Because Prince Charming isn’t always a Prince

For my first post on writing, I want to introduce you to a young writer who has a special place in my heart. She will, in turn, introduce you to one of the main characters from her authorial debut. Rose Kuehr-McLaren is my middle kid, and definitely amongst my top five favorite children. She has always had a vivid imagination and seeing her take off with writing – in ways so different from me – makes me extremely proud.

Rose’s first published short story appears in the OWS Ink Anthology, Glass & Ashes. Her twist on the classic Cinderella story will send a shiver down your spine. Delight or fear, you ask? Both. Definitely both.  Read the spotlight, then grab a copy of the anthology!


Cleo Jiang Prince

Cleo Prince is a staple of the MU community. President of Theta Sigma Nu Sorority, Cleo has taken Bronco Pride to new heights by introducing events like the Charity Color Run For Your Life and the homecoming bonfire.




Cleo has been selected for Spotlight because of her charity work and her third semester on the Dean’s List. Cleo is a Business and Economics major with a minor in Women and Gender Studies. She says she wants to break the glass ceiling and reinvent women in the workplace as mentors and bosses first and foremost. Strong-willed and ambitious, she hopes to be president of an international non-profit focusing on women’s rights “by the time I get out of grad school.” We took some time to get to know her.


I know several staff members have helped you with your various events, and some of the student body too. Is there anyone you would like to give a special shout out to?

My roommate, Caitlin. She’s been there for me since the very beginning.  Without her friendship and connections I would not be as involved on campus as I am today. One of my favorite memories with Caitlin was when we worked together collecting supplies for Mary’s House, the local women’s shelter. This was when we first got to talking and really bonded.   


Your parents must be very proud of you and all your hard work. What traits do you think they taught you that led you so far so young in your life?

My parents taught me that no one does anything alone.  You need good friends to help you. I remember my dad used to always tell me “Cleo, a good friend is worth a million dollars but a bad friend costs you more.” I think what he means is that good people can help you achieve your goals, while bad one bog you down.  I honestly think my friends are worth a million bucks!


What do you like to do to wind down after a hard week of studying and charity work?  Is there a special someone you like to spend time with?

College is first and foremost a place for you to learn and grow.  But sometimes it’s a place to let loose. Partying is as essential to youth as learning.  As for a special someone, I don’t want to jinx anything, but I definitely have my eye on someone.


Welcome to the party!

This is the part where I introduce myself. I’m much better at it in person. I walk up to new people and say, “Hi, I’m Isa. She/her pronouns.” Then I comment on whatever gaming/writing/drinking thing they were talking about because that’s why I went up to them in the first place. So, I guess this isn’t much different. And I’m used to talking to myself. When my kids were little, I could pretend I was talking to them when in public. Now, I embrace the crazy and go about my business, chatting away to just me.

You might be wondering about who I am. Or you might not. There are plenty of other weird things to wonder about, like what went through the mind of the octopus that got rained down onto the streets of China recently. Did it go all Douglas Adams and try to make up a name for the sight rushing towards it? Or, just curse to itself muttering “not again”? What was I saying? Oh, right. Me. Hi, I’m Isa McLaren. I’m a bisexual writer with a pair of cats named after my favorite fictional burglars. And once I get to be a rich and famous writer, I’ll be traveling the world and telling you all about it.

Bernie Rhodenbarr, retired burglar

If I ever were to open a bar, it would definitely be called The Drunken Slattern and be decorated in shabby velvet and old furniture. But for now, I don’t have a bar. I have a blog. This is where you’ll find my posts about gaming, writing, drinking and probably cats. Maybe some other stuff. Oh, and be warned. I swear. A lot.

Dortmunder, relentless burglar

I came out as a nerd a few years ago, but I’ve been gaming for as long as I can remember. Board games, video arcade games (remember Dragon’s Lair? Spent so many quarters on that damn game!), and for the last 10 years or so, tabletop RPGs. I’m currently in a FATE game with the zaniest characters and great people. It’s a fun release and we often spend half the time just laughing.

My first full-length novel, A Kiss for Luck, is coming out May 4th, 2019 (yay!), a light-hearted crime thriller starring con artist and jewel thief Jules Brand. I’ve also written several short stories about him, with more to come. I can’t remember when I first started writing, but it’s been forever. Writing pretty much saved my sanity at a low point in my life. Although, when people hear that I have characters in my head clamoring to be heard, most of them look at me like I’m crazy. But those people aren’t writers.

What goes well with gaming and writing? Booze! Actually, booze goes well with just about everything. (Except driving – be responsible, people!) Making cocktails became a hobby because of my kids. No, they didn’t drive me to drink. But babysitters are expensive and hard to find on short notice, so mixing a fancy drink and watching a movie was the entertainment of choice. I started tinkering with the drinks, trying out different liquors, different bitters, etc. From there, it was a small step to creating my own recipes. Jules Brand already has a signature cocktail, with two more included in Kiss.

So, welcome to my party! Come in, let me take your coat, can I get you a drink?