A Visit to Vietnam

For most Americans the word Vietnam evokes painful memories, a cherished person gone too soon, and a hateful war we’d rather forget.

Our welcome committee in Nha Trang, Vietnam

I probably would have never visited Vietnam if our cruise ship hadn’t put it on its Far-East itinerary that included five days in China, Beijing and Shanghai, a stop in Okinawa (Japan), a visit to Taiwan, two days in Hong Kong, and two days in Vietnam, before we reached Singapore to fly home.

NHA TRANG is one of Vietnam’s most popular seaside destinations. It offers white-sand beaches, azure and turquoise waters, coconuts palms swaying in the breeze, and gaily painted fishing boats in the harbors of small villages. We took a guided tour to visit the Long Son pagoda, the Reclining Buddha, the Cham Tower complex and a couple of factories.

Long Son pagoda, or White Buddhist Pagoda as called by the locals, is a beautiful Buddhist temple built in the 19th century, on top of Trai Thuy hill. A pair of dragon mosaics stands firmly at the entrance, while lush topiary lines the main grounds.
On the way to the top of Trai Thuy hill, we admired the reclining Buddha statue made of marble. People say that The Reclining Buddha represents the potential that all beings have to release themselves from suffering. The serene and smiling expression of the reclining Buddha statue portrays the compassion and calmness that come with the enlightenment. 
Po Nagar Cham temple complex was built between 8th and 11th centuries by the Cham people who once ruled the central plain of Vietnam. They are renowned for their skills in sculpture and architecture, and left behind a legacy of artifacts and temple settlements not only in Vietnam, but also Cambodia and Thailand.

 

The towers of Po Nagar Cham are square red brick structure with protruding support frames and tapering roofs. Their towers are shrines to different deities. The tallest building, the Po Nagar Kalan, is the most impressive. 
Cri Cambhu, goddess of fertility.
Vietnamese women practicing the art of picture embroidery, at a local workshop for embroidery..

 

A lacquer factory where I bought a gorgeous jewelry box

Our second day in Vietnam was spent in the capital, Ho Chi Minh–or Saigon– a bustling metropolis where bicycles, motorbikes and cars fly down at dizzying speed. We took a walking tour around the downtown.

Ho Chi Minh City Hall
Independence Palace
Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon
Pedicab is a special type of transportation for Vietnam. 

Unfortunately I haven’t cruised for two years. Now I spend my time writing. My latest book is released today. I hope you will celebrate with me and enjoy RESCUE PLANS, book 3 of Love Plans Series.

RESCUE PLANS

To forget the drama that shook his life years ago, Captain Rafael Lopez dedicates himself to his career as a helicopter pilot, transporting patients in need of urgent care. His new flight nurse holds his attention with her gorgeous face, sassy mind, and indomitable spirit.

With determination and a lot of guts, Arianna Garcia survives life in the slums, learns to conquer her fears, and fights for herself. Rafael gives her the courage to break from her past. And Arianna is delighted to be Rafael’s flight nurse by day and passionate companion by night. After meeting a few jerks, she doesn’t believe in crazy promises and sex-driven hypocrisy.

Will Rafael discover the skeletons in her closet, gain her trust, and restore her faith in love?

Rescue Plans is book 3 of the Love Plans Series

Crocheting

Years ago, my mother-in-law decided to teach me crochet. My first reaction was to protest. With a full-time career and an overwhelming schedule as a lab manager, I hardly had time to cook for the family, let alone sit on a chair for hours and crochet, but she insisted I would learn without effort. With incredible patience and perseverance, she managed to teach me the basic stitches. Her compliments encouraged me to crochet a blanket.

My first afghan is 30y old: Unfortunately, I forgot how to stitch this pattern.

Things didn’t go easy as she chose a complicated pattern where I had to continuously concentrate on the task and count stitches. My first blanket took forever. I had to undo and repeat every time she detected a mistake, which often revolted me, but when it was eventually finished I was quite proud of myself.  We started a smaller afghan with a much easier stitch, one that repeated itself. I got the hang of it. Over the next five years I crocheted afghans for every relative in the family, baby blankets for every young friend expecting a baby, and a mix of these that were auctioned at the church festival, for a total of almost thirty pieces.

After I took an early retirement to pursue my dream of writing novels, I didn’t have time to crochet. Fifteen years later, I realized I completely forgot how to crochet. When I found a note in the church bulletin announcing a crochet hour every Thursday morning, I showed up with my old crochet bag. I explained that I was ready to learn again. The group of ladies reassured me they would teach me in no time. “It’s like riding a bicycle. It’ll come back right away.” Surprisingly it did. They taught me an easy stitch lemonade, and a few others.

One of the old ladies reminded me of my mother-in-law with her short white hair and her way of saying, “Doesn’t look right. You better undo it, dear, and repeat.” At Christmas time, more than two-hundred afghans and blankets are exhibited in the church hall and then shipped to the veterans and to the hospice.

The afghans ready to be shipped to the veterans or the hospice at Christmas time.

Now that I finally mastered a couple of stitches, I find crocheting immensely relaxing, and an excellent therapy for my hands, especially after a whole day at the computer.

My work in progress.

10 benefits of crocheting you won’t want to overlook

  • It’s a stress buster. …
  • It helps with depression. …
  • It’s good for your body. …
  • It keeps your mind active. …
  • It’s creative. …
  • It contributes to mindfulness and relaxation. …
  • It increases self-esteem. …
  • It helps others.

Can I teach you to crochet?

Of course during the day I write, and publish. Here are two books newly released during this month.

#NewRelease SAILING AWAY PLANS (Love Plans Series, book 1) A romantic comedy, realistic, sexy and emotional: Dr. Winston quits work to start a new life in the Caribbean, on his new boat, in a new clinic, but love strikes at the wrong time.

#NewRelease DATING PLAN (Love Plans Series, book 2)  Happiness finally seems within grasp for Matt and Brenda until the bullies in her daughter’s class pull her into their web again.

The End of a Series

During my ten years of writing, I have written over 70 books, but there is something very special about publishing the final book in a series.

On Friday, September 10th, I published Bradley. It was the sixth and final book in the Loving a Young Series. A series that helps six siblings find their forever loves.

I can’t quite remember how I got the idea for the series, but once I started writing Wesley, Book 1, the rest of the series just flew right onto the pages. Some stories can be difficult to write, but all six of these books practically wrote themselves.

It’s important when I write the final book to make sure that I give updates on the rest of the couples so that readers can see how happy they are all doing, and what their lives are like now. Writing a series that deals with siblings, made this particular last book easier in that regard.

Since they are all related, they are constantly being seen from one book to the next, so tying up the loss ends for this series was easy. I know some of my readers were sad that the series was over, but happily, it’s not the end of the Young’s, because you will see them again when the spin-off series, Loving a Winston, starts publishing next year.

If you love to binge read an entires series, now you can with the Loving A Young series on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.

Plotting Around Cell Phones by @_NancyRadke

Cell PhoneThe first books I wrote, the Sisters of Spirit series, were written before cell phones were even thought of, much less used, by everyone. That’s not very many years ago and I wrote them on a typewriter.  When I went to publish them, I had to bring some of them up-to-date by adding modern things like the cell phone and the personal computer, which I switched to while we still needed to open it in DOS (the disk operating system).

Not Easy To Do

The addition of cell phones changes a plot. Instead of being out in the wilderness without a phone, the injured hero just calls rescue. Now the plot must be changed so that there is no coverage, or his phone is broken during his fall, or the battery is dead.  Authors are forced to use these excuses so that they can keep the hero in trouble longer. In my latest Brothers of Spirit book, Terminal Pursuit, the hero has thrown his phone out the car window onto the highway so he can’t be traced, and is wishing that the phone booths that used to be on the street corners were still there. He threw his first phone into the river earlier in the book, along with a bomb that had been placed in the car.

Terminal Pursuit

Into The Future

I found a TV show called Tunnel especially interesting. The detective hero is sent 30 years into the future. He doesn’t know what has happened to his typewriter, what a computer is, or what the things are that folks are carrying around with them. How can a picture get on their phone? He hasn’t heard of DNA or CCTV (closed circuit television). He doesn’t have a driver’s license and has to bum rides and borrow money. But his detecting methods still work.

I was in my seventies before I got a cell phone. I don’t use it every minute of the day. And I don’t carry my phone on me as it is heavy and pulls my jeans down. It sits wherever I’ve left it, and I have to run through the house to answer it. If I’m outside, I’ll miss a call. I can deposit money and do online banking on the phone. But I just found out that you can get a pinpoint GPS with your phone, which I then added to the latest book I’m writing, a cozy mystery called Any Lucky Dog Can Follow a Trail of Blood. This book is part of the Authors’ Billboard anthology called Murder is to Die For. The anthology will be available a week from now on 9-17-21. Technology grows faster than I can write.

Writing A Book Takes Time

So when you read a book and the technology isn’t up-to-date, just realize how long it takes to write a book sometimes. Modern technology might not have even been around when the author was plotting the book. Things like drones, or computer phones as part of your wrist watch. That last was first envisioned by the author of the Dick Tracy comic strip; the detective had a two-way wrist radio. The real watch far surpasses the wrist radio, but I remember thinking that we’d never have anything like that. Now my daughter talks to her wrist all the time.