Compassion in the 21st Century
Compassion: a desire to help someone in need. When you show compassion to another person, it enriches your life as well as his. Yet to show compassion to someone, you must become involved in his life.
How do you become involved in another person’s life? Usually you talk to him, and learn about what is going on. Where he’s having problems and needs help. When he needs it. He will tell you! Last century, the telephone was invented, and people could now talk to each other even over large distances. People communicated, and reached out to each other. It was wonderful. I remember using our party line, how everyone knew everyone’s business, and how we came together as a community to show compassion for each other.
Then, in this century, with the invention of the cell phone, texting became the normal way of communicating. Everyone texts, it seems, short sentences sometimes with the words shortened to U and FYI, which require an interpreter to read them. People text while they are walking in traffic, while shopping, while in a class, but worse, people text while they are at home, alone. How involved can you become when you can’t even hear the other person’s voice, whether he sounds tired or discouraged or happy or defiant? How do you know that this person needs the compassion or friendship you are willing to give?
Instead of becoming an aid to communication, texting on cell phones has become a tool of isolation. Many people isolate themselves at home, reaching out only through texts. Teens shut themselves in their rooms, when they should be out developing social skills needed for life. Texting should never replace conversation, which is how we interact with other people. When you talk to someone, you find out much more about him and his life, his feelings, and thoughts; more than you will ever find out by texting. Texting is great for setting up appointments, but it should not be used to as the sole way to sustain friendships. Everyone needs friends, as man is a social being.
Cell phones have replaced our computers, watches, alarm clocks, maps, and our way of communicating. Lets not let them replace our families and friends.
In my book, Turnagain Love, the heroine is isolated on a small island. With no cell tower close by, she can’t call for help. Since three of anything—three large rocks, three honks, three shouts—is the universal signal of distress, she places her white clothes into three groups, making three large white circles out on the beach. Her efforts are rewarded by the arrival of the hero in a large motorboat. But he hasn’t come to help her. If fact, he never even noticed her signal. So what is he doing?
Turnagain Love is the first of the Sisters of Spirit series. It is part of the Sweet & Sassy Collection, #1, which is available for 99¢
Where Writer’s Write
So where do writer’s write? Some take their laptops to a crowded cafe, and are comfortable writing with onlookers peeping over their shoulders. Some want solitude, with everything organized around them, phone off and kids banned so there are no distractions while they pursue their story. Some have special places where they write, with their writing materials handy. So, I’m going to ask the authors who read this to put WHERE and WHEN they like to write in the comment section.
Rebecca York has a special sunroom lounge that she shares with her cats, and Jacquie Rogers has a special office that she inhabits until 4 AM, dictating her stories before pounding the keys.
Personally, my writing space depends upon the time of day, the weather, and just how I’m feeling. If I set myself a planned space and time, I don’t produce as much. When I write in the early mornings (I’m up sometimes when Jacquie’s up), which is the most often, I grab my laptop and throw a blanket over my shoulders and sit on the edge of the bed for an hour or three, until done. Then it’s time to get dressed and start the day.
If it is really sunny and nice outside, I’ll take my laptop out to a lawn swing and write there. If it is raining and stormy, the gas fireplace invites me to write next to it. I do have an office, where I make and edit videos for my Raising Giants home school program, and produce the Show & Tell Bible, but I find it hard to write my novels there.
I used to plan all my stories out, but find it is better to just write them, as I lose interest in a story if I know where it’s going. Once written, then I go back and make sure everything works. I’ve tried the dictation method like Jacquie uses, but actually speaking the words makes me lose my train of thought. I write faster and better directly on the computer.
So authors, where and when is your best writing time/space?
My latest novel is another thriller in the Brother’s of Spirit series. (First one was Height of Danger). New novel is Terminal Pursuit, not quite finished. I’m waiting for the book cover and must do a complete re-write before I put it up for pre-sale.
The Quietest Woman in the South is a post Civil War story about love, friendship, and responsibility. It has spots of humor amid the danger, and was a lot of fun to write. Evil men always have kin, and the hero and his friends have to fight the same family several times until they are free of their threat. Normally $2.99, it is on sale for $.99 this October, 2017.
WATER, WATER, EVERYWHERE @_NancyRadke #mgtab
With all the news about water everywhere, but not drinkable, I’m reminded about the elderly woman who was asked what she thought was the greatest modern convenience. Her grandchildren waited, expecting her to list the refrigerator, clothes washer, or electric stove. She said, “Running water.”
The hurricane emergencies remind us all about how precious drinking water is to life. In 1961, my husband and I spent the summer as forest fire lookouts, and our first water source was a snowbank. Nice cold water, and drinkable when melted. But as the summer went on, our snowbank disappeared. Now our only water was one mile away, down the steep mountain trail, to an ice-covered lake that had melted enough to send forth a small waterfall about five feet high. To take a shower, we jumped under the ice-cold stream, got wet, jumped out again, soaped all over, then jumped under again to rinse off. After we dressed, my husband filled our seven-gallon water-tank which was mounted on a back-pack, and carried it the mile straight up back to the lookout tower. Water used to rinse the dishes was saved to wash them next time, dish water was saved to wash our hands and faces, and finally used to wash the table and then the floor. The hardest thing to do was to give a hiker a drink, watch him drink half the cup and toss the rest thoughtlessly away.
My book, THE RICHEST MAN IN TEXAS, starts with the hero in the desert, trying to keep his horse and himself alive. While searching for water, he meets the heroine, who shoots first and questions his story later. Soon water is only a small part of their problems.
I’m offering THE RICHEST MAN IN TEXAS for 99¢ this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.Currently $2.99.
The Richest Man in Texas
What’s the difference between can and may? Does it matter? Words make a difference. As an author, I have to be careful with what words I choose. A mother teaches her children (or tries to) to say “May I have a cookie?” which is asking permission, rather than “Can I have a cookie?” meaning, “Am I capable of having a cookie?” Today people use the word “can” to ask permission, so I use it that way when I’m writing dialogue, but not in the rest of the story.
When the difference is between can and will, it is a question of being able to (can) as opposed to wanting to do it or not (will). A scripture says, “If any will not work, neither let him eat.” Notice the use of the word “will.” This refers to someone who is able to work, who could find a job, but won’t. He’s lazy. It is not referring to a person who cannot work because he is unable.
I think everyone has their set of words that gives them problems when they write. Mine is lie and lay. I always have to stop and look them up whenever I want to use them in a sentence. Simply put, lie means to recline, and must never have an object. Lay means to put or place something down, so has an object (the thing you put down). The problem arises when you need to use the past tense of lie, which is lay, so it feels like you are using the wrong word.
When I write my Trahern series, which involves a family moving west after the Civil War, I sometimes bring in a tiny bit of dialect. I use more when my characters are just out of the mountains, and less if they’ve been out for a while. A sprinkling of such words is all that is needed to give the impression.Link to Handsomest Man
The problem I notice most often in other people’s writing is it’s and its. It’s (with the apostrophe) means it is, whereas its means something belonging to it. It is the first day of the shop’s grand opening, would be written: It’s the first day of its opening. The error occurs because we usually show possession by an apostrophe. I have to go through my books, checking all the “its” to make certain I didn’t slip up. It’s so very easy to do.
What words give you fits?
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Hi. What is a Wow Book? Well, we’ve all had someone tell us, “Oooh, I loved that movie. Be sure to catch it.” Or, “I loved this story. You’ve got to read this!”
Then someone else says, “I hated that book! Couldn’t get beyond the first chapter.”
Why do people love something? Hate something else? How can one reader’s favorite novel be another reader’s turn-off? Truth is, we all respond differently.
Some movies/stories, like Cinderella, reach an enormous number of people, while others please just a few. The “blockbusters” touch the feelings of their audiences. In books, I call this the Wow! factor. It’s when you tap into your readers’ emotions, where you pull your readers into the story so they “live” it through your characters.
It’s the intangible something which brings your readers back for every book you write. We can’t write for everyone, but we can write some Wow books for our readers.
Scanning through the comments on Amazon, I find many of my books have earned a Wow designation from my readers, especially the Trahern western pioneer series, liked by those who like Louis L’Amour. The Traherns My son, Nolan Radke, who is also an author, even had one reader comment that he called over everyone and said, “Wow! You won’t believe the great book I’m reading!” Logan’s Lead
The first book I selected for July’s Authors’ Billboard monthly board is “The Bravest Woman in Town,” a Trahern story, set near the end of the Civil War. People love Kate, who is fighting the war in her own way. Both it and the second book, Height of Danger, have turned out to be Wow books for many people.
Height of Danger has my favorite character, Hugo, involved, but he doesn’t arrive until the hero, Owen Putman is nearly killed twice in the same day. Owen goes in undercover to find out who is sabotaging the work being done to build a dam. The arrival of the boss’ daughter complicates things, especially when she is kidnapped. Hugo comes to help, but has to be rescued too. As authors, my son and I had a lot of fun, putting our characters in danger and getting them out again.
Height of Danger
If you read Height of Danger and want more of Hugo, his story starts in Scorpion’s Trail. Owen is in that one also. Hugo shows up again in Spirit of a Champion. And Hugo’s brother, Greg, is in our next co-authored book, Terminal Pursuit, which should be out this year. We have to do a little more work on it, to put in the wow factor, before we release it to the public.
~ USA Today Best-selling author Nancy Radke lives in Kirkland, Washington, along with her extended family and (right now) six dogs and a kitten. She writes sweet contemporary romances (Sisters of Spirit), mysteries (Brothers of Spirit), and a pioneer series (The Traherns). No sex, no swearing, just clean and wholesome. Her series books are all able to stand alone. She loves hearing from her readers, especially during FaceBook parties, which Authors’ Billboard will be hosting July 19-20.
When I wrote “I’ll be Home for Christmas” for the boxed set LOVE, CHRISTMAS, I envisioned a soldier trying to get back home to enjoy a Christmas meal with his family. Things happen along the way to delay him, and make him wonder if he will get back in time. This was my initial idea when I put him in a rowboat in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Toss in (literally) a romantic interest, and I was on my way.
One of the things Lee Trahern and Sofia Morgan enjoyed was a turkey dinner. I’m giving you my recipe for slow-cooked turkey, which is a way I’ve fixed turkey for at least forty years. I do it for many reasons, but one is that it is sooooo easy. The original recipe was in an Adele Davis book. This is how a whole pig is cooked in Hawaii at luaus, when they roast it in the fire.
If turkey is frozen, remove plastic wrapping, slather it in vegetable oil, set it into a roast pan, and follow roasting instructions. If fresh, wash it clean, dry, slather in vegetable oil and set it into a roasting pan and roast. The advantage of using a frozen turkey is that ALL the moisture stays in the meat. A cheap frozen turkey comes out just as good as an expensive fresh one.
- Put oil over the entire turkey.
- Put turkey into a roast pan with tray, so that air will circulate around the turkey.
- Cook turkey at 300 degrees for one hour. This is so that all bacteria is killed before you start slow roasting.
- Turn the oven down to 175 degrees. Let it cook for 18 to 24 hours. That’s right. All night. I start a 22 pound frozen turkey around 3 in the afternoon and cook it all night and have it ready around noon to three the next day. It depends upon the size of the turkey and if it is frozen or fresh. The neat thing is that if someone is late getting to your dinner, you can leave the turkey in the oven for a few more hours and all it does is get more tender.
- How do you tell if your turkey is done? Take hold of the drumstick and “shake hands” with it. If it is stiff and resists, cook longer. Don’t poke it with a fork.
- If you want stuffing, make a stovetop stuffing and pour some of the turkey juice into it as you cook it.
- If you cooked it frozen, don’t eat the skin, since you had no chance to really clean it. Just peel it away and put that moist, juicy meat on a platter for all to enjoy.
You can slow roast all types of meat. Always cook it first for 300 degrees for one hour. Then look at a meat table, see what temperature you want your meat to be when you are done, and set the temperature there. If roasting beef, you may want it rare, at 140 degrees. Just remember to give it a long time to cook, and don’t worry about cooking it too long. If you are going to be out most of the day, you can slow cook your meat, then turn the temperature up if you need to to finish it off.
What do you do with all that free time while the turkey is roasting itself? Well, grab a copy of LOVE, CHRISTMAS and sit back and enjoy reading. It is a USA Today best seller, and the price is still fantastic for 20 all-new novellas.
Independent authors often collaborate to write stories with a theme. The collection is then sold as a boxed set. This year a group of 20 authors I am with picked the theme of Christmas Songs. Each story uses the title of a Christmas song taken from reader’s suggestions. My song was, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” Since I write the Trahern series, I thought at first that I would write it as a Civil War era story, of a soldier trying to get home, who keeps stopping to help strangers as he goes. One of the people he helps is a woman he falls in love with, and when he does get home he brings her, too.
But that was very close to the plot of a story I had already written, “The Quietest Woman in the South.” In that book, young Cade Trahern heads home at the end of the war, riding a cantankerous mule, General Wheezer, who becomes part of the story. While helping people, Cade falls for a woman who doesn’t say much, but when she does, she makes it count.
So I switched to modern times with our dangerous world, and put Lee Trahern in a rowboat in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. He has told his family that he would be home for Christmas, but he gave up his seat on the last plane out of the country being invaded, so is rowing back. Now all he has to do is row hard. All I have to do is get a young woman in the boat with him.
I’ll Be Home for Christmas
by Nancy Radke
Dedicated to Delene Yochum
The ship, an old steamer, almost a derelict, looked like it was about to swamp, joining the many others at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea. Paralee Trahern could see people everywhere, covering it in the same manner in which they piled on top of the cars and other vehicles in the third world countries, not considering that a boat was different, and overloading it could cause it to capsize. If there was any room at all, they climbed aboard.
He watched as it approached him, then rowed closer. “I can take a few of you here,” he called, first in Aramaic, then French, and then in English. “Send three over.” It would almost swamp him, but if just a few came…
About forty jumped off the sinking ship and swam towards him. He hastily turned his rowboat around and started rowing like he was at Henley. If he let them come aboard, or even grab hold, he would be capsized and sunk along with them.
He rowed hard and fast, making the little boat jump. If he hadn’t rowed so close to start with, he might have made it. But the first one to reach his boat acted like an anchor. Then the rest came, flailing their way through the water.
Several grabbed the stern, their faces desperate. They were the ones who had rid themselves of their heavy clothing, enabling them to catch him, at the same time slowing his boat enough that the others reached it. Seeing the inevitable, he yanked both oars out of the oarlocks and stood up, holding them.
They tipped it sideways, trying to get in. As it filled with water, Lee simply walked over their bodies and out into the Mediterranean. Then he swam away from the rowboat a short distance and turned around.
Placing the oars under his arms, he waited, patience being one of the things a SEAL learns early on. The saltwater wouldn’t do his prosthetic leg any good, but he couldn’t take it off and maybe lose it. He felt thankful that he was in the warm Mediterranean and not the North Sea.
He watched while his rowboat went completely under. When they realized the boat was gone, the men swam back toward the steamer, which wasn’t doing much better, but which had not slowed down.
With their weight gone, the rowboat was still submerged, while his group of plastic water containers, tied by a rope to one of the thwarts, floated next to it.
The men paid it no attention, as they were intent on getting back. Some did, most didn’t. Those on the ship ignored them, leaving them in the water. They waved and screamed, but the ship continued on, and soon there were none.
It was growing dark and he kicked underwater to keep his movements hidden, while he maneuvered himself back to where they had sunk his rowboat. For a few minutes he couldn’t see it, then he stuck his head under and looked around. He had passed it on the right, its shadowy form suspended just below the surface.
He swam up to the boat and over it, then rested his body on the seat, which was about a foot underwater. Once the other ship steamed far enough off into the distance, he let go of the oars and laid sideways across the boat, his legs hanging over one side. In position, he reached across and grabbed the other side of the rowboat, and turned it on edge, letting it drain as much as possible while shoving it up into the air. Then he dropped it right side up.
It wasn’t completely void of water, but enough had gone out that the bow and stern were clear, and the gunwales a few inches above it. He retrieved his oars, flipped himself over the side and reentered the boat.
He worked for a while to get more water out, bailing with a small can he had kept for that purpose. Thankfully, the desperate men hadn’t tried to untie his bag of provisions, as they were too intent on keeping afloat. Once he had the water down to a few inches, he turned his back to the north and started rowing again.
Sofia Morgan stiffened as she hit the cool water, going down in a swirl of bubbles and clothing. After the searing heat of the sun, increased by the pressure of too many bodies jammed close together on the deck, the water shocked her, making her gasp for air.
Her friend’s husband hadn’t even allowed her to take her enveloping cloak off, before pushing her over the rail to join the men in the sea. His hand had thrust hard between her shoulder blades, sending her out into the air, as well as over the side. Did he want to get rid of her, that much?
She knew he hadn’t been happy, having her around, with her American ways. She was too independent, and made her college friend want to do things that were forbidden.
Once in the water, the cloak tangled around her, and she had to fight against a rising panic. She held her breath and pulled it off, one sleeve at a time. It was overly large, and she held it away from herself as she resurfaced.
The side of the steamer loomed over her, and men were thrashing all around in the water. They turned, almost as one, and started swimming toward the lone rowboat.
She looked up at the side of the ship and realized there were no ladders or anything hanging from the side. No way to climb back on unless someone lowered a rope. It was moving away from her. It hadn’t stopped when the men jumped off. She swam hard to make sure she was clear of the propellers.
Once at a safe distance, she looked around to where the rowboat had been. It would soon be sunk, unless the man rowing it got away in time. She swam back to where her cloak still floated on the surface, and grabbed it. Tying the arms together at the wrists, she whipped the wet garment through the air, catching enough air to create a small bubble that she could rest against.
When she looked again, the rowboat was turning on its side as the men tried to climb aboard. She watched as it sunk beneath them and they frantically tried to climb on top of one another.
What had become of the Good Samaritan? She figured he hadn’t expected such a reaction.
Then the men turned and started to swim back toward the ship. Not toward Sofia, as the ship had moved on, so the swimmers swam toward it and not to where she was, but she remained quiet in the water, not making so much as a splash. Desperate swimmers would try to climb on top of anything, so they mustn’t see her.
That had looked like a wooden rowboat. It should still be there, even if underwater. The men had all left it by now, swimming hard to catch the boat. Most were swimming with their robes still on, and the weight was pulling them under, causing them to grab their companions and pull them under too. A few had shed their clothes, and actually were catching up to the steamer, but no rope was thrown to them and they were left in the middle of the sea. Soon all but two were gone and she could no longer see the ship from her position in the water.
Would they try to get back to the rowboat? Then they too disappeared from sight, below the sparkling waves. Everything took on a serene, unreal quality, as if never disturbed by the floundering men.
She had tried to picture the location of the rowboat in her mind. It would be hard to judge distances, and she might swim right on past it, but there was no stopping. Nowhere to go but toward where she had seen the boat sink.
Now Sofia kicked hard for the rowboat, hanging onto her improvised flotation device. As she got nearer, she saw it flip on its side out of the water, and realized that the man must have gotten away from the mob, and had returned to claim his boat. He had invited a few, and probably hadn’t expected what happened. Maybe he would still be willing to take on an extra passenger. It wasn’t like she had an option.
She adjusted her direction. She would have missed it by ten feet or more, the way she was headed. She could see the man bailing out the water and kicked harder. She had to reach him before he started up again.
The stranger was her only hope. It wasn’t like there were ships aplenty around, for although the Mediterranean did have a lot of traffic, it was sporadic. She couldn’t count on another boat coming by before she drowned.
The man occasionally glanced toward the departing steamer, but he wasn’t looking her way. Even as she decided to leave her cloak behind so that she could go faster, he picked up the oars and started to row. “Help!”
He didn’t hear her. The noise of rowing must have covered her cries. Why hadn’t she yelled sooner?
“Help. Help!” The boat moved sluggishly, but way too fast for her to reach.
“Help!” She screamed, then waved her hand and hit the water, making as large a splash as she could. No use.
Still, it was not in her to give up. She yelled again and started swimming.