Leonardo, My Hero

Leonardo da Vinci: a man of many talents and ambitions. Did he have ADD?


If Leonardo da Vinci was an American child in the 80s, 90s, or maybe even now, it’s a good chance he would have been diagnosed with ADD: Attention Deficit Disorder. Clinically, that means the person has a problem, that he has trouble concentrating and controlling impulses. To me, it just means his brain is working faster and over a wider spectrum than ‘normal’ folks. The standard remedy for this is medication. I don’t believe this lack of focus is a fault, but only a character aspect. And if it’s not broke, don’t (try to) fix it.
Leonardo is my hero. Whenever I get overwhelmed, I think of how much this guy did. And no, I don’t think he was, or needed to be, medicated. So what if he couldn’t/wouldn’t focus on whether he wanted to be a painter, mathematician, inventor, sculptor, cartographer (mapmaker), geologist, musician, engineer, writer… He still accomplished a lot in his short (67 years) lifespan.
Shoot! Sympathize with him? I identify with him! Do I want to be a gardener, author, publisher, photographer, create colorful memes, crochet, cross-breed roses, invent a fool-proof gopher/slug/deer deterrent, design web pages, crochet afghans or sweaters… How about all of them because I can’t/won’t focus, either.
I felt so strongly about the bad press ‘over-stimulated’ folks received that I – while in author mode – made sure some of my characters had the same trait.
Here’s an excerpt from Aye, I am a Fairy:
“You know, it may seem like I’m a bit hyper,” she said suddenly. “I mean, look at me; I’ve got at least five different projects going on here. But it’s okay. When I get bored or stumped with one, I just move on to the next one. Mom told me it was because I was ‘highly intelligent.’ She didn’t believe in all that attention deficit disorder stuff. She had the same thing going on when she was in school. She’d finish her work early, get bored and start doodling or daydreaming, and then miss what the teacher had just said. Her mother told those teachers that they weren’t going fast enough for her daughter, and if they wanted to really help her, they would give her something else to do when she was finished with the assignments. So, they let her go to the music room and play the piano. The music teacher showed her the basics. Mom took off from there with just a stack of music books to guide her. Man, she was motivated. She’d rip right through her schoolwork just so she could go do her thing in the music room. Her grades went up and, even though she never did anything with it, she learned how to play piano pretty well. Me, I just drew and doodled until high school. Then, once I started being home-schooled, I dropped the doodling and blasted through everything so I could go to college early, get my degree, and make enough money that I didn’t have to worry about bills.”
Oh, and I created a time traveler named Leonardo da Vinci the Elder for NAKED IN THE WINTER WIND, the first book I wrote in The Fairies Saga series. He’s not the same as his son, but quite the character, just the same.
Yup, writing novels doesn’t produce new hardy and unusual roses nor warm my lap like an afghan (unless my laptop overheats), but it does let me create a whole universe of people with literally hundreds of different temperaments and body styles. And I can put them in any part of the world or time of creation. My folks may lack social security numbers, but they will still raise a heart rate, bring a tear, or bring a chuckle from the readers.
And I couldn’t have done any of this if I had been able to focus.

Now, over to publisher mode: I (as Chill Out! Books) released two CHRISTMAS box sets this month. If life has settled into a new normal for you, kick back and enjoy eighteen holiday-themed romances. First is a set with NEW stories. Check out UNFORGETTABLE CHRISTMAS PROMISES.

Indulge in Romance!! NEW stories & only 99cents or read for free with KINDLE UNLIMITED

And a Christmas Gift for you from THE AUTHORS’S BILLBOARD: A free box set! Check out FESTIVE CHRISTMAS NIGHTS, the fifth book in the Fabulous Freebies Collection series.

Eight classic holiday love stories by six of THE AUTHORS’ BILLBOARD ladies: FESTIVE CHRISTMAS NIGHTS


Writing Police Procedural

There are a lot of writers out there that enjoy writing police procedural, and romantic suspense in the crime world. I’m one of them, but I have the unique ability to write it with more knowledge than a lot of writers because I lived it first hand.

At the age of twenty-nine, I decided to go to the police academy. At the age of thirty, I not only graduated but landed a job as a police officer in a small township. When I first started there, they only had four full-time officers, and several part-time officers, but like most areas in our county, growth hit us, and we quickly expanded.

I worked the street for many years, driving thousands of miles, and responding to an array of emergencies. From noise complaints, animal issues, car crashes, medical calls, harassment, chasing Emu’s off the roadways, to domestics, shootings, assaults, and homicides.

I saw it all. Sometimes I would laugh after a call, sometimes I’d cry. Many times, the people I dealt with stayed with me for days, sometimes weeks after. A few of the incidents that I responded to have haunted me, even years later.

The strike of a match brings me back to an explosion. The sound of a little girl giggling reminds me of a child abuse case. Driving past an open window can remind me of crawling inside to check a woman for a pulse after she was shot. These are just some of my own personal PTSD issues.

In my final years as a police officer, I was an internationally certified Crime Scene Investigator and the first detective that our police department had ever had. I loved my job, thrived on it, but after a second serious concussion, I was no longer able to do the job safely or with the intensity that I once had.

But I use the memories to create stories that entertain and educate readers. One of the series that I write, The Twisted Love Serie is a super intense, crime drama with seriously twisted plots and dark romance that I write with a good friend of mine, Amy Manemann.

I have spent a lot of time focusing on the nitty-gritty aspects of the police work and keeping the intense timelines on track. The first two books, Love Lorn and Love Torn, are novellas and give you the back story to the two female detectives, Kali Mann and Evie Harper, that the 9 book series focuses on. Both of those books are FREE to readers!

Love Inked, the third book in the series, is the first full-length novel and when Kali and Evie come together as partners, things get a little out of control. This series is intense, dark, emotional, graphic, suspenseful, sexy (very sexy), and continues from one book to the next like episodes of your favorite television series!

Get Ready to get Twisted Love!

Love Lorn, Book 1, written by Amy Manemann

Love Torn, Book 2, Written by Stacy Eaton

Love Inked, Book 3, Eaton & Manemann

Love Drowned, Book 4, Eaton & Manemann

Love Carved, Book 5, Eaton & Manemann

Loved Trapped, Book 6, Eaton & Manemann (Oct 29th)

Loved Crossed, Book 7, Manemann & Eaton (June 2022)

Love Twisted, Book 8, Eaton & Manemann (August 2022)

Love Lies, Book 9, Eaton & Manemann (October 2022)

Writing the Cozy Mystery by @_NancyRadke

I had written what I thought was a cozy mystery in my Sisters of Spirit series, entitled Stolen Secrets. So before writing Any Lucky Dog Can Follow a Trail of Blood, a cozy mystery for the Diehard Dames series, I reviewed what constituted a cozy mystery to see how close I came.

Cozy Mystery

Pssst… you can get STOLEN SECRETS free, Oct 8th through the 11th. Did you hear that? FREE! Now, back to the blog…

Cozy mysteries have a theme, showing a level of expertise.

In Stolen Secrets, the hero has a computer security company that the heroine, Angie, learns about. In my Lucky Dog series, the heroine, Jenna, is an expert on the Lewis and Clark Expedition, traveling around the county with Lucky, her dog, to check out artifacts, while the hero is a big city detective, transplanted to a rural county. He needs her knowledge of the people and the county to solve the mysteries.

Cozy mysteries are often set in a small community or rural setting.  

Stolen Secrets is set in a houseboat community on Lake Union in Seattle. The houseboat people include a wise old grandmother that the hero, Ryan, helps. Angie stays at the elderly woman’s home. In my Lucky Dog series, the setting is a small town in a rural county. The people in the town and county can all be suspects.

Cozy mysteries involve a middle-aged heroine.

Oops, missed this one on Stolen Secrets. Angie is twenty-two, a former Olympic gymnast left homeless by a series of happenings. Ryan gives her both a job and a place to stay, giving her back her self-respect. In Any Lucky Dog Can Follow a Trail of Blood, both Jenna and Craig are in their thirties. Craig really likes his best friend’s wife. And he doesn’t think he find anyone for himself. Jenna has male friends, but none she wants to get serious with.

Cozy mysteries are G-rated.

That’s the only type of book I write, so both fit this criteria.

Cozy mysteries are usually part of a series.  

Stolen Secrets is linked to several other books through the characters, including Courage Dares, Tennessee Touch, and A Tennessee Christmas. Of these, Tennessee Touch is the one with the most mystery in it, as the group try to figure out who is killing pro-football players. Any Lucky Dog Can Follow a Trail of Blood is the first of the Lucky Dog series, which is part of the brand new Authors’ Billboard Diehard Dames cozy mystery series.

Diehard Dames

The Diehard Dames first set, now available, is Murder Is to Die For. Here’s a sample of Any Lucky Dog Can Follow a Trail of Blood, which is in that set. Jenna has found a dead body at the top of Lone Willow’s Trail and called for the sheriff.

Excerpt:

“Are you all right?” Sheriff Craig asked, bending over to check on her. “It’s hard for anyone to sit with a dead body.”

Jenna was glad that he realized it. She was still sitting on the ground where her weak legs had dumped her. “Sort of.”

He touched his hand to her shoulder. “Do you need help getting up?”

“Not really.” But it would be nice. Maybe she did need help. She hadn’t tried to stand up yet.

He must have heard her thoughts, or else from experience knew that a woman sitting on the ground near a body was there because her legs wouldn’t support her. He put his hands under her arms and lifted her up, holding her long enough that she could gain her balance and stand on her own. He left one hand on her shoulder, maintaining contact.

“Thank you,” she said, and meant it. She took hold of his arm while she kept her face averted from where the forensic team was working. He must think her pretty weak, to react in such a way. She was somewhat ashamed of herself. Farm folks were supposed to be tougher than this.

She liked holding onto his arm. He had rolled up his sleeves almost to the elbows, leaving his forearms bare. They reminded her of her father’s, who had been a strong, healthy man before he’d been killed by a falling tree. Sheriff Craig was a solid figure of a man, and his arm offered the support she needed right now.

But she had to let go so he could do his job, and she did so reluctantly, silently chiding herself for needing his support. She wasn’t a child.

But he didn’t step away, just stood there next to her, his hand still on her shoulder, and his very presence gave her strength. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Nodded as she began to feel stronger.

“Okay, now?” he asked, still not moving.

“Yes. I don’t want to keep you from your work.”

“They work fine without me.” He motioned toward the forensic team and stayed where he was, his concern clearly readable on his face. “I’ll talk to you more, get your statement, once you’re really ready.”

Wasn’t that now? But no, she was still very upset. He had gaged her feelings better than she had. She closed her eyes, struggling to gain control of her emotions.

One of the forensic men straightened up and shook his head. “Shouldn’t there be some shotgun pellets in the fence post?” he asked the team leader. “I mean, given the angle?”

The leader, Lance Newman, nodded. “This isn’t adding up, Craig,” he called out. “There should be a lot more blood here.” He turned to the other three members of his team. “That means we need to be even more careful collecting the data. Step back, re-asses the situation and assume this wasn’t an accident.” He put a lot of emphasis on the word, “wasn’t.”

 

Celebrating the Season

What is your favorite holiday to celebrate? Is it Christmas, when everything around us is sparkling lights, mistletoe, and evergreen? Or is it New Year, where you get to toast to new beginnings? What about Memorial Day, where everyone is ready for the sun and sand of the summer?

Personally, I’m a Memorial Day and 4th of July kind of girl. Celebrating freedom and spending time remembering those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for that freedom. Plus, I’m totally a summer sun person!

Several years ago, I wrote a book called, Tangled in Tinsel. It was a sweet little Christmas romance, and one of my readers told me that she loved the little town of Celebration that it was set in. She said it would be so awesome to have a series there.

I thought that was a great idea too, and thanks to her, Tangled in Tinsel became the first of a thirteen books series!!

Celebration Township is made for family, friends, falling in love, and don’t forget celebrating the holidays. The first twelve books bring two people onto center stage as they overcome odds and figure out what their futures may hold. There is laughter, love, romance, and even suspense when you join these couples as they each find a happily ever after over a holiday. The thirteenth book brings all twelve couples, and even a few special guests, into final focus as the first couple in Tangled in Tinsel prepares for their wedding one year after they met.


Tangled in Tinsel, Book 1 (Christmas) – Download this one for FREE!
Tears to Cheers, Book 2 (New Year’s)
Heathens to Hearts, Book 3 (Valentines)
Rainbows bring Riches, Book 4 (St. Patrick’s Day)
Sweet as Sugar, Book 5 (Easter)
Making Mom Mad, Book 6 (Mother’s Day)
Sparklers or Spankings, Book 7 (Memorial Day)
Raffles to Rattles, Book 8 (Father’s Day)
Flirting with Fireworks, Book 9 (4th of July)
Working with Wheels, Book 10 (Labor Day)
Masquerading at Midnight, Book 11 (Halloween)
Blessings & Beans, Book 12 (Thanksgiving)
Velvet & Vows, Book 13 (Christmas one year later)