What Is Inspirational Romance?

God Is LoveWhen I first started writing a man asked me what genre were my novels and when I replied inspirational romance he replied, “Isn’t that an oxymoron?” This was the first of many such encounters where I found myself explaining what exactly inspirational romance is. The simplest definition I can give is that inspirational romance is the edgier side of Christian romance. I often push the envelope of Christian fiction and romance with the actions of my characters. However, it never ceases to amaze me that most people assume that romance ALWAYS includes sex and if I’m writing about romance/sex it must be immoral. It is times such as these that I take the opportunity to enlighten others.

1.God created sex. Sex itself is neither dirty nor immoral. It is a beautiful physical expression of love and/or desire two people have for one another and a necessary process for procreation that was intended between a man and his wife.  It is the context in which people choose to have sex which leads to immorality and chaos. All we have to do is look at all the calamity that has come into play from sex being used outside of God’s will to know this is true. There is tons of data about the astronomical number of children being born out of wedlock and the also astronomical number of STDs being passed around the globe. We can even go deeper and cite sources about the emotional and developmental challenges that children who do not have both parents in the home often face. This is not to say that we would not have illegitimate children being born or STDs if everyone having sex were married. People have been having sex outside of their marriages for eons but I’m willing to gamble that the numbers would be far less than they are now.

2. Romance is not synonymous with sex. Although I recognize that within the literary industry when you say romance novel it is a given that it will contain sex and probably lots of it. However, when you add the word Christian or inspirational it becomes more about faith and less about sex. This is actually getting back to the truer sense of the word romance. Just as you can have sex without romance you can have romance without sex.  When I looked up the definition of romance this is what I found:

ro·mance—(rōˈmans,ˈrōˌmans/) noun— a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love.

By definition romance has to do with love not sex and God in His purest form is LOVE. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that I am able to write an inspirational or edgy Christian romance novel and explore all the facets of love and the emotions associated with it.

In each of my novels I display the love that God has for us and because of His infinite wisdom we are able to give this love to others in many ways–from acts of kindness to intimacy. I hope you’ll read my novels and allow me to spread a little love and God  in your lives.

You Are Beautiful

IMG_1850[1]How many of us truly believe that we are beautiful? You are Beautiful is the first story in my book of inspirational short stories, and I wrote it because I truly want women to know that. There are identifiable benefits to knowing that you are gorgeous inside and out. One is that a positive self-image fosters a rise in self-esteem and confidence.  High self-esteem will create that “can do, I deserve the best, and I’m going to go get it” attitude that motivates people to strive for and achieve success.  In a recent newsletter I received from The New Memphis Institute, an organization dedicated to nurturing the city’s up and coming leaders, they shared that it has been scientifically proven in studies that people reporting higher levels of self-confidence tend to be healthier and treat themselves better than people without it. Also with the rise of bullying among our youth, high self-esteem is greatly needed. It allows us to ignore those who choose to try to shroud us with statements about ourselves that we know aren’t true and the courage to put them in their place when needed.

In my 20’s I didn’t think I was pretty enough, my body was curvaceous enough, or that I was deserving of great things.  I wanted everyone to like me and hadn’t yet realized that is impossible. There is always someone who will have a problem with you and often it will be people who don’t even know you. Needless to say, the value I placed on myself was wrapped up in my value to others. I was one sad soul. In time I learned to love myself, flaws and all. I’ll never be perfect but when I look in the mirror, I see a beautiful confident woman who believes that “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” I may not always apply myself as well as I should but at least I know that the potential is inside of me. I just need to tap into. Now, what led to this attitude? I’m not ashamed to say that it was a man. My boyfriend in college recognized that my self-esteem was dragging on the floor like toilet paper stuck to the bottom of my shoe and took it upon himself to change that. He told me regularly that I was beautiful and that he loved me and that I was worthy of his love. Actually he didn’t just tell me, he showed me. He allowed the love God has for us to manifest itself in him in order to transfer it to me. In time, his positive affirmations invaded my psyche and I began to act like all the positive attributes I knew I possessed. For that, I will forever be grateful to him.

However, you don’t have to have a man to accomplish this. You can do the same thing for yourself. I want you to look in the mirror and identify at least five things about yourself that you think are beautiful. They can be something on the outside as well as the inside. I bet you have nice eyebrows, a winning smile, a kind heart, or a great sense of humor. Revel in your own beauty. Unleash the power of positive thinking and know that you are one of God’s greatest creations. You do yourself a disservice by not acknowledging the awesomeness of His handiwork. The God I serve doesn’t make mistakes only masterpieces.  You are beautiful my sisters! Internalize that knowledge and love yourselves like only you can. You’ll be happier. I promise.

Please share with me the answer to this one question, “Who first told you that you were beautiful?”

The Naked PenBy the way, the winner of the second book in the Things Every Good Woman Should Know Friends Giveaway is Ava Flatt. I am proud to present to you with “The Naked Pen” a compilation of anonymous short stories by Oosa Book Club. Congrats and enjoy!

Click here to learn how you can win a free book. “Things Every Good Woman Should Know Volume 1” is on sale for only .99 cents for a limited time on Amazon.com.

Eat, Pray, Write

Novelist at Work“So, you’re on an Eat, Pray, Love tour,” said my good friend Randy after I shared with him that I am taking a hiatus from traditional employment to take a much needed extended vacation.

“You’re right,” I replied.

Until he said that, I never thought about it like that. I justified my actions by merely stating that I wanted a break from life as I know it. I think each of us should step out of our comfort zone and do something others would consider odd at some point in our lives. And when I tell people that I voluntarily returned to the world of freelance writing, an often stressful if you don’t hustle you don’t eat way of life, the look people give me tells me that this is my odd thing. Heck, sometimes I wonder if I made this decision in an irrational fit of emotion while I was overwhelmed with the impending death of my mother. Especially when I look at my bank account and remind myself that money will not magically appear on the first of May and I better drum up some clients….FAST. Yet, whatever the case, what’s done is done. My job is no longer my job. They hired someone new last week. So there is no looking back, only forward.

Unlike the blockbuster movie “Eat, Pray, Love” starring Julia Roberts, I am not a successful New York Times Bestselling author and I will not be traveling to some unknown land to feast on unhealthy, fattening food, find spiritual enlightenment, or meet my soulmate…I will be traveling domestically. Actually, my journeys have already begun. A week ago I went to New Orleans and while there I took a food tour where I was introduced to the Muffalata, the beignet, the Po Boy, and the praline. Mmm mmm good!  As I embark on this journey of rest and self-enlightenment I have three main goals.

1. Spend More Time With God
I’ve slacked off in this department and I know it. I used to spend every morning reading my Bible and pray every night. It’s time that I get back to it. Being disconnected from God is never a good thing.

2. Write one or more books
Not having enough time will no longer be an excuse for being unable to write. I will also spend time focusing on how to better market the books I do have as well as myself. Anybody need a guest speaker? I’m available.

3. Travel
Yep, I’m going to put those flight points I racked up to good use. I want to go to some places I’ve never been, see some things I’ve never seen, meet some people I’ve never met, and eat some food I’ve never eaten. Before the summer ends I plan to travel to Las Vegas, Tampa, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, and probably Dallas. At least I hope to go all of those places…I’ll see what my wallet dictates and where the universe leads me.

What I hope to gain most during this time is a newfound sense of purpose which will only come by strengthening my relationship with God. I hope to gain a better idea of what I want this next chapter of my life to look like because after living in Memphis FOREVER I am open to moving. I also hope to get some great tales to share with my readers. As I do, you better believe I’m going to eat some good food. I’m not opposed to love but I’m not looking for it. It or more correctly, HE, will have to find me. Wish me luck!

If you could take a hiatus from your job what would you do?

Behind the Post: Good Cry, Strong Drink, Hot Bath

Behind the Post is where I tell you the story behind a post I put on social media. I agree to be totally transparent.

A good cry, a strong drink, and a hot bath but not necessarily in that order. #noworriesiwilllive #imisshermadly
Posted on FB April 8, 2014

Memphis Stars MagazineI was elated when I say the beautiful profile of me and my books in Memphis Stars Magazine. I picked up three copies. I put a post on Facebook of me reading one. I was so proud. Unfortunately, it was short-lived.  When I pulled into the garage of my home and the stark reality hit me AGAIN that my mother wasn’t there and she wouldn’t ever be again I lost it. I sat in my car and cried like I was two for at least 15 minutes. She was usually one of the people I shared my successes with. It was a bittersweet moment, indeed. Being single with no kids has many benefits, but it also has its drawback. My mother helped fill the void that not having a family to greet you when you get home can have. I can no longer run next door to her house and show her my articles. No one is there. Since she’s been gone, our homes have been pretty quiet …sometimes a little too quiet. I’m not looking for sympathy here, I’m just stating the realities of the life I live. I’m a big girl. Life isn’t always going to be roses, and I realize that. I just try to remember that it’s the manure that provides the roses with nutrients and allows them to grow up beautiful and strong. I have no right to wallow in self-pity. I’m not the first person to lose someone they love, nor will I be the last. Besides, I’ve always thought that large amounts of self-pity was pathetic, and I am anything but pathetic. But it’s always okay to take a moment and regroup. A good cry, a strong drink, and a hot bath was just what a needed to help me compose myself and refocus. I felt better afterward, and that’s what matters.

Thanks to Memphis Stars for the article, it is really good and truly represents my writing. My mother would have enjoyed it. If you live in Memphis, you can pick up a copy at any Kroger grocery store.

Keep living, laughing, and loving……

I promise my next blog will be more upbeat.

Hello Pain

Mommy and me2Hello Pain:

I know you’re here. Since the passing of my mother, you’ve been with me every day. Some days you don’t hurt so much and other days you cripple me to the point of temporary paralysis and tears. I just want to let you know that you won’t stop me. Actually, you are motivating me. Because I know my mother wouldn’t want me to let you ruin what I’ve worked so hard to build because of the sadness that her absence creates, I am pushing forward. I am letting you propel me to write from a place I’ve never written before. Every tear I cry is a testimony that shouts I am still alive and open to the blessings God has stored up for me. My experiences deserve to be documented. Maybe I’ll get a bestseller out of it. But believe me when I say you won’t get the best of me! I have amazing friends and family who are surrounding me with love and praying for me. Along with my Heavenly Father, they give me strength. So pain, you don’t have to vacate the premises but you do have to get the hell out of the way. I’ve got better things to do than lie in the bed all day and cry.

Sincerely,

My Mother’s Daughter

P.S. As long as you’re hanging around you could at least make yourself useful and fix me a sammich or something!

February 1st Is A GREAT Day!

As you know, I have a new ebook coming out and it will go live on Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com on February 1st. Also on that day I will be at an event with some other phenomenal authors. If you are in the Memphis, TN area please come by and fellowship with us.

R.A.R.E. Book Club 4th Annual Tea & Social

Come out to meet and greet other book clubs, converse with one another, and your favorite authors. February 1, 2014 from 1:00pm – 3:00pm Southaven Public Library 8554 Northwest Dr. Southaven, MS. 38672. Author Kellye Alston, Author Pat Tucker, Author Earl Sewell, Author Jae Henderson and  Author Rhonda Holloway will be in attendance. Refreshments will be served.

If you are not familiar with “Things Every Good Woman Should Know, Volume 1”, here is the synopsis.

THGWSK_Vol_1_Cover_Discussion_smallIf you could stop a woman from making the same mistakes you did would you—whether it be in love, friendships, profession, finances, or health. In “Things Every Good Woman Should Know, Volume 1”  Jae Henderson has crafted six short inspirational stories designed to educate women on the importance of carefully considering your options when traveling through this  journey we call life.  Each character allows you to peek into their lives and experience the joys and the pains of love, sex, success, family, and more. These stories could be described as fables for adults. Just like the ones you read as children, except with adult content and real drama. You are invited to learn the moral of each story that will surely nourish the spirit and strengthen the soul.

You Are Beautiful

Take Care of Those You Love

Sex Is More Than Just Sex

Mentorship is Mandatory

Success Is the Best Revenge

You Reap What You Sow

Each story is firmly rooted in Biblical principles and is jam packed with exciting life-altering situations and life-applicable teachings. Once again, demonstrating that God is good. He may not always keep you from falling, but He can arrange for you to make a soft landing. Be inspired today!

Would you like to read an excerpt from the first short story in the book? It’s entitled You Are Beautiful. TEGWSK_Vol_1_You_Are_Beautiful_Excerpt.

I Choose To Be Happy

Jae and Laptop

A Few Words of Wisdom

If you’re happy and you know it clap you’re hands! Clap! Clap!
We’ve all heard people say, “I could complain but nobody wants to hear it anyway.”  Well,  for the most part it’s true. However, there is a difference between  complaining and venting. Occasionally, we all need to release our frustrations, a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen.  We all have those days when we wonder “Why Me?” and “What did I  do to deserve this?” When life is unfair, we run to our friends,  significant other or family with our woe is me stories. After we’ve  told the story, cried our eyes out and received a few “I’m so sorry to hear  thats” and possibly some good advice, we have to ask ourselves what’s  next? Are we going to wallow in self pity? As the dearly departed Whitney Houston would have said, “Hell to  the Naw!” You pick your behind up and attack that situation like it just  tried to run off with your new Michael Kors purse. If you can fix it, get to fixin’. If you can’t, fix your attitude.
One of the worst states I know to be in is helplessness. That’s the  state of being where no matter what you say or do you can’t change the situation or the outcome even if it’s causing you stress and/or pain. Situations such as incurable  illness, death of a loved one, irreconcilable break ups and taxes normally fall in  that category. Those are often the times you have to resolve to be happy in spite of your  circumstances. One way to do this is to count your blessings. It’s quite easy to get caught up in what’s going wrong and  forget about what’s going right.   I used to be a chronic complainer. I disliked my life, my body, the  direction my career was going and being single. I’m sure I was a  freakin’ joy to be around. I’m glad I have a big sister who’s not afraid  to tell me to grow up and shut up. I’m even more glad that I listened to her. Your perception truly does influence your attitude and your quality of life. I am always amazed  by people who are facing dire situations as big as mountains who don’t  complain and keep a smile on their faces. However,  their secret is simple, they are happy because they choose to be.
Try this  little exercise and make a list of at least 10 things you are grateful for. They  can be big or small. The point is that they bring you joy or add value to your life! Here are  mine…..

  1. A Heavenly Father who cares
  2. Good health and mental stability
  3. A home
  4. Amazing family and friends who love me
  5. Gainful employment that I enjoy
  6. A great sense of humor      (Laughter makes so many situations easier to bear)
  7. A closet full of cute shoes
  8. The ability to write and encourage others
  9. The ability to continue to love even after being hurt
  10. Eyes that allow me to see the beauty that surrounds me each day
  11. Strength to withstand tough times

Count your own blessings, write them down and post them where you can see them as a constant reminder of how good you actually have it. I’ve decided to be happy no matter what obstacles life throws my way. Won’t you join me? You too are truly blessed!
Until next time…..

Jae Henderson