Monday, February 23, 2015

Happily Ever After

I went to a wedding on Saturday at The Palace Hotel in San Francisco, which may be the oldest hotel in San Francisco. If not the oldest, it's one of. The architecture is beautiful- marble and stained glass, chandeliers that glitter, and polished wood that shines.

The flowers were beautiful, the food was delicious, and the DJ had everyone up and dancing the whole night. He actually had to stop the music in order for people to sit down and eat.
But that is not why we go to weddings. We go to witness the love between the couple, as they promise to share their lives together; to celebrate with them, and support them.

Everyone loves a good happily ever after, in real life and in romance novels. 
I love witnessing two people who can't take their eyes off each other. They're in love, and know it's not just tonight they will go home together, but for the rest of their lives.
Two people who can't stop smiling because they are so giddy, knowing the other is now their partner, and has committed to a life together.
I love LOVE, and the whole process of falling in love. From the stomach flipping butterflies the first time your eyes connect, to the emotional support of your best friend and lover when one of your parents passes away. Love is so important in our lives.

That is why I write romance. That is why I will continue to write romance. That is why if I end up writing suspense, fantasy, scifi, horror, there will always be a romantic element in my writing.

Love makes us laugh, cry, scream, grind our teeth, giggle, and snort. Love makes us feel nervous, happy, scared, peaceful, powerful, optimistic, inspired, confident, courageous, accepted, and hopeful.

Love makes us feel.

That is why in every one of my stories, there will be a happily ever after, or at the very least a happy for now ending.

Congratulations to our friends Ahmad and Sarah, now Mr. and Mrs. Almulla, married the twenty-first of February, 2015. Love and happiness to you both.

Why do you read romance? Do you require a HEA in your romance novels? Please leave a comment.

You can find me online at
Thank you for reading.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Location, Location, Location- 5 Ways to make your novel more believable

There are lots of ways to draw the reader in. Characters, drama, conflict, location...Ah, yes, let's talk about this today. Location is a very important thing. Not where you write, but where you write about. Did you know the streets of San Juan are paved with blue glazed cobblestones?

In my novel Sweet Dreams, several locations are mentioned. Most real and one totally made up. The story takes place in Maple Grove, a fictional town about three hours north of San Francisco, California. There are also scenes in Pompeii, Naples, Amalfi, and...I think that's it. Although other cities, including San Francisco, are mentioned.

My holiday short, Angels in Disguise, featured in Unwrapping Love, takes place in Santa Monica.

In Choosing to Dream, the sequel to Sweet Dreams, coming soon, we return to Maple Grove, but also travel to Denver and Malibu.

Blah, blah, blah, I have another book coming out. I know, get to the point.

It's because of research I've been doing on my current WIP, a summer short entitled Sea Breeze scheduled for release this summer, that I'm writing this post. The story takes place on a Caribbean cruise and there are a couple of places where my FMC and MMC will be going ashore.

Let me say this now. I've never, to date, been on a cruise or to the places featured in Sea Breeze, although I hope to someday. So what is a writer to do?

Here's what I do:

  1. Get in the map- For goodness sakes, find your location on a map and study it. If you are talking about Amalfi, Italy, which is in the south, you can't reference a thirty minute drive to Lake Como, which is close to the boarder of Switzerland when in reality it's a nine hour drive. Know the lay of the land. It doesn't hurt to look at a street map as well, especially if you are going to be referencing real street names and places. And by all means, look at pictures.
  2. Get up and go- Yeah, this would be my personal preference too. In a perfect world, I would be able to travel to all the locations I write about. Italy, Puerto Rico, Jamaica...sigh. I have a friend who is also a writer, traveling next week to Ireland to write on location. Yes, she is writing a novel that has scenes set in Ireland and is traveling there to write. Lucky wench. Can you tell I'm jealous? I should be on a cruise ship to San Juan right now for research, but alas, it's not in the budget this month. Ah well, I hope someday to have the kind of success as a writer, that I can travel the globe, using my travels and experiences as research for my books.
  3. Been there, done that- Write what you know. We've heard it a million times, but in this situation, I'm talking about location. I can write about San Francisco with ease and confidence because I was born and lived most of my life there. I know what it smells like on a foggy fall evening. I know what bus to take to get from point A to point B, and I know what each and every neighborhood is called and how to get there. I've been to Italy, so I used some of my experience there to help with writing about it in Sweet Dreams.
  4. Eat, drink, dance- Go seek out a new restaurant that serves authentic food from the location you are writing about. Your heroine is traveling in Indonesia? Go have Indonesian food. You live in Farmville USA middle of nowhere, and can't find an authentic restaurant for the place you are writing about? Look up a recipe online. Try the staples and the local beverages. Oh, and listen to the music. It doesn't have to be the original indigenous music of the locale, or it could. But it could also be what is popular there now. Is there a famous singer from that area? Look them up on iTunes.Writing about Puerto Rico? Go listen to some reggaeton or salsa and bust a move. Can't find a club or bar that plays this kind of music locally? Find a radio station that does. Look up videos on the ethnic dance of the region.
  5. Hot or cold- Find out what the weather is like in the location you are writing about. Figure out the time of year and what to expect. Does it snow. Is it 90 degrees and humid? Should I expect cicadas? Ew.
So you are writing about Wisconsin. You've never been there, but that is the locale for your story. Google it. Get in a map, and virtually walk the streets. Do your research. Look up good eats online and on Yelp. Find out where locals hang out. What is the food like? Does the younger crowd listen to pop, rock, or country music? What's the weather like at the time of year your story takes place?

Lastly, if you have created your own world or fictional place, you will need to also create all of the above and write it down. Draw a map of your village or world and where each place you mention is so you can be consistent. Keep notes about the food, weather, culture, streets, get the drift.

In any case, these are things I do to make sure my writing is accurate in the location department. Believe me, I would love to hear a person in San Juan, Puerto Rico was reading my book. Let's hope I got the lay of the land correct so I don't piss them off.

Writers, are there any tricks you use to keep your locations authentic that you can share?
Readers, have you ever read a book about a location you were familiar with and found inconsistencies?
Let me know your experiences.
Thanks for reading.
You can find me online at

Monday, February 9, 2015

Help Support Fellow Authors

In late January, it came to my attention a few of my author friends had books releasing in February. What a perfect time to celebrate them. So, I offered to feature them, each on my blog, by doing an author interview. It was such a great feeling giving those authors a place, center stage on my blog that I decided to make it a month long event.

So I've launched Feature February and I'm hosting it on my Word Press blog. Yes, I have another blog on Word Press. I also write twice a month for the Writing Wenches. How do I have time for all these blogs?  I make time. But let's not get off track.

This month, I've made time for my fellow authors. They work hard, they are all unique, have something special to say, and they deserve the spotlight. I firmly believe in supporting my fellow writers and authors. I know I would've been lost and maybe still would be if it hadn't been for a few authors, giving me tips, showing me the way, and mentoring me along my first few months in this business. Every single day, I learn from them.

We are not alone. Writing is a solitary experience, but so many people are needed to make you a successful author. Not only your readers, but all the people that come before them: your editor, cover designer, formatter, beta readers, critique partners, marketing partners, bloggers...And most of these people are also writers.

I know some of the most avid readers are writers, so thank you, fellow writers and authors, for teaching and supporting me. I truly appreciate you and feel lucky to be part of this community.

You can find Feature February here:
Follow along and meet some great authors.

You can find me online at

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Writer's Logic

This past Thursday, I had a little minor surgery to remove my gall bladder. It needed to go since it was impeding my ability to consume good food. I did, however, benefit from the lucky side effect of weight loss, which I won't complain about. I'm sore, moving slowly, and it's hard to sleep, but otherwise I'm okay.

Was I concerned about having the surgery? No. I felt confident my surgeon would do an excellent job. Was I worried about taking time off work? No. I have a ridiculous amount of sick time and vacation time because I'm one of those people who never takes it. Was I nervous?

No. I was excited. Why you ask? Because it meant that I was going to be in bed, recovering from said surgery with nothing to do but rest and...write.

Yes, I'm one of those writers who has a full time day job. Between working, family, blogging, social networking, and reading, I get very little time to actually write. Yes, I was looking forward to having this surgery so I would have time in bed with my laptop. Nothing kinky (well maybe on the page), just writing.
Here is what a normal day looks like for me and how I manage my time.

7:30am- Check in on social media and then read on the commute train to work.
8:00am-5:00pm- Day Job (These are my scheduled hours, although I do sometimes work later.)
5:00pm-6:00pm- Check in on social media and read on commute train home.
6:00pm-9:00pm- Homework with son, prepare and eat dinner.
9:00pm-10:00pm- Get son to bed, spend time with daughter/husband.
10:00pm-As late as I can- Last check in social media, blog, beta reads, editing.
If I have time after that, I write.

Yeah. It's tough to find time, so since I'm going to have this down time where I can't work, I'm taking advantage of it. The plan is to finish edits on my novel, work on my current short story, outline two novellas and work on my marketing plan. It's ambitious, so we'll see how much I'm able to accomplish.

I'm really hoping this time is productive.

Do you have an activity that you wish you had more time for? What is it? How do you make time? Can you share any time management tips?

Jennifer Senhaji

Find me online at

Choosing to Dream, Book 2 in the Sunset Dreams Series coming soon.