Blog

Meadow’s Here!

Meadow-Perkins,-Trusty-Sidekick_500x750 (1)

Meadow Perkins, Trusty Sidekick is live! Actually, she’s been live since Wednesday. Here’s the thing about releasing a book. You just never know how it’s going to go. My family has been in the middle of a medical situation and I didn’t have much time to think about the release until the night before. Yeah. You heard me. This was the most unorganized launch I’ve ever been a part of. So I was understandably amazed when I hit even one chart. I sincerely believed I would be sitting at 400K in the best seller (haha) rankings on Amazon.

So far, I’m on day three of being on the charts. I have no idea how this happened, but I’m over the moon. Sometimes authors work their butts off for weeks leading up to release and then nothing much happens. Sometimes it goes the other way. Not that I’m #1 on all of Amazon, but I’m pleasantly surprised.

Haven’t grabbed your copy yet? Here’s the link:

Click here to buy Meadow Perkins, Trusty Sidekick!

P.S. A few people have mentioned that they don’t have kindles and this is a digital first release. If you are someone who doesn’t mind reading on your smartphone or computer, kindle has a free app. They also have an app for other tablets, including ipads. So don’t let not having a kindle deter you. 😉

P.P.S. Thank you everyone who bought the book. It means so much to me. ❤

New Books, Babies, and Allergies

1(5of24)

My children. ❤

My book releases on Wednesday. There is no huge release celebration. No party, real or in internet-land. It will probably be a quiet day. It’s not because I don’t want those things. It’s because my priorities have taken a sharp turn in the past few days.

My son has severe allergies, both food and environmental. It is a thing we live with all day long every day. Most of the time, we “forget” about it and go on. By forget, I mean that we try not to worry all the time. Of course, we worry all the time, but we try to make it seem like not a big deal while paying attention to everything he eats and his general surroundings.

On Thursday, he had a very severe reaction and one of his teachers (hero) had to administer the epi-pen. I got there a few minutes later and within a few minutes we were on the way to the emergency room in the back of an ambulance. By the time we left, he’d had steroids and two adult-size albuterol treatments. He was bouncing off the walls like a ping pong ball. We thought it was an isolated incident. Then it happened again. We did not need to use an epi but it was very close.

This is what allergy parents do. This is why it actually physically hurts when we hear people’s comments in which they wonder why they can’t send their child to school with a peanut butter sandwich. Or when people claim food allergies are psychosomatic or something. These are all things I’ve heard before, sadly. No one has said it to me personally, but I’ve seen it on Facebook (the root of all evil) plenty of times. (I’ve met some wonderful people and had some great exchanges on the old Facebook, but I think we can agree that the worst of humanity appears on there every day.)

In our case, we can’t always pinpoint the exact thing that triggered a reaction because his list of potential triggers is about seven pages long between food allergies and environmental ones. I have a theory, but we may never know.

For now, I’m so grateful to have a job that allows me to be flexible and available for medical emergencies.

It’s not Thanksgiving, but here’s a list of people I’m grateful to and thankful for: my children’s teachers, our supportive family, the sweet and wonderful EMS people, my editor for taking a chance on me, everyone who helped in any way with getting Meadow Perkins, Trusty Sidekick to publication.

While we are talking about my book baby, I just want to say how astonished I am that my book releases in two days. It’s a young adult novel that I started writing when I was in the depths of post-partum depression. It was a way to get a break from the constant terror I felt during that time. Writing this book reignited my passion for writing and was the window to let in the figurative light. Without Meadow, I never would have met my writing friends who are so supportive of both my writing and my life.

In case you are a person that likes to pre-order, here’s the preorder link:

http://www.amazon.com/Meadow-Perkins-Trusty-Sidekick-Snow-ebook/dp/B018F3CB7S/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1449502815&sr=1-3&keywords=A.E.+Snow

Meadow-Perkins,-Trusty-Sidekick_500x750 (1)

My book baby. ❤

Here’s my publisher’s link as well:

http://www.soulmatepublishing.com/ 

Thoughts on Paris and Beirut

I, like everyone, have seen and wept over the horrors that took place in Paris just the other night. I love Paris. I visited Paris in 2005 and I’ve been clamoring to go back ever since. Paris is truly the city light. Not only does the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night casting a magical glow over the city, but the city itself lights you up inside. I was moved again and again by the art and beauty that I saw everywhere I looked. Je t’aime, Paris. Vous etes la magie.

The world is not the same place as it was in 2005. But I’d be willing to bet that Paris is the same, even now.

But the truth is, Paris is not the only city that is suffering. The people of Beirut are suffering. And so many others. Hearing of the man who sacrificed himself to save so many made me sob. My heart hurts for his family and for all of Beirut.

I’ve been moved by the outpouring of love and solidarity for Paris and Beirut. I’ve been horrified and disgusted by those who choose this moment to spew more anti-Islam rhetoric. Supposedly, one of the attackers was a refugee and had a Syrian passport. While I don’t know the whole story there, I’m not sure anyone does yet, I’m sure that these poor refugees are not the problem.

Imagine, for a moment, what they are running from. Isis. They are running from Isis. They aren’t leaving their comfortable homes where they sit and watch Daniel Tiger with their children on Sunday mornings to terrorize Europe. They are leaving because making a treacherous journey that risks their lives and the lives of their precious children because this journey and moving into the complete unknown is safer than staying. We Americans, for the most part, can’t imagine this because we are lucky. But our forefathers would be appalled and disappointed at what we’ve become. Our ancestors who left starvation and horrifying conditions that we can’t even imagine to take a boat trip that took months in equally horrible conditions to make new lives for their families. Because they had hope for a better life. Just the same as those fleeing Syria.

Every morning, I listen to BBC world news. They have done a truly excellent job covering the refugee crisis. I’ve cried nearly every day over their coverage. A twelve year old girl, who spoke with the wisdom of a forty year old woman, was making the journey by herself. I heard the uncle of the tiny drowned boy that gave a face to the refugees begging us to remember the boy as he lived and not as he died. These are people, just like us. They are not part of a massive plot meant to terrorize the world.

I hope I’m singing to the choir here, but I’ve had the pleasure of knowing a lot of Muslims. I’ve had Muslim classmates, friends, and teachers and this violence and terror is not who they are. We cannot define an entire religion based on the actions of a few. The same is true of Christianity. And Judaism. The worst violence the world has ever seen has been carried out in the name of religion. It is sad, but true. But it doesn’t define every person in a religion. It’s more important than ever to remember that.

On Saturday, my husband and kids were at the supermarket. My husband is Indian and our children are biracial. We have (sadly) experienced racism before so Husband was a little on the defensive when a guy came up to him and asked where he was from.

“I’m Indian,” he replied because he knew the guy was really asking what race he was.

The man let out a sigh of relief. “Your family is okay then?”

Husband realized then what he was asking and he said, “Yes. Everyone is safe.”

“Thank goodness,” the man said and shook Husband’s hand.

I was so moved by this. It could have easily gone another way. But there are still people out there looking out for each other. It just made my heart feel a little better.

I don’t know what the solution to any of this is. But Gabby Bernstein always says “when you feel helpless, help someone.” Mother Theresa said, “Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.” So I guess that’s the best solution I have. Let’s help each other. Let’s not let the darkness win. Be the light and the light will spread.

Writing with Children…

My children go to a fabulous school. Not only do I love the school, but I sincerely cherish the time when they are at school and not talking to me. (Love them so so so much but why does everyone have to be either talking to me or touching me 24/7?!?) Anyway, the point here is that I try to write and do work while they are at school. I do this because it’s a lot better for my mental health.

This weekend, I took part in a 5K walking and writing challenge with one of my fantastic writing groups, 10 Minute Novelists. The idea was the walk (or run hahahaha) 5K and write 5K words in a 24 hour period. 24 whole hours! Easy peasy! I’m here to tell you that it is not easy peasy because I have little kids.

I started my 5K on the treadmill on Saturday evening. This was great. Except that my children stood right next to the treadmill watching and asking “is it my turn?” every ten seconds. I was very relaxed. When the children weren’t actively driving me nuts, the special needs cat was. Look, sometimes if you see a tiny kitten on the side of the road on a bridge, you should pick it up. It sounds like a nice, decent thing to do. Unless that cat happens to be Rugby. We nursed him back to health, bottle fed him, and put antibiotic drops in his eyes three times a day for weeks. The thanks I get is that he terrorizes my whole life. If ever I see another kitten on a bridge, I will keep driving while I pretend not to notice the little rat. Someone else can be a do-gooder and rescue it. I’ve learned my lesson. Anyway, he kept trying to kill himself and me while I tried to walk. Eventually, I caught him and locked him up. He only scratched me three times in the process! Little angel.

Then I got to the writing portion of the day. I’m sure if I go back and read the 5K words, it will make little sense. I imagine it’s just words. Child. Carpet. Yelling. Spilling. No. Stop. And maybe some of the middle grade story I’m working on thrown in there. I also had to stop every thirty seconds for someone to tell me what they wanted for Christmas.

Child: Mom?

Me refusing to make eye contact with child: Yes?

Child: Is Santa coming tomorrow?

Me: No.

Child: I want a bouncy house, a full-sized Spiderman, a light saber, all the Thomas trains-

Me: You already have about 70% of the Thomas trains.

Child: I still need them. And I want…

(At this point, I tuned out. Again, it will be interested to see if I transcribed the list into my novel.)

My husband agreed to give the children a bath while I wrote.

Me: Okay, you can start baths now.

Husband: Okay!

Ten minutes later.

Me: Bathtime! *typing furiously*

Child: Mom?

Me: What…

Child: I want Shopkins for Christmas.

Me: I don’t know what that even means. Hey HUSBAND?

Silence.

Me: Husband? Are you running the bath? (Not a real question bc I don’t hear the bath…more of a suggestion.)

More husbandly silence.

*gets up and stomps to the tv room*

Husband is asleep in the recliner.

*loses mind and yells at everyone until they are all at least in the bathroom*

*writes furiously and barely finishes 5K with five minutes to spare*

The lesson here is that the 5K write/walk is totally possible! It was fun and lots of people participated so it was a very supportive atmosphere. It might have been easier if fewer people needed to talk to me all day but that is the life I’ve chosen.

The other lesson is that if you hear of a mom with young children writing a novel, you should be extremely impressed. Like sending them flowers impressed. Or buying them a new car impressed. Because it is not easy. Writing = hard af. Writing with children = go ahead and reserve my spot in American Horror Story Asylum.

I do feel a bit proud knowing that I could write 5K in a day. Can I do that every day? Hahahaha. No. Not until someone builds me a soundproof room.

It’s Out of My Hands Now!

So far, in my writing career, I’ve released a novella and two shorts as part of two different anthologies. The publication date of my first novel is looming (I’ll let you know just as soon as I know what it is). And I’m freakin’ terrified. I just finished the copy edits for Meadow Perkins, Trusty Sidekick. Tonight, I’ll finish a final reread and send it to my awesome editor at Soulmate Publishing. Did I mention how terrified I am?

My second novel is getting closer as well. Again, totally afraid. But it’s a different kind of fear. I spent over two years writing my first novel. It was a true labor of love. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I just sat down and started writing. I mostly wrote late at night. Sometimes, I parked my young children in front of Angelina Ballerina and wrote during the day. I wrote whenever I found a spare moment. This led to my involvement with 10 Minute Novelists, an awesome writing group on Facebook, and to joining the Writing Wenches. The Writing Wenches are my support system. They’ve literally kept me going whenever I wanted to throw my computer out the window and call it quits. Thank you beautiful wenchy people.

Technically, Meadow Perkins isn’t my first novel. My first novel sits gathering dust in a folder under the bed. It will live there forever or until I burn it. Sometimes that’s what happens with first novels. It’s just bad. But that’s okay! You have to write pure drivel for a while to get to the next level.

Because it’s my first real, completed novel, it feels like my baby. It may have been harder to produce than either of my children. The gestation period was most definitely longer! It might even contain more of me. In that, I think my voice is more evident than in other things I’ve written. I just laid it all on the line. The story isn’t at all an autobiography, it’s just that Meadow and I have a lot in common. When my mom read it, she said “you are Meadow.” That’s true in many ways. Most writers are fully in their work, just not always in the ways you might expect. The line between fiction and reality is very blurry and I’ll never tell which is which. Yet, knowing that I’m about to lay my soul on the line is scary af.

In just a little while, I’ll hit send on possibly the most terrifying email I’ve ever sent. And I thought querying was scary! Meadow and her story will be out of my hands and off to formatting.

I’ve just started writing the acknowledgments and it’s making me cry. Writing is a solitary pursuit in many ways. But without a team, no book would be published. I can’t wait until all the people who supported me get to read the gushy thing I’m writing. It’s pure sap.

In the meantime, here’s the cover. Some of you have already seen it. Some haven’t. Anway, I hope you love it as much as I do. J ❤

Meadow-Perkins,-Trusty-Sidekick_500x750 (1)

The Body-positive Revolution!

I hate the word plus-sized. I dislike it because of the way it is used and its connotation. It is very rare to hear the word plus-sized in a positive way. Though that is changing and it’s about darn time.

I have a book coming out soon with a plus-sized protagonist. I tried to avoid that word in the book but she is about a size 12-14. Some wouldn’t even consider that to be plus-sized. My MC’s name is Meadow and her weight isn’t her problem. She has low self-esteem and she’s shy, and a bit self-conscious about her weight. Her biggest issues, though, are around her family and where she fits into it.

Why did I write a plus-sized MC? It’s simple really. I read a lot of YA. A lot lot. So often, the protagonist describes herself as “skinny and flat-chested.” (This doesn’t make them bad characters. It’s just overdone.) But what this really means is that she’s thin and hot. There are only about a million examples of this. Too often, these skinny, hot characters have boys fighting over them but they can’t even understand why. *see the infamous Bella Swann

Why is this bad? Well, because not everyone fits into the skinny and flat-chested category. Many don’t! I am SO GLAD that we are living in an age of body acceptance. Yes, there is still plenty of fat-shaming going on in the world. But when I was a kid/teenager/young adult, there were no positive plus-sized examples of women in the media. There were maybe one or two plus-sized models. Plus-sized actresses constantly fought to lose weight and keep it off while their journeys were documented in every magazine ever. There were basically no plus-sized women on tv except Roseanne. Roseanne was/is great! But I didn’t look to her as an example of body confidence when I was 16.

Confession: For years, I felt undeserving of friends, boyfriends, or fun because of my weight. I’m certain I wasn’t alone in that. Yes, I struggle with depression and that was the biggest part of the problem, but it didn’t help that I didn’t see myself reflected in magazines, movies, media, or even books. There was a similar issue with nerdy girls which I will cover in another post. But I’m thrilled, absolutely thrilled, that nerd girl culture is a thing now. Yes! I LOVE STAR WARS AND BROADWAY AND I’VE SEEN RENT MORE THAN 15 TIMES AND…oh right. Another post for another day.

Girls and women today have so many great examples to look up to:

Melissa McCarthy. If you haven’t read the piece about how she confronted a critic who could only comment on her looks instead of her performance in Tammy, google it right now.

Lindy West. She’s a writer who has done a lot for body positivity. Here’s her piece about her wedding. I ❤ her so much. http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/jul/21/my-wedding-perfect-fat-woman

Supermodels! Ashley Graham, Tess Holliday, Robyn Lawley, Candace Huffine, Whitney Thompson, and there are more!

There are so many more amazing women out there who are kicking through doors and making body positivity a real thing. I love it. I’m a big fan of the podcast, The Wellness Wonderland. The amazing Katie Dalebout speaks about this a lot. I love this podcast in which she is a guest on The Brave Exchange: http://somethingtomove.com/podcast/21-let-it-out-with-katie-dalebout-wellness-wonderland-radio-%E2%80%A8/

Back to the point, I started looking around for characters who were plus-sized and confident. I didn’t find many.

Here are a few that I came up with:

There’s Eleanor from Eleanor & Park. I love Eleanor and she does not apologize for who she is at any point. She may well be one of my favorite characters of all time.

The DUFF. I love this book. I’ve read it multiple times. In the book, Bianca isn’t really concerned with her weight and she was awesome. I thought the movie was great, but…Bianca was tiny in the movie. Mae Whitman was great and funny, but decidedly not fat. The DUFF stands for Designated Ugly Fat Friend. There was no fat there. Why did that need to be changed? Nor is she ugly, btw.

There are a few others and many of them revolve around the fat girl losing weight. Gah. I’m so sick of this trope. Can we stop with it already?

Recently, a book came along that gave us a “fat” main character who also happens to be a total badass. Enter Dumplin’. Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy came out a couple of weeks ago and it was a pleasure to read. Willowdean is another unapologetic fat girl. She has a lot of depth! One minutes, she’s totally confident and the next she isn’t. But she goes through a real journey of self-acceptance while she brings her entire town along with her. I laughed, cried, and had to stifle cheering because I didn’t want to wake up my kid in the next room.

I finished writing the rough draft of Meadow Perkins, Trusty Sidekick two years ago. I can’t even believe that! Many times, I’ve descended into panic because I wasn’t sure if readers wanted to read about a plus-sized girl who doesn’t lose the weight and whose entire story isn’t focused on that aspect of her character. But I so believe that characters like Meadow are necessary and important. I love her because she is mine and I think there’s a lot about her to love. She isn’t particularly badass, but she’s really learning to experience life and getting comfortable with herself, not only her weight, during one life-changing summer. Her big journey is more about living her own life out loud and not living in the shadow of her best frenemy. She was a joy to write and I truly hope that comes across.

Teenage girls (and tweens, and kids, and grown-ass women) need female characters who are something besides their weight. They need characters who are deep, fully-developed and real. And who come in all sizes.

It’s exciting and wonderful to see that in the mainstream traditional publishing world, at least in YA, plus-sized (there has to be a better word…) characters are being welcomed. Dumplin’ is killing it on the NYT bestseller charts. So yeah, go read Dumplin’ right now! And look for Meadow Perkins, Trusty Sidekick out soon from Soul Mate Publishing. Also, shout out to Soul Mate for taking a chance on a plus-sized character!

Another sad funny thing…I couldn’t easily find an image of a plus-sized girl to use as a graphic here. actually, I didn’t find one at all on any of the free stock photo sites I use. Ah well. Keep fighting the good fight!

If you know of other body-positive YA books, let me know in the comments!

What Goes into an Anthology?

11988637_10206776574665688_6201837473355403142_n

So this is an exciting week! Bewitching Desires: A Savannah Coven Anthology releases on Wednesday, October 1! I have a story in this awesome anthology called A Secret Spell.

I thought it might be fun to talk about the process around the process behind an anthology and writing my story which follows Isadora Blackwood through some historic Savannah sights as she attempts to find an evil, dangerous spell that was stolen from her.

This anthology began way back in February or so. I was super intrigued by the idea even though I’ve never written witchy story before. I do, however, love witchy stories. Obviously I’m a Potterhead. I love Practical Magic, both the book and the movie. When I began my brainstorming and researching, I realized that about 90% of the books I’ve read about witches were for children. There’s an entire world of witchy fiction out there! I read a few books and watched The Witches of East End which I really enjoyed and I’m very sorry it got canceled.

I had several moments of serious panic because coming up with an idea was very hard. As with all of my stories, I’m not exactly sure of the moment Isadora Blackwood and her story were born. I can never remember the exact origin of anything I write. I do know what jump-started the process. I am a history buff and it doesn’t much more historical than Savannah. I wanted to use some historical sights, some real and some imagined, in my story. I spent way too many hours on Pinterest and Wikipedia doing research. I was fascinated with Bonaventure Cemetery and I knew I had to use it. In my story, there is a spooky scene that takes place in the cemetery and mentions some famous Savannah ghosts.

Here is my Pinterest board related to my story.

http://bit.ly/1P1k0MT

Just for fun, I’ll also link the general board that all of the writers used to brainstorm.

http://bit.ly/1LgKGt8

Before I participated in an anthology, I had absolutely no idea of how much goes into the production. The twelve amazing writers involved turned in our first drafts in May. We then did critical reads for each other followed by editing, more editing, and even more editing. Each one of us spent many hours writing, rewriting, reading for others, brainstorming, and editing. Every time I complete a project, I look back on what I’ve learned. In this one, I learned to be patient with myself and not to panic about writing something that’s a bit out of my comfort zone. This was my second anthology experience, but each thing it is such a different process. And each one involves a lot of panicked messages to my writer friends.

“What if it’s terrible? What if it’s the worst thing that’s ever been written???” You know, that sort of thing. I feel really blessed to be working with my friends on this anthology because everyone is so supportive. Yet, they will call you on your crap and they will say “this is not great. Maybe try this!”

In the meantime, we either designed our own covers or worked with the amazing designer Rebekah Ganiere. I have worked with Rebekah on a cover before and I was so pleased. Once again, I was thrilled with the result.

Here’s the cover for A Stolen Spell:

11694397_10206373386866245_393497987_n

Not to be a total salesperson, but this is really the perfect collection of stories to get you in the Halloween mood. There is a little something for everyone here. It’s fun, spooky, romantic, funny, sweet, dangerous, etc. I can say that with authority because I’ve read all the stories. 😉

We have a lot of fun stuff going on with this anthology. Namely, a Rafflecopter with some super fun witchy prizes. You can enter here:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c1b9f8682/?

You can preorder here:

http://amzn.to/1PJ5O9e

Cover Reveal: The Dragon Boy

I’m so pleased to present the cover of my friend Sherilyn Putnam’s upcoming MG book, The Dragon Boy. I love this cover!

When a gypsy boy stumbles over an egg near the ocean he doesn’t know just how much it will change his life. Once the egg hatches, the boy’s world will never be the same, nor will it be for the creature that comes out of the egg. Named Dane after the boy’s father, the creature will begin a journey to find his own family. Along the way, he’ll learn that family is sometimes who you choose, not who you are born to.

DragonChildcover

Sherilyn Putnam is the pen name of an author who decided holding in the stories for younger people just wasn’t an option. Thus a whole new persona emerged, ready to share her love of fantastical beings and adventurous characters with the young readers of the world. Sherilyn is almost exactly like the ‘other’ author, being she lives in the deep south, has two daughters, a hero husband and lives in a tiny house ruled by two insane cats and a miniature dachshund with a Napoleon complex.

Her books for young readers almost always have the same message, one she feels very strongly about, “be who you are, not who others think you should be.”

Back to School…

My children started school this morning. For the past month, I’ve been feeling like I couldn’t wait for school to start. But the time came and I’m sad. I miss them. I miss the noise and the mess. I miss the hugs and the giggles. Hell, I even miss the fighting (only a tiny bit though). They went to school last year. Two days a week for four hours a day. This year…four days a week for six hours a day. I have work to do but I haven’t accomplished much today, truthfully. I’ve done a lot of checking my email and my phone for an urgent “we need you right now!” message. I haven’t gotten that message because everything is fine. But who am I now? It’s so different/weird/scary/bad/good/sad/happy/sadagain to not have a three-year-old and a four-year-old right under my feet. Though as my son would say, “I’m about to turn to five.”

My son has food allergies and asthma. He’s the oldest but leaving him is the hardest. I so badly want to protect him from everything bad or hard in the whole world. I can’t, of course, but as he gets older, I want to more and more. Yet, I want to raise a child who can be strong and independent. I want him to stand up for himself and be his own advocate. Standing back sometimes is the hardest thing in the world. He struggles with things sometimes and I feel my hands fluttering toward him just like they did when he was learning to walk and about to fall. I have to let him fall. Gah. This is a hard parenting truth that I deal with on the daily. It’s the same with writing. You do what you can, put hard work and effort in, and then you send your book baby out in the world and see if it falls or flies.

The other day we were at the playground. The day itself was filled with hard and uncomfortable stuff. So was the playground. There were big kids there and one of them was bothering my boy. I’m so proud of boy because he stood up to the big kid. He said “stop you are teasing me.” The boy didn’t stop but being able to stay “stop” is so hard. I’m so glad he’s learning to say it. The truth is that sometimes people stop and sometimes they don’t. At the same time, my heart hurt. I let him handle it and didn’t get involved. Finally, he just removed himself from the situation and did something else.

“Mom, that boy was teasing me,” he said.

I said, “I’m proud of you for telling him to stop.”

“But he didn’t stop.”

“That’s okay. Sometimes they don’t.”

My daughter is very different. She’s shy at first, but independent and strong-willed. She throws herself out into the world. To the world, I say, “watch out! Here she comes!!”

My son and I tiptoe out and peek into the world to see if it’s safe to emerge like a tiny animal coming out of hibernation. It’s funny how different they are from each other.

So if you need me, I’ll be sitting here at my desk not getting much done because I’m busy worrying/crying. I was so anxious yesterday and it occurred to me, “this is only going to happen more frequently.” They are headed off into the world in their own little way and as time goes on, the little way will become a big way. I hope I’m teaching them all the things they need to know.

Jennifer Senhaji – New Release: Choosing to Dream

I’m very pleased to welcome my beautiful and talented friend Jennifer Senhaji to my blog today. We will be talking about real romance and her new release, Choosing to Dream.

A: It’s wonderful to have you here! Thank you for stopping by, Jen.

J: Thank you for having me.

A: In your recent blog post, Real Romance, which readers can find here http://jennifersenhaji.blogspot.com/2015/07/real-romance.html you talk about the imperfections of heroes and heroines and how those imperfections make the characters more genuine. Can you tell me a little more about that?

J: Yes. We want the perfect guy or gal, one that sweeps us off our feet, laughs at our jokes, knows what we are thinking, and is a rock star in bed. Romance novels are great to escape into for all those reasons. But I also want humor, fun, silliness, and I want my characters to be real. That’s why you’ll find flaws in all my characters; still loveable, but more realistic. Although, I’m not going to lie, Jake from the Sunset Dreams series, is pretty damn close to perfect, especially in the bedroom.

A: Yes. I’ve read both books in the series. Blushes and clears throat. But Jake does have a bit of a shy side as well as his own insecurities. Also, I noticed the sex in book 2 is a little messier than Sweet Dreams.

J: True. I was thinking back to the first incredible time I was with my husband and how amazing it was. I’m lucky, I know, sometimes it takes a while to get a good rhythm going in bed, pardon the pun, with a new partner. Jenna and Jake were fireworks from the start. The kind of bedroom encounter we all want, but in Choosing to Dream we see more of what a couple goes through, sexually, once they are a little more familiar with each other. Still hot, but there are some funny sequences in there too that ring true for most of us.

A: In the blog post mentioned above, you also talk about insecurities and how real people, no matter how sure of themselves they are, can have doubts. Tell us about how that comes across in your writing.

J: Isn’t it easier to believe an insult than a compliment? Sad, but true. In my opinion, we tend to believe the bad a lot more readily than the good. In Sweet Dreams, book 1 of the Sunset Dreams Series, Jenna and Jake form a friendship, but both are so afraid the other wants only friendship, it takes a trip to Italy to open their eyes. Why? The old ‘He couldn’t possibly want me when he could have any other woman,’ or ‘She’s not flirting. She’s just nice to everyone,’ scripts we hear in our heads when we’re too scared to take a chance on love for fear of rejection. But love is a risk. We want our heroes and heroines to take the risk.

A: In Choosing to Dream, Jake and Jenna are battling a whole other set of problems. Why?

J: If there was no conflict, there would be no story. But in this case, Jake is an actor, and I had to deal with his career and how that would affect their relationship. The issues they face are very close to what I faced in my own life. No, I didn’t marry a famous actor, but I did start out in a long distance relationship that lasted almost two years before we got married. It was full of anxiety, doubt, jealousy, and really tough. But fifteen years later, we are still happily married, so I’d say that two years of torture was worth it in the end.

A: Awesome. Thank you, Jen! Keep reading for more info on Jen’s books Sweet Dreams and Choosing to Dream.

sweetdreams

finalist

Book Information

Title: Sweet Dreams

Series/Volume: Sunset Dreams Series/Book 1

Author: Jennifer Senhaji

Release Date: July 7, 2014

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/haxvP5m-SSU

Amazon Buy Link: http://amzn.com/B00LL01HBE

Blurb Jen is the clumsy, bug phobic, music loving owner of Sweet Dreams Café in the small town of Maple Grove. She spends most of her time working, occasionally dating, and is generally content and happy.

When Jen unexpectedly finds herself in an elevator 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.

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

The two form an unlikely friendship over coffee and conversation while he films on location.

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?

choosingtodream

Title: Choosing to Dream

Series/Volume: Sunset Dreams Series/Book 2

Author: Jennifer Senhaji

Release Date: July 17, 2015

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Amazon Buy Link: http://amzn.com/B0103BEN9Y

YouTube Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/IGA67m1l98Y

Blurb:  Jenna Morris and Jacob Walker have finally given in to the flames of passion licking at their heels. But they’re only allowed one, blissful week together before the responsibilities of Jen’s café and Jake’s new film wrench the new lovers from each other’s arms.

Struggling to keep insecurities at bay whilst involved in a long distance relationship with one of Hollywood’s most eligible bachelors is tough enough. Dealing with Bethany Phillips, ex-supermodel turned actress and Jake’s new costar is almost unbearable.

They say love can move mountains, but can it bridge the gap that fame, jealousy, and thousands of miles between them has caused?

js

Author Bio: Jennifer Senhaji was born and raised in San Francisco, CA, and is married with two children. If she’s not singing along at the top of her lungs to whatever is playing on the radio, you can find her making music playlists at home on her laptop. She works full time and splits her spare time between family, reading, blogging, and writing. Other than English, Jennifer speaks Spanish, Moroccan, and a little French. She loves to travel, but doesn’t do enough of it and will weave places she has gone or wants to go into her stories. Reading has been a passion for most of her life and she loves to write. She calls herself Your Sweet and Spicy Romance Author because she loves the sweet nuances of new love, but also is a bit of a voyeur and wants to be in the bedroom when the characters finally come together.

Website www.jennifersenhajiauthor.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jsenhaji13

Twitter https://twitter.com/jsenhaji13

Blog: http://jennifersenhaji.blogspot.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jennifersenhaji

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Jsenhaji

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/author/jennifersenhaji

WordPress https://jsenhaji13.wordpress.com/