Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Do I...or Don't I?

A writer friend of mine asked the question..."Do I tell the people I work with that I write romance?"

And my answer to her...and to others is....

"It depends."

Here's Why:

For me, personally, I don't tell the folks I work with I write.

Something many don't realize is in my 'day job' I'm a teacher. I like to think I help shape young minds and make a difference in a world that so needs change and to be a better place. Teaching, like many other professions, is a calling. There are many people who teach. There are less who are truly called.

I'm called. And let me tell you, it ain't easy. I don't teach for the money. What other profession in the whole entire world requires you to have a college degree, be certified and maintain that certification (also called 'licensed), and yet make the salary teachers do? And let me tell you, the young ages you teach, the worst the salary and benefits become (there is no tenure for teachers in the Early Childhood field, which includes ages birth through kindergarten)

I don't teach for the 'recognition'. Teachers are one of the most overlooked professions. (Yes, I'm biased). For the time, attention, heart, soul, blood, tears, sweat, and most teachers pour into their job, the money doesn't equal.

BUT...teaching brings its own rewards. The light bulb moment when a student 'gets it' and understands the concept you have spent countless hours trying to impart. The way a teacher's students teach the teacher so much more than the teacher ever teaches them. The light and joy is simply learning, every day, something new, or seeing something familiar and old in a whole new way.

All that said...I also have a 'morals clause' in my contract. This clause states, "Immoral or improper behavior will be grounds for termination".

Have you read ever anything (non government and IRS) that is so vague and ambiguous and yet covers so much?

What that clause means is my superiors have the right to judge what is 'immoral'. And that could be anything from me deciding to take a second job as a stripper (I do NOT have a job as a stripper...people who know me would laugh hysterically at the very thought)... to me deciding to pose for Playboy (I have NOT posed for Playboy...and see the sentence above)... to posts on Face Book and other social media (yes, a coworker was fired for 'immoral and improper' social media posts)... to the fact I write romance.

And let me clarify... I write ROMANCE. I do NOT write 'bodice rippers', 'mommy porn' or 'smut'.

To be honest, I resent those terms and feel they are as antiquated as saying a woman who is harassed should 'be silent and live with it'.  It's an insult to me as the writer and an insult to the readers who love Romance. But that's a whole 'nother soap box.

So, for me...I don't share with coworkers I write Romance. I certainly don't share with students or their parents.To keep my job and not risk the 'morals clause' firing, sure. And to be really, really honest, I know I can't keep my cool all the time if any of them snigger and talk about "those" books and other remarks.

But mostly because...  What I do outside of the school building, the classroom, the work space, the conference room, the office, is MINE. It's *my time*. It's my private life, my own business.

But if I were asked, I would never deny what I'm called to do.

Writing is a calling. And let me tell you, it ain't easy. I don't write for the money. What other profession in the whole entire world requires you to pour your heart and soul into creating a world and characters who live and breathe and yet pays a writer the salary most of us receive?

I don't write for the 'recognition'. Writers are one of the most overlooked professions in the whole world. (Yes, I'm biased). For the time, attention, heart, soul, blood, tears, sweat, and most writers  pour into their job, the money doesn't equal (we can't all be Stephen King and Nora Roberts, two of my fav writers who earn every dime they make and more).

BUT...writing brings its own rewards.

(Having deja vous yet?)

That moment when I cry because my heroine is being an it but thinks she's being right in walking away from the hero. She's in a tree, on a limb about to break, and I'm sawing it off behind her. Or that magical moment when the hero utters, "I love you" and she says "I love you" and violins plays, and rainbows appear and all is right and FAB in the world.

And in short...I write because I can't NOT write. Just as I teacher because I can't NOT teacher.

So...decide for *you*. Do you have a 'morals' clause? Check that first and foremost. In your contract, in your Employee Policies and Manual, ask your Boss. How 'flexible' is that clause?

How much do you WANT your coworkers to know? Your students, parents, clients, customers? Are you comfortable with them knowing, reading your books, and commenting? Are you able to bear their comments, good and bad, about your writing?

And then....get back to what you're called to do :)

So.... Should You Tell Your Coworkers and People in Your Professional Life You Write? Leave a comment!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Please welcome my Guest Host DEVIKA FERNANDO!!!

10 reasons why I love writing interracial romance
(and why it has an enormous potential)

I’m a German, but also half-Sri Lankan. So maybe that’s why I enjoy creating couples with different cultural and/or ethnic backgrounds. But it’s not only that. Writing multicultural romance opens up a whole treasure trove of possibilities. Here are 10 reasons why writing interracial romance is not just fun but also a great idea:

1) More potential for conflict
Think about it: The heroine and the hero come from different countries or races. There’ll be a million tiny and big differences that could lead to misunderstandings or initially even prevent them from getting together and giving each other a chance.

2) Less acceptance
Looking for as much conflict as possible? People still view interracial couples with skepticism or outright disdain. Maybe his father or her mother are against the match? Maybe he’s famous and society rebels against his choice? That’s something I loved about my first royal romance “The Prince’s Special Bride”. The prince falls for a woman of color, which causes quite the uproar. And look at what England’s Prince Harry has done in real life!

3) Language barrier
Sure, there are countless immigrants and foreigners who know English or another major language well enough to communicate – but it doesn’t have to be that way. What if one of them has a cute accent, says certain things wrong or wants to learn the other language? So many possibilities! And as a writer, you hit two targets with one shot: You can make the character’s speech unique and recognizable as well as create some lovely scenes and dialogues around this. I always make it a point to let the characters lapse into their native tongue when they’re emotional, for example in my books “Saved in Sri Lanka” and “Seduced in Spain”.

4) Explore different settings
Why not choose a real or fictitious country as the setting? The protagonist living there can give the other one a tour, which is of course a perfect set-up for them to fall in love. As a reader, I enjoy being whisked away to exotic locations. As a writer, I love researching them and bringing them to life.

5) Where? How?
Once they’ve fallen in love, how will they make it work? Do they live in the same country but are from such different backgrounds that it may as well be different worlds? Or are they from different countries and will have to find a place to live? Nora Roberts does this well, even if she technically doesn’t write interracial romance. Just look at all the Irish stories and those of Americans with European roots.

6) Looks matter
If you’ve written a few books already, you may be tearing your hair out at the prospect of finding yet another physical look for your protagonists. They can’t all have the same eye color, hair and stature, right? Enter the wonderful world of writing diverse fiction, where there’s basically no look that doesn’t exist. Give your characters features that match their origin. It might even be what makes them stand out (at first).

7) When fiction imitates real life
Let’s be honest – there are way more mixed-ethnicity people on this planet than we tend to acknowledge. How many of us have friends, neighbors, coworkers and family with all sorts of foreign roots? Why not use them as inspiration or create characters that are just as authentic and memorable? There are so many true love stories where distance and race didn’t matter one bit in the end (yes, I speak from personal experience as well).

8) Stand apart from the rest
Interracial romance is still few and far between, especially if it isn’t between a ‘white’ and ‘black’ character (and I don’t mean that in any negative way). Create a niche for yourself, attract readers from diverse backgrounds, dare to be different.

9) Discoveries for writer and reader alike
They say ‘write what you know’ – but honestly, more than half of the world’s books would never be written if authors took this advice to heart. Isn’t writing about discovering new worlds? Creating them? Sharing them with others? Multicultural romance is exactly that, a journey full of discoveries for the writer as much as for the reader. I know from personal experience how much I’ve learned during research, and how fascinated I’ve been by interracial romance that I’ve read.

10) Support diversity

We see it in movies as much as in other industries: Not only should women get more chances but also the so-called ‘people of color’. Let’s show solidarity and support diversity in literature!

Having always loved to read and write, Devika Fernando made her dream come true in 2014 when she became a self-published author. She has released more than 10 eBooks in the genres contemporary romance, paranormal romance and romantic suspense. The Amazon bestselling author's German and Sri Lankan roots influence her writing.

Find Her HERE:



Saved in Sri Lanka

Seduced in Spain

The Prince's Special Bride

Saturday, January 6, 2018

New Year....New Life

I've always seen January as sort of the cold, dreary month. The excitement and rush, the anticipation and bustle, and COLOR of the Christmas Season is over. It's Winter, there's no outdoor blooms. The trees are naked and sad. The flowers buried deep in the earth. The Parties are over. And it's time to go back to the grind of a daily, weekly, monthly routine

From October on (and now in days, often even sooner) we have been saturated in CHRISTMAS, CHRISTMAS, CHRISTMAS. Red and green, silver and gold, bright and gaudy, and most of all...BUY, BUY, BUY!!!! Sales! Sales! Sales! Clearance! Lowest prices of the Year!

And now...it's all over. Clearance is still there, of course. Stores trying to get rid of all the things they couldn't convince folks they couldn't live without. But if you are like me...I'm tapped out. I also have car insurance due, the power bill is higher, the gas bill is higher...and I'm paying off all those presents I bought.

And...Resolutions. *shudders* We are slammed with Diet Products commercials. you know the ones I mean: "Lose 10 pounds in your first month!" "Shrink 10 inches from your waist!" New year, New you!!!

After weeks and weeks of build up...it's all over. A bit like the months and weeks of wedding planning or the years of high school and college waiting to graduate...and then it's just over. Done. Finished.

AND we have to get used to writing 2018 instead of 2017 on everything.

Is it any wonder January is a dreaded month we just want to drift through?

But this January...I want to be different. It's time to let go of all the weighty things of 2017 and move on. It's a long, uphill battle. It's not easy. It's not smooth. It's damned freakin hard, to be honest, because I'm a creature of habit and I love my routine even as I rebel against them sometimes.

Have I made resolutions? Sort of. I have made more promises to myself. I think that's more important. Rather than some vague resolution about losing weight or cleaning a closet...I made promises to myself.

Because...Promises made to yourself mean more. At least to me. if I break them, I let myself down. And I need to make sure I build myself up. If *I* don't...how can I expect anyone else?

So my 2018 Promises to Myself.... Are the ones I keep buried and know just to me.

I DO promise here...Some surprises... some guest authors with epic good blogs... new book info and teasers.... new cover reveals...and catching up with some fav characters from past stories (Anna and Robin have been VERY busy...-s-).

So please watch this space...follow this blog...and let me know what you think. You won't be disappointed.

Do you make promises to your self this year? Keep them to yourself or does it help you to share them?

And by the way...

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

On the Day You were Born....

Whenever you make plans...the universe laughs. I stated a few weeks ago here on this blog I'd be back and doing posts more regularly.

And oh how the universe must have laughed and laughed and laughed.

Then I received a call from my youngest son on a stormy, pouring rain and booming thunder Friday night. "Mommy," he said, and I knew right away. I just KNEW. Not only because my twenty something son called me 'Mommy' (which he never does). But because I just KNEW.

My father had passed away.

It's been almost three weeks to the day since that phone call, and the first 'event' is happening. My oldest, my daughter, is having a birthday. Birthdays are events in our family. They always have been. I'm a December baby, and I don't have to tell anyone born near a holiday, especially Christmas, what that means. So every birthday is always an event like a holiday.

But my daughter's birthday...is special. She's the sole girl on both sides. She has two brothers and all male cousins, on her father's side, and her mother's side. Just her. One girl and thirty six boys.

When she was born, my mother-in-law told me to invest in boxing gloves so she could 'defend herself'. I said, and meant, "Those boys better be the ones to watch themselves. She is not going to be a girly girly. See her eyes? She's Wonder Woman."

Years later, Amy Pond on Doctor Who would say, "Melody Williams is a geography teacher. Melody Pond is a super hero" on the day her daughter, River Song, was born. That's how I felt about my daughter. She's not a typical girl. She's a Super heroine.

(Let me inject, least they be 'left out' and offended...my boys are special and  super heroes too. All sons are special and super heroes to their moms. All girls are special and superheroes to their mother. or they should be.

So for their special event...my kids always get the, 'On the Day You Were Born' story. I have told them this story on their birthdays from the 1st one on. What was happening in the world, who was President, what Mom did, what their father said, who the nurses were, what I ate, what was on tv, etc. I try to time it to the actual time each was born, though I admit for the youngest, it's switched 12 hours, since he was born after 1 AM.

My daughter is special for so many reasons. I could make a book of all the reasons, just as every parent should. Her birthday is special. Because she is Mine. Because she was my first. Because she is the only girl. Because she had killer dimples that made all the doctors and nurses gasp and say, "Oh my GAWD. Look at those deep dimples!" Because she IS a super heroine and Wonder Woman. because she's funny and short tempered, and compassionate, and plays trumpet and reads everything and loves Harry Potter and Super girl and Marvel everything and Top Gear and playing practical jokes.

But for my Dad and my Mom...she was the first baby they ever saw born. They were the generation where the mother had a contraction, they drove to the hospital, their father went to a room to wait, mother got knocked out, and they both were handed a cleaning shiny baby a few hours later. They didn't get 4 D ultra sound pictures or Lamaze breathing. So they went through all of it with me, their youngest, and my daughter, the first baby 'we' gave birth to and got to watch be born.

So when I called them at 5:15 AM and said, "Guess what? My water just broke." My Dad was the first one banging on the door in 10 minutes, insisting we leave NOW for the hospital. I was calmly curling my hair and applying some eye shadow (oh good lord, what a young naive girl I was) and said, "We have lots of time."

Dad bundled me and my Mom in the car and bam we were off.  he didn't race up the highway, but it was close. (The true race to the hospital came a couple of years later, when my oldest son decided to be three weeks late and then arrive thirty three minutes from the first contraction). At the hospital, Dad couldn't believe he actually got to come in 'the room' with me. He could sit in the recliner beside me while the monitor beeped and the nurses bustled about. He could watch tv. There was AC.  And while my Mom fussed about, asking me if I wanted ice chips, Dad 'read'.

During a particularly hard contraction, I vividly recall looking over and seeing my Dad 'reading'. It was a book about John Wayne, his personal hero. He held it upside in his hands, his gaze focused on my stomach as if 'Alien' was about to burst through. I gasped out, "Daddy! What are you doing?"

"I'm reading," he said calmly and tore his gaze back to the book.

"Upside down?" Pant pant, breathe breathe, blow blow...all those Lamaze breathing things (that do NOT work).

"Well, I want to impress this baby."

I laughed, as meant, and less than an hour later, my doctor announced, "Time to push!"

And my Dad...who was National Guard...a Fire Fighter...fearless...literally RAN from that room.

But 37 minutes later, he was the third person to hold my newborn daughter. And he cried. I'd seen Dad cry once before, when his Dad died back when I was eight years old. But he looked down at my red face screaming little girl, who was bald and had the most enormous dimples ever and he said, "Now then, little girl. let's go have some coffee and a doughnut. And you will stop that noise."

That was Dad's answer to every trouble or problem. Have coffee and a doughnut. Everything looks better after coffee and a doughnut.

So while I told the 'day you were born' story, and made (okay, I'll be honest, ordered, the cake), my Dad took the kids out for doughnuts and coffee flavored milk on their birthdays.

And on Saturdays. And any day he wanted to cheer them up or 'just because'. I loved that about my Dad. He made each child feel special, because coffee and a doughnut was each special time alone with Pa-Pa (what my kids called him, started, of course, by my daughter who first called him 'Pa-Poo'). And things DID look better after coffee and a doughnut.

And this year...my daughter said, "Mom...tell the story and then, maybe, can we go get coffee and a doughnut? Because Pa-Pa isn't here to take me."

Yes he is. And he isn't. It's going to be a year of 'firsts'. The first birthday Dad isn't here. The first Halloween. The first Thanksgiving. The first Christmas. He won't be here to "dance at your wedding and sing, "when froggy went a courting" for my daughter. he won't be here to see them graduate college.

He's here, and he KNOWS. But he isn't HERE.

I miss you Daddy.

So, my beautiful Wonder Woman daughter who still has killer dimples and tons of naturally curly hair...Happy Birthday. Let's go have coffee and a doughnut. On the day that you were born....

Friday, August 4, 2017

When Real Life Takes Over....

It's been almost a year since my last post here. In many ways, that's unforgivable, especially to those of you who follow me. Apologies for not staying more in touch and up to date.

Real Life often is more fiction than truth. Have you ever noticed that? If I were to write the story of real life ... it would never be believed.

All that said...let me just nutshell state this past year has been one of numerous life change after life change, fairly major ones, and those had to, rightly so, take first and foremost place in my world.

But it's time to let the past stay the past and move to the future, one step at a time.

So....posts shall continue...new novels are on the way, finally...and guest authors will be featured.

Thank you for hanging in there.

And please Stay Tuned :)