Nancy Radke

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

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.

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Where do you get your ideas? by USA Today bestselling author Nancy Radke #mgtab

Click here for link to Amazon.

So it is finally summer and I’m considering ideas for my next series. Readers sometimes wonder where we get our ideas, so this time I’ll write about what inspired one of my books.

The Handsomest Man in the Country (free) came about when I decided to try writing a book similar to those of Louis L’Amour. Starting with the end of the Civil War, I placed my heroine, Mally, in the mountains of Tennessee, and started writing. I had a theme, that of not judging a person by his looks. Also I had my great grandmother’s written account of her and her husband coming west in a wagon train as first-person background information.

All her life, Mally has wanted to marry the handsomest man in the country. She is a very pretty girl and looks forward to her teen years and having the boys come courting. The nearby neighbor woman has sons her age, with the most handsome one being Gage Courtney. Gage lets her ride his horse, and she decides he’s the one for her.

Then the Civil War begins. Her father and the Courtney boys leave to fight. She loses both parents at the end of the war and the Courtney boys are nowhere around. Following her father’s wishes, she sets out for Missouri to find her uncle and his wife. They have also lost their farm and are all ready to start west for Oregon Territory. Mally joins them, but soon a marriage of convenience forces her to marry a man she’s never met, one who makes her mules look good after he shaves off his beard. (That idea came from a TV show I once watched where the man looked quite handsome until he shaved.)

Trey Trahern knows he isn’t a man that girls would ever look at twice and considers himself fortunate to have Mally as a wife. He knows she was forced into this marriage and tells her that he will stay with her, but will release her if she wants out.

Soon after they are wed, the man of her dreams, Gage Courtney, rides up and joins the wagon train. Trey invites him to build next to them. What is Mally to do?

The rest of the Trahern books tell about the Trahern boys and their cousins and sisters. Now 13 books in all, it is a series I almost didn’t write, but which has turned into my best-selling series. You never know where a storyline will lead you.

Next series I’m considering writing is one based upon fairy-tales like Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and The Ugly Duckling. I’ve been watching The Adventures of Merlin on TV and like the magic element, although I don’t know if I will put it in or not. Comment below if you have a story idea you’d like to see developed. My books are always clean and wholesome.

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Glass Gems in a Teacup – Memory Aids

For all of us, there are certain things you need to do each day. As you get old, or just really busy, and the days start melding together, some things become so automatic that you can’t remember if you did them or not. One of these things is getting enough water to drink. If you don’t have enough water in you to hydrate your body, you get deep wrinkles and dehydrate. It’s one of the reason old people look so old. Coffee and tea actually rob the body of water, so you can’t count cups of tea as water. Even fruit juice doesn’t hydrate as well as plain water.

I found that when I got to the end of a day, I didn’t know if I had drunk more than two or three glasses of water. When I didn’t drink enough, I’d get terrible cramps in my legs during the night. I tried a checklist, but would forget to check it off. Finally I devised a system that worked well for me. See if you like it. I use it to keep track of other things too. You might want to show this idea to your elderly relatives, who tend to forget things that have become routine.

I bought clear flat glass gems from the craft store, the kind used in flower arrangements. Depending upon the size of your water glass, you will want 6 or 8 of these. I prefer the flat gems to regular round marbles, as they don’t roll off the counter. Also the clear gems remind me of water, so I know what they are for.

Next get a small container, like a teacup, and something to put under it, like a candy tray, small basket, or a large saucer. Since this is going to sit out on your counter, you want something pretty that looks like a work of art. Here are some sample containers.

When you finish drinking a glass of water, toss a gem into the cup and refill your glass with water. Set the full glass beside your counting display. When you’ve drunk that water, you toss in another clear glass gem.

I have other glass gems that are colored that I use to indicate when I’ve taken my vitamins or done some exercise.

A small slip of paper in the cup reminds me of what color I use for each thing.

The next morning, dump out all the gems and start over again. This is fun and easy to do and keeps you from looking around for a pencil every time something needs to be checked off. A full cup of gems in the early morning means you haven’t had any water so far that day, and is a better reminder than a piece of paper with a checklist on it.

Let me know if this idea works for you.

In one of my pioneer Trahern books, Ruth Trahern knew she wasn’t “The Prettiest Girl in the Land,” but she wanted a husband, and set out with her rifle and a stray dog to find one. Ruth could take numbers and make them dance. She figured there must be some jobs for a woman who could calculate in her head, so left the Tennessee mountains to find a job which would take her to California, where she hoped to find her a man. This book is free on Friday, May 31. .

Clean & Wholesome Heroes Can be Very Macho


My heroes are mainly honorable, tough, and able to handle problems, but there the similarity ends. I’ve had some heroes who refuse to crack a joke, and others where the quips just keep coming and I can hardly write them down fast enough. Ryan, the computer security expert in Stolen Secrets, is almost tongue-tied around women, while Hugo, the CIA hero of Scorpion’s Trail, is the opposite, and has women chasing after him. My Trahern men are mainly men of courage and honor, but one committed a crime while he was a teen, and had been on the run ever since, until becoming The Tallest Man in Texas.

I’ve found with each book I write, that the characters are revealed as the story progresses. I don’t plan them; they just tell me who they are as the story goes along. Now when I wrote A Horse for Cinderella, I knew that the hero would be a prince, but I didn’t know that he rode show horses until the story developed, or that he really wanted his older brother to become the next king. The hero of The Holiday is a professional chef who owns a series of restaurants, while many of my others can barely cook at all.

Of all my heroes, Hugo (Scorpion’s Trail) is my favorite. This man is first described by his boss as, “The best friend a man could ever have.” He drops everything to help, going undercover as four different people. He’s been doing them long enough to keep them straight, but it gets confusing to those around him.

The main one, Hugo, is smooth talking, protective, and full of gentle humor. Hugo doesn’t particularly like the way women pursue him, as it gets in the way of his undercover activities. He also doesn’t like another of his characters, Donnegal, but he sort of got trapped into doing him after Donnegal became famous and made him a lot of money, as well as being a perfect undercover role. Another character, Joe, is deadly serious as they search for the Scorpion—a known assassin.

The trail leads to Mazatlan and the failure after failure of their plans. They must have a traitor in their midst, but who can it be? Hugo knows it is none of the characters he plays, but the heroine who is falling in love with both Joe and Hugo doesn’t know that. The bad guys also try trolling Hugo at the end of a fishing line. Yes, I did have fun with this story.

Scorpion’s Trail is part of our Authors’ Billboard collection called Unforgettable Power, now on preorder at Amazon. At 99¢ it’s a real bargain, or you can grab it at KU for free.

 

 

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