Welcome to my Website/blog.

I started this website/blog for my novel, “A PLACE IN THE WORLD.”  (See Reviews and Awards below.)  It embodies  multicultural and environmental themes as well as other topics I am interested in.  Every week I will post something (click on “blog” in the sidebar to the left)  related to these topics  or on writing.



Here is a brief summary of the plot:

Alicia, a young American expat, marries Colombian Jorge Carvallo and they settle on his family’s remote coffee finca (farm) in the Andes. Educated as a biologist, she revels in the surrounding cloud-forest. However, following an idyllic year, calamities strike one after another and their marriage begins to unravel. Jorge leaves as a volcanic ash eruption nearly destroys the coffee crop and the threat of guerrillas and drug-lords looms; but headstrong Alicia refuses to budge and stays to salvage the coffee.

A woman without a country in a man’s world, the initially naïve Alicia survives by her wit and determination. A passionate affair ensues with Peter, a rugged geologist. She also forms a tight friendship with Carmen, the barefoot woman who has worked for the Carvallo family most of her life. Despite being separated by class and nationality, these two single mothers forge a strong bond.

The intricate web of events climaxes when Alicia finds herself in a life-threatening situation, ultimately forcing her to come to terms with herself and the unconventional life she has adopted.




KIRKUS REVIEWS..the story of a young woman with no home and little connection to family..Alicia has lived all over the world,especially South America..she follows her Colombian boyfriend Jorge, to his country..becomes part of the Carvallo coffee farm and, after a series of calamities, ends up running it alone..In the midst of this familial and romantic drama are many compelling, detailed descriptions of the rainforest. MacKinnon brings to life the forest’s flora and fauna, the wildlife, and the tribal people..meticulous detail and knowledge of the locale bring a unique richness to the novel..

“A Place in the World” is a serene, affecting, and poignant novel by a gifted storyteller. This gentle, meditative novel ramped up the tension toward the end and morphed into a genuine thriller. The author created a world that was wholly realistic and honest. In fact, everything about this novel pulsated with authenticity–the place, the characters, the animals, the community, the rebels, the indigenous tribesmen, and most of all, the everyday drama…the sign of a genuine five-star story. I recommend it highly.
Barbara Case, Emeriti University Librarian, 
top Amazon reviewer

“Set down by fate on a remote coffee plantation in the mountains of Colombia, a young American discovers her deepest passions. The rainforest itself is the book’s most detailed and compelling character, and it’s this sense of place that holds Alicia most firmly ……..where her love for the people around her slowly comes to fruition. Gentle, moving, and elegiac, A Place in the World tells the story of a young woman who transforms an alien place into the home of her heart, and in the process transforms herself as well. “
Anastasia Hobbet, author of Pleasure of Believing and Small Kingdoms

An Award Winning Novel: This well-written, riveting plot captures strong elements of friendship, love, freedom, perseverance and endurance amid all the physical and emotional challenges, heartache and pain. The pages of this novel are filled with the beauty, the grandeur, the sights and sounds of nature in the Andean cloud forest which Alicia, as a trained biologist tries to capture in her notebook.

The characters are well-developed, their personalities adding depth and dimension to a story that’s heartwarming and emotionally-riveting. Alicia befriends Carmen, the Carvallo’s housekeeper, an illiterate, earthy Colombian woman with strong maternal instincts. Together they form an unshakeable bond that transcends class and nationality. At first Jorge Carvallo with an air of charismatic confidence is affectionate and caring, but is changed after an accident, becoming impulsive, argumentative and cold. In contrast Peter Shalmers a clever, amiable and nomadic American geologist is enigmatic at first, masking an infatuation for Alicia behind friendship. After her marriage splinters sparks fly between the two lovers and eventually Alicia has to make another choice in her life. The strength of this story not only lies in a well-developed plot and characters but in the sense of historical, political and economic change that affects Colombia and its people in the late 1900’s. It’s a fascinating and moving story that I loved. Wendy Believer, Goodreads

Goodreads AuthorRead Goodreads Reviews


  • 2015 Reader’s Favorite Silver Medal WINNER
  • 2014 Kindle Best Book Awards in Literary Fiction Category, Semifinalist 
  • Writer’s Digest, Mainstream/Literary Fiction,Honorable Mention
  • San Francisco Writers Conference 2014, Runner-up Indie Fiction

Read more reviews and buy the e-book at: Buy on Amazon

Also available with most other vendors and venues.

“A PLACE IN THE WORLD” is available in softcover at: Buy Cinda's book atVirtual Bookworm

See some great photos of rainforests and Colombia visit: http://www.pinterest.com/CindaMac/boards/


P.S. People have written saying have been unable to “like” posts and pages. Unfortunately (unless you have your own WordPress blog) this is a flaw with WP. Sorry!   WP Does however accept all COMMENTS so please share your thoughts with us when you find a post or page of interest to you.  I Love to Hear from YOU and I always respond!

52 thoughts on “Welcome to my Website/blog.

  1. I want to add my voice to recommend this lovely novel. I enjoyed learning about coffee-growing, about Colombia’s people and botanical and geological features. Love in the story is understated but unmistakably deep and powerful and compels the reader onward: love of the hard landscape, love of family, romantic love and love of children. I look forward to the writer’s next novel!
    Marsha Young, Ph.D. Psychologist

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment Sharon. Sometimes I think I should focus more on one or two topics, but this is me i.e more than a few interests! (Jack of all trades, master of none!)


    • Oh Hilary – I’m sorry you had trouble. (I just finished working on my website links to make it easier! And also made sure the Green Writing Room is on my blogroll…(.. my office is green too🙂
      Delighted to hear you are planning to read my novel!
      (I added my maiden name so people I grew up with in Latin America could recognize me.)


    • I can tell from your “blog website” (above) que vous êtes français (or at least French speaking). I love hearing from different cultures and people around the world. Je suis ravi que vous lisez mon livre. Merci de m’avoir écrit!


    • Thank you – I’m rather fond of the cover myself – in fact a copy hangs on a wall in my house. It is indeed from an old painting (1901) by Martin J. Heade. He did a series of oil paintings with a hummingbird hovering near orchids. It was the perfect illustration for this novel set in a cloud forest.


    • Thank you Sandra. The cover is from a favorite painting by Martin J Heade of a cloud forest in the Amazon and it so captures the essence of the book. The designers were not showing me anything I liked, then my husband suggested “that painting” I had always loved at a San Francisco museum– I knew at once this was it.


  2. This story is inspiring and galvanizing – a woman overcoming adversity to keep her life’s purpose afloat amid a ‘man’s world.’ I love the characters – especially the Colombians, who show the importance of family in this culture.
    It’s always interesting to read one’s work which was perhaps drawn from the author’s personal experience (à la Dostoyevsky with his character Raskolnikov, maybe!).


  3. Hello Cinda, I went and read the first part of your novel at Amazon, really enjoyed it. How much research did you for your book? I myself am an expat in Russia. Living outside of the States is a real eye opener. I’ve never been to central or South America but would love to visit some day. I think I got a built in Adventure bug from my Grandmother, she traveled all over the world. Now I just need to figure out how to buy a copy of your book safely. Online purchases from Russia are dangerous.


    • Hi Archecotech! I did a lot of research even though I grew up in Colombia. Some of it was “scholarly” but it was also an excuse to visit rainforests, coffee fincas and travel. Are online purchases dangerous because (to your) your credit information? Let me know if I can send it to you somehow. I enjoy reading your blog.


  4. Hi Cinda, thanks for finding my Spanish blog. Yes I’m told the people in Andalucía and Extramadura are very different from the rest of Spain. We love it here. I’m intrigued to visit your blog and discover that you are a novelist. I’m a writer too, check out my blog at http://www.sandrdadanby.com/. Looking forward to reading more of your blog now. Saludos. SD


  5. Hi Cinda
    thank you for liking my post . I am not an expat but enjoy learning about other cultures. I am a grandmother from Toronto Canada and I am spending a few of the winter months in Florida. Luck with your endeavours and have a great holiday season.


    • HI Cinda.

      I finally got around to downloading “A Place in the World” on to My I Pad. I think it is wonderful that you have won awards. Way to Go! I am looking forward to reading your novel. Since my husband passed away I haven’t had the patience or concentration to read but i think it is time to get back to books.


    • Elaine – I’m delighted to hear that you want to read my novel and so hope you enjoy it and can get lost in the story. I hope to hear from you when you finish. I was going to contact you ( about Guest posting) but when I read about your husband I knew that would be the last thing on your mind. I’m shocked and saddened by how many of my friends have lost their husbands recently. Take care of yourself and thanks for writing.


  6. Cinda your book looks like one I would like to read. I will check it out on Goodreads. I find i am busy doing posts on WordPress and Facebook , but want to get more involved with Goodreads. Writing is easy, but marketing is the pits,I am thinking of putting my E. book on Amazon Select.


    • Hi EP –
      I hope you will check out my reviews at http://amzn.to/19wSFfX and decide to read it!

      I hear you about the promotion business: blogging, emails and Facebook have so far kept me from more creative writing – but I vow that will change next month – although I must say I have “met” some interesting people blogging and enjoy the comments I get, so that keeps me going. I too have not taken full advantage of Goodreads – I plan on doing their freebie soon.
      I urge you to consider an eBook. I have the print version I wanted, but have found in the 6 mo. it has been available, I have over 20 times the number of readers going for the eBook than the print book! It sells for a fraction of the print book, but it all adds up (and soon surpassed the revenue the publisher sends me). I gave Amazon exclusive rights for their 3 mo. minimum and then added Smashwords because they sell it on all e-venues for you (and a few readers asked me for that).
      Good luck and stay in touch!


    • We did indeed – as a matter of fact that is why we went. Thanks for visiting and following me I have done the same. (I was worried about following “road kill with a spatula,” but hey you’re a fellow Colombian expat!)


  7. hi Cinda, Seeing the cover of your novel above, I figured out why your name seemed familiar to me when it appeared beside activity on my own blog — “A Place in the World” is on my ‘want to read’ list on Goodreads! Thanks for bringing it to my attention again.


    • Hi Elizabeth –
      I’m delighted that A Place in the World is on your “want to read” list! I hope it makes it to the top of your list soon (if you are like me you may have a long one!) and you enjoy it.
      Thanks for writing.
      PS Sorry I am late in answering. I remember replying, but don’t see it here – so it may have gotten lost in cyberspace!


    • Hi Lindel
      I guess I don’t see what you see. But lets try to get you on-board. Are you doing this: when you get to the website there are three headings- Home, Author and Blog. Click On BLOG! That should immediately take you to the most recent post – which is now Gene’s. You should be able to scroll down to see yours. If not, there is a search box on the middle right side and you can click on “Expat” ( or Colombia) and all three of the Expat blogs should roll up. Alternatively you can enter “Expat” ( or”Peru”) and your blog should show. My sister was having trouble because she was stuck on the HOme page – the trick was getting to the Blog for her – and I suspect for you. Sorry you are having trouble but try again. Let me know how it goes – I’m pretty sure anyone can access it.


    • Hi Will –

      I am just back but “pretending I’m still there” as I have two more posts with pictures I would like to make.

      I have a question for you. (I’m new to blogging this year.) If I want to reblog something you wrote what is the protocol? Do I ask for permission – or does everyone want to be reblogged? If I click “press this” will it show up on my blog but automatically credit you?

      I’m enjoying your blog and comments. (Isn’t it cold in Toronto for a Nica? I love Quebec however I only know it in summer!) Thanks, Cinda


    • Hi Cinda, some people do want to be asked before you reblog one of their posts, so I would ask them first. It will show up on your bog but it will be linked back on their blog. So yes, it does give credit to the author.
      Winter in Toronto is cruel. I have been living here for 25 years and I am still not used to it. I don’t think I’ll ever be. That’s why we’re planning on moving to Colombia next year. We are looking forward to it. Can’t wait to see more photographs from Bogota.


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