Category Archives: Multicultural/Interracial

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Devika Fernando

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, I asked both authors and romance readers to come to me with their responses to this big question: “What Does Romance Mean to Me?” I was genuinely interested in what made us all tick, what continued to draw us to the genre. Why do we love “love” so much? I wanted to dig deep into the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback. Today is the next post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Devika Fernando, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

A few years ago, I decided to become a romance novelist. I’d always wanted to be an author, and romance was the first genre that came into my mind because I’d always been partial to reading it and because I believe in the power of love. But, what does romance mean to me, on a personal level and as a writer?

Sometimes people ask me whether I write from experience. The answer is yes and no. In a way, a little of me finds its way into every character and story. I think it’s inevitable when you write, especially when you think of what and how you want your heroine and hero to be. But, interestingly, the romance part is something certainly not stemming from experience. In fact, it’s my parents’ damaged marriage that paradoxically made me search for love stories that endure. It’s what I witnessed indirectly and directly while growing up that led me to exploring how relationships work, and they may or may not be salvaged. On top of that, I was always the loner and the quiet bookworm, the nerd and writer.

Created by Jcomp – Freepik.com

And looking back now, I think that not only paved my way to becoming an artist but also gave it that much more sense to seek solace in romance novels (reading them and now writing them). Because I understood the yearning to be completed, understood, valued, seen as special and worthy of attention. Because I knew the feeling of wanting someone to scratch the surface and embark to find the real me.

It’s something I ultimately inject in all my romance novels. That’s why I create characters who are flawed and unique, who are believable and struggle and love like all of us. On a subconscious level, it might also be why I chose to write paranormal romance novels like PLAYING WITH FIRE and its two sequels. Writing about a heroine with a magical gift, who was shunned as an outsider and imprisoned in the confines of this world, made it possible to free something and to convey the message that we’re all special and we all yearn for and deserve love.

Created by Freepik

That being said, my own ‘romantic story’ has also influenced by novels. When I left Germany after having spent the first 19 years of my life there, I met the love of my life in Sri Lanka. And that changed everything – above all, it made me realize that true love really doesn’t care about ethnicities or family issues or even previous plans for the future. It will find a way, come what may.

Created by Whatwolf – Freepik.com

All of this reflects in my multicultural romance novels like SAVED IN SRI LANKA and SEDUCED IN SPAIN.

I write not just about physical attraction and that first rush of falling in love, but also about compromising and trusting, about discovering oneself as one falls for someone else who’s more like a missing piece than a stranger.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

 

Romance – and love – means all that to me.

 

Wow! How incredibly romantic. I couldn’t have said it better myself… 😉
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Devika! Lovely to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

Almost as soon as Devika Fernando could write, she imagined stories and poems. After finishing her education in Germany and returning to her roots in Sri Lanka, she got a chance to turn her passion into her profession. Having lived in Germany and in Sri Lanka with her husband has made her experience the best (and the worst) of two totally different worlds – something that influences her writing. Her trademark is writing sweet and sensual, deeply emotional romance stories where the characters actually fall in love instead of merely falling in lust.

What she loves most about being an author is the chance to create new worlds and send her protagonists on a journey full of ups and downs that will leave them changed. She draws inspiration from everyone and everything in life. Besides being a romance novel author, Devika is a faithful servant to all the cats and dogs she has adopted. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or thinking about writing.

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

So, I put the question to you as a reader today as well. What does the word ‘romance’ really mean for you? Is ‘romance’ a driving force in your life? How have your beliefs about romantic relationships informed your own relationships? Perhaps seeing other couples (parents or friends) were some kind of influence. By reading romance novels, does that help to reaffirm things for you?

If you’d like to participate in this special feature, please contact me at marieannlavender@gmail.com and I’ll schedule a spot for you. As you can tell from the schedule on the right hand side of the page, we’re getting booked fast, but don’t hesitate to join in! You do not need to be a writer or author. We want to hear from anyone. We’d love to get your take on how you feel about romance, and why you keep reading our books! ♥♥♥ 

Thanks again, Devika, for giving us your take on what romance has come to mean to you. Lovely! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Tanya Newman visits us on June 8th! Yay! 🙂

We may have other posts before then, though.

Have a great week, everyone!

Advertisements

5 Comments

Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Multicultural/Interracial, Readers, Romance, Writers, Writing

A to Z Reflections

As some of you may already know, I put myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging during the month of April.

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]

Basically, it required participating bloggers to do a post every day focusing on each letter of the alphabet. Sundays were the only excluded days. As you can imagine, this was a lot of work.

So, what really compelled me to take on this challenge? Well, I have to give my talented author friend, Devika Fernando, some credit here. Last year, she took on the challenge with her blog and absolutely nailed it. Check out one of her posts here!

Therefore, this year it was with courage and a bit of fear that I said, sure, what the hell…I’ll try it too. I decided to use a rating system for each book I covered, almost like a book review but not quite the same.

scoring-heart-rating

To make a long story short, the experience was actually fun! 🙂 I not only got to revisit some titles on my shelf I hadn’t looked at for awhile, I also found some new books I wanted to try.

I hope you found some interesting reads as well. If you missed my A to Z Challenge posts, here they are in order:

 

–  Awakening the Fire by Ally Shields

Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts

– Courting the Countess by Barbara Pierce

Devil’s Embrace and Devil’s Daughter by Catherine Coulter

– Elsewhere by Linda Lee Williams

Face the Fire by Nora Roberts

Goddess of the Hunt by Tessa Dare

Heart of Gold by J.R. Ward

Identity by Cleo Scornavacca

Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts

The Key Trilogy by Nora Roberts

Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward

Martha’s Way Series by Mika Jolie

No Longer A Stranger by Joan Johnston

One Illicit Night by Sophia James

– Playing with Fire by Devika Fernando

Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot

Raising Landry by Andee Michelle

Sisters of the Night by Linda Lee Williams

To Tempt A Scotsman by Victoria Dahl

Unhallowed Ground by Heather Graham

Victory Lane by Shelly Davis

Weather the Storm by Jean Ferris

X-Treme Dating by Cathy McDavid

You Make Me Feel Brand New by Chicki Brown

Zenith Rising by Marilyn Campbell

 

Perhaps you’ll find some interesting romance books in there, ranging from contemporary to historical, paranormal to fantasy, comedy to multicultural, even a time travel/science fiction. It was so much fun to participate in the A to Z Blogging Challenge, to see your comments and interact with you (many thanks for the shares and reblogging!), and to check out other bloggers’ sites who were part of the challenge. Here is a full list of the 1,348 participants this year. And to do my part, here are some links to a few other blogs from the April A to Z Challenge:

 

Thanks again for sticking it out with me during the challenge. I’m always happy to see some friendly faces around here. Please stay tuned for future posts on any random thoughts about love, articles or advice on romantic relationships…

Unsplash, Pixabay, 2016.

tumblr_l3yh13mPET1qzilpso1_500

and, as always – our favorite topic – learning about new romance authors and their book releases!

Have a wonderful May, everyone! 😀

10 Comments

Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Erotica, Event, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical, Historical Romance, Love, Message, Multicultural/Interracial, Mystery, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Reviews, Romance, romantic comedy, Science Fiction, Time Travel, western, Young Adult

A to Z Challenge: You Make Me Feel Brand New by Chicki Brown

As you know, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.

a2z-badge_2016

For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating! ♥

This is my scoring system:

scoring-heart-rating

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

You Make Me Feel Brand New by Chicki Brown

51SNJ6s-tVL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_

Genre: Multicultural Romance

Blurb:

One year ago, personal chef Jan Davis signed her divorce papers after a miserable twenty-five-year marriage. She is single again, and romantic attention is as foreign to her as ancient Carthaginian cuisine. When she meets her new client, sports management agent Mac Sinclair, who is eleven years younger, Jan’s life takes a complete turnaround. She’s thrilled, but everyone in her life isn’t as pleased.

A few choice lines from the book:

youmake1

youmake2

My Score:

This story certainly looks interesting! I am an avid believer in destiny, especially when it comes to romantic relationships. So, I say despite the age difference, should that really keep a fated couple apart?

Probably not.

I just added this book to my Wishlist, and I look forward to seeing how Jan and Mac’s story unfolds, how they finally figure everything out.

I give this one four hearts! 🙂

four hearts

4 Comments

Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Multicultural/Interracial, Readers, Reviews, Romance

A to Z Challenge: Martha’s Way Series by Mika Jolie

As you know, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]

For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating! ❤

This is my scoring system:

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

Martha’s Way Series by Mika Jolie

Martha's Way-Mika Jolie

Genre: Multicultural Romance

Blurb for The Scale:

51MpLfLut+L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

*All the books in the Martha’s Way series are standalone and can be read out of order.*

Twenty-seven year old, African-American, Minka Greene has to endure watching her twin sister marry the man she loves. Her weight is up, and her confidence is down. Not exactly the ideal time to meet the real man of her dreams.
The Scale opens in Martha’s Vineyard with Minka attending Keely and Blake’s engagement party at Martha’s Way, the beautiful inn owned and operated by the tall, blond, tattooed man with the piercing blue eyes. It just so happens Jason Montgomery is also Blake’s childhood friend and the best man. Dealing with a whirl of emotions, Minka faints in Jason’s arms.
When she wakes up naked in Jason’s bed after a night of passion, the Vineyard confirmed bachelor struggling with his own demons and the woman filled with self-doubt and pining for another man are joined in an experience that will change their lives.

The Scale is book 1 of the Martha’s Way series. All the books in the Martha’s Way series can be read as a standalone.

A few choice lines from the book:

“Why aren’t you comfortable with my nudity?”

It’s not just your nudity that I’m not comfortable with. As a distraction to hide the unsettling feeling inside, she sucked in a deep breath and walked across the room to retrieve what appeared to be her bra.

“I like your name. Minka,” he said from the bed. “It’s different.”

“I’ll be sure to pass the compliment on to my parents. Please put some clothes on.”

Jason laughed off her obvious discomfort. “Come back to bed, darling. I can call Blake and let him know you’ll be late.”

She stood there watching him. Her lips drawn, her eyes narrowed.

“And Minka, did you like the sex?” He waved a long finger in the air. “Ah, don’t lie.”

“I was drunk. You took advantage. Please put some clothes on.”

“I never take advantage of a woman. And you weren’t drunk.” He patted the empty space on the bed next to him. “So how did we compare to your college make-out session?”

The man was impossibly conceited. Did he really need to hear that was the best sex she’s ever had? Walking past the bed, she murmured, “I have to go.” But damn it, he was coming to his feet, off the bed, in all his glory. Don’t look!

Once again, she failed. She looked at his wide shoulders, his tattoos, his flat abdomen, and…

Seriously, she needed to stop gawking as if she had never seen a beautiful naked body before. Well, she hadn’t but she didn’t have to make it so obvious. Minka caught her breath as he came to stand very close to her, leaving only inches between them. Out of desperation, she tried to increase the space between them by taking a step back. To her surprise, he turned on his heels and walked toward the dresser, giving Minka a full view of his flawless ass. He pulled out a pair of black boxer briefs and lazily slid long, toned, tanned legs into them as if he was very aware she was examining his every move. She hated to give him that satisfaction, but her eyes were glued to him, even when he turned to face her, in the sexiest pair of boxer briefs she had ever seen on a man.

He took two long strides to close the space between them. Minka automatically took several steps back until her back was pressed against the wall. Toned arms came to rest on the wall, his eyes locked into hers, holding her prisoner. “Don’t go yet, Minka.”

Really, did her name have to sound like silk coming out of his mouth? “I must go,” she heard herself say in a whisper. Minka wondered who she was trying to convince. At this point, she wasn’t so sure.

“I want to see you again.”

Were her ears deceiving her? A gorgeous hunk of a man wanted to see her again after a night of sex. This couldn’t be. She wouldn’t allow herself to entertain the idea. He was too beautiful. He belonged with someone just as beautiful, someone like Keely. At that thought, her heart sank. But it was better she protected herself from any more humiliation.

“I have a boyfriend,” she said out of desperation.

A soft laugh escaped his throat. “You just told me you were single.” As he spoke the words, he drew his face closer to hers, his lips inches away from hers. He was about to kiss her again; only this time she was one hundred percent sober. Minka toyed with the idea of begging him to have a little mercy on her. But she didn’t, instead her long lashes fluttered when he paused for a mere second.

Then he was kissing her, another mind-blowing kiss. His lips felt just as great as they had last night, if not better. Minka heard a soft noise from her throat as he deepened his hold on her. Against her lips, he whispered, “God, you feel good.” His voice was raspy as he spoke the words, the heat of his mouth caressing her lips. “Let’s go back to bed.”

She wanted to, oh how she really wanted to go back to bed with him one last time. “I really have to go. I promised Keely I’d go to her fitting with her.” Where she found the voice to speak, Minka wasn’t sure.

“Otherwise you would have stayed,” he challenged, still standing way too close to her, his lips too close.

“Yes, probably.”

He raised an eyebrow.

“Yes,” she admitted. At least for one last time, she would have stayed.

He nodded and took a few steps back away from her, seeming to understand her dilemma. The space unexpectedly left her feeling empty. He walked over to the bedroom door and opened it.

She quietly followed him as he led her down the spiral mahogany stairs. The house, she realized, was quite large with a certain charm. A Victorian style house that was clearly a work in progress, with what appeared to be freshly stained and finished floors, newly painted walls and sparse furniture. With the exception of his bedroom and the big leather sofa in the living room accompanied by a big screen television, it didn’t look like any other furniture had been purchased. She wondered who was actually behind the man and why he lived in this big old house alone. Was he coming fresh off a relationship, perhaps a divorce? And if so, had he gotten his heart broken or had he been the heartbreaker? Minka decided it was probably the latter.

“So, should we try this again?”

Lost in her thoughts, the question caught her off guard and she bumped into him. Her hands landed on his bare chest and stayed there for a second too long. She really should have insisted he put a shirt on as well. Not that the sexy, thigh-hugging boxers were helping much. “We should try this again,” he repeated, but not as a question this time. “I want to see you again, Minka.”

“I can’t.”

“Because…”

Okay, so he was persistent. Because next time, there won’t be any alcohol. Because next time you will see I’m not built like a model. Because next time, I won’t be good enough.

“Because whatever kinky sex we had was induced by alcohol, and that wasn’t me,” she said instead. Her voice sounded almost remorseful.

Blurb for Need You Now:

51z-dNcuJtL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

The best relationships usually begin unexpectedly.

Puerto-Rican, American Liliana Serrano has never been one to let others determine her future—certainly not her pack of three overprotective brothers. She always stands on her own, which is exactly how she entered her arrangement with Adam Aquilani. The hot formula one driver is aloof, detached, and not interested in relationships. Fresh off a broken engagement with a cheating fiancé, no-strings-attached sex was just what she needed.
Except one year later, she never expected their hook-ups to have consequences.

Haunted by his past, Adam Aquilani is a man who lives on the edge. The absence of commitment and emotional attachment in his year-long relationship with Lily was just what he needed. Until he discovers the rules have changed, and he must decide to let her go, or give her full access to his well-guarded life.

As the two take a journey of discovery, secrets are revealed which test the strength of their connection.

Can they accept what is? Let go of what was and accept what will be?

*All the books in the Martha’s Way series are standalone and can be read out of order.*

A few choice lines from the book:

Lily reached the doorway when Adam caught her hands. The whole thing happened too fast. His fingers laced in hers, chests pressing against one another. With his weight he directed her to the wall, raised her arms up over her head, and caged her in. Not one to cower, she looked straight into his eyes.
“You don’t love me,” she whispered.
His jaw tightened, but he made no attempt to dispute otherwise. Her heart scattered in tiny little pieces. She hadn’t expected a declaration of undying love, but the reality still stung.
“I need love, Adam. That mad, passionate love. It should be experienced at least once in a lifetime.” She examined his stoic expression, and her posture sagged. The fact she was forever bonded to a man who didn’t love her smacked her in the face. It shouldn’t. She already knew that. But…still, reality sucked. “That’s not who we are.”

Blurb for Tattooed Hearts:

51CYEq7IizL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

*All the books in the Martha’s Way series are standalone and can be read out of order.*

Being someone’s first love is unforgettable. Being their last is immeasurable.

Claire Peters should be on top of the world. She owns the radio waves and has a budding movie career. But her heart longs to be rooted. Ten years ago, she fled Martha’s Vineyard to pursue her dream and to make something of herself. But there’s still a void. After a decade of running, she returns to the island hoping to find her happiness with the man she’s loved all her life.

When a tragic event shatters Dr. Forrest Desvareaux’ well-balanced world, the Vineyard’s hometown good guy discovers everything in his life is based on lies. Angry and betrayed, he turns to Claire – the one woman who has indelibly marked him.

Is it possible to run back to the person who broke you?

Forever linked, Forrest and Claire are an unending continuum. But she’s a wildflower and Forrest’s roots run deep on the Vineyard. Can they accept home is not a place but a feeling?

A few choice lines from the book:

She knocked on the door and waited. Nothing. She knocked again, a little firmer this time. Still nothing. Claire reached in her purse and grabbed her phone. Damn, no freaking signal. Another perk of living on the island. Phone signals were capricious.

She turned on her heels to the back of the house where she knew he kept the emergency key, then headed back to the front. The night wind penetrated the wool coat with absurd ease, making her shiver. She drew her shawl around herself more tightly to keep out the cold as she fumbled with the key. The door slowly creaked open; she stepped inside and was greeted by a muted house, which was not typical of Forrest. She headed down the hall, the click of her heels amplified with each step on the wooden floor. She entered the family room. In here, ESPN always blared in the background. Tonight, there was nothing but an eerie, hollow silence.

A bad feeling slithered up the back of her neck. She dug in her purse for her phone again. One finger dragged along the screen; it lit up. Still no signal. A knot of fear twisted in her gut.

“Claire.”

The sound of Forrest’s voice, infused with a question mark, caused her heart to jump and fill with joy, relief. She whipped around and faced the main reason she came back to Martha’s Vineyard.

Blurb for Wrapped in Red:

51zr5IzaDWL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

*All the books in the Martha’s Way series are standalone and can be read out of order.*

Christmas is a time to be merry and bright. For Minka Montgomery, it’s anything but.

While the small towns of Martha’s Vineyard burst with festive lights and good cheer, a black shadow parades around and within Minka. With her Christmas spirit conspicuously absent, her marriage to Jason Montgomery has snowballed and is spiraling out of control. The weight of motherhood – and her new role as a wife – presses on her shoulders. Self-doubt creeps in and swiftly turns to hopelessness.
As her anxiety level rises, can she share what’s in her heart with her husband? Is there a branch of hope to hold on to? With Christmas only twelve days away, can she find her Christmas spirit and rediscover the true meaning of the season?

A few choice lines from the book:

The door creaked open. She stepped in just as Jason threw his shirt on the bed, naked from the waist up—every muscle well defined, ripped to perfection, and covered with various tattoos.

Heat.

Fire.

And crazy need stirred between her thighs. No surprise there. Jason naked, half-naked, or fully dressed, always managed to produce a reaction. Lately, she just couldn’t follow through.

A thick blanket of guilt smothered her heart.

They held each other’s gaze for a few seconds. “I don’t know where to start,” she said into the silence.

“Try the beginning.”

My Score:

I was fortunate to be a beta reader for The Scale, the first book in this series, and I absolutely loved it! The passion between Minka and Jason was scorching and I found the heroine to be a very relatable character. With her insecurities about her weight and some pretty tangled romantic history, she was a character I really wanted to root for.

51MpLfLut+L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

Now, I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading the other books in the series, but they are on my Amazon Wishlist. I can’t wait to dive in and learn about the rest of the characters we got to meet in the first book! 🙂

I give this series five hearts.

five hearts

Grab a copy when you get a chance!

Martha's Way-Mika Jolie

5 Comments

Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Fiction, Multicultural/Interracial, Readers, Reviews, Romance

A Character Interview with Devereaux from DEVEREAUX COX plus a conversation with author Palessa!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Tracy Kincaid’s character on September 8th and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Palessa, the author of Devereaux Cox, on my author journey and I asked her if she’d let me borrow one of her main characters, Devereaux, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Palessa in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Devereaux!

12033501_10153323863823725_1937431998_n[1]

Marie Lavender:  Hello, Devereaux.  Please have a seat.

Character Devereaux Cox:  Hello.  Thanks for having me.

Marie:  Of course. We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?

Devereaux: Sure.

Marie:  What is your occupation?  Are you any good at it?  Do you like it?

Devereaux:  I play football for the Atlanta Mercury, in the Steinger Football League. It’s a semi-professional league with about 20 teams from all around the country. It’s like the pros, but we have a different way to play the game and I think our fans are more intense that the pro league. Am I any good at it? Do I like it? Well let me put it this way, they call me the Mercury Juggernaut. Plus I get to knock guys on their asses on a regular basis. Who wouldn’t love this job?

Marie:  (Laughs.)

All right. So, what is your family like?

Devereaux:  There’s a lot going on right now, that I’m sorting out or at least trying to wrap my head around. If you’d asked me that question six months ago, I would have had a much clearer response. Right now, all I have is ‘complicated.’

Marie:  Okay. What did your childhood home look like?

Devereaux: It was pretty good. My parents were good. I can’t complain. I was their only concern for seven years until Bryson showed up. (Chuckles.) I always remind him how he ruined my childhood. Nah, I’m kidding. Bry is cool. He’s my little bro and my best friend.

Marie:  Aww…

So, do you have any hobbies?  What do you enjoy doing?

Devereaux: Well, right now, my hobbies are on hold because I’m in school. Doing my masters in chemistry so I’m basically on lockdown. I was able to finish up my assignments before the season started so that’s off my chest, but if I’m not practicing or playing or hanging out with my folks for dinner, I’m studying. I know, I know, the exciting life of a football player.

Marie:  All right. So, what is your greatest dream?

Devereaux:  A family. I thought I would have one by now but, things don’t always turn out the way you plan, do they? I suppose one day…

Marie:  I honestly believe everything happens when it’s supposed to.

Lets try something else, okay?

What kind of person do you wish you could be?  What is stopping you?

Devereaux:  I wish I could be one of those guys who just goes home to his wife and kids and just lives that contented life. A lot of people think that’s boring, but there’s something about being with the right person all the time that just makes things click and work. As far as what’s stopping me…something like that doesn’t just happen with anyone. So I guess you could say when I find the right one, it’ll work out.

Marie:  Good point. So I’m going to throw another random question at you now. 

Who was your first love?

Devereaux:  She was this girl I met in college. Rebekka. She was just this hard working smart girl and I got to know her and…I’d never felt like that before. But I found out she did something and I tried to look past it, but it was just too much. Funny enough, we found each other again but, it’s like history repeating itself with her and my parents…again, it’s complicated.

51V+qnkJbsL._SX310_BO1,204,203,200_

Marie:  All right.

So, what’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Devereaux: I’ll tell you all about it when it’s over.

Marie:  Okay…

Let’s move on to something a bit lighter, shall we?

[Devereaux nods.]

What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?

Devereaux:  My dream was to be a football player, a professional one. Back then the NFL was looming large but when I learned more about the SFL, I just felt like this was the place for me. It’s like a big family and the fans are an extension of that. I’m glad I’m here.

Marie:  Great!

So, who is your role model?

Devereaux:  My Dad. He’s one of those chill guys. The way he is with my mom, it’s like he just lets her do her thing and then does his. It’s not that they aren’t partners, it’s that they complement each other so well. My Dad is just calm and likes to see all sides first.

Marie:  I can respect that.

Well…you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Devereaux:  (Shrugs.) I don’t have time for that. I figure, if you like me, fine. You don’t, fine. I’m too busy to play pretend.

Marie:  I agree.

Let’s try something else…

So, what is your deepest desire, Devereaux?

Devereaux:  Just being happy, like I was…back then. I want that kind of happiness.

Marie:  What is your greatest fear?

Devereaux:  Losing my family. I just don’t want to miss a thing. Those moments you just can’t get back and they’re important.

Marie:  That’s true.

Well, we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Devereaux. It was so interesting getting to know you!  (Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective.  We have author Palessa on the stage today. Hi, Palessa!

8hWa6D-4_400x400

Author Palessa:  Hello.  Thank you for having me here.

Marie:  My pleasure!  We just got to talk to the hero of your story, Devereaux Cox. Quite an interesting character.  Can you tell us a little about him?

Palessa:  Dev is this big guy with a big heart that packs a punch on the field. Off the field, he’s got his priorities, which is to build on his natural athleticism. Smart guy, really smart and disciplined enough to look ahead to life after football and take care of his business now.

Marie:  I can certainly admire that!

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Palessa:  Dev’s smart and fairly well-balanced. He’s not one to fly off the handle.

Marie:  Now let’s take the opposition on that. What, do you feel, are his greatest weaknesses?

Palessa:  For Dev, it’s this blind trust he has that comes with being such a big-hearted guy. It also makes him take a bit more time to absorb certain things, which is the opposite of what he’s like on the field, where reaction/response time is critical.

Marie:  All right.  What are some of his favorite foods?

Palessa:  He’s a clean eater for the most part. His body is a well-oiled machine and he’s highly regimented about what he eats and needs to eat to achieve a certain result. That doesn’t mean he’s boring. He’s just got his focus on taking care of his body.

Marie:  Okay. What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?

Palessa: He’s a lot like his father, Jeffrey even though he may not realize it. Calm but determined to understand when he feels it’s necessary.

Marie:  Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Palessa: I think they’ll like him, but they’ll remember what he did or didn’t do. He’s human, not perfect and he’s made mistakes that he’s trying to put right. For some, it may be hard to forget and maybe even forgive completely.

Marie:  All right.

Well, now that we have a real taste of Devereaux Cox, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for your book?

Palessa:  The world of American football is fascinating. I’ve always wondered what some of these guys were like off the field because they are these intense, hulking figures that ram against each other for a paycheck and accolades. Of course, we know what some of these guys do, as is evidenced by Michael Vick and Aaron Hernandez and OJ Simpson, but I think that with the sheer number of players in the NFL, it’s like an iceberg. I wanted to create a league where I could go behind the game and see some of these guys and the league itself. It won’t all be love and roses, but I’m prepared to see what I can of the SFL world.

Marie:  Interesting!

So, what is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

Palessa:  My writing style is evolving. Not sure what it’s become yet, but I do some kind of an outline so I can form the idea more clearly. Then I write. Sometimes it’s from start to finish in sequence but lately, some later scenes have come on strong so I’ve had to write those out first and go back. It’s a process.

Marie:  Isn’t it strange how that works out? Only the muse can tell us where to go.

Now, I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Devereaux Cox or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?

Palessa:  This book was blissfully smooth. It took me longer to write this than Tobey Fine because it’s a more emotional story and I wanted to really work on that. As far as getting it published, while I’m with Beau Coup, I’m not taking it for granted that they’ll like everything. I just take it one story at a time. What I am doing is I’m working on drafting out a few books in the series at a time. I wrote Tobey Fine and Devereaux Cox together. I did have half-a-draft of book 3 (which is not a full draft), but I’m going to take the time and really work on book 4 and maybe see if there’s a book 5 before I tackle this series again, no pun intended. So just really writing out the first few books of the series is now my game plan. It may take me some time, but I’m more concerned with getting the stories right so it will take as long as it takes.

Marie:  That’s a great plan!

Well, it was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog!  And how apropos is that, considering what a great story Devereaux Cox appears to be.  I certainly want to learn more!

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this awesome book by Palessa, a very talented author! 🙂

51V+qnkJbsL._SX310_BO1,204,203,200_

Here is the blurb for Devereaux Cox (Sacked & Tackled, Book 2):

As the six-feet-five juggernaut of the Atlanta Mercury, Christopher Devereaux Cox knows how to make his impact felt on the field. Off the field, he’s the devoted son of a prominent family with ties to presidential history, as well as one of Atlanta’s most eligible bachelors. He is a credit to his family, his team, and his name. Nothing could be more perfect.
Within the SFL, a problem threatens to spread through the organization. Cast as an unwitting scapegoat is Rebekka Stallman, a physiotherapist for the league and the only woman Devereaux ever loved. Seeing each other again after all those years ago when her life took a devastating turn was unexpected, and Rebekka wasn’t about to miss the chance to unleash her fury on her former boyfriend, who turned his back on her when she needed him.
But things aren’t what they seemed then or now.
Secrets and lies will be exposed as Rebekka forces Devereaux to question everything and everyone he ever trusted, including himself. As the dust settles and some facts about the league’s doping scandal come to light, Devereaux must decide whether the life he yearns for with the woman he still loves is worth the price of holding onto his family.

Palessa is also offering us a great excerpt from the book!

“I didn’t do it,” she screamed. “I would never do anything like that.”

The man’s voice just as loud but harsher replied, “You were the only one who handled both of them. And one of the other physios told me specifically that you gave him the stuff with a wink and a nod.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean? A wink and a nod.”

“I don’t know but until this investigation is done. You’re suspended without pay.”

“You can’t do that. I’m entitled to plead my case.”

The man’s voice was low, mostly inaudible to outsiders, but it was enough to draw out a mighty curse from the woman.

Devereaux slowly walked past the door. Suddenly it opened and a woman bumped into him and seemed to bounce back. Devereaux actually felt the impact of her which caused him to wobble slightly, which was a feat unto itself.

“Sorry,” he apologized, partly for the eavesdropping. “I didn’t—Rebekka?”

When she heard her name, she tilted her head slightly to look at him and he saw the color drain from her face.

“It really was you,” he muttered and he saw her face move from shock to annoyance.

“And this day just keeps getting better, doesn’t it?” She chuckled mirthlessly as she put her hands on her hips and looked at the ground.

“How—”

“You’re seriously going to ask me how I’m doing right now, Chris?” Her voice crescendoed as she spoke, attracting stares from some of his team mates who were exiting the locker room. “I’ve just been suspended, probably fired or worse, for something I didn’t do or even have a clue how to do or whatever. Some asshat claims I gave him some stuff with a wink and nod. Then I bump into you. So this day is just not…it’s going to shit really. Yeah. Total crap.”

She harshly pulled the rubber band that was holding her hair up and shook it out. It was longer than he remembered. Then she stepped past him and briskly walk away.

Stopping midstride, Rebekka turned on her heel and declared, “Give your mother my best.” The sarcasm in her voice was biting. “Oh,” she exclaimed, putting her finger to her temple as if she were trying to remember something. “Wait a minute. She probably wouldn’t want to hear my name after she sandbagged me back at Kenton, would she? So, never mind, Chris. Been fun.”

Devereaux visibly flinched at the bitterness he heard in her voice. He watched the woman he once loved stalk away and shook his head. For the first time in his life, he felt as if he had been run over by a tank.

And he didn’t like the feeling one damn bit.

Riveting! I definitely want to read more!  😀

Purchase Link:

Universal Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B015C5UR3M

About Palessa

8hWa6D-4_400x400

Palessa started reading her first romance novel at the age of 11. Then she got introduced to V.C. Andrews, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Anne Rice and many more notable contemporary authors, as well as some of the classics, A Tale of Two Cities, Their Eyes Were Watching God, The Great Gatsby and others. It was during her teenage years that she dabbled in writing. First, it was in her diaries, then she started creating characters, stories about romance, the supernatural and much more. Being an I.B. student as well as entering college, left little time for writing and so she put it and the ideas aside to pursue a career. It would take almost 20 years, a radical move from the city she grew up in, Miami, FL back to her Caribbean birthplace, and a chance Facebook meeting with Sable Hunter to start the juices flowing again. After some fits and starts, the Baxter Family Saga was born. Unchained Hearts is Palessa’s first published fiction book with Beau Coup Publishing.

She considers herself just a storyteller that sees no reason to shy away from the juicier romantic elements. She currently lives in the mountains of Jamaica with her crazy, cracker-munching-mutt Ivy and a farm, primarily managed by agribusiness partner, also known as Dad.

Palessa’s Books:

51V+qnkJbsL._SX310_BO1,204,203,200_

25202187

24498781

23353333

21980106

51HkUglAYqL._SX310_BO1,204,203,200_

And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Palessa, here are some of her author links:

Website/Blog:  https://authorpalessa.wordpress.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPalessa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/authorpalessa

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Palessa/e/B00IMLM4VW/

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/100266014519625067283/posts

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7765546.Palessa

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/authorpalessa/

Publisher:  http://www.beaucoupllcpublishing.com/palessa/

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Devereaux, the male main character of Devereaux Cox, and Palessa, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here! 🙂

1 Comment

Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Interview, Multicultural/Interracial, Readers, Romance, Writers, Writing

A Character Interview with Sepalika from SAVED IN SRI LANKA plus a conversation with author Devika Fernando!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed K.C. Sprayberry’s character on March 3rd and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it.  I had the pleasure of meeting Devika Fernando, the author of Saved in Sri Lanka, on my author journey and I asked her if she’d let me borrow one of her main characters, Sepalika, from the book.  We’ll get a chance to talk to Devika in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Sepalika!

vinu_siriwardhana_sithumina_lankapics.com8

Marie Lavender:  Hello, Sepalika.  Please have a seat.

Character Sepalika:  Hello.  Thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Marie:  We’re going to start out with some simple questions, okay?

Sepalika: Of course.

Marie:  What is your occupation?  Are you any good at it?  Do you like it?

Sepalika:  (Smiles.) I work as a tour guide in Sri Lanka, and I absolutely love my job. I get to watch people while they catch a glimpse of my country. It’s fascinating witnessing all the different reactions and creating little stories about them. I do think I’m good at my job because I add some fun and spice to routine.

Marie:  That’s great!  So, what is your family like?

Sepalika: (Frowns and sighs.) I wish you hadn’t asked. My father is suffering from chronic kidney disease. The doctors have only given him a few more months to live. As for my mother, she’s devastated…and worried about me. I don’t have any siblings, and I don’t really bond with any of our relatives.

Marie:  Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. Let’s try something else.

What did your childhood home look like?

Sepalika:  I grew up in my mother’s ancestral home in a small village off Kandy amidst paddy fields, but we moved to Colombo when I was small, so after that it was modern city life for me. It was a huge change from the old, big house open to wilderness surrounding it, to the small, neat apartment surrounded by traffic and noise.

Marie:  Do you have any hobbies?  What do you enjoy doing?

Sepalika:  I love history and reading. Actually… (blushes.) I love dancing and singing too, but I hardly ever let that side of me out.

Marie:  I love reading too!

So, what is your greatest dream, Sepalika?

Sepalika:  I’d love to visit Australia one day.

Marie:  Well, that’s certainly a worth goal! (Smiles.)

What kind of person do you wish you could be?  What is stopping you?

Sepalika: I hate being such a coward. I wish I had the courage to stand up for my own happiness and really live life the way I want it. But that’s not easy if you live in Sri Lanka…and if you have a family to take care of.

Marie:  I see.  Yeah, obligations can often tear you away from what you want.

Okay, so I’m going to throw another random question at you now.  Who was your first love?

Sepalika:  I’ve never really been in love. I did have a huge crush on an English student when I went to university in London, but our relationship was doomed to fail. Now though, I think I’ve found the one… (Stares dreamily into the distance.)

Marie:  Well, that’s great that you found someone new! I’m happy for you. I won’t beg you to tell me more, though I’m dying to know…(Laughs.)

Saved in Sri Lanka new

So, Sepalika, what’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Sepalika:  Finding out that my father has less than a year to live because of kidney failure. I’d give anything to save him.

Marie:  How terrible! I’m sorry. I wish I could do something…😦

Well, let’s move on to something a bit lighter, shall we?

[Sepalika nods.]

What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?

Sepalika:  I always wanted to see more of the world, and I’ve achieved that partly because I spent years studying in England. But I’m not sure I’ll ever get another chance to travel…

Marie:  I see.

So, who is your role model?

Sepalika:  All those great women in history who took life into their own hands and proved that they’re worth just as much as men, if not more.

Marie:  I agree. How inspirational!

Well…you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Sepalika:  Erm, quite a lot of people, to tell you the truth. It’s the only way to stay sane in this society… There’s a certain Mrs. de Souza – no, I won’t say more, I’ll just get worked up.

Marie:  All right. I’ll let you get away with being vague. (Winks.)

So, what is your deepest desire?

Sepalika:  Finding someone who recognizes the real me and loves me for who I am.

Marie: Yes, I believe we all want that…

Let’s switch to another question.  What is your greatest fear?

Sepalika:  Living a loveless life full of pretense.

Marie:  All right.

Well, I hate to say it, but we’ve run out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Sepalika.  (Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective.  We have Devika Fernando on the stage today. Hi, Devika!

profile pic

Author Devika Fernando:  Hi. Thank you so much for having the two of us over, Marie! 🙂

Marie:  My pleasure! 

As you know, we just got to talk to the heroine of your story, Sepalika. Quite an interesting character.  Can you tell us a little about her?

Devika:  Sepalika is pretty modern for a Sri Lankan, you could say, almost “Western”. She’s stuck in an awful situation that makes it difficult for her to live the way she wants and deserves, but I know she’ll find a way out because she’s stronger than she thinks.

Marie:  (Nods.) I gathered some of that from talking to her. 

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Devika:  Her kindness and her intelligence.

Marie:  Now let’s take the opposition on that. 

What, do you feel, is her greatest weakness?

Devika: Her self-doubt.

Marie:  So, what are some of her favorite foods?

Devika:  She loves traditional Sri Lankan food like spicy vegetable curries and fish. And she’s a big fan of all the exotic fruits growing in her family’s garden, like guavas, mangoes and papayas.

Marie:  Well, I can’t blame her. I love papayas!

Let’s try something else.

What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?

Devika:  She’s really good at explaining and teaching things.

Marie: Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Devika:  So far, readers really liked Sepalika because she is fighting for her own happiness but also always putting others first.

Marie:  Well, that is certainly honorable.  Now that we have a real taste of Sepalika, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for Saved in Sri Lanka?

Devika:  I’ve had many people tell me they’d love to read a romance novel set in Sri Lanka because I live here and am half Sri Lankan. I immediately knew if I ever wrote a story like this, I’d want to include a hero from a European country. And I’d want to show off this island’s beauty. The story sort of wrote itself then, with Daniel as the hero from Ireland and Sepalika as the tour guide falling in love with him.

Marie:  That’s great!  It does sound lovely.

So, Devika, what is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

Devika:  A mix of both, I guess. I do write a plot outline, plan the first few chapters and create character profiles, but I don’t go into too much detail and see where the story is taking me.

Marie:  (Nods.) I do both as well. I let the story come out naturally in scenes, then I start doing heavy plotting and character work-ups. I write more from there, but I will still let the characters interfere with my plans if they have more to say.

So…I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Saved in Sri Lanka or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?

Devika:  I found myself including too many descriptions, country facts and backstory. It always happens with my stories, but I cut those scenes out during my four or more rounds of editing. I’m very thankful for my awesome beta readers, they’re a big help.

Marie:  I know exactly what you mean! I don’t know what I’d do without my beta readers, critique partners and my proofreader.  🙂

Well, it was such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog.  And how apropos is that, considering what a great story Saved in Sri Lanka appears to be.  Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this awesome new book by Devika Fernando, a very talented author!

Saved in Sri Lanka new

Here is the blurb for Saved in Sri Lanka.

Some people are destined to meet.

It sure feels that way when Sri Lankan tour guide Sepalika meets Daniel. The mysterious tourist from Ireland steals his way into her heart and makes her question everything her life is built upon. Instant attraction turns to love – but does he feel the same? And what about the secret she’s hiding from him?
Follow the two on their quest for a happy ending amid the beauty and wonders of the tropical island paradise of Sri Lanka.

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00U5ZY8AI

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/saved-in-sri-lanka-devika-fernando/1121331845

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/524106 

Kobo:  https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/saved-in-sri-lanka

Google Play:  https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Devika_Fernando_Saved_in_Sri_Lanka?id=QsreBgAAQBAJ

iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/saved-in-sri-lanka/id973289991

About Devika Fernando

profile pic

Almost as soon as Devika Fernando could write, she imagined stories and poems. After finishing her education in Germany and returning to her roots in Sri Lanka, she got a chance to turn her passion into her profession. Having lived in Germany and in Sri Lanka with her husband has made her experience the best (and the worst) of two totally different worlds – something that influences her writing. Her trademark is writing sweet, yet deeply emotional romance stories where the characters actually fall in love instead of merely falling in lust. What she loves most about being an author is the chance to create new worlds and send her protagonists on a journey full of ups and downs that will leave them changed. She draws inspiration from everyone and everything in life. Besides being a romance novel author, she works as a self-employed German web content writer, as a translator, and as a faithful servant to all the cats, dogs, fish and birds in her home. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or thinking about writing.

Having always loved to read and write, Devika made her dream come true in 2014 when she became a self-published novelist. The Amazon bestselling author has published several eBooks in the genres contemporary romance, paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Her German and Sri Lankan roots influence her writing.

Devika’s Books:

Saved in Sri Lanka new

9732450

6560661

1541424

4986055

And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Devika Fernando, here are some of her author links:

Website:  http://www.devikafernando.com

Blog:  http://www.devikafernando.com/blog

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/devikafernandoauthor

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Author_Devika

Amazon Author Central:  http://www.amazon.com/Devika-Fernando/e/B00ISH0RD2/

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/devikafernando1/

Google+:   https://plus.google.com/+DevikaFernando/posts

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7980006.Devika_Fernando

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Sepalika, the female main character of Saved in Sri Lanka, and Devika Fernando, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so fun to have you here! Readers, don’t forget to check out this awesome new release!  🙂

3 Comments

Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Interview, Multicultural/Interracial, Readers, Romance, Women's Fiction, Writing, Writing Tips