belonged in the same story, things really got interesting. A resident of Boston-proper, she spends more time than she should plotting out everyone’s next move.
    Nineteen year old Emily wants her college diploma fast, and she's going to get it. But when the perfect night with perfect Mitch leads her to a broken heart, Emily is blind to her vulnerability. When the person she cares about the most is hurt as a result, Emily's ambition gives way to more than a little ruthlessness. She's going to use her smarts to take care of herself and protect the people she loves, and everyone else had better stay out of her way. But shouldn't the smartest girl everyone knows realize that the ones she'd cross the line for would do the same for her?

    The Smartest Girl in the Room is Book One in The New Pioneers series.

    Miranda Harel has been in love with her guardian Alex Sheldon since she was five years old, and Michael Abbot has despised them both for just as long. When Miranda finds out why she wants both men out of her life for good and questions everything she believed about where and who she came from. Finding out the truth will break her heart. Without family or true love, will her friends be enough?

    The Family You Choose is Book Two in The New Pioneers series.


    Please connect with Deborah Nam-Krane on any of the following sites: