BEING A SURVIVOR by Nancy Radke

Being a survivor often depends upon your mental state. You can die if you decide that that’s what you’re going to do, but some people survive impossible odds.

Survivor

When my husband was a Boy Scout back in the early 1950s, he and another Boy Scout accompanied their scout leader carrying trout fingerlings into the Cascade Mountains to “seed” the lakes. This involved backpacking gallons of water filled with the baby trout along miles of forest trails. If the lake wasn’t named, they got to name it as well as seed it.

He mentioned that on one trip they came across a man who had broken his leg into multiple fractures. The man was pulling himself along the trail and asked them how far it was to the trailhead where he had left his car. He was miles away but was cheerful and determined to make it. When they returned, he was much further along the trail and they helped him the rest of the way.

A Different Experience…

On the very same trip they were hiking in to another lake and came across a man who was lying beside the trail with a broken leg. It was not nearly as serious as the first man’s injuries, but this man had given up and was waiting to die. He was only a quarter of a mile from the trailhead, but refused to take a stout stick for a cane and try to make it on his own. They went on to the lake, then returned. The man was still in the same spot, so the scout leader told him he would send help—and left him there.

It was a lesson my husband never forgot. This was before his family moved to Alaska when he was twelve years old.

Many people who survived the Holocaust lived long afterwards, to see their children and grandchildren. Today, we have people in China who are being persecuted to the point of death in the labor camps there. The survivors tell stories of horror and torture, yet we have people in the U.S. living in freedom who think they can’t make it if things get tough.

Many of my books are about survival. In Courage Dares, the hero convinces the heroine that she is a survivor. The Toughest Man in the Territory and The Luckiest Man in the West, feature heroes and heroines work together to cross the wilderness. In Dangerous Heritage, the danger is from modern-day kidnappers.Courage Dares

Courage Dares is on sale this coming Friday.

 

 

 

How Authors Use Historical Events by @_NancyRadke

Many of my books have some historical events included, or referred to. This is because history repeats itself, if unlearned by following generations. My historical Trahern series is placed just after the end of the Civil War and mentions events during those times. The Sisters, Brothers, and modern Trahern stories often have some contemporary issues mentioned.

Historical Events

The Traherns Western Pioneer series (13 book series)

My early books were written in the 1980’s, just as computers were becoming available to the general public.  Appaloosa Blues was my first book and it was written longhand and on a typewriter, then switched to an early personal computer which was opened with DOS. My seventh book, Turnagain Love, was the first one published, in 1994.

Revisions and the author

When I got ready to put my books up on Amazon, I went through and did revisions, trying to bring them up to date, since by then it was 2000 and both computers and cellphones were in general use. One of my readers commented that a few of my books didn’t seem to emphasize modern communication (such as cell phones), and I agreed, since I still am not attached to my phone. It gets left in whatever room I left last, so when it rings, I have to run through the house doing a phone search to find it.

My books often allude to what is going on in the world at the time when the book takes place. Height of Danger was written right after the destruction of Venezuela. The events there turned the country from an oil-rich country to one filled with abject poverty, caused by the new government. When a government takes total control, the people flee if they can. Many still die trying to get to freedom.

Height of Danger

History will repeat itself. Each generation knows only 20 years of history. If earlier events have been destroyed or are not learned and remembered, world governments are destined to repeat their mistakes.

The Blessing of a Baby by @_NancyRadke USA Today Bestselling Author

I have a new “title,” besides that of bestselling author. My grandson and his wife just made me a great grandmother. It happened this week, so I’ll write about my precious new baby for my April blog. She’s a sweet little girl who took her own time getting here, coming on her own schedule, not her mother’s, who had it all planned out for last Thursday. The baby had other plans, almost making it to my birthday.

Baby

Babies are a delight to any family and our little one is no exception. She makes me want to include a baby in an upcoming book, just to remember what a blessing a newborn is. They were able to bring her home from the birthing center a few hours after she was born, so we all got to hold her right away.

Living Near, Living Far

When my first child was born, we were living in Hawaii and our folks were in Alaska and Washington state, and they weren’t able to be there right away. My great granddaughter lives within walking distance, so I expect to see her often.

The ladies in our church family are providing two weeks worth of meals, so I was told to wait to do that.

When my daughter was young, I used to take her to visit her great grandmother at a nursing home. It was the highlight of the week for both of them and I feel it taught my daughter to be kind and thoughtful of older people. I’m looking forward to seeing her grow up.

I feel like I’m rambling, so will mention the book I have out this weekend. Scorpion’s Trail, normally $5.99, is on sale. The story has nothing to do with babies, but it is a romance that introduces my favorite hero, Hugo, who takes delight in teasing my heroine, Perri.

Scorpion's Trail

The Author’s Tools, Part 2 by @_NancyRadke

Author's ToolsAuthors use the Internet, resource books, movies, and their own experiences as tools when writing novels. An author’s tools are invaluable. I thought I’d mention more books that I use which sit on my writing table.

The book I use for every novel is Roget’s Thesaurus. You need a print copy of this book, so you can rapidly scan in the options given. It is like a dictionary, but instead of definitions, it gives synonyms and related words.

The second half of the Thesaurus is an alphabetic index which you use to look up the word close to what you want. For example, you have used the word “walk” several times in a paragraph. That becomes annoying to the reader and will pull her out of the story. Looking up the word “walk” in the index in the Thesaurus gives you  many nouns and verbs in different categories, such as route, gait, path, domineer, win easy…

You choose what category you are using, and go to it. These are numbered, rather than alphabetical. Going to the number for gait (273.14), I find gait, pace, walk, step, stride… up to 42 different words meaning gait. And under the generic number for travel which includes walk, I find 16 subcategories for nouns and 26 subcategories for verbs, including march and glide and creep. I can always find enough words to keep my words from being repetitious. The Thesaurus included on computer programs just doesn’t work as well.

More Author’s Tools

I also use an old English grammar book to check my use of lie and lay, which has given me problems all my life, since I use them interchangeably when I talk.

Another text is Getting the Words Right—How to Rewrite, Edit, and Revise, by Theodore Cheney. This book is very helpful. For example, in each sentence and in each paragraph there is a main point. This book helps you spot those points and determine where you want to put them. Maybe at the start of the sentence or the end of the paragraph.

Then there are the writer’s guides. Here are my favorites: Writing Novels That Sell by Jack Bickham, Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain, Heroes and Heroines by Cowden, LaFever, and Viders.

Story by Robert McKee. I attended a two-day intensive course by Mr. McKee that followed his book word by word. By buying his book I have the transcript, and re-read it now and then to better understand the elements of story. This is a classic that I feel every writer should read.

I am now working on another Cozy Mystery, this time titled: “Any Lucky Dog Can Find a Missing Child.” It is in pre-order form in the Authors’ Billboard Set, Murder is Scheduled for Monday.

Murder is Scheduled for Monday