Nation of Enemies

By H.A. Raynes

Author H.A. Raynes published NATION OF ENEMIES, A THRILLER with HarperCollins & Witness Impulse. A timely political thriller in the current election year as the United States ushers a polarizing figure into the White House. 

In the spirit of this election year...a giveaway!

Hi everyone!

In the spirit of this election year and all the...colorful(?!) issues that are swirling around us in the news every day, I'm hosting a giveaway for NATION OF ENEMIES! Refugees, candidates' medical histories and questionable's a timely thriller, don't you agree? The giveaway is on Amazon (ebook version). People say it's "in the vein of Michael Chrichton and James Rollins" - you can see all the great reviews on goodreads and on Amazon. Here's the link to put your name in the hat! Happy reading! 

And see it here on Goodreads

TED Talk - Like fiction, but fact.

In Nation of Enemies, I write about CRISPR (in the future of course, 2032). If you don't know about it, you should. It may just determine the future of your grandchildren...and certainly your great grandchildren. 

Gene drives could eliminate disease - or destroy everything. 


This TED talk explains how CRISPR gene drives allow scientists to change sequences of DNA and guarantee that the resulting edited genetic trait is inherited by future generations, opening up the possibility of altering entire species forever. More than anything, the technology has led to questions: How will this new power affect humanity? What are we going to use it to change? Are we gods now? Join journalist Jennifer Kahn as she ponders these questions and shares a potentially powerful application of gene drives: the development of disease-resistant mosquitoes that could knock out malaria and Zika.

Creativity = Happiness

Recently I was honored to be asked to be a guest on the Live Happy podcast. They wanted me to talk about Creativity and how / where it fits into life, and furthermore, how it contributes to happiness. Luckily, that's sort of my mantra - I'm happiest when I'm writing. And now that I've made it firmly part of my life, balanced between kids, work, husband, dog, house, friends (not necessarily in that order), etc. I'm not letting go. Making time for myself and my creativity is key to the rest of my life. If you have a few minutes, check out the podcast!

Creativity—one of 10 practices for choosing joy on the #LiveHappyNow podcast!

Would you edit your children's genes?

It was hard to believe I was reading news, not fiction.'s article posed the question: Should you edit your children’s genes?  

When I think back on my life, I wouldn't change a thing. Truly - good and bad - it makes me who I am. But my sister may answer differently. At 34, she's already had three major surgeries. And as she is potentially on the cusp of another, knowing her, she'd likely say something to the effect, "Hell yes, I'd edit out my defective genes!" 

So if given the opportunity,  perhaps she'd be able to delete the degenerative scoliosis gene and clear up that hole in her heart. Now that I'm thinking about it, if such a gene exists, it's tempting to me to obliterate my chronic daily migraines. Hmmm. I know there's a gene - ACTN3  (I wrote about it in Nation of Enemies) that makes people essentially have greater physical power and athletic abilities, strengthening legs among other things. I've always been's tempting to want to change such a trait. But all of it's tempting, and that's the problem. Should we be able to choose? I love making lists and this seems like a good time for one: (caveat - I'm inventing things I assume could be modified by gene editing in the future)

Good Arguments for Gene Editing: 
Heart Disease
Degenerative diseases (a seemingly endless list)

Bad Arguments for Gene Editing: 
Athletic inability (ie. the fact I can't throw a ball)
Skin elasticity (if that's a gene?)
Eye color
Increase IQ
Cosmetic choices (again, a seemingly endless list)

Plenty of people would opt-in to many of these. And many wouldn't. But if you can choose to do one...why not do the other? It would only take a generation or two to slide off that slippery slope. To forget that people aren't perfect, physically and mentally. But even with these changes, there is no perfection as I think we all know. I understand the desire to eliminate disease, the pain and suffering caused when bodies fail us. 

Insurance companies are monitoring us more now. They - and our employers - incentivize us if we're healthy. And as we age, we're penalized by rising insurance costs. Crazy, considering that yes, we're aging, and THIS is why we've been paying health insurance our whole lives. And regardless of our age, it goes without saying that we all WANT to be healthy. We're increasingly pushing ourselves with apps and devices like fitbits that help us monitor our movements and to squeeze in a ten-minute exercise session in our busy day. These can certainly be good tools to contribute to a healthy lifestyle. What's not good is when we are required to or asked to share this information to "help" our doctors/insurance companies monitor our care. That's where things are headed.

Food for thought. Recently a journalist asked a young woman born blind if she would erase her blindness, if it had been an option, if she wished she were born with sight. In short, she didn't. She enjoys seeing the world as she sees it. It's what she knows. It's still beautiful, it's still life. It's just not perfect. 



2015: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

This has been one crazy year in my life. As many of us do, I'm driven to reflect on events these past twelve months. I'm also of the mind that I prefer a life with high highs and low lows versus a predictable, monotonous one. Luckily this year is stacked on the "high" side.  I’m a listmaker so here goes: 

The Good: 

- Nation of Enemies is published. I’m a published author! This actually goes beyond the category of “Good” so I’ll just put it at the top. 

- My family is healthy. 

- I adore my children 98% of the time. 

- My husband and I are employed. This helps with some of the ugliness listed below. 

- I’m working on my next book and loving every minute. Not a thriller. Can’t say much at this point. 

- In general, on most days, I’m happy. I aim for balance. Achieve it fleetingly. But mostly I am happy. 

- It’s highly likely that the above (happy) comes from my family and friends. The lot of them are amazing.

- It’s 60 degrees at Christmastime! Had to give the weather a shout-out. 

- My car is still running. 100k + crumbs/spills/etc. but it still hums along. 

- We finally building an addition onto our tiny house! (see below, this is a redundant entry). 

My cockapoo is still sprightly at age 12. 

The Bad: 

- Never enough time. 

- Never enough wine.

- Migraines. 

- 2% of the time with my kids. 

- A family member just had major surgery (*technically this could be a redundant entry under “The Good” because she is recovering and will be fine). 

The Ugly: 

- Living in a house that is being renovated. 

- Politics. 

- Trump (also redundant, I know). 

As a gift to any of you who haven’t yet read Nation of Enemies, I want to end the year right by letting you know that the ebook is currently on sale during the holidays - @ $.99 on Kindle and via BookBub.

I'm wishing all of you a hearty, healthy, happy holidays! And a peaceful, more-good-than-not 2016!