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

Why My Outdoor Lights Stay Up Until March

Why My Outdoor Decorations Stay Up Until March by @_NancyRadke #mgtab

I am one of those who put my outdoor lights up around Thanksgiving and don’t take them down until after March. I especially love the white fairy lights that cast a warm glow on everything. This year I plan to put up some larger, colored lights, but I still want the tiny white fairy lights around my windows.

So why do I leave my decorations up so long? It has nothing to do with decorating and everything to do with a slight amount of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). I live near Seattle where it gets dark around 5 pm, starting in November and continuing through February. I happen to be very sensitive to outdoor light or lack of it.

In the summer, I get up with the sun and am pretty much happy all day. I rarely close my curtains. (Some of my windows don’t even have curtains.) But in the winter, when it is dark out, it makes me want to sleep and not get anything done. Closing the curtains doesn’t work. I KNOW it is black on the other side. Pitch black. Dark as the inside of a wolf’s mouth at midnight.

One year I put up fairy lights as a decoration. I didn’t think much of it until I realized that it kept my windows from feeling dark. Even though I KNEW it was dark outside, it didn’t FEEL that way. I could leave my curtains open. Even with them shut, light shone on them from the outside, as if it wasn’t dark out.

I no longer wanted to start closing down at 3:30, 4 pm, and instead felt full of energy. Hooray! Fairy lights are wonderful. I put them on a timer so that they would come on before it started getting too dark and not go off until 10 pm. This worked so great that I left them up until the spring equinox was close enough that I no longer needed them.

So if you feel dreary during the long northern winter nights, get those fairy lights working for you. Don’t take them down in January just because the holiday season is over. You may be the only house on the block with your lights on, but if it works, keep them on.

My Christmas story this year, Three French Hens, takes place on a Montana ranch, with freezing cold weather, darkness, and the bank threatening to foreclose on a widow and her son. The hero finds his way to her door because she had put a bright light up on the barn to help guide herself back home. He thought at first it was a star helping him find his way. That’s the way I feel about fairy lights.

Click here for set containing this story.

The set shown here is Unforgettable Christmas Dreams, put out by the Authors’ Billboard. If you want to enter our monthly contest, click this link.

https://authorsbillboard.com/

Egg on His Face from Three French Hens

I have been busy writing and now have two brand new stories coming out: Three French Hens and Christmas Cupid.

Thinking about the holidays reminded me of the song, the Twelve Days of Christmas, so I wrote a novella called Three French Hens. I pictured my hero stealing eggs from the heroine’s French Hens, and her sic’ing her dog on him. He, of course, runs away, falls, and gets egg on his face. The chocolate brown eggs laid by French hens are considered a delicacy, so she didn’t take kindly to the theft.

That was the set-up. I had to give my hero an acceptable reason to steal the eggs, and then her a good reason to put down her gun and get to know him. In almost all my stories, my heroines know how to handle a gun, since women who live alone in any day and age must be able to protect themselves. In Three French Hens, my modern-day heroine keeps a shotgun handy.

The song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, is all about giving and giving abundantly. My hero wants to rescue the young widow from an evil brother-in-law who is foreclosing on her ranch. He offers all he has but still does not have nearly enough money. How will he help her?

Look for Three French Hens in the Authors’ Billboard set, UNFORGETTABLE CHRISTMAS DREAMS.

https://www.amazon.com/Unforgettable-Christmas-Dreams-Gifts-Unforgettables-ebook/dp/B07ZCBXNRY/ref=sr_1_1

UNFORGETTABLE CHRISTMAS DREAMS is now available on Amazon for 99¢, or free in KU. Get yours today.


Christmas Cupid is still on pre-order, this one in the Authors’ Billboard set, CHRISTMAS SHORTS, a collection of new, very short stories designed to be ones you can read quickly during the busy holidays. My Christmas Cupid is young and worried that the arrows he is shooting into a couple won’t hold them together, especially when one of them is flying away.

https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Shorts-Mimi-Barbour-ebook/dp/B07ZMSNB1L/ref=sr_1_23

https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Shorts-Mimi-Barbour-ebook/dp/B07ZMSNB1L/ref=sr_1_23

CHRISTMAS SHORTS is also now available for pre-order on Amazon at 99¢/ Free KU, so grab them both.

Sic’ing is a short form of “seek them”, used a lot in the Pacific Northwest, which is a command we give to dogs. If a person doesn’t know much, we say he doesn’t know sic’cum, which means he’s not as smart as a dog and can’t follow directions. This phrase is used in Three French Hens and the word has many different spellings.

Story Elements: Conflict

So when we plan a storybook romance, what are some of the elements, besides the First Meet, we try to put into it? We can’t make everything smooth sailing, or we’d have no story. A good story always contains conflict of some type. We have to make one or both of the main characters hard to get, or give them problems to overcome, or dangerous adversaries to defeat.

In The Quietest Woman in the South, I put in a murderous family that pursued them across several states, trying to kill them. They tried to escape, then fought back. This element is called External Conflict, and can be a source of suspense and unexpected plot turns.

Or the woman may not realize that this is the man for her. She thinks he is too handsome or rich or popular to see anything in her. Or she doubts his intentions until he has rescued her from danger, or has demonstrated that she can trust him. This element is called Internal Conflict, and can be the more emotional of the two types of conflict.

The best books usually have both types of conflict in them. Tennessee Touch held an emotional uncertainty for the heroine. She had had numerous stepfathers, including one who tried to attack her, so that she distrusted men in general.

In “The Prettiest Girl in the Land,” Ruth Trahern is plain compared to her sister, Mary. So Ruth doesn’t think any handsome man would be interested in her. This is how she feels:

He sat there atop his horse, with hat, boots, bandana, and chaps, looking so much the western cowboy that I hadn’t recognized him, even though he’d tipped that hat to me several times during the morning. He was handsome enough to bring a dead polecat back to life, and my heart did a little flip.

But this was Gage, who was a rolling stone, handsome as the devil and not responsible for anything except to break women’s hearts. I reminded myself of that, and my heart just flopped right back down in place.

Another element is the Other Woman, or the Interfering Parent, or Best Friend who really isn’t a friend. Then there is always the Boss who can be a source of conflict, either in the office or as an officer in the military. When doing a longer novel, it is handy to have one or more of these mixed into the story.

Story Elements: The First Meet by Nancy Radke #mgtab

Elements of a Story

What elements make up a good story, especially a good romance? Consider the First Meet.

To start our story, we usually have a First Meet somewhere in the opening chapter. Here is an example of a unique First Meet, from Tennessee Touch. (This meet actually happened in real life.)
Chapter One
It was the first time Alison had ever talked to anyone on the freeway, at least talked to them in this way. She had to admit, there were some advantages in knowing American Sign Language.
The red Jetta had appeared from nowhere, coming up behind her at a fast clip. Rules of the road demanded that she move out of the far left lane and let it pass.
Knowing she shouldn’t take her bad mood out on other drivers, Alison switched on her turn signal, indicating a lane change. Seattle drivers were usually courteous and a car quickly slowed down, allowing her to move over. She did, and the red Jetta accelerated, moving up beside her.
The young man inside glanced over and thrust his hand through his open sunroof. His fingers flashed, and Alison blinked. What gesture was that? Was he being rude?
No. He was fingerspelling. “Thank you.”
Laughing to herself, Alison responded, lifting her left hand above her half-opened window to sign, “You’re welcome.”
The Jetta swerved, was straightened, then slowed abruptly to hold to her speed. He hadn’t been expecting an answer. She could bet on it.
“Hello. Hello.” He rolled down his passenger-side window, so she could see him better, as his hands formed the words.
Well, hello to you too, Alison thought. This was fun, and she felt her spirits lift. She rolled down her window the rest of the way, so the slightly tinted glass would not interfere with vision.
“Hello,” she signed back to him.
“Nice to meet you.” He flashed a friendly smile, a broad grin that reached from ear to ear.
“Nice to meet you,” she returned.
“Are you from around here?” he signed.
“Yes. You?”
“No. Just visiting.”
Alison glanced back at the road to make sure she wasn’t saying an unwelcome hello to a motorist in another lane, then looked back at the stranger. Intrigued by the conversation, she continued to sign to him.
“I’m A-l-i-s-o-n.” She spelled the letters out.
“-o-g-a-n.” He had started to spell the word before he had his hand high enough for her to see.
“Say again?”
He fingerspelled the letters more carefully this time. “Logan.”
“Got it.” What do you say next, to a person in a car alongside yours? “Are you going far?”
“To the airport. My plane leaves at nine.”
Alison glanced at her car clock. It was only five P.M. “Why so early?”
“Nothing else to do. I don’t know anyone in Seattle…except you.”
“You could go sightseeing.”
“I have. I went to Kirkland and wandered through their art galleries.”
The words actually came out, “Go Kirkland, art house, look look,” but as an interpreter for the deaf, Alison had no trouble with American Sign Language. Using ASL, she had spoken to people across a room, carrying on a conversation uninterrupted by the crowd—but never on the freeway, with their cars traveling side by side down the inner lanes. It was a unique experience.
The freeway. She glanced around, suddenly realizing something was wrong. She had passed her exit.
Also, the cars on her right were zooming by, but the cars behind them were following at the sedate, forty-mile pace they had slowed to. No cars in front of them.
They were holding up two lanes of traffic.

This is the start of their romance, as they take the next exit and get to know each other.
See Tennessee Touch on Amazon. Click here.

Another First Meet was in my book, Spirit of a Champion. Here the hero gets on the airplane headed to Las Vegas, spots the heroine and swaps tickets with the passenger ready to sit down beside her. A 50 dollar bill makes the other passenger more than willing, and my hero gets a chance to talk to the heroine. He angles for a date, but strikes out when she won’t give him much information. Our hero is not one to give up easily, and he does better the next time they meet.

Click here for Spirit of a Champion on Amazon.

Both these books are on the August monthly billboard at https://authorsbillboard.com/ While there, enter our great contest we always run.