Summertime Reading: It’s a Beach

I’ve been to the beach a few times this summer, but there was no reading involved. Heresy you say! (Or that’s what Myren, my chauffeur is accusing me of. Ignore him.) Aren’t we supposed to always bring a book to the beach to read as we lounge in the sun, you ask?

Summertime Reading: It’s a Beach

Well, I don’t know about you, but glare is a big problem on my iPad–which is the keeper of all my books these days–so things have changed–a lot. In the past 15 years, the tide has turned to more people reading on ebooks—aka electronic books—than print books.

Good for e-reader companies everywhere, bad for beach reading. I know, I know, this is not big news. Myren is asking me if I think my readers have all been living under a rock, but I tell him that’s not the point.

The point is, the diminishing of the grand old summertime passtime of reading on the beach is a consequence of the (not so) new electronic reader revolution. Sure, there are screens that eliminate the glare, such as the Kindle paper white, but those are expensive and not largely adopted alternatives.

A New Release Beach Read you might want to try… if you enjoy romantic comedies featuring bad boy hockey players with that glint of mischief in their eyes.

So can we still call a book a beach read if no one actually reads it on the beach anymore?

I say YES! Absolutely yes! The beach read is more an idea, a type of book that latches onto the connotation of the ultimate liesure activity, the summer vacation, the escape from the hum-drum daily life, like… well… like going to the beach.

That’s my $.02 on the subject of beach reads. What do you think?

Know of any great beach reads I can NOT take to the beach with me? (But I’ll read them, rest assured, when I’m relaxing and need an escape from the world.)

He Has Charm

a Boston Brawlers Hockey Romance

What readers are saying: Loved the characters of Maddox and Harper. They are such a great couple and the chemistry between them is off the charts”

-JeanP, Amazon Reviewer
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How Authors Use Historical Events by @_NancyRadke

Many of my books have some historical events included, or referred to. This is because history repeats itself, if unlearned by following generations. My historical Trahern series is placed just after the end of the Civil War and mentions events during those times. The Sisters, Brothers, and modern Trahern stories often have some contemporary issues mentioned.

Historical Events

The Traherns Western Pioneer series (13 book series)

My early books were written in the 1980’s, just as computers were becoming available to the general public.  Appaloosa Blues was my first book and it was written longhand and on a typewriter, then switched to an early personal computer which was opened with DOS. My seventh book, Turnagain Love, was the first one published, in 1994.

Revisions and the author

When I got ready to put my books up on Amazon, I went through and did revisions, trying to bring them up to date, since by then it was 2000 and both computers and cellphones were in general use. One of my readers commented that a few of my books didn’t seem to emphasize modern communication (such as cell phones), and I agreed, since I still am not attached to my phone. It gets left in whatever room I left last, so when it rings, I have to run through the house doing a phone search to find it.

My books often allude to what is going on in the world at the time when the book takes place. Height of Danger was written right after the destruction of Venezuela. The events there turned the country from an oil-rich country to one filled with abject poverty, caused by the new government. When a government takes total control, the people flee if they can. Many still die trying to get to freedom.

Height of Danger

History will repeat itself. Each generation knows only 20 years of history. If earlier events have been destroyed or are not learned and remembered, world governments are destined to repeat their mistakes.

I believe in magic <3 Post brought on by a south Florida sun shower 😊

Warning: kind of personal. This is not my normal post, but here is a sneak peek into who I am.

I believe we choose our happiness, and that includes searching for joy in the shitshow life sometimes feels like. If things were always on an even keel, this ride might get monotonous with being too perfect. Food to eat, a place to live, dreams to dream, lol. I believe in a higher power of some kind—not sure who/what exactly so I am not tied to religious beliefs. I think we need to be kind not only to others, but ourselves. Especially ourselves. Because I saw my father, and my stepdad, and my dear uncle, pass at an early age, I understand that death happens to everyone at any time. I believe there is more to this existence and that there is an after. It makes the loss on this side of the veil easier to accept, knowing we will all meet again. I believe we are connected. I believe that we choose the lessons we want to learn while on this earth, and we choose to learn them with trusted loved ones beforehand. I believe we are supported in our endeavors.

I believe, I know, that we are loved and not alone. If we want something, we have the power within us to make it happen. It feels an awful lot like magic to step into the air not certain there will be a road.

the magic is in you <3

In the past nine years especially, I have experienced a lot of paths beneath my feet that I wasn’t certain would be there. My marriage of 25 years had exploded on a single night, and I was left wondering how I would make it. I’d gone to business college for a degree in floral design. Not exactly practical. During my marriage I started with an in-home daycare as our kids were born and followed their school schedule by also working in the school system as a para pro with the behavior-challenged children. My ex was the main bread winner, especially once we relocated to Florida—gulp—22 years ago. That fateful New Year’s Eve, he wanted a divorce and was like a broken record in all he would say was that he wanted to be happy and didn’t want any responsibilities. No counseling, just out. Of course, there are a million threads to this story that aren’t part of this blog—this is about believing in yourself and finding the magic. If I’d looked at things logically and practically, I would have been afraid. I surrounded myself with great friends. They also believed that I could do it. A friend gave me AND THE DOGS shelter. My manager at Starbucks offered to train me to be a manager and potentially earn forty thousand a year. To someone who didn’t have a steady salary, that was tempting, but it meant giving up on writing as I knew it. At that time, I thought I was on the cusp of hitting it big, lolol, with my medieval romances and YA books. (palm to forehead)

So, I moved from Jupiter to Lauderdale by the Sea, somehow, without a real job, or a salary, got an apartment. I will remember to my dying day being in the passenger seat with my dear friend who grabbed the steering wheel and asked that we find an apartment. We drove to the end of the block as the rental guy was putting a for rent sign in the window. That’s magical. Another friend who I critiqued with for years told me I could be an editor. She learned with me and gave me a chance. Now, I have several clients and get to choose based on my own writing schedule. More magic. Here is the secret to growing that power: you cannot dwell in negativity. Really crappy things had happened. I thought I would never stop crying. My heart was broken in so many pieces. And yet, I got myself out of my bed and went to the ocean with coffee, with wine, with friends, or alone, and I healed. The ocean is magic for me. I had no answers from my ex, lots of denials on what was happening, so I had to let go of expecting answers and understand that it didn’t matter. What mattered was how I reacted to this situation, and damn it, I am a happy person inside.

As time passed, I cried less and focused more on what I could do. There is serious magic in celebrating paying your own rent for the first time in your life. Yeah. I’d never lived alone. It’s pretty powerful to know that you can do it. Thanks to another awesome friend, I started to write indie romances, and was introduced to the ladies here at ABB—they welcomed me with open arms. With them, I’ve made the USA Today three times. I quit Starbucks and edited freelance while writing books. I met Christopher and fell in love. There have been times when things have been uncomfortably tight, but the rent has been paid, groceries bought, soul sustained by doing what I love. I now write mysteries as well as romance. What a long post to say that this is why I believe in magic. You can too! If you’re uncertain, take even a tiny step in the direction you want to go, and the path will appear.

our wedding

I’ve been reading more this summer as I enjoy a slower pace. I highly recommend the authors in these boxed sets who are so talented and guarantee a wonderful, magical, escape.

Happy summer,

Traci

Happy Anniversary!

Since my sister and I were married around the same time of the year, we like to celebrate our anniversaries together with our husbands. Usually, we book rooms at a nice hotel and go out for a special dinner.

Over the years our favorite anniversary spot has been The Inn at Little Washington, located in Washington, Virginia. It’s a posh bed and breakfast, and the restaurant is now Michelin three-star rated. Recently added is a less expensive restaurant across the street where you can have lunch and dinner.

The Inn started out as a restaurant located in a former gas station but became a bed and breakfast to accommodate diners who wanted to spend the night after the hour and a half trip down from DC. We first stayed there for my birthday perhaps 30 years ago, and I remember looking out our bedroom window to see massive plantings of pink tulips in the garden.

The interior is meticulously designed, with every room charming and unique. I like the ones at the front of the building because they have large balconies.

Over the years the chef has added buildings to the inn’s campus. You can now stay across the street in one of the rooms of The Parsonage. And if you’ve got the bucks, you can book the whole Claiborne House mansion. It’s across the street behind the main building and across from an extensive formal garden.

Because the Inn is very popular, we book way in advance and look forward to this anniversary treat for months. This year was no different.

The staff always greets overnight guests with a cocktail. Next is a lovely afternoon tea with little sandwiches and sweet treats like scones and small pastries–and exotic teas. The next morning, there’s a continental breakfast, but protein options are available for an additional charge.

This year there’s a new addition to the main building, a Victorian greenhouse room. During the pandemic, the chef set up a large tent in the garden so that he could spread out the diners. He liked the extra space so much that he replaced the tent with the greenhouse. Below is the interior followed by the exterior.

My sister and I like to walk around the grounds. There’s a small farm with vegetables and herbs and also sheep, goats, a couple of llamas and chickens. Look at the palatial accommodations for the hens.

Dinner is a limited “tasting menu” in the main restaurant. The number of choices has gotten smaller over the years. There used to be three basic tasting menu options. Now there are only two–with one being vegetarian. Between courses there are small surprises–like Caesar salad ice cream–that are served to everyone. And the bread is fabulous. But I fear, sadly, this will be our last trip to the inn. I don’t mind splurging on a beautifully appointed room. But the dinner is now more than $400 per person. That’s $800 per couple–not including wine. (The price is the same for the vegetarian menu.) Given that we could book a spectacular hotel room in downtown DC for $800, I simply can’t justify paying that for dinner.

Finally, here’s the view from our balcony.