Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Why I Write Romance--to Escape the Mundane

Hey all,

It's time for another guest blogger. Today I have the honor of introducing RaeLynn Blue, an author of interracial and speculative romance. She is a Phaze Bestselling Author for 2009 and it says this about her on her website...

With an imagination that's varied and diverse, her tales explore love in all its many shades, situations and scenarios.

She fell into romance stories at the ripe age of eleven and has been writing stories ever since. A humble scribbler of tales, RaeLynn is actively writing another story of lust, love, and romance.

I hadn't read any of RaeLynn's work before now, so I picked up a copy of The Personal Assistant, since I love stories about artists. It was a well crafted, fast paced story that was made me curious about her other work, and I think as you get to know her, you will be intrigued as well.

So join me in welcoming the amazing...RaeLynn Blue!!!!


First I’d like to thank CJ England for allowing me to visit her blog and write. Being a guest means I have to keep the place neat and mind my manners, which is important.

My name’s RaeLynn Blue and I’m published by Phaze, Whiskey Creek’s Torrid, Changeling, Beautiful Trouble, and Parker Publishing, LLC. Despite my many publications, I still become enthralled with reading a good story, one that helps me escape the mundane. This is why I write romance, to escape the stress, mundaneness, and overall evil of everyday life.

What kind of romance do I write? For the most part, I write interracial, erotic romance. What does that mean exactly? Well, when I consider interracial romance, it means two different ethnicities that date romantically. This is a subgenre of romance. I’m also in an interracial marriage, so when I set down to write about two people falling in love, most often I see the characters as not being from the same ethnicities. Though I’ll be honest it doesn’t just pertain to the physical differences, but also interspecies too.

Which leads to the very next part of my writing! I write a bunch of various sub-genres of the romance subgenre, if you follow. I write science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, and contemporary interracial romances. LOL! Yes, most of my stories are written in one of these various subgenres. I truly enjoy writing in make believe worlds that I populate and create. Some may argue that I can do the same with contemporary settings, but there are rules I have to follow---gravity, the limitations of powers, the fact that society is structured in a certain manner, etc.

When I play, I want all rules to be off the table—so to speak. That’s another reason why I like romance. I like romance that is fantastic and grand, and it must sweep me away from the everyday mundane of being mother, teacher, and wife. Otherwise, what is the point? As a high school English teacher, I read novels all the time that inspire great thought, and speaks to the human condition (including all its ills), but when it comes to love, falling in love, it shouldn’t carry a lengthy thought process.

Falling in love should be fantastic and free, wonderful and wicked, loving and lustful—or they are when I write them.

That’s not to say that real love and relationships aren’t complicated. They are! They’re also complicated for my characters too, but set against the backdrop of incubus and shape shifters, goddesses and gods, and space commanders and generals, let’s just say the stories become more interesting. ;-)

As a writer, I am first a reader, and if the story entertains me, then I’m reasonably certain it will entertain readers.  Besides, there’s plenty of things on the news one could use to stress out over, but when I sit down to read, I want to escape the everyday.

Why do you read? I invite you to post your “why I read romance” comments at my Yahoo group, The Color of Love (, and let’s discuss why you read romance.

Thanks, CJ for having me today!


RaeLynn Blue

Bio: Check out one of RaeLynn Blue’s upcoming escapes into the fantastic with Sudden Snow an interracial science fiction romance available April 23rd from Changeling.


Great Blog, RaeLynn! I can't wait to read the new story. The blurb looks wonderful, and I'm a sucker for those type of adventure stories!!! Check out the rest of her work and her website and drop some comments in here about what you think of my latest guest.

On Friday, I'll be back with the next installment of the ZOO series when I share some of what Jonathon and I did on our day at the Singapore Zoo!

Hugs to all,

CJ England
Follow Your Dreams

Monday, March 29, 2010

All Aboard The Night Safari

Hey all,

I promised you a look at the zoos they have here in Singapore and I always keep my promises. And this was an easy and very enjoyable promise to keep!

Now, Jonathon and I have been to zoos in just about every country we've ever been in. We've been to zoos on five continents now, and I think at our last count, we had over 75 under our belt. So when I say we consider ourselves zoo experts, you'll understand what I mean.

When I was in college, I volunteered at the Chaffee Zoo in Fresno, California for a while. I worked first in the reptile building and then with the big cats. So not only do I look at a zoo through public eyes, but I've been around the behind scenes as well.

And what we've seen in Singapore is right up there with some of the best zoos we've ever been to!!!

Today's blog is about a very unique concept--The Night Safari. When we first heard of it, we thought it would be a big building with exhibits that showed only creatures who came out at night...somewhat like the awesome zoo in Omaha, Nebraska we visited once, The Henry Doorly Zoo. Their "Kingdoms of the Night" was by far the best night display we've ever experienced.
But the Night Safari is very different. It is not a building, but an entire park where the visitor can experience animals at night. Some ARE night creatures, but quite a few are not. It was, as I said, in a word, unique!

There are footpaths all around the park, or if you want, you can take their tram and let them do the driving. We wound up walking--when we go to a zoo we like to be away from people because you see so much more. But then at the end of the night, we took the tram so we could see those places only the tram went to. And by that time there were only a few of us!

For those who do go to the Night Safari after reading this blog, I would suggest you walking first--starting with the Forest Giants Trail and moving from the right side of the park to the left. (most everyone else goes to the tram first--very crowded--or walks to the left) For a map of the park, go HERE

Again, my camera sucks at night pics, so I found most of these online. But I can tell you about them just the same. Enjoy!!!

Just before the entrance, there are the shops and quite a few restaurants. It is all set up like a tiny village and while you wait to be allowed to enter, they even have some shows!

This was great! Half nekkid, nicely built men dancing, joking and spitting fire. Jonathon didn't see the attraction, but I sure did. He had to drag me to the zoo. I was enjoying the view way too much! LOL

We walked in and were just in time for their Creatures of the Night Show. It was better than I expected and we got to see some really interesting things. A hyena trained to drag a log to show his jaw strength, an Asian Wolf who howls on command, cute little mongooses and a pair of river otters who refused to leave the stage they were such hams! A binterong crawled on a rope above us and the highlight of the show was when they pulled a python out of the seats right in front of us. LOL They had a guy come up from the audience to hold her and he was hysterical. Terrified and it was funny to watch him try and fail to be manly!!!
If you're interested, you can go HERE and see a video of the show. This gal was our host (in the pic above, she's the blurry one. LOL) and was a real hoot. She had the audience eating out of her hand, just like the critters she trains!

Below is a pic of the wolf I mentioned earlier. He was beautiful, but visibly different than a North American animal.
And these are the otters I mentioned. They were brought out to pick up trash to show us humans how to recycle, but they had so much fun doing it, they wouldn't leave the stage! LOL

And here is one of my favorite critters. A flying fox--this one caught munching on his favorite dish...fruit!

A picture of one of the trams you can take to see the park, along with some tapirs. There were several places we could reach out and touch the critters if we'd wanted to.
When we rode the tram there were less than a dozen people on it. Very nice and private.

One of the little meal kiosks they have around the park. We didn't eat, but stopped for a drink and some chips. We needed the salt! LOL

One of the big cats. I think this is a fishing cat. We didn't see it the first time around, so we went back just before closing and one was there pacing around. I'd never seen one before. They have quite a few animals that are very rare.

This suspension bridge is part of the Forest Giants Trail. It spanned an area of tree canopy and the ambiance was beautiful. In fact, that's what I liked most about the Night Safari. It was lit and set up in a way that made you feel right at home amongst the night.

But this was one of our favorite animals of the night. It is the giant flying squirrel, another animal I've never seen. He has his own enclosure that you can walk into and Jonathon and I got there just in time to see several of them take off and glide. Now these guys are big--about the size of a miniature poodle and to have one zip by your head as he makes for another tree isn't something you'll soon forget!!!

There is so much more to see and tell you, but this blog is too long already. LOL If you are really interested, just google it and you'll find all kinds of pictures and information. We had a great time and I'll not soon forget wandering around at night amongst some of my favorite beings on the planet.

We'll have a guest blogger on Wednesday, the awesome Raelynn Blue, then I'll be back with a blog about the sister zoo to the Night Safari--The Singapore Zoo.

Take care all,

CJ England
Follow Your Dreams

Friday, March 26, 2010

For God's Sake!!! When in Singapore, do as the Singaporeans do!!!

Hey all,

I haven't had a rant lately, so I'm due. LOL

As I've lived my life I've learned to let a lot of things go and only save the fighting for the things that are truly important and I feel need to be said. Most of those have to do with someone else. Jonathon says I'm all about causes. If I believe in something, God help anyone who gets in my way. If it's important enough to me I'll just mow you over to get there. LOL

But at the same time, I'll do everything on the planet to make sure you have the right to choose your own destiny. Even if I think that destiny is the most ridiculous one on the planet!

So, as you can imagine, it really upsets and frustrates me when I see others not giving people the same courtesy.

Take living here in Singapore for instance. Now, I've been fortunate in that in my life I've traveled a great deal. I've met a lot of people, both American and foreign, so maybe my outlook is a little different than someone who hasn't traveled as much. But for God's sake...why do tourists act like the country they are in should adapt to them instead of the other way around???

This is a huge pet peeve of mine.

I see it all the time and it drives me nuts. For example, Jonathon and I were at the Singapore Zoo the other day. (More on that wonderful day in my series starting next week.) We are in line at the food court to get something to eat. In front of us are these two men. I think they were German, but it was hard to tell. They were European for sure. Anyway, this one guy is trying to order something but he and the gal behind the counter just aren't communicating. As we listened we discovered it wasn't the gal, but the dude who wasn't getting it right.

See, over here at a lot of restaurants, they have what are called "set meals". That means you order a #1 and you get a #1. This isn't Burger can't have it your way. If you tell them something different, which is what this guy was doing, it just confuses them because it's NOT THE WAY ITS DONE HERE!!! So, after several long minutes of trying to change the menu, the dude finally let's out a few swear words and ungraciously takes what he should have be given in the first place. And he's complaining and swearing about how stupid these people are and why can't they do things the right way.

That's when I lost my temper.

Seriously? The right way? Dude! Who the hell gave you the right to change an entire culture's way of doing things. You're a tourist in a zoo cafe, for pity sakes! It's just a meal. It's one thing to be irritated because it's not the way it's done back home, but to pitch a fit and yell at the person because you don't get the exact piece of chicken you wanted?

After I gave him what-for and Jonathon had dragged me away to eat our own meals--which we did NOT ask to have changed, even though I hate curry--we talked about the ridiculousness of tourists who come to experience another country and it's culture, then insist that the people of that country change to meet their needs.

We spent the next half hour sharing sharing what we'd seen tourists do over the years we've been traveling. It was fun and made most of my mad go away. LOL

So here are in order the ten most ridiculous things we've seen and heard during our stay here in Singapore.

10. "For God's Sakes...Why don't they talk English?" One of the things I hear most and I just shake my head. Here in Singapore most people DO speak a smattering of English at the shops and restaurants. It's part of the job, but regular people, those who don't deal with foreigners on a daily basis may not know more than a few basic English words. Why should they? This is their country. For God's sake...Why don't you speak Mandarin or Malay?

9. "This bathroom is disgusting. Why don't they have toilet paper in it?" Now, I have to admit, this is one I THOUGHT to myself when I first got here. But after being in Singapore for a while, I realized that not having paper in the toilets is just part of the culture. And most of them in malls, MRTs and places that cater to foreigners, do. But for those that don't, it's really very simple and I've thought of two reasons why they don't. a) they clean a lot of the toilets by hosing them out frequently. Paper in the stalls would get wet. And I have to tell you, most of the bathrooms cleaned that way here are a lot cleaner than the one at Ghirardelli Disney World where I used to work! b) Older Singaporeans and the disabled make their living selling tiny packages of tissues. If the toilets all had paper, they'd be out of work!

8. What do you mean, there aren't any napkins?!!!!" Another one easily solved and one I've seen elsewhere, not just Asia. Serviettes or napkins aren't used in other countries like we use them in America. Right or wrong aside, that's just the way it is. And since I doubt bitching about it will change an entire country's way of thinking, why not just keep some napkins in a little bag along with TP in your purse? Problem dealt with!

7. "I'm so thirsty. Why don't they have any damn water fountains?" Why? Because they just don't. While I don't understand it either--you'd think a hot and humid country like this would have a plethora of the things--you get used to carrying a bottle of water or buying it cheap at a food stall. You can whine or you can hydrate. Deal.

6. "Get out of the way, you doby!!!! Why aren't you driving on the correct side of the road?" Seriously? And just what is the correct side? Doesn't it depend on what country you're in? Australia and England drive on the same side as Singaporeans, but Americans, the French and Germans drive on the right. So may be a bit weird at first, but get used to it. Or please...don't drive!!! And for God's sake, look the correct way BEFORE you cross the street!!!

5. "But that's not football!!! You said we'd be watching football. Turn the channel!!!!" Okay, this is more aimed at American's, but still holds true. Here, football is what we call soccer and they are rabid for it. Every Friday and Saturday night in the courtyard below great crowds of people come to watch the games. They shout, they boo and they cheer! So don't diss their game, please. You can either turn off the TV or do what we did. Reluctantly become involved with the game. LOL

4. "Bloody Hell! Get out of the ^$% way!!!" A common cry heard from tourists, it usually follows when said tourist is queuing up on the right side of the platform or on the escalators. Since the rule is to ride on the left side or move to the left on a platform, it's easy to spot the new people to the country who are fighting it out for space where they shouldn't be. Just learn the pattern and adapt. Unless you're a real idiot, it isn't that hard.

3. "Whadda ya mean you don' t have _____? (insert food stuff here)" For me it was my coffee chocolate from International Foods. I just can't enjoy a coffee without it. But it was too heavy to carry so I did without. But you can't believe how many times I've heard a tourist snarl at a clerk because they didn't have the exact thing they wanted. Part of the fun is figuring out what you can have instead. Make it a game, people, and don't get cranky that they don't have Wisconsin cheese here just for you.

2. "Leave me the #%$% alone, I don't want to sit down and eat. No, I don't need a tailor! And no, I sure don't want to come in and buy something!!!" Now this one is one I struggled with a lot. Here in Singapore when you walk by a restaurant or shop they have greeters out there who try their best to get you into their establishment. They have no personal space bubble as we American's do and will literally attack when you walk by. I feel like a gazelle down by a waterhole! There are days I just want to stand and scream...LEAVE ME ALONE OR I WILL HURT YOU!!!!

But, as I said, this is the way they do it here so it's my place to let it go. It's not easy and I do avoid the streets that are really bad, but once I was able to deal with the personal space issue--just ease them back, they don't take it as hostile--I can at least shop without feeling like a slug for saying no thank you a hundred times! But this one, of all the weirdnesses, is one I have the hardest time with.

1. "Oh my God, John! That man just touched me/looked at me/gave me the finger/said something nasty! Do something!!!" Well, John, if you do do something you just might be doing it for the wrong reasons.

Let's start with touching. Believe me, I have a VERY big personal space zone and as I mentioned before, getting past this was difficult. But most people (cretins not withstanding) don't understand that touching you is a violation of that PSZ. A lot of people here touch each other socially. Girls and guys both. In fact its been one of the hardest places to tell straights vs gays unless I really watch them close. I've been bumped, pushed, stroked and even had one old Chinese dude feel me up as he walked by. (It wasn't personal. My boob was in the way of his hand.) So if they don't mean anything by it, why let it bother you so much?

Now the looking part. Here in Singapore we have many different cultures and beliefs. And each has their own way of dealing with things. An older Chinese man rarely meets my gaze, but an Indian man not only will meet it, some of them have a leer down pretty damn well. I have to be careful in Little India because my natural gregariousness plus blonde hair makes for some pretty interesting visits. I've had whole groups of men stop dead and stare at me. If I wasn't so creeped out, I'd be flattered. But when I asked about it, I was told that it was just the way they showed their appreciation, and that it was normal as long as they didn't touch. So I guess I'm pleased???

Hand motions. We all know how easily misleading a hand gesture can be. The wrong movement can a war start. In this country if someone is using their hand to show they want three bowls of rice, or three smelly durians, they use a single middle finger. And we all know what that means back home. But remember...this isn't home. That gesture you think is so horrible and insulting just means he wants to charge you three dollars for a rickshaw bike ride. Don't get your knickers in a twist.

And finally speech. This one actually makes me laugh a lot. Since I don't speak any Malay or Mandarin other than Thank you, Toilet and How Much? when someone says something to me, it's pretty much guess work as I figure it out. But I've had some comments tossed my way that I KNOW were insulting by the tone, just as I've had other comments that were obviously flattering. But the one that sticks in my mind most was when a man growled at me.

I'm still not sure what he meant. (I picked a bird's nest off the ground. No birdies...just the nest) When I saw him watching, I showed him the nest and he nodded, then growled. I kid you not. Growled. I have no idea why. And I was actually afraid to ask. LOL

Another time I was in a cafe and the clerk asked the customer (European) if she wanted Coke or Coke Light. The customer frowned and said neither, she wanted a diet Coke. The clerk nodded and said Coke Light. And again, the customer--a little more irritated this time--refused it, saying she wanted diet Coke. I stepped in at that time to explain they were the same. The clerk looked relieved, the European still irritated. She looked down her nose at me and said, "Why don't they just call it by the real name? How silly!" To which I responded, "How silly to expect them to rename it just for you!"

She left with her nose still up in the air. I got a free Coke Light from the clerk.

So, there you have it. Ten of the things I'd dearly love to strangle stupid tourists for. Not the mistake or the thought, mind you. But how they handle it. We are in someone else's country. Not our own. So rather than spend your time moaning about how it should be like home, embrace the differences and enjoy.

Or stay home!!!

Do you have a story you can share? Either something you've done or something you saw another tourist do? Share it below and give us all a laugh.

And by the way...since I'm not able to be here in person (I'm still in the little fishing village) please join me in saying HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Sara J., who is one of my favorite fans and blog follower!!! Wish her well when you make your comments below!!!

I hope to be back in time to put up next weeks blogs, but if you don't see them, you'll know I'm still off fishing and writing...and writing and fishing! *grin*

Hugs to all,
CJ England
Follow Your Dreams

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Shy, Loner, or Introvert???

Hey all,

It's time for another guest blogger. Today I have the honor of introducing one of my best writing buddies on the planet. He and I met early in my career and we've been friends ever since. We've been through a lot over the years--dealing with crazy publishers, fans, yahoo lists and even those ever popular "dangly bits." (Bet you wondered if I'd sneak that in!! LOL)

He's a great writer, a wonderful friend and an all around awesome guy... D. Musgrave

As an introduction, he writes this on his website...

You all have seen me at one time or another. I was that kid in the back of the classroom, staring out the window. They called it daydreaming back in my time, now they would probably diagnose me as having ADD. The truth? Even then I was working. I grew up being told more often than not that daydreaming was a waste of time.

What a crock that turned out to be. Those wild, fanciful dreams were to one day become the fodder for the erotic tales that now flow onto the pages of my stories.

Is it any wonder I love his work and we get along so great? He's a dreamer, too!!! He writes in many genres, but like me, believes it's about the story...not the genre. So everyone, please join me in welcoming a fellow dreamer...

D. Musgrave!!!!


Shy, loner, or introverted, which one is it? It's a question I've asked and been asked many times. These may seem to mean the same thing, but in truth, they are very different. Often people can be any one or two of these types without being another.

Some people have called me mysterious, some have accused me of being cold and distant. How do you explain that being quiet and inward is not the same as being shy or a loner? Can someone be introverted and not shy? Is it possible to need aloneness to be more extroverted? For me the answer to this question is a resounding yes. I don't just want time alone, I require it.

Without time to delve into my own internal dialog, I become antsy and irritable. It's not that I'm aloof or arrogant. Just the opposite in fact, I crave meaningful dialog with interesting people. Yet I'm quickly bored by small talk, boasting, gossip, and puritanical viewpoints from people who aren't open to differing stances.

Yet what do you tell people if you're a writer? By the nature of the craft, it often requires being alone with oneself and the work of writing. That lends itself to being introverted. But is it an enforced introversion or rather something many writers prefer? As there are no hard and fast rules as in an all or nothing statement that all writers are introverts, the same can be said that not all introverted people are shy.

My regular working and daily life requires me to be extroverted and outgoing. I often have to conduct meetings, training classes, and discussions with groups of people. It's not my favorite thing to do, but its part of the territory. Luckily, I am adept at this type of work, which appears to be in opposition to how some people have tried labeling me.

So how does one explain to others who see me playing the role of the outgoing extrovert that I need and occasionally prefer being alone? I wished I knew. All I can say is that I have to be a broken record that being alone is my form of "me" time and that being alone does not equal being lonely. I need it for more than just my writing, yet it's integral to keeping me balanced.

But what if someone weren't introverted, but rather painfully shy to the extent they had trouble enjoying their lover? Is it something that can be overcome with help?

I address that very issue in the second story in my Sexual Healing Series. Too Shy tells the story of a woman who experiences debilitating shyness. Available in April, 2010 from Phaze Ebooks. To read an excerpt of that story, go HERE

D. Musgrave

The reader is entertained by the journey of another, but the writer is the changer of worlds.
D'ni proverb.

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Hey babe,

I'm so glad you dropped by and joined us. I found myself nodding all the way through your blog. "That's me," I was saying. "He's nailed it." That type of insight is why this man's books are so absorbing. He isn't just putting words on paper, he's putting down true emotion. I know I'll be ready to see how he handles the agony of shyness in his new book! In fact, I can't wait!!!

I'll be back on Friday with another blog. This one a bit of a rant on foreigners in a different country!!

CJ England
Follow Your Dreams

Monday, March 22, 2010

Is There A Fish In The House???

Okay all,

You've all known me long enough to see I'm open to pretty much any new experience as long as it doesn't tip my morality scale. Here in Singapore, I've had plenty of different and exciting things to try and am so blessed I had that chance.

One of the things that is REALLY cheap over here is massage. Now, CAN get THAT type of massage. It's out there and even though they say they aren't, the people around here seem to let the idea of it go without too much fuss. But I'm talking about a real massage. Where someone rubs your back and gets all those kinks out.

Places to do these massages are as numerous as the Javan myna birds that flock all over the city. You can't spit (which is illegal in Singapore, by the way--$200.00 fine) in any direction without finding a massage place there.

And that is great because it really keeps the prices down. $10.00 for 10 minutes is the cry you hear and the savings go up the longer you are down on the table.

Now for Jonathon, who has chronic neck pain, this place is great. So we were out looking for a place to get him some help when we came upon a totally different type of massage. And this one, I wanted to try.

Have you ever heard of Garra Rufa? Or maybe Cyprinion Macrostomus? Well, I hadn't until I was wandering around Chinatown and saw them. I had to drag Jonathon back for another look.

Garra Rufa...or as they are more commonly called, Doctor Fish, massage your feet and hands by nibbling on them. That's right...nibbling. They aren't biting you...far from it. They have no real teeth. What they are actually doing is sloughing off all the dead skin with their strong lips.

They've been used for centuries in the Asian countries for the treatment of skin diseases as well as cosmetic purposes. And after trying it, I might go into the spa business myself.

As you can see from the pic, they look like little catfish and are about the size of a child's pinky.

So, how does it work? The spa/massage place has these tanks that are set up so you can sit and put your feet in the tank. Some places have higher, shallower tanks with fish for your hands. Once you're ready, you stick your feet in and let the critters do their work.

This is the spa we went to. It's upstairs in Chinatown above the MRT station, and the second I saw it, I thought this was the place for the experience. So, I kicked off my shoes, settled down on the bench and prepared for 10 minutes of fishy heaven.


Did I forget to mention the little buggers tickle like crazy?

I let out a shout that had Jonathon rolling in laughter, and every Asian within a mile running to see the crazy American who was squealing and snickering and giggling. The man who owned the spa kept grinning and nodding and saying. "Feels funny. Feels funny." (They always say everything twice here, like they want to make sure you got it.)

So there I am on display. The doctor fish are nibbling away, and I'm about ready to pee my pants it tickles so much. Then I hear another shout and Jonathon has put HIS feet in. So much for being manly. Now we were both making spectacles of ourselves.

Humor aside. If you are VERY ticklish, this is NOT for you. I'm semi-ticklish and I was wriggling like a kid on a hot slide. BUT, after about five minutes I did get used to it. My hands and feet both got the nibble treatment and I actually found myself enjoying it. A lot!!!

The little fish are an industrious lot. They just go to town and find any little piece of loose skin you may have. I have very dry skin and since I always wear sandals, my feet were like manna from heaven for them. But by the time I got out, ten minutes later, my feet looked and felt quite smooth. (click on pic to see the fishies better!)

And I could still feel them nibbling. Took a few minutes for that weirdness to wear off. LOL Our friend, Scott, who was the first to try this treatment out at a fish farm did his for 30 minutes and he said he could feel them nibbling the rest of the day!!!!

Do they have these in the states? A few, but even though people are intrigued about the idea, Big Brother and the sometimes ridiculous health rules make it difficult to get a spa going. All I know is if I could have some of these little beauties at my house, I'd be using them every day.

What, Jonathon? You want to leave? NOW??? Oh...a massage? Go ahead and find yourself a spot. Have a nice long massage and leave me alone! I'm going to sit here and commune some more with the fishes!!!!


I'll be back on Wednesday with D. Musgrave as a guest blogger. He's one of my favorite people on the planet so come and visit with him!!!

Hugs to all,

CJ England
Follow Your Dreams

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Important Scheduling Information- Gone Fishing!!!

Hey all,

As I mentioned the other day, my schedule is really up in the air right now. It's been crazy around here and next week it only gets worse/better, depending on how you look at it.

We are scheduled to be coming home the first week of May. We thought we were going to be going later, but the PTBs decided Jonathon needed to take his vacation before we were off contract and not after. So that means we have to move the timetable up about three weeks. Can that change again? Might. It has before, which is part of the craziness.

But, what that means is I may not be around the internet on a daily basis because we'll be out and about. So what I'm going to do, at least for the next few weeks is drop my blog post to three times a week. Those I can do easily ahead of time and not be so stressed about it.

EDITED FOR CLARITY: What than means for you is I might not be able to remind you each day about the blog. So, please, become a follower and sign up for a daily email reminder when I add new content.

To become a follower, just go to the top right of the blog and click on the word FOLLOW. Once you've followed the directions--no pun intended--your ready for the next step.

To sign up for daily email notifications for my blog, look in the right hand side bar under my welcoming message. You'll see a heading that says "Dream Along With CJ" and the link--Get A Daily Update. Click on it, put in your email and then when you get a subscription activation notice, just complete it and you're all ready to follow along with CJ's Dreams!!!

In fact, since you're going to all this trouble I'll make it sweeter. For everyone who becomes a Follower and does the above things in red between March 20 and April 1st, I will send you a special Singaporean treat of some kind when I get back to the states. It will be a small, easily mailed treat, but something right from here. Just send me an email with your screen name so I can make sure you're you, your snail mail addy and your real name. And for those who are already followers, send me an email with your addy and I'll send you one too!!! Just to be fair.

So, that being said. Here is the new schedule for the rest of March through the middle of May. Again, it may change, but we'll go with this for now.

I'll post my blogs on Monday and Friday. My wonderful guest bloggers will do the honors on Wednesday. Tues/Thurs will be dark days, as will the weekends unless something spectacular happens and I can't wait to tell you all! LOL

I apologize for the shifting around, but I'd rather promise less and do more than not show up for a while. And since I'm off to a remote fishing village next week, and won't have any internet access, I thought today would be a good day to start.

This new schedule will start as of today. Tomorrow, Sunday will be dark, but blogs are already scheduled and ready for Mon, Weds and Fri of next week. Clear as mud? Whew!

Thanks again for your patience as we go through this change and craziness. Hopefully the cat picture at the top is the only blond you'll see with a machine gun!!! LOLOL

Hugs to all,
CJ England
Follow Your Dreams

Friday, March 19, 2010

Peaceful and Calm--An Oasis in a Huge City

Hey all,

Now anyone who knows me gets the fact I'm all about nature. If you read my books you'll see I adore critters of all kinds and I love to be outside in the forests or meadows. (maybe that's why I write about hot shapeshifters?)

Anyway, here in Singapore there isn't a lot of woods or forests to be had. This city is instead a cement jungle, with cars, scooters and buses it's inhabitants. We humans are just the ants living among them all.

But I found the other day a beautiful oasis amid all these cars and cement. It may not be woods as I'm used to it, but it gave me the alone time I needed, the beauty I cherish and some memories I won't forget.

The Chinese and Japanese Gardens of Singapore

Not wild, but instead these gardens are cultivated with exquisite care. The manpower that goes into them has got to be mind-boggling. While there are areas of disrepair, it could be a seasonal thing since most of the attraction stuff was closed. But we didn't go for that. We went to discover how another culture looks at their parks and gardens.

As the name implies, it is split up into two sections--connected by a bridge (see above) Most of the actual garden was on the Chinese side, while the Japanese side seemed to be more of a huge rambling park.

But since pictures are better than words...the Chinese Garden side... (Click to make pictures bigger)

You walk in and see this huge pagoda first off. It is huge and when you climb the stairs to the top you have a beautiful view of the gardens and Singapore itself.

Off to the right is the statue garden filled with many of their heroes. This pic I found online so you could see them all easily.

Then you head to what was my favorite garden of the day. I could have stayed here and never moved, it was that beautiful and peaceful. All the following are pictures from the Bonsai Garden.

A worker carefully snipping at a tree. It was such delicate work.

The main garden is behind us. So beautiful.

Row after row of different kinds of trees. These were just a few.

Another two views of the side garden with it's trees. The oldest one we saw (and there could have been older) was over 400 years old.

Next came the abundance garden. According to online, this garden is built showcasing different tales of folklore that have to do with longevity, abundance and fulfillment.

A look from the Bonsai Garden out to the Garden of Abundance.

This garden is filled with all the statues of the Chinese Zodiac, a sundial, small bridges and many other marvels. A wonderful place to come and have a picnic.

This little bridge has all the Chinese Zodiac symbols on it.

Here I am with my symbol--The Rat! I was at first embarrassed having that moniker, but after doing research on this little guy, I am proud to carry the name RAT! LOL

Then we crossed the river and headed for the Japanese side. There was some sort of foot race going on. Kids in what looked like middle-school were running a course through both parks.

This view of a lily pond is one of the prettiest ones I've ever seen.

And this calm view of a pond was peaceful even with the race going on.

This is a Lantern Garden. The use of stone lanterns date back from before Christ and there are many different kinds, each meaning a different thing.

Back over the bridge and this is the Main Arch Building. Beautiful and the fish pond inside swirls with the colorful Koy. It is aptly named "Fish's Paradise"

I could go on and on about these gardens, but hopefully you get the picture. Beautiful, serene and they are an oasis in the middle of a busy city. Sinaporeans have something to be very proud of!!!

I'll be back tomorrow with a very important announcement for you all, so stay tuned!!!