Friday, September 23, 2016

Renovate They Said...It Will Be Easy They Said...

Hey all,

Today's blog is a big braggy, I must admit.  LOL  But I have to say the renovations on the house were pretty damn good. I *puffs out chest* was a bit of a miracle worker. With the aid of my sons and a quick visit between Chile and Australia from my sweet baboo, we totally changed what that house looked like. Let's start with the kitchen!


Some of you may remember the cat puke pink cupboards. Well, the next person may not like what I did, but I can honestly say, we did the happy dance when the last bit of puke pink disappeared.


BEFORE



AFTER




All wood trim, shelves for my huge tin collection, painted and varnished where needed, and the countertops...  Hand done with decoupaged contractor's paper!  I'm very happy with the way it turned out and if the kitchen is the heart of a home, I can now say my heart is in VERY nice shape!
And if you think I've got a lot of magnets... *snort* I've got another banana box filled with them!!!

Now on to the upstairs bathroom. We did more than just paint this one, but they had (one of the few things we liked) this beautiful eastern coastal lighthouse wall trim, so rather than pulling it off, we worked around it. See what you think...

BEFORE



AFTER




Sorry I don't have more from this room. Not the last when it was decorated. When I took my last set of pictures, my son and his lady were sleeping, so I didn't want to go into the bathroom (which connects to their room) and wake them. When I get more, I'll put them up.
But isn't the wallpaper cool? It was fun to decorate around it. Tell me...how many people you know have real lobster and crab pots in THEIR bathrooms???? LOL

And one more room for this blog...the living room. It was the reason we bought the house, really. The big windows, gorgeous vaulted ceilings and the fireplace. Fell in love with it. But the colors were ugly and the rest boring. But I think I took care of that.  LOL  What do YOU think???

BEFORE


AFTER




Again, more wood trim (it's in every room), paint that changes color with the light, more shelving and all the things we brought from other countries. As you can see, I'm an eclectic, busy decorator. I love seeing all my memories up. They spark so many fun conversations!



I did more than I thought I would, yet there was so much more needed. But I wanted to make it a home I would want to come home to AND one my sons (who are house sitting for us) could enjoy living in.

Anyway, that's all for today. I'll be back next week with more. I hope you like this peek into how I spent MY summer! LOL

Until Tuesday,

Hugs,
CJ England

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

It's All Fun and Dragon Games Until Someone Falls in Love - Second Try

Hey all,

(sorry all...Blogger sent this ahead of time, before I could put in the latest cover reveal. I've added it below, so please let me know what you think!)

*******************

Even though I've been on "workcation" for the last few months, that didn't mean I wasn't writing. Oh no. And because of that, I've got a brand new book coming out this week.

Yep. For those of you who have fallen in love with my England dragons, you'll adore my newest hero and heroine.  Hide and Go Dragon is Ormr's story. You met him in the first two books, and I had so many emails asking when he was going to find his forever mate, I moved him up in the queue, and he found her. In the most unexpected way.

I think you'll enjoy getting to know the surly Ormr who lost his first forever mate and child in a horrible accident. See how his heart is healed in the third installment of my Dragon Games series, Hide and Go Dragon. Out on Thursday, September 22nd from the awesome Changeling Press, for only $4.99. Here's a little about this great book!

A dragon's protective fury gives two wounded souls a second chance at an eternity of love.

Ormr Jormungan, Beta Captain of the Drakehaven clan's security force, spends his days immersed in work and his nights endlessly singing the dragon's lament for his mate and newborn son, lost in a senseless car accident. But when he meets Magdeline DeSilva at his clan leader's wedding, her quiet beauty and steadfast courage awaken a desire in him he'd thought long dead.

Magdeline barely survived the death of her husband, whose plane was shot down in Afghanistan. She has no intention of ever getting involved again, especially not with another warrior. Yet when she meets the dark, brooding Ormr, she is drawn to the dragon-man. His gentle protectiveness a balm to her wounded spirit -- until she discovers what he does for his clan.

Ormr doesn't understood why Magdeline turns away from what they could have built together. When she calls for help to find her kidnapped daughter, all his protective instincts are aroused. As they battle the clock to find little Bettina, their attraction flares once more and threatens to consume them.

Confused and frightened, Magdeline decides to strike out on her own to find her daughter. But she doesn't understand a dragon always protects his treasures. And even though she may try and hide from him, Ormr now understands the magical truth of love, and he'll never give up seeking his forever mate.

Sounds great, doesn't it? *grin*  Want more? Read an excerpt on my website... HERE! Remember, it goes on sale on September 22nd, but you don't have to wait until then to get to know some sexy dragons.  Meet Drayce and Ryuu of the first two books by checking them out HERE and HERE.

And as always, please let me know what you think!

Until this Friday when I show you some before and after pics of my cabin in the woods!


Hugs,
CJ England

Monday, September 19, 2016

It's All Fun and Dragon Games Until Someone Falls in Love

Hey all,

Even though I've been on "workcation" for the last few months, that didn't mean I wasn't writing. Oh no. And because of that, I've got a brand new book coming out this week.
Yep. For those of you who have fallen in love with my England dragons, you'll adore my newest hero and heroine.  Hide and Go Dragon is Ormr's story. You met him in the first two books, and I had so many emails asking when he was going to find his forever mate, I moved him up in the queue, and he found her. In the most unexpected way.


I think you'll enjoy getting to know the surly Ormr who lost his first forever mate and child in a horrible accident. See how his heart is healed in the third installment of my Dragon Games series, Hide and Go Dragon. Out on Thursday, September 22nd from the awesome Changeling Press, for only $4.99. Here's a little about this great book!

A dragon's protective fury gives two wounded souls a second chance at an eternity of love.

Ormr Jormungan, Beta Captain of the Drakehaven clan's security force, spends his days immersed in work and his nights endlessly singing the dragon's lament for his mate and newborn son, lost in a senseless car accident. But when he meets Magdeline DeSilva at his clan leader's wedding, her quiet beauty and steadfast courage awaken a desire in him he'd thought long dead.

Magdeline barely survived the death of her husband, whose plane was shot down in Afghanistan. She has no intention of ever getting involved again, especially not with another warrior. Yet when she meets the dark, brooding Ormr, she is drawn to the dragon-man. His gentle protectiveness a balm to her wounded spirit -- until she discovers what he does for his clan.

Ormr doesn't understood why Magdeline turns away from what they could have built together. When she calls for help to find her kidnapped daughter, all his protective instincts are aroused. As they battle the clock to find little Bettina, their attraction flares once more and threatens to consume them.

Confused and frightened, Magdeline decides to strike out on her own to find her daughter. But she doesn't understand a dragon always protects his treasures. And even though she may try and hide from him, Ormr now understands the magical truth of love, and he'll never give up seeking his forever mate.

Sounds great, doesn't it? *grin*  Want more? Read an excerpt on my website... HERE! Remember, it goes on sale on September 22nd, but you don't have to wait until then to get to know some sexy dragons.  Meet Drayce and Ryuu of the first two books by checking them out HERE and HERE.

And as always, please let me know what you think!

Until this Friday when I show you some before and after pics of my cabin in the woods!


Hugs,
CJ England

Friday, September 16, 2016

Home is Where Your Heart Is

Hey all!

I'm back!!!

I was gone longer than expected. Once I got to working on the house I realized just how much work I had to do. That two months I thought I'd need? Let's just say I was a tiny bit wrong!

I added a couple more weeks to my itinerary but even that wasn't enough. But then again, I don't think a couple more months would be enough.

Now don't get me wrong. I love our house. And I'm so happy we bought it. It was just that the reality was a lot more work than we'd seen in the pictures! I got there the last week of June and left the second week of September and I have to say, I'm VERY proud of what I accomplished. With my two son's help and a LOT of imagination, planning and elbow grease, I turned a abandoned cabin into a beautiful and warm home.

Which was my goal. A place to come back to I could relax and enjoy between our wanderings. And it's in the good hands of my two son's and an almost daughter-in-law. *grin*

I'll be sharing some of my renovating adventure over the next several blogs, but today's is more of a catch up and saying hey.

Right now I'm writing this from my tiny flat in Sydney, Australia. I love this country...lived in Australia about twenty years ago working at a halfway house in Dubbo, NSW. We loved the parks, plains and mountains, the people and the meat pies! LOL  And the lamb!  


Wow! We are having lamb chops tonight and they were only one American dollar each! Can you believe that? We love lamb and are going to pig (or should I say lamb) out while we're living here.


I got here a few days ago and it DID take me a while to acclimate. I don't get jet lag when I fly west--at least not badly, but getting my days and nights switched around took a couple of days. Jonathon and I wandered the harbor and took our kissing pic at the opera house (just had to) and then we did a coastal walk from Coogee Beach up to Bondi Beach. THAT was amazing.  Talk about views!!!

Here are a few pictures for you to enjoy. 

The beginning of the walk...Coogee Beach. White, white sand.

One of the many cliffs along the way. This one looks as if it's slowly falling into the sea.

The walk had some amazing rock formations. Hewn by the sun, wind and water, the colors were just beautiful. Reminded me of Yellowstone National Park in the states.

Did I mention Yellowstone? If the ocean wasn't in the background I'd think I was wandering around Ol Faithful in THAT park!

Look at the rock formations. And the sea...the color of the sea was beautiful. So clear, clean and blue. I wanted to dive right then and there!

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times...critters and dead people. They always get the best views! And this cemetery was a great example.

This was one of the loveliest walks I've taken along a coastal route. The carved cliff sides, the clarity of the water and the views...all added up to a perfect day.

The jutting out of the rocks on this point amazed me. Some are being held up by pylons, but most are free standing. See my FB profile pic for another example.

The end of the walk. The famous Bondi Beach. Swimmers, surfers and sunbathers were out, even though it is barely spring here. Cool day and colder water.


It was a lovely walk and we ended our day with traditional fish and chips and beer on the boardwalk. A great reminder of what this country has to offer and I'm excited to see more as we enjoy our eight month stay.

Check back on Tuesday when I'll have some news and hopefully my cover for my upcoming release, Hide and Go Dragon!!!!

Until then...

Hugs,
CJ England



Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Vaya Con Dios, Mis Amigos

Hey all,

This will be my last blog for awhile.  As most of you know, I'll be spending the next two months renovating our new house.  I'll be up to my ears in paint, wood working, landscaping and plumbing. And enjoying every moment of it.  I'm totally looking forward to getting my hands dirty.

I've been spending a lot of time on DIY sites, Pintrest and Hometalk and loving it.  It's been sooooo long since we've had a home of our own, I can't wait to do some of the things I've discovered on those sites.

If you've seen some of the pictures of our new house, you'll remember that it needs a lot of cosmetic work.  It's got great bones as they say, but the old owners weren't very handy, nor did they have the same tastes as we do.

Case in point is the first room I'm tackling. I've always believed the kitchen is the heart of the house, and as you can see in the picture, this kitchen needs some major heart surgery.  :-)  The bones, as I mentioned before, were good, but we're planning on moving the kitchen eventually and combining it with the living room next door to make a great room. But that won't happen for a couple of years.

But until then, I can't handle the way this room looks.  It needs some major renovating and the colors are hideous. My son described the shade of paint perfectly...it looks like cat puke.  LOL So, it's totally gotta go!

My plan is kitchen, living room, bathroom, master bedroom first. And then I'll work on the other two bedrooms, second bathroom and laundry room. And that's not even considering all the outside work I want to get done. All in two months.

Yeah...it could happen.  *smile*

So, I won't be around for the next two months for my scheduled blogs, but when I can, I will drop by with any photos and updates.  I'm sure you'll be as interested as I am to see how I transform my cat puke kitchen into something amazing!

Until next time...


Hugs,

CJ England

Friday, June 17, 2016

What's UP With Some Editors?

Hey all,

I'll admit it. I'm spoiled.  For the last few years I've had some really good editors, one in particular. But every once in a while I'll have to deal with or hear a story from a fellow author about some really ridiculous requests/orders/edits they've had to deal with from their editor.

And I'll also admit that one of the reasons I self-published my previously released books was I was exhausted at the idea of having to go through yet another editing from another editor on a book that was already fine the way it was.

Case in point.  I just heard from a friend of mine who has been in the business about as long as I have. She has gone through a few publishers like I have...and has had the same dealings with a previously published book going to another editor.

The book in question was one I absolutely loved the first time I read it and it was edited quite well. None of the horrors you see with some small publishing houses, I enjoyed every page of it. Yet, when she sent it last month to another publisher, deciding not to self-publish like I had, while it was accepted, they told my friend that it would need a total revamp. Not content--they LOVED the idea of the book--but they did want her to change things around so completely, it would be like a different book.  When she asked why, the editor had the gall to tell her it wasn't anything untoward. Every publisher would do it.

WTF?

God, I hate that excuse. I totally understand if a book doesn't fit a publisher's needs, but don't give this type of excuse.  It's like telling someone to do something because everyone else is doing it. Really? Like that makes it right?  What are you, three? Are you going to jump off a cliff next?

I've had some doozy editors in the past. One that refused to use contractions (I will not won't even go down that weird road), one who admitted they'd signed me on because I had a large and loyal following, yet they actually disliked my writing style (wow...just wow), and one that wanted me to do "writing exercises" each day before I started to edit. (Not a bad idea, except these exercises consisted of using a special kind of "toy" rather than a keyboard.  Ewwww....)

Yeah...it takes all kinds, I know.

So, take it from me.  Just because an editor says it is the right thing to do, doesn't make it so. That's why you have to be so careful when signing with a house. I've learned that if your styles don't sync you'll wind up unhappy.  Fighting an editor on every single thing isn't only a PITA, it steals something out of your soul.

And as Bob Marley says...

Don't gain the world and lose your soul.
Wisdom is better than silver and gold. 

Until next time...


Hugs,

CJ England

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Now We Can Talk About That Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (Pt. 3)

Hey all,

You know it's going to be a horrific move experience when it takes three--count 'em--three blogs to fully share the craziness of what happened.  I know this is a time that our son will NEVER forget.  In fact, he's already threatening to disown us if we ever ask him to do something like this again. LOL

But let's finish this up. You think the third day couldn't get any worse? You'd be WRONG!!!

Remember...

Day One...  He couldn't even get the BAT (also known as Big Ass Truck) up the hill and into the driveway.  No power for the grade and too bloody big for the driveway.

Day Two... Memorial Day. NO WAY to get another truck, and since the house was stinky and bug infested (did you know there were freakin' funnel webs spiders outside of Australia????), he did the smart thing. He cleaned and cleaned and cleaned, with a lot of bug squashing and spraying to boot.

So now we're on Day Three...

We've got the truck rented for 9:30am and the helpers scheduled to arrive at 1pm.  And the day was supposed to go like this...

Get up. Eat. Take his car down to Uhaul, pick up the small truck, take to to Home Depot where the BAT was waiting. Pack a first load of stuff he could move on his own. Take truck up to house and unpack. Drop Uhaul off at loading point at bottom of grade. Call Uber for a pickup.

Get dropped by Uber back at BAT where the helpers were to meet him. Pick up BAT and drive to loading point. Do as many small truck runs as it takes to unload BAT and git 'er done!

Then, one helper drives Uhaul truck back to Uhaul with Jasiah driving BAT FOR THE LAST TIME!!!  Drops off Uhaul, and picks up his car, then drops off BAT. Woot!  Pays off helpers. Go grabs some dinner.  Spend evening relaxing and reflecting on what a great day it was.

Ummm.... Actually, not so much. *sigh*

Everything went great for the morning hours. He got the Uhaul picked up, grabbed a load on his own and unpacked it back at the house. Grabbed the Uber to go back to the BAT to meet the helpers.

And that is where everything went horribly wrong...

Helpers? *Looks around.* Helpers?  I guess he didn't need no stinkin' helpers!

Yup.  Those touted five star helpers we hired? Uhaul recommended people?  No shows.  Nothing. Nada.  And Jasiah was left to do an entire truck on his own.

We FINALLY got a text from them late in the afternoon.  Sorry! Other jobs went long.  So sorry!!!! 

Really?  You've got to be kidding me. Jonathon had spoken to the leader of the group several times and she knew the situation. Knew he was all alone and needing their help.  She'd promised... faithfully that they'd be there. Promised.  And now all we get is a SORRY????

Grrr.  Poor Jasiah.  Could anything else go wrong?

To give them their due, apparently at some time during the afternoon she DID try and call Jasiah, which didn't help because by the time she did, he was at the house where he didn't get signal at the time.  But still.  A promise is a promise.  Do what you say. I HATE service people (and remember I'm married to one) who don't show up when they say they're supposed to.  It's rude and totally unprofessional.

But there is a sliver lining to this story.  A reminder of the fact that no matter what (we believe) God has your back.

Jonathon has a brother who is a high mucky-muck (not sure of his real title) in Yellow Trucking.  And at some point in the last few weeks my sweet baboo had asked him if he had anyone in the area who could help Jasiah.  Nothing really came of it and we actually both forgot it.

Or so we thought.. This is where God made things happen.  We have no idea how or when it was done, but suddenly there were three guys ready and willing, standing in front of the BAT waiting for Jasiah to tell them what to do. They were sent from Jonathon's brother (aka high mucky-muck) because he got a nudge from God that he needed to make something happen.

We went from no scheduled helpers (damn that Uhaul woman) to miracle helpers, sent by God (with a little help from one of his children) to help Jasiah out.  

Angels come in all shapes, sizes and professions!

So, after a few worrisome moments of Where the Hell are all my Helpers????, the rest of the afternoon went pretty well.  The guys Jeff sent brought their own truck, so they were able to help move things even faster. Plus, the house is on a bit of a hill, and the extra person made moving appliances a lot easier!

All and all, I'm kinda glad the first crew blew us off. These new guys were quick and professional, and things got done much earlier than expected. And the best part of it was, Jasiah really enjoyed meeting them. Now he's got some new friends!!! 

It took several long hours to get everything done, but it finally was. We're all moved in, and we owe our son more than we can say. Jasiah can now sit on the porch, have a beer and contemplate his new life. But, every experience marks us, and I'm pretty sure Jasiah won't be forgetting his Memorial Day weekend any time soon.  And one more thing I'm pretty sure of. 

He won't be changing careers and becoming a moving man. No matter how good he is at it!

Until next time...


Hugs,

CJ England

Friday, June 10, 2016

Now We Can Talk About That Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (Pt. 2)

Hey all,

I hope you enjoyed the first installment of our moving travails. You probably enjoyed it a lot more than my poor son.  LOL

When I last left you, we'd just discovered...

1.  The grade of the hill up to the house was too steep for a whimpy powered truck.
2.  The road to our house was way too narrow for a 26' truck (from this point on to be known as BAT--Big Ass Truck).
3.  Since it was the night before Memorial Day, we were out of luck on picking up anything to help us out of this mess.
4. My youngest son was about to go drown his sorrows in a gallon of moonshine!!!!!!

Anyway...

It didn't get any better.  Since it was a Sunday, his cousin, who'd come up from Atlanta to help him move, had to work the next day so he had to head BACK to the city. Without doing much of anything.  They were able to transfer some of the smaller stuff to Jeffrey's SUV and at least get Jasiah situated in the house...(which the condition of is a whole 'nother story).

So, it was about 11pm by the time they got all that done and grabbed something to eat.  Then Jeffrey headed home to Atlanta after what had to be the EASIEST moving he'd ever done.  Jasiah, with Home Depot's permission (gotta love 'em) was able to leave the BAT in their parking lot over the holiday.  Then he headed back to take possession of the home we'd just bought.

Now the whole time this is going on, we're on FB, frantically chatting back and forth trying to help. We couldn't do a whole lot, which frustrated us and didn't do much for him either.  We'd told him the condition of the house, but apparently, it was a bit worse than what we'd heard.

Being a foreclosure, it wasn't clean, there were scary, fanged spiders and bugs of every description had a few bugs, and had that icky musty stinky smell you get from a closed up house.  Add the fact that there'd been water damage when they first checked the pipes, and the house wasn't at all ready to be lived in.

But he persevered. He'd grabbed an air mattress from Walmart on his way back since the bed was still in the truck.  And had a fitful night sleep after a truly horrendous day.

The next day he cleaned.

And cleaned.

And cleaned.

And that was just the bathroom.

AND, in the midst of the cleaning, he discovered yet another leak.  At least this one was an easy fix, but he'd gone into town for--wait for it--even MORE cleaning supplies, and by the time he got back, the back bedroom downstairs were the leak was had been inundated with water.  *sigh*

I won't go into the craziness of whoever plumbed this house.  Suffice it to say, they didn't know what they were doing.  Pipes running along the outside of walls, through them, along the ceiling (exposed, mind you) and into the next room. Yeah...we'll be doing a total renovation of all that.

While Jasiah was doing all this nasty cleaning, his Dad, my sweet baboo, was frantically trying to arrange for a smaller truck and helpers (NOT easy to do on a holiday) for the next day.  We finally, after several hours of searching and texting, found a 12' truck and some moving help so he wouldn't have to do it alone.  Whew!

So, we had trucks, helpers and a plan.  Jasiah had the water fixed and enough of the house cleaned and debugged so he could at least sleep with BOTH eyes shut that night.  He was ready to end the craziness and start afresh the next day. Happy that the worst of the move was now over.

Or so he thought...

Have I mentioned the bear???

Check back on Tuesday for the last installment of this crazy-who'd-a-thunk-it story!

Until then...

Hugs,

CJ England