posted on July 5, 2013 by Nina Bangs

Working the Dream

9780425256077_large_Wicked_MemoriesDreams. We all have them, but some are shallower than others. Hey, I’ve been trying to lose weight since high school. I always imagined what it would feel like to have the perfect figure. I’m still imagining. Someone will carve on my gravestone: She Never Lost Those Ten Pounds. Some dreams, though, are deeper and go to the heart of who we are.

The arts have always drawn me. When I was a teen I wanted to be an actress. In my twenties I longed to take the music world by storm. During my thirties I thought I might paint a picture that would hang beside the great masters. They were all great dreams, and I gave each of them a shot. I took acting lessons and joined the school drama club. I lived in Dublin, Ireland for a few years where a friend and I earned money by singing in pubs and hotel lounges. When I came home from Ireland I took art lessons. No, I never made it to Hollywood or recorded anything or painted even one great picture. But each dream was a journey, and the journey was its own reward.

Then I decided I wanted to write romances. Yes, this time I dreamed about hitting the major lists while millions read my books. I imagined my stories on the big screen. Did I really believe those things would happen? Probably not. But the dream that they could happen drove me to keep going when years passed and the rejections kept coming.

We need dreams. They are the launching pad for action. I could have told myself that publication didn’t matter, that I was writing my stories just for myself. I would have been a liar. I wrote stories so that others could read them. Without the dream that real people would read my books, I probably would have given up.

But dreams without action accomplish nothing. I wrote for over ten years before I sold my first book. I was still teaching at the time, so I would crawl out of bed at 3:00 a.m. and write until it was time to get ready for work. Does that make me someone with in incredible work ethic? No. It simply means that my dream was alive. Dreams are relentless taskmasters.

Dream big, because those dreams will have to sustain you through the tough times. Besides, it doesn’t take any more energy to dream big than it does to dream small. As Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said, “If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.”

Do I still have dreams? Absolutely. I don’t think I’ll ever stop. I still imagine what it would be like to walk into a movie theater and see my story on the screen. I still want that blockbuster novel that will sit at the top of the lists for months. Will they happen? Who knows? But I’ll keep working my dreams. I’ll use them to drive me to my computer each day so that I can write the best book I have in me. And someday, maybe…

So what about you? What are your dreams? How are you working to make them real? And if you don’t have any dreams lined up, get moving.

Nina Bangs is busy working her dream with the latest book in her Castle of Dark Dreams series—WICKED MEMORIES.

Return to the Castle of Dark Dreams where USA Today bestselling author Nina Bangs lures readers into a world of pleasure, adventure, and revenge

Thorn Mackenzie was a young Viking when he met Sparkle Stardust long ago. She used him and then abandoned him. Over a thousand years later, he has finally found a way to repay her. Using his power of persuasion, he assembles a team that can create the ultimate fantasies and illusions. They will work together in Nirvana, the amazing amusement park Thorn built right across the street from his competition, Sparkle’s Castle of Dark Dreams. Now the only way for Sparkle to fight back before Thorn bleeds her business dry is to hire a spy.

Kayla Stanley needs extra money, so she reluctantly agrees to do some sneaking and peeking for Sparkle. But as she gets closer to Thorn, she discovers they have a lot more ninain common than just a need to crush the competition and a willingness to fight dirty. As sexual tension between them builds, she finds it harder to see the gorgeous Viking as her enemy. But with an evil force working to destroy the city, will they survive long enough for her to help him overcome his wicked memories?

One person who comments on today’s blog will win a signed copy of Wicked Memories along with a $10 gift card (Amazon or B&N).

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Nina Bangs

Nina Bangs

My one regret in life? I wish I'd started writing sooner.

Talk about misspent youth. What did I do during those lazy summer days of childhood when I could've been honing my writing skills? Nothing. Okay, so I spent a lot of time dreaming I was a cowgirl with a trusty black stallion. Oh, and I read every Walter Farley horse novel. I was an only child so I relied on my imagination to supply the excitement in my life.

By high school, I'd decided to trade in my lariat for a trench coat. I was into dark and dangerous. As an intrepid foreign correspondent, I'd stalk the mean streets of the world. Did I actually write anything? No, but I did read all of Agatha Christie's mysteries.

I worked at a department store during college. My short stint in the accounting department taught me a lot about math. Three hundred-dollar shortages plus hysterical tears equaled instant move to gift-wrap. A career in math was not in my future. I didn't care because I'd discovered "real" literature. I plowed through James Joyce's Ulysses and Tolstoy's War and Peace. If it didn't make my eyes cross then it wasn't worth reading. Yes, I admit it, I was a literary snob.

But there's just so much "real" literature one person can take. I graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in English Literature and a determination to avoid books that induced eye crossing or had tragic endings. The only things I managed to write during those years were research papers.

I taught second grade for several years then spent two years in Dublin, Ireland. A friend and I supported ourselves by singing folk songs in Irish pubs. We weren't great, but we were young, enthusiastic, and wore short skirts. It was obviously my destiny to be the next Judy Collins. I spent a lot of time pouring through music books.

Returning to New Jersey and reality, I taught elementary school until I grew restless again. My cross-country odyssey included stays in Arizona, California, and Texas. Along the way, I indulged my love of horses. No black stallions, but I did have several beautiful Arabian mares. I read tons of books on breeding and showing.

Somewhere between California and Texas I grew addicted to romance novels and cats. The cat's independent attitude was exactly the quality I admired in my romance heroes. And once I decided to try writing my own romances, I made sure a cat crept into each story.

Texas is my permanent home. I've come full circle. Born in San Antonio, I spent most of my life in New Jersey. Maybe the Texas in my blood accounts for my attachment to strong men, fast horses, and wide-open spaces.

My love of cats? Haven't a clue.


27 thoughts on “Working the Dream”

  1. Miss Kris says:

    Love this series! 😀 Looking forward to reading this one as well.

    I used to write short stories when I was a kid but stopped (I liked boys and boys took up too much time to keep writing), I’ve recently have started up again. It’s fun to dream about finishing a book, not necessarily having it published, just finished. Dreams make life interesting!

    1. Nina Bangs says:

      LOL about the boys. Yes, it all starts with the need to sit down at your computer and lay out the stories in your head. But the dream isn’t complete until you finish the book. Now do it. 🙂 Dreams do make life exciting. I don’t know what I’d do without all of the ones churning in my mind.

  2. Theresa says:

    Sounds like a fantastic story!!

    1. Nina Bangs says:

      Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment.

    2. Nina Bangs says:

      Exactly, Theresa. It does take courage to step out of your comfort zone and take a chance.

  3. Kelly Scott says:

    Yes we all have dreams! Cheers is to everyone having the courage to at least attempt their dreams!

    1. Nina Bangs says:

      Kelly, exactly. It takes courage to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Fear of failure stops a lot of people.

  4. Dawn Styles says:

    Well, I’m writing and feel like I have got no where. I decided to go self published but I am finding this difficult because I signed up with a scammer. Never mind – lesson learnt the hard way. So for my next book and the first I am going to start going the right way. But I am also going to design the front covers myself as I have a particular image I want to represent my story. I am currently in the process of developing my own team, so that when the time comes all my books will have a similar look, something like a trade mark I guess.
    I have plans to write a continuous series ‘Dark Blood’ and I am also writing a trilogy, a erotic tragedy.
    I intend to make writing my career and am now, more so than before, all too aware of the difficulties of this industry.
    However, I will be happy with people just reading my work and to be honest I’m not even bothered about the money side of it all.
    I have struggled to get to where I am now; having dyslexia had me feeling unconfident and unsure of my capability to write. But as it was my dream as a child to write (mainly because I couldn’t) I am determined to succeed.
    I am aiming to have all 10 books written (at least) within the next 5 years. Most of my friends think I’m completely bonkers and ask me if I get confused to what story I am writing. I say no, all my characters are so different they remind me what story I’m writing.
    Not only that but one day I hope to write a film, perhaps even just a mini one. Any thing is possible if you are determined
    And thank God for computers! It would take me hours looking up words I don’t know how to spell.
    But I will say it does help to have some one – anyone – support your dream..

    1. Nina Bangs says:

      Dawn, huge congrats. I admire what you’re doing to make your dream come true. Fulfilling a dream isn’t for the faint of heart. It takes lots of sweat and usually forces us to climb a few mountains. I think you’re approaching things in the right way. I agree with you about making your covers have a similar look. I made the mistake of not doing that when I put up a few of my old books. I’ll probably have to go back later and redo them. There’s always something new to learn.

  5. Sabrina says:

    My biggest dream, when I was younger, was to be a mommy. I have 2 beautiful boys, so I consider that I succeeded. 🙂 I also wanted to be an actress and an author. Now I want to be an advocate for troubled kids. I would still take the acting and writing opportunities if they presented themselves (and if I could come up with something worth writing lol), but I am 2 courses away from a criminal justice degree that will help me become a juvenile advocate. 🙂

    1. Nina Bangs says:

      Sabrina, I’m glad you made the first part of your dream come true. Yay for you! I think most of us juggle multiple dreams during out lifetimes. That’s good because it keeps us engaged. I think it’s wonderful how proactive you’ve been. Congratulations ahead of time on your criminal justice degree. The lives of many children will be better because you worked your dream.

  6. Tracy Gilpin says:

    I lost my dreams for a while, but as life has happened, I’m beginning to dream again. I am dreaming of beng able to visit places I always wanted to. I am dreaming of finding someone to be my HEA after thinking I had it for years! And of course, I am dreaming of winning that powerball so that my dream to do whatever I want every day can become possible! Thank you, Nina, for keeping to your dream of writing and giving us all a chance to dream of what could be!

    1. Nina Bangs says:

      Tracy, thanks for the kind words. I share your dream of traveling. I have a stepbrother in Ireland, a place I’ve always loved, and I keep promising myself that I’ll spend some time there. I keep putting it off. I shouldn’t. LOL about the powerball. Wouldn’t that be great? I can’t even imagine never having to worry about money again. And I hope you find your special HEA person.

  7. carlacano says:

    I, like Sabrina, wanted to be a mommy first and foremost. I succeeded. I have two wonderful, grown sons and even a grandson. I have always wanted to work for myself, but, instead have spent countless hours helping others live their dreams. While that is nice I didn’t get any closer to living my own dreams. I found myself in a horrible situation last year and all I could think was at least my children were grown. But it opened my eyes to just how much I lost in the first 40 years of my life. I wasn’t even close to living my dreams.

    I started a freelance writing business this year. It is slllooooowwwww starting. Oh my how slow it is. Mostly, because I have no idea what I am doing. Just that I am not going to do the same thing I did before. I am learning oh so much. I am currently working on a non fiction series. I also blog, and write for local businesses.

    I first picked up Nina Bang’s, Eternal Pleasure, a few years ago. It was crazy, entertaining and sexy. I was hooked. I thought to myself, “How the hell did she think this stuff up?” I truly love your books and am really happy I stumbled onto your fun books. I haven’t read one that I could walk away from without thinking about what may be next throughout the day. That to me is a good book! I love your imagination and I hope someday to enthrall readers in the same way. You are an inspiration.

    1. Nina Bangs says:

      Carla, congratulations on your wonderful family. Yes, there comes a time when we have to think about ourselves, about our own dreams. Good luck with your writing. I’m glad that you’ve taken those first steps to your dream. And thanks for your kind words. Keep writing.

  8. Linda McKenzie says:

    I wish I had the discipline to write but I don’t. I do however have the ability to read so I do, a lot! Reading is as necessary to me as breathing as anyone who has gotten between me and my book will attest
    I wanted to be a great photographer at one time and had plans to go to school for it. Unfortunately it didn’t happen but I still take many photos, one year I entered some in the fair. I didn’t win but the man in charge of the exhibit made a point of talking to me about my photos and encouraged me to keep at it. I haven’t had any lately I felt were exhibit worthy but I keep looking for the special one. My dIL is a spectacular photographer but she will only do it for fun. She says doing it for any other reason is not something she is interested in doing.

    1. Nina Bangs says:

      Linda, you’re not the only one with discipline problems. 🙂 I have a reading obsession, and I find it tough to drag myself from whatever book I’m buried in to the computer. So I totally empathize with you. I always thought that being a photographer would be an awesome career. Keep taking those pictures. So much of a dream is the journey. I might never see one of my books on the big screen, but the hope that I might is half the fun. Your DIL might change as she grows older. When I was younger I wanted to own lots of horses, now I’m satisfied with just one cat. lol

  9. Ginny Wexler says:

    I love all your books. And I admire you for following your dreams, and the paths that you followed. My dreams were always to sing. And I do, but in community choirs, which is wonderful. Now I dream of living where palm trees grow natively and retiring from my current job. What’s next is yet to be discovered, but I’m sure it will be interesting.

    1. Nina Bangs says:

      Ginny, where you sing isn’t important if it brings you joy. Glad you’re living that dream. I hope you get to retire to that warm place in the sun. You made a good point that I hadn’t mentioned. Dreams aren’t static. New ones emerge as we grow older. I never thought about being a writer when I was younger. And thanks for your kind words about my books.

  10. Norma Jean Storms says:

    Nina, I really have enjoyed the fruits of your writing dreams and I actually hope that this series continues! I don’t have the discipline to write steadily either, but I do so like to read. My dream is to see all of the 50 states with my husband. 14 down and 36 more to go.

    1. Nina Bangs says:

      Norma Jean, I hope you get to visit all of the states. As far as the series continuing, the next book belongs to Ganymede and Sparkle, then who knows? Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

  11. Barbara E. says:

    My dream was to find a job I really enjoy and I managed to accomplish that a couple of years ago. Now at this stage of my life, my dream is to have enough money to retire comfortably and I’m making contributions to retirement funds that will help make that happen. Then of course, there is that dream of traveling to Great Britain, which I hope to make happen sooner rather than later, but yes, I need to start working on that one.

    1. Nina Bangs says:

      Barbara, good for you. It seems as though you’re working your dreams. And, yes, don’t put that trip off too long. After a while, saying things like, “I’ll do it next year.” becomes a habit. I’ve never vacationed in England or Wales, but Ireland and Scotland are beautiful. Wouldn’t mind visiting them again.

  12. Danielle Bryan says:

    I had 2 dreams. One was to travel the world and take photos. The second was to write children’s stories. I have a couple written but have never sent them in. Afraid of the rejection letter I guess. I love the Castle of Dark Dreams Series. I can hardly wait for this one.

  13. Nina Bangs says:

    Danielle, send those stories out. Yes, you might be rejected (I received dozens of rejections before I sold) but you’ll learn from each one. And each story will be better. Did you ever get to do any traveling? Thanks for letting me know you enjoy the Castle of Dark Dreams series.

  14. Linda Canestrari says:

    My dream was to become a Mom…….well 3 children and 4 grandchildren later, my dream is accomplished! I now enjoy my family OFTEN!!!! Your books do help me through the day however and I have ALL of them! They are “keep you on your toes” good! They make me sometimes LOL………so much so that my husband sometimes looks at me funny, hee hee! LOVE LOVE LOVE your books, please keep them coming! Thank you for all your hard work so I can take time off mine to relax with your stories! Can hardly wait to read “Wicked Memories”! Sad it is the last of this series…..Will miss Ganymede and Sparkle Stardust!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Nina Bangs says:

    Linda, what a wonderfully fulfilling dream. I’m so happy for you. And I’m also happy that you’ve enjoyed Ganymede and Sparkle. WICKED MEMORIES isn’t the last book in the series, though. I’m working now on the last book, FOREVER WICKED. Ganymede and Sparkle will finally get their own story.

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