Friday, October 9, 2015

As The Saying Goes...Keep Austin Weird

Hey all,

This is my last week in Austin, and due to all my vehicle woes I haven't been able to see much.  So I'm trying to get as much squished into one week as I can.  Museums and parks and gardens. That was my goal.

And I did a pretty good job.  There are several museums here I was excited to go see, plus a special sculpture garden that was supposed to be outstanding.  And I have to say, there were enough oddities at these places to make Austin's motto, "Keep Austin Weird", right on track.

Check out the best of what I discovered in the capital city of Texas!

I first went to the capitol building.  A beautiful and interesting structure you shouldn't miss if you come to Austin.  And since it's open until 10pm most nights, there is plenty of time to enjoy the history.

 One of the best places I went to was the  Umlauf Sculpture Garden.  I adore this type of open air museum and try and visit them whenever I see one.  This one was quite lovely. Small and intimate, it was a joy to wander through.

As far as regular museums go, I visited several.  My favorite was the Texas Memorial Museum that is on the Texas University Campus.  It's got a little bit of everything, and I could have spent hours wandering through it. 

Another favorite was the Mexic-Arte Museum.  A little weird, a little thought provoking, it was an unexpected treat, and I highly recommend a visit!

And of course we didn't only do museums, one of the most unique and enjoyable thing we did was watch the bats fly off the Congress Avenue Bridge. They do it every evening and it was pretty amazing to watch the small cloud rise up into the sky.

With only one week left we had to make the most of eating out.  We loved both The Salt Lick and The County Line BBQ, as well as Curra's Grill and Scorchy's Tacos  for Tex-Mex.  We could spend hours eating our way through Texas.  We may have had enough car trouble for ten states, but driving around and eating... Totally worth it!
This picture is of The County Line.  Amazing food!  We felt like Fred and Wilma Flintstone. Look at the size of those ribs!!!!

As some of you may know, I'm off to Vancouver, British Columbia next. I'm very much looking forward to that beautiful city, and I can't wait to share it with all of you.  We leave here on Sunday, and we'll be on the road for ten days visiting family and making our way north.

So, I won't be around much, but I'll have the blogs up and going on Fridays and Tuesdays. I should be settled and back online the weekend of October 24th or so.

You all take care and enjoy your October.  It's a wonderful month and filled with spooky fun. I'll add to that fun when I can, so keep your eyes on my Facebook page.  I'll post when I have a chance.

Hugs to all,

CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Guest Blogger - Introducing Allie Harrison

Hey all,

We have another great author to meet today.  Allie Harrison aka Allie Quinn is a writer of paranormal, suspense and just downright scary books.  Add a bit of romance and you have a recipe for wonderful stories.

Here's a little about the author from her website...

Allie Quinn lives with her husband in southern Illinois. When she isn’t dreaming up the next hot, sexy, scary or keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat romance, she enjoys reading other favorite authors. Whether she’s traveling the country or shopping at the nearby discount store, she’s always on the lookout for her next hero, heroine, or unforgettable, entertaining character. She enjoys crafts, gardening, cooking, and of course, spending fun time with family and friends. Life is an adventure. Allie Quinn works to create it as well as live it.

Let's see what Allie has to say!


By Allie Harrison

Ah, Welcome to October, my favorite month of the year! Not only is the air cooler and less humid, but colorful leaves fall like snow and create a pallet of decoration!

And Halloween is coming!

Are you a lover of Halloween or do you dread it? Do you see the decorations in the store and quickly walk past or stop to see what’s new? Do you decorate your house or decide this year you won’t even turn on the light for trick-or-treaters?

And what about all the things associated with All Hallows Eve? Do you believe in ghosts, things that go bump in the night, or have you ever felt as if someone watched you? Have you ever walked through a ‘cold’ spot?

While I’m not a true ‘ghost hunter’ and I don’t sneak into houses that are dilapidated where I might fall through the floor and land in the cellar with a broken leg, I’m not afraid to venture into houses known or thought to be ‘haunted.’ 

One I have visited and eaten at several times is a Bed and Breakfast/Restaurant not far from me called the Lemp Mansion.  Built in 1868, it was home and business office to members of the Lemp family who owned and ran the once great Lemp Brewery. It is also the home to many so-called ghosts and is on the list as one of the top ten haunted houses. While it’s no secret there were several deaths within its walls, there are many undisputed tales that surround it. Was there really a secret child kept locked and hidden in one of the upstairs rooms? And what about the Lemp family members who supposedly committed suicide via a self-inflicted gunshot wound? There were at least four suicides. Two were under mysterious circumstances and only one left a suicide note. What might be hidden in the tunneled catacombs below the house that led to the brewery down the block?  Was there really a ‘curse’ in the Lemp bloodline?

Have I seen any ghosts at the Lemp Mansion? No I haven’t seen them, but I have seen evidence of them and definitely felt them. There is a heavy horrible feeling, like a sense of doom (or whatever you’d like to call it) in the first room inside the front door, which was William Lemp’s office. I feel this every time I go there so strongly, in fact, I cannot sit or eat in that room when I go there for lunch. I know this sounds funny, but everyone who goes there needs to check out the restrooms. The ladies’ room is home to a shower stall the Lemp family had shipped all the way from France. There is a single, simple-constructed, stall in the ladies’ room. During a murder mystery dinner, my mother went to use the ladies’ room. She noticed right away the stall was occupied. So she stood at the mirror and touched up her make up as she waited. The toilet flushed but no one ever exited the stall. She waited longer and finally knocked. The stall door creaked open and no one was inside!

The Lemp Mansion is also a Bed and Breakfast. It is fun to explore and take in the three vaulted rooms where the once-prosperous Lemp family kept their money safe. You can stay the night if you’re brave enough! You would even have your choice of several beautiful rooms in which to sleep—if you can fall asleep. The staff does not even stay. A house door key is given to the guest who is staying the night. And there is a courtyard where weddings and/or parties can take place. I can’t help but wonder how many weddings have had a ghost or two as a guest! Aside from the ghosts, the Lemp Mansion is a great place to go for lunch or a family style chicken dinner on Sunday, if you dare…

From ghosts, to quaint bedroom ideas, to creepy stairs, I used a bit of the Lemp Mansion as a model for my book Hargrove House by Allie Harrison. I hope you enjoy it, as well as all my books.

Have a great Fall, a wonderful October, and a very Happy Haunted Halloween!

Allie Harrison


What a great blog! I love visiting those type of places and have done so quite often in our travels.

Someday I hope to visit Lemp Mansion and see exactly what Allie experienced.  And speaking of experience, if you'd like to experience more of Allie's books, you can check her out here...

Also writing as Allie Quinn. Released today from Allie Quinn: BY INVITATION ONLY. 

Feel Free to check out all my books at or contact me at

You can find out more about the Lemp Mansion at

And pick up her latest book, Hargrove House at

I'll be back on Friday with some last minute pictures and fun from Austin, Texas.  Until then, have a great week!

Hugs to all,

CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Saturday, October 3, 2015

A Little Bit of Fun

Hey all,

I love October.  Not only is it the month where the weather cools down, but I love the theming of Autumn and Halloween.  For years I didn't celebrate the holiday and I don't really now, but I do enjoy all the posts and pics and memes I find online.

And of course I adore ghost and shifter and vampire stories.  I read them, write them and am always looking for new authors to enjoy.

Today I thought I'd share a few of those fun pics memes and authors so you may enjoy them, too.

And a few of the best paranormal authors to try if you like ghosts, vampires and shifters. 

Shifters and Angels - Nalini Singh  / One of my favorite authors in the paranormal genre.
Vampires and Shifters - Christine Feehan / While her Alpha males may be a little over the top for some, I enjoy the forever mate type of romance.
Ghosts - Heather Graham /  Her ghost stories are so fun I look forward to each and every book.
Shifters and Vampires - Alexander Ivy / I love her books, both genres.  Her world building is outstanding.
Ghosts - Christina Skye / I've adored this author for years.  Her Draycott Abbey books are beyond fun to read.
Shifters and Immortals - Jennifer Ashley / If you like shifters, this is one author you'll enjoy.
Shifters and Vampires - Lara Adrian / I love her Breed series.  I think you will too!

And my all time favorite...

Have a great day, everyone!!!

Hugs to all,

CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Guest Blogger -- Introducing Eva Gordon

Hey all,

It's time again for a wonderful Guest blogger and this time we have the exciting and prolific Eva Gordon.  

I love her paranormal books and if you haven't had a chance to visit with her, you're in for a special treat. Let's learn a little about Eva before we go any further. 

From her website... 

Eva Gordon writes genre bending paranormal / fantasy / steampunk and historical novels with a strong romantic element. She loves to create stories that combine her passion for mythology, steamy romance, and action/suspense. Her imagination takes her from one universe to the next. Thus far, she has several series lined up as well as single titles waiting in line for production.

So know that you know a little more about his amazing author, let's see what Eva has to say!!!


The Magic of Owls
by Eva Gordon

I write fantasy/paranormal romance, but spend a great deal of time volunteering at a raptor center where I’ve had the opportunity to work with hawks, falcons and owls. I have degrees in Zoology and Biology, and although I write full time, working with animals has always been an equal passion.

A decade ago on Halloween, as you walked down the streets and to the storefronts, you would see a decorative owl or two. However of late, I see owls everywhere: on mugs, pillows, cards, and even on clothing. You can’t blame all the owl hype on Harry Potter or can you?

Throughout our history and across many cultures, people have had a great fascination with owls. You can spend days, reading about global owl myths and lore. The owl can evoke a series of emotions, from fear to admiration. Owls are associated with witchcraft and therefore a favorite Halloween decoration. In Romania, vampires were known as Strigoli, from the Roman word, strix, which referred to the screech owl. Strega, which is Italian for witch is also derived from the word, strix. They are also associated with medicine, birth, death, the weather, and wisdom. 

According to Paul Johnsgard (North American Owls: Biology and Natural History, Smithsonian Institution Press), Mesopotamian tablets from 2,300 B.C. depict the goddess Lilith as "winged, bird-footed, and typically accompanied by owls," a significant association because Lilith was Sumeria's goddess of death. Pallas Athene--Greek goddess of fertility and power--was also affiliated with the owl, possibly "because of the nocturnal (and especially the lunar) . . . associations between female fertility goddesses and the cycles of the moon."

To the ancient Romans, to hear the hoot of an Owl presaged imminent death. The deaths of Julius Caesar, Augustus, Commodus Aurelius, and Agrippa were apparently all predicted by an Owl.
"...yesterday, the bird of night did sit Even at noonday, upon the market place, Hooting and shrieking" (from Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar")

Fortunately, for me and other owl enthusiasts, owl hooting has not presaged our deaths. Though stumbling over a log in the dark, while listening to hooting can cause injury.

So why has the owl earned a special place in our lore? Allow me to muse.

For one thing, owls are crepuscular, which means they come out at the most mysterious time of the day, twilight. The sun is setting, darkness rises and these nocturnal creatures become vocal and active. Man’s fear of the dark, or night has added to the fear of the owl as a harbinger of death.

Owls look so darn human. This is due to the position of their huge eyes. Unlike most birds whose eyes are on the sides of their heads, the owl’s eyes look ahead as our do, and they have to rotate their heads to see all round them, again, as man does, but owls are a bit better at it, their heads can swivel nearly 180 degrees to each side, adding up to nearly 360 degrees. A pretty freaky thing to see.
           Education Barn Owl          Eastern Grey Screech Owl in Box

Here are some reasons why owls appear supernatural.

They swoop in silently because of downy feathers. Without a warning the owl’s powerful talons silently crushes the mouse.  Fan an owl’s feather compared to another bird’s feather to hear the difference.

Owls have amazing night vision and can see in almost complete darkness.

Their hearing is also superior and they can pinpoint a mouse’s footsteps despite other ambient sounds. At a raptor center, there was one barn owl that was nervous around a handler. It detected that she had a heart murmur.

They have a ravenous (sorry ravens) appetite. Researchers found that one barn owl family can consume 3,000 voles/year. Owls are our best ally in eating rodent pests. The owl regurgitates undigested bones and fur called owl pellets or castings. Finding such pellets might have inspired ancient people to associate owls with death.

Other reasons why owls contributed to eerie legends:

Often owl vocalizations and screeching cans sound very human and even evil. The legend of the Banshee stems from the scream of a barn owl. Trust me, the sound makes your bones shiver. 

Seeing a white owl at night might have been one of the reasons the lore of white ghosts evolved. Even recently, mystery lights can possibly be blamed on owls. Or what about those aliens we call the greys with their owlish faces and huge black barn owl like eyes?

Author with Eastern Grey Screech Owl (look hard to see it)

When not working with animals, I write genre bending paranormal/fantasy novels with a strong romantic element. Alpha heroes and brilliant feisty heroines. HEA with a kick. Erotic paranormal romance to steampunk to epic fantasy. I love to create stories that combine my passion for mythology, romance, and werewolf or animal lore. I like to get my heart rate up so my stories have plenty of adventure, suspense and really bad guys/gals. Escape into my worlds, if you like fantastical worlds, steamy romance and page turning suspense.

Eva’s two latest releases: Stone of the Tenth Realm, an epic Fantasy and Alpha Wolf’s Pet, Trilogy Box Set.

Epic Fantasy. Just Released. The Stone of the Tenth Realm, the story of a young woman who escapes a Nazi concentration camp and stumbles into a parallel world.  #fantasy

The Alpha Wolf’s Pet Collection includes the entire trilogy. Each book is a different stage in the romantic relationship between alpha werewolf, Dominic and Mia, his human lover. The danger they face and a twist to the werewolf story. Paranormal steamy romance and page turning suspense.

What a GREAT post!  I love raptors and one of my totems is the hawk, so this blog was of particular interest to me.  And I loved getting to know Eva a little bit more.  If you want to know even MORE about her, see the links below:

And for all her available books, check out these links!!!

Anyway, I'll be back on Friday with some great pics of my time around Austin!

Hugs to all,

CJ England

Follow Your Dreams