Monday, December 29, 2014

New Year's Resolutions-A Writer's List

It's a new year and time to look back and look forward.
Always wanting to improve and grow, I'm making a list of resolutions. Not the usual list of promises to myself to lose weight, and join the local gym. No. The list I'm making this year is specific to writing. I want goals that will challenge me, but that I can also achieve without making myself crazy. Here is the short list, although if the coming year is anything like the last year, I'm sure the list itself will grow as I do.

1. Schedule Writing Time-This one seems easy, but when left without a schedule I end up writing when I should be spending time with my family and watching Netflix when I should be writing.

2. Publish Two Works of Fiction-I'm leaving this at two although I would love to make it three. You never know, could be four. 

3. Develop New Romance Series-I have a new series in mind that could mean a few books down the road. I want to outline the first two books in the series and put them on the calendar.

4. Use a Manual Agenda for Scheduling Writing Assignments-This year, I found my phone calendar did not do it for me. I'm going back to the old fashioned hand written agenda, so I always know what assignments are due before the day they are due.

5. Develop a Newsletter-This is a big one and something I've been meaning to add to my author platform.

So many other things are going through my mind, but I like knowing my goals are attainable. It keeps me focused and positive. I want to set myself up to succeed, not to fail.

What are your resolutions this year?

Happy New Year.

Find me online at www.jennifersenhajiauthor.com

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Twelve Days of Christmas



This time of year always seems to creep up on me. I'm one of those people who starts shopping the weekend before Christmas, not because I planned it that way, but because I just seem to run out of time.

If I had it my way, I would spend the twelve days before Christmas differently. I would go ice skating, go downtown just to admire the decorations, and bake cookies. Then I would go to see the Nutcracker, volunteer my time for a great charity, and host a holiday cocktail party. Next I would take my kids to Lake Tahoe to build snowmen and make snow angels, and send out holiday cards. I would also take a family portrait, have all my gifts done, wrapped and under the tree.

And actually relax and enjoy the holidays. Maybe someday.

Everyone knows the Twelve Days of Christmas song (if not, see lyrics below), and one year when dining at my cousin's house on Christmas Eve, we sang it. It was laugh out loud funny. Here's the thing, my cousin left a note card at each person's place setting with the verse they were in charge of. There were one-two people assigned to each verse and then she left the fifth verse (five gold rings) for our family friend who has this big voice and was sure to ham it up. Each person was to stand and sing out their verse and then sit down. The result was so much fun. My mother in law was visiting from Morocco that year, and even though she didn't understand, she was laughing the whole time at watching us all stand up and sit for each of our verses all the way through the song. Even if you are not the type to sing Christmas carols, this was fun.

This year, as I was thinking about this post, I started listing things off in my head that I would want, as a writer, for my twelve Christmas gifts. So below are my revised lyrics, just for fun. I will skip the repeats to save time.

On the first day of Christmas
my true love said to me:
Your best seller is under the tree, sign it for me?

On the second day of Christmas
my true love said to me:
You have fifty more five star reviews on Amazon.

On the third day of Christmas
my true love said to me:
I'll make dinner so you can write.

On the fourth day of Christmas
my true love said to me:
Would you like a massage?

On the fifth day of Christmas
my true love said to me:
You have voicemails from all Big Five Publishers! They want the movie rights!

On the sixth day of Christmas
my true love said to me:
I understand you need those pictures on Pinterest, it's research.

On the seventh day of Christmas
my true love said to me:
Can I get you a glass of wine?

On the eighth day of Christmas
my true love said to me:
Let me take the kids out, so you can have some peace and quiet.

On the ninth day of Christmas
my true love said to me:
You don't spend too much time on social media.

On the tenth day of Christmas
my true love said to me:
Invite The Writing Wenches over for Christmas.

On the eleventh day of Christmas
my true love said to me:
I got you a credit card just for buying books with no limit. I'll pay the bill.

On the twelfth day of Christmas
my true love said to me:
Write. It's who you are and what you do. I support you.
And...
I got you a credit card just for buying books with no limit. I'll pay the bill.
Invite The Writing Wenches over for Christmas.
You don't spend too much time on social media.
Let me take the kids out, so you can have some peace and quiet.
Can I get you a glass of wine?
I understand you need those pictures on Pinterest, it's research.
You have voicemails from all Big Five Publishers! They want the movie rights!
Would you like a massage?
I'll make dinner so you can write.
You have fifty more five star reviews on Amazon.
Your best seller is under the tree, sign it for me?

To give my husband a little credit, he actually does give me massages, makes me dinner and will give me some quiet time to write.

And here is the original version for you to enjoy!

Twelve Days of Christmas
On the first day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
A Partridge in a Pear Tree
 
On the second day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree
 
On the third day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree
 
On the fourth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree
 
On the fifth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree
 
On the sixth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree
 
On the seventh day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree
 
On the eighth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree
 
On the ninth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree
 
On the tenth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Ten Lords a Leaping
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree
 
On the eleventh day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Eleven Pipers Piping
Ten Lords a Leaping
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree
 
On the twelfth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
12 Drummers Drumming
Eleven Pipers Piping
Ten Lords a Leaping
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree


There you have it. Happy Holidays.

You can find me online at www.jennifersenhajiauthor.com

Friday, December 19, 2014

Sweet Winter Warm Up Giveaway

#HopswithHeart
Jane over at http://www.hopswithheart.blogspot.com/ invited me to take part in her Winter Warm-Up Blog Hop and I am so happy she did. I love giveaways and what better than to give the gift of books. Make sure you enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win a $75 Amazon gift card.

I write romance. Contemporary romance of the sweet and spicy variety to be more specific.

Romance is such an important part of any relationship in my opinion. Without it, you and your partner become monotonous robots only working, eating and sleeping. Some people think romance is hard to sustain. It's not. Some people also think it only comes in the form of grand gestures. It doesn't.

The grand gesture is nothing to complain about and should be attempted every once in a while if possible. But the majority of us don't have time for grand gestures on a daily basis. What's important are the little things. Little things make all the difference in the world.

On twitter I try to regularly tweet my sweet and spicy tips. Feel free to follow me here.

Some days my tips are food related. For example: Add a dash of chili powder to your favorite hot cocoa recipe and enjoy a cup of Mexican Chocolate.

Other days my tips are more general. For example: Give a total stranger a compliment today. It will make their day and yours.

But most are romance related. For example: Make an effort to seduce your partner. Don't wait for your partner to initiate sex. Act now. Everyone wants to feel wanted.

All of these are just little ways you can sweeten or spice up your life.

This year I published a romantic short, Angels in Disguise, featured in Unwrapping Love, A Writing Wenches Holiday Anthology. Yep. I am a Writing Wench. Want to learn more about us? You can find us online at  http://www.writingwenches.com/

Twenty-one wenches, myself included, got together and created a holiday themed romance anthology. Twenty-one different authors with twenty-one very different stories, all in one great book.
We are all very proud of it. You can find it online on Amazon.



Make sure to check out our reviews on Amazon and GoodReads. You won't be disappointed.

My novel, Sweet Dreams, published in July, and I'm hosting my own little giveaway here on this blog hop. Click over to my Facebook Page and give it a Like and come back here and comment done and your number. I will choose a winner at random to receive a free Kindle copy of Sweet Dreams, and will announce the winner on my Facebook Page. You can find out all about Sweet Dreams, read the blurb and even watch the book trailer on my website at http://www.jennifersenhajiauthor.com/

Thanks for stopping by and make sure to enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win a $75 Amazon Gift Card. Happy Holidays.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Blog Hop and Holiday Giveaway

Angels in Disguise, is my new holiday short featured in Unwrapping Love, a Writing Wenches Holiday Anthology. My story takes place on New Year's Eve in Santa Monica at a costume-themed  music festival. Why costumes? I have no idea how I came up with that. I guess I just like to dress up. Maybe I was thinking about Halloween. I can't remember, but I love the idea of costume parties. I admit the name choices for the title and the characters came after I had the basic concept for my story.


Our angel is Gabe and our little devil is Alex, or is it the other way around. I guess you will need to read it to find out. Here is the blurb and a little teaser:

Gabe and his friends and Alex and her friends all head to a New Year's Eve music festival this year looking for a good time. Gabe, a self proclaimed connoisseur of women, is looking for a fun New Year's hookup and Alex, is a good girl, trying to reclaim her fun side after a bad breakup. The two meet and soon friendly banter turns into an unexpected attraction. Who will end up with who at midnight? Who is the angel in disguise?




Here's the thing...When writing this story, it just flowed. I'm not really sure how the whole story line came together, it just did. And fast. I'm usually a plotter and I use outlines. The characters in this story, however, decided to tell me where they wanted to go. I ended up creating the outline as I wrote, just to keep the story straight. I learned something while writing this...There is no right way to write.

There are constantly debates in the writing world about "Pantsters vs.Plotters" and I never really understood how "Pantsters" could just sit down and write without planning. I do now.

I'm very proud of Angels in Disguise and all the stories you will find in Unwrapping Love. Each author took the same concept (Bad Boy/Girl falls for Good Guy/Girl over the holidays) and made it their own, with their own unique twist.

If you would have asked me if it were possible to write and publish another book in less than four months, after publishing my novel Sweet Dreams in July, I would have said you were nuts. But here I am, with two books published in 2014. Amazing.

To celebrate, I am hosting a giveaway. Enter below for a chance to win a Kindle copy of my novel Sweet Dreams, which is available for purchase as well at all online retailers. Here is the blurb:



Meet Jenna Morris or Jen to her friends - the clumsy, bug phobic, music loving owner of Sweet Dreams Café in the small town of Maple Grove. Jen spends most of her time working, occasionally dating and is generally content and happy. Life is good in Maple Grove.

When Jen unexpectedly finds herself in an elevator one day with Jacob Walker, A-list actor and sexiest man alive, she catches her breath, smiles politely, wishes him a good day and amazingly keeps the encounter with the megastar to herself. That night, she indulges in one of his films on DVD at home wondering what he could possibly be doing in her small town.

Showing up a month later one morning at Sweet Dreams, Jake orders a coffee and blueberry muffin to go from Jen herself leaving her dumbfounded and feeling like an infatuated fangirl.

Soon he becomes her regular early morning customer stopping in almost every morning for coffee and conversation while shooting his latest movie on location the next town over. The two form an unlikely friendship as sparks fly and the chemistry builds between them.

Knowing Jake won’t be in town forever, Jen keeps her attraction and her feelings for Jake to herself. She knows once he finishes filming he will leave and life will go on as usual.

Or will it?

Under different circumstances could the friendship between Jen and Jake blossom into something more or is it all just Sweet Dreams?


Rafflecopter Giveaway.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Unwrapping Love, is available for purchase on Amazon. 21 authors, 21 amazing stories.

Make sure to check out posts by some of the other authors of Unwrapping Love below.

Happy Holidays from Your Sweet and Spicy Romance Author.

 
Kay Blake contributed Winter's Gift. Her site is http://www.authorkayblake.wordpress.com

Christine Cacciatore wrote Noah Cane's Candy. She blogs at http://poopwafoley.blogspot.com/ .

Patricia D. Eddy wrote On The Eve of Love. Her website is http://www.pdeddy.com/holiday-blog-hop.

C. S. Kendall is the author of Second Chance Girl. She would love it if you would visit her at http://www.cskendall.net

Tami Lund is the author of The Perfect Christmas. You can find her at http://tamilund.com/?page_id=91 .

Misti Murphy contributed Christmas Candy. Her site is http://mistimurphy.weebly.com .

Quenby Olson wrote First Position. You can visit her at http://quenbyolson.wordpress.com/ .

Keisha K. Page contributed Rhythm of Love. Her website is http://thewordmistress.blogspot.com/ .

Grace Ravel wrote Shut Up and Kiss Me. Her site is www.graceravel.com

Jennifer Ray wrote Declan's Special. You can visit her at www.adventuresinjentopia.wordpress.com .

A.E. Snow contributed Miles and Mae. Her site is at www.aesnowauthor.blogspot.com

Sheri Williams wrote Numb, and is sharing the blog hop from the Writing Wenches main website at www.writingwenches.com.

S. K. Wills wrote Hanley's Secret. Her website is http://skwills.com/blog/ .

Allison Winfield is the author of Stay With Me. You can find her at http://alwinfield.com .

Other stories in Unwrapping Love were contributed by:
Melody Barber
Sonja Frojendal
Melina Gillies
Michael Simko
Beth Stanley
K.R. Wilburn

Find me online at www.jennifersenhajiauthor.com

Monday, December 15, 2014

Coloring Your Holidays

We all admire beautifully decorated trees. You know the ones. The perfect amount of lights, ornaments of different sizes and shapes, flawlessly balanced around the tree, with color combinations that match the gifts under the tree.

You admire them, but trimming your own tree to try and duplicate the effect at $5-$15 on average per ornament can exhaust anyone's holiday budget.

It doesn't have to. You do not have to buy a whole tree full of new ornaments to achieve this effect.

I inherited most of my ornaments from my mother. I remember the toy soldiers and reindeer hanging from trees full of multicolored lights. I loved them, but I had always admired the way my cousin trimmed her tree, perfectly coordinated with the presents gathered around the base.

One year, after the holidays had passed, I was putting away the ornaments, and I decided to divide up my ornaments according to color. I boxed up my silver ornaments separately. I placed all of my gold ornaments in another box. Separated out the red ornaments, and filled up a huge box full of blue ornaments. The following year, I decided to decorate with a blue and silver theme, blue being my favorite color. It was easy. After stringing up the white lights on the tree, I pulled out the box labeled blue and the box labeled silver and went to town. That year I purchased silver wrapping paper and blue ribbon, and I had my first coordinated Christmas.

I usually buy one new ornament each year, but otherwise I use what I have to create a beautiful and elegant tree. For the gifts, I choose a paper that is one solid color and matches my theme, using big bows formed out of wire ribbon to decorate the packages.

You probably already have your tree up and done, but if you would like to coordinate with a color scheme next year, save a few gift boxes and use them to separate out your ornaments.

Here is the new ornament I bought this year which is very fitting since this is my first Christmas as a published author.

My color scheme this year is red and silver. I have silver paper and red ribbon, now I just need the presents. Happy Holidays.

Jennifer Senhaji
Your Sweet & Spicy Romance Author

Find me online at www.jennifersenhajiauthor.com

Monday, December 8, 2014

Interview with Sheri Williams, author of Mad Magic



I loved this book so much I knew I had to blog about it.
Here is the blurb:

This is not your mother’s Wonderland.

What happens when you take a beloved children’s book character, give him a back story and a provocative demeanor, and update him to the 21st century? You get a thoroughly charismatic Mad Hatter that goes well beyond what Lewis Carroll ever imagined.

When Addy meets a mysterious man, literally from her dreams, she thinks she is doing a good deed by taking care of him, but, in the end, who is saving whom? In the fight to save Wonderland, Addy not only discovers a world that exists beneath her own, but the secrets within her as well.

Author Sheri Williams’ debut novel is sexy, fun, and adventurous. She artfully weaves a tale full of romance and action to set the stage for the beloved characters to come to life in a new and exciting way.


And here is my review from Amazon:

5 Stars-I loved this book. I was hooked from the beginning, when we meet Hatter who has lost his color. Hatter is an adorable and sweet gentleman, who has lost his memory. Addy is a strong and caring young woman who becomes the hero of our story, discovering a secret about herself and family that is the key to saving Hatter and Wonderland.

The author does a wonderful job blending elements from the original story into an entirely new romantic adventure. This book, however, in my opinion is not a re-telling, but an absolutely original work loosly based on the characters found in the classic.

Her strong female lead, wonderful writing, and loveable Hatter, have turned me into a fan. I will definitely continue to read other works by this author.

I was so thrilled when Sheri agreed to talk to me about this book, I jumped at the chance to interview her.

JS-Sheri, thank you for talking about Mad Magic, The Untold Story of the Mad Hatter. Let's get to it.
How did you come up with the idea to write a Hatter who had lost his color and his way?
 
SW-Um...I knew I wanted to write about the Mad Hatter, he’s my favorite literary character of all time. Him losing his color came from looking at some old photographs with my mother in law. It made me think about what my life would have been like if it had been lived in black and white.
 
JS-I love that, what a great way to use a thought like that and develop it into a story. Addy is a strong heroine. What do you like best about her?
 
SW-I have use for weak willed women. I don’t want my girls growing up like that. So you’ll never see me write about a woman who needs saving. I like that once she makes up her mind, she sticks to it. She might waver but she will never give up. That will probably be a theme through all of my books. Never give up, Never surrender (doctor who nerd)
 
JS-Yes, I love that. How did you pick and choose what elements to use from the original work into your story?

SW-I walked a fine line here. I wanted people to recognize the world and the characters but I didn’t want to rip it off completely. I have a huge respect for the original story, I hope I did it justice with the characters I came up with.

JS-Absolutely, I felt the connection to the original Alice in Wonderland, but this story also felt completely original to me. Is this a love story, a fantasy or both? Why?

SW-It’s both. A love story set in a fantastical world. Because both are important in our world. The earth would be a dreary place if people gave up on either.

JS-Nice. If Mad Magic was ever made into a film, who would you cast as Hatter? Addy?

SW-Um, Tom Hiddleston definitely for the Hatter. le sigh. Maybe Kat Dennings for Addy, smart and sassy. My kind of girl.

JS-Oh yes, I can definitely see Tom as Hatter. How long did it take you to write?

SW-It took me almost a full year. I worked on it off and on just for myself for a long time, but then I stumbled upon a publisher and I had to finish it, so I threw myself into it and finished it quickly.

JS-I am so happy you did. Which movie version of Alice in Wonderland is your favorite?

SW-Totally the cartoon Disney Version. I still watch it regularly with my girls. Although, I really enjoyed the SyFy channel's take on it with Alice. I think they did the best Mad Hatter.

JS-Oh, I love the Disney cartoon version as well. This is a standalone book, but would you consider continuing the story? Making it a series?

SW-I think I am going to keep it a standalone, in one aspect, but I do plan a trilogy of fairy tale retellings.  Started with Alice in Wonderland, Snow White and the Huntsman is up next and then I have the first kernels of an idea for a Peter Pan story. Because, mermaids :)

JS-I didn't know that. That is awesome, so exciting, I can't wait. Er...sorry for the fangirl moment. Back to business. What do you want readers to take away from the book? Is there an underlying message?

SW-Sappy, romantic me here, I really hope people take from it that you should never give up, specifically not on love. It’s too important. Also, I hope it’s just a good read.
 
JS- It is such a good read. And finally, where can everyone buy it?

SW- Thank you for asking. Here are the links:


Amazon for Kindle and Print
and on  Word Branch Publishing Book Shop

Thank you, Sheri. Love the hair. 

For more about Sheri, check out my Author Interview with Sheri on Writing Wenches, where she discusses all three books she has published in the last month as well as her writing style and other tidbits.

Check out Sheri's Amazon Author Page for all her current books.

You can find Sheri on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Williams.Sheri.Author and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/mygirljuju



Happy Reading.

Jennifer Senhaji, Your Sweet & Spicy Romance Author

Find me online at www.jennifersenhajiauthor.com




 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Unwrapping Love Release Day Giveaway

I'm excited to announce the release of Unwrapping Love, a Writing Wenches Holiday Anthology. Twenty-One authors have come together to bring you twenty-one contemporary holiday romantic shorts all in one huge collection. Unwrapping Love goes on sale today, December 1st, 2014 on Amazon. To celebrate the release of Unwrapping Love, the Writing Wenches are hosting a giveaway. You could win an Amazon gift card for $225 below. a Rafflecopter giveaway Here is an exclusive, never before seen teaser from my short, Angels in Disguise, featured in Unwrapping Love.
This holiday season, give the gift of love. Unwrapping Love, available now on Amazon. Find me online at www.jennifersenhajiauthor.com

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Cover Reveal for Dawning of Light By Tami Lund

I'm excited to reveal the cover for Book 2 in the Lightbearer Series, Dawning of Light, by Tami Lund. I really enjoyed Into the Light, the first book in this amazing paranormal series, and can't wait to read this next installment releasing December 15, 2014. I've read several of Tami's books, and love both her contemporary and paranormal romances.

Tami created Lightbearers in her first book in this series, Into the Light. The Lightbearers are a group of magical beings who have lived for five hundred years hidden away in their warded and protected coterie. Now that the princess of the Lightbearers is mated to a Shifter, their peaceful lives have been turned upside down.

Finnegan Hennigan meets his match in spunky Cecilia Druthers, a woman he can barely stand. Cecelia’s opinion of Finn? He’s an oaf and a killjoy. But, opposites can’t resist each other in Dawning of Light by Tami Lund. You’ll love Book 2 of Tami’s hot fantasy series, a saga about lightbearers and the shifters who hate to love them.

In this second installment of the Lightbearer Series, shifter Finnegan Hennigan is doing his damnedest to keep lightbearer Cecilia Druthers out of trouble. His job is made all the more difficult by the fact that Cecilia doesn't want to stay out of trouble.

Despite their mutual annoyance, sparks ignite between this odd couple. As it becomes increasingly more apparent that someone is out to get Cecilia, the flares of attraction become impossible to resist, and soon, Cecilia and Finn tumble into, well, a closet together. And then the bed. And if Finn wants to keep her there, he's going to need to keep her alive.

Which means figuring out who the hell keeps trying to kill her. 



Without further ado, I present the cover for Dawning of Light, by Tami Lund.


Beautiful isn't it. I love the colors. Great job, Tami.



Here is a few notes on the author, Tami Lund:

Tami Lund likes to live, love, and laugh, and does her best to ensure the characters in her books do the same. After they've overcome a few seemingly insurmountable obstacles first, of course.

Tami is multi-published, both self and with a few publishers, including Crimson Romance, Liquid Silver Books, and Soul Mates Publishing. Chances are, there is a new book coming out soon. Be sure to stalk her on social media, so you know when.
AUTHOR LINKS:
Tami is everywhere online including GoodreadsTwitter, Facebook, and on her Website.
PRE-ORDER RELEASE SPECIAL:

Pre-order Dawning of Light and email Tami the receipt to be entered to win!

Pre-Order Here: http://amzn.to/1rlBxRc



 


And most important, if you enjoyed one of Tami's books, please let other readers know by leaving a review on the site from which you bought it, or on Goodreads. Otherwise, how will they know which book to read next?



Good luck and enjoy Dawning of Light.

Thanks for joining me for this amazing cover reveal.

You can find me online at www.jennifersenhajiauthor.com

Monday, November 24, 2014

Moving Hell


Moving is always horrible. Last time I moved, the moving truck got stuck on the driveway up into my apt complex and had to be pushed by a tow truck. The clutch on the tow truck fell out of the tow truck 1/2 a block from us, and we had to wait for it to be fixed before he could help us. The moving truck finally got to the top of the hill and the breaks went out. Okay, fine. We unloaded, waited three days for the truck company to take the truck away and give us a replacement so we could move the rest of our stuff. I broke a tooth deflating my son's water wings and it was Ramadan-so my family, my husband's friends who were helping us, were all fasting.

Yeah, I'm chuckling to myself as I remember how bad it was, I had five days (three confiscated by a broken moving truck) to move and it was awful.

I'm moving again, four years later. I gave myself three weeks to move, slowly packing up stuff and taking a few boxes to the new house everyday. 

It's still horrible.

You know that episode of Friends, when they are moving the sofa that is too large for the hallway..."Pivot! Pivot!" Yeah that one. Funny on TV, not so much in real life. Not when you are trying to move a solid oak table (which was my grandfather's, so no way am I giving that up) and its matching credenza which each weigh a ton, up a narrow flight of stairs with a sharp turn. 

We did get all the heavy furniture moved, but the small stuff, oh my God. That is what takes forever. There is stuff everywhere, and we still need to make a few more trips.

Of course as a writer, the first thing I moved were all my books and my book shelf. Here is a tip: Use your luggage with wheels to move books. It's easier to handle books on wheels than in boxes.

Every muscle in my body is sore. As I type this now, my fingers ache. 

It's easy when you're young. All you have is a bed, your clothes and a TV. Not when you're an adult with two kids. So much stuff accumulates. 

This Thanksgiving, I'll be thankful that we are finally done and in a brand new house. (We better be done by then.)

God help me, I am never moving again.

Do you have a funny moving story?

Check out my website at www.jennifersenhajiauthor.com for information on my books and what I'm reading now.

Just in time for the holidays, Unwrapping Love, a romantic holiday anthology by the Writing Wenches. Check it out on Amazon.
 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Finding Time To Write-Not Always Easy

Finding time to write is not as easy as I say it is. I'm usually one of those writers online encouraging other writers to write as often as they can. I belong to the 10 Minute Novelists Group, which helps time crunched writers find ten minutes here and there to work on their manuscripts. I've got a ton of tips to hand out, many of which can be used while working on Nano projects.
Here are just a few:
  • Step away from the t.v.
  • Use your smart phone when out and about to jot down notes
  • Wait until the household is asleep
  • Write late at night or early morning
  • Sit down for ten minutes and get as much as you can done
  • Do not self edit while writing, you can edit later
  • Use breaks at work to get your writing in.
and so on...

Honestly, this month has been kicking my ass. My day job is crazy busy, and I have no time for breaks at work. My son's birthday and my wedding anniversary both hit this week. I'm in the middle of marketing for my holiday short story, Angels in Disguise, releasing December 1st as part of the Writing Wenches holiday anthology, Unwrapping Love. My son was in the Fall Ball Little League Playoffs, which means Fridays and Sundays are baseball. (Since writing this, he played and won the championship game on Sunday 11/16-So proud.)

Oh and did I mention I'm in the middle of moving. Yep, packing up and moving me, my husband and two kids to a new house.

I think the last two weeks I've written three chapters of my WIP, between 3-4 blog posts (I honestly can't remember.) That is about it. Not good. I'm having withdrawals. The important thing, I guess, is to make sure I get back to work on my WIP as soon as possible-to not give up. It's hard being a writer. It's hard finding time when all you want to do, for the one hour you have before you pass out exhausted and do it all again tomorrow, is fall into your bed and catch up on episodes of The Black List and Vampire Diaries. Life gets in the way.

My fellow writers and masters of time management, I tip my hat to you.

Bees are busy? I wish I could fly away and write for a while. I'm picturing a little cottage, stocked with great coffee, food that is delivered, and impeccable internet. Where do you write? Do you have a writer's cave or getaway. Share and let me live vicariously through you.

Jennifer Senhaji
Your Sweet and Spicy Romance Author
www.jennifersenhajiauthor.com

Oh and because the Writing Wenches holiday anthology, Unwrapping Love is awesome, think about coming to our release party on December 1st.



Monday, November 10, 2014

Holiday Romance-Writing Together



Writing is mostly a solitary endeavor. Not so, when writing as part of an anthology. At least not in my experience. I have my second book coming out on December 1st, 2014, Angels in Disguise, which will be published as part of the Writing Wenches Holiday Anthology, Unwrapping Love, available now for preorder on Amazon.

While working on Angels in Disguise, I was in constant contact with my fellow writers. We checked in on each other's progress, critiqued each other's work along the way, and all raced together toward our deadline for final drafts to our editor. We have an amazing editor, cover designer, and publicist. PageCurl Publishing is putting out the anthology, professionally formatted, professionally edited, and professionally designed. Twenty-one authors, all coming together to make this happen. Twenty-one authors who agreed on a theme, length, book cover, teasers, blurbs, ratings, formatting, and so many other details. How did we do it? Team work, lots of voting and lots of collaboration. The truth is, this group is amazing.  Each wench and bar keep is open minded and supportive. As individuals, we dance to our own beat, each different in our own ways. Together, we bump and grind to the same cool rhythm, complimenting each other. 
 
We have a snow flake rating, for each of the twenty-one stories included, from 1-4. The rating is based on the melting power of the story's heat. Mine has a 2 snowflake designation. Yep, that sounds about right. Here is a little teaser from Angels in Disguise.
 
 
So let's be honest, I'm pretty much jumping up and down and squealing with glee, every time I think about having a second book published this year, but it was very hard work. Using my breaks and lunch time at the day job to get writing and editing done. Coming home from work to do more editing, marketing, and more writing. Writing and editing on weekends and in the evenings. All while also trying to keep working on the sequel to Sweet Dreams which I am scheduled to publish next year. Hard work, no free time and yet, it was fun. Want to know the best part? Getting to beta read stories by my fellow wenches.
 

Release date is December 1st. Stop by our release day bash on Facebook to meet the authors, play some games and win some very cool prizes.
 
https://www.facebook.com/events/847785465242465/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming
 
Two books in one year...Sweet!
Jennifer Senhaji-Your Sweet and Spicy Romance Author
 
 


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wenches Revealed

I am so pleased to reveal the cover for Unwrapping Love, a new holiday anthology by the fabulous Writing Wenches. We have put together a massive collection of holiday themed sweet and spicy short stories for your enjoyment.

The authors are all extremely talented writers from across the globe, and I just so happen to be one of them. My holiday short, Angels in Disguise, is being published in this anthology on December 1st, 2014. Whohoo! That is two books in one year for me. Sweet!

Here is the beautiful cover for Angels in Disguise.

Unwrapping Love releases December 1st, 2014 in ebook and print formats, but you can preorder the ebook version of this amazing collection from Amazon now. Here is the link. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00P72UUGK

We are having a release day party on Facebook, where readers can come and interact with the Wenches. There will be games, and giveaways (like free books and gift cards), and you can play along on Facebook from your smart phone or computer. The Cover Reveal party was a blast. Release Day will be amazing.

 
Click the link to join in on the fun

I hope you will unwrap love this holiday season.

Learn more about the Writing Wenches online at http://www.writingwenches.com/
Jennifer Senhaji
Your Sweet & Spicy Romance Author

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Lot Can Happen In Three Months


It took a lifetime to publish my first book. Here is a little update on my status as an author.

July 2014, I published my first book, Sweet Dreams. It's been a life changing experience. Every time I read a positive review of my work, it makes me giddy.

Right before my book was published, I joined an amazing group called The Writing Wenches. We have a website and blog that I contribute to, and we are publishing a holiday romance anthology.

In less than three months, I've written another book. It's a short holiday romance entitled Angels in Disguise, which will be published this December as part of the Writing Wenches holiday anthology, Unwrapping Love. It's been beta read, professionally edited, and I have my own cool book cover.
Here is a little teaser for you.




Currently, I'm working on finalizing the sequel to Sweet Dreams and can't wait to start the editing process.

My writing has grown leaps and bounds in the last three months. The amount of knowledge I have gained from my fellow Writing Wenches, is immeasurable. Everyday, they inspire me and help me grow as a writer.

In only three months, I can honestly say, my writing has drastically improved. I can only imagine where I will be five years from now.

Oh, and my beloved San Francisco Giants won the World Series. All is right in the world.

Thank you readers, fellow authors and my lovely Writing Wenches for all of your help and support.

What have you been up to?

Come to our cover reveal for Unwrapping Love on Facebook. Click the link below and join in on the fun.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1500669680199380/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming




 Thank you for reading. You can find me online at www.jennifersenhajiauthor.com

Monday, October 27, 2014

5 Tips To Keep Your Writing Consistent


I've been working on the sequel to my debut novel, Sweet Dreams, and in doing so, my outline has become much more complex. I have to keep track of my main characters and my secondary characters, as well as my time line. When writing a sequel, it's important to make absolutely sure you have total recall of the timeline and characters from the first novel.

I am about 2/3 done with my sequel and feeling very good about it. But as I was going to sleep the other night, after an evening of writing, socializing on Facebook and Twitter, and scrolling through pictures on Pinterest, a picture that I pinned on my WIP board for one of my secondary characters came rushing back to mind. I sat up in bed and realized that I had completely forgotten about an important character I introduced in the very beginning of my sequel. Ah schnookies!

There's a reason for the character, he has his own story line that runs parallel to the main story, and I completely forgot about him. I left him behind, not to be heard from again. Oops.

Well, obviously I missed a few important points in my outline, that need to be fixed immediately.  Here are some tips to keep your writing consistent.

1. Outline- It's so important to outline in order to keep your plot organized. It's okay to make revisions as you write, but the outline will keep you on track. If you are a panster, and can't fathom creating an outline before writing, make sure as you write, you create your outline of the plot so far, so you can keep track of the plot and events. That way you can go back and reference what has happened in your story without having to read the whole thing from beginning to end.

2. Cast of Characters- Keep a document or list of all your characters and how they are related to each other. It will help you keep the relationships straight and keep you from forgetting anyone.

3. Keep a Timeline- It's important to know the timeline of when your story takes place, not only for setting, but for the plot. For example, you don't want your characters enjoying a hot day at the beach, when compared to the elapsed time of your story, it should be the middle of winter. This also applies when keeping track of people ages. In real life, I may be able to turn 33 for several years in a row, but your characters will age.

4. Fact Check- Make sure you check your facts. This does not only apply to historical fiction. Is your story set in a real city? Make sure the streets and towns are geographically correct. If you are writing a scene that includes a reference to a real place, time or event, make sure to make notes to go back and fact check during the editing process, so that you don't have your characters walking 50 miles from one place to the other, when you really only wanted them to walk 5.

5. Beta Readers- Make sure you have at least 2-3 beta readers, they will help you search out those inconsistencies and keep your writing on track.

Now I need to follow my own advice, and go reinsert my missing character into the appropriate chapters.

What are your tips to keep your writing consistent? Do you have a tips you can share? I would love to hear them.

Don't forget to attend the Cover Reveal Bash on November 4th on Facebook, for the Writing Wenches Holiday Anthology, Unwrapping Love. My holiday short, Angels in Disguise, is one of the romances featured in this amazing collection.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1500669680199380/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

Jennifer Senhaji
Stalk me online at: www.jennifersenhajiauthor.com

Monday, October 20, 2014

Tragedy


This is my 18 year old niece Rania. She died on Monday, October 13, 2014, after a life-long battle with Leukemia.

I am heartbroken.

I'm supposed to be a writer, able to find words, but I'm at a loss as to how to describe all of my emotions coherently.

Angry-So angry
Furious-Want to hit and scream and yell at the top of my lungs
Sad-How can this happen
Devastated-The tears won't stop
Heartbroken-A piece is missing
Unfair-Too young, such a fighter, only child
Why-There is nothing anyone could say that can ever make this okay


My husband took the first flight out to Morocco to be at his sister's side. I can't imagine the pain my sister-in-law must be going through.

All I keep thinking is, she just celebrated her 18th birthday on September 25th. She looked healthy and beautiful and so grown up in her birthday photos.

She was sweet, kind, loving, beautiful, smart and so much more.

I miss her. She is truly missed. Our whole family loved her. Such a precious wonderful girl who grew into a beautiful young woman.

I can't find the words, but I loved her. I am so sorry she is gone.

I can still remember when she was a little girl, sitting in my lap, playing with my hair.





That is all. Thank you for reading.

www.jennifersenhajiauthor.com

Monday, October 13, 2014

Embrace Your Flaws-They Build Characters

 
 
 
Everyone, real and fictional, has flaws. If they didn't, we would be an entire society of robots reading about robots.
 
How boring. Real people have idiosyncrasies and are imperfect. Real characters have flaws. When building your characters, make sure to embrace their flaws. It will be those flaws that make your characters unique.
 
There are so many different ways to describe someone and none of them should be perfect. Even the hero or heroine should have imperfections. It is those imperfections that will make them perfect for one another. (Thank you Mr. Knightley aka Jeremy Northam, for wording that so well.)
 
Looking to put a little humor in your writing? Think of an embarrassing situation and see how your character responds. You could see how complete opposites interact when required to work together toward a common goal. They are bound to get into to trouble.
 
Everyday issues can be funny.
 
In my current work in progress, I wrote an extremely emotionally charged scene. The heroine ends up crying hysterically. Guess what comes next? Snot. Yep, that highly emotional scene is immediately followed by a humorous one, because crying like that produces mucus. It's not dainty and not pretty.
 
Writing a romance? No romance is without conflict. What causes the conflict? A misunderstanding or insecurities? Does the outwardly confident hottie have insecurities rooted deep inside that prevents him/her from trusting? Infidelity or tragedy can cause a lot of drama. Does your hero/heroine push others away to avoid getting hurt? Is there a sordid past they are trying to hide?
 
Are they clumsy, twitchy nail biters, or phobic, clean-freak know-it-alls? They could be shy, awkward geeks, or sexy, over-the-top hotties. Whatever their traits, make them relatable, and make them human.
 
Just a suggestion.
 
What flaw do you find most endearing? Leave a comment.
 
Jennifer Senhaji, Your Sweet and Spicy Romance Author
 
Find me online at www.jennifersenhajiauthor.com
 
 
 
 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Pirates-Walk the Plank

 
Piracy, I'm not talking the swashbuckling you encounter at your annual pirate festival, or in your local movie theatre. I'm talking about thievery. Little ole me has been the victim of piracy. Arrr.
 
 
A friend of mine, who's also an author, recently discovered four different places online where her books were being offered for illegal free download. This was the first time I'd heard this from someone I knew. Yeah, I've read about it, but have never known anyone that was a victim. 
While my friend advised of how she reported these illegal websites, I randomly decided to look up my own book. Dun, dun, dun. I found three pirate websites that were also offering illegal downloads of my book. My book! My baby! My creation, I love and cherish it, and some jerk thinks it's okay to upload it to an illegal site and offer it up to everyone and their mother? Hell to the no!


 
I filed my forms and sent messages to the sites, warning they were infringing on my copyright, and to please take my book down now! One site boasted of almost 1200 copies downloaded that week. That is 1200 copies of my book, downloaded for free, without my permission. Where's my sword? 
 
Now, many authors will use free promotions, once in a while, as a marketing tool. However, those promotions are sanctioned and controlled by the author. The author uses and tracks that information.
 
Piracy, is unconscionable.
 
For a newbie author, every sale is important. Every time someone reads my book, it's a thrill. I anxiously await a review on Amazon or Goodreads. I hope that fans of my work will spread the word and recommend it to other readers, or leave reviews, which is its own form of recommendation. The thousands--because if it was 1200 in one week, I can only assume the total is in the thousands--of twerps that illegally downloaded my book, didn't even do me the courtesy of posting a review. If I had thousands of reviews, I could maybe forgive this, but no.
 
I feel violated.
 
What is a writer to do?
 
Google yourself and your book titles. Do not feel guilty for stalking yourself online. It's a necessity. Once you find these sites, report them. Send a message. You have rights! If the site or blog is hosted, contact the host.
 


 
 
Do not allow pirates to plunder yer booty.
 
Writers, has this happened to you? How did you deal with it? Do you have a process in place?
Please leave a comment.
 
 
Jennifer Senhaji
#YourSweetandSpicyRomanceAuthor

Monday, September 29, 2014

Foursomes-Chosing the Right Partners



Foursomes-- If you follow me, you know I love a good euphemism or double entendre, but in this post, I'm talking about casting. Finding the right number of characters for your readers to care about.

Four seems to be a magic number. 

Here are some examples, from a romance writer's point of view:

Sexy in the City-We have Carrie, Samantha (my favorite), Charlotte, and Miranda. The main story line leans toward Carrie and Big finding their happily ever after, but if we didn't have the other three, the show would've been boring. We cared about all four women, their ups and their downs, and each played a vital role in the show with their own distinct personalities.

Big Bang Theory-We have Sheldon (my favorite), Leonard, Raj, and Howard. The main story line could also be the relationship between Leonard and Penny, but there is no show without Sheldon, Howard and Raj. All of these guys keep us in stiches and play so well off each other. I want to see Sheldon and Amy kiss, Howard and Bernadette finally have a baby, and Raj finally find his match.

Seinfeld-We have Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer. Again, the main love story could be Jerry and Elaine, but without Kramer (my favorite) and George, the show would fall flat.

All of the above are wildly successful. I know this, and you know this.

My point?

When building your cast of characters, you may have "the Stars" of your show, but supporting characters are equally, if not vitally important.

In the examples above, each character has his/her own unique personality. That is also key. You can't have four characters that are all exactly alike. Each should have their own unique traits and flaws. They are there to challenge the others, to provide a fool to the straight man, and to give depth.

With a larger cast of characters, you give your readers a bigger pool of personalities to identify with. Too many characters, and you dilute the story, possibly confusing the reader. Too few, and you may lose a reader who can't identify with your hero/heroine.

There are many romance writers who know how to do this well. Melissa Foster, Patricia Eddy, Robyn Carr, Tami Lund and Rebekah Ganiere, to name a few. Each of these writers I've read, and each did an excellent job of introducing supporting characters that bring depth to the story and end up with their own books.

Look closely at your supporting characters. Give them a life, give them a story line, give them some depth and development.

The foursome could be your key to success.

By the way, I keep trying to convince my friend (photo above) to start her own shoe blog. I thought since I was mentioning Sex in the City, the photo would be appropriate.



Jennifer Senhaji
#YourSweetandSpicyRomanceAuthor

Find me online at www.jennifersenhajiauthor.com