You know how to do this by now. Guess the race of the author. Guess the race of the people mentioned in the excerpt. If you want to guess in the comments, feel free and you can even decide to be anonymous. No fair cheating and googling. I'll be back with two more books later. Boy stuff now.

I pulled my focus back to the scene at hand. We finished the blocking rehearsal, then Lida Rose called for a five-minute break. I lowered myself into the orchestra pit to see if Jed had enough toys and water.


"Hi, Nathaniel."

His voice was too quiet for anyone else to hear."You saw him, didn't you? I couldn't help but notice your attention wasn't completely focused on stage."

I wanted to say no, and avoid sounding crazy, but this man had been Don Mueller's friend. I felt like I owed him something."Yes."

"Is this the first time Don, um, has made an appearance?"

"No. At least I'm pretty sure I've seen him before this."

He sat down in a seat closest to the pit. He looked calm, but sad. "Has he ever spoken?"

I smiled. "Not to me. But he likes my dances. He's applauded for them. The man obviously has taste."

Nathaniel mused, "Funny. I've heard rumors for years that his spirit haunts this theatre. Never really believed it. Never really believed in ghosts. But today when I saw you staring into the balcony? Well. Guess one is never too old to change one's mind."

I couldn't help glance over at Rafe."Mind telling a few others that?"

Nathaniel smiled, then Lida Rose's voice called out,"All right! Break's over. It's time to dance."

I climbed out of the pit with Nathaniel's able assistance, then hoisted myself onto the stage and waited for the cast to gather. "Okay, troops. Nothing new right now. I want to review the Gambler's We number, then give the guys a short break and work with the dancehall girls on the Headin' up the Brazos dance."

We danced for the next hour. I didn't get another chance to check out the railing of the balcony. Nothing hinted of another presence though, so I decided Don had called it quits as to watching rehearsals. At least for today.

I made it a point to ignore Rafe as much as I was able. That was not too difficult from the physical standpoint since I had to spend most of my time patiently teaching the Humble boys the steps they'd learned the day before. Rafe, of course, caught the moves the minute I showed them. From an emotional standpoint, I was all too aware of his presence.

Why the heck had Billie gone on the other day about how Rafe was crazy about me? It was like the old lawyer's trick about getting a jury to think about what the attorney wanted them to. Tell them not to think about elephants and guess what's the only thing on their minds?

I glanced down at Billie, smiling serenely at me from the audience. And knew there was an elephant just behind my right shoulder.


  1. Nope, not the slightest indication of ethnicity, description or cultural motif in sight.

    But, "Humble Boys" would make a great Country Music band name.

  2. Regarding Book A, Don Mueller obviously had German ancestors and hence is most likely white. Though not necessarily, he could be what used to be called a "Besatzungskind" (occupation baby) in postwar Germany and many of those had black fathers.

    And I have a feeling, based largely on their names, that Lida Rose and Rafe might be Hispanic. Though considering that Rafael/Rafe is a popular name in all sorts of romance novels, probably not (I knew a Rafael in school and hence the name has never seemed the slightest bit romantic to me).

    As for all three authors and the characters in the other two excerpts, no idea. Which is the point, I guess.

  3. Boy, you've really made it tough this time. I've no idea other than to fall back on cliches: there's a character named Don Mueller, which indicates European heritage, so maybe the characters are white. But they're also dancers, and one of them is named Rafe, which hints at AA.

    So I'll say that the author is of European heritage, the characters likewise.

    It seems to me that the race of the author would be harder to guess than the race of the characters. It also seems to me that the race of the characters should be evident in some way: their race is part of their identity, and an author should convey that. I should get some sense of what it is like to be black when I read a story about AA characters.

    I think that, in a perfect world, it should be easy to guess the race of the characters, and impossible to tell the race of the author. I realize that you're primarily talking about romance here, which has somewhat different rules than regular ol' fiction, but, really, I don't want to read fiction which is so cleaned up and prissy that I can't guess the race of the characters.

    I think your three excerpts worked: I can't tell the race of the authors. I'm flat-out guessing on all three.

    And I think that's your point.


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