Where do you get your ideas? by USA Today bestselling author Nancy Radke #mgtab

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So it is finally summer and I’m considering ideas for my next series. Readers sometimes wonder where we get our ideas, so this time I’ll write about what inspired one of my books.

The Handsomest Man in the Country (free) came about when I decided to try writing a book similar to those of Louis L’Amour. Starting with the end of the Civil War, I placed my heroine, Mally, in the mountains of Tennessee, and started writing. I had a theme, that of not judging a person by his looks. Also I had my great grandmother’s written account of her and her husband coming west in a wagon train as first-person background information.

All her life, Mally has wanted to marry the handsomest man in the country. She is a very pretty girl and looks forward to her teen years and having the boys come courting. The nearby neighbor woman has sons her age, with the most handsome one being Gage Courtney. Gage lets her ride his horse, and she decides he’s the one for her.

Then the Civil War begins. Her father and the Courtney boys leave to fight. She loses both parents at the end of the war and the Courtney boys are nowhere around. Following her father’s wishes, she sets out for Missouri to find her uncle and his wife. They have also lost their farm and are all ready to start west for Oregon Territory. Mally joins them, but soon a marriage of convenience forces her to marry a man she’s never met, one who makes her mules look good after he shaves off his beard. (That idea came from a TV show I once watched where the man looked quite handsome until he shaved.)

Trey Trahern knows he isn’t a man that girls would ever look at twice and considers himself fortunate to have Mally as a wife. He knows she was forced into this marriage and tells her that he will stay with her, but will release her if she wants out.

Soon after they are wed, the man of her dreams, Gage Courtney, rides up and joins the wagon train. Trey invites him to build next to them. What is Mally to do?

The rest of the Trahern books tell about the Trahern boys and their cousins and sisters. Now 13 books in all, it is a series I almost didn’t write, but which has turned into my best-selling series. You never know where a storyline will lead you.

Next series I’m considering writing is one based upon fairy-tales like Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and The Ugly Duckling. I’ve been watching The Adventures of Merlin on TV and like the magic element, although I don’t know if I will put it in or not. Comment below if you have a story idea you’d like to see developed. My books are always clean and wholesome.

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Strong Women!

I’m the brunette in red, my mom (white hair) is next to me, her mother on the end. The others are three of my five daughters.

I know, it was just Fathers Day, but I was reared by a single mother.,,in the 60s!
My mother divorced in 1962, tried a stepfather for us, then when that ended horribly, decided she’d do it by herself. Now, that might not sound like such a big thing, but fifty years ago, it was.
First off, just being a divorced woman was a horrible stigma as was being in a family without a father. I swear, there were many kids whose mothers wouldn’t let me play with them because my mother wasn’t married. Divorced woman automatically meant ‘loose’ or ‘slutty’ woman to some folks.
And what a challenge! Even if there had been welfare (and there might have been), we weren’t on it. My mother groomed dogs, cleaned hotel rooms, did whatever she could to scrape together enough so we had food and a safe place to live. Eventually, she got a job as an accounting clerk. She and a young man had identical job titles and responsibilities, but he made twice as much money. When she asked her boss about it, he said a man was the head of the family and needed it. She reminded him that the co-worker wasn’t even married and that she had four kids! “Well, he could have them one day…”
I can’t remember what she did at that point. She couldn’t leave until she had another job, so she probably sucked it down. I know she did wind up changing employers down the road. Still, she always made less than men.
All four of us turned out fine, too. Even though my youngest brother was physically and mentally handicapped, he graduated from high school. Other brother served in the Army and Reserves and went to college on the GI Bill, graduating with a bachelor’s degree. Older sister married well and, after ten years of working and going to school part time while rearing two high-achieving children, also earned a bachelor’s degree. No trouble with the law for any of us or our kids, either!
Well, I didn’t graduate from college, but I did manage to get USA Today Bestselling Author status a couple times and establish a successful business, starting out with nothing but chutzpah and tenacity…and a great role model.
Not bad for kids of a divorced woman. Correction. A strong woman!
Do strong woman stories inspire you? Check out Invincible – Strong and Fearless box set. Inspiring stories for women (and men) of all ages.

 

Are You a Gambler? #Inspiration #amwriting #mgtab

Once a Gambler…

I have a confession to make- I love gambling on the horse races. I blame it on my grandma’s cousins, Betty and Mike. They introduced me to the thrill of racing as a young girl and I’ve been hooked ever since!

There’s just something about those beautiful, high-spirited animals prancing onto the track and lining up at the gate that makes my heart go pitty-pat 🙂

Nowadays, I get my enjoyment from watching the races on TV- with the Triple Crown as the best.

From Wikipedia

In the United States, the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, commonly known as the Triple Crown, is a title awarded to a three-year-old Thoroughbred horse who wins the Kentucky DerbyPreakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. The three races were inaugurated in different years, the last being the Kentucky Derby in 1875. These races are now run annually in May and early June of each year. The Triple Crown Trophy, commissioned in 1950 but awarded to all previous winners as well as those after 1950, is awarded to a Triple Crown winner.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triple_Crown_of_Thoroughbred_Racing_(United_States)

Last year, in 2018, I was lucky enough to watch Justify take the crown!

Justify is only the second horse to win the American Triple Crown with an undefeated record, following Seattle Slew. Justify is descended from Seattle SlewSecretariatCount FleetWar AdmiralOmaha, and Gallant Fox, all of whom also won the American Triple Crown. He is also a descendant of English Triple Crown winner Nijinsky. Of the 13 American Triple Crown winners, Justify is the first who did not race as a two-year-old.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justify_(horse)

Is it any wonder I love the sport?

I decided to write a mystery set around the Kentucky Derby and added a twist by setting it in the 50’s.

Here’s a short excerpt from The Lady Said No

Gus followed the stiff-necked manservant to the door of the den, though his emotions were tugging him back to Rebecca like a starved man to a banquet.

He couldn’t believe how beautiful she’d become. She’d always been pretty, but now there was an added maturity to her features that suited her face. The tomboy figure he fondly remembered had become hills and valleys he ached to explore. They’d been best friends, then lovers, then enemies. It’d been his fault, that was the worst of it. He’d let his drive for a career ruin the only good thing in his life. He could tell himself he’d done his part. After getting his degree and returning to Bourbonville he had tried to find her. But she was right, he hadn’t tried hard enough.

Their relationship had already been floundering; it had seemed easier to let it die a natural death. He regretted that now. One glimpse of her had brought back all the old feelings. Memories of happier times.

Ernest reached for the door knob and was stopped by the officer on guard.

“Sorry, only trained personnel are allowed.”

Ernest glared at him. “I’ve worked in this household for years; I believe I am trained.”

The sergeant exchanged a helpless glance with Gus. “I’m sorry, sir. Those are the rules.”

Gus stepped between the two men before a full-scale war broke out. “It’s okay, sergeant.” He flipped open his badge. “I’m Detective Grant. The…” He waved a hand toward the butler.

Ernest lowered his brows. “Manservant.”

Gus nodded. “Manservant, was just showing me the way to the crime scene.”

The officer checked his badge, then reached back to open the door. The stench of death was immediate, a toxic mix of human waste impossible to forget. Gus turned his head to draw one last clean breath and met Rebecca’s anxious gaze.

That look gave him pause.

Why was she worried? Just how well did Rebecca know the owner of Balmoral?

“Coming, Detective?” The sergeant’s voice interrupted his musings. Gus shrugged off his misgivings and followed the man into the room, sliding past the grim-faced Ernest.

Nancy knelt by the victim, her hands covered with white gloves and booties on her feet. She glanced up when he walked in and pointed at his shoes. Gus dug through his coat pockets until he found his booties, put them on, nodded to the sergeant, and made his way over to her side.

“It’s a bad one,” she said, turning attention to her preliminary findings. “Single shot to the temple, through and through. Near as I can tell, time of death was sometime between midnight and three a.m., no sign of defensive wounds.” She stopped and gazed at him with world-weary eyes. “Who would do this, Augustus?”

Gus observed the brain matter splattered on the leather tufted chair and rich, red Aubusson carpet and his stomach churned. His first thought was crime of passion. There had been some effort made to set the scene up as a suicide. The gun rested in the victim’s open hand, finger wrapped around the trigger. A cut crystal tumbler lay on its side nearby, a stain wetting the carpet. Gus touched the wet spot and sniffed, rubbing the tips of his fingers—bourbon. The good kind. Not something a man bent on ending his own life would let go to waste.

“I’m not sure, Nancy, but I do know the brass will be all over this one, so take your time, okay? We don’t want to miss anything.”

She huffed out an indignant breath. “You telling me how to do my job, now?”

He held up a hand to halt her blistering tongue. “The Jorgensons are big news, that’s all I’m saying. Don’t they have a horse in the Derby this year?”

The sergeant, who had remained by the door, and watched their exchange with interest, piped up. “Forever Humble. Lots of money riding on that colt.” His face became animated. “You ever see him race, Detective? He’s some kind of fast. Likes to run the outside track. Gives me a heart attack every time.”

Gus smiled. “You a betting man…?”

“Fish, sir. Everyone calls me Fish.”

Nancy chuckled and the young man’s neck turned brick red.

“I’m not a gambler, no sir, but I admit I like to spend a Saturday now and then down at the track. It’s some exciting. You ever been, Mr. Grant?”

Gus shook his head. “No, can’t say as I have. Not that fond of horses, though I guess that’s the wrong thing to say in this house.” He admired the landscape watercolor on the wall, rolling hills with a herd of wild horses barreling straight at him, eyes crazy and manes flying as though they were about to burst the confines of paint and canvas.

“Augustus, there’s something you need to see.” Nancy’s voice was muffled as she stretched, shapely butt in the air, to reach something under the leather chair. She grunted and tugged until a bronze sculpture came into view. When she stood it on the carpet, he saw it was about twelve inches in height, a warrior on a horse, raised arm carrying a spear.

“There’s blood and hair fragments,” she said, turning it carefully to inspect the evidence. “I can’t be sure until I get it to the lab, but this looks like a match to our vic.”

Well, that explained why there were no defensive wounds. The poor sop probably didn’t know what hit him. Gus looked around until he found the suspiciously empty spot on the desk. He gave a wide berth to the corpse, conscious of Nancy’s critical gaze. The desk was one of those massive claw-foot affairs, mahogany maybe, rich and elegant instead of simply functional. He pulled a linen handkerchief out of his pocket and checked the drawers. An assortment of papers greeted him, some on household expenses, most on Jorgenson’s passion—thoroughbreds. Nothing that looked like a cause for murder.

Gus was about to replace the documents when a slip of yellowed paper lodged in the back of the drawer caught his eye. He reached in, using the hankie, and retrieved the handwritten note.

Do what I told you to do, or the truth will destroy you

The threat inherent on the scrap of paper chilled his blood. There was trouble brewing in the Jorgenson household, and Gus was afraid Rebecca was somehow involved.

This story is part of the upcoming boxset, Unforgettable Power- Love and Intrigue, releasing May 5th!

Seven suspenseful page-turners will captivate you with breathtaking stories and intriguing characters you’ll find positively unputdownable! If you enjoy heart-stopping, engaging novels, then you must read UNFORGETTABLE POWER – Love and Intrigue.

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Suffering From Infobesity? by @JoanReeves #mgtab

Infobesity is a word created by James Morris of the Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science.

Even though it’s a “made up” word, infobesity, the tendency to keep reading, visiting social media, and scanning the internet for more, more, and more information is a very real thing.

Infobesity is caused by FOMO, the Fear Of Missing OUT.

Life Informs Writing

I guess I’m talking about this today because I’ve been mostly away since the beginning of March. Currently, I’m using a hot spot created by my cell phone to write this post. I have one eye on the data meter to make sure I don’t go over my allotted gigabytes and the other eye on the laptop monitor screen.

I’ve been suffering from FOMO for almost 3 weeks. Yikes. It really is a real thing!

If you’re drowning in digital data? Scared by social media? Finding internet life a big time suck, and suffering from FOMO, just know you’re not alone.

Many internet users are overwhelmed by the never-ending flood of information—especially if you find yourself spending a lot of time on social media.

Multitasking online—swiftly going back and forth from one task to another and another—can cause a serious drop in your productivity. That’s called information fatigue syndrome. I definitely feel that sometimes.

What To Do

If you’re scared you’ll miss out on something essential to your life, you probably need to take command of the situation before it takes command of you.

1. Change to focusing on one thing at a time, rather than trying to multitask. You’ll accomplish more, and what you do will probably be correct than error-ridden.

2. Decide what’s important and refuse to look at information that doesn’t help you move forward with your goals.

3. Follow only those people and websites that support your goals, and make that your policy about subscribing to newsletters, blogs, etc.

4. If you need to do something important—like write a book or a job proposal—silence your cell phone alerts and notifications and do the same with any alerts and notifications on your computer.

5. Overcome the idea that you have to be wired in 24/7. Give your brain a break and disconnect every evening and on weekends. At least pick one day to be offline.

6. Read something that will sweep you away and relax you. Reading lowers blood pressure and is good for the brain in many ways.

Why not try one of my books or one of the many Authors Billboard collections? You can find my books at my Amazon Author Page. You can find the Author Billboard box sets on the main page.

One last thing, and it’s so important.

Please be sure to check out our Authors’ Billboard Monthly Contests for free ebooks, gift cards, and paperbacks.

March is going to offer another Rafflecopter, so don’t miss out!

Post Script from Joan

Embrace your life and everyone in it. Never take the ones you love for granted.

 

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