Monday, March 19, 2018

DNA and Privacy

When my kids gifted my husband and I DNA testing kits, we both got a tad nervous.  Not so much because we feared what might be revealed about our past (what’s done, is done and it all got us to a good spot in life), but more we feared what that DNA might all be used for.

Could it ever be used against us in a court of law? To identify us, when we’d rather not be known? To hike the cost of life or medical insurance, should genetic weakness show up?

Could it foreseeably connect us to relatives we’d rather not connect with? Could it connect us with Crime? With lawsuits? With parental issues?

The kit did come with a questionnaire where you can choose to approve their request to use your DNA for further research (we declined and asked our sample be destroyed after testing). You can also choose how much of your information will get shared on their website, and with whom. Part of their service is to connect you, via your DNA results, with other Ancestry members who have been DNA tested. I declined sharing any of my results, although I did allow them to list for me others whom I'm potentially related to.

You can also choose to download the raw data from their lab, but unless one is a genetic scientist, it would be hard to decipher what the data means. Also, once you request that download, no longer vouches for the security and privacy of your results—because, presumably, they can’t monitor who you decide to share the information with and how securely you go about sharing it.

If this all sounds a bit paranoid, it perhaps is. Because where ever one goes, one leaves behind one’s DNA. Just swab my fork after I dine at Tony Roma’s and my DNA profile is yours.

It’s that fact, that led me to give in to my curiosity, spit in the vial, and ship it off the lab in Ireland.

Let’s face it—there are no secrets anymore.

DNA and Privacy has been brought to you by Schrodinger’s Cat—Trapped in two universes, two simultaneous lives. In one, her child is dying.

Eileen Schuh, Author 
Schrödinger's Cat
Web site:

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Fire and Fury...

Lawsuits and Amendment Rights

Trump threatens the publisher and author of Fire and Fury with a lawsuit and the publisher responds by moving up the release date. We all chuckle.

But as a journalist and author, the threat of a lawsuit always niggles around in the cockles of my mind.  One always does one's best not be libelous or defamatory and always puts those little disclaimers in the front of the book about it being totally fictitious. And in the case of journalistic endeavors, one keeps meticulous notes, checks out one's sources, and runs things by lawyers.

The right to freedom of expression and freedom of the press, are very strong rights in democratic societies, but they are not absolute.  Canada has hate laws, Germany has a law making Holocaust denial illegal. Most countries have laws against publishing state secrets and thus Snowden, Assange and Chelsea Manning got in legal trouble.

This balancing of an individual's freedoms and rights with what's 'right' for society is difficult for many of us. In my novel FATAL ERROR a disgruntled cop, in trying to make a living from a tell-all tale, unveils the identity of a young witness whose testimony helped bring down THE TRAZ biker gang.

Although the police move to prevent publication of the book, they are Canadian cops and it's an American publisher--insisting on exercising first amendment rights. With cross-border jurisdictional confusion and the age-old battle between 'rights and freedoms' versus 'life and limb' things became very dicey for little Katrina.

When rights aren't absolute and the truth is open to interpretation, the ensuing struggles, though intense and unsettling, serve as great fodder for novels and movies.
Fire and Fury has been brought to  you by FATAL ERROR, Book 2 in the BackTracker Series.

At thirteen she falls in with The Traz bikers. At fifteen her testimony brings down the gang. Her genius, beauty and wealth eventually make her a very powerful woman--but Katrina will forever be in danger.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

It's not fair!

Around the age of eight or nine, childhood tantrums give way to plaintive tirades against how unjust life is. "It's not fair!"

"If life were fair," we wise adults retort, "we'd be born old and die young. People would fly and seagulls would walk." 

"If Life Were Fair, Horses Would Ride Half the Time" (a book by Ben Goode)

"If life were fair, all the terrible things that happen to us, we'd actually deserve."

Or as Johnny Carson once said, "If life were fair, Elvis would still be alive and all the impersonators would be dead.” 

We start to develop a more mature sense of justice and fairness in our early to mid-teens, and an acceptance that no, life is not always fair.

Well into adulthood, though, we long to believe our justice system is fair, that our political institutions are equitable and principled--unless of course, we're looking for advantages for ourselves and our kin. Unless we believe we deserve a bit more than others...a bigger piece of the pie, a lesser part of the punishment.

In FATAL ERROR (2nd Edition), Book 2 of my BackTracker series, the equability of our justice system is explored from differing viewpoints--a young teen, law enforcement, prosecutors, the media, a biker gang.

As stated in the Book Club Discussion Guide at the back of the book:
"There are cultural differences in what is perceived as fair, leading to different laws and legal systems around the world. Canadian laws allows for justice to be tempered by circumstances yet at the same time, nobody is above the law—the same laws are supposed to apply to everyone equally."
Flexibility and fairness are hard concepts to balance, and not everyone is equal under the law, and circumstances both colour and taint justice.

FATAL ERROR still makes me ponder both the fragility and strength of our legal system. It's a good read...

It's not fair! is brought to you by FATAL ERROR

"Heartbreaking and triumphant" 

"...a dialogue-driven plot with so much compassion" 

“...a lesson and an intense drama in one.”

“Emotions run high in this book.” 

“This book has so much to say; we all should listen." 

“Rebellion, terror, drugs, murder, loss, lies, broken promises—all are there.”

Eileen Schuh, Author
Schrödinger's Cat
Web site:

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


"Scandal ripples through entertainment industry and beyond as Harvey Weinstein's accusers grow in number" - CBC news

How the open dirty secret remained unchallenged for so long is difficult to understand. 

Time and again we have discovered that the relationship between abuser and abused is complicated and misunderstood.

Law enforcement, the justice system, corporate American, everyday men and women and the victims themselves can't navigate rationally through the behaviors that accompany and follow relationship violence and abuse.

Yet it's imperative that we do come to understand how it works. We need to know so we can avoid the trap ourselves and  teach others how. So we can quit blaming the victims. So we can raise a generation that doesn't accept or condone such violence.

"Why didn't she just....?" is a common refrain when we hear about abusive relationship. "If it was so bad, why didn't she....tell someone, report it to the police, breakup the relationship?"

"If it was so bad, why did she...keep seeing him, continue living with him, embark on a business relationship with him, speak well of him to others, text him, befriend him on facebook?"

I explore violent relationships in my recent novel, SHADOW RIDERS. It's my hope that readers will come to understand a little better the thought processes and emotional complexities that entangle women in violent relationships.

My novel is just a small start to understanding, to getting the conversation going.

As a writer, I feel compelled to at least try to understand this pressing social issue and at most, to make a positive change in my world.

#WantingToMakeADifference is brought to you by SHADOW RIDERS

"...anticipation and fear, sympathy and revulsion." SHADOW RIDERS #PsychologicalThriller

Eileen Schuh, Author
Schrödinger's Cat
Web site:

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Magic of the Muses: Respect thy foes

Magic of the Muses: Respect thy foes: It’s something sports fans know and something those in power should quickly learn—having ones enemies’ respect is a lot safer than having their fear or anger. Eileen Schuh,Canadian writer