Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Guest Blogger Time...Introducing Cynthia Sax

Hey there,

Since I was gone last time I had scheduled today's guest blogger, I decided to repost it for a second go around.  I wanted to make sure she got some decent promoting time.  So, even if you've seen the post before, give it a shout out to your friends.  It's a great post and deserves some extra attention!!! So, here we go...

Today's blogger is author Cynthia Sax. A USA Today bestselling author, she's got a hot new release coming out that will have you reaching for the ice water.  I read the excerpts on her blog and whew!!! Let's just say Jonathon enjoyed himself later.  *grin*

Let's learn a bit about Cynthia. This from her website...

USA Today bestselling author Cynthia Sax writes contemporary, SciFi and paranormal erotic romances. Her stories have been featured in Star Magazine, Real Time With Bill Maher, and numerous best of erotic romance top ten lists.

She lives in a world filled with magic and romance. Although her heroes may not always say, “I love you,” they will do anything for the women they adore. They live passionately. They play hard. They love the same women forever.

Cynthia has loved the same wonderful man forever. Her supportive hubby offers himself up to the joys and pains of research, while they travel the world together, meeting fascinating people and finding inspiration in exotic places such as Istanbul, Bali, and Chicago.

Wow! Sounds a bit like my writing life and my wonderful sweet baboo.  LOL I guess we're both lucky ladies!!!

So let's see what Cynthia has to say!  Enjoy!


Why I Decided To Self-Publish Releasing Rage 
By Cynthia Sax

I was reading CJ’s awesome post on her self-publishing adventures (http://cjslivingdreams.blogspot.ca/2015/07/tuesdays-shameless-self-promotion.html ) and I thought it would be interesting to chime in with why I decided to self publish Releasing Rage, my sexy new Cyborg SciFi erotic romance.

Before this year, I published exclusively through publishers. I heard about the self-publishing push. It was exciting. Many of my writing buddies were finding huge success there. But I was lazy, extremely lazy. The thought of taking care of covers and editing and formatting and all of the things publishers did frightened me. I was super happy with my publishers. Why would I do it myself?

Then the publisher publishing my SciFi erotic romances began having serious difficulties. My beloved editor was let go. The admin staff I loved was let go. I haven’t seen a royalty payment in a while.

What many readers don’t realize is that publishers ‘own’ characters in a story and books in a series. Publishers can choose not to publish the next story in a series (for a variety of reasons). Contracts make it very difficult to continue a series with another publisher or to self publish it. Even using the same alien species or worlds can prompt a lawsuit.

SciFi erotic romance is all about series. Writers build fascinating complex worlds and beings. This requires quite a bit of work and thought and even more love. 

I was VERY lucky. All of my series had been completed. But I couldn’t use these aliens or these worlds in future stories. If I wanted a secondary alien creature, in the past, I would have simply used an alien from a previous series. Now, I’d have to invent one. Ugh. That is much more work than self publishing.

I still very much believe in publishers. I DID send the proposal for Releasing Rage to my agent. When there were no bites from publishers, I didn’t push hard on selling it. Instead, I self published the story (it releases tomorrow!). 

I self published the lazy way. I outsourced the cover to Amanda Kelsey at Razzle Dazzle Designs (http://razzdazzdesign.com/), the editing to the always insightful ELF (https://musingsbyelf.wordpress.com/copyediting-services/), and the formatting to Mark (http://www.marksebookformatting.com/ ). They made the process painless.

I now have total control over my SciFi series, how many books I’ll release in it, and if I use these characters in other series (even series that I contract with publishers). I can also write stories that large publishers would shy away from (Releasing Rage is very dark). I LOVE this. 

Yes, I will publish through established publishers in the future but now that I’ve had a taste of self-publishing, I plan to explore that route also. It is an exciting time for writers and for readers. We have so many choices!

Readers, do you note the publisher of a story? Does the publisher matter to you?

Writers, have you self-published? Did you enjoy the experience?

Releasing Rage

Half Man. Half Machine. All Hers. 

Rage, the Humanoid Alliance’s most primitive cyborg, has two goals—kill all of the humans on his battle station and escape to the Homeland. The warrior has seen the darkness in others and in himself. He believes that’s all he’s been programmed to experience.

Until he meets Joan.

Joan, the battle station’s first female engineer, has one goal—survive long enough to help the big sexy cyborg plotting to kill her. Rage might not trust her but he wants her. She sees the passion in his eyes, the caring in his battle-worn hands, the gruff emotion in his voice.

When Joan survives the unthinkable, Rage’s priorities are tested. Is there enough room in this cyborg’s heart for both love and revenge? 

WOW!  An amazing first guest blog.  Thank you so much, Cynthia for sharing with us.  Let her know what you thought in the comments and don't forget to check out her WEBSITE and BLOG for more about this talented author!

I'm in the middle of moving to Austin, Texas, so I'll see you on Friday with a look back at some amazing sex toys and what they're all about!

Until then,

CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Coming Up Soon--Hustle Into Love

Hey all,

Today's Blog is a shameless bit of self promotion, but also a bit of serious talk. As most of you know, I often tie in an important issue with whatever story I'm writing and Hustle Into Love is no different.

I didn't set out to do it, but as the storyline evolved it seemed just right to add the issue of human trafficking into the book. And it came about in an unexpected way.

Immigration in Macau is sometimes painful. They stamp your passport to get into the country, but if you're staying for any length of time you have to go BACK to immigration and go through the process of getting a visa.  It's not easy--actually, it's a PITA.  But it's what you have to do.

So I spent several looooong hours waiting in immigration while they fixed my immigration status.  And in the waiting room, they have a video that is a horrific introduction to the problem of human trafficking.

The first time I saw it, it was sorta in the background and I didn't really pay attention, but the second time I actually watched it and was struck speechless by what I saw.  The ugly truth about what we so often ignore was now front and center in my brain.  And I never forgot it again.

And that's why human trafficking is an issue I will NEVER stop fighting.

I can't explain how horrible the video was...how nauseating. What one human can do to another boggles the mind. And while I could only put a small part of that horror and disgust into Hustle Into Love, I can only hope it opens some people's eyes to this problem.

Hustle Into Love was a fun story to write, and living there made it so much easier.  I experienced the exotic locale and tasted the delicious foods.  I went to the casinos and enjoyed the shows and tried--but didn't succeed--to learn how to play sic-bo.  LOL  So I hope you enjoy the story.  Here's a little bit more about it...

The Second in the Wandering Star Collection

In The Exotic Far East a Sexy Dancer Turns a CEO's World Upside Down.

Dancing is easy for mega-superstar Chantal Montgomery. Relationships…not so much. She’s been wooed by rock stars, princes and billionaires, but hasn’t found anyone she’d want to tango with forever. Her only true friend is her mentor and adopted big brother, Li. He’s the one man on the planet she’d do anything for. That is until Li’s brother Mace waltzes into her life.

Mace D'Avranches has been in lust with his half-brother’s girlfriend, Chantal for years, even though they’ve never really met. When Li asks him to run his casino, The Golden Dragon, while Li goes on vacation, Mace looks forward to helping his brother out. Until he discovers that Chantal Montgomery will be working as his partner.

When Chantal and Mace finally meet face to face, it’s a mixture of fiery passion, confusion and fury. She sets about turning the casino’s entertainment division upside down while he desperately tries to make sure she doesn’t do the same to him. 

Can these two strong-willed and stubborn people let go long enough to see the truth dancing before their eyes? Or will that precious gift called love hustle out of their lives… forever.

For more information, release date and an excerpt, go to my website... http://cjengland.com/wanderingstar/hustleintolove.htm

And while you're there, check out my November contest.  All you have to do is be grateful, and you can win a bundle of great ebooks!  WooHoo!!!!

I'll be back on Friday with an interesting blog about choices and the future.


CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Friday, November 6, 2015

Learn As Much By Writing As By Reading

Hey all,
That quote from Lord Acton says a lot about my writing philosophy. And today's blog gives a peek into how I came to that belief.  

I try and do something special every November. Have you heard of the writing challenge, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)? For those who haven't, in a nutshell it's a thirty day challenge to write 50,000 words.                                                                                                             It's been around since 1999 and it's humble beginning in San Francisco consisted of just twenty-one writers.  According to their online history, it was a rocky start, and it took a few years to get things up and going well.

But I think they figured things out. At last recording, NaNoWriMo boasts an author gathering of more than 310,000 entrants and even more during their summer camp for young writers.  A bit of a change from the twenty-one aspirants who gathered together that first year.

I started in 2006 and the novel I chose to write is my best selling book, The Mylari Chronicles: Eyes of Fire.  It was the first time I'd ever set aside a block of time to do nothing but write, and it really worked out for me.  

I won the challenge that year and had Eyes of Fire finished in two months. It was accepted for publication two weeks after that.  It was the beginning of an adventure, and several thousand sales later, I realized that this was what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

So in a way, I owe it all to NaNoWriMo. And if you like my work, I guess you do too!  LOL

While my travels with Cirque du Soleil don't allow me to "officially" participate in NaNoWriMo every year, I get to join in this year.  I'll be writing the second book in my Dragon Games series, called Truth or Dragon.  As of this writing, I'm a little behind because I was paying catch up with another project, but starting today I'm hitting it hard and fast.

If I have a block of time and the inspiration is flowing, I CAN write up to 10k at day, but I usually feel good if I make half of that.  Some days I do more, some less, and since I'm determined to continue living during the challenge, things may go a little different than I've done in the past.

We'll see.  

If you're interested in seeing what I've done so far, head on over to the NaNoWriMo site and see my page.  You can check and see how much I'm writing each day and leave me a message if you want. 

If you're an author or someone who wants to write, join on in with the challenge.  It's fun and it teaches you a lot.  Use it as a tool to hone your craft, or just have fun and write, write, write!  No matter what you choose, you'll find doing NaNoWriMo is thirty days well spent!!!  Sign up link is here... http://nanowrimo.org/sign_up

I'll be back on Tuesday with a quick look at yet another one of my books!  Until then...


CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Introducing Guest Blogger -- R. Ann Siracusa

Hey all,

I'm having a great time here in Vancouver so far.  Jonathon and I had a great weekend--check back for Friday's blog about that.  But today, we have a great guest blogger who has graced my pages before. R. Ann Siracusa has a fantastic blog that I really loved reading.  It's right up my alley, and I can't wait to hear what you think!!!

Before we get to that, here's a little about Ann...

R. Ann Siracusa has been writing fiction and non-fiction for over thirty years. While working in her chosen career of architecture/urban planning and raising a family, she made time to travel and to write. This talented author combines good story telling and experience with other cultures into novels which transport readers to exotic settings, immerse them in romance, intrigue, and adventure, and makes them laugh. She has traveled to every location she writes about.

As I mentioned, she and I are a lot alike when it comes to our writing. Like my guest blogger, I too write only about places that I've personally visited.  I love the fact I can give that personal touch to each book.

As R. Ann Siracusa does!  So, with no further ado let's see where she is going to take us today!!!


By R. Ann Siracusa

Writers find their inspiration everywhere. All they have to do is look, listen, and ask "What if…?"

Usually, I draw ideas from my world travels and the places I've visited, but sometimes it works the other way around. I got the idea for a suspense novel while I was doing research to prepare for a trip to Antarctica last February and early March.

"Why did you want to go there?" you might ask.

I heard that question a lot, and the simple answer was, "I haven't been there." People also asked if I knew someone who lived there and about the Polar Bears.

Sorry. Wrong continent.

The more I learned about the Antarctica and the research bases there, the more I was intrigued. Click! Click! Bright idea! What could be a more compelling venue than a novel set at one of the research stations in Antarctica?

Oh, I know!

How about a murder at the South Pole station just as the six months of darkness set in and the iced-in station is inaccessible for the winter? Tah-dah! Murder on Thin Ice (working title).


And you thought you knew all the continents. There are seven, right? You can even name them: Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia.

So, where is this Gondwana?

Once upon a time...a long, long, long time ago...there was just one mass of land on the earth. [I said it was a long time ago.] By the early Paleozoic, about 500 million years ago -- give or take a million years or so -- that single land mass had separated into two supercontinents: Gondwana and Laurasia.

500 million years is a hard concept for me to get my mind around, since I can't even remember if I took my pills this morning.

At one point Gondwana was located partially north of the equator, which means that oil, plant and animal fossils now exist under all the ice. As land masses were wont to do millions of years ago, Gondwana eventually drifted south. Forty million years ago the first large ice caps formed as Antarctica settled into its position over the South Pole, stopped drifting, and accepted its future as a rugged individualist. It became the coldest and windiest place on earth.


Thirty countries -- all parties to the Antarctic Treaty -- maintain seventy scientific research stations on Antarctica which house about 1,000 people in the winter and up to 5,000 in the summer. The range of subjects being studied is extensive and too boring to name; sufficient to say that many of the research projects could not be conducted anywhere else in the world. Anything military is forbidden by the Treaty.

Most of the research facilities are located on the periphery of the land mass or the islands. A few are inland, and only one -- the American Amundsen-Scott Station -- is located at the geographic and magnetic South Pole.

The perfect location for a murder.

The South Pole Station in Murder On Thin Ice is a fictional place called Ice Bucket Station, but it is patterned after the most recently constructed Amundsen-Scott Station.

The newer facilities look like something out of Star Wars.
World's first Antiomissions base

Most are built on pillars that can be cranked up a story or two as the ferocious winds blow snow against the structures. Some stations can even be moved.
Amundsen-Scott Station – South Pole                     China's Taishan Station 


Attempting to create a setting that is as factual and realistic as possible, I had to learn a lot about the stations. Some of the aspects of the story depend on the unique ways things are done there. My trip to Antarctica didn't provide the opportunity to land on the continent itself or travel to a station. It is very difficult and costly for anyone other than the research, station, and transportation staffs, to make landfall or visit a station. Here are some interesting things about the continent and Amundsen-Scott station.

No Government

No government? Oh, I love it already.

Antarctica has never had an indigenous population, doesn't belong to a country or any group of countries, and has no nationality. The continent was believed to exist as early as the second century AD, but the South Pole wasn't reached until December 1911 by Norwegian Roald Amundsen, and a month later by Englishman Robert Scott.

Systematic exploration began with the International Geographic Year, July 1957 through December 31, 1959. After that, the representatives of the twelve nations which had made claims and participated in the exploration met in 1959 and drafted the Antarctic Treaty, which dedicated the entire continent to peaceful scientific research. When it came into effect, all territorial claims were suspended. Now nearly fifty countries have signed the treaty, which represents about 80% of the world population.

The result is a continent that has never been affected by war, where the environment is protected, and where the priority is scientific research. At least so far!

You Can't Get There From Here

That's not quite true, but it isn't easy, no matter where here is. Access is by ship along the coast (sometimes) and plane (sometimes).

There are twenty airports, thirty helicopter pads (no developed public access airports), and one harbor at US McMurdoc Station. Most of the coastal stations have anchorages off shore, and supplies are transferred by small boats, barges, or helicopters.

Ships going to Antarctic Ocean have to be ice-strengthened, and there are only two places where larger cruise ships can anchor. Passengers are not allowed to go to shore. For about four to five months in the winter, the sea is impassible.

Desert Climate

The first thing that surprised me is that, without the ice, Antarctica would have a desert climate. It only snows the equivalent of one inch of rain in the interior of the continent, and rains/snows the equivalent of twenty inches rain along the coast. One of the driest locations on the earth.

Despite that, Antarctica is said to have the harshest weather in the world. The strong winds of Antarctica are called Katabatics (Greek for flow downhill), and average about 67miles per hour and have been measured at a steady 200 miles per hour (not just gusts).
Antarctic winds in action

And cold! At the South Pole, the average summer high temperature is 5°F (-15°C); average winter low temperature, -112°F (-80°C). The temperature, measured by satellite at -135.3°F. Only cold-adapted organism such as certain types of algae, bacteria, fungi, and certain animals such a mites, nematodes, penguins, seals, and tardigrades, can survive.

I'd never heard of an animal called a tardigrade and had to look it up. After that, the animal took on a major role in my novel. 
Tardigrades are microscopic animals more commonly known by their non-scientific name, the water bear. They are less than 1mm long and are found in the sea, in fresh water and on land.

I did see many seals and penguins (enough to last me a lifetime).

Active Volcanoes

The chain of mountains that forms the islands around Antarctica and run through the middle of the continent are an extension of the Andes. There are at least thirty volcanoes. At 12,448 feet above sea level, Mt. Erebus is the southernmost and the most active volcano in the world according to National Geographic.
Photo  – National Geographic

Altitude Sickness

When I read that altitude sickness is often experienced by newcomers to the South Pole station, I did a double take. The Amundsen-Scott station sits on 9,000 feet of solid ice, and the altitude there is about 11,000 feet, an elevation higher than Macchu Piccu in the Andes. That's about two miles of ice that never melts, since the temperature in the summer averages below freezing.

No Time Zone

Unlike anywhere else in the world, Antarctica is not in any time zone. The US stations keep time according to New Zealand time. I don't know what the stations of other countries do.

Two Minute Showers

Residents of the Amundsen-Scott Station are allowed only two-minute showers, twice a week. Water is a precious commodity in spite of ice all around. It has to be scooped up and melted to supply station with water, which is heated with the exhaust from the electric power generating plant.

One full load of laundry per person per week is allowed under normal circumstances.

One Sunrise, One Sunset

At the South Pole station, there is one sunrise and one sunset per year. That's right! Six month of darkness and six months of light. The moon rises every two weeks.
Night at the South Pole                      Moon over the station


Antarctica is the best place in the world to look for Meteorites. If there is something on the snow, if fell from the sky.

Everything That Comes, Goes

Everything has to be shipped to the South Pole station by air, and all waste (except sewer waste) has to be collected, then recycled or shipped away by air, and disposed of somewhere else. Nearly 70% of the waste is recycled (better than the US average of 34%). The non-recyclable trash generated is collected in cardboard boxes call triwalls.

In my novel, this is an important fact that played into the solution of the mystery.


If not, you can read about it when Murder On Thin Ice is released. Or me ask a question. I'll do my best to answer.

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Amazing information, Ann!  I'm so impressed.  We're hoping to go down to Antarctica next year when we are in South America again.  I may have some questions!  And those Tardigrades?  Wow! Those are just creepy!!!!

Want to learn more about our guest?  Check out all her books at her website... http://www.rannsiracusa.com/.

Let her know what you think in the comments below!

Until next time!!!


CJ England

Follow Your Dreams