About Me

Nicky Penttila writes stories with adventure, ideas, history, and love. She enjoys coming up with stories that are set in faraway cities and countries, because then she *must* travel there, you know, for research. She lives in Maryland with her reading-mad husband and amazing rescue cat. She’s chattiest on Twitter, @NickyPenttila, and can also be found at nickypenttila.com.

See below for high-resolution images of me and the book covers.

Longer version:

I like to figure stuff out. I enjoy writing, editing, and Web wrangling for The Dana Foundation, which is not to blame for anything I say on this site. In addition to reporting on brain science, I write fiction that usually includes history and ideas and romance. See some links to my nonfiction writing below; my first novel, the romantic historical A NOTE OF SCANDAL, was released in May 2012. My latest, historical adventure THE SPANISH PATRIOT, was released in August 2015.I hang out mostly in the Baltimore–Washington, DC, corridor.

In the past, I copy-edited, designed pages, assigned news stories and edited them, reported and wrote editorials at the Hartford Courant, the San Francisco Examiner, and the Baltimore Sun. I have a BA in communications from Michigan State University and an MS in teaching English to speakers of other languages from Central Connecticut State University. Freelance, I’ve done substantive editing, copy-editing, and proofreading for books, medical booklets, and newsletters, as well as writing and ghostwriting.

Some links to my writing:

Here on the blog:

American Loyalists – Some 15-20 percent of all the white people in the British colonies in 1770s America when revolution from Britain was declared were Loyalists, also called Tories or Royalists. What happened to them during the war?

In Search of Corunna 1809 – While writing The Spanish Patriot, I arranged to spend two weeks in A Coruña, walking the streets of old town and looking for ghosts.

Why I put a melee in a romance novel – It might seem odd to set a story about two people falling in love in the middle of that kind of trouble, but for me love helps people see things more clearly—including the outside world.

Remembering Peterloo – While writing An Untitled Lady, I arranged to travel to Manchester, England, the week of 16 August 2010, the 190th anniversary of the big protest march I set at the heart of the story.

Napoleon in England – What? Napoleon in England? Well, English waters, at least, in 1815.

On Writing: Killing the biggest darling –  An unexpected loss from early drafts of An Untitied Lady

For the Dana Foundation:

Growing Older and Cognition: Your Mileage May Vary – What does current science have to offer in the way of advice on staying mentally sharp as you grow older? General guidelines and useful tips, with expectations of more to come—someday.

Wake up! The Science of Sleep –  Why don’t people care more about sleep? We wake up early and go to bed late, and let our kids do the same, trying to put more “day” in our days, when it’s the nights that build our memories and heal our brains and the rest of our bodies.

Neuroenhancement: Building an Improved Body and Mind — “If we had something that could truly enhance our experience of life, without risk, why not?” Report from a discussion at AAAS.

Brain Science and the Law –  While neuroscience can tell us a lot about how the brain works, it has not yet produced much data that can be used to decide criminal or civil disputes. But that hasn’t stopped lawyers from trying to enter it as evidence, said presenters during a two-day Law & the Brain conference held in New York.

The Neuroscience of Aesthetics: Artists and perceptual researchers start a conversation on what they can learn from one another This was also reprinted in the zine Folly, Dec 2010 (pdf)

Busting Some of the Myths of Attention

Gazing with new eyes (blog post)

Ready or Not: Q&A with “Mind Wars” Author Jonathan Moreno

For magazines:
All Work and No Play: When did Americans stop having fun? As a group, Americans—especially East Coast Americans—don’t pencil in as much time as they’d like for plain-old play. Just ask around the watercooler, or check out the blogs, assuming you’ll allow yourself a moment for such idle speculation.

Can the sustainability movement survive its own success?

See also Goodreads for my short book reviews

For the Baltimore Sun editorial page:
Getting what you pay for

Like yourself? So what?

Living tributes

Cultivating cures

Land of the free-flow

Print-quality Image Files (click to enlarge):

AUL BookCover-20150323-3
Click here  for tif

TSP BookCover-20150428-1c-front 20141210-2

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