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

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.

NEW BOOKS THIS YEAR:

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

Retirement Planning by Nancy Radke #mgtab

Retirement planning involves a lot more than just trying to save money. It involves choosing where to live and how to support yourself. Often it means downsizing or selling your home. It is one of the things I did, selling my large house and building an ADU (additional dwelling unit) onto my daughter’s home. There is a door between the two, so that we both have privacy, but if I need help I can just open the door.

I figured I was building my own retirement home, so considered things like wheelchair access (if it was ever needed) and no stairs. I also have an adjoining room that is for my office. And since I won’t live forever, I designed it so that two people could live in it comfortably.

Retirement can mean many things to people. For some, it is a chance to travel and see places they’ve never been. (The photos above are of some of our other authors, having fun.) For others, it means finding some other form of work, since Social Security increases are actually decreases once they take out the increased health care cost. The longer you live, the less you have to live on.

Ideally, you want to have some sort of income stream that doesn’t depend upon you having to work. I was fortunate that my husband bought some rental duplexes, so I have a steady amount coming in from that, besides my books. People need to find some type of investment to help them. Savings is fine if you have enough to last and the rising cost of living doesn’t eat away what you have, which is what usually happens. Family is even better if they love you, so make sure you love them.

The best thing about family is that they will sacrifice for you, just as you sacrificed for them while raising them. You want to make sure you aren’t a nuisance, or complainer, or are making yourself unwelcome. You want to be loving.

One of my books—Appaloosa Blues—centers around a ranch family in the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon, where the grandfather uses his heart condition to control the rest of the family members. He loves his granddaughters and doesn’t want them marrying the Trahern men, so naturally, the two girls fall in love with the two Trahern brothers.

Their romances have to stay hidden from the old man, as they figure he will have a heart attack if he finds out about them. Being a loving grandfather, he tries to set one up with another young man, the son of a friend, with disastrous consequences. Also, being wise, he knows something is going on by the joy or sorrow he sees on his granddaughter’s faces.

Our Authors’ Billboard always has a monthly contest, as well as great books we share with you. Be sure to enter the contest for our great prizes.

Choosing a Gift to Grow On by Nancy Radke #mgtab

Thinking about gifts and how much they are used and enjoyed, probably the best gift I ever gave to my grandsons, ages 10, 8, and 6, was an i-Mac. As soon as they set it up, they realized they could make movies. They immediately made a “movie” using the camera in the monitor, making funny faces and adding music and rolling credits.

Before long I could see that they needed a camera, so got them a small hand-held video camera smaller than most of today’s phones. The oldest child would envision a script, and then direct the others and himself in making a movie, telling them what to do and say. They would get their cousins and friends and other family members involved, sometimes filming all summer.

One movie, called “Trigger Happy,” which centered around a paintball contest, took a full year to film (some shots in the snow!). By that time the oldest child was in high school. When he was a junior, he and the others won a local contest with an anti-bullying video called “A Good Day,” and when the middle child was in college, he entered their high school “Trigger Happy” movie into a college film contest and won.

This gift kept around eight kids entertained all summer, as they would gather as soon as school was out, figure out what kind of movie they wanted to make, and start filming. They worked hard to make it funny and to entertain their audience.

They made up their own special effects. For “Trigger Happy” they wanted a paintball to “float” in the air, so we used a needle to thread one with clear plastic thread so that it wouldn’t show on film. They bought a fake leg that they could detach, and used editing techniques to work in humor.

Besides the summer fun, these kids benefited in other ways. First, they all learned to use the computer and to do video editing. The two oldest are extremely confident and have no problem doing public speaking, while the youngest has his own video editing company along with being a wedding videographer. The cousins—boys and girls—have that same confidence. Two of their friends are trying to break into modeling and movies.

As for grandma, I can go to their youtube channel and watch their videos and remember the children at that age and what they thought was funny. So whenever you think of gifts for creative youngsters, consider an iMac as it contains all the programs necessary to start young filmmakers on their way. Buy a refurbished, used one.

What gifts have you given that you felt had long-range consequences?

Those of us at Authors Billboard want you to have lots of gifts. Check out our monthly boards, complete with contests, at www.authorsbillboard.com

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.

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