Welcome to my Second Acts Series!
Today, we have Wild Rose Press author Sadira Stone sharing her inspiring reinvention story and novels: Through the Red Door and Runaway Love Story.
Briefly describe your first act.
Lacking funds for college, I joined the Army after high school. After serving four years, mostly in Germany, I got my teaching degree (high school English, French, German, theater) and returned to Germany as a teacher for the Department of Defense school system, which serves the families of U.S. military members stationed overseas. Living in Europe enabled me to travel widely—a trip to France was like driving to the next state. All in all, I spent nearly thirty years in Germany and felt a bit like a foreigner during my summer visits to California.
There are a thousand things I miss about Germany: the dense, crusty bread; the saunas, the rolling hillsides laced with paved farm roads, perfect for long walks and bike rides; the beer fests and wine fests and Christmas markets; the historical buildings; the attention paid to beautiful public spaces.
But after so many years, the daily grind of teaching was wearing me down. Don’t get me wrong—I liked most aspects of my job and loved some students dearly. Teaching is important work, and I’m proud to have served our military families. However, the constant negativity from students became harder and harder to take, ditto the bureaucratic stupidity forced on teachers and students by administrators who haven’t taught in years and years, if ever. There’s much that needs fixing in our education system, which increasingly treats students like data points to be manipulated rather than humans with varied strengths, backgrounds, and goals.
What triggered the need for change?
In 2014, I was offered the chance to take early retirement. It was one of those moments when my inner wisdom leapt up, pumped her fist in the air, and hooted, “Hot damn!” By this point, writing had become my main hobby, and I was already dreaming about the day when I could become a full-time author. I just didn’t expect that door to open for a while longer.
Where are you now?
I live with my husband (whom I met while teaching in Germany, so I guess he’s my high school sweetheart) in Tacoma, Washington. I love the cool, wet weather of the Pacific Northwest, similar to the San Francisco Bay Area where I grew up—and to Germany. I love the relaxed aesthetic of PNW folks, few of whom try to impress with flashy clothes and artificial enhancements. I love Tacoma’s lively arts scene. So many chances to enjoy live music and celebrate creativity in all its forms.
My days consist of writing and writing-adjacent chores, all carried out in my little home office. I have two published contemporary romance books with The Wild Rose Press, another coming next spring, and a fourth taking shape on my computer. After so many years of pouring all my energy into coaching others, it’s so satisfying to focus on my own creativity. Life is grand!
Do you have advice for anyone planning to pursue a second act?
Research before you leap. Dip your toes while you still have a day job, and see if the reality matches your rosy expectations. Talk to people who are already doing what you want to do.
That said, don’t cling so tightly to your plan that you miss unexpected opportunities. You never know when a door might open that will lead you somewhere marvelous.
When your time is finally your own to control, it’s easy to fill up your creative hours with errands, social groups, and busy work. Allow yourself time to find your own rhythm—don’t overschedule out of habit.
Any affirmations or quotations you wish to share?
“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” Toni Morrison
The Book Nirvana Series
Steamy contemporary romance set in an indie bookshop in Eugene, Oregon, because bookshops are sexy!
Letting him inside could be her salvation…or her undoing.
Clara Martelli clings to Book Nirvana, the Oregon bookshop she and her late husband Jared built together. When rising rents and corporate competition threaten its survival, her best hope is their extensive erotica collection, locked behind a red door. In dreams and signs, her dead husband tells her it’s time to open that door and move on. When a dark and handsome stranger’s powerful magnetism jolts her back to life and he wants a look at the treasures of that secret room, she can’t help but want to show him more.
Professor Nick Papadopoulos is looking for historical erotica. Book Nirvana’s collection surpasses his wildest dreams, and so does its lovely owner. A widower, he understands Clara’s battle with guilt, but their searing chemistry is too strong to resist. Besides, he will only be in town for two weeks, not long enough for her to see beyond the scandal that haunts his past.
Fierce passion or long-cherished dreams…she can’t hang onto both.
She hates average…he’s as average as they come.
High school history teacher Doug Garvey is trying to enjoy his last few weeks of summer vacation, but receiving his final divorce decree hits him harder than expected. After a brief fling fizzles, he fears love just isn’t in the cards for him. If only he could find someone who’s real, someone interested in something beyond herself…maybe a new running partner who can keep up with his more carnal appetite. When sexy, straight-talking Laurel runs across his path, he dares to hope again.
He’s done with social-climbing posers…she’s ambitious and has big dreams.
Fired from an art gallery, Laurel Jepsen shelves her pursuit of an art career in San Francisco to help her beloved great aunt Maxie move into assisted living. While out on a morning run, she’s harassed by a group of teens until a tall, broad-shouldered hottie steps in, pretending to be her boyfriend with a kiss that makes her wish it were true. But she’s only passing through, not looking for a relationship.
Their fierce chemistry burns up the sheets—and the couch, the shower, the forest—but falling in love would ruin everything. Laurel can’t stay in Eugene, and he can’t leave. Doug’s only hope is to convince her the glittery life she’s after could blind her to the opportunities already in her path.
Ever since her first kiss, Sadira’s been spinning steamy tales in her head. After leaving her teaching career in Germany, she finally tried her hand at writing one. Now she’s a happy citizen of Romancelandia, penning contemporary romance and cozy mysteries from her home in Washington State. When not writing, which is seldom, she explores the Pacific Northwest with her charming husband, enjoys the local music scene, belly dances, plays guitar badly, and gobbles all the books.
Where to find Sadira…