Old Dog, New Tricks, and Handbrakes

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” I’m learning what that means. Learning new things is harder when you have to unlearn the old. The other day I drove my daughter’s car to the bank. I’ve been driving a car with a handbrake for several years now, but when I came out of the bank and started the car, the brake light showed. So I put my foot over where the brake pedal should be and felt around for the pedal so I could release the brake. I finally looked down. No pedal. No levers on the floor or on that side.

So I looked under the dashboard and pulled a lever there. That was the hood release. The other was the trunk. I got out of the car and closed them. Inside the car once more, I searched the dash for the brake release. Nothing was where it should be. Finally I gave up and called my daughter to find out what was wrong with her car.

She said, “Handbrake,” and hung up.

I’ve hit the age where something I learned as a child, like a name, a song, or a poem, is easier to remember than something I learned two minutes ago, or in the last few years. Learning something completely new is not half as hard as learning something that I already knew how to do, but it got changed somehow, like computer program developers do to you. I keep trying to do it the old way, and it doesn’t work. I learn to do it the new way, then forget, sometimes the next day.

Thankfully that doesn’t matter when writing stories. I put my cast of characters at both the top and bottom of my manuscripts as I write so I can check the names as I go, since I usually write more than one book at a time. Some of my books, like “Turnagain Love” and “The Holiday” have only two or three characters in them, while others, like “Height of Danger,” have well over a dozen. These books all have an element of humor in them.


So far I have four new books planned for this year. The first which has already been published is Terminal Pursuit, the second (out next month) is a book about an avalanche dog. I’ll write more about it in my March blog.

Also be sure to check out our February contest page where some of the books on the page will be free during the month. This is a new feature we’ve added. www.authorsbillboard.com

Have you entered our monthly contest?

Win a gift card to support your reading habit!

Click here to enter to win today!

Join the Authors' Billboard Newsletter mailing list and get a newsletter filled with new releases and books on sale every Friday.

Start out your subscription with a free book!

About Nancy Radke

A USA Today bestselling author, Nancy Radke grew up on a wheat and cattle ranch in SE Washinton State. She attended a one-room country school through the eighth grade. She learned to ride bareback at age 3 (Really! It was a common practice.) and when she got off or fell off, she would pull her horse's nose to the ground, get on behind its ears, and the horse would lift its head so she could scoot down onto its back. Nancy spent most of her childhood exploring the Blue Mountain trails that bordered the ranchlands. She and a friend once took a trail that turned out to be a two day trip. They always rode with matches and pocket knives, so made camp and returned the next day. These long rides worried her parents, but provided plenty of time to make up stories. Her first novel was set in the Blues, and is entitled APPALOOSA BLUES. TURNAGAIN LOVE was the first one published. It rated a four star review from Affaire de Coeur. Scribes World said "Turnagain Love has some fascinating twists and turns, unexpected complications, and charming scenes." It is light and humorous. Nancy currently has over 30 books written, both modern and western. All her stories are sweet and wholesome.  View website

3 Replies to “Old Dog, New Tricks, and Handbrakes”

  1. Oh, Nancy, I had to laugh. We bought a Lincoln SUV last year, and it has push buttons instead of a shifter. I still sometimes reach for the stick shift! And the parking brake is another button on a panel to the left of the steering wheel, right next to a button for the lift gate. Ack! Too darn many buttons.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.