Tag Archives: Updates

I took an Ancestry DNA test and the results changed my point of view. #Mondayblogs

Family legend has it that a great grandmother, Nancy, was Choctaw. I grew up knowing that for sure. I have strong cheekbones and a square face. A dentist said these small indentions in my teeth indicate a Native American Ancestry. So, for the past 52 years, I assumed I had at least 10% Native American, mostly Choctaw or Blackfoot. I reveled and claimed this part of my heritage with great pride. I admire the First Nations of America.

But nope.

I don’t even have a fraction of a percent. My sisters might. DNA from parent to child is odd that way. People get half of their DNA from a parent, and that half may not be what their siblings receive. Since I’m dark haired and eyed, olive complected, and rather short, I figure my tall, blonde, and fair complected sister is more Scandinavian than my own 20%.

And that was surprise number one. I’m Scandinavian AND 20%? Really? I honestly look the exact opposite of whatever you think of as a person in that group. So to be as much as that is a huge wow. Almost as much as the 0% Native American.

The 29% Irish and 25% English was not surprising. With a maiden name of Kelley and family names of Magee, Baker, Casey, Stewart, Monroe, Simms, to be 54% from the UK was a given. I’ve been to England, and the country does feel like home. Now I seriously want to visit the rest of the UK.

Fractional surprises? There are small fractions of various ethnicities. Genetics supported another family legend of a Jewish man marrying a Gentile and back then, they held a funeral for him because he was dead to the family. Turns out, it’s true. Something else fun and a wow moment is being 5% West Asian. Yep.I had no idea. Maybe the Scandinavian might have been a given when considering the Vikings and a number of red haired people in my family. Seeing that being reported was not too much of a surprise. But West Asian? Now I really MUST know more about that part of my ancestry.

A Facebook friend recommended I run the DNA data through a medical website and doing so was an oh my God! moment. It was there in the report and in my genetics. All the reasons for being told I need to pay attention, need to remember things better, need to stop being so obsessive were hardwired into my DNA. If I’d discovered this in my teens or twenties, I’d have known these were real aspects of me I could modify but were no more shameful than having brown instead of blue eyes. You can dye hair, wear colored contacts, and have cosmetic surgery for your nose. Knowing you have a bit of ADD? There are hints and helps I had to uncover the hard way by trial and error. If I’d had a “You have this, here’s what you do,” report back in my twenties, I think life would have been a lot easier. At least, there would have been a lot less of feeling defective in some way. Like the entire world could focus and I was the only one who couldn’t. Memory, too. Everyone could remember the shopping list, why couldn’t I?

So, my recommendation is for people to get their DNA checked. Not just for the where did I come from, which is cool, but for the medical. It’s scary, especially when you read about having a tendency toward various cancers and heart disease. I knew about those particular health risks for me, but to see them in print was daunting. Prometheus’s test also lists the medicines I’m either great or not so great with. Chemo meds are more effective for me than most, while blood thinners, ibuprofen (I took massive amounts for my migraines in the past! It’s a wonder my intestines are still intact, and I have a liver.), and transplant meds aren’t. Good to know now, right?

Something else that’s fun and I’ve learned the northern Europeans need to expect is the potential for Neanderthal DNA to be mixed in. I had no idea and think having Neanderthals as contributors to my genetics is a riot.

I will say that a lot of the potential medical bad stuff in my genes can be mitigated by lifestyle. Just because I’m able to tolerate cocaine without being addicted doesn’t mean I will ever try the drug just to make sure. I’m also 60% resistant to AIDS, something else I’m not going to test. Forewarned actually is forearmed.

So how about you? Leave a comment on if you had an ancestry test and it went haywire or not. Let us know what happened with you.

When is anything good enough? A #MondayBlogs conversation.

Let’s all take a step back from the news and world events debate and talk about a different kind of controversy.

Perfectionism. I has it. Do you? If so, you know that good enough is not an option. It kills me to have mistakes in my work, even when I’m told some are to be expected and are normal. Ug. No.

So right now, I’m wading through The Very Worst Man, living the perfectionist dream of giving the book a complete makeover. At the same time, I’m writing Surplus, book four in the Nova Scotia Murder Mystery series. Yes, it’s aggressive but necessary to meet deadlines.

I know this blog post is short and sweet but see above deadlines. In the meantime, tell me what in your life is something you pick to death to get just right. I can’t be the only one who wants to detail her truck with a Q-tip or thousand.

Field Trip!

I have big plans for this weekend. Not as big as the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, of course, but big on the research for a new series.

For the RT lowdown, head over to here to read and then come back.

Fun, right? But what’s this weekend? And that new series? Drumroll, please…

Introducing the American West series. Four stories set during the American expansion era. I have four books planned for sure about the Santa Fe Trail, the Orphan Train, the Pony Express, and a Northwest Shipping adventure. Characters from my Oregon Trail series will make guest appearances, too, and I’m so looking forward to seeing them again.

I’ll post on Monday what we did and saw on our intense research weekend.

#MondayBlogs and Spring Fever!

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Our weather in the Midwest US has been so lovely this week! I’ve struggled to stay inside and work but gave up on everything last Saturday. My husband and I spent the day running around town. I even took off a lot of Sunday. I’ve not taken off that much time in a row for weeks.

I needed the break. After going over The Very Best Man for its rerelease, Surplus, the fourth book in the Nova Scotia Murder Mysteries needed me. I’m almost done with chapter three and while that doesn’t sound like enough, there are only twelve chapters plotted. My only hang up is the murder is a stabbing, exactly what happened in Pleasures. Does it bother anyone else when a murder mystery series has too many of the same kind of deaths? Appearances is going to have a unique murder, Rage is a bit predictable but not a stabbing, and Honeymoon? I don’t know how I’m killing that random character.

Creepy, isn’t it? Such fun, though! Being a writer is the best job I’ve ever had. The boss, me, is a bit of a hard ass, however. Never letting me goof off outside or anywhere else, really.

#MondayBlogs and Introducing a New Series

Writer’s Block. Nope. Not around here. This post is all about what’s been going on around here. It’s been really fun. The photos below are scenes from the stories, too.

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I’ve spent the past month writing like a fiend. Actually, it’s been the past two months. The whole process has been super exciting for me and I hope the readers catch that when they begin reading. What’s all the fuss? Here are the first three stories in order and where to find them.

Imposter- A Vancouver, BC doctor learns someone is admitting patients using his credentials. It’s fraud and if someone dies? A homicide. The short story is a thriller and part of the Thrill of the Hunt anthology. You need this anthology and not just for my story but for the other six. They’re super exciting and each one is by different authors. I had a blast writing my part of it and the awesome Miranda Nading edited. See my prior post to read her wonderful writing.

Holidays-I backed off the death and dismemberment for Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. The characters are in Halifax, Nova Scotia, now, and it’s where the rest of the series is set. This short story is out everywhere, and sets up everything for the reader. The romance, the family, and beginning to heal are all the focus of this story. I loved writing the holiday scenes between the Hays family. A little bit of my own family is in their dialogue. DSCN0253

Betrayal-The first novel in the Nova Scotia Murder Mysteries! Yes, Virginia, there is a death, and while it’s gruesome, I try to keep things on the cozy side. No insect details, or in this case, shrimp and other bottom feeder details. Our characters from Holidays and Imposter link up to figure out what really happened to their friend. This has been one of the most surprising books I’ve ever written. I plot these things out, bit by bit, but Betrayal took detours I didn’t see, but enriched the story. I’ve had so much fun writing this book that I didn’t stop and went on into….

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Impatience-The second novel in the series picked up in the same scene and time Betrayal left us in. When an elderly lady is wheeled into the ER and later dies, it’s easy for everyone to blame old age. Until, one of our characters finds out, this wasn’t due to natural causes. I’m around two hundred words into the story, less than this blog post, so anything could happen.

There you have it! Why my fingers have been keeping the keyboard on fire and why I’ve been MIA just about everywhere except Facebook.