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

Vegetables and Salad Dressing #Recipe by @_NancyRadke

Growing your own vegetables is a lot of fun and can be very rewarding. I wrote before about growing sprouts inside during the winter, to get fresh produce. Mungo bean sprouts make a great addition to omelets, and alfalfa sprouts add vitamins to a salad.

This month I was given a small cold frame along with potting soil. I just planted a tiny patch of onions, lettuce, radishes, and arugula. It’s cold outside, and if it continues to be cool, I should have some radishes to eat in a month. I look forward to the salads I’ll make from these.

Vegetables

A great salad dressing can be made with a few simple ingredients. I use fresh orange juice for this and the lightest olive oil I can find. You can fudge on the kind of mustard. I use raw honey for the health benefits and Bragg’s Vinegar. I feel that a good olive oil is the most important ingredient, as it makes a huge taste difference.

ORANGE SALAD DRESSING

  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup light olive oil
  • 1 T. Dijon mustard
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1 T. apple cider vinegar
  • pinch of salt + pepper

Put all in a small bottle, shake well. Use on both fresh fruit or vegetable salads.

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CUTE BUT CRAZY: UNIQUE AND UNPREDICTABLE

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Cute But Crazy U & U

 

The Blessing of a Baby by @_NancyRadke USA Today Bestselling Author

I have a new “title,” besides that of bestselling author. My grandson and his wife just made me a great grandmother. It happened this week, so I’ll write about my precious new baby for my April blog. She’s a sweet little girl who took her own time getting here, coming on her own schedule, not her mother’s, who had it all planned out for last Thursday. The baby had other plans, almost making it to my birthday.

Baby

Babies are a delight to any family and our little one is no exception. She makes me want to include a baby in an upcoming book, just to remember what a blessing a newborn is. They were able to bring her home from the birthing center a few hours after she was born, so we all got to hold her right away.

Living Near, Living Far

When my first child was born, we were living in Hawaii and our folks were in Alaska and Washington state, and they weren’t able to be there right away. My great granddaughter lives within walking distance, so I expect to see her often.

The ladies in our church family are providing two weeks worth of meals, so I was told to wait to do that.

When my daughter was young, I used to take her to visit her great grandmother at a nursing home. It was the highlight of the week for both of them and I feel it taught my daughter to be kind and thoughtful of older people. I’m looking forward to seeing her grow up.

I feel like I’m rambling, so will mention the book I have out this weekend. Scorpion’s Trail, normally $5.99, is on sale. The story has nothing to do with babies, but it is a romance that introduces my favorite hero, Hugo, who takes delight in teasing my heroine, Perri.

Scorpion's Trail

The Author’s Tools, Part 2 by @_NancyRadke

Author's ToolsAuthors use the Internet, resource books, movies, and their own experiences as tools when writing novels. An author’s tools are invaluable. I thought I’d mention more books that I use which sit on my writing table.

The book I use for every novel is Roget’s Thesaurus. You need a print copy of this book, so you can rapidly scan in the options given. It is like a dictionary, but instead of definitions, it gives synonyms and related words.

The second half of the Thesaurus is an alphabetic index which you use to look up the word close to what you want. For example, you have used the word “walk” several times in a paragraph. That becomes annoying to the reader and will pull her out of the story. Looking up the word “walk” in the index in the Thesaurus gives you  many nouns and verbs in different categories, such as route, gait, path, domineer, win easy…

You choose what category you are using, and go to it. These are numbered, rather than alphabetical. Going to the number for gait (273.14), I find gait, pace, walk, step, stride… up to 42 different words meaning gait. And under the generic number for travel which includes walk, I find 16 subcategories for nouns and 26 subcategories for verbs, including march and glide and creep. I can always find enough words to keep my words from being repetitious. The Thesaurus included on computer programs just doesn’t work as well.

More Author’s Tools

I also use an old English grammar book to check my use of lie and lay, which has given me problems all my life, since I use them interchangeably when I talk.

Another text is Getting the Words Right—How to Rewrite, Edit, and Revise, by Theodore Cheney. This book is very helpful. For example, in each sentence and in each paragraph there is a main point. This book helps you spot those points and determine where you want to put them. Maybe at the start of the sentence or the end of the paragraph.

Then there are the writer’s guides. Here are my favorites: Writing Novels That Sell by Jack Bickham, Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain, Heroes and Heroines by Cowden, LaFever, and Viders.

Story by Robert McKee. I attended a two-day intensive course by Mr. McKee that followed his book word by word. By buying his book I have the transcript, and re-read it now and then to better understand the elements of story. This is a classic that I feel every writer should read.

I am now working on another Cozy Mystery, this time titled: “Any Lucky Dog Can Find a Missing Child.” It is in pre-order form in the Authors’ Billboard Set, Murder is Scheduled for Monday.

Murder is Scheduled for Monday

The Author’s Tools by @_NancyRadke

Authors use the Internet, resource books, movies, and their own experiences when writing novels. We refer to them as author’s tools. I thought I’d mention one of the more unique books that I use which sits on my writing table and has to be moved whenever I have company for dinner.

The book that I use for every novel is The Best Baby Name Book in the Whole Wide World, by Bruce Lansky. It has over 13,000 boys and girls names along with their meanings. It has been enlarged, but I expect most baby name books will work for this purpose. You might wonder why I use this until you realize that romance authors write books in series, and each series might have ten to fifteen books in it.

What’s in a name?

Author's ToolsI need a different hero’s name, heroine’s name, a villain or two, a best friend and parents. Sometimes a dog’s name, like Sam. That means twenty or more names at the very least that I don’t want repeated in that series. So once I have written enough of the story to figure out the personality of my main characters, I give them names to match their personalities. Then I mark that name so I won’t use it again. This is hard to do when I find names I really love, such as Tripp and Keely in the book, The Prisoner Returns.

Some of the names I will use as family names, such as Trahern, a Welsh name meaning “strong as iron.” The Trahern historical series has thirteen books in it with the fourteenth started. But many of the books in my modern-day Silver Bell series have the descendants of the Traherns in them. So, I avoid using the names again, except in the case of Prescott Trahern, whose ancestor Prescott was in The Bravest Woman in the Town. The modern Prescott and his son, Jesse, a forest ranger in Oregon, have to fight drug dealers and smugglers in the book Trouble Never Knocks, where they mention the early Prescott’s bravery.

Appaloosa BluesAppaloosa Blues, a book in the Sisters of Spirit series, features Adam and Johnny Trahern. So, you can see why I may spend an hour or more looking through the baby name book to give my “babies” meaningful names.

That includes nicknames. In the Sisters of Spirit book, Spirit of a Champion, my heroine, the sister of a prize-fighter, needed a name that matched her personality. If she found a cause she felt was just, she went all in for it. I gave her the nick-name, Stormy.

Here are the opening paragraphs for that book:

Victoria Tempest Drake, known to all as “Stormy,” threw the last of her father’s clean socks into his suitcase, stuffed them down into any remaining spaces, and pressed it shut. All she needed to do now was to call the cab and arrange for it to take him and her brother to the Boise airport. Then she would have her father’s house all to herself while she decided what to do with her Masters in applied mathematics.

She had three universities trying to recruit her at the present, she mused as she picked up the phone. Actually four.

“…results are not good.” 

“Tell me.”

The line was being used. Stormy started to hang up.

“You have three soft spots—one very large. If you fight again—ever—it will kill you.”

Scorpions TrailHer brother is determined to fight, and Stormy is just as determined to stop him. She battles for his life. She even takes on his opponent and the men who try to kill her to get her out of the way.

You’ll meet Hugo and Perri in this book. This is the same couple from Scorpion’s Trail and the same Hugo who is in the Brothers of Spirit stories.

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