Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Guest post by Jennifer Senhaji

Music and words…  
A haunting melody or intoxicating rhythm uplifts the soul. Enya’s “Orinoco Flow,” for example, twines together complex strings, whimsical harmonies, and deep base lines in a rhythm that crescendos into a breathtaking surge of emotion. At least for me. I first heard the song in an old San Francisco movie house in the early 1990s. At that time, each district had its own single screen movie theater. There were no cinnaplexes. Just vintage buildings with character we would frequent almost every weekend. This particular theater featured a beautiful domed ceiling, lit in tranquil turquoise hues. The music played as I reclined in the dim lighting waiting for the film to start. I remember being lulled into a trance by the enchanting sound as I tilted my head to gaze at the beautiful architecture above me. It was meditative, evoked a desire to see the world, and discover the philosophy of life. It was also the 1990’s, and I can’t deny that I was caught up in the magic of “New Age.” I lived and worked in the Lower Haight in San Francisco. Need I say more? Since then, I’ve listened to the song countless times. “Sail away,” are still the only words of the song I know, but combined with the music, they are powerful.  
Music creates tension, mood, and ambiance. In each book I’ve written, music has played a role. It also provides inspiration for scenes, characters, and storylines. My characters sing, dance, and listen almost as often as I do. If I’m writing with my earbuds in, I’m in a groove. I’ve created playlists, which you can find at the back of each book and on my website. They enhance the reading experience, give a prospective reader a feel for the mood or tone of the book, and are also provided for those who are not familiar with the music mentioned, so they can listen on their own time. 
My newest romance, Sea Breeze, is about a woman sailing forward on a journey of self-discovery. Jordan finds herself in San Juan, Puerto Rico swaying to Bomba, a sound rooted in the African, Spanish, and Taino cultures. The call and answer of the drums and local singers captivates her. Later, we witness her fly across the dancefloor while a live swing band cranks up the heat. Throughout the book, Jordan finds herself in places she’s never dreamed of. Adding in a soundtrack, I feel, showcases the emotions.  
Music and words allow us to experience a whole spectrum of emotions, without leaving our chair. Both are such a gift.  
You can find my playlists on my website under Music to Read By at, but I truly hope you decide to pick up one of my books as well. Speaking of, here’s the blurb for my latest release Sea Breeze… 
Jordan has never been in love, or been anywhere. Trapped in Vegas, she schleps drinks and dodges losers, while suffering under a burden only she can shoulder. Her life is an endless stretch of blah with no escape.  
Until now. 
Instead of looking back, she’s sailing forward. 
Eric has left his family and friends in San Francisco to travel the world, tending bar on a cruise ship to fund his adventures. He can charm any coed who comes aboard, but Jordan sees right through him. 
On the blue cobblestone streets of San Juan, everything changes. Food. Music. Exotic locations. Possibilities. Setting out to discover the world, will Jordan discover herself? 
Sometimes, adventure can set you free… 

Available for pre-order now on Amazon. 

We make a little picnic on the grass, finding a place under the shade of a tree, and Eric takes his button-down off for us to sit on, leaving him in only his undershirt. My, oh my, the man has some nice shoulders.  
He hands me a can of Medalla Light, this one a lot colder than the one I had earlier today, and we dig in. 
“Oh my Lord, what are these called again?”  
He holds up a finger and finishes his mouthful before answering. “Alcapurria.” 
“So good.” I take another bite of the fried fritter meaty goodness as Eric takes a sip of his beer. 
“What about the tostones? Do you like those? They’re pretty much a staple here. They use plantains in a lot of cooking. The most famous dish is mofongo.” 
I swallow a big bite of my savory pastry and respond. “Did we get any of that…mofongo stuff?” I snag a couple of tostones, expecting sweet, given that they’re fried plantains, but they’re salty.  
“No. We didn’t get any mofongo because it’s more of a sit-down meal, in my opinion.” 
“We are sitting down.” 
“You know what I mean.” Eric takes another swig of his beer and rolls his shoulders. 
“Yes, I like everything. At first, I thought the tostones were a little bland, but now I can’t stop eating them.” I pop another in my mouth to make my point. “I guess I’ll try the mofongo next time.”  
Eric frowns as I take a sip of beer. “You keep saying next time, but we aren’t going to dock here again on this trip. You know that, right?” 
“Yes. But I also know that I’ll come back to Puerto Rico. There’s too much to see and do, not to come back.” I finish the last bite of my meat fritter, and survey the food we still have left. 
Eric quiets, staring at his skewer. I pick up the last pincho and start biting off deliciously grilled pieces of chicken. 
“Do you have—” The sound of drums right behind us interrupts Eric and almost makes me drop my chicken.  
Three different drummers tap out a hypnotizing rhythm, and the man in the middle starts to sing. At the sound of his voice I turn back toward Eric and smile. He grins, and nods in the direction of the musicians. “Bomba.”  
We both stand at the same time and gather our trash, placing it in the can a few feet away. I fold the rest of the fried plantains up in a napkin and place them in my bag. We take our beers around to the other side of the grass to watch and listen. 
The call and answer of the drums and the man’s voice causes me to sway as I stand there listening. A crowd gathers, and I’m completely captivated. 
“We’re going to have to start heading back soon.” Eric’s voice in my ear gives rise to a shudder that runs through me. Maybe it’s the heat and the beer, although I’ve only had two. Or maybe it’s this music, almost spiritual, yet extremely sensual. Whatever it is, the sound of his masculine voice in my ear makes my stomach flip. 
I look up at him as the drummers continue their intoxicating rhythm. He stands so close to me, his shirt slung over one shoulder. His focus is on the musicians, but when he takes a sip of his beer, he catches me staring, and his hand lowers to his side. 
Our gazes lock for exactly sixteen seconds, the drum beats keeping count. Sixteen seconds of blood pumping through my veins. Sixteen seconds of his gaze scrutinizing mine and then shifting down to my lips. Sixteen seconds of wondering what his chest would feel like against my bare breasts.  
“It’s getting late, Jordan.” It’s only a murmur, and there’s no way I should’ve heard him, so I must be reading his lips. He has nice lips. 
He breaks eye contact and looks out over my head. We’re surrounded by people. He wraps his fingers around my forearm and gently tugs me behind him and through the crowd. My other hand easily finds his back, and I use it as a guide to follow him out.  
As we make our way down the crowded street, Eric pulls his cell out of his pocket to read a text. “Shit. We need to hurry.” 
I quicken my pace to keep up with him. “Why? We still have an hour before we have to be on board.”  
“Actually, I need to be back and ready for work in forty-five minutes. My boss wants me to fill in at Allure tonight, and I still need to get back, shower, and change. Come on.” Eric holds out his hand, and we push through the crowd.  

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