This month is my birthday and I'm giving my readers a double feature of Hidden Diamonds. Two spectacular fellow Soul Mate authors, Rayanne Haines and Barbara Nolan.
When I first read Barbara Nolan's guest blog post for today, I found it so touching that I needed to take a moment. It takes a brave person to take a chance and seize their dreams. Her Paradise series sounds like a fast-paced adventure mixed with a hot romance. And you can pick up the first book, Beyond Paradise, for 99 cents!
Jonny Vallone, the dark, brooding owner of Manhattan nightclub, Beyond Paradise, doesn’t need any more complications in his life. Then savvy con artist, Cheryl Benson, barges into his office and spits out a confession that would make most men run for cover.
Cheryl’s fast-paced, out-of-control life is closing in, and her only hope against a ruthless crime boss is bad boy, Jonny and his powerful connections. Her knight in black Brioni has a body made for sin with enough baggage to fill a 747, yet he’s her only hope.
Their wild ride whisks them from the high-powered glitz of Manhattan after dark, to the sultry beaches of Miami, in a desperate attempt to break free of their shady pasts while trying to tame their fiery passion and the dangerous deceptions swirling around them.
And now please enjoy Barbara's story about how her dream of becoming a published author came true as well as her answers to the Hidden Diamond author questionnaire.
A Second Act
I like to think of my writing career as my second act.
My first act centered around my family. Although I did work away from the home, I was able to adjust my schedule, and also be home with my children as they grew up. Raising my three children, a son and two daughters kept me very busy, but they are now adults with children of their own.
There was no one specific trigger or need for change as I had been writing off and on for most of my adult life. I always said I would become serious about my writing and I believe that the passing of my father and the tragic events of 911 in the same year motivated me to take action. We live in the New York/New Jersey area and were greatly affected by the tragedy of that horrific act. Losing friends and loved ones made me realize how precious life is, and how in a second everything you knew can be taken away.
Being in the restaurant and bar industry for most of our married lives I had many stories in my head and wrote them down whenever I had the chance. At one point, I had over 200,000 words on my computer, but I knew I needed a plan for putting those words together in a way people would enjoy reading.
Realizing that I had to learn the mechanics of writing, I furthered my education, and received a degree in Creative Writing from New York University. At NYU I worked with many talented professors who mentored me while editing and critiquing my work.
The professors at NYU gave me the tools I needed to make my dream come true, and believe me, I had a lot to learn. Punctuation, pesky run-on sentences and the power of show don’t tell. I still have problems with commas as my editor with gladly tell you, but overall my writing has improved greatly. (I know, I really didn’t need that adverb.)
Armed with all the tools I needed, I converted those words into three books which became my Paradise Series. I read that entering contests was a good way to get noticed so I entered at least three a month and was pleasantly surprised when I became a finalist in many of them.
I would highly recommend entering contests as most have agents and editors as judges and even if they don’t request your work you will get critiques. Some of my most valuable critiques have come from contest judges. Entering contests is what brought me to Soul Mate Publishing. I am now an author with Soul Mate Publishing and my debut novel, Beyond Paradise, was published on December 12, 2018.
My best advice to anyone who dreams of starting a new career is not to wait. There will never be the right time or the perfect situation, you just have to jump in with both feet and work hard toward your goal. I wish that I had followed through with my dream earlier, but wherever you are in life, don’t hesitate, act.
- Barbara Nolan
An Author Interview with Barbara Nolan
What is the wildest thing you've done to research a book?
Most of my books take place in and around Manhattan, and center around New York nightclubs and nightlife. For many years we owned restaurants and bars, so my stories many times have come from this experience. So I guess you could say that my research has been done over my life time. And believe me there have been some crazy stories over the years.
What is your writing process?
I think I am a hybrid of plotter and pantser as I do outline my story to at least the middle, but then after the middle the characters just take off and I become more of a pantser.
What is your favourite thing to do to relax?
Reading is my greatest joy. Unfortunately, I don’t get the time I would like as I spend so much time writing and revising these days. The second book in my Paradise Series will be out this August, so I am in heavy revisions for that now. I consider reading a luxury and writing a necessity.
Who is your favourite fictional crush?
I am a fan of both Joanna Wylde and Nicole James and their bad boy biker guys get me every time.
And in the spirit of the ongoing Joss Whedon debate, who would win: astronauts or cavemen?
I am going to go with cavemen because they know how to live off the land. They know how to hunt and have basic skills of survival. They are nomadic which means they are also adaptable to their surroundings.
Thanks, Barbara, for being one of my special birthday Hidden Diamonds. Your story is an encouragement for all of us who dream of our stories in strangers' hands. For those who'd like to get their own hands on Barbara's books or to follow her on social media, you can find her here:
Beyond Paradise - 99 cents
Thanks for joining us! Come back next month on June 27th for the next Hidden Diamond.
Or, if you'd like to stick around on my blog, you can check out last month's Hidden Diamond, my friend, the 10 carat Eve Langlais.
There's always my last blogpost as well about my thoughts on Black Widow's character arc in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including Avengers: Endgame.
And there's another little birthday present you can take advantage of, the first book in my paranormal romance series, Revelations, is now also available 99 cents or equivalent on all platforms.
See you next time!