Friday, October 29, 2010

Capturing the Dream

Hey all,

It's Friday and you know what that means. Yep! We have another fantastic guest blogger come to visit us. And this time it's a good friend and colleague, Qwilla Rain who writes with me at Loose Id.  She and I met at another publisher and we've stayed friends even after that publisher disappeared from view.

She's a great gal and a terrific writer, with quite a few stories under her belt, mostly in theBDSM genre.  So if you like to titillate your senses with those kinds of yummy stories, check her out.

But don't just listen to me.  See what she has to say about herself at her website...

Qwillia calls any place she stays...home.  She's lived in Las Vegas, Nevada; Flagstaff Arizona; Anchorage, Alaska; Billings, Montana; and currently dips her pen in Raleigh, North Carolina.  A student of human nature, Qwillia enjoys jumping over the boundaries, and exploring the darker side of man's sexuality.

Sounds great, doesn't she?  So let's get to know her a bit better.  Please help me in welcoming the awesome, Qwilla Rain.

   Thank you for inviting me to join you on your blog. It’s great that I get to show up so close to the end of the month because I love Halloween -- always have, always will. I think because it feeds so well into my tendency to dream up stories while taking the opportunity to play dress up at the same time.

When I was little I loved reading, I still do. I loved the imaginary worlds the authors developed and coaxed me to play in. Perhaps that was what made me fantasize about being an author. Like all little girls, I had a trunk full of “ultimate” dream jobs: long-haul truck driver; center fielder for the Cincinnati Reds; Time Lord -- yeah, I was a Tom Baker-era Dr Who girl. LOL

Throughout all those wonderful future careers, books remained my escape mechanism for reality. Mysteries, fantasies, science fiction, horror, general fiction, classics, and yes -- my favorite -- romance!! I was in alt when sub-genres developed, I could have my cake and eat it too! Romance and all those other genres rolled into one. And I was always scribbling ideas and creating my own little worlds. Eventually logic kicked in and I contemplated being a teacher, which became my career for nearly ten years in three different states.

Eleven years after graduating high school and following a myriad of jobs (lowest being a bill collector, highest being a tie between sales associate in a video store and a bookstore -- gotta love the perks in these two) I went to university and completed both a Bachelors and Masters degree in education. I settled into teaching, first in Alaska, then Montana, and finally, North Carolina.

All through the ups and downs of schools and jobs, writing was my method of coping. I could decompress by creating the wicked stories bubbling in my mind, and they entertained my friends and family. As is probably well known, teachers don’t make the big bucks. With that in mind, I took a step to achieve my secret dream of being an author. A published author. A published author with a 5 Year Plan. (Yeah, one of those plans that maps out how to move from earning money on the side to actually living off your earnings so you can write full-time.) In September 2007, I sold my first novella, with a release date of January 1, 2008, to a new e-publisher that closed up shop in April 2008, but that didn’t deter me or alter my Plan. And I lucked out again a month later.

On Halloween -- did I mention that I LOVE Halloween? -- I opened an email at six in the morning, requesting a full. By mid-November, I had a contract and on December 18, 2007, my book went live. Santa’s Elf was my first book with Loose Id, LLC and as my third anniversary as a published author approaches, my seventh book, Diablo Blanco Club: Rite of First Claim, is tentatively scheduled for release on November 16th.

Even better, at least in my mind, I’m two years ahead in my 5 Year Plan. Much as I enjoy teaching, I quit my day job -- yup, resigned, hung up my eraser and lesson plan book -- and I’m jumping into the full-time writing gig with both feet. I guess fall and Halloween are my ideal season and holiday!

Here’s hoping you find your passion and follow your dreams!


Pretty cool, huh?  I love her work and am pleased she has taken the time to chat with us.  Please let her know what you think in the comments below!

And check out Qwilla's books at Loose Id.  Her latest story is called Ariel's Pet and is available at  Or visit her website at or her blog at

I'll be back on Monday with another blog about my travels and life.  I hope you'll join me!  And don't forget my FREE READ.  We met Mace this last week.  You'll want to meet him too!


CJ England  

Follow Your Dreams

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

So the Differences Are...

Hey all,

The last time I did this topic I had a great response and many requests to do more. So over the last month I've put together some differences--both good and bad--between Macau and my old home, the US of A!!! So, in no particular order, here we go.

Difference #1-- Back home if you don't understand something someone is saying, you'll usually ask them to repeat themselves. You don't want to misunderstand. But here in Asia, it is considered impolite to do ask those type of questions. Instead a Chinese person may say okay or nod. We'll think they understand or are agreeing with us, while in reality they are just confused. So you learn to push until you both are SURE you are on the same page. Otherwise you can wind up with some really strange things! LOL

A footnote to this is because of the language difficulty, I already know that at least once a day I'm going to make a mistake in some way. So, I try to keep my patience and take a deep breath. One thing you NEVER want to do is lose face here. That is the ultimate sin in Asia.

Difference #2--  You know, I never thought I'd miss commercials. Those loud, irritating and sometimes ridiculous thirty second sales tools that we are inundated with in the States.  I mean other than the Superbowl, I either fast forward through them or turn the sound off.

But here in Macau, commercials are few and far between.  Instead they do one of two things.  One, they don't have commercials at all, which isn't bad until you need to go to the bathroom or go get a second cup of coffee.  Or two, (and this is the one that drives me nuts) they advertise other TV shows.  Ad Nauseum.  Seriously.  If a show is coming on next Wednesday I guarantee I'll have the promo crammed down my throat at least 1500 times.  And if it is a show you really aren't interested in, after the 328th time, you're ready to throw your TV off the balcony.

I mean, I loved Phil Harris on Deadliest Catch and I cried when he had a stroke and eventually passed beyond the veil.  But I do NOT want to see an promo for a show about his life 1,057 times!  I mean, let us know it's there and then maybe mention it once or twice a day.  But 10 times an hour?  AHHHHH!!!!

I'm not sure why they have so little advertising over here.  I tell you.  The market is wide open.  So any of you advertising wonders, if you are looking for a place to ply your trade, consider this area.  Anything is better than watching a baby elephant die 723 times just so Discovery Asia can make sure you know what's going to happen to him when the real program airs.

Difference #3-- You know how in the USA or many other western countries, we are VERY label conscious.  If you're watching calories, you check how many that spaghetti sauce has or if you have allergies, you're very careful to make sure it's gluten free.  But here in Asia, they aren't so worried and their laws reflect that.  In fact, if you are a distributor and you don't like what's on a package, well, no worries.  Just cross it out.

That's right.  There are quite a few grocieries on the shelves of the store that have black marks crossing off pertinent information.  As you can see in the picture here, it's not even done well.  They just used a black marker and covered something up.  You can't see what it is, which makes it even more worrisome.  Just why did they scratch it out?  Is it expired?  Toxic?  What? And apparently, this is okay to do over here. Can you see your neighborhood WalMart trying that?  LOL

Difference #4--  Let's talk about food.  I mean, when you go to another country you adapt to what they have for you.  While we still have McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken, there are hundreds of restaurants that are specifically Chinese or Macanese, which is a mix of Portugese and Chinese.  You learn to find those places where you can look at pictures and point to what you want, and eventually you can even try some of the foods you've never seen before.  Like I did in Singapore when I ate yummy fried baby squid or a whole fish (including the head--which I didn't eat).

But I have to draw the line at birds looking at me.  I just can't handle it.  We walk through the markets and they have all kinds of poultry hanging there their heads flopping in the breeze.  I've sorta, kinda gotten used to that.  But then we went to a restaurant down on the Macau's Fisherman's Warf and they rolled up this display cart to show us what was available.  And I almost lost the lunch I hadn't yet eaten.

There on a plate was a Macau delicacy.  Cooked to a beautiful crispy brown, the scent was actually quite yummy.  Until you looked at it.  Into it's beady little black eyes.  At it's slightly opened beak that looked as if it was still gasping for breath.

A baby pigeon.

OMG...a baby pigeon?  And it was all scrunched up like it was in pain.  Seriously.  I about lost it.  I felt so sorry for the little critter, I had to settle for salad    Still every time that display cart rolled by, I just knew it that baby pigeon was still looking reproachfully at me.  Talk about guilt!

So there you have it.  A few of the latest fun differences I've discovered over here.  This will be an ongoing series as I discover more and I doubt I'll ever run out of fodder.  Because isn't that what it's all about?  Discovering the differences and embracing them.

Except baby pigeons.  Sorry.  Not going to happen.  LOL

See you on Friday with a new guest Blogger.  Qwilla Rain will be here to share a little of her life with us!

Hugs and have a great week!

CJ England  

Follow Your Dreams

Monday, October 25, 2010

You Might Be a Sensual Romance Writer if...

Hey all,

I hope you are all taking the time to check out my FREE READ. We've had a wonderful week getting the FREE READ blog off the ground and I'm really enjoying writing this story.  Today is the regularly scheduled weekly installment and a new chapter begins in the life of Chantal, Li and our hero, Mace.  So do make sure you check it out!

Today's blog came from a random thought.  You know what I'm talking about.  You're walking down the street, see something, and bang...this random thought hits you and suddenly your brain is filled with things not so random anymore.  LOL

Or maybe that's just me and those like me.  Because that random thought had me chuckling and snickering and the people on the bus started looking at me strangely.  In fact, I had to get off, find a place to sit, and write it all down.

So, today  I will share with you what I was snickering about...

The 10 Top Things that if you do them, you just might be like me...

A Sensual Romance Writer


#10 -- If you wander, mumbling about heroes, heroines and the "big misunderstanding", through the streets with a notepad in your hand as you pen the next world's greatest novel.  If you bounce off trees, cars and assorted people as you do so, unable and unwilling to differentiate between the two as you apologize...   
You might be a Sensual Romance Writer.

#9 -- If, when angry at or hurt by someone, instead of gossiping or keying their car, you take your revenge by putting them in your next book and making them the horrible villain ex-boyfriend, local slut or the really ugly randy boss you have to work with...   
You might be a Sensual Romance Writer.

#8 -- If you slam on your brakes, scare that little old lady in a walker, and almost cause an accident because the hottest guy just walked by and you have to get a picture because he's the PERFECT inspiration for "Brock", your latest hero...   
You might be a Sensual Romance Writer.

#7 -- If the history on your computer is filled with adult sites, lingerie stores, "toy stores", erotic stories and hot guy blogs and you have a difficult time explaining to your significant other that it is for research purposes only...really it is...
You might be a Sensual Romance Writer.

#6 -- If you attack your significant other, ripping their clothes off and dragging them to the floor as soon as they walk through the door because you just finished writing a really hot, sexy love scene...   
You might be a Sensual Romance Writer.

#5 -- If you find yourself talking to your characters as though they were real people. (and aren't they?) If you're arguing with your significant other and say something  like "Well Brock would never treat a woman that way" (not the best move)...   
You might be a Sensual Romance Writer.

#4 -- If, as you are walking through the store, you suddenly start listening in to intimate conversations of complete strangers because the sexy situation they're talking about would make a GREAT short story.  And if you are then smacked upside the head by said complete strangers for unashamedly eavesdropping...   
You might be a Sensual Romance Writer.

#3 -- If when in the throes of passion, you suddenly stop at a most inopportune moment and grab a pencil to write down the most awesome, prefect idea you just had.  Or is in the throes of that same passion, you mention to your significant other your hero "Brock" would do something a little different... 
You might be a Sensual Romance Writer.  (albeit a single one) *grin*

#2 -- If you find yourself asking your significant other to "assume the position" so you can make sure the anatomical pose you are putting your lovers in can actually be done without rupturing something...   
You might be a Sensual Romance Writer.

#1 -- If when you see people arguing, a couple kissing, a man gazing longingly after a departing woman, or a woman weeping in the park, you jot down notes.  If every situation you find yourself in both personally with your sweet baboo or out and about becomes fodder for that sexy story you're going to start tomorrow.  Or if each and every time you turn on the TV, go to a movie, read a book or listen to music, you are inundated with ideas, thoughts and story outlines... 
You might be a Sensual Romance Writer.

And if you're wondering if I've done any or all of these things, wonder no longer.  Remember I always draw from life for these blogs.  LOL

Now how about any of you?  Do you think you could be a sensual romance writer?  Do you do any of the above mentioned things?  Do you find yourself in similar situations?  Let me know in the comments below.  And you authors out there?  Does any of this sound familiar?  If so, give it up.  Tell us what you've done to make you...
A Sensual Romance Writer.

Hugs to all and I'll see you on Wednesday,

CJ England  

Follow Your Dreams

Friday, October 22, 2010

Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile...

Hey all,
It's Friday and you know what that means!  Time for another guest blogger. And today's guest is fellow Aspen Mountain author, Dominique Eastwick.  And like the poet, William Cullen Bryant who gave us today's blog title, Dominique has some things to tell us about the lovely season of autumn.

But before we get to that, let's find out a little more about this new author. She says this on her website...

My dream since I was 14 was to become a published author, now my dream is continue writing and bring the crazy worlds in my head to paper.

As well as writing I love art, historical costumes design, and I consider myself an amateur photographer. All my passions feed a drive in me to create.

And the quick glance I took around her website shows me she has all kinds of dreams ready to be written, so make sure you keep and eye on this author.  She's one to watch.

So, without further ado, please join me in welcoming Dominique Eastwick...


Ah Fall again… Finally

Thank you CJ for allowing me the time to come and Chat on your Blog. Its an honor as being so new to this business I look up to you as one of those that are living the dream.

Now a little about me…

I am one of those fall gals.  Nothing makes me happier they the crisp cooler air or the vivid colors on the leaves. This time of year always makes me feel alive and refreshed. I know that spring is the time for rebirth but for me it’s the opposite. Maybe its my love of pumpkins, and when I say I love pumpkins I LOVE them. I eat them in soup, bread, pie, waffles.  Love the seeds and love the smell. When my boys were little and we made homemade play-doh, we would add pumpkin spice to the recipe so the kitchen would smell wonderful.

So here is my super easy recipe for Pumpkin Butter wonderful on bagels or crackers.

1 lrg (29 ounce) can pumpkin puree or you can use the fresh flesh from the pumpkin by baking it for 30 to soften the flesh before cutting it from the skin and pureeing it.
3/4 cup apple juice
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine pumpkin, apple juice, spices, and sugar in a large saucepan; stir well. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes or until thickened. Stir frequently.
Transfer to sterile containers and chill in the refrigerator until serving.

Enjoy and if you have any pumpkin recipes please share them, my family may not thank you but I sure will.

As its Breast Cancer awareness month I am donating 50% of all proceeds from Hunting JC to Susan B Komen for the Cure.

Hunting JC--Now out with Aspen Mountain Press

Or you can reach me at

Thank you, Dominique, and I can't wait to try that recipe.  When we lived in Australia I was first introduced to pumpkin soup, and ever since then I've loved to try different pumpkin concoctions!  And I adore pumpkin butter.

Don't forget to check out my FREE READ over at my FREE READ BLOG.  It's heating up over there so you don't want to miss a minute!  Plus this weekend we'll be having a party, so mark your calendar and be sure to visit.

I'll see you on Monday with a bit of a rant about security.  The lack thereof and the overkill.
Hugs to all,
CJ England
Follow Your Dreams

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ghosts-- Are They Real?

Hey all,

As you know, my latest book, Luck Be A Lady, has a hunky ghost--ooops, excuse me, Justin--an Ethereal as it's hero.  And even though he is a spirit, he has all the characteristics of a mortal man, complete with temper, desire and of course, the ability to fall in love.

In fiction an author can make those ghosts/Ethereals act in any way they choose.  That's the fun of being a writer.  We build our own world.

But we also pull from this one.  Any author worth her salt will research and see just what makes a ghost a ghost.  We'll check out sightings and history and even interview people who've had a ghostly experience.  Then we put all that information together and come up with whatever story is percolating in our brain.

Yet, as you're doing that research, you find literally thousands of sites about ghosts, hauntings and spirits.  And each one has their own take on this subject.  Ghosts are disembodied spirits with unfinished business here on earth.  Spirits are evil demonic entities come from Hell to do damage to mankind.  Ghosts?  Please...there are no such thing as ghosts.

As you can imagine, such a disparity of opinions makes rich fodder for we authors.  So many beliefs and ideas to draw from.  And you can see it in all the different books that are out there.  You have books like The Shining, by Stephen King, where the ghosts are obviously malevolent, spirits who are trying to get wrongs righted as the ones did in the psychological thriller The Sixth Sense by M. Knight Shyamalan, (a great movie too) or those most famous ghosts who were trying to teach a miserly old man a lesson in Charles Dicken's,  A Christmas Carol.

But which belief is correct?  Do ghosts truly exist?  Are there disembodied souls drifting around the planet with work to do before they can go on to their final rewards?  Or are all the ghost sightings and hauntings nothing more than hoaxes, mistaken identities or, as our friend Dicken's put it,

"...You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato. There's more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!"

And my personal opinion?  I believe.  IMHO, there is just too much compelling evidence to ignore the existence of ghost, spirits, poltergeists and a world between this one and the next.  An hour spent on line, a conversation with a friend you trust or one of the many documentaries you can see on TV.  Can so many people be crazy, mistaken or out to scam us?

But for me, the most persuasive reason for my believing in ghosts is personal experience.  I believe in spirits because I've seen them.  Several times in fact, and I know I wasn't mistaken, I have no reason to scam anyone and recieved no renumeration for my stories and most importantly,  I'm not crazy (well...maybe a little)  *grin*

The first time I saw a ghost I was a teenager.  About seventeen.  And I can remember it as well today as the day it happened.  I was on my way home from a late night 4-H meeting at a place we called the Old Town Hall.  There were lots of people in the hall, but I left early for some reason and was walking to my car.  I was lost in thought, and had just pulled my keys out of my purse to unlock the car door when I heard a sound.

A deep growling noise I will never, ever forget.  It came from right behind me and made every hair on the back of my neck stand straight up.  Even writing out the experience right now, I'm shivering from the memory.  I whirled around, thinking there must be a rabid dog in the parking lot, the snarl was so heart-stopping, but there was no one behind me.  No animal, no person...nothing.  I looked around for several seconds, my heart beating so hard it hurt, then I turned back around to jump in my car.  And that's when I saw it.

Two red glowing eyes floating less than two feet in front of me.

You know how you read in books about a character's mouth going dry?  Well, it does happen.  I couldn't have said a word for the life of me.  I was absolutely frozen in fear.  I knew instinctively, those eyes meant me harm.  I can't explain the hate and fury I saw in them.  And I've never forgotten them.

The flight or fight response kicked in, and since there was nothing to fight...I ran.  Right back into the Town Hall where I cowered in the foyer until a large group of people left the building.  I joined them, made it to my car and headed straight home.

I never saw the eyes again. 

Even today, the memory of those eyes scare the life out of me.  I knew then, just as I believe now, I was in the presence of not just some spirit, but of a ghost or demonic entity that was as predatory as any ravaging wolf.

So, like the Cowardly Lion, I do believe in spooks.  And since that terrifying day, I've read about , researched and experienced many different ghostly sightings.  I've done ghost tours and seen and felt things I can't explain. I've explored graveyards and tombs all over the word and sensed there was more to them than marble and dirt.   My apartment in Macau even overlooks a beautiful Chinese cemetery . I find myself drawn to the idea there is more to our world than just what we can touch. about you?  I know there are those out there who have decided opinions on this subject.  Do you believe in ghosts?  Had an experience that made you a supporter of the idea of a world we might not be able to see or touch?  Are you a skeptic, maybe willing to be convinced, but you haven't seen anything to do so as of yet.  Or, are you an unbeliever?  Someone who has debunked spirit sightings and you don't believe a word of personal experiences?

Tell me in the comments below.  I want to hear your stories and ideas.  Seen a ghost?  Relate what happened.  Felt something freaky?  Tell us all.  Think I'm crazy? (I did say it was a possibility) Vent about it here.  All I ask is that all comments be polite and using language your kids could read.  *grin*

I look forward to hearing from you all and don't forget to pick up your copy of Luck Be A Lady and see how ghosts act in CJ England's fantasy world!

We'll be back on Friday with Guest Blogger, Dominique Eastwick who I'm sure will enthrall us with what's going on in her life!

Hugs to all,

CJ England  

Follow Your Dreams

Monday, October 18, 2010

Getting Lucky on a Gambling Cruise

Hey all,

Well, I've gotten a lot of mail about Luck Be a Lady and I'm so pleased it's been well received.  It is one of my favorite books (I know I always say that) not just because of the unusual premise and fun loving secondary characters, but because it was the first book I ever really did on-the-site research for.
Now I know I only write books that take place in an area I've traveled to. (Even my Sci Fi and Fantasy books have a specific place that was used as a base.)  But Luck Be a Lady's destination was the first book I traveled to JUST because I wanted to write a story.

I've had a few readers ask me this week where the research actually took place.  Vegas?  Reno?  Atlantic City?  Maybe New Orleans?

That gave me an idea for this blog.  Maybe more of you would like to know how I got my story for Luck Be a Lady.  Where I did the research.  Luckily--forgive the pun--we didn't have to travel far.

The idea for the story came from a commercial.  It was one of those romantic, airy types where a gorgeous man in a tux is kissing a beautiful woman as the sun sets over the deck of a  ship. *sigh*  As they murmur their love to each other, the camera pans out and you see it's not a cruise boat but one of the special nightly casino cruises.  Excitement fills the air as dealers spread out winning cards and slot machines sing out the glad tidings someone just won a huge pot.  The lovers kiss one last time before disappearing into the casino to see if their luck with the tables can match their luck with each other.

Well, that's all it took.  I dreamed about that commercial and out of the dream emerged Lara, Justin and all the wonderful characters from Luck Be a Lady.

But I'm not a gambler.  My Nana (maternal grandmother) was, and she dragged me along to the casinos when I was old enough, but I hate playing the tables.  I don't like waste and losing money is just too bloody wasteful for me.  LOL  Plus I've got that whole electricity thing going (remember I stop watches and cash registers and turn off lights), so I'm pretty sure the PTBs would frown on me spending much time near their machines.

Even with all that, Nana's love for the game was one of the reasons I wrote this story, and the book is dedicated in part to her.  Yet, the memories of Nana stuffing coins in a slot machine didn't help me when it came to making sure I described the rich ambiance and exuberance of a gambling cruise.  So I decided to go to the source.

Since we were living in Florida at the time, it was easy to sweet-talk Jonathon into a beautiful summer night cruise on a casino boat.  Especially since the one we chose was free.  Sterling Cruise lines did cruises most evenings.  The trips were four to five hours long and started and ended in Port Canaveral, Florida.  The cruise route took you out to international waters since that is where actual gambling can legally occur.

So we bought tickets, (Yeah, they were free, but you had to have them.) put on our best duds and headed out for a fun-filled cruise.  I was really excited, looking forward to learning all the nuances for my story.  My sweet baboo was excited, because there was free food.

Did I mention neither of us gamble?

Anyway, once on board we explored the ship, had some drinks, and munched out on the buffet.  Not the best spread we'd ever seen, but it was filling.  (Made sure I changed that part in Luck Be a Lady.  Lara's guests will be impressed with their buffet choices.)  Then we listened to the band play and spent a little time out on deck recreating the commercial.  *wink wink*

Then it was time to go to work.  Jonathon went back to listen to more music, and notebook in hand, I went to the casino to do my research.

Did I mention that casinos frown on people taking notes?

Yep.  I wasn't there for more than ten minutes before I was surrounded by big strong security men.  Not the worst position I'd ever been in, but with my luck the smelly one named Bubba would be the one to strip search me and demand the truth.

Luckily, in stepped in my hero.  Yes.  That's right.  There actually is a Justin Savage, and he turned out to be every bit the wonderful man I portrayed him to be.

His real name was Warren and he was one of the floor bosses.  (He looked a little like Robert DeNero)  A foreign national who had worked on this type of vessel his whole adult life.  Once he heard my stammering story and peeked at my notes, he shooed security away.  He let me keep my notebook and escorted me back behind the VELVET ROPES (the inner sanctuary) and became my mentor.  If I had a question, he answered it.  If I didn't understand something, he explained.  And he did all this while keeping an eagle eye on all the tables under his purview.

I had a wonderful time, gained a great deal of knowledge and a lot of respect for the position of floor boss.  Those men and women have to be constantly on guard, making sure pit bosses, dealers and customers alike are acting fairly.  They are the ones who alert security when a problem develops and they get to be the ones to hand out the big winnings if a guest hits the jackpot.

Warren was a great guy.  When his break came, he toured me around the rest of the ship answering questions and telling me about his life on the high seas.  He explained all about the legalities of cruise gambling and shared story after story about his time on board ship.When Jonathon came to find me at cruises' end, my sides ached from laughing so much at the different people Warren had met.  You'll see some of them in Luck Be A Lady.  They are some of the secondary characters.  I dedicated the book to Warren and even sent him a copy  when it was published.  Sexy romance or not, he deserved to know he was my hero, if only for that one moment in time.

Sterling Cruises may not have cruises out of Port Canaveral any longer, but the night I spent researching on one of their ships is truly a highlight of my career.  I met the perfect hero for my book, enjoyed learning how  the ship was run, plus I was able to spend a romantic evening with my husband. 

Not too shabby for a trip that was a tax write-off.   *VBG*  

Now, until Wednesday, I'll leave you with a couple of reminders.

~~~Today marks the beginning of my newest FREE READ over on my FREE READ BLOG.  We'll be having a party this week, so make sure you check out the story.  It's actually another one that takes place in a casino.  But this one is on dry land.


The romantic and sexy story of a woman who turns the casino entertainment division upside down, and the boss man who desperately works to make sure she doesn't do the same to him.

~~~Remember to enter my Halloween contest celebrating Luck Be A Lady.  Go to and click on Fun Stuff then Contests to learn all the details.

~~~Don't forget to pick up your copy of Luck Be a Lady HERE.  And when you do, remember to send me a copy of the receipt.  You'll be entered in the above contest, twice!!!

~~~And finally, if you want to know a little more about the characters in Luck Be a Lady, read last Wednesday's Blog.  You'll meet Justin and Lara and you'll see why I think Warren is such a special guy!

Hugs to all and have a great week!

CJ England  

Follow Your Dreams

Friday, October 15, 2010

Journeying Into Another World- Sultry Style

Hey all,

It's time for another guest blogger and today I am honored to have fellow Whiskey Creek author, Sultry Summers with me. She and I have a lot in common.  She likes dogs, the mountains and is eclectic in her music tastes.  And she's a sister Gemini as well as the fact we both love writing!  Plus, her family is her first priority.  You go girl!!!!

On her blog, it says this about her... Journeying into another world, the world of writing - that's one of my favorite things. To lose myself in a complex plot with plenty of romance,sex, science fiction and lots of fantasy. Pure escapism! What better way to lose the stress and cares of a rough day than to come home or take a break at work and read a bit from another world, another time, another life - and ZAP - ZIP for a little time you are there not here.

She's got a lot to tell us today about what's going on in her life, so without further ado, please join me in welcoming the amazing, Sultry Summers.


First – I would like to thank CJ England for allowing me to space on her Blog. I have certainly enjoyed her blogs, letting her readers share her global adventures, and I will honestly admit – I wish I could join her. All that fun she is having – WOW! Saving up all her neat experiences to mold into escapades for her characters in her great books, good for her! As for me, Sultry Summers – life hasn’t been dull, but between dull and the last few months, I’ll take dull. 

I’ve moved from my lifelong home in the heat stroke state to the magnificent mountains of North Carolina and no great shock -

DARN - it got cold! 

Yep, this is our first fall in North Carolina and - it actually got cold - go figure?  Then would you believe it - the leaves turned color and - OMG is it beautiful! For a girl accustomed to the heat and high humidity, it’s a real treat - no trick either. Except - I am about to freeze my, ah toes off. Actually, the only thing I truly miss is my hot tub. 

We've had a fire in the fire place(s) several nights and though we've had one in our house of 22 years it is a bit different here. 

Dear Husband filled the house up with smoke and set off all the alarms the other night. I asked him could he get them to play Dixie? That wasn't a popular question. I thought it was funny - he did get "shave and a hair cut" out them. Ha! 

Writing has been very productive here and why not. More time to write and my office windows, both have views that would inspire a rock. I've accomplish work on three works that I've had in progress for a long time and I'm looking at completion on two soon. 

Star TyGer WILL be out in March. The sequel, Revenge Immortal, in April thanks to Midnight Showcase - I'm so excited. Star TyGer is the extended version of the short story in the Midnight Showcase anthology of Jaded Beasts' Tiger/Rabbit, which was out a couple of years back. This one is a novel and has more depth. I think my readers will find it a lot hotter and with more intrigue and adventure. The sequel - the title speaks for itself. REVENGE Immortal. I'll post more on both, on my blog and my yahoo group Paranormal-Escapismwriters a little later. For now, living in this wonderful new environment and having more time to write I hope to be more productive.

Also, I’ve been hosting chats for The Romance Studio as I have for many years and lately, chats have again become more popular so if you are an author in search of a chat – let me know. You can contact me through The Romance Studio.

For now, take a look at my work at my website  or drop by my blog and feel free to become a follower.  And of course my yahoo group.

Took a little time to enjoy the scenery today and a drive through a place call Little Canada enjoying the leaf change – the mountains look like an artist’s palate and this area is very high in elevation with sharp drop-offs and a dam or two. It’s been dry so the water is low but the lakes are the bluest water I think I’ve ever seen, even the Atlantic down south isn’t that deep of a true blue. Once in a great while I’ll go to the sea shore for a few days vacation – in possibly a year or ten when I may want to go for a snorkel on an ocean reef. Until then, I think I’ll be just fine up here in the mountains. 

After all, I wasn’t born in the sunshine state – I was born in the mountains, I just moved home. 

Sultry Summers


I hope you enjoyed a brief glance into Sultry's world.  Make sure you check out her website and blog and pick up one of her books to try.  You'll be glad you did.

Meanwhile, I'll be back on Monday with another blog.  This time it's a surprise!  *grin*  You all have a wonderful weekend and don't forget to pick up today's new release, Luck Be a Lady over at Aspen Mountain Press.  See all the deets below!!!

CJ England  

Follow Your Dreams

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Interview With a Ghost And His Lady

Hey all,

Today we have something special.  Since Friday is the release of my Halloween story, Luck Be a Lady, from Aspen Mountain Press, I thought it might be fun to get to know the characters a little better.  So I took a quick trip to Port Canaveral in Florida and talked a couple of them into getting interviewed.  So grab a cuppa and some brownies or candy corn and settle on back.  Let's see how it all went...


*CJ is sitting in one of the guest cabins on The Lucky Lady, sipping her morning grapefruit juice ,while trying to set up the microphone on her computer.  Since she's NOT mechanically inclined, it isn't going well.*

CJ:  "It says to push this little metal thingy into that hole.  Why isn't it working?  Justin Savage will be here any minute and I have to have this done!"

*A moment later a tall, dark, handsome man suddenly appears at her side, startling CJ so much she almost knocks over her grapefruit juice.*

CJ:  "Damn it, Captain!  I told you not to do that!  You know we humans get freaked out when you pop in out of nowhere."

Justin:  *chuckles*  "My apologies.  I've been doing it for almost a hundred years. It is a hard habit to break."

CJ: *with a smirk*  "Bet Lara takes care of that."

Justin: *eyebrow raised*  "Despite popular belief, Lara Kincade does not tell me what to do."

CJ: "Where is she anyway?"

Justin:  "She is doing a last minute press release for the Halloween cruise.  She told me to go ahead and get started.  She will join us in a few moments."

CJ: "That's right.  No wonder you guys couldn't come to me for the interview.  Getting that cruise together must take up a lot of your time."

Justin: "We would have been happy to come to you, except for this one little problem."

CJ:  "What's that?"

Justin: "I can't leave the ship."

CJ:  *claps hand to forehead*  "That's right.  I almost forgot.  That's part of the curse."

Justin: *stiffens*  "Our agreement was we would not talk about the curse."

CJ: *sighs*  "Sorry.  I won't ask about the curse or why you're under it."  *she rattles the microphone cord*  "But I won't get to ask you anything if I can't get this thing hooked up."

Justin:  "May I?  I've become quite adept at electronics over the years."

CJ:  "Please."  *She watches as Justin easily finds the right hole to put the cord in.  A moment later, it's up and working.*  "Sweet!  Why don't you sit down and we'll get started?"

Justin: *sits in the chair near the bed*  "As you wish."

CJ:  "Okay, I think the first thing everyone will want to know is about The Lucky Lady.  Why don't you tell us about her and what she was like back in her heyday."
Justin: "The Lucky Lady started out as a riverboat casino.  It was one of the most popular ships on the Mississippi.  I ran a clean game, with drink that wasn't watered down, and the women who worked the Lady were honest and hardworking.  Rich men from all over the east coast came to play on my beautiful ship."

CJ: *cocks head*  "So how did she wind up in Port Canaveral, Florida?*

Justin: *shakes his finger at CJ*  "That, my dear, skirts too close to the curse issue."

CJ:  "Oh, right."  *looks embarrassed*  Well, let's move forward then.  You said you'd been a ghost for--"

Justin Savage: *interrupting*  "We prefer the term, Ethereals."

CJ:  "Riiigghtt.  Ethereals.  And why is that?"

Justin:  "Ghost is such a primitive term and we are anything but primitive.  I may be over a century old, but I'm no caveman."

CJ:  "You said, we?"

Justin:  "Yes.  There are five of us trapped in this God-forsaken plane of existence.  And we must stay here until--"  *stops suddenly*  "I'm sorry. I almost broke my own rules.  I should say no more."

CJ:  *bats her eyelashes at the captain*  Come on, Justin.  You can tell us a little.  Maybe about the others that were cursed with you?"

Justin: *his eyes glowing with anger* "I will tell you only that they did not deserve their fate.  An old lady whose only vice is enjoying a good game of cards.  A young and beautiful woman dragged into something she had nothing to do with.  A teenage boy who was too loyal for his own good, and an old man who instead of enjoying a pipe by the fire, tried to save us all and was damned because of it."  *stands and paces to the porthole window*  "None of it fair, yet still it happened."

CJ:  "And you, Justin?"  *stands and walks over to him*  "Did you deserve this fate?"

Justin:  *stares out window bleakly*  None of us did.  And we have only until Halloween to--"  *he cuts himself off*

CJ: *puts her hand on his arm*  "Until what, Captain?  What will happen on Halloween?"

*Before Justin can answer there is a knock and the door flies open.  In races Lara Kincade, the owner of The Lucky Lady.*

Lara:  I'm so sorry I'm late, but I had to get that press release out today.  Otherwise, it might have been too late.  *she notices the little tableau at the window and narrows her dark eyes*  "Did I interrupt anything?"

CJ: *clears throat*  "No.  Of course not."

Justin:  "We were speaking about The Lucky Lady."

Lara:  "Sure you were."  *looks suspiciously at the two of them*  "And did you tell her how hard you worked to make it so my poor ship couldn't sail out of the harbor?"

CJ:  *looks shocked*  "Really.  Do tell."

Justin:  "It is not YOUR ship."

Lara:  "I've got a piece of paper that says it is."

Justin:  "That paper is worth nothing!  We both know the truth!"

CJ: *waves at them both*  "Hello.  Interview time, remember?  Can we get back to the part about him sabotaging The Lucky Lady?"

Justin:  "I only did what was necessary."

Lara:  *leans closer to CJ and whispers*  "It's because of the curse, you see."

Justin: *shouting*  "I said we will NOT talk about the curse."

CJ:  "Okay. Okay"  *looks askance at Lara who just rolls her eyes*  "You guys seem to fight a lot.  I thought this was a love story."

Justin: *glares at Lara as he mutters*  "You should know.  You wrote it."

CJ:  "Well, yes."  *blushes*  "But this is an interview.  I'm trying to be objective."

Lara:  "Justin has still to learn that women in this day and age can make decisions themselves.  He wants to run my life for me."

Justin:  "Only in the things you obviously know nothing about."

Lara:  *sniffs*  "And he still hasn't learned a woman and a man can be partners."

Justin:  "With good reason!"  *grabs Lara and shakes her*  "Don't you remember?  I trusted a woman once before.  It did not end well."

CJ:  *perks up with interest*  "Another woman?"

Lara:  "Oh, Justin."  *gaze fills with sympathy*  "I'm sorry.  I shouldn't have said it that way.  But I'm not her.  Why can't you believe that?"

Justin: *brushes his thumb over Lara's lower lip*  "I wish I could.  I truly do.  It would make what I have to do so much easier."

Lara: *breathlessly*  J-Justin...

CJ: *watches as Justin's head lowers to Lara's.*  "Ummm, I'd say get a room, but I'm in it."  *rolls eyes*  "You guys are the worst interviewees.  Distracted much?"

Lara: *blushes*  "I'm sorry."  *pushes away from Justin*  "We did say we'd answer some questions."

Justin:  "I'm done answering questions.  You know how I feel about Halloween, this cruise and The Lucky Lady."   *backs away and his storm-blue eyes are furious*  "But neither of you understands what really is at stake."

CJ: *gazes at him sympathetically* "Then you tell us."

Justin: *gives an angry laugh*  "I can't.  And that, my dear is the biggest curse of all."

*Justin disappears, leaving two very confused women behind*

Lara:  *sinks into chair*  "I'm sorry.  Sometimes I just don't understand him."

CJ:  *sits and offers Lara some juice*  "So, how long have you been in love with him?"

Lara: *gasps*  "Is it that obvious?"

CJ:  "To me it is."  *pats Lara's hand*  "I fall in love with every one of my heroes, so I know the symptoms."

Lara:  "I don't know what to do.  Sometimes I think we're doing all right.  He'll help me with getting the ship fixed up or give me suggestions on how to run a casino boat.  But then he'll get all moody and act like he's hiding something.  It's so frustrating."

CJ: *winks*  "But I know the sex is great.  I wrote it that way."

Lara: *giggles*  "Yes.  The lovemaking is pretty wonderful.  Thank you for that."

CJ:  "But it's not enough, right?"

Lara: *shakes head sadly*  "Oh CJ, I dont' know what to do."

CJ: "Well since I always write happy endings, I can tell you not to worry.  Everything will work out in the long run."

Lara:  "I know.  But it's the story between then and now that is so hard."
CJ:  "I've got an idea."  *pulls out the microphone cord to end the interview*  "Let's leave the captain, The Lucky Lady and all these worries here and go out for a while.  I know a great bar down in Cocoa Beach.  It's called Coconuts on--"

Lara: *standing and wiping her eyes*  "--the Beach!  I know.  I'm so glad you wrote that in.  I love that bar."

CJ: *grinning*  "Well, lets go have a beer and watch the young buff guys play volleyball on the beach.  Bound to make you feel better."

Lara:  "But what about Justin?"

CJ:  "I'm pretty sure I wrote he wasn't the boss of you, didn't I?"

*Lara nods*

CJ:  "Then don't worry.  Besides, on Friday when the book comes out, it will all make sense.  You and Justin will see that your future is as bright and beautiful as a sunset on the water.  And as deep as the bottomless depths of the sea.

Lara:  *admiringly*  "Wow.  That is great writing."

CJ:  *preens*  "Thanks.  I just came up with it."  *grabs purse*  "Ready to get out of here?"

Lara:  "I sure am."

* CJ and Lara disappear out the door chattering and laughing about the fun they are going to have.  CJ's computer hums and blinks and then slowly, like this interview, fades to black*


Well, what do you think of this interview that totally got away from me?  Let me know in the comments below.  And check back on Friday for another wonderful guest blogger, Sultry Summers.  I sure will!!!!

CJ England  

 Follow Your Dreams

Monday, October 11, 2010

10 Things I'll Never Figure Out as an Author

Hey all,

I was reading an article the other day and it mentioned there were some things in life you just never figure out.  Whether it was politics or why they add artificial sugar to already delicious apple juice, no matter how you try to wrap your brain around it, it will never make sense.

Well, that got me thinking about my profession and all the things that continue to confuse me.  I mean...I've been writing novels professionally for almost six years now and even before then I dabbled in magazine articles and journals.  Still, there are so many things I scratch my head over. 

So, I decided to take a leaf from the magazine and write down (since that's what I do) the 10 Things I don't think I'll ever figure out about being an author.

So, here goes...  Counting Down...

10.  I'll never understand why reviewers have so much power over authors and the publishing business.  In fact, it's often the bad reviews that whip up interest and get people reading.  And if you're like me and you like what you write already, why change it over the opinion of a few?  Why give them that power?  And as an aside, how many of you readers will be prevented from buying a book based on a review?  I've always been curious.

09.  I've given up trying to understand why some publishers (NY especially) don't make the blurbs or book covers have ANYTHING to do with the story.  I mean, if you do a poll, most readers buy books solely on those two first impressions.  So you got to wonder why they think misleading the public is a smart thing to do.  If a reader sees a blurb that talks about hot sex on a tropical island and the cover shows two lovers swinging in a hammock with a fruity drink in hand, that's what they are going to expect.  NOT the reality the couple met at the Bermuda airport and the rest of the story takes place in Anchorage, Alaska.  Please!

08.  Here's one.  Why is it that some in the publishing business think it's smart to air their dirty laundry in public?  And no.  I'm not talking about an author who has a genuine grievance with a publisher and is warning others not to fall into the trap they did.  I support that a gazillion percent.  I'm talking about those authors, editors and publishers who on a public forum with half the romance community listening in, go into a completely unprofessional rant.  I mean, do they really think we as their peers or more importantly, the readers are going to appreciate that?  Geesh!

07.  This one makes me crazy.  I'll never understand why one author will plagerise from another.  I mean, I can understand why, if you are as much as a reader as I am, a stray phrase from a favorite author might wind up in one of the stories you write.  That can and does happen.  But it's not deliberate.  Yet plagiarism is something all together different.  For one person to copy word for word, paragraphs and sometimes whole pages, not only disgusts me, it breaks my heart.  It is a despicable and self-motivating act.  Moreover, it's a kind of rape and definitely theft of the lowest kind.

06.  I will never understand the ignorance that can be present in some publishing houses.  I mean, you learn to except it, but I'll never get why one house understands the copyrighting rules down to the tee, and works well with Fair Use Laws, while another shivers at the thought and won't allow you to allude to the most basic of soda drinks for fear of a major lawsuit.  While I admit it's not a black and white issue, you'd think if you're going into this business you'd have a good understanding of one of it's most important rules.  Why is it the author's job to instruct them???

05.  I spoke to a new author the other day who was so excited with her first sale.  She had a lot of questions and was already spending her first royalty check.  Perfectly okay.  I did the same thing.  But as the conversation progressed it became apparent for this author it was all about the money. When I gently cautioned her not to count her proverbial chickens, she was blunt in informing me that she only started writing because it was so easy to make money at the game.  She was sure she was going to make as much money as JK Rowling or Agatha Christie.  I just shook my head and couldn't figure out why some people in this business don't do their research before they begin.  Sure, she might be one of the lucky ones and take off like a rocket to Mars, but even JK went for years without a bite.  The money might be there now, but it was lean for a very long time.

04. This one bugs the heck out of me.  I'll never understand why it's so hard to speak out against the wrong in this business.  Publishers not paying royalties or abusing their authors.  Editors who couldn't edit their way out of a paper bag.  Business practices who would put a seasoned con man to shame.  I mean, wrong is wrong, but for some reason fear takes over and this is one time that adage our mama taught us takes hold, "If you can't say anything good, don't say anything at all." Please!  Each of us must follow our conscience, but if you are keeping quiet out of fear, relook at your motives.  Fear is the mind killer.  We stop making good decisions when we're scared.  We should be able to professionally convey our concerns or problems and not be labeled a diva because of it.  So if you're in that position and afraid to speak out, get another opinion.  Look at who else might be affected.  But above all, don't allow yourself to be abused a minute longer!

03.  Arrgh matey!!!!  I'll never understand these guys.  Pirates.  And I'm not talking the Johnny Depp kind.  (he's just hot!)  I'm referring to those parasites who steal an artist's work and then wonder why we get so upset about it.  They whine about not being able to afford it or we are being too greedy.  *shakes head*  Seriously, I can't afford that cherry red Mustang convertible 1965 yet, but you don't see me stealing one off a classic car lot!  And if wanting to be paid for the work I do is greedy, so be it.  I'll bet those bloody pirates would pitch a major fit if their paycheck was given to someone else because their employer thought they were too greedy and didn't need it all!!!!

02.  Okay, this is another difference between houses, but it's also a personal pet peeve, so that pushes it up high on the list.  I'll never understand why editors or houses believe they are the all knowing Gods about what a reader wants.  Seriously, you can say this is what your house likes, and I'm totally cool with that.  IT IS YOUR HOUSE.  But when you start talking about how EVERY reader wants it this way and EVERY publishing house in New York does it this way, you're stepping into dangerous territory.  Case in point is POV switches in a scene.  I've been told so many things about this one issue my head spins.  And I shake my head at those who says NO REAL AUTHOR writes different POVs within a scene.  Really?  I bet La Nora would love to hear you say that.  I mean, one of the best selling romance authors of all time, Nora Roberts, would be fascinated to hear you don't think she's a real author.  Guess she better send back those millions she's made writing all those POV switches.

01.  So we've come to number one. And I have to admit, this is something I know I will never figure out as long as I continue to write.  It's not a issue that can even be resolved.  I wouldn't even try because it would be a fruitless exercise...

Why is it that one reader will adore, love and recommend your work, while another doesn't think it's worth lining a bird cage floor with?

I know each person is different and we all like different things.  After all, how boring life would be otherwise.  But I always shake my head when I get letters that talk about the exact same thing from different sides.  For example, in the Mylari Chronicles Series, Calion, the hero of Eyes of Fire is often the subject of fan letters.  (You usually hate him until you love him.  LOL)

I got one letter where the reader loved him so much she wanted to eat him up with chocolate cherry ice cream.  *Hmmm.  Okay.*  She's read Eyes of Fire so many times it's dog eared, and she actually bought a second copy for fear she'd be without the first.  And her favorite part of the book is this one scene where Calion and Talia make love for the first time.  She says no matter how many times she reads it she swoons.  (her words not mine)  And I have to admit, I puffed up like a peacock when I read her message.

Then I got a letter from another fan who loves my books, but hated Calion with a purple passion.  Seriously, the names she called this poor elf were vile.  And the things she wanted to do to his anatomy were NOT ones a guy would look forward to.  And her least favorite scene?  You guessed it...where Calion and Talia come together for the first time.

I got these letters within a couple days of each other.  I looked at the first one, then at the second and just shook my head.  I can understand different opinions, but these readers were rabid about how they felt and so diametrically different, it blew my mind.

And it is just because of this difference that I'll never figure it out.  I've decided it hurts my head and heart to even try.  Better to write what I love and hope it finds a home in someone else's heart as well.

So there you have it.  10 Things I'll Never Figure Out as an Author.  Now how about you?  Is there something completely mind-boggling that you'll never understand?  Share in the comments below.

Be back on Wednesday to chat again.  I have a special holiday interview with a hot and handsome hunk who just happens to be NOT OF THIS WORLD.  *grin*

CJ England  

 Follow Your Dreams