Just What the Doctor Ordered by Nancy Radke #mgtab

“Put ice on it and sit and watch TV.” That advice from my doctor would have been great except he also told me to stay off the computer. I tore the ligament in my shoulder and needed to keep from using it while it healed, so I watched a lot of TV. Still not healed completely, still watching TV. Able to do a limited amount of computer work.

Thankfully I have Netflix and discovered the many Asian romantic TV series on that site. Subtitled, I didn’t know if I could get used to reading the words until I found myself turning up the sound when I didn’t quite catch something said. Needless to say, turning up the sound doesn’t help.

It is interesting to note how many different ways of meeting the writers come up with. My favorite meeting so far is in the series called “O2O.” The couple play online video games and their characters meet in the game and agree to act as a married team. She doesn’t know who he is, but he saw her playing at an Internet Cafe and knows who she is. She actually falls in love with him before they ever meet. This is the kindest couple and a delight to watch.

Another of my favorites is called “Cinderella and the Four Knights.” This one has the mean stepmother and stepsister, but it puts a funny twist on the Cinderella story with four guys interested in her. This one made me laugh, cry, and just feel good.

I wish I could put music into my books, as the music that accompanies the better ones of these heightens the emotions, so that I found myself laughing or crying on cue. I’ll mention some of my other favorites: “Fall in Love With Me,” “Good Morning Call,” “Meteor Garden,” “Crash Landing on You,” and “I Hear You,” about a violin maker.

Their last name is said first, they do a lot of bowing out of respect for each other, and some of the scenery in South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan is spectacular. Try some of these and see if you are as pleased as I am. Some are annoyingly juvenile, with the actors too old for their parts, but I’ve learned to watch at least 2-3 episodes, because often the first two episodes take place in high school, while the rest occur several years later and then the age is better.

I’ve recently put up a story entitled “The Golden Legacy, The Prisoner Returns.” The Golden Legacy books are still coming out, with a new story, Aurora’s Treasure, by an award-winning author, Jacquie Rogers, which involves magic and fairies. See if her magic makes your reading fun.

Jacquie’s book will be out around the 20th, so I don’t have a link for this now. To find it, search “Golden Legacy” on Amazon. All the series books are together there.

Be sure to go to our monthly board and check out the books there. Also, enter the contest there.

On the road!

So, the pandemic is still a thing. Christopher and I both work from home as writers and June 1st we each finished big projects. The state of the world has emphasized how important family is and we needed to safely lay eyes on our loved ones. June 15th we embarked on a road trip toward Washington state. We have been so cautious—mostly tent camping between short visits. No restaurants—yes to masks, hand washing, hand sanitizer. Six feet distance and outside when possible. We don’t have symptoms, and no fevers.

We traveled from North Carolina, through Chicago, then Minnesota. I had no idea that Minnesota was so green and lush. Very beautiful country. We entered Wyoming with a tornado warning, torrential rain, and a lightning storm. In Florida we get lightning but this was surreal and all around us as we drove. That night we camped in Bighorn National Park and the temps overnight were in the forties. Brr. The next day we toured Yellowstone by car. It was snowing, actually, and we were grateful to have new tires and a working heater! We camped that night in Harrison Lake Montana—the wind was howling worse than a Cat 1 hurricane and our tent barely remained upright—all night long. We were up and packed by six in the morning toward Spokane, and warmth lol.

Lightning in Wyoming

We have been with Mom almost a week and we are keeping our bubble small. No visits with cousins or friends, just those Mom already has in her house. Nobody has symptoms. We hope we are doing the right thing as cases explode all over the US. This is a risk we have all agreed to take. My grandmother is 91, and she is tested often because of her health, always negative.

An underlying fear persists that we might somehow contract Covid and pass it on—I hate it, but it is necessary to be aware and do everything that we can to be safe and healthy.

How are you dealing with emergence after months of isolation? Is this wariness just a fact of life in 2020?

I will say that being in nature has done so much for my mental health. I love the beach, but rivers and trees and green also cheer the heart. Best of all is seeing my mom and being in her bubble <3

Last week, Murder in a Scottish Shire came out—my first cozy mystery in a series that takes place in Scotland. I hope you check it out! What an escape J

In the romance department, please dive into one of our amazing box sets here on the Authors’ Billboard page. I am writing a Christmas Wish by the Sea out this year—oh, and join our monthly contest. Best of luck to you!

Traci

Life in the Time of the Coronavirus

Life goes on, but it’s not exactly the same. In normal times, I alternately call my husband Mr. Travel or Mr. Restaurant. Traveling and eating out are two of his favorite activities, but we’re not doing either at the moment. And every conference I was going to attend has been canceled. That leaves the focus on activities at home–reading, cooking, gardening, watching TV.

So, I was watching a show on HGTV recently. It was one of the many variations of the Property Brothers franchise–this one where the Brothers fix up someone’s current home–not to sell but to make it better for their family. Drew commented–your front hall is a visitor’s first impression of your home. Right, except that we’re not having any visitors besides the plumber, the electrician, the maids and the guy who’s going to fix the leak at the side of the chimney.

Even so, I decided the front hall could use some work. Usually, Norman stores large flat boxes there–which he uses to carry in groceries. (Don’t ask me why they’re not in the trunk of the car.) But since we’re having groceries delivered, I carried the boxes down to his office, which is hopeless under the best of circumstances.

There are two other sources of clutter in the hall. One is a wicker basket full of carry bags–also for groceries, but they have a secondary use–taking my laptop up and down the stairs when I have other things to carry as well. I stacked them all neatly then attacked the wicker stand that holds umbrellas. How many umbrellas do you need, anyway? The answer would be two–if you could count on their not breaking. I stuffed some into the armoire I use for a coat closet and left a couple in the stand.

The hall now looks pretty good. Here’s the bench I made from one of my old kitchen cabinets. It’s a good place to sit if you’re putting on boots, and also great for a cat to sit and look out the window. The cat in the picture is Holly, my rescued feral kitty who has been socialized and converted to house cat status.

Somehow when hours and hours stretch in front of you, it’s harder to get writing done. But I do have a draft of the novella I’m putting in the “Dear Santa” Christmas collection. I love this cover that Michele Hauf made. (I did find the couple myself.)

So, while you’re staying in, are you using the time to declutter your house? Or what?

Quinoa Salad #Recipe by @Donna_Fasano

Quinoa Salad RecipeQuinoa Salad. I can hear you now. Kwin-what? A highly nutritious and gluten free seed, quinoa (pronounced  KEEN-wah) is originally from the Andean region of South America. It has a mild, slightly nutty flavor that makes it a great substitute for rice or couscous. Quinoa is packed with nutrition; it’s an exceptional source of protein, containing all eight amino acids, which makes it an excellent option for people looking to reduce their consumption of meat. Quinoa a good source of dietary fiber and contains B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus, and iron. Quinoa Salad is easy to prepare, tastes great, is gluten free, and is very versatile.

One note, check the package! If the quinoa you purchase isn’t pre-rinsed, you must rinse it in a fine sieve to remove the bitter-tasting saponins.

I’m the kind of cook who opens the refrigerator and asks, “What’s for dinner?” This recipe is perfect for me as I have used any combination of the veggies listed below to prepare this salad. Whatever is on hand, that’s what I use.

First, cook the quinoa: Bring 3 cups of water to a boil and add 1 ½ cups of quinoa

Turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and let the quinoa sit for five minutes.

While the quinoa is cooking, prepare your vegetables. Choose at least three of the veggies listed below, four is better, five is YUM! The mix of cooked and raw vegetables adds to the great texture of this delicious salad.

  • 1 cucumber, peeled, quartered and chopped
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • ¼ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1 cup fresh broccoli florets, raw or lightly sautéed in olive oil
  • 1 cup carrot, raw, shredded
  • 1 cup leeks, sliced and lightly sautéed in olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh sugar snap peas, raw
  • 1 small jar of marinated baby beets, drained
  • 1 cup fresh cauliflower, raw or lightly sautéed in olive oil
  • ¼ cup sliced scallions
  • 1 cup frozen baby peas, thawed
  • 1 cup red, yellow, or green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1 or 2 small zucchini, quartered and chopped, raw or lightly sautéed
  • 1 avocado, peeled and chopped
  • 1 jar of marinated artichoke hearts, drained and sliced thin
  • 1 can chick peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup snow peas, raw
  • 1 cup fresh asparagus, chopped (raw if it’s thin, or lightly steamed if it’s thick)

You get the idea! Any vegetable will work. Use whatever you like.

Other optional ingredients I’ve used (choose 1 nut/seed and/or 1 cheese):

  • ½ cup of walnut pieces
  • ½ cup pecan pieces
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • 8 oz. mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled

Ingredients I always use in this salad:

To assemble:

Stir together the quinoa, parsley, salt, pepper, and your choice of vegetables/nuts/seeds in a large bowl. Serve warm or at room temperature or chill for several hours. I always get rave reviews when I bring this salad to potluck dinners or family gatherings. Enjoy!