College Application Responses

We’re done with Valentine Day and Super Bowl. Monday is President Day. But these are not important days for three young adults in my family.

“February 25 and 26 are the most important days of my life, Nonna,” my granddaughter declared this past weekend, her voice shaky.

This young girl who’s seventeen and two of her relatives who already turned eighteen are anxiously waiting for college application responses, the emails that would change their lives, or at least decide of their futures, and announce if they have been accepted or rejected by the colleges of their choices.

  • Review for college admission is based on:
  • Secondary School Academic Performance
  • SAT or ACT scores.
  • Extracurricular Activities: Consistent involvement throughout high school that demonstrates a student’s interests and passions, as well as how applicants contributed to their school, community and/or family.
  • The quality of thought in the admission essay.
  • Personal Background and Experiences: Students who show the potential and desire to succeed in an academic environment. Students who can be learners, leaders and thinkers.
  • No one single factor determines an admission decision.

I remembered my own children receiving the famous long-awaited letters with admission decisions from various colleges. Now everything is electronic.

So here I am, waiting and fretting with my first grandkid who is about to leave the family nest.

While the children are worried about the next steps in their lives, their parents are tabulating their bank accounts. “Do you realize how expensive colleges are now?” they often complain, conveniently forgetting that their own parents have gone through these anxious moments to pay their tuitions. “Oh, but now, fees are outrageous. They better get some scholarships to help.” Do they realize how much pressure they put on these young ones?

As a loving grandmother, I’m siding with my grandkids and praying they get accepted to the colleges of their choice, and start the next phase of their lives on the right foot.

I still have my tassels worn on graduation day caps, the yellow from Northeastern University in Boston, and the blue one for my Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Cincinnati. They are proudly displayed in our home office.

Wishing our young ones good luck for next week and best wishes for a successful and happy future.

FOR SARAH’S SAKE (The Senator’s Family Series, book 3)

FREE on February 19 and 29, 25 and 26

FOR SARAH’S SAKE: A broken marriage. Second chance at love. And a precious little girl trying to escape danger and hatred to get herself a loving family.

What happens in life, transfers into stories

There is a saying for authors that goes, “Write what you know.” I have done that many times over the years.

It started when I was a cop. I wrote a lot of romantic suspense, and many were with lead characters that were female officers. Then I moved on to dealing with life issues. I wrote about domestic violence, something I am not a stranger to, both in personal and professional life.

I have suffered several bad concussions, and those have made their way into books, too. I’m a former military wife, and my son is currently active in the Navy, so I have close ties to the military. I fight with depression and have PTSD issues, and surprise, all of that shows up in my Rise Again Warrior Series.

When my father passed away, one of the next books I wrote had a father passing. Actually, two books since he passed, deal with losing loved ones (Unexpected Desires & Unexpected Ties). Those aren’t direct storylines, but they are subplots in the books.

I learned many years ago that the best therapy for me, is writing about the stress of my life, and by doing that, I not only feel better, but I touch readers who might be dealing with the same things, or perhaps know someone who is. I help educate them in

Right now I am dealing with a major issue with my home. Structural damage to our foundation and mold behind the finished basement walls. I have a character that I am going to write in the coming months that is an engineer (It’s Candy in the new Loving a Winston Series). I wasn’t quite sure what kind of engineer she would be, but I have a feeling, she might just be a structural one.

I don’t always write what I know. In Cara, she is a helicopter pilot and a paramedic. I didn’t have experience in either of those positions, so I reached out to someone who was a flight medic and got what I needed, and man do I love the way that book turned out!

So as long as life keeps throwing me curveballs and non-stop thrills, I’ll keep on writing what I know!

Cara releases on March 11st!

What happens when the man you fall for is all wrong for you?

Cara Winston has always been a bit of a rebel and an adrenaline junkie. As a helicopter pilot and paramedic, she relies on that to do her job. When Cara and her team respond to a multi-vehicle accident involving motorcycles, she’s expecting the worst. What she’s not expecting is to find herself intrigued by the blue eyes of a man wearing motorcycle gang colors.

Ryan Vigilante rides the road, mostly on two wheels, not four. When several of his club end up in an accident on the highway, Ryan never expects to see a future in the eyes of the intense female paramedic. The only problem is, she’s way out of his league, and he knows that getting involved with her could only put her in jeopardy.

With Cara’s family trying to keep them apart and Ryan’s club breaking the law, Cara finds herself more of a rebel than usual. Will things work out for Cara and Ryan, or will Cara’s law enforcement brother, Ethan, find a way to put a stop to it for good?

The Loving a WinstonSeries is a five-book steamy romance series that spins off of the Loving a Young Series. Characters from both series will appear from book to book. Each book is a standalone romance with suspense and spicy romance scenes.

The Playlist to Cry For: who listens to music while they read anyway?

By Stephanie Queen 

Confession: I listen to music while I write. It gets me in the mood, if you know what I mean. (Myren, my chauffeur just rolled his eyes.)

What Do I mean?   Music—the right music—enhances the emotional experience. Because let’s face it, what’s evokes emotion more quickly than a love song. Romance stories do a pretty good job although they make take a little while to sink their emotional teeth into you, to grab you and shake you up.

So I think listening to a love song that shares the same theme as the story I’m writing is a heck of a way to warm me up, to get me into the world and make me feel like I’m there.

In writing my latest, soon-to-be-released angsty college romance about forbidden love titled I Want To Know What Love Is (yes, of Foreigner’s hit song fame), I chose a play list that evoked the kinds of emotions I wanted you, the reader to feel. And listening to those songs as I wrote, the focused me on those particular feels.

The only down-side? 

It’s gosh darn exhausting—emotionally speaking! Because I write angsty books and between listening to the songs and getting into the characters so deeply to get the words on the page, I get so steeped and overwrought that my heart actually pounds.

Good news? 

You, the reader get the enhanced experience, the deep feels—and you can take a break any time you need to catch your breath. Unless you’re in emotional marathon condition, then go right ahead and read I Want To Know What Love Is all in one sitting.

Ready for some angst? (Myren’s getting the tissues ready now)

The Playlist to Cry For

If you want to listen and read, you can pre-order the book at Amazon.

The Author’s Tools by @_NancyRadke

Authors use the Internet, resource books, movies, and their own experiences when writing novels. We refer to them as author’s tools. I thought I’d mention one of the more unique books that I use which sits on my writing table and has to be moved whenever I have company for dinner.

The book that I use for every novel is The Best Baby Name Book in the Whole Wide World, by Bruce Lansky. It has over 13,000 boys and girls names along with their meanings. It has been enlarged, but I expect most baby name books will work for this purpose. You might wonder why I use this until you realize that romance authors write books in series, and each series might have ten to fifteen books in it.

What’s in a name?

Author's ToolsI need a different hero’s name, heroine’s name, a villain or two, a best friend and parents. Sometimes a dog’s name, like Sam. That means twenty or more names at the very least that I don’t want repeated in that series. So once I have written enough of the story to figure out the personality of my main characters, I give them names to match their personalities. Then I mark that name so I won’t use it again. This is hard to do when I find names I really love, such as Tripp and Keely in the book, The Prisoner Returns.

Some of the names I will use as family names, such as Trahern, a Welsh name meaning “strong as iron.” The Trahern historical series has thirteen books in it with the fourteenth started. But many of the books in my modern-day Silver Bell series have the descendants of the Traherns in them. So, I avoid using the names again, except in the case of Prescott Trahern, whose ancestor Prescott was in The Bravest Woman in the Town. The modern Prescott and his son, Jesse, a forest ranger in Oregon, have to fight drug dealers and smugglers in the book Trouble Never Knocks, where they mention the early Prescott’s bravery.

Appaloosa BluesAppaloosa Blues, a book in the Sisters of Spirit series, features Adam and Johnny Trahern. So, you can see why I may spend an hour or more looking through the baby name book to give my “babies” meaningful names.

That includes nicknames. In the Sisters of Spirit book, Spirit of a Champion, my heroine, the sister of a prize-fighter, needed a name that matched her personality. If she found a cause she felt was just, she went all in for it. I gave her the nick-name, Stormy.

Here are the opening paragraphs for that book:

Victoria Tempest Drake, known to all as “Stormy,” threw the last of her father’s clean socks into his suitcase, stuffed them down into any remaining spaces, and pressed it shut. All she needed to do now was to call the cab and arrange for it to take him and her brother to the Boise airport. Then she would have her father’s house all to herself while she decided what to do with her Masters in applied mathematics.

She had three universities trying to recruit her at the present, she mused as she picked up the phone. Actually four.

“…results are not good.” 

“Tell me.”

The line was being used. Stormy started to hang up.

“You have three soft spots—one very large. If you fight again—ever—it will kill you.”

Scorpions TrailHer brother is determined to fight, and Stormy is just as determined to stop him. She battles for his life. She even takes on his opponent and the men who try to kill her to get her out of the way.

You’ll meet Hugo and Perri in this book. This is the same couple from Scorpion’s Trail and the same Hugo who is in the Brothers of Spirit stories.

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