Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Getting our Tropical on!

As promised here are some pics of our time at the Cairns Tropical Writers Festival held in September this year. As you can see there was a lot of hard work going on!
We met some amazing people, including the very taletend Helene Young. We attended Helene's "Essence of StoryTelling" workshop and walked away feeling inspired. Enlightened was very popular in the Festival bookshop "Snap up a local" with other authors wanting signed copies! We're looking forward to the next one.

We were invited to talk with a fantastic bunch of Kindy students at Redlynch Kindy about being an author.They were very keen to share with us their favourite stories after we read them our favourite childrens book.

There was also a little time for plot twists and character development :)


Thursday, 13 November 2014

We Get the Hint - Sneak Peek Book 2!

We know it’s been ages and yes… we get the hint!! We have been super busy creating twists and turns and are nearly half way there! As a thank you for your patience while we let our creative juices run wild, we wanted to post a little snippet of what’s to come…

I followed as he swiped us angrily through another set of double doors, this one lead to a large room. The walls were covered with padding and the blue floor was kind of bouncy, it was quartered with a red cross that divided the room into large squares.  I bounced a little on the balls of my feet; it was obviously some kind of training room.
Bravnica walked to the furthest square discarding his jacket then his jumper to the floor as he went, I followed warily. As soon as my foot crossed the red line of the last square it was swept out from under me. I felt myself falling backwards and braced for the impact but it didn’t come. Bravnica caught me just before I hit. His eyes searched mine briefly before he spoke. “If I were a Kudlak, you would be dead.”
He let go and I dropped the final distance to the floor, landing with a dull thud.
So this is how it’s gonna be.
I rolled to regain my feet, determined to prove myself. We started circling, each waiting for the other to make the next move. Watching for him carefully I kicked off my flats and shrugged out of my cardigan, thankful that I’d worn loose fitting pants and a light top.
He moved again, so fast that my mind was still trying to process his direction when he had me, held securely from behind I had no idea how he’d gotten there. He trapped my arms across my chest with his left hand and used his right to slowly tilt my head back, exposing the delicate skin at my throat. Goosebumps prickled as he lowered his mouth and I could feel the heat of his words as his lips hovered just above my skin. “Dead again.”
It was only a whisper but it sent shock waves coursing through me and I grappled to regain my scattered wits. We were circling again; I could feel the weight of his gaze as it poured over me. A shift that had occurred behind those ice blue eyes, it was subtle but base and my instinct were screaming at me. To do what I didn’t know but at some point his anger had turned to something else. Just as urgent, just as powerful.
I ruthlessly stamped out the memory of how his breath felt on my throat and started to formulate a plan. I figured as long as I let him call the shots I didn’t stand a chance. I needed to put him on the back foot but keep my distance at the same time. He was much more powerful than me and as soon as he had a hold of me it’d be over. Using my legs was my best bet.
I attacked; my sidekick was aimed at his ribs, but ended up being caught in his hands. I let out a growl of frustration to which he responded with a chuckle. My foot still held firmly in his hands I hopped to straighten up, as soon as I had my balance he gave a little tug sending me falling forwards and into his arms. Crushed against his body he looked down at me. My unsteady breath mingled with his and for one crazy delicious second I thought he was going to kiss me, instead he breathed. “Dead.”
I pushed back, annoyed at his game but even more annoyed at myself. Had I actually wanted him to kiss me?
“You’re only proving my point.” We started circling each other again. “This is why I need to train, so that I can protect myself and my family if I need to.”
He shook his head. “You can’t protect them like this.”
Frustrated I lashed out, rushing him with a barrage of fists which he deftly caught, pulling them down he transferred them into one hand to anchor low at my back. The angle caused my breasts to thrust upward and I was painfully away of my breathlessness as my chest heaved against him. I struggled to break free as he walked me steadily backwards and pressed me into the soft padding of the walls. Anger surged and I made to raise my knee but he predicted the move and let the weight of his lower body pin mine. Trapped by my weakness and angered by my own bodies’ want for his I bucked, trying to break free. He growled in my ear. “Not like this Ana.”
He pressed harder and I stilled giving him my best I-hate-you look.
He watched me patiently, letting the silence settle between us before speaking. “You are not built to fight Kudlak.”
My breath was ragged. I knew he was going to teach me a lesson, I just didn’t predict it being this hard to swallow. It was obvious now that Garrick had been pulling his punches.
The back of my eyes began to burn and I looked away, trying to control my tumbling emotions but he used his free hand to tilt my chin so that I couldn’t avoid his gaze.
 “Hand to hand they will kill you every time. If you really want to be able to protect yourself and your family you must harness your power.”
He released my hands and eased himself off of me, standing close enough to catch me if I decided to bolt. I didn’t, there was no point. He waited till I looked up, his eyes searched mine out. There was desperation in them, which he didn’t try to hide.

“It’s my job to protect you Ana; it’s your job to run…”

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Cocktails and Bikinis...

Woohoo! Jen is heading to FNQ on Thursday for a serious climate change to celebrate the Cairns Tropical Writers Festival with Sair!

To have the two of us together is a rare treat and Redlynch Kindy is taking advantage and has invited us to have a chat to their students! They may only be four, but hey… you gotta start somewhere right?!

We are super excited to have been invited to participate in the Cairns Tropical Writers Festival Snap Up A Local on Friday night and will be attending a few talks by some fantastic local talent on Saturday before letting our hair down at the Gala Dinner on Saturday night. 

But despite the talks, the seminars and the dinners, we promise that we will take serious advantage of the one on one time to work on book two; which is fast becoming our favourite plot line of the series!!

Pics to follow J

Sunday, 10 August 2014

By the seat of our pants… again.

Sitting in the hairdressers at that really unattractive point where half your hair is piled on top of your head and the other half is wet and being sectioned for trimming - I suppose they need that harsh white light that gives you the complexion of a Kudlak to see what they are cutting - when my phone flashed up with a message from a girlfriend…

“Well well – I was just flicking through the City News and who should I see but the gorgeous smiling face of my famous author friend – So proud of you girls xxx”

To which I immediately responded to with an eloquent, “Huh?”

The next message to flash up was a picture of a news article containing the selfie that Sair and I had taken in my front garden (and are currently using as our bio pic) with a little piece about what was then our upcoming Book Launch. Much excitement and squealing ensued and my hairdresser raced off to find a copy... mid cut. Once she returned the article was found and it was declared that Sair and I were officially D grade celebrities.  Woohoo!!

So the big day finally arrived and with it brought the butterflies. During the weeks leading up to our launch we had been asked; “What happens at a book launch?’’ in various ways, several times. The truth is, we had no idea and as with most things, were flying by the seat of our pants.  For us the launch was not about selling books, it was about exposing as many people as we could to the story and giving Enlightened one more big push before we turned our attention to book two. And that we did! Knees shaking we made a speech to a packed out room, did a short reading of the Vadoma scene from page 8 and did lots of wriggling out of giving away spoilers for book two – we have some very savvy Enlightened readers out there! So with the champagne flowing and music playing we chatted about our favourite characters and plot twists, it was amazing to have so many Enlightened people in one place. Alas there were no Kaul, which was quickly pointed out by a few of our guests, a blatant oversight which we promise to address for the next one!
Check out the photos from the launch here  Enlightened Launch Photos

Now with Enlightened simmering gently away, we are changing focus and immersing ourselves once more in Lumeer. And one thing we can promise, if you liked the first one... you are going to LOVE the second one!!!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Insert Excited Girly Squeal Here!

An amazing write up from the very talented Martina at HerCanberra


‘Enlightened’ with Sarah and Jen’

By Martina Taliano — August 02, 2014

  After you watch an episode of your favourite TV show or finish reading a great book do you have that friend that you just have to debrief about it with? That friend that when something wonderful happens you ring them and tell them about it and they give you the exact response that you need? Or when something terrible happens they are the one you ring, and if you are lucky enough to live in the same area they rock up with wine/chocolate/pizza/flowers.
Jen and Sarah met years ago and have not let interstate relocations, home renovations, marriage or the birth of children hamper their friendship. When their favourite book series ended they decided to write their own urban fantasy and their debut novel, Enlightened was born.
Not only is writing a book a huge feat for one person but to write in collaboration, stay friends and still maintain some semblance of a life with partners and children is just amazing. I am in awe of these women and thought you should get to know them a little too!

M -Tell us about Enlightened…
SJ – After reading popular books in this genre we were left wanting and decided to fill the gap. Enlightened is an Urban Fantasy aimed at an older audience. It is witty, sexy and a little bit dangerous – all of the things pure escapism requires.

M – Have you bought any parts of yourselves into the characters? If so, which parts?
SJ – There are certainly traits our heroine possesses that we wish we did but we probably have the more undesirable aspects, such as frizzy hair, clumsiness and the potential for verbal diarrhoea. The banter between our two female leads certainly reflects our own friendship and we did draw inspiration from real life experiences; we all like to watch The Walking Dead while eating Laksa.

M – Will there be more for fans of Enlightened?
SJ – Yes! Enlightened is the first in a series of four, we are currently working on book two and can’t wait into get to book three!

M – How did the collaboration between the two of you come about?
SJ – When the supply of books from our favourite genre dried up, we decided to write our own. We had our own little book club on opposite ends on the country which survived cyclones in Cairns and weddings in Canberra. We would chat for hours over the phone about the latest novel we had read, and an animated discussion would ensue as to what we would have done with the plot. At this stage one of us would always make the comment “You know we should write a book”. Eventually we did.

M – Most books are written by one person, what made you decide to write a book together?
SJ – It was the blending of both our original literary passions. Sarah loves the supernatural and Jen the romance. Urban Fantasy blends the two worlds, allowing each individual to bring their favoured elements to the fore, creating an exciting story via a fabulous friendship.

M – How did you manage your lives while writing?! (This always fascinates me!)
SJ – We probably didn’t manage our lives while writing, maybe it was more a case of survival – for all of us! We both work and are married with two sets of young children so finding time to write was very tricky. There were a lot of late nights and Sunday afternoons in front of the keyboard. Not to mention the frantic searches for vital plot twists, scrawled on scrap pieces of paper that had been lost in amongst school notes and shopping lists!

M – What’s next for both of you?
SJ – Life and more writing, we have already mapped out our next big project after this series, which we believe Enlightened readers will thoroughly enjoy!

An indication of how many people are loving Enlightened is that in the few short weeks it has been available it is already in the top 100 best sellers in the Australian iTunes ebook charts, top 50 best sellers in the New Zealand iTunes ebook charts and ranking 4.29/5 on Goodreads. If I still haven’t convinced you, you can download the first three chapters from Sarah and Jen’s website and I know that will be enough to hook you into the story!


Sunday, 13 July 2014

Champagne and Thermals...

Count down to the Enlightened book launch on the 2nd of August is under way. Super excited to be on the same side of the country as each other, although Sair is packing some serious thermals for the journey south!

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Taking over the world, one bookstore at a time.

The last couple of weeks have seen Enlightened venture out of the website and into the bookstore! At the moment we are represented in four stores in Canberra, two in Cairns and one on the way in Lakes Entrance VIC.  It’s incredibly exciting to see Enlightened on the shelves and we have to force ourselves not to stalk the stores; there may or may not have been a terrible attempt at covert book counting at one particular store in Cairns... Let just say that in future, we promise to leave the Black Ops to the books. 

Not satisfied with bookstores, Enlightened became available as an eBook this week! Being the old school paperback readers that we are, we hadn’t fully thought about how quickly the Enlightened story could spread in the instant world of eBooks. The last couple of days have seen the story make it all the way to the UK thanks to a couple of very vocal and social media savvy Enlightened Women. We have also found some amazing reviews of Enlightened on GoodReads Check it out if you get a chance; we have set up a profile there, so if you’re feeling wordy, write us a review!

Being so consumed in the promotion of Enlightened since its release nearly two months ago, we have been desperate for a chance to immerse ourselves in the writing process once again. So, we took a cheeky week of annual leave to bunker down and work on book two. It was amazing to get back to Lumeer and spend some time with Ana and the crew it was kind of like coming home – just to way sexier people! 

In the meantime if you have any questions for us, we would love to hear from you!

So… Have you been Enlightened?

Monday, 12 May 2014

Non Stop Start!

So the last two weeks have passed in a blur. From launch day till now SJ Jensar has not stopped - but our children have enjoyed the novelty of having breakfast for dinner!

Things are now settling down and we are slowly wrapping out heads around the whole process of sales and publicity. As we are Independent Self-Published Authors, we have to be savvy in all areas of the book business…or at least make it look like we are. So hopefully soon you will start to hear and see a little more of SJ Jensar and Enlightened. That being said we still needyou, our readers to spread the word –you are the most powerful weapon in our publicity arsenal. If you love the story, tell people. Talk to your friends or people in your book club, write a review on Amazon or jump on to an Urban Fantasy or Paranormal Romance blog and give us a plug! The Enlightened Evolution has begun; we just need your help to it keep moving forward!

Now for a little pudding (pants down) moment - we have been asked many questions since the release so we thought we would compile a list of the most commonly asked, so here goes…

Q– What made you decide to write a book?

Answer Jen – “When Sarah moved to Cairns our friendship stepped up a notch in the way of books. We would devour as many Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romances as we could get our hands on, sending books from Canberra to Cairns and back again constantly. All the while discussing the plots and characters and joking that we should write our own Urban Fantasy series. Then we came to the end of a particularly consuming series, the supply kind of dried up and we were left thinking ‘what now?’That’s when we started to plot. A glass of wine for Dutch Courage and a major google session later and we were off!”

Q– How did you collaborate being at opposite ends of the country?

Answer Sarah – “Telephone calls. Lots and lots of telephone calls!”

Q– When will the next book be available?

Answer Jen – “This is probably the question we get most. So, we would like to give you an estimatedtime frame - and just in case you missed the bold, underlined italics – this is an estimate only! We hope to have the second book in the Enlightened series available for purchase in six to twelve months. Obviously we are working hard at getting it to you sooner rather than later ;)”

Q– Who wrote the racy bits?

Answer Jen – “Sarah”

Answer Sarah – “Jen”

Q– Is it available in bookstores

Answer Sarah – “Not yet but we’re working on it! We hope to have Enlightened on the shelves of quality independent bookstores in the near future and will post more details of these stores when we have them. After that we will be looking to the big guys – but that is a little way down the road yet! In the meantime you can purchase via our website.” J

Sunday, 11 May 2014

The Train To Crazy Town

So the count down to the Enlightened Online Release is well and truly under way; we have boarded the train to Crazy Town and it has left the station… no turning back now! Our palms are sweaty and our stomachs are fluttering as we vacillate between abject terror and complete elation. We made a deal at the beginning of all this, that only one of us was allowed to completely lose our potatoes at a time and that rule seems to have served us well, because here we are!

We hope you enjoy the story and characters as much as we enjoyed creating them. Even though it began with us, Enlightened is a book that seemed to write itself. Things have had a wild way of unfolding and for a long time now we have felt like passengers but we are loving the ride and hope you will too! So be a part of the Enlightened Evolution; help us get the Enlightened story heard by logging on to Amazon and giving us a review… HERE! it will take only five minutes. The more reviews we get, the further our reach and the bigger the Enlightened Evolution becomes. You can also support us by following us on twitter, Liking us on Facebook and telling your friends.

So… Have you been Enlightened?

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Blurbs on Blogs

Anastasia Valinski had never really considered the safety of her remote city – at least not until one of its most prominent residents turned up decapitated.

Hidden by mountainous surrounds, Lumeer is the birthplace of the Kresniks; a race of superior beings, the Enlightened among them possessing supernatural abilities. Abilities used to fight their mortal enemy – Kudlak; vampires that scour the land as solitary hunters, their relentless attacks always savage, their appetite for blood never sated… until now.

When whispers spread that Kudlak have breached Lumeer walls, fear consumes everyone.The Kresnik Council summon Commander Dominik Bravnica – leader of the Kresnik Army, back to Lumeer to protect its people. Working alongside the Commander, Anastasia gets more than she bargained for as the threat escalates and she is forced to face the monster under the bed. She must survive but in doing so may lose all that was promised.

And this is not her only battle, for Anastasia is plagued by a secret shared, of her own hidden demons and the fight to overcome them, before it’s too late…

Thursday, 8 May 2014

A little something about SJ Jensar

Jen and Sarah met over 14 years ago and together have experienced weddings, births, interstate relocations, home renovations, overseas holidays, cyclones and the odd hens’ night kidnapping.
After many a long distant phone call from one end of the country to the other, Jen and Sar discovered their love for Urban fantasy – a little romance for Jen and a hint of supernatural for Sar. After their favourite book series came to an end and the conversation returned to husbands and children, they decided to take matters in to their own hands, writing their urban fantasy. A crazy late night conversation turning into a wild adventure, which cemented their friendship and created the Enlightened book series!
Jen is passionate about all things books. Her first written work was available for loan in her primary school library when she was in the fourth grade.
It was Sarah that introduced Jen to stories of the supernatural and she is now an avid reader of this genre. Given this Jen still cannot go past a good romance novel, her first love was Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice but she is yet to have the promised marathon session of the BBC mini-series with Sarah.
When not on the phone to Sarah, Jen can be found chasing after her two young boys, relaxing in her garden or running with her husband. For Jen the hardest thing about writing a book is putting down whatever it is she is currently reading!
A movie buff and keen reader, Sarah has forever had a fascination with the supernatural. Her introduction to the horror genre was with Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot and she now devours Urban Fantasy with alacrity. While she would never pick up a romance, Sarah does enjoy supernatural action laced with a little love.
Originally from the ACT, Sarah relocated with her family to Far North Queensland. Swapping the cold winters and threat of Pride and Prejudice marathons, for cyclones and crocodiles!
When not on the phone to Jen, Sarah loves going out for Sushi with her two daughters, watching her favourite TV shows with her husband and planning her next renovation project.
And yes, their phone bills are impressive.