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

The Turning Point: The Moment of Truth

Somewhere around the middle of every story, you should find the turning point, the moment when the character changes direction. It is usually not a physical turning, but rather a mental decision that he/she makes, which then often translates into physical action. Often the decision is to stop fleeing and to fight for what is right. Sometimes it results from something another character says or does.

This plot point is found in all good books, not just romances. The mental decision often is what turns the person into a hero, when he must face huge odds to win. Often it is called the Moment of Truth. Here is the Moment of Truth from my pioneer book, The Handsomest Man in the Country, which is free on all venues.

The heroine, Mally, is a beautiful girl who has always dreamed of marrying the handsomest man around. The neighboring Courtney boys are all handsome, but they leave home to fight in the Civil War and don’t come back. When forced to leave her home, Mally eventually joins a wagon train where events force her into either marrying one of the men from the train, or leaving it and returning back east.


She doesn’t want to marry any of them, but takes the advice of Web, the wagon train’s scout, to marry a man she has never seen before. He had been tortured by Indians and looked terrible when she married him. Here is the Moment of Truth when she makes her decision:

Uncle Dem had said to go to Web for advice. Web saw the men when they weren’t putting on a front for the women-folk. He would know them better’n I did. I’d ask him who to marry.

My mind had been struggling all this time to fight off sleep. When I decided to get Web’s advice, it just gave up and lit out. This time the mules kept up for there wasn’t any grass and all were traveling slowly because of the rocks. Web woke me as he rode by and I looked up to see the wagons ahead circling for the night. I couldn’t put it off any longer.

As in many stories, the moment is quickly over and is not dramatic. But it makes her decide that she must give up her dream of a handsome man and marry one who will be good to her, which is what Web says this man, Trey Trahern, will be. You will find this book on this month’s contest page, or go to Amazon, Kobo, or ibooks.

This month you’ll find many free books on our contest page. Be sure to go there and click on the covers to find the free books, which will change during the month.

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